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check out the latest “Honor Nation”
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Pro Wrestling Guerrilla opened September with its annual Battle of Los Angeles tournament - one of the most prestigious tournaments on the Indy wrestling scene today. PWG returned the tournament to its original format of occurring over two nights. BOLA 2012 features tournament veterans and rookies alike trying to earn their spot as one of the best on the Indy scene in this sixteen-man tournament.
Will Joey Ryan repeat his 2010 success and win again? Can PWG World champion Kevin Steen prove he’s the best in the company by adding another notch to his championship reign? Will someone like Brian Cage, Drake Younger, or Willie Mack make a career in two nights? Most importantly, will the first night of PWG’s BOLA be Worth Your Money?
Battle of Los Angeles: Night 1
BOLA 1st Round match: Joey Ryan vs. TJ Perkins
Before the match, Ryan grabbed the microphone to ask the crowd who is going to win the tournament. Willie Mack had the crowd’s support, causing Ryan to say, “This isn’t ‘Tyler Perry Presents the Battle of Los Angeles’”. Ryan noted that his career started years ago today, and he’ll celebrate his career landmark by becoming the only two-time BOLA winner.
Ryan refused to lock up because he knew it wouldn’t end well. With his hands behind his back, Perkins actually out smarted Ryan by rolling him up after ducking and dodging attempted collar and … I guess collar tie-ups. Perkins swept Ryan into several holds that wrenched the shoulders and neck of Ryan to the enjoyment of the crowd. When Perkins tried to lure Ryan into the feign rope dive, Perkins switched gears by sliding between Ryan’s legs to lock him in a version of the sharpshooter. Ryan made it to the ropes, scurrying out of the ring where an elderly man waited to pull some of Ryan’s chest hair off. Seriously, the old man plucked Joey Ryan’s chest hair!
Distracted by this possible perverted man, Ryan was open for Perkins’ grip. Ryan was tossed into the ring, but caught Perkins coming in by kicking the rope into Perkins’ groin. Ryan was doing well until he was pantsed via a sunset flip. Leapfrog into the neck breaker by Perkins had both men rallying to their feet. The fans wanted Ryan to tap in the octopus stretch, but Ryan held on long enough to end up stuck in the tree of woe. Neither the hesitation dropkick nor the Liger Bomb could put Ryan away. Turning an Irish whip against Perkins, Ryan used a reverse exploder suplex to set up the spine buster for a two count.
Ryan lost track of TJ when the pace quickened, taking a springboard dropkick into the brain buster. When Perkins went for another springboard maneuver, Ryan speared him off the apron, into the front row! Perkins not only survived the spear, but also a super kick. Super kick-Detonation Kick combination by TJ put him into the quarterfinals of the tournament.
BOLA 1st Round match: Roderick Strong vs. Drake Younger
Though Strong has competed in seven BOLA tournaments, he hasn’t won yet. Feigning a handshake, Strong was able to unleash an onslaught that immediately dropped Younger. Younger was able to turn the tides by avoiding a running Strong, tossing him to the floor for a somersault off the top rope! Strong was rattled for sure, stuck in position for whatever Drake had in mind including a slam across the ringside chairs. Roderick tried to lure Younger into a chop exchange, but ended up taking a headbutt instead. Taking a page out of his old Gen Next partner Austin Aries’ book, Strong kicked the running Younger’s leg from underneath him to set up a soccer kick to the face!
Strong was in complete control after taking Drake Younger to the floor for a backbreaker against the steel ring post. Strong paid Younger back for the chair slam by giving him a taste of his own medicine. The fans were split down the middle before Younger rallied a comeback following the running bulldog. Olympic slam by Strong changed the tides immediately. Using a camel clutch, Strong tried to contort the face of Younger. Strong was looking for the flashback Sick Kick, but ended up taking a spine buster instead.
Falcon arrow by Young didn’t put Roderick Strong away, nor did the brain buster. Strong showed his tenacity by hitting the half nelson backbreaker after taking a pair of boots to the face. Younger somehow kicked out of the Fiji bomb, only to get locked in the Stronghold. Younger not only rallied to his feet, but started suplexing Strong on his head. The fans were thoroughly into this one as both men fought on the apron. Tossing Younger, Roderick sent Drake back first across the top turnbuckle … for a two count!
Rolling elbow-gut-buster-Gibson Driver combo by Strong ended the inspirational night of Drake Younger.
BOLA 1st Round match: Eddie Edwards vs. Kyle O’Reilly
O’Reilly’s ribs were tapped up. Stern collar & elbow tied up ended clean when they tumbled into the ropes. Both men were going hold for hold with neither gaining a solid advantage in the early going. In a great show of neck strength, both men ended up leg locked in a handstand position, throwing hands! Edwards shrugged off O’Reilly’s kicks, leading to a forearm exchange that Edwards used to chop Kyle in position for a face buster-shining wizard combo to gain a two count. The Eddie Edwards’ Strike Special and a follow up belly to back face buster didn’t put O’Reilly down. Both men were looking to knock the other out. And without warning, Eddie slipped in the Achilles Lock for a near submission.
