The third and final night of the annual Pro Wrestling Guerrilla Battle of Los Angeles tournament ended up running close to a total of six hours, starting at about 6 p.m. PT and finishing up almost at midnight on Sunday night in Reseda, Calif. When all was said and done, Zack Sabre, Jr. emerged victorious, besting Chris Hero and "Speedball" Mike Bailey in the elimination-style three-way tournament final.
Sabre was one of six European wrestlers who made up the initial field of 24 in the tournament and has been a fixture in PWG for the past year. All weekend, Sabre had been the recipient of "NEXT WORLD CHAMP" chants from the crowd. Current PWG world champion Roderick Strong emerged to stare down Sabre after he won the tournament to tell the Englishman that he'll be beating him soon.
The three-night event featured the PWG debuts of the other five European wrestlers and four luchadores from AAA and Lucha Underground. The entire event should be considered a must-buy when the DVDs and streaming video are released, likely in September.
The full results from the 2015 Battle of Los Angeles Final Stage:
Quarterfinal match: Jack Evans def. Brian Cage
In what was probably the shortest match of the night, Cage looked well on his way to squashing Evans until the latter scored a flash pin out of nowhere. Cage took it upon himself to attack Evans after the match, hitting him with a Steiner Screwdriver.
Prior to the match, Evans grabbed the microphone to run down Cage and claim to be the superior athlete, continuing Evans' long weekend of completely heeling out on the entire universe. The weekend was a grand welcome home for Evans, who has spent the past few years in Mexico but is finally showing the world the fully-formed version of himself in Lucha Underground and here in PWG. Phenomenal stuff from him over all three nights.
Quarterfinal match: Chris Hero def. Biff Busick
This was another pretty short but very hard-hitting match, which is to be expected given the participants. Busick was determined but Hero was too much of a crafty veteran for him, although it took an impressive and terrifying second-rope piledriver for Hero to finally put Busick away. The night was so long that I almost forgot about this match, but it should hold up on repeat viewings.
Quarterfinal match: "Party" Marty Scurll def. Trevor Lee
This was the first real upset of the night (maybe of the weekend), as current OMEGA champ Trevor Lee had to be one of the favorites to go deep into the tournament. This was another impressive showing for Scurll. Over the course of Sunday night, it became clear he was one of the breakout stars of the weekend.
Quarterfinal match: Zack Sabre, Jr. def. Pentagón Jr.
This was a terrific match and really the only match Sabre worked all weekend that wasn't mostly technical mat wrestling. The only questionable part of this was the finish, where Pentagón not only tapped out to an armbar, but tapped out before it was really fully applied. It's hard to find too much fault with this match, though, as it was likely the best singles match Sabre had during the weekend.
Quarterfinal match: "Speedball" Mike Bailey def. Tommy End
Along with Evans and Scurll, Tommy End was the other revelation of the weekend for many PWG diehards (and future indie fans who will eventually watch this on DVD). This match wasn't as good as the one End had against Drew Gulak on Saturday night, but he looked terrific and got to play a bruiser opposite Bailey, who was perhaps the most over babyface in BOLA.
Quarterfinal match: Will Ospreay def. Matt Sydal
This was an interesting match, as it was sort of the past and future Matt Sydals colliding. It was a good high-flying match but understandably couldn't hold a candle to Sydal vs. Fénix on Saturday night.
Mount Rushmore 2.0 (The Young Bucks, Roderick Strong & Super Dragon) def. Ricochet, Rich Swann, Fénix & Angélico
In the first non-tournament match of the evening, Mount Rushmore 2.0's reign of terror continued as they dispatched the babyfaces. Super Dragon was absent from the match after about the halfway point and rumors were going around after the event that he may have gotten injured. That's a huge bummer for him and for PWG if that's true. Excalibur, injured after Saturday's post-show attack, has his work cut out for him finding a team that can go up against 2.0. If this team couldn't get the job done, who can?
Semifinal match: Chris Hero def. Jack Evans
Evans cut another multi-minute heel promo before this match, which was terrific. He insulted Hero's conditioning and said Hero doesn't have a move that can get a two-count on him, let alone beat him. The story of the match was Hero hitting Evans with bombs and only getting one-counts, as his frustration mounted. I absolutely adored the story of this match and this was probably my favorite match of the night, as well as one of my favorites of the entire weekend. The glory of Jack Evans continues.
Semifinal match: "Speedball" Mike Bailey def. Will Ospreay
This is the match I probably remember the least of. A fine match -- very good, even. But it was the least memorable match of the entire evening and maybe the least memorable of the weekend.
Semifinal match: Zack Sabre, Jr. def. "Party" Marty Scurll
These two are regular partners and have likely faced one another a million times, so they worked extremely wall together. This was most people's pick for match of the night and weekend, but it's going to hold up a lot better on DVD. It's probably eventually going to be considered a sort of classic. But going about 30 minutes in the 10th match of the night was a questionable decision, to say the least. Especially in the third night of a three-day tournament.
Non-tournament match: Chuck Taylor, Trent?, Aero Star, Drew Gulak & Drew Galloway def. Tomasso Ciampa, Andrew Everett, Drago, Timothy Thatcher & Mark Andrews
This was an absolute romp and sprint of a 10-man tag to put a buffer between the semis and the final. It was hard-hitting, but with a ton of comedy, which is sort of PWG's specialty. It ended after a very extended slow-motion sequence. Trust me: you're going to want to see this one.
Tournament finals: Zack Sabre, Jr. def. Chris Hero, "Speedball" Mike Bailey
Full disclosure: Bailey was my pick to win BOLA and I felt like he was a virtual lock. Imagine my surprise when he was instead eliminated first. This was another stellar match that actually felt like a three-way dance instead of the normal "two people wrestle while the third lays around."
Hero's current niche of being the angry defender of the PWG old guard continues apace and continues to be great. Hero really shone here, doing everything he could to make the others look like a million bucks. In the end, Sabre tapped out Hero to an armbar to end it and take home the trophy.
If you like wrestling at all, you're going to want to buy these DVDs the second you possibly can. PWG continues to be possibly the greatest indie promotion on the planet. With a nearly six-hour show, no one can say the fans didn't get their money's worth.