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:
- 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.
Puma 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.
CIMA 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.
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.
David 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.
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.