Pro Wrestling Guerrilla
Mystery Vortex III – 
Rock & Shock The Nation
June 26, 2015
Reseda, CA

Last time… on Pro Wrestling Guerrilla!

PWG’s Mystery Vortex is quite the concept. Going into Mystery Vortex 3, fans had virtually no concrete idea on who would be appearing, nor were there any advertised matches. It’s a mystery show, hence the name. That idea made what occurred in the main event that much more of a thrilling spectacle, one we never saw coming.

Tommaso Ciampa vs Johnny Gargano

I’ll save words about Tommaso Ciampa’s recent venture as a vagabond working the second and third tier Indie circuit post-ROH run and just say…while I like him, he runs anywhere from luke warm to cold these days in the ring. Luckily, on this night, Johnny Gargano brought his wrestling boots and really took what could have been pretty drab and made it a pretty decent opener. Johnny Wrestling kept his work, as always, crisp and hotly paced for the Reseda crowd. The semi-manic match structure wasn’t working for me until the KILL HIM DEAD finale where Ciampa hit a surprise pop up Project Ciampa, his front suplex-knee to the face set up and another big Project Ciampa to finish Gargano. The ending popped the crowd and really made the journey here worth it. Gargano really worked his ass off. ***1/4

Monster Mafia vs World’s Cutest Tag Team

This will be the final match in Josh Alexander’s short run in PWG. Check out VOW’s very own Warren Taylor’s retrospective on Big Josh. It’s really great stuff. Candice gets a hot start after the sneak attack by the Mafia before it cools down and the heels take over. Candice ended up being the star here, as her mid-match hot tag sequence really kicked the match up a notch. She really plays well off of the fun offense of the Mafia with her counters. I might be the only one, but I’d love to actually see a Candice vs. Ethan Page match in PWG. It’d be ridiculous. Candice eventually hits her reverse-rana off the second rope on Josh Alexander to get the win. Despite her putting in work, everyone else was just kind of there though throughout the match. It ended up being ok. **3/4

Post-match, Big Josh gets his curtain call. It was a special little moment until Ethan Page turns on him and heels it up. The singles run of Ethan Page in PWG is going to be fun. I’m ready.

Biff Busick vs Timothy Thatcher

Big debut for the Reseda crowd, as Timothy Thatcher finally shows up in PWG and appropriately enough against one of his bigger rivals on the indie scene. As opposed to the crowd going bananas for the usual PWG flipfests, this was most definitely a sit back and sip your pitcher of beer type of wrestling. If you’ve ever read my stuff before, you know the catch style isn’t my cup of tea, but if I am going to watch and enjoy it, it’s probably going to involve Biff Busick. He just works with a different level of intensity that makes these matches a little more interesting. It just so happens, that is what happened here as this was your usual indie catch style match before the intensity kicked up in the go-home where heads were butted, slaps and palms met faces, and the struggle for a choke hold made this some respectable fare. Thatcher controls most of the match, but eventually Biff gets his choke hold in and Thatch taps. While I don’t love this stuff nearly as much as Chris Hero does, it was pretty decent. ***1/4

PWG World Championship
Roderick Strong (c) vs “Speedball” Mike Bailey

The pre-match shenanigans saw Roddy, in his ridiculous Bahstahn accent, tell the crowd to “SHAT THA FACK AHP” five times before issuing an open challenge. He really oozes heelish charisma in this setting. It’s really great. Just as Roddy was about to leave, Mike Bailey shows up, gets called a nerd, and exposes a really impressive farmer’s tan. A ridiculous roundhouse kick nails Roddy flush in the ear pops the crowd with a 2.9 count to open the match and the pace is set with 24 straight kicks. An outside flurry by Speedball is halted with Roddy hitting an End of Heartache onto the apron to slow it down and put Strong in control. This evolves into something special. Sometimes, style clashes make for great matchups and that is what happened here as the overconfident champ was being overwhelmed by the kicks and guile of the underdog and couldn’t seem to put together a series of moves to finish him off. The Reseda crowd ate this up. From the numerous near falls to some fighting spirit, this match was really your ultimate underdog versus the champ type match. Speedball eventually falls short, but Roddy needs to kill him dead with two End of Heartaches. While your mileage may vary, I was all-in. Consider this one of my nominations for Match of the Month for August. ****1/2

