RADICAN’S 5/19 PWG “Head Like A Cole” report – Adam Cole’s final PWG match vs. Sami Callihan, Elgin-Strickland, Sabre-Trent

By Sean Radican, PWTorch Columnist


MAY 19, 2017

(1) Keith Lee vs. Trevor Lee. Trevor tried to sneak up on Keith, but Keith noticed him and he quickly backed off. He asked Keith to join him as his tag partner in TNA and then he told Keith to lie down for him to take the pin. Keith ran wild early with some big power moves, but Trevor took control of the match and hit four big kicks from the apron to the floor a short time later. Trevor dominated for a long period of time and Keith mounted some comebacks with big power moves. Keith went for a backdrop off the ropes, but Trevor countered it into a double stomp for a near fall. Keith ducked a kick from Trevor after missing a moonsault, but Trevor floated right over him into a German, which Keith no-sold. Keith charged at Trevor only to taking his leaping power slam. WOW! The ref made the count and the bell rang, but Keith kicked out. The fans booed. Trevor hit a small package driver, but Keith kicked out again! Trevor was lighting up Keith with kicks and strikes, but Keith caught him coming off the ropes and hit the spirit bomb for the win.

Winner: Keith Lee

Star rating: (***1/2) – This match had a lull here and there, but it got really good down the stretch. Keith was at a disadvantage for much of the match and I don’t think that’s the best way to use him. He was able to hit his finish and out Trevor away when it looked like he was on the verge of losing.

(2) The Chosen Bros. (Matt Riddle & Jeff Cobb) vs. ReDRagon (Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish). Riddle got cut off during the early going and Bobby and Kyle tagged in and out to work him over. Riddle fired back and hit a gut-wrench suplex on Fish. Cobb tagged in and twirled fish all around before hitting a huge suplex and the fans went nuts. Excalibur said, “Bobby Fish is a man. He has kids.” Cobb and Riddle hit a roundhouse kick/German on Fish for a 2 count. Riddle and Cobb hit a flurry of moves on Fish, but O’Reilly broke up the pin at 2. Fish fired back and wiped out Riddle and then Cobb. The fans fired up and Fish made the hot tag to O’Reilly, who ran wild. O’Reilly tripped Cobb with his arm trapped behind his back. O’Reilly continued to go after Cobb’s arm, but then he grabbed a knee bar. Cobb finally managed to kick himself free. Cobb cut O’Reilly off and tagged in Riddle. Riddle hit bro to sleep and a German with a bridge, but O’Reilly kicked out! O;Reilly fired back and hit a combination of strikes capped by a knee to the side of the head and the fans fired up. O’Reilly made the tag and Fish went after Riddle. Fish lit up Riddle with kicks before hitting an exploder into the turnbuckles for a 2 count. They went back and forth exchanging counters. Riddle finally countered a Fish kick into a Liger bomb and both men were down. WOW! Cobb got the tag and knocked Kyle off the apron. He went at it with Fish. Fish went for a cross-body, but Cobb caught him and popped him up into a vertical suplex. Cobb then did a squat before hitting a pump-handle suplex. Cobb popped up Fish into a German, but Fish kicked out at 2. Fish was bleeding from his left eye. Fish cut Cobb off and tagged in O’Reilly. Cobb ran through a double kick and wiped them out with a double lariat. Riddle hit bro to sleep on O’Reilly and Cobb hit tour of the islands, but Fish broke it up!

Fish went at it alone with Riddle and Cobb. He hit an exploder on Riddle that sent him flying into Cobb. The fans chanted for Fish. O’Reilly recovered and they went after Cobb. Fish got a knee bar on Cobb. O’Reilly got a front chancery on Riddle. Riddle ended up hitting a fisherman buster on O’Reilly that sent him into Fish as Cobb rolled out of the way. Cobb and Riddle hit a rocket launcher bro to sleep on O’Reilly for the win. WOW!

Winners: Matt Riddle & Jeff Cobb

Star rating: (***¾) – This started off a little slow, but they really cranked it up during the second half of the match and delivered HUGE. The rocket launcher bro to sleep is a sick finish. Riddle & Cobb remain undefeated as a team in PWG.

