Written by: Arnold Furious
September 1st 2007. We’re in Burbank, California. Hosts are Excalibur, Bryce Remsberg & Dino Winwood.
Ronin/TJ Perkins v Bino Gambino/Karl Anderson
Ronin & Anderson have an ongoing issue. Gambino is a new one on me. He retired in 2008 presumably due to a lack of progress in the biz. He has a little athleticism and heel mannerisms by the barrel full. At this point he’s a 4 year pro but he looks REALLY green and is using his big mouth to cover it up. Anderson & Perkins do some prettier wrestling. They are the talented duo. If I’m being honest, I’d rather see them in singles here. Perkins combines perky babyface antics with stiff striking while Anderson has a good look and solid basics. The biggest issue I have with this match is that no one in it realises their limitations. Even Anderson thinks he can take bumps that are beyond him. Although I’ll put a lot of that down to Perkins being so fucking sloppy. Combine that with Gambino’s inexperience and frankly you have a pile of shit. If it wasn’t for Anderson the match would be hard to watch. Ronin comes in for some stiff striking but gets blown up in about 30 seconds and has to tag out. Haha. Cardio? That shit is overrated. They throw tags out the window and start popping off quasi-finishers. Gambino makes me laugh by going for a discus elbow but having to stop mid-turn to check where Ronin was. Oh dear. Ronin picks him off the DVD. 1/2*.
BOLA Rd 1: Human Tornado v CIMA
H-Tizzle has Candace LaRae in his corner. Tornado is decidedly unpleasant to her pre-match but he makes it funny, whereas all those WEW guys make it creepy. Big difference. I guess the biggest difference is the audience. If he ran that gimmick in WEW the fans would be over the rails. CIMA takes offence to the misogyny and just destroys Tornado from the bell. The beating culminates in the Lungblower so Tornado bails and CIMA accidentally baseball slides Candace after Tornado, predictably, drags her in the way. Of course CIMA feels bad because it was his feet but its all just a distraction so Tornado can sneak attack him. CIMA tries to comeback only to get his knee dropkicked out. While he’s hung on the ropes Tornado JUMPS OVER THE ROPES and drops the leg. That’s an amazing vertical leap. HOUSE PARTY! I love that move. CIMA bails into the crowd and Tornado is on the move; DIVE INTO THE CROWD! PASSENGER 57! Tornado seems to get better depending on his opponent’s abilities. CIMA fucking rules so Tornado is great here. Tornado tries to set up Candace for a superplex onto CIMA but he runs in and powerbombs everyone over! She takes some awesome bumps for a valet. They run some counters and Tornado blows the counter out of the Schwein. DAT NIGGA DEAD! CIMA just casually kicks out because he’s too good to lie down for finishers. Tornado comes off the top thinking that’ll get the job done and CIMA kicks out again. CIMA starts throwing out the trademarks, Candace miscues her interference and CIMA takes it with the Schwein. ***1/2. Tornado brought the personality, Candace the sick bumps and CIMA the wrestling. An all around win. My favourite sequence came near the end where Tornado got crotched on the top rope but was fine because of the BALLS OF STEEL only for CIMA to clock him with a follow up Venus that he couldn’t have hit on the taller Tornado if he’d remained standing. A wonderful mixture of character and psychology.
POST MATCH Tornado teases being ok with Candace before laying the boots in. DAT NIGGA DEAD! Tornado, channelling Charlie Sheen, claims to still be a winner. Crowd supportively chant “one more time” and just to be a dick about it Tornado does so. Chris Hero has seen enough and makes the save. Ah, so that’s why he jobbed to Joey Ryan. Hero threatens to kick Tornado’s “skinny black ass” causing a pull-apart brawl. I really want to see this match now. Kudos to PWG for building the angle up. Tornado is an amazing character. It’s a pity he got injured because sooner or later he’d have been in one of the big two.
