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PWG ‘Battle of Los Angeles’ (9.19.19) Results & Review

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For the second year in a row the Battle of Los Angeles takes place at the Globe Theatre in Los Angeles, California. The first of three nights features six tournament matches, two tag team matches and eight PWG debuts. Let’s get started!

A-Kid def. Lucky Kid @ 18:30 – ***1/4
The first eight minutes sees A-Kid dominate Lucky Kid on the mat with flashy transitions in and out of holds. Lucky’s comeback starts with a dragon suplex followed by a DVD into the corner. He then cranks on the neck and hammers in a furry of elbows until the referee pulls him away. Once he makes it back to his feet, A-Kid changes his game plan by trying to prove he can go strike for strike with Lucky. They have a big overhand chop exchange that leads to A-Kid catching Lucky into an armbreaker, delivers a chop to free the arm and picks up the submission win.

Lucky looked like a dork early on by getting punked by A-Kid but about halfway through I started to understand what they were going for and enjoyed the match. I wasn’t expecting the larger man to get dominated so quickly so it was a jarring experience until about the midway point. This is one that’ll be better on repeat viewings.

Brody King def. Caveman Ugg @ 10:55 – ***1/4
Now for something complete different. The two giants start off by flexing their agility with dueling headscissors and kip ups. Very soon after, the match breaks down into shoulder tackles and a strike exchange. Ugg hits several really impressive lariats throughout the match. They trade knife-edge chops which Ugg puts an end to with a huge overhand that staggers King. Once he believes he has King down for good, Ugg looks for a phoenix splash off the top. King moves, Ugg lands on his feet and rolls through but King is already back up to finish Ugg with the Ganso-style piledriver.

Two big men putting both their power and agility to the test. Ugg in particular was impressive. All of his strikes looked big time. There was no give on his lariats, dude used his body like a solid wrecking ball. The fact that a guy his size can hit a phoenix splash is terrifying. This was a good big guy battle with a sprinkle of amazing athleticism that didn’t feel overdone.

Dragon Lee def. Rey Horus @ 14:30 – ***
This was not the Dragon Lee I’ve grown accustomed to in NJPW. Despite the handshake before the lock up, Lee was here to stunt on Horus. Filled with taunting and punctuated by throwing a chair at Hours’ face, Lee was dead set on letting Horus get all of the shine possible. Lee knew he’d get cheered no matter what he did so put in a professional job by allowing this match to focus around Horus’ comeback. These two are silky smooth together and can seemingly wrestle this match in their sleep which was somewhat a determent because it didn’t feel like they got out of second gear.

I was expecting a big time showcase from Lee and that’s not at all what I got here. Horus did a solid job with his comebacks and produced a good match but it definitely didn’t live up to its billing. So far the card is producing a good variety of acceptable matches but nothing has been above and beyond just yet.

Joey Janela & Alex Zayne def. Blake Christian & Tony Deppen @ 14:40 – ****
One of these is not like the other. The GCW offer match features Alex Zayne, the next big name in professional wrestling. Billed as a tag team match, they decided on using tornado rules. I don’t remember seeing a single tag. What I do remember is Zayne standing on Janela’s back to do a shooting star press to the floor, Christian popping Zayne over the top rope for Zayne to hook his legs around Deppen’s neck for a poison rana on the apron and Zayne winning the match with a running 630 senton. Absolutely incredible. Christian had highlights himself, the biggest being a top rope double stomp to a standing Zyne on the floor.

An absolutely unreal showcase from the GCW crew. Zayne made a name for himself on the independent scene this year through his work in GCW as well as PWG now that this has been released. We’re already seeing it pay dividends for Zayne who received a spot on last weekend’s NJPW show which took place in this same building. A big time highlight reel match that demands to be seen.

Darby Allin def. Black Taurus @ 11:30 – ***3/4
Pure intensity from start to finish. Both guys came out shot out of a cannon. Taurus took control early by catching the coffin drop into a German suplex onto the fans. Darby came back with a flurry of topes followed by a yoshitonic off the top rope. Taurus used his power to obliterate Darby who in Darby fashion kept kicking out and asking for more punishment. In the closing stretch, Darby didn’t have any energy left to kick out but found the ropes. Taurus put his hands behind his back to give Darby a free shot. Darby uses that chance to figure four the legs and roll Taurus up for the win.

