Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over twelve years now and have reviewed over 6,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Mystery Vortex III
Date: June 26, 2015
Location: American Legion Post #308, Reseda, California
Commentators: Excalibur, Rick Knox, Chris Hero, Joey Ryan, Ethan Page
This is another PWG show that someone requested I do….a few years back now, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be a bad one. From what I understand, the gimmick of this show is that the card isn’t announced until the wrestlers are coming out of the curtain. That should make for a fun show so let’s get to it.
As usual, I don’t really follow PWG so I’m sorry for not knowing any plot or character details coming in.
Tommaso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano
Yeah this works, though a clean faced Ciampa is a bizarre visual. Feeling out process to start with Gargano working on the wrist until Ciampa makes the rope. Back up and Ciampa tries a quick Air Raid Crash but Gargano slips out, setting up an exchange into a standoff. Fans: “THAT WAS WRESTLING!” Some chops rock Gargano but he’s right back with the rolling kick to the head.
A neckbreaker puts Ciampa on the floor and Gargano follows him for some left hands to the head. With Ciampa sitting in a chair, Gargano hits a big (but not running) chop to pop his eyes a bit. It works so well that Gargano loads it up again but gets hit in the face this time. One heck of a running knee rocks Gargano so Ciampa tries it again, only to get tornado DDTed into…well pretty much into a fan.
Back in and Ciampa hits a hanging Downward Spiral and they both need a breather. A battle over a suplex goes to Gargano (after about five blocks each) but Ciampa knees him right back down again. The chinlock doesn’t last long and Gargano is back with a running basement cutter. The Lawn Dart sets up the Gargano Escape which Ciampa, uh, escapes.
They trade some thigh slapping shots to the face until Ciampa blasts him down with a clothesline for a double knockdown. Ciampa goes up but gets caught as well, setting up another Lawn Dart. That’s enough to send them to the apron, and since this is a modern wrestling match, we need a big spot on that apron. In this case it’s an Air Raid Crash from Ciampa but Gargano is out again.
A super Air Raid Crash is reversed into a super Liger Bomb for the crash (non-Air Raid variety), sending Ciampa outside. The suicide dive sends them into the chairs and they’re right back up and inside. The slingshot spear is kneed out of the air though and it’s Project Ciampa for a VERY close two. Back up again and they chop it out until Gargano pulls him into an STF. Ciampa slips out and lifts Gargano up for a suplex but drops him onto the knee for a nasty landing. Project Ciampa is enough to finish Gargano at 18:37.
Rating: A-. This is the kind of match that you expect from PWG, as they threw two people out there for the better part of twenty minutes and let them tear the house down. These two have always had some great chemistry together and this was no exception. It’s a hidden gem compared to their NXT classics and I had a blast with the whole thing.
World’s Cutest Tag Team vs. Monster Mafia
That would be Joey Ryan/Candice LeRae vs. Josh Alexander/Ethan Page. The Mafia jumps Ryan before the bell but miss a charge at LeRae in the corner. A DDT drops Alexander and Candice ties her hair back, allowing her to slam Page. Back in and Ryan throws LeRae on his shoulders to swing her feet at people’s face. It only kind of works on Page, who is right back to run Ryan over as we get down to a regular tag match.
Alexander grabs a butterfly suplex into a headscissors and it’s Page coming in for a headbutt. Hold on though as Page pauses to tease stripping, allowing Ryan to come back with a right hand. You do not break up Page’s dancing though and it’s a tilt-a-whirl faceplant for two. Alexander is back in with a chinlock but Ryan fights up and avoids a charge. The tag brings in LeRae to clean house, including a double DDT for two on Alexander.
It’s back to Ryan who gets caught in a northern lights suplex, only to have LeRae come in off the top with a double stomp (which isn’t as low as commentary thinks it is). Ryan and Page trade kicks to the face until a suplex sends Page outside. LeRae comes back in with a good looking top rope hurricanrana. Page cuts off LeRae’s hurricanrana so Alexander hits his crossbody to the back dive.
Back in and a faceplant gets two on LeRae as commentary wants to know who is legal. The double superplex is broken up so Ryan hits a super swinging neckbreaker on Alexander, setting up LeRae’s top rope splash for two. The exchange of strikes to the face leaves Page standing but LeRae grabs a Stunner. Not that it stops Page as he shoves LeRae down and drops his trunks, earning a, quote, ballsplex, unquote, from LeRae. Alexander is back up and takes LeRae up, where she is right back with a super poisonrana for the surprise pin at 12:20.
