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RADICAN’S PWG “LEMMY” REVIEW
JAN. 2, 2016
BY SEAN RADICAN, PWTORCH COLUMNIST
This is my first review of a PWG Blu-ray and the picture looks fantastic.
(1) Chris Dickinson vs. Brian Cage. Dickinson is a regular in Beyond Wrestling, which I follow regularly. This is his PWG debut, so it’s always nice to see someone advance from a place like Beyond Wrestling to PWG. Dickinson is a replacement for the injured Angelico. Dickinson started the match with a running enzuguri and a backdrop driver. He then went up top and hit a big splash into the crowd to wipe out Cage and the fans went nuts. Cage couldn’t catch Dickinson coming off the top in the vertical suplex positon, but he eventually landed a big spinning slam. He then hit a tope con hilo and landed on his feet and the fans went nuts again. Hero was in on commentary and pointed out that these two men are friendly with each other. They traded blows on the floor and Cage ended up powerbombing Cage into the ringpost. They went back and forth in the corner until Cage hit five consecutive lariats and then pulled Dickinson out of the corner into a big lariat.
Cage hit a hurricanrana followed by the 818 and the fans went nuts. Dickson fired back and hit a dragon suplex for a 2 count. Dickinson worked over Cage and stepped on his hand/arm several times using the ropes for leverage. They went back and forth and Dickinson got a reverse Boston crab on Cage. Cage struggled, but managed to get to the ropes and the fans fired up. Cage countered a hurricanrana attempt and hit a wheelbarrow suplex for a 2 count. Dickinson fired back with a wheelbarrow suplex of his own a short time later, but Cage kicked out at the last second. On commentary, Excalibur talked about how Generico, Steen, and Castagnoli were in Mexico helping the orphans.
They battled up top and Dickinson hit a leaping super hurricanrana and the fans went nuts. Dickinson hit a spinning kick, but Cage fired right back with a discus lariat and both men were down. Holy s—t! Dickinson countered Cage up top and hit a burning hammer for a near fall. OH MY GOD! Cage hit a series of powerbombs and a discus lariat, but Dickinson kicked out at 1. Cage eventually hit the Steiner screwdriver for the win.
WINNER: Brian Cage.
Star rating: (***1/4) – They had some sloppy spots at times during the match and it seemed like they were just trading blows at first, but the action got quite good down the stretch.
(2) Drew Gulak vs. Timothy Thatcher. They went back and forth on the mat during the early going. Gulak surprised Thatcher with a huge slap, but Thatcher blocked a German attempt and went after Gulak’s arm. Gulak blocked a cross-arm breaker and beautifully transitioned into an ankle lock, but Thatcher got to the ropes quickly. Thatcher went for a deadlift double wristlock, but Gulak slipped out of it and hit a German and the fans applauded. That was a sick display of strength by Thatcher. Gulak countered Thatcher’s shoulder with a pair of sliding dropkicks. Gulak sat on top of Thatcher and began wrenching his thumb apart from the rest of his fingers. Thatcher fired back and stepped on Gulak’s hand. Thatcher whipped Gulak, but held on and sent him flying into the mat shoulder-first. Gulak got a backslide, but Thatcher kicked out and immediately went for an arm submission. Gulak tried to fight out of it, but Thatcher grabbed his fingers and snapped them apart violently and the fans gasped.
Gulak fired back and hit a lariat out of the corner and it was only good for a 2 count, as Gulak couldn’t put his injured arm across Thatcher as he made the cover. Gulak hit several forearms and Thatcher glared at him. Both men then connected with clotheslines at the same time before Thatcher grabbed Gulak and hit a Saito suplex. Both men were down on the mat as the fans fired up. Thatcher eventually crawled over to Gulak to make the cover for a 2 count. Thatcher was going after Gulak’s arm a short time later, but Gulak rolled through right into a piledriver on Thatcher for a 2 count. Gulak went right into a cross-arm breaker when Thatcher kicked out. Thatcher struggled, but managed to get to the ropes. Wow!
Thatcher fired back and hit a dead-lift gut wrench suplex that left both men down on the mat. Gulak suddenly countered Thatcher and hit a variation of the Regal-plex with a bridge for a 2 count. Gulak nailed Thatcher with several big slaps. Thatcher got to his feet and tried to cover up. Thatcher decked Gulak with a surprise headbutt for a near fall. He went right into the kimura for the tap out win and the fans exploded.
WINNER: Timothy Thatcher.
Star rating: (****) – This was an excellent technical wrestling match. Both guys went after the arm when they had the upper hand, but they mixed in some fantastic hard-hitting action as well. The action down the stretch was really good. Both guys sold great intensity throughout the match building up to a satisfying finish.
