To be a PWG fan in 2018 is to be a spoiled fan. Because for a promotion that is known for their spectacular shows each year, 2018 seems to be raising the already high standard further.
PWG last left fans in absolute awe at the conclusion of this year’s Battle of Los Angeles. By the fans who were lucky enough to watch it unfold live, the weekend tournament has widely been praised as the best in promotion history.
And while the masses wait for their opportunity to see the show themselves once it comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray, we are already upon the next show. A show that, on paper, looks to be tremendous — even by PWG’s sky-high standards.
PWG has a history of paying tribute to actors, musicians, and various public entertainment figures in the titling of its shows. With actor Burt Reynolds having died in the days following BOLA, the upcoming show pays homage to him and one of his most famous films, Smokey and the Bandit. So, with a little word play involving one of the hottest indie wrestlers on the scene currently, Oct. 19 will host PWG’s event, “Smokey and the Bandido.”
Flamita vs. Puma King vs. Rey Horus
You put two luchadors in the ring and you’re almost guaranteed a good time. When you decide to add an additional, the rule still applies, only with extra emphasis.
It is difficult to pick a favorite here. They all have cases to be made for different reasons. Horus has been a PWG mainstay since he debuted at BOLA 2017, only gaining momentum ever since. At some point you have to figure PWG is going to give him a solid push to get him up the ladder.
Then you’ve got Flamita who has not accomplished all that much in PWG in his handful of outings, in terms of wins. This, despite impressing each time he steps in the ring. Plus, he’s the tag partner of Bandido, who is on fire. So to give Flamita some momentum would be completely logical.
And lastly, Puma King. The guy probably least known heading into this year’s BOLA, and easily one of the most talked about heading out. Plenty of guys manage to get over in PWG, but not many of them start getting over with crowds before their debut match even begins and by the end have the whole crowd newly in love. Puma is sure to be the fan favorite here, and it would make all the sense to give fans even more reason to get behind him with a first proper PWG victory.
There will surely be some fun comedy in the match, and a whole lot of flying. But no matter who wins here, the fans are sure to win regardless.
Brody King vs. Timothy Thatcher
If this is going to be anything at all, it’s going to be a true mean-guy match. Two intense, manly men beating the hell out of each other is what to expect.
It is, however, an interest style clash. Brody, on the one hand, comes with his hybrid hard-hitting big man style with some doses of high flying in there that tend to catch people off guard given his size. Whereas Thatcher comes in with a more traditional submission, mat-based style — yet equally, if not more hard-hitting than Brody.
Brody should probably be the favorite to win, but there is no doubt Thatcher is long overdue for a singles victory in PWG. While he has admittedly not been a consistent mainstay the last two years, Thatcher’s last singles victory in PWG was back in January 2016. And let’s not forget it was Thatcher who scored the pinfall victory in the big tag main event of BOLA Night 1 this year. Something which could have been a sign of PWG getting some momentum behind Thatcher, or simply a way to give him some glory before he would lose his Round 1 match the following night.
Will this be match of the night? Likely not. But there will likely only be one match on the card that gives it competition in the meanest, hardest-hitting match of the evening.
Darby Allin vs. Trevor Lee
The bad news? This was originally supposed to be Allin vs. Joey Janela, in what was sure to be a spectacle car-crash match if ever there was one.
The good news? We lose one match, and we get something else to fill its spot that will shape its own role entirely.
Allin is an interesting story in wrestling. Where he started off as a guy who depended on daredevil spots and extreme punishment to get over, he has since evolved to be a genuinely well-rounded wrestler who just so happens to go back to the daredevil well when need be. Not only that, but he plays an excellent underdog babyface role which conveys itself so naturally.
How perfect to be standing across from Lee, in that case. Lee, the perpetual bombastic heel of PWG.
It is almost certain no other match on the card will showcase the babyface vs. heel concept better than this. Knowing how good Lee is at his job, the crowd is sure to be fully behind Allin. The underdog role will come out in full.
The match won’t be as wild as what Allin vs. Janela was likely to be, but this will surpass it in the emotional factor. And once again, we have a match where either man could reasonably win.
Fans have been waiting for Lee to get his big push for years. Hell, the majority of fans were convinced Lee’s time had finally arrived for BOLA this year — he being the big favorite to win. But it did not pan out that way.
Allin just debuted in PWG at BOLA. And any fans who were not sold on him surely left newly-made fans after his jaw-dropping match with Jeff Cobb. There’s no real need for Allin to win here, but it would be big if he did.
Will Lee’s promise of walking out of the last Reseda show as champion hold true (assuming there is another Reseda show ahead) as he finally gets that main event push? Or will Allin upset the veteran and begin a little push as one of PWG’s newest babyfaces?
Bandido vs. Fenix
If you ask any PWG fan about their most anticipated match, this is likely the one you’ll hear about.
