The last part of the 2016 Battle of Los Angeles review, featuring the semi-finals and finals of the tournament. No long intro. Let’s get straight to the review.
On a serious note, SoCalUncensored.com will be donating any money raised through our Highspots.com affiliate account for the months of December, January, and February to help with the medical expense of APW volunteer Autumn White who is in critical condition after being struck by stray bullet. If you plan on purchasing this event or anything else through Highspots.com, please help out by clicking this link.
PWG World Tag Team Championship Match: The Young Bucks (Nick & Matt Jackson) (c) vs. Fenix & Pentagon Jr.
This match was without a doubt the best match of the weekend. Yes, that includes the match that Dave Meltzer rated Five Stars. Fenix and Pentagon Jr. are such a fun pair to watch. The Young Bucks were the Young Bucks. They did spots, acted like dorks, and kept doing crotch chops. There were various lucha sequences. The match itself had a really good pace to it, and nothing really seemed to drag in this making for an exciting match while also causing referee Justin Borden to look as he was catching his breathe half the match, and at one point looking like he was going to die of a heart attack. Pentagon Jr. destroyed Nick Jackson with a Package Piledriver on the ring apron, and the Bucks hit a Tope Con Meltzer Driver on Fenix outside of the ring. Fucking wild. The Bucks won after hitting a bunch of Superkicks (along with obligatory leg slaps, making them look really shitty) on Fenix and Pentagon Jr. Great match, and again, best of the weekend.
PWG Battle of Los Angeles Semi-Final Match: Trevor Lee vs. Mark Andrews
This was a good match. It started off with Trevor Lee trying to attack Mark Andews, but Andrews got the better of him. On the outside of the ring, Lee kept hitting belly-to-back slams on Andrews on the ring apron. There was some creepy fuck in a green headband making weird tongue gestures towards Trevor Lee on the last one. Shame Trevor didn’t punch him. Eventually Trevor Lee took control of the match and tried to get some heat, but the crowd was dead. I thought the American Legion in Reseda was a place of magic full of crazy crowds? Lee got the win after countering a Shooting Star Press attempt by Andrews and hit his Small Package Driver shortly after. Like I said before, this was a good match, but it didn’t do enough to get the crowd’s interest.
PWG Battle of Los Angeles Semi-Final Match: Marty Scurll vs. Mark Haskins
The match started off with Marty Scurll attacking Mark Haskins, and the crowd was hot for it. Then they went in the ring, and the crowd died. Chalk up another for the “Legend Of Reseda” myth. Haskins had a solid performance, but his personality was so bland that the fans couldn’t get into him at all. A handful of people cheered for him, a few dozen were reacting to Marty’s heel work with cheers, while the rest of the crowd seemed indifferent. Marty stalled and worked over Haskins’ knee. Yeah, because that’s what this show needs. Slow paced bullshit after everyone’s sat through a bunch of other matches. They tried to build suspense and shit, but none of that captivated the crowd. They just wanted to see Marty win. And he did after almost 20 minutes of a match that should’ve been 10 minutes. Look, Haskins and Scurll don’t suck, and this match wasn’t technically bad, but just like other Scurll matches, this shit was too long. Mark Haskins had a lot of time to showcase himself during BOLA weekend, and honestly, dude was underwhelming. I’m sure he’s probably better in a different environment, but this dude going far in the BOLA tournament instead of a guy like Jeff Cobb was a huge blown opportunity for PWG during this tournament.
PWG Battle of Los Angeles Semi-Final Match: Will Ospreay vs. Ricochet
This started off with flippy shit, fast sequences, dives, and springboard moves. The first thirty seconds were cool. After that, the match pace slowed down a bit when Ricochet took control, but it wasn’t as slow and boring as Marty Scurll’s control segments. These guys were putting on a solid match, and their performances weren’t bad, but it felt like the crowd wasn’t all there for this match. Even when these guys were doing cool flippy shit, the crowd didn’t react as much overall until the later portions of the match. Maybe it’s because Night/Stage 3 of BOLA is always 10 fucking hours long and the crowds get killed by sitting in a hot, shitty building for a long time. Ospreay got the win after killing Ricochet with a bunch of moves to advance in the finals. Will Ospreay continued to impress. Dude is an amazing talent and deserves all the praise in the world for his skills and has such a deep move set. Good match here. Shit was like 10 minutes long, so it didn’t drag on too much, unlike most other matches that took place this weekend.