BOLA Rd 1: Scott Lost v Shingo
Lost has Jade Chung in his corner. I think most people know who Shingo is now after his US run a few years back. He just bullies Lost using his size and strength. Shingo is fast and strong like Davey Boy Smith, Doug Furnas or Roderick Strong. It’s a wicked combination. Lost can’t get anywhere without cheating. Lost uses his speed to stay in charge. He doesn’t give Shingo any time to recover. Lost doesn’t have anything that’ll keep Shingo down though so any pain is temporary. Pride is forever. Shingo uses his freakish abilities to hit smooth combos. Lost looks like a jobber. That is more Shingo’s fault for treating him like one though. Shingo is just too much fun to dislike. He jacks Lost up into powerbombs and spinebusters at will and scatters tasty strikes in between. Lost has enough savvy to counter the Last Falconry but gets caught in a massive Exploder suplex. He just picked him up and threw him. Lost gets silly with his spots; hitting a superplex and then rolling into a suplex to the floor. At least they both sell it like death. Back inside Lost hits the Superman Spear but Shingo just shrugs that shit off and hits the Last Falconry for the win. Well, damn. **3/4. Lost is smooth and tidy but I feel he lacks a killer instinct and that makes him enhancement talent. Shingo treated him as such, until the hot final couple of minutes and then went back to treating him like a jobber at the end. Oh well, the more interesting guy won. No complaints about that.
BOLA Rd 1: Kevin Steen v Necro Butcher
Steen points out this is a wrestling match to try and curb Necro’s aggressiveness. There’s a good chance he’s remembering Necro’s match with Super Dragon last year. I know I do. One of my favourite matches, ever. Not technically great and there are mistakes but the spots are SIIIIIICK. Steen fears the strikes so tries to make it about chaining. Necro elbows him the face. There’s your storyline, guys and gals. Necro’s knee is taped so Steen goes after it. “Brains over brawn” shouts Steen. Having worn Necro down by working the knee Steen goes to the strikes, which gets him punched, a lot. Steen should have known better than to go to Necro’s strengths. Steen comes back with a kick to the bad knee, the superkick and a senton for 2. Huge impact on that; Steen is heavy as fuck. He can’t get Necro up for the Package Piledriver and Necro just smacks him with a lariat. Spinning Toehold but Necro punches out of it. O’CONNOR ROLL…FOR THREE!!! Necro pinned Steen with a wrestling roll up! **1/2. I like both guys but they didn’t get the job done here. Steen lost track of his own tactics and Necro hardly got to showcase anything.
BOLA Rd 1: Davey Richards v Nigel McGuinness
Nigel tries to assert his technical superiority by grabbing a wristlock and not letting go. Nigel controls and Davey’s stupidity doesn’t help. They run an angle with a fan where Nigel gets a fan to kiss his hand, Davey gets low blowed and requests a kiss. Naturally its Nigel’s missus so Davey gets nothing. He wrestles for a few minutes with his ass showing. Ewww. His tactic has been to work the arm, which is a Nigel standard. Davey brings far greater intensity with Nigel hurt. He hammers him with a forearm in the corner, follows up with a springboard dropkick to the back of the head and then hits a tope at speed when Nigel bails. When Davey is on, he’s phenomenal. Nigel tries to limit the damage with wrestling but Davey just flattens him again with that explosive offence. Nigel finally realises what he’s up against and prevents Davey coming off the top. But he reverses and gets the KEYLOCK! Nigel reverses out into one of his trademark lariats. Davey staggers into another one, which Nigel sets up by not looking. I don’t care much for that. Technically, Nigel is fine but he has terrible habits regarding psychology that irk me on a match by match basis. Davey misses on the SSP because he spends too long posing. That sets him up for the Tower of London but Nigel doesn’t pull him away from the ropes, so they save. As if he knew he was annoying me Nigel then sets up his stupid ‘on the ropes’ lariat. I would bitch about the sheer amount of time he spends setting up the Jawbreaker Lariat but the impact on it is IMMENSE. ***. Great effort from both guys but for me Davey was the better wrestler. Nigel brought a lot of baggage with him, which was frustrating. It was Davey’s effort that made the match worthwhile and he looked like the star, which is the opposite of how the finish was booked.
