In this episode of Wrestling Night in America, PWTorch columnist Greg Parks breaks down both nights of WrestleMania with callers and emailers. Topics include the quality of the Firefly Funhouse match, the decision to put Charlotte over Rhea Ripley, the potential of wrestlers getting more creative freedom in the current environment, and more.
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PWG BOLA 2017: STAGE ONE
SEPT. 1, 2017
AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE AT HIGHSPOTS
(1) Dezmond Xavier vs. Brian Cage in a BOLA 2017 First Round match. New PWG World Champion Chuck Taylor kicked off the show on commentary with Excalibur. Cage dominated the action for most of the match,which seemed to tip the result once they went back and forth late. Xavier mounted his first comeback and hit a Sasuke special, which fired up the crowd. At one point Xavier blocked the F5, but Cage hit it a short time later for a near fall. The action picked up from here. Xavier hit a sick spiral tap off the top where he appeared to land full force on top of Cage. Cage kicked out and got mad. He spit at Xavier and hit a bunch of powerbombs. He set Xavier up for the screwdriver, but he slid around him and hit a Yoshi tonic style counter into a pinning combination for the win. This was a great way to kick the tournament off.
Winner: Dezmond Xavier to advance to the second round of the 2017 BOLA.
Star rating: (***1/2)
(2) Marty Scurll vs. Flash Morgan Webster in a BOLA 2017 First Round match. Scurll did some mic work before the match. He heeled on the fans and told Morgan to fly back home to Wales. He said Morgan had until the count of three to get out of the ring. Scurll said one and Morgan nailed him with a huge headbutt to the chest. The ref counted to three and everyone thought Morgan had won, but his foot was under the bottom rope. Webster hit a big Swanton to Scurll’s back, but he kicked out at 2. Scurll finally cut him off and powerbombed him into a bunch of chairs. What a start to the match! Scurll jawed with a fan in the front row. He kept jawing with him and eventually he tossed Morgan trough the ropes right into the fan. The fans went nuts for that sequence. Scurll continued to dominate the action while focusing on Scurll’s back. Scurll tossed a chair to Morgan, but he threw it to the ref and hit another vicious headbutt to Scurll’s chest for a 2 count. The ref was slow to count as he got rid of the chair. Scurll went away from targeting the back as the match went on. They went back and forth with some good near falls. Scurll countered Webster late in the match. He went for the chicken wing. Morgan tried to fight out of it, but Scurll dragged him down to the mat and Webster tapped.
Winner: Marty Scurll to advance to the second round of BOLA 2017
Star rating: (***3/4) – This was really good. Webster went for broke early and then Scurll got on track and took over the match. The action got really good late and the fans really don’t like Scurll, which added to the heat.
(3) PWG Tag Team Champion Rey Fenix vs. Rey Horus in a BOLA 2017 First Round match. They had a great exchange early and both men went for dropkicks at the same time before coming to a stalemate. The fans applauded. Both men shoved each other and the pace picked up. Fenix blocked a rope walk move from Horus and hit an insane multi-jump move off the ropes jumping up and down a short time later even though Horus had knocked him down. Taylor noted that Fenix was waiting for the Jeff Hardy pop when he finally took off his shirt and sure enough the fans went nuts when he took it off after that sequence. The action got crazy. Fenix blocked a springboard rana and hit an apron bomb. He then hit a crazy kick on Horus, who was set up against the ropes on the apron. Fenix blocked a hurricanrana from Horus, but Horus hit a code red when Fenix tried to lift him up. WOW! Horus hit a jumping hurricanrana with a snap for a near fall a short time later. Horus favored his knee, which he tweaked early in the match. Horus missed a move off the top and Fenix spun him up into a V trigger variation and then hit a superkick! Fenix went up top and Horus shoved him backwards into the crowd! He then nailed him with a big running flip dive over the ringpost to the floor! HOLY CRAP!
Horus hit a standing one man Spanish fly and both men were down as the fans went nuts. Horus hit a prawn hold off the top for a near fall and the fans fired up again. They went at it up top again and Fenix hit a double springboard top rope Spanish fly for a near fall. He followed up with an Imori driver for another near fall. He went for a second Imori driver, but Fenix popped himself up Ito a HUGE DDT for a near fall. Fenix pushed Horus into the ropes and hit a short DDT. He rolled right through into arm submission for the win. WOW!
