It’s night three of BOLA where we’re set to not only wrap this tournament up but also treat ourselves with the traditional ten-man clusterfuck and a tag title bout. I won’t waste your time by talking anymore, it’s BOLA, baby!
Trevor Lee defeated Brody King in the Second Round
As usual, Trevor Lee wanted to have a chit-chat pre-match. He called King’s tattoos stupid and said it was okay that he didn’t believe in God, because in PWG, Lee is God. Why isn’t that man a star?
Those comments were a good laugh, but they perhaps weren’t great for Lee’s health as he pissed the big man off. That set-up an opening where King went on the chase. In retaliation, Lee had to wrestle smart. He wasn’t going to beat Brody in a straight fight, so he was forced to work opportunistically.
Luckily, it’s a style at which Lee excels. He’s a master of the little things. Whether that be a rake of the eyes or a foot being ground into the back of a head. King’s size became irrelevant as Trevor Lee chipped away at him, keeping him on the mat and dishing out all sorts of inventive pain.
Unfortunately, as good as Lee was, this was just too long. It felt like we were building to a big comeback from King, but we were drip fed chunks rather than the tasty meal we were craving. Then, out of nowhere, Lee hit the Collision Course and walked away with the clean victory.
These shows are my first proper look at Brody King, and I’m yet to be sold. The PCO match was entertaining in its insanity, but a lot of that was down to the mental old bastard. Then, in this one, he failed to be the babyface that Lee needed him to be. While I’m not writing the big man off yet, it’s going to take something else for me to leap on that bandwagon.
Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars
Jeff Cobb defeated Rey Horus in The Second Round
Cobb vs Horus can be cut into two halves. There were the first few minutes during which Rey Horus was able to bounce around Jeff, avoiding those grasping arms. Then there was the rest of it, where – after a decapitating Lariat – Cobb dominated the smaller man.
As I mentioned after his match with Allin, Big Jeff is embracing his inner monster. There’s a casualness to the way he plucks people out of the air and throws them away. As if Cobb doesn’t care where they land or how. That makes him feel like a badass even as he still presents himself as a likeable guy.
Horus had a couple of moments where he was able to break free, but they never lasted long. Much like with Darby it felt like desperation, as Cobb’s hand being raised never seemed in doubt. It perhaps didn’t make for a thrilling bout, but it certainly made Jeff Cobb look good.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
Shingo Takagi defeated Robbie Eagles in the Second Round
Considering the war he had with Ilja Dragunov the night before, it’s quite something that this match was the one which made Shingo Takagi look like more of a badass. Seek out a GIF of the Death Valley Driver he hit. It was more like a Death Valley Brainbuster.
Credit has to go to Eagles for that too. If no-one buys Robbie, Shingo’s awesomeness becomes irrelevant. Robbie Eagles had to convince the PWG fans that he was on Takagi’s level, and you only have to listen to their roars to realise he succeeded.
The final few minutes were wonderfully frantic before Takagi got the win via submission. Not that it mattered, this was another perfect example of how to make two men look like stars.
Verdict: Four Stars
Joey Janela defeated CIMA in the Second Round
I haven’t talked about the switch to the Globe Theatre, but the larger venue did seem to have taken some of the fire out of the PWG atmosphere. However, by the start of this match, the fans were in good voice. Perhaps it just took them a while to get comfortable.
Unfortunately, this then attempted to send them back to sleep. CIMA has to go down as the disappointment of the weekend. If you were nice, you’d say he didn’t have his working boots on. If you were mean, you’d say it looked like he didn’t give a shit. He seemed more interested in doing taunts that he ever was in wrestling.
With that in mind, this was far too long. Janela tried, he always does, but they were working at a pace which benefitted no-one. By the time he got the win, I was relieved it was over.
