PWG 2016 Battle of Los Angeles, Stage Two

You can read my review of Night One here

September 3, 2016

From the American Legion Post #308 in Reseda, CA

Your hosts are Excalibur and Chuck Taylor


Battle of Los Angeles First Round Match: Dalton Castle w/ Young Boys vs. Tomasso Ciampa

Ciampa is replacing Jack Gallagher, who backed out at the last second due to travel issues. The crowd starts up a dueling chant before the bell. They engage in a bit where one person goes for a hug and the other a hand shake as they keep alternating until finally hugging. However, Ciampa cheap shots him with a clothesline as the bell rings. Ciampa then hits one of the Young Boys with the Project Ciampa but Castle sneaks up and almost puts him away with the Bang-a-Rang. They head outside where Castle beats on Ciampa. They both end up teasing dives then Ciampa takes control. He hits Castle with a running knee strike on the floor then starts stomping and scratching for a bit. Ciampa stays in control and tells Castle he is not here for games or a party as he slaps him around. Castle tries to fight back but Ciampa chops him in the corner. Ciampa gets on top but Castle takes him off and tries to hit a German suplex but Ciampa escapes and catches Castle with an AA for two. Ciampa then sets up for the Superman Punch and hits that for a nearfall as the announcers laugh at how bad that looked. Ciampa locks on the Accolade now as he is using all WWE finishers. Castle escapes and catches Ciampa with a clothesline as he takes control. He gets another nearfall with an overhead suplex then goes out on the apron and tries to suplex Ciampa, who holds on to the ropes. Ciampa rams Castle into the turnbuckle but eats boot on a charge. Castle lands on the other side of the apron after a backdrop but eats boot on a charge and falls to the floor. Ciampa brings a chair inside and takes a seat as Ciampa is on the floor. Ciamap heads out and tries to toss Castle inside but Castle comes back and does a 619 into a hurricarana. Castle then hits a tope and brings Ciampa in for a Saito suplex as both men are down. Ciampa is out on the apron and elbows Castle as he takes a breather but Castle then carries him back in with a waistlock and hits a German suplex for a very, very close nearfall. Impressive feat on strength from Castle. Ciampa reverses a Bang-a-Rang with a sunset flip then hits a Pedigree but Castle is able to kick out before the three count. Ciampa then uses a knee smash as his nose is pouring blood as he spits it on Castle and wipes it on his chest. Ciampa hits a few chops and goes for a rolling elbow but Castle ducks and hits the Bang-a-Rang for the win (13:26) ***. After the match, the crowd starts a “thank you” chant for Ciampa in his last PWG match. Ciampa and Castle hug as Ciampa raises his hand.

Thoughts: This was a fun opening match. Ciampa making himself heel by using finishers of WWE stars was a nice touch and made sense since this was one of his last appearances on the Independent scene before heading into the WWE full-time.


