Saturday, June 25, 2011

PWG DDT4 2011 (3/4/2011)

PWG DDT4 2011
March 4th, 2011
American Legion Post #308, Reseda, California
Attendance: Unknown

Every year Pro Wrestling Guerrilla holds a one night tag team tournament to crown new tag team champions in the spring time. This year however, they've changed things up and the winner of the tournament tonight gets a tag team title shot down the line against El Generico and Paul London. As usual the tournament is stacked with entrants including the Young Bucks, American Wolves, Kings of Wrestling, and Briscoes among others. Let's see if they can live up to the quality of past year's events.

Your hosts are Excalibur and a revolving door of color commentators

For once we don't start the show with Excalibur cracking jokes in the ring, we instead go straight to the action of the first match, or lack thereof. The Bucks are on the mic complaining about their accommodations here in Reseda compared to their deluxe trailers in Orlando, Florida with TNA. They continue to call themselves Generation Me (though they're still billed as the Bucks) and bring up their success in this tournament in year's past, including winning the whole thing two years ago. They seem upset about the makeshift tag team they have to face in front of them, so Gatson shuts them up with a wild over the top rope tope suicida, and we're off and running.

DDT4 First Round Match

Young Bucks (Matt Jackson/Nick Jackson) vs. Brandon Gatson/Willie Mack

If you haven't seen Mack, you're in for a treat as he's possibly the most agile and incredible big man I've ever seen. Mack and Gatson show surprising cohesion early in the contest, trading frequent tags and delivering creative double team maneuvers. The Bucks break up a springboard attempt by Gatson and Matt dropkicks him literally into the front row, sliding back five feet in a chair in an almost surreal manner. Luckily the guy in the front row did not spill his pitcher of beer, so no worries kids. Back int he ring the Bucks take the upper hand, working over Gatson in their corner. Just to get some extra heat the Bucks start pulling out trademark Hardy Boyz double team offense, with Matt Jackson even mimicking Matt Hardy's mannerisms circa 2003. This is one of the reasons I love the Bucks, they're fun to watch and they know how to piss off a PWG crowd like no one else. Nick tries the trademark springboard facebuster but Gatson blocks with a knee and nearly gets the overdue tag to Mack before Matt hits the ring to break it up. Nick slaps on the dreaded sleeper but Gatson counters into a slick STO. Matt taunts him so Gatson gives him a stunner and gets the hot tag to Mack! The crowd is really into Mack and goes crazy as he totally destroys both of the Bucks with running lariats in the corner. Matt tries for the infamous handspring back-rake of DOOM but Gatson breaks it up and delivers one of his own to Matt! He follows it up with the space flying tiger drop (or Sasuke special) to Nick out on the floor and Mack nearly wins it with a standing moonsault onto Matt. Gatson and Mack hit a double team neckbreaker that again nearly gets the pin, but Matt kicks out. Mack blocks the Risky Business double team from the Bucks hits another creative double team neckbreaker with Gatson for a near fall. Gatson gets tied up in the ropes and Nick superkicks Mack's face off to give the Bucks the win to advance at 11:37. Bit of an anti-climactic finish to an otherwise fun and hot opener. Mack and Gatson worked very well together for a first time team and the Bucks did their usual brilliant heel shtick with the PWG faithful and the results were an entertaining (if unexceptional) start to the tournament. **¾

DDT4 First Round Match
American Wolves (Davey Richards/Eddie Edwards) vs. RockNES Monsters (Johnny Goodtime/Johnny Yuma)

