Progress Chapter 79: One Big Neck With Sausage Hands Review

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Results + Star Ratings:

  • Jordan Devlin defeats Mark Andrews @11:17 ***1/2
  • Laura Dimatteo and Jinny defeats Nina Samuels and Charlie Morgan @9:20 **
  • Drew Parker vs. Jimmy Havoc Never Starts due to brawling before the bell
  • Jordynne Grace defeats Isla Dawn @8:03 ***1/4
  • Trent Seven defeats Kyle Fletcher to retain the Atlas Title @18:46 ****1/2
  • Anti-Fun Police defeat Team Tremendous @13:57 ***
  • Eddie Dennis defeats Mark Haskins @15:56 ***3/4

Jordan Devlin vs. Mark Andrews:

  • Crowd firmly behind the Finn Balor trainee Jordan Devlin.
  • Roll up battle between the two goes on for a bit and begins the momentum 2 minutes in and the 2 flip out to stare at each other. The match is on. 
  • Handshake but Devlin pulls Mandrews in and hits an uranage for a near fall, Devlin is a very solid heel. 
  • Devlin grabs in a Surfboard Lock and transitions it into a rollup for a near fall. 
  • Both are prominent in NXT UK.
  • Mandrews ducks under Devlin and hits a uranage, Mandrews goes for a springboard wheelbarrow but Jordan catches him with a German Suplex to stop the sequence of high flying moves. 
  • Wheelbarrow Facebuster hits by Andrews for a near fall. 
  • Northern Lights Suplex rolled into a Standing Moonsault by Mandrews but Devlin gets the knees up to evade it. 
  • Corkscrew Cutter by Devlin hits in the corner for another near fall. 
  • Stundog Millionaire into a Shooting Star Press attempt by Andrews but Devlin catches him on the top rope with an enzugiri, Mandrews hits a great avalanche frankensteiner for a great near fall. 
  • Superkick by Devlin followed up by a Saito Suplex goes for a near fall. Devlin finishes it with the Last Call Powerslam.

Winner: Jordan Devlin @11:17

Rating: ***1/2, This was a solid academic high-flying match between two men at the top of the UK game. Devlin is on a roll coming off his banger against Chris Ridgeway at Chapter 78 and is beginning to pick up major victories. Mandrews is on a downward spiral picking up loss after loss eventually leading to a breaking point storyline. The match itself here was nothing special but it was worked well and mixed technical and high-flying skills together decently well. 

Charlie Morgan and Nina Samuels vs. Laura Dimatteo and Jinny:

  • Most of Progress’ women’s division is wrapped up in this faction warfare feud that comes across as lazy booking. 
  • The match starts with a brawl. Jinny gets chucked into a pile of chairs from Morgan.
  • Running Huricanrana by Jinny takes Samuels down and follows it up with a corner dropkick for the first near fall.
  • Guillotine Choke by Jinny but Samuels deadlifts out into a vertical suplex to open up tags. 
  • Hot tag by Morgan. Swanton Bomb by Morgan for a near fall on Dimatteo. 
  • Tornado DDT by Dimatteo begins a sequence of big moves from all 4 ending with a Tilt-A-Whirl backbreaker by Samuels to Jinny and all are laid out. 
  • Double strikefest, DDT by Morgan on Dimatteo but Jinny makes a near fall save. 
  • Jinny makes a blind tag and hits a ripcord wheelbarrow kick to pin Samuels. 

Winners: Laura Dimatteo and Jinny @9:20

Rating: **, The lazy “lets put most of the women into one poorly booked feud” continues. This match wasn’t worked very cleanly and the faces didn’t put in a strong performance at all. The ending was awkward but the middle portion was okay and had a solid pace. Not much to say about this one, hopefully, Grace vs. Dawn delivers a good women’s wrestling match later in the show. 

Drew Parker vs. Jimmy Havoc:

  • Parker cost Jimmy Havoc a shot at the World Title at Chapter 78.
  • Acid Rainmaker by Havoc lays out Parker before the match even starts. 
  • Havoc grabs his ax but Spike Tremaine comes out to save Drew Parker. Chuck Mambo and William Eaver save Havoc from attack. Eaver takes out Havoc to turn heel. Chuck Mambo also turns heel by attacking Havoc and a 4-1 attack ensues. 
  • The match never starts.

Winner: Match Never Happens @0:00

Isla Dawn vs. Jordynne Grace:

  • Originally scheduled to be a Triple Threat with Millie Mackenzie but Mac is injured. 
  • Dawn keeps herself in control by continually kicking Grace down. Grace gets herself some space by hitting a Spinebuster.
  • Powerslam by Grace drops Dawn on her head and gets a near fall. 
  • Clothesline sequence by Grace but Dawn boots her off and hits a Saito suplex with a great show of strength.
  • Roll up sequence into a Half N Half suplex by Dawn for a near fall.
  • Double Knees in the corner followed up by a hard sliding elbow by Grace capped off with a Vader Bomb. Bearhug by Grace locked in and taps out Dawn.

Winner: Jordynne Grace @8:03 

Rating: ***1/4, A very good debut one-on-one in Progress for Grace and Dawn is intense and sells everything greatly like always. The match never really kicked into another gear but was a fun little women’s match that delivers something of note on a so far heavily lackluster show. The match was quick and not too much happened but it was fun while it lasted. 

Trent Seven Atlas Title Open Challenge:

  • Kyle Fletcher from Aussie Open is the challenger this time.
  • Mark Davis the other half of Aussie Open joins commentary.
  • Shoulder tackle sequence but Kyle Fletcher comes out on top.
  • Seven hits the Running Crossbody for a near fall calling back the move that retired Doug Williams in Wembley. 
  • Stiff chop by Seven makes Fletcher angry and he returns with a stiff chop of his own. Another hard chop by Seven and a final one by Seven knocks Kyle in the corner as Trent continues to strike away in the corner. Fletcher takes Seven down with a great springboard moonsault. 
  • Trent fake strikes out Kyle into a DDT and hits a series of moves into a Running Powerslam for a near fall. 
  • Figure 4 Leg Lock by Seven, Trent knocks him down with a chop. Kyle is nursing a knee injury coming into this match. Fletcher reverses the hold but Seven rolls the 2 to the ropes. 
  • Kyle and Trent fight on the apron, Seven hits a dragon suplex on the apron in a highlight spot.
  • Low Suicide Dive by Seven knocks Fletcher into chairs ringside, Fletcher runs back in the ring and dropkicks Seven off the apron. Tope Con Hiro off the top rope to ringside by Fletcher. “This is Progress” chants. 
  • German Suplex by Seven but Kyle runs and hits a Claymore Kick. Lawn Dart in the corner by Fletcher for a near fall.
  • Running Crossbody by Seven caught into a Michinoku Driver by Fletcher, a great spot for a near fall. 
  • Seven Starts Lariat by Trent for another near fall. Seven goes for the Burning Hammer but Fletcher takes out the injured leg of Seven to escape. Deadlift Sit-out Powerbomb by Fletcher goes for a great near fall. 
  • The 2 fight on the top rope, Insane super Dragon Suplex by Seven for an amazing near fall. 
  • Seven locks in a Figure 4 tapping out Kyle Fletcher. 

Winner: Trent Seven Retains @18:46!

Rating: ****1/2, This match spent almost the entire second half in top gear. These 2 pulled some insane tricks out of their sleeves and worked together very well. The Dragon Suplex off the top rope was crazy and Seven had his first legitimately challenging opponent 3 defenses in. The hard-hitting vs high-flying styles were present and these 2 turned a slow start into an incredible match. With NXT UK on the horizon, great Progress matches like these will become a rarity.

The Anti-Fun Police vs. Team Tremendous:

  • Team Tremendous is making their Progress debut. Dan Barry was in the really fun 10-man tag at PWG BOLA.
  • The huge Bill Carr and Santos stare down. Carr hits an insane huricanrana as a 300 pound plus dude flipping another 300 pounds plus dude.
  • Stiff chop in the corner by Carr, Santos walks it off but goes to hug his tag partner, no fun Dunne, who tags in. Carr chops Dunne in the corner and he screams and goes to tag in Santos who pulls out a finger gun, Barry takes the finger gun from Santos but Dunne comes back and takes the finger gun, Carr ends up with the finger gun and the referee takes it away. All 4 pul out finger guns, amazing comedy stuff. They “shoot” one of the crew members who sell like he died. 
  • Dan Barry hits a suicide dive taking out Santos ringside, Team Tremendous regroup ringside and big ass Santos hits a suicide dive taking them out. 
  • Sidewalk elbow by Anti-Fun Police gets a near fall on Barry. 
  • Carr comes in and throws Dunne around like a rag doll, Santos comes in but Carr catches him with a Deep Six.
  • Anti-Fun police regroup ringside, Barry hits a great tope con hiro. Carr hits a tope con hiro plancha wiping out the Police what a great move for a huge dude. 
  • Wheelbarrow kick by Santos knocks Carr ringside, Police work on Barry and Santos hits a Sit-out powerbomb but Carr rag dolls Dunne into the pin breaking it. 
  • Strikefest from all 4 ends with a stiff lariat by Carr taking out Santos. Carr catches Dunne mid-air with a jumping Deep Six. Amazing Doomsday Sliced Bread for a near fall save by Santos.
  • Big Ending by Santos takes out Carr, Santos catches Barry with a uranage, 619 by Dunne and a Wheelbarrow Codebreaker by the Police pin Barry. 

Winner: The Anti-Fun Police @13:57

Rating: ***, This match was really fun however the wrestling itself was weirdly worked and awkward at times. This was similar to the PWG 10-Man Tag which is one of the best tag matches this year, however, the only similarity was the comedy stuff and big men doing moves they shouldn’t be able to do the PWG match had a lot better in-ring work and was absolutely frantic in the closing stretches. This was a solid comedy match that dragged on too long. 

Eddie Dennis vs. Mark Haskins:

  • Both men have been on really good runs as of late, Haskins had a MOTY contender with Bate at Chapter 75, a great match with Riddle at Wembley and another great match against Walter at Chapter 78. Dennis beat Mandrews in a great TLC match as is the current #1 contender for the Progress title. 
  • Suicide Dive by Haskins knocks Dennis out ringside, Haskins follows it up with another suicide dive on the other side of the ring.
  • Running Leg Lariat by Haskins takes Dennis out who was set up on a chair ringside. 
  • Diving Double Stomp by Haskins misses, Uranage by Dennis lays out Mark. 
  • Dennis is working the neck of Haskins and maintains control in the middle portion of the match. 
  • Haskins tries to kick down the long legs of Dennis but hits a Dragon Screw Leg Whip to get back in the match. 
  • Crucifix Bomb into the corner by Dennis, Haskins fires back with a bicycle kicks but a stiff lariat by Dennis lays both out to end the mini-sequence. 
  • Strikefest, Dennis rolls up Haskins but Mark transitions into a Crossface, Dennis goes for the rope but Mark wrenches the hold. Eddie eventually grabs the rope.
  • Deadlift Deep Six by Dennis goes for a near fall. 
  • Crucifix bomb by Dennis gets rolled up by Haskins into a Landslide, great move sequence into a solid near fall. 
  • Deadlift Holding Superplex by Dennis into a successful Crucifix Bomb into the corner, Dennis hits a Next Stop Driver for an awesome near fall.
  • Sharpshooter by Haskins locked in, Dennis grabs the rope to escape. Haskins kicks Dennis and hits the Diving Double Stomp for a great near fall. 
  • Haskins goes for the Fujiwara but Dennis rolls it up to win. 

Winner: Eddie Dennis @15:56 

Rating: ***3/4, The match was a mediocre showcase of both men’s talents as they worked a pretty solid match together. The work was clean and the drama was high so there’s not much to complain about but this is yet another match on this show that hasn’t kicked into another gear. 

  • The newly formed faction of Chuck Mambo, William Eaver, Spike Tremaine, and Drew Parker attack both men after the match.

Travis Banks vs. David Starr:

  • The two brawl before the match, Banks cost Starr a match against Ilja Dragunov at Chapter 78.
  • Suicide dive by Starr wipes out Banks ringside. 
  • Banks fires back with a suicide dive of his own as the two continue to fight ringside. 
  • Travis Banks’ first Progress match since he lost the title to Walter a few months ago. 
  • Chopfest ringside ensues but Banks wins. Starr sets up back to back chairs. Banks hits a running PK off the apron so he can overhead suplex Starr through the set-up chairs. Great spot.
  • Strikefest in-ring gets intense with chops, Snapmare/PK combo by Starr takes Banks down but Travis fires back with a running knee to close the strike sequence. 
  • Snap German Suplex by Banks, near fall on the bridge. 
  • Stiff ass lariat by Starr knocks Banks out. 
  • Strikes from both men fire each other up, they both no sell german suplexes. They keep firing at each other but eventually both collapse to a standing ovation from the crowd. 
  • Rematch from PWG Neon Knights earlier this year which was a banger.
  • Shotgun dropkick by Banks into the corner, Travis hits a slingshot double stomp for a near fall. 
  • Banks locks in a sleeper, Starr plants Banks to escape and locks in a Crossface but Banks rolls him up to escape, Banks locks in his own crossface Starr deadlifts into a backbreaker to finally escape. 
  • Roll up sequence into a double stomp by Banks.
  • The 2 fight on the top rope but Starr falls, Diving Double stomp by Banks to the back of Starr for a near fall. 
  • Lariat by Starr catches Banks mid-air, Brainbuster over the knee by Starr for a near fall. 
  • Starr goes for his Han Stansen lariat but Banks catches him with an enzugiri to pick up an abrupt victory. 

Winner: Travis Banks @13:51

Rating: ****, Similar to their PWG encounter this match was a sprint with 2 men beating the crap out of each other. It was fun but not a Progress caliber main event and this show leaves me disappointed. 

Grade: C-

Last Word: This is my least favorite Progress show of the ones I’ve watched however Banks vs. Starr and Fletcher vs. Seven were quality. Progress has been on fire recently and takes a deserved break here, however, I believe NXT UK also plays a huge impact on this show being bad. WWE had picked up their biggest talents before this show leaving Progress in a moment of transition. It will be interesting to see how they write out the wrestlers leaving for the horrible big bad ‘E but Progress is currently in shambles but hopefully, Chapter 80 and 81 deliver next week. 

