Monday, August 31, 2015

Zack Sabre Jr is the 2015 Battle of Los Angeles champion!

After three nights and four matches, Zack Sabre Jr. is Pro Wrestling Guerrilla's 2015 winner of the Battle of Los Angeles.

Image credit:
(Check out his merch there!)
I had an inkling that the British technical wrestling impresario might come out on top in PWG, a promotion he's visited on multiple trips stateside. He had an interesting route there though as the second round featured a shuffling of opponents to keep things even more interesting as the tournament progressed.

After what has been described as a great opening round contest against another regular international star Ricochet, the NOAH and Progress wrestler moved on to a second round match-up against Pentagon Jr. And while Pentagon almost certainly sought to break Sabre's arm, not even Cero Miedo could get him past the eventual BOLA winner.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Battle of Los Angeles takes over Reseda this weekend!

Pro Wrestling Guerrilla consistently puts on some of the best wrestling in the world from their homebase in sunny Reseda, California. The company has become a local hotspot with celebrities and those in the know flocking to their burgeoning business. Every year in late August or early September they throw one of their two annual tournaments, the single elimination, 24-person Battle of Los Angeles.

This year they have brought their widest range of talent ever into the event with names from the UK and from Mexico (via Lucha Underground.) In fact the tournament has so many Lucha Underground stars that an all lucha final could actually happen. The company usually uses the tournament to set up their regular talents or new stars they plan to use regularly, but there's two things you can be sure of in PWG: 1. expect the unexpected and 2. know the Young Bucks will always win the tag titles back.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Adam Cole's explosive 2012 at the Battle of Los Angeles

Pro Wrestling Guerrilla puts on an annual tournament called the Battle of Los Angeles which is arguably the best American singles tournament. The 2015 edition will happen this Friday, Saturday and Sunday and I will have a preview of it coming up soon. But for now, I wanted to take a look back at the 2012 edition where Ring of Honor stalwart Adam Cole had his breakout performance in an amazing series of matches with a future TNA star and two future NXT standouts. Even current WWE star Kevin Owens is blown away as he watches the finals on commentary.

Checkout the great highlights and then stay tuned for the preview of this year's show, which will feature more than a few names instantly recognizable to Lucha Underground fans.

The future Kevin Owens found out Adam Cole wasn't a very nice guy.
Image credit:

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Dudley Boyz return is exactly what the WWE Tag Team division needs

Last night on Raw, Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley returned to lay out WWE Tag Team champions The New Day in classic fashion. It was a huge surprise on a very solid episode of RAW, and it revitalizes the tag team division in a matter of seconds.

Just over a full decade after their last appearance at One Night Stand 2005, the Dudley Boyz immediately took up where they left off against Tommy Dreamer and The Sandman. They took out Kofi Kingston and Big E, before delivering a Wassup and a 3D to Xavier Woods. After a staredown with Titus O'Neil and Darren Young, they left the ring to the cheers of fans.

Xavier Wood gets a 3D through the table. Image credit:

Monday, August 24, 2015

TakeOver blows away SummerSlam in an amazing weekend of wrestling!

There is no doubt about it: with two straight nights of network specials, WWE outdid itself at the Barclays Center this weekend. But what hurts the main brand in comparison is how much stronger the NXT matches were.

Don't get me wrong, the six matches on NXT's weekend shot had the advantage of not being marred by shady finishes like the two big matches at SummerSlam were, but even a comparison of the the twin main events from both shows makes it clear that NXT is a stronger brand overall in wresting terms.

Cesaro and Kevin Owens put on a great battle before the SummerSlam
main event. Image credits this page:

Friday, August 21, 2015

Who will main event NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn?

There is no doubt that NXT will present the biggest event in their history when the stars of WWE's developmental brand play in front of a sold out 13,000 person arena. But on a packed card, it remains to be seen if the powers behind the brand will play it safe on Saturday night or if they will continue to push the Divas Revolution forward with a bold move. 

The show has been advertised repeatedly as having a double main event: Finn Balor and Kevin Owens in a Ladder Match for the NXT Title and Sasha Banks vs. Bayley in a NXT Women's Title match. Both matches promise to wow fans, but only one could create an incredible marketing and news coverage push for an already intriguing brand. 

Image credit: WWE.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Lesnar vs. Undertaker headlines a unique SummerSlam card

I will be the first to admit that WWE's build to SummerSlam hasn't really inspired me to more regularly watch their weekly television programming outside NXT. They have jobbed out up and coming stars, made a mess of the US and WWE title picture and pretty much left themselves scrambling to put together the card with only days before the event. But even with all the problems of their weekly episodic programming, they have crafted a pretty solid card for Brooklyn on Sunday night. 
Image credit: WWE.
  • Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev: This one could have used a built more build from Ziggler's return, but I think it should be a great match-up. Rusev needs a solid feud to take him towards Wrestlemania while Ziggler needs to desperately get a win to get him into the title picture against Seth Rollins (where he should be right now.) I suspect this is only the beginning of the feud over Lana though, so even though I predict a Ziggler win to kick off SummerSlam this one is far from over. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

The G1 comes to an end with Nakamura versus Tanahashi

I'm not going to cover Night 18 in much detail here. Both Goto and Anderson lost which guaranteed the main event of Nakamura versus Okada would determine the B Block winner. After a long match, Nakamura made Okada tap with an armbar. The Nakamura / Tanahashi rivalry continued into Night 19's main event.

