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PWG Battle Of Los Angeles 2011 8/20/2011

Written by: TJ Hawke

Chris Hero vs. Willie Mack
These guys were supposed to battle at All-Star Weekend, but that match got switched after some last second reshuffling.

They did some back and forth matwork until Mack unintentionally head butted Hero’s “twig and berries” (Excalibur’s words, not mine)…Mack got control after snapping off some armdrags and chops, but Hero came back with a running shoulder block and a seated dropkick…Mack came back with some strikes, but Hero unleashed a huge elbow: “MY NAME IS CHRIS HERO AND I THROW ELBOWS” (Excalibur)…Mack got draped in the second rope, and Hero nailed another seated dropkick to his head…Mack came back with kicks, but Hero hit another big elbow and seated dropkick…Hero gave him a thumb to the eye (“The eyes are the groin of the face,” Dwight Schrute), but Mack came back with a running kick and a huge sommersault plancha…fans were completely behind Mack after that…Hero ended up in the corner and Mack gave him Human Tornado’s House Party (Hero’s balls took a beating in this match!)…Hero came right back with another huge boot for a nearfall…Hero went to finish him with a moonsault, but Mack rolled out of the way and gave him a huge lariat…Saito Suplex from Hero!…LYGER BOMB ON MACK: 1…2…NO!…CYCLONE KILL: 1…2…MACK KICKED OUT!…Mack came back with some strikes but he ate a discus elbow: 1…MACK KICKS OUT AT 1!!!…Exploder suplex from Mack!…Hero goes for another Cyclone Kill but Mack get a backslide pin: 1…2…3!…Fans pop huge for the upset

This is probably going to be Hero’s last singles match in PWG and it was a very good way to go out…Mack may have won with a rollup, but the match was worked so that he looked like Hero’s equal…very good stuff
Match Rating: ***1/2

Kevin Steen vs. Fit Finlay
This is the first round matchup that I was most looking forward to…Finlay had a great match with Sami Callihan in Evolve, so he clearly has a ton to offer even at age 53 (and despite what Vince McMahon thinks of people who look “old”)…Steen had just won the PWG World Title at the last show, so he is even more of a God to the Reseda crowd

Finlay repeatedly drove the point of his elbow into Steen’s nose…Steen fought back with a headlock, but Finlay fought out of hit and hit a nice lariat…the two started brawling on the outside with some stiff looking shots…back in the ring, the two continued to beat the shit out of each other…Steen ended up on the outside, and was able to bash Finlay’s leg against the ringpost…Steen went to work on Finlay’s leg after that…after suffering some damage, Finlay came back with some stiff forearms, only to have Steen damage the leg some more…Steen started verbally mocking Finlay as well (great idea!)…Finlay came back with forearms, a knee drop, and a butt drop…CODEBREAKER FROM STEEN…CANNONBALL…Steen went for a senton, but Finlay got his knees up…Finlay went to the middle rope, but Steen pulled him down by the injured leg: SHARPSHOOTER: FINLAY IMMEDIATELY TAPS!

I could watch a best of 501 series between these two, because they sold the idea that this was a fight so well…these two only seemed to scratch the surface of what they could do together…Finlay’s style may not be appreciated by all, but I think Reseda would be a great place for him to come back to until WWE rehires him
Match Rating: ***1/2

Claudio Castagnoli vs. El Generico
These guys had a great title match at Kurt Russellreunion II…it’s hard to believe that ROH did not book this match again (after they had two great matches) in the last 3 and a half years they had them both on the roster…epic fail ROH, epic fail

Claudio was “angry Claudio” here because he lost the world title at the last show…Claudio used his size to overpower Generico, but the masked man was able to frustrate him with armdrags of various awesomeness…Claudio did a series of back submissions that stretched out Generico…everytime Generico had a glimmer of hope, Claudio immediately cut him off…Claudio had him in a hold, but Generico escaped and ran up the ropes and went to give Claudio a hurricanranna; at that point, I’m pretty sure Claudio was supposed to catch him and give him a powerbomb, but that did not exactly happen…after they botched it, Claudio immediately got to his feet and gave Generico three awesome gut-wrench powerbombs in a row: 1…2…NO!…Claudio went to finish him with a bicycle kick, but Generico sent him to the outside and delivered his epic no-hands sommersault plancha…Generico to the top rope for a crossbody: NO, CLAUDIO CAUGHT HIM AND GAVE HIM A FUCKING POWERLSAM BACKBREAKER (in case you are wondering, I just marked out for that in the coffee shop that I was watching this in): 1…2…NO!…Claudio got Generico in the UFO, but Generico reversed it with a headscissors: YAKUZA!…BRAINBUST-NO!: POP UP EUROPEAN! (Reseda lost their shit after that): 1…2…NO!: CRUCIFIX PIN BY GENERICO: 1…2…NO!… “THIS IS AWESOME!”…Claudio went for a Ricola Bomb, but Generico escaped only to eat a lariat: 1…2…NO!…Claudio went to the top rope, but Generico met him up there…Generico went for a hurricanranna, but Claudio caught him and went for a Ricola Bomb: Generico reverses it into a top rope hurricanrana, but Claudio Rolls though, but Generico does a sommersault pin: 1…2…3!

