Tales from the Eastside Directory

IWA Mid-South Retro Night (10/1/02)

Tales From the Eastside by Patrick McGovern

-Today, I start something I've been looking forward to doing for a while: IWA Mid South reviews. For the uninitiated, IWA-MS is a (very) small promotion out of the Midwest US area (Indiana/Illanois). They mainly get publicity for their gory deathmatches, but they put on some awesome straight wrestling contests. Witness this show, where not one table or chair is used.

-As for most IWA-MS shows, introductions are handled by Jim Fannin while commentary is handled by Fannin and Dave Prazak (actually, IWA-MS shows will frequently employ wrestlers to do commentary- CM Punk, Ace Steel, etc., but Prazak is constantly used as the color man). Fannin also intros the ref before every match; the refs are Brent Blades (senior official), Mr. Lemke (aka "Jon Lovitz" and "Mohammed") and Turtle (fellow that looks kind of like a cross between Lobo and Ron Jeremy, earned his name because he's slooooow). Also, there was a female referee named Mickey introduced on recent shows, but we'll get to her when those shows roll around. All music is handled by Nick Maniwa.

-Finally, if you feel inspired to buy an IWA-MS tape at any point, I heartily recommend Smart Mark Video (http://www.smartmarkvideo.com); they're the official supplier of IWA tapes, their prices are thoroughly decent and the VQ is always excellent. Big IWA-MS shows (like this one) are filmed with multiple cameras by SMV. Alright, we've got all the formalities out of the way, let's go!

-The show apparently opened, as many do, with a long oratory from Ian Rotten but SMV clipped that out. We cut in with Jim Fannin introducing Brent Blades as the ref for the first match...

-Average White Guy vs. Rollin' Hard. Guy is, as his name would indicate, a pudgy average white guy, while Hard has my least favorite gimmick in all of IWA-MS- the white guy that pretends he's black, complete with afro wig and "kill whitey" sign. Guy, apparently taking the name "Retro Night" a bit too literally, comes out wearing a Hawaiian shirt right out of the 70s. A female fan makes the observation that Guy is indeed "very white". Before we start, Guy has something to say: "Hold on a sec! I like your music, I like your fluffy-assed afro, I like you. You been kickin' everybody's ass from what I heard, but your partner has been kicked the hell out. So I'm thinkin', why not me n' you? Why not the bad-ass black man and the Average White Guy? Aw, come on! With my dancin' and your...and my dancin', we could take every sngle title in this place. Whaddya say? I think the people wanna see us tag up! C'mon, Rollin'!" Hard says, "Sounds like a good gimmick to me" and Guy is excited. "I think he's for it!"

The two exchange a high-five and Guy extends the Hand of Friendship- well, of course he goes for a lariat immediately afterwards but Hard sees it coming and ducks, then follows through with a gutshot. Hard off the ropes and Guy meets him with a gutshot of his own, now he's coming off the ropes and Hard meets him with a shoulderblock. Guy is back to his feet and he does a little dance before coming off the ropes, Hard drops down and comes off the opposite ropes and before you know it, we've got a criss-cross on our hands. This goes on for a bit until Hard bails to the floor and takes a seat in the crowd, while Guy continues to run the ropes. Guy eventually gets exhausted from all the sprinting back and forth and he collapses over the top rope. Hard re-enters the ring and Guy points menacingly at him, but he's still too winded to actually attack. Oh, I guess Guy was pointing to Nick Maniwa as some music starts playing; looks like Guy wants to dance. Guy struts and does a moonwalk, then follows up by raisin' the roof. All I'll say is that he's no Sonjay Dutt. Hard applauds the dance moves, then he gutshots Guy and lays in a clubbing forearm. Guy taken to the corner and Hard chops him, then he takes him to the far corner and chops him again. Snapmare by Hard, then he comes off the ropes with an Iceberg elbowdrop, right into a cover for a two count.

Guy comes back with a gutshot and a DDT. Stomp by Guy, then a chop and he goes to the corner to nail Hard with a clubbing forearm. Hard rolls outside and Guy follows, slamming his head into the apron and kicking him in the ribs before rolling him back in. Off the ropes and he hits a legdrop before covering for two. Blatant choke by Guy, then he switches to the foot-assisted variety of choking. Whip by Guy, Hard reverses and presses Guy into a crotchkick on the way back, then whips him back into the ropes and follows up with a supremely ugly hiptoss that earns him another two count. Gutshot by Hard but Guy fires back with one of his own, then he drops Hard with a reverse neckbreaker for another two count. Guy grabs Hard by the legs and yells, then drops a double legdrop to Hard's groin (he's Jeff Hardy!). Guy yells to the crowd, who aren't too enthusiastic to yell back at him. Guy turns his attentions back to Hard, who has gotten back up and he grabs a double-leg takedown, pretzeling Guy's legs into an Indian Deathlock and then pulling his singlet down and tying it up in his legs! That looks rather painful. Hard stands back and yells "Ask him!" to Blades, and I think we've got the first submission move in history where the person applying the submission isn't actually making any contact with the victim. The singlet snaps out of place, allowing Guy the chance to get back to his feet and Hard goes back to work, landing a trio of kicks to the knee. Hard throws another kick to the knee and pulls Guy to center ring, where he elbowdrops the knee and holds on for a kneebar. Hard adds a claw to the face, but he breaks the hold when Guy applies a facelock.

