PWG’s annual BOLA tournament kicks off in night 1.
PWG’s Battle of Los Angeles has been the premier independent professional wrestling tournament since 2005. Past winners have included Kenny Omega, El Generico/Sami Zayn, and Adam Cole while Kevin Owens, Daniel Bryan, and Cesaro have all competed in the event. This year’s tournament, a mix of veterans and BOLA first timers, was held over Labor Day weekend.
Brian Cage vs Dezmond Xavier: PWG Champion and color commentator Chuck Taylor refers to Brian Cage as the “baby blue bad ass.” Cage’s body is straight out of Vince McMahon’s wettest dream. Sloppy match. Cool spot as Xavier goes for 619 around corner post and Cage catches him and swings him into the post. After a series of messy reversals, Xavier gets the upset.
“The Villain” Marty Scurll vs Flash Morgan Webster: Scurll — last year’s BOLA winner — foolishly opens his Bullet Club umbrella indoors. Bad luck immediately befalls him as Webster hits a stiff headbutt during Scurll’s pre-match promo and GETS THE THREE!!!! Crowd and commentators Excalibur and Taylor go nuts until referee Rich Knox notices Scurll’s foot on the bottom rope. Cool spot as Scurll has a back and forth with a fan that ends with Scurll tossing Webster into the fan. Fun match that Scurll wins with the chicken wing.
REY FENIX vs Rey Horrus: It was obvious that the two wanted to do a faster paced lucha style match. Unfortunately, Horrus tweaked his knee early on. At one point, FENIX hits the most devastating superkick ever. Lots of spot, rest, spot with some nifty moves — FENIX wins with a wacky submission.
Non Tournament Tag-Team Match: The Chosen Bros (Jeff Cobb and Matthew Riddle) vs The Monstars (Donovan Dijak & Keith Lee): Showcase of big men moving like cruiserweights. Methodical pace filled with hard strikes and suplexes. Excalibur and Taylor talk about how well the Monstars from Space Jam would fare against the GS Warriors. Bros win after Riddle pins Lee.
PENTA EL ZERO vs “Reborn” Matt Sydal: Early trades before the match spills to the outside, and PENTA starts hitting Sydal with open handed slaps at each ring post. At the fourth ring post Sydal moves and PENTA hits the post causing a sick ringing. PENTA has the best counter to the former Evan Bourne’s Shooting Star Press since Randy Orton: He just sticks up both feet. After a quick exchange of counters, PENTA advances following a running package piledriver.
Jonah Rock vs. Zack Sabre Jr: Jonah Rock was a part of The Mighty Don’t Kneel. This is his North American debut. ZSJ is a great technical wrestler but there has always been something missing. Never knew what it was until watching this match. (More on this later.) Noticeable lack of chemistry. Rock had nothing in the tank by the end. ZSJ gets the submission with the flying armbar.
Flamita vs Ricochet: Flamita is a “sickening” 22 years old, Excalibur states. Story of the match: after years of being the fastest wrestler and highest flyer on the card, Ricochet meets an opponent who is always one step ahead of him. Great psychology as Ricochet is forced to adjust his offense. Flamita keeps countering Ricochet, until Ricochet slows down the pace. Ricochet proceeds to wear the younger Flamita down and is able to connect with his faster paced offense. Scary moment as the two fight on the apron then Ricochet hits a reverse neckbreaker and just falls to the floor on the way down. Hushed silence from the crowd for that one. Ricochet wins shortly after. Match of the night for sure, but that one spot should never be done again.
Overall thoughts: Every match seemed to be a little off in some way. In some matches it was obvious: Rey Horrus tweaking his knee, Jonah Rock and Zack Sabre Jr. having no in ring chemistry, the non-tournament match being an exhibition. All in all, a nice start to the weekend but nothing great.