Rating: B-. I’ve head a lot of good things about LeRae and Ryan together and yeah they do work well as a team. LeRae isn’t someone who has ever really broken out as an in-ring star but she can do some good things when she is given the chance. The Mafia would go on to much better success as the North in Impact, which took me a lot longer to remember than it should have. Fun match here, even if it is WEIRD to see Alexander as a pretty nothing tag guy. And with hair!
Post match Alexander seems a bit shaken up but gets a big ovation from the crowd. Apparently was his sendoff to go have neck surgery….and Page lays him out with a swinging Rock Bottom.
Biff Busick vs. Timothy Thatcher
This could be good and it’s Thatcher’s PWG debut. They fight over a lockup to start until Thatcher’s attempt at an ankle pick is thwarted. After a quick standoff, Thatcher takes him to the mat and cranks on an armbar but Busick reverses into a rather aggressive headlock. That’s reversed into a Kimura, sending Busick over to the rope. With the holds not quite working, Thatcher blasts him with an uppercut and grabs a chinlock.
There’s the required finger snap but Busick is back up with one heck of a slap and some uppercuts to make it worse. Thatcher isn’t having that and knocks him hard to the floor, but does stop to check his own ear after that slap. Busick has to try to get out of an armbar but Thatcher bends the arm at a VERY scary angle to keep him in trouble. The big stomp to the arm makes it even worse for Busick, who gets suplexed down again.
Back up and Busick grabs the half and half suplex, meaning it’s time to slug it out from their knees. The slugout continues from their feet until both of them are knocked down again. Busick fires himself up though and grabs a reverse headlock takeover into a bulldog choke for the tap at 11:36.
Rating: B. This is a good example of “what you see is what you get” as these two beat the living fire out of each other until one of them couldn’t keep going. These two are both known for their incredible intensity and that was on display here. Throw in some painful looking holds and people hurting each other and this was a lot of fun.
Here is PWG World Champion Roderick Strong to issue an open challenge. Well he was going to but he hates the fans so much that he isn’t going to wrestle. Cue Mike Bailey to answer the challenge but Strong isn’t interested. Eh we’ll do it anyway.
PWG World Title: Roderick Strong vs. Mike Bailey
Strong is defending and my goodness I can’t get away from Bailey lately. Bailey has a really farmer’s tan and isn’t exactly a big guy. The fans get on Bailey over said tan but him kicking Strong in the head for a fast two cuts that off fast. Bailey unloads with strikes against the ropes and Strong is needing a breather on the floor. That means Bailey can hit a corkscrew Asai moonsault, pulls out a bouquet of flowers (like a magician) and then kick Strong a few more times.
Strong is back with the jumping knee to the face and the End Of Heartache onto the apron (Commentary: “That is how you stop someone’s momentum!”) and Bailey is rocked fast. Some chops send Bailey around ringside before he is thrown back inside for a kick to the back of the head. A gutwrench suplex sets up a camel clutch to send Bailey over to the ropes and Strong isn’t pleased.
Bailey comes back with a knee of his own and a spinning kick to the face drops the champ. A buzzsaw kick to the head gets two on Strong but he’s back with a kick of his own out of the corner. The fans, who were insulted by Strong before the match, are split here as Bailey kicks away again. The standing Sliced Bread and another kick give Bailey two so he kicks Strong down some more.
Strong is able to catch him on top though and it’s a hard running knee in the corner. A torture rack into a backbreaker gives Strong two so he goes right to the Stronghold. Bailey makes the rope though and the champ is frustrated again. More kicks drop Strong so the moonsault knees can connect for two. Back up and the strike it out, setting up Bailey’s running corkscrew shooting star press for two.
Bailey gets caught with a jumping knee up top, meaning a top rope superplex with Strong floating over into a gutbuster. That’s reversed into a hurricanrana and the Ultimate Weapon gets a VERY hot near fall with Strong having to grab the rope. Another slugout lets Strong hit the Sick Kick but the End of Heartache is countered into a small package for a white hot near fall (which the crowd totally bought). Strong is done with this and knees him in the head, setting up End of Heartache into another End of Heartache to retain the title at 18:55.
