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 411mania » Wrestling » Video Reviews

The Furious Flashbacks – PWG Battle of Los Angeles 2005
Posted by Arnold Furious on 01.09.2009

The Furious Flashbacks – PWG Battle of Los Angeles 2005

Not the best way to start your annual tournament but then the first Sweet Science Sixteen was terrible!

I’ve always been a big fan of Indy tournaments. There are many that run on a year to year basis across the USA. I’ve covered the ECWA Super 8 back in the day (sadly the articles were housed on FR and are currently not available). I also did the King of the Indies tournament from California and I’ve also done all the TPI’s for 411. I’ve also covered quite a lot of PWG in the past so this is a logical choice in terms of continuing to cover both major Indy tournaments and my favourite California based pro-wrestling company. PWG began the BOLA tradition in 2005, with this very tournament, featuring 16 wrestlers in a two night tournament. The opening tournament featured a host of star names including AJ Styles, Bryan Danielson, Christopher Daniels and James Gibson.

September 4th 2005. We’re in Hollywood, California. Hosts are Excalibur & Disco Machine (switch to Audio 2 to hear them).

Dino Winwood is out here to introduce the tournament. TJ Perkins is injured and misses the tournament. Better than TPI’s withdrawals! Dino has replaced him with Davey Richards. Big pop for that. Here are the participants as introduced; Davey Richards, Rocky Romero, Quicksilver, Joey Ryan (BOOOO!!), El Generico, Ricky Reyes, Scott Lost, Jack Evans, Chris Bosh, Bryan Danielson, James Gibson, Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, AJ Styles, Super Dragon & PWG champion Kevin Steen. Daniels looks, character wise, that he doesn’t want to be there while the crowd also side with Dragon over Steen. Ryan is the only guy to get actual heat. That’s your field for this opening PWG Battle of Los Angeles. Dragon & Steen remain in the ring after everyone is has gone and Dragon is giving Steen the EVILS.

Hook Bomberry/Top Gun Talwar/Human Tornado v Excalibur/Disco Machine/Chris Sabin

Bomberry & Talwar are known as “Gunning for Hookers”. Crowd is so into WRESTLING tonight that they even chant “shut the fuck up” at Excalibur. He threatens to randomly eject one fan from the building if they’re not quiet. “Could it be you…known pornographer Ed Powers”. Excalibur has security kick him out. “Go peddle your pornography elsewhere. This is a family organisation, goddamnit”. Sabin says he missed BOLA because he thought his injury wouldn’t improve in time but he’s battled to be here and wrestle anyway. Talwar looks totally loaded. He’s wandering around the ring like Robert Downey Jr on a coke binge screaming randomly. Excalibur does a bunch of selling to put Hook over. He even bails to make Ed Powers look like a million bucks too. Sometimes you have to stop selling for the babyfaces. That point is ‘where it gets entirely ludicrous’, Shawn Michaels. Talwar loses his g-string on a sunset flip and his pubic hair is removed in chunks. I’d like to point out this is a gag where Talwar wears a nudie suit with a pubic wig on it. Talwar takes a beating, mostly with the g-string hanging out of his mouth, before tagging to H-Tizzle. Sabin heels it up by USING TORNADO’S AFRO COMB! Excalibur meanwhile is explaining why black people are better dancers. “It’s the wiggle in the blood”. Tornado’s offence is mostly based on dancing, so that helps. HOUSE PARTY!!! Hook gets isolated while Disco explains that he can’t hear heat from the crowd just elevator music. Disco throws in a couple of comedy Flair face bumps. Excalibur starts selling ridiculously again. This time for a silly uppercut and the PIMP POUNCE! Tornado follows up with an INSANE suicide dive. “Like a spear chucked over the top rope” – Excalibur. They land in the 5th row. Sabin lays in about 25 forearms to Talwar and STILL gets caught in a spinebuster for 2. Disco makes the save and hits the HATEBREAKER for 2. Everyone throws a bunch of finishers including Excalibur hitting the Tiger Driver ’98, which Tornado is extremely late in saving the pin on. Excalibur kicks him south of the border but he should know by now that H-Tizzle has BALLS OF STEEL! PIMP SLAP~! Sabin runs in to save and CRADLESHOCKS Talwar but Tornado saves again. Excalibur blocks “That Nigga Dead” once but it’s countered back…THAT NIGGA DEAD! Tornado gets the pin. **. A horrible mess but with occasional hilariousness.

BOLA Round 1 – Frankie Kazarian v Rocky Romero

Romero replaced the injured Sabin who later recovered but wasn’t 100%. Romero counters a flip into a rolling armbar right off the bat. Nice! Disco cracks about that almost being as short as his WWE career. They hit the mat and Kaz looks marginally faster and more polished down there. Romero is still looking for the armbar but Kaz powers up out of it. Outside and Kaz accidentally chops the ring post. This is an opening for a guy who likes to work arm submission holds. Kazarian foolishly falls for the Lady of the Lake. Just kick him in the fucking head! Who falls for the Lady in the Lake? The announcers debate how much Rocky Romero’s mohawk protects him from certain moves. “I’m not toning my shit down” shouts Kaz from the mat. They continue with some nice countering on the mat until Romero leaves his back open for the KAZMISSION. What? He doesn’t call it that? It’s so obvious! Romero is all pissed off and starts unloading with kicks to the KNEES. HEEEEEY! Romero with a flying AAARRRRMdrag into a sloppy La Majistral for 2. This match has been rather…loose. Looks like Kaz didn’t learn anything in the WWE. They run some more counters and Romero comes out on top for the upset win. **1/4. Passable. Worryingly loose in it’s execution. Working for the WWE will do one of two things for you; 1. catapult you into the atmosphere as a huge star (CM Punk) or 2. leave you somewhat disillusioned and set you back (Kaz). He didn’t really get his shit back together until 2006 and his return to TNA.

