PWG Only Kings Understand Each Other on February 18, 2017
American Legion Hall – Reseda, California
Trevor Lee vs. Cody Rhodes
This is an IMPACT Wrestling showcase match. With all jokes aside, oh wait, no. Trevor Lee pre-match got heat off Dusty Rhodes (you decide what’s okay and what’s not) as Cody always has the main rule for his opponents that’s always discussed beforehand: don’t get your heat off Dusty. This so happened to be the time that he never talked it over with Trevor. This didn’t make the DVD/Blu-ray cut as Cody got it edited out, but it’s still an interesting perspective as to what Trevor’s PWG character is and how different he is in this environment. The two meshed well to put on a plain and simple good opener. Nothing spectacular, but it built well with lots of Trevor mocking Cody with Cody on the comeback with his greatest hits. Trevor went for the bionic elbow but was cut off, eventually given the “correct” one. A ref bump happened (have to protect Cody) which led to Trevor picking up, I guess what could be considered an upset in the PWG universe. Lee won after a small package driver.
Trent vs. Rey Fenix
This continues the trend of Trent doing his best work in PWG. Coming off of a HOT singles match vs. Candice LeRae in the opener of Mystery Vortex, which was my favorite match on the show, we got vintage PWG Trent. He filled the role he needed to vs. Rey Fenix in order to make the match more compelling than two good workers having a good match. He was a dick from the get-go, to quote Excalibur: “These guys had a feud that no one knew existed.” There was so much bad blood on display, and more than intergender killer Trent, it was Trent wanting to out-lucha the “lucha piece of shit” while still putting on a show. The match revolved around huge apron bumps, whether it was a HUGE, LIKE, DECAPITATION FOOT STOMP on the apron or a piledriver on the apron. It wasn’t even just that. Fenix stayed in after a Gotch piledriver. Both guys refused to stay down through epic chops and out of this world spots. Trent won after a crunchie. I adored how everyone was on the tip of their toes for the Canadian destroyer but Trent reversed the momentum into a crunchie. Beautiful work from both guys paced well, and the first highly recommended PWG match of 2017.
Chosen Bros (Matt Riddle & Jeff Cobb) vs. Unbreakable F'N Machines (Brian Cage & Michael Elgin)
For their run thus far, I’ve been indifferent as it pertains to Chosen Bros as a unit. With that being said this was my favorite match of their run. I really enjoyed the way they chose to go about the match. You can never say Riddle was overshadowed, but he was the odd man out when it came to the #BigLadsWrestling on display in the match. He was also intertwined with all the power spots, with him being involved in some bumps. It went above and beyond expectations, especially in regards to the number of “get your shit in” ridiculous spots. My favorite parts of the match were Riddle reacting on the side and on the comeback, pulling off a number of fun things like leapfrogging off Elgin’s back to hit Cage with a forearm–as well as Cobb kicking out of an Avalanche Elgin Bomb/F10 combo. Speaking of combos, Unbreakable F’N Machines couldn’t get the job done on time. Chosen Bros won after a Bro to Sleep/Tour of the Islands combo on Cage. Really neat match.
Lio Rush vs. Ricochet
This is Lio Rush’s PWG debut. Yet another super good match on the card, getting the slight edge over Trent/Fenix to bordering great for me. These two told a fantastic story of Ricochet facing a younger version of him, sometimes doubting if he could even hang. It was a picture perfect way to introduce Lio to the audience, as the reaction was good from the start for him, but launched into a way better reaction throughout the match. The best storytelling came about when Lio wouldn’t stay down, much like what made the Jay Lethal 2016 match so great. Whether it was him getting up from a head spike only to bounce off the ropes and flop, to taking off the tape and throwing it at Ricochet, to evading all the hybrid offense, to kicking out of the Benadryller and Shooting Star Press–Lio wouldn’t die. I wish it was hammed up a little more in the realm of crazy flippy shit, but we got an emphasis on psychology. Ricochet won after a vertigo. My favorite thing about this was the story told. The open was a lite Amazing Red/Low Ki clash that got over very well. Lots of little things that made this an ‘A’ grade debut for Lio. He’s an underrated seller.
