This year, the promotion hosts the 11th edition of its annual Battle of Los Angeles tournament, where 24 competitors will battle it out for the chance to win the trophy and take on current PWG World Champion, Roderick Strong. Here, I’m going to run through all 24 participants, and give you my opinion on their chances of winning.
#7- Mark Andrews – Here’s another familiar name for those 15 of you who still watch TNA. Mandrews won the recent season of British Boot Camp, and his style is comparable to Matt Sydal, including an awe-inspiring shooting star press. His run in TNA has been disappointing, to say the very least, and although I selfishly want all of the British entrants to do well, I can’t see Mandrews getting past the first round.
[adinserter block=”1″]#8- Brian Cage – If you haven’t seen Brian Cage wrestle, its an amazing sight. For a man with such power and so many goddamn muscles, his agility and high-flying prowess is shockingly good. Cage has enjoyed much recent success in the company, and I can see him reaching the later stages of the tournament. Or a fantastic performance at the very least.
#9- Ricochet – The winner of last year’s BOLA, Ricochet is a personal favourite of mine. Also known as Prince Puma in Lucha Underground, Ricochet has enjoyed a massive push in most promotions he’s featured in this year, and he’s had standout matches with the likes of Andrew Everett, Matt Sydal and Kyle O’Reilly to name a few. I’m torn between Ricochet having another strong tournament performance, or being a surprise early tournament exit. The prior is more likely, but the latter would add some great shock value.
#10- Tommy End – Another Progress regular, End made his PWG debut earlier this year in a match of the year candidate with Chris Hero. His brutal strikes and knees won over the crowd in about 2 minutes, and its not a surprise. End has been a consistent performer in his home country of the Netherlands, as well as all over Europe. End is likely to be eliminated within the first two rounds, since PWG tends to book newer competitors to lose in their first few matches, but with a host of debutants, End may benefit and progress even further.
#11- Trevor Lee – The 21-year-old Carolina Caveman has lit up the independent wrestling scene in the past year, becoming a fan favourite wherever he goes. A few days ago, Lee was one of my favourites to win, but after the shocking conclusion to PWG’s most recent event, it now seems likely that he’ll be an early casualty in order to continue his rivalry with Mount Rushmore 2.0 (Roderick Strong, The Young Bucks and Super Dragon). I wouldn’t mind seeing him face any of them.
#12- Pentagon Jr. – Now here’s where the competition gets really interesting. If you watch Lucha Underground, you’ll know that Pentagon Jr. has been one of the best booked wrestlers on television, along with Brock Lesnar and ROH’s Jay Lethal. He has a huge arsenal of moves, from aerial to submission, and he could be a dark horse for the tournament. The LU invasion doesn’t end there, however.
#13- Drew Gulak – A student of Chris Hero, Gulak is a member of Fourth Gunn, as is Biff Busick. His hard-hitting style is very similar to that of his mentor, and he’ll be looking to do better than his first-round exit in his debut last year. Having said that, he hasn’t picked up many wins since (I’m not even sure that he’s won once yet) and I can’t see that losing streak stopping here. Hopefully he can get a few wins under his belt soon.
#14- Angelico – Another Lucha Underground talent, Angelico is one third of the Trios Champions, along with Son of Havoc and Ivelisse. He’s made a name for himself for doing some of the craziest things I’ve ever seen anyone do without dying. On two separate occasions, he’s leapt from the rafters to take out his opponents. Just go watch the clips on YouTube, you won’t regret it. As for the tournament, his chances are slim, as he generally thrives when in a tag team, as he will be with Jack Evans when they face the Young Bucks at Threemendous IV, PWG’s final event before the tournament.
[adinserter block=”2″]#15- Trent? – Yes, the question mark is supposed to be there, just go with it. You may recognise him as Trent Baretta in WWE, as well as in simply Baretta in New Japan, where he’s now a former IWGP Junior Tag Team Champion with Rocky Romero. In PWG, he’s never been much of a singles competitor, usually teaming with Chuck Taylor, who is absent this year. Another first round casualty in my eyes, although he usually puts on a fun match, so that’s something to look forward to.
The final 9 competitors will be in the upcoming 3rd part. Stay tuned for that.