(3) Sami Callihan vs. Trevor Lee. Lee flipped off the fans when he got booed during the introductions. Callihan got a big pop when he was introduced. Callihan and Lee glared at each other before going at it. Callihan spit at Lee and Lee spit back at him. Both men licked their faces and went at it once again. The ref tried to separate both men as they struggled near the ropes. Callihan grabbed Lee by the hair at one point before they finally came to a stalemate. Both men took their elastic out of their hair before going back at it. Callihan caught Lee with a dive through the ropes a short time later and the battle spilled into the crowd as Callihan began throwing chairs at him.
Callihan threw several chairs into the ring, but Lee surprised him by tossing a chair at him and following up with a double stomp for a 2 count. Lee teased Tossing Callihan into the crowd, but ended up tossing him back into the ring, which drew some boos. Callihan blocked a kick from the apron to the floor and got Lee on his shoulders before slamming him face-first into the ring apron. Callihan hit a series of boot scrapes in the corner, but Lee surprised him by popping out of the corner. Callihan fired back with total anarchy a short time later, but Lee kicked out at 2 and both men were down! Wow! Lee snapped the rope into Callihan’s face as he went after him near the apron and hit an uranagi and a superkick for a 2 count. Lee hit a roundhouse kick and hit a big German with a bridge for a near fall. Lee caught Callihan as he charged at him and hit a flipping power slam for a near fall and both men were down.
Both men got up and went at it traded blows on their knees. Callihan eventually hit a dragon screw and grabbed a figure four. Lee struggled, but eventually got to the bottom rope to break the hold. They went at it near the ropes. Callihan nailed Lee with a step-up kick. Lee’s arm got caught in the ropes and Callihan nailed Lee with several running kicks. Callihan freed Lee and nailed him with a Liger bomb for a near fall. Callihan went right into the stretch muffler and Lee tapped out even though he was right near the ropes.
WINNER: Sami Callihan.
Star rating: (***) – The finish hurt this match as Lee was literally right next to the bottom rope and decided to tap out instead of grabbing it when Callihan had him in the stretch muffler. Overall this match featured some good back and forth hard-hitting action with both men trading big moves, but overall there wasn’t a ton of substance to this match.
Evans cut a promo before his match began with Galloway. It was hard to hear what he was saying at first. Evans heeled on the fans and called him pro wrestling’s one true god and mockingly said PWG had matched him up against Drew Galloway. Evans said he would give Galloway a mercy option so Galloway’s blood wouldn’t be on his hands. He then challenged Galloway to a dance off. The fans then clapped along like sheep as Evans did some break dancing, which allowed Galloway to nail him with a huge dropkick that brought an end to the dance contest.
(4) Jack Evans vs. Drew Galloway. Galloway has a huge size advantage in this match, as he’s just a gigantic man. This is Galloway’s first appearance in PWG since BOLA 2015. Galloway threw Evans around like a rag doll during the opening stages of the match. Galloway then did some dancing before nailing Evans with a huge chop. The fans chanted you got served at Evans. Galloway no-sold a dropsault from Evans. Evans went for another and Galloway no-sold it again. He then turned Evans inside out with a diving lariat. Evans ran away from Galloway and went under the ring. Galloway went under the ring, but Evans came around the other side and ambushed him. Evans went for a splash off the apron, but Galloway caught him on the floor and tossed him into the ringpost! Holy s—!
Galloway tried to charge at Evans on the apron, but missed and went into the ringpost. Evans then hit a double stomp off the apron to the shoulder. Evans went for a cartwheel into the corner, but Galloway caught him and hit a German into the turnbuckles. He then hit a big spinning slam for a 2 count. Evans pulled the ropes on Galloway, who went to the floor. Evans then hit a Sasuke special to the floor and the fans fired up. Evans taunted Galloway with a slap and then nailed him with several kicks to the legs. Galloway caught Evans with a huge right that spun him around as he came off the ropes. Galloway caught Evans with a sick kick variation at short time later, but Evans kicked out at the very last second.
Evans ducked a running boot in the corner and Galloway ended up hung upside down. Evans stepped on his crotch, but Galloway managed to pop up and hit a spider German for a 2 count. Galloway got Evans on his shoulders and climbed the turnbuckles. He went for a slam off the top, but Evans countered it into a super DDT. Evans then went up top for a 630, but Galloway got his knees up and hit a future shock DDT for the win.
WINNER: Drew Galloway.
