Night 3 of the Battle of Los Angeles tournament may go down as the greatest PWG show in the promotion’s history, and probably the best show in the United States this year in terms of match quality. Adding it to a really strong night 2, and what people were saying was a good night 1, this will also probably go down as the best Battle of Los Angeles tournament in history. With so many matches me and JR decided to team up to tackle the review.
Ricochet over Dezmond Xavier – Battle of Los Angeles 2nd Round [10’47]
Steve: Xavier did a dive onto Ricochet early and the match never slowed down from there. This was a really exciting match with tons of flying and athleticism in it. There was also a ton of hard looking strikes. It was a lot like Ricochet was facing the Ricochet of three or four years ago. This was great and a fantastic opener. Ricochet hit a King’s landing to get the pin.
JR: This match opened up the show and it was a spectacular opener. Fast, breakneck pace, athletic spots all over the place, it was just fun to watch. Lots of detonation kicks, flips and dives, it was a great opener. Both of these guys were on point, and it made for a very competitive match. Desmond is going to be a star, and I also felt like I was watching mirror images at times, except that one was trying to outdo the other on each attempt. Another brutal looking axe kick leading up to the King’s Landing takes this.
Steve’s rating: ****
Travis Banks over Marty Scurll – Battle of Los Angeles 2nd Round [13’52]
JR: Marty comes out and does the same thing as night one, telling his opponent that he’s last year’s champ and to walk out now. Banks almost rolls him up when he’s not looking. Some dipsticks never heard the bell so they do a ring the bell chant. Banks looked good here, was crisp and precise throughout the match. Marty had a hilarious eye poke after some theatrics. Banks was kicking and cannonballing Marty several times in this match. Marty ends up getting a nice looking lariat and a tilt-a-whirl back breaker that was impressive. Banks ends up getting a near submission with a cross face, but then Marty breaks Banks’ fingers. On Marty’s second attempt of the chicken wing, Banks rolls him up to a huge pop from the crowd, who I didn’t think was expecting this outcome. Banks is having a great showing in this tournament.
Steve: Scurll’s promo at the start of the match really put over the heel/face dynamic in this. The pop for the rollup near fall to start the match was huge. It would have been kind of interesting if they just went with that as the finish, but then we would have been robbed of an excellent match. This was great.
Steve’s rating: ****
Keith Lee over Donovan Dijak – Battle of Los Angeles 2nd Round [21’42]
Steve: Let me start by saying this was insane and a strong Southern California match of the year candidate. Both wrestlers used a ton of power spots but mixed it in with a lot of athletic high risk offense as well. About ten minutes into the match the entire crowd was on their feet and pretty much stayed there the whole time. I should mention they actually broke the ring early in the match and the ring crew was trying to fix the ring as the match was going on. At one point they were in the corner where the ring crew was working and it looked like the ring crew was pretty much holding the ring together while the wrestlers climbed the ropes. It sucks the ring broke, but because of the great work of the ring crew it didn’t hurt the match at all. I think it actually added a little suspense as every time they went on the ropes you wondered if the whole thing would come crashing down. Everyone was going nuts for near falls. Late in the match both guys hit their finishers and the other would kick out at 1 for huge pops. This is easily one of the best matches of 2017, and I don’t just mean for SoCal. It is easily in my top 5 for the year so far. As far as Southern California goes, I thought Omega versus Ishii at the July New Japan shows in Long Beach was slightly better than this, but this was better than Omega versus Elgin. And to think this was only the third match of the show. Lee eventually got the pin after a Ground Zero. Go out of your way to see this.
JR: Dear lord, this match. Third match of the card, and these two are trying to bring the house down. Lee tries to overpower Dijak, but Dijak is so damn athletic for his size. Lee pops out of a monkey flip to his feet, and then nearly breaks the ring (again). Dijak had a hilarious line, telling Lee to Bask in his Boots. A piledriver attempt by Lee gets reversed into an outrageous chokeslam on the apron. The most impressive spot has to be when Dijak does a twisting Tope over the top rope, but Lee somehow catches Dijak’s large frame in midair and then rams him into the ringpost. There’s a ton of awesome moves and spots here, including the insane part where both guys hit their finishers and only get one counts. If this was Dijak’s last show on the indies, he definitely left his mark. People will probably talk about this match for quite some time. I cannot recommend this match enough to you. See this match, and enjoy what wrestling is all about.
Steve’s rating: **** 3/4
Rey Fenix over Zack Sabre Jr – Battle of Los Angeles 2nd Round [14:34]
JR: This match was another stiff, technical match on the card. This started off highly technical, as Fenix really showed well and did not look out of his element. Zack was using his usual technical English style graps, and Fenix was countering with a myriad of moves, both lucha style submissions and also some great looking counters that I haven’t seen in quite some time. This match was a stalemate for several minutes, neither guy getting an advantage. Zack gets into his kicky mode, nailing several kicks from different angles. Fenix then countered with a devil stomp from the top rope followed by a springboard moonsault and a dragon punch in the corner. This match went highly aerial near the end, and ends up with Zack going for his trademark bridge, but Fenix reverses it into his own bridge to take this. Another excellent match, solid all the way through.
