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The 7 - Guest Columns - IWA MS 2004 Ted Petty Invitational (Night #1) - 09/17/04 - Highland, IN
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#1 Posted on 18.9.04 0516.43
Reposted on: 18.9.11 0517.00
I've been really, really anticipating this weekend for a good while now. I've built it up so much in my head that once it was Thursday, I was a little nervous and almost kind of didn't want to go, because how could it be better, or maybe even as good, as the hype I had given it to myself?

Then I was like, "Wait - what the fuck, this is going to be awesome."

Got to the show after maneuvering through the lame detours this time. Hurry up with that construction, Indiana. Tired of all that shit. By God that's right. Got there and ended up in a ChicagoWrestling.com photo which was to be a chain of cravates. Yeah dog, I don't do cravates, I'm a sports-entertainer. So I bear hugged Phil and had a sleeper applied to me. REPRESENT!

Ian opened the show with the Huge Announcement of Shock & Awe: IWA will, in fact, hold a 2005 King of the Death Matches tournament. BUT THAT'S NOT ALL - it will be a show co-promoted with Big Japan Pro Wrestling, held in October '05 at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo. That is awesome. I don't even care that I don't care about death matches. That is pretty cool. They're also going to put together travel packages it all and hope to take as many fans with them as possible. He said the packages will likely be a little over $1000. I mean, like, cool and all, but what IWA fans have $1000? Even saving for a year. He also spoke about Ted Petty and held a moment of silence for all those in the industry that have died. This was pretty cool, and the crowd was seriously hot. It seemed like about 250, I don't think it was quite the number they were hoping for, but those who were there were great. This was probably the best crowd I've been in there.

WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP
MERCEDES MARTINEZ v. LACEY (champion)


Pretty neat choice for opener, both these girls can work a little. Lacey is coming off surgery on her knee, so Martinez mostly focused on that with her offense, and did a pretty good job. Really not as sloppy as the matches usually are and, as usual from Lacey, mostly focused matwork with her heeling. Can't say as though I really remember a whole lot other than it was pretty decent. After the extended work on the knee, Martinez caught her in the center with a leg submission, and wore her down enough to get a three-count and win the title. A little goofy that they stuck with Lacey for the duration of her injury as champion, then right when she got back she drops the title. Of course it's logically explained with ringrust and the injury itself, so cool. Fine match, but let's move on. I came to watch the menfolk.

Dave Prazak got into the ring to introduce the 24 participants in the TPI. This was real cool as everyone stayed in character for it. Nigel McGuinness turned on Chris Hero in New Albany the night before in a tag match, so when Hero came out, Nigel turned his back and slowly worked his way over to hide behind Generation Next. BJ Whitmer did the same kind of thing when Danny Daniels came out. Fun stuff if you were paying attention. Also announced that anyone that interfered in a tournament match would be suspended from IWA for one year.

TPI FIRST ROUND MATCH
SALVATORE RINAURO v. MATT SYDAL


Rinauro is from NWA Wildside, Sydal is coming off another tough loss to AJ Styles two days ago in Evansville. That match is said to be even better than the show-stealer they had on April 10 in Highland. This was better than I expected and had been informed to expect. Rinauro didn't work so much as a goofy heel, which is most of what I'd heard about him, and turns out he's a real capable wrestler. Both are very fast and sometimes Sydal looks like a real star in the making, and tonight was one of those nights. They only had a couple minor bouts of miscommunication and broke out some really nice looking highspots to get the crowd up more than they were already. Sydal hit a really impressive dive to the floor early. Dude can jump high. Finish came about nine minutes in with Sydal hitting the full rotation, top rope belly-to-belly suplex for the three count. They actually got Rinauro a couple of believable near-falls in here, so kudos to that because it's not like anyone thought he was going to win.

