RADICAN'S TAKE RADICAN'S BLACK FRIDAY BUYERS GUIDE (part 2) - top picks for DGUSA, PWG, JCW, and shoot interviews
Nov 23, 2012 - 12:15:53 AM
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By Sean Radican, Torch columnist
RADICAN’S BLACK FRIDAY BUYER’S GUIDE: PART 2
If you’re going to be shopping for the best that independent wrestling had to offer this year, here’s a look at some of the must-buy releases. I will group all of my top picks by company and then place my shoot interview recommendations in a separate category.
-Open the Ultimate Gate 2012: This was a really good outing for DGUSA during WrestleMania weekend. The show started with a hot Fox vs. Swann match and picked up from there. Mochizuki-Tozawa and PAC vs. Low Ki are also matches well worth checking out on this card.
The main event featuring Masato Yoshino & Ricochet beating Chuck Taylor & Johnny Gargano for the vacant Open the United Gate Championship was a really good match with good storytelling, especially given how the post-match angle launched the Taylor-Gargano feud.
To read my review of Open the Ultimate Gate 2012 click HERE
-Mercury Rising 2012: This was DGUSA’s best show of the year. The show started off well, but really picked up during the Chuck Taylor invitational with El Generico making his surprise debut in DGUSA much to the delight of the packed crowd in attendance.
Gargano defending the Open the Freedom Gate title against Yoshino is a must-see match and it was amazing to watch the performance Gargano put in during this match during his first weekend back from a back injury. Yoshino is just a blast to watch and he really shined in this match as well. The Six Man tag featuring Ki & Tozawa & Hulk vs. PAC & Mochizuki & Ki main event was breathtaking to watch at times. The match went at a rapid pace and continued to the feud between PAC and Ki. Tozawa shined as well and his exchanges with Mochizuki were fantastic.
To read my review of Mercury Rising 2012 click HERE
-Freedom Fight 2012 iPPV: The first half of the show is average, but once Chuck Taylor and Rich Swann had their blow off match things picked up big time. CIMA vs. Callihan was really good. The live attendance was hurt by Sandy coming through the area, but the fans really heated up during the second half of the show.
El Generico & Samuray Del Sol are a great tag team to watch and their match against Horiguchi & Saito was a blast to watch at times, especially the second half that saw some fantastic double team maneuvers from both teams. The main event featuring Gargano defending the Open the Freedom Gate title against A.R. Fox, Ricochet, and Akira Tozawa was the best DGUSA match I saw all year. These four men put together a fantastic effort with some really good storytelling furthering the feud between Ricochet and Fox as well as spotlighting Gargano’s heart and Tozawa’s charisma and skill.
To read my review of the Freedom Fight 2012 iPPV click HERE
-EVOLVE 11: The first half of the show was very slow, but the second half picked up and featured a number of very good matches. Gargano-Del Sol-Taylor was a very good Three-Way elimination match that furthered the feud between Gargano and Taylor without the Open the Freedom Gate title on the line. Ki and Generico had a very good competitive match that was a blast to watch unfold and came close to reaching the four star level. The rematch between Callihan and Finlay was the best EVOLVE match I’ve seen in 2012. They had some really good hard-hitting exchanges and featured the same great chemistry they had back at EVOLVE 9 in 2011. The DVD version of this show also includes a Callihan vs. Finlay match from WxW in Germany.
You can purchase Mercury Rising 2012, Open The Ultimate 2012, and EVOLVE 11 at DGUSA.tv. Freedom Fight 2012 is available as a VOD at WWNLive.com. Both sites have already reduced the prices of the VOD iPPVs and DVDs for their Black Friday sale.
Pro Wrestling Guerrilla
-DDT4 2012: PWG’s annual tag team tournament did not disappoint with fantastic tag team action up and down the card. This edition of DDT4 will be remembered as the rise of the Super Smash Bros. in PWG, as they had two excellent matches in one night against the Young Bucks and then Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly which eventually built to a crazy Ladder match between all three teams at Threemendous III. This is a great place to start your PWG viewing for this year.
-Battle of Los Angles 2012: Night 1: With only one average opening round match and a collection of matches in three and four star range, this show gets an easy thumbs up. The most surprising match is Roderick Strong vs. Drake Younger, who energized the crowd with an amazing back and forth hard-hitting match. Younger is someone to keep an eye on if he continues having performances like this.
The second half of the show is quite good with Ricochet taking on Kevin Steen in a match you’re only likely to see in PWG. Ricochet hits some crazy high-flying maneuvers that sets the Reseda crowd on fire, but he also bumped like crazy for Steen in this match. Check out the powerbomb spot if you want to know what I’m talking about. The Richards-Elgin main event is another MOTYC match between these two, as it is evident that they have great chemistry in the ring. The crowd, the wrestling, and the rise of Adam Cole’s heel character are all great reasons to check out this show.
