Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over ten years now and have reviewed over 5,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net, starting today. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Date: April 4, 2019
Location: New York Hilton Midtown, New York City, New York
Commentators: Excalibur, Kevin Kelly
This might be my favorite show of the year and I’ve been looking forward to seeing it again. The idea here is you don’t know most of the card coming in, with just Will Ospreay vs. Bandido in the main event being announced. A lot of wrestlers from Dragon Gate were announced but visa situations have kept them off the show. That leaves some openings on the card and I’m curious to see what we get. Let’s get to it.
We get a YOUR EVENT WILL BEGIN SHORTLY graphic for twelve minutes until the ring announcer says we’re waiting on something from the athletic commission and an ambulance to arrive.
Here’s your WrestleCon Ambassador for the evening: Road Warrior Animal (without facepaint), who goes straight for the LOD chant. He can’t do this job by himself so he introduces….RIC FLAIR, which is quite the surprise. Good thing he’s healed from that Batista beating. Excalibur: “If anyone knows how to fill time.” Flair talks about the places he’s been in New York, including an affair with Leona Helmsley. He says this is a fraternity and puts over the Road Warriors as great competitors. One night in Philadelphia they painted Dusty Rhodes’ face and it was a riot on the way to the ring.
WrestleCon is a great place and there was a time when nobody wanted 200 wrestlers in a hotel. Animal: “There weren’t enough tickets to ride Space Mountain.” Flair has another reason to be here and mentions Sunday night being more important than anything he ever accomplished. The tears are flowing and thankfully the fans don’t boo the WWE reference. This is every bit as big as Hogan slamming Andre and he couldn’t be prouder. Thank you for everything and make sure to come see him tomorrow.
Back to the YOUR EVENT WILL BEGIN SHORTLY graphic.
The widow of Mark Hitchcock, an illustrator who world for WrestleCon died on his honeymoon, thanks the crowd for remembering him.
We’re ready to go 27 minutes late.
Eddie Kingston vs. Masato Tanaka
Tanaka is a former ECW World Champion and might look better now than he did twenty years ago. They go technical to start until Eddie takes him into the corner for a hard chop. Tanaka’s famous elbow sends Eddie outside to hold his jaw, as he should be doing. Back in and Tanaka hammers down right hands before a crossbody gets two. A running STO drops Tanaka and it’s back to the chops.
Tanaka’s tornado DDT works on the second attempt but a spinning Rock Bottom drops him again. Eddie loads up a superplex but gets reversed into Diamond Dust (a flipping Stunner out of the corner, a personal favorite). A frog splash gets two on Kingston and it’s time for the required chop off. Tanaka’s elbows and forearms get the better of it and the Roaring Elbow sets up the Sliding D (sliding elbow) finishes Kingston at 7:18.
Rating: C. This was your “I hit you hard and you hit me hard) match of the night, as WrestleCon is often a show built around doing a little bit of everything. Tanaka still looks awesome and I’m not surprised to see that he can still do something like this. Kingston is hit or miss at best, but having him do something like this fits him well.
Post match Kingston says that this was his dream match after seventeen years and thanks Tanaka in Japanese.
The announcers would love to break down the next match but they don’t know what it is.
Here are the Lucha Bros for the match but before their opponents come out, Fenix thanks the fans and says they’re the best tag team in the universe. They’re here because they’re open to face any tag team and pretty soon, they’ll be facing the other brother tag team. He means the Young Bucks, who are scared of the Lucha Bros and won’t be here tonight. Pentagon swears in Spanish a big (Kelly: “NO TRANSLATION REQUIRED!”) and the fans chant it after him. Since they don’t have a team to face, they can just fight each other.
Pentagon Jr. vs. Rey Fenix
Pentagon goes straight for the rollup to start but gets sent outside for the suicide dive. Back in Pentagon hits the Alberto Del Rio double stomp and yells at the referee for only counting two. Fenix kicks him in the face but walks into the Pentagon Driver for two more. The fans chant for the team, as they should given that it’s a good match so far.
Pentagon gets tied in the ropes and it’s a rope walk kick to the face as only Fenix can do. A Canadian Destroyer gives Fenix two more but he takes too much time rolling forward and gets superkicked in the face. Pentagon one ups him with a middle rope Canadian Destroyer but Fenix is right back up to catch him on top and it’s a super Spanish Fly to finish Pentagon at 6:56.
Rating: B. Oh man that’s it? Maybe they’re running short on time or something but this should have been at least another ten minutes if you wanted to do it justice. These two are as hot as anyone could be at the moment and that’s been the case for well over a year now. I hope they get a big chance in AEW (they will) and maybe even WWE one day. This needed to be more but for what it was, it was really good.