TPI FIRST ROUND MATCH
HALLOWICKED v. NATE WEBB


Hallowicked is a Chikara product and Nate Webb is Nate Webb. I was interested to see how this would go. Nate is also 0-2 in his TPI history and this year was second round or bust! Fun match, heavy on comedy, as expected, but also some surprisingly nice forearms from Nate and another good-looking arachnid kick. Hallowicked I definitely see the appeal in as a singles wrestler, as compared to the other Chikara guys who are considered best in tags for the most part. About nine minutes again, and Webb won with Soilent Green #2 - it's still people. I totally marked for Nate winning. God bless that goofy son of a bitch and the best of luck to him on night number two.

TPI FIRST ROUND
RAINMAN v. CHRIS SABIN


Rainman is another Wildside wrestler and you all know Chris Sabin by now. I'm not a big Sabin fan. I think he's perfectly good, but he's got a Whitmer-esque kind of quality to me where I just don't get into his matches very often. Rainman I'm not too familiar with but he seems like (and this is not a knock) a Homicide clone. He can wrestle, but he has that temper that always wants to come out very badly, and usually does. Match was about what I expected, maybe a bit better. Rainman let his temper come out pretty early and most of the match was Sabin throwing ghetto blasters and dropkicks that I can remember. Totally forgettable but I remember being vaguely interested while it was on. Most of it probably is my Sabin bias that isn't really bias. Rainman scored the upset with a pumphandle driver to move on to the second round. Since I already know how I feel about Sabin, I'm glad Rainman moves on even though he wasn't that impressive here, just so I can see him again.

TPI FIRST ROUND
CM PUNK v. AUSTIN ARIES


First big match of the first round. These two wrestled on 9/11 in ROH and most reports said it was a disappointing match that didn't quite click. I'm thrilled they got that out of their system because this was a hell of a good live match. Aries' mean streak is in FULL GEAR, BABY, as he simply ends the life of CM Punk's left knee here, mostly thanks to Punk himself, starting when Aries was on the outside going post-to-post with chops, and on the fourth one Punk moved, causing Aries to hit his hand on the steel. Punk then charged, Aries ducked, and Punk shining wizards the ringpost. Looked just great, as in looked like it fucking hurt a lot. From there on Aries just focuses on destroying Punk's ability to walk for the rest of his life, and I can love that. They also did a neat series at the beginning where Aries would keep looking for a basement dropkick, Punk avoided it twice, and then Aries finally got it and dropkicked him three times for good measure. Really a damn good match, very emotionally charged, great work from both (the best I've seen Punk look recently, and Aries again proves himself as arguably the next big action hero on the indies) and brutal offense. They ended up running through a series of tremendous near-falls for the last few minutes. Crowd was really hot for this match and they did a great job selling the match as a battle of wills where each was one move away from the big win. Punk ended up winning with the Pepsi Plunge after Aries missed his 450. Match of the night for me and every bit as good as I wanted it to be. Around 17 minutes.

TPI FIRST ROUND
TODD SEXTON v. DANNY DANIELS


Oh heavens they should have intermissioned after the last match, but they stuck this one out there instead. I was looking forward to seeing Sexton (another Wildside guy and the head trainer at their school, also trained at the Texas Wrestling Academy). I'd heard a lot about him. Good matwork, they said. Nice strikes, they said. Yeah, well, dude showed neither and therefore I now think Todd Sexton sucks, which I admit is likely wrong. This match stunk. I very rarely don't have anything nice to say about a match. When I didn't care for a match, I do TRY to find the positives, because I know these guys are busting their asses. The best positive I can get out of this is I'm glad about who won, and I still like Danny Daniels. But this was real bad and Sexton looked terrible, just wandering aimlessly, miscommunication all over the place, Sexton not really wrestling with any fire or anything like that. Sexton came off as Jimmy Rave on a shit night here, really a shame since this is the biggest show he'll be on all year, and you'd hope for him to have brought his A-game. I think I can safely say this wasn't his A-game. Daniels won with a nasty piledriver variation in about 11. Just plain sucked. Wish it hadn't. After the match, BJ Whitmer ran out to throw Daniels into some front row chairs with an exploder.

