Written by: Bob Colling
USA Pro presents End Of An Era
From: New York, NY
Just a note before I get into this. A lot of the people on this show are local guys or guys that didn’t do anything in the world of wrestling. So, unless there is a name here that surprises me, expect most of the undercard matches to get a brief comment, which is the usual with USA Pro shows during this era. We’ve got fifteen matches to deal with here…
This would be the last show the company held at the famous Elks Lodge in Queens, NY.
Opening Contest: Tommy Trouble vs. Fred Sampson: Sampson would actually go on to be known as Darren Young in the WWE. He’s completely bald but has a good physique. Tommy Trouble is a scrawny guy and both guys are playing like they are heels. Sampson shows off his power driving Trouble to the canvas with a flapjack but Trouble quickly came back with a swinging neck breaker. Trouble kept his advantage with a dropkick as Sampson came off the ropes. Sampson runs the ropes a few times and plants Trouble with a good looking power slam. Trouble quickly came back with a running bulldog for a two count. Trouble hit a heel kick but Sampson comes back with a tilt a whirl sit out power slam, which was cool, and gets the three count. (**3/4. They went for about six minutes and this was a lot of fun to kick off the show. They played to the strengths of Sampson and Trouble did well with his speed and quick offense.)
Second Contest: Elks Lodge Memorial Battle Royal: This is apparently an open invitation battle royal to be the king of the elks. Apparently one of the guys in the match was named Poppalicious and he won the match pinning Ken Scampi at the end.
Third Contest: The Solution (Havok & Papadon) vs. Christopher Street Connection (Mace & Buff-E): Scott Dickinson, the referee from WCW, is officiating on this show, which is kind of neat. The Christopher Street Connection got a huge pop when they came out. Of course, Mace and Buff-E do some homosexual actions to freak out the Solution and get a pop from the crowd. Papadon works over Mace in the corner with some chops, but Mace is able to fight back with overhand chops of his own. Papadon delivers a standing double knee strike and tags out to Havok. Havok plants Mace with a spine buster but only manages a two count as Buff broke up the pin attempt. Papadon tags back in and chokes Mace on the canvas for a few moments. Mace takes Papadon over with a sunset flip but Papadon gets out to clothesline Mace. Havok elbows Mace and Papadon hit a back suplex allowing Havok to deliver a senton splash. Mace takes Havok over with an overhead suplex and tries to tag in Buff but fails. Mace kicks Havok and tags in Buff this time and Papadon gets tagged in as well. Buff is working on both members of the Solution. Buff is ramming Papadon face first into Mace’s groin in the corner groin first and Mace acts like he likes it. Mace hit a top rope elbow drop but the referee isn’t in position. Buff nails Havok with a weapon and the same for Papadon leading to a pin fall. (**. Well, it’s mostly comedy by the CSC but in-between that there was some decent action provided.)
Fourth Contest: Los Lunatics vs. Envy, Jimmy Hustler & Rob Fury vs. Trailer Park Trash vs. The Elm Street Kids: Another example of guys that are local wrestlers who didn’t go on to become anything of note. Los Lunatics won the match after a triple team wheelbarrow face buster.
Fifth Contest: Prince Nana vs. Mike Tobin: The fans give Prince Nana a decent pop as Tobin was ripping on the fans prior to the match starting. Nana was a rather prominent heel in ROH, so this is interesting to see the reaction he got here. I mean, Nana really goes deep with an insult. Nana misses Tobin in the corner and is met with a neck breaker. Tobin drops Nana throat first across the top rope while dropping to the floor for a near fall. Nana regained control with a suplex but got distracted and Tobin nearly won with a super kick. Nana arm drags Tobin and followed up with a senton splash for a two count. Tobin drops Nana face first across his knee for another near fall. Tobin hit a modified stunner and got the pin when Tony Rumble held Nana’s foot from the floor. (*1/2. Yeah, nothing to really care about here at all.)
