|Tales from the Eastside Directory||
Ted Petty Invitational - Night One (11/1/02)
Tales From the Eastside by Patrick McGovern
-I apologize for this review being so late, but between finals and just a sense of writer's block it was hard to actually sit down and write this review, despite the fact that the show was excellent and I had all my notes written up.
-Oh and before I continue, the 500 that everyone is talking about is finally up. IMO it's an excellent list with few flaws to speak of...check it out at http://deathvalleydriver.com/June03500update.html
-Another week, another IWA Mid South review. At the rate I'm going I should get to the Ultra Styles Clash shows by, oh, sometime in 2004 (where, if the New Breed's prediction comes true, we'll have President Dusty Rhodes- hey, he can't be worse than the one we already have). Anyway, we now arrive at the Ted Petty Invitational, so let's get to it...
-A little background is in order: In 2000, when IWA-MS was trying to vary its style up a bit with more wrestling in between all the hardcore, they decided to start a "Sweet Science" tournament as kind of an alternative to their yearly King of the Deathmatches tournament. Chris Hero won that tournament, beating Harry Palmer in the finals; I haven't seen that show so I can't comment on it. The 2001 Sweet Science 16 was an excellent show, hurt by the crappy deathmatches and too much Nova but the good was really good. Ace Steel took home that year's trophy, beating the Innovator of All Things in the Finals. The name change for this show is to honor Ted Petty (aka Rocco Rock), the good half of Public Enemy who died earlier in the year.
-We apparently missed some quality talkin' from Ian, as we join the tape with Jim Fannin going over most of the wrestlers that will be competing tonight. We've got a lot of matches to get through, so Nick Maniwa, if you're ready with the music...
-Ken Anderson vs. Colt Cabana in a first round match of the Ted Petty Invitational. Cabana cuts a tremendous promo before the match, inventing at least two new words ("scientifical", "yaphole") and getting the crowd to totally hate him. Colt is a natural heel and you can't help but despise him for his rich-boy gimmick. Anderson is some muscular guy from Milwaukee, where he and Cabana have apparently had a few matches before. Anyway, this match is all about Cabana, who is totally in his element as a heel here and does everything right. His cockiness draws the crowd in during the early chain wrestling work, he stalls and the crowd gets excited that Anderson is going to dive, then Cabana cheats them out of it by bailing out of the way at the last second, and in the most brilliant thing of all he counters the countalong punches by dropping Anderson right into an UN FOUL kick- and when referee Mr. Lemke calls him on it, Cabana yells "He pulled my hair!". Cabana controls the offense here, which is good as Anderson seems like the carryable, blandly athletic type. Cabana centers most of his offense around Anderson's back without ever really calling attention to it, using some bearhugs effectively (every time Cabana uses a bearhug, he's always sure to use it as a transition into another move- here, it's used first into a Cradle DDT and then into a Flatliner). The heat on Anderson pays off, as by the time he makes his comeback the crowd is totally behind him, calling out "Ken!" for each of his jabs. The backwork also plays into the finish, as Ken goes for his big move- the Kentonbomb- and lands right on Cabana's knees. His back is shot, so Cabana puts him away easily with the Colt 45 for the finish. Great heel work + logical storyline + hot crowd = a fine opener. (11:45, 81)
-Jim Fannin shills the raffle that will occur tomorrow night, and this interruption allows me to note that commentary is done by Dave Prazak and Ian Rotten (Fannin did commentary for the opener but wouldn't work again until late on night two).
-Nick Mondo vs. Spyder Nate Webb in a first round match of the Ted Petty Invitational. REACH OUT AND TOUCH FAITH! Mondo has one of the best entrance themes ever here, "Personal Jesus" by Depeche Mode. Nate does a lap around the arena before entering the ring, even doing commentary at one point ("It's good to be here doing color with you, Dave Prazak, and I hope to have a good match tonight..." "You have a match right now! GET IN THE RING!").