Battle of Los Angeles First Round Match: Pete Dunne vs. Mark Andrews

This is the PWG debut of Dunne. His gimmick is that he is a “bruiserweight,” which if you cannot figure out is a cruiserweight who uses a hard-hitting offense. Dunne takes Andrews down to start. They both switch off working the arm until Dunne takes the advantage with some impressive offense that draws an applause. Dunne continues to work on the arm with his physical style then slaps Andrews across the face. Andrews dodges a charge in the corner then hits a double stomp after a victory roll. Andrews backflips out of a sunset flip then does the same on a powerbomb attempt as he takes Dunne down with a hurricarana. Dunne rolls out as Andrews hits a tope con hilo then heads back in for a standing moonsault that gets two. Dunne then tosses Andrews at the ropes where he bounces outside. Dunne heads out and yells at a fan before going back in to beat on Andrews. Dunne tries a suplex but Andrews counters that in midair with the Stundog Millionaire. Andrews attempts a baseball slide but Dunne traps him between the apron curtain then kicks him in the face before hitting a draping DDT. Dunne hits a Saito suplex then stands on Andrews’ face as the crowd boos. Dunne continues to rough up Andrews then pulls out his mouthpiece so he can bite his fingers. Dunne hits a double knee smash then ties up Andrews’ legs and bites his foot before putting stomping him in the face. Andrews mounts a comeback and hits a side effect as both men are down. He hits Dunne with a wheelbarrow bulldog then hits a Code Red for two. Dunne fights back and beats the crap out of Andrews for a bit. They mess up what appeared to be a dragonrana spot then Andrews hits a tornado DDT on the floor after Dunne catches his moonsault block attempt. Back inside, Dunne rolls away from a top rope drive then catches another moonsault block on the floor but this time blocks a tornado DDT attempt and tombstones Andrews on the floor as the announcers want to know why Dunne is not wearing any knee pads. Andrews slides in just before the twenty count and mounts a comeback and ends up hitting an inverted hurricarana as both men are down. Andrews hits a few charging attacks but Dunne floats over and hits a tombstone then holds on and hits a jumping tombstone for a nearfall. A frustrated Dunne then takes his time with a pumphandle but Andrews turns that into a small package for two. Dunne comes back and hits a German suplex then tries the pumphandle again but Andrews turns that into a tornado DDT as both men are down. The crowd starts a “this is awesome” chant as Andrews gets up and hits a running shooting star press. They trade kicks and fight up top where Dunne tries a front suplex but Andrews counters in midair with the Stundog Millionaire. Andrews eventually heads up top and lands on his feet trying a shooting star press as Dunne uses a rollup and puts his feet on the ropes but gets caught by the ref as the crowd cheers. Andrews tries a diving attack but gets decked with an elbow. Dunne then hits a release Dragon Suplex before hitting his pumphandle flatliner as he covers but Andrews is just able to kick out as the bell even rang on that pin attempt. Dunne is pissed as he heads up top with Andrews on the apron but Andrews bites his hand. Andrews then heads up top and hits Dunne with a super inverted hurricarana that planted Dunne’s head on the mat then heads back up top for the shooting star press and the win (18:42) ***3/4.

Thoughts: Really good match. I liked how Andrews was the underdog but the psychology was off at times and they hit a bit of a rough patch in the middle. Still, an impressive showing from both men and Dunne shined in his PWG debut.


Battle of Los Angeles First Round Match: Sami Callihan vs. Cody Rhodes

Cody has his PWG trunks on as the crowd is going nuts for him. He also has his wife handle his ring introduction. Both guys shake hands before the bell then lock up. Cody shoves Sami down but gets pie-faced after that then they work a reversal sequence on the mat that ends in a stalemate. Cody tries for another handshake but Sami hits a mafia kick then knocks him off of the apron. Sami flies out with a tope but Cody runs back in and hits a Disaster Kick then heads out with a double jump plancha. Sami sends Cody into the post then yells “welcome to BOLA, bitch” before hitting a few chops. Sami seats Cody down then hits a running chop. He gloats for a minute but Cody gets up and hammers away. Sami decks Cody in the face then runs around the ring until he gets caught with a step-up enziguiri. They fight over a suplex then Sami takes Cody down with a tornado DDT off of the apron as both men are down. Cody is just able to beat the twenty count then catches Sami with a small package for two. Cody catches him with a DDT then tries a figure-four but gets kicked in the face. Cody locks on the trailer hitch as Sami is able to reach the ropes. Cody charges as Sami kicks his legs out then charges after a breather but ends up getting caught with a clothesline. Sami pulls up on an Irish whip then catches Cody on his shoulders and hits a Death Valley Driver in the corner as both men are down again. They have a brief exchange until Cody gets two with the Disaster Kick. Sami rolls outside for a breather then pulls out a paper bag from underneath the ring. Sami then tears it open to reveal his space cat mask. Cody then rolls outside and gets his face guard he wore in the WWE while injured as they now battle with their masks. Sami rakes Cody’s back and face then comes back with a kick but Cody hits an Alabama Slam and takes off his mask as the crowd chants “dashing.” Sami escapes a Cross Rhodes attempt and hits a cradle tombstone as Cody is able to kick out. Sami hits a clothesline to the back of the head and tries the tombstone again but Cody reverses and hits the Cross Rhodes for the win (11:35) ***.

Thoughts: I thought this was a good match but not enough to stand out at this show. I liked the first half and how it went but it die down near the end and the spot with the masks was a let down. Anyway, Sami is probably one of the best opponents for Cody to work with in the first round.


