VOW Flagship: 2018 BOLA field and what it means, WWE UK, ROH, MLW, Impact TV reviews

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VOW Flagship: 2018 BOLA field and what it means, WWE UK, ROH, MLW, Impact TV reviews

Post by Joe Lanza » Fri Jun 29, 2018 1:31 pm

This week on the Flagship, we take a look at the eclectic 2018 Battle of Los Angeles field and what it says about the current "super indie" scene in America. We've got a full breakdown and analysis of both nights of the WWE United Kingdom Tournament, including who looked good, who didn't, and where it all goes from here. We wrap things up with reviews of the latest ROH, MLW, and Impact Wrestling television offerings.

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Re: VOW Flagship: 2018 BOLA field and what it means, WWE UK, ROH, MLW, Impact TV reviews

Post by armsofsleep » Fri Jun 29, 2018 2:54 pm

Just as a fun exercise, I tried to test the theory of "PWG had to dig deep for BOLA" and decided to try to book an even better 24 man tournament with more or just as much starpower, using only USA guys. The only rule is no one signed full time to NJPW, Impact, or WWE.


First, gotta get the obvious guys, the ones that ARE booked.

- Matt Riddle
- Brody King
- Jeff Cobb
- Darby Allin
- Joey Janela
- David Starr
- DJZ
- Timothy Thatcher

So that's 8

- AR Fox
- ACH
- MJF
- Brian Cage
- Myron Reed
- Austin Theory
- Jonathan Gresham
- Josh Briggs

That's another 8, with a good mix of debuts, returns, up and comers, and veterans.

- Jacob Fatu
- Chris Dickinson
- Jaka
- Fred Yehi
- Dominic Garrini
- Tracy Williams
- Nick Gage
- Dan Severn

And this final group is probably the hardest to book. I leaned into good to great wrestlers who could easily be slotted into tags for nights 2 and 3 (the EVOLVE lads + Yehi) another local guy (Fatu) and big special attractions that would be tougher to book but would pop the buzz when announced (Gage and Severn).

So yeah, you're right in that there's no shortage of talent. This list along is leaving off dozens of great wrestlers based in the US alone. But I have found the PWG fan perception is very fickle. They all hate Yehi because the Starr match didn't really work. Most of them hate the EVOLVE-y style (although I don't see how you could think Doom Patrol is boring really with how they work). But there is a huge lack right now of big names. Mania week next year will be interesting, since it's proven in the past to kickoff a lot of narratives. Keith Lee, for instance, working everywhere and becoming a top 5 star on the indies in a 5 day span basically.

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Re: VOW Flagship: 2018 BOLA field and what it means, WWE UK, ROH, MLW, Impact TV reviews

Post by Joe Lanza » Fri Jun 29, 2018 3:14 pm

Fun post.

Excellent point about Mania weekend. It's ALWAYS a chance to make a name or raise a profile, but this year will be especially so. I'm betting we'll see some new stars emerge. The Austin Theory thing didn't really work out for Gabe this year.

Other names: Shane Strickland (who may or may not have heat with PWG), Flip Gordon, Tom Lawlor, Willie Mack.

DJZ is obviously missing the Impact taping (unless he's only working one day here), but I think you can reasonably conclude that Impact took a bunch of other names off the table, like the LU guys, maybe Andrew Everett, possibly Austin Aries, etc.

EDIT - Just thought of this but Brian Cage is probably an Impact guy that weekend, too.

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Re: VOW Flagship: 2018 BOLA field and what it means, WWE UK, ROH, MLW, Impact TV reviews

Post by armsofsleep » Fri Jun 29, 2018 3:25 pm

Joe Lanza wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 3:14 pm

Other names: Shane Strickland (who may or may not have heat with PWG), Flip Gordon, Tom Lawlor, Willie Mack.

EDIT - Just thought of this but Brian Cage is probably an Impact guy that weekend, too.
I'm dumb as fuck, at first I had Eddie Kingston, forgot about Impact, and replaced him with Cage, also with Impact lmao. And also, as I was listening on my way to work, my first thought was COME ON HOW IS HE FORGETTING TOM LAWLOR and then I forgot him

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Re: VOW Flagship: 2018 BOLA field and what it means, WWE UK, ROH, MLW, Impact TV reviews

Post by mlev76 » Fri Jun 29, 2018 3:55 pm

armsofsleep wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 2:54 pm
Just as a fun exercise, I tried to test the theory of "PWG had to dig deep for BOLA" and decided to try to book an even better 24 man tournament with more or just as much starpower, using only USA guys. The only rule is no one signed full time to NJPW, Impact, or WWE.


