IWA MS - Highland, IN - 07/31/04
by Scott Christ
21 Krazy Kaplan's billboards between Coloma and Highland.
Got into Highland about an hour and a half early but since the ChicagoWrestling.com guys were having a meat-n-greet (it's a pun, y'all) before the show, I mingled with Soup Ladle, Phil and Libby, whose names I now remember. Nice people, all of them, and Phil was giving away tapes, so I took a bunch. Will I ever WATCH them? Who knows. But thanks to Phil for the free stuff, I like free stuff.
Ian came out and talked us up for helping support the promotion as we're the #1 town. House looked okay tonight, around 250 and the crowd was very vocal and I thought they were pretty good the whole show. It was actually the first time there was not a really obnoxious group of people ruining anything, it was just people being at a show and having a good time. I think maybe Ian praising us as a crowd helped hype everyone up, everyone likes to be told they're cool. He ended up SHOOTING on Zach Gowen, saying he wasn't in the building for the 6/19 show and that Gowen showed up unannounced and ruined the main event. Since Chris Sabin had a family emergency and wasn't able to make it, tonight would be Petey Williams v. Alex Shelley 2/3 falls, which was a-ok by me. I've been wanting to see those two go again since that 6/19 match because I knew they must have had a better match in them. A much better match. He also announced that the IWA 8th anniversary show in October would be in Highland, and if you paid $40 for first or second row, you could hobknob with the talent beforehand. Also said it would be a long ass show. I'm looking forward to it. Don't know that I'll pay $40 to talk to Arik Cannon (I'd talk to Arik Cannon, but $40?) but that's a great idea. You get a t-shirt too, one that you can't buy. Ian's entire time on the mic made it really seem like he appreciated the Highland crowd and was going out of his way to give us what we wanted, which is hard to argue with. Ian's the best promoter going right now, bar none, and I'd like to say that I, for one, appreciate the Highland shows because it's not often you get shows of this quality in the midwest.
JIMMY JACOBS v. MARK WOLF v. NATE WEBB
Jacobs was out first, having ditched the Stan Bush song and the Barbaric Berzerker gimmick. He's also gotten a haircut. Listen, I love ladies, but Jimmy Jacobs is just a good-looking man. He was carrying a boombox a la Say Anything, and wearing a wifebeater and pajama bottoms. Heck of a change that went over well. Nice to see Mark Wolf. Nate's entrance was what it always is. Nate is the kind of guy that always appears to be having a hell of a time destroying his body, and it's hard for me to not just say, "Well, you go ahead, bro." Good for him. This was for a future shot at the light heavyweight title which was questionable right away because Mark Wolf weren't no light heavyweight by my eye. Pie sky rye. Don't remember a ton about this match other than some people waiting for Jacobs to huss and him throwing them a bone at one point when he got hit. I do remember Wolf potatoing Jacobs early on with a hard right hand, and Jacobs getting a measure of revenge by nailing him in the face with a dropkick a few moments later. Didn't think this was bad but if it weren't the opener it wouldn't have felt like anything but a match that was happening. Jacobs won on a Contra Code on Wolf combined with a moonsault on Webb, pinning Wolf for the victory. Jacobs' new character went over well, I thought. Everyone still liked him.
Jim Fannin came out and cut probably the best promo I've ever seen him cut, ranting and raving about how HE'S the reason IWA MS is still around, not Smart Mark Video and Highland. Fannin then called out Trik Davis, and said that his DQ win over Cash Flo was the worst DQ in the history of wrestling, and everyone knew it. He said he could be a man and leave the promotion (which was the stip for the Flo match if he lost) or get his ass kicked, and then leave. Davis got in Fannin's face when Steve Stone ran in. Stone hasn't worked an IWA show since May 8. A match was on.
TRIK DAVIS v. STEVE STONE
Basically a repeat of the Davis/Cash Flo match without so many chops. Stone just murders Trik, but won't keep him down for three, so the referee DQs him. That is such a stupid bullshit thing, but here's where it gets fun.