 

 

 

 

PWG Battle Of Los Angeles 2018 Finals Review

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Results + Star Ratings:

  • Trevor Lee defeats Brody King @14:17 to move on to the Semi-Finals ***1/4
  • Jeff Cobb defeats Rey Horus @9:05 to move on to the Semi-Finals ***1/2
  • Shingo Takagi defeats Robbie Eagles @10:05 to move on to the Semi-Finals ****1/2
  • Joey Janela defeats CIMA @14:25 to move on to the Semi-Finals ***1/2
  • Walter defeats Jonah Rock @5:21 to move on to the Semi-Finals ***
  • Bandido defeats Flamita @10:57 to move on to the Semi-Finals ****1/4
  • The Rascalz defeats The Lucha Bros @11:15 to retain the PWG Tag Team Titles ****3/4
  • Jeff Cobb defeats Trevor Lee @0:18 to move on to the Finals N/A
  • Bandido defeats Joey Janela @14:27 to move on to the Finals *****
  • Shingo Takagi defeats Walter @17:24 to move on to the Finals ****3/4
  • Team PCO defeats Team DJZ in the Consolation Tag Match @18:23 ****1/2
  • Jeff Cobb defeats Bandido and Shingo Takagi to win Battle of Los Angeles 2018 @23:52 *****

Brody King vs. Trevor Lee Second Round:

  • Pre-Match heel promo from Trevor Lee, Lee calls out King for being a stereotypical atheist and Trevor calls himself the “God of PWG”. King attacks Lee starting the match. 
  • King lariats Lee to the outside and follows it up with a suicide dive attempt but Lee dodges, King comes to ringside to attack Trevor. King hits a chop to Trevor on a chair and then against the post. They fight deeper into the crowd but they come back and King hits the post chop again but misses sending his hand into the steel. 
  • Chokeslam by King sends Lee into the apron. 
  • Lee hits 4 apron Penalty Kicks followed by a cannonball to King ringside. 
  • Stiff chops in the corner by Lee, King fights back with strikes of his own but Lee catches him with a dropkick and continues to dominate. 
  • Huricanrana attempt by King reversed into a powerbomb by Lee and Trevor continues to control the match. 
  • Stiff big boot by King begins the comeback sequence, King hits a huricanrana into a cannonball to Lee set up against the ropes for the first near fall.
  • Lee bridges King to outside to try the dive but King rolls back in, Trevor adjusts and hits a moonsault to a standing Brody, near fall. Lee gets up and hits a Running PK for another near fall.
  • Strike sequence into a lariat by King flipping Lee gets a near fall.
  • Standing Double Stomp by Lee, very near fall. Lee inadvertently over-covers King getting Brody’s shoulder up.
  • Brainbuster by King followed into a Deep Six for a near fall. 
  • King seems to have a little bit of a back injury gained in his first round brawl against PCO.
  • While the referee is distracted, Lee hits a low blow and rolls up King for a great near fall. 
  • King goes for a running crossbody but Lee flips through into a pin getting the win and advancing. 

Winner: Trevor Lee Moves On! @14:17

Rating: ***1/4, This was a pretty solid brawl but suffered from King showing some effects from his banger against PCO leading to the match being worked slower and King lacking the fire and agility he always has. Trevor Lee was great though and carried most of the match. The end got very competitive and King began to fire up until Lee eventually beat him with the smart flip through finish. 

Rey Horus vs. Jeff Cobb Second Round Match:

  • A pop-up by Cobb reversed into a huricanrana by Horus, Rey begins the momentum. 
  • Guillotine Leg Drop by Horus for the first near fall.
  • Cobb pops-up Horus and follows it up with a huge lariat.
  • Jeff beals Horus from corner to corner, follows it up with a stiff chop and beals Horus again for a near fall. 
  • Fallaway Slam/Standing Moonsault combo by Cobb for another near fall. 
  • Cobb catches Horus off the Swinging DDT and hits an Elevated F5, solid reversal spot.
  • Horus dodges Cobb sending him into the post, Springboard Dropkick by Horus sends Cobb to ringside. Springboard Plancha to the outside by Horus, Horus rolls Cobb in-ring for a near fall. 
  • Pop-Up by Cobb reversed into a Tornado DDT by Horus for another near fall. 
  • Swanton Bomb by Horus misses, Cobb catches a Tornado DDT attempt and hits the Tour of the Islands Slam to win and advance. 

Winner: Jeff Cobb Moves On @9:05!

Rating: ***1/2, This was a really fun sprint and was one of the shortest matches on the entire BOLA card but that wasn’t an issue. Jeff Cobb continues to do a great job as the hulking olympian and Horus did an amazing job of being the underdog luchador but eventually failing, The pace was worked very well and while it was nothing revolutionary it was a solidly good use of 10 minutes. 

Shingo Takagi vs. Robbie Eagles Second Round Match:

  • Eagles takes Shingo off the apron and hits a Tope Con Hilo through the ropes to Takagi outside.
  • A little bit of crowd fighting, Robbie sends Shingo into the post but Takagi ducks a kick sending Eagles’ leg into the post. 
  • Dragon Screw over the middle rope by Takagi and Shingo continues to work the leg. 
  • Strikefest, Shingo punches Robbie to the outside but Eagles rebounds and hits a leg lariat, Double knees in the corner by Eagles.
  • Standing Sliced Bread by Eagles for the first near fall. 
  • Diving 450 by Robbie misses, Shingo follows it up with a Dragon Screw again targeting the leg. 
  • Shingo goes for the Figure 4 but Robbie kicks him away, Takagi returns with a sliding lariat for a near fall.
  • Landslide by Eagles for another near fall.
  • Eagles tries to lariat Shingo down but Takagi catches him with a Death Valley Driver.
  • Made in Japan attempt fails, Leg Lariat attempt by Eagles misses and the Made in Japan hits for Shingo and an awesome near fall. Takagi comes back with a huge lariat for another awesome near fall. Standing Ovation from the crowd. 
  • Avalanche huricanrana by Eagles, Robbie follows it up with a 450 Splash but can’t immediately capitalize due to the knee and Takagi escapes a near fall. 
  • Great strikefest into a Pop-Up powerbomb by Takagi, near fall. Shingo transitions into an STF tapping out Eagles.

Winner: Shingo Takagi Moves On @10:05!

Rating: ****1/2, Another amazing match in BOLA from Takagi. These 2 flew at each other for 10 minutes and delivered one of the top matches from the tournament. While Eagles took a step up here in facing a legitimate heavyweight while he was still a high flyer the dynamic worked really well and the pace kept up the entire time. Eagles delivered a performance of a lifetime and Shingo did a great job of working the leg and taking offense from Eagles. My one complaint about this match was that Eagles kept doing things with the injured leg he shouldn’t have been able to do like kick Tagaki with a step-up enzugiri or run around at 100 MPH like he did, I guess it isn’t really PWG’s style to go into full effect in selling an injury so that was just a minor gripe. 

CIMA vs Joey Janela Second Round Match:

  • The crowd is behind Joey Janela.
  • Slower more technical start.
  • Double knees in the corner by CIMA, CIMA hits a diving double knee to the back of Janela drapes against the ropes for the first near fall.
  • Janela throws CIMA to the outside and runs at him with a Diving Elbow off the apron. 
  • A little bit of submission wrestling but CIMA locks in an Indian Deathlock and Joey gets the ropes.
  • Diving Stomp by CIMA followed by a knee drop gets a near fall on Janela. 
  • Chop battle into an elbow strike by Joey knocking CIMA outside, Janela hits a great diving crossbody from the top rope to the outside wiping out CIMA. In-ring, Diving Stomp by Janela for a near fall. 
  • 2 Inverted Fisherman Busters hit by CIMA for another near fall. 
  • Meteora by CIMA hits off all the bottom and middle turnbuckles but Janela dodges the top rope Meteora. 
  • Super Fisherman Buster by CIMA followed up with a successful top rope Meteora for an awesome near fall. 
  • Superkick by Janela wins the match. 

Winner: Joey Janela Moves On @14:25!

Rating: ***1/2, This was a weird match up as it was a Japanese legend versus a dastardly American bad boy. The match started slow and felt like nothing happened in the first 5 minutes but eventually, it looked like they figured each other out and got it together for a great closing sequence. The match was worked at one of the slowest paces of the weekend but it just felt all the better when it picked up. The Super Brainbuster/ Meteora combo by CIMA that got an awesome near fall made me invested to the fact that either of these guys could’ve won. Unfortunately, it was given a bit of a dead spot after the awesome Eagles vs. Takagi match and the crowd only got into it for the final moments of the match. Joey Janela advances and I’m excited to see what else the bad boy can do in this tournament. 

Walter vs. Jonah Rock Second Round Match:

  • Jonah Rock attacks Walter before he can get in the ring and Rock continues to fight with Walter in the crowd but Walter fights back. Rock spears Walter into the post and rolls back in-ring. 
  • Superplex by Walter lays both out and the match is officially started.
  • Big Boot/Stiff Lariat combo by Walter lays out Rock. 
  • Strikefest but Walter wins with a brutal chop. 
  • DDT by Rock to escape the Sleeper Hold attempt from Walter gets the first near fall.
  • Bodyslam by Walter followed up with a Bonsai Drop gets a near fall. Samoan Drop by Rock knocks Walter down.
  • Uranage/Senton/Brainbuster combo by Rock gets another near fall. 
  • Rock goes for a moonsault by Walter rips him off the middle rope with a German Suplex. 
  • Rock goes Roman Reigns and hits a Superman Punch and tries a spear but Walter hits him with a big boot to stop it. 
  • Walter hits a Sleeper Hold to weaken Rock and transitions into a powerbomb for the win. 

Winner: Walter Moves On @5:24!

Rating: ***, I was really excited for this match as it should’ve been 2 Super Heavyweight clubbing the shit out of each other. Instead, it was a little bit of brawling and a quick win by Walter. Rock got some offense in but neither men had the opportunity to shine in a match that should’ve been a Match of the Tournament Contender. 

Flamita vs. Bandido Second Round Match:

  • This should be an absolute lucha classic. Two tag team partners who have had amazing years should tear this house down. 
  • The crowd is very excited before the match even starts.
  • Show of respect in a hug before the match. 
  • Bandido isn’t taken down by a shoulder block and flosses, Flamita flosses as well. Fortnite is quite a game, isn’t it? The referee flosses too and gets a huge pop.
  • Double big boots take both men down.
  • Both men springboard to each other from different sides of the ring and go into a stare down. 
  • Tilt-A-Whirl huricanrana by Flamita reversed the Angle Slam attempt by Bandido. 
  • Chop Battle on the apron, Flamita hits a DDT on the apron. Amazing Shooting Star Press off the apron by Flamita taking out Bandido ringside. 
  • Bandido dropkicks Flamita off the apron and follows it up with a super elevated Tope Con Hiro. 
  • Flamita catches Bandido in mid-air with a dropkick for a near fall. 
  • Great sequence in the corner into a Muscle Buster Lung Blower by Flamita for another near fall. 
  • Tilt-A-Whirl Piledriver by Bandido but Flamita hops back up and hits a Shining Wizard Kick to take both out. 
  • Fast chopfest, Flamita rocks Bandido with a right hand. Superkick by Flamita. Standing Spanish Fly also by Flamita for a near fall. 
  • Tiger Driver by Flamita knocks Bandido down for the 450 Splash by Flamita getting another near fall on Bandido. 
  • Inverted GTS/Sit-out Powerbomb combo by Bandido for a near fall.
  • Bandido attempts to hit a Tilt-A-Whirl but Flamita catches him with a German Suplex and gets a very near fall. 
  • Pop-Up Mid-Kick by Bandido followed up with a Springboard German Suplex for the win. 

Winner: Bandido Moves On @10:57

Rating: ****1/4, While there is a tad bit of disappointment that these two didn’t go absolutely crazy this match was still very fun. These 2 are some of the best luchadores in the world currently and maybe all-time and they can work a very fast pace while hitting insane moves very cleanly. The crowd energy was off the charts and I was fully ready for a five-star match and while I didn’t get that the product was very entertaining. These 2 did some moves I’ve never seen before like Bandido’s insane Tilt-A-Whirl Piledriver or Flamita’s Muscle Buster Lung Blower. The Springboard Staredown was also an awesome moment and this was a showcase on how far Lucha Wrestling has come. 

The Rascalz vs. The Lucha Brothers (Pentagon Jr and Fenix) for the PWG Tag Team Titles:

  • Rascalz took the masks of Feniz and Penta and are mocking their ring entrances.
  • Xavier and Pentagon start the match.
  • The mocking from Rascalz continue through the opening stages of the match and is great comedy stuff. 
  • Stiff chop by Penta after he takes off the glove, Xaver takes off his glove and returns the favor. 
  • Another Lucha Showcase on our hands. 
  • Slingblade by Penta, Xavier returns the favor with one of his own. Double Cero Miedo taunts and both men tag the wrong person confused on who’s who. This is great. 
  • Fenix Wents and the actual Fenix face off. 
  • Great sequence from Fenix and Wentz trying each other’s moves with Wentz hitting Fenix’s signature Hopscotch Huricanrana. 
  • The Lucha Bros unmask Wentz and Xavier so the games finally stop.
  • Stereo Superkicks by The Rascalz send the Lucha Bros ringside for stereo suicide dives, Lucha Bros come back in to hit Stereo Tope con Hiros. 
  • Great Sequence of kicks from all 4 men all get taken down. 
  • Corner Dropkick by Wentz to Fenix sends him all the way to ringside. 
  • Tandem Stomp Combination by The Rascalz to Penta gets a near fall. 
  • Great Rebound Roundhouse/Superkick Combo by The Lucha Bros into the Wheelbarrow Splash getting a near fall.
  • Diving Stomp/Powerbomb Combo by the Lucha Bros, near fall on Xavier. 
  • Amazing Backspring Elbow attempt by Xavier caught with a Superkick by Fenix, Wentz hits a cutter on Fenix, Penta hits a Canadian Destroyer on Wentz. Awesome Sequence.
  • 619 around the post by Xavier to Penta.
  • Diving Stomp/Package Piledriver combo on the apron by the Lucha Bros to Wentz. In-ring the same move hits on Xavier and Fenix hits a suicide dive to Wentz ringside to stop him from making the save. Amazing near fall. 
  • Swanton Bomb/Sky Twister by Rascalz to Penta, Fenix comes into make the save but Xavier moves out of the way and Fenix hits a Swanton accidentally to Pentagon. 
  • Assisted Moonsault by The Rascalz to Fenix closes the match.

Winners: The Rascalz Retain @11:15!

Rating: ****3/4, This was almost what I expected Flamita vs. Bandido to be. An absolute lucha classic. These guys flew around the ring and hit insane spots like I expected them to. Sometimes it is hard to be shocked at these guys doing INSANE things when the Stronghearts vs. Horus, Flamita, and Bandido main event of Night 2 resembled this match. However, The Diving Stomp Piledriver on the apron by the Lucha Bros is one of the most brutal tag moves I’ve ever seen. Also, The Rascalz pretending to be Penta and Fenix in the early stages was hilarious. Of the 3 DVD’s this match is in my Top 3 favorite matches so far. It was just all around good time and it was also really hard again to take notes on because these guys were always doing something crazy. 

Jeff Cobb vs. Trevor Lee Semi-Final Match:

  • Trevor Lee tries to deliver another pre-match promo but Cobb stops him with a series of suplexes.
  • Tour of the Islands by Cobb puts Trevor Lee away in under 20 seconds advancing Jeff to the finals.

Winner: Jeff Cobb Moves to the Finals @0:18

Rating: N/A, Jeff Cobb is positioned as an unbeatable monster going into the finals and Trevor Lee gets his mouth shut after trash talking his way through the tournament. Good stuff even though there was no match. Cobb puts away one of the favorites to win the tournament and PWG shocks the audience in attendance. 

