We swing by the Mark Hitchcock Memorial Super Show, as a stacked line-up gives us another go around of Mike Bailey vs. Bandido, Tomohiro Ishii vs. Timothy Thatcher, and Biff Busick vs. Minoru Suzuki.
Bandido pinned Mike Bailey in 16:20 (****¼)
Mia Yim pinned Athena in 13:41 (***)
Tomohiro Ishii pinned Timothy Thatcher in 12:52 (***½)
Dirty Dishes Match – Taya Valkyrie pinned John Morrison in 14:30 (**)
Laredo Kid, Michael Oku & Rey Horus pinned Black Taurus, Ace Austin & Josh Alexander in 13:08 (***½)
Minoru Suzuki pinned Biff Busick in 14:39 (***¼)
Atsushi Onita, Colt Cabana, Juice Robinson, Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson pinned Dango, Barry Horowitz, Jimmy Wang Yang, nZo & PCO in 12:19 (*)
Mark Briscoe & Jay Briscoe pinned Low Ki & Homicide in 12:00 (**¾)
Let’s keep this going – we’re at the WrestleCon building, so that’s the Fairmont Hotel in Dallas, for this entry into ‘Mania weekend. Once we get past the Green Day holding music, we start with a tribute video for Mark Hitchcock, and then it’s to the action… except someone flubbed, and hit the Bret Hart video and music. They then switch it to Mike Bailey’s ring music and video… while the ring announcer introduces Bandido. Good on ref Brandon Tolle for not selling it!
Ian Riccaboni and Veda Scott are on commentary, one of whom may know Mike better than the other…
Mike Bailey vs. Bandido
So yeah, this one has history – Bailey’s 2-0 up having beaten Bandido in the 16 Carat Gold 2020 quarter-finals in an excellent, excellent outing… then again in the opening round of this year’s Battle of Los Angeles.
We got going with leapfrogs and roll throughs as the pace started high… they head to the apron, with Bailey taking a superkick before he hit a springboard moonsault as Bandido baseball slid to the floor. Alrighty then! Kicks follow on the outside, while a can of energy drink got cracked open as Bailey cracked Bandido with a kick to the back. Back-and-forth chops follow, before Bandido Matrix’s out of a clothesline, then smashed Bailey with a superkick. Bandido picks up the pace with a roll-up into a looong stalling front suplex (Dallas counted to sixty), despite Bailey trying his damndest to get out after the 30-count. Getting back up, Bailey’s punched out as he tried to get back into it, eventually succeeding with a flying kick and a standing corkscrew press for a near-fall.
A caught kick led to Bandido flipping Bailey to the mat, following up with the Three Amigos and a frog splash, bouncing off of Bailey for a near-fall. Bailey blocks an X-Knee and returned with the Speedball kicks, battering Bandido as the pair swung with kicks, leading to a pop-up cutter from Bandido. Bailey rolls outside to break a standing ten-count, then backflipped away from a Bandido dive so he could roll back in and hit a tope of his own. Bandido’s thrown back in and comes straight back out, only to make the same mistake as a Golden Triangle moonsault from Bailey earned him a Fosbury flop. Now will you quit rolling the other guy in? Have ye learned?! Bandido motioned that he wanted to take the fight to the apron, where they exchanged chops before Bandido teased a rack bomb… only to get tripped as Bailey actually hit the moonsault knees. He doesn’t hate them this time!
Bailey heads up top to hate his knees, missing an Ultima Weapon, before a sit-out F5 sent Bailey back onto the apron. Bandido follows, but gets a pop-up cutter onto the edge of ring, clipping the ropes on the way down, before Bandido nailed the 21 Plex for a near-fall! A trip up top sees Bandido tease a fallaway slam, but Bailey gets free and kicked Bandido down… another Ultima Weapon’s aborted as Bailey hits the moonsault knee drop again, before the Ultima Weapon finally connected.
Bandido’s up at two from that, but he’s cornered for a tornado kick from Bailey, who followed with the Flamingo Driver… spiking Bandido on the way down, yet it’s still not enough! Eventually landing another kick, Bailey goes for a handspring, only to have it caught and turned into the X-Knee, before a step-up double knees set up for the 21 Plex, flipping Speedball over as a trip up top led to that avalanche moonsault/fallaway slam for the win. If you want to be harsh, this wasn’t quite on the level of that Carat match, but I wasn’t expecting it to hit those lofty heights on such a crammed weekend. Money’s thrown into the ring, and if there’s a match that tops this for the show’s $5k match-of-the-night bonus, then this’ll have been a grand show! ****¼
Now we get the appearance of Bret Hart as the “special ambassador” of WrestleCon. Unfortunately his mic wasn’t patched through to the live stream, so this was largely brief but inaudible…
Mia Yim vs. Athena
This was Yim’s first match since her release, while Athena – the former Ember Moon – only seems to have had two since her WWE departure, according to Cagematch.
