Pro Wrestling Guerrilla
2014 Battle of Los Angeles – Night Two

August 30, 2014
Reseda, California
Photos: Devin Chen Photography 

If you want to catch up, check out my Night 1 Review

This review is dedicated the one and only Alan4L.  Without him, I wouldn’t have met my future ex-wife, Alicia.  <3


Let’s just get right to it…

Candice LeRae vs. Rich Swann: Candice’s run in PWG has been protected very well. In her tag run with Joey Ryan, we’ve seen her as both the Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson end of tag matches and she has excelled in both roles with Joey just kind of around for the ride as Candice has become the crowd favorite of the promotion with a series of very strong tag and multi-person(?) matches. She is booked as an all-heart, overpowered face that wins with a little chicanery and the occasional banana peel, which is great for a chick who is probably 5-foot-2 in heels. However, she hasn’t quite put on strong performances in the rare singles match, mostly because the scenario breaks the glass ceiling of intergender believability. For reference, see her match with Adam Cole a year ago at BOLA13. This year, she came in, in relief of the injured Trent? and faced a man that gives her gimmick a bit more of a chance, the vertically challenged Rich Swann. This ended up being the right match for Candice to shine in a believable intergender match that she actually gets a win in. When Swann connects with a strike or a move, Candice is dead on impact. Unfortunately, Swann fucks around too much and finally slips on that banana peel giving Candice a win. The crowd wanted it, everybody wanted it, so it was the right call to have Candice go over here and it was done right. As a result, it exceeded my expectations. Sure, its a formula that will get old upon repetition, but I thought it was fresh enough here and everything was crisp. ***-

Johnny Gargano vs. Chuck Taylor: Johnny Gargano has blossomed into a star in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. The crowd was a bit slow to warm to Johnny Wrestling, but they’ve come around and are on board. Gargano has wrestling Chuck Taylor one or two thousand times at this point and in this latest incarnation, what starts as a pretty goofy opening period ends up being a strong addition with Gargano really shining. Really hot finale that is kicked off with a really nasty suplex onto the apron by Taylor to Gargano after a reverse on one of Gargano’s usual suicide dives. Strike-fest leads into a reveral by Gargano into the GargaNO Escape for the win. A decent match that doesn’t hide the idea they’ve wrestled a million times as they know each others shit and reversed everything. ***1/4-

Ricochet vs. Chris Sabin: The buzz coming out of this match was the little confrontation Ricochet had with some dude in the crowd who said something after Ricochet was doing his best Larry impersonation picking up one of the ladies at the event. Lost in it, was a pretty damn good match. This was quite cathartic. Seeing Chris Sabin out of TNA and being able to perform at this level is quite refreshing. He unleashed a lot of moves we haven’t seen from him in a very long time. I almost forgot he had this in him. Ricochet ate a ton of Sabin offense throughout this mild sprint to the finish. A highlight of the match was a combination by Sabin leading to a jumping piledriver. Ricochet mounts a quick comeback shortly after and hits the 630 Senton for the win. A good match that was a nice springboard for Ricochet who continues to have one of the best years in the business. ***1/2

Biff Busick & Drew Gulak vs. reDragon: If The Young Bucks didn’t exist, reDRagon would probably be my Tag Team of the Year. O’Reilly’s stock as a singles as sky rocketed this year, but is still a top guy in tags. This was a breakout year of sorts for Fish, who, always a nice hand, didn’t quite find his character until recently and once he did, his stock has soared. Here, they come together for the first time in PWG with expected results. A nice little match. Now, I think the match would have been great at a little over ten minutes, but as it approached 20 minutes, it seemed a bit long for me. The opening stages of the match really kept me from fully investing, even with a strong finish. Gulak is finished off with a Chasing The Dragon after O’Reilly strikes him a half dozen times. While it’d be the best tag match on a WWE platform most of the time, I didn’t quite get invested. ***