Bandido vs. Joey Janela Semi-Final Match:

  • Both had amazing showings at All In, the same month that BOLA happened. 
  • Handshake showing respect before the match gets going. 
  • Great mini-sequence from the 2 but Janela shuts it down after rocking Bandido with a stiff jab.
  • Handstand by Bandido to escape a lariat but Janela superkicks him down. Snap Suplex by Joey follows for the first near fall. 
  • Crossbody by Bandido to Janela against the ropes sends him ringside, Bandido fires at him with a suicide dive.
  • Amazing Corkscrew Dive by Bandido takes out Janela set up on a chair ringside.
  • Strikefest on the apron, Janela hits a Death Valley Driver on the apron and follows it up with an Inverted DDT on the apron. Bandido took rough landings on both. In-ring, Janela goes for a pin but gets a near fall. 
  • Amazing Diving Tornado by Bandido for a near fall.
  • Super Brainbuster by Janela gets a great near fall on Dido. 
  • Janela brings in a chair, Janela sets Bandido up on the chair but Bandido superkicks him back. Bandido hits an awesome springboard German Suplex into the chair, one of my favorite spots of the year and gets another great near fall almost putting Janela away. 
  • Joey dodges Bandido flying from the top but catches him on the ground with a superkick, near fall. Janela superkicks Bandido again but Bandido kicks out at on and fires up. 
  • Deadlift Piledriver by Bandido gets yet another great near fall. 
  • More chairs brought in the ring by Bandido, and fans help Bandido make a pile of chairs. Superkick by Janela sends Bandido into the pile of chairs.
  • Janela sets up a chair bridge, they fight on the top rope above the bridge but Bandido gets the upper hand. Amazing Backflipping Fallaway Slam off the top rope by Bandido sends Janela into the chair bridge and closes the match. 

Winner: Bandido Moves on the Finals @14:27!

Rating: *****, This was insane and one of the most fun matches I’ve ever seen. These dudes went crazy and the extreme American style mixed perfectly with the insane lucha libre of Bandido. The match involved spots that I would never think of and Excalibur on commentary sold each near fall like crazy. I was really invested in who would win while being absolutely shocked at what they were able to pull off. Without a shadow of a doubt, this is my favorite match from this year’s tournament as it wasn’t just Lucha Flips or Hard Bumps but it was an investing encounter with the crowd hot as hell. 

Shingo Takagi vs. Walter Semi-Final Match:

  • This will be hard-hitting, to say the least.
  • Shoulder tackle battle but Walter tries to grab in the sleeper but Takagi breaks free, Big boot by Walter knocks down Takagi.
  • Stuff chop by Shingo but Walter escapes a counter strike and hits a shoulder block to finally take Walter off his feet.
  • 4 consecutive elbow drops all from different heights by Takagi ending with one of the top rope for the first near fall.
  • Strikefest, Walter sends Takagi to ringside. A brawl ensues ringside, Walter hits a big backdrop sending Takagi into the apron. Walter rolls Takagi in the ring for a near fall. 
  • Walter stands on the neck of Takagi over the top rope sending Takagi down to the apron, Walter is beginning to dominate this match. 
  • Shingo unsuccessfully tries to bodyslam Walter but eats a vertical suplex by Walter instead. 
  • Walter clubs Shingo in between the ropes Sheamus-Style but a lot harder, Shingo falls to ringside. 
  • Dragon Screw Leg Whip by Takagi takes Walter down and gives him space. 
  • Takagi displays a lot of strength and hits a vertical suplex to Walter.
  • 3 Consecutive lariats in the corner by Shingo, Takagi dodges a dropkick by Walter and capitalizes with a sliding lariat but Shingo can’t capitalize for the pin. 
  • Saito Suplex attempt by Shingo but Walter shifts his weight to fall directly on Shingo. 
  • Hard lariats by Takagi but Walter hits a hard boot/German Suplex combo and follows it up with a very stiff lariat for a near fall.
  • Stiff strikes sent by both men, horrible chop by Walter and the crowd literally screams. Jesus Christ. “Holy Shit” chants from the stiffness of the chop by Walter. 
  • Saito Suplex by Takagi is finally successful but only gets a 2 count/ 
  • Made in Japan attempt by Takagi, Walter escapes but Takagi lariats him in the corner. Walter runs at Takagi and hits a dropkick, follows it up with a powerbomb but transitions the pin into the Boston Crab. Walter transitions into a very wrenched in STF but his grip breaks to just let Takagi out of the hold.
  • Walter strikes at a kneeling Takagi but Shingo fires up and hits an insane Death Valley Driver on Walter for a great near fall. 
  • Uranage by Walter plants Takagi and gets another near fall.
  • Chops by Walter but he maintains wrist control to hit a consecutive chop but Shingo breaks free and hits a flurry of lariats but Walter chops back. Shingo hits a final lariat to pick up a shock win. 

Winner: Shingo Takagi Moves On @17:24!

Rating: ****3/4, This match was a technical showcase very similar to the Walter vs. Timothy Thatcher match from Night 2. However, this match brought the fire from Shingo Takagi playing a great underdog and firing up to shake off Walter’s strikes and pick up the shock win. Walter has been established as an absolute monster and Takagi had finally slain him and the crowd lost their minds. The finish also protects Walter from looking weak because it wasn’t definitive and moved very fast. The stiff strikes in this match were mostly nothing compared to the strikes in the Thatcher vs. Walter match however the absolutely disgustingly hard chop by Walter got genuine screams from the crowd and was a hard moment to watch for a second. Walter played the hits but Takagi really shined here. Takagi in the finals versus the other BOLA MVP Contender Bandido and the monstrous olympian Jeff Cobb will be interesting to watch. 

Team PCO (Darby Allin, Dan Barry, Puma King, PCO, and Jody Fleisch) vs. Team DJZ (David Starr, DJZ, Timothy Thatcher, T-Hawk, and Adam Brooks) Consolation Tag Match:

  • David Starr does the awesome pre-match intro but Darby Allin interrupts him. 
  • DJZ and Puma King start the match. 
  • Solid mini-sequence from King and DJZ feeling very lucha-technical. DJZ brings more of the air horn sound effects.
  • Amazing corkscrew springboard armdrag by DJ to King. 
  • Avalanche Headscissors by King to DJ followed by a diving crossbody. 
  • King dropkicks DJ to ringside but Starr stops the dive to heel heat. 
  • Starr superkicks King to ringside but chooses to go after Darby Allin instead of hitting the dive. 
  • Allin and Starr face-off, another good mini-sequence. Capped off by a counter stunner by Allin taking out Starr. 
  • Good sequence by Fleisch and Hawk with Jody trying hard to escape the chops. 
  • Triangle Kick by Brooks to Dan Barry in the ropes for the first near fall. 
  • Strike-off from Thatcher and PCO. 
  • Allin tries to Coffin Drop Thatcher but Thatcher catches him in the Sleeper and places him in the Tree of Woe, Team DJZ wipes Team PCO off the apron and hits a 4-way dropkick to Allin in the corner.
  • Dan Barry goes 5-1 and pulls out a finger gun and takes out the other team. Amazing comedy stuff. PCO puts the finger gun in his mouth, Brooks grabs the finger gun from Barry and shoots PCO. PWG is fun.
  • Canadian Destroyer by Allin to Hawk, Starr breaks the pib,
  • Brooks tries to go for the dive but PCO revives and stops Brooks. Pop-up powerbomb by PCO to Brookes. Puma King and PCO tandem take out Brooks. King and PCO throw DJZ into diving out on everyone. Brooks comes back to attack King and PCO with a chair. Starr joins him and it looks like their gonna dive off the chairs but they sit on them and taunt. Dan Barry hits a great corkscrew tope and Allin hits a Coffin Drop to the outside. Puma King powerbombs DJZ into the sea of people outside and King hits a tornado dive to everyone. Jody hits an amazing Springboard Shooting Star Press dive to everyone, PCO hits a diving moonsault taking everyone out. One of the best dive sequences I’ve ever seen. 
  • PCO rolls Starr to the other side and tries to dive out but Starr catches him with an apron DDT. PCO grabs Starr in a Tombstone and PCO chokeslams DJZ and Hawk at the same time that he piledrives Starr. 
  • Brooks hits an awesome super Canadian destroyer to PCO. 
  • Jody Fleisch hits an awesome 720 tornado DDT to Brooks. Thatcher lariats Jody out. Thatcher gets Dan Barry in the sleeper hold but PCO hits a Swanton Bomb to help Barry escape but it fails so PCO pins Thatcher over Barry to win the match anyway. 

Winners: Team PCO

Rating: ****1/2, This was genuinely the most fun 10-Man tag I’ve witnessed. It had the great PWG charm to it and every wrestler who got knocked out in the first round got a chance to shine on Night 3. PCO especially. The Dive sequence was absolutely insane and these dudes tore the house down while being absolutely hilarious. I don’t think a wrestling match has made me laugh more than this one. The in-ring work was great too as BOLA gets some of the top talents from across the world for this tournament so big deal wrestlers like David Starr, Darby Allin, Adam Brooks, Timothy Thatcher, and DJZ were thrown in there with comic relief guys like PCO, Puma King, and Dan Barry. It was a fun mix of work rate and comedic relief and the best 10-man tag I’ve seen in November, yeah I’m talking to you Survivor Series. 

Bandido vs. Jeff Cobb vs. Shingo Takagi Final Match:

  • The match goes by Elimination Rules. 
  • Everybody shakes hands. 
  • Strike tandem sequence by Shingo and Bandido takes Cobb ringside, Takagi elevates Bandido for an elevated Tope con Hiro to Cobb ringside.
  • Chain Superplex led by Cobb powerbombing Shingo who superplexes Bandido. 
  • Shingo and Bandido team up to hit a vertical suplex on Cobb. Shingo suckers in Bandido with a handshake but ends up rocking him with a right hand.
  • Hard Superkick by Bandido to Cobb gets the first near fall. 
  • Superkick/Death Valley Driver combo by Takagi and Bandido takes out Cobb.
  • Springboard Crossbody by Bandido takes Shingo out.
  • Bandido tries to get his opponents to floss with him but neither do, Shingo hits a DDT/Flatliner combo on Cobb and Bandido. 
  • Widow’s Peak Facebuster by Takagi on Cobb, Hugle lariat by Shingo but Cobb rolls ringside to avoid pinfall. 
  • Shingo takes Bandido to the top rope, Bandido hits the awesome Flipping Fallaway Slam to put away Shingo and ruin his BOLA 2018 hopes. Proved to be a fatal mistake for Takagi taking Bandido to the top. 
  • Bandido and Cobb face-off and they handshake. 
  • Bandido works the leg of Cobb but Cobb spins Bandido across the ring by his mask, brute show of strength. 
  • Stiff uppercut by Cobb flips Bandido.
  • Cobb brings Bandido to the top rope and hits a vertical superplex to bring Bandido back down and get a near fall. 
  • Cobb beals Bandido across the ring and begins to dominate the match. 
  • F5 by Cobb gets a near fall on Bandido. 
  • The crowd is really behind Bandido. 
  • Diving Tornado by Bandido caught by Cobb, Jeff goes for Tour of the Islands but Bandido turns it into a Tornado DDT. Cobb rolls to ringside. Bandido hits a flying huricanrana off the apron. Cobb looks to have hurt the shoulder that he separated at All In. 
  • Deadlift Piledriver by Cobb, near fall. Jeff pops up and hits a standing moonsault for another near fall. Crows standing ovation and more love for Bandido. 
  • Springboard flying Huricanrana by Bandido caught into Tour of the Islands for an amazing very close near fall, one of the best near falls of the year.
  • Pop-Up powerbomb by Cobb turned into a huricanrana by Bandido, great reversal. 
  • Strikes by Bandido but Cobb goes for Tour of the Islands, Bandido turns it into the Crucifix Bomb and gets another amazing near fall. The crowd is so invested. Now the crowd is showing love for Jeff. 
  • Amazing Springboard Bouncing German Suplex by Bandido with an amazing show of strength for another amazing near fall and another crowd explosion. 
  • Thudding chop by Cobb to get Bandido off, Jeff Cobb is acting a bit hurt and probably really is. 
  • Bandido and Cobb fighting on the top rope, Cobb knocks Bandido down and dives at him. Bandido catches it and hits his own Tour of the Islands for another great near fall and following crowd explosion. 
  • “Fight Forever” Chants and actually please do. 
  • More fighting while on the top rope, Cobb hits a super Tour of the Islands and follows it up with another one to win the 2018 BOLA.

Winner: Jeff Cobb WINS the Battle of Los Angeles in 2018 @23:52!

Rating: *****, The crowd energy was intense. The match started to seem like the men were wasted in the early stages and wiped out from the weekend. Shingo Takagi and Bandido tried to attack Cobb together and the early stretches were okay but as soon as Takagi left things got unglued. The crowd was hot for Bandido as he played the perfect babyface and as Cobb and Bandido traded big move after big move and put on an amazing in-ring match but the crowd made it something special. The explosions after each near fall were intense and going in I knew Cobb was going to win however this match made me forget that as I was rooting like crazy for Bandido. Jeff Cobb is an insanely great wrestler too and it takes 2 to tango and this was the tango to top them all. What a match and what a tournament, probably the greatest wrestling tournament of all time. 

Show Grade: A+, PWG had a bit of a down year this year so far with only Matt Riddle vs. Keith Lee from Neon Knights being a top tier match. I loved this show so much and it is probably the final to my favorite wrestling tournament of all time. PWG took big-name star power from people like Jeff Cobb, Walter, Shingo Takagi, Ilja Dragunov, and especially Bandido to boost and promote this show. The tournament was stacked from top to bottom with fantastic matches. It also helped the tournament tremendously that Bandido and Joey Janela had amazing showings at All In which reeled me into buying this show on DVD. Bandido and Joey Janela put on a 5-star classic on this show but somehow the main event completely overshadows it. Bandido is a maniac, he had 2 5-Star matches in the same fucking night!!! Not to mention the other amazing matches such as Shingo Takagi vs Robbie Eagles, Shingo Takagi vs. Walter, Bandido vs. Flamita, Rascalz vs. The Lucha Bros and The Consolation Tag Match. This all happened in one night. Other than maybe NXT Takeover NOLA and NJPW Dominion this is my favorite wrestling show of the year. This show is so much more impressive than Dominion and Takeover though because the same few wrestlers put on multiple instant classics in a single night. WHAT AN EVENT! If you haven’t heard of PWG or haven’t bought the DVD yet, go out of your way for this epic (despacito) night of professional wrestling. 

