Throwback Review: Brian Kendrick’s King Of Flight Tournament

Taking a look at Brian Kendrick’s King Of Flight tournament from March 24th, 2013 featuring Ricochet, the Young Bucks, Samuray Del Sol (Kalisto), and more.

Brian Kendrick’s King Of Flight really interested me on paper. These days in SoCal, PWG produces so many huge shows with top indy stars, while everyone else utilizes mostly local talent. Seeing a show in SoCal other than PWG put on a show loaded with this sort of talent is really cool. I wasn’t around the SoCal scene at the time as I got tired of wrestling at the time, so this is the first time I’ll be seeing this event. I’m already looking forward to watching this.

We start off with a music video set to “Ecstasy of Gold” highlighting the performers in the tournament. The footage looks like it was all taken from YouTube. I wonder if they had any of the legal rights for half the stuff in it?

Nigel McGuinness and G.Q. Money are on commentary and go over the card. These days they both work or WWE. Nigel is a commentator for NXT and 205. G.Q. Money (Ryan Katz) works behind the scenes at WWE. He’s come a very long way from playing a bootleg Alex DeLarge who raped hookers and having a “Raw Sewage” match in XPW. Hard to believe how much crazy shit that company use to do. I miss XPW.

Some lady walked onto the stage and gave a poorly read introduction in front of a video screen with police lights on it. You could see body silhouettes on the screen. The video operator looked as if he was playing Paul London’s entrance video on Quicktime Player. He came out and handed kazoos to fans in the crowd. Sadly he didn’t have enough for the whole crowd, and one section was shut out. What a start to this show.

First Round Match: Paul London vs. Samuray Del Sol

Samuray Del Sol is currently Kalisto in WWE where he still does his “Lucha! Lucha!” taunt. Nigel made a joke about Samuray Del Sol holding a record for mowing the most lawns in 24 hours. Get it? Cause he’s Mexican and that’s what we do. Har har. There was a lot of antics from London, but he balanced the comedy and seriousness throughout the match. It made for an entertaining match. Since he was the bigger of the two, London based for a lot of Samuray Del Sol’s offense. I never saw any of Samuray Del Sol’s independent work, and have only seen a few of his WWE matches where he is not utilized to the best of his abilities. Watching this match made me wish he could be showcased better as he had some fun spots. Samuray Del Sol got the win with the Rising Sun to advance.

This was a really fun match and a good opener. Good way to start the tournament.
Rating: **3/4

First Round Match: A.R. Fox vs. Nick Jackson

During my time as a non-wrestling fan, A.R. Fox was a name who got popular for being a flippy, athletic guy who did really crazy shit. Both guys did a bunch of choreographed spots to start the match. Did you expect anything else? As it went on, Nick slowed things down and worked a hold, man, to “work the crowd” and get the heat. Old school worker terminology speak to pop the marks, brother. After awhile, A.R. Fox busted out some high risk moves to evade Nick and land some offense of his own. The finishing stretch saw both guys countering most of their opponents’ moves before A.R. Fox got the win on a jackknife pin.

This was a decent sprint. Wasn’t really blown away by A.R. Fox. It was refreshing to not see Nick Jackson throwing a million Superkicks in a match though.
Rating: **1/2

First Round Match: Ricochet vs. Amazing Red

In the early 2000’s, Amazing Red was the Jack Evans, PAC, Ricochet, and Will Ospreay of his time. He was one of the first independent wrestlers to benefit greatly from online media after his TNA matches started spreading and a sequence he had with Low Ki in ROH known as the “Matrix Spot” went viral. Sadly, Red never got to the level he should’ve, as he got injured in 2004 and was never the same. I imagine if YouTube were around when Red was making his name, he would’ve been a bigger star.

While he’s had so many people surpass him over the years, Red was solid here. He even busted out a Shooting Star Press off the ring apron to Ricochet on the concrete floor. The match seemed to build up around spots while also telling a simple story of Ricochet trying to use his size and strength advantage over Red. There was a sequence where both guys exchanged lite kicks and standing shooting star presses. After that, Red got some offense in before he did a springboard dive that took out a fan in the front row.

Amazing Red destroys a fan with a dive.

When I saw that, I started laughing like Homer Simpson watching Hans Moleman get hit int he balls with a football.

The finishing stretch saw Red trying to fight back, with both guys exchanging near falls. At one point, Red hit a Code Red onto Ricochet off the ropes. Shortly after that, Ricochet hit a reverse hurricanrana off the top rope. Plus it was the longest match of the first round.

Ricochet hits a super reverse rana on Amazing Red.

The match itself was kinda sloppy and would’ve been better if it were more condensed, but that finish was really awesome.
Rating: **3/4

First Round Match: Rich Swann vs. Matt Jackson

Matt, along with his brother Nick, have created an empire. They’ve become huge stars in NJPW, have shirts being sold in Hot Topic, are great at getting Cease & Desist orders from WWE, made careers out of reusing popular wrestling stuff from 20 years ago, and are Dave Meltzer’s favorite tag team. Rich Swann went on to WWE where today he…well, let’s not talk about that here.

