IWA Mid-South - 07/09/05
by Scott Christ
In order to go to this show, I pawned half my DVD collection. The thing is, the first season of Chappelle's Show has no replay value, and there was a time period when I would buy ANYTHING on DVD if it was cheap. So I had a lot of shit I never watched. And money's money, y'all.
This was a small show, especially for a place like Hammond. Not a single big-name fly-in, but they made up for it with Tracy Smothers, an interesting tag title matchup and an Abercrombie/Sydal 30-minute iron man match advertised. I reckoned this was good enough for me. It wasn't good enough for many though. I tried a head count and it was about 60 paid. Smart Mark Video was not in the house, so it was a one-camera handheld shoot by Dave Prazak. Joey Eastman was not in the house, so Jim Fannin, working the merch tables now (and what a nice man!) just did roving ring introductions. Someone on the IWA board said it was like "IWA Unplugged" - I guess that's pretty accurate.
JAYSON STRIFE v. TRIK DAVIS
Who the hell is Jayson Strife? Beats me, son! He appeared to be all of about 18 or 19 years old at the most, so for once in his career Trik Davis truly looked like the aged veteran. Match was actually a really solid opener, with Davis doing loads of arm work and Strife selling very well. There was a lot of 50/50 offensive exchange stuff, but that was to be expected. Crowd was really quiet, which remained most of the night. I don't remember a ton of the offense but Strife got some stuff in to look decent and Davis mostly dominated with the arm stuff. Davis won on the triple deke, which was three moves and ended with an armbar for the submission.
IWA MID-SOUTH WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP
SHELIRIOUS v. MICKIE KNUCKLES (champion)
I am not saying this to be mean, but Mickie had new gear tonight (or at least new to me), and, well, it was a short-cut muu-muu. Like the miniskirt of muu-muus. Frankly I thought it was kind of cool, I'm not dissing it. But it was a muu-muu. This match went over like a fart in a church as Shelirious clearly has no legs besides that hilarious bit in the Punk/Delirious match. Daizee Haze did a good job with it, but no one was interested. It's not like anyone thought she'd win. I'd have rather just seen Daizee/Mickie XXVI or whatever. This was really short and just kind of ended, which was a good call because no one was into it.
STEVE STONE v. BRANDON THOMASELLI
This was a strange matchup. Actually, work-wise, it was decent. Stone can bring it and Brandon, though stagnating a bit in his rise, is very good when he's on. But I have no idea what the purpose was here at all. Again, a very short match and Brandon won with the air raid crash. That's all there is to say.
Then Lotus and Crazy J, a couple of upstart newcomers, came out to beat up Thomaselli and dis his high-flying ability, saying they can do it better. Lotus looks almost exactly like the singer from New Found Glory and has a strange collection of tattoos, with at least a juggalo thing, a straight edge thing, and the Crimson Ghost represented. There were others I couldn't quite make out I think. Anyway, they challenged Brandon to find anyone to face them in a tag match. He retreated to the locker room and re-emerged moments later with...
CRAZY J & LOTUS v. BRANDON THOMASELLI & MATT SYDAL
So Crazy J and Lotus came in and talked shit on the mic about how awesome they are, then they shit the bed in this match. Maybe it's just that the crowd wasn't into it, maybe it's that the ropes were loose as shit again, or maybe it's just that it didn't happen to work out this night for these four guys together. Who knows? I've never seen two of them so I have no idea how good or bad they are. Crazy J really needs a new name though, that is awful. Somewhat because he was not particularly crazy. I don't even remember how this one ended, but the new guys lost.
Intermission was here. Show had been just kind of bizarre thus far, and no good at all.
CHAD COLLYER v. DELIRIOUS
Chaddo has gone back to using Nazareth's "Hair of the Dog," which is about 150,000 times better as entrance music for anyone on earth, but especially for Chad Collyer, than is "Bodies" by Drowning Pool. Match was good and the subtly fun mix I expected out of dry-but-solid Collyer and wacky-and-awesome Delirious. They brought out the best in each other in some ways. Not that this was either of their best match, but you know what I'm saying. It was a good match. Collyer scored the upset with the Texas Cloverleaf, which surprised me, and marks one of the very few times I've seen Collyer win a match live. I really have no idea why Delirious would lose this match, not that I have a big problem with a Collyer win.
CHANDLER MCCLURE v. TRACY SMOTHERS
A ton of stalling and Chandler being a wimp and Smothers being annoyed with him. He did call him a goofy son of a bitch and ask us if there is anything better than being alive and in Hammond, Indiana, on a Saturday night. There probably is, but whatever. Look, I love Tracy Smothers and all, but this match stunk. Chandler spent most of it bitching that people sit on their ass when he's out there. And it's like, yeah. They certainly do. He's not even a bad wrestler but something about him is anti-interesting. He's even ditched the referee gimmick which sucked so bad I could've died. I kind of want to like Chandler. I have the same problem with Eric Priest. Nothing they do works for me for more than one match. The fact that the two had a good match together was something of a miracle. Match felt like it was ten hours long. You'd expect an old school, heel-v-face Tracy Smothers match to be better than this, but Chandler wasn't able to pull it off. Tracy had the win but Eric Priest interfered, and Chandler stole one with his feet on the ropes. Then they left. Then Priest came right back.
