Mark Hitchcock Memorial Wrestlecon Supershow
March 30, 2023
We’re in LA at the Globe Theatre. This is one I missed early doors and couldn’t go back to early because they uploaded it with a part missing. Highspots, relevant as always. Commentary comes from Ian Riccaboni and Veda Scott.
PROMO TIME: Mick Foley
He talks about Wrestlecon and what a great weekend Mania is before segueing to a tribute to one our own; wrestling superfan Mark Hitchcock, for whom the show is named.
Blake Christian vs. Michael Oku
It’s bizarre that Oku got flown out and was only on two shows. In the crowd at GCW’s For the Culture. I don’t get it. Amira is out here in Oku’s corner. That’s his girlfriend. This is a nice smooth match between two guys who don’t have the kind of looks you’d ideally want on a pro wrestler. Blake’s look is forgettable. Oku is still too lightweight. He at least needs to get bigger in the leg department if he wants to make his strikes look effective. For someone who rapidly improved in BritWres he seems to be stagnating somewhat. Springboard 450 Splash wins it for Blake. This was fine. As a ‘hot opener’ it didn’t land. Blake looks better than he was a year ago. Oku, the same.
KENTA & Bryan Keith vs. Christopher Daniels & Tom Lawlor
Special guest enforcer? Ken Shamrock! This is surprisingly boring. Daniels is finished. KENTA is in horrible shape. It’s a sad, nostalgia driven match. It’s really long with lots of rest holds. The only interesting thing, storyline wise, is Lawlor both antagonising and running away from KENTA. They can’t seem to figure out who’s working heel. They finally get around to Daniels bumping the ref to save Lawlor. The muted cheers show how long they’ve gone before getting around to doing something interesting. Shamrock has to jump in there and KENTA rolls Lawlor up for the pin. Jesus, this fucking stank. One of the worst matches of the weekend.
Negro Casas vs. Ultimo Dragon
Combined age = 119 years. Ultimo hasn’t had a good match in about a decade. Negro Casas is older than him. Pre-match Chris Jericho sends a video in to put over both wrestlers. They do great basic stuff here and make it feel important. Casas’ selling on the Mexican Surfboard is grand. Putting the match on after that boring tag match doesn’t help but they are famous enough to draw the fans in by doing very little. After Casas takes a ridiculous bump to the floor off the ropes, Dragon is able to put Casas away with the Dragon Sleeper. Two old fellas having a wrestle for old times sake. Like watching two pissed up pensioners swinging at each other in the Wetherspoons car park on a Boxing Day lunch gone wrong.
Arez, Laredo Kid & Latigo vs. Aramis, Rey Horus & Galeno del Mal
GDM only debuted in 2019 and I’ve not seen them wrestle. Pandemic wrestlers are such a blind spot to me now. He’s only on this show and Dark Arts, who ran on Wednesday. He’s a huge fucker. Twice the thickness of everyone else. While the rest of the lads do cool, slick lucha stuff, he just runs everyone ever. Not to be outdone, the rudos demonstrate their chopping ability. It’s just a really fun match. The only issue GDM has is selling. He’s a bit awkward because he’s so big. He’s great at everything else. The finish here is fucking stunning. GDM takes down Laredo Kid while Aramis and Horus hit dives. Lovely, lovely lucha libre. ****
Hikari Noa, Miu Watanabe, Nao Kakuta, Raku & Rika Tatsumi vs. Hyper Misao, Mizuki, Shoko Nakajima, Yuki Aino & Yuki Kamifuku
The attacks on Misao in the corner are a prime demonstration of the range of abilities in this thing. It’s a showcase, designed to introduce the crowd to the range of gimmicks that TJPW have. Miu’s double scoop slam is the first move to really pop the crowd. She follows this with the double giant swing. Immediately over! The wrestlers who are good look good; Tatsumi, Shoko, Mizuki. The ones that are more gimmick heavy get the gimmicks over. Kakuta is the only one who doesn’t stand out on her team with Aino and Kamifuku also being a bit anonymous. Mizuki beats Raku with the double stomp. A good showcase match that helped introduce fans to TJPW and their assorted talents. ***¼
Mike Bailey vs. Shigehiro Irie
Bailey worked 3 matches before today, none of which were streamed. Which means Bailey is on match #5 here of #9 this weekend. He’s wrestled Kota Ibushi before this match and will face Hiroshi Tanahashi before the night is out. That’s quite the trifecta of Japanese talents. This mass of matches means something has to give and he’s barely in this. He plays the hits. Irie happy to just take it and then get his shit in afterwards. The match is wall to wall spots. Bailey kicks out of the Beast Bomber so Irie elbows him into oblivion. Short and rushed.
Time Machine (Alex Shelley, Chris Sabin & KUSHIDA) vs. United Empire (Aussie Open & Jeff Cobb)
This is a slight mismatch; putting three heavyweights against three cruiserweights. Davis in particular has trouble bumping for the smaller men, although Cobb struggles too. So, while I like everyone in the match, I don’t think they click as opponents. Even though their own tag team continuity is excellent. It does pick up, although generally when United Empire are in charge and Aussie Open can run through their spots. It does feel, like the last match, that one team gets their shit in then the other team does. Machine Guns were known for their ‘match breaks down’ stuff and as with most of their matches, there’s a severe lack of tags. Sabin ends up getting picked off for the Fidget Spinner and the Aussies pick up the win. This was fine but not to my tastes. I need structure in my tag team matches. ***
AAA Mega Championship
El Hijo del Vikingo (c) vs. Komander vs. Black Taurus
Vikingo and Komander killed it on the ROH undercard the following night with a very spot heavy opener. Where this feels different is having Taurus as a heel foil for the other two and their flippity behaviour. There’s a spot where Vikingo and Komander walk, together, into the middle of the rope and hit a double moonsault onto Taurus. You can hear a fan yell “get the fuck outta here” in the set up. As with the ROH match, Vikingo does crazy stuff but he takes so long over the set up (I understand this shit is hard) that it takes me out of the actual move when it happens. At least Komander’s spots make more sense as he rope walks past one dude to jump onto the other one. The crowd are going insane watching this though. They’ve blown the crowd away. 630 Splash puts Black Taurus away. I personally think Vikingo is the least talented of these three but his offence is so incredible that gets away with it. Like RVD in ECW. People always remember him when guys like Jerry Lynn were the better wrestlers. Despite Vikingo’s frequent pausing ahead of big spots (same as ROH), they blew the crowd away here. ****¼
Intriguing to note the blowaway performances on this show were all from luchadores. It’s going to be a golden age for them in years to come. WWE hasn’t shown that much interest in pillaging Mexico for talent and the production line continues to produce talents from down there. After we’d gotten past a few dodgy undercard matches this show was really cool.