We’re back in mid-town Manhattan as the WrestleCon action resumed, this time with a US vs. the World themed show as the convention made the most of the roster on hand.
The Hilton’s not as packed as last night, and we’ve got the pairing of Excalibur and Dan Barry on commentary.
Emil Sitoci vs. Brian Pillman Jr.
Pillman takes a while to appear as Sitoci seemed annoyed that nobody was there to take his ring jacket. Or maybe it’s his gimmick?
Anyway, Emil starts off by charging Pillman into the corner, before he began to work over Pillman’s wrist. There’s an escape as Pillman took Sitoci onto the apron, dropkicking him to the floor before he had to avoid a swing from Sitoci as they ended up on the outside. A meaty chop sent Sitoci into the crowd barriers, before a series of kicks backfires as Sitoci threw Pillman’s leg into the railings. Back inside, Sitoci works over Pillman’s knee, following in with a toe hold that morphed into a Figure Four, but Pillman manages to drag himself to the ropes. Chops follow as Pillman landed a crossbody for a two-count, then a clothesline as Pillman was still suffering the side-effects of the Figure Four.
A scoop slam’s next for a near-fall on Sitoci, but Emil’s right back with a split-legged moonsault for a two-count. Pillman shoves off a superplex and goes flying again, only for Sitoci to roll through the crossbody for a near-fall. A backslide is rolled through as Pillman came back with a knee strike, before a neckbreaker gets Pillman the win. This was fine as an opener, but very pedestrian as they eased the crowd into another day of the wrestling. I don’t think this crowd were too familiar with Sitoci or his new gimmick, which also didn’t help. **¾
MJF vs. Ethan Page
MJF doesn’t cut a promo before the match, as Ethan Page gets the mic to sing at MJF. Troll Boy for life, eh?
The crowd sing “you are my sunshine” into a live mic as Page put a beating to MJF, which popped me a little they settled down into a brawl around ringside. Page chops the ring post, before MJF worked those fingers into the turnbuckle irons as he found the obvious body part to work on. The crowd keeps singing as Page acts as a conductor, which just riles up MJF as he looked to work a cheating armbar, grabbing the ropes for extra leverage. The ref kicks away the arm as Page mounted a comeback, chopping away on MJF ahead of a suplex as Dan Barry gave us an insight into just what he browses for on X-rated sites. In the end though, MJF’s able to put away Page with the slingshot piledriver – complete with feet on the ropes. This was just a glimpse into what they could do, as they seemed to fill time doing the comedy shtick instead. **¾
David Starr vs. Daga
Starr’s back in a relatively unfamiliar role of crowd-pleaser, and we start with rope running as Daga leaps over Starr, before the Product fell to a lucha armdrag and a series of pinning attempts ahead of a stand-off.
A dropkick caught Starr unawares, as did a ‘rana, sending Starr outside for an elbow suicida, following back in as Starr caught Daga with the Pretty Pumped. A cartwheel kick clocks Daga for a near-fall, before a strike exchange led to Starr getting tripped and stomped on. There’s a reverse thrust kick to the head for a near-fall by Daga, before a wheelbarrow roll-up from Starr nearly ended things. Starr keeps going for roll-ups before a Blackheart Buster dumped Daga awkwardly for a near-fall… before he ran into a superkick. The recoil gave Starr enough momentum for a Han Stansen, only for Daga to reply with a death valley driver as both men crumbled to the mat. Back on their feet, they exchange forearms as Tassilo Jung tried to bob along like he was watching a tennis match… only for Daga to catch Starr with a ‘rana for another near-fall.
A German suplex follows as Daga keeps up the momentum, but Starr responds with a Cherry Mint DDT and a Han Stansen, before a rolling powerbomb got a near-fall. Daga did get the shoulder up, even if it was awkward, as Starr then trapped Daga with an Edgucator – the Republican Remorse, in Starr’s lexicon – for the win. A fun sprint and a joy to watch. ****
Speaking of “a joy to watch”, I totally dig David Starr keeping up his beef with wXw’s Tassilo Jung here. Small details matter, and he gets them…
The US is 3-0 up… that’s a mauling so far.
