Pro Wrestling Guerrilla
Battle of Los Angeles 2016: Stage 3
September 4, 2016
Reseda, CA

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Here we are, the final night of the Battle of Los Angeles. The field of twenty-four has already been halved and by the end of the night only one man will be left standing. We’ve got a long show ahead of us so strap yourselves in

Trevor Lee def. Dalton Castle

Castle comes to the ring without any Boys on the third night of tournament action. The time for shenanigans has passed for Dalton, but Lee continues to push to the audience that he is a TNA Superstar. Until seeing these two in the ring together, I would never have guessed how evenly matched they are. They’re very similar in terms of height and weight. This match saw them both break out German suplexes with their own variations on them. The main difference between the two was that Castle was clearly the crowd favorite.

While I enjoyed this match, it wasn’t the hot opener than the previous two night had. There wasn’t anywhere near as much intensity in this match as there was in either of the two men’s opening round matches. Maybe they were just too similar? Whatever the case was, Castle and Lee didn’t have the right level of chemistry to give us a great opener. Lee puts Castle away with a Canadian Destroyer out of nowhere to give a sudden finish to a match that I wanted to be better than it was. **¾

Ricochet def. John Hennigan

This is a match that we’ve seen in Lucha Underground, but never before in a PWG ring. The opening stretch of this match was rad as hell. There were so many flips and counters that it looked like a kung fu movie. Some might complain that it looked too choreographed, but I say that it was cool, so that really doesn’t matter to me. These two know each other very well and that worked itself into the match. Hennigan used everything in his arsenal, but he couldn’t put away Ricochet. It looked like Hennigan had the match won with a kick to the dong and a Moonlight Drive, but Ricochet kicked out at 2.

One of the big stories of the match was Hennigan attempting Starship Pain three times and Ricochet finding a way to block it every time. In the end it was Ricochet’s superior speed that made the difference and turned the match to his advantage. Ricochet used the 630 splash to secure his entry into the next round. These two put on a really good match. It wasn’t their best against each other, but for a match where the winner will have to wrestle again it was pretty solid. ***½

Marty Scurll def Cody R

I don’t know what it was about this match, but I liked it quite a bit. Scurll and Cody have really strong chemistry together. Scurll is so great at playing the villain and with Cody as the white meat babyface, they mesh super well. Marty was at his most villainous throughout the match, both starting and finishing things with illicit means. Cody’s past comes back to haunt him when Marty taunts him, pretending to be Stardust, and superkicks him in the ding-ding with a modified version of Shattered Dreams. Quite possibly Scurll’s most vile act of all was tricking Brandi Rhodes into kissing him, which is a spot I would normally hate, but Scurll’s reaction was so priceless that I’m giving it a pass. The ending of the match came when Scurll hit Cody in the dong when the referee wasn’t looking and then rolled him up for the win. Normally I would hate that ending, but it works for Scurll.

Cody had a lot of eyes and pressure on him coming into this weekend and I think that he delivered. I enjoyed the match with Sami Callihan, but I think that this one was even better. In both matches, Cody’s enthusiasm really shined through and he popped for me in a way that he rarely did on WWE TV. If I’m being honest, I’m happy to see Rhodes succeed here. His work in BOLA might be my favorite singles matches of his. Unfortunately for him, Cody’s tournament ends here. ***¾

Mark Andrews def. Chris Hero

This match kicks off, literally, with Hero booting Andrews in the face before the bell and then killing him with a Liger Bomb. Hero dominates for a long time, with Andrews having a harder time kicking out each time. Aside from a few brief moments of offense, Hero controls the whole match, hitting Andrews with everything in his arsenal. This is where the match loses me. I’m sorry, but I have an incredibly hard time buying that Mark Andrews can take Chris Hero’s best and not only shrug it off, but roll up Hero and win the match.

I feel like this match would have worked for me if I would be able to get emotionally invested in Andrews, but none of his performances make me do that. I recognize that he’s skilled in the ring, but his actions hold no weight for me. Chris Hero can brutalize the man and I don’t empathize with him at all. Even worse, I actually want Hero to win because I can’t get behind Andrews. I have a hard time coming up with a rating for this match because while I didn’t like it, the match was well worked and I feel bad giving a guy like Hero a low rating because his opponent has been playing a role in the tournament that I don’t think that he’s cut out for. The in-ring was fine, but the story of the match was pretty terrible. **