Intermission #1 and we discuss that that match just plain sucked, and we wish it hadn't. Also, Punk/Aries: real good.

LADDER MATCH
(VACANT) IWA MID-SOUTH LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
DELIRIOUS v. JIMMY JACOBS


Jimmy's back to using the Stan Bush song and I miss the Fraggle Rock theme already. He also had these safari pants which had one leg. Someone made a comment about Zach Gowen wanting his pants back. Tasteless. Hilarious. I won't say this was bad, but if you're on the lookout for a quality ladder match, this ain't it. Time constraints here played a factor as they didn't have the 25 or so they would have usually gotten. Part of it was hurt by the fact that referee Tommy Thompson had to keep stabilizing the ladder for them. Delirious bled on a railroad spike shot from Jacobs after having his mask torn open above the eye. I now am pretty sure he has light brown hair. Good to know. The match got very scary when Delirious was laid out on a table on the floor, and inside the ring, Jacobs climbed to the top of the ladder and tried to senton off. Instead, he slipped coming off and took a hell of a spill to the floor, bouncing off the top rope on the way. Very, very lucky he wasn't seriously hurt, but he appeared to be as fine as could be, and ended up hitting the move from the top rope instead. Not a lot of wrestling here, mostly just a brawl with the ladder. I'd like to say this was better than Christian/Jericho from Unforgiven, but I don't think it was. The match did have more of a watchable element to it, and was more exciting as well, partly because it just seemed so much more dangerous here than it did there. Jacobs won in around 17 minutes when he was left hanging from the belt, and Delirious dropkicked him off. He nearly got LADDER ASS'D like Jericho last weekend. Tonight was a lucky night for Jimmy Jacobs.

TPI FIRST ROUND
MIKE QUACKENBUSH v. CHRIS HERO


If strikes are your bag, then never watch this match. Pretty certain there wasn't one. The match was ridiculed by a couple of dorks, and while I found it somewhat heartless and sterile, this was very interesting to watch. Quack and Hero put on a technical wrestling clinic, blending all their influences from England to Mexico and everywhere in between, with the Wildcards, Larry Sweeney, Jigsaw, Icarus and Gran Akuma at ringside in Chikara t-shirts to observe. They did the methodical build to the big moves at the end, and if you also like fast-paced matwork, never watch this match. It's like slow motion, a demonstration of what to do, and seemed more of an exhibition than a competition. I did like this, though, just because it was so different, if that makes sense. But I wouldn't go recommending this for people to watch necessarily. The only real problem I had with it was that it was part of what is supposed to be a very important tournament, and they kind of treated it like Chris & Mike's How To Training Seminar rather than anything either of them seriously wanted to win. Yet, still, I liked this match, and that's because these two are a couple of by God pros and class-acts all the way, so if they want to indulge themselves then yippy shit, I'm not gonna argue. I was, as always, solidly behind Hero, and Quackenbush got the flash pin in about 18 minutes on a rollup. Really surprising even though I knew Hero was headed over to Big Japan starting on Sunday. Just couldn't really see Quack winning, but he did. And I'm glad he did, once I thought about it, because I see Hero all the time here, and it's rare I see Quackenbush in a singles match, and I would love to see him in more. Therefore, hooray for the upset, and it also continues Hero's Highland losing streak story. They shook hands and hugged after. Before Hero's entrance, Superfan Troy tried to start a "Quack" chant, which failed. Quackenbush just shrugged and said, "Hey, he tried." I saw Mike at the gimmick table after and shook his hand. I dunno, something about Quackenbush just seems really respectable, and, like, upstanding or some shit. Just seems like about the nicest guy you'd ever want to meet. Hero was booed a little less tonight than he usually is in Highland, and that was nice.

