Written by: Jim
2005 Battle of Los Angeles
September 3, 2005
Dino Winwood and So Cal Val opens up the show. Due to TJ Perkins being injured, he’s being replaced in the tournament by Davey Richards. All 16 of the BOLA wrestlers comes out for the annual BOLA photograph. Super Dragon and Kevin Steen has a stand off.
Excalibur talks about the last show where Gunning for Hookers defeated Disco Machine and Ronin. He’s here to exact revenge. Meanwhile, since Chris Sabin was injured for his tag title shot at the last show, Excalibur offers him an invitation to join the match to get his hands on Human Tornado.
The New SBS and Chris Sabin vs Gunning for Hookers and Human Tornado w/Ed Powers
Despite adding a lot of storyline heat for Tornado on the heel side, it still seems weird that he’s not in the BOLA tournament. He’s one half of the tag team champions and has had more success than some of the guys in BOLA. Early on, there was a lot of comedy, mostly surrounding Top Gun Talwar. Normally, I don’t mind this, but it feels out of place with so much bad blood in the match. Luckily, as the match goes on, the comedy is thrown out of the window and there’s a serious tone added. Everyone gets in a big spot or two with plenty of pin attempts. Human Tornado does his trademark dive on the outside that results in Tornado taking the brunt of the punishment instead of his opponent. It’s no wonder he’s retired now. Tornado picks up the win with DND on Excalibur. It took awhile, but the match eventually found it’s groove. This sort of spotfest is exactly how you want to open BOLA. 2 1/2 Stars.
Rocky Romero vs Frankie Kazarian – First Round
Quick question, if a wrestler accidentally chops a ring post, what sort of ending do you expect? If you guessed “Some sort of arm move would force the injured wrestler to lose” you’d be right. Only these two decide they’re going to do the angle with Kazarian injuring his arm and eventually loses, but ignoring any future arm work of having Kazarian lose because of the injury. How is it that you forget about arm work? What’s even the point of doing the injury angle if you’re going to scrap the idea minutes after it starts? Romero and Kazarian has a back and forth match with about a million different pin attempts at the end before Romero wins with some sort of roll-up. Ugh. The match was “Fine”, but the complete disregard or ignorance of telling a story ruined this for me. 2 Stars.
Davey Richards vs Quicksilver – First Round
Dino Winwood sings Quicksilver’s entrance music for his entrance (Dio’s “Man on the Silver Mountain”). If only Winwood would sing Bryan Danielson’s. Such an intense match though. Early on, Quicksilver chops Davey. Davey’s sole reaction is to give Quick the finger. Quick does it again, but Davey slaps Quickie hard and yells “Harder!” Ha, Davey’s great. Davey takes a wickedly brutal dive to the outside where he hits Quick, but also falls hard on a chair. Quicksilver runs and gets a jump off of the steps to take Davey out with a tornado DDT. At this point, the match should have really ended. You had Davey paying for his high risk dive and then selling the DDT as if he received a concussion. It’s not as if Davey would have been hurt from losing. However, they continue a little bit longer in the ring to further try and put Davey over. Quicksilver gets the win following a middle rope Silver Splash (A sit down FU with the opponent falling between your legs). I do wonder if all of the unneeded action following the DDT on the outside was made because the bookers knew what Davey would be doing once BOLA ended. Either way, it’s a fun match with the right man going over. Davey would have the last laugh by winning BOLA 2006 though. 3 Stars.
Joey Ryan vs James Gibson – First Round
Gibson is the reigning ROH World Champion still at this point. Joey’s heat is still pretty incredible with the crowd booing everything he does. At this point in time, there wasn’t a better heel in PWG than Joey. Early on, Gibson works over Joey’s arm, but Ryan decides to stop selling it once he begins working over Gibson’s arm. Gibson does a good job at selling it until he too decides to stop selling it at the end. Mid way through the match, Ryan throws in a chair to distract the ref so he can bring in a second chair. Gibson prevents any sort of attack, so Ryan pulls an Eddie Guerrero and tosses him the chair while selling a fake attack. The referee doesn’t seem to buy it though. The action continues, but it’s becoming boring. Gibson wins with a great looking running Gibson Driver. All throughout the match, I was wondering how they were going to have Gibson win while maintaining the Technical Wizard gimmick of Joey. As it turns out, they didn’t bother having the technical side even come into the finish. Odd booking. Probably Gibson’s worst match from his indy days in 2005. 2 1/2 Stars.
Chris Bosh vs El Generico w/Human Tornado – First Round
Generico is of course one half of the tag champions. These days, that would mean he’d lose so that we could see a tag title match on the next night. Although, if you know anything about BOLA 2005, the outcome of this match shouldn’t be a surprise. The match is alright, but it never really feels as if they accomplished everything they wanted to do. Instead, it was just a thirteen minute match full of random moves and spots. Bosh wins with his sick Steiner Screwdriver to at least end the match on a high note. 2 3/4 Stars.