BOLA Round 1 – Quicksilver v Davey Richards

Davey Richards has just barely a year’s worth of matches under his belt at this point. But he does have a degree of intensity that places him pretty high up on the list of guys I’d like to see win this. Quicksilver is a hard worker but hasn’t branched out beyond PWG for whatever reason (bar WSX). Richards looks the more dangerous guy with the snap he puts on his moves and weight he puts behind his strikes. Quicksilver looks less effective by comparison. He’s a little slow to get his shots in. That makes him look weaker by comparison. Sometimes when you’re up against a guy who’s fast and dangerous (like Austin Aries) you need to up your game or you just look inferior. Richards seems to be able to take Quicksilver apart at will hitting a Lungblower, a bunch of strikes and a lariat. Tiger Suplex gets 2. The only thing Davey has against him here is his inexperience. He lays in with more kicks and has dominated this whenever he’s felt inclined to do so. TOPE SUICIDAAAAAA! Davey comes off worse though by flying shoulder first into a chair. They counter on the floor and Davey’s weakened appendage counts against him and he’s whipped into the apron and backdropped on the floor. Quicksilver now sees an opening and hits a tornado DDT off the ring steps. Quicksilver knows he’s outclassed and has to take the big risks but Davey didn’t need to take his big risk, which is why he’s losing now. Quicksilver knows now that high risk is perhaps his only option and hits a moonsault…for 2. Davey still has fire in the oven and starts throwing Quicksilver around with suplexes. His back is bothering him after the spots on the floor though and that slows him up a bit. Best evidence being as he goes up top looking for the SSP. Quicksilver is able to counter into a SILVER FLASH off the top to advance. **1/2. Perhaps another upset but this one at least made sense and was a better put together match.

BOLA Round 1 – Joey Ryan v James Gibson

Gibson is the ROH champion. Crowd gets all over Ryan’s case, which makes him the only wrestler in the BOLA who the crowd won’t show any love to. This is a technical affair, as you’d expect, with Gibson getting the better of the opening exchanges but not so much as to make Ryan look out of his league. The crowd are booing literally EVERYTHING that Ryan does. To the point where if he’s in control the crowd just continually jeer. Ryan aims to take out the arm and gets in a nice hammerlock suplex. And WOW, this crowd LOATHE him. Gibson gets a whirl into the FUJIWARA ARMBAR and the crowd wants Ryan to tap out. Hehe. He counters out in a nice spot and throws Gibson outside to buy himself some time. Gibson doesn’t entirely do anything with his “injured” arm here though and loses focus when he does on offence. At least he doesn’t do the tiger driver because his arm is hurt and Ryan fires back with strikes into a superkick for 2. He goes for another one but Gibson blocks. They spill through the ropes and Gibson hurts his knee but Ryan adds in a swinging DDT on the floor. So what the hell does Gibson do with his selling now? There’s a 20 count on the floor and Gibson gets back in at 19. Ryan takes it to the top looking for something dangerous and Gibson counters him off and hits a flying knee. BRAINBUSTER! Ryan kicks out at 2. TEXAS CLOVERLEAF! Ryan knows it’s trouble and gets into the ropes post haste. Gibson chokes him out on the ropes, which is a little heel-ish. Ryan bails and Gibson hits the TOPE SUICIDAAA! We’re getting a lot of similar spots here. The DDT on the floor and the tope were both in the last match. Hey, I like topes as much as the next guy but we’ve already seen one last match. Ryan fakes a chair shot ala Eddy Guerrero. Ref doesn’t believe it because he didn’t hear the chair being used. Natch. Good reffing! Ryan goes for a powerbomb but Gibson catches him in the choke. Ryan backs him into the corner but Gibson gives him the TIGER DRIVER out of there for the win. **3/4. There’s gradual improvement match on match here!

BOLA Round 1 – El Generico w/Human Tornado v Chris Bosh

Excalibur points out that Bosh held his own against Chris Daniels last time out despite losing and he’s a dark horse pick as a result. Bosh just levels Generico pre-bell and whips him with his denim jacket. Generico comes flying back with the springboard missile dropkick. LUCHA LIBRE! Generico does some more lucha-esque stuff like armdrags and knucklelocks but Bosh sees a flip coming and sticks his knee in the way for a gutbuster. BOSH starts unloading with punches before hauling Generico into a backbreaker. Bosh has deceptive strength in that he’s more powerful than some of the lightweight Indy guys. Outside and Bosh hits a stalling suplex on the floor. Generico goes back to his lucha roots and hits a tornado DDT. Bosh way oversells it, which is kinda in line with Generico being a comedy character but I’ve seen him have some really good serious matches. Generico busts out some flippy stuff but a springboard moonsault misses because it takes so long to set up. Bosh goes for a headscissors but ends up standing on his head and Generico BOOTS HIM IN THE FACE. Yeah, I think he’ll take you more seriously now! Generico clearly thinks he needs something extra and hits a double springboard moonsault to the floor! GROIN PUNCH!!! That’s the great equalizer from Bosh! He’s still counted into a KOBASHIPLEX…for 2. Generico wants to finish this match and heads for the top rope. Bosh counters it into a HARSH SUNSET BOMB! That doesn’t get it done but Bosh must be close after that impact. Bosh makes the mistake of going up top and Generico catches him with the BRAINBUSTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH! Love that move. BUT Bosh falls outside so Generico can’t pin him. Generico throws him back in but Bosh’s ring awareness pays off with his foot on the rope. Bosh escapes the double pump brainbuster into the STEINER SCREWDRIVER! Generico is, naturally, defeated. ***1/4. They kept it simple and threw in some enormous bumps for kicks. I approve of the big spots in this match. Very enjoyable. If you’re going to have a couple of big high spots then make them good ones!

