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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

PWG's Mount Rushmore - The most important stable in wrestling


Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, based out of southern California, is one of the top independent wrestling companies in the country. The promotion routinely books some of the best talent not only from America but from all over the world. Its fans have seen an amazing amount of talent come and go from PWG but right now, its top stable – Mount Rushmore – is one of the most impressive groups of independent wrestlers in the world. 

You need to know about them – and I’m going to tell you.


PWG Champ Adam Cole with ref Rick Knox, looking not impressed
The leader of the group is PWG World Champion, Adam Cole. In addition to becoming the longest reigning PWG champion in January of this year, Cole is also the current Ring of Honor World Champion. Cole defeated Kevin Steen at Mystery Vortex in December 2012 to win the title – a point to remember for later. Since winning the belt, Cole has been nearly unbeatable. I say nearly because he and Kyle O’Reilly, as Future Shock, lost a second round DDT4 matchup to El Generico and Kevin Steen in January, 2013.

Cole’s personality is vulgar, cocky, and arrogant, but his moveset is reminiscent of an old school heel, pulling whatever dirty, underhanded trick needs to win. But even being the scumbag that he is, Cole is a point of pride for Philadelphia wrestling fans, as he was trained at the CZW Wrestling Academy and made his debut for the company in 2008. He is the longest reigning CZW Junior Heavyweight Champion, defeating Sabian for the belt in 2010 and holding it for 553 days before losing it to Sami Callihan, who is now working as Solomon Crowe in NXT.

The Young Bucks showing off their PWG and IWGP tag belts
Joining Cole are the Young Bucks – brothers Matt and Nick Jackson, the current PWG World Tag Team Champions. The Bucks are three time tag team champions and also the longest reigning PWG tag team champions. Their three reigns as the tag champs now stand at over 1,200 days meaning that for nearly three and a half years of PWG’s 10-year existence, the Young Bucks have been its tag team champions. And they only debuted for the company in 2007, making their combined reigns all the more impressive.

They are not only one of the premier teams in the states, but also in Japan, where they are the current IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions and members of Bullet Club, the NJPW all-gaijin stable lead by Prince Devitt and also featuring Karl “Machine Gun” Anderson, Luke Gallows, Bad Luck Fale and Tama Tonga. The Bucks’ high-flying, precision offense has won them fans all over the world, despite their arrogant attitudes. And in the past year, the Bucks have adopted Degeneration-X crotch chop taunts and routinely tag in and out using nWo “Too Sweet” taunts. In video game terms, the Bucks are absorbing traits from classic heel stables, Mega Man style, and using them to become stronger.

The final member of the group was a huge surprise to long-time PWG fans – none other than “Mr. Wrestling” Kevin Steen. Making his debut for the company all the way back in 2004, Steen has done it all in PWG. He’s held the PWG World title, the tag team titles (with El Generico and also with Super Dragon), and competed in annual tournaments like the Battle of Los Angeles and the DDT4. Though Steen is the veteran of the group and also the bruising enforcer, he is almost the most charismatic member of the group – which is saying something considering his partners.



Leading up to their sudden alignment, Steen had been odds with Cole and the Bucks. He lost the World title to Cole at Mystery Vortex in December 2012 and the following month, with partner El Generico (in his final PWG appearance), lost in the finals of the DDT4 tournament to the Young Bucks – which was also a tag title opportunity. 

The heel faction was officially formed at the 2013 Battle of Los Angeles when Adam Cole turned on his former Future Shock partner Kyle O’Reilly, after O’Reilly had defeated Michael Elgin in the tournament finals to earn a World title shot. The Young Bucks then appeared before the exhausted O’Reilly had a chance to fight back, prompting several other members of the roster to hit the ring to help the tournament winner. Eventually, Kevin Steen left the commentary-booth-shaped-like-a-table where he had been calling the action with Excalibur to seemingly help run off Cole and the Bucks, before delivering a Package Piledriver to anyone he could get his hands on and obliterating the BOLA trophy.


Being that the three men hold all the gold in PWG and have similar personas, the partnering of Cole and the Bucks wasn’t a stretch for anyone to imagine. Their alliance was even teased on the DVD cover of TEN, PWG’s 10th anniversary show – the show just prior to BOLA 2013 – which prominently featured Adam Cole and the Young Bucks. But Kevin Steen joining those three was a shock beyond words. For months, Steen seethed over the fact that he had lost the World title to Adam Cole. The following month, in the finals of DDT4, Steen not only lost a shot at the tag team titles but also lost his close friend El Generico (who went back to Tijuana to run an orphanage/went to NXT). With no one left for Kevin Steen to turn to in PWG, he decided, “If you can’t beat them – join them” and did the unthinkable by siding with Cole and the Bucks.

The crowd and other wrestlers, even PWG commentator/liaison to the board of directors Excalibur, are still having trouble coming to grips with Steen’s turn. Though he wasn’t a PWG original, Steen has been working for PWG for so long that he is a massive fan favorite – so much so that many still can’t bring themselves to boo Steen for his decision to join Mount Rushmore. But while many are still split on whether to boo or cheer the group (most are going with boos), no one can deny their dominance over PWG.

Kevin Steen (center) and the Young Bucks (left, right) showed up to All Star Weekend 10 in matching outfits

At All Star Weekend 10, a two-day show, Steen teamed with the Bucks to take on Drake Younger, Joey Ryan and Candice LeRae on Night 1 and AR Fox, Ricochet, and Rich Swann (The Inner City Machine Guns) on Night 2 – emerging victorious on both nights. Cole has been nearly unstoppable since winning the World title, only losing in tag team action since becoming the champion. The Bucks and Cole were nigh unstoppable before and with a monster like Kevin Steen watching their backs, PWG and the entire independent scene needs to take notice as they are not just a stable of wrestlers but essentially an independent wrestling super group.

PWG’s Mount Rushmore, the four most important guys on the indies right now, are going to continue to run roughshod through PWG until, well…I don’t know how Mount Rushmore is going to be stopped. Far as I can tell, they can’t be stopped. Cole is one of the most vile yet impressive heels on the scene today and the Young Bucks are the most over tag team since the Dudley Boys or the Hardys. Put the experience, charisma and ring presence of Kevin Steen alongside them and there isn’t a person or group in wrestling who can stop them. Kyle O’Reilly, Johnny Gargano, Chris Hero, Drake Younger, Joey Ryan, Candice LeRae and more have fallen trying to stand against the power of Mount Rushmore and many more will follow.

Shows to check out featuring Mount Rushmore are the 2013 Battle of Los Angeles, Matt Rushmore, All Star Weekend 10 or the upcoming release of DDT4. But really, you could check out any PWG show from the last year or two and be completely impressed by every single match on any given card.

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An avid gamer and long-time pro wrestling fan, stay tuned to Grizzly Gaming and the Delco Elbow Drop for game reviews and pro wrestling news.

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