After 12 matches, and nearly a week’s time, a lot of the matches from night 3 of PWG’s Battle of Los Angeles tournament have started to blend together, so rather than do a full on review I’ll just give some thoughts on the night and PWG as a whole. I’ve included the star rankings I wrote down after each match at the show.
Trevor Lee defeated Dalton Caste to advance in the 2016 Battle of Los Angeles tournament [13:37]
Rating: ** 3/4
Ricochet defeated John Hennigan (John Morrison/Johnny Mundo) to advance in the 2016 Battle of Los Angeles tournament [11:51]
Marty Scurll defeated Cody Rhodes to advance in the 2016 Battle of Los Angeles tournament [11:39]
Rating: *** 1/2
Mark Andrews defeated Chris Hero to advance in the 2016 Battle of Los Angeles tournament [6:30]
Mark Haskins defeated Kyle O’Reilly via submission to advance in the 2016 Battle of Los Angeles tournament [15:09]
Will Ospreay defeated Zack Sabre Jr. to advance in the 2016 Battle of Los Angeles tournament [10:56]
The Young Bucks (Nick Jackson & Matt Jackson) defeated Pentagon Jr. & Fenix to retain the PWG World Tag Team Championship [14:34]
Rating: **** 1/2
Trevor Lee defeated Mark Andrews to advance to the finals of the 2016 Battle of Los Angeles tournament [8:18]
Rating: *** 1/4
Marty Scurll defeated Mark Haskins to advance to the finals of the 2016 Battle of Los Angeles tournament [16:44]
Rating: **** 1/4
Will Ospreay defeated Ricochet to advance to the finals of the 2016 Battle of Los Angles tournament [10:08]
Rating: **** 1/4
Jeff Cobb, Jushin Liger, Tommy End, Cedric Alexander, & Chuck Taylor defeated Tommaso Ciampa, Matthew Riddle, Sami Callihan, Brian Kendrick, & Pete Dunne [17:39]
Rating: *** 1/4
Marty Scurll defeated Will Ospreay & Trevor Lee in a Triple Threat Elimination match to win the 2016 Battle of Los Angeles [19:15]
-Will Ospreay eliminated via submission by Trevor Lee & Marty Scurll [10:00]
-Trevor Lee eliminated via submission by Marty Scurll [19:15]
Rating: *** 3/4
Night 3 of the Battle of Los Angeles was another awesome night of wrestling. While it would have been impossible to live up to night 2, which featured the two best matches in SoCal so far for all of 2016, including maybe the best SoCal match in decades, night 3 was another great show with five matches I’d rate four stars or more, and only one (just barely) under three stars.
Every match in the actual tournament was good. Cody Rhodes and Scurll had a really great performance and Cody seemed genuinely touched by the reception he got at the shows. I think there was some worry going in by a lot of fans that Cody wouldn’t be able to keep up in the PWG environment, but he really silenced all critics with his performance. Prior to the tournament he was a big PWG fan and at the show he even told one wrestler “I can’t believe I’m really here.”
During the show I was relaying match results to Andrew via text message so he could update the site with live results, and when the tag match between the Young Bucks and Pentagon Jr. and Fenix was announced, he messaged back “oh shit.” Oh shit indeed. Both of these teams were phenominal throughout the weekend. People were raving about Fenix and Will Ospreay from night 1 and both teams were part of tag matches on night 2 that were the two best matches in SoCal this year. Fenix and Pentagon didn’t really work a lucha style in the match and really showed their range. It was a lot different than their night two match. Even though we had seen both teams the night before, both teams were different enough that this didn’t feel like a match we had seen before. I thought this was the 3rd best match of night 2 or 3.
