IWA Mid South Road Report - 06/18/05 -
by Scott Christ
I haven't been to an IWA show since April, which was also the last time they ran Highland. I hadn't been sure I'd even go out for this show or the 7/2 War Games show in Valpo, but that damned ECW PPV got me all riled up so we decided to make the trip to Hammond (right next to Highland) for this one. Hammond is, essentially, the new Highland.
Attendance was pretty decent, but it's hard to compare because the Hammond Armory is so much bigger (and better) than the Lincoln Center. Come TPI time in September they are really going to have some problems with parking there though.
Ian did his opening promo, which was fun and ate up some time, and he argued with the nWo guys and shouted out the first place Baltimore Orioles, yeah baby yeah. Ian announced Robbie Brookside, Jonny Storm and Chris Hero for the TPI. Brookside is a surprise and I can't wait to see him. He's also going to be a dad again in January. Congrats to him and Patti. This wasn't really a packed card but IWA shows that aren't great on paper generally end up being really fun for whatever reason. Anyway here's what happened.
CJ OTIS v. MARK WOLF
Hadn't seen Wolf since...sometime last year. I'm not looking up the show. Had never seen Otis before. Otis is a chunky blonde guy with an Owen Hart-esque singlet (the danger danger yellow/black thing) so he got some Owen catcalls. Match was sloppy as all hell as Wolf and Otis are clearly on different wavelengths and at times different planets. Just ugly to watch them throw these punches that the other isn't ready for. In one way I was enjoying it somewhat because it seemed kind of like a real fight, but once Otis completely whiffed on a dropkick I was off the train. I blame CJ Otis because, well, I like Mark Wolf and he too is an Orioles fan. Not a pretty much at all, but a short generic opener so I got over it pretty quickly. Wolf went over (don't remember the finish), so that was nice.
TRIK DAVIS v. DANNY DANIELS
I like both of these guys in spirit, Davis because he really does always give 110% and all those cliches, and Daniels because sometimes he's entertaining as hell and others he's just not. This match was ridiculous and seemed fueled by the ECW style more than indy wrestling of late has been. In fact a lot of the card came off that way, less hokey british chain wrestling, more action and outrageous kickings out of big, nasty moves. Which really, that had its day and then had its overkill too, but like that ECW PPV with basically no great matches and only one that was beyond decent/fun, it feels fresh because it's just not being done so much anymore. Would I call this a good match? Reckon not, but then again, reckon so, because I know for a fact it was better and way more fun than I expected. Davis basically took a huge beating, harkening back to the Cash Flo things but not quite that brutal, while using all sorts of fancy rolling cradles and such to try and get a flash pin, because Danny was all over him. Trik looks a little bigger every time I see him, especially in the chest, which really does help. He's also becoming a much more fluid wrestler as his chain sequences don't look like a guy who's watched a lot of Hero tapes trying to piece that shit together, but now look like a guy who can actually do that. He's not 100% there or anything, but he's improving a lot and steadily. Daniels hit a ton of big impact moves and couldn't put Trik away, which won the crowd over. The finish was a filthy-looking inverted cradle piledriver sort of thing (it may have been the rubik's cube, my memory's a little fuzzy, I'm really tired), but once that hit, if it didn't end there I think I would have given up. But it did.
IWA MID-SOUTH WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP NO-DQ MATCH
RAIN v. MICKIE KNUCKLES (champion)
Mickie won the belt at the ECW Arena show last weekend, but at Midlothian last night Ed Chuman and NWA Midwest refused to recognize it since the card was not sanctioned by the NWA. Ian broke the belt, so MsChif still holds the NWA Midwest title and Mickie is the IWA women's champ. This was a rematch from the Midlo show, which Rain won with help from peoples. This got ugly and quick. Mickie landed a vicious - and I mean vicious - headbutt on Rain right away, rivaling the one Homicide laid on Arik Cannon last year, if not better/worse, depending on your viewpoint on vile headbutts. From there it was just punchings in the face and forearms and kicking in the head and fans giving them belts to hit each other with, throwing into the walls and doors. It was a fucking fight and I loved every minute of this match. After it was over, I thought I'd got my 15 bucks worth right there. No shit - this match was that good. To her credit, Rain didn't back off a bit. I think I fell in love with both of these maniacal wrestle women during this match. I don't remember the finish to this one either, but Mickie won. I'd have to watch both again and back-to-back to decide, but this is right there with the Lacey/Daizee Haze KO or submission match from Lafayette last June.