BOLA Round 1 – Bryan Danielson v Ricky Reyes

Danielson controls on the mat to start. Reyes tries to throw him off his game by not breaking, grabbing his ears and generally being a jerk. He knows Danielson is the better wrestler and the bigger star so he needs something else. Danielson seems able to shake off Reyes’ trickery and focus on the wrestling although Reyes then breaks out his other big weapon; kicks. Danielson opts to take the leg away to stop that. Danielson ends up controlling the mat even more than in the early encounters and gets a half crab. Only the ropes save Reyes. Reyes is still dangerous with those kicks though and he catches Danielson with one. That probably caught him unawares. Reyes tries to hang with Danielson again and gets caught in an armbar then an anklelock. Reyes is in desperate trouble here against a superior technician and now carrying weakened body parts. He again opts for kicks as that’s the one thing he’s able to get some joy with. This allows him an opening and he gets a cross armbreaker. Danielson knows where the ropes are though and although there was a danger I didn’t sense it to any great extent. Even when he’s in trouble Danielson seems in control. Like he’s just waiting for an opening. Forearm uppercuts and Reyes decides to bail because he can’t cope with those. Reyes gets whipped into the chairs and this should be his territory; the floor. And rightfully so he’s able to reverse back the other way and Danielson wipes out some chairs too. Back inside and they start trading forearms. Danielson is losing so he just switches to a dropkick for 2. Danielson wants the surfboard and gets it before switching to an upside down chinlock! Reyes escapes an airplane spin and manages a German suplex for 2. Reyes does have his suplexes too and they knock the wind out of you. With Danielson down he slaps on a Figure Four. Danielson turns it over to reverse the pressure while Excalibur ‘somewhat’ oversells the pain caused by a reversed figure four. Up top and Danielson connects with the back superplex. Danielson won’t win with that but he’s certainly set Reyes up for something more dangerous. Reyes tries to elbow out of the airplane spin and somehow reverses into a Fujiwara armbar on the way down. That was pretty frickin’ sweet! Reyes is now finally holding his own with that counter to a trademark move. Reyes elbows his way out of another airplane spin attempt but Danielson throws some uppercuts to soften him up. Reyes wants the dragon sleeper but Danielson counters into the CROSSFACE CHICKENWING! Reyes taps out and that was a lot of fun. ***1/2. Reyes started out slow but eventually provided Danielson with some fine competition.

BOLA Round 1 – Christopher Daniels v Scott Lost

Daniels is the TNA X division champion. Daniels is apparently upset about being described as a “walking penis” last time he was here by Bosh, which provokes the fans in a “Fallen Penis” chant. Lost takes advantage by grabbing a sharpie and transforming Daniels’ head into a penis ala Herr Starr. This doesn’t really click early with the heel/face alignment all over the place. Therefore because both guys are kinda working heel the crowd pop all their moves but don’t really care who wins. Lost tries to work in his trademark stuff and connects with the Superman Spear. Daniels by comparison avoids his usual trademark moveset perhaps suggesting he’s working more heel than Lost. Or Lost just doesn’t really know how to work heel. One or the other. Daniels breaks out a stalling suplex but allows the crowd to count along before dumping Lost. Admittedly that’s acceptable as a heel because he’s just showing off. Daniels decides to take apart Lost’s spine with an assortment of moves focusing on the back area. Daniels breaks out the Death Valley Stampede…which is a new one on me. That gets 2. Unlike some other rising PWG talent Lost doesn’t have a lot in the locker to get out of this situation. He has a superkick, which gets him back on even terms. It’s a pity really because Lost is very athletic, almost as much as an AJ or Sabin, but he doesn’t have much of a moveset to go with it. Or the same sort of energy or explosiveness that Indy wrestling thrives off nowadays. Daniels starts to disrespect the lack of effort from Lost and clocks with a Blue Thunder for 2. STO follows for 2. Yeah, he’s gone to sleepwalking through spots. Bummer. Lost goes for the “I’ve blown my knee out” spot but totally fails to make it look credible. Crowd doesn’t buy it as a result. And Daniels really shouldn’t. Lost has the flipping spear pin. That doesn’t get it done and Daniels kicks him off on the Sharpshooter. Angels Wings finishes. *3/4. Meh. Lost’s remarkably bland approach doesn’t help matters but Daniels, once he realised this was going to be no fun, sleepwalked through most of the match.

POST MATCH Lost assaults the referee but Scorpio Sky runs out the make the save. SERVED!

