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Tape Review: IWA-MS, "St. Patrick Loves a Good Fight," March 17, 2006, with Cannon-Jigsaw, Thomaselli-KUDO

May 18, 2006 - 10:13:00 AM
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By Chris Vetter, Torch Contributor

IWA-Mid South returned to Plainfield, Ind., on Friday, March 17, 2006 for “St. Patrick Loves a Good Fight.” The crowd is between 50 and 60 fans, but there are literally only four or five sitting across from the hard camera, making this large gym feel really, really empty.

Smart Mark Video taped this event, so sound and lighting are good, and editing is well done. On commentary is Ben Jordan and heel colorman Jim Fannin, who is back after a few month absence.

* The tape opened with a backstage promo, where Hillbilly Jed and Indiana Kidd Jr. made fun of Chandler McClure (who was not on this show), and they called him a chicken. I’ve only seen Jed once before; he’s perhaps 450 pounds, but he does moves off the ropes! My first time seeing Indiana Kidd Jr., and he has an ugly mullet and has to be in his mid-30s or older.

* Another backstage promo, this one features Eddie Kingston. He said he doesn’t fear Toby Klein, because he has already survived Necro Butcher matches several times.

To the ring! This is a large gym, with a nice tall ceiling.

(1) Ricochet defeats Chuck Taylor at 10:16. This is the IWA-MS debut for both men. Ricochet is a light-colored black man, and he’s perhaps 5’6” and he’s thin. Taylor looks a bit like Dunn from the Ring Crew Express, with floppy shoulder-length hair, and he’s maybe 5’11. This was an excellent debut for these two, as they showed off some good high-flying skills! Taylor slapped Ricochet and celebrated, quickly getting heel heat. Ricochet hit some nice armdrags and a nice headscissors takedown, then a standing moonsault. Cool. Ricochet hit a springboard spin kick, but he barely touched Taylor.

Taylor came back with a nice tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, a spine kick, and a hard dropkick, getting full extension, for a nearfall at 6:00. Ricochet got in a nice, quick sunset flip. Taylor hit a second-rope moonsault, and he applied a combination of a Cobra Clutch & a Crippler Crossface. Ricochet applied a Front Guillotine Choke, and he turned it into a DDT! Ricochet went for a DOUBLE MOONSAULT, but Taylor rolled out of the way, and the crowd chanted “holy sh--!” Taylor went for a cover, but he pulled Ricochet up at the two-count. Richochet got a rollup for the pin. A very good debut. These two are still green and have a long way to go, but they started this show off with a hot high-flying match.

* Promoter Ian Rotten came to ringside and grabbed the mic, and he put over the match.

(2) Larry Sweeney defeats Shiima Xion at 9:11 to retain the ICW/ICWA Tex-Arkana TV title. Fannin (a heel) said he had never heard of ICW/ICWA, “but he has a title belt, so that makes him legitimate.” Funny. Of course, this is a phantom belt that Sweeney defends across the country. I’ve seen Xion several times now in IWC and in Chikara, and this was his IWA-MS debut. Unfortunately, he was a face heel, and his gimmick, as a male model, is strictly heel material.

Sweeney immediately pulled on Xion’s big poofy hair, and he yankedhim to the mat. Sweeney strutted around the ring and drew some heel heat. Xion slapped Sweeney in the face and hit some stiff forearms. He tied up Sweeney’s legs, got his hairspray bottle, and touched up his hair. Sweeney stalled on the floor in frustration. Xion hit a headscissors takedown and a dropkick at 4:00. Sweeney hit a hot-shot across the top rope, and he choked Shiima. Sweeney hit a butterfly suplex, and he worked Shiima’s neck.

Xion pulled down the back of Sweeney’s trunks, and Sweeney’s bare butt was hanging out. Sweeney hit a second-rope elbow drop for a nearfall at 7:30. Xion hit a modified Famouser, leaping off of Sweeney’s back and hitting a kick to the head. Nice. Xion hit a DDT, but he missed a Frogsplash. Sweeney nailed a jumping piledriver for the pin. Solid match.