MOTN: Bandido vs. Jeff Cobb vs. Shingo Takagi

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pro Wrestling Guerrilla Battle of Los Angeles 2018 Review: Night 2

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Results + Star Ratings:

  • Trevor Lee defeats Marko Stunt to move on to the Second Round @9:05 **1/2
  • Jonah Rock defeats Sammy Guevara to move on to the Second Round @12:13 ****
  • Robbie Eagles defeats DJZ to move on to the Second Round @12:04 ***3/4
  • Jeff Cobb defeats Darby Allin to move on to the Second Round @9:48 ****1/2
  • Shingo Takagi defeats Ilja Dragunov to move on to the Second Round @16:22 ****3/4
  • Walter defeats Timothy Thatcher to move on to the Second Round @18:04 ****3/4
  • Stronghearts defeat Bandido, Rey Horus, and Flamita @11:47 ****3/4 

Trevor Lee vs. Marko Stunt First Round Match:

  • Originally supposed to be Chris Brookes in the place of Marko Stunt (Brookes is of Progress fame) but he is sidelined with an injury. Trevor Lee’s 5th BOLA.
  • Marko Stunt had a breakout performance in the All In “Over Budget” Battle Royal. Stunt is making his PWG debut and gets an amazing crowd reaction with the crowd throwing in fun size candy bars because his nickname is Mr.Funsize because he’s like Hornswoggle height.  
  • Trevor Lee cuts a heel promo on the size and age of Marko, Stunt takes the microphone and says “but I’m old enough to fuck your mom”. Great comedy stuff. 
  • Stunt bridges Trevor to the outside, Marko hits a great flipping huricanrana to Lee ringside. 
  • Stunt follows it up with a Swanton Bomb off the apron to Lee on a chair. 
  • Lee shoves the referee into the ropes dumping Stunt off the top rope. 
  • Huge Lariat by Lee flips Stunt. Lee continues to methodically attack Marko.
  • Single Handed Gorilla press into a Gutbuster by Lee continuing to dominate. 
  • Huricanrana by Marko seems to get him some space but Lee fires him back with an uppercut. 
  • Stunt reverses a Brainbuster in mid-air with a huricanrana spiking Lee, great mini-sequence. 
  • Strikefest, Lee slaps Marko down. Marko fires back up and hits a Sunset Flip Rolling V-Trigger.
  • Marko hits a Tilt-A-Whirl Codebreaker to get a great near fall. 
  • Lee pops up Marko but Stunt lands on the middle rope, Marko goes for a 450 but Lee dodges. Superkick by Marko. 
  • Standing Double Stomp by Lee closes the match.

Winner: Trevor Lee Moves On @9:05!

Rating: **1/2, This match while it was fun to see Marko mess around felt like it went on way too long. Marko wasn’t ever a serious threat but it was fun to see some of the flips and agility he put on display. Stunt was a last minute replacement for Chris Brookes so the fact that he put on such a fun showing is impressive. The match didn’t have any drama or urgency to it and it should’ve ended faster than it did but it wasn’t bad for what it was. 

bola1-1

Sammy Guevara vs. Jonah Rock First Round Match:

  • Both men in their second BOLA. Sammy Guevara is replacing an injured Travis Banks. 
  • Sammy backflips over Rock to escape him which is cool but he’s still caught with a vertical suplex from Jonah. 
  • Stiff chop in the corner by Rock knocks down Sammy. Backdrop by Rock gets extra elevation. 
  • Sammy shows an impressive amount of strength and hits a Samoan Drop for a near fall.
  • Guevara sweeps Rock off the top rope and says he’s about to put a boring rest hold on Rock and plugs his Youtube Channel.
  • Switch-Up into a DDT by Rock followed up with an elevated German Suplex getting a near fall on Rock. 
  • Uranage/Senton Combo by Rock gets another near fall. 
  • Guevara V-Triggers Rock off the apron, Guevara hits an awesome corkscrew tope taking out Jonah ringside. 
  • Sammy goes up to the balcony, Awesome Moonsault off the balcony by Sammy takes out Rock below. 
  • Shooting Star Press misses, stiff lariat by Rock turns Sammy inside out and lays both men. 
  • Strikefest, Sammy flips through a lariat into hitting a superkick. Canadian Destroyer by Guevara lays out Rock so he can hit the Shooting Star Press, great near fall. 
  • Powerbomb into the Guillotine choke by Rock, Sammy Guevara taps out. 

Winner: Jonah Rock Moves On @12:13!

Rating: ****, While the match started slow it really picked up and delivered big time. Sammy turned in a great performance with his amazing agility and the balcony moonsault and Rock did what he does best which is be an imposing monster and hit really hard. The match only got a little bit tarnished by what was a slow start and both men playing to the crowd for what felt like forever. Great match and it felt fresh compared to Night One, the Americanized style mixes with risky high flying spots and the submission finish worked this match in a different way than Night One’s hard-hitting Japanese/European Style encounters. 

bola10Robbie Eagles vs. DJZ First Round Match:

  • Robbie Eagles just after this fought as Taiji Ishimori’s tag partner is the Super Jr Tag Tournament in NJPW. DJZ’s first PWG match. Robbie Eagle’s BOLA debut. 
  • Fast Start. DJZ gets an air horn sound effect which gets a huge pop from the crowd. 
  • Leg Lariat by Eagles knocks DJZ to ringside, DJZ comes back in before Robbie can dive. The 2 do a great matching sequence.
  • DJZ goes to dive through the ropes but gets strung up which was kind of a botch, Eagles hits a Vertical Suplex ringside. 
  • DJZ charges at Eagles ringside sending him into a chair. 
  • Fallaway Slam Bridge by Eagles gets the first near fall.
  • Another Air Horn Sound Effect as DJZ flies at Eagles with a back elbow. 
  • Moonsault by DJZ to Eagles draped over the middle rope. 
  • Stiff chops in the corner by DJZ, DJZ goes for a Sunset Flip roll up by Eagles does a great reversal by rolling into a roll-up of his own. 
  • Reverserana by DJZ spikes Eagles on his head.
  • Death Valley Facebuster by DJZ followed up with a lariat but Eagles kips up and hits a series of kicks, DJZ kips up and both strike-off. DJZ lariats Eagles over the top rope and hits a great Tope con Hiro. Eagles comes back in and hits a Suicide Dive.
  • Springboard Dropkick by Eagles targets the knee of DJZ. 
  • Deadlift Ulster Plantation by Eagles gets a near fall. 
  • DJZ catches Eagles into a Tombstone and follows it up with a Flying Snap DDT for a great near fall. The arena is so shocked that Eagles kicked out that the lights went off.
  •  Avalanche Huricanrana by Eagles followed up by a 450 on the leg of DJZ. Eagles locks in an Inverted Figure 4 to tap out DJZ. 

Winner: Robbie Eagles Moves On @12:04!

Rating:***3/4, This was a really fun high flying match. While not all of the work was clean, the pace kept great and the air horn sound effects and the crowd making their own versions was great unintentional comedy stuff. For some reason the lights go out towards the end of the match, that was weird. DJZ delivered a great performance and similar to PCO it is a shame we won’t get to see another match from him because they’re both from companies I don’t get around to watching. However, Robbie Eagles is becoming a break out star with more time in New Japan and performances like this one will keep him in the mainstream.

bola8Jeff Cobb vs. Darby Allin First Round Match:

  • Darby Allin’s PWG debut, Jeff Cobb’s 3rd Battle of Los Angeles appearance.
  • Cobb absolutely chucks around Allin, Allin tells the crowd to be quiet and calls for a test of strength with Cobb. Amazing flying arm drag by Allin sends Cobb to ringside. 
  • After a while of dodging Cobb, Allin finally hits the Suicide Dive. In-ring, Cobb shrugs off a crossbody from Allin. Cobb beals Allin across the ring into the other corner. 
  • Stiff clubbing strike in the corner by Cobb, Allin tries to strike at Cobb but Jeff gets him back in the corner and hits a hard chop. German Suplex by Cobb lays out Allin. 
  • Pop-Up Sledgehammer by Cobb slams Allin down, Jeff Irish whips Allin hard into the corner.
  • Cobb deadlifts Allin from the apron and chucks Darby from a waistlock across the ring. Cobb hits an F5 getting a standing ovation from the crowd and a near fall. 
  • Cobb overhead suplexes Allin brutally into the corner, Allin jumps over Cobb and shotgun dropkicks him into the corner. Allin hits a comeback sequence and torpedoes off the middle rope onto Cobb for a near fall. More crowd standing ovation.
  • Amazing coffin drop by Allin to Cobb ringside, in-ring Alin goes for a lionsault but is caught by Cobb and hits a stunner to escape. Canadian Destroyer by Allin for a near fall. 
  • Diving Coffin Drop in-ring by Allin, another great near fall. Allin heads to the top again and tries to Coffin Drop Cobb on the apron but Cobb dodges and Allin falls spine first on the apron, German Suplex off the middle rope by Cobb closes the match. 

Winner: Jeff Cobb Moves On @9:48!

Rating: ****1/2, This is easily my favorite match of the 2 nights so far. Both men turned in fantastic performances but especially Darby Allin. Allin was crazy in this match hitting the Coffin Drop off of everything but having the move eventually cost him the match. Cobb did an amazing job as the brute in this match, making Allin have to work really hard to take him down. These 2 had great chemistry and the dynamic was perfect. These matches all feel really long because of the absolutely packed layouts they have but my one complaint about this match is it could’ve gone longer. The crowd was insanely invested and with Evolve being secretly part of WWE now I would love to see Allin have performances like this in NXT. 

bola2-1Ilja Dragunov vs. Shingo Takagi First Round Match:

  • Ilja and Shingo teamed in the Main Event last night. Both men are in their BOLA debuts.
  • Stiff chop against the ropes by Takagi but Dragunov returns the favor. A sequence of evenly matched moves into the senton by Ilja.
  • Dragunov hits a suicide dive to Takagi ringside. 
  • Death Valley Driver by Takagi, Ilja tried to hang onto the ropes but that made the impact even harder.
  • Shigo dominates for a bit, Ilja tries to strike back but Shingo hits a two-handed chop blasting Dragunov back down. Senton by Takagi for the first near fall. Dragunov gets back up and tries to strike but collapses. 
  • Sit-Out Powerbomb off the middle rope by Dragunov, Shingo rolls away from Ilja to escape the pin.
  • Crucifix Roll up by Dragunov gets a near fall.
  • Strike Sequence by Shingo ending with a stiff lariat knocks Dragunov down. Snap Brainbuster by Takagi for another near fall. 
  • Made In Japan attempt from Shingo fails, Strikefest turns into stiff chops from both and an enzugiri from Dragunov knocks down Takagi for another near fall. 
  • Dragunov goes to the top but Shingo rolls away, Ilja hits a Coast to Coast Dropkick across the ring and follows it up with a Blue Thunder Bomb, near fall.
  • Top Rope headbutt battle into a superplex by Takagi, Takagi aggravates the lower back that was hurt on the Sit-Out powerbomb earlier.
  • Elbow strikes by Shingo collapse Ilja, Dragunov fires up and the 2 lariat each other hard as fuck. Saito Suplex by Ija but Shingo fires with an exploder suplex. Lariat by Shingo but Dragunov hits a Rebound Lariat and gets a near fall. Diving Senton by Ilja for a very very near fall. INCREDIBLE sequence. 
  • Catching Death Valley Driver by Takagi, Corner Lariat and a botched German Suplex by Shingo goes for a near fall.
  • Made in Japan by Shingo fails again, Dragunov hits a series of strikes into a DDT/Dropkick combo. Shingo catches Dragunov running and hits Made in Japan for an awesome near fall. 
  • Another huge lariat by Takagi followed by another Made in Japan. 

Winner: Shingo Takagi Moves On @16:22!

Rating: ****3/4, Okay just as I said the last match was my favorite match from BOLA so far this goes and tops it. This match was intense and hit really hard. Dragunov is incredible he’s one of the cleanest working, hardest-hitting, and best selling wrestlers I’ve ever seen. Shingo Takagi was pretty good too. The match itself had a lot of awesome near falls and for the first match, tonight didn’t rely heavily on dives which was refreshing. This match was just two heavyweights hitting the crap out of each other and moving faster than they should be. The bumps were hard and the crowd was into it at the end. In the beginning, the crowd was exhausted from the night of action but the work in this match lit a fire in the Globe Theatre. 

bola7Walter vs. Timothy Thatcher First Round Match:

  • Rematch from Progress Chapter 62 which was a fantastic match. Walter is the current PWG champion. These 2 are part of Ringkampf. The second BOLA for both men. 
  • Thatcher refuses to handshake Walter.
  • Very technical start as would be expected.
  • Bow and Arrow Stretch by Thatcher transitioned into a roll up but Walter kicks out at 1. 
  • Stiff clubs by Walter into a sleeper hold attempt that fails, Thatcher catches Walter off the big boot and transitions into a Boston Crab. Thatcher mounts Walter and slaps him hard, Thatcher tries to get into the Cross Armbreaker but Walter keeps the hands together, Walter brutally stomps on the head of Thatcher to escape. Walter hits 2 brutal Penalty Kicks to the back of Thatcher.
  • Walter has been striking extra brutally in this match. 
  • Brutal chop into a hard boot to the face by Walter knocking out Thatcher, JESUS.
  • Stiff elbow strikes from both men but Walter knocks out Thatcher again with the stiffest elbow strike. 
  • Walter clubs Thatcher while he’s strung up in the ropes, Sheamus-Style but much harder. Thatcher catches the 3rd one and elbow strikes Walter, Walter puts Thatcher over the top rope and steps on his neck bending him over the top rope. 
  • Brutal Chop by Walter again knocks Thatcher down, Walter hits another one but Thatcher ducks the 3rd one and jabs Walter down with a right hand. 
  • The match goes to the outside as they continue to hit each other way too hard. Vertical Suplex ringside by Thatcher sends Walter hard into the floor. 
  • Brainbuster on the apron by Walter, Thatcher has taken SOOO much in this match. 
  • Saito Suplex attempt by Thatcher but Walter collapses himself onto Thatcher in a cover for a near fall.
  • German Suplex and Saito Suplex by Thatcher for another near fall. 
  • Clubbing lariat into a powerbomb by Walter, near fall. 
  • Strikefest into a German suplex by Walter.
  • Fujiwara Armbar locked in by Thatcher, Thatcher transitions into a sleeper but Walter powers out. 
  • Thatcher locks in the sleeper again, Walter climbs the turnbuckle and backdrops onto Thatcher from the middle rope. 
  • Uranage by Walter for another near fall. 
  • Another stiff lariat by Walter wins the match.

Winner: Walter Moves On @18:04!

Rating: ****3/4, This match hit harder than any other match I’ve ever seen. However, it lacked the drama that the Walter vs. Thatcher match from Progress had. I liked this match more though because it was just such a hard-hitting affair. These 2 absolutely beat the shit out of each other for close to 20 minutes and it was a hard watch. The match was insanely technical and that was a new style we haven’t seen in the 2 nights so far. The crowd is exhausted and that was felt a bit in this match but this also wasn’t a match to be super loud about. It was a fight, a genuine fight and one of the more convincing wrestling matches I’ve seen. Walter is on a tear in 2018 and just continues it here. 

