Stage One and Stage Two spoilers below!
Heading Into the Final Stage: Twelve men remain and the non-tournament ten man match will also take place.
Ricochet vs. Dezmond Xavier: Ricochet is facing a first time BOLA competitor again. Unlike Flamita, Xavier is unable to keep up with Ricochet. Sloppy match that Ricochet wins with an elevated Flatliner.
Travis Banks vs. Mary Scurll: Excalibur and Chuck Taylor make fun of Scurll for cutting basically the same promo from Stage One. Good back and forth match. Scurll dislocates Banks’ finger and sets up for the chicken wing, but when he goes to apply it Banks turns it into a surprise rollup for the HUGE upset. Aside from being a little small, Scurll is perfect for the WWE. He has the look, charisma, and ring style.
Donovan Dijak vs Keith Lee: The Monstars explode! Methodical match with both men showing surprising agility. Match picks up at the end with a series of finishers and kick outs before Lee wins with the fifth Spirit Bomb. There will be two schools of thoughts about this match: (1) Undertaker did the same style of match at Mania for the past decade, plus this match followed WWE Main Event Style™ so what’s the big deal? Or, (2) just some indy geeks doing MOVEZ. Personally, I hate the finisher, kick out, finisher, kick out, finisher and so on style. To me, this match was no worse than Rock-Cena Twice in a Lifetime. Hell, this match was better since Rock and Cena should know better. Basically, it was a slow match that got fun then turned boring. Dijak also failed to impress. Everything he does looks mistimed. Not that it mattered — a few weeks later WWE would announce they had signed Dijak and by the end of the month he would debut in NXT. My guess is he becomes Breezango’s bodyguard.
REY FENIX vs. Zack Sabre Jr.: FENIX surprisingly attempts to mat wrestle with ZSJ. FEXNIX is able to hold his own, which flusters ZSJ. Good match that was less about spots and more about telling a story. FENIX decided to mat wrestle ZSJ who proceeded to get overconfident and was eventually caught off guard and pinned. So here is the thing about Zack Sabre Jr. He is undoubtedly (one of) the best technical wrestlers in the world. But while he is not completely devoid of personality, he is definitely lacking. Against Adam Cole, Chuck Taylor, or Marty Scurll it isn’t noticeable since they cover ZSJ’s deficiencies. But in the ring with someone who doesn’t have much personality, his matches are hard to watch. He is basically a less exciting Jerry Lynn.
Jeff Cobb vs. Sammy Guevara: Hopefully Cobb can convince Guevara to sell. Guevara begins by flipping Cobb off and then no selling Cobb wrenching both his arms. Ugh. Cobb wins in what would’ve been a squash if Guevara bothered to sell. At least it was short.
Matthew Riddle vs PENTA EL ZERO M: Crowd is split. Biggest problem with this match is the sudden no selling of piledrivers. We already saw this earlier. It falls flat here. PENTA taps to the Bromission.
Travis Banks vs Ricochet: Banks attacks Ricochet during his entrance. Incredibly fast pace to start the match. Ricochet is up against another BOLA first timer. In each match, Ricochet has played the mentor-bully. Scary spot as Ricochet hits a belly to belly Spanish Fly off the top. Obviously, that is not enough to win. Ricochet wins with the elevated Flatliner and is the first man to make the Finals.
REY FENIX vs Keith Lee: Basic big man vs. small man match. Lee tries to overpower FENIX, while the smaller man tries to stick and move. FENIX foolishly tries to hurricanrana Lee off the top who counters into an Avalanche Spirit Bomb then follows with his fireman’s carry powerslam to earn his spot in the finals.
Matthew Riddle vs Jeff Cobb: The Chosen Bros vie for the final spot in the finals. Cobb takes control early. Lots of hard strikes. Cobb wins with the Tour of the Islands in what is not quite an upset but is definitely a surprise. Riddle is an IWC favorite who may make it to the WWE eventually, but can still use some work.
Team Lee vs Team Janella: This non tournament match was supposed to be two five men teams of competitors eliminated in the first round. The smaller team only consists of four members since Rey Horrus was injured in his match. Strictly played for laughs, Team Janella wins after Chuck Taylor- who subbed for Horrus-pins Lee with the Awful Waffle.
Finals: Keith Lee vs Jeff Cobb vs. Ricochet: Ricochet is at a distinct disadvantage since 1) no one has won BOLA twice and 2) he is by far the smallest man in the match. This immediately is shown as Cobb and Lee keep bieling Ricochet from one corner to another. The two bigger men also execute a double Pounce. Ricochet bumps around like a ping pong ball. Amazing strength form Ricochet as he picks up the near 300-pound Cobb and overhead slams him then does the same to the 300 plus pound Lee! The story of the match is clear: Lee and Cobb can easily overpower Ricochet at any time, they just don’t have as much in their tanks. Lee eliminates Cobb first with the fireman’s carry powerslam. Lee immediately tries the same on Ricochet who reverses it into a small package to win the Battle of Los Angeles. I forget: why haven’t WWE signed Ricochet yet?
BOLA 17 Overall Thoughts: If you weren’t a fan of PWG going in some of these matches may be hard to watch, but these are shows any wrestling fan can enjoy. From high flying to strong style to catch as catch can, BOLA had it all. There could have been less no-selling and flash pins but BOLA 2017 is worth going out of your way to see.
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!