Both teams show mutual respect before the bell with handshakes all around. A weak kick sends Yuma to the floor almost immediately and we get a chance to see the awesome picture of the mighty Reptar on the back of his trunks. Yuma sends both of the Wolves to the floor with a pair of headscissors and Goodtime greets them outside the ring with a somersault plancha! Back inside the ring the Monsters double team up on Edwards as Joey Ryan asks Excalibur on commentary the timeless question "What are you more afraid of, a wolf or a Reptar?". Edwards lays in some vicious chops to Goodtime in the corner and he and Davey begin trading quick tags, working over Goodtime in their corner. The Monsters hit a series of dropkicks in the corner on Davey for a two count and the crowd fires up as Davey responds with a snap suplex. Davey chokes Yuma a bit with his boot, heeling it up against the California boys. The Wolves hit a double dropkick on Yuma as he's tied up in the tree of woe. Diving knee from Eddie gets two on Yuma and Davey applies a half Boston crab before transitioning right into a nasty old-school Liontamer. Eddie even cranks back on Davey's neck behind him to put even more pressure on the hold! The Wolves are really establishing themselves here as the wiser, more experienced tandem that's just methodically picking the Monsters apart and having a good time doing it. Everything they throw at the Wolves, they have one better. The Wolves begin to get sloppy in their double team efforts though and Yuma is able to get the hot tag to Goodtime after an extended beatdown. He clears house on Edwards with dropkicks and then hits him with a sloppy kneebreaker for two. Falcon Arrow from Goodtime, but Edwards gets the shoulder up! Back on his feet Edwards superkicks Yuma and gives Goodtime a dragon screw legwhip. Davey tags in and slaps the ankle lock onto Goodtime, who reverses it into a cradle for a near fall. Running knee and a back drop suplex get Davey two as well. Yuma hits Davey with a codebreaker and Goodtime follows with a big frog splash, but again Richards kicks out. Edwards tags in but misses a double-stomp and eats a spin kick. The Wolves hit the ring and deliver the superkick-German suplex double team combo on Goodtime, but he kicks out at two to the crowd's shock! Huge lung-blower from Davey and Edwards sinks in a deep achilles lock on Goodtime, who taps at 20:52. Excellent action from both teams here, the Wolves firmly established themselves as the veterans who had all the answers for this young team, while Goodtime & Yuma played the plucky young hometown babyfaces who just might pull it off perfectly here. ***½

DDT4 First Round Match
Kings of Wrestling (Chris Hero/Claudio Castagnoli) vs. The Cutler Brothers (Brandon Cutler/Dustin Cutler)

Claudio is your current PWG World champion here as well to solidify themselves as favorites to go far in this year's tournament. Claudio and Dustin start it off with matching shoulder-blocks, each man trying to display their power in the early going. Hero and Brandon tag in and slow things down with a nice wristlock and Greco-Roman knuckle-lock exchange. Dropkick from Brandon gets two and he tags his brother back in. Both teams are basically just feeling each other out in the opening stages here, with the Kings notably getting the better of the Cutlers on several exchanges. A European uppercut/roaring elbow combo nearly puts Dustin Cutler out and the Kings look like they're having fun. A huge gutwrench suplex from Claudio gets him a near fall. Dustin hits a big tilt-a-whirl bulldog and is able to get the tag to Brandon, who takes out Hero with a spinning heel kick and Claudio with a Thesz press. Jumping ace crusher from Brandon gets a close two and the crowd fires up again. A wheelbarrow/lung-blower combo nearly gives the Cutlers the win, but Claudio breaks the pin up. A pair of roaring elbows from Hero takes out both of the Cutlers and a jumping knee from Claudio gets another near fall. Dustin kicks out of a chokeslam from Claudio and Brandon takes out Hero with a tope. Dustin nearly pins Claudio with a death valley driver but Claudio hits him with the pop-up European uppercut. The Kings hit a huge giant swing dropkick on Dustin, but yet again he somehow kicks out. Finally a pair of stereo big boots from both of the Kings is enough to put Dustin away at 16:21. This was a change of pace from the previous two matches with both teams keeping things more grounded and methodical, but it worked very well in that same context. Another solid tournament match that shows us the Kings outsmarting their opponents yet again. ***

DDT4 First Round Match
Nightmare Violence Connection (Kevin Steen/Akira Tozawa) vs. The Briscoe Brothers (Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe)

