1. Brain Damage & Deranged vs. Team Underground - B: 1 A: 2
Brian: I always thought this show's name sucked and was some on the nose non-sequitur until I realized it was held on April Fools Day. It's strange watching an IWA M-S show and there actually being people in the audience. Team Underground belongs underground where I buried that time capsule in my parents' backyard as a kid right next to that manmade pond I crafted so my G.I. Joe action figures had a place to unwind. They both look so vanilla but appear to own gym memberships. Putting two cookie cutter meatheads in with two farcical death match slobs seems as good an idea as another Michael Bay Transformers film. Brain Damage's oversized pants are an eyesore. Team Underground botch a spike piledriver to an absurd degree. The guy doing the spiking hadn't even leaped off the buckles as his partner had already landed the rudimentary piledriver.
A: Agreed with Brian. This was a very strangely titled show and, yes, it is very strang actually seering an IWA Mid South show where there is more than 10 people in the crowd. Brain Damage and Deranged come out wearing masks and looking like they just came from a Slipknot fan gathering. Team Undergound consists of Chandler McClure and Eric Priest. Loved the forearm and the knee to the face from Deranged early in the match that just ruined McClure’s afternoon. I can’t believe that that royally fucked up spike piledrive was the finish. This was as exciting and enthralling as that absurd Knight and Day flick last summer. I give it points mainly for Deranged throwing some hard strikes but nothing else was even remotely interesting.
2. Vanessa Kraven & Daizee Haze vs. Mickie Knuckles & MsChif - B: 3 A: 2
B: Daizee is so bizarrely skinny I imagine when fucking her you could see your own dick under her skin. Kraven looks like she raided MVP's wardrobe. This was deconstructed like one of Pablo Picasso's Cubist painting -- Les Demoiselles d'Avignon actually fits that comparison quite well. The double pinfall bit with Haze and MsChif didn't work. I dug the strike exchange between Mickie and Vanessa. After MsChif spit green slime in Kraven's face Vanessa looked like Joshua from Troll 2.
A: So this is a tag team elimination match to unify two women’s singles titles. I hate it when any promotion defends singles titles in a tag match. Standard women’s action here with the best offense being the last portion between Mickie and Kraven. Daizee and MsChif didn’t do much for me. The green mist from MsChif made Kraven look like she’d been bobbing for apples in a bucket of Nickelodeon slime.
3. 9 Man TLC Match: Marek Brave vs. Tyler Black vs. Trik Davis vs. Billy Roc vs. Dave Crist (Lotus) vs. Chuck Taylor vs. Ricochet vs. Jake Crist (Crazy J) vs. Darin Corbin - B: 4 A: 4
Brian: It starts with two guys and every thirty seconds or so another hapless chump enters the fray. Trik's junior high haircut has always been a hindrance to me. He looks like he should be carrying a Trapper Keeper. Dave wastes no time busting out poor imitations of Sabu spots. Chuck gets nice lift on a dropkick. Ricochet looks as thin (and strangely as gristly) as a Slim Jim. Corbin enters wearing trunks that look like the play mat in a kindergarten classroom. I've never seen the primary colors violated so savagely. Once the final guy enters the plunder is legal for use so we start getting a cornucopia of outrageous and dangerous bumps onto ladders, etc. We're privy to one of the most glorious botches in wrestling history and thanks to NHO scribe Geo for forewarning me in advance: Marek has Taylor on a table on the floor and is trying to do a Shooting Star Press, he slips, crotches himself, pops right back up, Taylor grows impatient and stands up only to be forced back down, then Brave does the gainer but instead of propelling forward he inexplicably stays frozen in time landing gut-first on the top turnbuckle, ending in further embarrassment as he falls forwards off the ring through the table as Taylor wisely flees. I even had to call my wife into the room to share that atrocity with. Jake gives Tyler a back suplex off of a ladder that's just stupidly stiff and I dig it. Davis had it won but a pudgy Chris Hero came out and ruined that so Corbin capitalized and pulled down the contract. Getting an IWA Mid-South contract, does that really make him a winner, though, or loser?