Armwringer by Guy into a side Russian legsweep, then he proceeds to place Hard in an Octagon Special! Lucha submissions from the Average White Guy! Well, it's a really ugly Octagon Special, but it's the thought that counts. Hard nails a pair of elbows to the groin to break the hold, then he grabs Guy by the legs. Guy protests ("C'mon! Let's be partners!") but Hard hears none of it and ties up Guy's legs in a singlet-assisted Indian Deathlock instead. Hard puts Guy's arm in the pretzel this time, leaving him in the center of the ring in a...rather obscene-looking position. Blades has to untie the knot, and as soon as he does Hard lands a kick to the leg. Hard goes outside now, dragging Guy's legs under the bottom rope and placing them in the Singlet Deathlock (for lack of a better term), this time using the bottom rope as well to tie them up. Blades protests for Hard to stop, but Hard ignores him and drags Guy's legs around the ringpost, putting them in an Indian Deathlock around that while hooking the singlet to the bottom rope. Hard follows this up with another tried-and-true technical maneuver: Grabbing your opponent by the legs and running him crotch-first into the post. Hard does this twice before Guy decides he's had enough groinal abuse for one night and rolls outside. Guy nails Hard with a pair of kicks and a European uppercut, then he rolls him back in the ring and elbowdrops the knee (after yelling out "legwork!"). Legscissors by Guy, then he converts to scissoring the left leg with his legs while anklelocking the right leg. When asked if he wants to quit, Hard responds by...tagging in Blades? Guy shrugs and grabs Hard's left ankle, stomping the back of the knee and then lariating it before grabbing his knee and DDTing it to the mat (hey, that's Chris Hero's move! Thief!). Both men back to their feet and Guy takes Hard to the corner for some forearming. Choke by Guy and he breaks at three, only to come back with an even more illegal bite. Cross-corner whip by Guy and he tries to lift Hard into a fireman's carry, but Hard tosses him away. Hard with three jabs, but a fourth is ducked and Guy lands a gutshot. Now Guy throws a jab of his own and tries a whip, but Hard reverses and catches Guy with the Westside Slam (sidewalk slam). Hard then drops Guy with a Death Valley Driver- he has a signature name for that too, but since I don't want to offend any of my black readers I'll refrain from saying it- and that gets the pin (9:58, 65). Prazak suggests "Negro Amigo" as an alternate name for Rollin's DVD and I think I'm gonna use that. Part comedy match, part bizzare mat wrestling exhibition, all not really worth your time. Guy did some neat stuff on the mat but it didn't look very good, and everything was just so slow. Still, this was fine for an opening comedy match, just too long for the purpose intended. Hard is probably my least favorite IWA-MS worker as he's dull in both hardcore matches and straight matches, plus I don't like his gimmick. Hard seems like a genuinely funny guy with an unfunny gimmick, but at least he's over (the worst is when you have an unfunny gimmick AND you're not over).

-BJ Whitmer vs. Mark Wolf. Fannin shills the candy stand (only $1.00 a bar!) before introing both guys. Whitmer enters to "Welcome to the Jungle", the most generic theme possible for a wrestler- I guess that Maniwa lost "Down" by Stone Temple Pilots, Whitmer's normal theme. Whitmer (who returned to IWA-MS in September, having skipped out a year earlier to work in HWA and make a tour of NOAH) is also all oiled up and impressively shiny looking. He's taken to carrying around a strap since his return to the IWA, but it's not with him right now. Wolf is your basic Southern brawler type (trained by Ian Rotten), but he's damn good at what he does and has had some great dramatic brawls in the past.

Whitmer demands that referee Turtle thoroughly check Wolf before the bell. Collar-and-elbow tieup to start and Whitmer muscles Wolf to the corner, where he paintbrushes him with a slap. Wolf is pissed and he lunges at Whitmer, who immediately sprints out of the ring and to the floor. Whitmer makes his way back in and we have another collar-and-elbow, Whitmer managing to muscle Wolf into the corner again but this time Wolf reverses and he gives Whitmer a receipt for the slap earlier. Drop toehold out of the corner by Wolf and he locks on a reverse Indian Deathlock, cranking back on it but Whitmer is relatively quick to reach the ropes. Whitmer bails to the floor again, complaining all the way ("He tried to break my leg!"). Whitmer rolls back in for a third collar-and-elbow, Wolf goes to a side headlock and Whitmer tries to reverse to a top wristlock, but Wolf has the hold on too tightly. Whitmer changes his strategy, throwing a trio of forearms to the side to break the hold and then shooting Wolf off the ropes, but Wolf predictably comes back with a shoulderblock. Wolf comes off the ropes, Whitmer drops down and tries for a hiptoss as Wolf comes back, but Wolf reverses. Armdrag by Wolf and he holds on for the armbar, holding the arm for a pair of kneedrops before going back to the bar. Whitmer to his feet and he jams a forearm into Wolf's throat, but Wolf still has his arm. Whitmer continues struggling and finally breaks it, whipping Wolf into the ropes but getting nailed with a shoulderblock anyway. Wolf off the ropes again and Whitmer drops down, on the way back Wolf does a go-behind into a waistlock but Whitmer lands a mule kick to shift the momentum.