Star rating: (***1/2) – This was an awesome one-sided beating with Galloway tossing Evans all around the ring after Evans talked a ton of smack before the match. Evans mounted some nice comebacks and the crowd was into the action throughout the match. The match ended a bit abruptly, but this was enjoyable overall.
(5) Mike Bailey vs. Adam Cole. Drew Gulak joined Excalibur on commentary. Cole interrupted the introductions and the announcer said Cole wants to wish everyone a terrible new year. This is a first-time ever meeting between Bailey and Cole. Cole offered a clean break in the corner and said, “Adam Cole Bay Bay” as the fans popped while he hit his pose. Cole offered another clean break in the opposite corner and hit his catch phrase and pose once again. ADAM COLE IS AN INCREDIBLE MAN. Bailey tried to fire back, but Cole slapped him across the face. Cole went to hit his pose again, but Bailey wiped him out with a kick. They went at it on the floor and Bailey nailed Cole with a kick against the apron. They went to a fast exchange off the ropes. Bailey eventually jumped over Cole and he spilled to the floor.
Bailey slid through the ropes, but Cole caught and hit a wheel barrow suplex into the apron. Holy s—! The fans rallied behind Bailey and chanted Speedball, but Cole maintained the upper hand. Bailey caught Cole with a kick, but Cole blocked a second kick attempt and hit a dragon screw before mocking Bailey with a karate pose. Bailey fired up and went for the crane pose. He then nailed Cole with a pair of crane kicks that sent Cole to the floor. Bailey followed up with an inside out springboard moonsault to the floor and the fans went nuts. Cole ducked two spinning kicks, but Bailey caught him with a third attempt. He then hit a standing sliced bread variation for a 2 count. Bailey missed a shooting star knee on Cole, but Cole superkicked his knee. Cole missed a jumping code red attempt off the turnbuckles and hit a standing shooting star double knee to Cole’s chest for a 2 count.
Cole fired back with a big neck breaker over his knee a short time later for a 2 count. Cole did some breathing exercises and mocked Bailey’s karate pose once again. Cole side-stepped a kick and hit a running knee strike off the ropes for a 2 count. Wow! Cole told Bailey to suck his d—, but ended up eating a roundhouse kick to the head and a running corkscrew press for a 2 count. Wow! Both men went back and forth exchanges kicks and punches. Bailey fired back with a flurry of rapid-fire kicks in the corner. Cole then shoved the ref and hit Bailey with a low blow for a near fall. The fans booed and Cole sold shock. Cole got Bailey on his shoulders, but Bailey countered him and hit a hurricanrana. He went up top, but Cole ran into the ropes to crotch him.
They battled up top and Bailey sent Cole to the mat with a big kick from the apron. Bailey hit a shooting star double knee strike to Cole’s back, but Cole broke up the pin by grabbing the ref’s arm. Wow! Bailey hit his signature rapid-fire kicks on Cole capped by an enzuguri. Cole faked Bailey out and hit a superkick to his leg. Bailey fired back and got a rollup for a 2 count. Bailey then surprised Cole with an inside cradle for a 2 count. They went back and forth and Cole caught Bailey with a superkick. Bailey countered a code red attempt off the turnbuckles, but Cole fired back and hit a code red that wasn’t very smooth. He then hit a brainbuster on to his knee for the win.
WINNER: Adam Cole.
Star rating: (***3/4) – This match was a lot of fun with Cole really showing why he’s a future start with the way he commands the ring as a heel. The code red that Cole hit down the stretch wasn’t executed cleanly and took a bit away from the finish, but this was a lot of fun to watch most of the way through.
(6) Zack Sabre, Jr. vs. Akira Tozawa. The fans chanted next world champ at Sabre. The fans then chanted back and forth for both men. Both men laid down on the mat as the fans continued to chant their names. They then got up and the fans pounded the mat. A big “both these guys” chant then broke out. The fans then started chanting this is awesome. WOW! A big PWG chant then rang out followed by a MOTY chant. Sabre and Tozawa then decided to leave the ring and head to the back with the ref. Both men then ran back into the ring, but the ref’s shoe fell off. They went back and forth on the mat and came to a stalemate. They went back and forth on the mat again and came to another stalemate.
Sabre escaped from Tozawa’s hold on the mat and hit the too easy pose. Both guys began exchanging blows in the middle of the ring. Tozawa finally decked Sabre with a short right and the fans fired up and chanted his name. Tozawa hit his machine gun chops in the corner and then another short right that had the ref yelling at him. The fans popped big and Tozawa acted like he was trying to grasp a better understanding of the rules. Sabre caught Tozawa coming through the ropes to the floor and got an octopus stretch. He transitioned to a mounted double arm submission before tossing Tozawa back into the ring. Sabre focused his attack on Tozawa’s legs back inside the ring. Tozawa fired back with a bicycle kick and went for a dive, but Sabre got out of the way. Tozawa nailed Sabre with another bicycle kick when he tried to get back into the ring. Tozawa then hit two dives through the ropes on Sabre and the fans fired up.