Puma King/Samantha Heights/DJZ/Tajiri vs. Sammy Guevara/LAX/Diamante
This could be…..I have no idea actually. I’ve never heard of Samantha but that’s a common occurrence around here. Tajiri always looks weird without a mustache. Puma just laying on the middle rope for all of the entrances is a rather unique visual. DJZ is ready for Guevara’s cheap shot and let’s hit that horn noise. Puma King comes in and kicks Sammy out but it’s off to Santana for a good moonsault.
Since it’s lucha rules, the fans get to see Tajiri with Kelly talking about how easy of a time Tajiri should have with all of the language issues in the match. The kicks have Puma King in trouble and it’s off to Diamante, who gets a handshake and kneel from Tajiri before he starts chopping her. A Stunner gets Diamante out of trouble and it’s off to Heights, who hits a Sliced Bread.
Ortiz comes in and runs Samantha over before shouting SUCK THESE. I’m not going near that one so I’ll go to Ortiz blocking a monkey flip and turning it into a faceplant. DJZ comes back in and flips forward into a clothesline to send Ortiz outside. Santana comes in with a superkick as everything breaks down. It’s back to Sammy for a jumping knee to the DJZ’s face and LAX adds a double flapjack.
Sammy can’t get over for a tag (Kelly: “Joey Ryan will charge you $30 for that!”) and Diamante gets two off a splash. Sammy does his fireman’s carry squats into a running shooting star press gets two on DJZ with Samantha coming in for the save. DJZ comes back with the always stupid stop of throwing partners into each other and making one DDT another.
That’s enough for a hot tag to Puma King to clean house and a big dive to the floor hits Santana. That sets off the parade of dives with the women hitting stereo dives. Tajiri is left alone in the ring but Ortiz cuts off his dive to become the biggest heel in the match. Ortiz tries a hiptoss but gets misted while in the air (cool), setting up the Buzzsaw Kick to give Tajiri the pin at 12:02.
Rating: C+. For a random assortment of eight people into a match with no connection between the teams, I liked it. That’s the kind of thing you get at these shows and it’s one of the most fun parts. Sometimes you just need to go out there and have some wrestling with a bunch of people having a match and that’s what we got here. It’s a WrestleCon tradition and one of their better ones so well done given the people in there.
Arez vs. Flamita vs. Robbie Eagles
Eagles is Bullet Club (and yes it’s still a thing) and billed as the Sniper of the Sky. Arez gets sent outside early on and it’s a flip off between Flamita and Eagles. Flamita kicks Arez in the head but he rolls forward into a dive outside onto Eagles. Back in and Arez drops a top rope elbow on Flamita, meaning it’s time to yell at the referee for counting slowly. A standing Spanish Fly gives Flamita two on Eagles but a superplex is countered.
Instead Arez tries to climb onto Flamita’s back so Eagles dives with a high crossbody, which is countered into a Spanish Fly (or something, as it was far from a clean landing). Arez takes off his jacket so Flamita can chop him even harder because wrestling is weird. Sliced Bread drops Eagles who DDTs Flamita at the same time and they’re all down. Flamita is up first and missile dropkicks both of them down, setting up a moonsault out to the floor to drop Arez again. Back in and Flamita misses a 450, allowing Eagles to hit one of his own on Arez for the pin at 6:54.
Rating: C. Arez didn’t get to show off very much while Flamita looked like the awesome high flier that he is and Eagles came off as a well rounded star. I can see why he got the win here and he looked like someone who belonged on a stage like this. It was a bunch of spots and that’s all it was supposed to be here.
Revolt vs. Hurricane/X-Pac/Jushin Thunder Liger
See what I mean about these random teams that make the show fun? Revolt (Caleb Konley, Jake Manning, Zane Riley) are mainstays around this show and have been a big deal in PWX from Charlotte. X-Pac is in the standard gear, though with NWO logos on the legs. After the place comes unglued for Liger, X-Pac puts him over as a legend on his retirement tour. Liger and Konley start things off with a battle of poses to the crowd. After being backed into the corner, Konley gets pulled down into the surfboard and you know the fans are going to love that.
It’s off to Riley (300+lb) to face X-Pac, meaning it’s a HALL OF FAMER chant. Riley wants a test of strength but is told to suck it instead. The rapid fire legdrops have Riley in trouble but it’s too early for the Bronco Buster. Manning (he likes scouting) and Hurricane come in for a handshake and a 3 COUNT chant, meaning the fans are cultured. The danceoff begins but the good guys join hands and flip Manning off (well not Liger, who just can’t do it).
The Hurricane pose sends Manning down onto the mat and he needs a timeout to check the scouting manual. It’s enough for a cheap shot to Hurricane and Konley comes in, only to have the heroes get together for a triple suplex. Hurricane gets caught in the wrong corner though and the heat is on. Riley’s choke doesn’t get him very far so it’s already back to Manning, who gets caught with the Eye of the Hurricane.