DDT by Whitmer and he covers, but Wolf gets the shoulder up at two. Another cover by Whitmer nets the same result. Whitmer drops Wolf with a nice hangman's neckbreaker, but his cover is awfully lazy and only gets a two count. Nonetheless, Whitmer again works the cover for another two, then complains that Turtle's counts are slow. Snapmare by Whitmer and he applies a reverse chinlock. Wolf of course fails to concede, and the crowd gets behind him with some rhythmic clapping. Wolf gets to his feet and nails a pair of elbows to the gut, but when he comes off the ropes Whitmer connects with a knee right to the breadbasket. Snap suplex by Whitmer and he floats over, one, two, no. Again he works the cover, and again Wolf kicks out at two. A third quick cover by Whitmer and yet again Wolf gets the shoulder up at two, but a little slower this time. Bodyslam by Whitmer and he heads upstairs- diving headbutt off the top rope, but Wolf rolls out of the way! Both men are down and Turtle puts on a count, both Whitmer and Wolf rising at around five. Whitmer throws a right but Wolf blocks and does one of his own, again, then he throws four uncontested rights. Irish whip by Wolf and he plants Whitmer with an inverted atomic drop, then comes the opposite ropes with a running kneelift, but the ensuing cover only gets two. Gourdbuster by Wolf and he makes another cover, but Whitmer still kicks out at two. Clubbing forearm by Wolf and he whips Whitmer into the corner, trying for an avalanche but Whitmer gets the boot up. Jackknife pin by Whitmer and he puts his feet on the ropes for good measure, one, two, three (7:09, 72). Whitmer has the stick, let's hear what he has to say, shall we? "Now, it was just a couple weeks ago, right here in this ring that I had Chris Hero beat, and I should be wearin' that IWA title right now. So Chris Hero, if you're ready to become a man, if you have any balls whatsoever, you'll come out here tonight and give me that shot at the IWA title." Nothing wrong with this at all, nothing really outstanding but a fine lowercard match. Wolf isn't bad in straight matches, but like I said before he's much more exciting in brawls. This served to put heat on Whitmer for the main event, and it did a good job of that.

-Tarek the Great vs. Ian Rotten. Tarek looks like the Middle-Earth version of Low-Ki; smaller and with a goatee and skullet. Ian is the guy you likely remember from old ECW tapes, but MUCH slimmer and as you'll see in this match, much different. Ian is in an unusually peppy mood tonight, hugging a white-haired woman at ringside (she shows up for all the IWA shows) and then leaving the ring to slap hands with pretty much all thirty-eight fans in attendance. They shake hands after the bell, then it's down to business. Ian lunges for a tieup, but Tarek ducks and lands a drop toehold, then floats over into a tight armbar. Tarek takes his time to wrench in the hold and goes to step over Ian's other arm, but Ian rolls back- so Tarek converts to a short-arm scissors. Looks like Tarek wants the Cross Armbreaker but Ian has his hands clasped so Tarek can't extend the arm. Tarek gives up on the armbreaker but still has hold of Ian, driving a knee into the back of his head but Ian counters by grabbing Tarek's leg and rolling out to a reverse anklelock. Tarek rolls back and tries to grab Ian's arm again, but Ian finally rolls all the way out with Tarek's leg and fully cinches in the reverse anklelock! Tarek screams and he's quick to find the ropes; Ian, likewise, is quick to break the hold. The crowd applauds as both men make it to their feet.

Tarek and Ian size each other up, lacing their fingers for a knucklelock and Tarek goes from there to a hammerlock. Ian backs Tarek into the ropes, then armdrags him out of the hammerlock into an armbar. Tarek rolls to his back, so Ian puts a leg over Tarek's arm and uses his other leg to apply pressure to the elbow while still barring the arm, in sort of a figure-four armlock I guess. Ian keeps up the figure-four theme by going to a Triangle armbar (figure-four headscissors w/armlock), squeezing away on both Tarek's head and arm but Tarek eventually is able to roll through Ian's legs into a schoolboy for a quick two count. Tarek rolls from there to a kneeling armbar with a knee grinding on Ian's head for good measure. Ian throws a stiff kick to Tarek's back to try and break the hold and Tarek responds with a nasty slap to the chest. Ian nails another hard kick to Tarek's back and then uses his free arm to land a pair of forearms, forcing Tarek to break the armbar. Tarek doesn't lose focus, however, kicking Ian right in the elbow and reapplying the kneeling armbar- but Ian knows how to counter this time, grabbing a leg and trying to roll out. Tarek wraps his arms in a gutwrench around Ian in an attempt to prevent a counter, but Ian uses his strength advantage to roll through to an anklelock. Tarek throws a couple elbows at Ian's arms, but Ian simply responds by tying up Tarek's leg further and cranking back HARD on the anklelock. Tarek screams in agony and Ian looks to want to tie up the other leg as well, but Tarek catches him as he does it and applies a front chancery, Ian with the textbook counter to a hammerlock but Tarek goes back to the chancery. Tarek pulls Ian to his feet with the facelock and Ian tries for a single-leg takedown but Tarek evades it and goes back to the kneeling armbar from earlier. Tarek cranks away, but Ian uses his leverage to counter into a much more painful looking Fujiwara armbar!