Jay White vs. Marty Scurll
This is Jay White’s PWG debut. The pre-bell revolved around a guy in the front row wearing Marty’s villain cap. Such a wonderful PWG played-up moment. The match had the most in-match variety out of anything on the card up until this point. It touched on so many subjects, racing through different comedy, bombs thrown, submissions and cool to watch moments–that it was nearly confusing. It was very much a Scurll match in the promotion with it being messy, not in the sense of wrestling, but it aimlessly going everywhere. That’s part of the fun, and if you look at it the way I see it, a better way for White to learn. White was forced to wrestle numerous styles in one match. He was selling in peril, he was doing some New Japan-centric work, he was working comedy, he was having a good time, et. It progressively got more intense through the match, especially when Marty’s ponytail came undone as the lady that screamed “Your ponytail fucking sucks!” was finally content. White was great in the comedy spots, wearing Scurll’s mask and cos playing him for a New York minute. White stuck his middle finger out only for it to be snapped in another favorite spot. Scurll won after a chickenwing. A good way to switch it up at this point in the card as a batshit match was incoming, then the main event after.
Superkliq (Matt & Nick Jackson, & Adam Cole) vs. OI4K (Jake & Dave Crist, & Sami Callihan)
This is OI4K’s PWG debut. Cody special guest ring announced The Superkliq. Picture what a trios match between these two teams would be. Imagine it combining their greatest hits and a full five-course spot fest meal. This is it. Brilliant work from both teams and an absolute top tier hoot to take in. I would have the laundry list of 1000 sequences typed out if it wasn’t for me not wanting this review to be 80000 words long. One of my favorite spots this year happened when Dave Crist hit a DOOMSDAY DEVICE springboard cutter. We got vintage Bucks/Cole comedy spots combined with things firing back on them when they thought they had it figured out. We continued to get marvelous trios spots. Lots of WWE parody and comedy. Lots of superkicks. Lots of Callihan/Cole as a flashback to their other excellent matches. Everything (no pun intended) clicked and made for a batshit ridiculous co-main event as expected. OI4K were protected, managing to kick out of everything including tandem 450s as well as Indy Taker’s. It escalated towards superkick decapitation. The Superkliq won after a triple superkick on Callihan. My match of the show if the main event doesn’t take it.
PWG World Championship: Zack Sabre Jr. (c) vs. Chuck Taylor
Even if my Blu-ray skipped a bit (I pay you a lot of money, and you send me a faulty version of the only way to legally view your show?! Damn you!) I still thought this was a great match; the best ZSJ PWG match since either Roddy or O’Reilly for me. Everything kept at an on point pace. There were so many highlights. The match started off with Chuck hitting the piledriver only for a kick out. Zack’s neck became a focal point during the match, and speaking of Zack, he was an ultra dick to piss off everyone. It was worked in the best way possible as the crowd would have turned on nearly anyone who would have been in the champion’s position. This is the Kentucky Gentleman on a Goldberg streak! Zack ended up having to dig deep, kicking out of THREE DDTs, one being on a chair. There was so much grittiness in the match too with intense holds exchanged, face/joint manipulation, and wonderful transitions including Chuckie moonsaulting into a submission. My absolute favorite part of the story was when Chuck used his best friend’s crunchie only for Zack to kick out. The combo paid off big time as unfortunately all streaks were made to be broken. ZSJ won after a triangle choke to retain the PWG World Title. This went by in the blink of an eye but was a great match. The level of emphasis on the storytelling and roles played paid off to be one of the better PWG Title matches in a while. Watch this.
My Blu-ray said screw it. Let’s skip more during the post-match. What ended up happening was the LDRS (Leaders of the New School, a longtime tag team between Scurll and Sabre) forming in the promotion. This would then set up the next show’s main event of LDRS vs. Best Friends as Trent came out for the save. A great angle to end a great match. Simple as that. Quality wrestling performances on every level. End scene saw Best Friends hugging with Chuck coming to grips with the fact his streak has come to an end.
PWG ONLY KINGS UNDERSTAND EACH OTHER ON FEBRUARY 18, 2017
Great - 8/10
PWG Only Kings Understand Each Other was a great show. It had numerous highly enjoyable matches that bordered on good, or were outright great. Although the main event was shorter than expected, it made use of its time to become something special in ZSJ's current title reign, then telling an even better story with the post-match. Multiple debuts happened in the form of Lio Rush/Jay White/OI4K--they were all successful. Trent's PWG beast mode tear continued with Rey Fenix this time around. So many positives that attenuate the negatives when I think of the show. It's worth a purchase. Let's hope PWG returns to form this year.