CALDWELL's PWG WEEKEND ROAD REPORT 1/6: All-Star Weekend Coverage - Notes and Results
By James Caldwell, Torch columnist
Torch columnist James Caldwell is traveling to Los Angeles this weekend for PWG's sixth All-Star Weekend, taking place Saturday - Sunday in Van Nuys, Calif.
Updated Sunday, January 6
All Star Weekend VI - Night 2 results
- Show started again with commissioner of food and beverage, Excalibur. Suddenly, there was a loud banging on the garage door adjacent to the PWG press box. PWG commish Dino Winwood emerged and confronted Excalibur about changing his card last night. They debated booking, philosophy, and asses in seats tonight. So, Dino fixed his card tonight for CIMA vs. Bryan Danielson. He told Excalibur to get back to his station peddling Skittles and assorted food items.
(1) Karl "Machine Gun" Anderson beat Alex Koslov at 6:35. They didn't waste anytime tearing it up in the ring, then on the floor where Anderson dropped Koslov face-first on the apron with a DDT. Koslov made a comeback, put on his great Russian winter hat, and did his Russian dance with kicks following the deep knee bends. Anderson came back with a powerbomb to counter a huracanrana, then he slapped on a Boston crab for the submission win. Nice opener. Physical, hard-hitting action between two rising stars in wrestling. Koslov's improvement after his near-two-year tour/training in Mexico is off-the-charts. (**3/4)
(2) Chris Hero beat Eddie Kingston at 12:15. Following up on last night, they started brawling on the floor before any wrestling commenced in the ring. Nice sequence that got heat on Kingston was Kingston on the offense landing a bunch of chops that Hero started to no-sell, only for Kingston to get him with a smashing headbutt out of nowhere. Hero made a nice comeback with stiff forearm blows, then he sent Kingston to the floor. He went for a double foot kick through the ropes, but instantly grabbed his left knee on contact. They went back into the ring and went to the finish of Hero with an inside cradle for the win. Really physical action. (**1/2)
(3) Age of the Fall (Tyler Black & Jimmy Jacobs) beat the Young Bucks (Nick & Matt Jackson) at 15:06. Dammit all if the Young Bucks have the worst entrance music of all time from "Hanson", but they're quite popular with the audience with their RockerHardys look. Bucks worked on Tyler in the early going with some crisp double-team combos. They were the first ones in the building today, just working on their moves for the match. Jacobs and Tyler then came right back with their own double-team combos on Matt. Tyler played the giant, slowly moving around the ring stalking his prey. He then launched Jacobs into both Bucks with a spear for a close nearfall. Jacobs came up holding his knee when he tried a top rope leap frog over Matt, and landed awkwardly. He ended up on the outside with a DDT straight on the floor. Back in the ring, Jacobs and Tyler regained control and hit a sweet combo on Matt with a waterslide from Tyler and big boot to the face from Jacobs. Jacobs applied his submission finisher - a cradle neck vice - for a tap out. Excellent tag team action. Both teams were crisp and worked well together. Young Bucks is a team to watch out for, while Jacobs & Black are going to dominate ROH's tag division in 2008. (***1/2)
(4) Roderick Strong beat Jack Evans in Match 2 of a Best of three #1 contender series. Strong used his size and strength to dominate from the opening bell, including a gorilla press slam across a row of chairs on the floor. Back in the ring, Strong bent Jack like a pretzel, but Jack kept fighting back like last night. He came back with a double foot stomp into a standing moonsault off Strong's chest for a nearfall. Jack may have left some skin in the ring, as Strong kept ripping away at his chest with kicks and trademark slaps. Jack tried to come back with a 630 splash for the finish like last night, but Strong moved and went back on the offensive. Strong went to his finishing combo of the fallaway gut buster across his knees, double underhook suplex, and a crazy figure four-grip submission hold into a reverse Sharpshooter for the tap out win. Strong - 1, Evans - 1. They finish the series at the next PWG show this month. Good match. A typical Strong match with a wide array of killer power moves. (***1/4)
(5) Human Tornado beat Candice LaRae via DQ at 11:19. Crazy match with a great story of Candice playing the damsel in distress (thanks Brandon) with no help available since Candice's gf, Chris Hero, and Necro Butcher were barred from ringside. Tornado pretended to be serious to start things off, but Candice went on the offensive with a nice suicide dive on the floor. The heat for this match was intense throughout. Back in the ring, Tornado nailed another smashing superkick right in the face that Candice sold perfectly while Tornado went back to being cocky. He had the pin on Candice with his overhead suplex finisher, but he pulled her up before three. Candice then made a spirited comeback with a chair shot to the crotch when Tornado tried to finish her with a chair. Candice with a nice series of forearm blows before crotching Tornado several different ways on the ringpost. She got a nearfall for a big gasp from the crowd. Tornado then slapped her across the face and decided he was going to unzip and urinate on her, ala R. Kelly on Chappelle Show. That's when Hero hobbled out to ringside, not able to take itanymore. The bell sounded for an instant DQ. (***)
The action completely broke down at this point, leading to...