Darby Allin vs. Black Taurus
Speaking of maulings…
Taurus was eager to get going as he scraped his hooves in the mat while Darby just sat in the corner, non-plussed like a modern-day Raven. A slap from Taurus sends Allin outside, but he returns with a La Magistral before a wristlock got reversed by Taurus, who charges through him, only to get taken outside with a lucha armdrag from Allin. Darby stick sand moves as he hit a tope suicida, going head first a la Ralph Wiggum into Taurus on the outside. Back inside, Taurus is all over Allin with clotheslines before a Shining Wizard lands flush for a near-fall. A Coffin Drop from Allin is next as he didn’t stay too far out of contention, rushing in with a Code Red for another two-count.
Taurus responds with a Rainmaker and some kicks, before he just paintbrushes Darby with palm strikes. Darby just throws Taurus outside as a monkey flip was blocked, allowing Allin to fly in off the top with a Coffin Drop the floor… but it doesn’t give him too much longer as Taurus came in and landed the win with a spinning Michinoku driver. A hell of a beating, but Darby was game for this – and this worked as both men brought their best here. ***½
Jiro Ikemen vs. Rich Swann
Ikemen’s entrance goes on for a while, much to the annoyance of Tas, and we finally get going once Swann’s done a lap of the room.
A headlock finally gives us some graps as referee Tas looked to be getting progressively more annoyed, before they exchanged shoulder tackles. They head outside as Ikemen took another shot to the face, before he headed under the ring to avoid a dive from Swann, capitalising as he hit a tope con giro of his own. Back inside, Jiro DDT’s the leg, which did enough damage as Swann had trouble running in an Irish whip. Although the other leg was good enough to roundhouse Jiro seconds later ahead of a cannonball senton to the outside. Swann returns with a big frog splash to nearly win it, before another hook kick caught Jiro ahead of a leaping ‘rana off the rop.
Swann clocks Ikemen with a step-up backheel to the head for a two-count, as the pair remained evenly-matched. Kicks go back and forth as Swann ended up flipping back onto his bad leg, opening him up for a Figure Four which quickly ended in the ropes. A hammerlock slam’s next from Jiro for a near-fall, before he headed up top for a moonsault… and that’s all! Pretty decent stuff, despite threatening to go a little too long, but Jiro worked over the leg and that played into the finish, so a thumbs up there! ***¼
The Rascalz (Dezmond Xavier, Zachary Wentz & Trey Miguel) vs. Australian Suicide, Adam Brooks & Robbie Eagles
It’s been a while since I’ve seen Adam Brooks – since he unceremoniously cut short his stay in the UK for one reason or another.
“I think the crowd’s racist” – Excalibur after the crowd booed Xavier for the Hacksaw Jim Duggan “hoo” spot…
We finally got going with Brooks and Miguel, with the latter using headscissors and a stomp early on. Robbie Eagles comes in for a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it series, before Wentz took him down with a tornillo, while Australian Suicide came alive with a tieras into some headscissors. Some rope walking followed as an arm drag takes Wentz outside, only for Suicide to eat a dropkick from Xavier as the lucha rules kept the match flowing. Brooks kicks away a handspring from Xavier before a slingshot Destroyer to the apron, then another one back in the ring popped commentary. What on earth?! Another one out of the corner completes the hattrick to the Rascalz, ahead of a Meteora onto Xavier on the apron as Eagles flew into the second row with a tope con giro!
Brooks nearly crashes and burns on a Space Flying Tiger drop as topes con giro continue to terrorise the front row. Suicide keeps going with a shooting star press off the top to the pile on the floor, before a springboard Destroyer followed up back inside. This is insane and beautiful stuff, like Xavier’s backflip Pele kick to Suicide, before he ended up taking a backpack driver from Eagles for a near-fall. More dives keep the action flowing as Suicide ends up trapped for a Cheeky Nando’s, before he’s swept into a stomp-assisted Burning Hammer for the win. Maybe a little too spotty for some, but this was insanity, and I loved every second of this. ***¾
LAX (Santana & Ortiz) vs. Hart Foundation (Teddy Hart & Davey Boy Smith Jr.)