Verdict: Two And A Half Stars
WALTER defeated Jonah Rock in the Second Round
Big Jonah attacked Big WALT as he entered the ring and away we went. From there this was a gruelling brawl. There was little to no fancy shit involved, as they stuck to simple moves and heavy strikes.
Both of these men deserve so much credit. They could so easily refuse to bump around, insisting on standing in the middle of the ring trading shots. However, neither one is scared to leave their feet. Rock sold WALTER’s chops like they are missiles while The Ring General was being tossed around. By doing so, they make it all the more impressive when one of them got the win because we know they’re both hard as nails.
If you are a fan of a hoss fight, you’re going to love this. It’s as simple as that.
Verdict: Four Stars
Bandido defeated Flamita in the Second Round
Once we got past some Flossing nonsense, this was sensational. When you get two talented Luchadors in a ring together and let them loose, there really is nothing better. They take flight, pushing each other to ever greater displays of incredible athleticism.
And much like with WALTER vs Thatcher, you can tell that Bandido and Flamita’s time teaming together allows them to do things they might not usually. They don’t only know each other; they trust each other. So, whether it’s sharp slaps across the face or incredible aerial reversals, there is a freedom that perhaps wouldn’t have come with another wrestler.
Smartly, they kept it short, allowing the fans to relish the incredible moves without burning them out. Bandido would then confirm PWG have big plans for him by sealing his place in the semis with a Rebound German after one hell of a match.
Verdict: Four And A Quarter Stars
The Rascalz (Dezmond Xavier and Zachary Wentz) defeated The Lucha Bros (Penta El Zero M and Rey Fenix) to retain the PWG Tag Team Titles
The Rascalz had been to merch and got themselves a pair of Lucha Bros’ masks. That led to some amusement before we got properly started as the owners of said masks were left perturbed by the disrespect being shown and a rather incredible display of mimicry by Dezmond Xavier. At least I think it was him. He was wearing a mask.
If the comedy is not for you (it was genuinely funny, though), I still implore you to stick around. For once we got going, these teams showed why they’re two of the best in the world. It was going to be a tough task to follow the frantic pace of the previous match, but they did it with ease. All four of these men relish the unhinged style that PWG allows them to work, and they took it to the max. You could GIF nearly every second of this, and it would all blow your mind. Fenix and Wentz were particularly remarkable, although I almost feel bad singling them out because it might suggest the other two weren’t as good. They were.
Who won doesn’t matter. All that matters is that it happened.
Verdict: Four And A Half Stars
Jeff Cobb defeated Trevor Lee in a Semi-Final Match
When Lee grabbed the mic for his promo, Cobb decided he couldn’t be arsed. To shut him up, he murdered Lee with a German, another suplex and a Tour of the Islands to have this over and done with quickly.
You can’t rate this as a match, but it was great. Lee’s promos all weekend built to this moment, and the powers that be are going all in on Jeff Cobb. Simple, but effective, booking.
Bandido defeated Joey Janela in a Semi-Final Match
Joey Janela driving Bandido into the apron with a Death Valley Driver while shouting ‘fuck Jim Cornette’ is my kind of wrestling. I agree, Joey. Fuck that prick.
Bandido may have got the win, but this was a Joey Janela match. He built it around a series of insane spots and, damn, did they deliver.
The highlight of said spots (apart from the Cornette related obscenities) was Bandido hitting his Rebound German onto a chair. Quite often, a spot like that doesn’t quite come off. They’re a bit to the left or the right, which takes away from the impact. Not on this night. They hit that motherfucker square on, and it looked awesome.
The finish came when Bandido hit an Avalanche Moonsault Fallaway Slam (I think that’s what you’d call it) through some chairs. If that doesn’t tell you everything you need to know, I don’t think I can help you.
Verdict: Four Stars
Shingo Takagi defeated WALTER in a Semi-Final Match
BOLA 2018 will be remembered for the amount of beef on display. Between WALTER, Cobb, Shingo and Beautiful Tim, they’ve blessed us with some beautiful big boy action.
