Dare I do it, dare I criticise one of, if not the hottest indy companies in the world today? Do I dare sit at this keyboard and and type out some of the things that I don’t like about…about…about…Pro Wrestling Guerrilla? Surely I cannot be that bold? That daring? That ballsy, or some might say…ignorant. PWG has been the hottest, most talked about, most exciting, indy company in the U.S. and possibly the world, for a long while now. The little company from Reseda, (LA) California, has exploded, since it’s debut in 2003, making money from it’s live gate, and DVD sales only.
It’s operated by the wrestlers themselves, without any corporate ownership. There are no contracted wrestlers in PWG, and as such, they can bring in anybody that isn’t limited by a contract from another company. As such, you will see wrestlers from Ring of Honor, Dragon Gate USA/Evolve, TNA (rarely, and mostly just TJ Perkinks, Manic, sans Manik gimmick) and all the normal Southern California indy stars, like The Yong Bucks, Willie Mack, and Joey Ryan. Because of this, you can see matches in PWG that you cannot, and will not see anywhere else. You will see ROH World Champ, and current PWG Champ, Adam Cole take on the Open the Freedom Gate Champion, Johnny Gargano. You’ll also see matches like former Evolve Champ, AR Fox, taking on ROH TV Champ, Tomasso Ciampa! PWG is full of dream matches that you can’t see anywhere else. Since PWG isn’t televised, and since they don’t do iPPV, ROH, and DGUSA, allows their contracted wrestlers, to perform there. It’s the best of both worlds.
Now that I’ve explained all that, and hyped it up for you, let me tell you what annoys me about it. PWG is well known for their use of “comedy” spots. Understand, this isn’t Santino Marella comedy. Guys aren’t wearing snake puppets on their arms. There aren’t any dance offs, or singing contests either. When I say comedy spots, I mean stuff like the wrestlers calling spots, before they hit them, and the crowd then going nuts. Stuff like a wrestler grabbing a pitcher of beer, from a fan, and drinking it, or spitting it on their opponent, or offering it to their opponent, then attacking them as they drink. I’m talking about Chuck Taylor slowly, very, very, slowly, hitting a rolling, over the top rope, somersault, onto his opponent, then that opponent selling it like it nearly killed him. I’m talking about a wrestler, getting a t-shirt from someone in the crowd, and putting it on, so Roderick Strong’s chops, don’t hurt them as much. I could go on, but I hope you get the picture. Not every match has these “comedy spots” and sometimes only one or two do, but occasionally, you’ll see them A LOT, and after a while, they start getting old. I mean Trent Barretta, and Chuck Taylor, teaming as “Best Friends” use a double chokle slam as finisher. So there’s my first complaint. Too much comedy. Yes, I know PWG die hards are going to tear into me for that, because PWG has ALWAYS been about that. Well, sorry, it’s a turn off after a while.
Secondly, the wrestlers are very fond of saying that PWG is the best wrestling company out there because it’s the “most fun.” Now before you think I am going to launch into another tirade against “comedy spots” know that I’m not. What I am going to complain about though, is that because the wrestlers like having their “fun” in PWG, far too often the matches come off as not important. They can sometimes have an “exhibition” feel to them, meaning it feels like the result doesn’t really matter. It feels like the moves, and the “fun” the wrestlers are having, and letting the crowd in on, is what’s most important. For example, when Brian Cage wrestles, the audience always chants “get your shit in” meaning they want Cage to get all his spots in. Granted, he’s the only wrestler the crowd cheers this for, but it feels to me, that this is what every match is really about, each wrestler “getting his shit in,” so the crowd can eeewww and awe, then start chanting “this is awesome.” This leads to my third complaint.
There’s not enough selling! Look, I like cool X-Division style matches as much as anyone, but in each 16-20 minute PWG match, there are so many over the top, wild, crazy, spotty moves (all taking crazy talent and more balls than brains) that the wrestlers simply don’t have time to sell it. Every PWG wrestler kicks out of ten moves per match, that look like it should have killed them. I’ve also never seen so many finishers kicked out of in my life. Every match has both wrestlers kicking out of each others finisher, sometimes even more than once. I’d just like to see them slow down a little, and sell moves just a little bit more.
All of that said, I’ll likely keep buying PWG’s monthly DVD’s. Why? Well because often, many of the matches are good. Adam Cole vs. Johnny Gargano is a dream match I want to see again. Also, PWG is the only place right now, that seems to get how incredibly good Kyle O’Reilly is, as he’s a major singles star there. The Yong Bucks are the best tag team out there today, and they live in PWG and can have an awesome match with anyone. The fact that I can see ROH and DGUSA guys on the same card, is reason enough for me to buy a DVD each month. I just wish PWG was a little more serious, and tried to run a few more angles. Then I might agree that it’s the best wrestling company out there. Until then, it’s Ring of Honor to me. That said, if you’ve not watched PWG, you really should. I am in an extreme minority with my complaints.
I’ll wrap up with quick firing a few other complaints in succession. I don’t understand what rules apply, and what don’t. Every match has a ref, but he seems to only be there to count pin falls. Chairs are used, crotch shots are given, and wrestlers are often outside the ring for a count of 100. I suppose it’s ECW rules. Few and far between. The announce team (consisting of Excalibur, and what ever wrestler draws the short straw back stage) is often just hard to listen to. Inside jokes, giggling, and a seeming inability to call the names of the moves being hit, just often make me shake my head. Lastly, besides Mount Rushmore, meaning Adam Cole, The Young Bucks, and Kevin Steen, being complete, and total pricks, that everyone hates, there are no real “angles” in PWG. Wrestlers face off just for the hell of it. There’s little build, and little reason to root for anyone in particular, other than to see each one “get his shit in.”