Squared Circle Expo IV “Parade of Champions” results: Vetter’s review of Nic Nemeth vs. Ultimo Dragon, Matt Riddle vs. Jake Omen for the NJPW TV Title, EC3 vs. Carson Drake for the NWA Title


By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)

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Squared Circle Expo IV “Parade of Champions”
Streamed on YouTube.com
March 30, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana at The Wyndham

This show streamed for free on YouTube as part of the Premier Wrestling Network. This is the same large convention center room that Black Label Pro used on Friday. Same setup as Friday, with the stage/entrance across from the hard camera. Attendance is again perhaps 700 or more. Joe Dombrowski and another man provided commentary.

* We open with a promoter bashing Matt Cardona, who wrestled here on Friday. He brought Nic Nemeth to the ring and handed him a “Squared Circle Expo” title belt. Nemeth got on the mic and he’s looking forward to defending it against Ultimo Dragon later. However, Jake Omen hit the ring and he’s apparently a former SCE champion.

1. Tre Lemar defeated VSK at 7:44. Lemar is a Black man with light brown tuft of hair at his forehead and he’s a good wrestler. Tre hit a springboard back elbow at 1:30 and a basement dropkick. They brawled to the floor and VSK whipped him into a guardrail. Back in the ring, VSK grounded Tre and was in charge. Tre dove through the ropes onto VSK at 5:30. In the ring, VSK hit a springboard crossbody block for a nearfall. VSK hit a backbreaker over his knee for a nearfall. VSK got a rollup with his feet on the ropes for a pin but the ref saw it and immediately waved it off. Tre then got a rollup but he grabbed the ropes for leverage to score the tainted pin! Fun opener.

2. “The Headbangers” Mosh, Thrasher, Kevin Thorn, and Heather Owens defeated Hooks, Matthew Taylor, Paul Hubris, and Haley Shadows in an eight-person tag at 7:32. Okay outside of the Headbangers and Thorn, I don’t know anyone else here. Shark Boy is our special guest referee! He wore his Austin 3:16-style vest. Thorn isn’t wearing makeup and his hair is actually reddish so he is completely unrecognizable. The Headbangers beat up Hubris, a bald guy, early on and chopped him in the corner. Thorn and Owens took turns chopping him too. (A commercial aired in the background which was really weird.)

Hooks looks like a Duck Dynasty biker with a long uncombed beard with white hair on the tips; he has to at least be 45. The heels worked over Thorn in their corner. Owens got the hot tag at 6:30 and she beat up all the men, then hit a standing neckbreaker on Haley. Everyone brawled to the floor again. Owens hit a stunner and pinned Haley. Acceptable; the Headbangers weren’t asked to do too much. Taylor barked at Shark Boy, so Shark Boy ‘bit’ him in the butt, and Owens hit a stunner on Taylor.

Val Capone joined commentary for the women’s matchup.

3. Steph De Lander defeated Arie Alexander at 5:42. Arie is blonde with curly long hair. As per usual, Steph has a clear height and overall size advantage, and she showed off her “women’s internet title,” and she vowed she is going to become the TNA women’s champion, too. She vowed she is leaving! As SDL left the ring, Arie kicked her and the picture froze for a few second. They got in the ring and the bell sounded at 0:30, and SDL was in charge. We lost the signal again. (Youtube is running; this isn’t a problem on my end!) The picture returned with SDL still in charge and she hit Arie in the head with a belt for the pin. Bell to bell officially is about 5:10, but with the youtube issues, at least a minute wasn’t shown.

4. Jack Vaughn defeated Luke Kurtis to become No. 1 contender for the OVW Title at 11:52. I have only watched a bit of OVW but these two are definitely in their upper card. Vaughn is bald with a handlebar mustache, somewhat like Dax Harwood. Kurtis is the southerner in plaid. They started leapfrogging over each other and that is just too cartoonish for me. Kurtis hit a crossbody block at 2:30 and he tossed Vaughn to the floor. Kurtis crotched Vaughn on the top rope and hit a clothesline at 5:00 as Vaughn was still straddling the rope.

Kurtis hit a top-rope flying knee for a nearfall at 6:30 and remained in charge. He applied a Fujiwara Armbar, but Vaughn reached the ropes at 9:30. Vaughn hit a Spinebuster for a nearfall. Vaughn hit a Mafia Kick for a nearfall at 11:30. Vaughn hit a decapitating clothesline for the pin. Not a bad match, but this did NOT convince me to start tuning into OVW every week.