Tarek is hurting, and hurting bad. "Oh god, OH GOD! OH GOD!" He can scream all he wants, but Ian's not breaking the hold; in fact, he bridges up a little to apply more pressure, allowing Tarek to switch the leverage back his way and cradle Ian with his other arm, one, two, Ian rolls back to the Fujiwara. Ian continues bending Tarek's arm at an angle it's probably not supposed to bend at, but again Tarek is able to leverage his way into a cradle for a two count. Ian rolls right back to the Fujiwara for a third time, but this time Tarek is able to counter with a headscissors. Tarek cranks away, cutting off Ian's air supply. Ian desperately tries to push away Tarek's legs, but nothing doing there so Ian tries the more direct approach of a forearm to the mush- and Tarek catches it! Tarek trying to make Ian into a pretzel by adding an arm to the headscissors, but Ian throws five short forearms with his other arm to stop that. Tarek moves his legs and tries for a Cross Armbreaker on the captured arm but Ian grabs TAREK's arm and rolls through to an STF! I can't properly explain how cool and realistic this match is. Ian peppers Tarek with headbutts while having the STF on, then when Tarek fails to concede Ian converts to an impossibly tight reverse Indian Deathlock. Tarek screams some more and lets his shoulders fall for a two count, pulling his shoulders up in time while freeling a leg to nail Ian with kneestrikes. Tarek grabs around for Ian's arms and rolls through the Deathlock while grabbing Ian's arms, and the result is a...umm, "crooked reverse figure-four leglock" is my best guess. I really need Mike Quackenbush here to call this match correctly. Ian starts to kick Tarek off, so Tarek converts to a quarter-crab, sitting back on Ian's right leg- and Ian, with no other way out, goes to the ropes.

Tarek breaks the hold clean and Ian takes a powder to walk off the pain in his knee; Tarek, in a show of sportsmanship that would make Low-Ki proud, lets him take all the time he needs. Ian eventually makes his way back in and he shakes Tarek's hand, then it's back to the match. Tarek lunges at Ian, who counters with a drop toehold. Ian keeps the toehold on, wrenching it in like mad while Tarek tries to gut it out. The ref asks Tarek if he wants to give, and Tarek responds with "Ah nononononono...fuck!!" Tarek struggles forward and grabs a facelock while still trapped in the toehold, forcing Ian to break. Ian immediately gets back on Tarek, not giving him a second to rest and locking on a toehold/armbar combo that's all kinds of twisty and hurty. Ian applies more pressure, but Tarek leverages back into a cradle...for a zero count, as Ian immediately makes the ropes. Tarek pulls Ian away from the ropes and small packages him again, one, two, Ian pulls his shoulders up and squeezes away with a bearhug! That ought to put an end to Tarek's leverage. Tarek throws a short headbutt to try and break the hold. Ian responds with a headbutt of his own and Tarek lands two more, but Ian puts a stop to that by grinding in the bearhug some more. Tarek gasps for air and makes a desperate lunge for the bottom rope, forcing Ian to finally let go of the bearhug.

Both men back to their feet and Tarek caps Ian in the knee with a stiff kick. Ian gets wary and backs off to the corner, where Tarek feigns a pair of kicks before drilling Ian in the back of the knee with some hard short kicks (Prazak: "Kicky McKick, but no Slappy McLeg..." (pause) Fannin: "Who are all these Irish people?"). Tarek goes to a kneescissors, but before he can fully extend Ian's knee Ian rolls through to an anklelock. Tarek counters before Ian can do too much damage, trying to torque Ian's right leg into a seated Stretch Muffler but Ian grabs Tarek's neck and tucks him into an inside cradle for a quick two count. Tarek has no trouble getting the shoulder up, but Ian rolls all the way through to the anklelock he was trying for in the first place! This match is, like, deep. Ian twists away on Tarek's ankle, but Tarek yells out "I got an ankle right here too, motherfucker!" and, sure enough, HE's got an anklelock too! Both men are in anklelocks and neither is submitting. Tarek breaks his anklelock and tries to kick Ian away, but Ian drops a guillotine kick across Tarek's throat, then kicks him in the ankle and rolls through to a Shawn Capture! Tarek is SCREAMING, but he's not giving up. Ian changes holds, rolling back and trying to tie Tarek up in a figure-four leglock but Tarek counters by splitting Ian's legs and using his good leg to legdrop Ian's bad knee. Now Tarek is driving his knee repeatedly into the back of Ian's bad knee- he's focused! Ian rocks Tarek with a headbutt, sending Tarek stumbling into the ropes. Two more short headbutts by Ian, now both men are clenched together and they scramble each others brains with dueling headbutts SEVEN times! Ian drops onto all fours and nails Tarek with three more headbutts (hmm, Ian "Junkyard Dog" Rotten?), but Tarek puts a stop to that with a short legdrop across the head, pinning his shoulders, one, two, Ian pulls Tarek into a front chancery! Ian lets his shoulders fall for a two count, but he still keeps the neck lock on tightly. Tarek with several forearms right to Ian's nose, but Ian still won't let up on the chancery. Pair of knees to the head by Tarek and Ian finally lets go of the chancery. Tarek goes to lariat Ian down, but Ian ducks and straps on a standing Sugar Lock! Prazak quotes System of a Down while Tarek fights for oxygen, but there's no way to break the hold. Tarek's in trouble and he's fading- his shoulders are down- one, two, three (17:11, 90)! Ian stumbles up to his feet and extends the Hand of Friendship as Prazak goes into "golf announcer" mode and gets whispery quiet on commentary. Tarek slowly makes it to his feet, and he accepts the handshake. Ian and Tarek (holding his head) hug, then both limp to the back.

