Would PCW and ROH be able to keep up things and improve on the previous two shows that weekend? Dave Mastiff would defend his PCW Heavyweight Championship against PCW Cruiserweight Champion Adam Cole in a Thirty Minute Iron Man main event, Noam Dar would tackle surprise opponent Drew Galloway, F.W.B. (Bubblegum, Iestyn Rees & Team Single) would engage with Dave Rayne, The Hooligans and X-Pac in eight man tag action, with six other matches including the likes of reDRagon, Dalton Castle, Martin Kirby, Roderick Strong and Cedric Alexander all also in action.
Just like Show 2, a six way contest was used to open up the show, with Dalton Castle, Cedric Alexander, Silas Young, Martin Kirby, Ashton Smith and Charlie Garrett battling it out. Slightly longer than the first six man, I was a little confused that performers were having to tag in and out of the contest, whilst the previous six man was a free for all. My confusion didn't last long however as the bout was blink and you'll miss it fast, chock full of flips and big moves, just what you'd want from this kind of bout. Both Dalton Castle and the Interracial Love duo of Charlie Garrett and Ashton Smith stood out in particular with The Peacock of Professional Wrestling continuing to have the crowd in the palm of his hands with his silly antics and IRL using the match to put a spotlight on the relationship between the tag team, including a cheesy hand-holding dive to the outside. A big thumbs up for Castle getting the victory as after hitting his Bang-a-Rang spinning facebuster to Silas Young! Like a broken record, however, I have to point out how much I'd love to see the bouts go a little longer and also have some kind of consequence behind them.
ROH World TV Champion Roderick Strong and Lionheart's singles bout was a strange one for a number of reasons. A section were both men attempted to hit the Styles Clash on each other was cool, but I felt super uncomfortable when a section of the crowd began to chant for AJ Styles, due to the NJPW star actually injuring both men with the move. However, the crowd were on form for the rest of the contest and gave it a real boost, as they turned Strong's shitty little boots babyface, seemingly out of sheer disdain for the PCW regular. Unfortunately, it felt like the pair didn't manage to get out of 2nd gear, and despite the wrestling being perfectly fine, at times I felt like the duo were treading water until the finish. Lionheart walking out of the contest and getting counted out was a frustrating watch, but should hopefully increase the heat levels for the former PCW Heavyweight Champion heading into 2016 and give the former Champion more storyline involvement in 2016.
The next match was the first chance for the PCW faithful to get a good look at what War Machine (Raymond Rowe & Hanson) can do as they went two on two with IWGP Tag Team Champions reDRagon (Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly), after the duo had been in the middle of an eight man tag on Show 1 and then a Four way tag on Show 2. But boy was it worth the wait. This was sheer unadulterated silliness, as the two teams went back and forth with various striking combos, whilst War Machine provided a number of power moves that made it look like the ring could collapse at any moment. Hanson's deadlift german suplex and samoan drop combination was stupendously well executed, and made the big man look like an absolute beast. As the near falls rolled in, the crowd got hotter and hotter, and whilst the well-known reDRagon remained the most popular of the two, the cheers for War Machine became noticeably louder as the contest went on, creating a great atmosphere inside Evoque. Hanson and Rowe went on to pick up their second victory of the weekend, following a Powerbomb and Splash combination, with Fish and O'Reilly allowing the big men to look incredible as they head towards an ROH Tag Team Championship bout with The Kingdom at ROH's next PPV, Final Battle.
The first and only singles bout of the weekend for former PCW Cruiserweight Champion, El Ligero came opposite former ROH World Tag Team Champion, Kenny King. The biggest talking point coming out of the contest was an angle where The Pretty Boy Pitbull seemed to have tweaked his knee off a dive, and was being carried away at ringside, only for him to attack Ligero from behind. There was some decent heat for King and the moment added the fuel that the contest needed, with The King of the Night dominating for some time. Ligero fighting from underneath allowed for some lovely action inside the ring as the Mexican Sensation attempted to find a comeback from somewhere. When Ligero did manage to pick up the win with the C4L, I couldn't help but feel that the match would have been so much better with an extra five or even ten minutes of action. The two were just about beginning to explore what they could do together in the ring and given some extra time they could have produced something really quite special.
BONUS MATCH, BAYBAY! Yes, unannounced before the show, F.W.B's T-Bone, Rampage Brown, Bubblegum and Iestyn Rees turned up and with Joanna Rose questioning whether their scheduled opponent Dave Rayne had been able to find any partners, we were about to witness something pretty damn special. The former PCW Cruiserweight Champion had an ace up his sleeve and announced The UK Hooligans (Roy Knight & Zak Knight) and the duo got the crowd going nuts, returning to the Evoque for the first time since early June. But if the crowd thought that was it, they were sadly mistaken as Rayne made easy work of a promo introducing, former WCW World Cruiserweight Champion, X-Pac! The crowd couldn't have gone more nuts if the Hooligans were handing out Snickers. Okay, maybe that's a lie because there was even more nutty goodness when 4 time WWE Intercontinental Champion, Scott bloody Hall was announced as the manager for the babyface team! That's one hell of a bonus match.