Rating: A-. It took me some time to get into this one but the crowd reactions alone carried it over the line. Strong’s knees and forearms were loud enough to get your attention and that small package at the end was one of the best near falls I’ve seen in a long time. Bailey takes some getting used to but he was great as a one off challenger here. Great match with the crowd carrying it that extra stretch.
Brian Cage vs. John Silver
Cage has taped up ribs coming in. We get the natural pose down to start before Silver wants a test of strength. That’s fine with Cage, who holds his hand too high, causing Silver to pull it down before locking hands. Silver actually takes over and lifts Cage into the air before flipping him down. After a bit of a celebration, Cage runs him over with a shoulder and snaps off a headscissors.
What looks to be a fall away slam, with curls, doesn’t work as Silver sticks the landing and then fall away slams, with curls, Cage for an impressive feat. Back up and Cage sends him outside for the running flip dive, which doesn’t look quite as impressive on someone Silver’s size. The kind of clothesline you would expect Cage to throw for a near fall gives Cage a near fall and something like a Boss Man Slam gets the same.
Somehow the Drill Claw is countered into a Jackhammer to give Silver two and the fans are right back into things. A powerslam gives Silver two but Cage is back with a spinebuster to cut him off fast. Cage’s tornado DDT is blocked and Silver hits a northern lights suplex for another near fall.
Back up and a hanging neckbreaker out of the corner gives Cage two more but Silver strikes away and hits the Spin Doctor. The F5 plants Silver hard and Cage grabs a Texas Cloverleaf but doesn’t step over, allowing Silver to small package him for two. A Diamond Cutter and crucifix bomb gives Cage two more before a discus lariat finishes Silver at 14:00.
Rating: B. This was a fun showdown as Cage did his usual stuff and Silver was there to have all kinds of fun with his wild charisma. Silver is six inches in height away from being a major star but unfortunately this is about as far as he is going to get. Cage is still someone who looks like he should be a major star but just isn’t for a variety of reasons.
Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Chris Hero
They shake hands to start and tentatively go into the grappling for a standoff. Hero gets him down by the leg and twists away a bit but Sabre bridges out of a crucifix. That’s broken up and Sabre starts twisting the wrist, setting up some rather nasty cranking (Page: “That’s some Exorcist s***!” Hero flips out and drops a backsplash but Sabre is fine enough to pull him right back into more arm cranking.
With the grappling not working, Hero kicks him in the face but Sabre uses his feet to snap hero’s arm. Back up and Hero uses the good arm to send him face first into the buckle, only to get caught with some running shots to the face. Sabre tries a German suplex but only gets laughed at by Hero for thinking he can lift him up. With that being a miserable failure, Sabre goes back to the arm and hits the big stomp on Hero’s now bleeding fingers.
Hero is fine enough to backdrop Sabre outside and through some chairs, meaning Sabre can get a breather on the floor. Back in and Hero blasts him with the good elbow to put him on the floor again. Back in again and a dropkick Sabre’s arm even things up a bit and they’re outside for the third time in less than two minutes. This time Sabre grabs an octopus but Hero gets smart by climbing back inside for the break. Sabre fires off uppercuts but gets cut off with one heck of a right hand.
A staggered Sabre comes right back with a hard running kick to the chest but Hero kicks Sabre out of the air for two. Hero still can’t follow up so Sabre pulls him into a Kimura, which is reversed into a suplex neckbreaker for another near fall. Hero, looking like an inflated Adam Cole, gets pulled into a cross armbreaker, only to roll over to the ropes for a last second break.
Another kick to the arm has Hero clutching the ropes for mercy but he’s able to grab a hard belly to back suplex for the double knockdown. Back up and Hero loads up some kind of a piledriver but gets reversed into another quickly broken armbar. Hero elbows the heck out of him for two more and then kicks him square in the head.
Sabre gets back up so Hero kicks him, followed by the rolling boot to the face for one. With nothing else working, Sabre Pele kicks the hand (cool) but Hero is right back with an attempt at a cradle piledriver. That’s countered into the Kimura and then a double arm crank with Sabre kicking him in the head for the knockout win at 24:01.
