12/8 Wrestlezone Recap: WWE PPV Buyrates Are In, Matt Hardy Hits the “Finish Line” in Pro Wrestling, PWG Matt Rushmore Review Plus New Features, WWE/Impact Wrestling Discussion & We Answer Your Questions
I realize this review may seem a tad late for a show that was recorded in mid October, as the Christmas season draws near, but as is the case with most DVD-only rasslin' companies, if you don't catch them live, there's usually a month or more gap between the show and when the product arrives at your doorstep. Speaking of which, you can buy this awesome show at Highspots.com right this very second.
This is the follow-up event to August's incredible Battle of Los Angeles that saw, among other things, the formation of the self-proclaimed “Mount Rushmore of Wrestling,” and Kyle O'Reilly defeating four incredible athletes in a span of only two days to become the 9th BOLA winner; a title held by the likes of Davey Richards, El Generico, and of course the current PWG World Champion, Adam Cole.
With that, we have our main event of Adam Cole vs. Kyle O'Reilly, two kids who broke into pro wrestling together as Future Shock, a team that enjoyed mild levels of success in several promotions, including PWG and Ring of Honor.
In the closing moments of BOLA, Cole – alongside Rushmore partners Kevin Steen and the Young Bucks – attacked O'Reilly, Joey Ryan, Candice LeRae and referee Rick Knox, leading to many of the events you'll read about on this card.
As per usual with Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, I was left completely satisfied with every match, each feeling special and different from the last. In my mind there are three potential Match of the Night candidates, with each having different reasons to be considered. The main event, Cole-O'Reilly, went half an hour and was a knock-down, drag-out fight that had a lot of heart and benefited greatly from the personal and professional rivalry between these two stars of the future. It had its flaws, but they were few. In some respects, I feel like they missed the finish on a handful of occasions, as near the end it devolved into too many near-falls and no-sells. As can sometimes be the case with these types of “indie style” matches, you just want something to end the contest so you can digest what you just experienced. And while this certainly isn't the fault of anyone in particular, the crowd was exhausted after a night of long, exciting matches. Sometimes you need that comedic buffer, or squash match to give the fans time to rest up.
Instead, the main event had to follow another MOTN candidate in Joey Ryan and Candice LeRae – unlikely allies forced together by August's beatdown – taking on the Young Bucks for the PWG tag straps. This was some incredible story-driven wrestling, with Candice coming away looking like $1,000,000 in the end. It was also the only match during the night that the fans were decisively in favor of the obvious babyfaces; Matt and Nick Jackson were the most hated men of the evening, until the closing moments, which we'll get to later. Not only were the moves in this match out of control (in a good way), but they came off silky smooth and had that genuine “wow!” factor.
The third possible choice for best match of the night, and probably the lowest on my own personal list, was a war between PWG favorite Johnny Gargano, and long-time independent badass Roderick Strong. These guys put on a mat-based clinic. Clocking in at just over 24 minutes, their match didn't feel like it dragged, and unlike similar contests they didn't miss their finish, with Gargano getting a somewhat surprising submission win with a white hot crowd.
Kevin Steen, my personal favorite guy working the indie scene right now, took on the up-and-comer ACH, who is in contention to be my break-out rookie of the year. He's doing some serious work in Ring of Honor right now, and it's been great to watch him get exposure in PWG for the past few months. The 4-way between Younger, Ciampa, Cage and Nese was something to see as well. I haven't seen three huge men (and Drake) move that well in a long, long time. Their match was 10 minutes of crazy, non-stop and brutal action that wrapped in some storytelling from BOLA to put the icing on the cake.
While not quite as good as BOLA – currently one of my favorite shows of the year – there's certainly a lot to love about Matt Rushmore. PWG does fun better than any wrestling promotion out there today. Half their roster is the guys you pay to see in Ring of Honor (Steen, Strong, Cole, etc.), but their local crop of guys is equally as excellent. Plus, PWG has this “inmates running the asylum” feel to it, where you can tell the workers get to put themselves into the product. Guys like Kevin Steen just look like they're having a lot more fun working a Guerrilla ring than anywhere else on the planet. It's a great atmosphere, all their shows are enjoyable, and you can tell they treat the fans right because everyone crowd is hot and does their thing from beginning to end.
If you're anywhere near Reseda, CA you owe it to yourself to check out this phenomenal brand of professional wrestling. And now on to the results and reviews…