IWA MID-SOUTH A MERRY FUNKIN' CHRISTMAS
12/12/04 - HIGHLAND, IN
by Scott Christ
Yada yada the drive. It was damn cold and damn windy on this day. We got to hit the road early since this was starting two hours earlier than normal, being on a Sunday and all. I reserved front row seats because I didn't feel like looking around someone's big fat head all night again. Instead, people could try to look around MY big fat head. I went to see Terry Funk, who came out before the show started while we were just sitting and bullshitted with fans.
One thing I do want to share is my trip to the restroom before the show, during which I encountered NWA Midwest promoter Ed Chuman, a whale of a man, searching for a stall in which to take a crap. Chuman opens door #1 as I enter door #3 to take a leak, and I hear him say, "Oh, that doesn't look good." Chuman takes door #2 and I try to pee without laughing about what I can only imagine to be a mess of turds in the far stall. God I love wrestling shows.
OK, the show. Ian Rotten came out for the usual handling of hype, but Jim Fannin interrupted and said today was the deadline for Ian to pay him the money he owed him, and if he didn't have it, the company was his. Ian didn't have it. Funk came out, Fannin said that we got our Funk appearance, and the main event was off. Ed Chuman, who had earlier discovered nasty shit in the men's room, confronted Fannin and cut a good promo about how Fannin had a lot of goddamn nerve to disrespect an NWA legend like Funk, and wrote Fannin a check, telling him to take his fucking money and get out of his sight or some such, and that the main event was still going to be on later that night with Ian, Funk and Danny Daniels teaming against Fannin's crew of BJ Whitmer, Chris Candido and Steve Stone. When I was buying tapes from the gimmick table before the show, an overweight child ran up and asked Candido, "Were you Skip or Kip?" "Uh, I was Chip." I also am pretty certain that if you are not at least 20% overweight for your height or age and are under the age of 15, you aren't allowed to go to IWA shows. I'm not ragging, just observing.
NWA MIDWEST X DIVISION TITLE MATCH
TODD SEXTON v. MATT SYDAL (champion)
Sexton failed to impress at the TPI weekend, but I'd heard good things so I was all about giving him another shot. He's also apparently the de facto leader of the heel Wildside faction in the IWA/Wildside feud that's going on, which makes enough sense given that he's the trainer down there. Sydal had some new short tights that looked good. This match was solid but not a blowaway affair or anything, and was a very good choice for opener. The crowd was a little weird tonight, as they didn't seem to care about taking anything seriously whatsoever, only wanting to make jokes or be noticed or chant here and there. No one paid any attention to the angles, which I'll probably talk more about later. Good mat stuff here as Sydal lifts the page from his series with Styles that reads "Grapple aggressively on the mat and make it seem as if it's legit." I like that page a lot, and this worked to Sexton's strengths, too. They ended up rolling to the floor while trying to gain the advantage on the ground early on. Sexton was again rather unspectacular but this was world's better than his shit match with Danny Daniels in the TPI first round, and Sydal looked good again. Sydal is really on a hot streak and becoming very consistent. Sydal wins and retains with the top-rope belly-to-belly overhead full-rotation superplex. That move needs a name. Sexton blew off a handshake and Sydal got pissed. Sydal seemed a little too concerned with talking to the wiseacres during this match, but whatever. Good opener.
ALLISON DANGER v. DAIZEE HAZE
Allison Danger is a great color commentator. Here's her offense: choke, choke, choke, choke, make a joke, choke, choke, choke, choke, choke, chop, kick, stomp, choke, choke, choke, choke, make a joke, choke, choke, choke. I actually thought this match was alright as Allison was a great heel and Daizee is good at being the sympathetic babyface, but she sure choked a lot. A LOT. Daizee wins with a running Yakuza kick to the side of the head.
