In 2011, not many American promotions had as big and consistent a year as Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. Based in American Legion Post #308 in Reseda, CA, PWG has gathered a major cult following in its eight year existence, and is able to bring some of the best wrestlers in the world to the often-starved West Coast scene, whilst also showcasing the best local talent and giving them a platform to shine.
And in 2011, it’s hard to deny that PWG was dominated by one man – “Mr. Wrestling” Kevin Steen.
Steen had made his comeback to PWG in late 2010 after missing a couple of years. He vowed to make up for lost time. Steen went on to wrestle in 16 matches in just 9 shows. On July’s Eight, in his third match that night, Steen won the PWG World Championship from the outgoing Claudio Castagnoli. However, he would run into an old nemesis.
El Generico defeated Steen to win the 2011 Battle of Los Angeles tournament in August, and parlayed that into a title shot against his old tag team partner and biggest rival. He took his shot at Steen Wolf in one of the most vicious Ladder matches in wrestling history. It would be the Generic Luchador who would come out on top, winning the PWG Title from Steen.
But Steen’s night wasn’t over as he had other rivals to deal with. Matt and Nick Jackson, the Young Bucks, had major issues with Steen and decided to jump him after he lost his title. They also decided to challenge Steen to a Tag Team Guerrilla Warfare Match for their Tag Team Championships at the next show, thinking that Steen would not have a partner. Big mistake.
The lights suddenly went out, and all of a sudden, for the first time in over three years, Super Dragon appeared in a wrestling ring, the fans in Reseda went wild, and all hell broke loose. The Young Bucks were finished off, and Kevin Steen had a partner in one of his former rivals.
That all leads us to this show, simply titled, Fear.
December 10th, 2011
American Legion Post #308 – Reseda, CA<
Kenny King vs. TJ Perkins – The Pretty Boy Pitbull and TJP lock up, when Brian Cage-Taylor and Ryan Taylor, the Fightin’ Taylor Boys, come out and announce that their scheduled opponents, Los Luchas (Phoenix Star & Zokre), didn’t show up due to a family emergency, so a replacement tag team match is made…
Kenny King & TJ Perkins vs. The Fighting Taylor boys (Ryan Taylor & Brian Cage-Taylor) – Instant brawl from the start, and Ryan Taylor just throws the ref out of the ring for the laughs, and then throws him back in. He somehow avoids a disqualification. Steen is on commentary with Excalibur here, and makes his usual jokes not related to the match in any way (at least they’re not all about baseball, via Joey Ryan). Brian “Get My Shit In” Cage-Taylor well, gets his shit in. The fans chant ,”This Match Sucks,” but that’s Reseda for you. It’s been alright up to this point. Then picks up when King gets the tag, and there’s tope suicidas and a moonsault (by Cage-Taylor, the biggest man in the match), and all sorts of mayhem. The fans suddenly chant, “This is Awesome” (they’re easily swayed). The Taylors hit a combined monkey flip/powerbomb move on King for the win. Pretty good opener, the Taylors’ superiorr cohesiveness as a team told in the end, but King and TJP put up their usual great effort.
The Amazing Red vs. Roderick Strong – Before the match starts, Steen alludes to some happenings in the building that have pissed lead commentator/head honcho Excalibur off – these were ill-timed music snafus, including the music of a man who would make a surprise appearance later. As this is a Highspots release, we don’t get the music anyway.
Red is making his PWG debut here, up against a big name in Roddy Strong. They go to the outside, and Strong has his way with Red. Meanwhile, Steen tells a story about going to CM Punk’s house, which was probably made up. Steen also compares “putting too much weight on a guy” to sex. Oh dear, Kev. Red matches Roddy for his chops, and bests him for speed. Roddy beats him all over with his patented backbreakers, though. After a brief Red flurry, Roddy finishes him off with the Gibson Driver. Good match, and a nice showing in his PWG debut for Red.
B-Boy, Famous B, Chris Kadillak & Candice LeRae vs. “Pretty Hollywood” Peter Avalon, “Sleazy” Ray Rosas, “Magnum” Joey Ryan, & Scorpio Sky Mustache Ride – Seeing B-Boy wrestle is a blast from the past for me, as I mainly remember him from the early part of the last decade, especially his CZW appearances. LeRae is in her best spot here as part of a multi-person match. She’s in there with two people who know her very well in Joey Ryan and Peter Avalon. B-Boy replaces Willie Mack in this match, who got another challenge, as we’ll find out later.
Kadillak is in with Avalon, but Avalon wants “The Bitch”. LeRae gets in the ring, but Avalon actually meant B-Boy. Not wise. B-Boy drops Avalon, and the rudo team pulls him in to safety. The usual sick sexual spots between Ryan and LeRae. “This is wrestling”, say Reseda. The tecnicos have seen enough, and run wild on the pervs. However, to prove they stand for sexual equality, the rudos do the same kind of spots on the male Kadillak later in the match.
