Stage One proved to be a potential show of the year contender. Did Stage Two? It might be damn close.
As usual, Excalibur and the usual cast of characters are on commentary. Unfortunately, Melissa Santos won’t be with us…
Marty Scurll vs. Rich Swann
The action starts hot with Scurll attacking Swann before the bell and continues at a pretty steady pace throughout. Everything was crisp and the match flowed without much of a hiccup in the action. A truly workmanlike performance that will likely end up on my Underrated Matches list at year’s end. I really dug it. Both guys really had their workin’ boots on. After a fighting spirit spot by Swann, Scurll hits his signature and applies his chicken wing finisher to move on in the tournament. ***3/4
Angelico vs. Jack Evans
Evans opens the match with some scathing smack talk to his partner. Then, the following happens…in no particular order…chain wrestling, big moves, kicks, knee strikes, flips, big moves, Meltzer, drunk spots, and more flips. Seriously, I enjoyed this match for what it was as a mix of action and comedy spots, despite seemingly running long. Jack Evans nearly shattering his knee cap on the floor of a VFW while doing a 450 from the apron also got a good chuckle and cringe. The match ends with Evans hitting a flawless crane kick to the face of his partner in honor of Reseda’s own, Ralph Macchio. ***
Chris Hero vs. Timothy Thatcher
A very tense start to the match with dueling chants and stare downs. Excalibur didn’t play their rivalry in Evolve and elsewhere down which I like in this environment. I also like that they respect the type of work that these guys do elsewhere and don’t book them to work a lesser quality match than they would elsewhere. While I’m not the biggest Thatcher fan, I felt he rose to the occasion here and showed some life in a more lively crowd. Still, this is your usual Hero-Thatcher type fare, but the crowd really took it up a notch as they reacted to the stuff that would make other grapplefuckfests at less active events look better to the guy sitting at home. This is more than a grapplefucking with some top-notch, timely striking and important impact moves. While I’ve questioned whether Thatcher would be more than golf clap fare in Reseda, he stepped it up and he and Hero had a very good match. Hero wins it with a Hero’s Welcome OUTTANOWHERE. ****
Aero Star & Fenix vs. Drago & Pentagon Jr.
Shame on me for thinking, for just a second, that this would just be your token exhibition match. After a few minutes of clunk to start, they set this match to HIGH and hit innumerable big moves and kept the crowd really into it throughout.
Fenix and Aero Star pull off the win with their finishers after a long back and forth bout. Drago looked like the weak link among the four while, as always, Pentagon Jr. was a star. Fenix had a strong performance on this night as well. This match kept growing on me as it progressed. I would love to see these dudes come back. ***1/2+
Tommy End vs. Drew Gulak
Ultimately, this is quite the comedown from a great night so far. Your mileage may vary here because Gulak is quite divisive. By the end of the match—won by Tommy End with a surprise knockout from a Hellbow—I kept thinking “this needs more End, less Gulak” as I would have popped had this digressed into a more manly strikefucking affair. As is, it was a bit manic between the ground game and the occasional strikes and it just didn’t hold me. The crowd was trying to get into it, but mostly just kind of chilled, throughout. **3/4
“Speedball” Mike Bailey vs. Drew Galloway
The contrast between these Speedball and Big Drew is great to see in the pre-match staredown. Drew looking as dark and pissed off as ever and Bailey in his vintage hokey, pastey attire. The style contrast really piqued my interest pre-match as well. As you’d expect, after some back and forth early, Galloway goes on a long control period, thwarting away potential comebacks before a BEATS OF THE BOHDRAN spot brings it to a back and forth slug fest. The go home starts with a terrific spot with Drew muscling up from a Tree of Woe to belly-to-belly throw Speedball off the top before hitting a running kick for a near fall. A short time later, Bailey hits his shooting star knee drop to Galloway’s back for a nearfall that has the crowd craving a finish. Galloway goes for Future Shock, get rolled up and Speedball comes away with a flash win. This is in the same vein as previous Speedball against all odds type matches with Roddy and Hero, but a tick below. Still, we’re back in business with a great match. ****1/4
Ricochet vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
This evolves into some great, pure, in-ring storytelling. The technical Sabre Jr. versus the high flyer aspect develops early with Ricochet failing to get the match going. In time, Ric just accepts his fate and attempts to work Sabre’s style. While successful at times working the ground and submission game, he just can’t put Sabre away and is constantly finding himself in awkward positions. The big moves increase the stakes from Ricochet and eventually, even hits his 630 senton, but Sabre Jr. kicks out. Going home, Ricochet goes for the Benedryller, but ZSJ catches the arm and cranks back. In an attempt at a reversal and into a powerslam, Ricochet gets caught and pinned, moving Zack Sabre Jr. on in the tournament. I really dug it. While it didn’t get to the highs it should have, it’s a real strong match. ****
Mount Rushmore 2.0 (Super Dragon & The Young Bucks) vs. Biff Busick, Andrew Everett, & Trevor Lee – Guerilla Warfare Match
This was trainwrecky gang violence…a car crashy slopfest. The levels of violence and innovation of spots they turned to in this match was incredibly impressive. And that was before the Young Bucks involved the spiked Jordans that made their debut at the 11th Anniversary Show only destroy all three faces including a possible murder one charge for the death of Biff Busick. 2.0 eventually wins with an IndiePsychoTakerDriver. This was rather ridiculous but I love this type of nonsense. ****
Post-match, Excalibur hints at a future match against 2.0 before he gets exterminated. Chris Hero makes the save only to get ambushed by Mt. Rushmore.
The ridiculousness continues with Super Dragon constantly circling the ring as we go off air.
Final Thoughts: You’re in the middle of a very special event if you’ve reached the end of 2015 Battle of Los Angeles: Stage Two. Although, nothing hit match of the year contender status, this is another night with four matches of four stars or better. To add, it’s a night that has increased work rate throughout with plenty of other fare coming damn close to that four star level if your mileage varies. Once again, highly recommended.
- The Buzz: We’re onto something special here…
- Match of the Night: Mike Bailey vs. Drew Galloway
- Also see: Chris Hero v. Timothy Thatcher; Ricochet v. Zack Sabre Jr.; Mt. Rushmore 2.0 v. Trevor Lee, Andrew Everett, & Biff Busick