After duelling chants, we got going as Yim called for a Test of Strength, which led to Athena tripping her. Mia’s neck bridge couldn’t be broken, so they get back up with Yim’s wristlock getting countered into an armbar. Escaping, a hiptoss and some cartwheel knees got Athena a one-count, as she followed in with a chinlock, but the back-and-forth continued as Yim’s ankle lock was pushed out of. An attempted guillotine from Athena ends in the corner, before a headlock takedown from Yim and a clip of the knee led to her dropkicking Athena to the outside. Sensing a dive, Athena took a seat away from the ring, only to get chased… she baits Yim towards the ring post and swung her into it. Back inside, a slingshot corkscrew splash gets Athena a two-count, before the pair began to trade chops.
Athena’s neck crank is next as she looked for a submission, but Mia bit her way free then went for a roll-up for a two-count. A front flip clothesline into the corner keeps Athena ahead, as a sliding Flatliner and a Koji clutch looked to lead to the finish. Except Mia escaped and managed to roll Athena into a Boston crab, which is countered with see-saw pins before a double crossbody took both women to the mat. Kipping up, Athena’s back to her feet first, only for Mia to join her, landing a backdrop driver and a clothesline into the corner. A Yakuza kick into the corner sets up for the cannonball, getting a near-fall, before Athena countered a package piledriver into an Alabama Slam. Athena’s trip up top’s stopped by Yim, whose top rope ‘rana gets turned into an avalanche powerbomb that somehow didn’t win it. Annoyed with the count, Athena shoved the ref back over Mia Yim, before she went under the ring for plunder.
Out comes a chair, but of course the ref stops Athena… and in the ensuing argument, Yim scooped up Athena for the win with a package piledriver. ***
Timothy Thatcher vs. Tomohiro Ishii
This was one of THE matches I’d circled and underlined when the weekend’s many, many cards came out. Let’s go!
Thatcher takes Ishii into the corner from the opening tie-up amid a tentative start, before Thatcher somehow found Ishii’s neck and put in a nerve hold. It’s pushed off as we get the never-budging shoulder tackles, ahead of a headlock takedown as Thatcher looked to maintain control. Ishii powered out and grounds Thatcher with a double wristlock, but that ends in the ropes as the pair begin to trade uppercuts and elbows. Eventually, Thatcher finds a way back with the ol’ RINGKAMPF rebound belly-to-belly suplex for a two-count, before a short-arm scissors forced Ishii to squirm into the ropes.
Uppercuts and headbutts to Ishii’s arm lead Thatcher into the ropes as he continued to work Ishii, only for a whip into the corner to see Ishii bounce back as he charged through Thatcher. Ishii adds a suplex from there, before some slaps riled up Thatcher, only for his enziguiri to get clotheslined away. Ishii pickles up with a clothesline, but it’s ducked as Thatcher instead rolled Ishii down into a knee bar. It turns into an ankle lock, only for Ishii to roll through and counter in kind. More roll-throughs led to Thatcher getting a two-count, before an enziguiri staggered Ishii briefly, as a butterfly suplex nearly won it.
Thatcher rolls into a cross armbreaker from there, then a Fujiwara armbar, which ended as Ishii reached for the ropes. Ishii bullies his way back into it, demanding Thatcher go for his shoulder before leathering Timo. A German suplex throws Thatcher across the ring, while a clothesline and an enziguiri left him laying once more. The sliding lariat’s next to get Ishii a near-fall, while Thatcher went back to the Fujiwara armbar, only for Ishii to roll free as another lariat decked Thatcher. It’s only good for a near-fall though, so Ishii hauls up Thatcher for the sheer-drop brainbuster to get the match over the line. A good fight, but this felt like it was missing something in terms of the pace, as Thatcher’s 0-2 on his return weekend… ***½
Dirty Dishes Match: Johnny Wrestlecon vs. Taya Valkyrie
“The loser does dishes for life,” as Johnny gets another nickname – Johnny WrestleCon. His Cagematch profile’s going to be hitting that second line any day now…
Taya’s brought the dishes from home with her, because Johnny’s apparently turned into a slob. There’s trays of them, but they look suspiciously… unused? Anyway, we get going with Johnny scurrying into the corner as Taya swung for him, before we got some flash pinning attempts. An overhand chop stings Johnny, who shoved Taya back before shouting in her ear. Taya fights back and stomped a mudhole through Johnny Dishes, following with double knees, before she rolled to the outside and put a box of dishes and a bucket of cleaners into the ring. Johnny rolls outside to play keepaway, then rolled back in to superkick a plate into Taya’s face for a near-fall.
