RADICAN’S Guide to the Highspots Wrestling Network Companion – PWG BOLA 2018: Final Stage tournament concludes with second, semi-final, and final round matches

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

Commentator: Excalibur

Note: This is the third 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 Three to go alongside the corresponding 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) BRODY KING vs. TREVOR LEE – 2018 BOLA Second Round match

Trevor Lee cut a promo before the match running him down. He said the only reason people like King is because he’s the only person from California that gets booked in PWG. King finally cut Lee off by choking him. They brawled to the floor at one point and it was difficult to see the action. Lee ran into the ref late. He hit a low blow with the ref turned around and got an inside cradle for a near fall. Lee then hit the spinning powerslam for the win.

WINNER: Trevor Lee in 14:00. (**½)

(Radican’s Analysis: I enjoyed Lee’s pre-match promo more than most of the match. This was a lumbering affair, but the action picked up late. King has had some good matches when I’ve seen him, but this match just never really went anywhere.)

(2) JEFF COBB vs. REY HORUS – 2018 BOLA Second Round match

Rich Fann and I have talked about these two on the previous BOLA 2018 podcasts. Both men are in ROH right now with Horus getting a push right out the gate as a Six Man Tag Team Champion alongside Bandido and Flamita. Cobb is working on a per date basis with ROH right now. Cobb cut Horus off during the early going and began working him over. Cobb showcased his impressive power by blocking a Horus sunset flip attempt and eventually he just tossed him over his head and nailed him with a standing moonsault for a two count. Horus mounted a comeback, but Cobb caught him with a headbutt and Tour of the Islands for the win.

WINNER: Jeff Cobb in 9:00. (**)

(Radican’s Analysis: This match had a couple of good exchanges between both men, but the audience was never fully engaged. Cobb’s win came out of nowhere, as he quickly hit a headbutt and his finish for the win without much of a build. Cobb’s power is always impressive.)

(3) SHINGO TAKAGI vs. ROBBIE EAGLES – 2018 BOLA Second Round match

Both men are currently part of the NJPW cruiser division, although Takagi could move up to heavyweight at any moment. Excalibur on commentary billed Shingo as a heavyweight. Eagles tried to kick Shingo through the ropes from the apron, but Shingo turned it into a dragon screw. Shingo then went right after Eagle’s leg. Eagles fired back and hit a standing sliced bread. The fans fired up after Shingo caught Eagles with a fantastic looking DVD. He then hit Made in Japan for a nearfall. Shingo hit the Pumping Bomber, but Eagles kicked out and the fans went nuts! Both men stood up top and Eagles hit a super hurricanrana. He went up top and hit a 450, but favored his knee momentarily. He made the cover, but Shingo kicked out at the last second. They had a really good back and forth exchange. Shingo took Eagles down and got a STF. He then turned it into an arm capture STF and Eagles tapped.

WINNER: Shingo Takagi in 10:00. (***¾)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was a fantastic 10 minute match. They told a good story here with Shingo working over Eagles’s knee, which paid off in the end. The crowd really came up for this match and the finishing stretch was really hot.)

(4) JOEY JANELA vs. CIMA in a BOLA 2018 Second Round match

Both men are currently on the AEW roster, although CIMA hasn’t gotten much of a push at all in 2020. The pace picked up with Janela sending CIMA to the floor. He got a running start on the apron and hit a diving elbow. The match continued at a slow pace and both men began trading chops. CIMA hit a pair of cross-legged falcon arrows for a nearfall. CIMA hit a Meteora off the bottom and middle rope. He then went up top, but missed a third Meteora attempt. They battled up top and CIMA hit a cross-legged superplex. He then hit a Meteora off the top for a nearfall. CIMA sold shock as the fans popped for Janela. CIMA went to hit the ropes and Janela popped up and hit a superkick for the win.

After the match, both men shook hands.

WINNER: Joey Janela in 14:30. (**½)

(Radican’s Analysis: Janela and CIMA didn’t have great chemistry. They managed to put together a fun finishing sequence with some big nearfalls, but other than that, the match lacked spark.)

(5) PWG CHAMPION WALTER vs. JONAH ROCK – BOLA 2018 Second Round match

Rock attacked WALTER as he made his entrance. They had a chop battle and WALTER took Rock off his feet with a hard chop. Rock threw the ref into Walter and went for a low blow, but WALTER blocked it. They went back and forth and Rock hit a DDT for a two count. Rock fired back and hit a Superman Punch and the fans booed. He then went for a Roman Reigns spear, but WALTER jumped over it and got a sleeper. WALTER then spun him into a powerbomb for the win.

WINNER: WALTER in 5:30. (*½)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was not the WALTER vs. Jonah Rock match I was expecting.)