Mondo and Webb are two guys not exactly known for being great technical wrestlers, so this match has the interesting story of both guys trying to prove themselves. The moves here are really unorthodox and cool, like when Webb uses a funky lucha submission in the early going: He uses his legs to hook Mondo in a full nelson on the mat, then bridges back from there and cranks away on Mondo's ankles. Mondo is portrayed as the clear superior, dominating most of the match and having great execution on most of his moves (including an awesome rolling German suplexes sequence where he does a regular one, then a high-angle one, and then releases on the third). Mondo also does one of the best topes I've ever seen, doing a no-hands somersault off the top and making total contact with Webb. The final part of the match involves Mondo finding new and exciting ways to kick Webb's head off, first using a top-rope spinning heel kick (!) for a nearfall and following that up with a barrage of sick kicks to the head and the "M. Bison" doublestomp to the noggin. Webb makes a comeback with an airplane spin Hawaiian Smasher, but he misses his big move (the "Thang": A Moonsault kick from the far corner with the victim hanging in the Tree of Woe) when Mondo bridges up. That provides a great visual, and soon after that Mondo puts Webb away with the Assault Driver.
This match didn't get very much time, but it didn't need it. For the time given they put in a ton of action, with both men looking good and Mondo looking better than I've ever seen him look outside of deathmatches. They actually found time to tell more than one story, as Webb smacked head-first onto the concrete after Mondo's tope, so those kicks to the head and the M. Bison all had extra meaning. These guys could've done a fifteen-minute match based entirely around matwork and limb selling, but it probably would've been pretty boring; this match played to their strengths and was highly entertaining because of it. (7:25, 80)
-Super Dragon vs. Ace Steel in a first round match of the Ted Petty Invitational. It's cliche to say "Ace Steel is independent wrestling's Chris Benoit", but here he proves why it's a cliche: Because it's true. The Benoit comparison is easy, as Steel is a similarly intense guy who is focused and credible-looking when he wrestles. In this match, his hard-ass style is a compliment to Dragon, who brings his AJPW-esque work. The opening work in the mat is great, very stiff and interesting while being different than the usual "hammerlock, headlock, armdrag" stuff that normally comprises the beginning of matches. Dragon tries to stretch Steel with moves like a kneescissors and a bow-and-arrow, but Steel is always able to counter out, primarily using his hard strikes. He's intense even when countering out of a kneescissors, delivering some of the most painful-looking guillotine kicks I've ever seen. Steel is quick to take over, using more basic holds like a front facelock and a hammerlock, targetting the neck to set up his finisher (the Twist of Cain, a Gory Driver).
Steel is very effective in picking apart Dragon in the early going, so Dragon has to use a low blow to escape the Twist of Cain when Steel first attempts it. Dragon then tries to take Steel into his world, throwing hard lariats. Steel fires back with a pair of hard lariats of his own, looking like an equal but he just played right into Dragon's hand, his third lariat being ducked and Steel getting taken down into a Cross Armbreaker. Dragon is vicious going after the arm, as you'd expect. After several minutes of kicking and stretching the arm, Dragon decides to go in for the kill; Steel manages to block a Backdrop Driver attempt by grabbing the top rope, but he falls to a Dragon suplex hold for a very good false finish. Dragon goes for the Psycho Driver, but Steel (rather abruptly) counters it to a double-arm Twist of Cain for the fall.
The finish is by far the weakest part of this match, as it came out of pretty much nowhere and you get the feeling there was a part of the story they skipped over for time constraints. Still, this was an excellent match, hard-hitting and real fun to watch. Steel's intensity is definitely more suited to him being a heel, since most of the time it's easier to get behind the guy who's having the hell pounded out of him as opposed to the guy who's doing the pounding, but for the style this match was it worked. This is the kind of match that makes you wish AJPW still put on matches like this- and if you liked this, there's an even better Steel match waiting for you at Bloodfeast '02. (12:49, 86)