Jushin Liger, Tommy End, Jeff Cobb, Cedric Alexander, and Chuck Taylor vs. Brian Kendrick, Tommaso Ciampa, Matthew Riddle, Pete Dunne, and Sami Callihan
Let me just say, that there was a great exchange between Matthew Riddle and Jeff Cobb. Now with that said, this match was pretty much PWG’s “Jump The Shark” moment. Dudes wearing cat makeup, dudes sticking their thumbs in each other’s asses, slow motion spots, Sami Callihan, and an entire crowd singing “I Believe I Can Fly” while Tommaso Ciampa was pretending to be afraid of diving off the top rope. I mean, I knew what to expect, as these BOLA multi-man tag matches have a reputation for having shit like slow motion spots and sodomy, but this was like some Cousin Oliver type shit here. If you’re a fan of comedy that is really just overly dumb shit that isn’t funny, you’ll probably love this.
Rating: *1/2 (The Cobb/Riddle interaction was the only good thing about this match)
PWG Battle os Los Angeles Finals – Three Way Elimination Match: Will Ospreay vs. Marty Scurll vs. Trevor Lee
This started off with Ospreay doing a bunch of flips and fighting off both Lee and Scurll. They did a bunch of typical “Three Way Dance” spots. Then Scurll and Lee teamed up and beat up Ospreay to eliminate him first after about 10 minutes. The crowd felt flat during the match aside from random moments, and I honestly can’t blame them. I watched these shows in a comfortable environment and still felt exhausted after watching these shows. After Ospreay was eliminated, they kept making that stupid “OOH OOH” sound for Scurll. The match went on for 10 more minutes, which included a fucking ref bump with Rick Knox so that Scurll could hit Trevor Lee with an umbrella several times. Scurll won with a Crossface Chickenwing. After the match, Marty Scurll cut a 5 minute promo, which felt more like the generic ‘Thank you people I love pro wrestling, PWG is the best, blah blah blah” type shit a bunch of other people do all the time. Then Zack Sabre Jr. came out and shook hands to build their match, and with that, the show is over.
I honestly had mixed feelings about this tournament overall. On one hand, there were a bunch of spectacular matches all three nights with super talented wrestlers like Fenix, Will Ospreay, Pentagon Jr., Trevor Lee, Zack Sabre Jr., Jeff Cobb, Ricochet, Matt Riddle, Chris Hero, Mark Andrews, and others. You had guys like John Hennigan and Cody Rhodes making their debuts to add to the star power of these events. Throw in the fact that PWG has a great buzz, you’d think this tournament would be the best thing ever.
But to be honest, I thought these shows highlighted a lot of weaknesses for PWG. Part of me felt that the booking and layout of the tournament could’ve been done so much better. Super Dragon has a history of creating great shit in the past, and with talent that is nowhere near the quality of workers he’s got working for him now in PWG.. With the 2016 BOLA, the booking felt flat and there wasn’t much to get excited over as the tournament went on. As I said earlier, this would’ve been the perfect time for PWG to have showcased Jeff Cobb and establish him as PWG’s next big thing, because he really has talent to be that. Instead, Mark Haskins was showcased in long, underwhelming matches. Maybe there were some reason why the tournament was booked in this manner for reasons I’ll never understand, but in the end, it just felt weak. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to bash PWG. If anything, I always use to be accused (and still get accused of being) biased towards PWG in positive ways. So this isn’t me trying to bash PWG or make it seem like the 2016 BOLA sucked, because it didn’t. I know a lot of people have praised these shows, and chances are people won’t agree with my opinions of these shows. Still, I firmly believe these shows could’ve been much better from a booking standpoint.
With all that said, there were great matches and performances on these shows. Will Ospreay and Ricochet were pretty much the MVPs on these shows. They had exciting performances and didn’t really bore me. The Young Bucks, Fenix, and Pentagon Jr. all had great performances too throughout the weekend. Mark Andrews was another guy who had stellar performances and was fun to watch. Honestly, there were lots of things to like about the 2016 Battle of Los Angeles. Was there corny shit that I wasn’t into? Yeah, but at the same time my taste isn’t the same as everyone else’s. The 2016 Battle of Los Angeles tournament does fall flat in many areas, but the one thing that it does perfectly is offer a wide variety of wrestling styles that can appeal to anyone. Overall, Night 2 was probably the best show of the three, but there’s something about each night that had something that stood out from the others, so you can’t go wrong when picking up these shows.
Note: SoCalUncensored.com will be donating any money raised through our Highspots.com affiliate account for the months of December, January, and February to help with the medical expense of APW volunteer Autumn White who is in critical condition after being struck by stray bullet. If you plan on purchasing this event or anything else through Highspots.com, please help out by clicking this link.