The Moonlight Drive gets Johnny a two-count, before he went outside to grab a mug and a saucer. He smashed the mug against Taya’s head, before she returned with the saucer, then with a bottle as somehow she smashed it into her own head courtesy of a cartwheel kick from Johnny. Out come the cleaners as Taya gets, er, her back washed with scouring pads, while she has Clorox sprayed onto her back. One running knee later, Taya’s dragged into the corner for Starship Pain… but Johnny took too long and got rolled up for a kick as Taya mounted a comeback, leading to a spear before she smashed two bottles over Johnny for a near-fall. Taya sprays Johnny as payback for earlier, then laid out some cups and bottles in the ring… but Johnny slides in and uses a baking tray, only for Taya to hit some headscissors as Johnny went face-first into a bottle. Christ.
We keep going, as Taya’s thrown into a splits… she punches her man in the ding ding, then put a bucket over Johnny’s head before a DDT and a Bucket Destroyer gets another near-fall. From there, Johnny sprays the ref in the eyes, while Taya hit the Straight to Valhalla… but there’s no ref to make the count. Taya checks on the ref, then got smashed in the head with two cups, before a Samoan drop saw Johnny start to take the piss a little…
More bottles come out as Johnny, err, shoved some into Taya’s cleavage ahead of Starship Pain, That seemed to be the line for a few in the crowd, as Johnny then called for the mic, with Parrow called out with a kitchen sink. Johnny took too long to use it though, as Taya got free, smashed plates and bottles over him before she choked Johnny with some of the hoses from the sink. Johnny gets stomped into the sink from there, and that’s enough for the win. Eh. It’s wrestling, so you knew what you were getting here… they did go way too long with the joke though, but hey, they smashed all the dishes, so I guess it’s takeout for the next while! **
We’ve a bit of downtime – you’d be surprised how long it takes to sweep up broken plates… and then we have Jushin Thunder Liger introduced to the crowd, after an awkward segway from fan voting. Of course, Liger’s in his ring gear, even though he retired just before the world went to hell…
Michael Oku, Laredo Kid & Rey Horus vs. Black Taurus, Josh Alexander & Ace Austin
Debut in Germany on Sunday, America on Thursday. Michael Oku’s been getting a lot of air miles this week…
Taurus and Laredo Kid start by going a million miles an hour, trading armdrags and headscissors before Taurus just threw a headbutt. A scoop slam dropped Laredo Kid, and we’re under lucha rules, so in comes Rey Horus, only to get spun down as Taurus ran through him. Horus back body drops Taurus outside, then followed with headscissors… as Ace Austin came in to try his luck. A low dropkick caught out Horus, as did a springboard enziguiri before Michael Oku came in and tripped Austin into a half crab attempt. It’s pushed away as Oku came back with a misdirection knee, but Josh Alexander’s in next and instantly went for Oku’s ankle. Oku pushed that away, then got wrecked with a front kick as he then had to escape the C4.
Oku’s headscissors get blocked and turned into an over-the-knee powerbomb. Horus returns, but instantly gets clotheslined as Alexander took him outside for a crossbody… then held Oku up for a Fosbury flop from Austin. Back inside, a pop-up Samoan drop from Black Taurus nearly puts Oku away, before Oku escaped a powerbomb and nailed an enziguiri. A superkick drops the bull as Oku goes for the half crab. Ace Austin tries to intervene, but he gets stacked up, as did Josh Alexander, but the triple half crab ended up having Oku pushed into the ropes. Rey Horus gets isolated against all three of the other team, but finds a way out, including with a flying pop-up DDT to Taurus… another one to Alexander, then an over-the-buckles tope con giro to Austin.
Laredo Kid joins in the dives with a senton to Alexander on the floor, before Ace Austin rebounded with cartwheel superkicks and PKs on the apron. Oku knocks him to the floor for a Fosbury flop, before a corkscrew tope from Taurus wiped everyone out. Back inside, a torture rack backbreaker dumps Laredo Kid ahead of a spinning crucifix bomb from Taurus, only for him to eat a Destroyer DDT. Alexander breaks up the pin, then stacked up Horus and Laredo for a death valley driver/accidental piledriver combo. Oku eats a back elbow as Alexander was running this, almost winning with a German suplex before Oku dropkicked away Austin’s springboard. A missed dropkick from Oku in the corner opens him up for a Drill Bit and a push-down stomp as Horus nearly won with a standing Spanish Fly.