Wow, just wow…as much as I enjoyed the first two BOLA matches, this match blew them out of the water…my only nitpick is that the best ending would have been the crucifix pin after the Pop Up European, because that was when the fans were the loudest
Match Rating: ****1/4

Eddie Edwards vs. Roderick Strong
This is the fourth high profile match between the two this year (other three were in ROH)…these guys may have some trouble following the last match

After some back and forth matwork, they end up in a chopping battle on the outside…Roddy got the advantage after giving Eddie a backbreaker on the apron…Eddie came right back though with a brainbuster on the ring apron…Eddie followed that up with a moonsault off the apron…back in the ring, Roddy gave Eddie a catapult into the bottom rope…Eddie occasionally came back with strikes but Roddy always had an answer for him until Eddie hit a German suplex…F-5 by Eddie…Backpack Neckbreaker: 1…2…NO!: Calgary Crab by Eddie, but Roddy made the ropes…Roddy came back with some hard strikes and locked in the Strong Hold, but Eddie made the ropes…Superkick by Eddie, and a face-busting back suplex…they started trading strikes again…Diving Codebreaker by Eddie, but Roddy immediately comes back with the Sick Kick…Roddy ended up on the apron, and Eddie gave him a top rope Double Stomp…back in the ring, Eddie gives him another double stomp: 1…2…NO!…they traded a ton rollups, until finally Eddie was able to keep Roddy down for the 3 count with the inside cradle

Another very good match…following the Claudio/Generico match would have been hard for anyone, but they did a pretty damn good job
Match Rating: ***1/2

The RockNES Monsters (Johnny Yuma & Johnny Goodtime) vs. The Dynasty (Joey Ryan & Scorpio Sky)
They had a match at Eight that the Bucks interfered at the end and cost the Dynasty the match…The Dynasty were the #1 contenders before that match, so now this match will determine who challenges the Young Bucks next

Goodtime quickly sent both members to the outside and he then hit an asai moonsault…after that, all 4 men were brawling on the outside (match hasn’t even technically started yet)…finally, Goodtime and Ryan start the match in the ring…The Monsters had control early, until Ryan tossed Yuma into the chairs…Yuma was worked over by the Dynasty after that…Yuma was finally able to make a tag and Goodtime ran wild on the Dynasty…Goodtime performed a series of moves that caused the Dynasty to do damage to each other…Goodtime went to spear Sky, but Ryan gave him a spear mid move…Ryan gave Goodtime a superkick and then wiped out Yuma with a suicide dive…Yuma came back and too out the Dynasty, which led to a chant from the fans of “Who is Legal?” and the commentators didn’t know either…Ryan and Yuma both went down, which led to Sky and Goodtime giving frogsplashes to both of them…Sky then rolled up Goodtime out of nowhere to get the win

This was a fun match, and the guys worked their asses off…I would like to see these guys get more time in a semi-main position, because there is potential for something special to happen between them if they get more time
Match Rating: ***

The Bucks jumped both teams after the match, which led to a “Booker T” chant…the Bucks then did Booker T and RVD mannerisms…the Bucks said they shake nobody’s hands…they said they are bigger than any wrestling company and certainly bigger than the Battle of Los Angeles…the Bucks essentially make an open challenge, which is answered by the Kings of Wrestling…Hero says they are the best crybabies he has ever seen…Hero made fun of the “GenerationMe” name, which Claudio gave him a high five for…Hero mocks them for losing to Eric Young and Shark Boy…Matt takes the mic, spits at Hero and says the match is on…Hero says that was an awkward end to the segment, which leads to Claudio doing a passable Spineroonie

El Generico vs. Willie Mack
Generico and Mack started things off with a dance off, as most matches are wont to do…Mack did a reverse worm and then Generico did something that I cannot even begin to describe…Mack kicked him and the match was on…Mack went to do the House Party, but Generico had the move scouted and gave Mack a House Party of his own…once the match got going, Mack was in complete control…Generico finally started to come back after a Blue Thunder Bomb…Yakuza Kick!…Generico went for another, but Mack hit a Samoan Drop…Mack follows that up with a pop up forearm and a enzuigiri…YAKUZA KICK!…BRAINBUSTER!: 1…2…3!

A disappointing, but fun match…Generico was definitely resting up for the finals (which is understandable …I kind of feel like there was an opportunity to tell the story that Mack was a little too cocky after beating Hero, but that story was not put over by Excalibur or Joey Ryan on commentary…that being said, I think this could and should be a main event sometime in 2012 for PWG
Match Rating: **3/4

Kevin Steen vs. Eddie Edwards
The beginning of the match saw both guys delivering hard strikes and shoulder blocks…Eddie gave Steen an eye poke; he went to give him another one, but Steen grabbed his hand and forced Eddie to eye poke himself…Eddie then set up for a suicide dive, but instead decided to do a baseball slide and give Steen another eye poke…Steen came back with a Stunner and a sommersault legdrop…Steen poked Eddie in the eye, and he then bit him in the neck…twice…”Like a Wolfe” chants from Steen (foreshadowing the great Steen Wolf show name for PWG)…Eddie low-bridged Steen out of the ring and hit an elbow suicida…back in the ring, they traded kicks…Eddie locked in an Achilles Lock and kicked Steen in the head repeatedly, only for Steen to escape after giving Eddie some kicks to the head of his own…Eddie hit a Perfect Driver for a nearfall…STEENALYZER!…Steen went for a moonsault, but Eddie dodged it…Eddie then got trapped in the Sharp Shooter and he taps!

