Pro Wrestling Guerrilla DVD Review: Astonishing X-Mas, 12-16-2005

This is a bit of an older PWG DVD, but it is a pretty good show to introduce fans to a lot of what PWG offers. The main selling point of the disc is the main event “Guerrilla Warfare Match” between Kevin Steen and Super Dragon, but the show also features wrestlers Ring of Honor fans will be familiar with like Colt Cabana, Davey Richards, Jack Evans, Roderick Strong, Rocky Romero, and El Generico. TNA fans will recognize Petey Williams, Samoa Joe, Frankie “Kaz” Kazarian, Chris Sabin, Alex Shelley, and Christopher Daniels. The show also features Wrestling Society X stalwarts like Quicksilver (El Hombre Blanco en elmascarado), Joey Ryan, Scorpio Sky and Human Tornado. Hell even WCW fans will recognize Kanyon. This show has a lot of familiar faces, but it is time to see if it is good or not.

Opening Contest: Alex Shelley vs. Scott Lost

I am a huge fan of Alex Shelley, and Scott Lost is no slouch either so I was pretty much looking forward to this one. I can’t say I was disappointed either. The technical wrestling was as good and crisp as you’ll find anywhere if it did lack a little flow. Shelley proved time and time again that he was the better grappler than Lost. In the best commentating of the night, the announcers put over the danger of Lost’s version of the Sharpshooter. So, it came as no surprise that Shelley tapped out despite minimal back work in the build to the finish. Still it was a decent if unremarkable match.

Winner: Scott Lost via submission; **

Tag Team Challenge: Nemesis and Ronin vs. Top Gun Talwar and Quicksilver

This is one of those matches that the fast forward button is made for. If you have never seen Quicksilver wrestle, though, it is worth a bit of a gander. He really stands out amongst the dreck in this match. Talwar is ok-ish at what he does. His moves are crisp but he lacks a lot of flow in the ring. Nemesis and Ronin just do nothing for me, though. Quicksilver gets the win for his team after a sit out Death Valley Driver. In summation, Quicksilver good, everything else…Not so much.

Winners: Quicksilver and Top Gun Talwar via pinfall; *

Colt Cabana vs. Scorpio Sky

This was an odd match to say the least. I liked a lot of things about it, but did not like the match on the whole. It was basically Cabana going really old school with body part psychology to slow down the faster Scorpio. It worked too. Colt got the pin when Scorpio was in too much pain from a leg submission. It was a nice unconventional finish that adds some realism to the exhibition that is professional wrestling. But, at the same time it did sort of make Scorpio Sky look like a bitch because of its convention defying finish.

Winner: Colt Cabana via pinfall; *

Tag Team Attraction Match: Roderick Strong and Jack Evans vs. Two Skinny Black Guys and Jade Chung (Human Tornado and El Generico)

I am pretty much a fan of all four men in this match. Tornado is one of the few guys on the indies with some real charisma, so much in fact that it outshines his shortcomings as a wrestler. You can read any <a href=http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/author/aaronglazer/ target=new>Pulse Glazer column to find a verbal felating of the generic luchador. I think in this edition of Ring of Honor Weekly he calls him “godly.” And, if you are followers of Jack Evans and Roderick Strong’s RoH work you know what they are capable of. With that being said, this match did not click as well as it probably should have.

It was pretty much your standard MOVEZZZZ match, but not in a necessarily bad way. Evans and Strong were clearly the better team. Tornado and Generico just used their teammate as a way to get rest while they went through their singles spots. Strong and Evans got the win after a botched Ode to the Bulldogs followed by more fliptaculosity from Evans.

Winners: Jack Evans and Roderick Strong; **

PWG World Championship Match: Joey “Magnum” Ryan © vs. Kanyon

This match marks Ryan’s first defense of the PWG strap and Kanyon of course had silly gimmicks in WCW. GOOG GOD did this math suck? Wow, Kanyon was so obviously just earning a paycheck it was kind of sad. He hit about a dozen flatliners (one of his many finishes) and none were believable nearfalls. He also dwarfed Ryan in such a way that it hurt the match. Ryan, who is usually pretty good at what he does, was not in this match. There was just no logic or flow to the math. It was just a series of finisher-type maneuvers that were not delivered or sold particularly well. There was even an inexplicable brass knuckles spot, and then Mortis (one of Kanyon’s older silly gimmicks) came out and cost the match for his alter ego(?). “Who betta than Kanyon?” Lots of people.