First, gotta get the obvious guys, the ones that ARE booked.

- Matt Riddle
- Brody King
- Jeff Cobb
- Darby Allin
- Joey Janela
- David Starr
- DJZ
- Timothy Thatcher

So that's 8

- AR Fox
- ACH
- MJF
- Brian Cage
- Myron Reed
- Austin Theory
- Jonathan Gresham
- Josh Briggs

That's another 8, with a good mix of debuts, returns, up and comers, and veterans.

- Jacob Fatu
- Chris Dickinson
- Jaka
- Fred Yehi
- Dominic Garrini
- Tracy Williams
- Nick Gage
- Dan Severn

And this final group is probably the hardest to book. I leaned into good to great wrestlers who could easily be slotted into tags for nights 2 and 3 (the EVOLVE lads + Yehi) another local guy (Fatu) and big special attractions that would be tougher to book but would pop the buzz when announced (Gage and Severn).

So yeah, you're right in that there's no shortage of talent. This list along is leaving off dozens of great wrestlers based in the US alone. But I have found the PWG fan perception is very fickle. They all hate Yehi because the Starr match didn't really work. Most of them hate the EVOLVE-y style (although I don't see how you could think Doom Patrol is boring really with how they work). But there is a huge lack right now of big names. Mania week next year will be interesting, since it's proven in the past to kickoff a lot of narratives. Keith Lee, for instance, working everywhere and becoming a top 5 star on the indies in a 5 day span basically.
I guess my two questions are 1) what qualifies as a super Indy today? Since ROH can no longer be classified as one in any shape or form (where you could probably call it one in spirit for the first few years after Sinclair came in), which promotions today actually have the cache to make people stars? and 2) I don't think it's fair to see everyone in the field for BOLA is necessarily a "star" moreso than some of the names you mentioned. I think there are people who post BOLA will be stars, but realistically, are guys like Bandido or even Ilja stars to everyone that goes to BOLA? Or are they "oh I heard of that guy but never seen him" buzz guys that will get stardom off of BOLA? If it's the latter, then I think you could easily make many of the names you put out there simply with a BOLA nod.

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Re: VOW Flagship: 2018 BOLA field and what it means, WWE UK, ROH, MLW, Impact TV reviews

Post by armsofsleep » Fri Jun 29, 2018 4:15 pm

mlev76 wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 3:55 pm
armsofsleep wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 2:54 pm
Just as a fun exercise, I tried to test the theory of "PWG had to dig deep for BOLA" and decided to try to book an even better 24 man tournament with more or just as much starpower, using only USA guys. The only rule is no one signed full time to NJPW, Impact, or WWE.


First, gotta get the obvious guys, the ones that ARE booked.

- Matt Riddle
- Brody King
- Jeff Cobb
- Darby Allin
- Joey Janela
- David Starr
- DJZ
- Timothy Thatcher

So that's 8

- AR Fox
- ACH
- MJF
- Brian Cage
- Myron Reed
- Austin Theory
- Jonathan Gresham
- Josh Briggs

That's another 8, with a good mix of debuts, returns, up and comers, and veterans.

- Jacob Fatu
- Chris Dickinson
- Jaka
- Fred Yehi
- Dominic Garrini
- Tracy Williams
- Nick Gage
- Dan Severn

And this final group is probably the hardest to book. I leaned into good to great wrestlers who could easily be slotted into tags for nights 2 and 3 (the EVOLVE lads + Yehi) another local guy (Fatu) and big special attractions that would be tougher to book but would pop the buzz when announced (Gage and Severn).

