Monday, June 29, 2015

Pro Wrestling Guerrilla Has Sofia Vergara and Half of Lucha Underground

She bought into the BOLA hype
Photo via Sofia Vergara's Instagram
Yes, the above picture features one of Hollywood's most ubiquitous couples at the American Legion in Reseda, CA. Sofia Vergara is the star of the tenured and decorated comedy Modern Family. She happens to be engaged to sexy True Blood werewolf and Magic Mike star Joe Manganiello. He's been at a couple of Pro Wrestling Guerrilla shows, enough that Friend of the Blog Bill Hanstock began to wonder when Vergara would show up. Well, she did at Mystery Vortex III on Friday, and I'd like to think it's because she too was enamored by the announcement of the remaining 14 wrestlers for the annual Battle of Los Angeles tournament made on Friday.

Just as the first wave of announcements highlighted talent that either hailed from Britain or made their bones in the colonial homeland, this second wave featured a ton of stars from the AAA promotion in Mexico. And the thing all of those luchadores have in common is that they've all appeared on Lucha Underground. The list is as follows:
  • Trevor Lee - Lee's announcement might as well come with a spoiler tag. He's gotta be the odds on favorite to win at this point, even with the high-caliber announced names that will follow his. The one thing that might point away from him as the winner is that he won DDT4 this year, although now that the Young Bucks took the Tag Titles away from him and Andrew Everett, maybe his path to the tourney crown is clearer. Still, no one's won both DDT4 and BOLA in the same year yet. I don't know what that bodes for him, but folks just can't deny that PWG has done the most to get his name out there as a national force. Watch out for him.
  • Pentagón, Jr. - CERO MIEDO, MUCHACHOS. Pentagón is the first of the Lucha Underground names to be announced, and he is perhaps the most fearsome and decorated of the troupe. The dude exudes presence and badassery, and right away, the hot money will be on him to have the best brawl of the weekend.
  • Drew Gulak - With Timothy Thatcher (who made his proper PWG debut on Friday!) and Biff Busick already announced, Gulak rounds out the EVOLVE Mat All-Stars Trio in the tourney. Rumors are swirling that he impressed the people in charge at the Performance Center and might be signed any day now, so he's a dark horse to get a BOLA win as a send-off from the indie scene. And if he does get to go all the way, he'll leave a trail of Match of the Year candidates behind.
  • Angelico - The man who dropped a thousand jaws when he dove from height during the Trios Championship Tournament super-final against The Crew will be making his second PWG appearance in the big tournament. The man is a human bump freak, although the Legion may not have the same kind of scenery conducive to produce that kind of moment. Still, with the impressive amount of high fliers in the tournament, he's going to have his pick of explosive matches.
  • Trent? - The former Trent Barretta has become one of the marquee names on the indies, enough that he has replaced Alex Koslov as Rocky Romero's tag team partner. Trent? has a DDT4 title under his belt, and while he won't be able to pull off the Trenchcoat Man gag in this tournament, he may have a few other tricks up his sleeve.
  • Andrew Everett - Everett co-won DDT4 with Lee, and just like Lee, PWG has helped his shine. He's one of the most exciting high fliers on the indies, and in this current climate of super spot guys, that's saying something. He's another threat to win.
  • Fénix - The Man Who Cannot Die will rise from his ashes against Mil Muertes to take flight in the Battle of Los Angeles. He's not only an accomplished spot guy, but the dude has shown his bona fides in high stakes, high tension matches with GRAVE CONSEQUENCES. It's hard to say that a Lucha Underground guest star could steal the show that he's expected to own, but of all the guys Super Dragon and co. have brought in, Fénix could be the one whose flames burn brightest.
  • Rich Swann - Mr. All Night Long is PWG royalty by this point. It might be a little late for him to win the tourney, especially with his flirtations with WWE, but he's still going to be one of the funnest competitors in the fray. I'm not sure if I want to see him more against the high-fliers more or against, say, Pentagón, Jr. in a contrast of not only styles but demeanors.
  • Jack Evans - He nominally might be considered a Lucha Underground guest, but Evans actually has been a big part of PWG in the past. He returns a bit older, a bit wiser, and a bit more traveled, but he not only has the pyrotechnics (which seems to be a theme here), but the history.
  • Drago - In Lucha Underground lore, Drago is a legit dragon. Seriously, if LU had the same budget as, say, Game of Thrones, you'd see Drago morphing into some Drogon-looking beast at some point. But yeah, he brings the badass-aura that Pentagón, Jr. does, but with an otherworldly edge to him. I hope he busts out a fireball at some point though, just to play into him being a REAL FUCKING DRAGON.
  • Matt Sydal - Sydal's indie revival has led him to act for the high fliers in this tournament as Chris Hero will be to the mat guys. He's not going to win, but he could go deep as a veteran presence that will help put over one of the less-established dudes.
  • Aerostar - He tore up rings with Drago on LU in a Best of Five series, and now, he'll get to join the rest of the big spot guys, both LU and otherwise. Whenever he's in the opening match on a LU episode, the rest of the show gets a spark of life. He's got really high energy, and I'm hoping he makes a deep run.
  • Zack Sabre, Jr. - Sabre made an impact last year during his PWG run, which included BOLA, that he's back. He may have the build of a junior heavyweight, but he's one of the most proficient mat grapplers in the field. The big money will be putting him against Thatcher at some point, but I'll take what I can get with him. He is the goods.
  • Drew Galloway - The homerun announcement for the field is the current EVOLVE Champion and a TNA player. The former Drew McIntyre has emerged from his Three Man Band cocoon to reclaim his mantel as one of the best workers in the world. He will get his chance because all other 23 competitors in the tournament have some kind of worth. Galloway is a guy who works well against nearly anyone, so he will have plenty of opportunities to show his worth to a new independent crowd.
Of course, those 14 wrestlers join the already impressive first-ten announced before: Will Ospreay, Marty Scurll, Timothy Thatcher, Speeball Mike Bailey, Chris Hero, Biff Busick, Mark Andrews, Brian Cage, Ricochet, Tommy End. That field of 24 is stacked. Absolutely, incredibly, unbelievably loaded. And the fact that it's incredibly bursting at the seams with talent without including Candice LeRae, PWG Champion Roderick Strong, Akira Tozawa, Johnny Gargano, Tomasso Ciampa, Alberto el Patron, Johnny Mundo, various TNA stars, Moose, or other name Japanese talent is a feat. On paper, this year's extravaganza looks to be the best on paper. It's definitely a field that will be enticing Vergara and Manganiello back to the Legion between August 28 and 30, that's for sure.