Fenix & Pentagon Jr. vs. Tommy End & Chris Hero

Fenix is dressed like Pentagon for this match. The ring announcer messes up the “Heroes Never Die” name for End & Hero then Hero stares down a fan that swore at him. He then goes into the crowd with End to stare down the fan. Fenix and End start this off on the mat. They end in a stalemate after a nice sequence and mix it up again where they catch each other’s kicks and put their feet down before Fenix tags out. The crowd goes nuts for Pentagon, who gets in Hero’s face on the apron. Hero tags himself in and they have a staredown and taunt each other then work a fast-paced Irish whip sequence ending with Hero snapping off a hurricarana. Pentagon then dumps Hero outside and catches End with a super kick. Both guys are outside then Fenix runs and jumps on top of Pentagon’s shoulders and flies outside with a moonsault in a crazy spot that has the crowd going insane. Back inside, Fenix & Pentagon hit End with a flurry of moves. End catches Fenix with a knee smash then knocks Pentagon to the floor as Fenix is in trouble. Fenix fights back with chops but gets caught with a pair of kicks then Hero hits a senton for two. Hero holds Fenix up for a suplex as End hits a knee smash as that gets two. Pentagon yells at End, who runs across and boots him off of the apron then kicks the crap out of Fenix in the corner. Hero is back in and tries for a Gotch piledriver but Pentagon runs in so End comes in and tosses Pentagon out as End kicks Fenix in the face as Hero has him up for the piledriver in a sick spot as that gets two. Fenix breaks out of a suplex from End in midair with a knee smash then hits a jumping Ace Crusher as both men are down. Hero runs but Fenix kicks him then ducks a ripcord elbow to hit a German suplex as the fans go nuts. Fenix then finally tags out as Pentagon runs wild. Pentagon gets caught with a double punch after some celebrating then Fenix comes in and hits with a double knee smash. Hero & End light up their opponents with elbow smashes but Pentagon & Fenix dodge charges in the corner and take control. Fenix hits a double stomp on End, who was on the top rope. Pentagon & Fenix use some double-team moves on End, who then yells about his arm breaking as he caught a kick from Pentagon as he sends his opponents into each other and kills them with his crazy strike combos. They all work a multi-man submission hold then that breaks up as they all end up kicking each other down as the crowd chants “this is awesome.” Pentagon manages to hit Hero with a lungblower then flies out with a somersault plancha. Back inside, End and Fenix trade strikes but Fenix breaks a waistlock with rapid-fire elbow smashes. End trips Fenix up and charges with a knee strike for two. Brainbuster gets two. End heads up top but Fenix cuts him off and heads up and hits a crazy hurricarana and follows with a springboard 450 for the win (18:22) ****1/2.

Thoughts: Oh man, this was incredible. Fenix in particular stood out and he had some great sequences with End here. Speaking of End, his style should get over in the WWE as there is no one in NXT who uses strikes like he does. Plus, the tattooed look he has makes him stand out in a good way. Pentagon once again showed off his charisma as Hero was his usual solid self. This was one of the best tag matches of 2016, possibly even the best.


Battle of Los Angeles First Round Match: Kamaitachi vs. Trevor Lee

Lee immediately takes Kamaitachi down with a double stomp then flies out with a tope. Kamaitachi comes back with an apron powerbomb but misses a top rope senton then gets hit with a running apron kick. Lee then dumps Kamaitachi on the apron with a back suplex as Kamaitachi takes a nasty bump. Lee chokes out Kamaitachi in the ropes then hammers away. Kamaitachi comes back with a hurricarana then heads up top with a missile dropkick as that gets two. Lee is on the apron but Kamaitachi runs and spears him off then heads up top with his diving senton as both men are down. Jesus, Kamaitachi is crazy for taking that bump. Back inside, Lee takes Kamaitachi off of the top with a leaping elbow then screams out “delete” before hitting a Twist of Fate on the apron. Lee rolls in and gets two as the crowd chants “Broken Trevor.” Kamaitachi reverses a suplex and hits a Falcon Arrow for two as both men are down. They head up top as Kamaitachi takes him off with a casadora bomb for two. Lee catches Kamaitachi with a super kick and hits a German suplex for two. They trade moves as Kamaitachi comes off of the top but Lee kicks him in the face. Lee then reverses a crossbody for two and takes him down with another stomp that did not quite work out. Lee follows with a jumping knee smash and the small package driver for the win (11:37) ***1/4.

