A Night To Remember...
‘Balls Hot’ Troy Lords vs. Quiet Storm
Sexual Harassment come out with their young friend ‘Balls Hot’ and get some serious heat together. Lords reminds me of a WCW Chris Jericho in look and ability to yap with the fans, while unfortunately his in ring work seems to reflect a more post-2001 WWE Chris Jericho, rather sloppy. Out of the gate Lords miscues early, catching Quiet Storm right in the mouth with a clothesline that has Storm checking to see if his teeth are still in place. Storm looks a little distressed and lays in some elbows before stretching Lords for a few minutes of vengeance. Lords later miscues again on a top rope clotheslines attempt slipping and falling way short, but they keep working through it with Lords selling the knee until Quiet Storm misses his diving headbutt, which in turn sets up Lords finish. ‘Balls Hot’ goes over, and Sexual Harassment hit the ring to beat down Quiet Storm, again, building up some heat for their tag title defense later as M-Dogg 20 and Josh Prohibition make the save. It should also be noted that Quiet Storm was watching both halves of the double main event from the curtain (always nice to see a worker do his homework in an effort to improve).
Dennis Gregory vs. J-Ru (and then vs. T. Rantula)
Gregory comes out to cut a good promo asking for an IWC title shot, Norm comes out to tell him he must earn it and tonight isn’t about promos – it’s about wrestling. So, out comes J-Ru who is disposed of quickly. Gregory goes back on the stick asking Norm if that’s all he’s got. So, out comes T. Rantula who proceeds to fall prey to a run-in screw job, making Gregory 2-0 on the night. I thought this was a good angle being short and to the point (Norm helping to get the worker over, not himself), Gregory gets good heat, can work a little and this will eventually build him up as a solid challenger to Colt Cabana for the IWC title.
Ace Steele vs. “Platinum” Mike Preston
Ace was in full-on ranting heel mode and Preston is much bigger than I anticipated in terms of thickness. These two lay into each other pretty hard between the chops and suplexes. Ace pulls out the headscissors into octopus combo but in the end falls to Preston’s power.
Brian O. vs. Matt Vandal
OK, Brian O makes his second appearance of the night (he helped Gregory earlier) which I think is too many, considering he looked like he should have been doing jobs about 17 years ago on NWA TV (and he has the offense, or lack there of, to match). Vandal, much like Preston, is quite thick (I was under the impression that Vandal was trained by Chris Hamrick – I could be wrong – which led me to the mental picture of young, scrawny southern guy, perhaps Tommy Rich like, that bumps like a madman which was far from what I saw). The match was a bit of a cluster, especially at the finish where T. Rantula enters with the ref bumped and powerbombs O through a poorly set up table, that Chris Daniels was selling merch at up to the point Brian O grabbed it, allowing Vandal to get the win thus fulfilling Brian O’s mini mullet, white as a sheet and slightly doughy build (or once again lack there of) destiny.
Colt Cabana, IWC Champion vs. Ikuto Hidaka, Far East Connection challenger
This was the first half of our double main event, and I was in full mark out mode at this point with my Far East Connection sign out (which got a thumbs up from Hidaka when he entered the ring) and when the bell rang it was all business as the crowd was buzzing with anticipation of the first lock up. These guys put on a really tight match highlighted by Hidaka busting out his Asai Cannonball Senton that the crowd erupted from, Colt catching Hidaka in the corner with a wicked palm strike only to be countered into Hidaka’s hanging choke (executed from swinging DDT start) but finally Cabana caught Hidaka in the Colt ’45 (a wicked double underhook sit-out backbreaker) to end the match in around 12 minutes. The crowd gave both men a post match standing ovation, and Colt went out of his way to put Hidaka over (who was selling his back the entire time) on the mic. A real honor to see Hidaka work live as he has so much savvy and smoothness in the ring, and a match I can’t wait to see again on tape since both the talented young Cabana and Hidaka jelled quite strongly together.
Devil Bhudakhan vs. Trevor Lowe
This is our first match post intermission, Devil now looks like the love child of Psicosis, Glenn Danzig and Vampiro (that for the horns, the mask style and the post victory hanging Christ pose), and Trevor Lowe pulls out the big wind up only to disappoint (after the wind up you need to at least deliver a heartpunch to be taken seriously), first delivering the eye poke and then the nipple twister (several as I recall) which is a major psychology flaw seeing Devil’s nipples were covered (and he seems like he might enjoy such things). The end comes rather quickly, as I mark out for a Stretch Muffler variation by Devil who takes it to the winner’s side of the pay window (if you will).
