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DVD Review: IWC, "Summer Sizzler," with Joe vs. Styles, plus Corino, Collyer, Nigel, Keenan, Smothers

Jan 5, 2006 - 3:36:00 PM
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By Chris Vetter, Torch Contributor

International Wrestling Cartel, based in the Pittsburgh area, returned to the Palisades in McKeesport, Penn., on Aug. 26, 2005, for “Summer Sizzler,” featuring A.J. Styles vs. Samoa Joe.

I hate DVDs. I do. I initially purchased this show in November, but the DVD didn’t work. I sent it back, and I got a new copy that did play. I credit IWC for replacing my unusable copy. That said, the new copy still didn’t play in my Sony DVD player, but it did work in my Playstation 2 unit (although it ‘froze’ for a half-second several times during the course of playing it). IWC acknowledges, in its packaging, that the DVD-R technology may not work in everyone’s system.

This is a solid show. Lighting is very good, and two cameras are used to tape the show, and this has been edited together well. The crowd is may 150, which is smaller than some recent IWC DVDs I have seen. Most of the commentary is handled by Joe Dombrowski, who is solid on the mic. Shirley Doe joined him on color commentary early in the DVD, and a variety of wrestlers sat in during the show.

(1) Jake Garrett defeats Deviant at 3:28. Blah opener. The announce team isn’t ready for this show to start, as there is no commentary for half this match. Garrett is big, heavy slow, and wore a black & blue singlet; he has long black hair. The announcers say that Garrett is a number one contender for the IWC title. Deviant is much smaller with a good physique. Deviant hit some shots to the back, but Garrett won it with a running elbow. Very basic.

(2) Jason Cage defeats Ricky Landell at 7:40. Solid match. My first time seeing Cage; he wore white & black pants, he has black hair and a solid physique, and he looks a bit like Alex Shelley. Landell is a tall man with bleached white hair; he is a Steve Corino trainee and I’ve seen him on a handful of ROH shows. Both of these guys are relatively new, and they are both faces here. They opened by trading armbars, and Landell hit some chops. Cage fired back with some much, much harder chops! This is solid mat wrestling overall.

Cage hit a backbody drop. Landell hit a clothesline in the corner, then a vertical suplex for a nearfall at 5:00. Cage hit some more chops, a nice dropkick for a nearfall, and a guillotine legdrop. Cage applied a Fujiwara Armbar, and Landell tapped out. The crowd was hot for this match.

(3) “Wonderman” Glenn Spectre defeats Chad Collyer at 12:06. Good match. Spectre dresses in a Wonder Woman outfit; he is flamboyant, and he is over as a face, much like Rico was in WWE. He danced to the ring to Britney Spears’ “Toxic.” Collyer is much more muscular and he’s serious and not into Spectre’s flamboyant style. They opened with an intense lockup and nice reversals. Spectre worked on the left leg. He forced Collyer to ballroom dance with him, and Collyer was frustrated at Spectre’s antics.

Spectre hopped on Collyer’s back and rode him ‘horsey style,’ so Collyer rolled to the floor, visibly angry. Collyer took control, hitting a European Uppercut, then a dropkick to the knee at 4:30. Collyer began to focus on the knee, grinding on it, and he applied a single-leg crab; Spectre reached the ropes. Collyer applied a Figure Four at 7:30. The crowd is solidly behind Spectre. They traded stiff forearms.

Spectre fired back with a T-Bone Suplex for a nearfall and a hard elbow drop for a nearfall. Collyer nailed a Dragon Screw Legwhip, and he applied a Texas Cloverleaf at 11:00. The crowd is really hot. Spectre got a rollup for the pin. Good match. Spectre has good charisma.

(4) KUDO defeats Jason Gory at 9:56. Good match. Gory is a face; he is skinny with heavy black eye makeup, with black hair and black pants. (Think a Vampiro look.) KUDO is an impressive Japanese man who spent the entire summer competing in the U.S., and I was fortunate enough to see him live a few times in IWA-Mid South. KUDO has shiny black pants with a yellow stripe; his offense is similar to Tajiri’s moves. They opened with some basic mat wrestling. Gory went for a Plancha but he missed and he crashed to the floor at 4:00. KUDO hit a spine kick on the floor, and the brawled outside the ring.

KUDO hit a spin kick to the chest. In the ring, Gory took over with a springboard crossbody block for a nearfall, a dropkick, and a Gory Bomb. Gory applied a neat standing modified Boston Crab, then he hit a Lungblower to the chest at 6:00. KUDO fought back with an enziguri and a modified Tarantula in the ropes. KUDO went for his finisher, a double knee drop off the top rope, but Gory rolled out of the way. Gory hit a so-so Reverse Rana, and both men were down at 8:00.

Gory hit a Code Red/sudden swinging sunset flip for a nearfall. KUDO came back with an inverted DDT for a nearfall. KUDO then hit his finisher, planting his knees in Gory’s chest, for the pin. The crowd gave these men a big standing ovation. Very good match; KUDO is sharp.