A good, physical matchup…they were holding back on the nearfalls (which is fine), but it was good that Steen’s Sharpshooter looks so devastating going into the finals.
Match Rating: ***1/4

The Young Bucks (Nick Jackson & Matt Jackson)© vs. The Kings of Wrestling (Chris Hero & Claudio Castagnoli) [PWG Tag Titles]
Hero wanted to make sure that the belts on the line…Matt said that if they are able to beat them , then they deserve to own the ugliest belts in the world

Hero and Claudio shook each other’s hands because the Bucks refused to…the Kings did a convoluted tag team spot seemingly to mock the Bucks’ offense: that made me laugh whether it was intended that way or not…Claudio man-handled Nick Jackson, including trying to force him to kiss his boot…the Kings repeatedly “wish boned” Nick; Matt tried to save him, but that just led to the Kings giving the Bucks a DOUBLE WISH BONE!…finally, the Bucks were able to send Claudio to the outside, where they hit a couple of dives on him…the Bucks worked over Claudio for a while…Claudio gave them a double facebuster and made a hot tag to Hero…Hero hit the Bucks with elbows and then wiped them out with that jump up the ropes moonsault…Hero then ate a super kick, Sliced Bread #3, and a 450 knee smash: 1…2…NO!…Claudio makes a blind tag and takes out the Bucks with a Brogue Kick and Military Press…Giant Swing on Matt, and then a seated dropkick from Hero: 1..2…NICK MAKES THE SAVE!…Claudio then gave Matt a massive UFO, but Matt rolled him up out of nowhere with his feet on the ropes: 1…2…3!…”THIS IS BULLSHIT!”…the Kings then killed the Bucks afterwards…the Kings shook the hands of an unconscious Matt after giving him a KRS-One

This was a fun match and a fine last stand for the Kings of Wrestling; they deserve a massive push in the WWE…KINGS REIGN SUPREME
Match Rating: ***1/4

El Generico vs. Kevin Steen to crown the winner of the 2011 Battle of Los Angeles Winner
They immediately start punching the shit out of each other before the bell rings…Steen quickly hit a sommersault plancha on him, “There’s not bad blood between these two men, THERE’S TERRIBLE BLOOD!” (Excalibur)…apron bomb by Steen…Arabian Press Moonsault by Generico!…Generico to the top rope: sommersault plancha to the floor! (Generico almost completely missed him on that)…they started brawling around the ring…Generico than ran up the wall and hit a tornado DDT!…Steen rolled into the ring: Generico went to slingshot in but Steen caught him with an ace crusher…Steen started getting into it with a kid in the audience, and then ran into a Michinoku Driver!…SUPERKICK FROM STEEN: STEENALYZER!…the fans started chanting for the little kid (“LITTLE JIMMY”)…Steen went to the top rope, and Generico met him up there…Steen bit Generico on the face…Steen jumped off, but Generico kicked him and went for a brainbuster: REVERSED INTO A PACKAGE PILEDRIVER!: 1…2…NO!…Sharpshooter by Steen, but Generico would not quit…Steen ran to Generico in the corner, but he ate an exploder into the corner; half-and-half suplex!; package pilerdriver from Generico!: 1…2…NO!!!!!!…Yakuza Kick from Generico…another Yakuza, but Steen stayed on his feet…another Yakuza; BRAINBUSTER!: 1…2…NO!…Steen rolled to the apron, but Generico met him there and gave him a BRAINBUSTER ON THE APRON!: 1…2…3! …Generico brought a little kid with a Generico mask in the ring, and he got the kid to give Steen the middle finger…Steen then hit the BOLA trophy and ran off….Generico celebrated with the broken trophy

WOW!…After a mildly (but understandably) disappointing semi-finals, this final put a fantastic exclamation point on another very good Battle of Los Angeles…with the history of hatred between these two men (Excalibur freely referenced their Ring of Honor feud several times), their strategy of just trying to hit each other with as many devastating moves as they could was perfectly fine, and the crowd was with them every step of the way…this was another great chapter in the Steen/Generico feud, and I can’t wait to see their Ladder Match at Steen Wolf
Match Rating: ****

Final Thoughts: BOLA was switched to a one-night tournament this year, which plays into PWG’s philosophy of “quality over quantity.” Past BOLAs provided good exposure to a larger range of wrestlers, but the tournament feels much tighter overall. The top two matches were clearly the finals and the Generico/Claudio match, with the latter being one of my favorite PWG matches of the year, and they probably make the show worth buying all on their own.

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