PWG BOLA Night One review (9.14.18)

PWG BOLA Night One review (9.14.18)

14th September 2018 

We are here finally, the long awaited BOLA 2018 tournament is out and for the first time in ten years it is outside of sunny Reseda, California, this now taking place in the Globe Theatre in Los Angeles, California. There is a lot of hype for this show.

Adam Brooks vs Rey Horus (1st Round)
Adam Brooks is somehow still going in PWG at this point, other than the fantastic Ospreay match, he has done absolutely nothing of note, Horus on the other hand is a lovely regular, always puts a shift in, never bad and more than often great. This couldn’t have started better, Horus did what Horus does best and get the crowd buzzing, with one of the wackier rope bouncing arm drags you’ll see and an over the turnbuckle senton. Pace slowed down dramatically here when Brooks had any control of the match because he really just isn’t that good. Hell of a scary but great spot leading into the final stretch, seeing Horus go for a springboard Casadora bomb to a top rope perched Brooks, who reversed this into what Excalibur called a “Ganso Bomb reversal”. Finish sees a neat near fall after a Ki crusher from Brooks lead to Horus finally hitting the Casadora bomb to advance to round two. Star Rating *** ½

Flamita vs Puma King (1st Round)
This was one of the more hyped matches coming out of Night one at the time. Puma King outside of CMLL and a NJPW Fantastica Mania tour this January is a relative unknown. Wow, almost instantaneously, Puma King is over, he has a cool sliding along the middle ropes shtick at the begging, playing off his “the coolest cat” persona and was cheered but all it took was a few nice moves and he just won the crowd over, clearly he has just got it. Nothing outrageous happens for most of this match but the crowd is electric, it is the strangest great match I’ve seen, I know watching this for a fact it isn’t a great technical bout or anything but it felt great and with that how can I not call it great. Flamita advances via Phoenix splash. Star Rating ****

CIMA vs Jody Fleisch (1st Round)
This is so strange, but very awesome. It is lovely to see Jody get some love in PWG even as random as it its, CIMA on the other hand, a former BOLA winner returns to PWG for first time in six years. This started off really bad honestly, they did the a-typical Indy miss dropkick followed by a flip spot and it just died a death, really unnecessary. They mess around with the crowd doing CIMA’s signature taunt and then did some bad comedy for five minutes. CIMA brawls with Jody in the bar and crowd and you can’t see a thing. They did some good stuff after this including Jody hitting his signature DDT but it just didn’t matter, CIMA wins via Meteora and advances, this sucked. Star Rating * ½

Bandido vs T-Hawk (1st round)
Bandido has been without a doubt the breakout star of the year in PWG and probably the entire wrestling world and he is facing PWG debutante T-Hawk who has been proving in his alliance as Strong Hearts just how great a wrestler he is, this is was among the most intriguing matches of the tournament. This match took a minute to get going, the crowd very obviously wasn’t all that familiar with T-Hawk but after a fantastic back and forth sequence six minutes in, they got really into it and this is where the match got into the next gear, rest of this was worked at a fantastic pace, just perfect. Bandido advances via moonsault fall away slam. Great match. Star Rating ****

David Starr vs Joey Janela (1st round)
Now I’m not the biggest Janela fan you will find however there is no denying he has had a good few matches recently in PWG and these two have a rivalry spanning years and many promotions so not mad at all, with this match. This was weird to being with, there was no rhythm or direction, maybe it is my fault for expecting bitter rivals in a big tournament to go balls to the wall but they muddled around doing meaningless moves for five minutes, I don’t often say this about matches but it really stuck out here. This only lasted five minutes, Janela soon almost murdered Starr with a reverse DDT on the apron and from there on it got a bit better as they started to change up the pace and go all out but it just didn’t last long enough. Janela beats Starr via superkick to advance. Overall this was disappointing but not a bad match just all things considered it wasn’t what I wanted. Star rating *** ¼

Brody King vs PCO (1st round)
This match had a ton of hype after PCO vs WALTER from Janela’s spring break, PCO for a while was the hottest Indy commodity, here he is up against rising star Brody King in BOLA, first time in the tournament for both men. This was so messy to begin with, they tried to both do hurricanranas and failed, just bad communication so they resorted to duelling strikes, which is fine but Brody just looked like he was working in slow motion. Then it just got crazy, some of it fantastic, this being PCO just absolutely killing himself and then you had the relentless sloppiness all the way through, but this match wasn’t supposed to be great, it was supposed to be a spectacle and that is something it more than achieved. Brody King wins via Psycho driver to advance. Star Rating ***

Ilja Dragunov & Shingo Takagi vs Ringkampf (Timothy Thatcher & WALTER)
The Hype for this match is off the charts, arguably the best tag team in the world Ringkampf versus the hottest star in European wrestling and the recently freelanced Dragon Gate star Shingo (pre-joining New Japan).

This was a perfect tag match in many ways. I often find tag matches like these very hard to describe and there is no point in going move for move, but this felt just big time, like these four were the absolute top of the game and I was glued to the screen the entire time.

Match looked like it was coming to a close and I was ready to be on board completely, then Thatcher kicked out of the Made in Japan from Shingo and it went into an even higher gear as there had been no killer near falls up until this point, few fantastic exchanges later and the crowd is absolutely on their feet and would remain that way for the rest of the match. Thatcher pins Dragunov via a roll up after a Fujiwara arm bar. Star Rating **** ¼

Summary:
Night One of BOLA 2018 was a really good show all in all, three great matches, decent under card and only one bad match. The Change to the Globe Theatre makes this all much more digestible in my opinion as a PWG regular viewer let alone for someone who sporadically watching than if it continued to be in Reseda would be.

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