HEXAGON MATCH FOR ENTRY INTO THE NWA INDIANA STATE TITLE TOURNAMENT
JOEY ENVY v. KORY SIMS v. CHANDLER MCCLURE v. ERIC PRIEST v. JOSH ABERCROMBIE v. LARRY SWEENEY
Larry fuckin' Sweeney is the fuckin' man, let me just say that right now. Eric Priest was also really impressive in his Highland debut, as he's sort of the king of the Chicago indies at this point, which isn't a bad thing to be, no matter how shit the Chicago indies are overall. Kory Sims is Kid Krazy and Joey Envy is usually Joey E., and both work in Minnesota a lot. I've heard they're good, but I didn't expect much, because everyone always says some dude from their local rinky dink circuit is the bomb, and it's rarely the case. It wasn't the case here, either, though neither of them were bad or anything. Priest and McClure, veterans of Chicago, did some double-teaming here and there. Priest's gimmick is he's "The Underwear Model". He sort of looks a little like Rene Dupree, so he's able to pull it off. Sweeney is a short, chubby, guy with orange/blonde curly hair, who dresses in a pink and purple singlet and has the old school gay gimmick ring robe with feathers and all. Priest seemed a little confused by Sweeney, but at some points they worked together.
Basically it ended up being sort of six-man tag-ish, as the faces (Envy, Krazy, Abercrombie) were only in against each other a couple times, including the obligatory Envy/Krazy run-through of the match they've been doing in Minnesota for however long, and the heels were only in with the faces. The match was pretty entertaining and it was definitely more fun to have these guys all in one match, given a bit of time to show their stuff, than it was to split them all up into a bunch of matches that no one cared about, and they even gave this match a purpose, so that was nice. Sweeney is just insanely over, Priest connected well with the crowd, and McClure is familiar enough that he gets a little heat, but none of the babyfaces got any reaction. Abercrombie ended up flubbing his finish on Sweeney, but made up for it with some 630 phoenix splash of a thing to get the duke instead. Abercrombie is Jimmy Jacobs' roommate or something, and my friend knows a girl that used to date him, because they're all from Kalamazoo. Abercrombie was rather unimpressive, he would do well to get some different tights. Final verdicts: more Sweeeney, who the crowd loves/hates; more Priest; Kid Krazy wasn't very Krazy; I can't remember anything Joey Envy did; Abercrombie needs new tights; McClure has a whistle.
MICKIE KNUCKLES v. MSCHIF
Mickie takes the mic before the match and asks Prazak to make the match no-disqualification, old school IWA rules, and the winner becomes No. 1 contender. Prazak grants it, and we're underway. This was a horrible match. Just bloody awful. They just sort of fell on each other sometimes, and just sort of didn't do anything with one another. It just got no flow and Mickie looked bad tonight. I think the less said about this the better, so we'll just say that MsChif won with the green mist, then Prazak strangely punished her by making her match with Mercedes Martinez for the title no-DQ, so Mercedes could do anything she wanted too. I mean, didn't Mickie have that ability and not do fuck all and get misted and lose? She still has green shit in her mouth next time.
Intermission was here and lasted about a half hour as Funk came out to take polaroids and sign autographs and shit.
HALLOWICKED v. CHRIS HERO
This was supposed to be Hero v. Donovan Morgan, but Morgan skipped out to go to Puerto Rico. The return of Chris Hero to the Lincoln Center saw him having added a couple pounds, which sort of works well with the Highland winless streak as it makes him seem frustrated and looking for comfort foods. C'mon, I love Hero, I'm trying to help him out here. Billed as "teacher v. student". Hero did all his usual stuff, and the crowd was half-for and half-against him as usual, but no one was too willing to chant for Hallowicked, so thank God we didn't get much of an attempt at "LET'S GO HERO" "LET'S GO HALLOWICKED". There was a strong "Let's go Hero" chant early, and he seemed excited to be back. I really dug this match, actually, because Hero put some emotion into it. He got frustrated that he wasn't putting Hallowicked away, and took a bunch of forearm shots and kicks and shit while trying to have fighting spirit and shake them off, challenging Hallowicked to pour it on further, which he did, and it backfired on him. Hero yelled a lot and looked kind of lost a few times (in-character), plus he seemed a notch more aggressive than usual. I figure this for a "pretty good" match, sort of on the same level as Hero/Kingston from Lafayette earlier this year or Hero/Delirious from Oolitic. Hallowicked ends up winning on a cradle and it's just like, "Well, yeah, whatever." I mean clap for the effort, fine, but I dunno, if the point is to get me to not care about Hero's Highland matches anymore, then it's working. I like the angle but when it's coming down to being against B-Boy, Danny Daniels in a cage, B-Boy again, Homicide, Arik Cannon, American Dragon, Mike Quackenbush and then Hallowicked, it's getting difficult to care that he loses, because apparently the guy just sucks. The saving grace has to be Hero losing his mind and destroying someone.
