After racking up one of the most stellar single-year pro wrestling resumes ever seen in 2022, pro wrestler “Speedball” Mike Bailey started 2023 by doing what no other out LGBTQ wrestler has done: win one of independent pro wrestling’s most prestigious tournaments, Pro Wrestling Guerilla’s Battle of Los Angeles.
Bailey wrestled four matches in one night to claim the prize that had eluded them on two separate occasions, defeating DDT and AEW star and former tag team partner Konosuke Takeshita in a hard-hitting final to close the two-day event Sunday night. The victory makes Bailey the first out LGBTQ wrestler to win BOLA in its 18-year history.
The former IMPACT X-Division champion previously reached the BOLA finals in 2015 and 2022.
Le lutteur Mike Bailey est devenu hier soir le deuxième Québécois seulement, après El Generico (Sami Zayn) en 2011, a remporté le prestigieux tournoi Battle of Los Angeles! Il a défait Konosuke Takeshita en finale.— Pat Laprade (@PatLaprade) January 9, 2023
Félicitations @SpeedballBailey ! On est fiers de toi pic.twitter.com/D5viZ1OJAO
The road to the massive trophy and PWG World championship shot was arduous for Bailey. The Canadian striker was unable to appear at Los Angeles’ Globe Theater during night one of the event Saturday, which is typically when all first-round matches are held. This meant that Bailey had to wrestle four matches in one night in order to win.
He defeated IMPACT Wrestling Knockouts World champion Jordynne Grace, Dragon Gate star Shun Skywalker and prominent independent wrestler Bryan Keith before stepping into the ring with Takeshita. Across their four matches, Bailey wrestled over 76 minutes Sunday night.
Bailey celebrated PWG and its fervent fans following the match, and extended gratitude to Takeshita, saying that his victory was also Takeshita’s. He took to Twitter later that night to express his gratitude.
“Thank you. So many great people from all over the world are involved in pro wrestling and tonight felt like a celebration of differences,” Bailey said. “ My gratitude for all the incredible support I receive gives me strength to keep wrestling with all my heart and hope to inspire.”
“It’s been two days and I’ve just barely started to recover from this past Sunday,” Bailey said via Twitter on Tuesday. “I am still sore and bruised. But I am also still feeling blessed and honored.”