Wednesday, July 1, 2009

IWA Mid-South February Fury 2/06/09

1. Ryan Phoenix vs. Juice Robinson - 2
2. Bill the Butcher vs. Greg Excellent - 1
3. Rain vs. Mickie Knuckles - Falls Count Anywhere Match - 4
4. Bad Breed vs. The Hooligans - 3
5. Keith Walker vs. Zach Gowen - 1
6. Drake Younger vs. Jon Moxley vs. Devon Moore vs. B-Boy - 4
7. Popular Electronics vs. Contract Killers vs. The Starting Lineup vs. Frankie The Face and Jeff King - 2
8. Michigan Militia vs. Grits N Gravy - Ladder Match - 4
9. Jason Hades vs. Carter Gray vs. Ash vs. Egotistico Fantastico vs. Shane Hollister vs. Yellow Dog vs. Prince Mustafa Ali - 3
10. Dingo vs. Trik Davis - 4

Juice is allegedly 19, looks like Josh Koscheck, but with a Carlito-sized curly, blond afro. Phoenix fits the white trash stereotype pleasantly with pale skin, long red hair, white bandana, and bad tattoos. They go the ten-minutes it was allotted, ending in a draw, and the 25 or so people in attendance seemed indifferent. Juice has a decent look, showed come character, could be good in time, but should shelve the standing moonsault because it looked pathetic. Greg Excellent is one of the worst excuses for a pro wrestler I've seen in a long time. He's a big, fat guy with no timing, zero coordination, an eyesore physique, and likely works at EB Games. You're wrestling in a white button-up shirt and a pair of shiny Tommy Dreamer pants? Really? Bill the Butcher has a John Nord/Bruiser Brody character going, could be cool, but needs better supporting cast to know as Excellent is anything but.

Mickie's lost weight, still looks far too close to any number of neighborhood girls from my old block, but I'll be damned, not even a minute in and she's eating a face-first shot into the steel ring post and I'm happy. I guess this is falls count anywhere, Rain starts chucking bags of candy from the concession stand at Knuckles, a sweet, little old lady in a Cosby sweater rescues the candy box before too many packages of Skittles are lost. Wait, I recognize Rain, she's the former Payton Banks from TNA! Well, no librarian glasses or Robert Roode here. This is a pure crowd brawl, old school, they never even get in the ring. At one point, Mickie puts Rain in a full-nelson and lets ringside fans giver her chops. This has been more entertaining than most of WWE women's '09 output. They're brawling in the bleachers, holy shit, The Hooligans interfered, and double-powerbomb Mickie on the bleachers! What a fucking bump!

Oh shit, Bad Breed's back together? Lock up your daughters and groceries. Axl looks lethargic here, glad he didn't sign with Vince, not to boost his imagined credibility, but because I would have had to see him more often. If chicks dig scars, Ian Rotten is fucking Brad Pitt. Ian suplexes one of the Hooligans off of the bleachers onto the gym floor. A Hooligan member sells a Stone Cold Stunner by Ian better than Jericho, Angle, or Lita ever did. Aftermath sees the Hooligans duct tape Axl to the ropes while they slaughter Ian. As children in the crowd help release Axl, he screams out, "Oh my God, Ian!" in the most campy way possible. This is surreal shit. Gowen is the one-legged wonder, didn't impress me in his short-lived feud with Matt Hardy in '03, and still doesn't do a lot for change my mind. Walker looks like a cross between Giant Bernard and The Barbarian, poor guy, practically has to wrestle himself, only selling he does is as a result of a series of elbow drops Gowen continually dodges. This sucked like Steve-O with a can of nitrous oxide.

Moxley wrestles locally so I've seen him a few times before, here, he looked more confident and had more personality than anybody else. The return of B-Boy was less than spectacular, he looked more like a tax accountant in a Punisher t-shirt than a thug. He did do a couple sick moves, like hitting a running Death Valley Driver on one opponent into the turnbuckles, and later, while one guy hung upside down in the Tree of Woe, B-Boy overhead belly-to-belly suplexed someone into them. Devon did a real ugly springboard moonsault onto everyone on the floor. Moxley does a cradle piledriver, but releases his grip mid-move, which sort of negates the concept of a "cradle" piledriver. Drake absolutely kills Moxley with a Vertebreaker for the win. A decent four-way that didn't fall too far into cutesy sequences and strong-style blow fests.

This convoluted tag four-way is almost too much. Each team is built upon some stereotype or social outcast. Popular Electronics are your Radio Shack working, lives with Mom, lovable douchebags, Starting Lineup are, of course, African American sports fans, the Contract Killers don't look opposing, instead, are two, pimply-faced, 160lbs. tweens, and then there's the "Old Timer" Jeff King working the retro gimmick that Colt Cabana as Matt Classic did hundreds of times better, and Frankie the Face, the least interesting dude of the batch, a chubby, forgettable guy squeezed into a bootleg Super Nova vinyl outfit. They're doing all kinds out lame pop culture spots, stuff paying homage to Voltron, Street Fighter II (by way of a basketball being chucked like Ryu's fireball), etc. Of course, they have to do a big dive section, which comes off real bad, save for Kareem Abdul Jamar's, as he jumps off the apron dunking on a nearby basketball goal (the show's in an old gymnasium) then lets go falling onto all the other idiots. Too jokey and self-referential for its own good.

The ladder match, I almost felt bad for them, as even though they tried a couple nasty spots, going on in match eight out of ten in front of a tiny crowd that's already tired, this felt heatless and forced when it shouldn't have necessarily. I'm digging Sami Callihan of late, and he was the best guy here, involved in some of the more gnarly bumps. The ending came when Sami's partner Michael Elgin got powder in his eyes and accidently powerbombed Callihan on a ladder.

No, a seven-way match, really? Really? Yellow Dog surely isn't Windham or Pillman. Mustafa Ali throws a "shoe bomb" in a really distasteful spot. Shit, this is elimination? Some talent here, lots of people trying lots of stuff, some works, most doesn't. Ash trying to do a CIMA spot is like Cody Deaner trying to do a Billy Robinson spot. It comes down to Hades and Gray, who've had decent showings, and ended with this baffling somersault backcracker move by Hades.

The main event felt a bit more respectable than a lot of the show. Dingo's the first guy to truly embrace being a face, running around slapping high fives, etc. and then there's Davis, who cites Chris Hero as a trainer, has a bowl cut, and looks like he used to get bullied at the Boys and Girls Club so he makes a natural, snotty heel. This went a little over twenty with the ending being Dingo hitting a fisherman buster off of the turnbuckles for the win.

My overall impression of the show, while the scores are terrible, was that it wasn't a bad viewing, it moved along at a good enough pace, it's just that I'd always heard IWA Mid-South was where all the independent darlings from ROH and PWG went to actually work without restraints. I guess in '09 they're evolving, as a lot of the more familiar names are out, gone are the dream matches, and we're now greeted by a bunch of young guys with little to no charisma or talent. Sure, take the tag melee as an example, these dudes are having fun "playing" wrestlers for fifteen minutes, but when there's so many hundreds of hours of amazing performances out there, why would you bother watching green high school drop-outs when Jumbo Tsuruta is one download or DVD away? I'll continue watching all of IWA Mid-South, as well as the top arguably dozen American independents throughout '09, to get a firsthand perspective on what's out there--but if you're seeking quality IWA Mid-South search out Low Ki, Too Cold Scorpio, and Necro Butcher's stuff and leave the Greg Excellent's of the world in the download queue indefinitely.

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