You can read my recap of Stage One here
August 29th, 2015
From the American Legion Post #308 in Reseda, CA
Your hosts are Chuck Taylor and Excalibur
“The Villain” Marty Scrull vs. Rich Swann
The match starts after Scrull whacks Swann from behind with an umbrella he carried to the ring. Its part of his entrance gear. Scrull then takes Swann out with a tope and rolls him back inside for a powerbomb that gets two. The crowd starts a “Marty” chant as they engage in an Irish whip sequence, ending with Swann hitting a rana. Swann hits a dropkick after that as the crowd starts dueling chants as Swann hammers away with mounted punches in the corner. Swann works a front facelock as Taylor on commentary talks about how much Swann’s chops hurt. Scrull comes back with a forearm from the apron then poses to the crowd, allowing Swann to take him off with a super kick to the back of the head. Swann tries a running crossbody from the apron but Scrull sidesteps that and takes action back inside. Scrull uses headbutts then breaks up a sunset flip attempt with a sitdown splash as that gets two. Scrull uses a chinlock of sorts for a minute then hits a backdrop that Swann sells with a 450 flip. Swann manages to avoid a corner splash as both men are down. Scrull climbs up top but Swann cuts him off with an enziguiri then takes him down with a rana. Swann hits several strikes but Scrull comes back with an eye poke. Scrull charges and is met with a super kick then Swann hits a leg drop to the back of ehad for two. Scrull gets his knees up on a frog splash attempt then knocks Swann to the floor. He hits a super kick from the apron then heads inside and gets two off of an inverted suplex. We have another dueling chant, that faded quickly, as Scrull eats a super kick. Swann then hits a cutter after a handspring and that was one convoluted move. Swann kicks Scrull in the head and goes up top, hitting the frog splash this time but it only gets two. Scrull gets a quick rollup then works the fingers of Swann as he snaps and stomps them. Swann flips Scrull off and gets the finger snapped but Swann starts to look crazy and calls Scrull a “mother fucker” before hitting a bunch of strikes. However, Scrull comes back with a running European Uppercut and hits a tornado DDT then segues into a chicken wing and gets the win via submission (11:22) ***.
Thoughts: Good match. I am a fan of Scrull and his heel gimmick and Swann looked better here than he did in his tag match from Stage One. Makes sense for Swann to lose since he was WWE bound.
Angelico vs. Jack Evans
Before the match, Evans yells at Angelico, stating he will end is dreams of becoming the PWG BOLA Champion as Taylor tells us Evans has “lost his fucking mind” by spending too much time with Teddy Hart. Match starts with Angelico working the arm until Evans flips out and gets a quick rollup for two. Evans hits Angelico, who went for a leapfrog, with a spin kick in a mistimed spot. Angelico is sitting on the apron as Evans tells him that he carries their team then in a funny moment, Angelico goes over to Dave Meltzer and looks over his notepad briefly before giving it back and heading into the ring. Evans takes Angelico down with a judo toss after a struggle then talks some more trash. Angelico takes him down then puts on submission moves until Evans reaches the ropes. Angelico takes Evans down with a knee drag then stretches it out until Evans reaches the ropes. Evans ducks outside then grabs a beer from a fan as he brings it into the ring and pumps up the crowd and drinks it on the top rope and smashes the plastic solo cup on his head, mimicking Stone Cold Steve Austin. Evans then stumbles around like he is drunk before he uses some drunken kung fu as the crowd chants “Drunken Master.” Evans hits a corkscrew headbutt then after a bit he uses more more drunken kung fu as he sends Angelico through the ropes with a mule kick. Evans tries a running dive after some stalling as he crashes outside as Angelico ducked the move. Back inside, Angelico hits a knee smash then works the back and neck. Evans comes back with a quebrada into a back elbow smash that missed by a lot as both men are down. Evans hits an elbow smash off of a cartwheel then gets two with a standing corkscrew moonsault. They go back and forth until Angelico catches Evans off of a quebrada and hits a powerslam as both men are down again. Angelico is up first and gets a nearfall but misses a running knee smash in the corner. Evans tries a springboard move from the apron but Angelico sweeps him off. Angelico tries a springboard dive as Evans grabs his leg then sweeps him off as well then proceeds to hit a 450 splash from the apron. He heads back inside and is in too much pain for a springboard dive so he covers for two. Evans sells the knees but is able to come back with a rana after a reversal sequence. Evans smiles as he climbs up top but Angelico hits a step-up knee smash that knocks Evans to the floor. Angelico signals for a running dive over the turnbuckle but Evans meets him with a kick. Evans goes up for the 630 but Angelico gets his knees up then catches him in a Gory Special and turns that into a corner powerbomb. He picks up Evans again, who turns the move into a sunset flip for a nearfall. Evans hits a few more rollups and even gets caught by the ref trying to use the ropes for leverage. Angelico tries another corner powerbomb but Evans turns that into a rana as both guys are down again then Evans gets up and hits the Crane Kick for the win (17:16) **3/4. After the match, Evans gets on the mic and runs down the fans for only cheering after he won then puts down the fans for listening to the opinions of others on who is great and that when he wins the BOLA 2015 trophy, he will prove their “shitty” opinions wrong.
