The second night of the 2019 Battle of Los Angeles features the final six matches of the first round and two more tag team matches. Both Mick Moretti and Aramis make their PWG debut. Let’s get started!
Joey Janela def. Mick Moretti @ 12:30 – ***1/4
Innovation is why I watch PWG and Mick Moretti scratched that itch. The way he attacks the ring with these chaotic yet fluid movements makes him a unique watch. He’d put Janela’s foot over the bottom rope before an Irish whip, tripping Janela into the mat. Later on he’d float over Janela’s lariat to deliver a headbutt in smooth fashion. The guy is a breath of fresh air to watch. The finish came when Moretti attacked Janela with a ball of fire, Janela gets a wet towel from the referee and throws it at Moretti before finishing him with a superkick.
Big time energy from Moretti to kick off the second night. He made a great impression which should result in him being a PWG regular from here on out. The finish was lame. Sure, it protected Moretti but he didn’t need it.
Jake Atlas def. Jungle Boy @ 19:05 – ***3/4
Bombs. Straight up bombs. These two started so hot that the crowd bought a finish coming in the first five minutes. Ranas and drivers for days, they went so hard from start to finish and never let up. Jake Atlas’ body control is absolutely incredible. You can tell the trust Jungle Boy had with Atlas tossing him around like he’s nothing. They did wacky moves like air raid crashes onto the turnbuckles, a step through tiger driver and Atlas’ cartwheel DDT onto the floor. Atlas would get the win with a follow up cartwheel DDT in the ring.
Big time indie-style bombfest. They moved at a breakneck pace that had the crowd losing their minds the entire way through. This was the match that gained the most buzz from the weekend and it’s easy to see why.
Rey Fenix def. Aramis @ 13:15 – ***
Like Dragon Lee the night before, Fenix let his opponent get all the shine. Fenix hit maybe ten offensive maneuvers, six of them being a simple thrust kick to cut off an Aramis flurry. After the match he put over Aramis as the next generation which elicited “please come back” chants. Aramis looked super crisp and all of his movements had a nice snap to them. His body control was on full display, he only needs to show more personality which will come in time when he’s not nervous about making mistakes.
The match served as strictly a showcase for Aramis as opposed to an exciting back and forth. He looked very solid and has hopefully won over Super Dragon for more appearances. While a good showcase, it’s a tough recommendation due to the blandness of Fenix’s performance.
The Rascalz def. A-Kid & Kyle Fletcher @ 22:30 – **1/2
An injury to Mark Davis forced the makeshift team of Fletcher & A-Kid. This sudden change resulted in a shift in dynamics as Fletcher is usually the one taking the beating before getting the hot tag to Davis. This was already going to be weird considering that Fletcher is much larger than both Wentz and Xavier. All four guys worked hard but the longest match of the two days so far going to a makeshift tag match with two guys who have no chemistry is an odd decision.
There were several moments in the match I liked, specifically the exchanges between Xaiver and A-Kid but the match had no reason to go as long as it did. A-Kid taking the pin despite being in the second round was a lousy decision too.
Bandido def. Puma King @ 10:45 – ***1/4
Big ups to this high-energy comedy-infused match that didn’t sacrifice its fast pace. They came right out of the gates with overhand chops before breaking into Kobashi inspired chops in the corner. There were a variety of dives hit after the exchange, including one over the post to the floor from Bandido. The pace was kept up their entire way through the finishing stretch which saw Bandido catch Puma King in a Jeff Cobb-esque powerslam in what may be a callback to the finish of last year’s tournament.
This is the shortest match of the tournament to this point. I appreciated that they kept it short and sweet with a great paced the entire way through. These dudes understand long doesn’t always mean good.
Pentagon Jr. def. Tony Deppen @ 14:40 – ***1/2
Two dudes who are pure intensity. Pentagon is used to being the most intimidating man in the ring but Deppen showed no fear and let Pentagon absolutely obliterate his chest. This was a top tier Darby Allin-esque beating that Deppen took. The guy gives me serious Biff Busick vibes with his facials and it’s great to see. Pentagon dorked Deppen out by stepping away from chops as a way to lessen the sound of Deppen’s returned strikes. He dropped Deppen with powerbombs on the knee, pumphandle drivers and destroyers on the apron. The guy took a massive beating to my absolute delight.
One of my favorite tournament matches to this point. Deppen took a beating that forced you to respect him and Pentagon more than embraced being on the giving end. Wrestling needs more Tony Deppens.
David Starr def. Orange Cassidy @ 18:40 – *
Two guys who are the complete anthesis of one another. You have David Starr championing independent wrestling with a 2019 wrestler of the year campaign against Orange Cassidy who couldn’t care less about anything in the ring. The dynamic is interesting on paper and maybe for ten minutes but the match ultimately went twice as long as it should have. Cassidy is a fun gimmick until he starts fighting back. If he didn’t care early on, why does he care now? It’s a gimmick as fun as it is confusing and is rarely cohesive.
I don’t dislike either guy nor the idea of them wrestling but the execution was paint by numbers which you don’t want in comedy wrestling. You should want to be taken by surprise, not see the stuff you’ve already seen before.
Daisuke Sekimoto & Jonathan Gresham def. Jeff Cobb & Brody King @ 22:45 – ***1/2
The match revolved around both teams being at each other’s throats. Sekimoto wanted to aide Gresham on suplex to Cobb but Gresham refused his help. Meanwhile, Cobb and King were missing on double teams and getting angry with each other when they’d collide. Both hot tags came off of the team’s miscommunications and in the end it was Sekimoto and Gresham coming together to pick up the win. Big chops and nice fire from both Sekimoto and Gresham. Their size difference makes for a fun team that I hope we get to see again.
Nice and simple storytelling. I wish the arguments weren’t the crux of the hot tags but that was the story they told and they did it well. Being able to play off of Gresham’s size helped add a nice dynamic to the match beyond big guys chopping each other. Luckily being the main event, this was one of the more cohesive matches of the night. Like the first tag, you had a guy in round two taking a pin which isn’t a good look. I guess they didn’t want Sekimoto taking two in a row and everyone else advanced but it’s still a weird decision.
A lot like the first night, there were three matches worth checking out. You had an indie-style bombfest between Jungle Boy and Jake Atlas where the two threw everything at each other, not unlike the GCW offer match from the previous night. There was also a Darby Allin-esque beat down taken by Tony Deppen as he looked to prove his toughness to the PWG fans and then finally a strong main event.
The show’s big disappointments were a couple of overly long matches. First, the makeshift tag between A-Kid & Fletcher versus The Rascalz followed by the first round coming to a close in a comedy match between David Starr and Orange Cassidy. Both were misses for me and neither made any sense. If this is the new normal for PWG, that’s fine, I’ll just have to adjust.
Jake Atlas vs Jungle Boy
Pentagon Jr. vs Tony Deppen
Sekimoto & Gresham vs Cobb & King