Winner: Joey Ryan via pinfall; DUD

Special Challenge Match: Samoa Joe vs. Davey Richards

This was a breath of fresh air from the horrific crap shown in the title match. Every time I see Joe, even in old matches, I miss his presence in Ring of Honor. This was one of the highlights of the card. Joe was great and Davey told an excellent underdog story. It is not as good as their RoH match in 2007 when both had improved: Davey a lot, Joe a little. It is still a fun match with a lot of great strikes and well thought out wrestling. Joe won with the Muscle Buster.

Winner: Samoa Joe via pinfall; ***

8 Man Tag Team Match: Christopher Daniels, Petey Williams, Alex Koslov, and B-Boy vs. Frankie Kazarian, TJ Perkins, Chris Sabin, and Rocky Romero

I am a huge fan of multi-person matches. That could be a reason that I am attracted to <a href=http://www.chikarapro.com<Chikara so much. Given the participants in this match it would be hard to disappoint, and it didn’t. There was a lot of the crazy spots and legal man confusion typically associated with 8 man tags. They did a good job of putting over Chris Sabin’s Cradle Shock as a lights out finish and worked in a fair amount of comedy. Sabin was really the star of this match with probably the veteran Daniels being the second most memorable. Sabin was able to get the win for his squadron with the aforementioned Cradle Shock. This was just solid, fun wrestling.

Winners: Team Sabin via pinfall; ***

Guerrilla Warfare: Kevin Steen vs. Super Dragon

This match was and is the selling point of the DVD. Look at Jonathan Kirschner’s Chapter by Chapter to get a feel for the history between these two bruisers. The question is, “Is the match worth the purchase price?” In a word, yes.

I am a huge fan of Kevin Steen and I think that he is one of the few wrestlers on the indies that has the “it” factor. I doubt he will ever get a big league shot due to his physique, but he could be one of the cornerstones on which the foundation of a nationally touring, regularly televised Ring of Honor could be based. Super Dragon, however, does not capture my interest. He is pretty good at what he does, but there is just something lacking for me. With that being said, this is the type of match where he shines.

The match itself was a really fun, violent brawl. These two beat themselves to smithereens all over “The Sweatbox” (the affectionate nickname of PWG’s home base venue). The atmosphere was great too as the fans were practically climbing into the ring to avoid the wild melee. They were also banging on the ring apron to show their support in a display only possible in a small indy fed like this. These two really showed their hatred trading curb stomps (Super Dragon’s signature maneuver) and other devastating moves. This could have been a great story of who is willing to go further to end the match, a match that involved thumbtacks, tables, chairs, and handcuffs, and it many ways it was. But, there were just too many unbelievable moves followed by two counts and that hurt the match for me. Some of the kickouts were unbelievable not in a “fighting spirit” sort of way, but in a business killing sort of way. I will leave those spots for you, the viewer, to figure out. Super Dragon was able to get the win in this match after delivering a Psycho Driver (sit-out burning hammer) to a handcuffed Steen onto a pile of thumbtacks. It was an insane finish indeed. I only give this match ***1/2 stars because of the aforementioned flaws. I can easily see why people would go higher, but I just can’t.

Winner: Super Dragon via pinfall; ***1/2

Final Thoughts: The main event is certainly worth checking out. The rest of the card is very missable, but some of it is a lot of fun. This may not be the best show, quality wise, to introduce someone to PWG, but it does have a lot of their top stars and some familiar faces from the world of professional wrestling. If you get a chance to see it, you definitely should, and regardless you should support independent professional wrestling. It is a truly unique live experience whether it is a good show or bad. So go see you WWEs and TNAs, but also watch your Ring of Honors, Chikara’s, PWGs, 2CWs, AIWs, FIPs or whatever else is near you.

I’ll see you next time.

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