Steen and Tozawa had an incredibly brutal match against one another last December at Cyanide: A Loving Tribute to Poison and decided that they worked so well together they would enter this tournament as a tag team. Tozawa and Jay start us off and the crowd is immediately behind Tozawa. They trade some basic headlock and wristlock exchanges. Steen tags in and bites a chunk out of Jay's nose before eating a dropkick and a headbutt from Mark. They knock Tozawa off the apron and double Steen for another two count. They try for a double hip-toss but Steen counters with a double ear-bite! Steen fights off both Briscoes and tags Tozawa back in, who shrieks with every strike he lays in. The crowd starts mimicking every one of his screams and eventually Tozawa gets fed up and just tells the crowd to "Shut the fuck up" in a hilarious moment. He slaps a sleeper onto Jay but he counters with a big spinebuster. Mark hits a leg lariat on Steen and then follows up with an exploder suplex for another close two count. Tozawa and Jay then go into what might be the greatest sequence of the year as each man lays in their own goofy, shrieking, over-the-top version of kung-fu strikes on one another like crazy screaming monkeys, only to have their level-headed partners try to break them up and get caught up in the chaos. Steen blocks the Jay Driller and gets a close two on him with a powerbomb and a shining wizard. Mark gives Steen a big death valley driver and Jay follows with a senton off the top for another long two. Steen gets Jay up in the Doomsday Device position and Tozawa hits a springboard SHINING WIZARD on him for the win at 9:43! This is everything I love about PWG and wrestling in general, packed into a short near ten minute introductory package. From Tozawa and Jay going into an awesome redneck/samurai kung-fu showdown to the explosive finish, this was non-stop fun. ***¼

DDT4 Semi-Finals Match
The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson/Nick Jackson) vs. American Wolves (Davey Richards/Eddie Edwards)

These two met in a great match last year in ROH, so expectations are running high for this semi-finals contest. Nick and Davey start off and Nick is quickly sent reeling back to his brother for consolation, so he gives him a kiss on the cheek and the crowd hilariously chants "That was incest!" at him. The opening portion of this contest is totally focused around the personalities of both teams. The Bucks showing their flashy offense and taunting the crowd arrogantly while the serious Wolves look on with disgust and make the two pretty boys pay for their vanity. Stereo tope suicidas from the Wolves send the crowd to their feet. Back inside Edwards hands out loud chops to the brothers Buck. The Wolves continue to outsmart the Bucks with ease, double-teaming Nick behind the ref's back while Matt complains to the crowd. Matt hits a leg drop (shouting "Hogan!" while he does it) for a two count. Davey takes a beatdown from both Bucks for a bit before evading a German attempt from Matt and getting an overdue tag to Eddie. Tiger Suplex on Nick gets a close two count. Nick is barely able to break up the German suplex/jackknife pin combo from the Wolves, and a follow-up Liger Bomb from Edwards won't do the trick either. A tombstone piledriver from Matt gets a close two on Davey while Nick wipes out Eddie on the floor with a tope. We go into the usual superkicks-bonanza sequence in which everyone in the ring eats and delivers atleast one superkick to one another before the Bucks hit a reverse hurricanrana to wipe out the Wolves and send the crowd wild on their feet. Nick low blows Eddie from behind but they miss More Bang For Your Buck and Nick winds up getting German suplexes 360 degrees off the top rope! Double team wheelbarrow-lungblower combo but Nick breaks it up. Eddie tries the achilles lock, but Matt counters into a cradle and gets the cheap win to advance to the finals at 16:07! Definitely the best tournament match so far in the evening, much like the earlier Wolves match this was a very character-driven match until the finishing sprint when all four men went into some signature jaw-dropping sequences. ***¾

DDT4 Semi-Finals Match
Nightmare Violence Connection (Kevin Steen/Akira Tozawa) vs. Kings of Wrestling (Chris Hero/Claudio Castagnoli)