BOLA Round 1 - AJ Styles v Jack Evans

I predict flipping. Evans does a corkscrew backflip when he’s introduced. While Jack is fast, so is AJ and while Jack has ridiculous high spots, AJ is significantly more rounded as a competitor. Evans finds himself able to flip around AJ and he goes for roll up’s chasing the quick victory. This keeps AJ off balance for three attempts but by the time he goes for number four AJ has already cottoned on and switches to an armdrag. Jack tries approach two and throws some forearms attempting to bait AJ in. After AJ blocks it twice Jack manages to bridge AJ over the top rope. Nice! Evans goes up and hits a corkscrew moonsault. There’s his big offensive moveset kicking in. As soon as the ropes come into play there’s very little the opponent can do to stop Jack flying at them at high speed. Cartwheel back elbow and a springboard spinning heel kick gets 2. Jack can not only do high risk but he looks comfortable doing so. Compare that to Jeff Hardy or Sabu. Maybe the WWE will come calling sooner or later. AJ finally realises he has a huge power advantage and presses Jack into a spinebuster. Now Jack is down AJ starts pretzeling him up a treat. Yet Jack is remarkably flexible and has survived worse than this at the hands of Danielson or Samoa Joe. AJ with an innovated wind up around the backbreaker. With a guy like Jack there is the potential to hit moves you simply can’t hit on a normal person. They set up something ridiculous and Evans does a huge flip off the top and LANDS ON AJ’S HEAD. I think they were aiming for rana but he landed on AJ’s head. STINGER! Evans attempts a springboard 630 because AJ isn’t moving, and normally that takes too long to set up, but AJ rolls out of the way. AJ wants the finish but Evans grabs the ropes to block the Clash and flips back up into a rana! Very rare to pop off a rana on AJ Styles. To the ropes and AJ falls off! I think he’s still struggling after that spot that went wrong. Evans attempts a diving rana but gets caught and STYLES CLASH ON THE FLOOR! If it was falls count anywhere this would be over. As it is…it’s over anyway. AJ throws Jack back in and pins him for the W. **3/4. Not short of thrills and spills and had a great finish but the messed up spot out of the corner clearly effected both men and I think the match wrapped up a little quickly.

BOLA Round 1 - Kevin Steen v Super Dragon

Dragon is actually feeding off the crowd support for a change. The PWG crowd attempt the usual “ssshhh” bit but opt instead for “Dragon’s gonna kill you”. Steen gets a bit cheeky so Dragon BITCH SLAPS HIM and goes for the waistlock takedown. So he’s pissed him off AND then grounded him to cause further frustration. Imagine not being able to get your own back? You get slapped and then held down. Imagine all the anger welling up inside with nowhere to go? It’ll fuck your focus up…but also raise your intensity. They trade on forearms but again Dragon is smart enough to dodge first and take it back to the mat where Steen is getting frustrated. Steen is an excellent mat worker though and a big guy. He’s able to get back into it and control the pace of this match. Which asks the question…if Steen can remain focused can Dragon realistically do anything to beat him? Sure, Dragon has a lot of insane moves but if Steen wants to he can just take over the bout. Steen grabs a leglock so Dragon punches him in the back of the head…DONKEY PUNCH! Excalibur makes the logical point of saying that if Dragon can’t put weight on that leg he can’t do the curb stomp or any of the Psycho Drivers. Dragon opts for striking instead but Steen just blocks the lariat and armdrags Dragon to the mat again. See?

Unfortunately there’s some sort of mark on the DVD that I can’t remove and the rest of the match won’t play…bugger. Apologies for that but there’s not much I can do. It won’t even play on the PC! For overall ratings purposes I’ll assume it was ***1/4, which is what Brad Garoon gave the match in his event review on 411. Match went over 30 minutes though and I am a mark for Super Dragon…I think we can assume I would rate it higher.


We’re in Hollywood, California…still. Hosts are Excalibur & Disco Machine.

Dino Winwood points out Scorpio Sky returned, sans mask, last night so he’s booking a match against Scott Lost tonight. Crowd welcome back Sky. He comes out to cut a promo about how he’s been back home in Africa to find himself. This does create a great “Scorpio bom-ba-ye” chant. Well, it’s great if you’ve seen When We Were Kings or are a fan of Muhammed Ali. He points out Lost got served. Decent promo and it was over. No complaints.

Excalibur/Disco Machine/Ronin v Chris Sabin/Hook Bomberry/TJ Perkins

Excalibur claims that Chris Sabin dropped the ball last night by allowing H-Tizzle to get to Excalibur and beat him. So he challenges Sabin and whoever he’s got to come out here. Bomberry starts out with Excalibur and Excalibur, although I do love his work, brings the poor comedy selling for the second straight night. More often than not it’s just horrible. Hook tags him with a picture perfect dropkick to the chin though. Beautiful. Excalibur comes back with an Ace Crusher and tags in Disco. This allows the heels to isolate Hook. Ronin is just sloppy as hell although he hits pretty hard, which has to count for something. To be fair…he’s sloppy for PWG rather than being sloppy by US Indy standards. He runs a prepared sequence with Hook that looks prepared. Sabin finally gets a tag and cleans house at speed bringing the only entertainment I’ve had since that dropkick earlier on. This breaks down and everyone starts hitting finishers. Looks like we’re in for another of those messy openers. Only no H-Tizzle to amuse me. Excalibur takes Cradleshock and this is over. ½*. Really bad opener. Excalibur’s selling was terrible, TJ Perkins (who I presume was injured) was nonexistent and Ronin was poor.

