Written by: Jake St. Pierre
Coming off one of their best shows of all time, PWG may be at its hottest. The first two nights of the 2015 Battle of Los Angeles have sent this tournament well on its way to being the best of its kind. Barring a couple stinkers, the match quality has been astonishingly great and the new crop of guys—be it the Brits or the Lucha crew—have brought a new, tremendously exciting flavor to PWG. It also helps that Night 2’s main event is my Match of the Year, but I already fanboyed over that enough. Tonight, we reach the end of the road in what may be the longest PWG show of all time. It’s a HUGE show, so let’s get on with it…
We are TAPED from the American Legion in Reseda, CA.
Your hosts are Excalibur and a rotating door of guests, like usual.
BOLA Quarterfinal Match: Brian Cage vs. Jack Evans
We haven’t seen Cage since the opener of Night 1, while I had the unfortunate task of having to sit through whatever Jack Evans thought he was doing on Night 2. I’m not very sure what to expect here, to be honest.
Jack Evans goes directly for the mic and Teddy Hart’s a little more. I mean, I guess it’s a good gig if you can get it. Cage has enough and FUCKING HURLS JACK EVANS FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE RING INTO THE CORNER! Brian Cage just MURDERS this man with powerbombs and a gorilla press to the floor. How many more promos does Jack have to cut for Cage to throw him off Dario Cueto’s office? I don’t think I’ve been this happy to see a man have years cut off of his life. But who am I kidding, it’s Jack Evans. That Gumby motherfucker is gonna live forever. Jack throws a couple kicks but springboards directly into a suplex position… and pins Cage with a backslide in like five minutes? Okay. ** I have no idea what I just watched, but considering ¾ of it consisted of Brian Cage killing Jack Evans, I’m giving it a generous rating. All’s I’m saying is it’s no wonder Jack Evans is toiling away in Mexico.
Cage kills Jack completely dead with a Steiner Screwdriver after the match.
BOLA Quarterfinal Match: Chris Hero vs. Biff Busick
The fact that Biff Busick is wrestling the second match of this card after the shit-kicking he took last night makes me uncomfortable in the best possible way.
Hero kicks Biff off of the second rope mid-taunt, but Biff battles back with a Blockbuster and a Half and Half for a two count. Biff looks for a cradle piledriver, but Hero drops him to the mat and hits a basement dropkick for a two count. Biff spits at Hero’s chops, and Hero begs him to do it again so he can punch Biff in the face. Biff catches a rolling Mafia Kick, but Hero rolls out and Mafia Kicks him in the back of the head for a nearfall. Biff stomachs a stomp from Hero and drops him on his head with another Half and Half. Biff looks for the diving European Uppercut that Hero COUNTERS WITH A KNEE. Biff resorts to fish hooking Hero, who’s looking for an Avalanche Cravat Suplex, which pisses Hero off enough to give a spent Busick a barrage of elbows. Hero MURDERS BIFF WITH AN AVALANCHE PILEDRIVER. Hero advances in 9 minutes. **1/2 This was a good match for the time allotted, but for guys like Hero and Busick, you really can’t shrink their styles down to a sub-10 minute match. I completely understand the need for these short matches as this show is LONG, but since I’m judging match quality, I kind of have to address that. Hero has never been the best short match guy, so while I’m sure Biff’s style is more conducive to the environment, I’m not sure Hero is at his best in a condensed form. There wasn’t anything wrong with this match fundamentally, they just didn’t have enough time to really do anything substiantial besides the finish.
BOLA Quarterfinal Match: Trevor Lee vs. Marty Scurll
Trevor Lee has largely been a non-entity this weekend as a tournament participant, but he was involved in that Guerrilla Warfare match last night and that’s enough for me to excuse it.
Marty dips out of the ring immediately upon the bell ringing, antagonizing Trevor from the outside. Marty gets back in the ring and puts on that arm-capture Cloverleaf that Davey Richards does. Scurll uses his technical acumen to somewhat control things in the earlygoing, but we find ourselves at a stalemate a few times. “I do not suck, it was one time! It doesn’t count!” – Marty Scurll. The crowd empathizes with a hearty “He Was Curious” chant. Trevor builds up a head of steam with a pair of ranas, but Scurll snaps the rope onto Trevor’s face. Trevor responds by missing the Penalty Kick from the apron, and they go at it on the apron. Trevor looks for the German on the apron, but Marty twirls out and drops Trevor with an arm-wringer on the apron. Marty keeps going at Trevor’s arm as they get back into the ring. Marty sets up for a Tope Con Hilo, but he gives the crowd a nice “fuck you” and instead opts to climb out and chop him. Scurll pulls out a Banzai Drop for a two count. Lee throws a few lifters and a dropkick to respond. Lee hits Marty with a running mushroom stomp for a two count. Scurll superkicks Trevor’s knee out from under him, but he runs right into the Moonsault Crossbody! Marty nearly gets the duke with a mean powerbomb and follows up with a superkick from the apron, and he builds a head of steam until Trevor catches him dead in his tracks by countering a Tornado DDT into a modified Orange Crush! Marty looks for the Chickenwing, but Trevor is able to roll out. Scurll gets out of a small package, but Trevor follows up by diving out onto him a Tope Suicida and a Tope Con Hilo! Trevor looks for something off the top rope, but Marty gets out and locks in the Chickenwing to advance in 15 minutes. ***1/4 This was about as good as you could expect from a guy who nearly died about sixteen times less than 24 hours before. It was a good little technical wrestling match with Scurll trying his best to go after Trevor’s arm to set up for the Chickenwing, which factored into the finish that just so happened to involve Scurll’s chickenwing. It’s not the most inventive thing ever, but it’s nice to see limbwork that pays off logically. Trevor’s selling of it wasn’t great or anything, but he didn’t completely forget about – and like I said – it factored into the finish, which is more than most guys who go down that route can say. So yeah, I’d say this was a pretty great little match for what it’s worth.