(3) Darin Corbin & Sterling James Keenan defeat Ryan Cruz & Ben Sailer at 7:49. Solid tag match. Darin came out in his colorful Doink-style trunks, and Keenan is clearly annoyed that he is teaming with the animated Corbin. Cruz is the Matt Hardy lookalike. Sailer is another Minnesotan who traveled to the show with Cruz & Corbin. Jordan knew Sailer had been on a show before, but he couldn’t recall which one. (It was Sept. 10). Jordan said Sailer had a “forgettable performance” on that show. Fannin was shocked that Sailer had been on a show before, as he didn’t remember him. (Yes, Jim, you were there!) Sailer has short hair and orange trunks, and he has a solid physique.

Darin and Ryan started with some armholds, and Darin couldn’t kip up. Cruz hit some armdrags. Fannin said, “Darin Corbin is not quite a threat to major titles.” (Interesting… was he planting seeds for Corbin’s shocking title win April 22?) Sailer and Keenan tagged in, and they traded some quick moves. The heels worked over Cruz. Darin gave Cruz a hot-shot over the ropes and he choked Cruz. Keenan hit a hard clothesline on Cruz at 4:30 for a nearfall. Corbin threw some punches.

Cruz hit an enziguri on Keenan, and the crowd was hot. Sailer tagged in, and he hit some clotheslines and spin kicks. Cruz hit a top-rope guillotine legdrop on Keenan. Sailer hit a kick to Darin’s face for a nearfall. Keenan hit a Lungblower. Darin nailed Sailer with the Shin City/flying double shins to the face, for the pin.

(4) Toby Klein defeats Eddie Kingston (w/Brandon & Vito Thomaselli) at 6:33. Klein has cut off his wild red hair, and it’s a short crewcut. He barks like a dog, and his character is prettymuch Rick Steiner. The announcers put over that Klein was the 2005 King of Death winner. Kingston stalled on the floor. He chopped Klein, but Toby no-sold them. Klein threw several right & left blows to the body, and Kingston again went to the floor. Klein dove to the floor on all three heels.

The Thomasellis beat up Klein on the floor, and Kingston choked Toby in the ropes. Kingston missed a second-rope senton. Klein came back with a second-rope flying back elbow. Kingston hit a belly-to-belly suplex for a nearfall at 6:00. Brandon accidentally hit Kingston with a chair! Klein nailed a Death Valley Driver for the pin. There was dissension amongst the heels, as Vito shoved Kingston. So-so match.

(5) Tyler Black & Marek Brave defeat Nate Webb & Billy Roc at 10:12. Good match. Fannin ripped on Brave & Black, saying that too many people have told these guys – who just reached one year since their first match – that they are great, and Fannin contends they are not. Roc is short and wore blue shorts. All four of these guys are faces. Webb and Brave started with some basic armholds and armdrags. Roc tagged in and tried a plancha on Black, but Black caught him. Webb then did a plancha on both! Marek followed that up with a moonsault to the floor on all three! Nice.

In the ring, Black hit a snap suplex on Roc for a nearfall. Webb hit a missile dropkick on both opponents, then a Tumbleweed on Brave at 4:00. Roc hit a senton for a nearfall on Brave, and they worked over Marek. Roc applied a Border City Stretch/modified Crippler Crossface on Marek. Nate hit an RKO-style stunner on Marek. Marek hit a super kick, and they were both down at 8:00. Tyler made the hot tag, and he hit a spin kick and a powerslam for a nearfall on Roc, but Black missed a Lionsault. Roc hit some European Uppercuts.

Black hit a Finlay Roll on Roc, then a split-legged moonsault for a nearfall, but Webb made the save. Webb hit the Soilent Green/spinning faceplant off his shoulders, on Black. All four brawled in the ring. Webb was flipped to the floor. Black hit a frogsplash on Roc for the pin.

(6) Brandon Thomaselli (w/Vito Thomaselli) defeats KUDO at 13:07. Best match of the show. These two had met twice before, with each winning once. However, Brandon is now a heel. The announcers pointed out that Eddie Kingston was not at ringside with the other heels. Brandon got on the mic and said Sal Thomaselli couldn’t be there, and the crowd cheered! The crowd did homophobic chants toward the absent Sal. The bell rang, and Brandon stalled. They traded nice mat holds, and Brandon hit some nice armdrags. This is a good feeling-out process.

