Radican’s Guide To The Highspots Wrestling Network Podcast Companion: PWG BOLA 2018: Stage 2

By Sean Radican, PWTorch Columnist (Twitter: @SR_Torch)


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RADICAN’S GUIDE TO THE HIGHSPOTS WRESTLING NETWORK COMPANION
PWG BATTLE OF LOS ANGELS 2018: STAGE TWO
SEPT. 15, 2018
LOS ANGELES, CALIF.
AVAILABLE ON THE HIGHSPOTS WRESTLING NETWORK

Commentator: Excalibur

Note: This is the second companion article to go alongside the new Radican’s Guide To the Highspots Wrestling Network podcast. Each episode will look at a show or group of shows that people should watch while they’re self quarantining during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Highspots Wrestling Network is a subscription service from Highspots that costs $9.99 and features a huge library of wrestling content with independent wrestling shows, shoot interviews, and documentaries. Sean Radican and a rotating series of co-hosts will be looking at the must-see content on the Highspots Wrestling Network to give people an idea of what they should watch if they’re looking for fresh wrestling content that they might not have seen in the past.

The following is a full review of PWG’s BOLA 2018: Stage Two to go alongside the debut episode of Radican’s Guide To the Highspots Wrestling Network. This Review is designed to serve as a companion to the podcast. It features commentary on most of the wrestlers and compares their careers and where they were back in 2018 to the present day, as most of the BOLA lineups featured mostly names signed with NXT, AEW, and ROH.

(1) MARKO STUNT VS. TREVOR LEE – BOLA 2018 Tournament First Round match.

Stunt blew up after Joey Janela’s Escape From New York in August 2018. He’s now in AEW as part of the Jurassic Express. Trevor Lee, who is now Cameron Grimes in NXT, was in Impact Wrestling when this show was filmed. Stunt did a lot of the same spots that he did with KTB at Joey Janela’s Lost in New York at the beginning of this match. Another interesting note here is that Stunt was filling in for an injured Chris Brookes. Lee won the match with a mushroom stomp. Lee left Impact later in 2018 and signed with WWE and reported in February 2019.

WINNER: Trevor Lee in 9:00. (***)

Radican’s Analysis. The crowd was into Stunt, but Lee dominated most of the action. Stunt did his signature spots and looked good in front of the PWG crowd.

(2) SAMMY GUEVARA vs. JONAH ROCK – BOLA 2018 Tournament 2018 First Round match.

Guevara is currently getting a big push in AEW and is part of Chris Jericho’s heel stable The Inner Circle. Guevara was a replacement for Travis Banks, who was injured. Jonah Rock was getting a lot of buzz at time as a big man out of Australia. He goes by the name Bronson Reed in NXT. He signed with WWE and reported to the WWE PC in January 2019. This match was kind of just going along until Guevara hit a moonsault press off the opera box to the floor. Guevara’s offense was very spot heavy during this period. He got the crowd into it late with some great flying. Rock won after catching Rock with a front face lock.

WINNER: Jonah Rock in 11:00. (**3/4)

Radican’s Analysis: It’s really fun to see Guevara in 2018 and compare him to where he is now in AEW. He’s totally changed the way he wrestles. He’s more polished as a heel as well. Rock was fine here as well, but it wasn’t the best showcase of his power offense.

(3) ROBBIE EAGLES vs. DJZ – BOLA 2018 First Round match.

Since this show took place Eagles, who wrestles out of Australia, has been a big part of the cruiserweight division in NJPW. He started out as a member of Bullet Club and then turned on them to help Ospreay in 2019 while aligning with CHAOS. Eagles and Ospreay are known as the Birds of Prey and they had some incredible matches against El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori. DJZ signed with WWE and reported to the PC in May 2019. He was renamed Joaquin Wild.

This was DJZ’s PWG debut, which is a shock given how good he’s been for so long. DJZ hit the DJT for a great near fall. The house lights went out, so a spotlight was used to light the ring. Eagles won with a 450 into DJZ’s knee and then a trailer hitch submission.

WINNER: Robbie Eagles in 12:00. (***1/2)

Radican’s Analysis: This was a lot of fun from start to finish. The fast paced action was great. Eagles seems to be working a very similar style in 2020 to the one he worked at BOLA 2018.

(4) DARBY ALLIN vs. JEFF COBB – 2018 BOLA First Round match.

