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DVD review: IWC, "No Excuses," July 29, 2005, with Styles vs. Matt Hardy

Aug 18, 2005 - 3:26:00 PM
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By Chris Vetter, Torch Contributor

International Wrestling Cartel has quietly put on some really good shows in the last few years. IWC now sells its DVDs through the Ring of Honor Website, which has given them more exposure (and it introduced me to IWC).

This is a review of IWC’s show on July 29, 2005, in Monroeville, Penn., featuring Matt Hardy vs. A.J. Styles in a first-time-ever match, and perhaps the last ever meeting between these two.

NOTE: IWC DVDs do not work in all systems. If you have a problem with your DVD, there is information inside the package on how to return to disc and get a replacement.

On commentary are Joe Dombrowski for play-by-play, and Anthony Kingdom James, as a heel color announcer. The ring is well lit, and sound is great. The DVD opens with a backstage promo by J-Rocc & Troy Lords, who are upset at the Gambino brothers.

(1) KUDO defeats Jimmy DeMarco at 6:07. This is really just a squash to introduce the Japanese wrestler KUDO, who will be competing in the United States for a few months. KUDO wore shiny black pants with a yellow stripe, and he has a good physique. DeMarco has a generic look of being bald with black pants and a black T-shirt.

KUDO dominated this match with a nice dropkick, spine kicks and chops. The crowd is into this action. DeMarco hit a hurricanrana. KUDO did a modified Tarantula in the ropes, then some hard Tajiri-style spin kicks to the head. He hit a double-knee shot to the chest and scored the pin. “What an intense, what a brutal, IWC debut for KUDO,” an announcer said. I agree.

After the match, J-Rocc & Troy Lords attacked DeMarco, and they smashed his arm with a chairshot. We are later told that DeMarco’s arm was broken in this assault.

(2) Delirious defeats Matt Sydal at 12:47. These are two of my favorite wrestlers from the Midwest, also making their IWC debut. Delirious cut a promo backstage, spouting his hilarious gibberish. This crowd is really knowledgeable, as they popped for both guys, and had signs welcoming them to IWC. The announcers compared the Delirious-Sydal feud going around the country to well-known feuds of Colt Cabana vs. CM Punk, or Alex Shelley vs. Jimmy Jacobs.

Delirious goes crazy as the bell rings, and he immediately told the ref that Sydal pulled on his mask. Delirious applied a headscissorslock; Sydal countered with a headlock and armdrags. They brawled to the floor at 5:00, then back into the ring, trading hard chops. Sydal hit a nice headscissors takedown. Delirious hit a back suplex for a nearfall and a backbreaker over his knee. Sydal came back with a nice spin heel kick to the face at 9:30.

Sydal hit a nice running dive over the top rope to the floor on Delirious, generating an “IWC” chant. Back in the ring, Delirious hit a Panic Attack/running knee for a nearfall. Sydal hit his standing moonsault for a nearfall, which popped the crowd. “Matt Sydal pulls out one graceful move after another,” an announcer said. Sydal hit a pumphandle sitdown piledriver for a nearfall. He tried a Shooting Star Press, but he landed on his feet. Delirious nailed a Chemical Imbalance/wrist clutch into powerbomb for the pin. The crowd chanted “Please come back.” Very good debut here.

(3) “Wonderman” Glenn Spectre & Sumie Sakai defeat Chris Hero & Daizee Haze at 16:43. Spectre dresses in a Wonder Woman costume; he is a face, and he draws Rico-style pops, as all his “gay” offense gets a pop. Hero is a heel here. Spectre & Sakai cut a backstage promo. The announcers say this is the first-ever sanctioned women’s match in IWC.

Spectre and Hero start, and Spectre does lots of gay offense, gyrating on Hero, then forcing Hero to dance with him. The crowd chanted “Hero likes it.” Funny. Spectre got a bit more serious, with armdrags and a running buttsplash in the corner. The women tag in at 4:30, and the announcers assume this is a mixed tag match, and women can only fight women.

Haze hit a headscissors takedown. Sakai put Haze in a Camel Clutch and pulled Haze’s hair. Hero got in at 8:00 and he gave Sakai a body slam, and the crowd booed hard! The announcers are confused, realizing this is an intergender match. Hero tied up Sakai’s legs and put her in a modified Figure Four. Sakai made the hot tag to Spectre at 12:00.

Spectre hit a flying forearm on Hero, then later he dove onto Hero. Haze dove off the top turnbuckle to the floor, but she accidentally hit Hero. Back in the ring, Sakai hit a moonsault on Haze for a nearfall at 14:00. Hero hit some hard chops on Spectre, then a doublestomp on his chest for a nearfall. Spectre pinned Hero with a roll up. Good action.

After the match, Hero cut a heel promo, saying he will be back to embarrass Spectre.