Sixth Contest: Sonjay Dutt vs. Low Ki: They trade kicks though Ki doesn’t even budge on Dutt’s kick to the leg. Dutt takes Ki down to the canvas but Ki quickly counters and works on Sonjay’s arm. Ki takes Dutt over with a hip toss but Dutt breaks free with a front face lock. Ki is on top of Dutt and kicks Sonjay’s legs to keep him down on a bridge. Ki breaks free from Dutt with a kick to the chest. Ki slams Dutt to the canvas and delivers a kick to his back. Dutt keeps Ki on the canvas and puts a chin lock on. Dutt knocks Ki to the floor with a dropkick. Dutt runs the ropes but Ki stops Dutt with a kick on the apron. Ki controls Dutt with an elbow drop coming off the ropes and continues to kick Dutt on the back. Ki backs Dutt into a corner and delivers a stiff chop. Ki takes Dutt over with an overhead suplex for a near fall. Ki runs into a big boot in the corner and Dutt gets dumped to the apron where Dutt delivers a shoulder block. Dutt hit a missile dropkick off the top for a near fall. Dutt gets another near fall following a twisting elbow strike. Dutt gets another near fall with a quick leg drop. Ki gets out of a chin lock with another kick but Dutt quickly maintains control of the match.
Dutt drops Ki with a spinning heel kick but only manages a near fall. Dutt dropkicks Ki and plays to the crowd. Dutt seems to acting like a heel at this point deciding against going to the top rope. Dutt hits a nice springboard moonsault but Ki kicks out again. Ki gets a crucifix pin on Dutt for a near fall. Ki continues with a somersault kick to drop Dutt. Ki delivers a flurry of chops in the corner and a running forearm shot. Ki springboards off the middle rope to deliver a kick for a near fall. Ki dropkicks Dutt’s knee and kicks Sonjay on the chest a few times. Ki knocks Dutt out with a kick to the head but takes his time on the cover causing him to get a near fall. Dutt plants Ki with a tornado DDT managing a near fall. Ki backdrops Dutt in the corner and puts Sonjay on the top turnbuckle. Ki puts Dutt in a tree of woe dragon sleeper but the referee makes him break the hold. Ki attempted the Ki Krusher but Dutt countered with a Slice Bread for a near win. Ki knocks Dutt down with a spinning kick. Ki avoids a shoulder from the apron and kicks Dutt again. Ki tries to bring Dutt back into the ring but gets dropped across the top rope. Ki catches Dutt on a slingshot attempt and rams Dutt back first into the corner. Ki connects with a handspring kick in the corner but Sonjay refuses to stay down. Ki attempted a springboard 450 but Dutt rolled out of the way and hit a spine buster. Dutt went for the twisting 450 but Ki got his knees up. Ki hits the Ki Krusher ’99 and wins the match. (****. Yeah, I really enjoyed what they gave us here. Holy smokes. I looked up fan interest for the time and people were quite excited for this since Sonjay was on the rise on the independents and got more exposure on TNA. The fans were really into the action and these guys delivered.)