I was also thinking a neat next step might be to book Hero low on the card against someone like Priest, McClure or Trik Davis, and have him kind of complain about his placement (not in a shooty sense, just in that he feels he deserves more recognizable opposition), and the explanation to him is that he's not getting the job done, which is true, and he's had to be lowered because no one's paying to see him anymore. Just schtinking. He could lose that match, maybe to Davis who's familiar and a babyface, and both of them could be shocked by it, and then you have Hero just assault Davis and go heel, resenting Ian Rotten for losing faith in him and maybe even joining up with Fannin's crew. You're setting up reversed roles Hero/Daniels and some old timey Hero/Rotten fun, at the least, plus most people want to boo him anyway, and it would give those of us that still cheer him a reason to boo and get on everyone's damn bandwagon. We're fighting a losing battle here. But I was just thinking is all.
JAY FURY & SKEETER FROST (Wildside) v. BRANDON THOMASELLI & TRIK DAVIS (IWA Mid-South)
I was really impressed by this match. Frost is a guy that worked IWA earlier this year and Steve Stone beat the shit out of him. He was replacing Sal Rinauro in this match, who either has something wrong with his groin or is in jail, depending on which rumor you give weight to, if either. Trik was there in place of Nate Webb and I'm not sure why. I had not seen Brandon Thomaselli yet, but he ended up main eventing the Highland show I missed last month against Punk, and the match got good reviews. Fury I'd never seen and he came off rather well, if a little too unnecessarily flippy. I really liked Thomaselli's segments and Skeeter Frost, despite having negative presence in the ring, was pretty smooth given that he's really young and I wasn't expecting much of him. Trik also looked good here and the match got plenty of time to have a story and everything. Thomaselli was presented as the best in the ring at any given time, which goes well with his rise in IWA MS and serves not to hurt him by going from main event to midcard tag match in less than a month. Fury had some nice offense; short, compact build so he did a couple suplexes and what have you, a lot of it more complicated than I really care for, but he did a fine job in his debut here. Davis, I swear I can't remember any of his offense, but he's getting better all the time. The finish came when Fury pinned Thomaselli after Frost tripped Thomaselli on a suplex attempt.
Post-match, Todd Sexton comes out in streetclothes while people chant "please come back" at Frost and Fury, which really hurt the angle they were trying to run with Wildside being heels. Sexton asks Thomaselli to join Wildside's team, since his brothers (Vito and Sal) are already down there, and everyone wants him to come to Wildside where he belongs. Thomaselli turns them down and Fury wisely uses the "please come back" chant against the crowd when they chant about how Wildside sucks or something.
EUROPEAN RULES MATCH
ALEX SHELLEY v. NIGEL MCGUINNESS
Shelley is out first, and instead of "Roll On" by The Living End, we get "Anarchy in the UK", which signals Arik Cannon's arrival. Cannon's in streetclothes, still rehabbing his collarbone. Last month, Shelley and Petey Williams made fun of Cannon and called him a quitter. Cannon cuts a retaliation promo about how Shelley wrestling for TNA sucks and he's a sellout and blah blah. I dunno, I can't get into angles like this where the guy who makes money is the asshole, because it doesn't make sense unless you want to get into pride of the art or some such. Cannon closes by saying he'll go bury Shelley on commentary in his best CM Punk impersonation. Good for him.