5. TNA Digital Media Champion Crazzy Steve defeated Lord Crewe at 7:33. Crewe has had a handful of AEW matches; think an older Mark Briscoe with a bit of gray in his hair and long bushy beard. Steve had his TNA Digital Media Title belt. Standing switches, and Crewe rolled to the floor at 1:30 to regroup and yell at fans. In the ring, Steve hit a top-rope crossbody block at 6:00. He hit a second-rope leaping DDT for the pin. Not much to it.

6. “The New New Rockers” Al Snow & Kal Herro defeated Rhino & Heath (Slater) and “Soul Shooters” Apollo Starr & Dru Skillz in a three-way to win the SCX Tag Team titles at 11:47. The Soul Shooters are Black men I don’t know. The New Rockers are wearing the ugly black and green gear that Snow wore in WWF. Rhino and Heath are champs entering the match. The crowd chanted “He’s got kids!” at Heath, and the heel commentator remarked they should be grown up by now. The crowd then chanted “We want head!” so Snow headed to the back and returned seconds later with a mannequin head. (He clearly knew the chant was coming and had it right by the curtain!) Kal has had at least one AEW TV match; I saw him live in Milwaukee at a Dynamite. The bell did ring but no one has touched.

Snow and Heath locked up at 3:00 for our first contact. Dombrowski talked about the OVW popularity because of the Netflix series. (You wouldn’t know it by the utter lack of coverage of OVW on wrestling news websites!) Heath hit an Atomic Drop on Kal and he tagged in Rhino, so now we had an “ECW!” chant as Rhino worked over the scrawny youngster. Apollo (bald, probably near 50) tagged in and beat down Al. Herro got the hot tag at 8:30 and he hit some dropkick on the Soul Shooters.

Dombrowski said Kal told him his earliest childhood wrestling memory was being in the ring and doing the Worm with Scotty Too Hotty. (I believe Herro’s father was a promoter in WI.) Snow got the hot tag at 10:30 and he beat up the SS. He hit a Snow Plow on Starr for a nearfall. Heath got back in, but Snow clotheslined him to the floor. Kal tossed Head to Snow! He hit Skills with it, then Starr! Herro hit a top-rope frogsplash for the pin. The average age of the guys in the match (outside of Herro) has to be around 50. Rhino and Heath lose the belts without being pinned.

* The “Prime championship” belt was shown off and we are having a battle royal. The final two will have a regular match.

7. Ben Bishop won a battle royal at 7:17. The rules are this is a regular battle royal, but when it comes down to two men, it is a regular match. The entrants are: Justin Xavier, Ben Bishop, Savion, Antonio Bomani, Prima Donny, Tim Lutz, Nate Webb, Matt Diesel, Mance Warner, Colt Cabana, Sgt. Ledbetter. They last introduced Tommy Rich, who got a nice pop. Hey, I know Webb, Mance, Cabana and Rich!! Ledbetter wore a GI Joe-style shirt and he’s clearly trying to copy Sgt. Slaughter’s gimmick, and he got on the mic and ripped the others in the ring. The bell rang and Rich immediately threw out Ledbetter.

We were down to Cabana, Mance and Bishop, who is really tall. He has a very distinct jaw-line similar to Von Wagner, as he’s much bigger than everyone else. Mance and Bishop worked together to beat down Cabana. However, Mance got tossed out, leaving just Bishop and Cabana. Mance jumped back in and attacked Cabana, even though he had been eliminated. Bishop then pinned Cabana. The commentators wondered who could beat a man this big.

8. EC3 defeated Carson Drake to retain the NWA Title at 9:50. This was my first time seeing Drake, who is a young smarmy-looking kid with his short hair and good physique and overall cockiness. He’s like a young Miz. For those who remember him, he reminds me of young WWF heel Chris Nowinski. EC3 has three belts with him but only one was on the line and I’m not sure which one. EC3 clotheslined Drake to the floor at 2:00 and they brawled at ringside. (I looked up a picture of Nowinski and the resemblance is uncanny; if Chris were older I would believe Carson could be his son.)

In the ring, Carson stomped on him, choked him, and was in charge. He applied a Figure Four, but EC3 reversed it at 7:30. EC3 hit a low blow mule kick, then a low blow punt kick, then the snapmare driver to the mat for the tainted pin. This was heel-heel and it got the reaction you’d expect from it; the crowd didn’t cheer for either. Drake spit at EC3, so EC3 repeatedly hit him in the head with a title belt. He then went to commentary, shouted something but then he pie-faced Dombrowski, too, before heading to the back.