Chris Hero vs. Matt Sydal: Matt Sydal looks like a million bucks. I dig the full beard and longer hair. Chris Hero looks…doughier than usual. As an aside, I just wish Hero would have a new-ish gimmick or work his style with a different slant with this new physique of his. But anyway…before the lockup, Larry Sweeney gets some love with “Sweet’N’Sour” chant…always good to see. Hero and Sydal have a nice big man-little man match here. It just took a long while to build up for me. Hero works an excessively methodical pace. Sydal plays a good babyface, but I never got all-in. The psychology of the match was helped by commentary, but the pace kept me from investing. The bully control segments dragged for me despite everything Hero was doing being on-point. It was otherwise a solid match that told a good-enough story in-ring. Sydal wins with a fun piledriver reversal followed by the Shooting Sydal Press. A good match I just couldn’t fully get into for whatever reason. ***1/4

Adam Cole vs. Zack Sabre Jr.: Adam Cole is the best heel in the Indies and the crowd just eats it up. They love to hate the Panama City Playboy in Reseda, and Cole’s tongue is always firmly planted in his cheek and gets so hammy sometimes in this promotion, it just works, and it does on so many levels. Beyond his really awesome name, I also really like Zack Sabre Jr. and I was really looking forward to seeing his work in his PWG debut. He was a bit of a star in Night One’s Six-Man Main Event but at times, was overshadowed by the Bucks and Kenny Omega. A singles match against a perfect opponent like Cole was just what the doctor ordered for Sabre Jr. in PWG. Everything worked for me here. I loved the early play on the previous night where Sabre Jr. was trying to work Cole over again on the mat. This just was the foundation for a strong technical display by Sabre, a great hammy heel run by Cole, and a match that built to a wonderful crescendo where Sabre Jr. hits several running European Uppercuts before getting Superkicked, then reverses the delayed German Suplex into a picture perfect prawn hold. Crowd pops for the flash win and so do I. Stars. Quite a few of them. ****1/2- - PWG BOLA 14ACH vs. Kenny Omega: I counted 16 different video game references by these two nerds before ACH puts on a Stone Cold vest and goes full Texas Rattlesnake, stomping a mud hole in Omega and then Thesz Pressing him for a huge pop. A Stone Cold Stunner reversed into a Rock Bottom, some middle fingers, and a beer bath later and I’m on the ground laughing my ass off. Everyone gets their shit in leading to Omega hitting Croyt’s Wrath for the win. Without question, one of the nerdiest professional wrestling matches you will ever see. It was awesome. ****1/4+

The Young Bucks vs. The Addiction: This match will forever be known for the debut of the MELTZER DRIVER. Ya know, I’m not sure who was the heel team here, but what a good match. The early stages of a PWG tag match usually make or break the quality. We all know the ridiculous finale is coming, but what happens before it usually determine the quality. Essentially, there needs to be a slow descent into madness. Although, we don’t quite get to bonkers, this is exactly what this is. Early on, it is a strong, traditional tag match where Daniels and Kazarian control before we get some peeks into lunacy with some nice, crisp, impact moves that involve everybody getting shit in. It devolves a bit, but never goes mad. It stays simply at high impact. Bucks eventually hit the most ridiculous move of the year, a flippy spike piledriver that will win awards. This was quite good. ****1/4

Final Thoughts

Overall, this was a very strong night. Early on, I didn’t think it’d reach the peak it did late in the show where it was just ol style PWG fun. On a positive note, I think everything tonight was crisp and well done. On a positively synical note, I felt some of the matches on the mid-card dragged on a bit to the point I couldn’t really invest anymore. Definitely not an event to skip if you’re trying to crash watch, but you could fast forward here and there to cut down on run time. A pretty damn good event.

  • The Buzz: The Fuckin’ Meltzer Driver
  • Match of the Night: Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Adam Cole
  • Also Watch: ACH vs. Kenny Omega; The Young Bucks vs. The Addiction