TPI FIRST ROUND
JIMMY RAVE v. AJ STYLES


I liked Rave at the Chicago ROH show in April in the four-way, but it was the first time I'd seen him in a real long while. Since I've seen him more after that, I still don't think he's any good. Another guy on the Whitmer kind of list, where you're perfectly capable and hey, you can have some good matches, but shit are you boring. And Rave pisses me off more than most guys like that because when he's on that I've seen, I really like his work quite a bit. AJ Styles, what can you say about this guy on indy shows. He's pissed off, violent and wrestles like he wants to hurt his opponent badly - what I'm trying to say is, exactly the opposite of what he usually does with TNA. Styles calls Rave a faggot very early on in this. These two have plenty of history from Wildside and elsewhere, and this was a real solid match with Styles doing his usual carryjob of a lesser opponent. Rave does all his armwork (no! armwork! get out!) and really doesn't bring anything new to the table, except he manages to wrestle this match while conveying emotion, something quite rare for him and one of the things I find lacking in most of his matches. Styles is bomb ass awesome in this match, and doesn't even finish with the Styles Clash, even after Rave tried it on him. Instead, Rave trying the move just serves to infuriate Styles, who then gets Rave in an Indian deathlock, turns him so they're on their knees back-to-back, and cranks on his neck, trying to kill him, until he taps out. Great finish.

TPI FIRST ROUND
RODERICK STRONG v. SAMOA JOE


Fuck you Joe. I love love love booing Joe while everyone else chants his name and wonders if they could ever kiss him. Why don't you people just buy his 8x10s and make out with them for the love of God. But Joe is fucking awesome and brings the hell out of the goods here, and Roderick Strong stands in there like a MAN and goes toe-to-toe with them. My choice for second-best match of the night, but I wouldn't argue with anyone saying it was their favorite. They, predictably, just beat the tar out of each other. I got really behind Roderick Strong, who was always impressive but won me over for good tonight. Just a fantastic performance. I start calling for Strong to break out the BOOT but he doesn't listen to me. I decide, after calling for it once because I really like when he boots people in the face, that if he hits the BOOT, he's going to win. So I keep trying to convince him to stop trying to pick Joe up, and instead to BOOT the son of a bitch. Strong got himself into the match after telling the Ole Kick on the outside to fuck off and backbreakering Joe on the chair instead. Strong eventually sees an opening, charges - BOOT! BOOT! BOOT! I am CONVINCED Roderick Strong has won this match. But he hadn't, of course, and goddamn Samoa Joe rallied to pick up the win with a muscle buster. Really good match, just a vicious affair that lived up to what I'd envisioned it being. Around 15 minutes, which was longer than I expected, and they really had Strong put up a hell of a good fight here.

TPI FIRST ROUND
CLAUDIO CASTAGNOLI v. NIGEL MCGUINNESS


Castagnoli is a Chris Hero-trained wrestler out of Germany's WXW promotion. McGuinness got cheered but we were quite insistent he was a scoundrel. So he stuck his tongue out at us. What a weird, British man. Perfectly good, very European, somewhat comic wrestling that simply couldn't follow the last match. Kind of in the same position Daniels/Sexton was earlier, but this didn't suck. Castangoli looked good (and totally cool, what fashion sense on the Most Money Making Man) and Nigel was Nigel. McGuinness won with some form of armbar in about 13 minutes.

Ian asks if we want to keep going or take an intermission since it's midnight central time and 1am in my neck of the woods. It's settled on a five-minute break.

TPI FIRST ROUND
ALEX SHELLEY v. BRYAN DANIELSON


Hey fuck you too, Danielson. You brilliant bastard. These two also had a match on the 9/11 ROH show and apparently theirs lived up to the expectations there. Crowd was a little dead for this, for some reason Alex Shelley doesn't seem all that over in Highland. Like, at all. Really strong wrestling but nothing terribly memorable. Danielson, who is an absolutely genius professional wrestler, manages to mix in a 28-rotation airplane spin with all of his tight strikes and matwork in this match. Who does that? He even capped it off by dropkicking at nothing in his dizziness afterward. Bizarre and yet somehow fitting. Danielson is kind of an enigma with that sort of thing. I mean, what the fuck? 28-rotation airplane spin. Come on, dog. Benoit didn't do an airplane spin, let alone 28 rotations of one. And that's maybe what separates Danielson from anyone else going, his ability to mix in strange comedy spots with his ultra-serious and violent demeanor. The match was about 15 minutes and had a really nice finishing sequence where Danielson tries the cattle mutilation, Shelley counters to the Border City Stretch, and Danielson counters back over with a backslide for the pin.