(6) Necro Butcher beat Claudio Castagnoli at 12:21 in a Falls Count Anywhere match. They brawled all over the place without entering the ring. Necro grabbed chair after chair after chair from fans and stacked them on top of Claudio before landing a cannonball splash for a nearfall. Claudio came back with a ridiculous big airplane swing on Necro, with Necro's head banging into all the remaining chairs on the floor. Big crowd reaction for that. Back in the ring, they had an actual wrestling match, believe it or not. Even more unbelievable was Necro winning with a wrestling move - a roll-up for the pin and the win. Wrestling was actually pretty good in the ring after the brawl. (**1/2)
[Intermission. What a surprise - Abyss vs. Judas in a stunt brawl. Never would have guessed. C&R Summit concluded that Gail Kim vs. Amazing Kong is the best feud in TNA. Thumbs up!]
Caldwell & Roe PWG Summit! (Um...Roe on the left, Caldwell on the right. Darn it!)
(7) El Generico beat Susumu Yokosuka at 11:55. They built and built and built until a great spot at 10:00 where Generico nailed an overhead suplex, but Susumu popped right up and nailed a big lariat for a believable nearfall. Generico then caught Susumu in the corner with a running Ole kick, but Susumu blocked a brainbuster and nailed a running big boot in center ring for another believable nearfall. Susumu tried to steal Generico's brainbuster, but Generico escaped and nailed a brainbuster. To get the message across, Generico didn't pin him until delivering a spinning brainbuster for the win. Nice build to a great final two minutes. (***1/4)
(8) Joey Ryan & Scott Lost (w/Jade Chung vs. Muscle Outlaws (Naruki Doi & Masato Yoshino). Joey and Yoshino started off with a Guerrilla-style comedy spot of both men running opposite ropes and criss-crossing over and over, only with Masato moving about three times faster than Joey, who had to keep slowing down not to bump into him. Joey eventually went for the inhaler to treat his asthma, with Yoshino stealing the gimmick and nailing a dropkick for a reaction. MO's worked over Scott for several minutes, with Joey complaining to the referee about double teaming. Those pesky rules. Joey finally took a tag and cleaned house until he was on the receiving end of a double foot stomp combo. The action broke down, with Scott accidentally nailing Jade on the apron. Joey then accidentally nailed Scott. The ref then took an accidental bump. Jade got involved and slapped Doi before giving him an ace crusher. Ref came to, and the finish was Scott hitting a top rope elbow smash on Doi as Joey held him sideways for the pin. A lot of stuff in this one. Very fast-paced, at the expense of selling the spots. (**3/4)
(9) Super Dragon beat TARO at 12:32. The So-Cal special attraction match started with TARO trying to get the jumpstart by attacking Dragon during ring intros. The match moved to the floor very quickly when Dragon missed with a shoulder block in the corner. Dragon shook that off and beat up TARO on the floor and back in the ring, while just toying with him as if he were his little brother. Dragon took TARO up top and tried a Psycho Driver, but he lost his grip on the way down and TARO crashed neck-first to the mat. He was lucky not to have an injured neck. Dragon covered him for the win, then got into it with fans ringside who questioned his physical fitness. TARO was helped up, then he fought his way to the back to an ovation. (**)
