PWG The Debut Show 7/26/2003
Written By: Jim
Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (The debut show)
July 26, 2003
Supa Badd, Charles Mercury and Sara Del Rey vs Ryan Drago, Top Gun Talwar and Zokre
The very first match in PWG history. I’ve never seen Supa Badd or Top Gun Talwar. Talwar is one of the original owners of PWG though. It’s nice to see Ryan Drago, I was impressed with him at CHIKARA’s King of Trios. Del Rey is just a couple years in the business and seems to have not made enough money to buy proper ring gear. For a six man tag, it ran fairly long clocking in around 18 or so minutes. The action left a lot to be desired, but they spent the entire time putting over the characters allowing the viewers to familiarize with the wrestlers. From the six, the heels of Drago, Talwar and Zokre (Who did the Kofi neck top rope bounce off) and face Sara Del Rey left the better impression. Del Rey spent most of the match playing the face-in-peril, but I like the fact that they made her seem like a real wrestler. There wasn’t any of the treatment that she’s a side show attraction or anything. Del Rey pins Ryan Drago with a German Suplex. So for you trivia buffs, Sara Del Rey holds the very first victory in PWG. Overall, I felt entertained enough to not stop the show. 1 1/2 Stars.
Excalibur vs Chris Bosh
Before the match, Del Rey gets a nice sendoff as she’s heading to Japan the following month. Team Chismo (Excalibur, Disco Machine and Super Dragon) heads out to the ring. Excalibur claims that he’s tired from setting up all of the chairs and bows out of a tag match with Disco Machine. Instead, he invites any rookie to come out and face him. This brings out Chris Bosh. Your referee is Rick Knox, wow, that guy has been in PWG for a long time. The match was mostly a squash with Excalibur proving that Team Chismo are a threat to be reckon with in PWG. Bosh gets to the ropes to break up several submission holds and looks good in the process. Excalibur wins with a suplex variation. The match accomplished what it needed to, so it gets a thumbs up in my book despite not being very “Good”. 1 Star.
The Ballard Brothers vs Aerial Express
The Ballard Brothers are veteran Canadian wrestlers who resemble an early Jerry Lynn. Aerial Express are comprised of Scorpio Sky and Quicksilver. The Ballard Brothers impressed me especially with all of their solid team work. Excalibur, commentating, spends a good portion of the match telling racist jokes directed at the black Scorpio Sky. Who knew racism could be so funny? The Express (Choo choo) are able to get in a lot of spots without sacrificing the story too much. One of the Ballards ends up taking a double boots to the head/Piledriver combo to lose the match. The finish was simple, yet a pretty cool looking move. Despite losing, The Ballards earned some of my respect for being a solid tag team. As for Aerial Express, they quickly establish themselves as the face team in PWG. Right off the bat, I want to see Aerial Express vs Team Chismo. 2 1/2 Stars.
Super Dragon vs MDogg 20
Matt Cross, now here’s someone I wasn’t expecting. He looks basically the same, just without proper tights and is smaller than he is currently. Super Dragon is very over. The pair tries to get in a lot of fancy spots, but end up botching several. I’m not sure what it is about Super Dragon, but while most fans seem to love him, I find him fairly boring. Dragon wins with a Phoenix Splash. The finisher seems too flippy for a character who’s supposed to be a bad ass, but the fans seem to love it. Despite my issues with Super Dragon, he’s quickly established as one of the top guys in PWG so the match at least had some purpose. 1 3/4 Stars.
Taro vs Baby Slymm
Holy shit, it’s the guy from 101 Reasons NOT To be Pro Wrestler. Speaking of which, is 101 Reasons still well known to the IWC? At one time, it was the wrestling documentary. Baby Slymm is basically working a Cryme Tyme gimmick while being the size of Bubba Ray. Taro seems to have a giant complex which reminds me a lot of Hydra, only he can talk. Excalibur gets in some more racist jokes, much to my enjoyment. Baby Slymm just manhandles Taro during most of the match. Midway in, he brings in a chair, as if he’s not punishing Taro enough. Slymm seems to be one of the only guys in history of wrestling who doesn’t know how to lodge a chair between the two ropes. Taro moves out of the way and Slymm collides head first with the chair, knocking himself out. Without knowing this, Taro presses the button on his tights to become a giant~! Taro turns around to find Slymm on the mat, so he covers him. THE BUTTON WORKED~!!!!!!! I found this surprisingly entertaining and one of the more productive matches on the show. Slymm looks like a monster while I already fell in love with Taro. 2 Stars.