Thoughts: Good match but a bit of a let down if you ask me. It felt like they were just trading moves instead of having an actual back-and-forth match and they struggled to get the crowd behind them. I really do like Lee’s “TNA Superstar” gimmick he has in PWG though. And Kamaitachi, who I am a fan of, really does need to tone it down with some of the crazy bumps. That senton he uses from the top rope out to the floor is scary to watch.


Battle of Los Angeles First Round Match: Mark Haskins vs. Cedric Alexander

This is the PWG debut for Haskins. Alexander replaced Adam Cole, who backed out of the BOLA tournament for storyline reasons. They start off going back-and-forth for a bit. They trade strikes and brawl as the crowd goes nuts. Haskins catches Alexander with a low elbow then a basement dropkick as he takes control. He teases a dive then flies out with a tope before heading back inside. Haskins bends back Alexander’s arm and works that over as he is firmly in control of the match. Alexander fights back and tosses Haskins outside. He takes him off of the apron with a soccer kick then flies out with a tope con hilo. Back inside, Alexander gets two with a clothesline as he clutches his arm. Haskins blocks a brainbuster but walks into a Michinoku Driver after a nifty reversal sequence as that gets two. Haskins hits a clothesline after ducking a roundhouse kick as that gets two. After trading elbow smashes, Haskins comes back with a pair of vicious knee smashes for a nearfall. Haskins is then able to catch Alexander in a Sharpshooter after a bodyscissors but Alexander is able to get out and catch Haskins with a small package for two. Alexander follows with a headbutt and hits a brainbuster for two. One fan yells at Alexander as the others yell “f--- that guy” to the fan. Alxander and Haskins then have a slap fight and that ends with Haskins rolling through a pin attempt to hit a Michinoku Driver then rolls over and uses an armbreaker for the win via submission (14:38) ****.

Thoughts: Excellent match. Haskins really impressed  and Alexander has been on a role.  This felt like a back-and-forth match instead of guys just trading moves like what happened in the previous match. Having just signed a WWE deal its easy to see that Alexander lost here as Haskins advances to Round Two.


Battle of Los Angeles First Round Match: Kyle O’Reilly vs. Matt Riddle

The crowd is red-hot for Riddle, who is making his PWG debut. These two square off and try to feel each other out. They are now on the mat trying to gain an advantage but end in a stalemate. O’Reilly takes Riddle down and fires away but Riddle rolls through with a cross armbreaker but O’Reilly reaches the ropes and ducks out for a breather. O’Reilly heads back in and beats on Riddle, who comes back and takes O’Reilly off of the apron with a springboard knee smash. Riddle slides out to hit a slap then they head back inside where Riddle destroys O’Reilly in the corner. Riddle eats boot in a charge as O’Reilly takes him down then stomps his feet as the crowd chants “should have worn shoes.” O’Reilly then takes Riddle down after a barrage of strikes and applies a knee bar after a back suplex. Riddle breaks out and hits a bunch of palm strikes then they trade suplexes until Riddle hits a fisherman’s buster as both men are down. Riddle gets up and hits a bunch of overhead chops before a pair of deadlift rolling gutwrench suplexes. Riddle then grabs O’Reilly by the arms and stomps his chest. Riddle targets the shoulder but O’Reilly comes back and kicks Riddle’s leg. Riddle uses a hanging guillotine as O’Reilly gets him to break with a front sleeper then takes Riddle down with a capture suplex for a nearfall. O’Reilly uses the cross armbreaker then transitions to the ankle lock as he slipped while performing the move. Riddle kicks out but O’Reilly turns him inside out with a clothesline. Riddle kicks out at one then O’Reilly gets two with a brainbuster and locks on a triangle sleeper but Riddle breaks free and uses the Bromission but O’Reilly rolls on top for the win as Riddle’s shoulders were down (16:15) ****.

Thoughts: Another excellent match. Both guys have similar styles and it was a refreshing change of pace from everything else we saw as this was based on submission holds and strikes. My one criticism was the ending in that it was weak but if they are going to use Riddle again it does make sense to protect him a bit as he has star potential.