(3) Michael Elgin vs. Shane Strickland. This is Strickland’s second PWG appearance. Strickland caught Elgin with a dropkick during the early going. Elgin rolled to the floor and Strickland went for a dive, but ended up landing on his feet when Elgin got out of the way. Strickland was doing a handstand on the ring apron when Elgin nailed him with a sick pump kick. The fans fired up and Elgin set up for a dive, but Strickland cut him off with a kick as he came towards to the ropes. Strickland went for a springboard, but Elgin turned it into a sit-out powerbomb. Elgin hit his signature slingshot splash a short time later for a 2 count. Elgin rolled Strickland to his feet and nearly obliterated him with a clothesline. Elgin grabbed Strickland’s legs and hit a waterwheel pancake for a 2 count. The fans began chanting for Strickland. Some fans tried to chant for Elgin, but they got booed. Strickland and Elgin began exchanging slaps. Strickland hit several forearms. Strickland hit a kick to the leg and another kick to Elgin’s head and he went down to his knees. They went back and forth Strickland caught Elgin with a kick in the corner. Strickland then hit the Fosbury flop to the outside and the fans fired up. Strickland rolled through back inside the ring right into an ace crusher for a 2 count. Elgin fired back and hit a big German. He held on and hit another. Elgin held on and Strickland grabbed the ropes. Strickland freed himself with some elbows and charged at Elgin, but he bounced him off the ropes and hit a low angle release German. They went back and forth off the ropes. Strickland slipped going for a springboard and Elgin nailed him with a flurry of strikes. Elgin then hit the falcon arrow for a 2 count and Excalibur sold shock saying, “Nobody kicks out of the falcon arrow!”

Elgin began hitting a series of big running lariats in the corner. He then set up for a double underhook, but Strickland turned it into a dragoncanrana for a 2 count. They went back and forth and Elgin hit a huge lariat, but Strickland got up and hit a double stomp to the back of Elgin’s head! WOW! Both men were slow to regroup after that big sequence. Strickland charged at Elgin, but he popped him up into a cutter for a 2 count. They went back and forth and Stickland hit trouble in paradise followed by a suplex. He went up top and hit a double stomp to the chest, but Elgin kicked out at 2! Strickland went for a top rope hurricanrana, but Elgin blocked it. Elgin slipped under Strickland in the corner and caught him with a powerbomb! He hit a buckle bomb and the Elgin bomb for the win. WOW!

Winner: Michael Elgin

Star rating: (***¾) – Elgin and Strickland put on a fantastic match. They did a nice job of building up the high-flyer vs. power guy dynamic and the fans really fired up for some of their big exchanges. Strickland got on track late and nearly put Elgin away with a double stomp, but Elgin nicely fended off an attack in the corner by slipping under Elgin as he tried to jump at him while he was sitting up top. Elgin then turned that into a powerbomb, a buckle bomb, and an Elgin bomb for the win.

(4) Sami Callihan vs. Adam Cole. This is Cole’s last PWG show and everyone in the crowd seemed to know about it. Cole got a huge ovation during the ring introductions and streamers followed by a huge Adam Cole chant. Callihan and Cole started at each other from across the ring for a long time after the opening bell rang. These two cut their teeth in CZW, so this is a fitting final match for Cole in PWG. Callihan ran at Cole and hit a big kick. They continued to go at it and Callihan a big lariat. Callihan no-sold a lariat and stood right behind Callihan as he played to the crowd. Cole hit a brainbuster over his knee and Callihan kicked out at 1. They traded bombs and then hit each other with pump kicks at the same time and both men were down. Excalibur mentioned that Callihan hadn’t won in PWG in over a year. Callihan sent Cole to the floor and wiped him out with a lope suicida. Cole and Callihan ended up brawling all around the ring. The fans booed when Callihan got the upper hand. Callihan got a huge running start and charged at Cole, but walked right into a superkick. Cole set up for the Cole train and charged at Callihan, but Sami kicked his legs out from under him. Cole spit at Callihan, so Callihan nailed him with a big boot scrape in the corner. Callihan a huge lariat off the ropes a short time later for a 2 count. They went back and forth trading pinning combinations. Cole finally got up and hit a shining wizard for a 2 count. Cole hit another shining wizard for a near fall. Callihan looked to be down and out. Cole blew snot rockets at Callihan. Callihan suddenly popped up and hit a Saito suplex. He capped a big flurry with a knee strike and a running elbow strike for a 2 count. Callihan went to the outside and grabbed some chairs. He tossed on to Cole. They had a chair joust and Cole sent Callihan’s chair flying out of his hands.