TPI FIRST ROUND
SUPER DRAGON v. ARIK CANNON


If the Super Dragon Live Experience ever comes to your town, and you've never seen the man in person before, just do yourself a favor and go, as he lives up to the hype. Super Dragon is not an insanely skilled technician like Danielson, and he's not a great in-ring storyteller, and he's not a lot of things. What he is is what he is. He is what he is. He is a motherfucker. He is a rotten, vile son of a bitch. He has bad intentions - FOR YOUR FACE. Super Dragon is way over in Highland as even most of the Cannon fans were with Dragon here. And he gave us what we wanted, and that was brutality for the sake of brutality. He starts off just chopping and forearming Cannon's face, and then he hits it. The curbstomp. What a move. And we say, not in so many words, "Hey! That ruled! Do that again!" The man obliges. Best part of this match is later after those two curbstomps, Cannon turns the tables and hits his own. Bad move, Cannon. Super Dragon gets pissed, beats the fuck out of him, and hits another one. But Arik Cannon is nothing if not a resilient fighter, and he comes back here and hits the glimmering warlock for the win in 14 minutes. I won't say this was really a GOOD match, but it was what everyone wanted out of Super Dragon. And for what it's worth, Dragon seemed really appreciative of the crowd support here. When is the last time he worked the midwest, anyway? It was like Jesus Christ himself had come to Highland to curbstomp sinners.

Before the last match of the night can get underway, Jim Fannin gets into a near-physical altercation with a fan. Danny Daniels comes out to go after Whitmer, but is held back by security. Whitmer tries to convince Daniels to come after him and get suspended, and even forces the referee to ring the bell to make the match official. How odd, since the other guy in the match wasn't in the ring yet. I peed and got back right in time for all of this, so I'm standing at the end of my aisle, and someone bumps into me from behind, and damned if it ain't Petey Williams.

TPI FIRST ROUND
IWA MID-SOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
BJ WHITMER (w/Jim Fannin) v. PETEY WILLIAMS (champion)


Petey sneaks in, schoolboys Whitmer, and we're out!

Oh wishful thinking. This match is good and Petey showed the fuck up tonight, ready to rock and freakin' roll, but the match was, predictably, and unfortunately, WHITMER'D!! Whitmer throws out most of his arsenal and I still just can't find a reason to care. I just want Whitmer to lose and then I want Danny Daniels to piledrive him to hell. I don't remember anything about this match other than I found it to be well-worked and everything. At one point Petey goes for a SUPER Canadian Destroyer, and come on, that is foolish. That is just goddamned unnecessary. Instead, Whitmer falls victim to the regular Canadian Destroyer, Petey retains, and the show is over.

Ian quickly announces the card for tomorrow night:

TPI pairings, bracketized:

Quackenbush
Webb

Danielson
Punk

Styles
Sydal
(match #3, I got a feeling Sydal's pulling this one out)

Petey
Cannon
(Petey's title is on the line again)

Rainman
Daniels

Samoa Joe
McGuinness

Just give me Quackenbush v. Danielson and anything else you want to do from there is gravy, baby. That's a dream match kind of thing I never even considered before. I'm hoping Punk/Danielson tops their 4/23 ROH match, and hoping Styles and Sydal churn out another barnburner. Finals prediction: Danielson v. Cannon v. Joe. Out on a limb, huh?

Rest of the card:

Six-Woman Match

Eight-Man Scramble Match with losers from the first round of the tournament

Tag Team Title
Brad Bradley & Ryan Boz (c) v. Tank & Iceberg v. The Wildcards

Non-Sanctioned, Anything Goes
Ian Rotten v. Steve Stone

See you then, for that.
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