O’Reilly recovered, catching Eddie with a roundhouse kick that left Eddie rocked and open for a Regal-plex that almost ended Edwards’ night. O’Reilly spent too much time trying to recover and mock Edwards, giving Eddie the chance to counter O’Reilly’s strikes with a super kick. Super kick by O’Reilly started a big boot exchange that ended with a sick clothesline from Eddie that turned O’Reilly inside out.
As announcer for this match, Davey Richards noted that the referee looked like Butt-Head from “Beavis & Butt-Head”, O’Reilly hit a tornado DDT that he used to put Eddie in a guillotine choke. Eddie not only survived the submission, but also yanked Kyle into the Achilles Lock. Instead of just wrenching on the hold, Eddie started stomping O’Reilly’s head until O’Reilly was out cold. The referee had no choice but to stop the match in favor of Eddie Edwards.
BOLA 1st Round match: Brian Cage vs. B-Boy
Cage easily shoved and pushed Boy around the ring. Instead of playing into Cage’s strengths, Boy clobbered him with a sick forearm. Cage, though rocked, countered a forearm with a forearm of his own. Cage slowed down this match by hip tossing Boy into a side headlock that got the crowd behind B-Boy. Starting to fire himself up, Boy dropped Cage face first against the middle turnbuckle to set up that running dropkick in the corner. Using a snap mare to position Cage for a double stomp on the back of his head didn’t help him since Cage left the ring. So Boy jumped off the apron to double stomp Cage’s fleeing body again.
Putting Cage back in the ring, B-Boy tied Brian Cage up like a pretzel. When Cage powered himself and B-Boy off the mat, Boy executed a face buster to gain a two count. Boy hit the ropes for some momentum, but ran into a backbreaker-neck breaker combo. Brian Cage hoisted Boy over the top rope from the apron to superplex B-Boy … for a near fall!
Cage used a hotshot to hit a pumphandle crucifix driver that was good for another two count. Somehow, B-Boy yanked Cage into a triangle choke topped off by some elbows. Powering B-Boy up, Cage saved himself with the perpendicular backbreaker. Using the momentum of and Irish whip against Cage, B-Boy hit the tornado DDT for a two count of his own. Motioning that the end was nigh, Boy ran into a German suplex that actually set up a springboard double jump moonsault … that missed!
Shining wizard after the straightjacket suplex didn’t help B-Boy win either. B-Boy led a forearm exchange that he used to set up a small package off the eye poke. Blocking a second shining wizard, Cage hit Weapon X to advance in the tournament.
BOLA 1st Round match: PWG World champion Kevin Steen vs. Ricochet
Ricochet immediately worked around Steen, stomping on the champ’s hand. To counter an arm bar, Steen poked his opponent in the eyes. Shoulder block to Ricochet saw Ricochet nip to his feet immediately. On the third instance, Ricochet spit in Steen’s face. Infuriated, Steen power bombed Ricochet to the floor. When Ricochet tried to chop his way out of the bad situation, Steen raked his face. Ricochet stopped the apron power bomb, executing a corkscrew plancha that saw him actually land on his feet on a chair!
When Ricochet rolled Steen back in, Ricochet was on fire. Instead of hitting a corkscrew moonsault, he took a senton splash to the back. Biting the ears and fingers of Ricochet didn’t help Steen much, but stopping the handspring bulldog did as Steen tossed him position for the cannonball. Some more biting from Steen didn’t hinder Ricochet too much. Springboard Meteora out of nowhere from Ricochet finally dropped Steen. Ricochet was on fire; hitting a standing shooting star press for another two count.
Ricochet missed another shooting star, but landed on his feet. Sadly for Ricochet, he was sleeper suplexed on his head. Backslide driver by Ricochet countered the F-Cinq to gain Ricochet another two count. Using the sit-out power bomb to counter a back flip on Ricochet put Ricochet in position for the moonsault. Instead Steen was yanked off the ropes in position for a rolling back kick to the head. Ricochet missed his follow up 630 splash, but not the half nelson suplex to counter a Package Piledriver.
Brian Cage came out to attack Steen like he did at a previous event, only to take a Package Piledriver. When Steen got up, he took the reverse hurricarana. Phoenix splash connected on Steen … for the pin fall victory! The champ has been pinned and eliminated from the tournament.
After the match, Steen grabbed the microphone to tell Brian Cage that a prison beating-rape is coming his way.
BOLA 1st Round match: Willie Mack vs. Sami Callihan
Stern collar & elbow tie up led to Callihan slapping Willie. Intense push sent Callihan to the floor for a tope from Mack. Both men missed attacks that sent their arms against the steel ring post. Exploder suplex by Sami slammed Mack across the ringside chairs. When Mack reentered the ring, he was stuck in Callihan’s clutches. Mack eventually stopped Sami’s scaling the ropes, exploder superplexing Callihan across the ring!
A forearm-big boot exchange broke loose until Callihan ran into the Samoan drop-standing moonsault combo. Both men suddenly threw bicycle kicks. Sadly for Willie, Sami got the better of the exchange, hitting a running big boot in the corner. Sami took too much time playing to the crowd, getting caught in a flapjack forearm to the back of his head. Willie tied Callihan in the ropes for a rope-assisted lung blower that almost got him the win.