Thoughts: This match was all over the place and the action wasnt the greatest but I was entertained most of the time. Evans really impressed as a heel and his mic work was quite good. The drunken kung fu stuff was really fun to me but I understand this is not everyone’s cup of tea. Angelico just felt like a regular guy in this tournament and with a field full of standouts, he did nothing at all to stand out.
Chris Hero vs. Timothy Thatcher
Thatcher has been a standout for EVOLVE the past two years. He is taller than most here, billed at 6’3. Hero comes to the ring wearing a Duke University jersey. Unfortunately, when he takes it off we see a less than desirable physique. The crowd starts a dueling chant as Hero goes through the crowd and poses in front of the announcers table, which sports the trophy. Hero goes face-to-face with Thatcher from the apron then they finally ring the bell to start the match. These two go back-and-forth to start as they also took it to the mat. Thatcher stares Hero down as the latter ducks outside and gets into the face of a fan who was cheering for Thatcher. Thatcher tosses Hero inside but gets caught with an elbow smash. Thatcher works the leg until Hero reaches the ropes then works a hammerlock. Hero kicks Thatcher in the face after a break in the corner but Thatcher blocks a discus elbow then takes Hero down and goes back to work on the leg. Thatcher knocks Hero down with a slap after some back-and-forth as Hero sells like he is dead while Thatcher tries to roll him over for a pin attempt. Hero immediately shoves him off then hits a basement dropkick as he now goes to work in the corner. Hero places Thatcher up top and takes him to the floor with a bicycle kick. Thatcher gets up on the apron and hit by Hero then asks him to do it again. Hero keeps booting Thatcher, who holds on to the ropes each time and asks him to do it again. Thatcher side steps a running kick as he hits Hero with three European uppercuts that knocks him into the chairs. Thatcher tries to get him up and they end up trading strikes. Hero runs inside and goes for a big boot but Thatcher catches his leg from the apron and slaps him down and puts Hero in a hanging single leg crab. Thatcher breaks then grapevines the leg as Hero makes it to the ropes. Thatcher works a headlock and they end up tangled up and into the ropes again. They get up as Thatcher hits a few European uppercuts then goes for a single leg takedown but Hero steps over him and snaps off a piledriver as that gets two. Damn. Hero tries another piledriver as Thatcher does everything he can to block that and is finally able to flip him over. Thatcher then uses an ankle lock but Hero is able to scamper to the ropes. Thatcher tries to work the leg again but Hero kicks him in the face then follows with a knee strike. Hero boots Thatcher in a face a few times then they trade forearm smashes until Thatcher hits a Saito suplex as Thatcher is selling his left arm. Thatcher pulls himself up and hits more forearm smashes until Hero spits in his face. Thatcher comes back with palm strikes until Hero winds up and decks him with a discus elbow smash as that gets two. Hero is in the corner and hits a spinning Yakuza kick for two. Hero hits Thatcher with more strikes but he will not go down. Hero wind up for another discus elbow but Thatcher breaks it up with a headbutt to the chest as that gets two. Nice move. Thatcher tries a piledriver but Hero blocks that and hits a Tombstone that gets two then Thatcher turns it right into a Fujiwara Armbar. Hero ends up twisting out of that and hits the Hero’s Welcome for the win (18:03) ****1/2.
Thoughts: Awesome match. The story of Thatcher refusing to back down against Hero, who did a great job as a heel, really worked to perfection here. Thatcher’s facial expressions are awesome too. Hero, despite an unimpressive physique, wrestled a great match. I was really impressed with him and I was never a fan of his prior.
Aero Star & Fenix vs. Drago & Pentagon Jr.