Rating: A-. This was hard hitting, violent, well told and exactly what I wanted to see from these two. The story here made perfect sense as you had Sabre who was going to go after a limb and do everything he could to tear it apart, while Hero went through every style he knew to try to fight Sabre off. I was cringing at some of the things that Sabre was doing to the arm and got way into the match so we’ll certainly call this a success.
Here are Tag Team Champions Trevor Lee and Andrew Everett to find out who they’re facing for the titles they won at Mystery Vortex II. The fans want the Young Bucks but instead Everett and Lee are going to face each other. The singles match starts but here are the Bucks, who were wrestling in Japan just the day before.
Tag Team Titles: Young Bucks vs. Trevor Lee/Andrew Everett
The Bucks are challenging and, after some insults from the floor, the champs dive onto them to start things off fast. The brawl starts on the floor but the Bucks are right back up with stereo moonsaults off the apron. They get inside with Matt hitting some running corner clotheslines but a duck allows Lee to bring Everett in. Everything breaks down and the Bucks clear the ring, setting up the required running flip dive. Fans: “THAT WAS TOO SWEET!”
The Bucks hit stereo powerbombs on the apron, drawing a FIGHT OWENS FIGHT chant. Back in and a slingshot splash/fist drop hit Everett again as this is rapidly becoming one sided. Matt has way too much fun telling people to suck it before grabbing the chinlock with an expected result. Lee raises his knees to block a moonsault though and the hot tag brings in Everett for a high crossbody to both Bucks. Matt’s slingshot X Factor is countered into an atomic drop and Lee drops both Bucks again.
Everett teases a moonsault to the floor but it’s Lee hitting one instead. That’s not good enough though as Everett hits moonsault knees to drop Matt again and the fans certainly approve. Since Nick Jackson doesn’t sell very long though, he’s right back up to take down both champions without much effort. Everett’s shooting star press hits raised knees and the Bucks hit an enziguri/cannonball in the corner combination. The hanging Swanton gets two on Everett but Nick’s running kick hits post by mistake, allowing Lee to cutter him on the apron.
The double tag brings in Lee and Matt to slug it out until Lee’s flipping powerslam connects. Not that it matters as the Bucks are up with double superkicks, followed by a low superkick to break up Everett’s standing moonsault. Lee gets superkicked out of the air as well and a package piledriver/superkick combination gets two, with Everett shoving Nick into the pin for the save.
The champs fight up again with a Cave In and standing hurricanrana, setting up Everett’s 630 for two on Matt. The referee gets dropped so Matt can kick Everett low. Cue Roderick Strong to Sick Kick Lee silly, setting up the Meltzer Driver (with commentary saying “Nick doesn’t give a s***” about the bad ankle) for the pin and the titles at 14:12.
Rating: B. This is the kind of tag match that you would expect here, but there was never a time where it felt like Lee and Everett had a chance to retain the titles. Granted it’s a Young Bucks match so you had to know it was coming, as annoying as it might be. This was around the time when the Bucks were the biggest team in the indies and there was no way they weren’t getting these titles from the second they were revealed as the “surprise” partners.
Post match Joey Ryan and Candice LeRae go after Strong but get superkicked down. Johnny Gargano runs in and gets superkicked down. Strong and the Bucks hug to quite the negative reaction. Referee Rick Knox comes in to chair the Bucks down but Strong takes him out and gets another chair.
The lights go out and come back up to reveal company founder Super Dragon…..and Psycho Drivers Knox through the open chairs instead. LeRae gets Psycho Drivered too so Excalibur goes after Super Dragon and is laid out. The Bucks add some superkicks and the beating continues with more Psycho Drivers as we have Mount Rushmore (former heel stable) 2.0. The fans of course love this even as Biff Busick comes in to stare down Super Dragon.
Commentary bills it as a showdown of tough guys, so of course the Bucks drop Busick with superkicks. Chuck Taylor is beaten down as well, which is finally enough carnage to let the new team unveil their shirts. Oh and Dragon small packages Lee for a three count and a bell (I’m sure that means something). Strong officially christens the new team to end the show (which cuts off after Rushmo).
Overall Rating: A. This was the PWG show I have been waiting on as they tore the house down with nothing close to a bad match on the nearly two and a half hour show. They didn’t bother trying to do anything more than an all-star style show with some variety and I had a blast with this. Great show, well worth seeing, and the kind of show that would make me want to see a lot more from this company.
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