This was the best RINGS match that you've never seen. The matwork was very shoot-style, with stiff strikes in between unbelievably painful-looking stretches. The matwork here wasn't of the Mutoh/Flair "pick a body part" variety, really; it was more like the Catch style employed in British matches. Now, I'm not criticizing the Flair-style matwork, but this kind of style is more realistic and exciting when done properly. Ian and Tarek pulled this match off to near-perfection: There were no Irish whips, no rope running, and all the selling was totally realistic. A lot of people like to trash the "technical Ian" matches without even seeing them- "But he's just a fat guy that stabs people and bleeds!" Yeah, Ian was like that in 1995 ECW so of course he's like that now, right? That sound you heard was me banging my head. I have no problem if someone doesn't care about IWA-MS, or if they watch the shows and don't like the matches, but to just blindly trash a match is ignorance. The great thing is, this isn't even the best 'technical Ian' match out there; he had an AMAZING match on 5/4 in Dayton with Hero that was easily one of the best matches of the year anywhere.

-Spyder Nate Webb vs. CM Punk. Webb is your basic skinny indy high-flyer, but with a lot more personality (and dance skill); I'm gonna guess that most of you know what Punk's about by now. Punk's return to the IWA; he was on the shelf for several months due to a skull fracture suffered in the Jersey J-Cup in a match with Reckless Youth (he handed awkwardly executing a Blockbuster). Punk had wrestled some high-profile matches in CZW and IWC in September, but this is his big return to his home promotion. Webb has one of the best intros in wrestling history, coming out to Homer Simpson's take on the "Flintstones" theme music, followed up by "Teenage Dirtbag". Punk wastes no time rudoing it up on his way to the ring, trying to steal a fan's hat and then referring to some girls in the front row as "rats, big big rats!". Punk grabs THE STICK after the intros, addressing the fan that wouldn't let Punk take his hat: "I want to make something very clear to you. See how no one is sitting on either side of you? That's because you're a loser, you're gonna die a loser and even in death no one's gonna wanna sit next to your smelly ass!" Punk is AWESOME.

Oh, and Ian Rotten, still smarting from his match with Tarek, has joined Prazak on commentary. Immediately after the bell, Punk bails from the ring and yells at the fan some more. Once back in the ring, Punk directs some of his vitriol in Webb's direction. "This is my house, not yours!" Webb tries to start up a chant for himself, and an impatient Punk starts up a jig! Webb responds with a strut and dance move, and it looks like we're finally ready for a lockup. Collar-and-elbow, Punk to the side headlock, Webb shoots him off and Punk hits a shoulderblock on the way back. Punk dares Webb to get up and jigs some more. "You wanna dance now? Get up, c'mon, get up!" Webb groggily tries a dance and Punk wristlocks him, wringing the arm but Webb reverses. Punk rolls, single-leg takedown into a standing toehold and he adds a slap to the chest, causing Webb's shoulders to fall for a two count. Webb fights the hold, but Punk lands another hard slap and again Webb's shoulders fall for two. Punk turns to a reverse Indian Deathlock and continues to taunt poor Nate. "You're the hero around here, Nate Webb? You're the hero? People like you?" Punk breaks the hold. "Get up! This is the guy, this is the guy I've heard so much about, this is the guy that filled my spot while I was gone?" Webb slowly recovers and Punk suddenly has a change of heart, extending the Hand of Friendship (complete with a great, totally insincere smile). Webb takes the handshake and Punk punishes him with a gutshot and several double sledges to the back. Stomps by Punk and then he whips Webb into a knee to the gut before taunting him with some push-ups. Another whip by Punk, trying a hiptoss but Webb reverses, Punk with a monkey flip to counter but Webb lands on his feet and dropkicks Punk down. Clubbing forearms by Webb and a suplex, then he pulls Punk away from the ropes and elbowdrops Punk's knee, holding on for a kneebar. Punk counters to a headscissors but Webb counters back to the kneebar, only for Punk to throw some elbows to the head to break it up. Punk trying a suplex now, Webb blocks it twice, third time's the charm but Webb drops behind into an inverted DDT- one, two, no. Irish whip and Webb tries a lariat but Punk ducks and drops him with the hangman's backbreaker, then FLOORS him with a Shining Wizard! Prazak: "I don't think Mutoh knows what he started with the Shining Wizard, now EVERYBODY's doing it."