-Matt Murphy vs. BJ Whitmer in a first round match of the Ted Petty Invitational. Well, these guys get credit for doing something new. It's a heel vs. heel match, so the story is, really, "who is a bigger bastard?". Whitmer dominates the early going with solid armwork, and it's clear that Murphy definitely can't hang on the mat, so Murphy takes a different route-he cheats. He punches to get out of holds, he rakes the eyes, he kicks low, he talks trash. Of course, Whitmer is evil as well, but not AS evil so the crowd does have someone to get behind. Despite the interesting story, the match is pretty slow (aside from a cool spot where the two have an EYE RAKE BATTLE!), as Murphy isn't the most thrilling guy on offense. He's got a great worked punch, and he's better than, say, Michael Shane- but his heat segment on Whitmer lasts a bit long. They do put together an awesome last few minutes, though. Murphy does a leapfrog and sells that he blew out his knee; everyone is rightly suspicious, but Murphy rolls outside and sells agony long enough that the crowd and Prazak & Ian buy into it. Whitmer rolls Murphy back in, not out of compassion but because he wants the win. He hooks Murphy up for a Brainbuster, but Murphy quickly counters it to a Cross Armbreaker! Whitmer manages to counter that with a pin for a two count, and when he gets back to his feet he's pissed. Murphy keeps throwing jabs at him, but Whitmer ducks one and floors Murphy with an STO, holding on to strangle him with a chokeout. Murphy gets a break, but Whitmer follows up by KILLING HIM DEAD with a hammerlock exploder...for two?? Great nearfall, and Whitmer just kills Murphy deader with a second hammerlock Exploder for the three count. Like I said: Slow match, great ending. Also, in an indy scene where it's easy to become complacent and put on the same match we've seen a million times with a few extra headdrops or flips or chairshots, you gotta respect a match that actually tries something different- on the undercard, no less! (12:45, 75)
-Jimmy Rave vs. Tarek the Great in a first round match of the Ted Petty Invitational. Tarek dedicates the match to Ted Petty, a nice gesture if not a little redundant (the whole weekend is for him, after all). This match is set up to get the crowd acquainted to Rave, and in that way it's a success. Rave does a lot of his standard, good-looking armwork, and all of the chain wrestling is very crisp and well done. There's even some good story here, as Rave is dominant on the mat but when he goes to stand up and go strike-for-strike with Tarek, all he ends up with is a headache from getting clocked in the head. Really, there's not much wrong with this match, it's just that it comes off as a backdrop for the angle that followed it, and the finish makes Rave look really weak, especially after a match that built him up quite well. So, onto that finish: Brent Blades takes a nasty ref bump, getting clocked right in the face with a spinning heel kick from Tarek when Rave sidesteps it. Tarek spikes Rave with THE BEST BRAINBUSTER IN CHECHOSLOVAKIA, getting a three count but there's no ref to count it. Now, if they'd just done the run-in finish there, I'd have no real problem. However, they proceed to have Tarek get two more visual falls off of headdrops, destroying Rave with a leg-cradle Michinoku Driver II and then the Tarek Buster. We get the run-in here, as Danny Daniels runs out and plants Tarek with a Spiral Bomb, then Rave rolls on top of him while Mr. Lemke runs out to count the fall. I have no problem with the run-in, since the "Daniels wants in the TPI" angle has been real well done, but did they need to make Jimmy look so weak? On top of that, there's the logic flaw of Lemke running out to count the three, since using that logic he could've just run out and counted the three for Tarek after the Brainbuster. But onto that post-match angle... (11:54, 76)
-Yes, I felt this was important enough to get its own bullet point. Daniels beats on Lemke after the match, just to be an asshole. He taunts Tarek and yells at Ian, then sets a chair up in the corner and throws Tarek head-first into it. Daniels calls out Ian and continues beating on Tarek on the floor, yelling "You wanna be a fuckin' tough guy?" at him repeatedly. He teases tossing Tarek into the crowd, but Ian Rotten chooses that point to respond to Daniels' threats, standing in Daniels' path and saving Tarek at the last second. Daniels talks about how he's beaten Chris Hero, Tarek and Nate Webb and has generally run roughshod all over the IWA, yet he still doesn't get in the TPI. He makes a challenge to Tarek for a match the next night, and Ian is all-too-happy to respond: "You want Tarek the Great? I don't care if I gotta wheel him out here in a wheelchair, tomorrow night you're gettin' your ass kicked by one of the best in the IWA. Hey, and Muppet boy, you do yourself a serious favor: Grow some eyes in the back of your head." Great stuff, I may be alone but I thought this Daniels story arc was a definite star-making turn for him. He had been stepping up his work for a while now, but this angle gave him direction and a character. It was also cool that an angle that seems easy to turn into comedy was used to make Daniels just look like more of a badass (but still something of a coward, for attacking from behind constantly).
