Super Dragon vs. Rising Son: 15 Years Later

Author’s note: I wanted to write more about this match and what the scene was like at the time, but because of personal reasons I couldn’t put as much time into this article as I would’ve wanted to. In the end, I felt it was more important to get it out on the day of the 15th anniversary of the match rather than trying to write some amazing column.

April 21, 2001 is an important date in Southern California wrestling history.

On that night, the Los Angeles Xtreme defeated the San Francisco Demons at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to win the first and only XFL Million Dollar Game to become the only champions of Vince McMahon’s short-lived professional football league.

Also on that night just two miles away from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Xtreme Pro Wrestling would make their debut at the legendary Grand Olympic Auditorium with a show called Scene Of The Crime, a reference to the infamous moment that took place in that same building less than a year before where XPW talent were involved in an incident at ECW’s debut in Los Angeles at the Grand Olympic Auditorium.

During ECW’s Heatwave 2000’s main event that featured Justin Credible defending the ECW World Championship against Tommy Dreamer in front of a live pay-per-view audience, XPW talent sitting front row, as well as staff and fans in attendance with XPW shirts on were told to turn them inside out by security. During the main event, a verbal altercation broke out at ringside between XPW wrestlers sitting in the front row and Justin Credible’s valet Francine, with chaos breaking out when some XPW wrestlers tried to turn their shirts inside out, causing the ECW locker room to rush out to ringside to attack the XPW talent in the front row. This would end up snowballing into something that’s been written and talked about plenty of times before.

Fast forward to the spring of 2001. The wrestling landscape had just changed dramatically weeks before XPW’s debut event at the Grand Olympic Auditorium. ECW had gone bankrupt and Time Warner had just sold World Championship Wrestling to Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Federation. In the weeks leading up to their debut event at the Olympic, XPW would advertise the return of Shane Douglas and the promotional debut of Konnan at the event. Both wrestlers would eventually be pulled from the show as they were still under contact Time Warner.

Steve Bryant, who wrote a review of the event for SoCalUncensored.com in 2001, mentioned the issues leading up to the event and the booking changes made to the show.

“When I went to the Grand Olympic my expectations for XPW on this night were not very high. The last show had been good enough to get XPW ranked number one for the month of March, yet still my expectations were not up there. Why? I realized that XPW’s plans had to be changed in about a weeks time. They had plans on using Shane Douglas, Konnan, and who knows who else. Those plans had to be scrapped because of WCW. Knowing this, I figured the show wouldn’t be on par with last months show. The show might not be the best SoCal show of the month again. Unfortunately it was worse than that.”

At Scene Of The Crime, Sabu defended the XPW World Championship against The Messiah in a Steel Cage match in the main event, while the undercard saw Vic Grimes defeat Supreme, and Kaos going over Steve Rizzano. The response to the show overall was pretty negative. In the 2nd edition of Steve Bryant’s “Steve’s View” on April 27th, 2001, Steve would write the following about the feedback to the event.

“The response for XPW’s “The Scene of the Crime” hasn’t been very good for XPW. Pretty much all opinion on the show has been negative. The show is what some people are calling XPW’s worst show ever. I understand they had some no-shows and had to do some on the fly booking, but its still no excuse for the show. I won’t beat a dead horse more than I allready have, so I’ll stop here.”

Despite the overall negative reviews the show would receive, there was one match that stood out, and would eventually change the landscape of the Southern California scene shortly after.

Rising Son, entering the ring to Powerman 5000’s “When Worlds Collide” to start the show, would face Super Dragon, who was accompanied at ringside by Excalibur. Some fans in the crowd didn’t know what to expect. Some were chanting “Power Rangers” at the masked wrestlers during the beginning of the match. Little did those fans know, these two would end up stealing the show and win over a lot of new fans in attendance.

“The show started out with Rising Son taking on Super Dragon. These are two of the best workers in SoCal,” wrote Steve Bryant in his review of the event for SoCalUncensored.com in 2001, “and they showed why. They put on one hell of a match, and one of the loudest pops of the night was when Super Dragon hit the Psycho Driver.”

Later, the match would air on XPW’s weekly TV series that aired on KJLA and be seen by thousands of fans, exposing a new audience to a style of wrestling in Southern California that only a very few people at the time were aware of.

A month later, at XPW’s Redemption, Super Dragon & Excalibur would team up to face Rising Son & Ultra Taro Jr. in a match that would get even more praise and fanfare after it was featured on the nationally distributed home video release of the event.

That match would end up being the last match Rising Son and Ultra Taro Jr. (later known as TARO) would have in XPW. Super Dragon and Excalibur made one last appearance in XPW later that year in November when Super Dragon, accompanied to the ring by Excalibur, faced Disco Machine, who was accompanied to the ring by the American Wild Child.

There are a lot of people in the Southern California wrestling scene that wouldn’t be around today had it not been for those matches. It’s hard to tell what kind of area the Southern California scene would be if Super Dragon and Rising Son hadn’t opened the show at “Scene Of The Crime” on this day 15 years ago. It changed the landscape of SoCal wrestling forever. Without it, a lot of fans probably wouldn’t have been exposed to Revolution Pro‘s style and its workers, which ended up boosting the popularity of Super Dragon, which would ultimately lead to the creation Pro Wrestling Guerrilla a few years later and all the things that happened in between.

15 years later, the impact of that opening match at XPW’s “Scene Of The Crime” is still felt today.

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