(6) BANDIO vs. FLAMITA – BOLA 2018 Second Round match

The backgrounds of Bandido and Flamita have been covered. These two are tag team partners now in ROH and are also ROH World Six Man Tag Team Champions with Rey Horus. Flamita and Bandido are known as the Mexibloods when they tag together. Both men hugged before the opening bell rang. Bandido and Flamita took turns doing the floss. Rick Knox, the senior official, was then called to do the floss as well. Knox is currently a ref in AEW. They eventually traded blows on the apron and Flamita hit a DDT. They really turned up the pace and Flamita hit a muscle buster into a lung blower for a two count. They had a big chop exchange and Bandio backed off and told Flamita he had won the exchange. Flamita didn’t like that and he got up and flapped Bandido across the face. They went back and forth until Flamita caught Bandido with a standing spanish fly for a two count. Bandio hit a Liger Bomb, but Flamita kicked out. Bandio hit his signature float over the ropes into a German with a bridge for the win.

WINNER: Bandido in 11:00. (***¾)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was a really fun match while it lasted. It had a little too much comedy for my taste early, but once they got serious, the action was really good. I wasn’t anticipating the finish coming when it did.)

(7) PWG WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS THE RASCALZ (DEZMOND XAVIER & ZACHARY WENTZ) vs. THE LUCHA BROS. (PENTA EL CERO M & REY FENIX)

The Rascalz came to the ring wearing Pentagon and Fenix masks. This was a really fun match. They did some comedy early with Xavier wearing a Pentagon match matched up against Pentagon and Wentz wearing a Fenix mask matched up against Fenix. The Lucha Bros. eventually unmasked their opponents and things got serious from there. The crowd was red hot for the match and the action was fantastic as both teams went back and forth trading big moves to the outside. It seemed like the match was just heating up when Wentz hit the assisted moonsault onto Fenix for the win.

WINNERS: Zachary Wentz & Dezmond Xavier in 11:00. (****)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was a great showcase of why The Lucha Bros. have been so good at times in AEW, although they haven’t been featured as much lately on TV it seems. Wentz and Xavier are a fun team to watch as well and I’ve enjoyed their work in PWG and when I’ve seen them on Impact.)

(8) TREVOR LEE vs. JEFF COBB – 2018 BOLA Semi-Final Round match

Lee got on the mic during the intros, but Cobb lifted him up and threw him halfway across the ring. Cobb then hit Tour of the Islands for the win.

WINNER: Jeff Cobb in 15 seconds. (N/A)

(Radican’s Analysis: Impressive way to build up Cobb before the main event.)

(9) BANDIDO vs. JOEY JANELA – 2018 BOLA Semi-Final Round match

The start of the match was a bit slow, but Bandido hit a dive to the floor on a seated Janela to wake the fans up. Janela fired back on the apron and hit a DVD. This is a match you probably won’t see anytime soon with Janela in AEW and Bandido in ROH, but with some things in motion behind the scenes, perhaps it could be a possibility. Janela was in control, but Bandido hit his slingshot German on Janela and the fans went nuts. Bandido was slow to make the cover and Janela managed to kick out at the last second.

One noticeable thing between Janela in 2018 at this point and now is that he’s gotten in better shape and has a more polished look in AEW. He’s been posting videos of his workouts with Chris Dickinson. They did some fighting spirit spots and Bandido trapped Janela’s arms and hit a sick looking piledriver for a near fall. Bandido called for more chairs to be slid into the ring and the fans complied. Janela set up a chair structure near the corner. He put Bandido on top of the structure, but Bandido got up. Janela set up for an avalanche package piledriver, but Bandido fought out of it. Bandido eventually got the upper hand and hit a back flipping slam on Janela through the chair tower for the win.

WINNER: Bandido in 14:30. (***3/4)

(Radican’s Analysis: The action dragged during the first part of the match, but once chairs became involved, it really picked up. The fans seemed really tired, but Janela and Bandido put together some great spots to get them engaged in the action. The finishing stretch was awesome and as opposed to some of the other matches on the card, this match built to the finish and it wasn’t a big surprise when Bandido won.)

(10) PWG WORLD CHAMPION WALTER (W/TIMOTHY THATCHER) vs. SHINGO TAKAGI – BOLA 2018 Semi-Final Round match

This is another unique match. You won’t see these two wrestling in a singles match anywhere else but here with Shingo in NJPW and Walter in NXT UK. WALTER had the upper hand and methodically used his size and power to dominate Shingo. Shingo mounted a comeback and nailed WALTER with a dragon screw. They went to a big back and forth sequence and WALTER measured Shingo and nailed him with a clothesline for a nearfall. Shingo could not put WALTER down with any of his clothesline during the match, but down the stretch Shingo hit several clotheslines and WALTER wouldn’t go down. Shingo finally wiped him out with the Pumping Bomber and it was good for the win. The fans went crazy for Shingo’s surprising comeback win.

