Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG) is one of the most critically acclaimed wrestling promotions in America. Their hallmark of excellent matches, crazy antics, and irreverent humor has stricken a chord with fans across the country, and their American Legion home in Reseda, CA, has become a mecca for the top talent in the country.
That tradition has continued with their announcements of the talent for their next slate of shows: All-Star Weekend, to take place on the weekend of March 22 through March 23, 2013. They spent a good portion of Friday afternoon, and evening, dropping names, each one more exciting, or at least as exciting, than the last.
The first name announced was Trent? (aka the recently-released Trent Berreta) Then came Paul London's return announcement. Johnny Gargano, Jay Lethal, AR Fox, and Samuray del Sol followed.
Those names were buttressed by the announcement that promotion regulars Drake Younger, Sami Callihan, World Champion Adam Cole, Kevin Steen, Tag Team Champions the Young Bucks, Roderick Strong, Willie Mack, Eddie Edwards, and the Super Smash Bros. would also appear.
Those are all fabulous names to have on a card, and they would all guarantee that I would purchase those DVDs when they became available.
However, there are two problems for me. One, is that the only really unique native name announced so far, is Willie Mack. The Young Bucks are SoCal natives, true, but they've earned national cache. The second, is that none of those names announced are women. In 2013, especially for a critically acclaimed wrestling promotion, that's not cutting muster.
It might seem like I'm picking nits with those criticisms. Obviously, I'm one of PWG's most ardent supporters, and I think the next time they put out an average-or-below card will be their first. They also do different things with matches we have seen in other promotions. An El Generico/Kevin Steen match in PWG is way different than one in Ring of Honor, even if both are going to be critically acclaimed.
However, there's something to be said for having an identity of your own. Part of that is having your own guys move up the card and be part of the fabric. PWG used to have a rich tapestry of native guys who populated all facets of their cards. Whether it was Scott Lost, Excalibur, Quicksilver, Chris Bosh, Joey Ryan, Scorpio Sky, or the mack daddy of them all, Super Dragon, a PWG show was set to display a rich combination of natives and guests.
However, it feels like lately, while the native guys are there, they are taking a backseat to everyone PWG is flying in. Mack, Brian Cage, Famous B, and the RockNES Monsters all have acclaim, but it seems like the most important spots on the card are given to the Kevin Steens of the world. That's not a bad thing, but can't we have it both ways? Can't we have Mack or Cage break through and win Battle of Los Angeles or the World Championship? This might seem like a piddling, Internet-s**thead complaint, but the other one, well, that's a bit more troubling.
More and more, wrestling companies are meeting the demands of having women on their rosters and events. Whether they're in intergender matches or having a separate division. PWG for a time had Candice LaRae and Christina von Eerie wrestle for them even against men. However, since LeRae's last appearance, there haven't been any women wrestlers on their shows. Furthermore, in a Q and A session on the PWG message board, Super Dragon admitted that he didn't very much like the women's matches he's had under his banner.
It would be one thing if Dragon had a plethora of women's matches or intergender affairs on his cards in the past, but it's been a pretty small sample size in PWG's history. LeRae, von Eerie, and Portia Perez represent a very small example of the talent that exists in the fairer sex (and honestly, I severely disagree with his assessment of Perez, who is one of the best in the world, bar none). His wrestlers that he's had on the show now and in the past have had no problem wrestling against women.
Callihan will wrestle against Jessicka Havok for CZW's Anniversary show in a mixed-tag match, and for 2CW in February, he'll be taking on the hard-hitting Rachel Summerlyn. Cole will be in that tag match teaming with Havok against Callihan and LuFisto.
El Generico, a several-time former PWG Champion, wrestled Sara del Rey in one of the best matches in 2012 in Chikara. That's not even taking into account the populous list of excellent females who wrestle: Athena, Mercedes Martinez, Nicole Matthews, Allysin Kay, Barbi Hayden, Hailey Hatred, Jazz, Angel Blue, and MsChif just to name a few.
You can have a great show using wrestlers just of one milieu, but why would you want to?
Everyone can be a wrestling fan, so why not try to represent everyone? Doing the same stuff as everyone else better than everyone else is great, but if you as a promotion have the tools to not only do wrestling better than everyone, but also with matches that no one else can offer, why not try to do that? Drake Younger and Sami Callihan have wrestled against each other on the East Coast more than a few times. I don't see that as a selling point main event in 2013, no matter how good it may be.
You know what would be a headline main event though?
How about Sami Callihan vs. Willie Mack. Or Kevin Steen vs. Jessicka Havok. I don't doubt that what PWG will give us as fans will be excellent, but can it be as excellent as it can be? If not, then they're missing the mark.