Seventh Contest: Mike Kruel vs. Crowbar for the vacant USA Pro US Championship: They trade shoulder blocks at the start of the match. Kruel works over the knee of Crowbar but doesn’t manage to get a submission. Crowbar tosses Kruel across the ring with an overhead belly to belly suplex. Kruel takes Crowbar down to the canvas with an arm bar. Kruel slingshots Crowbar from the apron back into the ring. The fans are chanting that it’s boring, and they aren’t wrong. Crowbar hit a back suplex but missed an elbow drop. Kruel gets grabbed by Crowbar’s valet but still manages to deliver a super kick. Crowbar low blows Kruel to get out of a German suplex and followed up with a clothesline. Crowbar plants Kruel with a sit out spine buster for another near fall. Crowbar locks in a Boston Crab but isn’t able to get a submission. Crowbar delivers a few elbow drops to the lower back of Kruel for a near fall. Crowbar puts a surfboard submission on Kruel but doesn’t get a submission. Kruel hammers away on Crowbar delivering a few shoulder rams. Kruel power slams Crowbar and almost gets a three count. Kruel attempted a suplex from the apron but gets kicked off. Crowbar baseball slides Kruel on the floor and rams Kruel back first into the railing. Crowbar leg drops Kruel but isn’t able to get a three count. Crowbar works over the lower back of Kruel. Crowbar puts Kruel on the top turnbuckle going for a hurricanrana but Kruel hung onto the ropes. Kruel hit a sunset flip but a female leaps off the top and splashes Kruel on accident nearly giving Crowbar victory. Kruel plants Crowbar with a power bomb. Kruel continues his offense with a dropkick and clothesline. Kruel nearly wins with a springboard cross body. Crowbar spikes Kruel with a Death Valley Driver. We get a cat fight on the floor which gets the crowd into the match some more. Kruel grabs Crowbar’s valet and gets slammed for doing so. Crowbar accidentally moonsaults his lady friend. Kruel hits a sit out Death Valley Driver for the win. (*1/2. There was just no way you’re going to come close to what happened prior to the match and the fans just shit on the action. I can’t blame them. This was slow and not interesting.) After the match, Kruel decks his valet and they pop for that. Apparently, she liked it and wants Kruel to be the mean guy he was in the past. Here comes Matt Striker, Simon Diamond and a couple of other guys. They do some struts and Kruel does his, which is just embarrassing awful. Kruel apparently joins with these guys.
Eighth Contest: The Masked Maniac vs. Ken Sweeney: NOPE! This isn’t going to happen. I’ve watched one Ken Sweeney match to date and he is perhaps one of the worst wrestlers I’ve ever witnessed in a wrestling ring. Maniac hit a stunner and got the pin on Sweeney. Moving on…
Ninth Contest: Louie Ramos vs. Johnny Bravado vs. Danny Demanto vs. The New Dynamite Kid in a hardcore match: These are all local guys and the hardcore stipulation is likely going to make for ridiculous spots and weapon shots, I’d assume. Ramos was greeted with a great pop upon his entrance. All four men are brawling in and around the ring. Ramos uses a saw on the forehead of Demanto at one point. Ramos staples a dollar to Danny’s valet forehead after she hit a swanton bomb on him. Demanto leaps off the top rope to put Dynamite Kid through a table on the floor to eliminate him. I had no idea this was an elimination match. Ramos is getting double teamed and is busted open all over body at this point. Ramos gets his boot taken off and money is stapled to the bottom of his foot. Bravado whacks Danny over the back with a baseball bat. Bravado hit a middle rope German suiplex to eliminate Demanto. Ramos has lit a bat on fire and hits Bravado over the shoulder with it. Ramos hit a Death Valley Driver and wins the match. (**. If you really enjoyed hardcore wrestling then you’ll enjoy this action. The fans enjoyed every bit of this which made for a better viewing experience.) After the match, Ramos is attacked until Grim Reefer runs in and makes the save. Naturally, Reefer turns on Ramos. Ramos will wrestle Reefer at the next show.
Tenth Contest: USA Pro Xtreme Champion Deranged vs. Johnny Ova vs. Dan Barry: Deranged starts off punching Ova after Ova kicked Barry to the floor. Deranged spin kicks Ova to the floor where Barry and Ova argue. Deranged takes them out with a springboard dive to the outside. Deranged spin kicks Barry in the ring and plants Ova with a tornado DDT. Barry gets a two count on Deranged after a suplex turned into a reverse DDT. Barry botches a spot in the corner and settles for a low blow. Ova fakes a punch and spikes Deranged with a DDT. Ova puts a cobra clutch on Barry but that doesn’t last as long as Deranged delivered a dropkick. Ova and Barry drop Deranged on his head but neither man can get a three count. Deranged continues to be double teamed with kicks in the middle of the ring. Ova power bombs Barry off the middle rope and Deranged lands on top to eliminate Barry. Once again, this wasn’t announced as an elimination match. Deranged takes Ova over with a head scissors. Ova nails Deranged with a spinning kick but only got a near fall. Deranged comes out of the corner with a hurricanrana. Deranged hit a somersault slam and that’s a three count. (**1/2. A decent match but not overly great. Deranged came across like a local star for the company and Ova seemed to be a promising heel. Out of the three, Barry has accomplished more than anyone.)