-Jim Fannin announces that Rain has requested some interview time, which is okay with me as in a perfect world she's my future wife. Rain protests the lack of women in the IWA and says that Ian should've put together a women's tourney. Lacey, the only other woman in the IWA with Nadia Nyce gone (which makes Dave Prazak very happy while making Dave Bixenspan very sad), makes her entrance and says that she's beaten Rain all over the country, so if there was a tourney clearly she'd win. Rain takes exception and takes Lacey down by her hair, flailing away with punches until BJ Whitmer comes out for a distraction. Whitmer goes all Ralph Kramden on us, saying there are three places women belong: In the kitchen, face down and ass up, and on their knees. Prazak approves the misogyny on commentary, of course. He says that if Lacey and Rain want to go anywhere in this business, they should learn to drop to their knees. They comply (BJ wanting to, uh, live up to his name, I guess) but turn on him quickly with a double uppernut. The ladies put the boots to BJ until a Rather Large Woman enters the ring and gives both Lacey and Rain bodyslams. Rain tries to fight back with rights, only to get spiked on her head with a Fishermanbuster. Lacey gets a Ligerbomb for her troubles and the woman (who was unnamed at this point in time, but I'll tell you her name is Hailey) helps the ailing Whitmer to the back. Fannin interrupts them, calling for Whitmer's attention (BJ: "What? I NEED ICE!", ha) and says that since he's introduced a new "whatever that is" (Fannin's words, not mine) to the IWA, they can have a three-way woman's match tomorrow night, with a special guest referee. Goofy segment, but it gave the crowd a break after a long stretch of constant action, plus it got Rain on my TV screen which is always good, and it put some more heat on Whitmer for his matches later.
-Matt Stryker (with Dave Prazak) vs. Chris Hero in a first round match of the Ted Petty Invitational. Prazak left commentary to work as Stryker's manager, so he's replaced by the always-awesome Colt Cabana. Prazak grabs THE STICK before the match (and I'm sure it's not the first time he's done that, OMG LOLOLOL...sorry), hyping up Stryker while talking about how Hero wasn't "good enough" to be in the HWA, since HWA head trainer Les Thatcher rejected him. Stryker, for the uninitiated, is the HWA Heavyweight champion at this point in time, and he has a physical advantage on all of his opponents: As Cabana puts it, "Chris Hero is no match for Matt Stryker, that unibrow overpowers everything!"
The first half of this match is perfectly fine, but it's the second half that really makes it cook ("cook"? I need a thesarus or something, or at least to stop writing these things at 1:30 am). The first half is mainly Hero, as he goes after Stryker's arm. As usual, Hero finds interesting ways to go about his business and makes the armwork more interesting than if he just kept an armbar on the whole time. He busts out the hammerlock backbreaker he debuted at the Gauntlet Challenge show, then follows that up with a supremely cool move I can only describe as Diamond Dust onto the shoulder. Prazak proves to be the difference maker, tripping Hero as he hits the ropes and allowing Stryker to go to work.
Stryker immediately picks his bodypart with a reverse Indian Deathlock, but he can't really attack as fiercely as he'd like because the arm is still bothering him. See, it's the little things that can make a match great. Stryker stays on the leg with a toehold and a kneescissors, but it's not so much Stryker's attack as it is Hero's selling that makes this match. He makes you believe his leg is being torn off more and more with each crank Stryker does to the knee, and when he finally gets to his feet and tries to run the ropes, he collapses. After this, Stryker goes for a Sharpshooter, but Hero is again awesome as he realizes that if Stryker gets the hold on, the match is over so he makes a desperate scramble for the ropes before Stryker can turn it. Stryker settles on a kneescissors again, this time applying it tighter than ever and Hero looks more screwed than ever as a result, but he makes the ropes. Hero rallies back with forearms, but he's not able to do much moving due to his knee being killed. He weakly shoots Stryker into the ropes but he telegraphs the backdrop, so Stryker- in the coolest thing so far in a night of cool things- counters by grabbing the leg and doing a rolling takedown into an anklelock! Hero, however, busts out some British wrestling knowledge and does a crazy gutwrench rollup to counter, getting the flash pin.
I know I've gushed a lot over this match, but it really is worth it. Hero's an excellent worker, as I've said more times than I can count, but he's at his best on defense. His offense is real good, sure, but his biggest flaw is a tendancy to be an "innovative indy worker" and pull out cool new moves. To be fair, he's improved on this a lot, and even back in '01 he was never nearly as bad an offender as Nova or Ruckus or anyone like that, but it's still a flaw that occasionally creeps in. Here, he had his back against the wall for the majority of the match, and he got to show everyone how you REALLY sell a hurt leg. You don't kick with it, you don I don't want to shortchange Stryker, as he was good here too, reminding me a lot of Dean Malenko. I don't mean to go off on a tangent here, but this match showed just how hollow the "Chad Collyer is the new Dean Malenko" hype is; Dean, in his prime, wasn't a charismaless drone that robotically worked holds, he was a guy that viciously picked his opponent apart, and he was also never really "emotionless". Stryker, here, was a lot closer to Malenko than Collyer ever was, not exactly oozing charisma but keeping the crowd into the match. (15:06, 85)
-AJ Styles vs. Christopher Daniels in a first round match of the Ted Petty Invitational. The best Ring of Honor match to not take place in Ring of Honor. Now, these two had a very good match on 6/22 in ROH, but that wasn't really an 'ROH-style match'. ROH prides itself on transcending face/heel concepts and being all about athletic competition and mutual respect, but that match was based on Daniels being a rudo, busting AJ open and working over the cut to provide the story of the match. The match even had lots of biblical overtones (to quote an odd DVDVR Road Report headline: "AJ STYLES! Bleeds the blood of Christ!"- see the match and you'll get that comment), so the athletic competition was clearly second to the personalities on display and the story. Still a good match, but not an ROH match, which is neither a good or bad thing. This match was much more about the spirit of competition and the thrill of just watching two guys wrestle. It's also probably the best "total exhibition" match I've ever seen, or at least the best not involving American Dragon.