Winner: Rey Fenix to advance to the second round of BOLA 2017
Star rating: (****1/4) – This was a great showcase of high-speed lucha libre with some strong style mixed in. These guys really got the crowd going and put on an awesome performance.
(4) The Chosen Bros. (Jeff Cobb & Matt Riddle) vs. The MonStars (Donovan Dijak & Keith Lee). Dijak and Lee were wearing matching Space Jam inspired basketball jerseys. Lee and Cobb did some Lucha Libre style exchanges and came to a stalemate and the fans went nuts. This is Dijak’s PWG debut. Dijak got a hold of Riddle and nailed him with a knee before tossing him like a rag doll. Cobb tagged in a brought Dijak back and forth several times before tossing him to the mat with a gut wrench suplex! WOW! Dijak and Lee did a series of moves on Cobb that men their size aren’t supposed to be able to do. The sequence ended with Dijak rolling himself to Lee, who then powerbombed him onto Cobb. Cobb took a sustained beating until he could take no more, as Dijak got in his face after he and Lee had hit Cobb with a seemingly endless series of chops in the corner. He picked Dijak up and ran him into the turnbuckles in the corner of the ring. He then hit a series of chop clotheslines in the corner before lifting Dijak into a a delayed exploded. WOW!! Lee got in his face and ate a wrist clutch exploded as well. He went to tag in Riddle, but Lee dragged him to the floor.
Lee caught Cobb with a pounce and Dijak made the cover, but only got a 2 count. Cobb hit a shoulder capture suplex on Dijak that sent him into Lee in the corner. Riddle finally got the hot tag and ran wild. Dijak went flying out of the ring after taking bro to sleep from Riddle. The Chosen Bros then hit a doomesday knee on Lee for a two count. A short time later they hit bro to sleep into tour of the islands, but Dijak made the save at the last second! They went to a big four way sequence a short time later that ended with Lee blocking Riddle’s signature up kick and hitting a discus lariat. This is TREMENDOUS tag team action. Lee and Dijak isolated Riddle. Dijak tossed Riddle to Lee and they hit a choke slam/powerbomb combination into Dijak’s knee for a near fall! Lee hit a second rope moonsault onto Riddle and Dijak came off the top with a corkscrew press, but Cobb made the save! Riddle eventually obliterated Dijak on the apron with a running knee. Lee then lifted up Cobb in the reverse Razor’s edge position and tossed him up into the air into a HUGE jumping knee from Riddle for the win.
Winners: Matt Riddle & Jeff Cobb
Star rating: (****1/2) – Amazing tag bout with both teams going all out with power moves and big striking sequences to build the match. The crowd was red hot down the stretch and this is a must see.
(5) PWG Tag Team Champion Penta El Zero M vs. Matt Sydal in a BOLA 2017 First Round match. Penta did the cero miedo gesture to Sydal, so Sydal fired back with a peace and love hand gesture and the match was on. This was a very good hard-hitting match. It was flat in some spots, but it picked up nicely late with some hard hitting action. Sydal went up top for a SSP late, but Penta got his feet up to mule kick Sydal from his back. Sydal hit a poison hurricanrana at a bad angle a short time later. He went up for a SSP a short time later, but Penta got out of the way. Sydal ended up taking a flipping piledriver. Penta then lifted him up for a package piledriver but ran backwards and then sprung off the ropes to hit it for the win.
Winner: Penta El Zero M to advance to the second round of BOLA 2017.
Star rating: (***)
(6) Jonah Rock vs Zack Sabre Jr. in a BOLA 2017 First Round match. Jonah is a rising talent in Australia that has competed in NOAH and was part of the TMDK stable. He is a giant man. Shane Haste and Mikey Nichols, his former stablemates, are currently in NXT. Rock no sold a flying European uppercut out of the corner and leveled Sabre with a clothesline. Rock dominated on the floor, but Sabre cut him off and went after his knee area inside the ring. Sabre mocked the fans as they booed him while working over Rock. Sabre is quite familiar with Rock from their time in the NOAH dojo. Rock finally cut Sabre off with a Samoan drop. They went back and forth and Rock hit a full Nelson suplex for a 2 count. Sabre fired back and slid around Rock into an octopus hold. Rock stood up and carried Sabre’s weight over to the ropes. Sabre quickly decked Rock with a leg sweep.