Eleventh Contest: USA Pro Tag Team Champions The Flock (Mikey Whipwreck & Wayne) vs. The Dirty Rotten Scoundrelz (EC Negro & KC Blade): Wayne and Negro start the match with Negro yanking Wayne down by the hair. Wayne returns the favor and clotheslines Negro several times sending Negro over the top to the floor. Blade tries his luck and is met with a back suplex. Wayne takes them out with a top rope cross body to the floor. Whipwreck takes everyone out with a somersault dive over the top to the floor. Whipwreck has a crutch and uses it on the challengers. Whipwreck hit a leg drop on Blade across the middle rope. The champs have a double submission on the challengers but aren’t able to get a submission from either one. Wayne drops Negro with a right hand and Whipwreck leg drops EC across the bottom rope. A valet for the champs hit a tornado DDT on Negro on the outside but Blade got control on Wayne in the ring. Wayne causes the challengers to collide as they tried to use a championship. Whipwreck got the hot tag and cleans house with strikes and a dropkick. Whipwreck uses Wayne’s head to take the challengers out. Negro leaps off the top to hit an elbow drop on Wayne but didn’t go for the cover. Whipwreck sunset flips Blade and mists Negro to get the win. (*1/2. Aside from the dives to the floor, this wasn’t very good. Also, Wayne and Whipwreck look very similar which made it difficult at first to figure out show as who.)
Twelfth Contest: Balls Mahoney vs. Axl Rotten in a madhouse of extreme match: Well, this is likely going to be similar to the four way earlier in the show. Mahoney is in great shape at this point. They embrace as the fans chant ECW before the match even starts. They trade strikes and jabs until they go to the floor where Axl uses a chair on Mahoney. Axl also uses a barbed wire bat. Rotten uses a pizza slicer on Mahoney as well. Axl slices Mahoney on the forehead with scissors. Axl also uses a fork on Mahoney causing Balls to bleed heavily from his forehead. Mahoney gets control using the pizza slicer on Axl causing him to bleed as well. Thumbtacks are brought out and Mahoney hit a Nutcracker Suite onto the tacks for the win. (*. This isn’t my taste of wrestling as it was just stuff to make them bleed. There wasn’t much substance to it.) After the match, some local guy comes out and is disappointed by the match. These kid is telling them that they are phonies. This is obviously setting up the guy getting destroyed. He is taken out with chair shots.
Oh boy, Tammy Sytch makes a surprise appearance with Candido and this is probably at one of the worst times in he rife physically. Shane Douglas came out as well and there was a Triple Threat reunion. This leads to a long dialogue by Douglas.
Thirteenth Contest: Matt Striker & Simon Diamond vs. Bam-Bam Bigelow & Chris Candido: Diamond and Striker go on the attack before the bell with Striker working on Bigelow in the ring and Diamond brawling with Candido on the floor. Bigelow tosses Striker across the ring even though it was mistimed and looked bad. Bigelow big splashes Striker in the corner and Candido uses the ring bell on Diamond. Bigelow works over Striker in the ring with a kick to the head. Bigelow misses a splash in the corner and Striker continues to work over Bigelow. Bigelow clotheslines Striker in the corner to maintain control of the match. Striker comes off the ropes to hit a leaping clothesline and a shoulder block to knock Bigelow to his knees. Striker dropkicks Bigelow for a near fall. Striker goes to the top but misses a missile dropkick. Bigelow tags in Candido who works over Striker with chops in the corner. Candido takes Striker over with a German suplex a couple of times. Striker rolls through for a near fall but is met with a kick from Candido that gets a two count. Candido drives Striker down with a vertical suplex but Striker kicks out on the cover. Striker drops Candido across his knee and delivers a big boot before tagging in Diamond who gets a two count. Diamond takes Candido over with a snap suplex. Diamond works over Candido with right hands. Diamond tries a tornado DDT but Candido hits a northern suplex for a two count. Diamond hit a back suplex on Candido for a near fall. Striker works over Candido with basic strikes. Candido stops Striker on the top rope managing to hit a superplex getting a two count. Candido takes Striker out with a suicide dive. Bigelow slams Striker and goes to the top as does Candido but they are both stopped. Striker hit a middle rope ace crusher on Candido but only got a two count.
