Saturday, September 02, 2006

PWG Battle of Los Angeles Night One Report

Last year’s Battle of Los Angeles marked one of Pro Wrestling Guerrilla’s highpoints as a promotion. This year, PWG has set out to top itself, with an expanded 24 man, 3 night tournament. The first night of the weekend featured 6 tournament matches, as well as a special 8 man tag main event. The show took place at a new arena in Reseda with a bar and air conditioning. It was a more pleasant setting than the previous Sweatbox Jewish Community Center in Hollywood.

The crowd was good but not overwhelming, featuring fans coming in from around the country and overseas. The show started a little late, but not too badly, and it ended at right around the three and a half mark. This was a must considering they are running three shows in a row, and they made an effort to not run too long. The show was excellent, with everyone on the card working hard, a number of different styles showcased, and not a bad match in the bunch.

Commissioner Dino Winwood came out to start the show, but was jumped by the Briscoes. The Briscoes had no sold two of their last three scheduled PWG performances, so they were pulled out of the Battle of Los Angeles tournament. Fortunately for the fans, PWG still booked them for the weekend, but didn’t advertise them presumably to both hedge their bets and also as a message to fans. The Briscoes played off this. They said that they didn’t miss their flight to the previous shows, but rather didn’t go to the airport. They don’t care about PWG or PWG fans. This was a hot start to the show, and a nice way to package the Briscoes. They are a great team and there are tons of possibilities for them in PWG.

1. Chris Sabin beat Colt Cabana. They shook hands at the start, and did a lot of comedy early. Colt applied an arm ringer and wrist lock, which were reversed. Referee Rick Knox got caught in the middle of a submission. Chris Sabin grabbed a headlock, but Colt grabbed his ass to get a voluntary break. Sabin executed a huracanrana off the second rope, and a drop kick to the back of the head. He followed that with a body slam and somersault senton from the apron. Colt came back with a knee lift for a two count. He snapped Sabin’s neck with his legs and applied a chicken wing. He went for a moonsault, but was caught with a drop kick.

Sabin followed that with a savat kick, drop kick, and a drop kick to the head with Colt tied to the tree of woe. Sabin came off the top, but was caught in a bear hug, which was then turned into a snap suplex. Colt hit the Colt 45, but Sabin kicked out. Sabin hit a drop kick to the leg and used a crucifix cradle for a two. He then followed that with another rollup for a three. This was a good match, with the crowd really into Colt. Colt also worked harder than he typically has in PWG, and the match transitioned nicely from heavy comedy to a more serious second half.

2. El Generico defeated Delirious. Delirious was acting crazy as usual. Streamers were thrown in for both men. Delirious ran around the ring muttering. They locked up and Generico had him from behind. Delirious escaped by sticking his hands in his mouth and using the moisture to slip out. Delirious then ran around some more. Generico gave him two arm drags, but after he went for a third Delirious went to the outside.

Delirious crawled under the ring and tried to jump Generico from behind when Generico went to investigate. Generico avoided that and hit three chops. Back in the ring Delirious hit a chop of his own. He stuck his hand in his mouth presumably for a chop, but then just rubbed it in Generico’s face. Generico gained control and hit a split legged moonsault. Delirious responded with a stun gun, belly to back suplex and raised the roof. He applied a cobra clutch, and drove Generico into the turnbuckle. Generico dropped him with a drop toe hold into the bottom turnbuckle, and dodged Delirious, who ran at him and tumbled over the top rope.

Generico then hit a spectacular running, leaping moonsault to the outside. He hit a crossbody off the top back in the ring for two. He hit a spinning sit down power bomb for two. He went for his running boot to the head, but Delirious drop kicked him and hit a running knee to the head. Delirious continued with a head over heels clothesline and splash off the top to the back for two. He hit three chops, but Generico was able to counter with his running big boot. He followed that with two more, and a back drop driver for the pin. This match was a lot like the first, with a humorous first half building into a more serious second half. This match was even better than the first, with Generico looking really good as usual, and was the best match of the first half of the show for me.