Liger comes in for the palm strikes but a distraction lets Riley run him over. Konley and Liger hit a double clothesline and it’s off to X-Pac to clean house. The spin kicks abound and it’s back to Liger, who tries to suplex Riley for some reason. Everything breaks down and it’s the palm strike to Manning with a Bronco Buster to Riley. Hurricane chokeslams Konley and the brainbuster finishes Manning at 13:37.
Rating: C+. Am I supposed to criticize this somehow? I was never an X-Pac fan but this was a blast and exactly what it should have been, even with a little more time than it probably should have gotten. With Liger retiring, he deserves to get whatever matches he wants to have and it’s a special treat to get to see someone who has been wrestling longer than I’ve been alive and still looked great. Hurricane and X-Pac were rather good as well, making this quite the entertaining match.
Post match Hurricane and X-Pac pay tribute to Liger again, as they should.
So apparently power to the Fite.TV stream went down during the intermission and we missed Dragon Lee vs. Cavernario. Dragon Lee won and if it’s on the replay, I’ll watch it later and edit it in.
Shane Strickland vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
Well if you insist. They go at each others’ legs to start and it’s Sabre taking him down for the first of what will likely be many leglocks. Strickland escapes and puts on another hold of his own before tying Strickland up in something like an STF. A cravate keeps Strickland in trouble but he comes back with a dragon screw legwhip but a gutbuster cuts Strickland down again.
Bored of the leg, Sabre switches up to the arm and gets in the required stomp to the raised arm. He even stands on Strickland’s head because Sabre is that big of a jerk. The overly cocky kicks to the head tick Strickland off (as they do to everyone) and it’s time for Sabre to tell him to chop. A big one to the leg takes Sabre down because Strickland was smart enough to know an armbar was coming.
The 619 to the ribs sets up the rolling cutter but Sabre is right back with another crank on the arm to take over. Strickland has had it with the shots to the face and tries another rolling cutter, but this time it’s pulled into the cross armbreaker. A triangle choke has Strickland in trouble until he powerbombs his way to freedom. Strickland grabs him by the nose (come on man) and kicks Sabre in the chest again.
A YES Kick knocks Sabre silly but he’s fine enough for a half and half suplex onto Strickland’s head. The head isn’t that damaged though as he hits a rolling German suplex. The Swerve Stomp is countered into the Rings of Saturn with Sabre’s legs and Sabre grabs a half crab for a bonus and the submission at 16:39.
Rating: B. My goodness Sabre is fun to watch. The guy can do whatever he wants in the ring and makes it look easy because he’s just that talented. Daniel Bryan was drooling over him during the Cruiserweight Classic and Sabre has gotten so much better since thin. Strickland is as smooth of a performer as you’re going to get in wrestling these days and it’s no surprise that he’s going to WWE.
Post match Strickland gets the sendoff because he’s NXT bound.
Here’s So Cal Uncensored before their match. Scorpio Sky does his thing about how he hates the town, which I still don’t quite get. Daniels praises the fans and says they want to be the top trio (which he sings for some reason) so let’s see what happens when it’s California love with a New York state of mind.
So Cal Uncensored vs. Orange Cassidy/Best Friends
For some reason Trent and Chuck Taylor are dressed as Scott Hall when he jumped the barricade. Daniels starts with Cassidy, who does his hands in the pockets deal. Kazarian gives Daniels some advice as Daniels has no idea what to do as Cassidy keeps walking around him. Daniels wants him to fight and takes Cassidy’s hand out of his pocket…which Cassidy just puts back in to a huge reaction.
Cassidy takes both hands out of his pockets and then puts them back in so Daniels grabs a headlock to knock off the sunglasses. The waistlock is countered as Cassidy puts his hands in his pockets and dances out, allowing him to chill on the mat. Cassidy runs the ropes, dropkicks Daniels down, and nips up, all without taking his hands out of his pockets. Trent comes in (Cassidy still doesn’t move his hands as he gets out, but one does come out on the apron) and chops Kazarian, who is rather confused.
Kazarian continues to be frustrated as Trent just stands there….so let’s switch teams. Trent is now part of SCU and Kazarian puts on the vest. It’s off to Sky to face Kazarian and it’s the New Age Outlaws cover with Sky trying a quick cover off a poke to the chest (the Fingerpoke of Doom was a singles match so it’s a completely different thing you see). That’s broken up and the Best Friends hit stereo fall away slams.
Double Razor’s Edges are countered with double backdrops and it’s Trent caught in the corner for a slingshot dropkick. Chuck gets in a cheap shot from the apron so Daniels knocks him down but the distraction lets Trent get in a low blow. Now it’s Chuck coming in for forearms to the back and it’s Cassidy coming in for a walk across the ring into a near hug, which is called a clothesline.