Rock went for a kick a short time later, but Sabre got a knee bar. Rock once again used his strength to crawl to the ropes fairly quickly. Rock finally caught Sabre with a big cross body as Sabre came off the ropes and both men were down. Sabre slid around Rock and got a knee bar again. He transitioned the hold forward and backwards, but Rock managed to get to the ropes. Sabre went for a flying triangle a short time later, but Rock turned it into a sit out powerbomb and both men were down on the mat. Rock went up top and hit a HUGE frog splash for a 2 count. WOW! Rock decked Sabre with a slap to the face and hit a brainbuster for a 2 count. Rock went up top, but missed a moonsault. WOW! Sabre drilled Rock with a PK, but he kicked out at 1. Sabre got a cross arm breaker. Sabre turned it into a triangle. Sabre rolled over and wrenched on Rock’s arm and he was forced to tap!
Winner: Zack Sabre Jr. to advance to the second round of BOLA 2017
Star rating: (***) – This was slow in spots and the crowd never fully got into the match, but they finished off on a high note. Rock doing high flying moves is crazy for someone his size. He’s got the build of Michael Elgin excepts he’s taller and carrying more weight.
(7) Flamita vs. Ricochet in a BOLA 2017 First Round match. These guys are familiar with each other from their days in Dragon Gate. They had some crazy exchanges and Flamita eventually hit a flip dive over the top to the floor. This got really good quick with Ricochet hitting an insane flying sick kick, a tope, and a Fosbury flip. Flamita fired back with a flip dive to the floor of his own. Ricochet hit a sick spiked cutter and a SSP press and both men were down. WOW! Flamita hit a muscle buster into a lung blower a short time later for a 2 count. Flamita went for a 450, but landed on his feet. They went back and forth at an insane pace and Ricochet hit a front roll into a HUGE lariat and both men were down! WOW!
They went out to the apron and traded blows. Ricochet ended up hitting a big neck breaker on the apron and both men were down. They traded bombs inside the ring. Flamita got the upper hand and this time connected with a 450, but didn’t get a lot of height on it. Flamita appeared to have dislocated his finger, but the ref put it back in place. Flamita missed a Phoenix splash a short time later. Ricochet got the upper hand and hit several kicks. Flamita told him to bring it and Ricochet hit a pop up flat liner for the win.
Star rating: (****) – This was really good. The crowd seemed to burn out late in the match, but these two really put together some crazy back and forth high speed sequences.
Overall score: (8.5) – This was a very good first round of BOLA action to kick off the 2017 edition of the tournament. The crowd seemed to get tired because some of the action on the first half of the show was really good. They were never dead, but there were some lulls in some of the matches up and down the card. That being said, this show featured some really fun wrestling put on by a diverse group of performers from all over the world.
The highlight of the show was the amazing Matt Riddle & Jeff Cobb vs. Keith Lee & Donovan Dijak match, which tore down the house with some incredible exchanges and then a string of near falls down the stretch that set the crowd on fire. Seeing Keith Lee and Jeff Cobb try their hand at some lucha libre style exchanges was also insane.
The first round tournament matches were really good for the most part. The highlight was Rey Fenix vs. Rey Horus, which was a great showcase of modern lucha libre mixed with strong style. They really brought it in this match and the crowd was red hot for this match.
The other first round match that stood out was Ricochet vs. Flamita. These two have history dating back to their days in Dragon Gate and they did not disappoint, as they put on a great high-flying match. The crowd seemed to have a hard time getting up for this match to the level they got up to for the great matches earlier in the card. The back and forth sequence of dives early in the match was fantastic and Ricochet looked so good at times hitting some breathtaking offense on Flamita, who was fantastic as well.
I recommend buying the entire tournament when it comes to BOLA. This show will definitely leave you looking forward to the second and third nights of the tournament. Thumbs up!
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