Hundreds of people from celebrities to regular folks waited in line for hours and paid top dollar to be densely packed into a preposterously small room in Reseda, CA.Why? Three simple words: Pro Wrestling Guerilla.
The DDT 4 tag team tournament was the event, and in addition to seeing PWG legends like the Inner City Machine Guns (Rich Swann and Ricochet) and World’s Cutest Tag Team (Joey Ryan and Candice LaRae) it was also an opportunity to see east coast based teams like Drew Gulak and Biff Busick and Andrew Everett and Trevor Lee. Also in action was former WWE star Matt Sydal plus an absolutely mindblowing 3 way match between PWG champion Roderick Strong, Chris Hero, and Brian Cage.
I would be remiss to not talk about the audience. The audience is a critical ingredient of the show, and everyone from former UFC fighter Josh Barnett and Ronda Rousey’s Four Horsewoman, to famous musicians, actors and wrestling insiders all suspended their disbelief and provided the energy and response required enabling these world class performers to turn it up several notches and to deliver mind blowing, life endangering, and unforgettable wrestling matches. They say alcohol is a social lubricant, and it flowed freely. I didn’t say quickly, as the line for drinks was over a 30 minute wait, but the drink prices were so low that it eased the pain. $12 for a pitcher of beer, or $3.00 for a stiff cocktail mixed by a friendly and smiling bartender are unheard of prices and everyone is so happy to be there. The vibe, and camaraderie between the audience members and the locker room is truly remarkable.
While the majority of the wrestling world gets rightfully excited about NXT and all it represents for the future of wrestling, PWG has been delivering the future for over 10 years, and continues to raise the bar while staying very true to their DIY Roots. There are no PWG Pay Per Views, there is no talk of moving the show to a larger room to accommodate all the people who can’t get a ticket, they are barely active on social media, the building is often uncomfortably hot and the character who runs the venue is a crackpot who refuses to turn on the air conditioning. Yet despite all this, this is the place to be, whether performer or fan, and even when some of their top stars like Nick and Matt Jackson (The Young Bucks) are in Japan or otherwise occupied, the quality of show, the density of the crowd, and the performances are not to be missed.
Being an audience member feels like being in an exclusive club, in which the only requirement is being someone who loves fun and wrestling with equal vigor. Support the underground, pick up some DVD’s and if you can, go out of your way to make a pilgrimage to the holy place of wrestling, Reseda, California.