(4) Bubba the Bulldog vs. Bolin never starts. Bubba looks like a taller HC Loc, with a nearly bald head and a goatee. He has the same generic look, with blue jeans and a black T-shirt to hide his poor physique. Bolin is really muscular with floppy hair; I haven’t seen him before. A guy named Lou Marconi, who has no physique either, attacked Bolin with a chair. Marconi & Bubba beat down Bolin. This set up a match for Aug. 13. I was uninterested in this segment.

Bolin cut a solid backstage promo after this beatdown.

Both Jason Gory and Shiima Xion cut promos. Gory is skinny with Vampiro-style Goth makeup. Xion has poofy Carlito-style hair, and he’s billed as the “first ever Filipino male model.” I saw both of these guys wrestle on the “Super Indy IV” tape from April 29, 2005, but both were soundly defeated and didn’t get a chance to show off much of their skills.

(5) Jason Gory defeats Shiima Xion (w/Chris Maverick) at 6:48. Gory is really skinny. He got a great face pop. Gory hit a forward roll dive to the floor and a headscissors takedown. The announcers say both of these two men debuted in Nov. 2004. Xion tied up Gory’s legs, and he paused for a “photo op” in the middle of the match. Gory hit a nice hurricanrana in the center of the ring at 3:00.

Xion hit a neckbreaker over his knee. Gory hit a double-knee chinbreaker. Xion came back with a sitdown powerbomb. Gory hit a Gory Bomb for a nearfall, a standing moonsault for a nearfall, then a standing Spanish Fly for a nearfall. Gory won it with a modified Tombstone Piledriver that looked devastating. I enjoyed this action, but it was way too short. I see potential in both of these guys. After the match, Shiima hit a modified reverse Diamond Cutter, dropping Gory hard on his neck.

(6) Shirley Doe defeats Eddie Kingston at 7:41 to retain the IWC Heavyweight Title. Doe cut a backstage promo, saying this will be his 10th title defense – I like it when a promotion takes its belts this seriously. Doe is a bit heavy, wears all black, with black eye makeup and black lipstick. He appears to be a good brawler. Kingston cut a heel promo backstage, and another one in the ring.

Doe and Kingston brawled immediately on the floor. Kingston hit a Mafia Kick, and Doe countered with a DDT on the floor. Kingston gave Doe a suplex onto the bleachers. They finally entered the ring at 3:30, and the bell rang (so technically, this match is just 4:00). Kingston hit a powerbomb for a nearfall.

Doe hit a dropkick to Kingston’s knee, then three Shining Wizards over the next minute. Doe hit a fallaway slam for the pin. Wow, that was way too short, and underwhelming for a title match.

Former WCW announcer Mark Madden came to ringside; he’s really gained weight. Madden announces it is Doe’s birthday, and all the wrestlers come into the ring, and there’s even a cake. For the first time in wrestling history, the cake does not wind up in someone’s face.

(7) J-Rocc & Troy Lords defeat the Gambinos at 0:10 via countout. This match isn’t even listed on the DVD case, which makes sense. J-Rocc – another bald guy in a T-shirt to hide his poor physique – and Lords, who wore a red & Black singlet, are in the ring. The Gambinos never come out to their music, and the ref is forced to count to 10 and award the heels the match.

A gimmick wrestler, Jesse Titan Mark (who apparently loves all things that are WWE), tried to get in the ring, but he is stopped and handcuffed. Pointless.

SIDE NOTE: “Fabulous” John McChesney won the IWC Super Indy tournament on April 29. Under IWC rules, the former champion – Sterling James Keenan – must relinquish his belt and give it to the new champion. However, at the April 29 show, Keenan refused to give up the belt, and he still has it.

(8) “Fabulous” John McChesney defeats Claudio Castognoli at 12:40. Good match. Claudio, who is a legit 6’3”, cut a backstage promo, saying he earned his title shot. McChesney also cut a backstage promo, but he focused more on SJK than on Claudio. Both men wore suits to the ring. Claudio usually wrestles in a button-down shirt and tie.

They shook hands to get the match underway. While the wrestlers are hitting basic mat moves early, the announcers talk about Keenan not being here on “IWC’s biggest night,” and how the belt belongs to McChesney. Claudio dropped McChesney headfirst on the ring apron. This allowed Claudio to take over on offense, with European Uppercuts, a cravat, and a bearhug at 6:00. Claudio held McChesney up for a vertical suplex for about 20 seconds before dropping him.

McChesney dropkicked Claudio, while he was on the ropes, and Claudio is crotched on the ropes. McChesney hit a forward roll dive to the floor at 9:30, which led to another “IWC” chant. McChesney hit a missile dropkick for a believable nearfall. Claudio flipped McChesney up in the air and NAILED him with a European Uppercut on his way back to the ground. McChesney came back and hit a top-rope guillotine legdrop for the pin. The crowd really liked this. Good match.


Lords & J-Rocc brawled with the Gambinos in the ring. Jake Garrett hit the ring and attacked the Gambinos. Dean Radford, who has long black hair, hit the ring and he hit a spin kick on Garrett. Sebastian Dark & Hentai hit the ring, and they beat up Radford with chairshots. Eh.

