IWA MID-SOUTH 8TH ANNIVERSARY
10/23/04 - HIGHLAND, IN
by Scott Christ
When we were walking in, someone said "Good luck topping the Ted Petty!" right in front of us. Ian said he wasn't trying to top it, and I used that moment to remind myself to not EXPECT it to be on that level. That was a masterful weekend of professional wrestling, so I tried to temper my expectations. Not that IWA ever lets me down, really, but just because that was the last show I was at. There was also this girl, couldn't be more than 14, with her mom who posted on the IWA board about the show because her daughter loves loves loves CM Punk, and they were in line by us, and Ian said he'd track down Punk and have him talk to her since he skipped out on the meet-n-greet thing in the afternoon that they had, which she attended to meet him. Ian and Punk came in looking for her after we sat, and I pointed Punk in her direction. Sometimes, I really amaze myself as a citizen.
I guess they decided to skip the history of IWA ceremony thing that I'd heard tales about, but that's okay. Ian gave a shout-out to Chuck E. Smooth for pointing him in the direction of Highland, and thanked Highland for helping to keep the company alive. He also talked about achieving his dream of teaming with Dusty Rhodes tonight, and how IWA DVDs help fight terrorism.
CHANDLER MCCLURE v. TRIK DAVIS
Trik has cut his hair and looks way better because of it. McClure still uses the Fox NFL Sunday theme and blows his whistle and what have you. He also still blows. OH ME. No, I kid, I've seen him twice and neither time was enough to tell if he's good or bad. The sound was also awful tonight, no bass in the speakers. What was up with that? Very typical opener-type match to get us in the mood. Short match, around 5'05" if the guy taking notes in front of me was correct. Davis won with a bellyflop diamond cutter followed by a cradle.
MIKE WALLACE v. DAVEY ANDREWS
Andrews is billed as CM Punk's top student and these guys are starting to make the IWA rounds with this week's quad shot. Wallace threw some horrendous-looking punches and forearms and the match was lots of rolling around with one another. Really quite bad, but Andrews was focused in his knee work, so that was nice. Wallace seemed lost to me, but maybe that was from working with someone so green and not being in a position to carry the load. I don't know. What do I know? Andrews got a kneebar or some shit for the tapout win.
CHRIS SABIN v. MATT SYDAL
I do not like Sabin. Most people seem to like him a lot, but something about him bothers me. This was the best live Sabin match I've seen, which isn't saying a ton, but it was pretty strong, mostly due to Sydal's really strong matwork, which honestly I think is his best asset, as he seems to have learned a lot from working with AJ Styles a bunch this year. It's really carried over into his other stuff the last few months. Sabin does look good physically, but again exudes the personality of a sleepy art student. I'm not hating, really, I think he's very gifted, maybe just not for me. This was going well and then bam, it ended on a rollup from Sydal. What. Who. Who the fuck. Handshake after, nice match but shorter than I wanted when it ended because I was just starting to really dig the match.
At some point before the next match, perhaps during the last match, a smallish Indian man (Indian as in Indian, not Native American) comes in and takes the empty seat between us and some other dudes. Anyway, really nice guy, he was there for some convention or something and just kind of ended up watching the rest of the show and getting really into it. He had absolutely no idea what professional wrestling was other than I believe at one point he said "Hulk Hogan", and he enjoyed the hell out of the next match because of all the blood, and for whatever reason, he was really, REALLY touched by Ian calling Dusty Rhodes his hero. He seemed moved by the respect, which I found really cool to observe from an outsider and non-fan.
But here's the thing about this really nice man. He farted. A lot. Just farted up a storm. They didn't even stink really bad, necessarily, but they smelled unmistakably of Slim Jims and he even went so far as to shamelessly raise his left cheek every time. So I pose this question to you, as I am not terribly cultured: in India, is it a sign of respect to share your gas with those around you or something? Seriously, clue me in.