Bandido, Rey Horus, and Flamita vs. STRONGHEARTS (Desmond Xavier, Zachary Wentz and CIMA):

  • Wentz and Flamita start the match. The match goes Lucha Rules so tags aren’t made. 
  • Bandido hits a Diving Crossbody taking out Xavier, Tilt-A-Whirl Huricanrana by Bandido sends Xavier ringside. 
  • The Rascalz and Bandido and Flamita face-off, rematch from Neon Knights earlier this year which was an incredible match. Both teams hit the Floss but also hit double superkicks taking out everyone. 
  • Fast sequence from Horus and CIMA, CIMA suplexes Bandido while having Flamita in the Indian Deathlock. 
  • Diving Codebreaker by Wentz takes out Horus.
  • Wheelbarrow by Bandido assists Flamita into moonsaulting Wentz, awesome spot. 
  • Wentz dives off the back of CIMA to the outisde, Xavier follows and hits an awesome Sasuke Special diving out everyone. 
  • Dive Sequence by the Stronghearts to Bandido, Bandido kicks out at one and fires up but it met with stereo superkicks by the Rascalz. 
  • DDT on the apron by Flamita to Xavier, hard landing. 
  • Horus hits a Tornado off the top rope to ringside, Bandido pops up Flamita for the elevated Tope Con Hilo to outside, Bandido hits an awesome Diving Corkscrew. Awesome dive sequence.
  • Pop-Up Tornado DDT by Horus helped by Bandito, 450 Splash by Flamita on Xavier gets a near fall.
  • Amazing backhandspring Pele kick by Xavier to Horus, Fantastic springboard german suplex by Bandido to Xavier gets a near fall. Eruption from the crowd. 
  • Strike Sequence in the corner by Stronghearts into a Meteora by CIMA for another near fall. Amazing Moonsault by Wentz, Xavier pushing it onto Bandido gets the win. 

Winners: Stronghearts @11:47!

Rating: ****3/4, I could never actually describe how this match went. Taking notes on it was really hard. These 2 did moves I’ve never seen before and topped all of the flippy shit I’ve ever seen. This was like if the All In main event didn’t have to end early. This was really fun and was worked shockingly well for how much these guys were doing in such a short amount of time.

Show Grade: A+

Last Word: Night 2 had something for every wrestling fan. The show had intense brawling, crazy flips, technical wrestling, and established characters. BOLA has been stacked this year and has delivered some of the best wrestling all year. The finals will be insane. This show had a lot of matches that were really close to 5 stars but the only missing component was a storyline. In the finals, there will be that story so my hopes are really high for a 5-star match. Regardless of star ratings, there were 3 fantastic matches to close the show and PWG establishes itself as one of the best wrestling companies in an in-ring standpoint in the world. What a show!

MOTN: Shingo Takagi vs. Ilja Dragunov

 

 

Pro Wrestling Guerrilla Battle of Los Angeles Review: Night One

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Results + Star Ratings: 

  • Rey Horus defeats Adam Brooks to move on to the Second Round @20:33 ***1/2
  • Flamita defeats Puma King to move on to the Second Round @12:07 ***3/4
  • CIMA defeats Jody Fleisch to move on to the Second Round @16:29 ***
  • Bandito defeats T-Hawk to move on to the Second Round @12:21 ****1/2
  • Joey Janela defeats David Starr to move on to the Second Round @16:01 ****1/2
  • PCO defeats Brody King to move on to the Second Round @11:15 ****
  • Ringkampf defeats Ilja Dragunov and Shingo Takagi @22:18 ****1/4

 

Adam Brooks vs. Rey Horus First Round:

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  • Brooks’s first-ever BOLA, Horus fought in last years. Horus is also Dragon Azteca Jr in Lucha Underground. 
  • Pretty evenly matched opening to the match. The first speed up comes in a roll-up battle. 
  • Awesome hopscotch arm drag by Horus in the corner. 
  • Horus kicks Brooks off the top rope to the outside and hits an awesome Tope Con Hiro over the post to the outside taking out Adam. 
  • Great single leg dropkick by Horus to Adam sitting down for the first near fall.
  • Brooks slingshots the rope into the face of Horus, an interesting move for another near fall. 
  • Apron Penalty Kick and a Back Drop onto the apron by Brooks. In-ring Brooks hits a senton and does a cocky cover on Horus. 
  • A slower pace than normal for both of these guys in the first ten minutes. 
  • Springboard Crossbody by Horus misses, Shotgun Dropkick by Brooks sends Horus into the corner for a near fall. 
  • Cheeky Nandos Eye Poke by Brooks gets Adam some great heel heat. 
  • Great Kickfest and Horus knocks down Adam first.
  • Brooks hits a Canadian Destroyer but Horus gets up and slams Adam with a Spanish Fly taking both down ending a solid sequence. 
  • Strikefest, Brooks smashed Horus with a dropkick that sends him outside. Brooks hits an amazing suicide moonsault over the top rope. In-ring Brooks hits a Tornado DDT for a near fall. 
  • V-Trigger in the corner by Brooks. 
  • Brooks deadlifts out of a huricanrana but Horus flies over and hits a Sunset Flip Powerbomb for another near fall. 
  • STO into the corner by Brooks, Brooks gets Horus on the top rope and slams him with an enzugiri. 
  • Horus goes for a 450 Splash but misses, Brooks goes for a Swanton Bomb but Horus gets his knees up. Good missing dive sequence. 
  • Horus flips into an Indian Deathlock torquing the knees of Brooks, Adam gets the bottom rope. 
  • Horus hits Brooks with a stiff chop on the top rope and goes for a wheelbarrow takeover but Adam stops it. Horus goes for a supercanrana but Adam brutally powerbombs him off the top rope, a hard landing for Rey. 
  • Kiwi Crusher by Brooks, great near fall. 
  • Back on the top rope, Horus hits an awesome wheelbarrow Takeover to win the match. 

Winner: Rey Horus Moves On To The Second Round @20:33!

Rating: ***1/2, This was a great high flying encounter with some ridiculous spots as you would come to expect from PWG. The match was a solid opener for the tournament and sets a tone for the great night of action to come. The match moved really well and both men worked very cleanly which often isn’t the case in a big risk big flips match like this. 

bola5Puma King vs Flamita First Round:

  • Puma King is in his PWG debut here, Flamita fought in BOLA last year losing to the eventual winner Ricochet. 
  • Very fast start into a stare down.
  • Huricanrana by Flamita sends Puma to the outside, Flamita hits a Suicide Dive followed by a Tope Con Hiro.
  • Diving Crossbody by Flamita hits, King smacks Flamita down with a Superkick. 
  • Stiff chop against the ropes by King, Flamita fires back with a handspring elbow and a standing shooting star press combo.
  • Roll up battle into double dropkicks and both stare down again getting a Standing Ovation from the crowd.
  • Stiff chop battle, Big move sequence and a superman punch by Flamita knocks down King ending a very solid sequence. 
  • Codebreaker by King and a snaprana sends Flamita to the outside, Diving Crossbody by Puma to the outside. Missile Dropkick by Puma to Flamita sitting down in-ring for a near fall.
  • Fly-over Sunset Flip Powerbomb by Flamita gets another near fall.
  • 450 Splash by Flamita hits for yet another near fall. 
  • Monkey Flip by King sends Flamita into the corner, Great Pendulum Powerbomb by Puma, great near fall. 
  • Supercanrana out of the Tree of Woe by King, Flamita pops back up and hits a Spanish Fly for another near fall. 
  • Top Rope Pendulum Powerbomb by King reversed into a Supercanrana by Flamita.
  • Flamita knocks Puma down with a superkick and hits a Pheonix Splash to win the match.

Winner: Flamita Moves On @12:07!

Rating: ***3/4, Puma King is really impressive and he does a lot of moves in this match that a man his size shouldn’t be able to do. This was my first exposure to PK and I was impressed although slightly weirded out at his whole Act Like a Cat persona. Flamita is one of the best luchadors in the world right now. The match was impressive however had some very similar spots to the match right before it and was at a weaker pace with less drama. Without context, this match is a good outing for both men that was a very entertaining lucha clash. 

bola4CIMA vs. Jody Fleisch First Round:

  • CIMA making his 3rd BOLA appearance, including his victory in 2007 beating El Generico(Sami Zayn) and Roderick Strong. Jody’s debut in PWG.
  • Very clean double leapfrog dropkick by Fleisch. 
  • Double Dropkick sequence into a stand-off. 
  • Both men playing to the crowd for a bit and doing a pretty solid comedy segment about avoiding each other’s strikes. Handshake but CIMA delivers a lariat. 
  • Enzugiri by Fleisch sends CIMA to the outside, Jody hits an awesome springboard moonsault off the apron taking out CIMA on the floor. 
  • Fighting into the crowd, Amazing springboard off the wall by Fleisch taking out Cima with a moonsault. Really impressive show of athleticism. 
  • Sunset Flip Roll up by Jody starts a roll up battle that rolls around the ring, getting a great crowd response. Dizziness starts to take over as all 3 including the referee feel the effects. A double lariat takes both down. 
  • Double Stomp by Cima to the chest of Fleisch, Cima locks in an Octopus Lock and transitions it into a crucifix roll-up for a near fall.
  • Inverted Ulster Plantation by Cima followed up with a Frog Splash but Fleisch gets his knees up.
  • Step-up Huricanrana by Jody to Cima on the 2nd rope for a near fall.
  • Great corkscrew springboard DDT by Fleisch for another near fall.
  • Jody misses a Shooting Star Press but lands on his feet, Backstabber by Cima. Cima hits an Air Raid Crash for yet another near fall. 
  • Meteora by Cima closes the match. 

Winner: Cima Moves On @16:29!

Rating:***, Other than the awesome springboard off the wall by Jody this match never got going in comparison to the 2 before it. 3 minutes of the match time was spent playing to the crowd. Fleisch turned in a very impressive performance but Cima didn’t really impress me all that much and this is my first time watching either. The match was pretty good for the closing stretch but also was given a bit of a dead spot after 2 very good matches before this. 

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T-Hawk vs Bandido First Round Match:

  • Bandito’s first Battle of Los Angeles. 
  • Stiff chop by Hawk knocks Bandito down early. 
  • Springboard Crossbody followed by a Superkick by Bandito.
  • Brutal chop by Hawk knocks Bandito off the top rope, enzugiri by Bandito stops a suicide dive by Hawk. Bandito hits a great moonsault off the post to the outside. 
  • Hawk catches Bandito in mid-air with a stiff knee strike. 
  • Another brutal chop by Hawk slams Bandito down. 
  • Irish Whip by Hawk but Bandito collapses from the damage so far, near fall by Hawk. 
  • Repeated chops while keeping wrist control followed up by a Snap DDT by Hawk for another near fall. 
  • Great Tornado Dive by Bandito begins to fire Bandito back into the match. 
  • Stiff chop in the corner by Bandito. Another stiff chop by Hawk and Bandito returns with a bicycle knee. Landslide by Hawk hits. Bandito fires back with a dropkick in the corner to end the solid sequence.
  • Chop battle, Bandito fires up. Bandito’s chest is covered with welts. Rapid Fire Chop Battle now. Hawk hits a Pop-up Powerslam for a near fall. Hawk’s chest is also red as hell.
  • Deadlift by Bandido into a backbreaker, Hawk fires back with a Stiff Lariat. 
  • Amazing Spanish Fly Fallaway Slam by Bandito off the top rope to move on.

Winner: Bandito Moves On @12:21!

Rating: ****1/2, This match hit hard as hell. T-Hawk is an incredible striker and Bandito’s chest got messed up by the end. These 2 threw everything at each other strike-wise and it was an awesome match that kept it’s tight pace through it’s short runtime. Bandito turns in another great showing in 2018 and this match was a very fun watch. The 2 were very evenly matched but Bandito picked up the win with his awesome flipping fallaway slam finisher. 

bola2David Starr vs. Joey Janela First Round Match:

  • Both have had very solid 2018s. Starr has done his best work in Progress while Janela had an amazing Street Fight with Hangman Page at All In. This is Starr’s first BOLA. Janela’s 2nd BOLA losing last year to Sammy Guevara in the first round. 
  • Janela fires up early.
  • Stiff chops by Janela, Starr hit a chop of his own in the corner. Janela knocks Starr down with a chop but Starr fires back with a chop knocking Joey down. 
  • Starr chops Janela so hard he flies into the crowd.
  • Strikefest, elbow strikes by Janela knock Starr into the corner.
  • Supercanrana by Janela takes Starr off the top rope, Janela hits a Diving Elbow Drop and Tunes up the Band in the corner, Starr catches a superkick sweeps the leg and hits a Shining Whizzer Knee Strike for a near fall on Janela. 
  • Stiff chop again in the corner by Starr, Starr gets distracted by the crowd and Janela hits a series of chops in the corner. Starr rakes the eyes of Janela and hoists him onto the top rope. Starr chops Janela off the top rope onto the apron. Janela gets Starr draped over the top rope and hits a brutal reverse DDT on the apron taking out Starr. “Holy Shit” Chants, in ring near fall.
  • Stiff strikefest a rebound lariat by Starr ends the sequence.
  • Elbow strike by Castle sends Starr to the outside, a suicide dive by Joey is stopped with an apron DDT by Starr. Canadian Destroyer by Starr rolled through by Janela and Joey smacks Dave with a superkick. 
  • Another stiff strikefest, Starr rolls into a Cloverleaf Submission, Janela gets the bottom rope after a while in the hold. 
  • Great Suicide Dive by Starr, Janela fires back with a suicide dive of his own, Starr hits another suicide dive and then another one to take out Janela. Janela comes back and hits a great Flipping Senton Dive taking Starr out ringside. Starr hits a running plancha dive to finally end the dives. Great dive sequence.
  • Starr trips over the middle rope getting in the ring opening the opportunity for Janela to hit the Package Piledriver and get a great near fall on Starr.
  • Saito Suplex onto the ropes by Starr followed by a huge lariat and a brainbuster, near fall by Starr. Starr hits a superkick and gets another near fall. Near fall roll up by Janela. 
  • Another strikefest caps off with a Superkick by Janela for the win. 

Winner: Joey Janela Moves On @16:01!

Rating: ****1/2, This is the most Americanized match of the night and another absolute banger. Like the previous match, this match hit hard but the highlight of this match was the Reverse DDT on the apron by Janela and the insane dive sequence. These guys have great chemistry and I have yet to see a bad David Starr match. Starr ramps up the momentum in the closing stretches of a match like few other wrestlers I’ve seen and that happened again here with a very tight closing sequence. These 2 put on a brutally fun encounter. 

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PCO vs. Brody King First Round Match:

  • PCO making his PWG debut and Brody King making his BOLA debut. 
  • PCO sends Brody to ringside and hits a great suicide dive absolutely flying for a man of that size/age. Brody King comes back with a Tope Con Hiro. 
  • Great leaping huricanrana by PCO, this old dude can FLY. 
  • Stiff chops by King, PCO returns the favor and a chop battle ensues.  
  • King hits a cannonball to PCO against the ropes for the first near fall. 
  • DDT by PCO hits and lays out King, Back Drop by King evades a running PCO and King follows it up with a cannonball in the corner. 
  • Impressive Moonsault by King, near fall.
  • Lariat by King takes both men down, Stiff strikes sent from both men. PCO hits a chokeslam and gets a very near fall. 
  • Stiff elbow strike into an insane leaping moonsault by King. Brody follows it up with a Piledriver but can’t immediately capitalize so PCO kicks out at 1. 
  • Pop-Up Powerbomb by PCO followed by a running knee strike that lays out King. 
  • Insane Diving Senton by PCO to King on the apron. PCO goes to the other post and hits an insane moonsault but misses and lands draping himself over the top rope intense botch, OUCH. PCO heads back again to hit another freakin moonsault and gets a near fall. 
  • Crucifix Piledriver by King closes the match.

Winner: Brody King Moves On @11:15!