On the floor, Sytch is tying Diamond’s arms to the ring post it looks like. Striker misses a twisting splash as Candido rolled out of the way. Candido takes Striker over with a snap suplex and along with Bigelow hits falling head butts. Bigelow and Candido go to the top rope to hit double flying headbutts which gets them the three count. (*1/2. This is a rather disappointing match. Diamond didn’t really do much and for the most part it felt like a squash for the Triple Threat. Striker had a one high spot but that was basically all there was. I was kind of hoping for a more competitive match.) After the match, Shane Douglas comes out again and talks on the microphone but I don’t really care. Eventually, Sandman begins to make his entrance.
Fourteenth Contest: Shane Douglas vs. The Sandman: Bigelow attacks Sandman on the floor to give Douglas an unfair advantage on the floor. Candido tosses Sandman into the guard railing and hammers away on Sandman. Douglas works over Sandman with stomps in the ring to maintain control of the match. Douglas nails Sandman with a microphone and taunts the fans. Bigelow breaks a crutch over Sandman’s head. Tammy chokes Sandman over the middle rope while the referee is distracted. Sandman drops Douglas with a back elbow strike. Sandman sends Douglas into the corner and Douglas begs off in the corner. Douglas tosses Sandman to the floor where Candido tried a piledriver but Sandman backdrops Candido through a table. Candido hits the move on a second attempt. Sandman tries to fight off all three men but that doesn’t work very well. Douglas takes Sandman out with a slingshot cross body to the floor. Douglas clotheslines Sandman and taunts the fans some more. Sandman puts Douglas on the top rope hitting a hurricanrana. Sandman decks Douglas with several left hands. Candido tries to use a kendo stick but gets met with a side Russian leg sweep. Sandman knocks Bigelow off the apron and Douglas hit the belly to belly suplex but Sandman kicked out. Douglas hits a second belly to belly suplex but Sandman kicks out again. Sandman fights back with a bulldog out of the corner. Sandman goes to the top and hit a swanton bomb. Sandman grabs Tammy Sytch when she enters the ring and spanks her. Candido missed a diving head butt but Bigelow hit a headbutt to the groin. Douglas covers and pins Sandman. (*1/2. Well, that was rather lame. A lot of interference and the action wasn’t very good.)
Main Event: USA Pro Heavyweight Champion Raven vs. Al Snow: A TNA main event guy taking on the WWE Sunday Night Heat commentator is the main event for the show. Snow takes Raven down to the mat and slams his arm onto the canvas but doesn’t followup on the advantage. Raven gets frustrated that he can’t get control on Snow and goes to the floor. Snow runs over Raven with a shoulder block and continues the slow start to the bout. Snow takes Raven down with a back suplex and Raven again bails to the floor. Raven works over Snow with strikes in the corner as the fans chant “CM Punk”. Snow power slams Raven but can’t put the champ away. Raven slams Snow face first into the canvas and stomps on the challenger in the corner. Snow works over Raven with a few chops and goes to grab Head, but is stopped by Raven. Snow rams Raven head first into the corner several times. Snow works over Raven with strikes in the corner. Snow runs into a knee lift in the corner. Snow tackles Raven and they trade strikes until Snow catapults Raven into the corner, or at least that was the attempt. Snow gets a near fall after a snap suplex. Snow runs over Raven with a clothesline. Snow takes Raven down to the canvas and controls Raven with a headlock. Snow gets knocked to the floor and Raven kicks Snow into the crowd. Mikey Whipwreck somersaults over the top and takes Snow out with a dive in the crowd! Raven slams Snow on the floor. Raven gets a two count in the ring.
