PWG All Star Weekend VIII Night One 5/27/2011

Written by: Jim

All Star Weekend 8 – Night One
May 27, 2011

Kevin Steen vs Willie Mack
For the second show in a row, Mack gets to wrestle one of the bigger stars in PWG history. In both cases, he comes out looking like a true star which only helps his case of being the breakout star of 2011. While Roderick Strong vs Mack was great for some of the booking and the crowd involvement, it was flawed (And overrated) due to Roddy being…shall we say, “Terrible”? This match doesn’t have the big moments of the Strong/Mack match, but it does have Steen putting effort into helping the match. It’s a bit too short and uneventful to be anything other than a good match, but I enjoyed it a little more than Strong/Mack. Had this match occurred before Mack/Strong, it would have been Mack’s breakout match. 3 1/4 Stars.

The Dynasty vs The Fighting Taylor Boys w/Chuck Taylor
The first full-time Scorpio Sky PWG match since 2008. Sky ended up looking really good and motivated. While the commentary surprisingly missed it, I loved that he used Quicksilver’s Silver Slice. Speaking of impressing, a year into being on the PWG roster and Brian Cage-Taylor is still proving to be one of the unsung heroes in the promotion. It’s a shame PWG hasn’t elevated him past the lowcard scene yet. Despite a quality match, it badly needed to be finished a good five minutes than it actually was. It began to drag on and it was clear that the wrestlers were just randomly hitting moves to keep the match going. When it comes to undercard tag matches when there’s three bigger tag matches, there’s little reason to have it go fifteen minutes. Still, it’s a good return for Scorpio and I look forward to seeing the Dynasty in more matches. 2 3/4 Stars.

Chuck Taylor w/Ryan Taylor vs Kenny King
King made his PWG debut in 2009 at Against the Grain. The reception online was generally pretty negative. With this being his second chance, you could expect King to really bring the heat to prove his doubters wrong. He didn’t. The guy may be having the best year of his career thanks to the great Briscoes/ANX feud in ROH, but King was so underwhelming in this. With several blown spots, selling moves that didn’t connect and a finish that came out of nowhere, this did not make me want to see more King in PWG. Taylor on the other hand, knows how to bring the lulz. So even if he has a bad match, he typically entertained me. As a result, a sub par match results in a disappointing performance by King, but another fun one by Taylor. 2 Stars.

The Young Bucks (c) vs RockNES Monsters – PWG Tag Titles
RockNES’s first chance at the PWG Tag Titles. While they’re unsuccessful in this attempt, it seems clear that one day they will have the ugliest titles in pro wrestling around their waists. Maybe it’s because of some of the hype I’ve heard for this match, but for most of it, I wasn’t too impressed. There was a lot of planned comedy spots early on that just comes off as goofy to me. I imagine it’s so much better seeing it in person. If there was one great thing about this match though, it was Johnny Yuma. The kid looked like a star by hanging in there for awhile while Goodtime was on the outside. More than that, the crowd seemed to view him as someone worth caring about. The final few minutes is where the action finally picks up. I loved the Bucks countering the top rope Death Valley Driver that gave RockNES a win over them at Kurt Russellreunion II and I appreciated a finish other than More Bang for Your Buck. This match sums up how I feel about the Bucks these days. It’s not overly good, but there’s enough fun moments to make it a solid contest. 3 1/4 Stars.

Generation Next vs The Cutlers
The first time Aries and Strong has teamed up in a normal 2-on-2 match in PWG. The biggest shock here is that a tag team match in PWG is actually a tag team match. Unlike with any Bucks match since day one, we’re actually seeing tags in the match and very little four man interaction. There’s even one moment where Gen Next stops the action because they wanted to be sure that the legal man was in the ring so they could tag. It’s refreshing to see. Now, the match does suffer through various problems. Several segments are dull, the crowd isn’t reacting to the story (One hot tag is met with dead silence) and the Cutlers seem lost in a match where they can’t both be in the ring at all times. Aries continues his bid to winning the “Most Improved” award by once again putting on a great performance to go along with his TNA ones. Strong remains the unmotivated Roddy that he’s become, but against two dull wrestlers that the Cutlers have become, it’s not as noticeable. At the end of the day, I’d say it was a successful outing for Gen Next for offering PWG fans something a little different and Aries looking good doing so. 3 Stars.

After the match, The Young Bucks run out and attack Gen Next to add heat to their match the following night. This brings Alex Shelley (Wearing a Generation Next t-shirt) to make the save. Shelley makes the vague challenge for The Bucks or The Cutlers to find a third partner so we can see Generation Next beat their asses. It’s a pity this didn’t really lead anywhere. I would have loved seeing Generation Next (With Jack Evans making an one night return) against the Bucks and Cutlers. Eddie Edwards and Alex Shelley puts on a solid showing, but nothing too great.