CHRIS CANDIDO & STEVE STONE (w/Jim Fannin) v. IAN ROTTEN & DUSTY RHODES
Pretty much exactly the match you'd expect, and a lot of fun. If you went and didn't mark out a little for the American Dream then I don't know what to tell you. Candido is the shit and I am glad to say he can still go. Steve Stone was in a damn goofy mood, and I tried to rile him up pre-match by yelling out that Danzig's last album was fuckin' terrible, but he didn't bite. Candido cut a promo, which the douchebags responded to briefly with "SHANE DOUGLAS!" until he looked at them and went, "Dude, that didn't make any sense." Fannin talked some and called people pussies for not fighting him and such. Didn't get much heat but the right idea. Candido sold his ass off for Ian and Dusty, especially Dusty, and Stone was basically the wingman. Dusty worked hard when he honestly didn't have to and I'd say most people wouldn't even expect him to. He did all he was physically capable of doing, including juicing. Ian topped him with a good gusher, though of course neither guy is too tough to bust open. They did some brawling outside and DA DREAM was around. I marked out for all the elbows and shit. After it got a little settled after the pier-six stuff, Dusty tossed Ian an elbowpad and let Ian drop the big elbow on Stone for the pin. Fun stuff and cool to see Ian enjoying himself that much. Ian was like a little kid, kinda like Pedro after the Sox won game seven.
WOMEN'S TITLE MATCH
MICKIE KNUCKLES v. MERCEDES MARTINEZ (champion)
Yo - this match was really quite good, and then it fucking ended when stupid MsChif came out and ruined it all with her retarded spike chest protector and stupid fake yelling. WHATEVER. Mickie wins via DQ, gets posted a couple times, BLADES because she RULES and has stolen my heart now that Ashlee Simpson has been embarrassed publicly, and then we got an impromptu match.
WOMEN'S TITLE MATCH
MSCHIF v. MERCEDES MARTINEZ (champion)
Both got counted out and I don't remember anything about this part. Somehow out of all of this they figured MsChif deserves a title shot against Mercedes on the 11/20 afternoon delight women's show in Highland. Also announced for that is Daizee Haze, who just stood down the wall from me watching all of this unfold, against Lacey in a 30-minute iron woman match. Daizee did a promo and I couldn't understand what she was saying because the sound was bad and she talks really fast. She's so cool.
SHANE HAGADORN & MATT TURNER v. EVAN STARSMORE & ANTHONY FRANCO
Four more of Punk's students. All these guys wear black, which I think is kind of cool and not that I know this, but it seems like maybe the idea is that if they can't get over as wrestlers and not gimmicks, they aren't what Punk wants representing him as students. They didn't get a chance to do much. Hagadorn, a native of East Lansing, MI (fuck a Spartan), is really a cocky young guy! He thinks he knows it all. Someday, he'll learn. Someday! Short match. Starsmore had his tiny little bicep taped up, it was *adorable*. I couldn't tell you one way or another if any of these guys are any good or show any promise because they just blended in with each other to me. Hagadorn ended up turning on Turner (how ironic!) and the other two won.
Intermission was here. We came back and Joey Eastman let us know the Red Sox were up 4-1. There was a dude there in a Sox cap and let me say this. If game one of the World Series tonight was Orioles v. Cardinals and not Red Sox v. Cardinals, I would not have been in Highland watching wrestling, and that's not even near as big a deal as Red Sox being there to Red Sox fans should be. Fuckin' poseurs.
LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH
JC BAILEY v. JIMMY JACOBS (champion)
This was supposed to be Jacobs v. Delirious, first blood, but Delirious got hurt during the shows this week and wasn't able to wrestle. Bailey stepped in. Match wasn't very good, a little sloppy which happens with Bailey, but they are two guys who stand out as dudes who bust their asses so I find it impossible to get down on this match more than saying I wasn't into it really. Bailey hit the Bardstown Bam (flying legdrop) for a near-fall and they did some nice finishing sequence counter stuff. Jacobs busted Bailey open on the floor, and after winning the match with the Contra Code, busted out the railroad spike and ripped him open some more while screaming at Delirious, who was near the commentary table. Delirious backed off and indicated he was hurt before Jacobs left. I did dig that Bailey bled so it gave the impression that Jacobs can bust people open.