Mark Haskins def. Kyle O’Reilly

If I take away anything from this tournament, it’s that I’m very disappointed that I haven’t seen Mark Haskins wrestle until now. As I said in the review of his match with Cedric Alexander from Night 2, this guy can do it all. That really lends him to being incredibly evenly matched with Kyle O’Reilly. KOR is coming into this match with a bit of a bum shoulder. Couple that with his opponent having answers for most of his offense and Kyle is a little frustrated. That frustration really comes through in his actions here. We see O’Reilly pull Haskins up by his hair and even turn his back on his opponent at one point. Kyle lets Haskins get to him and it’s fair to say that it leads to his downfall. While KOR might be more vicious than normal here, it also make him a bit more sloppy. The finish comes when Haskins catches O’Reilly and locks in a Sharpshooter. Haskins wrenches back Kyle’s legs as far as he can go and O’Reilly has no other choice than to tap out. This match was awesome all around and the victory made Haskins look like a million bucks. ****

Will Ospreay def. Zack Sabre Jr

While this match didn’t reach the heights that their WrestleMania weekend match did, I loved the story that this one told. Ospreay starts the match off hot, hitting Sabre with everything that he’s got. Things move at a blistering pace in the opening minutes and are really a testament to Ospreay’s conditioning because he is flying all over the place and he managed to not get gassed. After taking a barrage of offense, ZSJ catches Ospreay in a momentary slip up and takes control of the match, slowing down the pace to something he’s more comfortable with. From then on Sabre spends the match punishing Ospreay for not putting him away when he had the chance.

Sabre is absolutely vicious in his offense, stomping on Ospreay’s neck and stretching him in every way possible. It really feels like Sabre is trying to teach young Will a lesson here. Ospreay manages to fight out of Sabre’s clutches and things start to pick up. Any time that it looks like Ospreay might be able to hit the killing blow, Sabre outmaneuvers him. That’s when Ospreay realizes that he has to wrestle Sabre’s kind of match because that’s the last thing he expects. The ending comes when Ospreay uses Sabre’s momentum against him and gets him in a pinning combination for the three count. This is a prime example of strong storytelling in a match, something that Ospreay has become so good at in the past year. This is easily one of my favorite matches of the entire tournament. ****½

PWG Tag Team Championship Match
The Young Bucks © def. Fenix and Pentagon Jr

After defeating Heroes Eventually Die the night prior, Fenix and Pentagon Jr have earned themselves a PWG Tag Team Championship match. Not only is this a battle of two of the best flippy teams in the world, this is a battle of two teams of brothers. Before I go any further, I want to say that the Tope con Meltzer Driver may have been one of the greatest spots I’ve ever seen. As a whole, this match was pure spectacle and it was such a fun ride. This first time matchup was everything that I wanted it to be with all four men throwing everything they had at each other.

One thing I really enjoyed about this match was the simple story of the Young Bucks just being a better team. They have more experience together and it paid off. It never felt to me like Fenix and Pentagon had the match won. They were able to prolong their defeat, but victory just wasn’t going to be theirs on this day. By the end of the match, Fenix and Pentagon even seemed to know this, but they weren’t going down without a fight. The Bucks hit superkick after superkick on the lucha team until they knew that they wouldn’t get up anymore. This is a match that I am praying to anyone that will listen to make sure that we get a rematch. While I didn’t enjoy this match to these levels, don’t be surprised to see this one get onto some MOTY lists. ****½

Trevor Lee def. Mark Andrews

This match started off slow, but followed the same formula of Andrews’ last match. Lee dominated the early goings, but Andrews managed to get a fair amount of offense in the second half of the match. Lee eventually turned the tide back in his favor and won with the small package driver. While I didn’t have the problems with this match that I had with Andrews’ match with Hero, I can’t say that I really enjoyed this one. The style of match that Andrews has been working on this show requires you to have an emotional connection to him, but I just can’t feel anything towards him. As a whole I found the match to be dull, but fine enough. **½

Marty Scurll def. Mark Haskins

The British boys have such great chemistry together. The match starts with a bang when Marty hits Haskins with his umbrella before the bell. From then on, Scurll is in control. Haskins managed to get in some offense whenever Marty left himself open as a result of some ego fueled display. Scurll kept after Haskins’ leg for the duration of the match and as things became less one sided, Haskins battled with his own body as much as he did with Scurll. Haskins used his experience against Marty to evade the Crossface Chickenwing for a long time, but after a failed pinning combination, Haskins found himself locked in the hold with nowhere to go. Scurll taps out Haskins with that hold and moves onto the finals. Another great performance for both men here. I’m coming away from this tournament very impressed by Haskins, who may have lost, but gained a ton from this weekend in my eyes. ***¾

Will Ospreay def. Ricochet

Earlier in the year, Ricochet and Ospreay met in what I thought was a five star affair. It would be absurd to say that people weren’t going to make comparisons between the two contests. For the record; this wasn’t as good as their match from Best of the Super Juniors. That being said, this was still very, very good. The story of their match this spring was essentially a dick measuring contest between two of the best high flyers in the world. This time around, they got that aspect of the match out of the way very early on with Ricochet winning a faster than light exchange.