3. CIMA beat M-Dogg 20. M-Dogg applied a front face lock and hammer lock. CIMA applied a head lock of his own, and M-Dogg retaliated with a drop kick, chops, a senton, and a suplex. CIMA hit a double foot stomp and applied a neck crank. He hit an elbow drop and stomped the leg. He applied an upside down bow and arrow style submission. CIMA hit the X-factor. CIMA drop kicked M-Dogg’s head into the middle turnbuckle, which was a great looking move. He hit a sit down power bomb.

M-Dogg came back with a springboard drop kick and a crazy handspring corkscrew plancha. He then hit an even crazier flag poll press. CIMA used a double knee to the head and hit the Michinoku driver for a two. M-Dogg responded with a DVD into the knee, a running clothesline and a double foot stomp off the top for two. M-Dogg then went for a springboard huracanrana but was caught with the schwein for the pin. This was a good match, but it didn’t build as well as most on the evening.

4. Kevin Steen beat Matt Sydal. Steen had tights with the wrestler executing a moonsault logo, and accused Sydal of stealing that image. Sydal went for a straight bar and Fujiwara arm bar early. Steen used a head scissors, and there were pretty even dueling chants for both men. Steen hit a shoulder block and Sydal 2 arm drags. Steen followed with an arm drag, body slam, but missed a standing somersault leg drop. Sydal came back with a chop, clothesline, and drop kick. They traded chops, but Steen went to the eye and hit a tilt-a-whirl back breaker for two.

Steen choked Sydal and they traded chops. Steen hit a side suplex for another two count. Sydal went for a tornado DDT but was stopped. Steen chopped him and went for a superplex but was also stopped. Steen came off the top rope but was caught with a spinning heel kick. Sydal hit two enzuigiris, and a standing moonsault into his knees. Steen went for the Steen pile driver, but Sydal escaped and hit a standing moonsault. He hit a Michinoku driver into his knee and went for a rollup that netted a near fall. Steen hit a power bomb for a near fall of his own. He then went to the top but was caught. Steen fought him off and hit a sit down power bomb off the top for the pin. This was another strong match just prior to intermission, and their styles meshed very well.

5. Dragon Kid beat Quicksilver. They started with chain wrestling. Dragon Kid hit a spinning head scissors and a chop. He followed that with drop kicks and a knee drop. Quicksilver came back with a spine buster and suplex. Dragon Kid reversed a suplex into a stunned. Dragon Kid then hit a moonsault off the top rope onto the floor on Quicksilver, just about literally on the seat that I had been sitting in.

Dragon Kid hit a triple jump moonsault off the ropes and a twisting DDT. He went for a huracanrana which was reversed into a Quicksilver pile driver. Dragon Kid quickly regained control with the crucifix driver and followed with a drop kick off the top. He then hit the springboard huracanrana for the pin. This was a mild disappointment, but still a pretty good match.

6. Roderick Strong beat Rocky Romero in the final tournament match. Romero spit at Strong at the onset of the match. Romero hit some leg kicks. Strong came back with a ridiculously hard chop. Throughout the match Strong brutalized Romero’s chest and left it swollen and badly bruised. Romero went for an arm bar but Strong escaped. He applied the Rito Romero special, and spit at Strong again. Strong came back with stiff punches and chops. He then spit at Romero.

Romero came back with hard kicks and forearms. Strong retaliated with a hard cop and forearm. Romero hit a whirly bird. They both attempted a monkey flip but the other landed on his feet. Romero hit a body slam but missed a kick. Romero got the mount and slapped around Strong. He went for an arm bar but Strong got out and applied the surfboard. They traded punches on the apron and Strong hit an impressive back breaker on the apron. Strong hit some really hard chops all around the ring on Romero and they traded chops.

Strong hit a back breaker and applied the camel clutch. He hit a butterfly suplex as well. Strong traded slaps for Romero leg kicks, with both going stiff. Strong hit a fall away slam and applied a bow and arrow submission with his legs. Romero slapped around Strong, who chopped him. Strong went for a suplex, but Romero got out with upside down knees. They traded chops for high kicks. Romero then utilized a bunch of chops. Romero hit a crossbody off the top and applied the guillotine choke. Strong dropped him down to break it. Romero hit a DDT off the top. Strong hit a uranage into a back breaker, and then a torture rack into a back breaker.