Steve: They had a tall order coming after the previous match, but they came out and did a mostly mat based match that ended up being great. Fenix was fantastic working an almost completely different style than we normally see him in. One of the great things about BOLA is sometimes we get these matches we never knew we needed until they happen. This was excellent.
Steve’s rating: **** 1/4
Jeff Cobb over Sammy Guevara – Battle of Los Angeles 2nd Round [5’11]
Steve: This was the shortest match of the tournament. Guevara got a lot of offense in, including a dive off the tables on the stage, but Cobb quickly over powered him. This was good, but short. Cobb won with a Tour of the Islands.
JR: This match was quick. Sammy showed his usual disrespect to his opponent,(usually someone bigger than he is) flipping him a double bird and then flying all over the legion. Guevara got the most air of any wrestler in this tournament, including the aforementioned dive off the tables on the stage. Cobb takes this after he recovers from the assault with a quick Tour of the Islands. Great match, but with it being so short, it got right to the point, and also to the next match.
Steve’s rating: ***
Matt Riddle over Penta el Zero M – Battle of Los Angeles 2nd Round [14’18]
JR: I had a good time watching this, even for just the Zero Miedo/Bro…..Bro faceoff. Tons of submission attempts in this. This turned into a heavy chop and slap fest at one point, with Penta even unzipping his shirt to oblige some more bro chops. There were lots of combination moves, with both wrestlers really hitting each other hard with everything, move after move. Riddle showed his strength with a back to back gutwrench suplex combo. This match got really nuts both guys start doing Canadian destroyers on each other, Riddle does a DVD on Penta on the apron. Penta slips in a package piledriver on the apron. Riddle hits his package tombstone and then a submission hold for the win here in a good match with some entertaining moments for sure. Riddle punches his ticket to the semi-final, and he’s probably got more crowd behind him than anyone.
Steve: This was another really cool matchup that was fun to see. Penta had some really strong looking chops to Riddle. I saw Riddle after the show and his chest was torn up. The Canadian destroyer sequence did feel like a bit of an overkill though. This was really good.
Steve’s rating: *** 3/4
Ricochet over Travis Banks – Battle of Los Angeles Semi Finals [12’19]
Steve: I was really impressed with Banks in the tournament, and I thought this was his best match. They really played this one off more as a fight, and I noticed with this, and with the Xavier match Ricochet was subtly acting a little more cocky and heelish. Banks came across really intense in this and was throwing a ton of elbows. Ricochet hits the King’s Landing and gets the pin. Another great match. I hope Banks is back in PWG sooner rather than later. Ricochet is having a fantastic tournament up to this point.
JR: This match was no nonsense ass kicking by both competitors. I’ve really been won over by Banks in this tournament and going against Ricochet he didn’t disappoint. Banks came off as determined and intense, hitting Ricochet with everything he had, cannonballs, stiff strikes, elbows galore. Travis Banks and Ricochet put on one hell of a match. Ricochet takes this with another King’s Landing, but this was such a good match, it really showcased both wrestlers well. Both of these wrestlers showed why they should win this tournament, but it was Ricochet that moves on here to the finals.
Steve’s rating: ****
Keith Lee over Rey Fenix – Battle of Los Angeles Semi Finals [6’35]
JR: This was the second fastest match of the night, but Fenix made this very competitive. Lee probably outweighs Fenix by at least 150 lbs. Fenix had some hellacious chops on Lee, but after a few chops, Lee would simply overpower Fenix, but would complain how much his chest hurt while Fenix was writhing in pain from the monster two handed chops. Fenix did several moves to get Lee off his feet, but went to the air too much and got caught a few times by Lee and he paid the price. Lee hits his finisher in a quick affair, but it had plenty of action. Lee makes the finals in quick fashion in a solid, yet fast match.
Steve: Lee pretty much dominated Fenix in this, though Fenix did make a bit of a comeback. That ended when Fenix went for a somersault dive and Lee caught him and powerbombed him into the apron. Fenix had a nasty looking welt on his back after.Lee hit the jackhammer and won. This was short but still managed to tell a good story and both guys looked good.
Steve’s rating: *** 1/4
Jeff Cobb over Matt Riddle – Battle of Los Angeles Semi Finals [9’05]
Steve: Exactly one year ago during the ten-man at last year’s BOLA these two matched up for the first time and everyone went crazy for it. They ended up facing each other all over the indies after, but never met in a PWG ring and became a tag-team instead. The crowd was super hot for this, and Riddle was a lot of people’s pick to win it all. When Cobb hit the Tour of the Islands there was a huge pop, but I think a lot of people were stunned too. This was really good but didn’t approach the quality of some of their previous meetings, especially the match they had in Progress.