Drago and Aero Star start off the match as the crowd chants for Pentagon Jr. Both guys are going back and forth as Aero Star hits a pair of wacky lucha armdrags. Aero Star then hits a few Ricky Steamboat-like armdrags before connecting with a dropkick. Fenix and Pentagon Jr. are in as they go back-and-forth until they end in a standoff. It was a nice fast-paced sequence. The guys on the apron then hit splashes onto their opponents as this match is under lucha rules. Aero Star dropkicks Drago, who attempted a monkey flip. Aero Star and Fenix are in control then hit Fenix drops Aero Star onto Drago with a Gory Bomb while he hits Pentagon Jr. with a leg drop as that gets a “this is awesome” chant. Pentagon and Aero Star are in the ring as the latter hits a double springboard rana. Aero Star hits another rana then tries a springboard into a backwards falling splash but Pentagon dropkicks him in mid air. Pentagon tells the crowd to be quiet as he zips down the front Aero Star’s suit and chops him in the chest. Aero Star comes back with a sunset flip that they mistimed then they both get tripped and dragged out as Drago and Fenix come in as Drago hits an elaborate tornado DDT for two. Fenix catches Drago with a thrust kick then hits a pair of dropkicks. Aero Star tags and hits a springboard senton that Pentagon breaks up with a kick to the face. Now, all four guys engage in a sequence featuring ill-timed spots until Aero Star takes out Drago with a springboard plancha. Fenix takes Pentagon out with a running flip dive as the crowd starts a “lucha” chant. The action heads inside as they go back-and-forth until Fenix gets rolled backwards by Drago and caught by Pentagon with a lungblower for a nearfall. The crowd starts more “this is awesome” chants then as Pentagon as Fenix in the Gory special, Drago slides Aero Star between his legs as Pentagon hits them both with a package piledriver/Gory Bomb combo as the crowd goes nuts. Fenix and Aero Star kick out as their opponents are in disbelief. Fenix catches a charging Pentagon with a kick and does the same to Drago then sits on the top rope. Aero Star tags and stands on top of Fenix’s shoulders as Fenix stands up and hits a splash for two. Fenix then hits a springboard corkscrew move to the outside on Pentagon that was absolutely insane. Taylor went out of his mind on commentary for that. In the ring, Fenix breaks up a Gory Special. Drago puts him in an octopus hold while Pentagon tries to prevent Aero Star from breaking it up but gets hit with a lungblower then Fenix escapes and hits Drago with a Fire Thunder Driver as both guys cover and get the win (15:42) ***1/2. The crowd gives them a standing ovation after the match, chanting “that was awesome” and “please come back.” All four guys then raise their hands to the crowd.
Thoughts: Not everything here was smooth and there were some ugly spots but overall, this was all action and never felt dull. Pentagon can connect with any crowd and Fenix is as spectacular of a high flyer as you will ever see. Drago and Aero Star did not stand out here.
Tommy End vs. Drew Gulak
Gulak has been wrestling in CZW for the past decade. He is still only 28 years old. Chris Hero has joined on commentary. The match starts with neither guy being able to get an advantage as they both primarily go on the defense. They take it to the mat as that ends in a stalemate as well. Its been wrestled at a methodical pace. They end up in another stalemate then End works a front facelock on the mat that Gulak escapes from as they are now standing up and battling over. Gulak gets slapped then takes a breather as he teases a lockup before taking End down. Gulak works a waistlock on the mat as End tries to break free. Gulak sends End outside with a headbutt to the chest as End takes his time before coming back into the ring. They brawl briefly then battle over a lockup that End breaks with a shot to the midsection as Gulak ducks outside for a breather. Back in the ring, End whips Gulak into the corner and after a reversal gets two with a backslide. End now works a wasitlock but Gulak breaks out of that then they trade shots as the action picks up. End gets two with a German suplex. He rolls through a foot stomp and hits a running knee smash but Gulak immediately takes him down with a clothesline as that gets two. Gulak puts End in an ankle lock but End gets a rollup for two. End’s leg gives out as Gulak hits a falling clothesline before putting on a front waistlock. End now has Gulak in the corner but Gulak takes him down with a Saito suplex for two. Gulak measures up End in the corner and charges but eats a forearm then End covers for the win (10:46) **1/2.
Thoughts: This match was not at the level of everything else on the show. It was too slow and far too many restholds. I havent seen this many waistlocks since the early 1980’s. Gulak did nothing at all to impress me and showed nothing in terms of charisma or look. This match was a bore and the finish was anti-climatic. The last two minutes were fun but up until that it was a snoozer. Almost reminded me of the “Field of Honor” matches that Ring of Honor had in late 2003.