Oh, and before I forget to mention it, Cabana left commentary complaining about Ian's smell, so the revolving commentary table is now Ian and Ace Steel. Styles and Daniels kick off with a lot of flashy rope running and evasion stuff, but Daniels is good enough to pull it off well and Styles is competant enough to not screw up and let Daniels do his thing. It also helps that no other match tonight before this one tried doing the flashy stuff, so the crowd is really excited to see it when it finally does happen. A lot of indys (such as USA Pro and their cards that last epochs) could learn from that. Daniels takes control for most of the first half of the match, working Styles' neck while also showing himself to be the superior wrestler, since a lot of his big moves are counters. Daniels does his first great counter when Styles goes for his springboard inverted DDT and Daniels quickly pops up and side Russian legsweeps him off the second rope, and the second great one is when he counters an Irish whip with the smoothest STO I've ever seen. Styles gets to be on offense for a bit with his usual array of kicks and elaborate moves while the crowd (which was hot to begin with) gets more and more into the match.
The last quarter of this match makes it great, and I can't imagine how incredible it was live. First, Daniels (at about the 13:00 or 14:00 mark) gets a great nearfall off his double jump Moonsault. Soon after, there's a great sequence as Styles goes off the top rope for his backflip inverted DDT, Daniels counters with Last Rites but Styles counters THAT at the last second with an inverted DDT for a really close nearfall. The crowd and even the commentators are making out like crazy here, and the atmosphere adds a lot: Watching the match you'll probably find it hard to not get into the false finishes. Daniels busts out Angel's Wings for yet another extremely close nearfall, then they put together a killer finish. Styles goes for the Styles Clash, Daniels blocks, Styles goes for a Powerbomb which worked earlier as a counter to Daniels' blocking the Clash but Daniels counters with a sunset flip, Styles rolls through that and goes for the Clash again, only for Daniels to roll through THAT and apply an anklelock! Everyone is standing and the anklelock is treated as serious business, especially since Hero and Stryker made it look like a huge move. Styles kicks off the anklelock and goes for a roll-up, they do a leverage sequence which actually works as the crowd buys into every nearfall, plus it plays right into the finish as Daniels ends it by floating over into the Last Rites for the pin.
You can look at this match several ways. The shallowest way is to just see it as a "you do a move, I do a move" spotfest that Daniels is sometimes criticized for doing, and even then it has to be seen as one of the best of its kind. However, look deeper and you'll see a really great performance from Chris Daniels. He adds all kinds of touches to the match, working the neck early on, playing off of moves that had been tried before and making cliche things like the quick evasion sequence at the start and the two counts at the end work well. Styles, like in his excellent match with American Dragon that would occur a week later, is kind of just along for the ride, but his execution is crisp and as usual, his kickouts are great.
Really, what pushes this match over the top is the atmosphere. The commentary is awesome, Steel doing a great job explaining the action while Ian's enthusiasm also definitely helps. The crowd, too, adds a whole lot. If the crowd can elevate Rock vs. Hogan from Wrestlemania 18 to a "classic" for a lot of people, this crowd- much smaller but just as rabid- can do the same here, for a match that is definitely of much higher quality. This is the kind of crowd that ROH wishes it had, respectful, attentive but not afraid to make noise. While the ROH crowd is increasingly concerned with coming up with cool smarky things to chant and to put itself over, this crowd was all about appreciating the guys that put on a great match for them. Perhaps it has something to with that ROH has to put up with Hat Guy while IWA-MS only has the mildly irritating Hat? Anyway, AJ Styles should be happy, because Jesus smiles when you put on tremendous matches like this. (17:12, 91)
-M-Dogg 20 vs. CM Punk in a first round match of the Ted Petty Invitational- and for the IWA-MS World Heavyweight title (First Defense). There are some cool things in this match: M-Dogg does a nice corkscrew plancha suicida, Punk busts out a nifty Last Rites out of Air Raid Crash position and M-Dogg uses a standing Diamond Dust. However, those are three spots in a twenty minute match, and three fun spots aren't going to be enough to save this.
