Pro Wrestling Guerrilla
“2014 Battle of Los Angeles – Night Three”

August 31, 2014
Reseda, California

Review of night one and night two for your reading pleasure — let’s get to it!

Johnny Gargano vs. Candice LeRae: The Reseda Crowd is molten with dueling chants to start off the show with two of the biggest stars in the building, Johnny Wrestling and Candice LeRae. If I were in attendance — I’d probably like this match because it was kinda-sorta fun-ish. However, sitting here in the best city in the world, Miami, Florida — this was where I draw the line in Candice LeRae inter-gender singles matches. There is a very thin line with these matches in quality and believability and this one couldn’t straddle it. Nothing worked for me. A few brownie points for Candice eating a few nice spots, I guess. *1/2

TJ Perkins vs. Ricochet: If you blind tested me, TJP and Ric would be a walking four-star quality match. Two fast, high pace performers that still have contrasting styles to make it really intriguing has me marking out sight unseen. Unfortunately, I guess due to time, this one falls very flat. TJP works the submission angle with Ricochet working his token high risk stuff. A botchy botch here and a completely disinterested crowd there, sprinkle in a little bit of going through the motions and Ricochet wins with the Benedryller. **1/4

Trevor Lee vs. Michael Elgin: This match, in summary: Trevor Lee eats or reverses a lot of Michael Elgin’s shit. In-between Trevor Lee is kind of a pest and a few Botchamania worthy spots later Trevor Lee rolls Elgin up after reversing Elgin’s Roaring Elbow for the win. Highlight of the match comes seconds after it ends when Lee rolls out of the ring to have a guy put a plastic battery powered fan on his face to cool him off. I laughed, but the match…not so good. **

Kenny Omega vs. Matt Sydal: This was a nice little match. Nothing spectacular, just straight, with a little flair. Omega controls most of the bout with Sydal’s spots interwoven between. After a failed Croyt’s Wrath and subsequent failed Shooting Sydal Press, Omega wins with a funky powerbomb driver thingy after an electric chair. Not bad. ***

Roderick Strong vs. AJ Styles: This match was cruising until the ref bump and shenanigans. A very hard hitting match filled with manic flurries. Then, a really awful DQ finish. Crowd hated it. I thought it was lame, but I understand. Styles was the IWGP champion at the time and that dude can’t lose clean to Roddy Strong. With that said, it loses a lot because of the shit finish, but before the ref bump, this was the best match of the night thus far. ***1/4

Kyle O’Reilly vs. Zack Sabre Jr.: The ol Reseda crowd started to come alive at the end of the Styles-Roddy match and that bleeds into this highly anticipated matchup. This was fuckin great. ZSJ just picks O’Reilly’s arm apart. O’Reilly beats Sabre Jr’s body to hamburger with strikes. The interplay with Sabre going for the cross armbreaker on O’Reilly all match long was great. Very strong strike-fests littered throughout. O’Reilly wins with the triangle sleeper after stomping the shit out of Zach Sabre Jr. This was, in my opinion, the best pure wrestling match of the entire weekend. Everything was on point. Crisp, hard hitting, constructed at a high level. Great stuff. ****1/2+

Post-match, that son of a bitch Roderick Strong does heely things and absolutely destroys O’Reilly with a Sick Kick. Sabre Jr., Rick Knox, and Excalibur are collateral damage. Strong Breaker to O’Reilly through some chair set up puts O’Reilly out for the rest of the tournament. Bobby Fish makes the save. Good booking here. The show is going to run long as hell (Spoiler Alert: over three hours), so cutting a match is smart. Plus, it protects the champ from losing clean in the tournament (not always a bad thing, but I digress). Also, this really puts Roddy over as a threat to the champ.

Mount Rushmore vs. ACH, Brian Myers, and Chris Sabin: Ridiculousness from jump street here as Adam Cole immediately grabs Angelo the Ring Announcer for the Young Bucks to start a Super Kick Party, only for Angelo to break free and deliver clotheslines to the Bucks after they accidentally Super Kick Cole. Crowd goes bananas. Everybody flies. Madness ensues. The list of awesome, ridiculous spots in this match is too much to list. I laughed my ass off for all 10 minutes. Not a great match, but this shit was fun as hell. Mount Rushmore wins with a Panama Sunrise into a projectile spike piledriver. ***1/2 - PWG BOLA 14