The crowd were stupidly hot for the tag bout, keeping up an energy throughout as they ran through their song book for the various competitors in the match. It was clear that all eight men were having a lot of fun out there and this reflected back on the bout, which was so very fun to watch. After a short face shine from X-Pac, it was Roy Knight who worked the Hooligan in peril role, with F.W.B. taking advantage of a ringside brawl to take control and then using a number of classic heel tactics to stay in control. I love me some old-school heel tactics in a tag match, keep the ref distracted and then take advantage and keep the ring cut in half, lovely stuff. The one disappointment for me, was that the hot tag that had been building for a while was completely wasted as the crowd was busy singing Bohemian Rhapsody to wind up Iestyn Rees (who looks a bit like a modern Freddie Mercury) and what should have been a big moment with a giant pop was left feeling flat. Partly down to some fans being easily distracted by a sing-song and partly down to the performers not paying enough attention to the ebb and flow of the crowd. After awkwardly standing at ringside for most of the match, it was awesome to see Scott Hall get involved, as Rees gave him some abuse and got a tooth pick to the eye for his trouble, before taking an X Factor and staring at the lights.
Jay Lethal and Joey Hayes' ROH World Championship match was a strangely structured contest. Hmmm...I'm not sure that's the correct description, but basically Jay Lethal was mainly cheered, whilst Joey Hayes was getting some decent heat, whilst both had been presented as heels (or at best tweeners) on the earlier shows. But we got Lethal locking on chinlocks and steadily wearing down Hayes, before Hayes launched into a babyface comeback (Even shouting "I'm a babyface" whilst doing so, clearly noting the lack of crowd support). This meant that the crowd became weird throughout, how exactly are they supposed to cheer Lethal whilst he's working a wear down hold? Maybe the pair were expecting the crowd to quickly side with the underdog Hayes, but from the entrances it was clear who Evoque was behind and the two should have had enough experience to change things on the fly to suit the crowd. Despite all the moaning, the finishing sequence of the match showed some real quality, as Hayes went for a number of Crossfaces, with Lethal managing to escape and hit a Lethal Injection to retain his title.
Continuing the theme of his weekend, Sha Samuels dominated Delirious in a character driven contest. The pair chatting to each other in their trade mark style made for an entertaining spot, with Delirious' insane rambling matching up well with Samuels gruff and speedy cockney. Delirious running around the ring to evade Samuels was a highlight for me, as it was so simple in it's execution, but allowed both performers to show off the psychology of their characters. In his longest contest of the weekend (just over 7 minutes), Samuels continued his unbeaten streak as Delirious succumbed to the Sleeper Hold, like so many before him.
Ever heard of Jack Baron before? No, neither had I when the PCW trainee cut a promo on the big screen revealing himself as Noam Dar's opponent for the evening. But as the skinny and excitable lad made it to the ring, he was attacked by a mystery assailant. That mystery assailant was Drew Galloway! A great surprise appearance, that got a big reaction from the crowd, before Galloway delivered a killer, curse-laden promo. The former WWE Intercontinental Champion's delivery was pitch perfect, rising and falling at the right points, full of passion and there couldn't have been a better way to fly straight into the third match of the series than Noam Dar coming out to get some.
The two Scotsman put on a contest that was completely different from anything that we'd seen across the week end. Full of fire, the two made it feel like the genuinely hated each other as they brawled around the nightclub, battering the shit into each other. The Chosen One hitting a Crucifix Powerbomb through a fire exit looked amazing and may very well have been the stand-out spot of the weekend (that's if you could see it from your seat). The action inside the ring was just as good, if not better, as a battered Noam Dar worked the plucky underdog role nicely, fighting valiantly against the bigger man with the crowd well and truly behind their regular. Following some very near falls for Drew Galloway and some added drama with a ref bump and the re-appearance of Jack Baron, Dar was able to take advantage of Galloway suffering an injured leg after colliding with the ring post, by locking on the Champage Super Knee Bar and getting a submission victory. Galloway's selling prior to the move was spot-on, just liked we'd seen in their previous two bouts earlier in the year and therefore made the finish just that a little bit more satisfying. A huge moment for Dar in PCW, in what had been a marquee weekend for the 22 year old. PCW rarely does bouts with this much aggression behind it and that's why matches like this feel so special.