Allin was working in EVOLVE when this show place. He left EVOLVE in 2019 and signed with AEW a short time later. Allin has gotten over big as a babyface and being aligned with Cody Rhodes has gotten him over huge, especially while he feuded with The Inner Circle. Jeff Cobb went on to wrestle in ROH full time coming off stint in Lucha Underground. His contract expired in early January and he’s now working on a per date basis with ROH. He’s also been wrestling in NJPW.

Cobb’s work has been really good, but he couldn’t overcome ROH’s nosedive in 2019. Cobb was very good during NJPW’s G1 Climax tournament last year and recently had a short stint in AEW, but he seems to be a wrestler without a home right now. It’s shocking he’s not under a contract for good money given how talented he is, but he’s doing just fine working for ROH on a per date basis in 2020.

This was pretty much what you would expect with Cobb using his strength to dominate the smaller Allin. At one point Cobb lifted Allin up and tossed him to the mat like a rag doll. Allin hit an insane coffin drop off the top to the floor at one point. He missed a dangerous coffin drop on the apron. Cobb then pinned him with an outside in middle rope German.

WINNER: Jeff Cobb in 10:00. (***1/2)

Radican’s Analysis: This was short, but good. Allin has toned down his high risk maneuvers since signing with AEW. His coffin drop to the apron that he missed looked really painful. I really enjoyed seeing these two matches up and both have gotten better in the ring since this match took place, especially Allin.

(5) SHINGO TAKAGI vs. ILJA DRAGUNOV – 2018 BOLA First Round match.

These two had a scuffle after the main event match on night 1 and appeared eager to go at it here. They were partners against Ringkampf. Dragunov hit a sick dropkick across the ring at one point. A short time later they traded headbutts and Shingo hit a suplex. The finishing stretch was crazy and Shingo finally won with Made in Japan.

WINNER: Shingo Takagi In 15:00. (****1/4)

Radican’s Analysis: Awesome hard-hitting match. These two showcased a fantastic physical style of wrestling.

(6) PWG Champion WALTER vs. TIMOTHY THATCHER – 2018 BOLA First Round match.

Thatcher refused a handshake from WALTER. They were trading holds and had some big exchanges when WALTER suddenly released a submission on the mat and kicked the holy hell out of Thatcher’s head and then back. They had one heck of a back and forth match. WALTER hit a big uranagi for a near fall. He then finished off Thatcher after standing him up with a HUGE lariat.

WINNER: WALTER in 18:00. (****1/4)

Radican’s Analysis: This was a fun match. It started out with some technical wrestling and then these two men, who were tag team partners at the time, just beat the holy crap out of each other. This was a brutal physical technical match with some great hard-hitting action mixed in. These two are pros at this style. 

(7) STRONGHEARTS (CIMA & PWG WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS DEZMOND XAVIER & ZACHARY WENTZ) vs. BANDIDO & FLAMITA & REY HORUS – Six Man Tag Team match

The Stronghearts are a stable in OWE based out of China. Wentz and Xavier were part of The Rascalz stable in Impact during this time period and they are still a part of the roster. Flamita was part of the Dragon Gate roster at this time and he left at Kobe World 2019 last year. Flamita ended up starting with ROH last December on a one year contract. Horus recently joined the ROH roster as well.

Right now Bandido, Flamita, and Horus are known as the Mexibloods and they are the current ROH World Six Man Tag Team Chanpions. This match was all crazy back and forth action with the crowd going nuts. They set up for a dice see I’m done and Bandido launches Flamita like a rocket over the top to the floor before hitting a dive of his own. Bandido hit an insane slingshot German suplex off the ropes on Xavier for a near fall and the fans went crazy chanting his name. Bandido took a ton of combination moves down the stretch capped by Xavier launching Wentz into a moonsault on Bandido. The Stronghearts then made the triple pin for the win.

Bandido got a big ovation after he was given time to recover. All six men got a big response from the crowd for their efforts. Everyone then danced together to end the show as the crowd roared.

WINNERS: CIMA & Desmond Xavier & Zachary Wentz. (****1/2)

Radican’s Analysis: This was on the high end of what you can expect out of a high flying fast-paced Six Man Tag Match. Bandido stole the show here.

Overall thoughts: (8.0) – This was a show that featured a number of short tournament matches on the undercard. The last three matches on the card really turned the heat up and the crowd was on fire for Takagi vs. Dragunov, Thatcher vs. Walter, and the main event six man tag. Each of these matches were excellent in their own right and showcased a different style of wrestling. I give this show a big thumbs up and look forward to discussing on the next edition of Radican’s Guide To The HighSpots Wrestling Network: Episode 2.

Email Sean at radicansean@pwtorch.com. Follow him on Twitter @SR_Torch.

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