Cassidy walks around so slowly that the Best Friends both get in a few shots before Cassidy even bothers to cover. It’s back to Trent for an abdominal stretch and Cassidy puts glasses on Chuck, who slowly extends his arm for the cheating. So it’s the slacker Too Cool and Rikishi. Daniels puts the glasses on as well and it’s a slow energy fight with Cassidy. A big chop is teased but Daniels goes with a low blow so it’s off to Kazarian to take over and slap on a Figure Four to Trent.
A Backstabber hits Chuck and it’s an assisted tornado DDT on Trent, leaving Cassidy on his own. Daniels KNOCKS CASSIDY’S GLASSES OFF and it’s on in a hurry with Cassidy slugging away and hitting a double hurricanrana on Kazarian and Sky. A good looking double chokeslam takes them down again and Cassidy puts the glasses back on. That means going up top for a fall (intentional) onto Kazarian for two. The Best Friends come in to clean house again and we hit that hug. SCU has had it with this nonsense (of which they have been a part) and it’s the Best Meltzer Ever for the pin on Cassidy at 18:21.
Rating: C+. This one is going to entirely depend on your taste but my issue was it ran too long. That and you really have Cassidy take the pin here? He’s the most popular non-Liger guy on the show and you have him lose instead of say, Trent? His gimmick is fine for this kind of a show, but he’s not going to be able to do much beyond this because it’s a goofy comedy bit. That being said, this is the perfect show for something like that and it was more than good enough here. Cut off some of the time and it’s better, but it was fine for what it was. It’s just not for everyone and that’s fine.
Everyone hugs but Cassidy won’t take his hands out of his pockets for the post.
Will Ospreay vs. Bandido
Bell, Spanish Fly, Space Flying Tiger Drop, shooting star press for two on Bandido, we hit the thirty second mark. Bandido is back up with Swiss Death of all things, followed by a standing backflip World’s Strongest Slam to send Ospreay to the floor. A huge flip dive takes Ospreay down again and Bandido sticks the landing. That’s only good for two back inside and a delayed vertical suplex, including a squat, is good for the same on Ospreay.
The chops take Bandido right back down but he’s right back with the surfboard as an homage to Liger. That’s broken up so Ospreay hits a handspring into a kick to the head to put Bandido down again. A 619 over the top rope hits Bandido in the mask and it’s a delayed basement dropkick in the corner. Pip Pip Cheerio keeps Bandido in trouble and Ospreay swears a lot.
Bandido must not be a fan of swearing (attaboy) so he comes back with a one handed sitout gorilla press slam (egads man) to cut Ospreay off. Ospreay wants him to bring it and they strike it out until Ospreay snaps off a low angle dragon suplex. Stormbreaker is countered with an armdrag and a pop up powerbomb drops Ospreay again. The Robinson Special puts Bandido down again but he gets caught with a reverse hurricanrana off the middle rope (that’s a new one) for another near fall.
Ospreay fights out of something on top and hits the Cheeky Nandos kick before knocking Bandido over the barricade. You know where this is going and it’s the huge crossbody to the floor to send Bandido into the third row. Back in and a missile dropkick to the back of the head sets up Stormbreaker but Bandido reverses into a hurricanrana for two. The Oscutter is countered into a knee to the face for another two and Bandido can’t believe it. Ospreay is right back up with a Rainmaker into the Oscutter and Stormbreaker finishes Bandido at 16:51.
Rating: B+. This was exactly what it was advertised as being: two of the best high fliers in the world doing insane spots to each other for a long time. Ospreay is on another level for someone his size and Bandido is certainly no slouch in everything he does. Great match here and worthy of a main event, even though you could tell the fans were spent.
Post match Ospreay counts the money the fans throw out (Ospreay: “Four dollars! Two Cokes!” Kelly: “Not in New York City.”) and praises Bandido. Anyone who knows him knows that his mental health problems have been worse than ever recently but wrestling is the best therapy you can have. All he has is raw natural ability and they just created an art form. Ospreay thanks everyone and bows to Bandido, who speaks some Spanish who says in his last indy show, he’s in the main event. One more thank you wraps us up.
Overall Rating: B. As usual, this is the show where you put your feet up and have a good time watching wrestling because it’s all about seeing what you’re getting and just having a lot of fun. You get all kinds of people coming out of nowhere and having one great match after another. It’s a blast of a show with some excellent matches and a little bit of everything for everyone. Have a good time with it and enjoy what wrestling can be.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. Get the latest and greatest in professional wrestling news by signing up for our daily email newsletter. Just look below for “GET EXCLUSIVE UPDATES” to sign up. Thank you for reading!