This started off with both guys doing moves and spots which was fun. Then Matt slowed things down, but didn’t work a hold brother. He was being heelish and working over Swann with basic offense, while Swann countered once in awhile. Of all the times to utilize psychology, this was not the event. I wanted matches full of nothing but nonsensical spots on this show. I feel like Past Matt Jackson sensed Current Time Me was getting pissed off at Past Him, as he speared Swann into the ramp and DDT’d him on it.

Swann would mount a comeback and hit a dive on Matt Jackson while some fan in the crowd was taking a selfie with some girl. Inside the ring, Swann started to do moves and the pace picked up. Both guys started to exchange moves in the finishing stretch before there was a ref bump with Rick Knox. This was followed by Nick Jackson coming out to push Matt out of the ring to change places with him. This backfired as Swann pinned Nick Jackson with a school boy.

Best finish ever. The match itself was okay though.
Rating: **1/4

Post match shenanigans: the Young Bucks attacked Knox until he hit a flying double clothesline on them.

Semi-Final Match: Samuray Del Sol vs. A.R. Fox

The opening sequence in this was full of fast paced counter-wrestling loaded with flips, rolls, and cartwheels. They also busted out some dives early on in the match where you could see the video projector on a chair next to the ring. Back inside the ring, Samuray Del Sol and A.R. Fox both exchanged springboard 450s that they both missed, which made for a cool spot. Moments later, A.R. Fox hit a Sliced Bread #2 on the ring apron, using the ring post to push his foot off. After that, he hit a springboard inward senton, and then landed a Springboard 450 inside the ring on Samuray Del Sol for a near fall.

Samuray Del Sol (Kalisto) with springboard reverse rana.

The finish sequence saw Samuray Del Sol hit the Rising Sun on A.R. Fox for a near fall. After that, Samuray Del Sol hit a springboard reverse rana on A.R. Fox to get the win and advance to the finals. This was a really fun spotfest. Both guys busted out some really cool shit here. The finish was also nuts.
Rating: ***1/4

Semi-Final Match: Ricochet vs. Rich Swann

Swann got the crowd into this by dancing around and playing to them. Aside from a few moments in the opening minutes, the start of the match had a slow pace to it. They eventually went out of the ring where Swann did a moonsault off the entrance stage. Once they were back in the ring, Swann did several moves, and then Ricochet mounted a comeback. Ricochet would eventually get the win with a 630 to advance to the finals. This was a fun match.
Rating: **3/4

Non-Tournament Match: Ryan J. Morals vs. Mr. Tanaka

This was a showcase featuring two of Brian Kendrick’s students. Mr. Tanaka controlled things early on, while Morals worked over the leg of Tanaka midway through the match. Tanaka kept selling the leg work. Eventually Morals won with a single leg crab in a boring match. There’s not much to write about here. I already said everything that needed to be said.
Rating: 3/4*

Brian Kendrick came to the ring and talked on the microphone. He thanked people for helping him with the show. Then Nigel and G.Q. Money talked about the finals.

Finals: Ricochet vs. Samuray Del Sol

During his entrance, Samuray Del Sol was selling being sore from his previous match. The match started with some brawling at ringside where Samuray Del Sol suplexed Ricochet onto the entrance ramp. Once they were back in the ring, they did a choreographed sequence that ended with Ricochet dropkicking Samuray Del Sol as he was doing a handstand. Both guys would counter each other’s offense, going move-for-move early in the match.

Eventually Ricochet slowed the match down and worked over Samuray Del Sol while playing to the crowd. Samuray Del Sol would mount a comeback that led to a forearm striking exchange. They would then do a bunch of counters before setting up a nutty sequence. The fans were really into the near falls during the final minutes of the match. They didn’t really seem to favor either guy, but they reacted to the spots and chanted “This is awesome!”

The finishing sequence saw Ricochet miss a 630, leading to Samuray Del Sol hitting a springboard reverse rana a few seconds later to win the tournament. This was a fun match. I feel like if I didn’t get tired of wrestling at the time, I would’ve been a fan of Samuray Del Sol.
Rating: ***3/4

From Brian Kendrick's King of Flight: Ricochet goes for a 630 on Samuray Del Sol (Kalisto) but misses.

Ricochet goes for a 630 on Samuray Del Sol (Kalisto) but misses.

Post match shenanigans: Brian Kendrick came out to award Samuray Del Sol a crown. Ricochet grabbed the crown and teased doing something with it, but he ended up giving it to Samuray Del Sol. Who didn’t see that coming? Samuray Del Sol celebrated his win as the fans chanted “Lucha! Lucha!”

Final Thoughts

This was a pretty entertaining show. Southern California has always had unique events, and this was one of the most unique events to ever take place in the area. Non-deathmatch style-based tournaments are rarely done, so a tournament full of high flyers was really cool to see. I wish this would’ve happened when I hadn’t stopped watching wrestling or during a time where independent wrestling was more popular the way it is now.

Right now this show is $4.99 on DVD over at Highspots.com. For that price, it’s worth picking up.

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