ABYSS v. RYAN BOZ (w/Carmine DeSpirito and Brad Bradley)
Abyss is a big motherfucker. God he's so fuckign strong!!!! ghah!!! aeowijha!!!! he fuckign flexes and shit!!!!! STO$RNG!!!!! Not quite the power match I was hoping for and Abyss proves kind of pointless as the match ends on a DQ after the heels cheat and can't find a way to beat him. DQ comes when Boz moves in the corner, causing Abyss to squish Tommy Thompson. Boz eats the black hole slam but when Thompson regains his senses he calls for the ball. This gets him torture rack dropped afterward. GOD FUCKING STRONG
CLAUDIO CASTAGNOLI v. CHAD COLLYER
I like both these guys. Even Collyer, who everyone hates except me apparently. But this match was as compelling as glue. Now glue is a fine thing and there's nothing wrong with it. Similarly, the match here was solid wrestling and they didn't do poorly or anything. But glue? Not interesting to talk about or anything. Collyer v. Castagnoli? Apparently not interesting to watch, which sucks, because again, I like both these guys a lot. Castagnoli has the best entrance. Collyer won with a texas cloverleaf and I really got bored.
TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH
HOMICIDE & B-BOY v. THE WILDCARDS (champions)
It is my experience that no one picks up an unenthused crowd better than Homicide, and B-Boy is good in this spot too. Dude hits hard. Wildcards are bringing it tonight with the shit-talking, particularly Kingston who is the fucking man. Wildcards get lots of "who's your daddy?" chants, which is kinda cool. They're from New York and have worn Yankee caps to the ring before. Homicide is from Brooklyn but shh. Maybe he likes the Mets. Maybe he doesn't care about baseball. Either way, good match, I love tag wrestling and Homicide/B-Boy is my favorite tag team going. They are selling a little bad blood from the strong style tournament the night before in Lafayette, which had B-Boy over Homicide in the first round. I remember B-Boy's kicks, Homicide being great, Kingston shouting "ya mutha!" a bunch, and Marciano calling a woman Large Marge before B-Boy missed a shining wizard that inadvertantly hit Homicide, who started to walk out but changed his mind to come back for the save. B-Boy ends up getting double-teamed and pinned with feet on the ropes anyway, and the Wildcards retain. Homicide leaves him with his hurt arm and says fuck that guy. Good stuff and I look forward to seeing them in Highland sometime.
BJ WHITMER (w/Jim Fannin) v. DANNY DANIELS
Daniels jumps Whitmer right from the get-go during Whitmer's entrance. Good brawling around the ringside area, but once the fighting calms, so does the crowd. Whitmer actually looks real crisp tonight, throwing some nice exploders, but something just wasn't happening. Maybe it was just Whitmer. Maybe we just don't care about Whitmer and there's nothing he can do to change that. We've been conditioned and are now perhaps unfairly biased, I guess. I also wasn't really into this big score-settling grudge match ending on a Daniels roll-up after Fannin interference backfired. After the match, Daniels went to piledrive Fannin, but Whitmer broke it up.
