I’ll get right to the chase. While the 2019 Battle of Los Angeles as a whole wasn’t the greatest tournament in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla’s history, the third night will go down as one of their all-time classic shows. Everything seemed to fall into place and every match was good at the worst, with several nothing short of great.
Battle of Los Angeles – 2nd Round -Dragon Lee over Jake Atlas [10’55]
When Jake Atlas came out he got the loudest reaction of the tournament. This isn’t a guess or hyperbole either. I sat next to the sound booth all three nights and The Globe installed a decibel meter and Atlas’ entrance topped 100. I thought Dragon Lee’s first-round match was good but questioned his effort in it. There was no question here. Someone suggested to me that he may have seen the reaction some of the other wrestlers had gotten with money being thrown in the ring etc. and realized he had to step up his game. Whatever the case, this was fantastic. There was a crazy sequence where they took turns hitting German Suplexes on each other and must have done like six rounds of Germans, then reverse ranas followed by more Germans. Dragon lee won with a running knee. Money was tossed in the ring and Atlas got another huge reaction. This was about the same level as his first round match, and when you factor in his matches at Bar Wrestling and AWS before and during BOLA too, which were both said to be the match of the night on those shows, he had quite the week.
Rating: **** 1/2
Battle of Los Angeles – 2nd Round – Bandido over Brody King [10’40]
Before the match Bandido got on the mike and told King he knows he was trained by luchadors (shout out to Los Luchas) so he wanted a lucha match. So, Brody King went out and did a fucking lucha match. King has crazy agility for his size. There were a few mishaps in this, like Bandido missing King’s arm on an arm drag and King still going through with it, but this was still really good. Bandido won with his springboard suplex, the 21-plex.
Rating: *** 1/4
Battle of Los Angeles – 2nd Round – Jonathan Gresham over A-Kid [18’03]
Jonathan Gresham’s entrance song was stuck in my head all day after BOLA. This came off like a real fight and felt a lot different than anything else on the show. This was very technical and very good. Gresham won by ref stoppage when he just kept smashing A-Kid’s knee into the mat.
Rating: *** 3/4
Battle of Los Angeles – 2nd Round – Joey Janela over Rey Fenix [15’58]
This was good. I don’t know if these two have ever had a singles match before, but this was one of those interesting matchups that you may only ever see in BOLA. Janela won when he twisted Fenix’ mask around so he couldn’t see then super kicked him.
Battle of Los Angeles – 2nd Round – Darby Allin over Penta El Zero M [16’24]
The match started with Allin destroying Penta El Zero M’s knee to the point Penta had to be helped to the back. As Penta was almost through the curtain Allin goaded him into returning to the ring. For the rest of the match, Penta did a great job of selling his leg. Once he even had to have fans help him lift his leg over the rope so he could get back into the ring. Of course, Allin worked over his leg throughout. Penta brought out a step ladder, but with his leg hurt could hardly climb it. He did hit a destroyer on Allin off of it. Allin eventually got his figure-four cradle for the win. This was great.
Battle of Los Angeles – 2nd Round – David Starr over Jeff Cobb [11’15]
David Starr was picking on ref Aubrey Edwards throughout this. She eventually got tired of it and knocked Starr down. Cobb threw Starr by the chest hair in this. There was a ref bump and Starr hit Cobb with the belt and then hit him with a lariat to advance. This was really good.
Rating: *** 1/2
Dark Order (Evil Uno & Stu Grayson) over Rey Horus & Aramis [14’48]
This was supposed to be Dark Order versus Aussie Open but with the injury to Mark Davis, it got switched to Rey Horus and Aramis. This was really fun. There were a lot of cool double team moves here. I can see Aramis becoming a PWG regular going forward. Dark Order got the win but who knows their status going forward with AEW. The finish was Grayson hitting a blockbuster off the top rope on Aramis for the pin.
Rating: *** 3/4
Battle of Los Angeles – Semi Finals – Jonathan Gresham over Joey Janela [8’30]
This was good. Janela took a suplex onto a pile of chairs in this. Gresham got Janela in the Octopus and then beat on him till the ref stopped it. This move and the ref stoppage was really nicely set up throughout the tournament building to a spot in the finals. After the match, Janela thanked the crowd and said he’d be back someday. Janela has been a huge positive for independent wrestling for the last few years and deserves all the success he is going to get. I can see him becoming a real break-out star on a national level in AEW.
Rating: *** 1/4
Battle of Los Angeles – Semi Finals – Bandido over Dragon Lee [11’53]
This was incredible. It was full of action as you would expect from these two. For me, it was the best match of the entire tournament. Bandido did a moonsault off the ring post onto Dragon Lee on the outside directly under where I was sitting and he missed hitting the balcony on this by about three inches. Bandido hit the 21-plex then bridged a German Suplex for the win.
Rating: **** 3/4
Battle of Los Angeles – Semi Finals – David Starr over Darby Allin [5’39]
This was good for what it was but really short. Starr won with a lariat to advance.
Caveman Ugg, Orange Cassidy, Jungle Boy, Artemis Spencer, & Paris DeSilva over Mick Moretti, Lucky Kid, Tony Deppen, Black Taurus, & Kyle Fletcher [25’49]
The BOLA ten-man matches are always a lot of fun and this was no exception. I wasn’t familiar with Paris DeSilva before the match, but he hit an amazing Shooting Star DDT in it. There was a cool sequence with Caveman Ugg and Taurus taking turns throwing wrestlers at each other. Cassidy did the most apathetic balcony dive ever. This was more a chance for everyone to showcase themselves over a match, and everyone got their chance to shine. This was really entertaining.
Rating: *** 3/4
Battle of Los Angeles – Finals – Bandido over David Starr and Jonathan Gresham [23’26]
I really liked that all three were in the ring at the same time for a good portion of this rather than doing the normal three-way tactic of having one guy down so the other two can wrestle. Gresham got the Octopus on Starr and pummeled him leading to a ref stoppage elimination. This further built up the Octopus which made it super effective when Gresham got it on Bandido. It looked like Rick Knox was just about to call the match when Bandido powered out of it into a Samoan Drop. Bandido hit his 21-plex to get the win in a really good finals.
Rating: *** 3/4
This was a great show. As I said at the start, everything was good or better. Two of the matches I think have an outside shot at the SoCal Match of the Year, but I still don’t think anything has approached the trios match from PWG’s Sixteen. I’d highly recommend picking up the 2019 Battle of Los Angeles when it comes out on DVD or Blu-ray, and if you can only get one night, get night three.
The DVD’s are available for pre-order now at PWG’s website and Highspots. In addition to the DVDs, Highspots has other merchandise from BOLA including the turnbuckles, ring aprons, t-shirts, and a really cool looking poster autographed by the three finalists. It’s been awhile since there has been an official PWG show poster.