BOLA Quarterfinal Match: Pentagon Jr. vs. Zack Sabre Jr
This is one of those things you didn’t know you wanted until it’s staring you in the face, ready to break your arm. I love PWG.
The crowd is off their rocker for this match. Like, they’re standing and chanting “This is Awesome” before the geeky ring announcer can start his intro. Sabre starts off and puts Pentagon fairly easily into a Bow and Arrow, and Pentagon ain’t too happy about that. Pentagon shows Zack some technical wrestling of his own, wrapping Zack into a pretzel. This match is already five stars. Zack wraps Pentagon’s arm up, but lets him go, which proves to be a bad idea, as Pentagon twists Zack’s arms together and stretches them out at will. Pentagon throws Zack down and puts him in the arm-capture Cloverleaf, and he lets Zack go as well. Pentagon catches Zack in a Tombstone position and TORQUES HIS LEGS BACK WHILE CARRYING HIM. Zack runs into Pentagon yelling “LUCHA FUCKING LIBRE MATE!”, but Pentagon suplexes him into the turnbuckles and jumps off of Rick Knox with a cannonball! Pentagon is in control, caving in Zack’s chest with the overhand chops. JESUS. The fans ask for a fourth one, but Zack blocks it and neutralizes Pentagon’s arm and throws a few chops of his own and follows with a Tornado DDT! Zack tries to step up off of the turnbuckle for something, but Pentagon dropkicks him out of mid-air for a two count that Pentagon ain’t too happy about. Zack catches a kick from Pentagon, hitting a running kick to the chest for a two count. Pentagon superkicks Sabre out of the ring, and follows him out to set him on a chair and finally give him the fourth chop. PENTAGON JR PUTS ZACK THROUGH THE CHAIR WITH A TOPE CON HILO! Zack jumps out of the Package Piledriver and puts in the Kimura, and Pentagon taps at the 12 minute mark to send him to the semifinals. ***3/4 This is one of those matches that—yes, the action is awesome—but the best part of it was the sheer fact that it existed. What I mean by that, is that you don’t even really have to summarize the match to explain its merits. Its merits lie in the fact that Pentagon Jr and Zack Sabre Jr had a wrestling match together. But that’s not to discredit any of the work these guys put in whatsoever. In fact, I really liked that Pentagon constantly attempted to one-up Zack with his insane submissions throughout a lot of this match. It was a nice touch to finally see Zack get bested at his own game for a bit. Pentagon’s personality was on full display throughout and every single thing he did mattered or became awesome in some way. They didn’t even do that much! A lot of times guys will over-compensate for lack of personality with a dizzying array of moves. Pentagon was able to completely manipulate this crowd by just being there. That’s the true mark of a guy who’s a natural at professional wrestling. And so when he actually does so something out-of-this-world physically, it means he’s that much cooler. It’s a formula that’s impossible to lose with, and they won out here BIG time by putting on one of the most entertaining matches of the weekend.
BOLA Quarterfinal Match: “Speedball” Mike Bailey vs. Tommy End
Have I ever mentioned that I love PWG?
Tommy immediately dropkicks Bailey down as the bell rings, kneeing Speedball out of the ring immediately afterwards. Speedball dodges a Tommy End doublestomp, and he dropkicks him down to the floor in the middle of the fans. They throw leather outside until Speedball crumbles Tommy with a jumping enzuigiri. Tommy hits a NASTY switch knee to the back of the head and the upper spine of Speedball. Great exchange between Excalibur and Chuck Taylor as Tommy picks Speedball apart in the ring. Excalibur: “Montreal, somewhat of a pipeline to Pro Wrestling Guerrilla… just as PWG is a pipeline to elsewhere”…. Chuck Taylor: “Not for all of us.” I’m still holding out hope, by God. Speedball throws a few strikes to Tommy’s ribs, which End responds to with a boot to the mush. Speedball isn’t too fazed, crumbling Tommy in the corner with a barrage of kicks. Tommy hits the huge Edson Barboza spinning back kick, and Bailey responds with the river dance kick combo. Tommy throws a few switch knees and a shining wizard that gets a two count. Tommy and Speedball exchange kicks on the apron, where Bailey backdrops Tommy and HITS HIM WITH A MOONSAULT KNEE DROP ON THE APRON! Bailey heads up top for something, but misses the shooting star kneedrop. Tommy hits a Mushroom Stomp and KILLS BAILEY WITH A BRAINBUSTER! SPEEDBALL KICKS OUT! DIVING DOUBLE STOMP FROM END! SPEEDBALL KICKS OUT AGAIN! Speedball hits a barrage of spinning back kicks AND A SHOOTING STAR KNEEDROP TO THE BACK! BUZZSAW KICK! Mike Bailey advances to the semis in 10 minutes. ***3/4 This is just about the best 10 minute match you’re ever going to see. Bailey and End had the kick-fest everyone expected out of them and lived up to my extremely high expectations in the process. Their striking styles are so similar yet so different, and it’s pretty awesome to see Mike Bailey run right into a guy who kicks even harder than he does, since that’s usually Speedball’s bread and butter. It just so happened that Speedball is probably the quickest human being of all time, which—along with his high-flying—ultimately got him the win. Don’t come into this one expecting the craziness Galloway vs. Speedball, but as a tremendous strike-filled sprint, this is probably the best you’re liable to see.