A: What the hell was that dance that Tyler Black did during his ring entrance? Did he have ants suddenly and mysteriously crawl down his trunks? Holy fuck! Richochet did one of the sickest moonsaults of a ladder to the outside I’ve ever seen. Most of everything else was standard indy highspots complete with ladder and table bumps. The dive sequence to the outside is a staple of these type matches. That botch that you mentioned Brian was absolutely glorious. I haven’t laughed that hard since I watched The Hangover for the first time. I’m not going to bother descibing it because you covered it perfectly. Dave Crist tried to do the Sabu moonsault only because he’d watched an ECW tape the night before in his loft above the HWA training facility and thought it was cool. Pretty awesome dive by Tyler Black putting both Crist brothers through a table on the outside. What is up with Corbin’s trunks? All of this was for a piece of paper on a clipboard? I thought this was for a title of some sort. I guess if the announcers mentioned that, I missed it.
4. Sal, Vito & Brandon Thomaselli vs. Eddie Kingston, Larry Sweeney & Matt "formerly Spike Dudley" Hyson - B: 3 A: 3
Brian: The Iron Saints against the makeshift team of Kingston, Sweeney, and mystery partner... Brother Runt? That's the kind of bad news that can only be equalled by getting your HIV results back and failing. Spike angrily screams "Fuck ROH!" Who knows? One commentator says that the Thomaselli's couldn't win facing Kingston one-on-one, and likely not even two-on-one, so they're going at it three-on-one which seems like a strange point to be trying to make when it's a six-man tag. I found this fairly uninteresting.
A: Kingston was taken out early with the Saints dropping him knee first on a chair on the outside, leaving the match 2-on-3. Quick off topic question … anyone know what’s up with Bryce Remsburg’s Elvis-esque hairdo and sideburns? I thought the spot that Brian mentioned where Spike yelled out “Fuck ROH” was very out of place. Spike’s seliing on the face in peril segment was pretty good. These Thomaselli lads seem really generic, Sal even looks a bit like Justin Credible from afar. Agreed with Brian, didn’t really find much of interest here.
5. Ruckus vs. Josh Abercrombie - B: 2 A: 3
Brian: Abercrombie is looking less teen pin-up as the name would suggest and more sleazy Puerto Rican pawn shop owner. They take it to the floor early and Ruckus breaks out his gymnastics routine. I've never seen a fight in real life where a guy getting thrown at a wall walks up it and backflips off but I guess stranger things have happened -- like TRON getting a sequel 28 years later. Josh is looking less House of Truth (his future team) and more Shack of Omission. Ruckus' eyes look blanker than those of the corpse you strangely dreamt of fucking but hid from your friends. They should have shaved off a few minutes from this and Josh's mustache while they were at it. There's just so much implausible about this that time starts to drip like Dalí.
A: Again, another match here that really didn’t do much for me. Abercrombie’s mustache and hair made him look like a shady car salesman about ten years older than he actually is. Not for one second do I find Ruckus’ flippy, gymnastics offense believable. Maybe he should be a contestant on the “So You Think You Can Dance” show on Fox with stuff. Ok, so I kind of liked that back and forth pinning combination from Ruckus. Josh’s arieal offense leads me to believe that he needs to go back to flight school and complete his instrument rating. Best part of the match was Josh’s prick attitude and cockiness.
6. Kevin Steen vs. Ian Rotten - B: 3 A: 3
Brian: Steen says pre-match that this was the IWA equivalent to Shawn Michaels vs. Vince McMahon (which was also happening that weekend at WrestleMania). This is from the era where, according to some circles of sexless losers, Rotten was one of the very best on the planet. I'm failing to see it. Ian seems more interested in doing the Flair strut than beating his opponent. Rotten, wearing a Sabu t-shirt and black jean shorts, would look more at home on a city curb shaking an empty coffee can begging for change than in a wrestling ring. You could probably stick a loss $5 bill in-between the folds of scar tissue on his forehead. Steen gives the vibe he's the type of guy that's enjoyed watching Hermione grow up in the Harry Potter films a bit too much. Steen does break out the HBK flying elbow and it looks better than most of Shawn's from the past decade. Steen's "Sweet Chin Music" only hits as high Ian's voluptuous moobs.