EDDIE VENOM v. BRAD BRADLEY
Eddie Venom is a big tall goof from Michigan that I'd seen a couple of times and never liked him a whole lot. He did have a livejournal feud with Ryan Boz. This match went nowhere because I absolutely refuse to buy Eddie Venom hanging with Bradley. The problem is that Venom might look really big compared to most guys, but Bradley has so much more of a tough guy build that it looks ridiculous for Venom's shitty punches and kicks to be hurting him. Bradley's fault is that while he's a big, monstrous fucker, and he goes on offense like one, he doesn't have the arrogance to say fuck you and run someone over. He always tries to make his opponent look good. What's wrong with him? I think the finish for this was the lariat, and Bradley won of course. Match was not terrible but was totally useless. I don't see how this win gets Bradley over really.
IWA MID-SOUTH LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP 2/3 FALLS MATCH
MATT SYDAL v. JOSH ABERCROMBIE (champion)
I've been up-and-down on Josh since he arrived last year. He had a couple of great brawls in Muscatine and Valpo with Ian, and I liked him so much better as the mat wrestler/brawler than I did as the shitty high-flyer. Now he's the LHW champion, having won it from Delirious last weekend at that ECW Arena show, and Sydal is one of my favorite wrestlers on the planet right now, period. The one thing that bothers me about his IWA run is that in the last year-plus, he hasn't progressed to being a main eventer, and he deserves it. A Jacobs/Sydal feud on top right now would be enough to make my year so far, because Jacobs is about as good as it gets at the moment and Sydal isn't far behind. There was really nothing wrong with this match, and Josh has started to come into his own personality-wise, letting himself be a little more fiery, and it's working for him, but I want to make one thing clear: Josh Abercrombie is not AJ Styles. Some folk don't like Styles, but you stick AJ Styles on an indy show within driving distance for me and I'm there, because the guy can flat-out go, and his feud with Sydal last year was the best three-match series in the States. No I'm not forgetting one. Or dissing one. Sydal isn't always on that level, because he gels with Styles like crazy, and vice versa. Here, Sydal is the more accomplished and is carrying the load a bit, and it's not quite the same. The mat work/standing switch nonsense doesn't look as legit as it does with Styles, but it's still pretty good. First fall had a rollup finish and Josh marked out for himself, which was pretty awesome. Sydal tied it at 1-1 with that crazy top rope full rotation belly-to-belly. Josh won 2-1 and retained on a lungblower/phoenix splash combo that both looked really nice. I'm on the Josh Abercrombie bandwagon again for now. He looked really sharp in this, it was his best light heavy-style match in IWA MS so far.
Intermission was here. So far I'm having a hell of a time and this is a super show.
ERIC PRIEST v. CHANDLER MCCLURE
McClure is a babyface since turning on Fannin. Priest takes the mic and shits on him, saying he used to be the student he took the most pride on, but now he's his biggest disappointment, and he's going to teach him a lesson tonight. Priest pretty much dominates and this is a lot like Danny/Trik but Priest's promo put the story over really well, and so did their ringwork. At one point it's discussed that something is clearly wrong with earth tonight, and how can you argue? Mickie/Rain is one of the best and most violent matches I've seen this year, Josh Abercrombie brought his A-game, and now goddamned Eric Priest v. Chandler McClure is a good match? Are you kidding me? Chandler kept getting desperation spots in, similar to Trik, and hit the touchdown, but it only got two. Priest came back to win the match and again I'm hazy on the finish. Afterward, Priest laid the boots to him before Davis, bad neck and all, ran in to make the save. To reward him, Chandler beat the hell out of him, and apologized to Priest, saying he's absolutely correct about everything. "I get win after win, and you people still just shit all over me!" The thing is, that's true, so it worked well. And I much prefer a Priest/McClure student/teacher team to that lame Priest/Silas Young team, plus I'd like to see Silas Young in singles action since people say he's good when he's not being a douche. That was another nice thing, no hilarious Priest spots tonight. Just good solid wrestling with a nice story and a great post-match.
It didn't end there, as Ryan Boz ran in to make the save for Trik. After some shit-talking, a tag match started.
ERIC PRIEST & CHANDLER MCCLURE v. RYAN BOZ & TRIK DAVIS
Poor Trik just kept getting launched all over the place by Boz and onto their opponents. At one point Trik does a great dying sell after being flung over the top onto them, asking Boz which corner theirs was once he was able to make it to his feet. Boz dominated while in the match, but when Trik got in the heels were all over him. Boz eventually chased Chandler around the ring, which ended poorly for him, leaving Trik wide open to get his skull demolished again for the pin.