Teddy brought his cat!
Once Teddy was done scaring Mr. Money, we start with a lot of playing to the crowd from both sides, before Teddy started to put the boots to Ortiz in the ring. They spill outside pretty quickly as Santana had his legs wrapped around the ropes, while Ortiz took a suplex in the aisle as the Hart Foundation were comfortably ahead. Back inside, Teddy lands a Quebrada elbow drop, then a regular Quebrada for a near-fall, before a stalling suplex from Davey Boy dropped Ortiz for a near-fall. Teddy’s back with kicks to pin Ortiz by the ropes, before Teddy started to get wound up at only getting a two-count out of it all.
Teddy comes back with a Rings of Saturn/crossface variant as the crowd chanted for… yeah, let’s not go there. Santana distracts the ref inadvertently as Smith choked out Ortiz with his boot, but finally Ortiz rolled free and made the tag out to Santana, who cleared house with superkicks. Smith gets sent outside as Santana teases as Sharpshooter on Hart, but Smith broke it up with a chop block to the knee as Hart returned with a hiptoss Destroyer… and that’s all. A very flat, out of nowhere finish to a match that never really got going for me. ***¼
Sammy Guevara vs. Puma King
There’s some shenanigans before the match as Puma offered a handshake, and psyched out Guevara with it. There’s a lot of flipped birds here, before we broke into action with lucha roll throughs and the like.
Sammy flips out of a ‘rana before duelling kip ups led to middle fingers, then duelling head kicks as I wish they’d stuck to flipping each other off. A Sasuke special from Guevara took out Puma King, as he landed on a handily-placed chair at ringside, before he springboarded back into the ring… wedgie and all. Some hair pulling from Puma King led to a stalling suplex as he sent the blood rushing to Guevara’s head, eventually dropping him before Puma got the mic for a mid-match promo. Guevara gets one back so he can plug his own YouTube, and when the action resumes, Guevara moonsaults into Puma on the outside.
Guevara, for some reason, gropes the ref as he hunted for something… but he’s able to get his head back in the game with a top rope ‘rana for a near-fall, before Puma stopped Guevara out of nowhere with a powerbomb. Another fun outing, albeit a little heavy on shtick in the middle, and this NYC crowd is very obsessed with fellatio. ***
Brian Cage vs. Masato Tanaka
Conveniently, the US vs. the World series was tied up at 4-4 going into this main event… and for some reason, WrestleCon didn’t have Tanaka’s classic music. Again.
Commentary tries to paint Cage as a modern-day Mike Awesome, as he caught a crossbody from Tanaka early… and used the former ECW star for curls before a standing fallway slam sent him flying. A front suplex from Tanaka’s caught as Cage runs in with a knee instead, then a series of clotheslines as he pinned Tanaka into the corner for an eventual two-count. Tanaka’s held up for a stalling suplex – one handed and all – as Cage followed up with a standing moonsault for a near-fall. An Irish whip took Tanaka into the corner, but he’s able to fight back with a tornado DDT, then a regular one as Cage tries to snuff out the comeback. There’s a discus lariat from Tanaka as he kept on building up momentum, but Cage manages to hit back with a deadlift superplex from the apron in – something that looked like it popped a board or two on the impact.
A buckle bomb is next, but Tanaka manages to trip Cage back into the corner for a Diamond Dust… following up with a brainbuster that dumped Cage something stupid for a two-count. Tanaka heads up top, but his frog splash lands in Cage’s knees, before a deadlift German flung the Japanese star ahead of a death valley driver for another near-fall. Tanaka slips out of a F5 and begins to come back with elbows, only for a discus lariat from Cage to leave them both on the mat. Back and forth elbows ensue before a sliding D from Tanaka almost took the win… but Cage kicks out and responded with a clothesline from his knees before some repeated powerbombs and a Drill Claw got the win. Nice and hard hitting as Brian Cage sealed the win for the US team. ***½
US vs. The World was a fun show that started with some entertaining sprints and then threatened to derail towards the end with that LAX/Harts match. Nothing here was bad, and as a starter show for a busy day of wrestling, I can’t recommend this enough.