PWG 2018 Battle of Los Angeles Final Stage – review

After a great first two nights of the 2018 Battle of Los Angeles, it was time for the marathon that is night three. In the past night three hadn’t been quite on par with the first two nights, then last year there was arguably the best night three in the tournament’s history. Its reign didn’t last long as the final stage capped off what was the greatest Battle of Los Angeles to date with probably the best show in PWG history.

Once again the show started right on time. I’m fairly certain with the move to the Globe starting on time will be the new normal. Excalibur gave his usual opening speech and we were underway.

2018 Battle of Los Angeles Second Round Match
Trevor Lee over Brody King [14’17]

Trevor Lee cut a promo on Brody King saying he escaped from a Good Charlotte concert, the fans only like him because he’s the only one from the area who can get booked in PWG, and insulted Van Nuys. The insults towards Van Nuys were too much and King attacked Lee. This was really good and was somewhat the reverse of Lee’s opening round match where he now had to play the little man against the bigger opponent. King was really delivering some great lariats in this. Lee won with a reverse flying body press. This was great. Lee’s promos all weekend plus him beating the local favorite really setup a huge moment later in the show.
Rating: ****

2018 Battle of Los Angeles Second Round Match
Jeff Cobb over Rey Horus [9’05]

These two wrestlers are really familiar with each other and work really well together. While not from a lucha libre background, Cobb has always worked well with luchadors. If you have seen any of their prior matches, there wasn’t a lot different. Cobb won with the Tour of the islands. This was good.
Rating: *** 1/2

2018 Battle of Los Angeles Second Round Match
Shingo Takagi over Robbie Eagles [9’59]

Every year there is always the one matchup that really surprises you. This year this was it. Takagi made a strong case for BOLA MVP. Eagles has been really good in PWG, but he doesn’t have the name that Takagi has. Despite that, Takagi gave Eagles so much in this and clearly just wanted to have the greatest possible match they could. Eagles really stepped up and had an amazing performance here. The finish saw Takagi get Eagles to tap with a rear naked choke. This was one of the best matches of a weekend filled with great matches.
Rating: **** 3/4

2018 Battle of Los Angeles Second Round Match
Joey Janela over CIMA [14’30]

Joey Janela mentioned during this that he is used to beating Japanese legends. This was good but it felt like it went on a little too long. Janela won with a superkick.
Rating: *** 1/4

2018 Battle of Los Angeles Second Round Match
WALTER over Jonah Rock [5’28]

Jonah Rock attacked WALTER before he got in the ring and they fought in the crowd for a bit before the match actually started. Being on the second floor I wasn’t able to see all of what was going on. Once they got in the ring and the match got started there was some nice stiff offense from both before WALTER won with a powerbomb in a short match.
Rating: ***

2018 Battle of Los Angeles Second Round Match
Bandido over Flamita [11’02]

This was great lucha style match with a ton of high flying. Like Takagi, Bandido has a strong case for BOLA MVP. Everything he did the whole weekend was so good. Bandido won with his springboard German suplex here, establishing it as a finisher.
Rating: ****

The Rascalz (Zachary Wentz & Dezmond Xavier) over Lucha Bros. (Penta El Zero M & Rey Fenix) to retain the PWG World Tag Team Championship [11’13]

The Rascalz came out in masks, with Dezmond Xavier as Penta El Zero M and Zachary Wentz as Rey Fenix. They mirrored everything the Lucha Bros. did and there was a hilarious spot where Penta and Xavier were in the ring and went to tag out and tagged the other wrestler’s partner. The Rascalz are so much fun to watch. They are so athletic and can do amazing things in the ring, but also have so much infectious charisma where it just feels like they are having a great time. This was a lot of fun.
Rating: **** 1/4

2018 Battle of Los Angeles Semi Finals Match
Jeff Cobb over Trevor Lee [0’14]

Trevor Lee interrupted Jeff Cobb’s introduction and started to cut a promo which just lead to Cobb hitting a suplex followed by a Tour of the Islands for a 14 second victory. Lee had done such a great job as a heel all weekend the crowd went absolutely nuts for this.
Rating: N/A