Punk opts to adjust his kneepads instead of covering, but Webb isn't exactly quick to get up. Punk helpfully assists Webb in getting to his feet, then lands a trio of chops in the corner. Flurry of kicks and forearms by Punk, followed by a snapmare and a funky lucha submission: Punk traps Webb's arm and puts him in kind of a sideways Bow & Arrow. I think Punk calls that the '.45 Special' but don't quote me on that. Turtle unhelpfully gets in the way of the camera, but by the time he figures out he should move (partially thanks to urging from Ian and Prazak, yelling from the announce table) Punk has broken the hold. Butterfly backbreaker, then Punk covers for two. Webb manages to get to his feet, earning sarcastic applause from Punk. Punk takes Webb to the corner and chops him, cross-corner whip but Webb reverses only to run right into a forearm. Webb tries to recover with a lariat but Punk ducks and FOLDS WEBB LIKE A CARD TABLE with a sick German suplex! Punk goes to a reverse chinlock to wear Nate down further. Webb rhythmically kicks his leg while in the hold and fights to his feet with a trio of elbows to the gut. Webb off the ropes, trying a bodypress but Punk ducks and Webb splats on the mat. Punk points to his head! Half hour suplex and Punk is pretty happy with himself. "This is easier than I remember!" Webb to his feet with a bodyshot, Punk fires back with a double sledge, Webb with a forearm, Punk, Webb, Webb, Webb, Webb with a Euro uppercut and clubbing forearm to send Punk reeling. Corner whip and Webb charges in for the Nebraskan Tumbleweed (running front-flip kick in the corner; kind of a high koppou kick) but Punk moves and Webb lands himself right in the Tree of Woe! Punk sprints in and clocks Webb with a nasty sliding dropkick to the face. Webb up and Punk keeps putting the hurt on with a chop, right, chop, forearm, Webb to the corner and Punk cinches him up, but Webb fights him off with clubbing forearms. Punk is dazed, so Webb spikes him with a tornado DDT!

It might be a good idea to cover right now, but Nate has different plans, heading up top. Stardust Press...misses, and misses BIG TIME as Webb lands right on his noggin! Punk pulls Webb up and lays in some chops, but a fourth chop is ducked and Webb tries a clothesline, Punk ducks, legsweep but Webb jumps over it. Punk turns 'round and hits Webb with a forearm, whip and a clothesline but Webb ducks, both guys block each others punches twice, then both guys clothesline each other at the same time for a double KO. Punk is the first man up and he gestures to his elbow, trying a rolling elbow but Webb ducks and hits an elbow of his own, then a gutshot and a jumping knee. Whip by Webb, Punk reverses but Webb catches him with a flying jalapeno. Cover by Webb, one, two, Punk makes the ropes. Clubbing forearm by Webb and a whip, armwringer reversal by Punk and a gutshot- GORYBOMB! Punk rolls Webb over into a cover, but Webb kicks out late. Punk trying for the Gorrybomb again but Webb goes over with a sunset flip for two. Punk quickly grabs a double-leg and tries to turn Webb into the Texas Cloverleaf but Webb snares him with an inside cradle for another nearfall. Armwringer by Punk, Webb tries for a DDT but Punk counters to a spinebuster, then he holds onto the legs and locks on the Cloverleaf! Webb doesn't hold on very long before giving up (14:10, 82). Punk is slow to break afterwards, then he shoves the ref after having his arm raised. Punk with more words for Webb after the fact: "Who do you think you are? Who do you think you are? Do you know who I am? My name is CM Punk and what I am is straight edge. I'm drug-free, I'm alcohol-free and that means I'm better than you!" Punk gets on his knees and makes the straight-edge X to hammer the point home. Did I mention that CM Punk is awesome? This was a borderline squash but Punk's great rudo act kept things highly entertaining. Punk is just so good at playing the asshole and Webb did a fine job taking the beating. This was a perfectly decent match elevated by Punk's heel work, and it's definitely enough to make you wish that Punk would've stuck with the heel act for a little longer before turning face.

-BJ Whitmer vs. Chris Hero for the IWA-MS Heavyweight title. Not sure what defense this is for Hero, as he had a bunch of matches in August that I'm not sure were title matches or not (vs. Ian twice, vs. Necro Butcher, vs. Corporal Robinson). Both men lock eyes after the intro, but before we can begin CM Punk is out and he's got something to say. "I have a very valid question, Jim Fannin. I want to know why exactly it is that- what's your name again? BJ Whittenheimer? I wanna know why BJ here gets a title shot for a belt I never even really lost. That belongs to me, I should have the title shot, ask Ian. I didn't get pinned, I've never been pinned in my storied career! Ask Dave Prazak! I lost to Maniwa once, but I've never been pinned. I don't know why you got the title shot, but there's this revolutionary new match in pro wrestling called the 'three-way dance'. I don't know if any of you people here have heard of this or been exposed to this, but instead of two people wrestling at once it's THREE people simultaniously in the ring at the same time wrestling! Anybody here ever heard of this? (Prazak: "It's almost as popular as that Shining Wizard thing...") So my proposal today, this very show, even though I've already worked once- but hey, I'm famous for that, workin' twice, I'm the Iron Man- is that I enter this match. What do you think of that idea, the three-way dance? I invented that name, too." Ian gets off commentary to address Punk, and makes a joke about how one of the girls in the front row is the one that invented the three-way dance; Punk alleges that she's too fat. "Fat girls need love too!" "Not from me, I ain't gettin no love from no fat girls." Ian decides that he wants Whitmer to get beaten up as much as possible, so he makes it a single-elimination three-way dance. "Make sure you two do everything in your power to make sure he doesn't get that belt!" So now we have...

