On the afternoon of Friday, September 2, I was down in the parking garage of my apartment complex packing up my car with everything I would need to get me through the long weekend. Sunblock, towels, a cooler full of ice and bottles of water, a few changes of clothes, a couple of edibles, and a bottle of ibuprofen. Looking around the garage, I could see a lot of my neighbors doing the same thing.
It was the start of Labor Day weekend and everyone was headed out of town. Some were driving to the beach, others headed up to Lake Arrowhead. Me? I was going to Reseda. Against all odds, a friend of mine was able to get me tickets for all three nights of Pro Wrestling Guerrilla’s Battle of Los Angeles. I would be spending the next three days packed into a Legion Hall in the San Fernando Valley watching the most talked about independent wrestlers in the world almost kill each other feet away from me. Fuck going to the beach!
Reseda, California is a very unremarkable town, one of many post-war suburbs in LA’s San Fernando Valley that you pass while driving up the 405 and never have a second thought about. Probably best known as the home of Daniel in the original Karate Kid movie or for being name checked in Tom Petty’s “Free Falling,” Reseda can probably be described best by this picture I took of one of its sidewalks.
Since 2008, Reseda has been the home of PWG (Pro Wrestling Guerrilla), one of the most popular independent wrestling organizations in the world. PWG regularly brings together the top names in independent wrestling from all over North America as well as Europe and Japan, to have some of the must fun, interesting, and creative wrestling matches out there today. Imagine ECW, but replace the violence with comedy, and replace the guys Paul E found hanging out in bars in Philly with the best wrestlers in the world. It’s the punk rock version of NXT and in some ways kind of the original NXT. In recent years a lot of WWE’s best talent have come through PWG. Guys like Daniel Bryan, Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins, Sami Zayn … the list goes on and on.