Sexual Harassment (JT Rodgers & Eric Xstacy), IWC Tag Champs vs. Josh Prohibition & M-Dogg 20, challengers
This match, despite Sexual Harassment’s protests, was a street fight with some chaotic heat, and was a good spot fest type effort from both teams as they pulled out board bumps, chair section bumps (into my section by the way), a big M-Dogg moonsault off the ring trailer, some large in ring air, a sloppy run-in (thanks to ‘Balls Hot’ not looking like he wanted anything to do with a Storm Cradle Driver) and a solid double team finish. One spot that I truly enjoyed was after M-Dogg hit his space flying tiger drop variation onto Sexual Harassment, Prohibition motions to the crowd, “ I’m next,” as I say to the guy next to me, “That’s going to be hard to follow,” so when Prohibition goes for his dive Eric smashes him in the face with a chair from the floor, and I say to the guy next to me, “I think that was the best follow up he could have had.” Eric Xstacy carried the match for his team, which is an impressive thing for a round guy in a very unflattering pink singlet to do (JT should be thankful he’s got someone to pick him up a notch). Post match the fans applaud both teams with Sexual Harassment even shaking hands with Prohibition & M-Dogg 20 for a possible face turn – what?
The Fallen Angel, Christopher Daniels vs. CM Punk – 30-Minute Iron Man Match
The second half of our double main event had arrived to close the show (and bring down the house) as both men got strong reactions from the crowd coming to the ring. This was Punk’s first match back for IWC since his skull fracture earlier this summer and the crowd again was buzzing at the first lock up. They started slow (as they were going long and built this thing up brilliantly) working headlocks, which turned into Daniels working Punk’s neck (great injury psychology) with some wicked neck vices that had Punk’s face turning blue. Punk countered out working early on Daniels back and legs trying to slow him down and stretch him out. The first fall came with Daniels using 3 potential finishes, which I thought was cool considering the thought process what’s he going to take Punk with after this, busting out the double jump moonsault and Angel’s Wings both of which Punk kicked out at 2 for, then finally transitioning into the Last Rights (so smooth as Daniels called out, “Goodnight”) for the 3 count. Daniels continued to work the neck, but Punk soon took control and the second fall using the Pepsi Plunge (top rope pedigree), which for a moment looked like Daniels was going to counter. The third fall would come soon after with Punk pulling out a great Shining Wizard catching Daniels off guard and putting himself up 2 falls to 1. Punk remained in control hitting a Senton Atomico which may have been where he tweaked his back because soon after, Punk collapsed under Daniels’ weight going for a Gory Special (or maybe trying to set up Splash Mountain) and then failed to get a vertical suplex which gave Daniels his opening. Daniels hit an STO and soon after a Complete Shot transitioned directly into a Spider Style Choke (first saw Kanemoto use that combo in the Super Junior against Liger in their fantastic match from this summer) that Punk tapped to immediately. So, now we’re tied at 2 with time getting low, and they pull out a Daniels caught in the tree of woe spot where Punk chops, punches and finally dropkicks Daniels’ knee, which is twisted in a very painful looking position. Punk starts to go to school taking apart Daniels’ leg only to get caught in an inside cradle as he was tying Daniels up in an Indian Death Lock (or maybe figure four, my memory fails me with it happening so quick). Daniels is up 3 falls to 2 without much time left, so Punk persists with the leg turning Daniels over with a Texas Cloverleaf. The crowd is really peaking with the cheers going both ways as Punk shows smarts dragging Daniels back to the center of the ring and sitting deeper each time Daniels crawls towards the ropes. At this point, I’m very vocally encouraging Punk to sit deep on that Cloverleaf hoping we go to a draw and overtime since this match has been incredible thus far. Daniels however holds on and gains the victory over Punk, 3 falls to 2 falls. Punk picks up Daniels post match as once again the crowd is giving both men a standing ovation (with Daniels really selling the knee hard) and bam! Punk lifts up Daniels delivering a knee breaker and starts stomping him, Punk rolls out and grabs a chair to get all Steve Austin on Daniels’ knee (if Daniels’ knee were Brian Pillman’s ankle that is), but gets cut off on the top rope by a furious Colt Cabana. Norm comes out calling for the doctor while Colt checks on Daniels. Cabana then cut a promo asking what hell Punk is thinking and says he wants to put Punk in line for the damage he’s done to Daniels – ah yes, the rivalry continues (their Midwest feud has been well documented, but in terms of IWC history, Punk never lost the IWC Title but had to surrender it when he got injured, which is where Cabana won the belt in the tourney that followed– history throws up a bone for logic). Daniels is taken to the back and Norm returns saying Gregory will have to wait another show for his title shot – nice touch wrapping things all together – and said the fans tonight had helped the IWC to move in a new direction which is to bring in the best indy stars in the world. This was a fantastic match to finish an excellent night of wrestling.
My thanks go out to Norm, who has always been a really nice guy to deal with, and the IWC crew, who work really hard, making the trip to the Pittsburgh area well worth it every time I’ve had a chance to go. I recommend you check out the IWC if you have the chance. In other IWC related notes, IWC Super Indy Champ Super Hentai was busy in Japan making a very successful debut for Hayabusa’s new WMF promotion winning a battle royal in his first match on 9/28. Hentai followed that up on 9/29 being on the winning side of a loaded, near 20-minute, 6-man tag match as he, GOEMON & Sukekiyo downed Asian Cougar, ONRYO & Flying Kid Ichihara (sounds like a great match to me on paper).
Review by KDB