Changes be damned, WrestleCon continued the tradition going as their schedule of events got going with their annual supershow!
The line-up for this show was largely kept quiet going in… until it was revealed that Dragon Gate wrestlers weren’t able to get visas. Cue a card change, and a partial reveal of a line-up that looked pretty damn good. The show, like the rest of WrestleCon, is coming from the Hilton Midtown in New York. The arena there is themed like the New York subway, which is a nice touch. Commentary comes from Kevin Kelly and Excalibur.
A delayed start was caused by a wait for ambulances and other athletic commission stuff to get in order, Animal is introduced to the ring, and he blows my speakers as he bellowed LOD. Ric Flair’s out too, as he negotiates the way-too-many stairs as the pair kill time, leading to him welling up as talk turned to his daughter Charlotte being in the WrestleMania main event. The show opened up with a tribute to Mark Hitchcock, as his sister and fiancee addressed the crowd, before a tribute video played.
Eddie Kingston vs. Masato Tanaka
We started with some action on the mat as Kingston ended up backing off after he got clocked with a forearm.
Back inside, he’s taken into the corner as Tanaka unloads with mounted punches, following in with a crossbody for a near-fall, before a chop battle broke out. Well, a brief one, as a thumb to the eye gave Kingston a chance to use a brief Stretch Plum before he rolled Tanaka to the mat for a two-count. Tanaka tries to respond with a tornado DDT, but has to make do with a suplex, then a clothesline out of the corner, before a swinging DDT finds its mark for a near-fall. A Sambo suplex from Kingston nearly ends it there, as does a clothesline, before Tanaka caught him with Diamond Dust out of nowhere.
He goes back to take Kingston up top for a superplex, before a frog splash followed up for a near-fall as somehow Kingston wasn’t done yet. A pair of Saito suplexes from Kingston proved to be a worthy response for a near-fall, before he did the deal with a Falcon arrow for another near-fall as Excalibur was left speechless. We’re back to chops and forearms, as Kingston tries to edge ahead with backfists, before Tanaka took him down for a sliding D… and that forearm gets the win. A fun, hard hitting opener, but these US indy crowds are never not going to be weird as far as investing in matches. ***
From the sound of commentary, the running order is… non existent!
Rey Fenix slipped on the stairs coming out, perhaps rushing as these guys have to be in New Jersey later for Impact! They have an open challenge for “any tag team”, which led to a chant for the Young Bucks, as Fenix claimed the Bucks were scared of them… and in turn, it led to this singles match!
Rey Fenix vs. Pentagon Jr.
Penta tries to steal it with a roll-up straight away, but he’s taken outside for an Orihara moonsault. Back inside, a Slingblade drops Fenix, before a superkick trapped him in the ropes for a double stomp for a near-fall.
A chop battle broke out as the brothers’ friendly fire continued, leading to a spin kick from Fenix, then another, before he leapt into a pumphandle driver for a near-fall. A package pledriver’s teased, but Fenix wriggles free, before he hung his brother in the ropes for a nice rope-walk knee… yeah, it’s a near-fall. This is a good match, but I’m so taken out of it by how they got here. Fenix comes close with a step-up springboard moonsault, then a Destroyer, before Penta supekicked his brother mid forward-roll. Ewwww. Penta keeps up the wow with a back body drop into a powerbomb, before his leaping Destroyer out of the corner drew yet another near-fall as this exhibition continued.
Penta’s caught up top as Fenix joins him, and after an exchange of chops he springboards into a Spanish Fly, and that’s your lot! Eye-catching as hell, but this was really a popcorn match that turned into a spotty highlight reel. In the very good sense. ***¾
You know what sucks? The video screen isn’t on-camera…
Puma King, Samantha Heights, DJ Z & Tajiri vs. Sammy Guevara & LAX (Santana, Ortiz & Diamante)
This is beautifully random. Like a random Chris Roberts appearance while Puma King and Sammy Guevara were flipping each other off in the ropes.
We eventually get going with DJ Z and Sammy Guevara, the latter of whom gets taken down with a wristlock as he flipped off DJ Z. Sammy loses his baseball cap in that, as DJ Z gets his airhorn, before he chopped Guevara… who responds with a dropkick to take his opponent outside. I guess we’re under lucha rules as Puma King comes in to propel Sammy with a flapjack, as in comes Santana with a nice Quebrada. Tajiri’s in too, as he’s taken down by Santana… but Tajiri’s back with a wristlock and a hammerlock, before a hiptoss left Santana open for a kick to the back.
