Our heroes Steve & Andrew return with a review of Night 1 of the 2016 Battle Of Los Angeles from Pro Wrestling Guerrilla on DVD and Blu-Ray. Matches feature Jushin Liger taking on Chris Hero, Fenix vs. Will Ospreay, Jeff Cobb vs. Ricochet, Matt Sydal vs. John Hennigan (a.k.a. John Morrison/Johnny Nitro/Johnny Mundo), Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Tommy End, and more. This show was stacked and full of good matches, and this review is full of cool GIFs. Read now!
2016 Battle Of Los Angeles 1st Round Match: Pentagon Jr. vs. Marty Scurll
Andrew: I thought this was a good way to start the tournament. I’m usually not huge on Scurll’s PWG performances for the most part, as they tend to go way too long and have a tendency to drag on too long sometimes, but he had a good performance here. The crowd was really hot at the start for this, and both guys came off as big stars with the reactions they got. There was a really funny moment in the match where Scurll tied Pentagon Jr.’s mask to the ropes and started beating up on him as if he were a Rudo in Mexico. Oh yeah, the bottom rope broke when Pentagon Jr. went to set up a Lungblower after being whipped into the corner by Scurll. It was hilarious. Scurll got the win after he countered a Package Piledriver attempt by flipping out of it and applying a Crossface Chickenwing to make Pentagon Jr. tap. Good stuff here. Nothing outstanding or mind blowing, but this was a fun match to start the show.
Andrew’s Rating: ***1/2
Steve: I thought this was a great match, but I especially appreciated how they’d come back to certain things later in the match. There was a spot where Pentagon went to chop Scurll and he moved and he ended up chopping the ring post which lead to lots of working over his hand later on. There was a great spot where Scurll does his finger snap spot, and Pentagon plays it off like he just puts it back in place and no sells it. What a fun match to start off the tournament.
Steve’s Rating: ***3/4
2016 Battle Of Los Angeles 1st Round Match: Jeff Cobb vs. Ricochet
Steve: I really liked this match. Cobb really played the monster well in this as he just killed Ricochet with shoulder blocks. Chuck Taylor mentioned on commetary that “Mr. Athletic” Jeff Cobb sounds like an 80s WWF jobber name. The PWG commentary doesn’t get enough credit. Excalibur is always great and pairs so well with both Chuck Taylor and Chris Hero. Cobb pretty much manhandled Ricochet for awhile as Ricochet tried a more aerial assault. Everything Ricochet seemed to try Cobb was able to hit him back harder. Ricochet managed to reverse the Tour of the Islands into a roll up to steal the win.
Steve’s Rating: ****
Andrew: This was a great match. Ricochet’s corner suplex on Cobb was fucking insane. These guys took the simple formula and did a lot of cool shit with it. I honestly believe Jeff Cobb is the best wrestler going now. Yes, that includes Zack Sabre Jr., who I’ve called one of the best wrestlers in the world now. Cobb can base for flyers, can toss mother fuckers around like it was nothing, go hold-for-hold in chain wrestling sequences, and does flips. The way he worked with Ricochet showed that he can hang with elite talent. I honestly think Super Dragon fucked up by not having Cobb win the tournament and to turn him into a legit star overnight for PWG. Still, like I said earlier, this was a great match.
Andrew’s Rating: ****
2016 Battle Of Los Angeles 1st Round Match: John Hennigan vs. Matt Sydal
Andrew: I was hearing bad things about this match based on some live reports, but I didn’t think this was outright bad. There were several moments though out the match that were awkward and sorta disjointed, but for the most part it was fun. Hennigan (also known as Johnny Mundo in Lucha Underground and John Morrison/Johnny Nitro in the WWE) tried to bust out some unique high flying offensive moves like some weird sideways 450 elbow drop, but some of the things he did just didn’t go over with the crowd. Despite the downs, this match was still fun. Nothing mind blowing or extraordinary. I’d like to see Hennigan return to PWG in the future. I think him vs. Chris Hero or Jeff Cobb would be fun matches. Hennigan got the win after moving out of the way of a Shooting Star Press attempt from Matt Sydal, who landed on his feet, and Hennigan hit a standing one-man Spanish Fly, followed by hitting Starship Pain (Springboard Skytwister) for the win.
Andrew’s Rating: **3/4
Steve: Yeah, I wasn’t able to make it to night 1 live, but a lot of people I talked to at night 2 and 3 were down on this match, but I thought it was good but not great. Maybe it came across better on video than live. There was a lot of working over of the limbs early on, but for some reason that was abandoned later on and played no part in the finish.
Steve’s Rating: ** 3/4
2016 Battle Of Los Angeles 1st Round Match: Fenix vs. Will Ospreay
Steve: I’m pretty sure at least 2/3 of this match actually took place in the air. Chuck Taylor even mentioned that both guys are named after birds. The match started at 100 mph and never really let up. Ospreay has some pretty stiff looking strikes. The one spot everyone was talking about after the match is when Fenix went for the Spanish Fly and both guys landed on their feet. It was pretty awesome. Ospreay won with an Oscutter. It’s worth buying this DVD for this match alone.
