Hello Fightful! If you don’t know who I am, I’m KOSS. I’m a moderator for Fightful’s Viewing Parties of WWE, ROH, and occasionally New Japan as well. But a company that I truly love and enjoy is PWG, or Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. PWG is a So-Cal based Indie that runs every month or so, only sells shows via DVD, and runs their shows in an American Legion Hall that only fits a few hundred fans. But in return, PWG brings in the absolute best of the best of the US, Mexican, and European Independents, and has often some of the best wrestling in North America. Many PWG alumni are now stars in WWE, including Tomasso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, Cesaro, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Seth Rollins, Ricochet, Candice LeRae, War Machine, Kassius Ohno, AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan, Pete Dunne, Cedric Alexander, Akira Tozawa, Karl Anderson, Roderick Strong, Kyle O’Reilly, Bobby Fish, Adam Cole, Aleister Black, and many, many more, as well as having New Japan Stars like Jushin Thunder Liger, Jay White, Hiromu Takahashi, and Kenny Omega.
2017 was a fantastic year for PWG. It had a lot of very fun debuts, consistent shows every month or so, a fantastic feud between Chuck Taylor and Zack Sabre, Jr that lasted 6 months, and great wrestling. With my first official (in my eyes, since my Neon Knights preview was a condensed forum post) article, I want to highlight the wrestlers and matches that really stood out to me personally in PWG’s 2017. I’m excited to get into it, so let’s go!
PWG Newcomer of the Year:
Keith Lee has really taken the independents by storm in the last year. Keith primarily wrestled in Texas independents before signing with ROH, in a tag team with Shane Taylor where they had a fun feud with War Machine. However, that was short lived as Keith soon left ROH and signed with WWN/EVOLVE. He had a few good matches there, but during WrestleMania 33 Weekend, Keith stole the show at EVOLVE shows against Donovan Dijak and Ricochet, and not long after that, Keith’s stock skyrocketed. And in March, he made his way to Reseda for his highly anticipated PWG debut, in a fun triple threat against Sami Callihan and Brian Cage, where he’d take the pin after a Brian Cage Falcon Arrow. Since then, Keith has been a mainstay in PWG, having incredible matches, whether it’s against Jeff Cobb, Lio Rush, Donovan Dijak, WALTER, in a tag team match with Dijak vs. Matt Riddle and Jeff Cobb, Jonah Rock, and triple threats involving Cobb and Ricochet, and Rush and Trent?, Keith has shown that he is a true star, and that we should all Bask in his Glory.
PWG Show of the Year:
2017 Battle of Los Angeles, Night Three
The third night of PWG’s annual tournament, the Battle of Los Angeles, is the clear winner of this category for me. This show usually goes longer than most PWG shows because PWG runs Quarter, Semi and tournament Finals, but they also have non-tournament action. This year’s had a ridiculous amount of fantastic wrestling, whether it was a ***** classic between the aforementioned Keith Lee and Donovan Dijak, a very fun clash of styles between Zack Sabre, Jr. and REY FENIX, hidden gems in Matt Riddle vs. PENTA El ZERO M and Ricochet vs. Travis Banks, or a sensational, high energy car crash 10 Man Tag, the third night of the 2017 Battle of Los Angeles is always a must see show.
Game Over, Man!
2017 Battle of Los Angeles, N2
Pushin’ Forward Back
All Star Weekend 13 N2
PWG Tag Team of the Year:
The Chosen Bros.
(Jeff Cobb and Matt Riddle)
Unlike any other tag team in consideration for this award, The Chosen Bros are incredibly unique because they did not team anywhere else before PWG had them team. And wow, did they ever strike gold with these two! Ever since their first match together last January against The Young Bucks, The Chosen Bros have been incredibly entertaining with their incredibly fun mix of MMA, Pro Wrestling and Amateur Wrestling. And since their debut, they’ve had incredibly fun tag team matches against the likes of the Unbreakable F’N Machines (Brian Cage and Michael Elgin), ReDRagon, The MonStars (Keith Lee and Donovan Dijak), and The Lucha Bros. (REY FENIX and PENTA EL ZERO M). They are the current PWG Tag Team Champions, and that looks to continue for a very long time.
Ricochet and Matt Sydal
The Young Bucks
Worst PWG Wrestler
Dave and Jake Crist, Oi4K
If you follow me on Twitter, you may already know of my distaste for the Crists. The Crists debuted in a fun match with Sami Callihan against Adam Cole and The Young Bucks, and after that, they went down the toilet. To having the Chosen Bros’ worst match to date, to having a bland, lifeless spotfest triple threat with another Sami Callihan guy, Dezmond Xavier, to an even worse Fatal 4-Way with Dezmond and Callihan where the best part of the match was longtime PWG Referee Rick Knox diving onto them, Sami Callihan and his group of friends were easily the worst part of PWG’s 2017. The Crists have not appeared in PWG since July, and neither Sami, or the rest of his circle of friends haven’t appeared since August, and many PWG fans, myself included, are hoping they aren’t invited back.
PWG Match of the Year:
PWG World Championship:
Zack Sabre, Jr. © vs. Chuck Taylor
PWG had a lot of incredible wrestling in 2017. In fact, two matches this year (WALTER/ZSJ from All Star Weekend 13 Night Two and Donovan Dijak vs. Keith Lee from BOLA Night Three) were given a 5 Star rating by Dave Meltzer. But the match that stood head and shoulders above the rest, and it’s the culmination of the Chuck Taylor/ZSJ feud. These two started feuding last February, when Chuck challenged Zack for his PWG Title. Zack managed to win, and after the match turned heel, when he and former teammate Marty Scurll attacked Chuck, leading to Trent? coming out and saving Chuck, reuniting their tag team, The Best Friends. After that, they had a LDRS/Best Friends tag team match that I absolutely loved, a very fun Chuck/Scurll Guerilla Warfare (PWG’s Version of a No DQ) match, and a fantastic ZSJ/Trent title defense. All that led to Pushin’ Forward Back, where Chuck said that if he did not win the title, he would never challenge for the PWG Title again. And for 30 minutes, these two told a brilliant story, of Taylor being the never-say-die face, and Sabre being the heel that simply was better than Chuck. Sabre threw all his submissions and broke the rules to try to beat Chuck, but Chuck would not stay down. It was a masterpiece of a match, and one of my favorite PWG matches ever.
Zack Sabre, Jr. vs. WALTER, All Star Weekend 13 N2
Best Friends vs. The LDRS, Nice Boys (Don’t Play Rock n’ Roll)
Keith Lee vs. Lio Rush, Man on the Silver Mountain
PWG Wrestler of the Year:
Keith Lee, like I said earlier, has had a unbelievable year in PWG. He has had a resume of incredible matches that stands head and shoulders above most others. Keith is both freakishly strong, and even more freakishly athletic, and he knows how to use his massive size to his advantage. From my personal match ratings, Keith Lee has not had a match this year under three stars, his lowest being ***½ against REY FENIX, and it just increases from there, all the way to the ***** category. And I can honestly say that I have enjoyed every single one of Keith Lee’s matches this year immensely. Keith Lee is a very, very special wrestler, and 2018 will be a huge year for Keith Lee.
And that is it! I thank you very much for reading this. It means a lot to me not just that people take the time to read, but that Fightful lets me write about a company I truly love. PWG is not perfect, but it’s still very close to my heart. Thank you again for reading this!
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