Diamante comes in to try her luck, but Tajiri puts the boots to her, only to eat a wheelbarrow bulldog. Samantha Heights runs in as Chris Roberts just can’t be arsed with tags… Ortiz blocks a monkey flip from Heights and drops her with a facebuster as the quick changes continue. DJ Z slips on a monkey flip attempt, but rescues things with a dropkick, taking Ortiz outside as Santana keeps the action going with a snap suplex for a near-fall. LAX combine with a double-team flapjack to DJ Z, then a double-team X-Factor for another two-count. Sammy Guevara’s back to squat DJ Z, dropping him then landing a standing moonsault for a near-fall as things threatened to go wonky, with Diamante helping out on an inverted Fidget Spinner as LAX almost took the win.
A double ZDT attempt is blocked as DJ Z instead had to land a cutter before making a tag out to Puma King, who was a house on fire against LAX, dropkicking Ortiz right in the arse before he lost his balance on a tiltawhirl backbreaker on Guevara. Wacky dives break out as Guevara, DJ Z and Santana took to the skies, before Diamante and Heights flew in with sentons to the floor. Oh, there’s Tajiri left… but Ortiz superkicks him mid-run-up before Tajiri caught him with a mist spray mid-arm drag before landing a Buzzsaw kick and rolled him up for the win. This was fine, but it dragged a lot in the middle as this really should have been a sprint. Guevara looked real good for his time in there though. ***
Speaking of random, here’s Tassilo Jung!
Arez vs. Flamita vs. Robbie Eagles
Arez and Flamita try to take care of Eagles early so they could go one-on-one, but that backfires as the pace went sky high early on, with Arez looking for a quick roll-up on Eagles.
Flamita drags Eagles to the floor so he could take to the sky, cartwheeling away from Arez… who wheelbarrow rolls Flamita away and topes into Eagles on the outside. Christ, this is hard to keep up with! Eagles springboards in with a low dropkick to Arez, before exchanging chops with Flamita… who responds with a simple punch.
— Italo Santana 🇧🇷 (@BulletClubIta) April 5, 2019
A standing Spanish Fly from Flamita nearly puts the Aussie away, as Arez runs into a superkick. Judging from Twitter, something goes awry from a Doomsday Spanish Fly as my feed buffered, recovering as a chop battle broke out… with Eagles running into superkicks as Arez then found himself spiked with a DDT. Flamita heads up top again with a missile dropkick to Arez and Eagles, before he crashed into the Aussie with a tope con giro on the floor. There’s an Orihara moonsault to Arez too, before Eagles uses a 450 splash to break up a pin from Arez’s swinging Flatliner… and that 450’s enough for Eagles to steal the win! Another fun match, with a few slight issues… but for a throwaway trios match, this was entertaining as hell to watch. Arez stood out in his moments on top, but this was one of those fun matches that had its scary moments. ***¼
The Revolt! (Zane Riley & Caleb Konley) & Jake Manning vs. Hurricane Helms, X-Pac & Jushin Thunder Liger
Now That’s What I Call Random!
Liger instantly pulls Konley into a seated surfboard stretch, pulling him back into a chinlock as the PWX tag champion struggled out of the gates, as a Romero special followed. Zane Riley tags in, but he wants X-Pac instead of Liger, and as X-Pac came in… Riley almost fell through the ropes? Riley recovers to boot X-Pac, only to run into a hiptoss and a snap legdrop as he found himself dominated by X-Pac, who teased a Bronco buster, only for Riley to roll away. In comes Manning, who has to deal with Helms and his dancing. Manning brings some too, but the crowd doesn’t like that as everyone’s just having fun out there. Sometimes your matches don’t need to be mat classics to be entertaining…
Helms stops Manning in his tracks, forcing the Man Scout to consult his handbook for advice, which instead just proved to be a distraction as he jumped Helms. Konley and Manning took a triple-team suplex before the Hurricane got dragged outside by Riley. The easily-distracted Chris Roberts is taken advantage of as the Revolt tried to edge ahead, but Hurricane drops Manning with the Eye of the Hurricane before he tagged out. In comes Liger and Konley, but Riley manages to catch Liger with a pounce from behind. Manning’s back to stomp on Liger’s horn, while Konley chops Liger in the corner. A double clothesline puts both men down as this felt very paint-by-numbers and anticlimactic… Tags bring in Manning and X-Pac, as leg lariats knock down the Man Scout. Liger’s back in as he slaps through Zane Riley before he teases a brainbuster… only for it to be reversed.
A Shotei from Liger nearly gets the win, as the pin’s broken up so X-Pac can do his Bronco buster… a chokeslam from Helms followed, before Manning ate the brainbuster, and that’s your lot. Perfectly acceptable graps, but far too long – this should have been nothing more than the nostalgic greatest hits and very little else. **
Post-match, X-Pac and Helms put over Liger on what’d be his final WrestleCon.
You know, when you start half an hour late, I could really do without there being an interval…
Barbaro Cavernario vs. Dragon Lee
So, we’re watching this out of order, since the match wasn’t on the live feed thanks to streaming issues in the venue.
