Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Wrestling Six Packs: Cool Injury Replacements for Battle of Los Angeles

The SHIMMER Champion definitely would fit in in PWG
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Injuries suck, but they are part of the deal when it comes to a full-contact art like professional wrestling. Bones break, tendons shred, organs bleed, and microbes invade. Even the best laid plans of mice and men can be throttled in an instant, and right now, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla is facing the prospects of three of its entrants in the massive Battle of Los Angeles tournament missing time with various maladies. AR Fox broke his wrist, and it's iffy as to whether he'll be healed by the end of August. Brian Cage suffered an injury that kept him out of ELEVEN this past Saturday, although the extent of it is unknown. Finally, Trent? messed up his knee something fierce at Americanrana on Sunday and will more than likely miss the event. While these performers potentially missing the event presents PWG with a whole crate of lemons, the company can certainly make some lemonade out of them with some key replacements. Three slots are open, but I have six (well, technically eight) suggestions for substitutions.

1. Cheerleader Melissa

PWG right now has a woman as a Tag Team Champion, so why not go for perhaps the biggest name in women's wrestling all-told? Melissa's home territory is in California, and she works SoCal quite a bit. She has the size to match up against the average PWG heavyweight, and her style is as stiff and technically proficient as they come. The time is right now for PWG to start leading and integrating the best and brightest women wrestlers into its dream match ethos, and few are better than Melissa right now.

2. Christopher Daniels and/or Frankie Kazarian

With Zack Sabre, Jr., Matt Sydal, Brian Myers, and Kenny Omega already announced, the theme of this year's BOLA seems to be name recognition both within and out of the tournament. Daniels and Kazarian are already booked for BOLA weekend, albeit in non-tourney tag matches. Both members of Bad Influence are among the biggest names not working in WWE right now, and both would fit in the singles environment snugly. Kazarian has history within the company; he's a former PWG World Champion. Daniels is one of the godfathers of post-ECW independent professional wrestling in America. If the promotion wanted some replacement names with pop, then man, was it ever lucky to have Daniels and Kazarian already in town.

3. Chris Bosh

Bosh, the white, Lioncock!-ing former wrestler and not the lanky, Black basketball player, has not wrestled a match since 2008, when he came back to PWG for one night only. I don't know how much of an itch he has to wrestle again (I seem to be making cases for guys whose passion levels for wrestling I have no idea a lot today, ain't I?), but I'm sure Super Dragon and the folks around him booking and planning these shows wouldn't be too hurt to ask. Bosh is a veritable icon in PWG folklore, and he would add a real SoCal flavor to the tournament, one that right now it currently lacks. Plus, six years have been too long to wait for another Lioncock!

4. Candice LeRae

LeRae has just gotten off the weekend of her life, bleeding buckets for an adoring crowd and knocking off the Young Bucks with Joey Ryan to win the Tag Team Championships. What better way to further those good vibes than to enter the BOLA tournament at the event where her journey started last year and make a deep run to further ingrain herself with the legends of Reseda? LeRae right now seems to be the only woman wrestler that PWG seems to want to push, and whether or not she shouldn't be alone in her endeavors, she's still among the best wrestlers on the roster, regardless of qualifier. Her 2014 has been special, and letting her in the BOLA tournament would give it the chance to be even more magical, both for her and for her home company.

5. Rocky Romero

Romero currently is also affected by the injury bug, as his partner in the Forever Hooligans, Alex Koslov, is hurt. While that situation saddens me, it at least frees Romero up to wrestle singles action, which he's done for PWG at least once this year. He also has the allure of being associated with the most prestigious wrestling promotion in the world in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Anything to up the aura around this year's tournament, which again is already loaded, is a net positive.

6. The Young Bucks

Wouldn't it be hilarious if the Bucks entered as a unit and demanded to wrestle in all handicap matches? For one, the Brothers Jackson are one of few entities on the indies who can generate legitimate heel heat, and having them with an eternal power play in their tournament matches would up the boos exponentially. Plus, the storytelling options would be off the charts, and PWG wrestlers have done exceedingly well playing with classic match tropes and making them unique and exciting. For example, the four-way number one contendership match at DDT4 this year was one of the best matches of that kind I've ever seen, and it had everything to do with how the four wrestlers laid it out. Since the Bucks are among the best wrestlers in the world, I know they'd be able to figure out a way to turn the handicap match from tired WWE deus ex machina into a signature.