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Preview: PWG Battle Of Los Angeles 2018 (September 14-16)

The Globe Theatre on Broadway in Los Angeles is now the home of Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG) after fifteen years at American Legion Hall in Reseda, California and Broadway will host all three nights of the Battle Of Los Angeles tournament with 24 competitors. Starting September 14 and ending September 16, PWG will present three stacked lineups featuring experienced athletes from around the globe with the winner earning further recognition as a top independent wrestler among his peers. Previous winner CIMA (in 2007) is involved from Dragon Gate in Japan and several other Dragon Gate talents join the field also including T-Hawk and Shingo Takagi. The best from Mexico is also represented with Flamita, Puma King and Rey Horus. Many winners of the Battle Of Los Angeles tournament have gone on to big things like “The Villain” Marty Scurll for example. The Canadian, PCO (PierreCarl Oullet) is the opposite as he competed in WWE in the 1990’s as one half of The Quebecers tag team and is solidifying himself as a real force again in 2018. Other veterans have staked their claim in independent wrestling for many years to be chosen by PWG for the annual tournament like journeyman Jody Fleisch who enters his very first Battle Of Los Angeles tournament. There are going to be several debuts in the tournament, Matt Riddle opened up a spot when he had to drop out of Battle Of Los Angeles so Trevor Lee replaces him. The PWG champion, WALTER, will have his hands full with however wins but he enters the tournament himself. It may just be a rival from wXw in Germany that debuts in the Tournament to face WALTER in a future title match, Ilja Dragunov.

When you look at the current WWE roster as a whole, it is loaded with PWG alumni and many competed in the Battle Of Los Angeles tournament from AJ Styles to Ricochet to most of the 205 Live roster. WWE will be scouting the talent at this year’s 24-Man tournament – William Regal is known to be backstage talking to the wrestlers and helping develop their in-ring work. There are many wrestlers that are about to break out into the main events on the independent wrestling scene, several PWG regulars are not involved in the 2018 Battle of Los Angeles leaving the door open to international bookings and acclaim for the winner of it all on Day 3. Let’s take a look at the major six matches that could be the key to the future this extremely exciting company, and most importantly predicting who wins the entire tournament. Travis Banks has been replaced by Sammy Guevara due to injury.

Battle of Los Angeles, Night One, Round One:

PCO vs Brody King

Now this is smash-mouth wrestling at it’s finest, one wrestler is just starting his career in Brody King and the other is entering a career resurgence in PCO. This being an opening round match either means a Cinderella story for PCO making it far against the best and brightest young stars today or King ascends to the main events for the foreseeable future. 50 year old CO brought new life to his career battled the current reigning PWG champion WALTER back at Joey Janela’s Spring Break for Game Changer Wrestling in New Orleans during WrestleMania weekend where PCO brawled until his chest was purple. PCO already earned the respect of fans years ago and now he’s doing it all over again twenty years later for today’s audience. 31 year old Brody King already fought for the PWG Championship, also in a losing effort to WALTER at PWG Threemendous 5 on July 13. The future of PWG looks to be riding on Brody King’s shoulders in the future, with his hard-hitting and no-nonsense approach a bit of a breath of fresh air in the independent wrestling scene in America. DEFY Wrestling, Bar Wrestling and MLW have shown the improvement of King in the past year, PCO may very well go down to a Piledriver or devestating Fire Thunder Driver.

Prediction: Brody King advances.

David Starr vs Joey Janela

This is incredibly interesting for Round One because anybody could make a case that this is the year for “The Product” or “The Bad Boy” to win it all and beat everyone in their path to win one of the most prestigious tournaments in pro wrestling. David Starr is booked all over the place from wXw in Germany to Rev Pro and PROGRESS Wrestling in the United Kingdom to the American independents. That may be the reason Starr could win the whole tournament is experience and an ever expanding fanbase. David Starr went far in the PROGRESS Wrestling Super Strong Style 16 tournament earlier this year as well, Starr has as much drive to win as anyone in tournaments. Joey Janela will be up to his crazy antics in the ring, it’s rare to watch a Janela match and not see him splat on the apron or the unprotected floor. Sometimes it costs Janela but Joey Janela is wrestling much smarter these days after running his own successful IPPV’s, Joey Janela’s Spring Break two years in a row for Game Changer Wrestling (CCW.) Joey Janela has a previous win over Matt Riddle by submission in BEYOND Wrestling so it’s not out of the question for Janela to out-grapple Starr but it’s going to be a hard-fought match to say the very least. Janela vs Starr took place at BEYOND Wrestling Americanra last month and it tore the house down with a supremely violent Barbed Wire match where Starr emerged still “The Ace” of BEYOND Wrestling in a war.