BOLA QF – Quicksilver v Rocky Romero

Both these guys are here via slight upset wins. Of all the guys left in the tournament, if they were to be seeded, this would be #7 & #8. Crowd is still lively but who knows what they’ve been feeding them because there’s one guy chanting “let’s go Puma” while the others chant “San Diego” in a high pitched voice. There must be several in-jokes I’m missing there. Both guys are moderately competent as mat wrestlers. Romero perhaps has the edge there. His chaining looks much better in this match than against Kazarian. Maybe there was too much focus on spots in that match? Quicksilver is pretty loose by comparison but then he’s only in his third year as a pro. Romero kicks him square in the face. YEAH! Romero must be doing something right to get booked in Mexico & Japan. And get the Black Tiger gimmick to boot! Quicksilver tries to slap the shit out of Romero but Romero slaps back…harder and quicker. Quicksilver looks badly outmatched after getting a little early joy. Quicksilver’s transitions are boring and predictable too, which grates. In fact the combination of that and Romero’s uninspired offence has killed the crowd. Every time Quicksilver reverses something there’s a feeling he doesn’t deserve it because he’s just not as good a wrestler. The worst part of watching wrestling is when the matches don’t make sense. When it’s clearly a mismatch but for whatever reason the bookers refuse to book it that way. Here Romero is just better! He’s largely dominating the match and everytime Quicksilver does anything offensively he’s slow, predictable and the spots are contrived. He also goes from one move to transition into a finisher in the Michinoku Driver for 2. For me that’s just annoying. It could be desperation from a storyline point but Romero just grabs and controls him at will. Romero snags him with an anklelock and Quicksilver is beaten here, ring the bell! He drops down into a heel hook and Quicksilver still won’t tap out. He gets the ropes after spending about a minute in the hold. Which makes no sense to me. He made no attempt to reverse it because he’s not good enough to. Quicksilver fucks up the following reversal spot with Romero practically pinning himself and Quicksilver flukes his way into the semi-finals. *1/4.

BOLA QF – Chris Bosh v James Gibson

Bosh gets the mic to run down Gibson claiming he only knows him as Jamie Noble. Bosh gives him the option to save himself an ass-kicking and just quit. Gibson gives Bosh a severe beat-down instead. Incidentally Gibson losing to Josh Abercrombie in IWA is a perfect example of a totally mis-matched match in the Indies where the inferior wrestler goes over for no good reason. At least here they have a story as Bosh bails to avoid a further beating so Gibson hits him with a TOPE and LANDS ON HIS HEAD. OUCH! He landed square on the top of his head. That has to jolt the neck too. For me they could even sell that for a lot longer than they do. Gibson still comes up on top and continues to put a beating on Bosh until he catches him in the corner. Bosh really should be quicker to take over on offence when his opponent picks up an injury. If you want to take him seriously as a heel that is. Gibson is selling the prospective injury like crazy now while Bosh plays up to the crowd by posing on the buckles. This gives Gibson recovery time and allows Bosh to get his character over. After all Gibson is significantly thrown off his game so Bosh can pick his moments. It’s kinda saddening they don’t continue with that route. Gibson simply mounts a comeback and starts popping spots off. I thought Gibson was good at storytelling? He just wants to get his high spots out there! He does allow Bosh to escape the Tiger Driver though. Gibson hooks the dragon sleeper and then switches to the guillotine when Bosh doesn’t give up. Bosh counters into a suplex countered back into the guillotine. Nice! Bosh has to roll into the ropes because he’s unable to counter again. Bosh is a bigger guy and has a lot more weight for Gibson to deal with. Gibson tries to wipe him out altogether with a series of knees. This knocks Bosh silly and JOEY RYAN runs out to cause a distraction. SCOTT LOST runs into the ring. Gibson lays him out. Ryan too! Bosh gets a cheeky roll up though and flukes his way into the semi’s. **. So the prestige of the tournament is somewhat tarnished with Quicksilver lucking his way into the semi’s to face a guy who fluked his way into the semi’s. That means you’re guaranteed a fluke in the final either way and that’s bad news for the tournament.

BOLA QF – Bryan Danielson v Christopher Daniels

Daniels cuts a promo reminding us this isn’t for his prestigious X division championship. Somehow the way he says it reminds me of Shawn Michaels being thankful he wasn’t defending his prestigious European title against the Undertaker in 1997. Danielson offers a handshake and Daniels, being a heel and hating the whole handshake thing, doesn’t take it. Danielson wrestles him into a stomp on the hand. Ah, fun lovin’ American Dragon! He’s a peculiar fellow. Odd he’s shown up for the tournament. Maybe not so much for PWG but if we’re taking this tournament seriously then we probably wouldn’t have so much goofy shit going on. Danielson, regardless of attitude, is one of the best mat wrestlers in the world. The good thing about this match up is that Daniels is also a good mat wrestler on top of his love of high impact moves so it’s not a mismatch! Hooray! They do some reversals on the mat with Danielson generally getting the better of it and making the most of his five count. They run a nice test of strength spot where both guys reverse into bridges and suplexes without breaking the knucklelocks. See, this is how you put a match together! If one ‘spot’ lasts 2 or 3 minutes you’ll have a richer match. Daniels eventually gets outdone on the near falls and bails to protest Danielson’s foolishness. Daniels gets a receipt for the hand stamping. Danielson still isn’t taking it seriously though and breaks out the Earthquake Splash! That gets 2. Ha. Daniels decides to force Danielson to take it seriously by injuring his shoulder and working it over with an assortment of knees and armbars. That gives the match some focus that it was sorely lacking. There’s a nice touch where Danielson goes for the non-existent hair and Daniels looks smug with his hairstyle choice and moments later Danielson has the jaw instead. Danielson makes the mistake of using his injured shoulder on a shoulderblock and Daniels gets quickly back in charge. Daniels is heeling it up a treat and uses the ropes to aid his arm assault. Danielson has to change his offence because his arm is fucked and he flips over in the corner and hits a HURRICANE KICK! Danielson has so much in his locker that he’s hard to predict. He switches to the forearm uppercuts using his good arm and kicks follow in the corner. Danielson positions Daniels so he can butterfly lock him into a suplex, which is superb selling because he’s able to do the move but he has set it up differently. SURFBOARD! I question the selling on that but Danielson has been so good with everything else it’s ok. SUPERPLEX! Danielson waits until 4 ½ because he has til five! CATTLE MUTILATION! Daniels has more mobility than usual because of Danielson’s injured arm. O’Connor roll gets 2. Daniels sees the rolling elbow coming though and counters into an STO. BEST. MOONSAULT. EVER! That gets 2. Danielson hitting the high impact stuff now. Must be nearly home-time. Danielson escapes Angel’s Wings and elbows Daniels in the face. Daniels sees the chickenwing coming and can block on the injured arm. AIRPLANE SPIN! 25 rotations on that bad boy. CROSSFACE CHICKENWING! Daniels taps out! Danielson can apply that hold even with an injured arm BECAUSE his other arm can hold it in place. ***1/2. Danielson has had the two best matches this weekend.