Really strong performance from both guys. Taurus started off on fire and kept the intensity throughout the entire match. Darby did what he’s best at (taking a beating) and Taurus’ hubrius wound up costing him. Great stuff all around.

Jonathan Gresham def. Artemis Spencer @ 13:20 – **
Giving PWG fans a technical match this late in the card rarely works out. It doesn’t help that they got off to a wonky start as they were feeling each other out. I’ve never seen Spencer before but he had his vocal fans who kept supporting him throughout this largely lackluster match. He managed to get them invested when both he and Gresham were on the ropes and hit a senton that bounced Gresham off the top rope before crashing to the mat. The finish came after a flurry of sliding forearms from Gresham leading to the octopus hold and elbows to the back of the head to force the TKO finish.

I’m all for a technical match and it’s clear that Spencer has the ability for special moments but they didn’t quite click here. Overall though this was largely dull and the lack of reaction to most sequences caused the match to feel flat.

Jeff Cobb def. Daisuke Sekimoto @ 15:30 – ***1/4
The second of two big boy battles as one of the 2019 MVPs, Daisuke Sekimoto, takes on the PWG Champion, Jeff Cobb. Always a consistent performer, Sekimoto brought the heavy strikes and it was up to Cobb to match him. The magic of Sekimoto is how he makes every offensive move count. The struggle for the vertical suplex in a prime example of making a simple move mean as much as possible. He brings an intensity that never feels forced or mistimed. The guy has his style locked down. They had strong boy exchanges, battled for suplexes, chopped and clubbed the hell of of each other, everything you expect to see in a Sekimoto match.

Sekimoto was on the up and up here but Cobb lacked he fire to really help put it over the top. While Sekimoto was grunting and screaming away, Cobb gave nothing in return vocally. The exchanges were great and Sekimoto being tossed around like he’s nothing was an incredible sight but I needed more life out of Cobb in order to really drive this match home. As it stands, a really good match that was just barely missing its edge.

Lucha Brothers def. MexiBlood @ 18:05 – ***1/2
A match that’ll be remember as “the one with THAT spot”. While on their partner’s shoulders, Fenix gives Flamita a Spanish fly. An absolutely insane spot that needs to be seen in order for anyone to believe. The first half of the match featured Pentagon Jr. doing the “cero miedo” chant over and over again to the delight of the crowd. I’m not exaggerating, this goes on for the first eight minutes of the match before they begin to wrestle. That’s my major gripe overall. The last ten minutes features over a dozen dives and innovative spots that are well worth checking.

Unlike the GCW spotfest, which was a get in-get out style, this match lingered too long with the chants. These four are more fluid and are finished products when compared to Alex Zayne and Blake Christian but that match didn’t make me feel like I was wasting my time. You should definitely watch the match but skip the first eight minutes.

Final Thoughts
I think it’s fair to say this wasn’t up to the PWG standard. A lot of fans hold the belief that they’ve fallen off the last couple of years. I haven’t been watching consistently for years so there’s probably some merit to that claim. There’s a lot to like on the show but outside of the singles between Darby and Taurus, most of it was in the tag matches. Both tags featured the next-level innovation I watch PWG to find. Alex Zayne as the show stealer with that shooting star press off Janela’s back and to the floor. That guy is the next big star.

Outside of those three matches there were a handful of good ones, the one to avoid being Gresham/Spencer. They didn’t click as well as I’d have liked and the lack of energy from the crowd didn’t help matters either. Overall it’s a mixed bag show, check out the tags and Darby/Taurus if you want to see the best the show had to offer.

Recommended Matches
Janela & Zayne vs Deppen & Christian
Darby Allin vs Black Taurus
Lucha Brothers vs MexiBlood

Along with providing show reviews from across Japan, Robert McCauley is also an editor for FightboothPW.

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