To read my review of BOLA 2012: Night 1 click HERE
-The Many Adventures of El Generico and PWG Sells Out 3: These are two great releases to pick up if you haven’t seen PWG before. Generico is one of my favorite performers to watch in the ring and The Many Adventures of El Generico is a two DVD featuring his best matches in PWG including his debut match against Kevin Steen, his title defense against Bryan Danielson at Giant Sized Annual #4, and his incredible Ladder match against Kevin Steen from Steen Wolf. The DVD also includes several backstage skits that are sure to crack you up including Generico and Cabana getting very excited about random things backstage like Excalibur reading a book. The conclusion of this skit is priceless. There are also skits included from Generico’s feud against Kenny Omega & Chuck Taylor that are hilarious with referee Mike Knox coming to his defense.
PWG Sells Out 3 is a new compilation of some of the best matches in PWG history. The other two volumes of this series are well-worth investing in as a starters kit to PWG. The first disc is full of good matches including Generico vs. PAC and PAC vs. Claudio Castagnoli (Antonio Cesaro in WWE). The second disc features some really good matches as well including Bryan Danielson & Roderick Strong vs. The Young Bucks and Chris Hero (Kassius Ohno in WWE) vs. Bryan Danielson. The third disc looks to be the strongest with a number of fantastic matches including London & Danielson vs. vs. The Cutler Bros. vs. The Young Bucks in a Three Way Guerrilla Warfare match, Chris Hero vs. Akira Tozawa, and El Generico & Ricochet vs. Kevin Steen & Akira Tozawa.
I haven’t finished my reviews on either of these shows yet, but given the match selection, I highly recommend picking them both up.
You can pick up all of these PWG releases at Highspots.com.
Breaking Kayfabe with Jerome Young and Sean Waltman: Kayfabe Commentaries does a good job of putting together well-produced releases, but their crowning achievement is the Breaking Kayfabe series. The idea is for the interviewer to get the featured talent to open up so the viewer gets an idea of who they are as a person. Sean Oliver did an excellent job with Waltman and Young, as I learned things about them that I didn’t know before. Waltman’s story is tragic and he talks in-depth about his substance abuse issues and suicide attempt. It’s heart breaking to listen to Waltman discuss his past, but it seems there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Breaking Kayfabe with Jerome Young is a unique interview with the man most of us know as New Jack. He talks about his rough childhood and tells a touching story about a teacher that looked up for him while he was growing up. Oliver even gets Young to cry at one point, which gives you an idea of what Oliver is able to bring out of his guests on these releases.
To read my review of Breaking Kayfabe with Jerome Young click HERE
To read my review of Breaking Kayfabe with Sean Waltman click HERE
Being A Horsemen with J.J. Dillon: This was a fantastic release that Kayfabe Commentaries labeled as a shoot-sim. Dillon kept records of his time with the Four Horsemen group and this release takes readers behind the scenes in a way that most shoot releases are unable to do. He discusses the various personalities in the group including Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Ole Anderson, Ric Flair, and Lex Lugar. Dillon takes out his diary and recalls travel expenses, bars, venues, lineups for house shows and TV, and more as he discusses what it was like to be part of the 4 Horsemen for a week in February 1987. If you were a fan of the 4 Horsemen or ever wanted to get an in-depth look at what it was like to be in the group during this period, this is one of the best releases Kayfabe Commentaries has put out to date.
To read my review of Breaking Kayfabe with Sean Waltman click HERE
You can purchase all of these releases at KayfabeCommentaries.com
JCW’s BloodyMania 6 featuring The Road to BloodyMania: This release features three iPPVs building up the big matches to BloodyMania, which is JCW’s biggest show of the year featuring a mix of top names, independent talent, and JCW’s core roster. JCW is very entertaining and their shows are usually episodic in nature, as the three iPPVs included in this four disc set lead into the big BloodyMania iPPV featuring top names like Bobby Lashley, Vader, Scott Steiner, Matt Hardy, and John Morrison amongst other. The big match on the show is JCW Champion 2 Tuff Tony defending his title against Kongo Kong in a rematch from Hatchet Attacks. I really enjoy Kevin Gill on commentary, so if you haven’t listened to him and Shaggy 2 Dope on commentary, I highly suggest checking out these shows.
To read my review of Road to BloodyMania: Night 1 click HERE
You can purchase Bloodymania 6 featuring the Road to BloodyMania at HatchetGear.com
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