JR: This was a highly anticipated match, and the fans were still very split on this one. Cobb and Riddle had both been excellent in this tournament so far. Still a very high quality match, with both guys telling a decent story. This was maybe a notch below their most recent Progress match, but it still very very good. With this match going so short, the crowd was sort of shocked by the outcome, as Riddle was looking like he may win this all up until this point.
Steve’s rating: *** 3/4
Joey Janela, Mark Haskins, Flamita, Flash Morgan Webster, & Chuck Taylor over Trevor Lee, Sami Callihan, WALTER, Jonah Rock, & Brian Cage [23’20]
JR: This was a fun match that had Chuck Taylor come off commentary to join Janela and crew. Trevor Lee led the heel group which was lead by the vicious, the strong, and large wrestlers. Webster I believe at one point got beat up by all the wrestlers after getting trapped in a corner. This match was action packed and WALTER was a standout in this. This match was frenetic and fun, with every wrestler hitting some sort of high spot, it was an entertaining lead up to the finals.
Steve: I was expecting the normal comedy match here, but aside from Chuck Taylor having to go to the back and get dressed the comedy was kept a minimum. This was basically a 20 plus minute all out frantic sprint. This was a ton of fun to watch.
Steve’s rating: ****
Ricochet over Jeff Cobb and Keith Lee – Battle of Los Angeles Finals [19’00]
Steve: The crowd called for a test of strength to start to which Ricochet just said “really guys?” He drop kicked both Cobb and Lee during the setup for the test of strength. Lee and Cobb made sort of an alliance to take out Ricochet, but that fell apart the first time they knocked him out of the ring. At one point Lee and Cobb had a contest where they were each seeing how far they could throw Ricochet. All three guys were doing a lot of power offense, but Ricochet was also going crazy with dives over the ring posts and 630 sentons and everything else. Ricochet really went all out in this and had a fantastic performance. Lee eliminated Cobb at 18:47 into the match and Ricochet almost immediately got a rollup on Lee to get the pinfall and become the first two-time BOLA winner.
After the match Ricochet cut a heel promo saying how no one else had been able to win BOLA twice, called Chuck Taylor a skinny fat guy, and said he was going to win the PWG title and then go on to bigger and better things. That last part got the biggest negative reaction.
JR: A highly anticipated final to culminate an evening. This match really highlighted everyone’s skills at one point. Ricochet was fearless in this match, and Cobb and Lee were full on power moves the entire match, with little sprinkles of freakish athleticism thrown on top for good measure. Ricochet hit them with everything he had, but at one point, both Lee and Cobb were throwing him around like a lawn dart. When he recovered though, Ricochet hit some crazy combos, including a couple 450’s, and a sweet looking northern lights and deadlift suplex. Cobb and Lee looked great this evening, but Ricochet looked spectacular in this. Lee eliminates Cobb, and Ricochet rolls him up right away. Slick ending, and a two time BOLA champion is crowned before you even knew what was happening.
Ricochet’s heelish promo gives himself props and then calls out the Champion Chuck Taylor immediately. The skinny fat comment was great because afterwards Keith Lee said, (Looking at Jeff Cobb) “Well what does that make us?” . His proclamation of bigger and better things after taking the title had the crowd raging afterwards, this sounded like Marty and Zack heat combined.
Steve’s rating: **** 1/4
JR: From top to bottom, this was the strongest card I’ve been to all year. I believe this had more quality matches than even the NJPW G1 special. I believe Steve mentioned the only other match he’s seen that was better this year was the Omega vs. Ishii match at G1. I’m very tempted to say this as well. PWG had some early grumblings that this year’s event wouldn’t match up to previous years. Those people were completely wrong. This evening was probably even better than their night two of last year. Everyone who debuted in this tournament looked like they belonged and the fans really wanted them back. Ricochet was on fire this whole tournament and really shined on night 3. Dijak and Lee has got to be seen to believe. This entire tournament is going to be rated as a “Must Buy” when it becomes available.
Steve: I’ll go a step further than JR. This was probably the best BOLA to date. This was also probably the best single show by PWG in its history. In fact, this was probably the best pro-wrestling show ever to take place in Southern California. I mean, I don’t know if there was some great show in 1936 that could top it, but it was certainly the best show of the last 40 years. Despite the Venus like temperatures the crowd was great throughout the night and match after match was great. I think I said this last year, but I don’t know how PWG tops this. I agree with JR that the entire tournament is a must buy, especially night 3.
The entire 2017 Battle of Los Angeles is available for pre-order now at ProWrestlingGuerrilla.com and Highspots.com.