-CM Punk vs. BJ Whitmer vs. Chris Hero for the IWA-MS Heavyweight title. Whitmer wastes no time getting things started with a few clubbing forearms to Hero, Punk joins in with three of his own but Hero fires back with a right for Whitmer, Punk does the same and it looks like Hero and Punk have formed a team. Double whip and Hero & Punk hit a double spinebuster on Whitmer. Another double whip, Whitmer ducks a double clothesline and waistlocks Punk into an O'Connor roll for a quick two count. Punk kicks Whitmer off the roll and to Hero, who backdrops Whitmer onto the apron. Whitmer tries a right but Hero blocks and hits two punches in return, then the Superheroes double hiptoss Whitmer back into the ring into a Powerbomb/Ace Crusher combo! Whitmer decides to roll out. Punk and Hero share a high-ten, but of course Punk breaks up their alliance with a forearm. Hero comes back with a right or three and whips Punk, who takes Hero over on the way back with a satellite headscissors. Hero quickly back to his feet and he nails Punk with a hard lariat. Hero working the cravate, into a snapmare and he comes off the ropes with a doublestomp before covering for two. Right by Hero and he tries a whip, Punk reverses, Whitmer trips Hero as he hits the ropes and drags him out. Whitmer and Hero exchange forearms, but Punk puts an end to that by flying into them with a tope suicida. Punk pulls Whitmer up and crotches him with an inverted atomic drop onto an open chair. Punk follows up with a chop, Whitmer responds in kind, Punk, Whitmer, Whitmer with a clubbing forearm, Hero in now with clubbing forearms for both guys, then a chop and several more forearms for Punk and everybody's just beating the shit out of everybody else. Punk decides to open up the forearm factory some more for Hero, dishing out two more before Hero comes back with one of his own, Punk, Hero, Hero, gutshot and ANOTHER forearm. Whitmer in with four clubbing forearms. You might be noticing a pattern here- and I should mention that these guys aren't exactly holding back on these forearms. Whitmer stomps Hero down and tosses him into the crowd, then Punk nails Whitmer with a gutshot and tosses HIM into the chairs. Hero stumbles to his feet and Punk heads over to dish out some more punishment with four rights, but Hero locks him in a cravate and adds four headbutts for effect. Forearm to the back and Punk rolls back in. Hero follows and Punk is right on him with clubbing forearms, stomps and (you guessed it) forearms. Whip by Punk, going for a clothesline but Hero ducks and tosses him with a Tiger suplex!

Punk out, Whitmer in. Whitmer surprises Hero with a forearm and chokes away with his boot in the corner. Whip by Whitmer and a back elbow, which gets a two count. Hero argues referee Brent Blades' cadence, then decides to stomp Hero for a bit. Punk is back in and he dispatches of Whitmer with a forearm, some gutshots and a HARD butterfly backbreaker. Prazak says Punk calls that "Welcome to Chicago, motherfucker" and I'll just stick with "butterfly backbreaker" 'cause I'm lazy and it's less to type. All three men down and Punk Jackie Chans back to his feet. Gutshot and jawbreaker for Hero and Punk goes up, trying a twisting plancha off the second rope but Hero catches him and drops him with the Hero Sandwich (Blockbuster suplex setup to a spinning sitout Uranage)! Cover by Hero and Whitmer breaks it up at two. Now Whitmer tries the cover on Punk, but Punk gets the shoulder up at two. Punk comes back with a snap suplex on Whitmer, then he boot chokes Hero in the corner and rearranges his face with a running bootscrape. Hero takes a powder while Punk charges Whitmer, only to run right into a Brainbuster! Whitmer covers, but Punk kicks out in time and again Whitmer feels the need to argue the count with Blades. Punk gets taken to the corner and Whitmer lays in a forearm before trying the cross-corner whip, armwringer reversal by Punk into a forward roll slam, then up top for the split-legged Moonsault! Punk covers, but Hero makes the save at two and a half with a clubbing forearm. Whip by Hero, but he telegraphs the backdrop and Punk drops him with the butterfly backbreaker (looking like he hurts his own knee doing it). All three men down again, Whitmer tries to sneak in a pin on Hero but only gets a two count. AGAIN he argues with Blades; give it up, man. Whitmer pulls up Hero and gets hit with an uppercut for his troubles. Hero trying a suplex, but Whitmer drops behind and launches him with a hammerlock (wrist-clutch) Exploder! Hero heads out before he can be pinned and Punk stomps Whitmer down. Whip by Punk, Whitmer holds the ropes so Punk clotheslines him out. Punk brings Hero back in and puts him in the corner for some forearming. Corner whip, Hero reverses, Punk with a Flair flip but Hero lands a shoulderblock through the ropes. Punk trying to slingshot in with a sunset flip but Hero holds on, so Punk bridges up and side Russian legsweeps Hero down, then goes outside and slingshots back in with a senton (very nice)- Whitmer tries to steal the pin but Punk's not gonna let that happen. Whitmer and Hero crawl around while Punk tries going up top, but Whitmer crotches him, then Whitmer brings Punk down very hard with a top-rope Superplex! Hero takes advantage with the Hangman's Clutch (Stepover Toehold Cravate) on Punk, but Whitmer stomps Hero to break the hold. Hero dumps Punk and goes for a German suplex on BJ, standing switch by Whitmer, Hero counters to a full-nelson and goes for the Dragon suplex but Whitmer blocks, so Hero throws him over with the CravatePlex!