Alex Shelley vs Eddie Edwards
To me, Edwards is a guy who’s never been rated correctly. Back in the day, he was underrated due to being pared with Davey Richards right when Davey was really lighting the world on fire. After impressing fans with his gutsy performance in the Ladder War against Steenerico, Edwards began being overrated. Edwards is a good worker, but he’s not in the best in the world echelon that the hype would leave you to believe. The result are a series of perfectly fine matches that end up disappointing me some because I expect better. This is one of those examples. The early going is fairly boring, but things pick up when they play to the crowd and pick up the pace. The enjoyment that they built up drops once they go into the finishing stretch where they no sell each others moves. I don’t mind the no selling, but make it mean something. As much as Davey Richards is criticized for no selling, he’s always yelling like a mad man when he’s doing it. That makes it mean something far more than just getting up and proceeding to your next move. Edwards winning with Die Hard, his Brainbuster variation, does further push Edwards up the card to eventually earn him a title shot sometime before the 9th anniversary show. 3 Stars.

Nightmare Violence Connection vs El Generico and Ricochet
If there was ever a match that deserved the “This is awesome” chant, this is it. Everyone brought something to the table. Steen was crazed in making Ricochet feeling miserably due to biting the poor guy’s ear and knee cap. Tozawa was Tozawa, which means he’s always awesome. Once again, he has continued to learn English from Steen, cussing more and more. El Generico brings the hate by attacking Steen before the match and deciding against hitting a tornado DDT on Tozawa because he realized he could dive on Steen instead. Lastly, Ricochet delivered one beautiful spot after another. This is the type of a match where any faults that you could find and complain about in other matches, you don’t care about here. Not enough tags and no selling? Who cares? The crowd was going crazy during the entire match, you could feel the hate between Steen and Generico and it felt like a major match. Beats out Generico vs Claudio as my current PWG MOTY. 4 1/2 Stars.

Claudio Castagnoli (c) vs Chris Hero – PWG World Title
At over forty minutes long, this definitely had the feel of some of Hero’s PWG Title defenses. After a long night of action (The DVD alone is over 3 hours and twenty minutes, so God knows how long the fans were in Reseda that night), they could have shaved off several minutes to keep the exhausted fans from dying down near the end. However, despite being such a long match, having to follow an incredible tag match and dealing with the top rope breaking, Hero and Claudio still produced a great match that just flies by. This match is all storyline. Early on, due to their friendship, it’s a pretty respected and friendly exchange. The Kings of Wrestling are willing to joke around a bit and keep it from getting heated. As the match went on and after the rope broke, things become heated. Hero, feeling the frustration of being unable to keep his buddy down and possibly dealing with yet another unsuccessful bid at winning back his PWG Title, becomes overly aggressive towards Claudio. Yelling at Claudio, calling him his “Young Boy” and his “Number 2”, it’s all great stuff. Now, there are a couple of issues that kept this from challenging the tag match as the best match of the night. Double C worked over Hero’s right arm for most of the early going, yet Hero doesn’t sell it whenever he chops or elbows Claudio. I understand that Hero may not be Ricky Steamboat, but he’s certainly better than some indy schmuck who forgets to sell. Second, the finish of Claudio winning with a simple European Uppercut came out of nowhere and finished the match in a rather unexciting way. Still, these two tell a great story and managed to not only cope with the top rope breaking, but flawlessly add it to the story. It may not be able to compare to the tag match, but it’s a perfectly acceptable main event match. 3 3/4 Stars.

Overall
Up until the final two matches, this was starting to feel like a B-show under the disguise of an A-show. Those shows are rather disappointing even if they’re better than the B-shows. However, the final two matches pushes the show over the top and ends it in a grand way. Steen continues his reign as the PWG MVP of 2011 by having the MOTN that will go down in history as one of the best matches in PWG history. The main event offers yet another really good PWG match with Claudio. His last run with PWG may have lasted for under a year, but the guy delivered some amazing performances. When it comes to All Star Weekend, it’s all about the non-PWG regulars coming in to show what they can do. Sadly, some of these guys didn’t do much. Kenny King puts on a rather unremarkable performance. Just like he does in TNA, Aries carries the quality performances for all of the non-PWG regulars. A good show that helps add heat to night 2 of All Star Weekend.

Worth Checking Out
Kevin Steen vs Willie Mack
Generation Next vs The Cutlers (Just to see a traditional tag team match in PWG)
Kevin Steen and Akira Tozawa vs El Generico and Ricochet
Claudio Castagnoli vs Chris Hero

Avoid
Kenny King vs Chuck Taylor

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