So yeah, you're right in that there's no shortage of talent. This list along is leaving off dozens of great wrestlers based in the US alone. But I have found the PWG fan perception is very fickle. They all hate Yehi because the Starr match didn't really work. Most of them hate the EVOLVE-y style (although I don't see how you could think Doom Patrol is boring really with how they work). But there is a huge lack right now of big names. Mania week next year will be interesting, since it's proven in the past to kickoff a lot of narratives. Keith Lee, for instance, working everywhere and becoming a top 5 star on the indies in a 5 day span basically.
I guess my two questions are 1) what qualifies as a super Indy today? Since ROH can no longer be classified as one in any shape or form (where you could probably call it one in spirit for the first few years after Sinclair came in), which promotions today actually have the cache to make people stars? and 2) I don't think it's fair to see everyone in the field for BOLA is necessarily a "star" moreso than some of the names you mentioned. I think there are people who post BOLA will be stars, but realistically, are guys like Bandido or even Ilja stars to everyone that goes to BOLA? Or are they "oh I heard of that guy but never seen him" buzz guys that will get stardom off of BOLA? If it's the latter, then I think you could easily make many of the names you put out there simply with a BOLA nod.
Yeah the idea of a "star" alone is weird on the modern US indies. Like, Starr worked CZW and Beyond and shit but only really became a star because he worked the buzzy UK places. Keith Lee/Riddle became a star because of WWN (who most people claim can't make stars). PCO and Janela became stars based on a weird show idea basically.

Also I think it's possible that there is a difference between "star" and "PWG star" which I sort of alluded to in my post. That crowd likes one particular style and.... really not much else. If you can be funny or do flips, you're pretty much good no matter how much name recognition you have elsewhere. And likewise, certain guys who are great great wrestlers and big stars in other promotions just don't work in PWG because they don't conform to that lane.

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Re: VOW Flagship: 2018 BOLA field and what it means, WWE UK, ROH, MLW, Impact TV reviews

Post by Tim_dawg » Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:56 pm

Jacob Fatu is a Bay Area dude, so I see him all the time, he is great. But has a contract with Pacific Coast Wrestling so he isnt allowed to work other SoCal indys. A Bay Area guy that should be booked for PWG over the next year so is "Jungle Boy" AKA actor Luke Perry's son. Horrible gimmick, bad haircut, but he reminds me of a young Ricochet, he has been on fire in NorCal, APW in particular. Reed and Miguel are right there, and honestly wouldnt have looked out of place in this years tournament. MJF and Curt Stallion are on the verge of being on that level too. Another local that was brought back was Jake Atlas, he is super young and had a good match with Horus at the last show, looks like he might become a regular. There are plenty of US guys who have the talent, and will probally be brought in to BOLA over the next year or two

And by the way, it is possible to be a "PWG star" without being a huge name on the rest of the indys. The example I always point to is Rey Horus, just a guy in every other promotion, adored in PWG, so Yeah, it's totally possible for them to create their own stars. And to answer the question "are guys like Bandido or even Ilja stars to everyone that goes to BOLA? Or are they "oh I heard of that guy but never seen him" buzz guys that will get stardom off of BOLA?" Yes, Bandido is probally the hottest guy in PWG right now, and besides Riddle the favorite to win BOLA. And Ilja(along with PCO) is the most requested guy, so he does have a lot of buzz amount the regular PWG fans.

And the crowd dosent like you automatically if you do flips and are funny, and hate everything else, but to be fair that is the house style. Thatcher and WALTER are super over, but flippy dudes like Andrew Everett and AR Fox got dropped because they wernt getting reactions.

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Re: VOW Flagship: 2018 BOLA field and what it means, WWE UK, ROH, MLW, Impact TV reviews

Post by King Of Indy Style » Fri Jun 29, 2018 11:45 pm

I just can't buy the "PWG Fans like one style" argument. Thatcher debuted in PWG in the midst of his god awful EVOLVE Title reign, and they welcomed him with open arms when they could have just ignored him. PWG fans like people that are good. That's why people like The Crists and Jason Cade weren't invited back; the fans didn't like them. If anything, PWG fans can be a little too accepting. They go apeshit for all of Marty Scurll's matches, and all of Marty's PWG matches since like the 2016 BOLA have been total garbage.
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Re: VOW Flagship: 2018 BOLA field and what it means, WWE UK, ROH, MLW, Impact TV reviews

Post by avengers23 » Sat Jun 30, 2018 9:03 pm

One name that jumped to mind immediately is AF Fox. With the Skulk, it would be easy to fill a random tag match on Night 2 or 3, and he is a big name. Riddle’s in BOLA, so it’s not a WWNLive conflict. Even if the crowd didn’t love Fox in his last run, he could get another chance because he’s improved a lot.

