Highspots presents Brian Kendrick’s “King of Flight” DVD Review
December 2, 2014
By: Josh Boutwell of Wrestleview.com
In 2013, former WWE Cruiserweight and TNA X-Division Champion Brian Kendrick put together an exciting tournament called the “King of Flight” Tournament which would crown the very best high flyer wrestler in the world. The tournament featured former WWE and TNA stars like Paul London, Amazing Red, and The Young Bucks as well as up and coming young high flyers like Ricochet, Samuray del Sol, Rich Swann, and AR Fox. Kendrick took the focus off of himself and put it on the top high flyers in all of wrestling, and since this tournament a few of these guys have become huge prospects in wrestling. Samuray del Sol eventually began working with AAA in Mexico as Octagon Jr. before earning a WWE contract where he is currently the NXT Tag Team Champion along with Sin Cara as “Kalisto.” AR Fox and Rich Swann have become two of the more exciting high flyers in the United States wrestling all over the country as well as other countries like Mexico and Japan. While Ricochet has become quite possibly the hottest young free agent in all of wrestling at the moment. He is considered possibly the best high flyer in the world at the moment and is became a big star in Japan for Dragon Gate while also becoming the focal point of the new American promotion by Mexico’s AAA “Lucha Underground” as the masked “Prince Puma.”
The one night only, single elimination tournament featured some of the most exciting matches in all of 2013 and not a ton of people have even seen it (check out Highspots.com for the DVD). It would be a benefit to wrestling and more notably independent wrestling if a tournament like this became a yearly occurrence, especially for high flying wrestling fans like myself.
Former TNA and ROH star Nigel McGuinness (aka Desmond Wolfe) handled the commentary duties along with GQ Money for this event. McGuinness certainly brings credibility to the announce booth with his vast knowledge of the business and having a technical wrestler call high flying matches definitely brings an interesting angle to the commentary, but it would have been nice if Kendrick himself or another high flying veteran was in on the commentary as well maybe as a third man. GQ Money isn’t a great play by play man but he isn’t horrible either.
The opening first round match pitted former WWE star Paul London against the younger Samuray del Sol. The bizarre London weirdly came out with kazoos and presented to the fans for an annoying long time before the match ever got started, but when it did it was as excellent as expected. London was supposedly hurting from an injury the previous night but you couldn’t tell it from his work in the ring. London slowed down the younger Samuray del Sol at times making sure that the match didn’t turn into a complete blur, but they both got in some jaw dropping spots to keep the fans excited but at the same didn’t try to tire out the crowd in the opening match. Samuray eventually got the pin after the Rising Sun (a Reverse Frankensteiner off the top). ***1/2
The second match of the first round featured the ever popular AR Fox against Nick Jackson of the Young Bucks/Generation Me. They went much more “balls to the wall spotfest” than the previous match but it was short enough that it wasn’t too much while also being a fun match. Fox vanquished the heel Jackson to move on against the future WWE star Samuray del Sol. ***
Next up was former TNA X-Division Champion and X-Division pioneer Amazing Red against the up and coming Ricochet. Red is obviously past his prime and a good step or two slower than he once was due to a multitude of knee injuries in the past much like Rey Misterio Jr. unfortunately, but still Red is talented as hell and faster than the majority of his peers. Red uses his knee problems to work a story into his matches now and these two did so by making Ricochet the cocky, young heel and Red the babyface that just won’t stay down. Red hit a Red Star Press off the apron early on in the match and from then on sold the knee injury Ricky Morton style with Ricochet working over the knee for the remainder of the match. Down the stretch they both hit big high spots and had some great nearfalls, but in the end Ricochet got the pin after an awesome Reverse Superana off the top with Ricochet paying the veteran who wouldn’t quit respect by clapping for him and shaking his hand. The most insane spot in the match came late when Red attempted a Springboard Somersault Plancha to the floor. Ricochet moved and Red landed flush on two fans at ringside in just a crazy moment. This was the best match of the first round by far in my opinion. ****
The final first round match featured Rich Swann against the other half of the Young Bucks, Nick Jackson. Much like AR Fox and Matt Jackson earlier in the night, these two went full blast from start to finish throwing out insane spot after insane spot. Jackson played the heel role and after a ref bump late in the match his brother ran out and replaced him in the ring. Still Swann managed an inside cradle to get the pin. After the match the pissed off Young Bucks beat down the referee until the referee fought back to a huge pop. ***
The Semifinals kicks off with AR Fox against Samuray del Sol. This was an absolute SPECTACLE. This is the type of matches that turns off some wrestling fans from the high flying style because it’s too “choreographed” at times. To me, it is part of why I love it! When it is done flawlessly like in this match it is almost art, it’s like a great fight scene in a martial arts flick. Yes, it is choreographed like crazy but it is a beautiful site when done well and this was done so well. Both men hit insane spots during the match including an Imploding 450 to the outside by Ricochet and a springboard Twisting Somersault Plancha to the floor from Samuray. Eventually del Sol dropped everyone’s jaw with a Reverse Rana Driver for the pin.
The final semifinal match saw Ricochet battle Rich Swann in a match pitting two American stars from Japan’s Dragon Gate promotion. Ricochet continued to play the arrogant heel and these two put on a beautiful display of unbelievable athleticism. They went all out and even brawled into the crowd leading to a Moonsault off the stage from Swann. After a slew of awesome nearfalls Ricochet got the pin following a Phoenix Splash.
Before the Finals we get an “exhibition match” between two unknowns, Ryan J. Morals and Mr. Tanaka, in a bizarre match. Morals gets the submission win in a match that no one cared about and was a waste of time.
Brian Kendrick comes out and puts over how great the matches and wrestlers have been tonight.
The Finals pits two of the greatest high flyers in the world and two of the premier up and coming wrestlers in the world at that time (and still to this day). They held nothing back and went full blast from bell to bell with some jaw dropping moves, reversals/counters, and nearfalls. Eventually it was a Springboard Reverse Rana Driver that got Samuray del Sol the win. There really isn’t much elese I can say, you just have to watch it and be amazed. *****
After the match Brian Kendrick comes out with a crown to present to the new “King of Flight” but Ricochet takes it from him. Ricochet acts like he is going to take the crown himself but instead hands it to Samuray del Sol and bows to him as the winner celebrates his victory.
“King of Flight” is some of the best two hours of wrestling you will get and HighSpots is selling it for just $5 on their website which is insane (and bizarre since they are selling the video download for $15 while the DVD is just $5). Every one of the tournament matches were entertaining as hell and they saved the best for last, as it should be. Brian Kendrick should be commended for putting this event together as he stood back in the background and allowed young guys, along with a couple of underrated veterans, to really shine. Definitely check this DVD out.