Tozawa ran wild on Sabre back inside the ring and hit a backdrop driver for a 2 count. Tozawa ducked a penalty kick and hit a short right. They went back and forth and Sabre caught Tozawa by surprise with a flying knee strike near the ropes. Sabre hit a chaos theory dragon suplex a short time later with a bridge for a 2 count. The fans fired up and Sabre went on the attack with a big European, but Tozawa surprised him with a bicycle kick and a German with a bridge for a 2 count. They went back and forth on the mat and Tozawa caught Sabre with a deadlift German with a bridge for a 2 count and the fans fired up big time. Sabre and Tozawa went back and forth once again. Tozawa no-sold a diving European uppercut and hit a flying knee strike and both men were down. Holy s—!
Sabre got a nearfall a short time later with a bridging pin where he held onto Tozawa’s arms. Both men sat down and went head-to-head. They then began exchanging forearms from the seated position. They decided to get up and they continued to exchange bombs. They went back and forth and Tozawa hit a German, but Sabre got right up and hit a dragon suplex. Sabre then killed Tozawa with a penalty kick and it was over. Holy s—!
WINNER: Zack Sabre Jr.
Star rating: (****) – This was a really good match. They went back and forth the entire match exchanging counters on the mat during the early going. The match then moved towards fast-paced back and forth action with some great fighting spirit spots that built up to a really good finish. My expectations for this match were sky high and they didn’t disappoint, but I was expecting more than they delivered. The match seemed to end abruptly when I felt they could have gone a little longer and really built the match up to a fever pitch before going to the finish.
PWG champion Roderick Strong cut a promo before the main event where he was set to defend against Chris Hero. The fans heckled him and Strong told them to shut up. Strong said he’s the best champion in all of wrestling. He told Rick Knox to get out of the ring. Another ref came out to ref the match.
(7) PWG champion Roderick Strong vs. Chris Hero. Hero was wearing fantastic Cleveland Cavaliers style ring gear. Hero jumped Strong with a big running kick to start the match as Strong was being introduced for a 2 count. Hero continued to try to put away Strong quickly and he nailed him with a big elbow, but Strong managed to kick out at 2. Hero shrugged off a chop from Strong and nailed him with a huge elbow strike that sent Strong down to the mat. Strong fired back and caught Hero with a jumping knee strike near the apron. He then hit a big back breaker on the apron a short time later. Strong dominated the action back inside the ring for several minutes. Strong taunted Hero and he responded to a chop with a short right and both men were down on the mat. Strong got the upper hand again.
Hero fired up and no-sold a chop. They began exchanging blows in the middle of the ring. Hero finally caught Strong, who was leaping at him, with a huge elbow. Both men were once again down on the mat. Hero mounted a comeback and set Strong with a diving elbow off the ropes. He made the cover, but Strong managed to kick out at 2. Strong fired back with a series of running elbows off the ropes and then he lifted Hero and slammed him face-first into the mat for a 2 count. Strong placed Hero up top a short time later. Hero fired back and elbowed Strong off the turnbuckles. Hero fought Strong off once again. He then set up for a piledriver off the turnbuckles, but Strong escaped and nailed him with a kick to the head. Strong went for a superplex and landed it, but Hero kicked out at 2. Strong then hit a combination of moves capped by a sick kick for a near fall! Wow!
Both men were slow to get to their feet after that exchange. Strong finally got up and went for the Strong hold, but Hero countered it into a rollup for a 2 count. Hero then hit a short piledriver and the fans applauded. Hero then hit a jumping piledriver, but Strong kicked out at the last second. Hero went on the attack, but Strong shoved the ref into him as he came off the ropes. The fans booed as Strong hit a Liger bomb. Rick Knox ran out and counted a near fall. Strong glared at Knox and the announcers said there were only 2 referees in the building. Hero tried to exchange chops with Strong, but he didn’t seem to have much behind them. Hero began firing back with elbows and then a big kick to the head and Strong went down.
Strong blocked a kick, but Hero kicked him in the head with his other foot. Hero went for the death blow, but Strong shoved Knox in the way and Hero nailed him with it. The fans booed as there were no refs left at the moment. Hero ate a jumping knee strike, but then countered Strong and hit a tombstone. The other official crawled into the ring and slowly counted. Strong barely kicked out at the last second and the fans booed. Wow! Strong went for a belt shot, but Hero ducked it and nailed him with a bicycle kick. He set up for a powerbomb, but Strong nailed him with a belt shot to escape and then another belt shot followed by a sick kick. Hero kicked out at one! Strong hit a pair of jumping knees and a sick and Hero stayed down for the pin.