Brian Cage vs John Silver

Welcome back, Mr. GMSI! Brian Cage is of my unabashed favorites, so I for one, welcome him back into the mix in PWG after a very good run in Lucha Underground (while also having himself a nice lil’ run currently in AAA). I wouldn’t expect anything groundbreaking here though, but its a fun little transition match where they play up size disparity between the two where Silver gets plenty of strength spots to get over before They Call Him Cage hits the discus lariat. It runs a bit long and doesn’t totally keep my attention throughout, but its inoffensive and at times, fun. **3/4

Chris Hero vs Zack Sabre, Jr.

Remember Kassius Ohno vs. William Regal back on NXT in 2013 (you know, when NXT was good)? Remember when Regal completely fucked Ohno’s hand in that match by working his digits? Yeah…you do? Did ya like it? Well…if you did…this match is that, except BOTH guys are trying to tear each others fingers off all match. Hero’s middle finger gets totally fucked, too. First off, it starts bleeding like he got a really nasty paper cut. Secondly, by mid-match, he somehow hardway dislocated the finger only to pop it back into place with the extreme closeup from the ringside camera. Totally gross, but equally fantastic. This was a bit different from usual Chris Hero fare where he plays the indie gatekeeping bully. Sabre controls a lot of this match and really works Hero over. It’s mostly slow and methodical with plenty of mat work and strikefucking. Then, the ending sees a beautiful reverse from a Hero Gotch style piledriver into a kimura turned seated Fujiwara armbar and Sabre proceeds to kick Hero’s head in before the ref calls for the stoppage. Equal parts brutal, technical, and hard hitting. I also pop for Chris Hero in retro-basketball trunks. Really good performance by both men. An added bonus, seeing Sofia Vergara look completely disgusted by what she was watching. Another Match of the Month Contender. ****1/2

PWG Tag Team Championships
Andrew Everett & Trevor Lee (c) vs The Young Bucks

In what is easily one of the more awkward moments I’ve seen in PWG, Trevor Lee and Andrew Everett come out, say they don’t have any opponents, and start wrestling each other. The crowd, however, completely shits on it knowing that The Young Bucks were in the building. How do they know? MERCH, of course. The Bucks had been selling countless Bullet Club and SUCK IT SUCK SUCK IT items two hours earlier. Fortunately, the charade of a singles match only lasts about 30 seconds, as the Bucks save this slow death and get a huge ovation in doing so. What comes next is a PWG extravaganza. A beautiful train wreck that’s back and forth between two teams that get all of their shit in. Then, Roderick Strong comes out, hits a Sick Kick, the Bucks hit a Meltzer Driver to get win. The match itself is below the Bucks greatest hits in PWG. ****1/4, but the angle afterward is what made headlines.

The fun really began during the post-match beatdown. Candice and Joey run out, Johnny Gargano runs out. All get destroyed. Then out of no where SUPER DRAGON returns to a monster ovation to save the da-…but…but…but…PSYCHO DRIVER EVERYTHING, including Biff Busick, Rick Knox, Mike Bailey, and anyone else they wanted to bring out from the back to eat a beat down. Excalibur even gets superkicked and curb stomped. The big reveal is Mount Rushmore 2.0 has arrived to PWG and its just madness in the ring. The Young Bucks come out and turn the ring into their own personal merch stand for the new 2.0 shirts as we go off the air.

Overall, the event started off pretty slow, but really kicked into high gear. “Show Of The Year” was being thrown around by the crowd and the early buzz has been very positive. I expect this show to really gain some momentum as more people see it, even though its probably a tick below that Show of the Year standard. It does has several Match of the Month Candidates, and even an American Match of the Year Candidate. The go-home angle was a huge hit making this a must see event.

  • The Buzz: Show of the Year Contender
  • Match of the Night: Roderick Strong vs ‘Speedball’ Mike Bailey
  • Also Check Out: Chris Hero vs Zach Sabre, Jr; Andrew Everett & Trevor Lee vs The Young Bucks; Mt. Rushmore 2.0
  • Next Up: Threemendous IV. Akira Tozawa! Jack Evans & Angelico! What more could you ask for? Also, the Battle of Los Angeles 2015 is right around the corner!