Rating: ****, These super heavyweights did more impressive acts of agility than you would ever expect them to. PCO was an absolute beast and Brody King worked cleanly. Even though PCO wasn’t exactly both-free he took the moonsault miss like he wasn’t phased and went and hit another one. PCO’s thing is that he isn’t human and he genuinely acts like it. 

Ringkampf (Walter and Timothy Thatcher) vs. Ilja Dragunov and Shingo Takagi Non-Tournament Tag Match:

  • Ilja Dragunov in his first American Wrestling Match. Shingo Takagi joins Los Ignorables in NJPW just after BOLA finished. Walter is the current Progress and PWG champion and one of the best wrestlers in the world. Thatcher’s pretty good too.
  • Thatcher and Dragunov start the match. 
  • Walter and Shingo Takagi both tag in and standoff to a great crowd reaction. 
  • Ilja Dragunov hot tags in and stands off with Walter. Leapfrog Big Boot by Walter knocks Dragunov. 
  • Single Leg Boston Crab by Thatcher to Ilja, Thatch transitions into an STF but lets go of the hold to strike at Dragunov. Ilja takes Tim down and hits a senton for the first near fall.
  • Shingo goes to attacks Walter who’s not the legal man and Walter comes in and rocks Shingo with a big boot.
  • Senton Sequence by Dragunov and Takagi, near fall on Thatcher. 
  • A sequence of Belly to Belly suplexes by Tim open up the tag to Walter.
  • Stiff chop in the corner by Walter to Ilja, Walter continues to isolate Dragunov from making the tag. Gutwrench suplex by Tim to Dragunov but Shingo comes in to make the save from the pin. Dragunov chops Walter, Walter rocks him and then steps on his neck draping him over the top rope. Walter hits a final incredibly hard chop and gets another near fall on Ilja.
  • Saito Suplex by Ilja to Thatcher finally opens up tags, Takagi gets in for the hot tag. Takagi delivers a Flatliner/DDT combo taking out Ringkampf simultaneously. 
  • Shingo lariats Walter but Walter is asking for more, Walter trips Takagi into the Boston Crab, Dragunov chops Walter to end the hold. Walter rises up and absolutely rocks Dragunov with a chop. Takagi takes down Walter with a huge lariat.
  • Walter catches Dragunov with a stiff lariat for a near fall. 
  • DDT by Ilja taking out Walter, Dragunov follows it up with an enzugiri for another near fall. 
  • Discus Lariat by Dragunov counters Walter and gets yet another near fall. 
  • Torpedo Moscow attempt by Dragunov caught into a sleeper by Walter, Stereo Sleepers by Ringkampf. Strike Sequence by Takagi and Dragunov takes out Walter and gets another near fall. 
  • Big Boot/German Suplex/Uranage combo by Walter rocks Dragunov. Standing Ovation from the crowd and both men make tags.
  • Strikefest from Thatcher and Takagi, Widow’s Peak Facebuster by Shingo. 
  • Powerbomb/Uppercut by Ringkampf takes out Shingo, Dragunov leaps over Walter to break the pin with a leg drop. 
  • Stiff chop by Dragunov to Walter starts a chop battle, Walter knocks Ilja down but Dragunov fires back up and the chop intensity increases. Dragunov knocks Walter with an enzugiri and hits a Suicide Dive taking out Walter ringside. 
  • Made in Japan by Shingo to Thatcher for an awesome near fall. 
  • Dragunov and Thatcher strike off, Walter suplexes his own partner in order to geet Dragunov over on the German Suplex. Shotgun Dropkick by Walter to Shingo but Takagi fires back with a Death Valley Driver. 
  • Dragunov has a Fujiwara Armbar locked in and Thatcher gets a roll up to win the match for Ringkampf. 

Winners: Ringkampf @22:18!

Rating: ****1/4, Another match that hit brutally hard and this time it was between 4 international stars. This was a very technical tag match but had a lot of very exciting moments. The creativity in how to blast your opponent with the hardest strike got very high towards the end and as always Walter was great. Ilja Dragunov makes his American Debut and a week after BOLA finished up he had an amazing match with Pete Dunne in his Progress debut so Ilja has been making big moves the past few months. Shingo Takagi had his first exposure to me in this match and even though him and Thatcher kind of took a backseat to Ilja and Walter’s performance they both shined on a smaller stage than what they are used to. While this wasn’t the MOTN, it was a very good hard hitting match but it lacked some of the drama that a tournament match would’ve had. 

Show Grade: B+

Last Word: While I’m watching this show on DVD a few months after it happened because my DVDs just arrived in the mail, the matches on this card have made a rumble in the wrestling world and for good reason. This 7 match card only had 3 matches under 4 stars and this is just Stage One. The drama will increase and so will the pure talent level as the tournament goes on. The MOTN, in my opinion, is Joey Janela vs. David Starr as it felt fresh and delivered riskier spots than just chopping the shit out of each other. There were so many chops on this show that by the Main Event it seemed like the move had no more prestige. This show delivered some bangers and set the tone for the 2 nights of BOLA to come. 

WWE Survivor Series 2018 Review

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Results + Star Ratings:

  • Raw defeats Smackdown in the Women’s Survivor Series Match with Nia Jax as the Sole Survivor @20:14 *1/2
  • Seth Rollins defeats Shinsuke Nakamura @21:28 ***1/4
  • AOP defeat The Bar @9:10 **
  • Buddy Murphy defeats Mustafa Ali to retain the Cruiserweight Title @12:18 ****1/4
  • Raw defeats Smackdown in the Men’s Survivor Series Match with Braun Strowman, Drew Mcintyre, and Bobby Lashley as the Sole Survivors @24:00 ***1/4
  • Ronda Rousey defeats Charlotte Flair @14:12 ***1/2
  • Brock Lesnar defeats Daniel Bryan @18:44 ****1/2 

 

Women’s Survivor Series Match:

  • Huge deserved big boos for Nia Jax.
  • Mandy Rose joins the SD Live Women’s Team. 
  • Naomi and Tamina start the match.
  • Everybody brawls, Superkick by Tamina eliminates Naomi, Carmella rolls up Tamina eliminating her. 
  • Carmella has a dance break. 
  • Octopus Lock by Asuka on Mickie James, near fall rollup by James to escape. 
  • Bayley tags herself in from Mickie creating some inter-team tension. 
  • Botchy sequence into the pin by Rose on James eliminating Mickie. Rose steals the pin from Deville. 
  • Bayley to Belly by Bayley eliminates Carmella.
  • Banks Statement by Sasha taps out Rose eliminating another SD Live superstar. 
  • Spinebuster by Deville to Bayley, Nia saves the match to a chorus of boos. Asuka takes out Nia and Sasha Banks hits a Meteora to ringside taking out Asuka. 
  • Bayley and Deville brawl ringside, Bayley hits a Bayley to Belly and a double countout eliminates both of them. 
  • Sasha Banks and Asuka square off to a big crowd reaction. 
  • Running Hip Attack ringside by Asuka takes out Banks. 
  • Missile Dropkick by Asuka to Banks, near fall. 
  • Near fall roll up by Banks on Asuka. Double knees in the corner by Banks, Nia takes Banks off the top rope and Asuka capitalizes by tapping out Banks in the Asuka Lock. 
  • Nia Jax beats Asuka with a Samoan Drop to a chorus of boos. 

Winner: Nia Jax and RAW @20:14

Brand Record: 1-0, RAW Winning

Rating: *1/2, This was a sloppily wrestled, badly booked match with the absolute worst winner coming out on top. Nia Jax shouldn’t be in any type of spotlight right now with the heat she has. The only redeeming part of this match was the brief exchange between Banks and Asuka and Asuka is continuing to be driven through the mud. 

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Seth Rollins Midcard Champion vs Champion:

  • Rollins does his own “Come On!” Taunt beginning the fire to the match. 
  • Guillotine Leg Drop over the apron by Rollins, Rollins goes for a suicide dive but Naka catches him with an enzugiri.
  • Drive-By Knee Strike by Naka to Rollins over the apron. 
  • Naka dominates Rollins for a while, Rollins rises up and hits an STO sending Nakamura into the corner. 
  • Slingblade by Rollins gets him fired up a bit, Rollins dumps Naka ringside and follows it up with a suicide dive and then another suicide dive and then a 3rd suicide dive. 
  • Flying Lariat by Rollins goes for a near fall. 
  • Top Rope Knee by Nakamura goes for another near fall, however, the crowd isn’t into it. 
  • Rollins catches Nakamura sliding with a hard superkick, Naka kicks out slowly.
  • Rollins gets fired up by a cheap shot from Nakamura and goes for a lariat but Naka transitions into a Triangle Hold. Rollins deadlifts into hitting the buckle bomb to escape the hold. 
  • Big Strike sequence into a Landslide by Nakamura, solid near fall. 
  • Superplex Falcon Arrow by Rollins goes for a good near fall. 
  • Strikefest, Naka baits Rollins and Naka hits a flurry of strikes and an exploder suplex.
  • The Kinshasa misses and Rollins hits a Ripcord Knee for another near fall. 
  • Rollins goes for the Frog Splash but misses, Nakamura, hits a Kinshasa and gets a great near fall. The crowd has heated up a bit. 
  • Rollins catches a Kinshasa attempt with a superkick and the two go through a big strike sequence and Rollins hits the curb stomp for the close. 

Winner: Seth Rollins @21:28!

Brand Record: 2-0, RAW Winning

Rating: ***1/4, The match started very slow and the crowd was dead but it seemed like Nakamura kicked into another gear around ten minutes in and both delivered solid performances. The strikes hit hard and the match had a great pace for the closing stretch but never fully regained the crowd. 

Authors of Pain vs. Sheamus Tag Team Champions vs. Champions:

  • Sheamus and Rezar start the match.
  • Something happens in the crowd and the fans get distracted. 
  • Rezar saves Akam from the Cesaro Swing. 
  • Sheamus and Rezar brawl, Cesaro goes for a roll up but the referee is distracted.
  • Springboard Uppercut by Cesaro opens up tags. Hot tag by Sheamus to a dead crowd. 
  • 10 Beats of the Bodhran by Sheamus followed up by a Battering Ram to Rezar goes for a near fall. 
  • Maverick distracts the ref but The Bar hits a strike sequence ending in a Brogue Kick, Maverick saves Rezar but gets choked by Big Show until he literally pees, The Last Chapter by AOP closes Sheamus. 

Winners: Authors of Pain @9:08

Brand Record: 3-0, RAW Winning

Rating: **, The match was a whole lot of nothing and Drake Maverick peed so this was a bad usage of 10 minutes. 

 

Mustafa Ali vs. Buddy Murphy(c) for the Cruiserweight Title:

  • Ali hits a huricanrana sending Murphy to ringside and hits an awesome diving 450  taking out Buddy. 
  • Murphy chucks Ali off the top rope sending him into the barricade. YEEET!
  • Murphy tosses around Ali hitting the apron, barricade, and going back into the ring. 
  • Slingshot into the corner by Ali followed up by a pop-up dropkick.
  • Ali goes for the rolling facebuster but Murphy launches him to ringside, Murphy hits a great tope con hiro. 
  • Superkick Sequence by Ali but Murphy stays up, spikerana by Ali takes Murphy down for a near fall.
  • Stiff elbow strikes by Ali starts a strike fest, spinning heel kick by Ali knocks Murphy to the apron, amazing tilt-a-whirl draping DDT by Ali and another near fall. 
  • Murphy throws Ali off the top rope and Ali gets chin checked by the apron. 
  • Amazing Spanish Fly off the announce table by Ali. 
  • Ali goes for the 054 but Murphy stops him and hits 2 powerbombs and gets a near fall. 
  • “This is Awesome” Chants.
  • Murphy’s Law attempt fails, Ali gets caught mid-springboard with a knee by Murphy. Murphy successfully hits Murphy’s Law to close WWE’s first good PPV match in a LONG time. 

Winner: Buddy Murphy Retains @ 12:18!

Rating: ****1/4, WHAT A MATCH! WWE made a great decision and had the Cruiserweights have a showcase. The crowd got insanely invested and for the first time since the inception of 205 Live, it seemed that the Cruiserweights were finally a successful part of the main roster. The spots were cleanly worked and a Spanish Fly off the announce table is always fun. 

Men’s Survivor Series Match:

  • Braun Strowman and Samoa Joe were supposed to start but Drew Mcintyre tags himself in. Coquina Clutch locked in but Mcintyre escapes and hits the Claymore kick eliminating Joe. 
  • Dolph Ziggler and Shane Mcmahon face-off to remind us of the worst tournament of all time on the worst PPV of all time, Crown Jewel.
  • Fameasser by Ziggler to Shane goes for a near fall. 
  • Ziggler catches Shane in mid-air with a Zig Zag and Miz makes a near save. 
  • Braun Strowman tags himself in on Ziggler and Mcintyre tags himself in again on Strowman. Strowman and Drew brawl and SD Live takes out Braun and Rey hits a 619.
  • Great Elbow Drop through the announce table by Shane takes out Strowman.
  • Mcintyre refuses to tag Balor but Balor takes out Mcintyre from the back and tags himself in. 
  • Double Stomp by Balor but he loses his balance and falls on Miz, slight botch but it’s Balor so he gets a pass. 
  • Miz dodges the Coup De Grace but eats a basement dropkick from Finn after he rolls ringside. 
  • Rey Mysterio delivers a hot tag to Finn Balor, Balor shuts down Rey’s momentum with an inverted DDT.
  • Finn ducks a 619 and hits the slingblade and a shotgun dropkick driving Mysterio into the corner. Mysterio dodges the Coup De Grace and finally hits the 619/West Coast Pop to eliminate Balor. 
  • Mcintyre attacks Finn Balor, Mysterio attacks Drew from behind and goes for a 619 but Lashley interrupts Rey with a big boot. 
  • Hot tag by Jeff Hardy on Dolph Ziggler, Hardy hits a ringside tornado DDT to Mcintyre. Back in-ring Ziggler hits a Snap DDT for a near fall.
  • Twist of Fate by Hardy followed by a Swanton Bomb but Ziggler gets his knees up.
  • Coast 2 Coast by Mcmahon hits to Ziggler to eliminate Dolph similar to Crown Jewel. 
  • Miz coaches Shane to hit another Coast 2 Coast to Lashley, Braun catches Shane mid-air with a lariat. Rey Mysterio makes the save for Shane. 
  • Twist of Fate by Hardy fails and Braun powers it into a Running Powerslam to eliminate Hardy. 
  • Braun catches Mysterio mid-619 and eliminates him with a Running Powerslam. Rey was the MVP of the match so far. 
  • Braun catches Miz with a Running Powerslam to eliminate him, Shane is the only person left for SD Live. 
  • Shane says Bring it on to Braun, Braun hits a huge dropkick and lays out Shane with a Running Powerslam.

Winners: Team RAW @ 24:00

Brand Record: 4-0

Rating: ***1/4, While this was a RAW dominant performance it was great to see Rey Mysterio putting in an awesome performance and each character shined on a whole new level. I hate WWE’s lazy tendency to just have Strowman destroy stuff and end it there. It’s time for Strowman to either go back to the absolutely insane monster or Universal Champion because right now he is in bland limbo. Each person delivered a solid moment other than Samoa Joe, poor Joe. 