A: For those who said that Ian was one of the best in the world during this time, I want to walk up to them, shake their hands and say “Congratulations. You’re an idiot.” Ian looked like a complete goofball heabutting the ringpost while making some wild scream only known to animals in the Congo during mating season. This was all Steen as he made Ian look decent and mustered a lot of intensity. Ian didn’t seem to care and probably would’ve rather done some blow with the guys backstage instead of working with this match. Also, why was Steen wrestling in a t-shirt? It just seems so low grade. I liked Steen imitating Shawn Michaels with the elbow drop and the Sweet Chin Music that caught Ian in the chest instead of the chin. Afterwards, we get some chicanery between Ian and Team Underground who actually hit their spike piledriver move, unlike earlier.
7. Delirious vs. El Generico - B: 4 A: 3
Brian: This starts out with a hefty serving of shtick -- possibly back then when it wasn't as stale it could have been moderately amusing to those live but on DVD is never worth more than the occasional passing grin. Now, after seeing Delirious babble and Generico play dumb, in multiple companies, for many years, it's a bit of a chore waiting for this to get competitive. Once they put aside the goofball charades this gets much more interesting as they make good opponents being fairly even-matched. Countering is key as both guys find ways to avoid each other's moves in effort of regaining control back in their favor. Generico nails a highlight somersault plancha to the floor, and later, barely escapes being pinned after "Shadows Over Hell" for a good nearfall.
A: Once they started actually wrestling and got away from the comedy, this was pretty good. I didn’t care much for the first half. Felt like it would’ve fit better in Chikara instead of a fed like Mid-South. Delirious had a few chops on the floor that literally sounded like gunshots echoing through the building. Never have been a big Delirious fan as I found his act kind of goofy and his in-ring work not the best. I found this to be a bit on the dull side but enjoyable. Had it been a bit more serious, I could’ve given it a better score. Some of the nearfalls were good but that really wasn’t much to save it for me.
8. Tank vs. Toby Klein - B: 3 A: 5
Brian: Klein appears to be working a Mike Davis "I'm a confused nut" gimmick sans moon rock. The dueling headbutts out on the floor were pretty gross. Toby hit a nice flurry of open-handed slaps and strikes to Tank's ample gut and face. This correlates with Ian's fetishistic preoccupation with "strong style" around this time including running tournaments, etc. so these guys try to pummel each other but sheer physicality alone doesn't equate to quality wrestling. The finish was ugly as Klein aped 2 Cold Scorpio and did a 180° splash off the top that looked as crappy as a clogged truck stop toilet.
A: If you would have told me that two wrestlers who are primarily deathmatch guys would be competiting in a standard match, I would’ve said that it sounds awful. However, I found this to be morbidly entertaining. The headbutts on the floor were really sick, especially since Toby got busted open hardway. Not a lot of actual wrestling here, just two big guys throwing down and hitting each other really hard while imitating Japanese strong style. Toby’s coast-to-coast move was pretty sloppy as was the 180 splash to finish off Tank.