(10) "American Dragon" Bryan Danielson and CIMA wrestled to a draw at 26:35. The weekend started with an amazing match and ended with possibly a better match. Stipulation was that CIMA's Battle of LA tournament winning #1 contendership was on the line. The bell sounded and the crowd did a dueling chant of "Let's go Dragon" vs. "Let's go CIMA" that lasted 1:20. Quite the dueling chant as the wrestlers started to feel each other out. First eleven minutes was CIMA methodically working on Danielson's back with strikes and submission holds. Danielson had enough and made his comeback with a deliberate attack on CIMA's left arm and elbow. Danielson got careless working on the elbow and CIMA turned a shoulder wrench into a sleeper hold to regain the advantage. They traded control in back-and-forth style with great spots and believable nearfalls. Words cannot do justice to the final five minutes, including a great spot from Danielson with a Tiger Suplex into a Cattle Mutilation that CIMA escaped at 23:00. Danielson did elbow strikes into a Cobra Clutch that CIMA tried to elbow out of, but he struck the ref on accident. This led to another ref emerging for the finish of Danielson's shoulders and CIMA's shoulders down on the Clutch and each referee making a three count. Ah! Greatness with a draw finish. (****1/2)
Afterward, uproar was met by Excalibur, who tried to announce a draw, but Dino Winwood came out and shoved him down. He surveyed the crowd on who won, which led to ten minutes of CIMA progressively getting more cheers and Danielson progressively getting more boos. Dino decided to give the fans five more minutes to decide a finish, but Danielson did the "you want five minutes? Too bad!" He started to walk off to boos, but CIMA grabbed the mic and did the greatest broken English promo of all-time. He wanted five more days with Danielson, which drew a chant. He then said he wanted five more seconds, which drew a chant, but that was too short. So, he asked for six more seconds. Danielson stood ringside, then waited for CIMA to turn around and survey the crowd. He quickly ran back into the ring and went for a small package, but CIMA kicked out just in time. And then the six seconds expired on the time limit draw. Danielson then left the ring and went to the back.
Afterward, CIMA thanked everyone for their cheers. He then made two huge announcements: Dragon Gate is coming to L.A. this year for a full show. And PWG is going to Tokyo, Japan next year. He thanked everyone and left after a great showcase main event.
Aftermath: Chris Hero suffered a strain of his left knee, but it's not known how severe the injury is yet.
12:45 p.m. A few observations for today from last night's show. Wrestling booking is a funny thing. If you start with the best match of the night - Danielson vs. Low-Ki - it makes everyone else have to work harder throughout the rest of the card to get the crowd involved. Wrestlers start to incorporate more high spots to get the short-term "wow" reaction, all the while burning the candle at both ends. Get to the seventh match of the card and try to work a sound, technical match between two pretty good, but not fancy wrestlers, and there's no chance to get a reaction until the high spots are delivered.
- A quick note or two about Candice Michelle's appearance last night. She was very down-to-earth and enjoyed interacting with the fans who came up to her to talk about her eventual return and to snap photos. During the show, she sat on the second row on the hard camera side and she was into every moment of each match. You could see where her improvement in the ring in the second-half of 2007 came from. She was studying the action as if she were sitting at the curtain during a WWE house show to take in every match. The dedication to the wrestling business is definitely there from Candice, who is training in L.A. to get back in the ring after her injury. I was really impressed with Candice's interaction with the show last night.
