PWG BOLA 2013 Night One 8/30/2013

Written by: TJ Hawke

August 30, 2013
Reseda, California

Commentators: Excalibur, Rick Knox, Kevin Steen, Chuck Taylor, Johnny Gargano, Drake Younger,

2013 Battle of Los Angeles First Round Match
Kevin Steen vs. Chuck Taylor

The match was all gaga to start. More gaga. That was not a complaint. Steen’s size proved to be too much for Chucky T. They traded eye pokes. Steen had control for a while. They traded more eye pokes. Chuck eventually hit a dropkick and a tope con hello. Steen and Chucky T then walked up to the commentation station (shaped like a table!) and yelled at each other on the commentary. I’ve never seen that spot before. Steen asked Excalibur who the better commentator was. Excalibur poked both of them in the eye. Steen and Chuck consoled each other and struggled back to the ring. Steen got a nearfall with the apron powerbomb. Steen got a nearfall with a sleeper suplex. Chuck avoided the package piledriver and locked in the single leg crab. Steen escaped and hit the package piledriver: 1…2…3

This was a really entertaining opener. They worked in a lot of cool and unique comedy spots, and the movez they didn’t feel obligatory at all when they got serial. Big thumbs up for this.
Match Rating: ***1/2

2013 Battle of Los Angeles First Round Match
Tommaso Ciampa vs. Brian Cage

This is Ciampa’s PWG debut.

Ciampa started the match mauling Cage. They ended up on the floor, and Ciampa may have killed Cage when he dropped Cage on his head with a powerbomb to the floor. Ciampa became visibly distraught when it became clear Cage was legit injured. Cage managed to make it back into the ring. The crowd was noticeably subdued after the injury. They started brawling on the floor, and Cage hit a powerbomb to the ringpost. Cage was in control after that. Cage hit the Fucking Machine Suplex for a nearfall. They went back and forth no-selling head-dropping German suplexes. They traded lariats. Cage wanted a Fucking Machine Suplex to the floor, but Ciampa reversed it into a Fucking Machine Air Raid Crash. Cage fought back with a discus lariat, a powerbomb on the knee, and another discus lariat: 1…2…3

It seemed like the injury was going to completely derail this match, but they managed to salvage it. Despite it being a month later, the injury still managed to take me out of the match.
Match Rating: **1/2

2013 Battle of Los Angeles First Round Match
Johnny Gargano vs. Willie Mack

Gargano called for a dive early on, but Mack blocked it with a forearm. Mack avoided another dive, but Gargano then hit the Gotcha Spear. Mack eventually came back and POUNCED Gargano out of the ring. Mack followed it up with a tope con hello. Back in the ring, Mack hit a standing moonsault for a nearfall. They went back and forth until they both went down. Mack hit the Wasteland, but Gargano fought back and locked in the Gargano Escape. Mack made the ropes. Mack came back with an elevated flatliner for a nearfall. Gargano came back with a Lawn Dart, a kneeling superkick, and a Gargano Escape! Mack taps out!

Willie Mack was a favorite to win the 2012 Battle of Los Angeles. Instead, he lost in the first round and then instantly became less of a priority for PWG. Hopefully, this match is a sign of bigger and better things for the talented wrestler in PWG. While he is not one of my favorite performers (and he doesn’t have a great track record with consistency), I rather see PWG try to push him so that he can sink of swim. His underwhelming undercard matches were not doing him or the promotion any favors.

Also, Johnny Gargano is one of the best wrestlers, and I’m glad PWG is finally using him in a singles capacity.
Match Rating: ***1/2

2013 Battle of Los Angeles First Round Match
AR Fox vs. Roderick Strong

They went back and forth for a bit. Fox was standing on the ropes, but Roddy just violently shoved him to the floor. Roddy was in control for a while after that. Fox finally came back with a bulldog, a My Dick Explodes, and a shooting star cannonball. Fox got a nearfall with a Twister. Fox then hit his sequence of dives. Roddy came back with a Drunk Slam for a nearfall. Roddy got the Strong Hold. Fox came back with a springboard codebreaker for a nearfall. Roddy came back with a gutbuster and the Sick Kick: 1…2…NO! Fox then hit the diving Cutter and a 450 Splash: 1…2…NO! Roddy came back with the Orange Crush Backbreaker: 1…2…3!

This was a good match. They worked the exact dynamic you would expect, and it led to entertaining results. If you go into it expecting a classic, you will probably be disappointed though.
Match Rating: ***1/4

2013 Battle of Los Angeles First Round Match
Drake Younger vs. Joey Ryan

Not much of note happened early on. The crowd loved Drake. They did not really like Joey. Joey eventually cut him off and started playing to the hard cam, which amused me. Drake eventually made a comeback. This is a completely by-the-numbers match. Joey came back with a spinebuster. Drake got a nearfall with a Tiger Suplex ’85. Drake then took out a bag of…JOLLY RANCHERS~! Joey then gave him a powerbomb onto the JOLLY RANCHERS: 1…2…NO! Joey then went and got a bag of LEGOS~! Drake caught him with a SHELL SHOCK onto the Legos and then followed it up with a Drake’s Landing into the Legos.