9. Low Ki vs. Necro Butcher - B: 9 A: 8
Brian: Low Ki sneaks in from the crowd but upon entering the ring is nearly drowned in streamers while he savagely attacks in a beautiful image. This match is filled with amazing strikes but some of the earliest are the best and most brutal. Ki viciously goes after Necro and it resembles a mugging much more than wrestling, mercilessly stomping on his face and skull like he was jumping him into a street gang. You've got these two larger than life personalities squaring off plus inspired guys and it just makes for surreal and supremely satisfying viewing. My wife makes the comment that Necro's skin appears jaundiced but then changes her tune saying its more accurately mottled. Butcher counters a springboard with a right hand that looks like a bear swiping. One of the more insane highlights was a Ghetto Stomp through a table. I liked the finish, the Dragon Clutch felt appropriate, but it would have looked even better if Ki would have properly gotten his arm under the chin and not up near the nose. Offhand this is one of the better matches I've watched in recent years joining such company as Cena vs. JBL from Judgment Day '05 (bloody "I Quit" bout) and Ciclope vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. (11/11/96). I wanted to give this a "10" but a few minor nitpicks kept me from awarding it our most prestigious honor. If it'd have had a few more moments of pure greatness like some of Ki's early ferociousness, and if the final stretch could have had a smidgen more crowd heat, and just a pinch more rising/esclating drama in the climax would have sealed the deal but still this is phenomenal and one of the best American independent matches ever. You've got these two unlikely combatants from two disparate paths that are both cult heroes in their own right meeting on the battlefield and just waging a war.
A: This was everything you could expect from these two. Just brutal physicality from two competitors who each bring their own unique style. I love Necro’s punches. Nothing fancy to them, just him raring back and slugging you right in the face. Each of Low Ki’s kicks was viciously and strategically placed. I think at one point he kicked Necro so hard in the mouth that he started bleeding. Loved Ki’s rolling Koppo kick on the outside. The chops were insane. I don’t think humans are supposed to hit each other that hard. The Ghetto Stomp through the table was just completely nuts, however I felt that it was a bit telegraphed. I think I liked the giant stomp on to Necro’s back earlier in the match better as a show of pure unadulterated stiffness. My main gripe is that it seemed like the match was dominated by Low Ki. Necro did have offensive flurries here and there, as highlighted when he did a double underhook bomb that featured the back of Ki’s head smacking hard against the canvas, but I would’ve liked to have seen Ki on the defensive for at least a few minutes. Aside from that, this was a fantastic bout with two of the top indy guys on the circuit at the time beating the holy hell out of each other.
10. Milano Collection AT vs. Chris Hero - B: 5 A: 4
Brian: When the show's already ran irritably long seeing my DVD counter reading there's still thirty minutes left on this disc is maddening. I guess they wanted to get the most out of the cost of that plane ticket. I wonder if Milano's transparent dog was stowaway? Grappling early is perfunctory but inoffensive. Being first-time opponents there's bound to be a period of testing each other out before busting out your top-shelf shit. That'd be like on a first date, when the girl answers the door, to be standing on the doorstep with leftovers from Olive Garden and your dick hanging out of your jeans. Just poor etiquette is all. Hero is bigger physically and in terms of rep so I'm finding it hard to picture Milano beating him with anything. Hero's playing possum and even a blind man with mustard on his polo shirt could see it. Chris' deception worked splendidly leaving AT appearing foolish and on the receiving end of a beating. I wonder if it made Milano uneasy at all knowing he was working with a guy who likely spilt his seed more than once watching grainy video clips of his matches. Milano eats forearms, headbutts, etc. like he was slurping up a plate of veal parmigiana. Milano manages to borrow from Trish Stratus and Kenny Omega in one sequence. We get a maligned ref bump because, well, if you fly Milano over, let him see the sights, etc. why not let him get a taste of one of our great American treasures Jarrett, too? Hero transitions from a "Torture Crab" to a Boston Crab to get the tap.
A: Wonder what Milano thought when he saw Midlothian, Illinois on his schedule? I really wanted to like this match. Really, I did. I just couldn’t really get into this. Hero, I thought was acting a bit too goofy for his own good and Milano just didn’t seem to be motivated. Things I did like from the match --- Milano’s running dropkick where he jumped up from the floor to the apron, Hero’s spinning forearm, and Hero’s deception when he feigned a knee injury. The rest of this suffered from a crowd that had just shot their wad completely on the previous match. Thought the ref bump felt out of place and unneccesary even though Bryce took a hard shot to the face. This went a bit too long for my taste as well, probably could’ve shaved about 5-10 minutes off and things would’ve been better.