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By Stu Carapola on 1/25/2012 8:00 AM
It's a new year, and time to start a new batch of columns and DVD reviews! I'm going to start by reviewing the 2008 series of shows from Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, a terrific wrestling company out in California that doesn't get anywhere near the coverage it deserves. They combine a roster of local west coast wrestlers with top indy talent from all over the country to offer a product with some great wrestling, and a ton of comedy thrown in to boot. It's something different and always fun, and right now let's kick their 2008 off with...

PWG All Star Weekend 6 Night One: 1/5/2008 in Van Nuys, California

PWG started the year off with a bang by bringing in Low Ki as Bryan Danielson's surprise challenger for the PWG Title, in the opening match no less. These two helped put ROH on the map with the excellent matches they had on the first two shows, and this absolutely lived up to that standard as they went about a half hour before Ki caught Danielson in the Dragon Clutch and then, taking a page out of Danielson's book, kept him in the hold and rammed elbows into his skull until Danielson tapped out. Terrific opener that, unfortunately set the bar at a level that everyone else had trouble living up to for the rest of the weekend.

Another major focus here was the ongoing feud between Human Tornado and Chris Hero that started with Human Tornado, once a babyface, becoming both verbally and physically abusive to his valet Candice LeRae. Hero finally had enough and decided to intervene, but Tornado responded by bringing in Eddie Kingston and Hero's former partner Claudio Castagnoli to turn the odds in his favor. This show featured a six person tag with Human Tornado, Claudio, and Kingston taking on Hero, LeRae, and the Necro Butcher in a six person tag. There were different matches lined up for Night Two depending on which team won, but in the end Tornado's team came out on top, which meant that now Tornado would get a one on one match with LeRae with Hero barred from ringside.

The match was good, but this has been a really entertaining angle to watch play out, because it has become almost comical in how cavalier Tornado has been about smacking Candice around. The whole story was that Candice has been basically defenseless in large part because she was so trusting of Human Tornado, but even though Hero came to protect her, he wouldn't be allowed to be there when she now had to fight Human Tornado by herself the following night.

The stars of Dragon Gate were in for the weekend, and took part in two separate matches: first, Naruki Doi & Masato Yoshino defeated the Young Bucks in a fast paced, Dragon Gate-style tag match, and then CIMA defeated Susumu Yokosuka in a fairly short encounter.

Roderick Strong and Jack Evans were originally slated to face each other on this show for a shot at the PWG Title, but Excalibur (the PWG Commissioner of Food & Beverage) declared that this would now become the first of a best of three series to determine who was really the better man. Roderick has always given off the vibe of somebody who likes hurting his opponents in the most brutal ways possible, but he took that to a new level here with Evans as he gleefully twisted and destroyed his entire body with gusto, Evans would mount little bits of offense every now and then, but Roderick would just continue pounding away until Evans finally managed to lay Strong out and hit the 630 splash to go up 1-0 in the series.

In other matches, Alex Koslov defeated TJ Perkins in an excellent technical match, Age Of The Fall made their PWG debut as a team in a losing effort to Joey Ryan and Scott Lost of the Dynasty, and Scorpio Sky defeated Ronin.

PWG All Star Weekend 6 Night Two: 1/6/2008 in Van Nuys, California

Low Ki was the new PWG Champion, but was only booked for the first night of the weekend and wouldn't be appearing on Night Two. However, his two top challengers did their best to make up for his absence by facing off in an almost thirty minute main event to determine who got the next title shot. CIMA already had a title shot in his back pocket after winning the 2007 Battle of Los Angeles tournament and was originally supposed to be challenging Danielson, but when Danielson lost the title before CIMA got to face him, CIMA's title shot instead became the prize at stake.

This was Danielson and CIMA's second match in PWG, the first being a MOTYC that ended in a time limit draw. They didn't quite live up to that first match in my opinion, but it was still very good, especially when it got to the final minutes and both men started coming within millimeters of beating the other. In the end, Danielson caught CIMA in a crossface chickenwing and CIMA accidentally knocked the referee out while reaching for the ropes, but did the Bret Hart reversal where he kicked off the top turnbuckle and rolled backward over Danielson's shoulders. A second referee ran in and counted Danielson's shoulders as the first one saw CIMA tapping out and both referees called for the bell.

This led to a postmatch segment where Excalibur (the PWG Commissioner of Food and Beverage) said that since both men lost, neither would get a title shot, but then Dino Winwood (the PWG Commissioner of Wrestling) came out to the ring, knocked Excalibur out, and ordered a five minute overtime. Danielson teased it, but then said that he was tired of being screwed and walked out. So we closed out of All Star Weekend 6 with two potential challengers to the PWG Title and no clear idea about which would get the nod first.

Human Tornado finally got his hands on Candice LeRae in a one on one match in which Chris Hero would be barred from ringside, and though LeRae is a trainer wrestler (a good one) and managed to surprise Tornado with some good maneuvers early on, Tornado stopped that quickly with a spinkick to the jaw that left her laying. Tornado gleefully destroyed poor Candice for the next several minutes until Candice managed to crack him below the belt with a chair, becoming the first person in history to be able to hurt Tornado's fabled indestructible groin. She proceeded to go for every crotch-destroying move she could think of until Tornado hit his finisher (which I can't name due to it having a somewhat racially-charged name), then did it again, drawing Hero out to try and make the save.

Unfortunately, his presence caused an instant disqualification win for Tornado, and Hero ended up getting beaten down 3-on-1 by Tornado, Claudio, and Kingston until Necro Butcher came out to make the save and jump start his match with Claudio. Like Necro was known for doing, he'd have this ridiculous streetfight matches that included chairs and nasty bumps, including Claudio giving Necro the giant swing on the floor and plowing chairs over with him, but then Necro caught Claudio out of nowhere with the Necro' Connor Roll for the win.

As for Hero, he faced his longtime, hated rival Eddie Kingston in what amounted largely to the two of them hitting each other until one of them went down, and Hero did come out on top this time around, but it seemed like the feud between himself and Human Tornado wasn't quite over yet.

Aside from CIMA in the main event, the stars of Dragon Gate made appearances elsewhere on the show, both in losing efforts as Susumu Yokosuka was defeated by El Generico, while Naruki Doi and Masato Yoshino fell to Joey Ryan and Scott Lost. Age Of The Fall defeated the Young Bucks in a match that I found most notable for a ringside fan shouting at Jimmy to hang them from the ceiling and drink their blood, to which Jimmy replied, "That's what I do!"

Roderick Strong defeated Jack Evans in the second match in their series to tie it up, and this time he dished out as much punishment as he did the first time, except that he didn't get caught by a fluke move from Evans. Karl "Machine Gun" Anderson defeated Alex Koslov, and Super Dragon defeated the legendary Taro, who made a one night only return to the ring for this event.

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Two excellent shows to start off the year, with Danielson-Low Ki being far and away the best match on either event, though Danielson-CIMA, Human Tornado-Candice LeRae, and the Strong-Evans matches were all very good as well. I'll be back soon to continue this look at PWG's 2008 season, but if you want more information on Pro Wrestling Guerrilla or are interested in ordering DVDs, head on over to their website here.