Image: Jacob Cohen. Report submitted by Brian Reznick.
– Night two of the 2018 Battle of Los Angeles is in the books, and it was another excellent show. All but two of the matches were very good to great, and the other two weren’t bad.
– Trevor Lee defeated Marko Stunt in a Battle of Los Angeles tournament first round match
I was very excited for this match when I saw that it got booked, and it delivered. Lee is such a great heel and bully. The crowd was very excited for Stunt. After the introduction of his “Mr. Fun Size” nickname, fans from the balcony began throwing fun-size candy into the ring. Stunt dramatically ate a mini Snickers to a big pop.
Lee got on the mic and said disparaging remarks about the crowd, noted that BOLA officially started tonight with his appearance, and insulted Stunt’s height, age, and looks.
Stunt took the microphone and responded to Lee, leading to Lee attacking him. Stunt evaded him early and hit two dropkicks and a dive off the top. Lee caught him to cut him off. This set up the dynamic of the match: Lee beat on Stunt, Stunt did something innovative to eventually escape, and Lee cut him off with a brutal move.
Stunt reversed a powerbomb into a rana where Lee spiked himself on his head, followed by Stunt running wild for a brief time before being cut off by a vicious slap to the face. The crowd mostly rooted for Stunt and booed Lee. Stunt missed a 450 off the top and rolled through, Lee pushed the referee toward Stunt for a distraction, and Stunt avoided the ref and hit a superkick. Stunt bounced back off the ropes to hit something else, but Lee countered with a huge double stomp for the pin.
The crowd cheered loudly for Stunt afterwards and implored him to please come back.
– Jonah Rock defeated Sammy Guevara in a Battle of Los Angeles tournament first round match
Rock was actually cheered well — because people really hate Guevara. Some seemed like they had a “love to hate you” feel to their boos, but many of them felt like legit hate. Guevara was great at playing it up.
Another match with the big guy/little guy dynamic. Guevara used acrobatic offense and Rock hit power moves. At one point, Guevara had Rock down and called for the mic. Guevara said we all knew that this was the part of the match where he would put a rest hold on Rock only to have Rock eventually get out.
So, instead of doing the normal thing, Guevara requested that we all subscribe to his YouTube channel. Guevara then said “I’ll go do this spot now” and, with much overstatement, put a side headlock on. Rock immediately got out. I love Guevara but didn’t love that.
Guevara did a moonsault from the balcony to the floor. It looked cool, but it was also meaningless in the match as it didn’t lead to a pin attempt. Guevara later hit a Canadian Destroyer and a Shooting Star Press for a near fall. Later, Rock got the guillotine for the win.
This match was fine, but it wasn’t anything special. The crowd booed Guevara heartily after and told him not to come back. Guevara got on the mic and did the WWE thing where he acted like he was going to say something heartfelt and then insulted us.
– Robbie Eagles defeated DJZ in a Battle of Los Angeles tournament first round match
Eagles wears more neckerchiefs than any other high flyer. DJZ was very over with the crowd and stayed that way, though he had two botches early. There were many dives, with DJZ’s looking great.
The finish came when Eagles hit a rana with both guys standing on the top turnbuckle, a 450 onto DJZ’s leg, and used a submission to win.
The crowd very much wanted DJZ to win this and there were quite a few boos at the finish. The crowd chanted for DJZ to please come back.
– Jeff Cobb defeated Darby Allin in a Battle of Los Angeles tournament first round match
The show got great again from here on out. This was another big guy/small guy dynamic, but both guys were awesome. The crowd loved Allin from the start.
Allin called for a test of strength early, but he slapped Cobb after they locked up one hand. Allin hit a bunch of fast, innovative moves before Cobb started tossing him around. Both guys were so great. Cobb twice threw him at the corner and Allin somehow flew between the top and middle turnbuckle. Cobb also put Allin into a fireman’s carry and then airplane spun and flung him high off his shoulders so he spun around in mid-air before landing. Such a great spot.
Allin hit a Coffin Drop to the outside. He set up Cobb for a Coffin Drop onto the apron, but Cobb evaded and Allin smashed on the apron hard. Cobb rolled back in the ring and gave Allin a huge Spider German suplex for the win.
There was a huge ovation and money thrown into the ring afterwards. I think we’ll be seeing Allin again.
– Shingo Takagi defeated Ilja Dragunov in a Battle of Los Angeles tournament first round match
The second half of this show was so good that my notes are basically worthless. This was a hard-hitting affair where each guy looked like a total star. I really hope that both of them can come back beyond tomorrow.