WINNER: Roderick Strong to retain the PWG World Championship.
Star rating: (****1/4) – This was a fantastic hard-hitting match. The match started a bit slow, but the second half was really Strong with some really good hard-hitting action. Strong using the ref’s to save himself from Hero landing a big move late in the match added to the drama, so I didn’t mind the ref bumps given that Strong got even more heat as a result of them. Strong eventually got the win, but not after a lot of shenanigans late in the match.
Post-match, the fans chanted “We want Sabre” after the match. Adam Cole came out and applauded Strong after the match was over. Strong posed with the title as the fans booed. He told the fans he hates every single one of them.
Zack Sabre, Jr. then came out and waved at Strong. The fans chanted next world champ at Strong. He called Cole a c—sucker. It was hard to hear what he was saying. He seemed to indicate that he wanted a shot at the title.
Strong cut a promo backstage. Strong said he’s the best wrestler in the world and yelled about Sabre. Cole came into the picture and told him Sabre was playing mind games. Cole said he had a gift for Strong and he gave him a signed picture. Cole said Strong is his best friend. Strong reached over to the side and grabbed his shirt and gave it to Cole. Cole walked away and Strong tore the picture apart. Cole was then shown spitting on the Strong shirt and tossing it on the ground to end the show.
Overall Thoughts: (8.5) – PWG sets such a high bar that when a show doesn’t have a total blow-way match it can feel like a letdown of sorts. That being said, this was a heck of a show that’s well-worth checking out. You won’t find a MOTYC on here, but the action once again was fantastic. All of the matches were in the three-star range or higher. Thatcher-Gulak, Sabre-Tozawa, and Hero-Strong were the highlights of the show. All of these matches are well-worth checking out.
It’s no secret that PWG features the best in-ring action in front of the hottest fans on the independent scene. This was once again a great crowd and top to bottom the show delivered. The first standout match on the undercard was Thatcher-Gulak. They’ve had some excellent matches in Beyond Wrestling and EVOLVE, so to see them have a technical match in front of an appreciative PWG crowd was a lot of fun.
There were a couple of matches that stood out in the three-star range on the undercard. I really enjoyed Galloway beating the hell out of Jack Evans after Evans talked some trash before the match began. I could have watched another five to ten minutes of Galloway just beating the crap out of Evans and Evans mounting his high-flying comebacks. Bailey-Cole was also really good. Cole is such a great heel and sometimes it’s hard to believe he’s not pushed better than he is in ROH the way he carries himself in the ring. Cole does a lot of the little things right to suck the fans into the story of wanting to see him get his ass handed to him.
Later in the show, Sabre-Tozawa had my expectations sky high. Tozawa has had some great matches in PWG in the past and just seeing him in PWG is a rare occurrence. The fans were chanting all of the standard independent chants before the match and then they began chanting this is awesome and match of the year before the match even began. It was great when Sabre and Tozawa went to the back together and teased that their work for the night was done before getting back into the ring. The match was really good with some mat work during the early going and then some fantastic back and forth rapid-fire action with some big moves mixed in leading to the finish. The match actually seemed to be just really getting going when it ended. I really hope to see these two go at it again one day, as this is simply a match that you won’t find anywhere else besides PWG.
The main event took a bit to get going, but Strong-Hero really turned things up several notches during the second half of the match. Strong used just about every cheap tactic he could to retain the PWG Championship, as there were a couple of ref bumps. Hero seemed to be on the verge of victory several times, but Strong ultimately got the win thanks in part to him shoving the ref’s in Hero’s path.
One of the issues during the show that hurt it a bit was that the ring mic doesn’t sound very clear. This was the case for Roderick Strong’s post-match promo. Sabre then came out to presumably challenge Strong for the PWG Championship, but it was hard to hear was he was saying. Hopefully PWG can clean this up in the future.
Overall, given the quality of action up and down the card, this show gets a high recommendation.
You can purchase “Lemmy” on DVD/Blu-ray by clicking HERE or by visiting Highspots.com. You can also purchase this release on MP4 at Highspots.com and on VOD at DIYWrestling.com. You can also watch Highspots titles from The Kevin Steen Show, Best Friends, CZW, PWG, and more at HighspotsWrestlingNetwork.com subscription service, which is now available on Roku. For more information on PWG visit ProWrestlingGuerrilla.com.
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