Mr. Excitement and Disco Machine vs Hook Bomberry and Apollo Kahn
It looks like Mr. Excitement is the replacement for Excalibur. This is my first chance seeing any of these guys. Kahn reminds me a bit of Slyk Wagner Brown. Early on, the team of Kahn and Bomberry works over the arm of Disco Machine for a long time. Kahn is actually fairly good with his Monty Brown-type gimmick. The super MMA-type wrestler of Bomberry keeps working in various submissions on Disco’s arm. Eventually, Disco Machine is forced to tap out, giving Team Chismo their first loss. The match actually was built around the story of Disco’s arm. I wouldn’t shed any tears if I never saw Homberry or Mr. Excitement again, but Disco Machine and Apollo Kahn gets the thumbs up. 2 1/2 Stars.
Hardkore Inc. w/Crew vs X-Foundation
Hardkore Inc. is comprised of Hardkore Kidd, Al Katrazz and Adam Pearce. The X-Foundation is Joey Ryan (In full Jamie Noble mode), Scott Lost (Hey, I had that haircut when I was 12) and Billy Kim (Who?). Just like the other members of the PWG 6, Joey Ryan is very over. The match was an all out brawl of clusterfuckinessity (Yay for making clusterfuck an even more clusterfuck of a word). X-Foundation are very Rockers like with Joey Ryan being easily the most talented member of his team. Al Katrazz and Hardkore Kidd reminds me of Hernendez, only Kidd is the good version and Al Katrazz is horrible. Despite being in the ring for only a few minutes, Adam Pearce shows that he’s probably the smartest worker out of anyone on the card so far. Joey Ryan has the pin, but the HardKore’s crew distracts the ref to allow Pearce to nail Ryan with a title from another promotion. Pearce covers and gets the win. This was a great way to showcase their main heel for early portion of PWG. Pearce comes off as a legitimate star of the promotion while Ryan is a huge fan favorite. I want to see more of Hardkore Kidd before I form a real opinion though. I enjoyed the match at least. 2 3/4 Stars.
AJ Styles vs Frankie Kazarian
Your very first PWG main event. Styles is already one of the bigger indy stars of 2003 with his ROH and TNA status. Meanwhile, Kazarian had just recently debuted in TNA. In fact, these two just wrestled a few weeks before in TNA. Before the match, Samoa Joe comes out to apologize to the card for unable to perform due to injury (Supposedly due to his Paul London – Death Before Dishonor match). His replacement is Frankie Kazarian. Damn, AJ vs Joe would of been great. Within a few minutes, I give up on the commentary track and just turn it off. It’s fine joking around for the undercard since it there’s much importance, but this is the NWA Champion vs your future (heh) top face. Both guys are already showing that they know each other well enough to reverse a lot of moves. Frankie goes for either a bicycle kick or a step up hurricanrana, but AJ counters it into a nice power bomb. Frankie attempts several Wave of the Future’s, but Styles prevents every one. They botch AJ turning a German Suplex like hold into a electric chair. They repeat the move with AJ reversing Kazarian’s position so he’s prepped for a power bomb. Styles Drops Frankie down right into Styles Clash position. Styles Clash gets Styles the win in the first ever PWG show. With two guys that had faced each other so many times (Eventually), these two could deliver. Although it wouldn’t be too memorable in ROH, it’s the easy standout of the night. Both wrestlers ended up looking good and giving PWG a much needed serious match. A little bit of sloppiness keeps it from being too much of a standout though. 3 1/4 Stars.
Frankie gets on the mic to thank the fans for supporting him and coming out. We get a brief mention of the PWG title to be decided at the next show.
Like with any promotion starting off, you need to give them some leniency. If they’d put on this type of show in 2009, people would shit all over it. However, for their first show, it was good enough to make me want more. They did a good job at introducing their wrestlers to those who may not be familiar with them. A good portion of the roster can already be sized up for where they belong in the ladder of importance. Standouts of the night would include Sara Del Rey, Taro, Adam Pearce, Joey Ryan, Super Dragon, Excalibur, Disco Machine, Apollo Kahn, the Ballards and of course Styles and Kazarian.
If you think the commentating was horrible in 2009, it’s nothing compared to this show. While I did generally enjoy the antics of Excalibur and Disco Machine, I can see many people finding it very annoying. Since the commentary is recorded in post-production, it has that DVD movie commentary sound to it. The live action has a lower volume to a studio-like sound for the actual commentary. If you want recent ROH, it’s a lot like that. If I had the option, I’d rather turn the commentary off, especially for the important matches.