2018 Battle of Los Angeles Semi Finals Match
Bandido over Joey Janela [14’27]

This match was going to bust a lot of people’s brackets as Janela and Bandido were seemingly the two favorites based on some pre-BOLA polls I did. They did a fantastic job of combing the best of each of their styles into a really great match. Bandido did his springboard German suplex on Janela through an upright chair. Then later Janela was asking for chairs and the crowd filled the ring with them. Janela built a sort of chair pyramid, but it backfired when Bandido hit his somersault fall-away slam on Janela through the chairs for the pin.
Rating: **** 1/2

2018 Battle of Los Angeles Semi Finals Match
Shingo Takagi over WALTER [17’21]

One of the things about BOLA, and PWG in general is how there are great matches in so many different styles. I rated this match the same as the previous match, but they were nothing alike. Just great in their own unique ways. This was another stellar performance by both WALTER and Takagi. This was a lot like the new Predator movie, but really good. You had Takagi as the Predator, who nothing short of Arnold Schwarzenegger can defeat, but then you have this new Super Predator in WALTER, who is like the Predator, but bigger and with Predator dogs. Only Olivia Munn isn’t here to interfere in this fight. These guys tried to kill each other. In the end Takagi got the upset with a lariat. Hopefully with Takagi beating the champion it means he is back soon for a title match.
Rating: **** 1/2

Puma King, Dan Barry, Darby Allin, PCO, & Jody Fleisch over T-Hawk, DJZ, Timothy Thatcher, Adam Brooks, & David Starr. [18’17]

This was the annual five on five match that allows some of the people who lost in the first round another showcase. The match is always filled with a lot of comedy too. The funniest spot in this year’s was Dan Barry using his fingers like a gun and everyone freaking out except Timothy Thatcher who was asking what everyone is doing. His facial expressions during that part of the match were hilarious. Then PCO comes up and puts the gun in his mouth causing everyone on his team to panic. This wasn’t as good as some of the prior year’s matches, but it was still a lot of fun.
Rating: ***

2018 Battle of Los Angeles Finals
Jeff Cobb over Shingo Takagi and Bandido [24’04]

The start of the match saw Bandido and Takagi team up to try and take out Cobb. Their alliance fell apart when Takagi attacked Bandido after they got Cobb out of the ring. This lead to Cobb and Bandido teaming to take out Takagi. The opening part of the match was good, but they mostly stuck to the typical triple threat tropes in it. When Bandido eliminated Takagi at 9:12 there was no indication that this was going to be that match it became. Almost instantly the crowd changed when it was just Cobb and Bandido. A lot of the crowd wanted Bandido to win, but I don’t think anyone wanted Cobb to lose either. Everything they did worked so well and they just kept building and every near fall was believable. There was such an electricity in the atmosphere. Everyone was on their feet for the last 8 minutes or so of the match. Cobb kicked out of the springboard German and Bandido kicked out of a Tour of the islands and the place went nuts. The end saw Cobb hit a Tour of the islands from the top rope, then hit a second one inside the ring to get this pin. This was excellent and easily the best finals match in BOLA history.
Rating: *****

I don’t think PWG lost anything in moving from Reseda to the Globe either. The atmosphere at Reseda was great, but it was great at the Globe too, just with a bigger audience and a comfortable temperature. Not feeling like you survived BOLA afterwards is pretty good.

This tournament also says a lot about the state of independent wrestling. The WWE has raided the indies lately, especially PWG, but there are a ton of wrestlers ready to step in and take the places of the ones who got signed. Looking at who wasn’t in BOLA and could have easily been further shows what quality is out there.

What a great three nights of wrestling the 2018 Battle of Los Angeles was. Every night was better than the previous night, with night three being likely the best single show in PWG history. Talking to some people who have seen every BOLA live, they were in agreement that this was easily the best one in the tournament’s history.

It is worth going out of your way to check out this show and the whole tournament when it comes out on DVD and Blu-ray. I’m not sure how the 2018 Battle of Los Angeles can be topped, but I thought the same thing last year.

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