Vito tripped KUDO, then Vito hit him. Brandon hit a nice butterfly suplex, and he applied a Front Guillotine Choke at 5:00. KUDO came back with running double knees to the chest and some hard kicks to the chest. Brandon hit a dropkick to the knee and a powerslam at 7:30 for a nearfall, then some stiff spine kicks. KUDO also hit some stiff spine kicks! OUCH! Brandon hit an Exploder Suplex. KUDO hit a nice German Suplex. Brandon hit a Mafia Kick, and they both were down.

KUDO hit a backbody drop and a spin kick to the jaw at 10:30, then he nailed his top-rope flying double knees to the chest for a believable nearfall. Brandon hit a spinning fisherman’s buster for a nearfall, then a Pele Kick for a nearfall. Brandon yelled at the ref after KUDO kicked out. KUDO nailed a Tajiri-style spin kick to the head, but he missed the double knees. Brandon nailed a superkick, then a nice 450 Splash for the pin. Good match.

* Ian Rotten came out and said that Mad Man Pondo would be his partner for the big match the next day against the Thomasellis. “When it comes down to it, I ain’t losing tomorrow,” Ian Rotten said.

* Brandon and KUDO shook hands, but Brandon then turned and clotheslined KUDO.

(7) Hillbilly Jed & Indiana Kidd Jr. defeat Drew the Don & Poison Apollo (the Soul Shooters) at 14:14. Blah. The Soul Shooters are black. Drew is bald; Apollo has dreadlocks. The hillbillies are the heels. Indiana Kidd and Apollo stared out with a slow feeling out process, and Poison hit a shoulder tackle, then he applied a cross-armbreaker. The commentators talked about Big Van Vader coming next month (which never happened.) Poison hit a spinning leg lariat for a nearfall. Drew entered at 4:00, and he applied a cross-armbreaker.

Drew hit a drop-toe-hold on Jed, and he worked on Jed’s neck. Drew gave his partner, Apollo, a suplex onto Jed for a nearfall. Jed hit a backbreaker over his knee at 7:30. Jed nailed Poison with a body splash on Poison’s back! Fannin compared Jed to Bam Bam Bigelow. Indiana Kidd hit a powerslam and a backbreaker. Apollo hit a Northern Lights Suplex with a bridge for a nearfall. The heels made some illegal switches, and Jed choked Apollo.

Indiana Kidd hit a nice kick to the back of Apollo’s head at 12:00, as Jed had Apollo’s arms tied up. Drew finally made the hot tag, and he nailed some kicks and clotheslines. In a nice spot, Drew hit a belly-to-belly suplex on Jed! That drew a “holy sh--!” chant. Apollo put a Dragon Sleeper on Jed. However, the heels hit a team spinning faceplant, and Jed pinned Apollo. This match never quite got out of second gear.

(8) Ian Rotten defeats Mad Man Pondo and Deranged in a “barbed wire board & bat match” at 9:27. I don’t like these hardcore matches at all. This is NOT the Deranged from ROH; this guy is perhaps 300 pounds and bald. All three fought in the ring. The thin plywood board, covered in barbed wire, was set up in the corner. Ian hit some punches on Pondo. Pondo whipped Ian into the board at 2:30. Deranged grabbed the baseball bat, and he grinded the bat into Pondo’s head.

Ian was stuck in the barbed wire. Ian got the bat, and he hit both opponents with it. Ian hit a double-arm DDT on Pondo, and he both of them with the board. Ian & Deranged worked together to give Pondo a suplex on an open chair, bending its legs. Deranged missed a moonsault. Ian threw a fireball in Deranged’s face, and Ian rolled up Deranged for the pin. The flame looked really good, and this was much better than most fireballs I’ve seen thrown. This style of match does not hold my interest.