LeRae runs wild and hits the Ballsplex on all four of her opponents. In tribute to Chris Bosh (not of the Heat), the rudos all hit the Lioncock, but with one very obvious non-response. Everyone fucks each other’s shit up, and it’s glorious. All eight go bonzo gonzo down the stretch. LeRae hits the Mustache Ride on Ryan in a role reversal, but Avalon pulls the ref out of the ring. Major pile-up on the outside allows Sky to hit a TKO on LeRae for the win. Not exactly the most logical match on earth, but it was fun. Could have done being a bit shorter, though.
Chris Hero vs. Willie Mack – Those music snafus I mentioned earlier? Yep, they spoiled Hero’s surprise return. In promotion limbo due to factors beyond his control, Hero decided to take some limited bookings to keep himself in ring shape. This visit was to the company where he held the record for the longest title reign. His last singles match was a loss to Mack in the first round of the 2011 Battle of Los Angeles, so Hero goes for revenge here.
Despite the giveaway the fans are still super excited for Hero, but Hero’s not a happy boy and lays into Mack the first chance he gets. Mack fires back just as hard. Hero is ruthless, and unleashes all his pent up anger from the holdups on poor Mack. Hero busts out the Iron Claw Slam in tribute to Bison Smith, who had recently passed when this show took place.
Mack takes control, but Hero bursts back with the Cyclone Kill, and the fans are cheering loudly for both men. Hero misses a moonsault and the Rolling Elbow, and Mack catches him with the Chocolate Thunder Driver for the pin, to go 2-0 vs. Hero in PWG in a really good match.
Hero goes to start a speech after the match, but some idiot tries crashing it. The fans, to their credit, shut him up quick. Hero says he doesn’t know when he’ll be back, but he’ll always consider PWG as his wrestling home. Pretty emotional and I’m sure, when he eventually gets there, Hero will be huge in his future home.
Future Shock (Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly) vs. The RockNES Monsters (Johnny Goodtime & Johnny Yuma) – O’Reilly and Yuma start with the fast paced action you’re accustomed to seeing from them. Yuma proceeds to butt-bump O’Reilly’s face for the sake of it. Cole and Goodtime then pair off, and the Monsters take control with great double team work on Cole. Both teams know how big this match is, so they step up their aggressiveness. On commentary Excalibur and Joey Ryan get in a Zandig/Botchamania reference for no reason at all, which is probably the best reason.
Goodtime with some awesome dual offense mid-match, taking out Cole and O’Reilly by himself, but he accidentally collides with Yuma, putting Future Shock back on top. O’Reilly busts out at least 9 or 10 Butterfly Suplexes on the RockNES Monsters, and Cole helps finish the sequence off. O’Reilly shows off his Team Richards training, but The Sex Factor by Yuma followed by a frog splash by Goodtime on Cole wins the match for the RockNES Monsters. Excellent display of tag team wrestling by two of the best young teams in North America today. If you’ve not seen the RockNES Monsters before, they’re an exciting team who put on quality matches against anyone, and should really be getting more bookings throughout the States.
The American Wolves (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards) vs. The Super Smash Brothers (Player Uno & Player Dos) – Having listened to a recent interview with Player Uno, I now see a comparison of their team to a younger Steenerico. Considering they all came up together in Montreal, it’s understandable. The Wolves are your usual Wolves here, badasses to the end. Davey in particular plows through Uno with a vicious kick to the chest.
A POSEDOWN~! breaks out mid match, and despite what you’d think, the Super Smash Brothers are actually the ones who come out of it on top. A cannonball through the ropes by Uno wipes both the Wolves out. However, the Wolves come back and isolate Uno. The Wolves dominate for some time, until a momentary lapse allows Dos to be tagged in. Dos goes wild, hitting a tope con hilo on Davey, and then a top rope legdrop onto Eddie. The Wolves turn this comeback into stereo submissions – Ankle Lock for Davey on Dos, and the Achilles Lock by Eddie on Uno, but SSB roll out of them. The Wolves’ chops and kicks are so on beat, that some fans are headbanging to them. Davey and Uno going to war, Uno hits him so hard, it knocks Davey’s mouthguard out. Davey kicks Dos’ head off, and Eddie stomps Uno’s head in. Uno does not go down quietly, however, and hangs with everything the Wolves give him. But the end comes when Eddie slaps the Achilles Lock on him, and stomps his head in at the same time, forcing the ref to call the match.
A really good tag match, showing off the Wolves’ rarely seen fun side, whilst also keeping up their fierceness. The Super Smash Brothers put on another good showing, and I’m really happy they’re starting to get regular bookings in the larger promotions again after being ignored for a while. They’re a fun team who will only get better.