- For your viewing pleasure, here's some Human Tornado clips of him in action against Matt Sydal with a dunk into a huracanrana, and against Josh Abercrombie with the longest Irish whip in wrestling history.
Updated Saturday, January 5
All Star Weekend VI - Night 1 results
- To start the show, ring announcer John Ian tried to play nice with Candice before bringing out PWG commissioner (of food and beverages) Excalibur. They did an angle where regular PWG commish Dino Winwood was in a car accident, so he's in charge tonight. And he's changing the line-up. Roderick Strong vs. Jack Evans in a Best of 3 Series this weekend and later in the month if necessary. He said some of the Dragon Gate wrestlers were caught in a "California typhoon", so they're late tonight. As a result, the line-up has been arranged for CIMA and Susumu Yokosuka to face each other. That leaves Super Dragon with the night off, with pay! And now for the big announcement of where PWG champion Bryan Danielson stands tonight. He brought out Danielson to tell him off for missing the Battle of LA tournament in the summer. He then booked him to face Low Ki right here, right now. When Low-Ki ripped through the curtain to the surprise of the fans, it was quite the pop.
(1) Low-Ki beat PWG champion Bryan Danielson at 26:10 to capture the PWG Title. Excellent pro wrestling match, as would be expected from Danielson and Low-Ki. Stiff, but safe. Both men are going to have very red chests tonight after the slaps and European uppercuts in this one. Big spot early was Senshi nailing a running kick to the head at 16:30 after Danielson was cocky in thinking he could take Low-Ki easily. Danielson had a good amount of offense throughout, then went for the elbow strikes to the shoulders at 24:00 that had the crowd on its feet. Low-Ki escaped, though, then nailed a double foot stomp with Danielson hanging by his feet in the corner. Low-Ki then returned the favor with elbow strikes of his own before applying a Dragon Sleeper for a tap-out that got a huge reaction. State-of-the-art technical display. (****1/2)
Building is packed to the walls tonight and the crowd is hot.
(2) El Generico beat Karl "Machine Gun" Anderson at 9:45 with a brainbuster. Nice follow-up match after the opening masterpiece. Karl dominated, but got caught by surprise with an Ole kick in the corner, leading to the brainbuster suplex for the pin. (**)
(3) Scorpio Sky beat Ronin at 11:29. Nice match between the local regulars. Second-half of the match picked up. Finish was the much smaller Scorpio lifting up Ronin for a fireman's carry into fallaway facebuster across his knees for the pin. Ronin has improved considerably from when I last saw him in PWG. (*3/4)
(4) Scott Lost (w/Jade Chung) & Joey Ryan beat Jimmy Jacobs & Tyler Black at 20:01. Wild match. Joey Ryan, who has gone from '70s porn star to long-lost mountain man brother of Necro Butcher, is doing a Jim Duggan gimmick now. Jacobs and Black are babyfaces tonight with the Age of the Fall gimmick toned down. Joey had a battle of wits with Jacobs, then Black to start things off. Black had enough and chucked Joey to the floor before Jacobs nailed a suicide dive. Match turned into a nice tag team battle with both teams working off each other with crisp double-team combos. The action broke down at 15:00 when they went into a five-minute series of tag team high spots and one dangerous spot with Jacobs going for a huracanrana on Joey out of the Doomsday Device position. After multiple interference from Jade and several false finishes, the finish was Joey launching Tyler off the top rope into an Ace Crusher from Lost for the pin. (**3/4)
(5) Jack Evans beat Roderick Strong at 15:11 in match one of a Best of Three #1 Contender series. Strong rag dolled Jack around the ring and on the floor. During his comeback, Jack was all over the place, with Strong having to wait for Jack to set up some of his highspots. Finish was Jack hitting the reverse huracanrana into a 540 splash for the win. Sluggish match. Should pick up tomorrow when the storyline is Strong having to win to keep the series going. (**1/4)
[Intermission. C&R Summit discussion: it's tough for everyone else on the card to follow a match like Danielson vs. Low-Ki.]