Steve’s Rating: **** 1/4
Andrew: This shit was crazy. Let’s be honest, if you’re looking for “traditional wrestling” here, you’re not going find shit. These guys just had a crazy sprint from bell-to-bell and tore the house down. I can’t even describe the shit that went on other than insanity. Like Steve said, this show is worth buying based on this match alone. Excellent shit and a match that should be in the running for MOTY in SoCal.
Andrew’s Rating: ****1/2
2016 Battle Of Los Angeles 1st Round Match: Tommy End vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
Andrew: To be honest, I really wanted to enjoy this match. I thought it was going to be mind-blowing. Instead I found it sorta underwhelming. Tommy End had some cool kicks, and Zack displayed some cool technical shit, but for some reason I couldn’t get into this match overall. There were moments I found cool, like the sequence where Tommy End hit Zack with a bunch of moves, ended his offensive flurry with a spinning head kick into a German Suplex, with Zack hitting a nice Kimura after kicking out and transitioning into an Omoplata. But aside from certain spots, I just wasn’t into this match. It was good, but it felt disappointing. Zack won with an Octopus Lock.
Andrew’s Rating: **3/4
Steve: Everyone knew Tommy End was going to WWE and it would serve no purpose to beat the PWG champion, so with the outcome not being in question at all I think it took away from the match a little. The match really picked up in the second half, but the first half wasn’t anything special.The match was nearly 17 minutes and if they would have cut a little off the start it could have been great.
Steve’s Rating: ** 3/4
2016 Battle Of Los Angeles 1st Round Match: Chris Hero vs. Jushin Thunder Liger
Steve: The story of this match was Hero being the asshole who disrespects the legend that is Jushin Liger. I really enjoyed this match. Liger who seemingly only works the bottom of the card in New Japan now days can still go and looked great in this. I’m certain it’s impossible for Hero to have a bad match. As Hero was playing up being disrespectful to Liger, he even hits a Liger bomb on him, to which Liger in turned kicked out at 1. Liger later hit his own for a two-count. Hero eventually hit a series of Elbows to Liger’s head to get the win. This was a really good match.
Steve’s Rating: *** 3/4
Andrew: I really wasn’t excited to watch this match as I was the others. Justin Liger is 51 years old, so to expect him to do anything crazy athletic would be unfair. I honestly wasn’t expecting much with this given Liger’s age, so this ended up being a fun match to watch. Maybe it was just me, but a lot of the fans didn’t really seem to pick up on Hero using Liger’s signature spots or pop for Liger’s trademark moves. But yeah, this was a good match.
Andrew’s Rating: ***
Dalton Castle & The Boys (Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly) vs. Adam Cole & The Young Bucks (Nick & Matt Jackson)
Andrew: Overall, this was a pretty bad comedy match. The wrestling itself was fine, but the comedy was awful. The entire thing with people pretending to not know reDRagon and playing up how “similar” they look. That match itself had some good spots, but the comedy was just bad. I couldn’t tell if it was intentional or not for the comedic timing to be off most of the match, but it just didn’t work. Also, I can’t stand Dalton Castle. I just can’t. And the whole “Suck It” shit the Young Bucks still do is pretty lame. It’s 2016, and DX crotch chops are still being used. Yeesh.
The best part of the match was the comment. No, really. Chuck Taylor implied Adam Cole seemed to be modeling himself as a “New Age Dusty Rhodes” by being, in Chuck Taylor’s words, a “fat piece of shit in trunks.” Excalibur ended up busting up badly on commentary to the point where he was in tears. I hope Cody Rhodes doesn’t hear that and get offended. As the match went on, Chuck Taylor had a revelation that shitty comedy spots like the ones in this match were the reasons why people hated him as a wrestler. He and Excalibur got a good laugh when Chuck said “this again, the main event of Night 1 of the most prestigious tournament in North America.” Excalibur also dropped a “Jimmy Chicken” reference, which was great if you understood it. But yeah, this was a weak main event.
Andrew’s Rating: **
Steve: I actually enjoyed the goofy stuff in this match, but can see how someone else might not like it. The commentary in the match was great, and I’m certain I enjoyed this more hearing Excalibur and Chuck Taylor than I would have had I been there live. I thought the ending sequence was pretty good as well. On the whole though, I thought this was the weakest match on night 1.
Steve’s Rating: ** 1/2
Andrew: Aside from the main event, this was a really good show overall. Ospreay/Fenix pretty much killed it, and Cobb/Ricochet was a great showcase for Cobb. Night 1 really seemed to set the stage for the entire weekend, and I’m interested in seeing how things played out throughout the next two shows. Like I said, this was a really good show overall and I recommend it for the Ospreay/Fenix and Cobb/Ricochet matches alone.
Steve: Having seen night 2 and 3 live, I enjoyed seeing what I missed. People are going to be talking about the 2016 Battle of Los Angeles for a long time. I know it was stated several times in the review already, but the commentary on this show was excellent and should be noted again. The Fenix/Ospreay and Jeff Cobb/Ricochet matches were really good and worth the purchase of this just for those matches. This was a really good show and a great start to the tournament.