Romero went for an arm bar and then an ankle lock. He hit a really hard kick, chop, kick and European uppercut. Strong hit a press slam into a back breaker, splash mountain, and then applied the Stronghold for the submission. Strong offered a handshake after the match, but Romero spit in his face again and walked off. This was the best match of the night. Romero frequently doesn’t go all out in PWG, which is understandable given his other commitments and the fact he usually isn’t featured that prominently on the card. Here he went on second to last and replaced Bryan Danielson, and he let it all hang out. This was a stiff, brutal and believable bout. Both men looked fantastic.

7. Human Tornado, Excalibur, B-Boy and mystery partner Homicide beat Joey Ryan, Scott Lost, Chris Bosh and mystery partner Petey Williams. B-Boy wanted Ryan at the outset, but Ryan tagged in Lost. B-Boy hit a big clothesline. Excalibur and Bosh tagged in, and Excalibur avoided a tornado DDT and executed a drop kick. Homicide and Williams were in next, and they traded submissions and slaps. Ryan and Tornado tagged in, with Tornado using a pimp slam, spinning head scissors and his splits kick to the groin. The faces took turns punching Ryan, and referee Knox took a shot as well after being bloodied by Ryan at the last show.

B-Boy chopped Ryan and drop kicked him into the corner. Excalibur gave Ryan a head butt, back breaker and knee drop off the second rope. Homicide had a kick and knee drop for Ryan. In a cool spot, Homicide applied the camel clutch and B-Boy bounced off the ropes gathering momentum 8 times before hitting a drop kick to Ryan’s head. Tornado gave Ryan some kicks but when he went to dive onto Ryan, Williams cut him off with a leg drop on the apron. Ryan tagged Lost, and the heel worked over Tornado.

Lost kicked Tornado and executed a suplex. Bosh pulled his hair. Lost hit a back breaker. They constantly double teamed and triple teamed until Tornado hit an exploder on Ryan and tagged Homicide. Homicide cleared the ring and hit a tope con hilo to the outside on Williams. The two teams brawled, and set up a ridiculous pyramid spot with a double superplex and two power bombs. It didn’t really work. Lost hit a spear on Excalibur and Tornado, and applied the double sharpshooter.

B-Boy broke that up and hit an overhead German suplex and implant DDT on Lost. Bosh hit back breakers on B-Boy, but Tornado made the save. He applied the sleeper to Bosh, but Ryan came in with the super kick. That was Homicide’s cue to give Ryan the three amigos. Williams came in but was caught with a downward spiral by B-Boy. Excalibur hit a German suplex on Williams.

Lost then came in with a uranage into Bosh’s knee on Excalibur. B-Boy broke that up. Lost and B-Boy tumbled to the outside on a suplex attempt to the floor. Williams went for the Canadian destroyer on Homicide but Homicide got out. Homicide went for the Cop Killa on Williams but Williams escaped. Williams and Ryan got into an argument at that point, and Williams gave Ryan the Canadian destroyer. Excalibur covered Ryan for the pin. After the match, the Briscoes came in and attacked everyone. They specifically got into a brawl with Homicide and B-Boy, former PWG Tag Champions.

Homicide was teased as the mystery partner, and delivered. Williams was a more strange choice, and it seemed he was selected so he could give Ryan the Canadian Destroyer. The booking of the match was weird, because it seemed to set up Williams and Excalibur as the future challengers to Ryan’s title, and I don’t think PWG fans buy either as credible main event face challengers. Of course, Davey Richards winning the tournament would set him up as the most prominent challenger and this could have just been to send fans home happy the first evening. This was a fun match.

Tomorrow night the second half of the tournament will take place with Davey Richards vs. TJ Perkins, Disco Machine vs. Austin Aries, Jack Evans vs. Claudio Castagnoli, Chris Hero vs. Genki Horiguchi, Scorpio Sky vs. Frankie Kazarian and Super Dragon vs. Necro Butcher. Potentially there will be a match involving Homicide & B-Boy, the Briscoes and maybe Arrogance as well. Sunday will feature the winners from Saturday along with Chris Sabin vs. El Generico, CIMA vs. Kevin Steen and Dragon Kid vs. Roderick Strong. If those shows can equal this one, it will prove to be one hell of a weekend.


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