POST MATCH Danielson reminds Daniels that he’s a quitter for tapping out. Danielson proposes that Daniels put an X-division title shot on the line for the next time they meet in PWG. Daniels claims he didn’t tap out and he was trying to remove the arm and the ref misinterpreted it. The crowd chants “quitter” at him. Daniels gets provoked into giving Danielson a title shot next time they face in PWG.

BOLA QF – AJ Styles v Kevin Steen

Steen is PWG champion and beat AJ for the belt. He had a much harder first round match though spending over 30 minutes wrestling Super Dragon. Steen suggests that AJ should stay off his injured knee & neck so they can have a legitimate fair match to find out who the best man is. AJ, being a good Christian, DESTROYS Steen’s neck from the opening bell. Excalibur labels him a scumbag for doing so. Steen is a heavy hitter though and only needs to put his weight behind a few strikes to get this back on an even kiel. AJ sweeps the injured knee. That’s not nice! That’s the kind of thing Kreese would suggest. Steen stays down hurt on an Irish whip, which is enough to distract the ref so Steen can nail AJ with his knee brace for 2. Steen’s upper body strength, and cheating, is all that’s keeping him in this. Steen can’t get much offence going though because he’s not very bright and hits a neckbreaker over his injured knee. AJ gets in a great move where he neck snaps Steen over the ring post from the top rope. Steen again cheats by pushing the ref into the ropes with AJ up top. AJ gets caught going for the quebrada inverted DDT but Steen can’t follow up because of his injury. DVD over the knee from AJ and that sets up the SPIRAL TAP, which finishes. If that felt brisk…it was! Around 7 minutes. **1/2. Made perfect sense though. If the selling and storytelling is consistent I’m happy. This was a very solid entry in the tournament because it made sense as part of the bigger picture, which is something tournament don’t do enough. We do have an attention span beyond one match yanno!

Samoa Joe/Nosawa v Kikutaro/Top Gun Talwar

Kikutaro you may know better as Ebessan. This is all comedy from the start as Talwar bails and hides behind the entrance curtain because he’s scared of wrestling Joe. He tries to stomp Joe who ignores him. He then tries for a bearhug. Again, zero joy. CHOP! Ignored. Joe hasn’t even done anything yet just stood there and took moves. Talwar tries for the shoulderblock but Joe trips him up taking a page from the Colt playbook. Joe then delivers a STIFF kick to the buttocks. Kikutaro tags and wants Nosawa…or rather he doesn’t want Joe. As much as I dislike Nosawa at least he knows all the Kikutaro comedy spots like the double duck down lock-up. Kikutaro wants an arm wrestle instead and draws Nosawa in for a stomping. “You stupid!” They do a bit of wrestling before they both block the Shining Wizard and MUTA POSE~! Joe back in and Talwar gets squashed. Nosawa comes in and throws strikes until Talwar falls over and gets pinned…for 2. They double crotch Talwar who sells it for ages. Joe back in with the kick, chop and kneedrop for 2. This match has really sucked since they stopped doing comedy spots. Mainly because Nosawa is in it. Kikutaro comes back in and gets thrown off on a bulldog, which is a comedy visual. EBISU OTOSHI connects but the moonsault misses. God, I hate Nosawa. Him standing there throwing punches while stomping on the mat is putting wrestling back 20 years. Kikutaro hits the Shining Wizard but Joe is in. He goes low. “My balls” – Kikutaro. Kikutaro backs up. “I like you”. THUMB IN THE EYE. FLAIR FLOP! Talwar is in with the inverted DDT…for 2. He tries some corner clotheslines but runs into the S.T.JOE! Kikutaro runs in but accidentally headbutts Talwar in the groin. “Eww, stinky”. Joe lays him out and hits the Musclebuster for the win. **3/4. Very funny when Kikutaro was in there and sometimes when Talwar was wrestling Joe. Some of the bits in between with Nosawa were awful.

POST MATCH Kikutaro gets a promo saying how much he loves wrestling in PWG and tells Talwar to stick to smoking pot!

PROMO TIME – Dino Winwood & So Cal Val call out Joey Ryan & Scott Lost for interfering in the tournament. They tell them if they interfere in another tournament match they’re fired. “You’ll be Scott Jobless”. As payback Ryan superkicks Val. This draws a loud “Joey” chant. Hard to be a heel around here, huh! Eventually the crowd decides to behave and chant “fuck you, Joey” instead.