Dragon Lee started off hot with a dropkick and a tope suicida as Cavernario was taken outside… following up with a second tope suicida as they weren’t holding anything back here! Cavernario’s thrown back in, via the guard rails, before he was cornered for the Shibata-ish dropkick that got a near-fall.
Cavernario fought back, doing the Worm after he’d been slapped, before lifting Dragon Lee onto the apron and dropkicking him to the floor. More dives, you say? Why not… a tope through the ropes and turnbuckles that took Dragon Lee into the guard rails! Ow! An Irish whip sends Dragon Lee hurling into the front row, as they continued at a million miles an hour, with low dropkicks back inside getting a near-fall. Cavernario sets up Dragon Lee in the corner for a trapped lungblower for a two-count, before he found himself taken over as Dragon Lee fought back with Naito’s Combinacion Cabron dropkick. A butterfly backbreaker’s next as Dragon Lee looked to follow with a PK, but Cavernario catches it as the pair exchange strikes, leading to a rebound German suplex from Dragon Lee… and a dropkick from Cavernario to leave both men laying.
Dragon Lee turns it up with a sweet running ‘rana from the ring to the floor, as the crowd woke up once more, before another tope con giro took Dragon Lee into the front row and into a fan’s face. Back inside, a Last Ride powerbomb nearly ends it, but Cavernario turned up the pace with a suplex and a powerslam, before a Vader Bomb off the ropes led to a near-fall. On the outside, Cavernario pulls down Dragon Lee as he went for a springboard, before he broke up the barriers to create space as he went up top to… flatten Dragon Lee with a big splash off the top! Ow!
Both men make it back into the ring, thanks to the referee restarting the count when Cavernario got in first… and Cavernario tried to finish it with the La Cavernaria chinlock, only for Dragun Lee to make it to the ropes. The pace tears up from there as a Destroyer DDT, a Canadian Destroyer and a lariat left both men down. Back on their feet, Cavernario misses a splash in the corner, but matches to crotch Dragon Lee as he went up top… only to get shoved down as Lee caught him with a Del Rio double stomp for a near-fall. From there, a knee strike left Cavernario loopy, as a Desnucadora quickly followed for the win. A fantastic sprint, and one that left my jaw slack many times. Just a shame the wonky stream meant that I had to watch this after the fact! ****¼
Shane Strickland vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
This was meant to have been a surprise opponent for Sabre, but the visa issues meant that they announced this first-time singles match in advance.
Sabre pie-faces Strickland before the bell, which helped make for a more split crowd for this one. We start with Sabre taking Strickland down, but he can’t keep him on the mat as we had a stand-off. Zack tried to work over Strickland’s arm early, keeping the soon-to-be-moving on Strickland on the mat… only to get caught in a cross armbar as Strickland showed he wasn’t too far behind when it came to technical wrestling. Not to be outdone, Sabre clipped out and locked in a cravat, before he pulled down a leapfrog as the pair continued to flow from offence to defence with ease. Strickland works a toe hold as he contorted Sabre’s leg, before he tried to sting the Rev Pro champion with kicks and a Dragon screw.
Strickland tries to handstand into headscissors, but Sabre shoves it away as he began to slip into gear in search of a submission. A selection of chops from Strickland fell Sabre, including one to the quad, before he floated up top and rolled in for a cutter for a near-fall. Some uppercuts from Sabre sucker Strickland down to the mat as an arm twister left Strickland in agony on the mat. The pair resume by lighting each other up with strikes, with Strickland sweeping the leg to dump Zack to the mat, before another rolling Thunder cutter gets caught and turned into a triangle armbar that Strickland managed to powerbomb his way out of. A roll through left Sabre open for a heel kick for a near-fall, as PKs from Sabre left the former multi-time champion in the lead.
Sabre’s right back in with a half nelson suplex, only to get dumped with a rebound German from Strickland… who goes up top and finds his double stomp gets rolled through into a double armbar with a leg stretch for the verbal submission. Strickland goes out on his back after a nice technical match that was more like the human game of chess that they used to call wrestling. Sublime stuff from Sabre as he went into his Rev Pro defence at MSG with a win under his belt. ****
The crowd give “thank you Strickland” chants after the match… because, rumours.
SCU (Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian & Scorpio Sky) vs. Orange Cassidy & Best Friends (Chuck Taylor & Trent)
Daniels came out with a mic stand (and a live mic), which made me fear incoming Taichi, especially as Daniels sang a little before they teased leaving.