The G1 Climax brought two very familiar foes together again.
Image credit: NJPW.
Two interesting notes came on the final night in addition to the action. Delirious made his first New Japan appearance in his first onscreen role as booker of ROH. He announced a 2016 ROH/NJPW crossover show in Japan, clearly in answer to the success of the ROH/NJPW American shows.

Later in the night, Genichiro Tenryu made his way to the ring. Thirty-nine years into his career, he is now on his path to retirement. He is probably one of the best traveled talents in Japanese wrestling, but of late has stuck to running his own Tenryu Project promotion. But with his retirement set for November 15th, he picked his final opponent as none other than IWGP Heavyweight champion Kazuchika Okada.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Road to Summerslam

First, there is something I want to say about last week's RAW. Seth Rollins came out, gloating about messing up John Cena's face, before issuing an open challenge to the locker room. Of course since he's a major heel, he had a few stipulations: The wrestler had to be under six feet tall and weigh under 200 pounds.

The first person that came to mind was that little guy that runs around dressed like a bull. It was not him that came out, however, it was the man that gravity forgot, Neville.

Now, Neville is a great entertainer and they put on a fantastic match, but I could not help but think the WWE had a perfect opportunity to push the DIVAS division and they blew it.

Because the wrestler that should have come out, should have been Nikki Bella. We've seen the Divas do a lot of stuff over the years, but I do not recall one time that a Diva ever challenged the World Heavyweight Champion on Raw. From a story perspective, everything would have fallen together. The people watching Total Divas know how close John and Nikki are and those fans would have loved to see Nikki come out to defend her boyfriend. Also, given the damage done to John's face, it would make sense that his woman might want some payback. Also, having her lose to Seth would have given Cena even more fuel for his champion vs champion match at SummerSlam.

A Block comes to an end with Styles vs. Tanahashi

With the non-tournament matches becoming more important with the influx of all the other wrestlers now arriving to work the weekend of events, it becomes pertinent to cover the entire card.

All images credited to NJPW.
The show opened with a Bullet Club win as the team of Karl Anderson, Tama Tonga & Yujiro Takahashi beat the team of Satoshi Kojima, Tomoaki Honma and Mascara Dorada. The match featured a definite tease of the Kojima/Anderson match coming tomorrow night.

The second match of the night featured one B Block competitor but its implications were far more oriented towards Sunday's finale as IWGP Jr. Tag Team champions Nick and Matt Jackson, the Young Bucks, teamed with their Bullet Club stablemate Cody Hall to take on the ROH unit of Michael Elgin, Kyle O'Reilly & Bobby Fish. The Bucks and ReDRagon will face off on Sunday for the titles and both units wanted to make a statement in their first night back in Japan.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Things get complicated for B Block at G1 Climax Night 16

With only one show left for them between this one and the finals, the top of B Block was still packed with contenders, though the IWGP Heavyweight champion still sat on top. As the night progressed, things would start to take shape for a math-heavy final.

Image credit: NJPW.
Tournament action started out with another Bullet Club battle as Karl Anderson battled Yujiro Takahashi. Both men entered together with MAO draped between them as the entire Bullet Club looked on. The two men started to fight though as Anderson seemed to want to steal Yujiro's girl from him.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The A Block finals take shape in a big night of G1 action!

With only five nights left, Night 15 was a vitally important night for A Block as the final fighters for the G1 A Block semi-finalist would be determined.

Image credit: NJPW.
The tournament battles opened with Doc Gallows versus Tetsuya Naito. Amazingly, Gallows played the face in the battle. While Gallows has long been eliminated from contention, a powerbomb from the top kept Naito from getting two important matches going into the end of the night.

The second match of the night saw Katsuyori Shibata sadly fall yet again, this time to Hiroyoshi Tenzan. This was probably Tenzan's best tournament match, but it eliminated Shibata from any chance at a win.

Monday, August 10, 2015

G1 Weekend update: Night 13 and Night 14 results

Because of a busy weekend, I wasn't able to watch all of this weekend's action in full, but here's some quick results.

Night 13 was A Block action again and featured:

  • Bad Luck Fale over Kota Ibushi. (Ibushi is eliminated from contention.)
  • Tetsuya Naito over Toru Yano.
  • AJ Styles over Hiroyoshi Tenzan. 
  • Togi Makabe over Doc Gallows.
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi over Katsuyori Shibata in an incredible main event.
These results leave former win leader Shibata in danger of elimination, while a five way tie for the top still exists between the five winners.

