How the Battle of Los Angeles has become prestigious
With this weekend being Labor Day weekend a lot of people all over the country will be going out and going to events. But in southern California, one tournament takes over the wrestling world with the attention all focused on them. The tournament is the Battle of Los Angeles from Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. Starting in 2005, PWG has presented one of the biggest tournaments in wrestling each and every year. But how has this tournament become so prestigious in such a short amount of time? That's what I'm going to look at. Look at each winner, who they wrestled and how they've done since they won the tournament.
In 2005, the very first tournament had some big names. Men like El Generico, Kevin Steen, AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, Bryan Danielson and Frankie Kazarian entered the tournament but it would be one man over a two day period who would end up winning the tournament. He was photogenic. He was Chris Bosh! While most fans might not be aware of this wrestler who was one of the best arrogant wrestlers in the independent scene, Bosh really made a name for himself in one weekend. In his first match he would defeat El Generico, one of the most popular wrestlers in the world. In day two he would wrestle three times against very good competition. In his quarterfinals match he would defeat then ROH World Champion James Gibson (Jamie Knoble of WWE fame) in a stunning upset. In the semi-finals he defeated local wrestler Quicksilver and then in the finals defeated TNA superstar AJ Styles to win the very first Battle of Los Angeles. After that victory Bosh would wrestle all over the U.S. before leaving the ring in 2008. What would've happened in the future we will never know.
In 2006 the tournament would be bumped up to twenty-four wrestlers this time from all over the world. But it would be Davey Richards, who had been having a breakout year by winning the ECWA Super 8 tournament earlier that year who would come out as the winner. The tournament, over a three night period began for Richards as he defeated local wrestler Ronin. But it was his three match run to win the tournament that would make him a star. In the quarterfinals he defeated Austin Aries who by that time was a co-holder of the ROH Tag Team titles. In the semi-finals he defeated the other co-holder of the ROH Tag Team titles in Roderick Strong. The finals was supposed to be a three way elimination match but one of the wrestlers, Super Dragon, was attacked before the match and thus couldn't compete so it was a one on one match against Dragon Gate star CIMA. Richards would defeat CIMA to win the tournament and his career has been on the rise ever since. Richards has since been to Japan, won the ROH World title and ROH Tag Team titles on multiple occasions and might be the most successful wrestler of all the winners of the tournament.
2007 was a three night tournament and belonged to CIMA. In his first round match he defeated former PWG Champion Human Tornado to advance. In the quarterfinals he defeated fellow Dragon Gate star Shingo and in the semi-finals defeated another Dragon Gate wrestler, PAC. In the finals in a three way elimination match he would face and defeat El Generico and Roderick Strong to win the tournament. Since his victory, he has become the icon of Dragon Gate, holding its main championship for almost two years and has traveled all over the world to Greece, England, Italy and the United States just to name a few of the many places that this legend has competed in.
2008 returned to the two day tournament format and while it might be remembered for the ring breaking down on both nights, the best wrestler of the tournament was Low Ki. Already an established star, Low Ki defeated Roderick Strong in the first round of the tournament when this match could easily be the main event anywhere in the country. In the quarterfinals he defeated Dragon Gate star Masato Yoshino in an battle of two of wrestling's most agile men. In the semi-finals he defeated then ROH World champion Nigel McGuinness to advance to the finals where he would defeat at the time PWG Champion Chris Hero. Since winning the tournament, Low Ki has gone on to compete in WWE, win season two of NXT, wrestle in Japan and win numerous championships around the world.
The stakes were high in 2009 because the person who wins the tournament would become the new PWG Champion. It would be a fantastic Canadian wrestler named Kenny Omega that would go all the way to become champion. In his first round match he defeated fellow Canadian and former PWG Champion Kevin Steen. In the quarterfinals of the tournament he defeated Scott Lost a good technical wrestler. In the semi-finals he defeated former PWG Champion Joey Ryan and then defeated Roderick Strong in the finals to win the tournament and the championship. Since winning the title, Omega has been a mainstay in Japan for the DDT promotion, has also wrestled in ROH facing such stars as Christopher Daniels and Davey Richards.
2010 presents a new decade and another opportunity for one individual to finally win the tournament. That man was Joey Ryan. After four attempts at winning the biggest tournament in PWG, 2010 was finally his year. In the first round he defeated Chuck Taylor who has since become a big star in PWG. The quarterfinals were not easy but he would defeat Austin Aries and defeated Claudio Castagnoli in the semi-finals. In the finals he defeated Chris Hero to finally win the Battle of Los Angeles. Since that victory he has wrestled all over the country and ended up in TNA even though it was a short time competed on TNA's biggest show of the year Bound for Glory.
In 2011, it was the first and as of this writing the only year that was a one night elimination tournament. But it would be the Generic Luchador El Generico that would take it all. In the first round of the tournament he defeated Claudio Castagnoli in one of many fantastic battles between the two men. In the semi-finals he defeated up and coming wrestler Willie Mack and in the finals defeated then PWG Champion Kevin Steen, his biggest rival, to win the Battle of Los Angeles. Since his epic tournament victory he has gained fans from all over the world and is right now competing on NXT as Sami Zayn.
Last year, 2012 was a big year for Adam Cole. It was a breakout year for Cole who made a name for himself in Ring of Honor but it was his performance in Battle of Los Angeles that made him a household name all over the wrestling world. In the first round he defeated the defending champion El Generico to spoil any hopes of a repeat. In the quarterfinals he defeated Eddie Edwards to continue his quest. The semi-finals was not an easy battle but he did advance by beating one of his biggest enemies in Sami Callihan. In the finals Cole defeated another wrestler who had a big year in 2012 in Michael Elgin to win the tournament. Since that victory Cole went on to become the PWG Championship and is in the semi-finals of the ROH World title tournament.
To every wrestler who has won this tournament has meant more success for his career. Will a wrestler take his career to the next level? The only way might be by winning the Battle of Los Angeles!