Photo: Devin Chen Photography

Johnny Gargano vs. Trevor Lee: So much energy here. Reseda was really into this, which got the guys into and their spots and reverals got over like a million bucks because of it. It had a few down periods, but overall, everything felt good here despite it not being the cleanest of bouts. I really enjoyed this and I think coming out of the event, this might be the most underrated match all weekend. Trevor Lee sold the beating from Elgin earlier in the night and they really played to the idea that Lee is on the upset trail. Gargano played on his heels all match long. Tons of big spots are highlighted. Gargano eventually puts Lee away with the GargaNO Escape. Good stuff. ****

Kenny Omega vs. Ricochet: Omega’s obnoxious self was great early on, despite the opening half of the match dragging just a little bit. However, the go-home to this match is as strong as any on the card. All of everybody’s shit gets in here at some point. The false finishes pop the crowd to kick the match into another gear. Ricochet has to kill Kenny Omega dead to win this match. The 630 wasn’t enough, he had to follow it up with a Benedryller. Once you make it past the first half here, it becomes very good. ***3/4

Cedric Alexander, Biff Busick, Bobby Fish, and Drew Gulak vs. Chris Hero, Chuck Taylor, Joey Ryan, Willie Mack, and Rich Swann: The slow motion portion of this match is one of the great moments of professional wrestling. Much ridiculous. Such awesome. N/A

Johnny Gargano vs. Ricochet vs. Roderick Strong: Over seven hours of Pro Wrestling Guerrilla and I’m finally at the fuckin’ finish line. At the sake of full disclosure, I was ALL IN on Gargano winning this thing for Voices of Wrestling’s BOLAtology2014 bracket pool…so, I shed a little tear at the end result of this one. As far as three-way matches go, this was good. Unfortunately, there are limitations of three-way matches that just kind of hinder it from taking it to another level. The action came in flurries and everything was decisive in execution. I thought Roddy’s token flurry spots came off really well done. Gargano and Ricochet, too, had everything on point. Sprinkle in a little fun in an pretty no-nonsense sprint to the finish line, and it was as solid as you could expect from what was a pretty grueling tournament. I thought they played up the in-show arc of Roddy being fresher than the other two men well. However, by the end of the match, its just Ricochet and Gargano left in the ring as they slug it out before Ric hits the Benedryller to kill Johnny Wrestling dead to pick up his first Battle of Los Angeles Tournament win. Good, just not great, and never got to awesome. ***3/4

Final Thoughts:

Overall, this was a pretty laborious event, but the peaks really made it worth it. I wouldn’t suggest anyone go out of their way to watch this three hour marathon, but there are a few matches that you should definitely seek out.

  • The Buzz: I want to Harp Saw my eyes out.
  • Match of the Night: Kyle O’Reilly vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
  • Also Watch: Johnny Gargano vs. Trevor Lee

Overall Overall, as in — thoughts on the whole damn thing — the tournament was getting a TON of buzz when the lineup was announced, and with cause. It was a who’s who of the top names in all of Indy Wrestling. The big question is did they deliver? I mean, yeah…I guess. If you thought you were getting three days of Match of the Year Contenders, you are probably going to walk away disappointed as there was a lot of very good with only a sprinkling of stinkers throughout, but nothing truly great, or anything that would stack up with some of the best of the year. Essentially, you didn’t just get three straight days of G1-esque shit…but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a very good event. It was. You had a little bit of everything in today’s American Indy landscape and they all (well, sans Curt Hawkins) performed really well.

I really loved seeing Kenny Omega back in PWG. He has been missed. He didn’t miss a beat and it felt like he has been around all this time. Trevor Lee continues to be embraced by Reseda and is putting on good performances. His development has really been fun to watch. Zack Sabre Jr. delivered and was definitely a treat to see performing at this event.

Also, a special thanks to all of you degenerate VoW’rs that joined in on the BOLA Bracket Pool.  Our winners turned down FREE SKYPE TIME with Tammy (shame them on Twitter).  I got a pretty funny email chain between myself and Sunny that will forever make me laugh, so I guess I got that out of the deal and they got free shit anyway.  Congrats, dudes.

Also, Also…more special thanks to Devin Chen for all of the photography…get rid of the Biff Rules shirt, bro.

Anyway, lets wrap this the fuck up

Top 5 matches:

  1. Kyle O’Reilly vs. Zack Sabre Jr. ****1/2+
  2. Adam Cole vs. Zack Sabre Jr. ****1/2-
  3. Tommaso Ciampa vs. Michael Elgin ****1/4+
  4. Bobby Fish vs. TJ Perkins ****1/4+
  5. Mount Rushmore vs. Friends of Low Moral Fiber ****1/4

Next Up: Self Titled II. Roddy challenges Kyle O’Reilly for the PWG World Title. Also…a whole bunch of other shit. Should be a good time.

Stay tuned for a PWG Fantasy League that I am going to make Rich run. Peace!