By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
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WrestleCon’s “USA vs. The World”
Streamed on FITE TV
April 2, 2022 in Dallas, Texas at WrestleCon
This event was held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 2. The venue was the ballroom with a high ceiling, and it hosted several shows over the weekend. The attendance was maybe 200, as I bet a lot of people were still waking up after the midnight shows (seriously). Other shows in this venue over the weekend were probably crowds in the 400 to 500 range.
Veda Scott and Ian Riccaboni were on commentary. They are a great pairing and quite knowledgeable and passionate. The ring announcer explained we have seven matches between competitors from the U.S. and the rest of the world.
1. “Rudo” Sam Adonis defeated Golden Dragon, Mr. Iguana and La Hiedra in a four-way to retain the Warrior Wrestling Lucha Title at 8:02. Adonis is the brother of Corey Graves; this blonde white man competes heavily in the Chicago-based Warrior Wrestling, has appeared on NWA recently, and competes in Mexico. Never seen the other three in this match before. Iguana wore green and crawled to the ring, and represented Mexico. La Hiedra is a masked woman from Mexico; neither announcer knew anything about her, and said that could be an advantage for her. Golden Dragon also is masked.
Adonis hit a DVD on Mr. Iguana for a nearfall. Golden Dragon hit a lungblower to the chest on Adonis. Hiedra unloaded some blows on Adonis, so he leveled her with a chop at 3:00 and the crowd booed. she hopped up and hit a low blow on him, and the crowd cheered. She hit a springboard splash to the floor on Adonis.
Golden Dragon hit a dropkick on La Hiedra. The crowd loved Mr. Iguana’s antics. Golden Dragon hit a sit-out powerbomb on Iguana at 7:00. Adonis kissed Hiedra, but then he punched her, knocking her to the mat! Adonis hit a top-rope 450 Splash for the pin. Fun lucha match with some comedy. USA 1, World 0.
2. Rachel Ellering defeated Jessica Troy at 14:55. I have never seen Troy before; she’s a red-head with average height and size, meaning that Rachel Ellering is much bigger, more muscular than her opponent. Troy tried to tie her up, but she couldn’t knock her down with shoulderblocks.
The crowd started chanting “This is awesome.” Troy hit a huracanrana at 3:30, and a flying double knees to the jaw for a nearfall. Ellering fired back with some hard chops that popped the crowd. Ellering hit a senton splash for a nearfall at 6:30; she’s not heavy, really, but she is much bigger than her tiny opponent, so that move looks devastating. Troy tried a punt kick (it came up well short, and Ellering didn’t sell it because it never came close to grazing her. I applaud the crowd for not mocking it.) Troy stomped on Ellering’s elbow and worked over the damaged left arm.
Troy went for a Triangle Choke, but Ellering powered out of it. Ellering lifted her in the air, hit a strike to the chest, and got a nearfall at 9:30. This is good stuff. They traded hard kicks. Troy applied a Fujiwara Armbar at 12:00 and Ellering nearly tapped out, but she finally got to the ropes. They fought to the floor, where Ellering hit a Russian legsweep into the ring apron. Ellering hit a Boss Man Slam for a believable nearfall and the crowd popped. Ellering sold her frustration. Troy got the Fujiwara Armbar back on. However, Ellering managed to escape, get a rollup, and the pin. This topped all expectations. USA was up 2-0.
3. Mike Bailey defeated Davey Richards at 15:36. Intense exchanges. Veda Scott (Bailey’s fiancee) said this was his sixth match of the weekend, and he was not fresh. Good stiff exchanges, with Bailey hitting a top rope moonsault to the floor at 7:00.
Bailey hit his moonsault double kneedrop on the ring apron at 11:00. Richards hit repeated headbutts in the corner, then a top-rope superplex, and both men were down at 12:30. They traded hard kicks. Richards caught him and applied an anklelock.
Richards hit a top-rope double stomp to the chest for a believable nearfall, then a brainbuster for another nearfall. Bailey fired back with some spin kicks to the chest. Bailey hit his top rope 450 kneedrop for the pin. Excellent, excellent match. USA up 2-1.
4. Arez, Aramis, and Aero Boy defeated Gringo Loco, Flip Gordon, and Kaleb with a K at 14:52. The crowd chanted “Lucha!” at the bell. I don’t know Aero Boy; he wore blue pants and a blue mask. He opened and traded offense with Gordon. Lucha rules, so this is going fast with. Gringo Loco showed off great quickness against Aramis. Kaleb then squared off with Arez. Aero Boy hit a superkick on Gordon at 6:30.
Team USA worked over Aramis. Team USA applied three simultaneous submission holds on their opponents at 9:00. Arez nailed a top-rope doublestomp on Kaleb for a nearfall. Team USA hit a series of top-rope moves on Arez. Kaleb hit a top-rope twisting dive to the floor. Everyone took turns hitting dives to the floor, with Aramis hitting an impressive springboard moonsault at 13:30. In the ring, Team Mexico hit simultaneous slams and pinned all three USA members. Exactly what you’d expect here. All six held hands and posed to cheers. The series was tied 2-2.