Prediction: Joey Janela advances.

Bandido vs T-Hawk

It’s an international showdown as Mexico’s Bandido returns to PWG but enters his very first Battle Of Los Angeles tournament to mix it up with Dragon Gate’s T-Hawk. Fans of Dragon Gate have seen astonishing matches from T-Hawk, he has been pushed into the land of the sharks since he debuted and never once looked out of place in the ring. It’s a very stiff and intense style that T-Hawk possesses with very stiff chops from learning from some of the best Japan has to offer. T-Hawk is primarily a tag team wrestler but when he shines in singles matches it is lots of displays of power with all eight years of experience bubbling over. Bandido is a twenty-three year old Luchador set to main event All In and in the middle of a breakout year. and does an exceptional job every single match showing his unique brand of offense like his astonishing top rope flipping fallaway slam. Bandido is on the verge, much like Flamita and Rey Horus, of becoming a major Latino sensation in America with bookings across the board as long as Flamita wants to become a PWG regular. T-Hawk will show why he is talked about around the world as an elite striker and Bandido will likely dive into the next round to face other international athletes or the best in America.

Prediction: Bandido advances.

CIMA vs Jody Fleisch

This match could go either way, two veterans of twenty-two years in the game and over forty years of age. Englishman Jody Fleisch is a legend in the United Kingdom as is CIMA in Japan. CIMA has more of a past presence in PWG but that doesn’t mean Jody can’t establish himself even this late in his career. It would be a lifetime achievement award of sorts if one of these men won the tournament but really it would be much more than that. The winner has to defeat an equal veteran and the best young athletes today. The road to glory seems fitting for CIMA, whom never got the bookings in America he should have had throughout his career.

Prediction: CIMA advances.

Flamita vs Puma King

Puma King is a twelve year veteran that returns to BEYOND Wrestling as well after several appearances, Flip Gordon was even Powerbombed off the top rope is the past by King. On paper it’s a very even match although Flamita has more international bookings and Battle Of Los Angeles experience, Flamita didn’t make it out of the first round last year but history shouldn’t repeat itself this September.

Prediction: Flamita advances.

Rey Horus vs Adam Brooks

This is Adam Brooks in a very high-flying match and use his smarts to get past the competition yet again only against a Luchador he has never faced before. Brooks has gained valuable experience in the Rev Pro Cruiserweight Division in the UK that can be used here. Horus is also known as Dragon Azteca Jr on Lucha Underground, Rey Horus has to be begging for more big wins on the independent circuit and this could be it via stunning Rey Mysterio callback moves. Brooks should win in spectacular fashion even if it’s not a clean victory to go to the Finals. It has been a breakout year for Brooks and it’s going to get even better.

Prediction: Adam Brooks advances.

Non-tournament: Shingo Takagi and Ilja Dragunov vs Ringkamf (WALTER and Timothy Thatcher)

Shingo and Then Dragunov is a first time pairing but not that odd of one considering their ring style that leaves room for no prisoners. There will be some combinations we have never seen in this dream tag team match, WALTER and Thatcher regularly team as RINGKAMF but could their match on Night 2 of Battle of Los Angeles change the motivation here? The fact is, Thatcher is a shoot-style wrestler that doesn’t have many peers except his tag team partner. There could be dissension in either camp but sportsmanship might just go out the window as things become a brawl. Thatcher and WALTER, much like PWG’s Marty Scurll and Zack Sabre Jr, never butt heads but they could very well turn on it’s ear as a feud culminates. Shingo or Dragunov could be rewarded a future PWG World title match by pinning WALTER to make things even more interesting.

Prediction: Ilja Dragunov and Shingo Takagi win.