WALTER vs Shingo was a bit slower than those previous beef offs, which is understandable as they hit their second match on day three. Luckily, you don’t need speed to make an impact. Any lack of pace was more than made up for with an abundance of haymakers. These two might have been tired, but they weren’t taking it easy on each other.
And that’s more than enough. Shingo and WALTER didn’t need to do anything fancy. They built this around strikes and simple moves. Both men are, of course, capable of doing more, but doing more would make no sense. They are two big fuckers who wanted to fight until one of them could fight no more.
The problem with wrestling WALTER, particularly with beating him, is that you have to convince the crowd that’s even possible. You need to show them that you are the hardest fucker in the room because otherwise, they aren’t buying it. That’s what Shingo achieved. Not only did he take WALTER’s Suplexes, Lariats and chops, but he gave as good as he got. He rocked the big man, getting him off his feet and looking like his equal. That alone is one hell of an achievement.
Not that Takagi picking up the win wasn’t still a surprise. You need only to listen to the reaction as that ref’s hand counts three for proof of that. Once again, the big boys have delivered.
Verdict: Four And A Half Stars
Team PCO (PCO, Puma King, Darby Allin, Dan Barry and Jody Fleisch) defeated Team Adam Brooks (Adam Brooks, DJZ, David Starr, Tim Thatcher and T-Hawk)
It’s the BOLA weekend ten-man clusterfuck. Do I need to review it? You know what to expect, as they ramped up the insanity from start to finish with enough foolishness to make Jim Cornette shit himself in anger. It’s fun, but there was nothing in here that is likely to linger in your mind. If you skipped it, you wouldn’t be missing much.
Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars
Jeff Cobb defeated Bandido and Shingo Takagi to win the 2018 Battle of Los Angeles
The quality of BOLA’s final is often determined by how the first part goes. Three-ways suck, so if they are to produce something special, the wrestlers involved have to overcome that.
And, to a certain extent, these three pulled it off. All three men worked together to tell a fun story where Bandido, the smallest man in the match, got used as a pawn by the other two. Initially, Shingo convinced him to team up with him to take out Cobb. Then, when Tagaki inevitably betrayed him, Jeff would do the same, inticing Bandido to his side with a little dance.
That eventually led to the satisfying conclusion of Bandido doing it all on his lonesome. Leaping off the top rope with Shingo for his Avalanche Moonsault Fallaway Slam (I need to find out if that thing has a name that doesn’t take me an hour to write out) and getting the three. The pawn was into the final two.
Unfortunately, getting the pin doesn’t give you an advantage in said final two. Bandido was still in there with a beast, and that beast wanted to throw him around. At least initially, that’s what he did too.
But as the action went on, Bandido was able to create some distance and find a way into this. He had to hit fast and hard, stunning Jeff and then going for that knockout blow. It was a tactic which nearly worked, right up until it didn’t.
For, in the end, Jeff Cobb was just too much. Bandido took a lot. A hell of a lot. There was a vicious Ganso Bomb while he even kicked out of Tour of the Islands to the delight of the fans in attendance. However, Bandido could not keep him down. He threw everything he had, but Cobb was a mountain too far. Reversing Tour of the Islands into a crucifix wasn’t enough, the Rebound German wasn’t enough and a Tour of The Islands of his own was not enough. What was enough, was Jeff Cobb’s second and third trip to those same islands, one of which came off the top rope.
That was a fantastic second part of the match and, perhaps, the best BOLA final I’ve ever seen. Damn well played by all involved.
Verdict: Four And Three Quarter Stars
At a time when the indie scene is struggling for stars thanks to Paul and his NXT army, PWG went all out with this weekend in their attempt to make some new ones. Cobb and Bandido were put over strong here, with Jeff looking like an absolute monster and Bandido becoming a star in defeat. A lot of companies could watch this and learn a thing or two. BOLA, baby!
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