Instead, we got Orange Cassidy, Chuck Taylor and Trent for a wacky trios outing! You know the score, Orange has his hands in his pockets and evades Daniels early as Orange does the easiest of matches, based around doing stuff parents tell kids not to do. The referee puts Cassidy’s glasses back on as he broke free of a waistlock by… putting his hands back in his pockets. A hands free lucha roll and a kip up gets the crowd on their feet, before Trent and Kazarian tagged in to do some more orthodox stuff, trading near-falls on the way to a stand-off. They do a comedy spot where Kazarian and Trent swap sides, before he and Scorpio do the Rock/Hogan staredown, then a fingerpoke of doom for a two-count as everyone broke it up. Even Orange. Sort-of. The Best Friends combine for duelling fallaway slams, then duelling Razor’s Edges… but back body drops stop that as Trent’s taken into the corner for some dropkicks.
Cassidy throws in some sunglasses for Trent, who proceeded to low blow Daniels as Trent “couldn’t see where he was going” for some reason. Those glasses get thrown outside as Chuck Taylor comes in briefly, then Cassidy, as Chuckie and Trent double team Daniels, before Cassidy just falls on him for a two-count. More comedy follows as Trents given the sunglasses… then Chucky as we get some Cassidy-like low-effort cheating as the sunglass graps continued. Daniels gets a pair too as he and Cassidy exchange “chops”, which led to dizzying camera cuts before Cassidy celebrated. The referee’s unsighted as Daniels low blows him… I tune out as Chuck lands Sole Food on Kazarian, before taking a DDT as SCU rob Orange of his sunglasses. That fires him up a little, as a double ‘rana took down Daniels and Kazarian ahead of a double chokeslam.
Orange falls on Kaz from the top rope for a near-fall as a Parade of Moves broke out, ending with a double-team Ace Crusher as the Best Friends hugged before Trent looked for a Strong Zero… which turned into a Code Red after he got no held as SCU turn it around and picked up the win with a Best Meltzer Ever on Orange. I’m sure were it not well past 3am on a long show that had far too many breaks and delays I’d not be this grouchy, but another, long comedy match was the last thing I wanted to see at this point. **
Bandido vs. Will Ospreay
We’re finally at the main event, and this ought to be good… Ospreay charges out of the gates with a running Spanish fly, then a Sasuke special to the outside, before a shooting star press led to a near-fall in the opening minute.
Commentary teases that this could be rematched at the Best of the Super Juniors unless Ospreay creeps over into the heavyweight limit in New Japan. Bandido chops his way back into it before a pop-up uppercut dropped Ospreay hard ahead of another standing Spanish fly for a near-fall. Ospreay headed outside and took a Sasuke special as Bandido issues receipts for earlier, before he cracked into Will with a low dropkick back inside for another two-count. A stalling suplex has Ospreay hanging on the way to another two-count, before a series of knees from Bandido nearly knocked Will out through the ropes. A handspring enziguiri from Ospreay turns the tables, as did a springboard forearm and a Shibata-ish dropkick that found its mark for another delayed near-fall.
Another springboard forearm connects flush as Ospreay tried to rile up the silent crowd… especially as he went to try his finisher, only for Bandido to drop to a knee to block the Storm Breaker. Bandido responds with some elbows and a hook kick to drop Ospreay, ahead of a one-hand sit-out gorilla press slam for a near-fall. Another exchange of strikes breaks out as Ospreay was left woozy, but he’s able to snap back in with a Dragon suplex before a step-up enziguiri led to a Storm Breaker, that Bandido counters with an armdrag. Ospreay tries for a step-up ‘rana but that too gets countered into a massive powerbomb.
Bandido tries to get the win with a rebound German suplex, but Ospreay landed on his feet and eventually hit back with a Robinson special. The OsCutter’s countered out of the corner with a spiking reverse ‘rana for a near-fall, before Bandido went for something off the top rope… but Ospreay slips free and turns it into the Cheeky Nando’s kick. A baseball slide dropkick from Ospreay took Bandido into the front row… a front row that scatters because they know what’s next… a High Fly Flow into the crowd! Ospreay makes it back to the ring as Bandido barely beats the count, only to get caught with a missile dropkick to the side of the head, before a Storm Breaker was countered into a nice ‘rana for a near-fall!
Another OsCutter’s blocked as Bandido hits an inverted Go To Sleep to nearly win it, before Ospreay countered a rebound German into a Rainmaker… following in with an OsCutter for yet another near-fall, as the Storm Breaker finally landed for the win. Wow. Even in my tired, grumpy mind, this was a hell of a contest, and one that should set a nice benchmark if these two do get their expected rematch in New Japan. ****¼
There’s post-match promos as Ospreay thanks the crowd, while Bandido seemed to be beside himself for being in the main event on his “last indy show”. All in all, the WrestleCon Supershow was an entertaining card, but one that went way too long and thus felt like a slog to watch. Maybe it’s the late start, the interval, and the lost feed during one of the more anticipated matches… or perhaps it’s matches going long that really didn’t need to go long. Nostalgia matches, especially on Mania weekend, ought to be sprints, otherwise you risk burning out a crowd amid a long weekend of graps.