This match was worked at a slower pace than their previous meeting, but that’s only slow by their standards. There were very few points in the match where they could stop and rest. Ricochet had a certain pace that he wanted this match to go and he kept Ospreay to that, allowing him to control a good portion of the contest. That wouldn’t last though as eventually, Ospreay took control and put Ricochet away with a flurry of moves, capped off with the springboard cutter. Between his match with Sabre and this match here, Will Ospreay has been having a very good night thus far. Ricochet tried to control the speed here, but once Ospreay kicked it into his own high gear, he was able to run off with the victory. Great spectacle! ****½

Jushin Thunder Liger, Cedric Alexander, Jeff Cobb, Tommy End, and Chuck Taylor def. Sami Callihan, Tommaso Ciampa, Pete Dunne, Brian Kendrick, and Matt Riddle

This was a weird f**king match. A real Fire Pro special right here. I feel like the only way to properly talk about this match is just to make a list of all the weird crap that happened.

  • Everyone on Sami Callihan’s team had makeup on to make them look like kitties to go with Callihan’s cat mask.
  • Brian Kendrick admonished Cedric Alexander for his leg slapping.
  • When Tomasso Ciampa tried to shove him thumb in Chuck Taylor’s ass, Jushin Liger sacrificed his own butt to save Chuck.
  • Liger leads a conga line of dudes with each other’s thumbs up their butts.
  • Liger takes a remote out of his knee pad and then puts everything into slow motion.
  • Ciampa leads the crowd in an R Kelly singalong.

Depending on how you feel about the things listed above, your enjoyment of the match will vary. Personally, I had a ton of fun with this. Just seeing Liger in this bizarre situation was worth watching it. ***½

PWG Battle of Los Angeles 2016 Final
Marty Scurll def. Trevor Lee and Will Ospreay

If there is one thing that’s clear at the start of this triple threat elimination match, it’s that all three of these men are tired. They’ve been through alot this weekend, but they can’t give up now. This is the match that every person in this tournament has been fighting to make it to. When things starts off it’s every man for themselves. Ospreay and Scurll play off their history together in their exchanges. Out of the three men, fatigue seems to be affecting Will the most. As you would expect, Scurll and Lee jump on this opportunity and team up to take him out. They eventually succeed when Marty locks in the Crossface Chickenwing as tight as he can while Lee stomps away on Ospreay’s neck and jaw. Will has no other choice. He taps out, leaving things down to Scurll and Trevor Lee.

The team up is done and Marty and Trevor begin slapping the hell out of each other. The slaps don’t have everything behind them because of how tired these men are, but they do the trick. Marty is the clear fan favorite between the two. Trevor plays into his heel role by going back to his TNA background with some of the Hardy brother’s offense. Scurll doesn’t let Lee upstage him in the villain department. Trevor goes for a flying firearm and Marty pulls the referee in the path of the blow. Then he capitalizes on the downed official by using his umbrella on Lee. Marty goes for the pin, but Lee kicks out at 2. Trevor goes on a hot streak, which he wanted to top off with a Twist of Fate, but Scurll catches him in the Crossface Chickenwing. Lee manages to fight out of it, but Marty quickly locks it in again, even tighter than before. Trevor Lee taps out and Marty Scurll is named the winner of the Battle of Los Angeles.

As far as matches go, the finals weren’t even close to being the best of the tournament, but that’s not really what matter here. With everything that these guys went through prior to this, there was no way that they could go at full power. The British invasion has been going on for the past two years and this moment was all about the crowning of Marty Scurll. Zack Sabre Jr won BOLA last year. Will Ospreay won BOSJ this year. Now this tournament was Scurll’s time to shine. Marty points at the trophy and says, “You know what? I f**king deserve this.” Yes, he really does. Well done, Marty. Long live the villain! ****

Final Thoughts:

The 2016 BOLA is in the books and now that I’ve seen it all, I can officially give it a thumbs up. While I wouldn’t say that it’s the best tournament of the year, there’s enough awesome stuff here to make it worth checking out. All three nights have at least one match that I think is worthy of being in the match of the year conversation. If you’re like me and you dip into PWG once a year for these shows, you won’t be disappointed. There are many stars from these three shows, but Marty Scurll, Fenix, Pentagon Jr, Tommy End, Mark Haskins, and Will Ospreay all stuck out the most to me. Anything featuring these men was gold, so you’re going to be in for a lot of great matches if you decide to pop in the DVD’s and spend a day in Reseda.