Battle of Los Angeles, Night Two, First Round

WALTER vs Timothy Thatcher

The fight between the Ringkamf tag team partners is going to be fireworks, it will even sound like it when WALTER hits his trademark chops that look like he’s trying to chop through his opponent. This is a rematch from PROGRESS Wrestling Chapter 62: Fear No More, Come To Dust in January where WALTER defeated Thatcher in a war worthy of match of the year consideration. That match featured both being slammed on the hardwood floor and the unforgiving arena’s in PWG aren’t much different, the crowd is much larger now to contain these two if it leaves the ring a the Globe Theatre. WALTER clubs away at every opponent to set up the Powerbomb or Lariat, it’s simple and more than effective from the 310 pound PWG champion. WALTER currently holds the Over The Top Wrestling (OTT), DEFIANT Wrestling hardcore and PROGRESS Wrestling World championships going into September’s three-night tournament. Thatcher has a very similar approach and both use the Sleeper Hold to choke out the opponent and it usually works. Timothy Thatcher did just that and reigned as the EVOLVE Wrestling championship for a record 596 days but Thatcher has lost considerable steam since that time one year ago during WrestleMania weekend against Zack Sabre Jr. Going very far in this year’s Battle of Los Angeles and beating his tag team partner, the PWG World champion at the same time would be all too sweet for Timothy Thatcher.

Prediction: Timothy Thatcher advances.

Darby Allin vs Jeff Cobb

Darby Allin was trained in EVOLVE Wrestling just two years ago and that’s where the daredevil has scored his biggest victories in 2018. Allin pinned WALTER and Matt Riddle within the span of just a couple months showing that Darby is much more than meets the eye. Jeff Cobb isn’t going to be impressed by Darby Allin’s shady ring gear but Cobb and the fans will be blown away by Darby’s risk taking with Coffin Drops into the crowd. This match is either going to be a former Olympian throwing around the PWG newcomer or Allin actually picks up the win by any means necessary. Jeff Cobb may think this will be an easy route to the next round of the tournament, Allin however is more than ready for this opportunity by adding a Fujiwara armbar and Last Supper pinning combination to his growing repertoire. Darby Allin winning PWG Battle Of Los Angeles 2018 would shock the wrestling community and in a good way, hard working young stars that can go like Darby in the ring need to break through to establish a healthy future. Jeff Cobb was our choice to win the tournament last year and now that Cobb’s tag team partner in The Chosen Bros, Matt Riddle has left PWG for WWE NXT, it’s Cobb’s time to make the most of every appearance and pick up big wins.

Prediction: Darby Allin advances.

Sammy Guevara vs Jonah Rock

The monster of PWG will clash with one of the brightest young stars in the game in a match that could easily main event any other event this year. Jonah Rock, at thirty years of age, is an Australian powerhouse that is just coming into his own in America putting it all together in big matches. Zack Sabre Jr and Keith Lee among others have felt the wrath of the gargantuan Frogsplash by Jonah Rock’s full 275 pound frame. Rock just needs a huge win to bring him to the next level because he could match up with anyone of any size and it’s going to be a great match so this could easily be that match. The big man, Jonah Rock, is going to hit his best and as hard as he can like always to bring the crowd to their feet. It’s entirely possible Sammy Guevara pins Rock with amazing high flying like the 630 splash, Guevara could be the athletic benchmark to replace Ricochet only as the top heel. Sammy Guevara became one of the most hated men in Texas in places like WrestleCircus and he is already starting to have the same effect in front of the California crowd. Guevara replaces an injured Travis Banks as Rock was originally set to face Germany’s Ilja Dragunov at this year’s Battle of Los Angeles.

Prediction: Jonah Rock advances.

Robbie Eagles vs DJZ

Robbie Eagles has wrestled at almost every PWG event the past year and it’s going to pay off for the Melbourne native. DJZ has never competed at Battle Of Los Angeles and his offense is as explosive as anybody but it won’t be enough to stop Eagles’ momentum. Every time Eagles loses he gets better the next match and he does whatever it takes to win, don’t let the early Zack Ryder look fool you. DJZ should lose to a man that is a lot like DJZ when he was younger, brash and arrogant but always backing it up.

Prediction: Robbie Eagles advances.