Willie took a horrible fall when Callihan caught him on the top rope. Mack’s legs were killing him after the fall, but he refused to submit in the stretch muffler. Neither a Saito suplex nor the huge lariat by Sami got him a three count. Actually, Willie kicked out a one! It would take three consecutive lariats for Callihan to finally put Willie away.
BOLA 1st Round match: El Generico vs. Adam Cole
Adam Cole shockingly attacked Generico from behind during the in-ring intros, bringing an, “Evil Adam!” chant. As Steen cursed out Generico on commentary, the masked man turned things around with some right hands. Leg lariat by Generico almost got him a two count. Luring Cole to the floor actually proved ineffective for Generico as Cole stopped Generico’s tope with a kick to the head. Cole grounded Generico, hoping to make him submit. When Cole brought Generico to his feet, he executed an inverted atomic drop-over the knee neck breaker combo.
Generico gained some momentum following an Irish whip, back dropping Cole in position for the blue thunder bomb for a two count. The Michinoku driver for Generico garnered the same result for Generico. Cole stopped the springboard DDT by tripping Generico into a German superplex! Over the knee brain buster somehow didn’t put El Generico away!
Generico stopped Cole on the top rope, but took a hotshot for his trouble. Panama Sunrise didn’t work, but a simple small package did when he avoided the Brain Buster following the yakuza kick to eliminate last year’s winner!
BOLA 1st Round match: Davey Richards vs. Michael Elgin
Elgin easily hip tossed Richards to stop Richards’ waist lock. The same thing happened following a wristlock when Elgin popped Davey in the mouth. Elgin easily powered and cartwheeled his way out of a wristlock to shoulder block Davey to the floor. Using Elgin’s anger against him, Richards lured Elgin into a shoulder block exchange that ended with Richards looking for a dropkick. Instead, “Unbreakable” power slammed him. Richards was unable to stop the minute long delay vertical suplex. The former PWG World champion kicked Elgin to the floor for that running kick off the apron to set up a tope that ended with Richards taking a seat in the front row.
Richards rolled Elgin into the ring, tying him up in that hammerlock Texas cloverleaf. Elgin got free, but was dropped seconds later. The handspring enzuguri didn’t pay off for “The American Wolf” as Elgin caught Richards across his shoulders for the shock drop! Both men stumbled to their feet, with Elgin German suplexing Richards over and over again. Wheelbarrow suplex by Elgin sent Richards into the turnbuckles. Somehow, Richards fired back with kicks after kneeing his way out of another suplex. Elgin refused to take those kicks without firing back with a huge clothesline that actually almost ended Richards’ night.
The crowd rallied behind both men. Punching his way out of the power bomb, Richards double stomped Elgin’s massive chest. Michael Elgin was missile dropkicked into the Ankle Lock. Muscling his way to the ropes saved “Unbreakable”. Richards started throwing some more kicks that actually fired Elgin up. We had a Kawada-knee strike exchange breaking loose until Elgin suplexed Richards into the sidewalk slam. Sadly for Elgin, he was too exhausted to capitalize. Both men rolled onto the apron, with Richards exploder suplexing Elgin across the apron for a double stomp that gained him a two count. Elgin refused to be denied, spitting in Richards’ face when Davey Richards started unleashing kick after kick. The fans begged for Elgin to either tap or not. Elgin used the ropes to kick Richards into a cradle Curtain Call … for a two count!
Elgin scaled the ropes as the fans chanted for both men. Tumbleweed missed for Elgin, giving “The American Wolf” a chance to execute the flying forearm-running knee combo. Elgin stopped Davey’s superplex to hit a super air raid crash! Richards kicked out of the follow up pin, only to take a tumbleweed seconds later for another two count! Davey Richards rolled out of the power bomb attempt, looking for that Ankle Lock. Instead, Richards ran into a knee to the jaw. Turnbuckle bomb-Spiral Bomb combination by Elgin connected … to give Michael Elgin the three count!
Elgin grabbed the microphone to tell Richards that he’s the toughest man he’s ever faced. Richards asked Elgin to win the tournament.
Is It Worth Your Money: Now that’s how you kick off a two-day tournament! Seriously, there are so many good things to write about this show, but all can be easily summed up in one word - awesome. The main event that was close to, if not as good as Richards-Elgin from Ring of Honor’s “Showdown in the Sun: Day Two”. The only thing lacking was a hot crowd throughout. But Elgin and Richards did a wonderful job getting the fans on their feet during the last ten or so minutes unlike any other match during the show; just a wonderful match. The rest of the show varied from good (the opener and Cage-B-Boy) to great (Callihan-Mack, Edwards-O’Reilly, Cole-Generico) to fantastic (Younger-Strong and Ricochet-Steen). There’s not a bad match on the show, and we still have another day action to complete the tournament. If they can keep the momentum up, PWG has two Show of the Year candidates.
PWG “Battle of Los Angeles: Night One” Is Worth Your Money.