Friday, August 7, 2015

The B Block heats up at the G1 Climax Night 12

It was another single camera action night as the B Block continued in the top half of the G1 Climax Night 12.

Image credit: NJPW.
Michael Elgin and Yuji Nagata started things off. Nagata looked very solid against Elgin. This was probably one of his high points in the touranment, but another buckle bomb/sitout powerbomb combo brought Elgin up to 8 points, already a great number for a debuting gaijin. He and Nagata shook hands post-match in a great sign of respect.

In the second tournament match of the night, Tomoaki Honma sought to finally get on the board, but he had a tall task against an angry Karl Anderson. Honma looked great again in action here, but he still couldn't quite get the win against the Bullet Club's leader.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Ultima Lucha sends Lucha Underground out with a bang!

As Wednesday night came, Lucha Underground's future was still uncertain. While the show ended with an ominous "To be continued...", as of this writing the show has not officially been announced for a season two. El Rey needs stronger partners to keep the show going, but it seems likely we will at least see a short second season as they strive to make Lucha Underground work as well financially as it does creatively.

The shows were originally taped way back in mid-April, but pre-recording has never hurt Lucha Underground's epic brand of in-ring action. Lucha Underground is a show made for compelling series television first and that was apparent as they pulled out all the stops for the epic first season finale, Ultima Lucha.

The show actually kicked off last Wednesday, with a stellar three match card. It opened with a brutal battle between Cage (a man that will soon wrestle in the co-main event of TripleMania) and Willie Mack. Their battle was Falls Count Anywhere, and they took that stipulation to an extreme as they fought up and around the temple. The battle ended high in the bird's nest with a win for Cage, but both men came out of this looking like contenders for season two.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Eight is the magic number at Night 11 of the G1 Climax!

Night 11 brought the action back to a single fixed camera format, which only encouraged my decision to skip the preliminaries. I've seen indies with one camera with better presentation than this gives New Japan.

Image credit: NJPW.
In a match that made me shiver not with anticipation but with dread, Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Bad Luck Fale opened the tournament matches. One once-fast, now-plodding worker against one never-fast always-plodding worker does n ot a good match make. Fale hit an ugly splash from the top to stay in contention with 8 points.

Toru Yano got a quick roll up in a five minute match on Katsuyori Shibata to start a theme of the night as he also made it to 8 points. I would guess this was designed to heal Yano's still very messed up eye, but it was a depressing finish for a Shibata match, as they have been a highlight of the tournament.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The G1 Climax reaches its halfway point with an amazing morning of action!

Image credit: NJPW.
Night Ten of the G1 opened with a rare singles match in the preliminatires as David Finlay (the son of WWE produce Dave) took on Ryusuke Taguchi. Since Prince Devitt left NJPW, Taguchi has been rather lackluster, but the two men worked well together here. Finlay is coming together well, much like fellow black short Jay White, but he wasn't ready for the win here.

The preliminaries otherwise were fairly predictable, though KUSHIDA and Naito as a dysfunctional team was entertaining. One other note would be the aftermath of the Bullet Club match, where Sunday's opponents AJ Styles and Doc Gallows exchanged more than nasty words. Either Styles or Gallows might find their way out of Bullet Club sooner rather than later.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Weekend brings two more mornings of G1 action

No time to waste as we have a packed weekend report of G1 action!

Image credit: NJPW.
Night 8 started with some preliminaries with little to note outside the return of KUSHIDA to Japan after a US tour that saw him working the first Global Force Wrestling tapings.

Tournament actin kicked off with Yujiro Takahashi and Satoshi Kojima. Kojima beat the holy heck out of Tanahashi for most of the match, but interference by Cody Hall allowed Yujiro to hit a low blow for the win.

Karl Anderson worked super old school against Yuji Nagata, picking him apart before getting the win in one of Nagata's best fights of the tournament.

Michael Elgin took out Tomoaki Honma in a brutal back and forth match. Honma continues to be a top performer in the tournament, but his loveable loser gimmick kept him without points again, as Michael Elgin moves up to four. The show had a bit of delay to get Honma out of the ring. Hopefully this doesn't mean an injury.

Raven's Top Five Biggest Disappointments

Some stars come from out of nowhere and leave an immediate impact, guys like Kevin Owens and Mick Foley. Other guys never even take off and linger in obscurity forever. But there are some guys out there who make it to the top, who have all the right tools in their arsenal, but never really came through.

Here is my list of five guys who I believe could have done a lot more, but for some reason just never came through.


Yes I know, the Warrior was a hero, a legend, an unstoppable force, an Icon. I respect the Warrior, but when you ask me my favorite match is of his, I'm going to have to fall back on his match with Hogan at Wrestlemania 6. Right here in my home town, Warrior gave the best fight of his life. But what happened after that?

I mean for all that energy, all that running around, all that power and paint, what did we get after that? I few more badly booked matches, some crazy interviews and then the Warrior was gone, lost to legend.