Steen makes sure to have the ring announcer call them the "Kings of Sexual Intercourse", as if the crowd wasn't behind them enough. Steen and Hero start us off with the Kings trading quick tags and working Steen's leg on the mat. Steen fights them off quickly though and tags Tozawa in, who sheepishly tries chopping Claudio to little luck. The basic story of the match here, as with most Tozawa matches, it that the guy is simply outmatched by the sheer size and power of his opponents, but he keeps fighting back and kicking out despite their best efforts, refusing to stay down. This beatdown goes on for minutes with the crowd doing their best to rally behind Tozawa. He responds with a nasty high angle back-drop suplex on Hero and gets the hot tag to Steen! Codebreaker from Steen onto Claudio and he follows it with the cannonball splash into the corner for a two count. Tozawa sends Hero to the floor and then hits a pair of lightning fast topes followed by a senton off the apron! Big piledriver from Hero back inside nearly puts Tozawa away, but he feeds off of the crowd and refuses to quit. Bridging German suplex from Tozawa, but Hero barely kicks out. A pair of bicycle kicks from Tozawa triggers a roaring elbow from Hero, but Tozawa gets right up at the count of one! The crowd goes wild as Tozawa is a house of fire! Hero misses a moonsault and Tozawa cradles him with a La Magistral to get the upset win to advance at 16:42! The crowd goes wild for Steen and Tozawa's win. Yet another rock-solid tournament contest here with Tozawa playing off his chemistry with Hero from last year's BOLA tournament and bringing a ton of fire and energy into his comeback. Another good match, shocker huh? ***¼

Joey Ryan, the number one contender for Claudio's PWG World Title, is in the ring now. He says he's focused on his singles career, thus he hasn't entered into tonight's tag team tournament. He wants a warm-up match in preparation for his title shot at Claudio, so he's devised a gauntlet match to take place next, with the winner to face him directly afterwards. So here we go...

Joey Ryan Invitational Gauntlet Match
Brian Cage-Taylor vs. Ryan Taylor
vs. Peter Avalon vs. Candice LaRae

There's a 30 minute time limit on the whole thing and we start out with two of the Fightin' Taylor boys, Brian Cage and Ryan. I'm going to just grade this as one big match instead of several small ones. Both men trade some basic mat holds and counter-holds to start off. Both men trade power moves to try and put the other away quickly in order to save energy. Ryan hits a springboard dropkick that sends Brian to the floor and then he topes him right into the third row! Back inside a big swanton nearly gets three for Ryan. A twisting neckbreaker from Ryan is enough to put Cage away, and next out is Peter Avalon. Avalon hits the ring immediately to jump Taylor. He hits a sloppy ace crusher on the ring apron and then follows it with a moonsault. Back in the ring Taylor tries a crossface but Avalon escapes. Taylor tries for the same neckbreaker he used to beat Brian, but Avalon counters into a roll-up and pulls the tights to eliminate Ryan. Out next is the lovely and always popular Candice LaRae. Joey Ryan hits the ring suddenly though and superkicks Avalon, giving Candice the victory tow in the gauntlet and have to face Ryan next at 15:49. Not much of a match obviously, this was clearly the cool-down period on the card before the finals of the tournament, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with having matches like these for that very purpose. **

Joey Ryan vs. Candice LaRae

This is hardly the first time Ryan has wrestled a woman, and he in fact had a very good little match with Christina Von Eerie last year right around this time. Ryan gets on the mic and laughs at his opposition, but Candice doesn't appreciate that and she threatens to make Ryan tap out. Ryan is offended enough that he puts his title shot on the line in this match. The crowd chants "Next world champ!" at Candice, which is bizarre but funny. Candice is cautious to start, picking her spots with cradles and crucifix pinning attempts. A few kicks send Ryan to the floor and Candice follows him out with a tope, grabbing Ryan in mid-air and planting him on the floor with a tornado DDT in the process! Ryan nearly gets counted out but makes it back inside just in the nick of time. A superplex almost wins it for Candice, but Ryan kicks out and she calls for the infamous ball-plex! And she delivers it! BAH GAWD THE BALL-PLEX! Sorry, channeling my inner Jim Ross there. Reverse hurricanrana off the top, but somehow Ryan kicks out again! She misses the moonsault though and eats a superkick before Ryan locks her into the kimura for the submission win at 9:02. This was another fun contest as Ryan always works well against the babyface women in PWG, playing his role as sexist misogynistic pig to perfection. For a brief second people actually thought Candice was going to beat Joey, so you got to give them some credit there. Solid stuff. **¼

DDT4 Finals Match
The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson/Nick Jackson) vs. Nightmare Violence Connection (Kevin Steen/Akira Tozawa)