5. Bandido & Extreme Tiger defeated Anthony Henry & JD Drake (the Workhorsemen) at 16:31. Extreme Tiger, who I don’t know, replaced Rey Horus. Tiger wore green pants and green mask. This is an interesting clash of styles. The announcers admitted they also didn’t know him well. Extreme Tiger and Henry opened up with basic reversals. Bandido and Drake entered at 3:30. Bandido tried shoulder tackles but Drake didn’t budge.
Bandido made hand motions, making it clear he wanted Drake to try some lucha moves. Drake did a summersault and a few quicker-paced moves and the crowd chanted “lucha!” at him Drake then hit a hurricanrana on Bandido and the crowd went nuts!! This was fun. Drake got angry and started unloading some hard chops. He did his spot where he tossed Extreme Tiger against the ropes then hit a hard punch. Team USA worked over Extreme Tiger in the ring. Drake hit some deafening chops at 8:30.
Drake missed a Vader Bomb at 11:00, and Bandido finally made the hot tag and cleared the ring. He hit a top-rope corkscrew splash on both. Cool move. He hit a huracanrana on Drake, then a flip dive to the floor on both opponents. Bandido hit a Shining Wizard on Henry for a nearfall at 13:00. Drake hit a double lariat on Team Mexico., and a running senton bomb on Extreme Tiger, then a rolling tumbleweed in the corner.
Henry hit a German Suplex on Bandido, and Drake immediately hit a spinebuster. Henry hit a top-rope double stomp on Bandido for a believable nearfall, but Extreme Tiger made the save. Bandido hit a pop-up stunner on Henry. Drake went to the corner, but Bandido caught him and hit a Gorilla Press Slam, then the 21-Plex on Drake, for the pin. This was really, really good stuff. Team World was up 3-2.
6. Calvin Tankman defeated Big Damo (f/k/a Killian Dain) at 8:54. Damo not only shaved his head bald, he wore Irish green trunks and is just unrecognizable from his former persona. With all that body hair, he is looking a lot like A-Train. I love Tankman’s matches; he’s been a mainstay on MLW the past two years. This is going to be a fight.
We opened with shoulder tackles and no one going down. They brawled on the floor with stiff shots and chops. (Unfortunately, the rows of empty seats are a distraction. Those seats were filled for the Thursday and Friday shows). Damo controlled the action in the ring. Veda Scott pointed out how rare it is for Tankman to be overpowered like this. Tankman hit a body slam, then he splashed him for a nearfall at 6:30. Damo fired back with a crossbody block, and they were both down.
They traded stiff blows. Damo missed a Vader Bomb. Tankman suddenly got him up, hit the sit-out piledriver, and scored the pin. Good hoss fight; this didn’t need to be longer, as they got a lot of offense in. They shook hands afterward. The series was tied 3-3 entering the final match.
7. Michael Oku defeated Rich Swann to retain the Rev Pro Title at 19:33. If you haven’t seen Oku, he is a slender Black guy, who had a tremendous match against Will Ospreay recently. Right on cue, Veda Scott brought up the Ospreay match. Handshake to start, then they go into rapid-fire dropkicks and reversals, then the stand-off, and the crowd cheered.
They slowed it down with some mat reversals, and they are working a good main-event style match. They brawled to the floor at 8:00, with Swann in charge. He nailed a running Mafia Kick to Oku’s jaw that popped the crowd.
In the ring, Oku hit a DDT, then a top-rope missile dropkick for a nearfall at 11:30. “If you didn’t know Michael Oku before, you know him now,” Veda Scott said. Swann hit a splash for a nearfall. This crowd is hot. Oku nailed a running dropkick in the corner, then an impressive springboard moonsault for a nearfall. Oku applied a half-crab, but Swann reached the ropes at 14:00.
Oku hit a backward flip over the ropes to the floor. Swann hit a moonsault from the ring apron to the floor, and they were both down. In the ring, Swann hit a superkick for a believable nearfall at 16:30. Both Riccobani and Veda overestimated how long the match had been going; point being, these guys looked drained. They traded stiff punches; these looked good. Oku hit an enzuigri, then a top-rope frogsplash with great height on it, for a nearfall. Oku applied a half-crab, sat down hard on the leg, and Swann tapped out. They shook hands and the crowd applauded. The World won 4-3.
Final Thoughts: Another really fun show that was certainly overlooked among all the other events going on over the weekend. However, this went up against NXT’s “Stand & Deliver,” and attendance was lower than I am sure everyone wanted here. The Richards-Bailey match was fantastic, just fantastic. Oku-Swann also was outstanding.
It was great to see Flip Gordon, as I haven’t seen him compete since ROH’s Final Battle in December. I’m really disappointed he didn’t get a spot somewhere on the ROH show 15 or so hours earlier. Kaleb does so much comedy in Impact Wrestling that you forget how good he can be in the ring. No offense to Henry, but Drake just shines so brightly in that team. For a guy so big and hits so hard, he kept up with both lucha guys the whole match.
I hadn’t seen a lot of these guys yet over the weekend, as I presume Arez, Aramis, and Richards were booked on the MLW shows. This was a top-notch show.