There was an intense staredown to start. Dragunov’s chest was still a mess from the chops from night one. They grappled, with Takagi pushing Dragunov into the ropes. The referee came to break it up. Takagi said it would be a clean break, started to back away, and slapped Dragunov in the face.
The fight quickly spilled outside. Dragunov went for a tope, but he shorted it a bit because his feet hit the ropes on the way through. He continued fine and soon received a Death Valley Driver onto the apron. They had so many hard striking exchanges that no write-up will do it justice. There were two great struggles with Dragunov trying to hit a Saito suplex, with him eventually hitting it and just smashing Takagi to the mat. Later, Takagi fought for a superplex with Dragunov sitting on the top turnbuckle.
Dragunov hit some safe headbutts before Takagi hit a gross skull-to-skull headbutt. It wasn’t Shibata-Okada, but there was an audible thunk. Dragunov hit a big senton off the top for a great near fall late. Takagi hit his pumphandle half nelson slam for a two count. Everyone thought that was the finish, but Dragunov’s survival was short-lived as Takagi hit him with a huge lariat in the corner and hit the pumphandle half nelson slam again for the pin.
There were deserved cheers for both guys afterwards.
– PWG World Champion WALTER defeated Timothy Thatcher in a Battle of Los Angeles tournament first round match
This match had all of the beatings. It was the stiffest match that I’ve ever seen live. These guys just beat the hell out of each other.
At the beginning, WALTER offered a handshake but Thatcher declined. The story of the match was that Thatcher could compete when it was grappling, but WALTER would escape and wear him out with brutal strikes. Case in point: Thatcher had him down early and grabbed a single-leg crab. WALTER fought out, hit a brutal stomp to the head, got up, and kicked Thatcher in the back so goddamn hard.
There was a great sequence where WALTER had Thatcher stood up on the apron between the ropes for his signature chest clubbing. WALTER hit one huge shot to the chest, then hit another. But when he went for the third, Thatcher caught it. Thatcher held onto the arm, turned, and just started hammering on WALTER with forearms for a huge pop.
WALTER laid Thatcher chest-up across the top turnbuckle. He slapped Thatcher’s chest a few times and then climbed up and drove his boot into Thatcher’s face, bending him backwards across the buckle. Thatcher fought for a Saito suplex, but WALTER turned in mid-air for a splash and a near fall. Thatcher fought back and hit the Saito for a two count.
Thatcher grabbed the Fujiwara armbar and transitioned to a rear naked choke where he was laying on WALTER’s back as WALTER was prone on the mat. WALTER got up, struggled to the corner while wearing Thatcher as a backpack, climbed to the middle buckle, and threw himself back into the ring onto Thatcher. WALTER then picked him up and hit a huge clubbing lariat for the pin.
They made up and were friends again afterwards.
– CIMA & PWG Tag Team Champions The Rascalz (Dezmond Xavier & Zachary Wentz) defeated Bandido, Flamita & Rey Horus in a non-tournament match
There might be people who would legitimately not like the main event of this show. Not just people who decide to hate everything new, but people who legitimately don’t like this kind of wrestling.
All of the hypothetical critiques are true — this match was clearly meticulously planned and often felt very choreographed. It didn’t matter who won and the match really followed no rules. It was a tag match, which started with two legal men, but never had a tag. And there wasn’t really a structure or story per se, but this match was completely phenomenal.
This was a total sprint that quickly involved all six guys doing continually innovative stuff. There was almost no pause from beginning to end, aside for a brief dance contest. There were handspring tornillo dives, people jumped off of each other’s backs, and someone did a modified 619 in the middle of the ring using another person as the “ropes” to swing around.
At one point, CIMA got on all fours and Wentz ran and jumped off his back for a flip dive to the outside. Then Xavier looked like he was going to do a handspring dive off of CIMA to the outside. Instead, he just jumped over him and almost didn’t clear the ropes or apron — but barely did.
Bandido, who was the most over guy on the show by a mile, did something that defied description (like this whole match, actually) — but I’ll try anyway: Xavier was bent over the middle rope with his body in the ring (almost as if set up for a 619). Bandido ran and did a handspring across Xavier’s back so that his own back hit the ropes and propelled him backwards onto his feet (like the common handspring back elbow), only Bandido held onto Xavier’s waist and pulled him back into a bridging German suplex for a near fall.
CIMA, Xavier, and Wentz all pinned Bandido after Xavier and Wentz hit their move where Wentz does the running Shooting Star Press and Xavier assists him in mid-air.
This match was a fever dream — it was a magic show where the magician forgot to show the set-ups and only showed the reveals.