The Battle Of Los Angeles (BOLA) tournament from Pro Wrestling Guerilla (PWG) has annually taken place in Los Angeles, California since 2005 with names like Kenny Omega, Ricochet and Zack Sabre Jr having gone the distance to the finals and holding the trophy up high in past years. Every single year the tournament brings in brand new faces and that not only opens eyes to international talent but all new matches. Robbie Eagles and Bandido are just a couple of examples of stars from Australia and Mexico to really make a splash in not just America (in big part because of PWG) but contracts have come their way in major companies as a result. This tournament remains one of the best tournaments period because of that variety provided and there are plenty of debuts already announced for the three-day tournament in September. Let’s take a closer look at the first twelve announced names for PWG Battle Of Los Angeles 2019.
PWG Battle Of Los Angeles: The First Half
A-Kid, PWG BOLA Debut
The “Ace of Spain”, A-Kid was a superstar in his home promotion in Spain, White Wolf Wrestling, for years before he broke into the international indie zeitgeist last year. Although he’d had a phenomenal match with current WWE Superstar Ricochet in 2017, it was his match against Zack Sabre Jr. last year that really caused A-Kid to explode. At only 21 years old, he’s already poised to take the world by storm – he’s become a regular on the UK indie scene, even making his NXT UK debut earlier this year alongside his White Wolf tag team partner Carlos Romo. This year he makes his BOLA debut and is ready to break out even further in 2020.
Jonathan Gresham, PWG BOLA Debut
“The Octopus” is one of the greatest technical wrestlers currently in the game and it only makes sense that Gresham enters his first tournament after Zack Sabre Jr held the PWG World championship utilizing that similar submission-based style in the past. Gresham has not only defeated Sabre in his career but he has tested himself in the NJPW Best Of The Super Juniors and CZW Best Of The Best tournaments as well. The cream always rises to the top and Gresham is proof of that after making his debut the year that Battle Of Los Angeles started in 2005 and he finally makes his debut fourteen years later. The Atlanta, Georgia native may be under two-hundred pounds but he uses that small stature to his advantage, even a Shooting Star Press is in Greshams’s arsenal. Gresham wrestled David Starr at PWG Two Hundred in one of PWG’s best matches of last year.
Darby Allin, 2nd Appearance
It only took Darby Allin four years to reach main event status. Not just as a hardcore wrestler, but his experience in EVOLVE Wrestling has made him much more well rounded. Many wrestlers look to further their careers by winning this tournament, like Marty Scurll in the past and taking home the trophy would certainly be something fans would never forget. Not many put their bodies on the line quite like Darby, launching himself off the stage may do his body no favors but it’s highlight reel moments like that where PWG thrives – his first match for All Elite Wrestling (AEW) against Cody Rhodes featured an insane Coffin Drop on the ring apron. Darby Allin and Joey Janela wrestled in one of the wildest PWG matches in history where both men fell off the balcony and through tables at PWG Mystery Vortex. The PWG faithful already has seen what the twenty-two-year-old can do when the pressure is on but what about going through three matches in three days against some of the worlds best?
Artemis Spencer, PWG BOLA Debut
Artemis Spencer has been a veteran indie star with Canada’s Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling (ECCW) since the early 2000s. A 2x ECCW Champion and 3x ECCW Canadian Heavyweight Champion, he began to get US attention last year when he made his debut with DEFY Wrestling out of Seattle. He’s now held the DEFY Heavyweight Championship over 200 days and shows no signs of slowing down. He enters his first BOLA this year and looks to join fellow Canadians Kenny Omega, El Generico (Sami Zayn) and Kyle O’Reilly as winners from the Great White North.
Mick Moretti, PWG BOLA Debut
PWG was one of the first major US indies to embrace the burgeoning Australian and New Zealand indie scenes when they brought in Jonah Rock for the 2017 BOLA. Last year, Rock (now competing as Bronson Reed in NXT) was joined by two more Aussies in Adam Brooks and Robbie Eagles. This year sees more stars from Down Under arriving, including one of the most enigmatic stars in the world in the “Rapscallion” Mick Moretti. A former Pro Wrestling Australia (PWA) Heavyweight Champion, Moretti is one of the undisputed leaders of the Australia scene’s current boom, and he’s entering his first BOLA to show why Australasia is home to the Next Big Scene.