Cole set his chair up and went for a straightjacket German but Sami blocked it. Cole finally hit an enziguri that sent Callihan into the chair. Cole went off the ropes and Callihan hit an exploder that sent him into the chair, but not through it. Callihan set Cole up and hit a Liger bomb through the chair. He then locked in the stretch muffler, but Cole managed to get to the ropes! Callihan set up a chair around Cole’s leg and smashed it with another chair. Cole then repeated the spot and the fans gasped.The fans booed Callihan, as he tossed several chairs on top of Cole’s leg. Callihan went up top and Cole popped up and cut him off. Callihan fought Cole off and sent him down to the mat. He came off the top and Cole nailed him with a superkick. Cole hit the panama sunrise and a neck breaker over his knee, but Callihan kicked out. Callihan hit another neck breaker over his knee and Sami kicked out yet again! Cole went for a third one, but Callihan rolled him up with a small package. Both men reversed each other several times in the small package position. Callihan finally pinned Cole with a reversal of the small package for the win.

Cole looked sad in the corner and the fans chanted his name. The fans chanted for Cole after the match. Cole offered a handshake, but Callihan spit on his hand, so Cole backed off and went to the back.

Winner: Sami Callihan

Star rating: (****) – Callihan and Cole brought it in this match and it was a fitting end to Cole’s PWG career. Cole and Callihan went all out and the match was really a blast to watch from start to finish.

(5) Mark Haskins vs. Lio Rush. Both men shook hands intensely before the match began. They went back and forth during the early going. They had a crazy exchange. Both men teased dives, but were unsuccessful. Rush finally caught Haskins with an Asai moonsault off the bottom rope. Rush fired up forever and went for a roundhouse kick, so Haskins ducked it and hit a tope suicida. That was just stupid on Rush’s part. Haskins set Rush up on the apron and nailed him with a big leg lariat against the ropes. Rush tried to fire back, but Haskins caught him with a back breaker when he came off the ropes. Haskins hit a nice dropkick where he slingshotted himself off the apron into the ring as he worked over Rush. Haskins went after Rush’s arm, but he eventually got to the ropes to force a break. The fans were silent, but started to rally behind Rush, who hit several elbows strikes to Haskins’s head to free himself. They went back and forth countering strikes until Rush hit an ace crusher. Rush set up for a dive and the fans fired up. Rush stopped and hit a quick lope to the floor. The fans chanted dive and Rush came off the second turnbuckle with a lariat for a 2 count. They went back and forth and Haskins ducked a kick and rolled through right into an armbar. Rush managed to get to the ropes quickly to break the hold. Haskins grabbed a crossface a short time later. Rush struggled towards the ropes, so Haskins transitioned to a rings of Saturn variation. Rush rolled back on Haskins and managed to get a 2 count.

Rush fired back and hit a slick enzuguri. Rush rotated around Haskins and hit a swinging DDT for a 2 count. They ended up on the apron a short time later. They traded blows on the apron. Rush went for Rush hour to the floor, but Haskins blocked it. Haskins finally hit a DVD on the apron. He rolled Rush into the DVD position and hit a modified cradle driver for a near fall. Haskins tried to roll through again into the DVD position, but Rush countered it. Rush went for a standing moonsault, but Haskins ducked it. Haskins hit 2 superkicks and went off the ropes, but Rush caught him with Rush hour. Rush then hit dragon’s call for the win!

Winner: Lio Rush

Star rating: (**3/4) – The first half of the match was solid, but it dragged at times. The second half of the match was better. The match picked up nicely late and they finally showed some spark with a very good finishing sequence that fired up the crowd.

The crowd chanted back and forth for The Lucha Brothers and The Young Bucks before the formal introductions. Penta asked for the mic and he introduced his team to the crowd. Nick then got on the mic and said, “Let’s not have a normal tag team match tonight.” He said he wanted Texas Tornado Spotfest match. Penta agreed.

