PWG Battle of Los Angeles 2017: Stage 1

PWG Battle of Los Angeles 2017: Stage 1

By Big Red Machine
From September 01, 2017

PWG Battle of Los Angeles 2017: Stage 1

Dezmond Xavier vs. Brian Cage - 6.5/10

Your typically spotty opener with a really great finish. Props to Excalibur for setting the stage for us by noting that Xavier has yet to win in PWG and Cage has never failed to get out of the opening round. That one comment right there changes this from being a random result to something that feels like an important moment.

Marty Scurll vs. "Flash" Morgan Webster - 6.5/10

Scurll cut a heel promo reminding us all that he won last year's tournament and burying Webster for being a nobody to set Webster up as the underdog. He told Webster he had until the count of three to leave the ring and save himself the embarrassment... so Webster nailed Marty with a headbutt and pinned him for the 1-2-3! The crowd went NUTS for this.

Except Scurll's foot was on the ropes, and the referee saw it immediately afterwards so the pinfall didn't' count, but holy sh*t what a way to start out a match.

Webster went nuts on Marty with some dives and a big senton bomb for a nearfall, but Marty managed to take control by avoiding Flash's next dive and powerbombing him into the (thankfully by now vacated) first row. Oohh! And they're actually enforcing the rules in this match, too! We got a tease of a count-out, and they made sure to do their chairshot when the referee was distracted.

Marty continued to work over Webster's back, following up on the powerbomb with the aforementioned chairshot as well as some strikes, backbreakers, and suplexes. Flash eventually made a comeback and they went back to the headbutt for a false finish as well as did a few other good nearfalls, but then Marty cut him off again and they really started to lose steam. Flash kicked out of one or two more things, then was forced to tap to the chickenwing. I'm rarely one to say this, but this would have been a lot better if it had been about five minutes shorter. They had also build the idea of Flash winning up so well in the beginning that seeing him not win was a major disappointment, taking the sails out of both the "underdogs are winning" narrative and my own hopes for this year's tournament, which were for PWG to try to establish a new crop of guys, which is what they had seemed to be headed towards doing, not only with Xavier's defeat of Cage, but with guys they had brought in for the tournament who haven't had as much exposure in the US like WALTER, Flamita, Rock, Banks, and Webster, as well as guys who have that general up-and-comer feel about them right now like Xavier, Janela, and Guevara (and you can even throw Rey Horus in there was well, as he hasn't much US exposure in his non-LU gimmick).

Rey Fenix vs. Rey Horus - 8/10

Early on, Chuck Taylor correctly identified this match as "full Lucha."

CHOSEN BROS. (Matt Riddle & Jeff Cobb) vs. THE MON-STARS (Donovan Dijak & Keith Lee) - 8.25/10

Whoever came up with this name for Lee & Dijak is a genius. Dijak is totally the blue one, and Lee is the purple one (and WALTER is the green one, Marty Scurll is the red one, and Matt Riddle might want to watch his back because I think Jeff Cobb might be the orange one. And their manager is obviously Paul Heyman. Once Dijak signs with WWE he can be replaced as the blue one by Cody Hall, and you've got yourself a top heel stable. You're welcome, Quackenbush).

Anyway, they did about twenty minutes of power moves followed by the single sickest finish I've seen all year, if not ever. Like, I literally added .5 to this match just for the finish. It was that sick.

Penta El 0M vs. Matt Sydal - 7.5/10

They started off with a friendly little argument, with Penta El 0M insisting upon having cero miedo while Sydal told him that he should instead have peace and love. This argument ended when, after insisting that Penta have peace and love, Sydal kicked him hard in the hamstring. That was great.

They had a match that was a lot more intense than you'd expect from a Matt Sydal match in 2017. They told several little stories throughout, but those all went out of my mind the moment they did that one spot that you'll know it when you see it that I cannot believe that Sydal's jaw is still in one piece. Penta El 0M then made his comeback until he too took a scary blow to the head (on a botched poisonrana). One great finish later, and Penta El 0M is on his way to the second round. Excalibur noted that Sydal has been eliminated by the eventual winner in each of the past two years, so this could be Penta's year.

Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Jonah Rock - 6.75/10

They told a good story of Jonah's size vs. Zack's work on Jonah's knee... and then Zack randomly won with an arm submission.

Flamita vs. Ricochet - 8.25/10

This was nowhere near the expected level of spottiness. In fact, it wasn't even spotty at all. The few big crazy athletic spots they did were peppered throughout the match and were each built up to very well. Shockingly (and disappointingly), they didn't do much of that on the finish, instead having Ricochet put Flamita down with a big series of moves that target the head. It was still awesome, but I don't think it's what most people will be looking for out of these two.

Final Thoughts
An awesome show from PWG. A great start to the biggest weekend of the PWG year.

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