Orange Cassidy, PWG BOLA Debut
When the bell rings against “Freshly Squeezed” Orange and his hands are in his pockets, the match looks like a cakewalk to opponents but it’s really a master plan to throw the opponent off so much with that false sense of security. There are acts with comedy and then there is Orange Cassidy. From Japanese arm drags and suicide dives with his hands in his pockets, nobody knows what to expect from the Mike Quackenbush student and that’s exactly the way he wants it. Just don’t smack off his sunglasses or prepare for this Orange to come with extra pulp. Chuck Taylor brought out some textbook wrestling from Cassidy at PWG Mystery Vortex and that match this year was just what Orange needed before this tournament.
Bandido, 2nd Appearance
The finalist of 2018’s Battle Of Los Angeles tournament that was ultimately won by Jeff Cobb. It’s more than a high-risk offense that endears Bandido to fans around the world since his US excursion from Mexico, there’s a certain enthusiasm that goes with the flow and innovation of his matches. It’s charisma without saying a word because he is under a mask, Bandido could be called PWG’s most popular star currently and nobody would blink an eye. 2019 has been a real breakthrough year for Bandido after show-stealing matches against Will Ospreay and many others from ROH and NJPW. The PWG World championship is clearly in Bandido’s sights after failing to take the title from Jeff Cobb this year. There aren’t many things Bandido can’t do in the ring and his finishing moves are among the most jaw-dropping today including the top-rope Blockbuster.
Caveman Ugg, PWG BOLA Debut
The second Australian announced for Battle of Los Angeles this year is the current reigning PWA Heavyweight Champion Caveman Ugg. A brawler with fierce intensity, his reign has just surpassed 340 days. While his gimmick may appear better suited for early 90s WWF than today’s modern world of indie wrestling, it’s a testament to Ugg’s talents that he’s become one of the most popular indie stars in Australia. And later this summer, he’ll be showcasing his abilities in his first BOLA.
Jake Atlas, PWG BOLA Debut
A West Coast indie sensation and the current reigning PCW ULTRA Light Heavyweight Champion, Jake Atlas has come a long way in only four years. A graduate of the Santino Bros. Wrestling School, he made his way through the West Coast before debuting with PWG last year, and has since expanded his reach, with stints with Game Changer Wrestling (GCW) in the East, WrestleCircus in Texas, AAA and The Crash Lucha in Mexico, Fight Club: PRO in England, and Over The Top (OTT) in Ireland. He’s on the verge of a breakout and this year’s BOLA could be just that moment.
Tony Deppen, PWG BOLA Debut
Tony Deppen is one of the indie scene’s best-kept secrets. Much like current WWE Cruiserweight Champion Drew Gulak, Deppen’s fluidity and crispness make his work seem almost effortless, yet his technique is mesmerizing in its execution. He’s a 10-year veteran of the industry, but it’s just been in the past year or so, with his work in the likes of GCW, CHIKARA, Beyond Wrestling, and Black Label Pro, that he’s finally being recognized for his quiet assassin-like ability. Two weeks ago, he was the opponent of viral sensation Alex Zayne at GCW’s Backyard Wrestling event, but entering his first Battle of Los Angeles, he could be the one to go viral this time.
Rey Fenix, 5th PWG BOLA
This Luchador always gets a great reaction no matter where he goes, fans know they will get their money’s worth from Rey Fenix and his dazzling acrobatics and risks. Fenix has been wrestling everywhere from Germany to Mexico to the US in just the past couple months but injuries have always come with that heavy schedule. The PWG tag team champions, LAX (Santana and Ortiz), have been at war with Fenix and his brother, Pentagon Jr, all year long even resulting in Fenix being taken away from a stinger to his neck for AAW Pro and then landing on his head off of a ladder at IMPACT Wrestling. Hopefully, Fenix can keep away from toning down his style and keep doing what he does best and that’s providing the most exciting match of the night.
Lucky Kid, PWG BOLA Debut
The underdog has quickly become a sensation after winning the 2019 wXw 16 Carat Gold tournament by outlasting former PWG World champion WALTER. Just when it seems that Lucky Kid has been beaten to a pulp, he picks himself up from the mat and comes back with a Crossface. This debut is so far the only German star to be featured in the tournament. The ring-style of Lucky Kid will fit PWG very well because of his top-rope offense and connection to fans with his comebacks. After eleven years, Lucky Kid is really gaining steam in his career and improving with every match.
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