Hero locks Whitmer in the Hangman's Clutch, but now Punk is back in and he locks Hero in the .45 Special at the same time! Hero's in pain but he's still got the Clutch on Whitmer, who inches for the bottom rope- and finds it. Everyone breaks their holds and Punk pulls Hero up, clubbing forearm sends Hero to one knee and Punk charges in- Shining Wizard NO Hero blocks, but Punk stomps him anyway. Punk ties up Hero with the Texas Cloverleaf, but before it can really take effect Whitmer steps up OVER HERO and clocks Punk with a Shining Black! Hero clutches his knee while Whitmer covers Punk, one, two, Punk gets the ropes. Hero grabs Whitmer and gets him in the Hangman's Clutch, and this time the ropes are farther away. Whitmer reaches and tries to force a break, but the ropes are so far and he can't make it...but here's Punk to slingshot in with a senton that nails both guys! Punk drops Hero with a Pedigree for good measure and covers, one, two, NO! Whitmer makes the late save with a double sledge. Hero trying to use the ropes to pull himself up but Punk has none of it, cinching Hero up top. Punk going for the Pepsi Plunge (top-rope Pedigree for the uninformed) but Hero's dead weight. Punk keeps trying to lift Hero, but Whitmer comes over and tosses Hero, then takes Punk over with a 'rana off the top! Punk holds his head while Whitmer rolls him over, but the cover only gets two. Hero gets up on the apron and tries to climb back in the ring, but Punk grabs his hair to stop that. Hero responds with a shoulderblock through the ropes and Whitmer adds a clothesline that ends up tying Punk in the ropes. Punk yells for someone to help him, but nobody's too eager to. Whitmer, meanwhile, pulls Hero in and brings him over with a German suplex hold, one, two, Hero kicks out. Whitmer says "I'm gonna strap your ass, Punk!" and goes for the strap, but before he can dish out YAPPAPI STRAPATION Hero hooks him from behind into the Hero's Welcome (Last Rites)! Ground cravate hold by Hero, wrenching back on the neck; Punk's still tied up in the ropes so he can't break it up, and Whitmer has no choice but to tap (19:18, 90). Blades finally gets around to untying Punk after the bell. Punk chooses to hang around ringside and taunt the fans afterwards, yelling at an unfortunate girl in the crowd and trying to goad her into a boxing match as the show closes. Prazak says "CM Punk: total nonstop asshole" (hah!) and that's all for this evening.

Great match to close a very good show, a high-energy sprint with no lulls for twenty minutes. All three guys really laid into each other with the forearms, not to mention some very good nearfalls that got the crowd (all thirty-eight of them) really into the match. All this and they threw in some nifty original three-way spots. Even the ending was awesome, as the three guys had been breaking up each other's submissions all match so it made sense that one would have to be incapacitated for someone else to get a submission victory. Ya just don't see logic like that in three-ways anymore.

Hero was the standout, but all three guys put in a great effort and this match is a perfect example of the IWA-MS work ethic: Even if it's a nearly empty house, you still go out there and bust your ass to put on the best match possible. This was, IMO, better than the ROH three-way and if the WWE put this exact same match on Smackdown with Benoit, Edge and Angle it would have the entire 'net creaming their collective jeans.

-Well, the first two matches are nothing special (but certainly not outright terrible or anything), but from Ian/Tarek on it's nothing but quality and a very good show. Ian/Tarek and the main event are must-sees, and this is also an example of Ian's smart booking: He starts off with a comedy match to warm up the crowd, has undercard matches with both Whitmer and Punk against fan favorites to build them up, and pays it all off with an excellent main event. Simple, but effective. However, while Retro Night is a good show and I recommend it, there are far more essential IWA tapes out there: Ted Petty Invitational, #300, #301, and others...most of which I'll be reviewing (lucky you)!

Coming up next- and it'll be my inaugural review for the new site, but you'll also be able to find it here at ICHIBAN: The IWA-MS 6th Anniversary show, which takes place the night after Retro Night. Hope to see you then.

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