Chuck Taylor regains PWG title, WWE-bound Ricochet bids adieu to the indies

PWG held its (mostly) annual Mystery Vortex show Friday night. But it was no keeping the secret from anyone in attendance at American Legion Post #308 that it would be the final independent pro-wrestling show at this juncture for Reseda favorite Ricochet, who is headed to WWE later this month.

By: Marc Raimondi

LOS ANGELES — PWG held its (mostly) annual Mystery Vortex show Friday night. But it was no keeping the secret from anyone in attendance at American Legion Post #308 that it would be the final independent pro-wrestling show at this juncture for Reseda favorite Ricochet, who is headed to WWE later this month.

Though no card or wrestlers were announced beforehand for Mystery Vortex V, most assumed Ricochet would defend the PWG title in the main event — and drop it. The question was always: Who was that going to be against? Who’d win the belt?

The answer — after terrifying spots that included chairs, tables, ladders, and thumbtacks — was Chuck Taylor, the man who Ricochet defeated to win the title back at All-Star Weekend on Oct. 21.

Taylor won via pin in around 24 minutes in what was billed as a no-disqualification, Guerrilla Warfare match. Ricochet missed a 630 splash onto the thumbtacks and Taylor followed up with two piledrivers, including his finisher, for the victory. It was a solid match, in some ways better than their first matchup three months ago.

Certainly, both men took more risks Saturday night. Both took bumps onto the ladder set up in a corner. Taylor completed a crazy, somersaulting suicide dive over the ropes and onto Ricochet through a table.

Taylor brought the tacks out in a Santa Claus hat and sprinkled them in one corner of the ring. Afterward, both men were picking the thumbtacks out of their bodies, ring attire and boots. One spot featured Ricochet pouring tacks into Taylor’s mouth, then hitting a kick with Taylor spitting them out.

After the match, Taylor cut a promo about training Ricochet 15 years ago in their native state of Kentucky. “Chuckie T” put Ricochet over as someone he felt always had the talent to be special. The two men hugged and Ricochet took the floor. As he gave his farewell speech, the locker room emptied and all the wrestlers came out and sat in the ring as Ricochet spoke.

It was a nice moment and a somewhat fitting end to Ricochet’s PWG story, which goes back to his debut in 2010. He said during his promo that his first PWG match was at Battle of Los Angeles (BOLA) against Claudio Castagnoli (now Cesaro) and he kicked him in the eye. Ricochet said he thought the promotion would never have him back after that.

Instead, he finished his run as the only two-time BOLA winner in PWG history (2014 and 2017) and a former champion. Ricochet said he considers himself a Dragon Gate guy, but Reseda became a second home for him over the last near decade.

Chosen Bros (Matt Riddle & Jeff Cobb) def. Ring Kampf (WALTER & Timothy Thatcher) to retain the PWG tag titles

Arguably the best match on the show. Very stiff work from all involved. Riddle pinned Thatcher after a flying knee following a toss from Cobb at about 20 minutes. Riddle and Cobb obviously have bright futures, but WALTER has gotten over huge in Reseda after his performances at BOLA in September and All-Star Weekend in October. WALTER’s match with Zack Sabre Jr. at the latter was one of the best on the indie circuit all year. The Austrian giant is a potential future PWG title challenger.

Trent? def. Marty Scurll

Fresh off their respective work last week at New Japan’s Wrestle Kingdom 12, these two had a good match Saturday night. It was nothing spectacular, but a strong, well-paced and entertaining match you’d expect from veterans of their caliber. Trent won with the Dude Buster after Scurll failed to roll him for the pin following throwing powder in his face. The finish came at around the 22-minute mark.

Keith Lee def. Zack Sabre Jr.

Solid match, though not as good as you’d expect from this matchup and the résumés of the two wrestlers involved. Lee didn’t do most of his big high spots, though it was unclear why. The story of the match was Sabre trying to cut Lee down to size by attacking his leg and Lee trying to power out of every submission. It ended with Lee countering a guillotine into his fireman’s-carry-into-Jackhammer finisher at about 19 minutes.

Sammy Guevara def. Rey Fenix

Absolutely frightening and dangerous high spots throughout this one. The crowd mostly ate it up, but the two workers probably went a bit too far. Fenix looked like he sustained a knee injury at one point and Guevara took a beating. It seemed like they went early to the finish at about 14 minutes. But with everything they did, they were lucky to walk out under their own power. Guevara hit two 630 splashes, the first landing flush on Fenix’s chest and the second on his leg. There were many dives, a Spanish Fly attempt from the top rope that didn’t quite make it and Fenix walking the ropes to land a hurricanrana on Guevara. Both men are incredibly talented and Guevara appears to be a future star, but this ventured into scary-spots-for-the-sake-of-scary-spots territory and felt unsafe at times.

Joey Janela def. Flash Morgan Webster

Fun match while it lasted and the kind that people have come to expect from Janela. Webster took an absolute beating, including a Death Valley Driver on the apron. The finish came at around 14 minutes after a Janela super brain buster — which looked ridiculously brutal — and submission.

David Starr def. Fred Yehi

It ended up being a pretty solid match in the end, but took too long to get into it and went a bit long for an opener at 18 minutes. Both men were making their PWG debuts and are likely to get over in Reseda eventually. But neither got the traditional “Please Come Back!” chant, which is typical for debutantes. Not a terrible match by any stretch, though.