After an eventful night one, BOLA 2015 reached another level got on night two with excellent performances from the Europeans determined to leave a lasting impression on Reseda as well as a phenomenal match between Chris Hero and Timothy Thatcher.
Night two featured six tournament matches and two non-tournament matches including dream matches between Drew Galloway vs Speedball Mike Bailey, Ricochet vs Zack Sabre Jr, Drago & Pentagon Jr vs Aerostar & Fenix as well as Super Dragon’s return to a PWG ring after a lengthy absence.
Enough preamble, lets get down to the action.
Marty Scurll vs Rich Swann
After impressing on his US debut the previous night, The Villain Marty Scurll faced another man seemingly all but officially signed to WWE, Rich Swann. Oooohh oooh’s accompanied Scurll to the ring, testament to his performance the previous night.
Nefarious as ever, Scurll got things under way with a cheap shot from behind before his chicken wing was reversed leading to a series of high paced exchange of holds. Swann gained the advantage by pulling Scurll down from the top rope with a standing frankensteiner before a standing 450 was reversed into a small package by Scurll.
The Villain followed a rake to the eye by pulling apart Swann’s fingers to make a horrific sound before landing the tornado ddt transitioned into the chicken wing to submit Swann and advance to the next round.
After Scurll’s arrival last night, the fans really got into this match and it was great to see. Scurll’s technique and grappling is a wonderful throwback to the World of Sport days. Scurll has always been a phenomenal wrestler but now he has really honed his gimmick: even bigger things lay on the horizon for this man, watch this space.
El Specifico’s Star Rating: ***1/2
Angelico vs Jack Evans
Los Gueros del Cielo, the White Boys From Heaven, went head to head in this tournament match. Jack Evans, former PWG regular, met Angelico who, much like the other AAA stars, rose to prominence in Lucha Underground playing a crazy bastard who liked to chuck himself from unfathomable heights into the ring.
After a rambling diatribe in which he claimed to have been carrying the tag team, Jack Evans grounded Angelico before chugging an audience member’s beer. Inebriated by the beer, Evans impressively managed to dodge Angelico’s offence before landing a corkscrew headbutt. Evans landed a 450 to the outside before Angelico regained control after Evans attempted a 630 that met the knees.
Angelico delivered a gory bomb into the turnbuckle followed by a double foot stomp from the top. A second gory bomb attempt was reversed into a hurricanrana that sent Angelico into the turnbuckle before Evans channelled his inner karate kid to deliver a crane kick to knock his partner out cold and advance to the next round.
This was a fun match. Evidently, these two are incredibly familiar with each other and that translated into a solid wrestling match with several highly entertaining comedy spots. Jack Evans did a great job of being a real dick to piss everyone in the building off.
El Specifico’s Star Rating: ***
Chris Hero vs Timothy Thatcher
In 2015, Chris Hero has experienced a career renaissance few could have expected featuring in outstanding matches against Tommy End, Zack Sabre Jr, Speedball and Busick amongst others. His opponent in the first round, Timothy Thatcher, made his second appearance in PWG after enjoying a break out year. Very few men in wrestling have the presence of Timothy Thatcher. Intense, stoic and belligerent Thatcher never took his eyes of Hero as he made his entrance.
Impeccable chain wrestling was a major theme throughout this match: Thatcher attempted to work the ankle early on while Hero attempted to work the arm to gain an advantage early on. Hero gained control after a bicycle kick followed by multiple elbow strikes before Thatcher hit back with a saito suplex. Hero immediately returned to his feet to trade elbow strikes for Thatcher’s uppercuts.
A vicious headbutt knocked Hero down: an attempted Gotch style piledriver was blocked by Hero before Hero landed a vicious elbow followed by a tombstone piledriver but Thatcher rolled through into a fujiwara arm bar! Hero eventually escaped before landing the hero’s Welcome to advance to the second round.
This was an incredible match featuring some of the best in ring psychology I have seen all year. I could have watched this match go on until the end of time. My only complaint is that I think this could have been even better as a semi-final match with higher stakes.
El Specifico’s Star Rating: ****1/4
Aerostar & Fenix vs Pentagon Jr & Drago
In one of the most anticipated matches of the weekend, the stars of AAA and Lucha Underground set aside their rivalries for this Lucha extravaganza. Duelling chants filled Reseda before the match got underway.
Set at a frenetic pace, Aerostar and Pentagon reached a stalemate before tagging their partners in. Fenix landed a flipping ddt followed by a swingblade on Drago before Pentagon returned to the ring to land Gory Bomb and piledriver to Aerostar and Fenix AT THE SAME TIME!
Fenix and Aerostar regained the momentum before Aerostar used Fenix as a ladder to gain more height on a frogsplash: Fenix then landed a springboard corkscrew moonsault to the outside to ground Pentagon . Back in the ring, Aerostar and Fenix delivered a back stabber and piledriver in tandem to secure the victory.
Holy s**t this was crazy. I admit, it was almost impossible to keep up with never mind write about. If you aren’t a fan of Lucha Libre, watch this match and you will become a fan.
El Specifico’s Star Rating: ***3/4
Tommy End vs Drew Gulak
After an outstanding debut at PWG Don’t Sweat the Technique vs Chris Hero, going into BOLA weekend, Tommy End was my dark horse pick to win the whole tournament. Tommy End’s rise to prominence in the UK has been a pleasure to witness: he possess an aura few others do. Drew Gulak, a relative PWG veteran in comparison, made his second BOLA appearance in as many years.