Also, did Rich not come on the show because he was dodging Joe’s hard questions about that porn stars to wrestlers comparison Twitter thread? We need an Overrun about this.

They did book Necro Butcher for multiple BOLAs, so it wouldn’t be unheard of for them to book a deathmatch guy. But Necro was much more versatile than Gage.

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Re: VOW Flagship: 2018 BOLA field and what it means, WWE UK, ROH, MLW, Impact TV reviews

Post by Tim_dawg » Sat Jun 30, 2018 9:25 pm

I am curious about who Joe thinks is the wrestler equivalent of Janice Griffith.

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Re: VOW Flagship: 2018 BOLA field and what it means, WWE UK, ROH, MLW, Impact TV reviews

Post by ScorpioCorp » Sun Jul 01, 2018 4:20 am

armsofsleep wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 2:54 pm
Just as a fun exercise, I tried to test the theory of "PWG had to dig deep for BOLA" and decided to try to book an even better 24 man tournament with more or just as much starpower, using only USA guys. The only rule is no one signed full time to NJPW, Impact, or WWE.


First, gotta get the obvious guys, the ones that ARE booked.

- Matt Riddle
- Brody King
- Jeff Cobb
- Darby Allin
- Joey Janela
- David Starr
- DJZ
- Timothy Thatcher

So that's 8

- AR Fox
- ACH
- MJF
- Brian Cage
- Myron Reed
- Austin Theory
- Jonathan Gresham
- Josh Briggs

That's another 8, with a good mix of debuts, returns, up and comers, and veterans.

- Jacob Fatu
- Chris Dickinson
- Jaka
- Fred Yehi
- Dominic Garrini
- Tracy Williams
- Nick Gage
- Dan Severn

And this final group is probably the hardest to book. I leaned into good to great wrestlers who could easily be slotted into tags for nights 2 and 3 (the EVOLVE lads + Yehi) another local guy (Fatu) and big special attractions that would be tougher to book but would pop the buzz when announced (Gage and Severn).

So yeah, you're right in that there's no shortage of talent. This list along is leaving off dozens of great wrestlers based in the US alone. But I have found the PWG fan perception is very fickle. They all hate Yehi because the Starr match didn't really work. Most of them hate the EVOLVE-y style (although I don't see how you could think Doom Patrol is boring really with how they work). But there is a huge lack right now of big names. Mania week next year will be interesting, since it's proven in the past to kickoff a lot of narratives. Keith Lee, for instance, working everywhere and becoming a top 5 star on the indies in a 5 day span basically.
If this was the lineup for BOLA, it would draw more criticism & less praise than the actual BOLA lineup. To me, it's feels like the stars in the US indies have become less interesting. If this was the lineup, I can see complaints like 'This is more of an EVOLVE show than a PWG show' or 'Those last eight competitors are boring picks'. I think your lineup is great & I would be excited to see that show, but it doesn't attract interest or hype that PWG are after. The best way to put it is there are stars but there isn't the starpower. In fact, maybe starpower isn't the right word for it. It's a 'wow factor' thing. PWG want to wow people.

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Re: VOW Flagship: 2018 BOLA field and what it means, WWE UK, ROH, MLW, Impact TV reviews

Post by BoxingRobes » Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:35 pm

Joe Lanza wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 3:14 pm
Fun post.

Excellent point about Mania weekend. It's ALWAYS a chance to make a name or raise a profile, but this year will be especially so. I'm betting we'll see some new stars emerge. The Austin Theory thing didn't really work out for Gabe this year.

Other names: Shane Strickland (who may or may not have heat with PWG), Flip Gordon, Tom Lawlor, Willie Mack.

DJZ is obviously missing the Impact taping (unless he's only working one day here), but I think you can reasonably conclude that Impact took a bunch of other names off the table, like the LU guys, maybe Andrew Everett, possibly Austin Aries, etc.

EDIT - Just thought of this but Brian Cage is probably an Impact guy that weekend, too.
Team Filthy needs to be a thing everywhere.

That is a unit that could, IMO, really fill a little vacuum left by a lot of the departures. Someone needs to guide Filthy Tom on how to use Social Media to his advantage here.