“Speedball” Mike Bailey vs. Drew Galloway
Bailey, who comes to the ring wearing a gi, is barely up to Galloway’s chin as they stare each other down. He also has an unimpressive look and physique to boot. Galloway overpowers Bailey to start. Bailey comes back with a barrage of kicks until Galloway grabs his leg and shoves him into the corner and chops him across the chest. Bailey then flips off Galloway and slaps him around. The ref backs him off then Galloway takes Bailey down with a big boot. Bailey comes back with a rana as Galloway ducks outside. Bailey tries a quebrada but Galloway catches him and he gets slammed against the apron. Back inside, Galloway tosses Bailey across the ring with a belly-to-belly suplex then stomps him on the back of the head for two. Bailey tries to fight back with palm strikes but Galloway kicks him in the face as he tried a floatover. Galloway works an armbar on the mat then goews back to overpowering his smaller opponent. Galloway even uses the Sheamus apron forearm spot. Bailey kicks Galloway in the head and climbs up top as the fans chant his name but gets caught then rammed into the corner. Bailey comes back with an enziguiri then hits a flurry of alternating kicks before taking Galloway down with another enziguiri. Galloway ducks out as Bailey takes him out with a corkscrew plancha. Back inside, Bailey hits more kicks then after a nifty reversal sequence takes Galloway down with a tornado DDT. Baliey hits a running corkscrew splash before hitting a running kick to the face. Bailey then hits a standing moonsault double knee drop as he is getting fired up. They trade shots until Galloway catches him with a sitout chokeslam for two. He then comes back with a reverse Alabama Slam for two. Ouch. They trade strikes from their knees until Galloway places him up top. He climbs up and gets knocked down into the tree-of-woe after a knee to the head. Bailey balances himself for a stomp but Galloway skins the cat back up and takes Bailey off with an overhead suplex as the crowd goes nuts. Galloway follows that up with a vicious kick to the face as a well-deserved “this is awesome” chant breaks out. Galloway hammers away but Bailey keeps fighting back with all sorts of kicks. Galloway gets knocked down and covers but picks Bailey up and tries a powerslam. Bailey floats over but Galloway gets caught with a tombstone for another nearfall. Galloway tries a double underhook but Bailey backdrops him onto the apron and after some back-and-forth gets kicked in the face. Galloway falls into the ring as Bailey goes up and while Galloway is on his hands and knees, comes off with a shooting star double knee drop as that gets two. Good lord that looked vicious. Galloway comes back and turns Bailey inside-out with a clothesline. Boot to the face gets two. Galloway then goes for the Future Shock but Bailey turns that into a jackknife rollup and gets the win (17:50) ****1/4.
Thoughts: What a fantastic match. Bailey’s facial expressions were top notch and his comebacks great. Galloway looked impressive and has really stepped up his game since leaving the WWE. A near-perfect big man, little man match.
Ricochet vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
Ricochet won the 2014 PWG BOLA tournament last year. Match starts with both guys toying with each other. They start a fast-paced sequence that ends with Sabre yanking Ricochet down in midair by the leg, turning that into a rollup. Sabre works a headscissors on the mat as Ricochet tries everything he can to escape. He finally does as Sabre now works a surfboard that eventually gets reversed and they have a cool sequence until Sabre breaks the hold with a kick from the mat. They tease a test-of-strength, with the fans even chanting for the move, then Ricochet gets frustrated and steps off. Sabre works a hammerlock until Ricochet gets away from that and hits a basement dropkick as he finally regains control of the match. Ricochet then puts Sabre in an upside down cradle lock before applying a chinlock. Ricochet is able to catch Sabre with a spinebuster then goes for the People’s Moonsault but Sabre turns that into an armbreaker. Ricochet escapes and kicks Sabre in the face then takes a bottle of water and dumps it all over Sabre’s head. Ricochet pie-faces Sabre, who comes back with an European uppercut. However, Ricochet knees Sabre down then uses his foot to choke him out. Ricochet tries a handspring but Sabre hits him with a running dropkick to the shoulder then goes to work on the arm. He gets two with a Dragon suplex but Ricochet comes back and hits an Ace Crusher followed by a standing shooting star press for two after a reversal sequence. They go back-and-forth until Sabre uses a diving European uppercut then a running kick to the face for a nearfall. They trade for moves until Sabre puts Ricochet in a hanging key lock. Ricochet breaks it up with a Northern Lights suplex then deadlifts him up for a suplex. Ricochet uses a Dragon sleeper but Sabre slips out and tries a leg lock as Ricochet grabs the ropes. Ricochet takes Sabre down with a double knee smash to the head then picks him up in a Fireman’s carry but Sabre takes him down and tries to work the arm as Ricochet locks his fingers. Ricochet picks Sabre up and powerbombs him down climbs up top after a nearfall and hits the 630 as Sabre kicks out of that. Ricochet is in disbelief then goes for the Benadryller but Sabre grabs his leg and puts on a cross armbreaker. Ricochet deadlifts him up again but Sabre lands on his feet and ducks a kick while grabbing Ricochet’s arm then grabs his other arm and puts him in the European Clutch for the pin (23:05) ****.