Both Will Ospreay and eventual tournament winner Marty Scurll had such good performances throughout the night (and entire tournament) that it seemed to be a slight let down when Ospreay was eliminated in the main event and we didn’t get to see Ospreay and Scurll one-on-one. Still, Trevor Lee and Ospreay matched up really well and the second half of the main event was probably better than the first half. At the end of the match, with Rick Knox knocked out, Scurll delivered some very vicious looking shots to Lee’s head with his umbrella. The sound was so loud at first I thought Scurll did a leg slap, but then I saw how bent the umbrella was. After a few more shots he revived Knox and applied the chicken wing for the victory.
There was a loud “you deserve it” chant after his win. In fact, a lot of people I talked to before the shows were really wanting him to win it all as he has been really good in PWG all year. He was also granted a title shot with his victory and Zack Sabre Jr. came out to the ring for a stare down.
Not only did PWG have 3 fantastic shows, once again showing why they have the best wrestling in the world, they did a lot to setup future matches with the shows too. For the PWG world title, Ospreay defeated Sabre in the tournament, giving him a natural reason for a title shot, and of course Scurll gets his shot with winning the tournament. With DDT4 not scheduled to happen this year, they also still managed to revitalize the the tag-team division on the shows. For awhile has seemed like no one as serious contenders for the Young Bucks now can have Ricochet and Sydal (or even Ospreay if they want to do something different) challenge by virtue of their win in the six-man on night two. You can even toss Pentagon and Fenix back in off how well they did, even though they ultimately lost to the Bucks.
PWG has really evolved from where they started to what they’ve become over the last few years. At the start they were a SoCal all-star promotion, using the best wrestlers in SoCal and bringing in a few outsiders to supplement them. Over time they’ve just become a wrestling all-star promotion, using the best wrestlers in the world.
When Super Dragon was a wrestler, it seemed like his singular focus was to have the best possible matches he could have. He’d be wrestling at a car dealership in front of 10 fans and people trying to buy a used mini-van and he’d be going all out, trying to incorporate layers of story in his matches, building off past matches, to an audience who had no idea that these past matches existed, they just wanted to test drive that mini-van. That’s who he was as a wrestler though, he wanted to have great matches no matter who was watching or what the circumstance was.
That’s also who he is as a promoter. He wants to put on the best wrestling in the world. A lot of people would like PWG to move to a bigger venue, but that’s not going to happen. They feel the American Legion Hall is part of what makes PWG special and adds to what PWG is. They know they are leaving money on the table by not going bigger. They don’t care. Their goal is to put on the best wrestling shows in the world. That’s also why we’ll never likely see streaming shows or iPPVs.
A lot of people (wrestlers) complain about PWG not using local SoCal guys on the shows (aside from the Young Bucks). They are bringing in the best wrestlers from around the world on these shows, realistically there are only a few wrestlers in the area who would be able to go in and not hurt the match quality. I don’t mean this as knock on anyone at all, the same thing can be said for any area. Honestly, right now if PWG was looking to bring in anyone in California they haven’t used before, they should consider Reno Scum to bolster their tag division.
By virtue of running the best wrestling in at least North America and being in the Los Angeles area, they’ve had people offer them money to get bigger. They’ve turned it all down. They’ve kept their operation small. I mean I even see Excalibur helping to stack chairs after the shows. They could have sold out awhile ago, but that isn’t what drives them. I don’t think there is very many other people out there who would do the same, and we are very lucky that SoCal has PWG.
I wanted to give a shout out to atox who does the sound at PWG. Talking about devotion, he lives in Las Vegas and flys out to do the sound at PWG then gets a ride back to Vegas after the shows. During Battle of Los Angeles, he flew out, drove back, went to work, and flew out again. Buy him a beer at AWS.
A last PWG note, as of at least a day ago there isn’t any upcoming shows scheduled as Legion Larry has been in the hospital and he is the person that they coordinate the shows with.
Starting this month we will be adding a separate women’s wrestlers list to our monthly rankings. This isn’t to separate the male and female wrestlers but to shine a spotlight on the women’s wrestlers. The match rankings won’t be separated.