ERIC PRIEST v. RYAN BOZ
Boz has gotten some horrible advice on haircuts. It is the bowlest of all bowl cuts I've ever seen. There is no way he got that anywhere other than one of three places: in the locker room, in someone's kitchen, or at BoRics. This match was fun enough because obviously these guys know each other pretty well from however many goddamned Chicago-area indies. Boz hurt his leg on a dive to the floor, and Priest took advantage of it. He either actually hurt his leg or had the excellence to sell his leg after the match was over and he was just walking around the building, I couldn't really tell because I didn't quite see the fall he took or anything. And not that I'd really know either way. Anyway, Priest got a chair from Chandler, but Tracy ran in to stop him from swinging it, and Boz got the duke. A tag match between Tracy/Boz and Chandler/Priest was set up for the August 6 return date, which will also feature Jerry Lynn, Billy Gunn and Sunny. What a weird group. Unfortunately I will likely not be able to make that one.
Lotus came back out to challenge anyone in the back.
LOTUS v. TYLER BLACK
First off: mad props to Lotus and Black for trying to put on a crazy, all-over-the-building high flying brawl. I appreciate the effort, seriously, and some of the bumps they took were stupid nasty, and some of the shit they did was really stupid dangerous, including a dive from the Dr. Pepper machine by Lotus, and the two of them almost falling off of a table they appeared set to break. It never got broken, and luckily no one got hurt. In fact, that's the best thing about this: no one got hurt. It didn't really work particularly well, and though Lotus showed he does have some serious balls, he was really only marginally better in this match than he was in the tag, and this was all smoke and mirrors anyway. I applaud their effort and courage (if you'd like to call it that; lunacy might be a better word), but the match stunk. Black won.
Intermission #2. This show was still just not going well at all.
IWA MID-SOUTH TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
BAD BREED (Ian & Axl Rotten) v. THE IRON SAINTS (Vito & Sal Thomaselli, champions)
I thought this was a really, really interesting matchup for some reason. The Iron Saints are another couple of dudes I haven't gotten into, although God do I want to, because they've generally wrestled Brandon & X every time I see them, and it just got boring. The reason I want to like them is using the Crue's "Wildside" for entrance music. It really looks fitting for them when they walk out. Axl was all over the case of gay people, and while I can live without that, it exists, I'm old enough to know I can't change it, it's not really going to end the world, and I can get past it, especially if Axl looks like he's having as good a time in the ring as he did tonight. Some folk really hate on Axl, but screw that - people do dumb things in life, it happens, and of all things, they should not be shut out of the goddamned professional wrestling industry for mistakes. Ian also looked like he was having fun. Shit, so did the Saints. Match was good, with Ian playing Ricky Morton and having his injured hand/wrist destroyed. Ian's selling is among the best in the game. He also threw some suitably ugly headbutts. Axl did well with the hot tag, and after a brief comeback attempt by the Saints, Ian and Axl chaired the holy hell out of Sal for the win and the belts. Ian then shit on Jim Cornette for kicks. Easily the match of the night at this point.
IWA MID-SOUTH LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
30-MINUTE IRON MAN MATCH
MATT SYDAL v. JOSH ABERCROMBIE (champion)
Who do I root for! I actually own a Matt Sydal t-shirt, but Josh Abercrombie is from my state. Both of them are stellar young men and fine talents. I've liked Sydal for a long time, but I've recently become a big Abercrombie fan. Oh, I was torn. So I just cheered for quality grapsmanship. Match was about what you'd expect style-wise, but there was a lot of shit-talking and friendly back-and-forth (and occasionally not so friendly) during the match, with Sydal talking and talking and Josh just wanting to wrestle. Matt went up 1-0, then got a 2-0 lead about midway through if I recall. Abercrombie made a late comeback to tie it up. There was plenty of diving and mat wrestling and good looking kicks and all this in the match. In fact, it was very good, and picked up steam as it went along, which is of course the point of going long, particularly if it's a set time limit. Obviously they tied 2-2 at 30 minutes, so they went to overtime and Abercrombie won the match in under five to retain. Don't remember the finish at all for some reason. Some more back-and-forth after, and since Abercrombie has beaten him twice in a row in Hammond, Sydal offered Josh a shot at his NWA Midwest X title any time he wants it.
Through the first eight matches, this show was just dead. But it ended on a high note with the two main events, and really what more can you ask for? What I thought would deliver did, I knew this wasn't a large-scale show going in, and I didn't expect the world out of it. It was worth the money spent to go see it. I wouldn't recommend the tape or anything (whenever that gets out), but it was a unique live experience. It was sort of like an IWA house show.