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WrestleCon US vs. The World results: Brian Cage vs. Masato Tanaka

From the heart of Midtown Manhattan, WrestleCon returned Friday morning with their US vs. The World show, available on Fite.tv.

Brian Pillman Jr. defeated Emil Sitoci

The Hilton Midtown crowd was small and scattered but enthusiastic from the start of the event. Excalibur was on commentary and mentioned most everyone was hungover from the festivities of the night before.

This was a decent match. Sitoci went after Pillman just after the bell rang. Pillman teased a pescado but used a mule kick instead. They brawled outside the ring. Pillman high kicked Sitoci against the guardrail until Sitoci was able to catch one of Pillman’s legs to shift the match back into the ring. Sitoci spent a few minutes continued working over the leg, but Pillman was later able to return the attack with a nice snap powerslam. 

They started trading high spots. Sitoci did a split-legged moonsault and then Pillman used a cross body block from the top rope that Sitoci reversed. Pillman won with a swinging cross-arm neckbreaker to put Team USA up 1-0.

MJF defeated Ethan Page

Page started singing “You Are My Sunshine” on the mic, the one MJF sang on the Rosie O’Donnell Show in the mid-90s. The video of this resurfaced on social media this week and they used it as the match plot. Page passed the microphone around to crowd members and tried to get everyone to sing a few lines of the tune and MJF sold it perfectly. 

In the ring, MJF mostly worked over Page’s arm and back with wear-you-down submissions as they bantered with each other and the crowd. There was more “Sunshine” singing, too. MJF won the match after using a piledriver and a lateral press with both feet on the ropes to put Team USA up 2-0. 

David Starr defeated Daga by submission

This was a solid match that was unfortunately quite short. These two apparently had their coffee this morning because they both kicked the match off at a rapid pace with lots of rope running and reversals. Daga used an elbow suicida to the floor early on, and afterward, used short burst flurries of low kicks and stomps inside the ring. Starr acted like he was knocked out after Daga used a pop-up Death Valley Driver.

The two teed off on each other with elbows and chops that woke the crowd up with the sound. Starr used a power bomb with a jackknife pin but couldn’t keep Daga’s shoulders down. He used a modified Texas Cloverleaf with armbar hold for the win to put Team USA up 3-0.

Black Taurus defeated Darby Allin

This was a visual spectacle, both in the case of the wrestling but also in just how unique both look and how distinct they are from ach other. Like the Starr vs. Daga match, though, this was also a bit too short.

After their initial lockup, Taurus shoved Allin into the corner and paintbrushed him hard in the mouth. A minute later, Taurus slapped Allin hard again. Taurus offered his hand and Allin used it as an opportunity to cradle Taurus into a La Magistral for two. At this point, things really kicked off.

Taurus’s agility is impressive; a power guy who can also move with fluidity, not unlike LA Park. He did some impressive rope-assisted flipping and arm-dragging in addition to some great looking power offense. Allin returned fire with his distinct punk lucha arsenal, including a tope suicida and a tornillo into the ring, both from the bottom rope. 

Allin used a Coffin Drop (a flying trust fall, essentially) to the floor onto Taurus, whose base was so solid that you could see Allin bounce off of Taurus’s body while his stayed in place. Taurus eventually won the match with a spinning fisherman’s buster, making the score Team USA 3, The World 1.

Jiro “Ikemen” Kuroshio defeated Rich Swann

For context, Kuroshio’s entrance gimmick in Japan is that he teases getting into the ring to the full tune of Masaharu Fukuyama’s “Hello”. Instead of his usual three-to-five minute version, he did an abridged version of the schtick that lasted about a minute. I’m not sure if the crowd fully caught on or not. He also looked into the camera and shouted “I’m Japanese!”

Swann danced through pretty much the entire venue before the match and wore his Impact X-Divison belt to the ring. 

They teased shaking each other’s hand for a while. This was a lot of comedy mixed with high flying. There were lots of thrust kicks from both wrestlers, and Ikemen did a huge tope con giro to the floor. He kept yelling “I’m Japanese!”, but this time in Japanese. He did a lot of “jacket punches" where he grabs his own jacket and throws punches.

I’m not sure if people got Ikemen or not. It seemed like the crowd wanted to like it but weren’t familiar enough with his gimmick. They were kind of quiet. Swann looked very good throughout this, but in the end, it was Ikemen who grabbed the win after a hammerlock powerslam followed by a picture-perfect moonsault to make the score USA 3, The World 2.