BOLA Quarterfinal Match: Matt Sydal vs. Will Ospreay
You’d think I’d get tired of flips after being such a hardcore fan of PWG for so long.
Ospreay pulls off a dope springboard armdrag and a step up rana, followed by a dropsault. Sydal looks for a rana, but Ospreay cartwheels out of it much to the surprise of Sydal. Ospreay talks some shit, and runs into a schweeet spinning kick from Sydal. Sydal floats Ospreay over to the apron supposedly, but ends up crotching the Brit and hitting him with the Nigel clothesline from there. Ospreay looks for a standing shooting star, but Sydal boots him out of it and hits a running Meteora for a two count. Ospreay tries to springboard, but Sydal bats him down and Ospreay lands BADLY on the ropes, gut-first. Sydal follows up with the Tower of London, and following that up with by standing on Ospreay’s crotch as the Brit lays in the Tree of Woe. Matt looks for a Back Superplex, but Ospreay counters it with a crossbody! Sydal smacks Ospreay with a jumping knee, but Will battles back with a back handspring enzuigiri! Ospreay sends Sydal to the outside and comes down with a CORKSCREW MOONSAULT TO THE OUTSIDE! Ospreay hits that awesome tilt-a-whirl kick, and follows with a brainbuster. Sydal dodges a Phoenix Splash but nearly gets pinned on a schoolboy. Sydal gets a close nearfall on a swinging DDT. OSPREAY LANDS ON HIS FEET ON A SUPER REVERSE RANA! STANDING CORKSCREW SENTON! Sydal kicks out! NO HANDS REVERSE RANA FROM SYDAL! Shooting Star misses for Sydal, and Ospreay hits a few superkicks. IMPLODING 450! Will Ospreay gets to the semi finals in 14 minutes. ***1/2 It wasn’t up to the level of either man’s first round matches, but it was still pretty damn great for what it was. I love Sydal as a heel, and he did a great job playing one against the pretty much unhateable Will Ospreay. He used his experience and some pretty funny douchery to really draw the battle lines, and it added an unexpected wrinkle to what pretty much screamed ‘exhibition’ from the get-go. Any time you can give a match like that higher stakes, you’re good in my book.
Roderick Strong starts Disc 2 by grabbing the mic from dorky ring announcer. The Bucks and Super Dragon join him as Roddy says he figures now is the time to beat some motherfuckers up. He says that there’s nobody in the back who has the balls to come and face them… and HERE COMES FENIX! He cleans house on Roddy and The Bucks, but Dragon destroys him with a lariat. Angelico comes out, but runs into a barrage of Suck Its from Matt. Angelico gives them a taste of their own medicine, and here comes The Inner City Machine Guns!