Charlotte vs. Ronda Rousey:

  • This is a HUGE match. 
  • A pretty fast-paced start.
  • Charlotte sends Rousey face first into the bottom turnbuckle. 
  • Triangle Arm Bar over the top rope by Rousey.
  • Front Release Superplex by Rousey drops Flair, Rousey rolls into a Cross Armbreaker and transitions it into a Triangle, Flair transitions it into a Boston Crab, Rousey fights out. Pretty solid submission sequence.
  • Rousey counters the Natural Selection into another armbar, Flair fights out again. 
  • Most involved match that Rousey has had in WWE and she’s doing great. 
  • Moonsault by Flair but Rousey gets her feet up. Judo Throw by Rousey, she fires up. Charlotte hits a spear out of nowhere and gets a great near fall. 
  • Rousey grabs Flair but Charlotte rolls into the Figure Four, Rousey flips the pressure, both roll to the outside. 
  • Chops by Flair rattle Rousey, Ronda blocks one but Flair fires back with a big boot that gets a near fall. 
  • “This is Awesome” Chants.
  • Piper’s Pit hits by Rousey and Ronda goes for the armbar but Flair locks her hands to escape the hold and rolls ringside.
  • Rousey runs to Flair but Charlotte attacks Rousey with a kendo stick saving the match for another time, likely the Rumble or Mania if Lynch vs. Rousey plans fall through. 

Winner: Charlotte Flair @14:12!

Rating: ***1/2, This was great and both women delivered some of their best performances. The crowd was insanely invested and the commentary did a great build of the match. The match felt like a genuine fight and it a perfect example of the effectiveness of the Women’s Evolution. The Non-Finish makes sense even though it takes the star rating from being above a 4. 

  • Charlotte is delivering a great performance snapping out of anger. Flair stomps on a chair around the neck of Rousey. 

Brock Lesnar vs. Daniel Bryan World Champion vs. Champion:

  • Daniel Bryan is playing an amazing heel. 
  • Bryan is being a chickenshit heel as the bell rings escaping Lesnar. 
  • Lesnar hits a hard lariat to Bryan delivering the first strike. 
  • 2 German Suplexes and 3 Overhead Suplexes by Lesnar.
  • Lesnar takes Bryan ringside and whips him into the barricades. 
  • Another German Suplex and Overhead Suplex and the First F5, Lesnar goes for the pin but breaks it himself to continue attacking Bryan.
  • Another F5 but the ref gets hit and Bryan hits a low blow and a Running Knee for an awesome near fall. 
  • Yes! Kicks by Bryan and stomps to the face like he did to AJ. 
  • Bryan dumps Lesnar to outside and dives to ringside, Lesnar catches Daniel but Bryan sends him into the post. Running Knee off the apron by Bryan wipes out Lesnar. 
  • Suicide Dive by Bryan caught, Lesnar tackles Bryan into the post. 
  • Bryan sends the steel steps into Lesnar and delivers another Running Knee off the apron. 
  • Running Knee in-ring by Bryan another great near fall.
  • Bryan chop blocks Lesnar down and wraps his leg around the post. 
  • Missile Dropkick by Bryan rocks Lesnar, Running Dropkicks in the corner, F5 by Lesnar but Bryan’s work on Lesnar’s leg makes him collapse and Daniel locks in the Yes! Lock, Daniel transitions into a Triangle but Lesnar deadlifts out and hits an F5 to close. 

Winner: Brock Lesnar @18:44!

Rating: ****1/2, Like him as champion or not (and I certainly do not) Brock Lesnar brings drama to WWE like no one has since The Rock or Stone Cold. Pair that with the new and improved heel Daniel Bryan and mix it together to get this masterpiece. WWE has been incredibly lackluster this year and this goes immediately to the top of my favorite Main Roster matches of the year (Wouldn’t even be in the top 20 NXT matches of the year though.) WWE made me care about the product for the first time in a very long time and most of this praise goes to commentary, to be honest. The pairing of Corey Graves, Michael Cole, and Renee Young isn’t always effective but they sold the come back of Daniel Bryan like crazy and the performances from both wrestlers were outstanding. 

Show Grade: B+

Last Word: This brought WWE back to prominence after the rough couple of months they’ve had recently. Aside from the back to back matches on Super Show Down of Murphy vs. Alexander and Joe vs. Styles this show has provided some of the best Main Roster wrestling this year. Even though it ended in a DQ, Rousey vs. Flair shocked me on how good it was, Bryan vs. Lesnar made me care about a wrestling story which is something the Main Roster hasn’t done since the days Bryan left in 2014. The Men’s Tag Match and Naka vs. Rollins were fun and Murphy vs. Alexander was an incredible Cruiserweight Showcase. The show didn’t feel too long which is often a problem WWE ends up having. The only stiff cons were Drake Maverick peeing his pants and Nia Jax being the sole survivor and at the end of the day, those are just really good examples of WWE not taking themselves too seriously and trolling the fans. WWE fixed much of what I often complain about their product on their show and delivered on a show I had NO expectations for. 

MOTN: Daniel Bryan vs. Brock Lesnar 

 

NXT Takeover War Games 2 Review

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Results + Star Ratings:

  • Matt Riddle defeats Kassius Ohno @0:04 N/A
  • Shayna Baszler defeats Kairi Sane to retain the NXT Women’s Title in a 2 out of 3 Falls Match @10:53 ****
  • Aleister Black defeats Johnny Gargano @18:04 *****
  • Tomasso Ciampa defeats Velveteen Dream to retain the NXT Title @22:16 ****3/4
  • War Raiders, Pete Dunne, and Ricochet defeat Undisputed ERA in War Games @47:01 ****1/4

 

 Matt Riddle vs. Kassius Ohno:

  • Matt Riddle comes out to a huge crowd reaction and calls out Kassius Ohno. 
  • Kassius Ohno agrees to a match. 
  • Matt Riddle hits an immediate knee for the win. 

Winner: Matt Riddle @0:04

Rating: N/A, Squash City just to get Matt Riddle on a Takeover.

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Kairi Sane vs. Shayna Baszler 2 out of 3 Falls for the NXT Women’s Title:

  • First 2 out of 3 Falls match for the NXT Women’s Title. 
  • Fast aggressive start by Sane. 
  • Sliding Elbow by Sane knocks Baszler to ringside, Flying Forearm off the apron by Sane knocks Shayna ringside. 
  • Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke attack Kairi Sane with the referee focused on Shayna, Baszler locks in the Coquina Clutch tapping out Sane for the first fall at 2 minutes into the match.
  • Great bicycle kick by Baszler gets the first near fall. 
  • Coquina Clutch by Baszler locked in again, Sane gets a rope break. 
  • Stretch Buckler by Baszler, Baszler stomps on the face of Sane to break the hold. 
  • Near fall roll up by Sane getting out of another Coquina Clutch by Baszler.
  • Strikefest wears both out, Lariat by Baszler ends the sequence. 
  • Amazing reversal to the vertical suplex by Baszler, Sane turns it into a snap DDT on the apron. Really innovative spot. 
  • Sane dodges both Four Horsewomen and throws them into the steps, Great Diving Elbow drop the ringside wipes out Shafir, Duke, and Baszler. 
  • In-Sane Elbow by Sane in-ring scores Kairi the first fall 7 minutes and 30 seconds in.
  • 3 Consecutive Spears by Sane, 2 spinning backfists knock down Shayna. Baszler catches Sane up on the top rope and they brawl on the top. Great Reversal out of a super gut wrench suplex by Baszler, Sane hits a super sunset flip and gets a near fall.
  • Duke distracts the ref as Shafir knocks Sane off the top rope. Dakota Kai comes out to try and even the odds. Io Shirai comes down and hits an awesome diving moonsault to wipe out the 2 Horsewomen. 
  • In-Sane Elbow by Kairi gets caught and rolled up by Baszler for the win. 

Winner: Shayna Baszler Retains @10:53!

Rating: ****, This is the 3rd matchup between these 2 and each have been over 4 stars so obviously they know how to work a great match. The underdog babyface versus cocky MMA heel stable is a great dynamic and this match perfected the story. While the match should’ve gone a bit longer it retained intensity and fire throughout and had some great spots and kept a fast pace.

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Aleister Black vs. Johnny Gargano:

  • Great entrance attire on Black.
  • One of the best stories of the year with Gargano costing Black the title and 3 months of his career. Anti-hero Gargano is fantastic and vengeful Black is even better. Another great example of NXT storytelling. 
  • Stare down after the bell rings, the tension is insane. Gargano slaps Black and Black boots him back.
  • Black catches Johnny springboarding to the outside with a stiff buzzsaw kick. 
  • Gargano dodges Black and does Aleister’s sitting taunt.
  • A series of strikes by Black, Black does the fake suicide dive flip back sitting taunt but Gargano catches him with a kick from behind. 
  • Near fall roll up for Johnny neatly transitioned into a surfboard lock by Gargano, Black near falls pins Gargano out of the hold. 
  • Black boots Gargano off the apron and follows it up with an amazing tope con hiro to ringside wiping out Johnny.
  • Amazing springboard standing moonsault by Black for a near fall.
  • Diving Moonsault by Black misses, Gargano hits an amazing suicide tornado DDT to ringside. In-ring, Gargano hits a springboard DDT for a great near fall.
  • Gargano trash talks Black and hits a stiff elbow and a running strikefest begins. Double Lariats into more strikefest, Gargano hits a spikerana but Black hits a bicycle kick to end the awesome sequence. Standing ovation from the crowd. 
  • The match changes rings and Black catches Gargano with a knee to stop the slingshot spear. Black hits a springboard double knees/German Suplex bridge combo for a great near fall. 
  • Tilt-A-Whirl into the Gargano Escape, near fall rollup by Black to escape the Escape.
  • Lawn Dart into the corner by Johnny Gargano hits. 
  • Gargano taunts for the DIY superkick, Black sits in the ring and says Bring It. Johnny removes the knee pad but missed Black. Superkick and an exposed running knee by Gargano hits, great near fall. 
  • Gargano is hitting Black aggressively with elbows but Black begins to fight back into another strikefest, stiff buzzsaw kick by Black connects. Gargano pushed Black off the springboard to the outside. 
  • Black catches Gargano in mid-air with a bicycle knee off the suicide dive, one of my favorite spots of the year. 
  • Gargano begs Black to hit the Black Mass baiting him in and rolling him up for a great near fall. Gargano Escape locked in, Black rolls out of it and hits a spinning knee knocking Gargano. 
  • Black removes the knee pad and hits a bicycle knee and a stiff black mass but Black holds Johnny up and hits another one.

Winner: Aleister Black @18:04

Rating: *****, The story building up to this match definitely set up the 5-star rating for these guys but the in-ring match could’ve never been bad. Gargano and Black have had amazing years this year with some quality performances but this is my favorite from both. While I don’t think this is better than Gargano vs. Ciampa 2 it is the 3rd best NXT match of the year in my opinion (just after Almas vs. Gargano). The dark and determined heel Gargano was done so well that they are reflecting it with Daniel Bryan on the main roster and the angry vengeful Aleister Black was an amazing character that made this match have just an added level of aggression. The spots in this match were very smart especially the catching knee to the suicide dive which is one of the best spots this year. Even without the story, this would be a MOTY contender, the story makes it one of the best matches I’ve ever seen.

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Tomasso Ciampa vs. Velveteen Dream for the NXT Title:

  • 2 of the most polarizing characters in 2018 Professional Wrestling. 
  • Crowd firmly behind the Dream. Velveteen also came out as Hollywood Hogan.
  • Dream escapes Ciampa but loses the Hollywood Headband, Dream rolls to ringside. Dream grabs the title and Ciampa chases him back into the ring.
  • Great standing dropkick by Dream and a flurry of ring-based offense follows capping off with a Diving Axe Handle. 
  • Dream taunts for the Atomic Leg Drop, Ciampa rolls ringside. Dream hits a Diving Axe Handle taking out Ciampa ringside. 
  • Ciampa dumps Dream off the springboard, Dream hits the apron hard on his way to ringside. 
  • Running Knee in the Corner by Ciampa knocks out Dream, Ciampa doesn’t capitalize. 
  • Hangman’s Neckbreaker over the top rope by Ciampa launches Dream to ringside. 
  • Running Knee with the brace to Dream over the announce table by Ciampa. 
  • Headlock by Ciampa is deep in, Dream does an amazing job of selling it and escapes the hold.
  • Rude Awakening Neckbreaker by Dream puts both down.
  • Big Boot and 3 Atomic Leg Drops by Dream pays homage to Hulk Hogan. 
  • Spinebuster by Dream, near fall. 
  • Amazing plancha to ringside by Dream followed by an attempt at the Purple Rainmaker but Ciampa baits him in and takes him ringside. 
  • Dream drops Ciampa’s previously injured knee over the apron and does the Bret Hart post Figure 4, Ciampa taps with the referee distracted. 
  • Velveteen Dream locks in Flair’s Figure 4 further working the knee of Ciampa, Ciampa reversed the pressure but Dream rolls back into it, Ciampa passes out and delivers a great near fall but Ciampa eventually grabs the bottom rope. 
  • Insane Suplex rolling over the top rope to the outside by Dream. Dream brings in Ciampa and escapes a near countout. 
  • Strikefest, Dream misses a superkick almost just missing the ref, Ciampa rolls up Dream but the ref catches him using the tights. A superkick hits for Dream catching Ciampa arguing with the ref, awesome near fall. 
  • Ciampa catches Dream in mid-air with a knee of the springboard. Ciampa hits the Project Ciampa lungblower and hurts the knee but goes for the pin and gets another great near fall.
  • Ciampa grabs the title belt and brings it in the ring and argues with the ref, Dream hits a Twisting DDT onto the belt for an awesome near fall. 
  • Ciampa boots Dream to ringside and on Dream’s way back in Ciampa catches him with a Draping DDT for yet another great near fall. 
  • Ciampa takes off padding to reveal ringside concrete, Ciampa tries to hit a draping DDT off the apron but Dream spears him over the announce table. Ciampa throws paper at Mauro Ranallo and Dream catches him with a Rolling DVD ringside. In-ring Dream hits the Purple Rainmaker and another awesome near fall happens. 
  • Dream goes to hit the elbow drop to Ciampa on the apron and misses and crashes to ringside. 
  • Draping DDT onto the steel holding the rings together by Ciampa closes the match. 

Winner: Tomasso Ciampa Retains! @22:16 

Rating: ****3/4, How does NXT keep doing it? How do they keep having these special matches?  These 2 polarizing figures combined their characters to perfection and involved inventive spots and constant awesome near falls in front of a RED HOT crowd. Ciampa is an absolutely great heel as always here and Dream played a great babyface who played the classic moves of Bret Hart, Hulk Hogan, and Ric Flair to huge crowd reactions. The ending stretch was fantastic with great big move/near fall sequences and the exposed concrete and metal DDT spots. The referee spots were great too especially the DDT onto the title by Dream which got a very near fall. NXT continues delivering like no other wrestling product in the world. The only possible con with this match is you felt a bit of burn out from the last 5-star match. 