(9) Arik Cannon defeats Jigsaw at 11:41 to retain the IWA-MS heavyweight title. Good match. Jigsaw wears a red mask, and he is extremely underrated. Jigsaw got a handful of streamers. Fannin on commentary unloaded his venom toward former IWA-MS wrestlers Jimmy Jacobs & Danny Daniels (while never mentioning them by name. There is some legit heat there!) The match began with a good feeling-out process. Cannon hit some armdrags and chops. Jigsaw hit a nice dropkick, then a headscissors on the floor, sending Cannon into the chairs.

Cannon came back with a swinging neckbreaker at 4:00, and he threw some punches. The crowd was definitely behind Jigsaw. Cannon hit a delayed vertical suplex for a nearfall, then some stiff forearms, chops, and a kick to the side of the head. Jigsaw came back with some blows to the back, chops, and a basement dropkick to the back. On commentary, Fannin said that “Chris Hero has held Jigsaw back.” Cannon unloaded another series of chops.

Jigsaw hit an enziguri at 9:30. He went for a jump-up hurricanrana out of the corner; it was really sloppy, but Cannon went over to the mat anyway. Ugly. Cannon came back with a Saito Suplex for a nearfall, but he missed the Glimmering Warlock. Jigsaw nailed a Superkick for a believable nearfall at 11:00. Cannon nailed a back suplex, then a Glimmering Warlock/step-up enziguri, for the pin. Other than the screwed-up hurricanrana, this was pretty good, but a bit too short for a title match.

(10) “Mean” Mitch Page defeats Corporal Robinson in a “four corners of pain” death match at 10:23. Yeah… this action doesn’t interest me either. I just don’t care for these hardcore matches. Page is bald and between 350 and 400 pounds. Robinson wore a black T-shirt and camouflage pants. There are four ‘pits’ set up on the floor, each having something in the pit for gouging skin. Page jumped Corp to start the match, and he hit some hard knee shots to the head, and they immediately brawled to the floor. Page hit him with a bat.

Fannin on commentary told the history of these guys’ hardcore feud. Robinson hit Page with the bat. They both fell into a pit and were covered in mousetraps on their skin, and they were both bleeding. Mitch put a mousetrap on Robinson’s ear! Mitch took off his own shirt and he tried to set it on fire, but it wouldn’t catch. Robinson piled a bunch of chairs onto Page, and he hit a senton. Page choked Robinson with his T-shirt. Page hit a piledriver onto a pit filled with glass, to score the pin.

* There were backstage promos, first with Corp. Robinson, then with Page.

Final thoughts: Tape runs 3 hours, 11 minutes. First, the good: KUDO and Brandon Thomaselli continued their streak of good matches against each other. Their offense was crisp and good back-and-forth action, and that deserves match of the night.

Cannon-Jigsaw was entertaining and was second-best here. It’s too bad that Cannon’s title reign has ended so quickly.

When I went to the April 1 IWA-MS show, a few fans I see regularly couldn’t wait to tell me about Ricochet and his double moonsault. It really is an awesome spectacle. Those two rookies looked sharp, and I look forward to seeing them soon. Say what you will about Ian Rotten… but he has an eye for talent, and he draws the best workers in the Midwest to his show. Ricochet and Taylor should become regulars. Their high-flying spectacle was third-best here.

The bad: I just didn’t like the hardcore matches. I guess I give IWA-MS credit for having a variety of different styles of matches on one show, but I can do without both those matches. Between those two matches and the lackluster tag match involving Hillbilly Jed, the show gradually went downhill toward the end.

The undercard was solid, but after the opener, nothing really stood out. Cruz and Corbin had some good exchanges, and it’s obvious they have fought each other numerous times before. I like the IWC guys, and I hope that Xion and Keenan do return in the future. Sweeney is fun, but with his match essentially being heel-heel, it struggled. (Yes, Xion played the face, but his gimmick is definitely a heel character.)

The small crowd definitely hurts. It’s really weird to see 50 to 60 fans, as the cameras pan the building, but literally 5 or 6 sitting across from the hard camera. Overall, I have to give this show a thumbs down. If you haven’t seen an IWA-MS show from 2006, I would recommend purchasing the April 1 “We’re No Joke” show instead. This tape is available at www.smartmarkvideo.com for $15.


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