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Re: VOW Flagship: 2018 BOLA field and what it means, WWE UK, ROH, MLW, Impact TV reviews

Post by mlev76 » Sun Jul 01, 2018 10:19 pm

ScorpioCorp wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 4:20 am
armsofsleep wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 2:54 pm
Just as a fun exercise, I tried to test the theory of "PWG had to dig deep for BOLA" and decided to try to book an even better 24 man tournament with more or just as much starpower, using only USA guys. The only rule is no one signed full time to NJPW, Impact, or WWE.


First, gotta get the obvious guys, the ones that ARE booked.

- Matt Riddle
- Brody King
- Jeff Cobb
- Darby Allin
- Joey Janela
- David Starr
- DJZ
- Timothy Thatcher

So that's 8

- AR Fox
- ACH
- MJF
- Brian Cage
- Myron Reed
- Austin Theory
- Jonathan Gresham
- Josh Briggs

That's another 8, with a good mix of debuts, returns, up and comers, and veterans.

- Jacob Fatu
- Chris Dickinson
- Jaka
- Fred Yehi
- Dominic Garrini
- Tracy Williams
- Nick Gage
- Dan Severn

And this final group is probably the hardest to book. I leaned into good to great wrestlers who could easily be slotted into tags for nights 2 and 3 (the EVOLVE lads + Yehi) another local guy (Fatu) and big special attractions that would be tougher to book but would pop the buzz when announced (Gage and Severn).

So yeah, you're right in that there's no shortage of talent. This list along is leaving off dozens of great wrestlers based in the US alone. But I have found the PWG fan perception is very fickle. They all hate Yehi because the Starr match didn't really work. Most of them hate the EVOLVE-y style (although I don't see how you could think Doom Patrol is boring really with how they work). But there is a huge lack right now of big names. Mania week next year will be interesting, since it's proven in the past to kickoff a lot of narratives. Keith Lee, for instance, working everywhere and becoming a top 5 star on the indies in a 5 day span basically.
If this was the lineup for BOLA, it would draw more criticism & less praise than the actual BOLA lineup. To me, it's feels like the stars in the US indies have become less interesting. If this was the lineup, I can see complaints like 'This is more of an EVOLVE show than a PWG show' or 'Those last eight competitors are boring picks'. I think your lineup is great & I would be excited to see that show, but it doesn't attract interest or hype that PWG are after. The best way to put it is there are stars but there isn't the starpower. In fact, maybe starpower isn't the right word for it. It's a 'wow factor' thing. PWG want to wow people.
Starpower is all dependent on how people are treated and perceived. Some guys come across like stars in certain promotions while not in others. A guy like Anthony Henry when I see him in Freelance comes across like a star. In Evolve, not so much. And it's really all about positioning. Like, in Evolve now, guys like AR Fox and Shane Strickland feel more like stars than in other promotions I've seen them in because they are being pushed like stars. There's no reason that PWG could-if they wanted to-do the same.

Again, I like the actual lineup a lot. But, I also think if they wanted to, they could have drawn more heavily from domestic sources and had a similar quality tournament.

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Re: VOW Flagship: 2018 BOLA field and what it means, WWE UK, ROH, MLW, Impact TV reviews

Post by BlizzardAcolyte » Tue Jul 03, 2018 1:46 am

This was the first I've heard of you turning/coming around on the various "previously sucky" acts you've mentioned, good show on your part...ESPECIALLY as it concerns the Kingdom. I'll be sure to send you a signed "Certified Merlin" sign once I get my hands on one or two.

Also, you seem to be so enthused about Impact TV these days, you've gotten me pumped about your next set of TV reviews, can't wait.

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Re: VOW Flagship: 2018 BOLA field and what it means, WWE UK, ROH, MLW, Impact TV reviews

Post by suplexberry » Fri Jul 06, 2018 2:43 am

Big fan of the Lanza TV reviews so was very happy that the bigger audience gets a taste of them as well.

I had a take on the American indy star discussion but I no longer remember what it was. I guess the main takeaway is that nobody's actively scouting and elevating whatever talent is out there. The Europe scene has buzz, so those guys get over, then you've got your Joey Janela's doing some innovative stuff and knowing their own brand and after that it's [footage missing].

Both ROH and NWA probably should be scouting the scene more actively.

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