Bryan Danielson vs Ricky Reyes – First Round
This is Danielson’s first match back to the American indy scene after taking the summer off following his loss to Austin Aries at ROH’s Nowhere to Run. While you have to go back in time some, this does have a good backstory. In the PWG universe, these two were allies due to both training at the New Japan Dojo in Cali. However, back at The Musical in 2004, Reyes came in after the Danielson/Joe match and turned on Danielson. This lead to a tag match with Joe/Reyes vs Danielson and Christopher Daniels at the first anniversary show at Reason for the Season (Which Danielson won by pinning Reyes). Right away, the issues are brought up by neither guy breaking up struggles in the corner. The referee ends up looking like a total fool by counting to four several times and always stopping to attempt (And fail) to break up the two. All of the action is just great though. They’re either struggling in the ropes or hitting each other hard. According to one review, this features the first ever “I have til 5!”, although I can’t say I know that that’s a fact. It’s about the right time period I imagine though. After a near twenty minute battle, Danielson finally forces Reyes to tap out to the crossface chicken wing. I challenge anyone to find a better one-on-one match of Ricky Reyes’. 3 3/4 Stars.
Scott Lost vs Christopher Daniels – First Round
With both guys as heels, the fan interest isn’t too typical. Instead of cheering for either guy, they mostly just make fun of Daniels with various penis jokes. Early on, Scott Lost even pulls out a marker to draw a penis on Daniels’ head. Both men gets in their spots including Lost’s great Superman Spear and his spearing bridge/Sharpshooter combo. I love that move. Lost is sent up over Daniels, but stops himself from colliding into referee, Rick Knox. Daniels’ uses that moment to low blow Lost and then hit the Angel’s Wings to pick up the win. Pretty much your typical BOLA first round match. It’s good for what it is, but you’d expect better on any other show. 2 3/4 Stars.
After the match, Scott Lost attacks Rick Knox for his loss. A masked Scorpio Sky (!) makes his return, laying Lost out with the Final Answer (Eye of the Hurricane only into his knee). Scorpio removes his mask and throws it down on the mat and leaves. Once Lost wakes up, all he knows about his attack was the mask that lays by him. Great return.
AJ Styles vs Jack Evans – First Round
I wonder if a match is still good if you’re watching solely to see if someone ends up dying. The question comes up near the end after I watch three botches that really makes me question how both guys aren’t paralyzed yet. Styles finally shows a little passion in PWG by bullying Evans early on in the match. Even the final moment with Styles nailing the Styles Clash on the outside is hate filled and pretty awesome. It may not be as technically good as the Gibson match, but this was the most I’ve been into a Styles match in PWG bar vs PAC during ASW 4 weekend. 3 Stars.
Super Dragon vs Kevin Steen – First Round
After all that had went down between Steen and Dragon thus far, you’d think that they’d instantly start the match by brawling. Instead, they lock up and mat wrestle for awhile. How about trying to put over how much you two hate each other? It takes a long time, but it slowly comes out with Steen relishing in slowly punishing Dragon that he doesn’t try for covers or anything to win. By time Dragon makes his comeback, I’m into the match, even if it took twenty minutes. The final ten minutes is where the real quality occurs. Steen hits the moonsault and 450 Splash (The very moves that Steen used to beat Dragon at 2nd Anniversary Night 2), but Dragon rolls to the floor before Steen can cover him. Plenty of fighting on the outside with Steen sending Dragon head first into the wall (Think Kevin Nash and Rey Mysterio in 1996). Dragon pays Steen back by back body dropping Steen on the floor. Back in, Dragon jumps from the top rope onto Steen’s head. Dragon nails one of the Psycho Driver’s (Psycho Driver 4 I believe?) and lazily covers him. At two, Steen pulls him down in a crucifix cover (Exact thing happened with Triple H and Jeff Hardy at No Mercy 2008) to get the surprise victory. Even though I didn’t enjoy the early going and it was too long, it ended up being just another one of their great matches. If you cut out the early BS lock up and mat wrestling, you’re left with a match reminiscent of their hate filled match at Ernest P. Memorial. It’s their weakest match out of their four match singles series, but that’s still not a bad thing. 3 1/4 Stars.
After the match, Dragon applauded Steen for pinning him cleanly. He wants a handshake. Reluctantly, Steen slowly shakes his hand while Dragon brings him in for a hug. It’s how guys resolve all issues – they hug it out bitch. Dragon clobbers Steen with a forearm and nails the Psycho Driver 2. Excalibur and Disco Machine run out from the back to prevent any more harm on their fearless leader. As predictable as this moment was, it was AWESOME. This marks the shift in the Dragon/Steen feud. For the most part, their at opposite points from where they were when this all started. Steen started out as a loner without the PWG title and looking to play mind games to get what he wants. Meanwhile, Dragon had a couple of friends in Excalibur and Disco Machine and was the PWG champion. If using mind tricks was what helped Steen get the advantage over Dragon, Dragon’s willing to do that too. For the first time in this feud, Dragon leaves a show with Steen laying on the mat. It doesn’t matter that Steen won this match, Dragon’s going to win the war.
It’s night 1 of BOLA. There’s certain shows that I expect great things from (BOLA Night 2, Anniversary Show, DDT4 and All Star Weekend), I expect the least from BOLA’s first night. For the most part, it’s just a night to set-up the second night and if you get one noteworthy match, you should be happy. In this case, we get two in the form of the Dragons. Add in the fact that night 1 featured the return of Scorpio Sky, you have some extra importance added onto the show. Even with all of the sub par or disappointing matches, it’s not a bad way to start the first ever BOLA.
Worth Checking Out
Bryan Danielson vs Ricky Reyes
AJ Styles vs Jack Evans (Just for the botches)
Super Dragon vs Kevin Steen
Joey Ryan vs James Gibson (Who wants to see a decent Gibson 2005 match?)
Frankie Kazarian vs Rocky Romero (Yay for forgetting the story of the match)