EDDIE KINGSTON vs. MASATO TANAKA - 6/10
Excalibur did a good job of putting over the rarity of Kingston showing Tanaka respect at the beginning of the match. They did their usual strong-style working the head, a fighting spirit spot or two… exactly what you’d expect from these two. It was a fine way to start the show, but nothing close to anything you need to go out of your way to see.
PENTA EL 0M vs. REY FENIX - 6.75/10
There was a bit of a story with Penta having Fenix scouted, but really this was just a whole bunch of spots. The fans were perfectly happy to just make a bunch of noise instead of caring who won or lost, so they ate it up. This was nothing you haven’t seen from these guys a million times before in just about every other random match they’re in.
LUCHA RULES TAG TEAM MATCH:
Tajiri, DJ Z, Puma King, & Samantha Heights vs. Sammy Guevara & LAX (Santana, Ortiz, & Diamante) - 6.75/10
I know others have made this observation before, but it really is creepy how much old fat-faced Tajiri looks like a Japanese version of his former tag team partner William Regal. This was a fun, fast-paced eight-person tag that built to one hell of a finish that I’m not going to spoil.
ROBBIE EAGLES vs. FALMITA vs. AREZ - 7/10
This was a crazy seven-minute spot-fest that was outstanding for the time it got. Full disclosure: I watched the first two matches, then the top four, and am now going back to finish these other three. That means I’ve seen A LOT of highspots so far tonight. This match had the most innovative ones, and yet also never felt like it was anything but a sporting competition. Being a three-way definitely helped with the feeling of freshness and innovation, but these guys definitely made an effort to limit their three-way spots, but make the few they did very cool and to make them count.
HURRICANE HELMS, JUSHIN “THUNDER” LIGER, & X-PAC vs. REVOLT! (Caleb Konley, Zane Reilly, & Jake Manning) - 4.25/10
Kevin Kelly told us that Jake Manning “knows all of the rules of professional wrestling.” He then, for evidence, told us a story of a time that Jake Manning corrected him on a rule. Said story was that Kevin Kelly once called a sleeper hold a sleeper hold but Manning insisted that the proper name of the move was the Weaver Lock. THAT’S NOT A RULE, KEVIN!
In our other “Kevin Kelly annoys BRM” story of this match, Kevin Kelly got all over Chris Roberts’ case for not seeing any of the heels’ cheating. I’d usually be pretty happy to hear an announcer actually getting upset that heels are cheating, but Kevin Kelly routinely compliments referees for not enforcing the rules because G-d forbid the match should end in a count-out or a DQ, so I find it ridiculous for him to get so angry at a referee for not seeing a rules violation when if the referee did see the rules violation, Kevin would commend him for not punishing the offenders.
The match was the predictable gaga until Liger got tagged in and was an awesome babyface for a bit, then all of the old guys hit their signature moves and their team got the win when Liger pinned Manning.
DRAGON LEE vs. BARBARO CAVERNARIO - 7.25/10
I giggled at Cavernario coming out dressed as Fred Flintstone. They did lots of crazy spots. Dragon Lee accidentally kicked a fan in the face on a dive. Dragon Lee won even though he really should have lost the match because at one point the referee was counting them out and Cavernario got back into the ring at eight… and the referee just randomly restarted the count. Kevin Kelly claimed that his was “referee’s discretion,” which is utterly ridiculous. Can you imagine what would happen if in an NFL game a referee saw that the play-clock had ticked down to five but the offensive team was still in their huddle, so the referee ordered the play-clock restarted because he/she didn’t want to see a delay of game penalty called at that moment? There would be f*cking riots. Why does Kevin Kelly constantly excuse this idiotic behavior? Just say the referee screwed up because he sucks at his job and move on. It’s not like you’d be lying, and having a referee who screws up a basic call is actually less kayfabe-damaging then pretending that there is a rule that lets the referee ignore whatever rules he or she wants because to see a “clean finish.” It doesn’t matter if no one cheats and you get a pinfall in the middle of the ring: If the referee had to ignore a rule to get to that point, it’s a not a clean finish!
ZACK SABRE JR. vs. SHANE STRICKLAND - 9/10
Zack worked the arm… and Strickland hung with him on the mat and worked over Zack’s arm with equal prowess. Fantastic storytelling, lots of emotion, and one hell of an exciting match with a brilliant finish. Even Kevin Kelly was great here (Excalibur was great, too, but he’s usually great. Kevin Kelly… not so much). How did people not come out of WrestleMania weekend talking about this match?
SOCAL UNCENSORED vs. BEST FRIENDS & ORANGE CASSIDY - No rating, meh comedy match. If you like Orange Cassidy and Best Friends’ style of comedy, you’ll like this. If you like comedy matches that still at least try to pretend that there is a competition going on here rather than a wacky comedy show, you won’t.
WILL OSPREAY vs. BANDIDO - 8.5/10
This was a series of big spots put together in a logical and enjoyable order, but it certainly was not the MOTYC it had been talked up as. On commentary Excalibur crowed about it being a dream match, but it didn’t feel like it delivered to that dream match level in terms of giving us the flips or the storytelling of one guy wanting to prove himself, it didn’t have the epic nearfalls… it was a match that was a jack of all trades, but a master of none. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t awesome, but it certainly wasn’t outstanding.
RIC FLAIR AND ROAD WARRIOR ANIMAL TALK A LOT - A pointless segment that felt like it only existed to mollify Flair’s ego so that he could be in the main event spot.
This was a GREAT show from the WrestleCon people. Everything but the old guys’ match was solid at worst, the show was very easy to sit through and a lot of fun to watch, and we got two excellent matches towards the top of card. Strickland vs. Sabre is definitely worth going out of your way to see both because of the quality of the match and the fact that Strickland signing with WWE and Zack working for New Japan means it will likely be the only singles match these two ever have when both are in their prime (they’ve had one tag match in wXw and AAW, in 2016 and 2017 respectively).