* Val Capone returned to the booth!

9. Matt Riddle vs. Jake Omen went to a time-limit draw at 15:00; Riddle retained the NJPW TV Title. We are reminded there is a 15-minute time limit. The crowd was hot before they locked up. They traded fast-paced mat reversals. Riddle applied a Triangle Choke at 4:30. Omen applied a Boston Crab, but Riddle reached the ropes. Omen hit a snap suplex and kept Riddle grounded. Riddle hit some roundhouse kicks to the chest at 6:30, then a German Suplex. He nailed an Exploder Suplex, then a senton for a nearfall at 8:00. Riddle hit a fisherman’s suplex. Omen hit a backbreaker over his knee and a suplex for a nearfall.

Omen hit a stiff kick to the spine. Riddle hit a Jackhammer powerslam for a nearfall at 11:00. Omen hit a top-rope superplex and they were both down. Omen tied up Riddle and cranked back on his head. Riddle hopped up and hit a running knee to the chin, then a top-rope corkscrew plancha for a believable neafall. Omen hit a Tombstone Piledriver for a nearfall. Omen hit a Shining Wizard for a nearfall at 13:00. They got up and traded chops. They traded rollups. Riddle hit another knee to the chin. Omen hit a Northern Lights Suplex with a bridge. Riddle applied a front guillotine choke and the bell rang right at 15:00. Omen was on the verge of tapping out but held on.

* Riddle got on the mic but you couldn’t hear him over the music. It finally stopped. Riddle said Omen is the first person who has taken him to a draw. They shook hands. A very good match. He then said, “always do as Randy does,” and he hit an RKO on Omen!

10. Freya the Slaya defeated Shawna Reed to retain the SCE Women’s Title at 8:27. Freya is taller and thicker and wore a blue one-piece. Reed is in a blue top and bottom. Freya hit a rolling cannonball at 2:00. Reed tied her in a Tarantula in the ropes. Freya hit a hard chop as Shawna was tied in the ropes at 4:30, then Freya slammed her back-first into the ring post. Shawna set up for a dive, but Freya cut her off with a forearm at 6:00, and she was in charge. Reed kissed Freya’s head and hit a Sister Abigail swinging face plant, a clear tribute to Bray Wyatt. Reed leapt off the ropes, but Freya caught her by the throat, hit a chokeslam, and scored the pin. Good action.

11. Nic Nemeth defeated Ultimo Dragon at 12:50. We got a “holy shit!” chant before the bell. Standing switches and good reversals early. Dragon knocked him down with a shoulder tackle at 3:30 and we got a “you still got it!” chant. He hit a Dragonscrew Legwhip and Nic was hobbled. Dragon applied a modified Figure Four and cranked on the ankle as well. Nic began working over Dragon, and he raked at the eyes and tugged on the mask. Nemeth hit an elbow drop with a cocky cover for a nearfall at 7:30, and he applied a rear-naked choke. The commentators talked about how Dragon has seemingly not aged at all.

Nemeth missed a top-rope elbow drop at 10:00 and they were both down. Dragon hit some kicks to the thighs and a spin kick. He set up for the Asai Moonsault, but Nic yanked him to the ground, and they brawled on the floor. In the ring, they traded rollups. Nemeth hit a super kick and a Danger Zone (zig-zag) for the clean pin. That was good stuff and it had the added special feeling of being a only-time-ever matchup.

Final Thoughts: I admittedly didn’t care much for the majority of the show but the top three matches saved it. I will go with the main event for best, again, largely because it was cool to see these veterans meet in the ring. Riddle-Omen was really good, and give them credit for having someone on the stopwatch and timing it out perfectly for that time-limit draw. I was satisfied with Reed-Freya for third, narrowly ahead of the VSK-Lemar opener.

But there was a lot not to like here. The battle royal competitors, outside of the handful of established names, were all clearly new. EC3 physically looks great but I just can’t get into his matches; they are just kept at a speed a step too slow for my tastes. Likewise, I’ve tried OVW — heck I try out a lot of promotions — and I just can’t get into it, and Vaughn-Kurtis won’t convince many people to tune in, either. While I’ve never attended a wrestling convention, this show had the usual mix of guys pop up (Headbangers, Tommy Rich, Al Snow, Kevin Thorn) that you would expect would appear there. None of them looked “great” but none of them embarrassed themselves, either.  If you tune in… check out the top four matches I’ve outlined. The rest is acceptable filler and depends on your willingness and patience for it.


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