(6) Yoshino & Naruki Doi beat Young Bucks (Nick & Matt Jackson) at 18:04. The Young Bucks team is basically the Rockers, London & Kendrick, and the Major Brothers rolled into one package set to Hanson's one hit song from like a decade ago. The Dragon Gate wrestlers have never met a tanning bed they didn't like. Slow build to Yoshino and Doi taking control at 8:00 with rapid-fire tag combos. Dangerous spot was one of the Bucks going for a flip dive on Naruki on the floor, but he overshot him and crashed into a row of chairs. Way too many attempts at risky high spots tonight to get the crowd involved after the opening match. They returned to the ring and wrestled a really nice final ten minutes. Finish was Yoshino forcing a tap out with a shoulder wrench submission. (**3/4)
(7) Alex Koslov beat T.J. Perkins at 17:36. Fine match. After touring Mexico for a few years, Koslov made his PWG return. Only in the anti-establishment U.S. in 2008 can a wrestler get a "Russia, Russia" chant at a U.S. military armory. Try that 25 years ago and Koslov isn't leaving the building alive. Match turned into a technical competition with equal offense for each man. It's so tough to get the crowd involved this late in the card after a main event-caliber opening match and several matches depending on high spots. Finish was Koslov blocking a springboard attempt with a Russian legsweep, then cradling Perkins into a neck vice submission for the tap out win. (**3/4)
(8) CIMA beat Susumu Yokosuka at 10:40. And now for everyone's favorite Dragon Gate wrestler - the greatest man ever, CIMA. He's simply a master wrestler, with the crowd sitting in the palm of his hand, taking notice of every single thing he does in the ring. Goodness, what a spectacular match. Finish was crazy, with both men doing the "adrenaline rush" no-sell of each other's finishers, mixing in some lariats, and then CIMA trapped Susumu's shoulders with a crucifix pin for the win. A crazy good ten-minute match. (****)
(9) Main Event: Human Tornado & Claudio Castagnoli & Eddie Kingston beat Chris Hero & Necro Butcher & Candice LeRae at 23:27. A giant cluster brawl deal, but pretty exciting. Basically, the blow-off to the Tornado vs. Hero feud involving Hero's girlfriend, Candice, is that if Tornado's team wins, then Tornado gets Candice alone in the ring tomorrow night. Naturally, this turned into an all-out brawl all over the arena. And then it moved outside, with a sea of humanity following the action into the parking lot in the cold night. Word from outside is that garbage was dumped on several competitors and Claudio slipped and fell on the ice outside. Eventually, the match moved back into the ring where Candice took a crazy superkick from Tornado that she sold for about 10 minutes. After more brawling on the floor, the finish was Hero trying to save Candice from Kingston, only to take a release suplex from Kingston for the win. Tornado gets the solo match against Candice tomorrow night. (BR - beyond rating)
Updated live throughout the show.
7:30 p.m. Welcome to Los Angeles. It's just barely cold and the natives are restless having to pull out the winter coats. In any event, tonight's PWG show has a few surprises lined up. WWE diva Candice Michelle is in the house tonight talking to fans and snapping pics. She lives in the L.A. area and is training to get back in the ring after that gruesome injury she suffered a few months ago in a match against Beth Phoenix.
Mike Roe is also in the house tonight for the first-ever C&R Summit. We're talking wrestling and politics this weekend. I'm officially endorsing Mike Huckabee, while Mike is hoping for a babyface comeback from John Edwards. Sunday night, we'll recap the PWG weekend with a live audio update here in L.A. I had a chance to read more of Bret Hart's book on the plane ride over. With nearly half of the book read, I'm convinced this is one of the best - if not the best - wrestling book written thus far. His art proficiency isn't just limited to drawings and in-ring wrestling, but also storytelling.
We're live from the PWG press box with a working internet connection, so I'll be updating the report throughout the show tonight.
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