OK, hilarious: Nigel comes out and pulls a giant spring from under the ring, placing it by the apron and then heading back to the door. He gets a running start, springs AND -- jumps all the way to the apron! Nigel is beyond goofy sometimes. European rules matches work like this: 12, three-minute rounds, closed fists and kicks with the point of the toe are illegal, all the usual stuff is very illegal, and pinfall or submission rules apply as normal, but you stop every three minutes. Basically, this is an excuse to exhibit chain wrestling, I've found, and I do not like the matches because they're dull and impossible to invest emotionally in. That and despite people chanting "Baby Bear" at Shelley, he's really not over in Highland. Also, wasn't Nigel a heel? I dunno. I left for part of this match, missed nothing but Nigel getting a yellow card (if you get three it's an automatic DQ), and then Shelley got one. Nigel pins Shelley on a cradle or something. Just can't care about these matches even though I like both guys a lot.
IWA MID-SOUTH TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH
BRAD BRADLEY & RYAN BOZ v. THE WILDCARDS (champions)
Bradley and Boz are babyfaces fighting Fannin's team now, which makes enough sense because back when they were managed by both Fannin and Carmine DeSpirito, they never liked Fannin. At the Valpo show, they saved Trik Davis from a Fannin family beatdown. The match was hilarious, and I'm pretty sure the Wildcards are incapable at this stage of having an unentertaining match. Lots of them being pussies against monsters Bradley and Boz. Bradley gets an iron claw he can't let go of despite the referee's warnings after he's been tagged. "I can't get it off, it's THE CLAW!" Just a funny, funny match, and around it they have the actual wrestling, which is solid. Whitmer runs in to hit Boz with an exploder suplex and allow the Wildcards to retain. Bradley promises that Whitmer is dead.
TITLE v. MASK
DELIRIOUS (masked) v. JIMMY JACOBS (IWA Mid-South light heavyweight champion)
The first time I saw these two do anything together was in May in that Highland multi-person elimination match, and it struck me that they should either team or feud. They've feuded, it's been good. Jacobs puts his title on the line tonight only if Delirious will put his mask up, because he doesn't want another "Alex Shelley situation" where the feud never dies. The cynic in you says they'd never unmask Delirious. Good wrestling as usual, good comedy as usual, but this one is a lot more serious than their first Highland match. Jacobs works over Delirious' midsection and Delirious hits a nasty chop early. I don't remember a ton about the match in specifics, but I remember I liked it. Bryce Remsburg warns both for pulling out railroad spikes that they can lose the match and their possession that way. Then the mess. After one ref bump, Delirious hits Jacobs with a chain. Jacobs hits the Contra Code on Delirious after two ref bumps, and original ref Remsburg counts the three. Delirious tells Remsburg to check Jacobs' tights, and Bryce goes fishing, coming up with Delirious' chain. Reverse decision, Delirious wins on a DQ, belt stays with Jacobs, nothing accomplished. Jacobs says he'll wrestle Delirious again. BUT WAIT -- Ian and Prazak are in, and they say that the stipulation was title v. mask, and the way the match was won doesn't matter. So Delirious is the new champion, keeps his mask, does two victory laps around the Lincoln Center, comes back, cuts a promo, and a Jacobs/Delirious cage match is scheduled for the next Valparaiso show. Well I've got a headache, but fine by me.
RAINMAN v. B-BOY
This is the type of match you don't really think about, then it's there, and you go, "This could be really awesome." Both are getting solid fan support as neither have done anything dastardly to get booed. B-Boy breaks out the kicks early, Rainman counters the striking offense with his high-impact stuff. B-Boy hits a nasty lariat at some point in this match. Not to make it sound like Rainman sucks or sucked in this match, but B-Boy was outclassing him pretty badly. The Wildside guys ran in, going after B-Boy, and Sexton KO'd him with a superkick. Rainman got the pin, then B-Boy told him what happened. Rainman called Sexton, Fury and Frost to the ring, and I expected the Rainman turn, but instead he cleared the ring of all of them, and the match was restarted with Rainman and B-Boy slugging it out. Five minutes later, a double-pin. My God. The Wildside guys come back and stomp on Rainman, but B-Boy clears them out in short order. You guys SUCK. B-Boy/Rainman rematch needs to happen because I was enjoying this match.