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Undisputed ERA vs. Ricochet, Pete Dunne, and War Raiders in War Games:

  • Ricochet and Adam Cole start the match. 
  • Catching Backstabber by Cole lays out Ricochet.
  • Amazing springboard forearm by Ricochet hopping from one ring to the other.
  • Kyle O’Reilly is chosen next for ERA.
  • Between the rings Ricochet strikes off Era until O’Reilly hits a Dragon Screw Leg Whip taking Rico down.
  • Stiff series of strikes by Cole and Kyle into an assisted ushigoroshi to Cole.
  • Hanson is chosen next for the faces. 
  • Hot Tag of sorts for Hanson taking out Cole and Kyle with great agility. 
  • Amazing shooting star press off the back of Hanson by Richochet to Kyle. 
  • Roderick Strong is chosen next for ERA.
  • A series of Backbreakers into the Lumbar Check by Roddy to Cole.
  • Axe and Smash by Kyle to Hanson, Cole shows great strength and hits an Olympic Slam by Hanson.
  • Rowe is chosen next for the faces. 
  • Great entrance for Rowe taking out Undisputed Era with a great flurry of offense. Powerbomb/Powerslam combo by Rowe to Kyle and Roddy at the same time. 
  • War Raiders chuck Roddy, Cole, and Kyle into the cage. 
  • Bobby Fish is last for ERA, Fish goes for Dunne in the cage and attacks him and locks him in the cage and throws away the key. Fish brings chairs into the ring. 
  • ERA uses the chairs to dominate the match, O’Reilly air guitars the chair which is totally cool with me. ERA throws Hanson into the steel cage. Hard Uranage by Roddy sends Rowe into a set-up chair. ERA throws Rowe so hard into the cage he lands on the injured knee of Fish. 
  • The referee unkeyed the original lock on Dunne’s cage but can’t get the other one done even though it’s his time to join the match. 
  • Stereo Superplexes by Adam Cole and Bobby Fish to the War Raiders.
  • The referees get bolt cutters and finally free Pete Dunne, ERA stops him from getting in the cage but Dunne gets a kendo stick to take out ERA from the door of the cage.
  • Diving Crossbody by Ricochet wipes out Undisputed ERA. 
  • Dunne enters the ring and War Games officially begins.
  • The faces surround ERA with weapons, Dunne throws Kyle from ring to ring and stomps his arm brutally over the middle.
  • Explex by Dunne sends Roddy into O’Reilly on the ground. 
  • O’Reilly calls back the chair rope spot from last year but avoids it this time but turns into a boot by Hanson knocking the chair into his face. 
  • Hanson spears Rowe into the corner with Cole and a trash can already there, Rowe slams Hanson onto O’Reilly in between the two rings. 
  • Fish and O’Reilly work together to strike out Rowe. Lungblower/Backstabber combo by Roddy and Cole to Rico. ERA surrounds Pete Dunne. Dunne throws Roddy into the cage and catches him mid-air with a German suplex. 
  • Kimura Lock by Dunne locked in on O’Reilly, Fish saves Kyle with a chair shot to Pete. Ankle Lock by O’Reilly with a crossface with a chair by Strong to Dunne while Era still surrounds him. 
  • Stereo Superplexes by Rico and Dunne, Dunne hit a Butterfly Suplex and Rico hit a supercanrana. 
  • Hanson tries to set up Cole on a table but the leg gives way, slight botch.
  • Great spear by Fish sends Rowe into a table set up in between the rings. 
  • Triangle Hold by O’Reilly to Rico on the table, Hanson hits a Diving Crossbody to O’Reilly to break the hold, first near fall. 
  • Cole and Ricochet fight on top of the cage. Roddy helps Cole and they try to push Rico to the outside to cost the faces the match. Awesome chain superplex led by Hanson take Adam Cole off the top of the cage. 
  • AMAZING Double Rotation Moonsault by Ricochet off the top of the cage wipes everyone out. Another spot of the year contender.
  • The teams separate into the different rings and standoff to a great crowd reaction. The teams brawl in the middle of the rings. 
  • Fallout by the War Raiders hit on Fish, Roddy and Kyle come to take out the Raiders but an awesome backspring elbow by Hanson wipes out ERA. Cole catches a flying from ring to ring Rico with a Superkick, Last Shot by Cole to Dunne, Bitter End/Standing Shooting Star combo by Rico and Dunne to Cole close the match.

Winners: The Faces @47:01

Rating: ****1/4, There was no way this match could’ve been bad but it wasn’t as good as last years. Mostly because Sanity turned in an amazing performance at last years War Games. The spots in this match were for the majority more lackluster however the double moonsault Ricochet hit is one of the better spots I’ve ever seen. The match felt really long but ERA kept it fresh. The dastardly heel plans that ERA delivered gave the match an added dimension. 

Show Grade: A+

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Race For Wrestler of the Year: October 2018

 

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Wrestler of the Month: Tyler Bate, If you are a WWE-Centric wrestling fan most of what you know of Tyler Bate is that he’s a goofy but talented midcarder. However, in Progress, he is a main eventer and one of the best talents in the Professional Wrestling World and this month he solidified that claim. At Progress’ Wembley show Tyler Bate faced the Progress World Champion Walter in one of the highest quality matches I’ve seen this year. Tyler Bate played an absolutely amazing underdog babyface and looked like he was going to beat the dominant champion Walter and even though he lost he provided one of the best performances in a match that I have seen this year. 

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Women’s Wrestler of the Month: Toni Storm, Storm had an amazingly packed month in October. She started the month in a Progress Women’s Title Match which she turned in a good performance, then put on some amazing matches in the Mae Young Classic, and then went onto beat Io Shirai to win the Mae Young Classic at Evolution. Even though this month was HUGE for women’s wrestling, Toni Storm delivered by far the most memorable and diverse performance. 

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Match of the Month: Tyler Bate vs. Walter, I can’t stop talking about this match and probably won’t for the rest of the year. I absolutely loved this match and if you’ve never seen Progress I highly recommend it. The dominant heel/underdog babyface dynamic was better than it has ever been here. This match felt like a modernized version of Andre vs. Hogan but actually an amazing in-ring encounter as well. Both men turned in probably their best ever performance and the match felt HUGE. It main evented Progress’ biggest ever show and had one of the biggest fight feels of all time. This year has had some classic matches and I think this comfortably fits in the top 3. 

d2d6a-15406338742412-800Feud of the Month: Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte, I guess WWE was forced to have a feud with some fire going into Evolution because they didn’t book anything else other than this match. Even though October was a very weak wrestling month outside of Progress Wembley which happened in September but aired in October, WWE Evolution was a history-making event with some great matches. Lynch vs. Flair had a lot of fire around their feud and Heel Becky Lynch is a great character. The underdog heel vs. the spoiled brat babyface is a weird dynamic but it somehow worked here to fuel a great Last Woman Standing Match. 

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Tag Team of the Month: Aussie Open, in an absolute car crash of a Thunderbastard tag match that happened at Progress Wembley Aussie Open absolutely shined. The team of Kyle Fletcher and Mark Davis consistently mix high flying and big boi athletics to a tee. They came out the victors in an amazing tag match and delivered the best tag performance of the month. 

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Most Improved: Tyler Bate, I’m going to go back to talking about Walter vs Tyler Bate. As I alluded to earlier, in NXT Tyler Bate if often the goofball babyface who can deliver in great matches but not much more than just a guy who had an awesome match against Pete Dunne that one time. In Progress, he was booked like a god. He was shown as an actual threat to a dominant champion and his character and in-ring skills added dimensions to it we haven’t seen before the match against Walter. He came out of that match a different beast and one of the best professional wrestler. 

Over 4-Star Matches:

  • Walter vs. Tyler Bate Progress World Title Chapter 76 *****
  • Doug Williams vs. Trent Seven Atlas Title Progress Chapter 76 ****¼
  • Thunderbastard Tag Team Match (Points go to G.Y.V and Aussie Open) Progress Chapter 76
  • Mark Haskins vs. Matt Riddle Progress Chapter 76 ****¼
  • Paul Robinson vs. Jimmy Havoc Death Match Progress Chapter 76 ****
  • Mark Andrews vs. Eddie Dennis TLC Match Progress Chapter 76 ****½
  • Pete Dunne vs. Ilja Dragunov Progress Chapter 76 ****¾
  • Kushida vs. Marty Scurll for the IWGP Jr Title NJPW KOPW ****
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Jay White for the G1 Briefcase NJPW KOPW ****½
  • Kenny Omega vs. Cody vs. Kota Ibushi for the IWGP Hvy Title NJPW KOPW ****½
  • Buddy Murphy vs. Cedric Alexander for the Cruiserweight Title WWE SSD ****½
  • AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe for the WWE Title WWE SSD ****½
  • Ricochet vs. Pete Dunne vs. Adam Cole North American Title NX TV ****½
  • Tony Nese vs. Gran Metalik vs. Cedric Alexander vs. TJP vs. Lio Rush ****¼
  • Meiko Satomura vs. Mercedes Martinez Mae Young Classic ****
  • Toni Storm vs. Meiko Satomura Mae Young Classic ****
  • AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan WWE Title SD Live ****¼
  • Zack Gibson vs. Noam Dar NXT UK ****
  • Toni Storm vs. Io Shirai Mae Young Classic Final WWE Evolution ****
  • Shayna Baszler vs. Kairi Sane for the NXT Womens Title WWE Evolution ****
  • Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Last Woman Standing SD Womens Title WWE Evolution ****½
  • Hideo Itami vs. Mustafa Ali NO DQ 205 Live ****¼

Champions:

WWE:

Universal Title: Vacant

Raw Women’s Title: Ronda Rousey 75+ Days

Intercontinental Title: Seth Rollins 75+ Days

Raw Tag Titles: Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose 11+ Days

Cruiserweight Title: Buddy Murphy 27+ Days

WWE Title: AJ Styles 360+ Days

SD Women’s: Becky Lynch 47+ Days

US Title: Shinsuke Nakamura 110+ Days

SD Tag Titles: The Bar 17+ Days

NXT Title: Tomasso Ciampa 107+ Days

NXT North American Title: Ricochet 76+ Days

NXT Womens Title: Shayna Baszler 5+ Days

NXT Tag Titles: The Undisputed Era 134+ Days

UK Title: Pete Dunne 531+ days

NXT UK Women’s: Rhea Ripley 68+ Days

NJPW:

IWGP Heavyweight Title: Kenny Omega 144+ Days

IWGP IC Title: Chris Jericho 144+ Days

IWGP Us Title: Cody 31+ Days

NEVER Openweight Title: Tai-Chi 44+ Days

IWGP Tag: Guerillas of Destiny 31+ Days

IWGP Jr Title: Kushida 23+ Days

IWGP Jr Tag Titles: El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru 239+ Days

Never Openweight 6-man Titles: Firing Squad 80+ Days

ROH:

ROH World Title: Jay Lethal 123+ Days

ROH TV Title: Jeff Cobb 32+ Days

ROH  Tag Titles: So Cal Uncensored 17+ Days

ROH Six-Man Titles: Cody and the Bucks 102+ Days

WOH Title: Sumie Sakai 207+ Days

Progress:

Progress World Title: Walter 93+ Days

Tag Titles: Aussie Open 26+ Days

Atlas Title: Trent Seven 26+ Days

Womens: Jinny 159+ Days

PWG:

World Title: Jeff Cobb 9+ Days

Tag Titles: The Rascalz 189+ Days

kennyAgain Still Leader of the Leaderboard: Kenny Omega:

  1. Kenny Omega 246 Points
  2. Kazuchika Okada 221 Points
  3. The Young Bucks 170 Points
  4. Kota Ibushi 160 Points
  5. Walter 147 Points
  6. Will Ospreay 140 Points
  7. Zack Sabre Jr 132 Points
  8. Hiromu Takahashi 127 Points
  9. Hiroshi Tanahashi 117 Points
  10. Johnny Gargano 116 Points
  11. AJ Styles 110 Points
  12. Tomasso Ciampa -Undisputed ERA 107 Points
  13. Tyler Bate 102 Points
  14. Marty Scurrl 98 Points
  15. Tomohiro Ishii 95 Points
  16. Seth Rollins 93 Points
  17. Cody 86 Points
  18. Adam Cole 71 Points
  19. Trent Seven -Cedric Alexander 70 Points
  20. Pete Dunne 69 Points
  21. Sanada -Hangman Page -Hirooki Goto 66 Points
  22. Jay Lethal 64 Points
  23. Jay White 60 Points
  24. Alexa Bliss -Travis Banks -Zack Gibson 58 Points
  25. Kushida 56 Points
  26. Tetsuya Naito -Dalton Castle 55 Points
  27. Ricochet -Jeff Cobb 51 Points
  28. Andrade Almas 50 Points
  29. Matt Riddle -Brock Lesnar 49 Points
  30. Shinsuke Nakamura -Juice Robinson 47 Points
  31. Becky Lynch -Chris Jericho -Flip Gordon -Minoru Suzuki -Evil -The Briscoes 45 Points
  32. El Desperado 41 Points
  33. The Miz 40 Points
  34. Toni Storm 39 Points
  35. Charlotte 37 Points
  36. Aleister Black -Michael Elgin -So Cal Uncensored 35 Points
  37. Firing Squad 34 Points
  38. Rascalz -Dolph Ziggler 33 Points
  39. Dragon Lee -Roman Reigns 32 Points
  40. Braun Strowman -Finn Balor -Chuck Taylor -Buddy Murphy 30 Points
  41. Ronda Rousey 29 Points
  42. Aussie Open -Bandito 28 Points
  43. Doug Williams -Shayna Baszler -Kairi Sane -Mustafa Ali -Yoshinobu Kanemaru -Jonathan Gresham -Doug Williams 25 Points
  44. James Drake -The Bar  -Matt Taven -Sumie Sakai:23 Points
  45. Chris Sabin -Keith Lee -Jinny 22 Points
  46. Joey Janela -Roppongi 3k -Killian Dain -Kalisto -Ember Moon -Jeff Hardy -Velveteen Dream -The Bar  -David Starr 20 Points
  47. Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan -Bludgeon Brothers -Shayna Baszler -Punishment Martinez: 17 Points
  48. New Day: 16 Points
  49. Drew Gulak -Trent Baretta -Asuka -Usos -John Cena -Silas Young -Bobby Roode -EC3 -Kevin Owens -Timothy Thatcher -Jimmy Havoc -Samoa Joe: 15 Points
  50. Nia Jax -The Kingdom: 13 Points
  51. Toni Storm -Drew Mcintyre: 12 Points
  52.  Pentagon Jr -Rey Fenix -Sanity -Kenny King -Dave Finlay -Lars Sullivan -Bray Wyatt -ACH -Jack Gallagher -Sasha Banks -Yoshi-Hashi -Rusev -Jonah Rock -Rey Horus -Aussie Open -Kassius Ohno  -Dean Ambrose -Hideo Itami: 10 Points
  53. Nick Aldis -Rey Mysterio-Chase Owens -Beer City Bruiser -Shane Taylor -Togi Makabe -Sami Zayn -Baron Corbin -TJP -Akira Tozawa -Kurt Angle -HHH -Rysuke Taguchi -Naomi -Elias -Daniel Bryan -Rhea Ripley -Adam Brooks -Brody King -Mark Haskins -Chris Brookes -Jordan Devlin: 5 Points