BOLA Rd 1: Tony Kozina v El Generico
No prizes for guessing the winner here. The match is boring so the crowd chant “Tony” in the same register as the usual “boring” chant. Honestly, I completely tuned the match out until that chant. A hot sequence follows where Kozina gets dropped on his head. El Generico sure likes dropping people on their head, eh? Kozina takes his time winning the crowd over but manages it by hitting a 619 around the ringpost with Generico in the tree of woe. The first guy I saw do that was Toker. Like Toker, Kozina is a little rough and needs work on his transitions. Generico is far more intense and as soon as Kozina leaves openings he just fills them with violence. Incidentally this match is 12 minutes long. That’s just unnecessary. Nobody buys Kozina as a threat. They do tease him winning with an inside cradle but I’m not buying into it. They blow a spot badly so Kozina makes amends by hitting a SUPER RANA TO THE FLOOR! Holy shit! Well, that was cool. He even dodges the Following You Yakuza Kick and gets a roll up for 2. Generico is so superior though. He’s so much faster and his moves have that much more impact. He finishes with the Brainbuster and advances. **1/4. This was surprisingly good with Kozina throwing everything out there to see what’d stick. Generico was able to just shrug it all off though, even the rana to the floor, and win with effort to spare.
BOLA Rd 1: Susumu Yokosuka v Dragon Kid
They teamed on night one. Winner gets Generico in the Quarter Finals tomorrow night. DK is faster and after winning the opening duels acts as cheerleader for the Burbank crowd. To give you an idea of how over these guys are; Dragon Kid hooks a chinlock and the crowd erupts in support of Yokosuka. The same spot in the last match was met with derision. The difference being these guys are about to do something cool and everyone knows it. DK takes a lariat on the apron and lands on his shoulders. FUUUUUCK. Yokosuka cheekily tries to get a pin but the ref points out he’s not in the ring. DK takes some of the sickest bumps you’ll ever see. His neck is going to be fucked soon. Yokosuka, taking advantage of DK’s tiny stature, holds him up in a suplex for about a minute and half. DK tries to use his speed but Yokosuka is no slouch and catches him in the satellite backbreaker. DK comes back with super flying, highlighted by a slingshot rana on the floor. They get some nice reversals going, which their familiarity with each other helps with. DK gets the better of it even converting a massive suplex spot into the Street Cutter for 2. DK goes for the flying DDT but Yokosuka counters into a suplex. Nice spot; RVD-Jerry Lynn stuff at its best. The great thing about DK is he sells strikes like death. So you get behind him naturally because of that and his size. Plus his selling and bumping is epic. New age midget Ricky Steamboat! He tries for some funky rana reversals but gets planted with the DVD. Yokosuka goes for the Last Ride but gets countered into the sunset bomb for 2. Yokosuka nails him with a lariat and the crowd is HOT now. He goes for a powerbomb, countered into a snap rana, countered into a roll through pin…for 2. How did they even do that AT THAT SPEED? Crowd thinks this is awesome. Yokosuka tries for Splash Mountain off the top but gets countered in mid air. DK hits the springboard rana to take the win. Crowd LOVED that. ****. Hot way to finish night two. Dragon Kid brought the selling and the bumps while Yokosuka was able to work his shit around how awesome DK is. Every time I see Dragon Kid I’m reminded that he’s incredible and I should watch his matches more.
Final Thoughts: Felt a little brisk. Under 2 hours in length and only 3 good matches. It’s a little underwhelming again. What’s worse perhaps is that everything that’s really good is just an advert for a better promotion. Be it ROH or Dragon Gate. Like usual the event will live or die on night three. So I’ll be back to take a look at that ASAP.