(6) PWG World Tag Team Champions The Lucha Brothers (Rey Fenix & Penta El Zero M) vs. The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) in a Texas Tornado Spotfest match. Matt and Nick tossed the belts away from The Lucha Brothers and went on the attack.Nick hit a twisting dive over Matt to the floor to wipe out the Lucha Brothers a short time later. Matt then went up top and hit a HUGE moonsault to the floor. Nick and Matt slid back into the ring and humped the mat. They set up for Rise of the Terminator, but The Lucha Brothers cut them off with double ace crushers for stereo 2 counts! The action continued at a crazy pace. Fenix had some difficulty, but he managed to catapult himself up to the top and hit a tornado dive to the floor that wiped out everyone. The Lucha Brothers hit a series of tandem moves on Matt, but Nick saved the pin. Nick ran wild and finished a big sequence with a cutter on Fenix. Nick continued to run wild on Fenix and Penta. Matt joined the party and The Young Bucks stood tall as the fans did The Elite chant. Fenix and Penta powerbombed Matt and Nick into each other. Penta then hit a code red variation that sent Fenix into a splash on Nick for a 2 count. Matt fired back and hit a crazy DDT on Penta. Fenix went at it alone and flipped into a double DDT on The Young Bucks. They built up to both teams going back and forth trading superkicks and nobody would go down. Everyone hit superkicks at the same time and all four men were down as the fans went nuts. Both teams began trading superkicks in a circle again. Then they began exchanging chops, but nobody would go down. Everyone was on the verge of falling over. They traded suck it and cero miedo taunts. Both teams then slowly bounced off the ropes and collapsed.

Nick ducked a double stomp on the apron from Fenix and nailed him with a German. Penta then hit a package piledriver on NIck on the ring apron. Matt hit an inside out DDT on Penta on the apron, but appeared to have a bad landing and everyone was down on the floor. The fans fired up once again as The Young Bucks tossed The Lucha Brothers back into the ring. They hit double superkicks on Fenix and Penta. They then made Penta give Fenix an assisted IndyTaker for a near fall! The Young Bucks said it was time for a superkick party. Fenix and Penta fired back and hit superkick after superkick on the Young Bucks and went for the double pin for a near fall! The craziness continued as Penta hit a package piledriver on Nick on the apron at the same time as Fenix wiped out Matt with a dive. Penta hit another package piledriver on Nick inside the ring, but it was only good for a 2 count. The Lucha Brothers hit a stuffed package piledriver off the top on Nick. Fenix then wiped out Matt with a big splash over the top to the floor. Penta made the cover on Nick and it was good for the win.

Winners: Fenix & Penta El Zero M to retain the PWG World Tag Team Titles

Star rating: (****) – This was a fantastic dose of tag action. These two teams had some ridiculous exchanges. They did a few too many near falls towards the end, but the finish was impactful enough that the crowd went from being a little bit down to going nuts for the super stuffed package piledriver from The Lucha brothers.

(7) PWG World Champion Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Trent. The fans booed to drown out a Sabre chant before the match began. Both guys went right at it and began exchanging chops. They went back and forth and Sabre escaped a piledriver and went to the floor. Trent hit a slingshot splash to the floor and the fans fired up. They went at it on the floor as the fans chanted for both men. The announcers mentioned that Chuck Taylor was at Drew Gulak’s wedding and Marty Scurll was in Japan, which is why they weren’t on the card. Sabre grabbed a mounted front chancery on the floor, but Trent hit a suplex on the floor. They ended up back inside the ring and Sabre used his legs to twist Trent’s arm. The fans booed as Sabre went after Trent’s arm. The fans chanted for both men as Sabre continued to work over Trent’s arm. Sabre hit Trent’s arm with some light kicks. Trent fired back with a slap to the face. Sabre then placed Trent’s elbow upwards and stomped down upon it. Sabre really began manipulating Trent’s arm and wrist on the mat and the fans booed. Trent finally cut off Sabre as he charged at him in the corner with a big stomp and both men were down! Trent hit a swinging DDT, but favored his arm. They went at it up top. Sabre finally slipped away to the mat and hit a huge kick to the back of Trent’s leg causing him to collapse to the mat. Sabre went after Trent’s leg and tied it around the ropes. He began to target Trent’s ankle. The fans booed after he began jawing with them.