Stone continues to beat on Trik until Ian Rotten storms the ring and just starts pummeling the hell out of Stone, who then fights back, and we've got us a brawl. The locker room empties, awesome Ryan Boz fucks with AJ Styles, Styles gets pissed, they argue, the Bad News/Savage pull-apart is in effect, they brawl around the building with guys trying to keep them apart - just a lot of fun. I love a good fight. Ian takes the mic and calls Stone a dick, and says he can have his job back if he can beat Ian next month.
Prazak announces that since there are four women in the buidling, Tracy Brooks v. MsChif will be a four-way. Prazak shaved his head. Did he lose a match?
TRACY BROOKS v. DAIZEE HAZE v. MICKIE KNUCKLES v. MSCHIF
Don't remember much here besides Mickie nearly being paralyzed on a back-turned-to-the-ring second rope ... piledriver? Pedigree? Power bomb? I don't know what it was supposed to be but it ended up a combo of all three. Very scary move. Mickie does a great job selling and Daizee actually looks cuter than normal tonight. There is one part I remember, when Tracy tagged in but never actually got into the ring. Sloppy and a women's match. And another three/four way. This did nothing for me. Daizee is cute though. I like them all just fine, I just don't care about women's wrestling. It's me, it's not you ladies, you're great.
IWA MS LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH
AJ STYLES v. DELIRIOUS (champion)
Really cool to see Styles live here, and this match was a lot like the Styles/Sydal match from April except Delirious was working heel. Styles was subtle in his arrogance like in the Sydal match, just getting frustrated rather easily and being an asshole to Delirious, beating on him with forearms and kicks. Some good mat stuff but it was Styles and not the regular that made this match, and it was a good match if nothing too blowaway. Delirious didn't get a lot of offense but what he got was pretty good, and he actually hit the Death from Above (flying splash across the back of a slumped opponent) for a near-fall. Finish was weird and totally unexpected as Styles had Delirious set for the Styles Clash, but Kid Kash ran in to give him a low blow, allowing Delirious to roll him up for three. Playing into the TNA angle is fun even if I don't care about TNA. It actually did make me want to see that PPV more than I did before. I still won't, but maybe someone else was swayed. Bidness is bidness.
Intermission was here
NIGEL MCGUINNESS & CHAD COLLYER v. BRAD BRADLEY & RYAN BOZ (IWA MS Tag Team Champions)
Still no belts for B&B. Really uneventful match but it was the popcorn match so what can you expect. Their first match back in April was a lot better than this even though that crowd wasn't as into it. Bradley has some new ring gear, white boots and Inoki Dojo short tights, which looks pretty good on him but makes him clash with Boz for some reason. It's not that there was anything at all wrong with this match, it just wasn't up to the level of what Bradley and Boz have been doing of late, and they've been having some good matches. Collyer was face-in-peril and I seriously think his personality is underrated. Yeah he's not Ric Flair and he's not even Chris Hero in that department, but he's not outright bland. Nigel spent most of the match saying "c'mon Chaddo!" except for this weird part in the middle where Boz hit a suicide dive onto both of them, then threw a chair on Nigel, which got Nigel to get up, forearm him, and throw him into the chairs. Nigel was actually really good in the limited stuff he did here as the pissed off member of his team that was ready for a brawl, which is fitting since he's British and tall. Collyer got the cloverleaf on Bradley, but Boz interfered. Collyer got the cloverleaf on Boz, but Bradley broke it up. Eventually, Bradley hit Nigel with a nice lariat for the pin. I don't think this was for the title but it could've been. Doesn't really matter, though, does it? Actually now that I think about it, I liked this match just fine.