MAREK BRAVE v. NATE WEBB
Nate Webb is a king. I had never seen Brave (Danny Daniels student) but had heard good things. Considering I'd heard good things about Abercrombie and was so lukewarm on him, I held back my expectations. Even if I hadn't, Marek Brave is a seriously impressive athlete, and let's just say he's Alex Wright-esque but it has nothing to do with his wrestling. This match was all kinds of spotcentric, high-flying, crazy kickin' fun. Webb is seriously the man and way underrated as a worker. Sometimes he's off and all over the place, but more often than not, I've found, he's more fun to watch than just about anybody, because you really never know what he might try to do. I remember this match being exciting, but that's about it. Brave won after losing to Nate at Midlo, and Ian invited him to the TPI, matching him up with Brookside first round in what should be an interesting meeting. He then publically apologized to Nate for any problems they'd had, and asked him to come back full-time. The crowd supported that and meant it. Nate is beloved, and it's because he invites small children into the ring to get down with him before the match.
IWA MID-SOUTH TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
BRANDON THOMASELLI & TYLER BLACK v. THE IRON SAINTS (champions)
The Saints suck and Tyler Black (another Danny Daniels trainee) looked horrible in this one. Brandon, as usual, was the best one in the ring. Brandon & X v. Brandon's Brothers is really getting overdone. Black ate the pin. This one didn't work for me at all and since I'm sure I've been over my problems with the Iron Saints before, I won't carry on about it. But Black really did look bad, way less impressive than Marek Brave.
CHAD COLLYER v. ARIK CANNON
Chad Collyer is jacked out of his gourd. There doesn't look to be an ounce of fat on him right now, seriously, and he's tanned like Batista. Cannon on the other hand is a short little fat man in a red garbage bag with the world's tiniest mohawk. But I don't mean to dis, as I love my wrestlers in all shapes and sizes, and I most assuredly enjoy the work of these two competitors equally. Both are playing babyface which sucks, and neither are working the crowd, which also sucks. This was the one match on the card that was really hipster indy'd out, tons of mat wrestling that felt boring without being conditioned to it early tonight. Plus, well, Cannon is a shitty babyface and Collyer isn't the guy to carry the emotional side of the match. I love Collyer's work but Mr. Excitement he's not. They did a really great cloverleaf spot where Collyer set the legs for it with Cannon teetering on the turnbuckles, pulled him out in a mini power bomb, and hooked it in. I wanted Cannon to tap so badly because it was such a great spot that I'd never seen before, but of course he did not. After having missed one glimmering warlock, surprise surprise, the second hits and he wins. Look I like these dudes but this was about as lifeless as their shitty European rounds match. At least in that one Cannon was being an asshole.
Fannin cut a promo earlier in the evening about war games, and now it was Ed Chuman's turn. If I could understand what Ed Chuman was saying between wheezes and the sound of hot dog leavins flapping between his teeth, I'd let you know what the gist was. He did refuse to sanction the next match. Shucks!
IAN ROTTEN v. SABU
Lots of blood, go figure. Sabu's was ugly, as it came on Ian's attempt at a Van Daminator, sending the chair crashing into Sabu's eye. He also then did a T-bone Tazplex (complete with Taz pose) and later a Cactus elbow from the apron through a table on the floor. Ian's head bleeds buckets when he scratches a mosquito bite so I don't know where his came from exactly. Lots of Sabu stabbing with the spike, Sabu throwing chairs, Sabu being awkwardly off at various points, Sabu slipping on a chair attempting Air Sabu, Sabu dropping a chair and having it handed back to him by a fan, and finally, Sabu winning with the arabian facebuster through a table. Sabu was nowhere near as smooth here as he was against Rhyno, but he was also not as totally broken down-seeming as his STB5 match with Lynn or the three-way debacle with Kid Kash and Danny Daniels last summer, so a year later and he looks better, which is good news for anyone that likes Sabu at all, and I find it hard not to despite all his faults.
For me, this show ran out of steam at the end, but up through the Marek/Nate match, this was an extremely good show, action-packed and it flowed well and was well worth the trip. IWA delivered without any of the hot indy stars of today (unless you count Sydal or Cannon), and that's all I could ask for. Big ups to Mickie Knuckles and Rain for really solidifying this as a strong show with their wicked and uninhibited show of fearlessness and brutality.