Chris Brookes vs Trevor Lee

Chris Brooks steps into a PWG ring for the first time at Battle of Los Angeles, and the large CCK faction fanbase of Brooks from the UK will surely follow him to California. Brooks uses his six and a half foot frame to hit slingshot Cutters and many moves someone his size shouldn’t be able to do. Trevor Lee is overdue for a PWG title match and it would be the perfect way to spoil Brooks’ debut by stopping him in the first round. Lee could be a very capable and despised PWG World champion if given the chance.

Prediction: Trevor Lee advances.

Ilja Dragunov vs Shingo Takagi

This will be an awfully intense affair considering both men tend to go all out every match. Ilja Dragunov has many ways to win a match and Shingo will attack with no mercy, it’s a complete toss-up to who wins this dream match. Ilja Dragunov has become such a popular figure in Germany because of his never-say-die attitude. Dragunov retired last year after failing to capture the wXw Unified championship but he came back to win the big one this year. It’s that kind of story that will endear Dragunov to the PWG faithful, Shingo will love getting in the ring with one of international’s finest even if he goes down swinging in the process.

Prediction: Ilja Dragunov advances.

Non-Tournament: Bandido, Rey Horus & Flamita vs. The Rascalz (Dezmond Xavier & Zachary Wentz) & CIMA

The three Luchador sensations from Mexico against the PWG tag team champions and their teacher. CIMA has taken Wentz and Xavier under his wing in the Dragon Gate faction, this is finally the chance to see the trio team on American soil. There may not be a more wild and out of control tag team match this year, PWG does tag team wrestling as good as anybody and tornado tag rules the day for the most part. We will see just how much Went and Xavier have learned if they get the win here and defend the PWG tag team titles in the same weekend.

Prediction: CIMA, Dezmond Xavier and Zachary Wentz win.

Night Three matches:

  • Semi Finals and Finals

Tag Team Championships: The Rascalz (Dezmond Xavier and Zachary Wentz) (c) vs The Lucha Bros (Penta El Zero M and Rey Fenix)

This match was eventually going to happen with The Lucha Bros attempting to wrestle back the titles they lost. Strangely this one hasn’t been booked often anywhere, the styles are similar and it’s hard to say who flies the highest. Penta is willing to go the extra mile in brutality. The speed and teamwork of Wentz and Xavier is equal to Penta El Zero M and Rey Fenix, youth is also on the champions side. The titles could be traded back and forth but this current run of The Rascalz is one that’s not going to stop anytime soon.

Prediction: The Rascalz (Dezmond Xavier and Zachary Wentz) retain.

Who wins the 2018 Battle of Los Angeles?

Is it too soon for California’s own, Brody King to win Battle Of Los Angeles? Is an international star going to take the trophy from the best in America? Could this be the comeback story of the Summer for PCO? There are many questions going into the fourteenth annual tournament. The odds are in the favor of nobody in particular with an open playing field of so many different competitors but it all comes down to momentum and Joey Janela has that in spades. Coming off a career defining victory against The Great Sasuke this year and even though Janela has his hand dipped in many pots, Janela is the current reigning WWN Live champion for EVOLVE Wrestling, Janela has never been handed the ball as the top guy in any promotion yet and now is his opportunity. It’s a chance Janela is not going to waste and the opening round with David Starr has show stealer potential, the highlight reel offense of Janela should propel him to new heights. PWG is a home for innovation and supreme athleticism, where such men as Super Dragon and Kevin Owens used steel chairs and moves today’s wrestling audience have never seen before. Not only does Joey Janela fit right into PWG’s agenda and history of violence, the timing couldn’t be any better for “The Bad Boy.” Janela has defeated Rey Horus, Robbie Eagles, Flash Morgan Webster this year in PWG but he lost to Jonah Rock. It’s anybody’s tournament to win, the dark horse chosen this year is Adam Brooks. The Australian along with Robbie Eagles, has set his career into overdrive after feuding with Will Ospreay and Brooks is poised to be the next big thing if he continues taking bookings in the United Kingdom and the United States by route of Australia. Keith Lee wrestled his final match at PWG Bask In His Glory against Adam Brooks and Brooks won that match. It’s Brooks’ slimy tactics like using a Ripcord lowblow to win matches that has set him from the pack and made him as hated by fans as anyone. Look for Brooks to go all the way to the Finals if he doesn’t win the tournament. PWG does not offer an On Demand service, however these shows will be coming to Blu Ray and DVD within two months time on after it goes down live.


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