CHRIS CANDIDO, BJ WHITMER & STEVE STONE (w/Jim Fannin) v. TERRY FUNK, IAN ROTTEN & DANNY DANIELS
Boy did this match surpass expectations. Candido did his whole Funk impersonation gimmick. Pants, bandana, Funk walk, the whole nine yards. The match was a tremendous, wild, bloody brawl that I was way into. Funk worked much harder than anyone would have any right to expect, brawling all over with Candido. The match was straight (sort of) for a bit, but ended up just being a trainwreck of fighting and bleeding. They did one thing I really thought was nice, where with the babyface team, instead of having Daniels do all the heavy lifting and playing FIP since he's not old (Funk) or injured (Rotten), they had the old man and injured man as the weak links of the team, isolated by the heels who wanted nothing to do with the healthy, angry Daniels that hates all of their guts. Once Daniels did get into it, he was electric. Whitmer and Ian paired off for most of the last part, with Rotten hitting a tomakaze on Whitmer through a table outside. Funk was just a raving, bleeding lunatic, throwing haymakers and shouting about sons of bitches and goddamn this or that, smacking Candido in the face a lot. Really another great performance from Chris Candido as he carried the heel side. They fought all over the building, garbage cans being emptied and thrown all over, wrestlers tossed into walls -- fun stuff. At one point Candido hit a piledriver on Funk on the floor, and ended up with nacho cheese on his back. Instead of paying attention to the fact that Candido had just piledriven a 60-year old man on the floor, people felt the need to continually point out the hilarity of the nacho cheese. I'm all about nacho cheese on a wrestler being pretty funny, but this was supposed to be a serious situation, you know? Finish came when Funk DDT'd Candido on a broken piece of table after Candido missed a senton and crashed through it.
After the match, Daniels and Funk got tied to the ropes, and they were going to pour salt in Ian's disgusting spider bite wound on his chest, but Bradley and Boz ran in to make the save. Rainman, Thomaselli, Mickie, Trik Davis and I think a couple other people also came out as backup. Ian and Daniels will face Whitmer and Stone in a cage next weekend in somewhere, Indiana, and Ian threatened to make Whitmer so ugly that Gabe Sapolsky and ROH wouldn't want him anymore, and even Mama Whitmer wouldn't recognize him. He also got in a steroids jab, which is either just weird or all the rage now with steroids such a hot topic in the world of sport.
Ed Chuman, who earlier in the night after the opening promo had his name cheered during promoter acknowledgements for the first time ever, turned back heel by saying that the check was no gift, and Ian had 90 days to pay him back. Ian seemed surprised, but it makes sense to me. Business is business. Chuman then said to ask his wife how and why. Ooh. Not the man's wife. If he doesn't pay him back in 90 days, it'll be "NWA Midwest presents NWA Midwest".
Funk thanked the crowd for making an old man feel young again, and that was the show.
Good stuff, not really a single match that you can point out and say, "Yeah, that was awesome, you gotta see that." If you're an IWA MS fan, this is worth your while. If you're a Funk mark, you'll get a kick out of the main event. A few problems aside (some overbooking), this was a nice show top-to-bottom with some highlights in unexpected places (six-way match and the Wildside v. IWA tag). I would assume I'll go back for the 1/15 show, though I am yet unclear as to how I really feel about New Jack coming in for the show. If it's Jack v. Necro Butcher in a crazy go nuts fight, then cool, or if they do something fucking weird like Jack v. Chris Hero, I'd be fascinated by that idea.
If you read, thanks for reading.