The Battle Of Los Angeles: Professional Wrestling’s Answer To Sundance
The first Battle of Los Angeles came about in 2005, with Chris Bosh defeating Styles in the finals. The single-elimination tournament was modeled after the Super J Cup, a memorable 1990s Japanese tournament that spotlighted lighter-weight wrestlers such as Liger, The Great Sasuke, and Chris Jericho.
While the caliber of talent in the early tournaments stands the test of time, the shows themselves didn’t garner attention outside the most hardcore of wrestling circles. But somewhere along the way, things started to change. After jumping from venue to venue, PWG settled into its home at American Legion Post 308 in Reseda, a sweltering bandbox of a room. This created an environment longtime observers compared to the ECW Arena in Philadelphia in the 1990s, where a loyal core audience came to believe their favorite promotion was the best thing going in wrestling, and backed up their passion by purchasing the wrestlers’ merchandise in droves.
Matt Jackson, for his part, was a part of the promotional team for the recent All In pay-per-view in suburban Chicago, which sold out the 11,000-seat Sears Center in half an hour and featured a weekend-long fan convention. Jackson readily admits PWG helped pave the path for All In’s success.
“We learned that a wrestling show doesn’t always have to necessarily have that big fight feel, Jackson said. “Wrestling shows can also feel like a party. People like to have fun. PWG taught me that you don’t have to take wrestling so seriously all of the time. People want to laugh, jump up and down, clap and most important be involved. We knew that style worked by doing it for so long at PWG, so we knew our show would be fun and interactive.”