While Steve enjoys the Thanksgiving holiday doing family things, I go solo with a review of Night 2 of PWG’s 2016 Battle Of Los Angeles featuring the much talked about Young Bucks & Adam Cole vs. Ricochet, Matt Sydal, and Will Ospreay match that got Five Stars from Dave Meltzer, the PWG debut of Cody Rhodes, Chris Hero and Tommy End putting on a crazy match with Pentagon Jr. & Fenix, and more. Plus GIF’s and crazy rambling!
Dalton Castle (w/ The Boys) vs. Tommaso Ciampa
So this tournament was supposed to have Jack Gallagher, but instead he was replaced by Tommaso cause Gallagher couldn’t be there. This started out with a bunch of shenanigans, including Tommaso killing one of the boys.After that, the match featured more shenanigans. Dalton Castle is pretty skilled as a wrestler, but I really hate his gimmick. I don’t know what people find so appealing about him. He’s just an annoying spaz who does creepy shit that plays on his opponent’s homophobia. He pretty much took Liberace’s personality and is using Goldust’s schtick from 20 years ago, but in a lame Disney-fied way. Dalton won to advance in the tournament. If you like dumb antics, you’ll like this. But I just didn’t dig this shit. I can’t believe PWG spends money on Castle when they could bring in like 6 local guys just as good (and in some cases, better) as Castle is. Someone tell Super Dragon about good local guys. Best part of the match was Chuck Taylor on commentary saying he hates Tommaso cause he almost raped him, twice, and saying “whatever dumb Irish tattoos Kyle O’Reilly has.”
Post match shenanigans: handshake gimmick, farewell to Tommaso before he goes to WWE. Yeah.
Mark Andrews vs. Pete Dunne
This was Dunne’s PWG debut. He’s another British guy that gets tons of hype from internet fans. This was a “style vs. style” match with Andrews doing his usual high flying offense, and Dunne being more of a technical style, working over Andrews’ hand, bullying him on the mat, and throwing him around the ring. He’s like a heel version of Zack Sabre Jr. I’d compare him more to Bryan Danielson when he was a heel 10 years ago, but Dunne is nowhere near on that level. To be honest, I was pretty underwhelmed by his performance in the first part of the match. I mean, he’s not bad, but he’s just very bland and unconvincing on offense. He did a good job at basing for Andrews’ offense, This match had a good amount of spots and was entertaining thanks for Andrews. I didn’t really care for Dunne’s wannabe-Danielson schtick as the match progressed. Mark Andrews was still great. He might be the best European PWG brings in next to Sabre Jr. My only complaint about this match was how long it was. Shit was like almost 20 minutes long and was a main event-style match when it was the second match of the show. Fucking hell man! On top of that, there wasn’t much heat behind the match, so there was no need for them to go so fucking long! Still,, this was a good match. Andrews won. Yeah. Dunne needs some fucking personality.
Rating: *** (This would’ve been rated higher, but the first half really dragged it down. Not that my rating matters or anything. Actually, it does. It’s the only rating that matters. My opinion>Everyone else’s.)
Cody Rhodes vs. Sami Callihan
Before the match, Cody Rhodes’ wife did his ring introduction. I cringed at this cause it was pretty corny. Honestly. anything in wrestling/entertainment that involves spouses working together. It’s always lame no matter who it is. So anyways, Cody came across as genuinely excited to be on this show. He even had some tights made with the old PWG logo on it, and BOLA on his boots. I really, really respected that. I mean, this is a guy who is the son of a legend, brother of an established star from the 90’s, and spent very little time before heading to OVW and eventually WWE. He could’ve just been like “fuck it, I’m gonna collect a paycheck, do my spots, and get paid extra for having to do a job where the finish isn’t even clean” and mailed it in like most guys go his stature do when they hit the indy scene after being coddled in the corporate world of WWE, but instead he worked his ass off and showed tons of enthusiasm.
As for the match, this was the most tolerable Sami Callihan performance I’ve seen, which honestly isn’t saying much. The stupid cat shit was annoying, and I didn’t really care about the callback to Cody’s Rip Hamilton face-mask. Aside from that, the pacing of the match kept this match from becoming uninteresting overall. Cody worked his ass off in this match. Sami still sucks, but Cody seems to have a great understanding of what the fans want and how to perform on the indy scene. He also seems pretty fucking down god o dangerous shit and stupid bumps, so that makes him pretty awesome. Cody won after hitting Christopher Daniels’ “Angels Wings” on Sami for the win. Solid stuff here. Sami still sucks though, and I really think a local would’ve done a better job in this match than Sami.
Fenix & Pentagon Jr. vs. Tommy End & Chris Hero
I was really looking forward to this match, and really enjoyed it. At one part of the match, Chris Hero busted out some Lucha offense with Pentagon Jr., and soon after that Fenix did a crazy dive where he jumped onto Pentagon Jr.’s shoulders and did a standing moonsault off Pentagon Jr. Shit was nuts dude. Pentagon Jr. and Fenix did a bunch of cool double team spots in this. They’re really entertaining to watch as a team. Chris Hero continues to be one of the best wrestlers in the world now as he can work so many different styles, and this match is a perfect example of the versatility of his skill set. Tommy End and Chris Hero did a simple, but awesome move where Hero piledrived Fenix after End kicked Fenix in the head. People gave high praise to the main event, but I thought this was WAY better. Only complaint was the leg slap shit during the striking, which plagues pro wrestling in 2016. Shit needs to go away. Anyways, this match ruled. Lots of cool spots, fun near falls, and a really cool finsih. Fenix and Pentagon Jr. got the win. Check this shit out.
