By Victor Parenza (@ParenzaBooks)
You’ve already read the bottom half of the list, (hopefully) so let’s check out the top five!
5. Joey Ryan
Joey has been the most despised villain and a penis-flexing hero during his tenure in PWG. He’s the highest ranking of the PWG 6 founders on this list due to his consistent involvement on screen (with a brief stint in TNA as the only exception) and constant character evolution. Joey has always been known for his outrageous gimmick, but when push comes to shove he can deliver in the ring. He’ll never be confused with Bryan Danielson, but that’s not the point. He’s had success doing it his way, achieving one PWG World Championship, four tag team championships, and the winner of the 2010 Battle of Los Angeles.
4. Roderick Strong
Roddy just recently left PWG, (hopefully to a land of yellow ring ropes) but he left behind quite a legacy. He started in PWG in 2005, where he eventually won DDT4 twice, once with Pac (Neville) and once with Jack Evans. He won the tag titles with Pac, Evans, and Davey Richards. He then went on to win the PWG title and had the second longest reign in company history. From a character standpoint, he always seemed most comfortable in PWG due to their chilled vibes, which seems to compliment Strong’s real-life demeanor.
3. Kevin Steen
Kevin Steen could seriously be considered for number one on this list. But there were a couple of factors that ended up placing him at three. Steen started in PWG in 2005, but then left the “full-time” gig in 2008. In 2009-2010 he only made five appearances. Once 2011 rolled around though, he was the man. Essentially the entire company revolved around him at this point until his departure in 2014. He was one of the founders of the original Mount Rushmore stable, and a three time tag champ, (2 w/ El Generico, 1 w/ Super Dragon) formed an awesome tag team with Akira Tozawa for a brief time, and was a three time PWG champion.
2. El Generico
Although he is now retired in his homeland of Mexico, (and allegedly dead if you can believe Kevin Steen) El Generico was the greatest babyface ever to step foot in PWG. From the moment he stepped in the PWG ring in 2004, until his retirement in 2013, Generico was absolutely beloved. View virtually any Generico match in PWG, and watch the crowd reaction when he wins, they go bananas. Now, I realize that the PWG crowd is already very vocal, passionate, and drunk, but there is an energy and connection they have to Generico that they don’t have with anyone else. This gives him the advantage in the rankings over arch-rival/best friend Kevin Steen. Adding to his resume is five tag team title reigns, BOLA winner in 2011, DDT4 winner in 2010, and PWG champion three times. Ole!
1. The Young Bucks
Now you may look at this as a cop-out having a tag team number one, but I really don’t care. When you think of PWG, you think of the Young Bucks. They’ve went from opening matches in 2007, to basically main-eventing every show. They perfected their gimmick during their time in PWG that now takes them all over the world. You can argue that the Bucks are the most famous independent wrestlers in the world, and it never would have happened if they didn’t get their start in PWG with the creative freedom and exposure it gave them. They’re so obnoxious but so good, you can’t help but hate them and love them at the same time. They have won DDT4 three times, and the tag straps four times. They have the longest individual tag reign in PWG history (nearly two years). And even more interestingly if you add up their total days as tag champions they’ve been champions for over five years! You could call them the Bruno Sammartino of PWG’s tag division. And if you’re not down with that, they got two words for ya…