The Young Bucks are in the finals yet again, having won the tournament two years ago and made it to the finals last year. Total chaos to start as both teams brawl around ringside at the match begins. Steen hits a frog splash off the apron onto Matt and half the crowd parts like the Red Sea. Steen follows it by powerbombing Nick onto the ring apron, and the crowd chants for another so Steen obliges and gives him one more before Matt fights him off with a chair. So of course Steen powerbombs Matt onto the apron as well. Back in the ring Matt goes for his signature handspring back rake, this time using an actual rake! That's genius. The Bucks drag Tozawa over to the apron and give him a double DDT off the apron onto a steel chair on the floor! The DDT is so devastating in fact that a few referees come out to help Tozawa backstage for some medical attention, leaving Steen alone in the ring to take an epic beatdown from the cocky Bucks. Steen tries desperately for the package piledriver on Nick, but gets beaten down with chairs instead. Chris Hero is on commentary and puts over how hurt Tozawa must be in order to have been convinced to abandon his partner. Steen has been busted open now and the Bucks continue the classic heel beatdown, taunting the crowd all the while. You know when I watch just how great of a pair of heels these two can be, I become even more saddened by their booking in TNA. Suddenly, like a knight in shining armor, out runs Akira Tozawa from the back for a mega-monster pop from the PWG faithful! He hits the ring immediately and snaps off a huge German suplex on Nick while Steen applies a sharpshooter onto Matt. Tozawa is fired up now and he German suplexes Matt right on top of Nick! Another Everest German suplex and a roll-through arm capture suplex from Tozawa, but Nick manages to break it up just in the nick of time! Tozawa hoists BOTH of the Bucks on top of his shoulders (one atop the other) and gives them a double Samoan drop as Hero flips out on commentary! Package piledriver from Steen and a Shining Wizard from Tozawa, but Nick breaks it up or else that surely would have been three! Nick wipes out Tozawa on the floor with a dangerous plancha while Steen tries the sharpshooter once again, but Nick hits the ring and feeds him a nasty superkick. The Bucks start hitting one stiff, nasty superkick after another onto Steen, which is the exact same way that the Bucks defeated Steen and Generico to win this tournament two years ago and is one of the ways they advanced to the finals tonight. Steen somehow is able to withstand this crazy barrage of superkicks and kick out at a two count, which pops the crowd big. Steen just keeps eating one superkick after another, but he won't stay down. Tozawa hits the ring and starts swinging blindly like a madman (or as Hero likes to put it, "Fucking shit up") but he eats a double superkick of his own from the brothers. They hit More Bang For Your Buck on BOTH Steen and Tozawa, and that's enough to finally give the Bucks the win and their second DDT4 tournament title at 20:52. You know I didn't like the idea of the Bucks winning again at first, but you have to understand why it was done considering Tozawa's US excursion is coming to an end very soon and he's returning to Japan. This was an absolutely brilliant match though that played off of DDT4 finals in years past while showing off the incredible fighting spirit of Tozawa yet again and establishing Steen firmly as a man who's nearly impossible to put down in PWG. The story of Tozawa leaving and coming back would have been perfect had they wound up winning the contest, but as it stands this was still just an incredible match that capped off another great tournament and solidifies the Young Bucks yet again as one of the most dominant and talented tag teams on the independent wrestling circuit today. ****¼

After the match Steen offers the Bucks a handshake in a sign of respect, but they just superkick him unconscious instead. The Bucks might need some bodyguards, because these fans are about to rip them apart after that. The Bucks get on the microphone and to my absolute shock, they actually thank the fans for coming out tonight. They explain how important the DDT4 tournament was in elevating their careers two years ago in 2009, and then tell El Generico and Paul London that they're coming for their tag belts ("Paul! Put down that joint! El Generico, spend a day or two in the gym and get a tan for god's sake."). We close out the show with the Bucks dedicating their tournament victory to their beloved boss, Dixie Carter!

Bottom Line: This was definitely one of the best DDT4 tournaments yet in PWG history, and that's really saying something considering the strength of this show in year's past. Almost every match on the card hit the *** mark, and the finals produced an easy match of the year contender so far for not only PWG but the independent wrestling scene in general. Another excellent show from PWG, which is becoming almost old news to say at this point as I can't even remember the last time I watched a PWG show and didn't recommend it. Another easy Thumbs Up.

Score: 8.5/10

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