Black Taurus returns to stop Horus on the top rope, but his superplex is stopped by Oku as the Tower of Doom’s built… and demolished with Oku’s springboard ‘rana to Alexander, allowing Taurus to press slam Laredo Kid off the top. Horus is back, but gets dumped onto the apron with an Alexander backbreaker, but it’s Oku who cleared the way… only to get charged into by the bull. Laredo Kid’s reverse ‘rana has Taurus down ahead of a 450 splash… Horus adds a splash, while Oku finished the job with a frog splash three quarters of the way across the ring for the win. They packed this one full of action, and if you’re into the general lucha style, this’ll be right up your street. ***½
Minoru Suzuki vs. Biff Busick
Literally hours earlier, Biff Busick was left bloodied against Jon Moxley – and you’d have to think he’s got a very obvious target on him here…
Suzuki throws some kicks to sting Biff with early, before a knuckle lock ended with Biff rolling Suzuki down to the mat for some headscissors. A side headlock from Suzuki gets him free, then a cravat, before he tripped Biff into a toe hold. Resetting, Suzuki works around Biff, taking him back to the mat for a Kimura, throwing in some more headscissors… but the escape from Biff did what you thought it would, and open up that cut. Suzuki laughs at Biff’s misfortune, but Biff wouldn’t quit… and resumed with a side headlock that was swapped in and out of. The butcher’s grip keeps Suzuki in the hold, before he was charged down and slammed to the mat. Suzuki baits Biff to the ropes for a hanging armbar, then pulled him outside as things broke down with Busick getting thrown into the commentary table.
Elbows target the cut, but Biff tries to fight back with chops… only to get booted down as Suzuki rolled back in to try and take the count-out. Biff rolls in, and gets knocked down and bitten as Suzuki tried to make that blood flow even more. A wristlock keeps Biff down, as did a Kimura, but Biff again gets free and tried to fight back with chops, leading to a suplex and a half crab as Suzuki was suddenly on the back foot. Biff turns the half crab into a STF, but Suzuki gets to the ropes… then snapmare’d Biff for a PK that gets a near-fall. Busick demands more, and gets some stinging overhand chops before he fought in with uppercuts… only for Suzuki to slide in with a rear naked choke. Busick counters into a half-and-half suplex, but Suzuki’s right back up as Biff tried his luck with some clotheslines… which were shrugged off.
CLONK. Goes the elbow as Biff sank to the mat. A rear naked choke and a starry-underwear-revealing stalling Gotch-style piledriver followed, and that’s all folks.The cut reopening as early as it did clearly threw things off course here, but they managed to drag things on track and give us a decent, if not bloody, outing. Run this one back without the cut! ***¼
PCO, nZo, Jimmy Wang Yang, Barry Horowitz & Dirty Dango vs. Rock ‘n’ Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson), Juice Robinson, Colt Cabana & Atsushi Onita
This was a mystery ten-man tag, with only Onita and PCO known ahead of time… with some weird choices. Like the former Enzo Amore coming out to “That’s Amore,” Barry Horowitz coming out to “We Are The Champions,” and Juice Robinson looking like a more flamboyant ELP with those sunglasses. Oh, and Leatherface joining Onita, complete with a working chainsaw. What is this?! Ah right, a fever dream. Thanks, Ian…
Cabana and Horowitz start with a hug, but Barry was in no mood for someone marking out for him, as he grabbed a side headlock, then patted himself on the back. Colt joins in, then tagged out as we switched to Juice and Dango. A sunset flip from Juice is blocked as Dango waved his arms around like a mad man, before he eventually punched his way free. Colt sneaks in and slingshots Juice into those Dango’s, prompting nZo to tag in and fall into the ring. nZo does his thing, then tags in Jimmy Wang Yang, the original proprietor of Cowboy Shit… and he flips around Juice, taking him down for a standing moonsault before some mounted punches in the corner, as PCO then tagged in.