AUSTIN ARIES, RODERICK STRONG & NIGEL MCGUINNESS v. SAMOA JOE, ACE STEEL & NATE WEBB
This got shuffled as it was originally Joe/Steel/Punk, but Punk was moved into the title shot against Styles after Arik Cannon broke his collarbone. Injuries really fucked with this card, I was really looking forward to the six-man match tonight. I love six-man tags. Webb gets moved up into this match, as he was originally scheduled for a six-way match with Punk's students, which would've been interesting to say the least. Joe was particularly amused by Nate's entrance. I love Joe. I mean. I hate Joe. Whatever. Good match so I wasn't let down, and Nate carried his end and played a sweet FIP, which was to be expected. Ace also actually cut his hair after the Raw thing with Eugene, and looks years younger because of it. Kind of a pompadour-ish look, really sharp. Once Joe gets in, Nigel decides to back off and let Roderick Strong in with him. They trade some, but Joe hammers him. Eventually the heels take control and get their shots in, before Joe turns it around again and Nigel foolishly does his Ultimo Dragon headstand on the turnbuckle. This backfired big at TPI, as Joe kicked his face in in disgusting fashion, but this time, Joe takes the same angle to charge, and all of a sudden, Roderick fucking Strong flies across the ring with a gargantuan boot to Joe's face. I about shit my pants. Roderick Strong is the bomb shit for real and very quickly becoming one of my favorite wrestlers. The match eventually breaks down into the big brawling stuff, and Nate ends up eating the pin on a Strong backbreaker followed by Aries' 450 splash. Fine match; probably not as hot as it could've been, but I enjoyed it because I really like all of these guys. Heel Nigel is a goldmine. Hopefully sets up a Joe/Strong rematch. Strong is showing some serious brass and I hope he's going to be a fixture.
IWA MID-SOUTH TITLE MATCH
CM PUNK v. AJ STYLES (champion)
Styles won the belt a couple nights ago after it was vacated in a four-way against Sabin, Petey Williams and Chris Daniels. Despite that Punk does not use that God awful AFI song in IWA MS, this dude kept trying to do the drum part at the start of it to get people to clap along like they did at ROH. Here's the problem. Motherfucker didn't know the drum part at all. This guy in the bleachers that did got really annoyed and we tried to help his mission of getting it right, but they weren't having all of that there. The match was quite good, I think, but hurt by the obligatory, lame "Let's go AJ!" "Let's go Punk!" "dueling chants" shit that is fucking obnoxious if you FORCE it. I noticed Soup Ladle gave up his front row seat to the CM Punk fan girl from earlier, and I thought that was a real classy move because it probably just contributed to making her day after he talked to her earlier. Styles was working hurt and it showed, but he still busted his ass and the match was good if not as high-impact as I'm accustomed to from Styles. I'd love to see these guys live when they're both 100%. Punk looked good here and is on a real hot streak. Punk kept on Styles' arm, which he also hurt clotheslining the ringpost outside. Styles went for the Styles Clash, but Punk countered out and got him in a wicked armbar submission that Styles eventually had no choice but to tap to, making Punk the new IWA champion, and a five-time champion overall (first reign since his last one ended in February '03 with the 93-minute match against Hero). Punk winning also contributed to making that girl's day. I'm actually really happy she got to see him win the belt in the main event because kids liking wrestlers and wrestling is one of the things that still intrigues me about pro wrestling and one of my favorite things to see when observing a live crowd.
Afterward we ate, as usual, and I had the same thing, as usual, but I went to get a Reese's peanut butter cup from the thing for charity where you get one for a quarter, and the lady looks at me, real serious, and goes, "DID YOU PUT MONEY IN THAT?" No retard, I stole a mini peanut butter up. Stop getting cunty.
I don't want to shit on this card because these guys work hard, but I wasn't feeling it tonight. The guys just seemed beaten up and obviously injuries (Cannon, Delirious, Styles working hurt, who knows who else working banged up enough to need the night off) and people being unavailable (Hero, Shelley, Petey, etc.) made it less than it could be with the full crew intact. But regardless, it was below-average for Highland and just a little bit off all-around. I always miss Hero when he's not on the card, but I didn't notice how truly integral a part of the show Cannon had become until now. But hey, everyone has a off nights. Live and let die, yada yada.