MATT SYDAL v. CM PUNK
The second of the three up-and-comer v. made players matches for the night. The thing I've always thought about Punk is that he's not an exceptional wrestler in any sense. He's not GREAT on the mat, he's not GREAT brawling, he's not GREAT in the air, but he's pretty good at everything, and what's even more important than that is he has personality and a charisma that comes through even when he's not pushing it on you. And what might be EVEN MORE important than THAT is that watching him wrestle, I somehow get a sense of just how important it is to him and how seriously he takes what he does. I don't even know what it is, but Punk almost always holds a match together and keeps it from getting bad, and he did that in this match as Sydal seemed off tonight and wasn't crisp at all. I THINK this is the first time these guys have worked together, too, so that could be part of it. But either way, this match was good outside of a couple of sloppy parts, and Punk's ability to make a match good even if the match doesn't want to be came through. One thing that does bother me about IWA Punk is that he seems to want to be playing heel, kind of, but he also seems to know it's probably futile since Highland is so close to Chicago. That's not even HIS fault. Punk zeroed in on Sydal's leg and just picked it apart, which grounded Sydal and didn't allow him to use any of his aerial stuff, which is most of the stuff he has. Sydal seems like the kind of guy that's either going to get great or stagnate where he is. If I put money on it I'd say he's going to get great, or at least really good. Sydal did hit a moonsault dive and had a bunch of near-falls, but Punk would just keep going back to the leg and get him closer and closer to being beaten, which eventually happened when Punk hit a shining wizard and locked on a really nice single crab for the tapout. I'd like to see these guys go again, and I'm sure I will somewhere down the road. I dug the dude on the IWA board giving props to Punk for calling CW.com's Todd Gerth a mark after the match because he's SO RIGHT. It's funny to me because Punk would call him a mark, and me a mark, and you a mark, and anyone else who paid money to get into a wrestling show a mark, because we're marks. I mean my God, if Punk had some vendetta with CW.com maybe he wouldn't do interviews with them and such.
After that match, Kid Kash, accompanied by a referee (try not to give it away!) came out and took Joey Eastman's mic. That reminds me that Punk was talking to referee Tommy Thompson before he was announced for the last match, and I thought maybe he was obviously giving away that he was talking about something that needed to be relayed to Sydal, but instead Punk SWERVED me and crouched down behind Eastman, having Thompson shove him over. Joey took a nice flat bump. That goofy old Punk!
Anyway, Kash came out and talked, calling everyone trash and the Lincoln Center a shithole. I know it's not Madison Square Garden or anything, but I would bet the Lincoln Center is actually a nicer venue than the TNA Asylum. And not that I take offense to what Kash said, I just wanted to shit on the Asylum. Take that, Asylum. Anyway, Kash insulted us, which brought out Danny Daniels. I thought it would be pretty cool if Daniels came out to defend the honor of the promotion, but instead he just agreed with Kash, called us fuckin' retards (I laughed, Daniels is funny) and asked Kash for a match since he's beaten all these guys Kash was talking about in the IWA rings. Kash just laughed and laughed, and said he came here for some REAL competition. I admit to being thrilled when I got
KID KASH v. DANNY DANIELS v. SABU
I don't know why, either. I don't like Sabu anymore, he's broken down and beat to hell and can't do what he once did that made him so awesome. But for a moment it was just so nostalgic and so ECW that it was cool to know what it was like to be at a PPV where the format was THROWN OUT THE WINDOW, JOEY STYLES. The match was atrocious as Daniels seemed out of place, Kash didn't seem to care, and Sabu was just out of control, throwing chairs and not giving a shit about anything. In a way, that's fun, but once Sabu got the one of the gimmick tables and threw it at people trying to get it to the ring, it got a little messy. He managed not to hit anybody, but I guess Gerth said something to him and I saw Sabu shove him twice. Todd just didn't even really react which was the best way to handle it because Sabu was nuts. He seemed nuts right from the get-go tonight, talking a lot and just not really being himself at all. I mean the motherfucker's always nuts, look at the scars, but this was a different nuts. Out of control. I also saw Ian talk to Todd but it seemed to get resolved quickly. Some moron was yelling for Ian to throw Todd out as if he DID anything. And I don't want to seem like I'm shilling for those guys, but I've briefly met Todd and Larry and both were nice dudes that really seem to like wrestling, and with the promotion they give IWA MS, they don't deserve the shit they get from the fans that go on the internet but like to pretend they don't go on the internet like us smart marks. Whatever, this match sucked. Sabu hurt his ass trying to break the table that wasn't going to break. AJ Styles ran in and brawled to the back with Kash. Sabu hit the triple jump on Daniels for the win.