BOLA SF – Chris Bosh v Quicksilver

And here we are in the fluke half of the draw. Bosh needed help to get here and Quicksilver isn’t good enough to be here. I understand PWG’s urge to push it’s regular home grown guys but it has to be within the bounds of realism. Let them get good enough first! They hit the floor early and Quicksilver tries to use a chair but misses. Bosh has proven he can hang with good wrestlers but he’s still a guy that’s only as good as the man across the ring. So they’re in trouble here. The pacing is painful to watch with Bosh running into a few moves before eventually blocking one and hitting a backbreaker. Bosh then leaps into attempting to finish with a fisherman suplex for 2. Bosh then chinlocks the crowd to death. Quicksilver comes back with some fine lucha-libre, which makes you wonder why he doesn’t do that more frequently. They run some stuff in the corner and Bosh hits the sunset bomb. Quicksilver pops straight back up and hits the Silver Slice. It would be very ‘All Japan’ if it weren’t for the awkward looking counter in the middle. At least Bosh has focus and is generally looking at taking out Quicksilver’s back. Quicksilver isn’t doing much in the way of selling though. At least this is a fairly even bout with both men being potential winners. Quicksilver tries some more flipping but Bosh backdrops him onto the ring post in a great spot. Not only does it look awesome but it continues his focus on the back. Bosh further kills off Quicksilver’s spine with a fallaway slam into the post. That logically should finish this one or at least directly lead to the finish. The only thing in Quicksilver’s favour is that he’s dead weight and hard to throw back in. Quicksilver gets the dramatic last second kick out. Then he pops up like nothing happened and hits a dropkick. Wonderful. The following spot looks great but totally ruins the entire psychology of the match – springboard missile dropkick to the floor. It looked great, Quicksilver, but it literally destroys the entire rest of the match. So now we have to start from this point and totally discount the other great spot on the ring post because it did nothing apparently! Quicksilver follows up with a murderous sunset bomb to the floor. Now Bosh has taken two HUGE moves back to back and should be finished. Bosh gets counted out. Wait? Apparently counting to 20 no longer equals a count-out. Bosh had his hand under the rope. Questionable refereeing there to go with all the questionable wrestling. Then Bosh just hits the Steiner Screwdriver out of nowhere anyway and that’s the match. **. Awesome high spots, zero psychology. Typical Indy match where everyone is clueless as to how a match should be put together. Because the high spots just lead to more high spots they don’t mean anything. And because neither guy did anything consistent in terms of selling it kills the moves. When people talk about Indy wrestling being all high spots…this is what they mean.

BOLA SF – AJ Styles v Bryan Danielson

This starts out tentatively and almost in a shoot-style. While AJ doesn’t have Danielson’s range of skills he’s really fast and that counts for a lot in chaining. They run a great spot where AJ bridges into a hammerlock to get out of a headlock. Smooth! Danielson finally takes this tournament seriously by headbutting him in the corner and mocking his posing. They go to the mat AT SPEED and chain like a pair of motherfuckers but Danielson kicks AJ in the face before the break and AJ jumps on top with strikes. OH,HO,HO! IT’S ON NOW! AJ is clearly angered by Danielson’s approach to the match. It’s like Danielson is goading AJ into losing his temper and his focus. They both attempt shoulderblocks and fail resulting in MUSCLE POSING both ways. Danielson goes for another but AJ dropsaults him. The mood of this has been all over the place. A mixture of comedy, violence and chaining. It’s hard to say what’s going on in terms of psychology except that Danielson has definitely been trying to mess with AJ’s head. Danielson gets suplexed over the top and AJ follows with a suicide dive but he doesn’t get as much distance as Danielson expected and AJ flatbacks it. OUCH! AJ blows his knee out, unlike the one earlier in the tournament that looked like crap, and spends the rest of the match selling the knee. Because AJ is injured he now HAS to be serious and opts for some heavy strikes to stop Danielson noticing his injury. Danielson responses with a diving forearm uppercut. SURFBOARD! Unintentionally Danielson is now going to further damage the knee. AJ blocks it knowing the surfboard will suck so Danielson stomps the knees. Now he knows AJ has a bad knee because he’s holding it and hobbling. Knowing AJ is hurt allows Danielson to just pick his shots. Kicks, kneedrops, even a try at a submission on the arms. Basically AJ is so on the defensive because of his knee he isn’t able to see these coming. This makes it that much easier for Danielson to control on the mat. AJ is still selling the knee btw. He hasn’t forgotten. Danielson keeps forcing AJ to run on Irish whips but that backfires as AJ uses his strong leg to flip into the quebrada inverted DDT for 2. They do a rolling elbows duel where AJ briefly forgets his knee. He’s selling it again as soon as they’re back up. He’s not RVD bad in that respect. Danielson goes after the Crossface Chickenwing but AJ counters and SUPLEXES OUT OF IT. That draws an “OOOOH” from Disco & Excalibur. AJ wants to go up top but that’s a mistake because he’s hurt. Danielson is able to cut him off and land a diving shoulder wrench. Damn! Now AJ has a bad arm too, which is a perfect set up for the CROSSFACE CHICKENWING! AJ’s mobility is troubled by the bad knee too but he just about gets the rope. Danielson goes back to the hold but AJ reverses out and CATTLE MUTILATION!! He can’t hold it because of the knee though, which is terrific selling. Danielson is able to counter into his OWN CATTLE MUTILATION!! Great stuff. Danielson wants the ropes to come into play but AJ counters the back superplex and lands on top for 2. Danielson reverses the fall with some beautiful wrestling…for 2. Danielson really should have finished this one and he’s not done anything to the injured knee, which should have gotten it done. They do some countering and Danielson gets the AIRPLANE SPIN! AJ reverses though and slides off the shoulders into a small package! AJ wins! ***1/2. Danielson was Mr Consistent in the tournament scoring three straight ***1/2 matches. AJ’s selling was very strong in this one and it’s only really Danielson’s lack of killing instinct combined with the unusual finish that hurts the rating.