Mt. Rushmore 2.0 vs. The Inner City Machine Guns, Fenix, & Angelico
I mean, I’m not gonna complain…
ICMG, Angelico and Fenix start off with four dives onto Mt. Rushmore, and it’s a Pier Six Brawl. Fenix drops Roddy with a bunch of crazy springboards, but Nick pokes him in the eye. Roddy drags Fenix off of the apron and gives him a backbreaker on it. That allows Mt. Rushmore to really isolate Fenix for a bit, until Fenix is able to tag in Swann, who is able to start cleaning house until eating a triple superkick. Dragon throws out the Violence Party on Swann, later resorting to straight up strangling him. Mt. Rushmore proceeds to kicking the shit out of Swann. Sometimes I forget how awesome Super Dragon is, so these periodic comebacks are nice. Swann ranas Nick off of the top rope and hits Roddy with the Lethal Injection, and here comes Ricochet! Ricochet cleans house, but Dragon trips him up on a potential dive and batters him outside. Ricochet is able to escape and dives on top of Roddy, and Fenix hits a HUGE TORNILLO ONTO EVERYBODY! Fenix gets superkicked off of the apron, but Angelico switch knees Matt to the outside! Nick hits a slingshot X Factor on Angelico, and Ricochet disposes of him! Ricochet hits a springboard 450 on Dragon for a nearfall. Ricochet looks for a 630 on Dragon, but Roddy crotches him as the Bucks corner Angelico and Fenix. It’s just madness and very hard to call. Super Dragon took a naaaaasty fall into the ringpost, as Roddy completely murders every single one of his opponents with knees! Roddy hits Swann and Ricochet and Angelico with superkicks, and measures up Fenix… TO SUPERPLEX HIM OUT ON EVERYBODY BRAWLING ON THE OUTSIDE~! Nick rolls Ricochet into the ring, and Mt. Rushmore hits the Swanton/Neckbreaker/Powerbomb combo, and Dragon HITS RICOCHET WITH A DOUBLE STOMP ONTO RODDY’S KNEES! I think that’s the move that messed up his knee, as Dragon rolls out to the apron and favors it. Fenix eats a HARD superkick as Roddy SUPLEXES RICOCHET INTO A 450 ON ANGELICO! ASSISTED SWANTON ON ANGELICO! Fenix is able to break the pinfall up. Ricochet catches a superkick from Nick, and hits the Northern Lights into a Brainbuster. Dragon’s definitely hurt, heading to the back as Angelico and Roddy duke it out in the ring. Well that sucks. Fenix gives Roddy a superkick, and Ricochet hits the Benadryller! 450 FROM SWANN! The Bucks manage to break it up. ANGELICO AND RICOCHET BOTH DIVE OVER A RINGPOST ONTO THE BUCKS! Ricochet misses a shooting star as Fenix misses a Cancun Tornado, which gives Mt. Rushmore time to recover. Roddy TOSSES ANGELICO INTO EARLY ONSET ALZHEIMER’S! Roddy pins Swann with End of Heartache at the 19 minute mark. **** It’s really a testament to fall 8 of these guys that they were able to carry on so well after Super Dragon went down. This had very good potential to completely dissolve into a mess, but everybody sucked it up and brought it home fantastically. It’s really unfortunate that Dragon got hurt, as his two performances since returning have been better than I could have ever imagined. He came back in the best shape he’s been in since like, the mid 2000’s and kept up with the Bucks and Roddy much better than a man who hasn’t wrestled in four years has any right to. It just sucks because the last time Dragon got hurt, he didn’t wrestle again for another 3 and ½ years because of it. On that front, The Bucks have somewhat disintegrated my fears, as they said in a Wrestling Observer Radio appearance that Dragon still wants to wrestle after he heals up, which may be at least part of the reason why PWG has largely remained silent on the show front after BOLA. Which hey, I’m okay with. I’ve loved what Super Dragon has come up with in his shortlist of return matches, and seeing him again is definitely something I’m looking forward to. As for the match, it was as good as this match is supposed to be. It had no chance of even coming close to the Guerrilla Warfare match, but they knew that, so this was wrestled very differently. We got to see a more athletic Dragon and a general spottiness and sense of athleticism that last night didn’t have. So in that vein, it worked tremendously. And had Dragon not gotten hurt right before the finish, we may have been looking at an even better match than what we ended up getting, which is scary considering what we got here anyways.
BOLA Semi-Final Match: Jack Evans vs. Chris Hero
I’ll try to keep the snark down, but Jack’s metamorphosis into Teddy Hart Jr during this tournament hasn’t really done much for me. All I know is I’m going to love seeing Hero kill him.
Jack Evans takes the microphone again, and the crowd isn’t sure what to feel about it. He hilariously buries Best Friends by saying he’s the one who got The Rock to finally tweet them back. Jack straight up tells Chris Hero he looks horrible and rambles on some more, but to be fair, this is definitely his best promo thus far for The Rock line alone. Chris Hero just lays down and decides to take a nap and do Hurdler stretches. The match finally starts, and Hero dodges a Sasuke Special from Evans. Hero BRAINS Evans with an elbow after shaking off some valiant kicks from Jack. Jack looks for a barrage of chops, but Hero ain’t having it, and Chris drops him with an elbow. Nice little story here of Jack kicking out at one to fuck with Hero. Hero jabs Jack in the face and gives him a few Bicycle Kicks and a hard elbow, but Jack Evans insists on kicking out at one. Jack throws relentless punches, but Hero drops him with a Swithc Knee. Jack almost gets the win with a bridging O’Connor Roll, and he follows up with a springboard Overcastle and a Sasuke Special. Evans starts building up more momentum, but he runs into a running elbow for another one count! Hero KILLS Jack with a rolling Mafia Kick, but Jack ain’t staying down. Evans hits a cartwheel kick and a springboard super rana. A standing corkscrew moonsault gets ONE! That’s awesome. Jack nearly gets the win with the bridging backslide. Hero hits the Cyclone Kill and manages to get a two count! Hero murders Jack with a snap piledriver and finally finishes Jack off with a Ripcord Elbow in 10 minutes. *** Hey, I’ll give credit where it’s due. Jack Evans is a complete lunatic sure, but that also amounts to some of the most fun-to-watch squash matches you’ll ever see. Jack Evans has no reservations bumping his ass off and his insistence on kicking out at one actually told a pretty damn entertaining story. I’ve always thought Jack Evans was one of the best high flyers out there, and he can take the best beating of perhaps any guy in the world and take it in style. Hero afforded him that opportunity and thus we got a thoroughly awesome ass-kicking out of it. And I’m pretty sure I’ve even started to warm up to Jack Evans’ cocaine-laced tirades too. For what it’s worth, this is one of the most entertaining parts of the tournament so far.