(9) Tracy Smothers & Chris Hamrick (Southern Comfort) defeat Sebastian Dark & Hentai at 10:32 via DQ. Smothers & Hamrick are now faces here. Southern Comfort hit a double shoulder tackle, and a team Side Russian Legsweep. Hamrick hit a Standing Side Kick and chops on Dark then a top-rope dive to the floors on the heels. Hentai hit a Doomsday Missile Drop Kick.

Dark worked on Hamrick’s left leg, and the heels took turns working him over with plenty of illegal switches. Hentai applied a sleeper at 6:00. There is a sloppy and dangerous tower suplex spot in a corner. Smothers hit a hot tag at 8:30, and he hit side kicks. The faces hit a double Flatliner and a double spear. Hamrick hit a second-rope sitdown piledriver on Hentai. OUCH.

Hamrick went for the pin, but the ref is distracted, as Dark and Smothers are brawling on the floor. Dark nailed Smothers with a ladder on the floor, and the ref called for the bell. Ok match.

Hamrick cut a promo, saying he wants a no-DQ ladder match. The crowd pops. The match is set for Aug. 26.

A cool A.J. Styles video aired, showing clips from several of his IWC matches. Hardy cut a promo. Styles cut a promo, saying “No one will forget this match.”

(10) A.J. Styles defeat Matt Hardy at 25:56. An excellent match, and it lived up to its billing. Matt looked like he’s in good ring shape. Matt cut an in-ring promo, saying he is not here to talk about Lita, Edge or the WWE; he’s here to wrestle.

They shook hands and open with an intense collar-and-elbow tieup. They traded armbars and matholds. The announcers talked about Styles’ success in TNA, and Hardy’s imminent return to WWE. “This is as close to an inter-promotional match you’ll get anywhere,” an announcer said. Hardy grapevined Styles’ leg, and the crowd is alternating chants of “Let’s go AJ, let’s go Hardy.”

Hardy hit a shoulder tackle at 3:30. Styles slowed down the match with a hammerlock and headlocks. Hardy hit a back suplex at 8:00 and some chops. Styles hit a standing dropkick for a nearfall. Hardy hit a vertical suplex. Both guys are kicking out at the 1-count. They trade punches. Hardy applied a cool front guillotine choke (a la James Gibson). Styles hit a drop-toe-hold, and Hardy fell through the ropes to the floor.

Styles hit a forward roll dive to the floor at 14:00. Styles took over with a flying kneedrop, a back suplex, and a series of forearms and kicks in the corner. Styles went for a springboard move, but Hardy shook the ropes, and Styles fell, and crashed chest-first on the ropes. At 18:30, Styles hit a brainbuster for a nearfall, then the Phenomenon for a nearfall. Hardy hit a Side Effect/modified uranage for a nearfall. Styles hit a Twist of Fate (Hardy’s move!!) for a nearfall at 20:30.

Styles missed a Spiral Tap, and both are down. Hardy hit a Styles Clash (Styles move!!) for a nearfall, and the crowd got on its feet. Hardy went for a moonsault, but A.J. blocked it with his knees to Hardy’s chest. Styles hit a Styles Clash for a believable nearfall!!

Hardy went to the climb the ropes for (presumably) a guillotine legdrop, but Styles met him at the turnbuckle and he hit a Pele Kick, sending Hardy to the floor. Hardy hit a low blow, and the crowd booed, then a Twist of Fate for a nearfall at 25:00. Styles got an Oklahoma Roll/inside cradle for the pin.

“We have witnessed history,” an announcer proclaims. Hardy and Styles shook hands, then hugged, and Hardy cut a promo, where he accidentally called the promotion “ICW.” The fans chanted “Match of the year,” and “Please come back,” at him.

Wow, that was fun. The wrestlers, the announcers and the fans treated this like a big-time, once-in-a-lifetime special matchup, and it turned out that way.

Final thoughts: This is my second IWC show of the year, and I thought this was tremendous. First, the positives: Styles, Castognoli, Hero, Sydal, Delirious all stood out. The big matches delivered, especially the Hardy-Styles match. I am starting to see the potential of McChesney. I am warming up to Spectre, Shiima Xion and Jason Gory. I was impressed with KUDO; it was my first time seeing him.

The negatives – I am just not interested with most of the IWC-exclusive roster; the guys who aren’t already wrestling for Ring of Honor, CZW, IWA-MS, etc. Jimmy DeMarco, the Gambinos, Troy Lords, Bubba the Bulldog, Sebastian Dark, and Jake Garrett do nothing for me. I am discouraged that the IWC champion, Doe, only put in a seven-minute match on the biggest show of the year.

But there are lots of positives here. The lighting is good. The sound is good. The announcers are knowledgeable and informative. The action delivers. This show gets a big thumbs up from me. Purchase this DVD for $20 at www.rohwrestling.com. Check out www.iwcwrestling.com to learn more about this promotion.


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