WINNER: Shingo Takagi in 17:20. (****1/2)

(Radican’s Analysis: Great match. I enjoyed WALTER dominating only for Shingo to put together a flurry late and put him down for the pin with the Pumping Bomber. I’d love to see these two go at it again. They had really good chemistry.)

(11) TEAM DJZ (ADAM BROOKS & DJZ & DAVID STARR & T-HAWK & TIMOTHY THATCHER) vs. TEAM PCO (PCO & DARBY ALLIN & JODY FLEISCH & DAN BARRY & PUMA KING)

David Starr tried to do his own introduction before the match, but Allin cut him off. They did some comedy with Brooks taking Dan Barry’s gun and shooting PCO in the chest. Thatcher had Barry on the mat in a choke down the stretch. PCO hit a swanton off the top onto them, but Thatcher wouldn’t let go. PCO then grabbed Barry and rolled him up for the win.

WINNER: PCO & Darby Allin & Jody Fleisch & Dan Barry & Puma King in 18:20. (**½)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was about what I was expecting for the traditional BOLA 10 man tag. It was fine, but overly long.)

(12) BANDIO vs. JEFF COBB vs. SHINGO TAKAGI – 2018 BOLA Finals No Time Limit Elimination match

The first part of the match was sloppy at times. Bandio and Shingo had a sloppy clothesline exchange. A short time later Shingo went for a combination move on Cobb and Bandido, but Bandido appeared to DDT himself. Cobb took a Pumping Bomber from Shingo and rolled to the floor. Shingo battled up top with Bandido, but Bandido caught him with the moonsault slam off the top for the pin to eliminate him.

-SHINGO IS ELIMINATED-

It came down to Bandido and Cobb to determine the winner of 2018 BOLA. Bandido and Cobb shook hands before going at it. Cobb got the upper hand and pulverized Bandido. He threw him all the way across the ring and Bandido sold his head. Cobb caught Bandido coming off the top and spun him around, but Bandido turned it into a DDT. Cobb rolled to the floor again. Cobb hit a sick looking Gonzo bomb a short time later for a nearfall. Cobb got right up and hit a standing moonsault, but Bandido kicked out again. Bandido went for a springboard, but Cobb caught him and turned a springboard hurricanrana into Tour of the Islands for an incredible nearfall that saw the fans lose their minds. The fans broke out in a huge Bandido chant. A short time later, Bandido caught Cobb with a nice hurricanrana as he came off the ropes for a two count. Bandido countered Cobb’s Tour of the Islands into a crucifix bomb for a nearfall.

Bandio hit his slingshot German suplex with a bridge, but Cobb kicked out at the last second and the fans went crazy. Cobb pushed Bandido to the mat a short time later. Cobb jumped off the second turnbuckle, but Bandido caught him and hit a twisting slam for a nearfall. Bandio teased his back flipping blockbuster off the top to the floor, but Cobb turned it into an avalanche Tour of the Islands. He then hit a second Tour of the Islands for the win.

WINNER: Jeff Cobb in 24:00 to win the 2018 BOLA Tournament. (****3/4)

(Radican’s Analysis: Even though this was a three-way elimination match, it will be remembered for the action and drama surrounding Cobb and Bandido. These two pulled off some innovative counters and incredible exchanges throughout the match. Both guys came off so well in this tournament and the crowd was red hot for the conclusion of the match. The start of the match was sloppy, but this was as good as it gets once they moved past Shingo’s elimination.)

The fans applauded for both men after the match ended. Cobb sat down and appeared emotional as he hugged the BOLA 2018 trophy. Cobb and Bandido hugged after the match was over.

Cobb said he had been knocking at PWG’s door for three years straight. He said this proves that if a little bitch like him that can come from a small island and achieve this, anything is possible. Cobb said he wasn’t supposed to make it. He said he proved all his teachers wrong. He thanked everyone involved in PWG, the crazy bastards in the back, and his family. He also thanked the fans. Bandido and Cobb hugged in the ring as the fans applauded.

Cobb said he didn’t forget this makes him a #1 contender. Cobb said he would gladly give WALTER a Tour of the Islands. Cobb left the ring and the fans gave Bandido a huge ovation. Bandido got on the mic and said it was his father that got in the ring and helped him up after the match ended. Bandio thanked PWG and the fans for the opportunity. The fans roared as the show concluded.

Overall score: (7.5) – I’ll have more thoughts on Radican’s Guide to the Highspots Network podcast. This was a show that really dragged at times, but ultimately there were some killer matches on the card and Bandido was the clear MVP of the tournament. Cobb was great too and this show definitely gave a great ending to the tournament.

Email Sean at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @SR_Torch.

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