BOLA Semi-Final Match: “Speedball” Mike Bailey vs. Will Ospreay
We still have 2 hours to go in this show. Are you sure I’ve mentioned that I love PWG yet?
Dorky ring announcer goes all Daniel Bryan on Bailey and calls him THE Speedball. Speedball drops Ospreay with a trio of kicks for an early nearfall. Ospreay dodges a standing corkscrew moonsault and hits one of his own for a two count. OSPREAY HITS A DIVING ACE CRUSHER ON THE APRON! I’m not sure if Ospreay’s knee is really hurt or if he’s just great at selling. He puts Speedball in a butterfly hold on Speedball, following up with a standing moonsault for 2. Is it just me, or does William Ospreay look a lot like a teenaged Daniel Bryan? He’s got the same jaw structure and hair style of 2010-era Bryan. Ospreay back handsprings right into a roundhouse kick from Speedball, who follows up with a standing moonsault kneedrop for another nearfall. Does Speedball never get tired? This dude is not showing any signs of fatigue. Speedball hits the rapid fire kicks and sends Ospreay outside with an enzuigiri, followed by a Tope Suicida. Ospreay hits one of his own, but Bailey fights back with another one! Speedball hits the hat trick with a nice corkscrew plancha. Ospreay hits his own hat trick with a corkscrew moonsault over the top rope. Ospreay misses a Phoenix Splash, but manages to pull off a super rana on Speedball. FLIPPING DDT FROM OSPREAY! IMPLODING 450 EATS KNEES! SPEEDBALL MURDERS OSPREAY WITH A SHOOTING STAR KNEEDROP! The Buzzsaw Kick gives Bailey the win at 11 minutes. ***1/4 The crowd is really feeling the burnout here, it seems. They perked up for the finishing sequence, which is great, but they seemed really tired throughout most of this one. And who can really blame them? They’re in sweltering heat, watching some of the craziest wrestling that anybody’s seen all year. They’re bound to be tired at some point. Luckily, it’s still Reseda, so they gave it a good chance, and we got a really good match out of it. Speedball’s stamina is RIDICULOUS. He’s been going insane in the matches he’s had this weekend and doesn’t even looked remotely fazed by it. It seems he’s a guy built to do these crazy tournaments, but Will Ospreay was definitely feeling the burn. His knee seems to be pretty well worn-out, and you can really see him actively trying to push himself forward multiple times. I thought it actually added to the match, but his pain didn’t seem very worked to me. So under the circumstances, this was as good as you could have hoped this could be. I’m begging to see these two guys wrestle in PWG fresh, though. I don’t know if I could handle it.
BOLA Semi-Final Match: Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Marty Scurll
These guys are former tag team partners, so we should have something good on our hands here.
I don’t think it’s too hard to figure out how this one starts off. Biff Busick is on commentary and is probably the dorkiest man to get in front of a mic since G Eazy started rapping. Marty dodges a Penalty Kick in the earlygoings. Zack tugs at Marty’s man-bun, and Rick Knox says something to them that prompts Marty to yell “DON’T JUDGE US!”, and for a moment both Zack Sabre Jr and Marty Scurll are united once more. Marty tries to tell Zack that the counter he’s about to use is going to “freakin’ cool”, but Zack telegraphs it. Zack stretches Marty out, and Marty yells a perilous “I forgot to do my DDP Yoga!” to a huge pop. These guys have just been trading holds and talking shit for 11 minutes and it’s been awesome. “Stop your shenanigans, Marty!” demands Zack. I could watch these guys do this all night. They go at each other’s arms, and Marty responds by jabbing Zack in the eye. Marty makes a potentially fatal mistake of fucking with Zack Sabre Jr, and he eats a bunch of stiff elbows for his troubles. Marty drops Zack with one of his own and hits a Banzai Drop. Zack throws back with a running lifter in the corner and a step-up kick off of the second rope. Marty breaks an arm wringer with the TESTICULAR CLAW, and superkicks his former partner from the apron, followed by a reverse suplex for a two count. Zack powers out of a Chickenwing and rolls through with a cross armbreaker, but Marty rolls out before Zack can latch it on. Marty puts on CATTLE MUTILATION, but Zack rolls out to break it. Marty superkicks Zack in the knee, and Zack punts him in the mouth for a one count! They trade some disgusting slaps, but both crumble before a winne rcan be determined. Zack runs right into a Scurll knee, but he’s able to recover for a potential cross armbreaker that Marty counters into a powerbomb for a close nearfall. Marty eats an elbow from Zack, who attempts to put in a cross armbreaker through the ropes. Marty drops Zack off of the apron and comes out with a Lope Suicida, but Zack catches him and locks on a Kimura, that Marty turns into a snap suplex onto the floor. They trade lifters in the middle of the ring, and Zack hits a huge Ligerbomb and a Dragon Suplex! Scurll is able to kick out. Zack goes after Scurll’s arm once more, trying to put him away. Marty counters an arm wringer into a Crossface Chickenwing, but Zack pele’s Marty’s arm after spinning out of it. Marty hits a tornado DDT that Zack COUNTERS INTO A TRIANGLE! Zack Sabre Jr advances to the finals at the 29 minute mark. ***3/4 This was just a clinic that breezed by and felt half as long as it actually was. It was basically what Kyle O’Reilly tried to do with Chris Hero at ELEVEN but missed by about 3000 miles, mainly because Zack Sabre Jr is a virtuoso when it comes to technical wrestling. He keeps moving constantly and doesn’t lay around like, say, Drew Gulak. He keeps his body moving and constantly searches for either an escape to the hold he’s trapped in, or another hold to put on his opponent to freshen things up. It also helps that he has tremendous chemistry with Marty Scurll, who he’s teamed with and wrestled a metric shit-ton of times. Their personalities clashed hilariously, and their wrestling talents meshed even better. The only thing holding this back from potentially classic status is that they didn’t really turn it up down the stretch to my personal satisfaction, but even then, it really didn’t hurt that much in the grand scheme of things. It wasn’t a static cruise control match that’s going to lose your attention half-way through. They had enough material—be it comedy or whacky wrestling—to fill up their 30 minutes of ring-time, and that’s all I can ask. I was pretty reluctant to start this match, as I’d heard of its long length, but I came out pleasantly surprised and highly entertained.