Will Ospreay & Matt Sydal & Ricochet vs. Young Bucks & Adam Cole

Cole starts off working the arm of Ricochet then spits in his face. Cole rolls out after getting kicked as the Young Bucks come in and disposed of quickly as the others tease dives and pose in the ring. Everyone has a stare down as the Bucks & Cole yell “suck it” and eat super kicks. Sydal slips trying an assisted springboard dive as Ospreay & Ricochet fly out with stereo Flying Space Tiger Drops. Back inside, the Bucks & Cole hit super kicks and pose but then are pulled outside where they hit their opponents with triple apron power bombs. They head in and pose before hitting triple topes as the crowd chants “too sweet” as Matt kisses Dave Meltzer on the cheek off camera. The match is back inside where Ricochet is getting worked over. Ricochet comes back to hit Nick with a DDT and tags Ospreay, who runs wild. Ospreay takes care of the Bucks until Cole turns him inside-out with a super kick. Nick flies out with a twisting senton then Cole teases a dive and does his pose as the announcers make fun of him for being fat. Cole whips Ospreay into the corner as Nick then holds Ospreay in place as Matt does a bunch of backflips and handsprings before using a back rake as the crowd cheers. Cole puts Ospreay in the Camel Clutch as the Bucks run the ropes but this time Cole ducks as the Bucks kiss each other. Ospreay escapes and takes them all out with a handspring moonsault then tags out. Ricochet cleans house in an awesome sequence that saw him make the Bucks take each other out. Cole hits a kick to the face but Ricochet takes him down as Sydal runs in with a baseball slide. They hit Cole with a standing moonsault/shooting star press combo. Sydal ducks a super kick by the Young Bucks and takes them both down with a hurricarana. The ring clears out leaving Sydal and Cole. They head up top as Sydal leaps with a hurricarana but Cole escapes underneath and launches Sydal up as he bounces off of the ropes. Never saw that counter before. The Bucks run in and take out Sydal then Ospreay & Sydal are draped over the ropes as Nick comes off the top with a 450 splash as that gets two. They set up for the Meltzer Driver but Sydal flips out and hits the Bucks with a combo slice/flatliner. Ospreay is in and tries a back handspring but Cole super kicks him in midair for two. Cole gets two with a neckbreaker. He takes his time then Ospreay tucks Cole’s head underneath the turnbuckle and hits a super kick and as Cole is stuck in that position, Ricochet runs and flies over him to take the Bucks out with a tope con hilo in an unbelievable spot. Sydal then takes Cole down with an inverted hurricarana then Ospreay hits a twisting splash and Ricochet with a 450. Ospreay hits another twisting splash but the Bucks break up the pin at the last second. Ricochet picks up Cole for a suplex but the Bucks hit him with a super kick. The match breaks down then Sydal leaps up to take Cole off of the top with a hurricarana. Cole rolls away from a shooting star press then Matt super kicks Sydal. Cole hits Sydal with the Panama Sunrise then the Bucks hit Ospreay with a super kick Doomsday Device on the floor. They hit Ricochet with the More Bang For Your Buck but Ricochet is able to kick out as they are all in shock. Cole gets caught with a double roundhouse kick then the Bucks try to hit Ricochet with the Meltzer Driver but Ospreay cuts off Nick in midair with a springboard Ace Cutter in a perfectly timed spot. Ricochet then reverses and has Matt up for the Meltzer Driver as Sydal climbs up top for the shooting star Meltzer Driver as that also looked fantastic. Ricochet, Ospreay, and Sydal climb up top and hit shooting star presses for the win (20:14) ****3/4. The crowd chants “five-star match” when it ended as we saw Ricochet tells the crowd what matters is that they are here appreciating them all.

Thoughts: What an incredible match. The last five minutes were insane as all sorts of crazy moves that went off without a hitch. And the commentary by Taylor here was hysterical. The fans were going out of their minds for some of this stuff and it was a great way to send the crowd home happy. This is how you cap off a tremendous show.


Final Thoughts: Wow, what a show. This just might be the show of the year. By my count there were five **** matches and it featured some of the best talent on the planet. I also thought the match order was great and they all sorts of different styles and types of matches too. I recommend all fans check out this show and the whole tournament for that matter.

Next Wednesday, I will be reviewing the Final Stage of the tournament.