Juice chops PCO, who pulls down his shirt for some more, before Onita tagged in and misted PCO. Things spill outside, as PCO took a DDT, then got flung into the guard rails before Ricky Morton came in as the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express double-teamed PCO. nZo attacks them from behind, as PCO proceeded to throw Morton into the corner as Ricky ended up taking a beating. We get the Ricky to Robert as the match breaks down, leading to Juice and Colt doing the Dusty punches… PCO clobbers them both, then hit a tope con giro onto Colt and Leatherface on the outside… a second one followed to Juice, before PCO went up top and hit his senton onto Juice on the edge of the ring!
Back inside, a sidewalk slam from PCO leaves Juice laying, before a chair got thrown in… so PCO could try and moonsault onto it on top of Juice. It misses, as Onita wandered in to put the boots to PCO, but PCO fought back as the ref tried to enforce a tag, but let’s be real here, eh? Onita’s taken into the corner as Dango tagged in to play pass the parcel with a chair… but Onita just kicks it into his head. More mist sprays Dango ahead of a stunner, and that’s all folks. This was a popcorn match – everyone got their stuff in, their spots and their mannerisms, but this match perhaps encapsulated the issues you have in trying to cast such a wide net – you’ll have your fans who want to see the old stars at conventions and shows, you’ll have those who want to see the dream matches… and when you mix those two into one pot, you’ll get something that perhaps just doesn’t land. *
Post-match, Onita sprays Jimmy Wang Yang with more mist, then threw him into the crowd… then we have a surprise as the former Summer Rae came out to the old Fandango music for a reunion.
The Rottweilers (Homicide & Low Ki) vs. The Briscoes (Jay Briscoe & Mark Briscoe)
Ah, a match I was meant to have seen live in Germany a few years back, except Low Ki blew out his knee (doing a double stomp to WALTER, of all people)… four and a half years later, and we’re finally getting it. But first, Low Ki got into it with a fan who’d kept onto one of the baking trays from the Dirty Dishes match. It led to the fan getting taken away… before Low Ki hopped the rail and took his seat.
When the bell finally rings, Homicide took the mic and ordered the fan – in no uncertain terms – to retake his seat. They wait til he’s back in his seat so Low Ki could chew the fan out over the mic, and THEN… we get going. Mark Briscoe locks up with Low Ki, then pulled him down into a Fujiwara armbar. After a break, a tie-up ends with Low Ki on the top rope, where he pulled Briscoe into a hanging armbar before dropping to the floor as he got in that same fan’s face again. Back inside, Low Ki chops Mark in the corner, then whipped him over… but a throat thrust from Mark and a side headlock ends up getting pushed off, as Jay tagged in to boot Low Ki down.
Low Ki rolled outside as Homicide looked under the ring for something… and pulled out a chair. Low Ki’s got the ring bell as we’re into plunder now, prompting the Briscoes to suggest that the match is made into a no-DQ outing. With seven or so minutes left on the VOD. Yup. Of course, Homicide said no, as things spilled outside as we get the plunder anyway, with a step-up flip senton off a chair from Mark Briscoe. Mark chucks the chair at Homicide on the outside, while Low Ki’s taken into the rails, while Mark then rang the timekeeper’s bell on Low Ki’s head… before grabbing the baking tray from the fan (yep, the same guy) and cracked it over Low Ki’s head.
Back in the ring, Mark Briscoe accidentally ran a chair into Jay’s head… then got thrown outside as the Rottweiler’s went to work. A double shoulder tackle bounced Jay down for a two-count, before he was whipped into a chair that’d been wedged in the corner. Elbow drops follow on Jay, before Homicide began to box Jay Briscoe… but Mark’s in to take Homicide down with a chair. Jay rolls outside, allowing Mark to hit an Iconoclasm for a near-fall. Low Ki roll snack in to dropkick Mark as he went for a step-up dive off the chair… a superkick takes out Low Ki, before Jay pushed away a tornado DDT attempt. A Jay Driller’s blocked by Homicide, who returned with a cutter, only to waste time and run into a death valley driver for a near-fall. Low Ki tries to hit back, but his springboard enziguiri missed, before he rolled out of a Doomsday Device and got a two-count on Jay.
Jay’s taken back into the corner as Homicide returned, with the Rottweilers going for their own Doomsday… it’s broken up by Mark, as a Jay Driller planted Low Ki for a Froggy Elbow, and that’s enough for the W. This started off the rails, but managed to get on track – but this felt a little short for the spot it was in. Shame. **¾
This started out hot and looked to keep going – and while the show ended almost as a trainwreck, the expected heights on paper were narrowly missed as the show overall presented an entertaining, but mixed, variety of matches. And hey, this one show might well have encompassed both ends of the spectrum, so there’s that!