Team Tommaso Ciampa (Tommaso Ciampa, Timothy Thatcher, Mark Andrews, Drago, & Andrew Everett) vs. Team Chuck Taylor (Chuck Taylor, Trent?, Drew Galloway, Drew Gulak, & Aerostar)
My body is ready.
Chuck Taylor gets a huge ovation as the crowd chants for him to be the fifth member of the team opposite Ciampa. Goes to show that THIS GUY SHOULD BE CHAMPION EVERYWHERE. We get a Best Friends reunion, because God exists and finally figured out putting Trent with Rocky Romero was a terribly boring idea. Chuck Taylor and Tommaso start things out, and Chuck Taylor dubs his team “The 5 Man Band” to poke fun at Drew Galloway. Or “Best Amigos”, suggests Chuck Taylor. Tommaso replies with “Tonight, I’m gonna fuckin’ kill him.” The crowd immediately chants for slow motion, and Tommaso TEASES IT and then goes regular speed to basically Adam Rose all over everyone’s party. Everett and Trent tag in, and Everett drops Trent with a dropkick before tagging in Timothy Thatcher, who faces off with the Great Value version of him in Drew Gulak. Drago tags in, and Gulak tags in Aerostar, who hilariously scares Dragon out of the ring with flips. Chuck Taylor tags in to face Mark Andrews, and Chuckie asks for a handshake. Chuckie goes banana on Mark Andrews who unfortunately falls for the trick, but the Brit battles back with a corkscrew moonsault. Chuckie runs to find refuge in Trent’s crotch, and here comes Tommaso, who has the unfortunate task of facing Drew Galloway. Tommaso smacks the shit out of Drew, who proceeds to exchange really hard chops for not other fact than he’s Drew Galloway. Trent fires up hardcore for the slingshot face wash, and Chuckie hits that ridiculously dangerous tope atomico. Drew Gulak runs in for a running backrake, and Galloway turns Future Shock into an eye poke. SPRINGBOARD NON CHALLANT BOOT FROM AEROSTAR. The best part of that is Drew Galloway completely losing it on the apron as the crowd goes crazy. Everybody on Team Ciampa takes a turn in working over Trent, until Drago gets dropkicked out of mid-air. Chuck Taylor tags in, but runs directly into bodyslams from everybody… but not without “Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, fuck you and SUPER FUCK YOU!” Chuckie hits Tommaso with Sole Food, and he throws Mark Andrews into Everett, who is sat down in the corner. Chuckie runs the bases with some mudhole stomping, and rounds it off with a hug from Trent! That only pisses Timothy Thatcher off, as he hits a double lariat on the Best Friends and goes after Drew Gulak, who piledrives him. DOUBLE ORIHARA MOONSAULTS FROM EVERETT AND ANDREWS! Drago hits a Tope Suicida, and AEROSTAR HITS THE DIVING CANNONBALL ONTO TEAM CIAMPA! DREW GALLOWAY WITH A TOPE CON HILO! Meanwhile, Tommaso makes snow angels in the ring, which allows him to hit Drew with a low blow and start a SUPER DICK PARTY!~! LOW BLOWS FOR EVERYBODY! AEROSTAR WITH TWO LOW BLOWS! This is the greatest match of all time. Best Friends hit Everett and Andrews in the dick in mid-air, and agree to hit each other with low blows! THEY’RE PRONE FOR THE TOMMASO THUMB! SLOW MOTION!~! BEST FRIENDS CHOKESLAM/SPINEBUSTER COMBO! THATCHER BREAKS IT UP! Galloway and Thatcher face off in the most intense slow motion wrestling exchange of all time. Galloway punches Timothy in the face, and hilariously Justin Borden objects to that in slow motion as well. I don’t even know how to describe this. HAHAHA A SLOW MO “FUCK YOU JUSTIN” CHANT! Andrews and Everett go up for stereo dives, and they’re like “There’s no way we can do this in slow mo” and THEY MISS! AWFUL WAFFLE AND THE DUDEBUSTER SCORE! Team Chuck Taylor picks up the win in a glorious 24 minutes. Uh… *****? I believe this is what the great Justin Watry would call, “no explanation needed.” Fortunately I actually have respect for the people that read my writing, so let’s take a gander at this. It’s far-and-away funnier than last year’s Night 3 ten-man, first off. That’s not to discredit how great last year’s was, but this one had so many better sequences and better talent within it. Seeing Aerostar kick people in the dick is probably something I’ll never get tired off, and I can only hope Pentagon Jr finds his way into one of these in the future. The action was rarely serious, but I don’t think we have to kid ourselves; we were here for the slow-mo, and by God, we got the slow-mo! There was more continuity in the “thumb in the bum” storyline than most things you’ll see in WWE or TNA, which is either A) a sad disposition of how far mainstream wrestling has fallen or B) further evidence as to why PWG is the best thing to ever exist. Maybe it’s a mix of the two? I don’t know. Either way, you’re gonna have to take my opinion with a grain of salt here. It’s not going to appeal to the more “serious”, sports-centered wrestling fan like it did to me, and that’s perfectly okay. I won’t respect you less for liking something different. But since I’m kind of a child and enjoy various forms of sophomoric humor, this was directly up my alley. I’m not even sure how to coherently give this a rating, so I’m going to just leave it like this because I don’t know what I’m doing.