(5) Mickey & Marshall Gambino defeat J-Rocc & Troy Lords at 12:19. The stipulation here is the losing team must wear a dress! The Gambinos are faces, although their gimmick is they are New York-style Mafia guys. J-Rocc is thick – not heavy, just thick. He’s bald, and looks a bit like Dan Maff. Troy Lords wears a generic red & black singlet, and he doesn’t stand out much. The Gambinos brought dresses with them to ringside! The fight began immediately on the floor.

J-Rocc hit some hard chops. The Gambinos hit a double suplex on Lords. J-Rocc began to work over Mickey Gambino, the smaller face. The commentary here is disappointing, as they talked more about other matches/feuds than what is going on in the ring. Lords hit a German Suplex on Mickey into the corner at 5:00. J-Rocc hit a slingshot suplex on Mickey. Lords airballed a dropkick. Ugh. Marshall, the heavier Gambino, made the hot tag at 9:00, and he hit a few body slams, then a sitdown powerbomb on Lords for a nearfall.

J-Rocc hit a Fisherman Buster on Mickey for a nearfall. Marshall hit a spinebuster. J-Rocc grabbed a chair and he hit the Gambinos with it. Suddenly, a third Gambino jumped in the ring, and he helped his brothers. Mickey hit the Death Sentence/elevated top-rope guillotine legdrop on Lords, and Marshall covered Lords for the pin. The footage of the heels putting on the dresses is never shown; wow, that’s a mistake. The announcers spent much of the match talking about the stipulation, only to not have the outcome shown. Basic tag match. J-Rocc stood out.

(6) Chris Hamrick & Tracy Smothers (Southern Comfort) defeat Sebastian Dark & Hentai to win the IWC tag titles at 14:33. Good match. This is billed as a ladder match, but that only means that ladders are legal; the title is NOT hanging from the ceiling. Hentai is really short, and he wore a blue mask. Dark is taller, with long brown hair, and he wore black pants & a T-shirt. The crowd is chanting “Southern Comfort” before the match began. Smothers and Dark started, but the heels quickly worked together to jump Smothers. Smothers fired back with a dropkick and a jumping side kick on Dark.

Hamrick got in and he hit a Doomsday Blockbuster. At 3:00, they all brawled to the floor. Hamrick applied a pendulum on Hentai on the floor. Hamrick hit an Arabian Press to the floor on the heels at 5:30. In the ring, Hamrick hit a second-rope vertical suplex. Dark hit Smothers with a ladder. Hamrick hit a top-rope fallaway slam on Hentai, and the crowd popped. Hamrick leaped off the ladder, onto Hentai for a guillotine legdrop. Hentai came back with a Doomsday Bulldog on Hamrick.

Meanwhile, Sebastian Dark got a table and he brought it into the ring. However, the faces beat up Dark and placed him on the table. Hamrick climbed the ladder and he caught Hentai. Hamrick then gave Hentai a Tombstone Piledriver off the ladder onto Dark on the table, and Hamrick pinned Hentai to win the tag titles. Good match; Hamrick is still an accomplished high-flyer, even though he appears to be 40 or older.

(7) Nigel McGuinness defeats Shiima Xion (w/Maverick) at 10:17. Solid match, just above average. Shiima is a ‘Filipino male model,’ and he has poofy hair; he’s the heel. As the match started, the announcers told us that during intermission, J-Rocc and Troy Lords came out in their dresses, and J-Rocc turned on Lords and beat him up. Why wasn’t this taped? A major angle plays out, and it’s not caught on camera?

The match began, and Nigel went to work on Xion’s left arm, twisting it in a variety of ways. Nigel applied some headlocks and he hit a European Uppercut. Shiima tied up Nigel’s legs, and he got a bottle of hairspray to touch up his hair, drawing some boos. Nigel is annoyed by this, and he chased Shiima on the floor. Maverick sprayed Nigel in the eyes with the hairspray! In the ring, Xion was in control, and he worked over Nigel.

Nigel fired back with some European Uppercuts, and he tied up Shiima’s legs. Xion hit a standing neckbreaker for a nearfall at 9:00. Nigel hit a hard clothesline for the pin. Shiima is young and has a way to go, but he’s a solid heel.

SIDE NOTE: The back story to the next match is that John McChesney won the “Super Indy” tournament back in April. The current Super Indy champion, Sterling James Keenan, was supposed to vacate the title and give it to the tournament winner. However, Keenan refused to relinquish the belt, and McChesney had chased the title (which he rightfully should possess) all year.

(8) “Fabulous” John McChesney defeats Sterling James Keenan at 9:24 to win the Super Indy Title. Good match that ended way too soon. Keenan has shoulder-length black hair, tattoos all over his arms, and he wears baby blue pants, and he’s an excellent heel. Keenan got on the mic and told everyone how he pinned McChesney a week earlier at the ROH ‘Do or Die’ show. The match began with an intense tieup, and McChesney hit a headscissors takedown and a dropkick. Keenan stalled on the floor, so McChesney hit him with a dive off the top rope to the floor.