Thoughts: This match was very, very good but not a classic I was hoping for to be honest. The story was that Ricochet, last year’s PWG BOLA winner, was trying everything he had to put Sabre away but came up short. Sabre is a treat to watch and a great technician but turning almost every single dive by his opponent into an armbar loses its value when it happens multiple times in a match.
Mt. Rushmore 2.0 (Young Bucks & Super Dragon vs. Biff Busick & Andrew Everett & Trevor Lee
Busick waits in front of the curtain for Super Dragon and they immediately trade haymakers. Lee & Everett take out the Young Bucks with topes as Buick now beats the crap out of Dragon. In the ring, the Young Bucks get clotheslined to the floor as Busick joins as they all try topes but get cut off with chairs to the face. Mt. Rushmore takes their opponents out with topes then toss chairs at their opponents. Fans are feeding them chairs to use. In the ring, the Bucks take out their opponents with a foam finger then reveal that a wrench was inside as they make an attempt to not completely insult our intelligence. Everett tries to fight off both Bucks but eats a double superplex. The Bucks use a trash can to beat on Lee and the match breaks down with weapon shots as Matt decides to super kick the referee. Another ref comes in and attempts to super kick Dragon but Matt kicks him too then Dragon uses a curbstomp as the announcers tell us that Lee is behind them looking for stuff. Nick slams Everett onto a pile of chairs then Matt and Excalibur get in a verbal altercation and that ends with Lee, from behind, jumps over Excaliber and takes out Matt and Dragon with a somersault plancha. Everett then takes both of those guys out with a springboard shooting star press. In the ring, Busick suplexes Nick around then picks up Dragon and tosses him at a ladder in the corner with an Alabama Slam. The Bucks end up clearing the ring as a dueling chant is aimed at their direction. The Bucks call for a super kick party but Everett stops that then stomps Matt as he was sitting in a chair. Everett tries a shooting star press but Dragon hits him with a cutter in midair. Lee and Busick sandwich Dragon with European uppercuts and work him over until the Bucks make the save. Dragon goes up top and hits a senton onto Everett while the other two get hit with a Meltzer Driver. The Bucks then go underneath the ring and get a pair of Nikes that have thumbtacks sticking out of the bottom. The referees are still out cold. They head inside until one of the refs gets up and super kicks both Bucks. He takes out Dragon with a clothesline and the Bucks again but this time with a somersault plancha. Everett hits Dragon with a 630 but the Bucks pull out the referee as he counted and hits him with a super kick. Busick is in with the Bucks and ends up getting hit with the spiked shoes. The Bucks set up chairs and put the piked shoes as Busick’s head is through a chair. The Bucks super kick him after the other two then Matt puts Lee through a table with a senton. Dragon is up top as Matt sticks thumbtacks under Busick’s face as he remain s between the chairs. Dragon hits a double stomp then put him away with a Psycho Meltzer Driver for the win (16:39) ****. After the match, Excalibur gets into the ring and says he doesn’t care what it takes to get revenge on Mt. Rushmore and thanks the fans but gets attacked by Mt. Rushmore as Dragon puts him through a chair with a piledriver. The crowd chants for Hero, who runs down the ring and chases Rushmore away. Someone yells at Hero that Dragon will fuck him up as the fans chant “fuck that guy” to the fan, who tells Hero to his face that it is Super Dragon’s house until Dragon himself runs and attacks Hero from behind. The fans chant for Thatcher to come out after that but he does not.
Thoughts: This was all action and quite fun to be honest. While it might not be everyone’s cup of tea regarding the Young Bucks act, I thought it fit in well with a “No Rules” six-man tag.
Final Thoughts: An awesome night of wrestling. By my account, there were four matches rated at least ****. Plus, they set up a match for the next show. And the second round of the BOLA tournament certainly looks promising. This show is highly recommended. You get a lot of different styles of wrestling here and there is something for everyone.
You can purchase this DVD, along with the others, by clicking on the link below:
Here is my schedule for the rest of the week:
Tuesday @ 900pm EST: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 12/26/87
Thursday @ noon EST: Kayfabe Commentaries 1996 ECW Timeline as told by Raven
Friday @ 3pm EST: WWF Madison Square Garden 12/26/87
Sunday @ 830pm EST: WWF Wrestling Challenge 12/27/87