We get a ten-way hug from everybody after the match. We fade out with the crowd chanting for Chuckie T…
BOLA Finals Elimination Match: Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Chris Hero vs. “Speedball” Mike Bailey
So here we are. The conclusion of what will probably end up being the best BOLA of all time. All three guys have had incredible years in PWG for various different reasons, and all have a reasonably good reason to win the tournament. Both Sabre and Speedball have had MOTYC title matches with Roderick Strong, while Hero has been having awesome match after awesome match with guys like Tommy End, Speedball himself, as well as Zack Sabre Jr. So as far as logic goes, you can’t really argue the booking of this as the finals match.
I’m kinda warming up to dorky ring announcer guy. I’d kill him for more Melissa Santos obviously, but otherwise I think I’m okay with him. Excalibur’s commentary microphone seems to be out (Chris Hero apparently messed up the headsets last night) and… wait, nevermind, here he is. Everybody shakes hands to start things off, and here we go. Bailey and Sabre trade some tentative kicks as Hero bides his time at ringside. Chris Hero sits on a woman’s lap in the crowd, much to the happiness of the crowd. Speedball sits on Sabre’s in kind. My play by play is probably going to suck, because I’m a terrible typist and calling three-way spots is not one of my talents. Wanna know a fun fact? I took like three keyboarding classes in high school and still never learned to properly use the home keys. Still 83 WPM, but it’s not graceful whatsoever. And I lost the “L” key on my laptop some months ago, which doesn’t help. I should probably ask Meek Mill, because I feel like he’s accrued a good amount of L’s since I departed with mine. For some weird reason, Chris Hero rolls up Rick Knox for a two count. Rick Knox doesn’t want to do business though, and he goes into business for himself and kicks out at 2. Sabre and Bailey both stomp on Hero’s arms, so Hero leaves in a huff as Sabre works over Speedball. Sabre has submissions now on both men, but Hero and Bailey both are able to muscl themselves to the ropes. Hero eats about fifteen thousand kicks from Speedball and Sabre, sending him rolling in tremendous pain to the outside. Sabre throws a pair of hard elbows at Speedball Misawa-style, but Speedball sandbags a sunset flip and comes down with a moonsault kneedrop. Sabre kicks out Speedball’s legs and puts in a cross armbreaker, which Hero breaks with a senton on top of him. Hero hits Speedball with a standing moonsault for a two count. Speedball defiantly shrugs off several chops from Hero, and he goes to town on his chest with kicks. He builds up a head of steam, but Zack kicks him to the apron. Zack hits the step-up tornado DDT on Hero, but Hero catches the Penalty Kick and elbows him down for a two count. Zack puts in an Octopus Hold, but Hero heaves him up and puts him the Tree of Woe for a basement dropkick to the mush. Hero looks for the cradle piledriver, but sees Speedball coming down, dodging a shooting star kneedrop. Zack uses that distraction to put in a kimura. SPEEDBALL BREAKS IT WITH A SHOOTING STAR KNEEDROP! BUZZSAW KICK ON HERO! Hero manages to kick out. Speedball drops both of his opponents with kicks, and he hits both men with the rapid fire riverdance kicks! This guy is the fucking Energizer Bunny. Hero folds him up with an elbow and Zack uses that to try and grab a cross armbreaker on Speedball. Hero sees this and puts a weird neck crank on Zack, who eventually has to break the hold on Speedball. Hero elbows Zack off of the apron and is alone with a struggling Speedball. But Speedball gives NO SHITS and just screams at Hero instead. Hero throws some machine gun chops at Speedball, who turns around and gives Hero some machine gun kicks of his own. Speedball hits Zack with a Tope Suicida and comes back to Hero, who CATCHES A KICK AND TOSSES HIM OVER THE ROPES ONTO ZACK SABRE JR! Hero whips Speedball into the corner, and SPEEDBALL MOONSAULTS OFF OF THE SECOND ROPE ONTO SABRE! HERO MOONSAULTS ON TOP OF THEM AND POSES FOR THE HARD CAM! Hero and Speedball trade elbows and kicks, until Speedball nearly gets the win with a Jacknife. Hero responds with THREE PILEDRIVERS! Chris Hero eliminates Speedball at the 27 minute mark.