This match ended with a great sequence, but the first two thirds of it was surprisingly by-the-numbers professional wrestling. As I said though, the closing sequence was so good that I’d consider this match a thumbs up.
Match Rating: **1/4

2013 Battle of Los Angeles First Round Match
ACH vs. Tony Nese

They showed off their athleticism at the start of the match. Both men are, in fact, very athletic. ACH avoided a charging Nese by backflipping to the floor. Nese then hit the Fosbury Flop. Looks like Nese got injured on that. Blah. They got back in the ring, and Nese was noticeably hobbled. ACH was mostly in control but Nese was able to stay in the fight. ACH eventually sent him to the floor and then hit the Air Jordan. He then topped that by doing the Terminator 2 dance with Terminator 2 Fan. Back in the ring, Nese made a comeback. Nese managed to hit the deadlift buckle bomb. ACH fired back with multiple kicks to the face and then hit the Cram for the Exam: 1…2…3

Unfortunately, the Nese injury definitely took this down a lot based on the expectations I had. I wouldn’t say the match fell apart or anything, but it was clear that almost everything was a little off after that. ACH made a strong impression on the PWG crowd though.
Match Rating: ***

2013 Battle of Los Angeles First Round Match
Trent? vs. Kyle O’Reilly

Kyle was mostly running through Trent? at the start, but Trent? eventually cut him off and started to get the heat. Trent? was in full rudo mode. Trent? hit a tope con hello. Legion Larry was seen taking a photograph of the fallen bodies. Kyle fought back with the diving dropkick into the crowd and then many kicks in the ring. Trent? came back and almost got the win with a pinning combination. Trent? hit the Gobstopper: 1…2…NO! The snozberries taste like snozberries. Kyle came back with a buzzsaw kick and a lariat. They ended up on the floor, and Trent? hit the Dudebuster into the Dead Zone. Geebus. Kyle managed to get into the ring, but Trent? hit a kneeling superkick. He went for a piledriver, but Kyle reversed it into the triangle choke. Kyle transitioned out, hit a Penalty Kick, and then locked in the cross armbreaker. Trent? tapped out!

I did not really like the matchup on paper, but it worked out incredibly well. I would say this has easily been Trent?’s strongest match since he started working the indies. Kyle has had the best singles match on three straight PWG shows.
Match Rating: ***3/4

2013 Battle of Los Angeles First Round Match
Michael Elgin vs. Rich Swann

Swann did some dancing early on, and Elgin did the worm. The crowd chanted “You got served!” Swann quickly hit the corkscrew tope con hello. Elgin hit a middle rope fallaway slam. Elgin hit a delayed vertical suplex that lasted over a minute. Swann came back with a double stomp. Elgin came back with a modified reverse DDT and a deadlift bridging German suplex. Elgin went for a diving Razor’s Edge, but Swann reversed it into a hurricanrana. Swann got a nearfall with a frog splash. Swann went for the Lethal Injection, but Elgin blocked it with a lariat. Elgin then hit a buckle bomb and an Elgin Bomb: 1…2…3

This was a rock-solid way to end the first round of the tournament. Elgin vs. Swann is one of those matches that cannot happen in too many high profile places. Thus, I greatly appreciate PWG putting this matchup together.
Match Rating: ***1/2

Team Fruit Roll-Up [Adam Cole & The Young Bucks (Nick & Matt Jackson)] vs. The Forever Tooligans [TJ Perkins & Forever Hooligans (Alex Koslov & Rocky Romero)]
The rudos worked Romero over for a long time. Koslov eventually made a hot tag. The babyfaces had the rudos on the ropes (in some cases, literally). The Fruit Roll-Ups came back and the teams went back and forth. There was an everyone-dive-to-the-floor sequence that was fairly creative. The teams got back in the ring; they obviously went back and forth with lots of movez. TJP ate a Panama City Destroyer and a double superkick, but the Hooligans saved the match. The Hooligans ate superkicks. The Bucks then superkicked TJP into a Florida Key: 1…2…3

This was a fine PWG main event. It did not blow the roof off the place, but it successfully entertained me. If PWG ran B-shows on the regular, this is the type of match I would expect to main event those shows. Since it’s BOLA, it’s not really a big deal that this didn’t feel like a proper PWG main event. Getting this matchup feels like a bonus more than anything else.
Match Rating: ***1/4

Final Thoughts:
While this was a really strong show, one cannot help but be underwhelmed by a PWG show that did not feature any “truly great” matches that you have to go out of your way to see. This seems to happen a fair amount during BOLA weekends, which probably means the Battle of Los Angeles should be judged on the whole tournament. Obviously though, I recommend watching this show. It’s quite up and down the card.

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