Trevor Lee vs. Kamaitachi
As usual, Trevor Lee continues to be an entertaining heel. The “TNA Superstar’ schtick is sorta lame, but the reaction it gets from some of the idiots in the crowd is pretty funny. This match started out fast and exciting, with Trevor Lee attacking Kamaitachi early on. Both guys took some reckless and unnecessary bumps, which was awesome. Kamaitachi did a crazy diving top rope senton onto Trevor Lee on the floor outside of the ring. Really good stuff here. Trevor Lee got the win to advance in the tournament. Good performance from Lee, and a great showing by Kamaitachi. I also liked how this match didn’t go too long and drag, which is a problem in a lot of matches on PWG shows.
Mark Haskins vs. Cedric Alexander
Much like Tommaso Ciampa replacing Jack Gallagher, Cedric Alexander was taking Adam Cole’s spot in the tournament. This started out with Haskins doing some fancy, contrived technical/chain wrestling early on before Cedric made a comeback where they had did some overly-choreographed sequences. I know that the way I worded that seems pretty insulting, but let me just say, they timed their overly-choreographed sequence well. Haskins suffers from the same problem that Pete Dunne does, in that he has no personality or real charisma. He’s got some talent, but dude is just so fucking bland. I gotta give Cedric a shit load of credit, he was working this match before hitting going to WWE, and he had a great effort in this and didn’t mail in his performance. There was a cool spot where Haskins did a standing sweep that I learned as a jiu-jitsu white belt and modified it by transitioning that into a sharpshooter. This was a fun match. Haskins was impressive, but the dude is really bland. Still, I enjoyed this match. Haskins won via submission.
Rating: *** 1/2
Kyle O’Reilly vs. Matthew Riddle
This was Riddle’s PWG and Southern California debut. He was in the UFC and shit. I don’t want to type more, Google him or check out the interview I did with him after Night 3 of BOLA. He’s got very little pro wrestling experience, but he’s managed to take his skill sets into pro wrestling and has been pretty successful so far. Both guys did a very well done worked-shoot style match mixed with traditional style pro wrestling. I really enjoyed this match as it had some pretty shit that you really don’t see much of in PWG.I also liked how these guys didn’t slap their legs while striking. Finish saw Riddle applying a Twister on O’Reilly, only to end up getting pinned by Kyle after countering the submission attempt with a pin. This was a really clever finish. Hopefully PWG brings Riddle back, or that he ends up getting booked by a respectable promotion in the area like AWS.
Ricochet, Matt Sydal, & Will Ospreay vs. Adam Cole & The Young Bucks
So this is the match that got a Five Star rating from not only Steve Bryant, but also by Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, but I’ll get into that later. Now obviously opinions are subjective, but I really didn’t think this match was anywhere near to being a “Five Star” match. That doesn’t mean I didn’t think this was a fun spotfest, but it didn’t live up to the hype it got, especially when there was a badly botched spot int he opening moments. Ricochet had a cool sequence where he did a bunch of overly choreographed spots in a matter of minutes with Cole and the Bucks, there was a cool spot where Adam Cole countered a top rope rana attempt from Sydal by dropping him on the ropes, and the final moments of the match had cool spots like the Shooting Star Meltzer Driver. This was a really good spotfest, but not “Five Stars.”
Rating: **** (Again, this was really good, but not as great as people make it seem to be.)
Now about Meltzer rating this match the way he did. I remember in 2004 when Samoa Joe and CM Punk had a match in ROH that was rated ***** by Dave and didn’t agree with the rating when I saw the match. I remember him rating Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles vs. Christopher Daniels from a TNA PPV in 2005 as ***** and thinking he overtyped it. After that, I stopped giving a shit about his ratings. Don’t get me wrong, Dave is probably the most credible wrestling journalist today (Ryan Satin can go fuck himself) and has lots of valuable knowledge/insights on the business, but when it comes to having an opinion, he’s just another fan just like me, Steve, the guys who review PWG shows on 411mania, or anyone who goes to/watches shows. I don’t think his word is the gospel at all.
People will probably automatically assume it’s the best PWG match ever because of Dave’s rating, but there were plenty of matches from PWG’s past that Dave would’ve given ***** had he seen them. Matches like Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin vs. Tyler Black (Seth Rollins) & Jimmy Jacobs, the first PAC vs. El Generico match, the first El Generico vs. Bryan Danielson match, Shingo Takagi vs. El Generico, or the Young Bucks vs. Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin. I’m sure there are many more matches that people can name, but to me, those matches were all better than this main event, and it’s a shame that a lot of PWG’s past matches won’t get the type of recognition that this match is getting.
I thought Night 2 was pretty good overall. Hero/End vs. Pentagon Jr./Fenix was the best match of the show in my mind. It flowed really well and had lots of good spots. The tournament matches were really solid overall, with guys having impressive individual performances. The main event was a fun spot fest. There was a badly botched spot and some spots that looked too telegraphed, but it was a fun sprint. The three standout performers of the show were Ricochet for his performance in the main event, Mark Andrews with another great performance, and Cody Rhodes for being one of the most enthusiastic wrestlers I’ve seen on a show since I’ve started watching wrestling again. I highly recommend checking this show out.