ARIK CANNON v. BRYAN DANIELSON
This match was played well with Danielson being the veteran who knows all the tricks and is pretty much a wrestling machine, and Cannon being able to match him up to a certain point but eventually taking the backseat. Dragon is just retardedly good. There is no reason someone as young as him should be this good, but he is. And it came to me after the show how good Cannon is going to get with the guys he's been wrestling in IWA lately. I've seen him live four times, and he's worked Samoa Joe, Tracy Smothers, Chris Hero and Dragon. That's a lot of good shit to learn from, and he's held his own in all of them. This is the one where he looked the weakest, actually, but that is probably just because Dragon is so, so good that he always looks like he's in the driver's seat and the other guy is just along for the ride. Danielson worked on Cannon's arm for a while, but once he stopped Cannon kind of forgot about it and that hurt the match a little. Lots of chops back-and-forth and hard European uppercuts from Dragon and snug forearms from Cannon. Very good match, but not a MOTY like three dudes were chanting afterward. They eventually had just beaten the hell out of each other and it came down to who could put the other away. The one thing that sticks out here is Dragon throwing bombs, and Cannon nailing him with a couple forearms that Dragon went down like a KO for, like he wasn't expecting them from this guy. Finish came on Cannon hitting a Glimmering Warlock (shining wizard to the back of the head) once, having Dragon kick out, hitting a second and getting the win. Cannon's last two matches in Highland are wins over Chris Hero and Danielson, and that's not bad. Early bets on the Ted Petty have to have him as a favorite at this point.
Post-match, Ian came out and said it was well worth the wait for Dragon. Crowd loved him and he deserved every bit of that. He asked if Dragon would come back, and he said that since he has commitments in Japan, it's hard for him, but he'd be back on August 21st and wrestle whomever Ian wanted him to. Crowd chanted HERO loudly, so Dragon said since that's who we want, that's who he wants. And Ian MADE THE MATCH. 8/21 in Highland, American Dragon v. Chris Hero. Well shit in my pants. Ian, I love you.
IWA MS HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH
TWO OUT OF THREE FALLS
ALEX SHELLEY v. PETEY WILLIAMS (champion)
Great matwork to start, with Shelley looking especially strong. Match seemed like it was 15 minutes but was really about 25. I also enjoyed the traditional progression of one fall last month to 2/3 this month, and I love 2/3 falls to begin with. Shelley gets the first fall via border city stretch after just destroying Petey's arm. He continues to kill the arm the rest of the match, with really focused offense and a killer instinct. Lots of shit-talking too. Williams won the second fall with a sharpshooter. Third fall was back-and-forth and they made me believe Shelley might win on the Shellshock, but he didn't. Shelley got a little flak from the crowd for the Baby Bear nonsense. I know it seems like I'm not saying a lot about this and that might lead you to believe it wasn't very good, but it was way better than the 6/19 match and was really sound, maybe my favorite match of the night thanks to Shelley just absolutely murdering Petey's arm and playing the heel really well. Williams went for the Canadian Destroyer but couldn't get it, and eventually won on a roll-up to retain. Shelley was pissed off. Very competitive match that could've gone either way and it keeps Shelley looking strong for the future. Honestly Shelley was a more than welcome substitute for Chris Sabin.
BARBED WIRE TABLES MATCH
TOBY KLEIN v. MAD MAN PONDO (w/Pearl Harbor)
Naming a Japanese woman Pearl Harbor is pretty wild. If WWE did it everyone would shit a brick. We watched about five minutes of this before heading out. It wasn't that it was so bad or anything, but Pondo wanted to blow the roof off the motherfucker and I just wasn't up for that. It was like 1am my time, I hadn't eaten all day, and Steer chicken fingers basket was sounding better and better. And plus I wasn't even going to be able to SEE most of this match with them wandering and brawling. I'm sure the people that like this more than me had a good time, and they're all the better for it. Pondo did nail Klein with an amazingly hard and loud stop sign shot before we left, though.
Chicken fingers basket was GREAT, and this was a real good show. Ian bent over backwards to make up for the Joe v. B-Boy cancellation and while I can't say as though the three-way I hated was as good as the match I was most looking forward to would have been, the intention was there and he didn't even have to do that, this was a good card even with the cancelled match. But he went that extra mile, and that's why *I* keep going back, because IWA actually tries to give their fans what they want.
Hero and Dragon on 8/21? I'm there with bells on. Also for that show, Joe v. B-Boy if Joe's healthy enough for it, and Homicide returns to take on Cannon.