Sabre continued to work on the ankle and knee. Trent looked to be in a lot of pain. Sabre began hitting him with some light knees to the chest. Trent got to his feet and slapped Sabre across the face. Sabre dove for his legs and went right back after Trent’s leg, but Trent got to the ropes. The fans chanted for both men. The Trent chants were louder. Trent countered Sabre and hit a half and half suplex and both men were down. Trent went for a Gotch piledriver, but Sabre countered and hit a tiger suplex followed by a PK for a 2 count. Sabre went right into a kneebar, but Trent got to the ropes quickly. Sabre hit a dragon screw around the ropes. They went at it on the apron and Trent hit a piledriver and both men were down on the floor. Both men beat the 20 count, but were slow to resume combat. They began exchanging strikes. Trent went down momentarily, but got up and hit a big chop. They went back and forth and Sabre went for the bridging pinning combination, but Trent countered it into a pinning combination of his own for a near fall! Sabre got up and hit a leg sweep and the fans booed. Sabre went up top, but Trent popped up and hit a HUGE avalanche belly-to-belly! The fans fired up as Trent hit a running knee strike to the head and a Gotch piledriver, but Sabre kicked out at 2! WOW! Trent went for the dude buster, but Sabre got a flying triangle. He then floated over into a kneebar while working on the ankle. Sabre dragged Trent away from the ropes. Trent then got up and bridged over for a near fall! Sabre rolled through on Trent and held his arms while holding a bridge and got a leverage pin for a near fall. Sabre tried to roll through on Trent a short time later, but Trent hit the dude buster! He was slow to kick out and Sabre kicked out at the last second! Sabre got up and hit a dropkick to Trent’s knee. He hit a PK and set up for another move, but TRent wiped him out for a clothesline. He went for another dude buster, but Sabre punched his knee. Sabre then tied Trent up and eventually grabbed a crazy single leg crab with his foot on Trent’s head for extra leverage.

Winner: Zack Sabre Jr.

Star rating: (****¼) – This was the best match on the show. Sabre picked apart Trent by going after his arm first and then doing some brutal work on his legs. Trent got a great near fall late with a dude buster and countering Sabre’s signature bridging pin into a pinning combination, but ultimately Sabre tapped him out with a nasty single leg crab.

Overall thoughts (8.5): This was a really good show from PWG. There weren’t any blow away matches, but there were a number of excellent matches that make this an extremely satisfying card. I’d like to see PWG evolve (no pun intended) and do more storylines going forward. They’ve built a nice main event program around Zack Sabre Jr., but some long-term planning for the undercard would be nice. The action is top notch, but it would be even better with some storytelling where the crowd was forced to buy in and not just chant the usual chants for the wrestlers.

The show had a really good pace to it and really picked up for Adam Cole’s final PWG match against Sami Callihan. They went to war and brawled all over ringside before coming back into the ring and continuing to tear it up. Both guys showed a lot of spirit in this match and it was a blast to watch Cole go at it one last time against Sami.

I was looking forward to Rush vs. Haskins, but for whatever reason, the match didn’t seem to connect with the crowd. It was definitely missing something and it felt like when they finally found a spark late in the match, they went to the finish. This was the only letdown on the card, but it certainly wasn’t a bad match.

The show ended with two great matches that were very different from each other. The Young Bucks and The Lucha Brothers tore it up in a fun Texas Tornado match that saw both teams have some crazy back and forth exchanges inside and outside of the ring. The back and forth superkick exchange that saw both teams collapse late in the match was great. It felt like they overdid it with the near falls late and lose the crowd a bit, but then they got them back with a spectacular finish.

It felt like Sabre had stagnated for a bit when I watched him, but lately he is just killing it. He was tremendous in this match against Trent. I’m really looking forward to seeing these two in G1 next year with Trent recently announcing that he’s going to be a heavyweight in NJPW. Sabre was at his best here heeling on the fans and picking apart Trent on the mat. They built up to some tremendous near falls late before Sabre put Trent away with a nasty modified Boston crab.

Overall, this was a great night of wrestling. The last two matches are worth the price of admission alone and when you throw in Cole’s farewell to PWG, you have a great night of wrestling on your hands. Thumbs up!

ATTENTION: You can purchase PWG’s “Head Like A Cole” on Blu-ray/DVD by clicking HERE or by visting Highspots.com. For more information about PWG, visit their website HERE. To watch past PWG events, subscribe to Highspots Wrestling Network. For $9.99, you get a ton of content including live iPPVs, shoot interviews, and past indie shows from promotions like CZW and AAW. Available to watch now is Bruiser Brody: Wrestling’s Last Rebel and An Officer and a Gentleman with Bill Carr.

Contact Sean at pwtorchsean@gmail.com. Follow Sean on twitter HERE. Follow and like Radican’s Wrestling Community Facebook.com HERE

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