El Generico vs. Dick Togo – This is Dick Togo’s final match in the United States, as a part of his worldwide retirement tour, and he’s taking on the newly crowned PWG Champion in a non-title dream match. “DickMania has Come”, says Excalibur, to Chris Hero’s bemusement.
It’s not long before Togo shows off his, well, Dick side, knocking Generico down, pulling him up, and then kicking the crap out of him right away. Still, the fans chant “We Like Both!” A rare standing moonsault press by Togo, bringing out the new stuff on his way out. Fans now chanting “Dick is Awesome” – in this case it is. Generico with a 180 Moonsault off the top rope to the outside on Togo, very impressive. Togo kicks out of the Blue Thunder Bomb, and the awesome picks up from there.
Generico plants Togo with a move he knows all too well, the Michinoku Driver, but he struggles to take advantage. Togo survives a Yakuza Kick and locks on a Crossface, but Generico makes the ropes. Another Yakuza Kick, and the Brainbuster, but Togo kicks out. Remarkable match so far. Togo beasts through and hits a Double-Underhook Facebuster, but Generico gets up and tries going for the Turnbuckle Brainbuster, but Togo fights that off and hits the Pepsi Plunge for two. Togo then hits his Senton Bomb, but Generico kicks out of that too. Togo goes for another Senton Bomb, but Generico hits another Yakuza Kick, and then the Turnbuckle Brainbuster for the win. Amazing match, and a truly worthy sendoff for the great Dick Togo.
Guerilla Warfare PWG Tag Team Title Match – The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) (c) vs Appetite for Destruction (Kevin Steen and Super Dragon) – We start outside, and Super Dragon creams Nick Jackson right away with a chair shot to the head. Mayhem already. After some more chair shots, Super Dragon kills Nick to death again, this time with a trash can shot to the head. Nick fires back with his own chair shot to Super Dragon’s head, which given the fact that he was out for three years due to concussions, is pretty scary.
After more brutality outside the ring, we finally get inside with Steen and Super Dragon on top. Steen murders Nick with a powerbomb, and then Super Dragon hits the Incest Curb Stomp on Matt’s head onto…a part of Nick’s anatomy. The fans are all surrounding the ring now, they want Young Buck blood. However, the Bucks take advantage of a ring rusty Super Dragon. Steen swings the tide back with a cannonball on both Bucks through a load of chairs on the outside. Tope Suicida through the ropes by Dragon on the Bucks through those chairs. This violence is insane.
The Bucks take control and start to introduce some actual wrestling holds into the match, and then Nick Jackson frog splashes Super Dragon through a table outside the ring. The carnage continues. This allows the Bucks to isolate Steen, beating the absolute crap out of him. Steen gets hit with ten million Superkicks, and then Nick hits a 450 on him with the trash can, but Super Dragon somehow breaks up the pin. VIOLENCE PARTY~!
Super Dragon hits a Psycho Driver on Nick through a table. And the sickness doesn’t stop there. Super Dragon then stomps Matt through a chair, and then we get the Package Piledriver/Stomp combo on Matt and mercifully, it’s for the win. Appetite for Destruction are the new PWG Tag Team Champions, and it was an awesome holy war getting there.
The PWG Tag Team Titles are known for being the ugliest belts in professional wrestling so, naturally, Steen and Super Dragon destroy them once they’re awarded. Rock and roll. Steen dedicates the match to Super Dragon’s girlfriend, who overcame cancer. The story was that if she could beat cancer, he could get back in the ring. So inspiring. The show ends with Steen doing Ric Flair-like elbow drops onto the belts he just destroyed. End scene.
Fear didn’t quite live up to the best shows of 2011, see DDT4 and Steen Wolf, but it is still a very solid event full of great action, and a nice exhibition of all kinds of tag team wrestling. You had a solid opener with the Taylors and King/TJP, there was the atomicos match with all sorts of crazy spots, you had a great showcase of the future of tag team wrestling with Future Shock and the RockNES Monsters, you had the American Wolves putting on an entertaining contest with the Super Smash Brothers, and then there was the Guerrilla Warfare match. Pure insanity and destruction. If you want to see the Young Bucks get massacred, this is the show for you. A worthy return to the ring for Super Dragon. El Generico’s match with Dick Togo is also highly recommended.
PWG Fear is available now at from prowrestlingguerrilla.com and at Highspots. On Sunday January 29th, PWG presents Kurt RussellReunion 3 at the LAX Westin (special 1pm bell time), featuring an epic trios main event, as El Generico, PAC and Masato Yoshino take on Kevin Steen, Super Dragon and Akira Tozawa. The full card is available at PWG’s Official Site. If you’re in Los Angeles this weekend, go, you will be guaranteed a fun time.
Also, be sure to check out Devin Chen’s full gallery of great PWG photos here.