Super Dragon/Jack Evans/El Generico/Frankie Kazarian v Ricky Reyes/Davey Richards/Joey Ryan/Scott Lost

This would be the 8-man first round losers tag that seems to happen on most tournaments. They usually mean nothing but are good fun. Case in point; Joey starts with Generico causing the crowd to boo everything Joey does and “Ole” every single Generico move. It’s like watching Cena wrestle…anyone…from Mexico. Except Joey is getting Cena heat as a heel! Kaz & Reyes next with armdrag duelling. Lost & Evans next and that looks a little contrived as Lost isn’t on the same page as Jack and Jack has to walk into some moves and watch Lost to see where he is on others. Sure Jack Evans has a lot of flash when he’s on offence but often it looks fake and this is one of those times. Depends on the opponent really. Davey in and he wants Dragon! OHHHH! This is a match I’d love to see. They forearm the shit out of each other in an INTENSE sequence. Kaz & Reyes run a weird mirror spot on the apron while this is going on. Dragon eventually gets the better of a mat exchange and hooks the STF. Davey is in no mood to quit though and drags himself into the ropes. VIOLENCE PARTY~! Davey reverses with some KAWADA KICKS! DRAGON CHOPS HIM IN THE FACE! Generico helps set up Dragon for a knee assisted DOUBLE STOMP! No pin but I think that will become a theme here. Generico goes for a springboard but Davey moves. Davey is able to get the tag out after taking a real beating. Lost is in…SUPERMAN SPEAR! Ryan gets a tag and INSTANT HEAT. Generico ends up isolated for a while before forward rolling to tag Evans in. He pulls out an assortment of crazy corkscrew moves (as far as putting a corkscrew on a dropkick). Reyes denies him the dive though. Lost tags in and gets caught in an Implant DDT. Lost is the weak link in his team. Kaz sets up Davey on top of Lost in the corner and dropkicks them both. TRIPLE DIVES! Everyone bar Jack dived there on the babyface team. Davey cuts him off but Evans reverses and hits the SPACE FLYING TIGER DROP! Evans dodges the Superman Spear and stomps Lost into the buckles. Joey runs in, superkicks Evans, and topes Dragon. Lost spears Generico but sees Evans coming and sandwiches them into a DOUBLE SHARPSHOOTER! NOOOO! That. Is. Awesome. Generico sees Ryan free – KOBASHIPLEX! Lost catches the YAKUZAAAAAAAAAAAA KIIIIIIICK! Lost is left open for the FLUX CAPACITOR! Reyes makes the save. Generico wants the brainbuster but Reyes traps him in the dragon sleeper. Reyes takes offence and POWERBOMBS Jack and hauls him up for Davey to add in a DOUBLE TEAM LUNGBLOWER! SUPER DRAGON IN….LARIATOOOOOOOOOOOO! Davey elbows out of the Psycho Driver into a DRAGON SUPLEX…for 2. Davey wants the SSP but Dragon moves. PSYCHO DRIVER, NOOO LOST HOLDS THE LEG, BUT JACK EVANS MOONSAULTS OFF DAVEY’S BACK TO LEVEL HIM!!! PSYCHO DRIVER!!!!! ONE, TWO, THREE!!! ****. Wonderful spotfest executed to perfection.

BOLA FINALS – Chris Bosh v AJ Styles

Bosh attacks ahead of the introductions, which further wrecks the importance of this tournament. Bosh is all out to win though and his assault is vicious and aims to end this before AJ can even get going. AJ has a bad wheel already, which leaves Bosh in an easy win position. He just needs to slap a submission hold on there. AJ comes right back and starts hitting moves like there’s nothing wrong. Oh dear. The psychology in this one should have been SO simple. As if the match isn’t lacking enough drama Bosh chooses an inappropriate moment to break out the Lioncock. That’s strictly comedy or cheating and this wasn’t really the time or place. AJ goes up for the Spiral Tap but Bosh gets knees up. Steiner Screwdriver gets 2 but a second one finishes. ¼*. Worst match of the tournament. Really not how I’d have booked it. If it’s a short match then make a short one that makes sense.

POST MATCH Chris Bosh totally wins me over with a verbatim rip-off of the Austin 3:16 speech at King of the Ring ’96. AJ has a spaz because he takes his religion seriously, which is obviously why he followed Jesus’ example by assaulting an injured man earlier in the tournament.

SHILL - Before leaving the scene gentle reader please follow the following link to Slamdance to read about forthcoming movie release CITY RATS that screens at Slamdance next week. It was written by a friend of mine and is getting some serious early love from the critics! Check it out.

The 411: It’s a tough call on this one. The tournament is a wash. If they wanted to put Bosh over then just have him beat Steen during the tournament. The pushing of Bosh for the win and more so Quicksilver into the semi’s makes the tournament weak. Danielson kept the other half of the draw interesting but he wasn’t taking it seriously either. Not the best of starts for the prestigious BOLA but the TPI was far worse to begin with so maybe it’s not such a bad sign. On the upside Danielson is entertaining throughout and the 8-man spotfest is tremendous fun. The booking issues would get ironed out in time and future tournaments benefitted from an increased sense of realism. This really isn’t a good starting place to check out PWG though.
Final Score:  6.5   [ Average ]  legend


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