This one here is almost dream match material. For years now, Fenix has been among the premiere wrestlers on the indie scene. One of the types who seemingly can’t have a match that’s not at least great.
But when you talk about wrestling in 2018, undoubtedly one of its biggest stories is the rapid rise of Bandido. Upon his PWG debut, almost no one knew much about him. Seven months later, Bandido is one of the hottest names in wrestling — and well deservedly so.
In terms of finesse and technique, these two might just be the two best luchadors in the world today. Many would argue Fenix extends beyond that into the conversation of best wrestlers in the world, and if Bandido does not already, he is certainly well on his way.
Given where the two men stand in PWG, you have to think Bandido is the favorite here. He was the runner-up in BOLA, and might just be the most over wrestler in all of PWG currently. Whereas Fenix is not a PWG regular anymore, but undoubtedly a made man in indie wrestling. Losses don’t matter all that much for him anymore, and Bandido getting a win here would be big.
If predicting five-star matches was a thing, one could not blame you in pegging this one a candidate. Let’s just say this is a match where fans are probably going to start throwing money in the ring before it even begins.
Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Hechicero
One of two debuts on the show as Hechicero makes his PWG debut here. A wrestler who, much like Puma King did, comes into PWG as a relative unknown from Mexico — the bigger part of his career taking place in CMLL to this point.
It seems to be common in PWG for fans to not feel the need to study up on debuting names they might not be familiar with. There is a certain trust the fans have with the promotion where someone would not be debuting if they were not an impressive performer. Performing at PWG is somewhat of a rite of passage in wrestling. To even be invited says something about your abilities. So most fans will certainly be walking into the show knowing little to nothing about Hechicero.
However, the little that has been said by fans who were already familiar is encouraging, as they are excited for this match.
Sabre, on the other hand, is nearly a PWG legend at this point. He is past that stage of being a regular as he was from 2014-2017 and after signing with New Japan Pro Wrestling this year, Sabre’s appearances in the west have become more rare and appreciated. A PWG Sabre match in 2018 is an event all its own like a PWG Young Bucks match nowadays.
Your author is walking into this match half blind. But the excitement of those in the know leaves no reason to doubt this match won’t impress on a stellar card.
The Rascalz vs. LAX — PWG Tag Team Championship Match
The second debut of the show. LAX will make its landing in PWG — kicking off with a bang in a tag title match right from the get-go. A rarity for tag teams in PWG, but one that no one has complained about.
As much as fans like to see new names in PWG, fans really like to see new tag teams enter the picture. It is still a hope among many fans we will again see the DDT4 shows again, but that can only happen when a healthy tag team roster is available.
Which is what makes this match a little more exciting than usual. Of the many tag teams on the indie scene, LAX are among those who seem to fit right in the PWG mold. LAX is a team that has changed over the years — a long story your author will refrain from — but its current version of Santana and Ortiz has become a hell of a team to watch. Whether it be their time in IMPACT Wrestling, or their appearances in Bar Wrestling, they have impressed over and over.
The Rascalz have taken PWG by storm in 2018. If PWG’s tag division lacked anything, it was stability. Many of the older tag teams had either drifted away or could no longer commit to PWG as they had before. That, or your current teams were made of singles wrestlers who teamed on occasion, but never felt like a fully devoted team. And then The Rascalz came in.
But while The Rascalz may have ceased that trend, they still require proper challengers. And The Rascalz have gone through a who’s-who of teams to this point, making a debuting team all the more enticing.
The one could easily be match of the night. But it would be hard to imagine a title change.
WALTER vs. Jeff Cobb — PWG Championship Match
Against the odds, Cobb won BOLA 2018. And here he enters for his earned title shot at maybe the most intimidating PWG Champion ever. WALTER’s time in PWG has produced nothing short of a path of destruction. Even in his rare losses, singles or tag team, his opponents never left without a plethora of wounds.
Cobb has been a PWG regular since his debut in 2016. He’s been a tag team champion, and now he chases the mountaintop. Rumors surround WALTER, and there is no certainty if he will still be on the indie circuit come 2019.
Cobb was not one of the favorites to win BOLA, and by no means should he be a favorite here. But in a way, that’s exactly what makes him an interesting choice to win. WALTER winning or losing says a lot about his immediate future in wrestling. Because there is no need to dethrone a dominate champion unless he is leaving.
But if we excuse all the behind-the-scenes matters, PWG fans are in for a certain treat. A brutal match seems to be the only certainty here. WALTER with his imposing presence and destructive strikes, and Cobb with his inhuman strength and impressive abilities for a man of his large size.
It’s hard to pick a favorite, because it depends almost entirely on the validity of the rumors about WALTER’s wrestling future. Rumors which have died down over the last month. Which might leave one to think WALTER should win.
This too is a match that could potentially be match of the night, depending on how much punishment both men are willing to endure. And that threshold tends to be high even on average nights.
Picture Credit: @Superluchas / superluchas.com