Main event time, bay bay! Adam Cole and Dave Mastiff had arguably put on the best match of the 2014 weekender and seeing the pair in a 30 minute Iron Man match with the PCW Heavyweight Championship on the line, was a mouth-watering prospect. It's difficult to review a match like this, because half an hour is such a long time for a wrestling match in 2015 and so much can go on in that amount of time. The crowd were particularly interesting within the first half of the contest. Evoque became pretty quiet and you could hear many people chatting, I would suspect this was down to them knowing the match wasn't going to end for quite some time and that anything particularly important wouldn't be happening for quite a while. This is an experienced crowd who I'd guess have seen way too many Iron Man bouts than they should have and therefore know how things usually go.
Iron Man bouts are made or broken, on how they are structured, there needs to be accuracy down to the second to keep the crowd engaged and to tell the most interesting story. The wrestling for the first twenty minutes was perfectly fine, but I'm not convinced by where and how the pinfalls came from. Adam Cole took a 2-0 from a small package and superkick combo by the time 8 minutes had passed, but Dave Mastiff had things tied up just 11 minutes later. This sort of meant the bout was back to where it began, with just over 10 minutes to go and whilst both men looked pretty tired, there was no narrative that could have been carried over. As soon as things were even, The One began to work over Mastiff's leg, which made things even more frustrating. I feel if we'd have seen something like this earlier on in the bout then we'd have had a much more compelling outing, especially with the quality of selling that Mastiff is capable of and leading to an even bigger moment when Cole locked in the Figure Four Leg Lock with the clock ticking.
I mentioned those last 10 minutes, with Adam Cole working the leg, and they were much more reminiscent of the bout they had last year, with the two upping the pace and working a number of slick reversals and big strikes, including one outstanding sequence. The crowd began to come to life at this point and gave the contest a boost having soaked up all the action for the previous 20 minutes. The Figure Four Leg Lock from Cole, with Dave Mastiff leading 3-2 was a marvellous moment with Evoque rocking and wanting to see more action. Cole holding onto the hold whilst Mastiff managed to roll to outside of the ring looked bloody awesome. The timing of the final fall was spot on as well, with Cole managing to pull a vertical suplex and drop it into a neckbreaker on his knee to even up the score. A slow burner for sure, but one chock-full of world-class wrestling and with a hot closing sequence.
Of course, that was never going to be it was it? Oh no, siree. After some debate, the contest was restarted under sudden death rules. The section after the restart was blisteringly good, with the two not holding back and at all in trying to get the victory and take the title, with Preston potentially on the brink of destruction. Then it was taken away from us, when that bloke Sha Samuels entered and beat down both guys. It was such a frustrating finish to a match that had gone over half an hour, and whilst it didn't even make that much sense (Why did Samuels wait until the sudden death?) it still got The East End Butcher a whole load of heat and added another chapter in his on-and-off feud with Dave Mastiff. I'd love to know why (in kayfabe) Mastiff and Cole didn't just restarted the match again, instead of getting up, shaking hands and then walking to the back. As much I'd have loved to have had a definitive victory here, here's hoping that Mastiff and Adam Cole will get to wrestle again sooner rather than later in PCW and settle the score....
ATPW Scale Rating - 6.75 (Good-Very Good)
This show was just shy of the high bar set by the first event of the weekend, but was still definitely a good evening of wrestling. The main event contributed massively to the rating because of it's length and whilst I had a couple of criticisms, I still feel that the bout was a quality main event with a nice slow burn build and raucous finish, Noam Dar and Drew Galloway's bout bought an aggression not seen elsewhere across the weekend and Galloway's surprise entrance was worked out very well, the Eight Man Tag Team contest was a lot of fun to watch, plus of course some more surprises in the form of X-Pac and Scott Hall made the in-ring segment incredible to have been a part of and the tag bout between War Machine and reDRagon also deserves a mention.
Whilst Roderick Strong and Lionheart's contest had it's moments, there's no denying that the bout dragged the ATPW Scale rating down just a little bit, simply because it never really got going. The finish of the show with Sha Samuels causing the Double DQ in Cole and Mastiff's sudden death outing was a little disappointing, especially coming at the end of the show.
There's one more show left to review from the Weekend and that's of course, Show 4. With ROH World Champion Jay Lethal facing ROH World Television Champion Roderick Strong in the main event, Interracial Love tackling Martin Kirby and Joey Hayes, Dalton Castle going one on one with Silas Young as well as five other matches featuring the likes of reDRagon, Adam Cole, Cedric Alexander, Noam Dar and Delirious. Could PCW and ROH end the weekend in style? We'll have a review up very soon.