This was good but it felt like an exhibition match, and even more so of a showcase match for Ikemen as it was his first bout in the States.

The Rascalz (AR Fox, Zachary Wentz & Trey Miguel) defeated Australian Suicide, Adam Brooks & Robbie Eagles)

This was a USA vs Australia clash and once the Australian fans in the venue finished booing the Rascalz, the match was underway and never really let up in terms of pace. There seemed to be two guys running the ropes at all times. 

This was a lightning quick and crisp spotfest where everyone looked fantastic with nonstop innovative moves. The spot of the match was when Brooks dove over a corner post, landed on Miguel, and did a Canadian Destroyer onto the apron while almost falling onto the ground; Brooks had safely hooked his ankles to the bottom rope.

From here, Brooks went on a Destroyer-spree, and then the match turned into an insane dive festival with everyone involved. Eagles did a tope con giro through the ropes and landed on the announcer’s dad. Australian Suicide did a Shooting Star Press onto all five wrestlers from the top turnbuckle to the floor. 

The Rascalz won after a double team flying stomp finish to make the score Team USA 4, The World, 2.

A note about the crowd: They were completely silent unless they were cheering for spots, and which gave the feel of the match a weird flavor. This was a great match if this style is in your wheelhouse.

The Hart Foundation (Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Teddy Hart) defeated LAX (Santana & Ortiz) 

This was not a good match. Hart came out with his cat and both teams posed a lot before Hart Foundation jumped LAX, the hometown favorites, and the match got underway.

The teams brawled into the mostly quiet crowd at the start. DBS did the Bret Hart figure four around the ring post spot to Santana, but because he’s so much bigger than Bre,t it made it looked like he was absolutely crushing Sanata’s leg.

The Harts controlled much this. Hart did a springboard moonsault into an elbow drop, while DBS did the delayed vertical suplex his father used to do. 

At one point in the match, Santana put Hart into a sharpshooter. Smith came in moments later and the Foundation did a hip toss Canadian Destroyer for the abrupt victory. As I said, this had a strange energy about it. LAX didn’t do much. 

Ortiz got on the mic after the match and said “Someday, somehow, you will suck my d*ck.” Hart disregarded that and cut a babyface promo on the crowd thanking them for all they had to put up with to get to New York. He also thanked Mike at Highspots for putting the show on and mentioned how much money he spends which the announcers enjoyed. The crowd seemed to love this and chanted for Hart on his way out. Smith essentially said the same thing afterwards. 4-3 USA is the score going into the final two matches.

Puma King defeated Sammy Guevara

This wasn’t great, but it wasn’t terrible. It was comedy than anything peppered in with a couple big spots. They gave each other the finger a lot and said “f*ck you* a lot before they started, which turned into an underlying story of the match. 

Guevara did a cool corkscrew dive to the floor. Puma King did his own version of the delayed vertical suplex in this match and then politely plugged his Youtube vlog to the crowd which got a “Puma King” chant for this. Guevara then took the mic and claimed, in fact, his vlog was the best in wrestling. He was booed.

They did a few big-ish spots until Puma King landed a pendulum Liger Bomb for the win. Puma King got the crowd to yell “f*ck you” at Guevara one last time before the rather over feline victoriously walked to the back. The score is now 4-4, but they didn’t play this up much on commentary. 

Brian Cage defeated Masato Tanaka

I found it strange watching Tanaka walk out to hip hop music, but he did. He doesn’t look all that much different than he did in the late 1990s and possibly is even leaner now. 

Unlike the other matches on this card, there was zero messing around beforehand. Cage muscled Tanaka at the start of this, at one point curling him like a bar of weights.

Cage did his version of the delayed vertical suplex here and followed up with a standing moonsault. The story here was Tanaka was the underdog because of his size and did a terrific job at selling Cage’s offense and showed lots of intensity anytime he would throw strikes.

They exchanged loads of strikes and power moves at each other midway through. Tanaka later used the Sliding D and got a big reaction. Cage then used a power bomb, a buckle bomb and the Drill Claw (nèe Steiner Screwdriver) for the win.

The crowd politely chanted for Tanaka after the match and that was it. Team USA wins 5-4. 

**********

This wasn't the greatest show of the weekend but wasn't bad at all. One thing about dream match cards is that while they often look great on paper, it's often a crapshoot on how they’ll turn out because of the variables. The sleepy and most-likely jet lagged crowd somewhat sucked the energy out of the building. Allin vs Taurus was the show stealer for me although each match had a taste of a number of modern styles that most anyone would enjoy.