In this first time one on one match, Tommy End and Drew Gulak grappled for supremacy early on before the match descended into a striking battle: End gained the advantage with a vicious roundhouse kick followed by a german suplex before missing a double foot stomp. Gulak landed a lariat before applying the ankle lock only for End to reverse into a roll up.
End delivered a flurry of strikes before connecting a front angle saito suplex followed by a huge right hand to KO Gulak and secure his place in the next round.
I was a little underwhelmed by this match although that may be due to my incredibly high expectations every time I see Tommy End. Having said that, End, as ever, landed some ferocious strikes and must be considered one of the most vicious strikers in the world.
El Specifico’s Star Rating: **3/4
Drew Galloway vs Speedball Mike Bailey
Let me preface this with two comments: one, I’m a huge fan of Drew Galloway. Since parting company with WWE, Galloway has been motivated to prove his critics wrong and he has emphatically done that and then some. Secondly, this was the match I was most looking forward to when the first round matches were announced and it did not disappoint.
Galloway, making his debut and claiming the honor to be the first ever Scot to wrestle in PWG, went on the offensive immediately with multiple fierce shots before tossing Bailey across the ring. An enziguri shifted the momentum before Speedball landed a flurry of kicks that culminated in a standing cancoon tornado.
Galloway fought back with several forearms before landing a yakuza kick for a near fall. Galloway, sensing his opportunity, landed a tombstone for a near fall followed by an attempted Future Shock ddt that was blocked: Speedball landed an enziguri followed by the shooting star knees but this time Galloway kicked out!
Galloway landed multiple forearms before attempting the Future Shock ddt again- this time Speedball reversed into a jack knife roll up to seal his place in the next round.
Wow. What a match. Galloway and Speedball worked the classic big man/small man dynamic to perfection here to pull off arguably the best first round match. Every time Speedball landed some offence, Galloway would cut him off with a vicious shot sending him to the mat. Both men got over huge during this match. Although not included in the DVD, chants of please come back accompanied Galloway as he left the ring.
El Specifico’s Star Rating: ****1/4
Ricochet vs Zack Sabre Jr
In the final first round match, Ricochet, winner of BOLA 2014, met Zack Sabre Jr, who made his debut at last year’s BOLA and entered this year’s as many people’s favourite. Both Ricochet and Zack Sabre Jr have had excellent years, impressive at every available opportunity.
This match really divided the fans: duelling chants of Ricochet/Sabre echoed around Reseda as the match got underway. In the early stages, Ricochet impressed with his technical acumen, something not necessarily associated with the Future of Flight, after a dropkick: Ricochet applied the cerebral lock before landing a spine buster. The People’s moonsault was caught into a triangle sleeper by Zack Sabre Jr before Ricochet connected with a roundhouse to regain the advantage after escaping.
Zack Sabre Jr landed a series of uppercuts before beginning work on the wrist as he began to pick Ricochet apart piece by piece. After several stomps to the wrist, Sabre landed a dragon suplex followed by a penalty kick. Sabre reversed an attempted springboard ace crusher into an arm bar before Ricochet landed an enziguri: Ricochet, looking to end the match, attempted the benydriller but that too was reversed into a hanging kimura.
Ricochet reversed into a powerbomb before landing a 630 splash but Sabre kicked out at the last available moment and in doing so, to my knowledge, became the first person to ever do so. Sabre reversed the benydriller again into a cross arm breaker before transitioning into the European clutch to tap out last year’s winner.
This was a really great back and forth match: Ricochet impressed early on with an element to his style rarely seen before Zack Sabre Jr went to work on every limb available. Every time Ricochet attempted any offence, Sabre had a reversal. If Malenko was the man of a thousand holds, Sabre is the man of a thousand reversals. This match goes down as one of the best from round one.
El Specifico’s Star Rating: ****
Mt Rushmore 2.0 (Young Bucks & Super Dragon) vs Trevor Lee, Andrew Everett and Biff Busick
This match was crazy from when both teams entered to the pinfall, the crowd didn’t sit down for the whole match: following an extended absence, Super Dragon made his in-ring return to PWG before proceeding to knock himself out early on following a tope.
Nick Jackson pulled out a 2 sweet foam hand before laying out Lee with it only to reveal the hand contained a spanner: Everett saved his partner with a double hurricanrana before Super Dragon took a trash can to Everett’s face. Busick, following half and half suplexes for both the Young Bucks, delivered on to Super Dragon on a ladder.
Following tandem superkicks for all, Mt Rushmore regained control before landing a double Meltzer drier assisted by a dropkick by Super Dragon. After locating the Jordan’s covered in thumbtacks, the Young Buck proceeded to deliver superkicks to all before placing Biff Busick on the chair festooned with thumbtacks. Super Dragon delivered a curbstomp from the top rope followed by a Psycho Meltzer Driver to pick up the victory in an insane match.
El Specifico’s Star Rating: ****
Final Word: For me, Night Two was even better than night one: outstanding matches between Hero/Thatcher, Galloway/Speedball, ZSJ/Ricochet as well as incredible tag matches between the Lucha guys and Mt Rushmore 2.0/Lee, Everett & Busick ensured Night Two goes down as one of the best nights of wrestling in 2015.
You can order this Stage and the other two right HERE by using this link you’ll be supporting The Indy Corner.