Red's Pro-Wrestling Digest #99: Closing January 2023 Part 2, PWG BOLA Review

The last edition, a return of sorts, was admittedly pretty short. I guess we're making up for that here with a oversized review of both nights of this year's BOLA. The latest edition of the big Cali tournament was stacked with talent and excitement, keeping the tradition alive.

Night One

The first night featured most of the first round contests and was an dynamic show well worth seeing. Even the weak links had merit here. Oh, it also had a qualifier.

Masha bested Machine Gun Shelley in a good one and I'm glad to see the end of the sausage fest. 

SB flew out, had some fun, but ate the L to rising star Bryan Keith. Keep an eye on that dude. 

Komander and Latigo had a fantastic IWRG style match in the states because they're awesome. I really am loving the way PWG has been using lucha talents that other companies are missing out on.

Domestic abuse followed. I love both of them, thought it was pretty good overall, and I dig the finish and outcome.

Shun Skywalker tried playing heel and the fans weren't into it. This should've been excellent but was held back. Oh well.

Soup and Oku put in for an awesome one, too. I've enjoyed watching Oku grow as a talent and consider him one of the next big breakout stars. Takeshita has finally been having the chance to show the world who he is and he got the W which was the right call here.

Red Death and Titus Alexander went attitude era for their semi spot and it was chaotic excellence. Eddie spot humor and over the top action with a nice pace; this simply rocked. Sports entertainment in PWG.

The first night closed with a MOTYC. Vikingo did Vikingo shit. Taurus did Taurus shit. Bandido get the point. All three showed up and showed off and the result was a car crash that everyone needs to see.

Night one rocked, people! It fucking rocked.

Rating: 80

Night two

We started this one with Speedball kicking Grace out of the tournament. I'd dig a rematch in Impact. Fairly good stuff overall and a solid way to kick off the second evening of action.

Cali freelancer Titus Alexander lost to Soup in the two spot. A fun sprint. Nothing too special, but enjoyable enough with the right (and obvious) winner.

Things picked up a bit more next with Masha and Keith going blow for blow as they built up things nicely. Eddie on commentary was a nice bonus. I'd have preferred the alternative outcome, though. Borderline great.

Things were going well enough in Komander/Bandido but it fell apart and never recovered. Some roughness throughout didn't help, either. A weird winner choice worked as a sour cherry. I'll give it 3, but will be wondering if I should've knocked it a bit more for a day or so. A let down for sure.

What did click was Bailey and Skywalker. The two gelled well, thanks to Shun being well equipped to work against a guy like Speedball, and the rudo allowed for a dynamic that really worked here. Nice action and overall a strong showing that did well to push the flippy barefoot murder hobbit ahead. Worth seeing!

Want an awesome throwaway lucha tag? Fuck yeah, you do! Aramis and Rey Horus took on Black Taurus and Latigo next and they just lit a fire and watched it burn for ten-minutes. Remember when Latigo was a Ninja Turtle in IWRG? Anyway, if you like shit like this in general you'll wanna see this one, too. If you say "flippy shit" with a judgmental tone and gobble at the taint of Cornette just skip this and go watch NWA like a real wrestling fan.

Takeshita and Komander was sub-six. They did about as well as you can with that amount of time (given one of the participants isn't Ricky Marvin). Fine stuff with the right winner. Whatever.

Speedball and Keith tried to kill each other to make up for it. Again, keep a fucking eye on Keith. Mikey won after 18-minutes of quality back and forth entertainment. The fact that Bailey started the night with two very different 16-minute matches and then had this one while somehow looking almost like each was his first of the night says a lot. I've been high on the dude for years but it is ridiculous how sick this dude is.

Hey, it's the JAS! That's right, Chris Jericho is in PWG. Rejoice, peons. The annual clusterfuck BOLA tag is usually highly entertaining fluff for fans willing to not take things too seriously and this one was one of my favorites they've ran in this spot. Pure entertainment, folks.

The tournament came to a close with Speedball taking the trophy and putting in for one last big match for the night. The second MOTYC of the set, this one was nearly 30-minutes of wrestling excellence and an awesome display of what makes both workers, this company, this tournament, and wrestling in general, great.

Rating: 80

I still miss the old venue but modern PWG is still far better than folks seem to realize. I get that quality wrestling is easily available everywhere but you really are missing out if you aren't still stopping by for Super Dragon's toybox from time to time. BOLA 2023 was one of their best editions of the tournament in several years and largely nailed everything that it attempted.

Give these a look when you can!

Match Ratings

Night One

  1. BOLA First Round: Shelley vs Slamovich ***
  2. BOLA First Round: KENTo vs Keith ***1/2
  3. BOLA First Round: Komander vs Latigo ****
  4. BOLA Qualifier: Gresham vs Grace ***1/2
  5. BOLA First Round: Skywalker vs Aramis **3/4
  6. BOLA First Round: Takeshita vs Oku ****
  7. BOLA First Round: Garcia vs Alexander ****
  8. BOLA First Round: Bandido vs Taurus vs Hijo del Vikingo ****1/2

Night Two

  1. BOLA First Round: Bailey vs Grace ***1/4
  2. BOLA Quarter: Takeshita vs Alexander ***1/4
  3. BOLA Quarter: Slamovich vs Keith ***1/2
  4. BOLA Quarter: Komander vs Bandido ***
  5. BOLA Quarter: Bailey vs Skywalker ****
  6. Taurus, Latigo vs Aramis, Horus ***3/4
  7. BOLA Semi: Takeshita vs Komander ***
  8. BOLA Semi: Bailey vs Keith ****
  9. Jericho Appreciation Society vs Gresham, KENTo, Evil Uno, Oku, Blackwood ***3/4
  10. BOLA Finals: Bailey vs Takeshita ****1/2

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