Raven counters a dropkick and catapults Snow into the corner where Raven delivers a running knee strike. Snow puts a sleeper hold on Raven but isn’t able to keep the champion down long enough. Fans are pissed that they are using a sleeper hold in a place of extreme. Raven breaks the hold with a back suplex. Snow misses a splash in the corner hitting the corner chest first. The fans have turned on one vocal fan not liking the match telling him to shut the fuck up. Raven knee lifts Snow and jabs Snow several times. Raven clotheslines Snow and controls Al with a chin lock. Raven backdrops Snow and suddenly someone threw a lot of flyers into the ring for some reason. Raven got another two count following a backdrop. They trade strikes on their knees with Raven winning the exchange. Raven grabs a chair and drop toe holds Snow face first into the chair for a two count. Raven goes for another drop toe hold but Snow avoids it and smashes Raven with a chair for a near fall. Raven stops Snow with a quick clothesline. They are doing a lot of referee distraction to allow the usage of the chair. Raven has Snow in a full nelson but Snow kicks the chair into Mikey Whipwreck’s face and low blows Raven!
Snow fights back with clotheslines and traps Raven’s arms to deliver standing headbutts. Snow power slams Raven and goes to the top rope. Snow goes for a springboard moonsault but Raven got his knees up. Snow plants Raven with a DDT but the referee got pulled out of the ring. Snow has to fight off Raven’s Flock at this point. Snow bites Raven’s valet’s butt. Whipwreck bulldogs Snow from behind. Raven has the cover but Snow pops his shoulder up at two. Snow whacks Raven with Head and turns his attention to the valet. She is begging but Snow still hits her with the Snow Plow. Snow slams Raven and goes to the top rope. Snow hits a top rope moonsault but Raven kicks out at two. Snow leaves the ring and walks to the backstage area for some reason. Snow returns with a table but is attacked by Raven on the floor. Snow tosses Raven into the guard railing. Raven stops Snow with a jaw breaker. Raven heads to the floor and grabs the table. Snow decks Raven with a right hand. Raven misses a clothesline but Snow nails Raven with a super kick. Snow sets up the table in the middle of the ring. Snow lays Raven onto the table and goes to the top rope. Snow puts Raven through the table with a moonsault but Raven kicks out on the cover attempt!
Raven plants Snow with a DDT but Snow gets his shoulder up at two. Raven proceeds to plant Snow with a second DDT but again Snow kicks out at two. “I want to go home” says a fan after the kick out. Snow low blows Raven and kicks Raven away. Raven nails Snow with Head and that gets Raven a three count. (*. Okay, this went for nearly forty-five minutes. This was not the kind of match you’d want to have to close out the building. Fans turned on the match rather quickly. They wanted an ECW style match with violence and weapons and they didn’t get that whatsoever. It was rather boring and the kick out of the DDTs by Snow was just ridiculous to me.) After the match, the Triple Threat attack Raven and Snow. Douglas takes Raven over with a belly to belly suplex. Tammy steps on Raven’s groin as well. Douglas gets on the microphone and rips on the fans. This is setting up a title match between Douglas and Raven for the next show. Douglas wants the USA Pro Heavyweight Championship. This is basically a continuation of their feud in TNA to USA Pro. Bigelow shows his ass to the crowd, which is disgusting and the fans are littering the ring with trash. This is an interesting way to close the building, I must say. Also, the Triple Threat in 2003 is the top heel stable of the company. That’s bizarre to me, as well.
The featured matches were all pretty much major disappointments. The Low Ki/Sonay Dutt match was really good and if there is anyway to find it on the internet I’d take the twenty minutes and check it out. Aside from that match, this was a mostly bad show for USA Pro despite plenty of big names. They just gave underwhelming performances in front of a lively crowd that deserved better.
Thanks for reading.