Zack dives off of the top rope with a double stomp to Chris’ arm, and he locks in the cross armbreaker! Chris scoots to the ropes, however. Zack pounces still and locks on a kimura, but Hero counters with a brainbuster! Hero puts Sabre up top for a cravate suplex, but Zack takes Hero’s hand to break it. Hero bites Zack’s hand and looks for an avalanche piledriver, but Zack isn’t letting it happen. Zack tries for a sunset powerbomb, but Hero slaps him in the mouth, earning him a Penalty Kick to the knee! PK FROM ZACK! HERO FIRES UP AND HITS AN ELBOW! ZACK KICKS OUT! DEATH BLOW FROM HERO! ZACK KICKS OUT! Zack gets out of a ripcord elbow and smashes Hero’s knee into the mat and STOMPS HIM IN THE BACK OF THE HEAD! ARMBAR FROM ZACK! HERO POWERS OUT! Zack goes right back after Hero’s arm, but HERO POWERS OUT AND HITS A ROARING ELBOW! HERO’S ARM GIVES OUT! Zack counters a cradle piledriver into an ARMBAR WITH STOMPS! HERO’S OUT! Zack Sabre Jr. wins BOLA at the 36 minute mark. **** This was an extremely ambitious match to wrestle for the BOLA finals, but luckily for everyone involved, it worked very well. Had they cut down some of the fat and kept things going constantly, we’d be talking a MOTYC, but I can’t realistically expect that out of three guys who have been killing themselves for three straight nights in the San Fernando Valley heat. The crowd was noticeably fatigued, but willed themselves up for this match in a way only Reseda can, making Zack’s last stand a very dramatic way to end the match after he’d gotten the shit kicked out him prior to Speedball’s elimination. Like I said, in an ideal world, this would have been about 10 minutes shorter and been the best tournament match of the weekend, but faulting this effort is a dick thing to do. All three men went out there and had incredible showings all night long, topped off by perhaps the best BOLA finals match to ever take place. One hell of a way to cap this weekend off, if I do say so myself.
Chris Hero takes the mic and tells Zack “he deserves this shit”, as Zack lays completely exhausted in the ring with the trophy. Roderick Strong sneaks up behind him, but Zack catches him and they go face-to-face. Roddy takes the mic and tells Zack when he gets his shot, he’s going to beat the living shit out of him. Zack takes the mic after Roddy leaves and says “Apparently this has been getting smashed the last few years, so I’m going to take good care of it.” Sabre gives the usual speech, saying how crazy it is that a kid from a small part of England won BOLA. The locker room unloads and celebrates with Zack Sabre Jr as BOLA signs off…
Final Thoughts: I’ve gone back and forth on the rating of this particular show. It’s not as compact and easy-to-watch as Night One was, and I don’t see much in the near-future topping Stage Two. On the other hand, for $20, this is the most bang for your buck you’re liable to get out of wrestling. It runs the gamut from comedy (the ten-man) to phenomenal technical wrestling (Scurll vs. Sabre Jr) to flips (Ospreay vs. Speedball) to maniacal multi-man spotfests (Mt Rushmore vs. Angelico/Fenix/Aerostar/ICMG) to gratifyingly great squash matches (Evans vs. Hero) to dramatic wars of attrition (the finals). There’s not a promotion in the world that is going to pack that much variety into their product. Some probably wouldn’t even be able to get away with it. Luckily, PWG doesn’t really have to follow the rules of conventional wrestling wisdom. It’s its own weird, bonkers, and tremendously entertaining entity that deserves every single cent you put down for it. Now, don’t expect to be able to go into the Final Stage of BOLA and watch it in one sitting. It’s a FOUR hour show, and was five and 1/2 hours for the people attending live. PWG or not, that’s a metric shit-ton of wrestling to sit through. But as an entire package, it’s bloody amazing. I’ll go on record as to say that 2015’s Battle of Los Angeles is far and away the finest BOLA of them all and one of the best wrestling tournaments to ever take place. There’s something about PWG that just attracts me to it, and I’m reminded of that every single time I sit down to do a review or re-watch a show. It’s well-worth the $50 price tag for all 3 nights, but I would recommend getting BOLA during PWG’s 5 for $40 winter sale coming up ahead. Either way, you’re going to be spending your money on the best wrestling 2015 has to offer, and I don’t think you’re going to regret it.
31-year old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Longtime fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Vikings. Avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on the old school wrestling.