There are a lot of problems here, obviously, but the biggest one is that Punk seemed to be having an off night, and if you're gonna carry M-Dogg you need to be at your very best. M-Dogg, as usual, was content to only do his acrobatic flippy nonsense and nothing else. I think M-Dogg's biggest problem is that he's just not credible outside of spotfests. The same twists, flips and corkscrews that are perfectly acceptable in a spot match come off as contrived and annoying in a more serious match. It's a problem that haunts guys like Rob van Dam and Red, but M-Dogg seems to have the most issues with it. Here, he'll just totally no-sell long stretches of offense from Punk so he can do whatever goofy gymnastic thing he dreamed up, and the worst thing is that in this match, his execution is only on 50% of the time, so all the ideas that seemed cool in Matt's head don't exactly translate well to the match proper.
What kills this match is that the first fifteen minutes just feel pointless. Punk, who even on what may be his worst night still tries to salvage this mess, god bless him, is clearly working a slow style because the match is going to go long, but unlike in his match with Hero M-Dogg doesn't feel compelled in the least to instill any drama into anything. He kind of lazily lays through the holds Punk applies, waiting for his turn to do something cool. It doesn't help that Punk's offense here isn't nearly on the level of the stuff Hero was doing with M-Dogg, but let's face it, Punk could be doing the same stuff Hero was doing and M-Dogg's work here is so shoddy that the match wouldn't be much better.
I hate dwelling on the negative and being bitter so I'm gonna wrap this up with a final thought (much like Jerry Springer): M-Dogg is gonna be a fruity gymnast no matter what, so if you wanna make a singles match with him work, you gotta work AROUND the gymnastics, not base the match on it. Punk seemed to try to do that here, early on, but I think he realized it was a lost cause and just tried to get through the match without too much embarrassment. By the time M-Dogg fails to go over on a reverse 'rana off the top, or by the time he keeps getting out of position on the planned Pepsi Plunge finish, you realize that is impossible. Thankfully, both men would (Punk especially) would erase the memory of this match with great matches the next night, but as for this one... (20:11, 60)
-Corporal Robinson vs. Necro Butcher (with Spyder Nate Webb) in a Drunken Deathmatch. You will either love this match or hate it, there's pretty much no middle ground. Personally, I thought it was really funny but maybe went on a bit too long. The opening stuff, with Nate stalling for time by playing bartender for the crowd, Necro passing weapons out to the crowd (since it was a "Fans Bring the Weapons" match where...nobody brought any weapons) while Robinson protests how much he hates tequila, is hilarious. Once the match (such as it is) starts, the action is terrible but that's to be expected, and it's certainly not the point. This is simply the most violent comedy match in history. Necro is consistantly funny here, but the match does get slower and harder to watch as the two get drunker and drunker. Shave off ten minutes and this is one of the best comedy matches ever, but at 20:00 it's only mildly entertaining.
Oh, and if you're offended and think this is the worst thing ever and a disgrace to the wrestling business- don't say I didn't warn you. And blame Too Tuff Tony. (20:12, ??)
-Well if the show ends at Daniels/Styles, it's one of the best indy shows ever and definitely one of the best shows of the year, but those last two matches are definitely gonna hurt the show for a lot of people. MD20/Punk was a disaster but it's hard for me to get upset over it when you've had all kinds of great wrestling before it, and like I said, I thought the main event was really funny (your mileage may vary). It also deserves mentioning how consistantly great the commentary was. Ace Steel is seriously one of the best commentators in the world, not just in how funny he is (and he's damn funny) but how he gets the match over as well. Ian was also really good, the time he mentioned a "blown spot" notwithstanding.
However, as good as night one was, night two blows it away, and lucky you, I'll be reviewing that as well! Of course, knowing how swiftly I get these IWA-MS reviews out, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for that one. I do have a ton of tapes on the way, so I'll prolly do an ROH review or two to fill the time. Until then...