Keenan took over with a Mafia kick, chops, a back suplex and a spinebuster for a nearfall at 4:00. Keenan dominated most of this action, but McChesney fought back with a backbody drop, a missile dropkick, and a flying back elbow. Keenan hit a cool backbreaker off his shoulders at 7:00, then a lungblower. McChesney hit a TKO for a nearfall, then a flapjack. Keenan hit two powerbombs for a nearfall. Out of nowhere, McChesney rolled up Keenan for the clean pin. The crowd popped and gave McChesney a standing ovation, as the fan favorite finally got his gold. Good match, and I wish it had went longer.

(9) Samoa Joe defeats A.J. Styles at 13:09. A very good match, as expected, but not quite at the level as some of their recent matchups in TNA or PWG. They opened with intense, quick mat reversals. On commentary, the announcers talked about the TNA ‘Sacrifice’ match these two had. Styles hit some stiff forearms and his dropkick, and Joe went to the floor. A.J. hit a plancha on Joe at 2:30. Back in the ring, A.J. hit some spin kicks to the chest and a bodyslam for a nearfall, drawing quite a pop!

Joe hit a hard Mafia Kick and took over on offense. He hit his running knee to the chest in the corner for a nearfall, his back chop/front kick/knee drop combo, and a facewash at 7:00. A.J. hit a headbutt, but it didn’t phase Joe. Joe hit a hard kick to the chest. The crowd is vocal, and evenly split behind both men (it sounds like the women are cheering for Styles, and the men are for Joe!) A.J. fired back with a Pele Kick, and both men were down. A.J. hit a spin kick, then the Phenomenon for a nearfall at 9:30.

A.J. hit a springboard flying forearm. Joe hit his uranage out of the corner for a nearfall. Joe hit a powerbomb at 11:00 for a nearfall. Joe applied an STF, but Styles reached the ropes. Styles went for the Styles Clash, but Joe escaped it. A.J. hit the Discus Clothesline for a nearfall. He went for a Backlund Rollup with a Bridge, but Joe sat up and grabbed A.J. and snapped on the Kokita Clutch/rear-naked choke, and Styles tapped out. Very good match, and best of the night; I wish they had went longer.

(10) Shirley Doe defeats Steve Corino at 20:02 to retain the IWC Heavyweight Title. Doe is like Mick Foley; he’s a good brawler, doesn’t have a great physique, but is over with this crowd. He has long black hair. Corino wore his red trunks with “Ichiban” written on the back. They opened with some basic headlocks and headscissors moves, and they hit some shoulder tackles with neither man budging. Doe finally knocked down Corino, and Steve stalled on the floor. No. 1 contender Garrett watched from the entrance way.

Corino hit some chops, then a slap to the face at 5:30; he ran from the ring before Doe could respond to the slap! Humorous, and it made Corino look like a chickensh— heel. Doe hit some hard chops. Landell is at ringside, coaching Corino. Corino unloaded a series of punches, but Doe fought back with his own punches. Landell pulled down the top-rope at 10:30, causing Doe to spill to the floor, and the crowd booed the outside interference.

Corino beat up Doe on the floor, and he tossed Shirley into a wall, then he grinded Doe’s head into the ringpost. Landell choked Doe with the camera wires at ringside. In the ring, Doe came back with a back suplex at 15:30, and he was fired up. Doe hit a backbody drop. Corino hit an STO Uranage, and both men were down. They traded stiff forearms in the center of the ring, and Corino hit a jumping enziguri at 17:30. Doe hit a Shining Wizard, and both men were down.

Doe hit a DDT. Corino applied a modified Camel Clutch. Doe hit a stunner. Corino hit a Northern Lights Bomb/Snow Plow for a believable nearfall at 19:30. Corino hit some Kawada Kicks to the face. Doe was able to get Corino up for an Air Raid Crash/Kryptonite Krunch for the pin. Good match.

After the match, Sterling James Keenan jumped in the ring and attacked Doe, hitting a Dragon Suplex, to end the show.

Extras: The last IWC DVD I purchased had promos included between the matches. On this release, IWC put all the promos together. This is odd, because some of the promos are before the match took place, and some are post-match. Nigel, Collyer and Landell all cut pre-match speeches, but J-Rocc spoke after beating up Lords at intermission.

In the best promo, Samoa Joe said that “A.J. stepped up to the plate, but he struck out.” McChesney in his promo, challenged anyone for his title. Keenan closed the six minutes of promos by saying he came up short against McChesney, but now he’s set his sights higher, and is after Doe’s heavyweight title.

Final thoughts: DVD runs 2 hours, 44 minutes. This was a good show; not as good as the July show that featured Styles vs. Matt Hardy, but a good show nonetheless. The top three matches were the best on the show. The tag title match topped my expectations, as Hentai and Hamrick carried that matchup.

The young guys here – Spectre, Shiima Xion, Jason Gory – have nice, colorful characters that set themselves apart. Jason Cage looked good; I had not heard of him before. The Gambinos and Lords didn’t interest me; they need to get new ring gear. J-Rocc’s name is sort of bland, but he looks like a legit bruiser in the ring.

My main complaints about IWC are the quality of their DVD-R releases. If you don’t have any problem watching their shows, I recommend IWC DVDs. But if you have problems playing DVD-R, you might want to skip this show. That said, if you do buy it and it doesn’t work, IWC will exchange it for you.


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