The Last Territory: 1st Anniversary House of Hardcore

Tracy Smothers

February 3, 2001

Charlestown, Indiana

Chris Hero vs. Hy-Zaya

I have no idea how these two got involved with each other since the last show but this should be an interesting opener. Some good chain wrestling to start resulting in a stalemate. Hero has the appearance of a low rent indy worker to a degree at this point with his gear, haircut and overall persona, but he is still able to have very smooth sequences early in his career. Afterwards, we get a less impressive sequence where Hero clearly talks to Ha-Zaya before they go through their next round of spots. Hero redeems that miscue by eating the turnbuckle and tumbling to the outside. Ha-Zaya serenades him with some nice punches before sending him back into the ring. Hero takes over and clubs Ha-Zaya with his heavily bandaged forearm. Hero is utilizing some submissions throughout this sequence as the crowd pleads with Ha-Zaya to make his comeback. He does and hits a good tornado DDT off the top rope and follows that up with our first hurricanrana from the top rope. Hero catches Ha-Zaya off the top and has Ha-Zaya reeling but Ha-Zaya comes back and finishes Hero off with a lengthy Shooting Star Press where he traveled across the entire ring. After the bell, someone I am unfamiliar with attacks Ha-Zaya and piledrives him with the assist of chairs. Hero is able to knock out Uncle Honky on the outside. Perfectly acceptable opener to set the tone for the show. **1/2

American Kickboxer vs. B J Whitmer vs. Ace Steel

None of these guys were on the first show I reviewed. Ace is perhaps best known for helping train Cabana and Punk, but he was a really solid worker from what I remember. That is the same B J Whitmer that inhabits ROH television to this day although in this match he is wearing Bret Hart 1986 reject gear and looks incredibly young. Kickboxer was a longstanding IWA mainstay that had to retire due to the injuries before I started watching regularly. Ace cuts a promo and gets told he sucks dick as he nearly blows a gasket on the referee. Fine but generic three way action results in the early going with a spot between two guys with someone else seemingly very preoccupied considering the amount of damage they have accumulated. Whitmer and Steel do a truce and work over Kickboxer. That shockingly breaks down when Kickboxer rolls out and these two go after each other. Steel hits a nice splash for a nearfall. A weird semi-comedy spot results with Kickboxer pinning Whitmer, Whitmer kicking out and throwing Kickboxer onto a kneeling Steel’s arms, and then Ace throwing Kickboxer back on top for another pinfall. The crowd has been all over Ace from the onset. Some brawling on the outside isn’t that inspiring and back inside Kickboxer hits a hurricanrana which has become a contractual requirement to wrestle in IWA-MS. They go to the top rope once again and we get a back suplex, pinning combination where all three guys are pinned resulting in a draw. Again, the spots were fine here but this was all the bad three way tropes you can imagine rolled into one match.

Todd Morton vs. Mark Wolf

I guess Wolf has already turned which is unfortunate as we have missed that but I am amped as we see one of the great rivalries in IWA-MS. Morton has some really unkind things to say about my girl Donna before the bell rings. Morton runs down Wolf before Wolf offers a quick rebuttal. Everyone is getting in jokes on Morton’s height. That never fails to not be funny in my eyes. This is a taped fist match and Morton starts the match teeing away on Wolf with some good looking punches. Wolf responds and Morton bails to the outside. Not much to say from a blow by blow standpoint here but both men punch and kick each other throughout a tough contest. When Morton takes over he keeps pounding away with rapid succession. Morton does mix it up with two big front boots to the forehead of Mark. Wolf is busted open from the damage and looking rough but still kicking out. Wolf makes his comeback and gets a nice pop from the crowd after Morton took him around ringside beating him up. Back in the ring, Wolf hits his clotheslines and pounds away on a begging off Morton. Morton is able to get out a chain and he blasts Wolf with it to pick up the victory. Another solid outing and the feeling that we have only seen the beginning of this feud. **3/4

Little Guido vs. Tracy Smothers

Some spirited promos to start us off which has become an IWA staple quickly. Some really nice wrestling starts us off. The date of this show can’t fly under the radar. This is two months before WrestleMania 17 and I would put the opening grappling here against the heralded grappling of Benoit and Angle. I enjoy how Tracy remains a heel in all of this as he flicks off the crowd when they give him polite applause. “Tracy swallows” chants start firing up and Tracy dances along to it. Tracy takes over and starts working Guido over well. Tracy on top is excellent at providing offense and looking competent while allowing Guido to build up sympathy. Tracy hits a nice DDT but the referee is out of position. Hero runs interference when Guido gets a pin attempt and Tracy fires back on top. Guido looks to have a sunset flip utilized but Tracy is able to chop him in the neck. Tracy allows Hero to dump Guido off the top rope. The Hero and Tracy duo is one I greatly enjoy. Tracy locks on a chinlock as the Guido chants start building. Tracy pounds on Guido in the corner but he comes firing back. Guido does a good rundown of his moves and looks for the arm lock but Tracy is able to give him a lariat. Tracy does his back heel kick combo for a nearfall. Tracy is really utilizing a lot of his offensive arsenal tonight. Guido locks on the arm lock but Tracy grabs the ropes. Guido gives Tracy a good front kick to the face and takes out Hero. Tracy sends Guido to the outside and Suicide Kid runs in and delivers Sliced Bread #2 to Tracy. This gets a close nearfall from Guido. Guido gives a Falcon Arrow to Tracy and pins him to end a good match. Hero and Tracy tease tension but end up hugging it out. ***

Colt Cabana vs. Jerry Lynn

IWA-MS always makes it a big deal when Lynn is in due to Ian being a huge fan of his. I am less of a fan but it will be interesting watching him work with all of the IWA mainstays and see which of the matches hold up the best. Some more chain wrestling to start and they did a good enough job varying it from the one we saw in the previous match. This is worked face vs. face indy dream style so there isn’t any cheapshots taken so far. Lynn throws Cabana down and gets a nearfall. Cabana looks to be going toward Lynn but he thinks better of it and we are at a stalemate again. Colt hits some nice forearms and a dropkick to take over. Leaping forearm smash and powerslam for Colt as he is showing his arsenal of weapons. I got to say that it is endearing of me to see this indy worker Colt from the happy go lucky comedy stylings we see mostly now. Colt stupidly tries to ram Lynn on the apron and we know what the result is there. Lynn throws Colt back inside and they have a reversal sequence that leads to Lynn hitting a bulldog. Lynn goes through his offense and hits a tilt a whirl backbreaker and goes for a Cradle Piledriver. Fish out of water pin sequence ends that segment. That is followed with Lynn hitting a nasty looking German suplex that almost puts Colt away. Colt misses a second rope moonsault. Leaping tornado DDT almost earns Lynn the victory again. Colt is really good at kicking out at the last moment making the viewer bite on the nearfalls. Colt also shows some resilience and hits a neckbreaker. Brent Blades goes down and in a turn of events, Ace Steel throws Colt off the top rope. Lynn was down and didn’t see any of this but he does hit the Cradle Piledriver for the win. After the match, Lynn restores his face status by shoving Steel. Lynn then puts Colt over huge on commentary and Colt cuts a promo on Steel. This was certainly worked indy dream match style and there was a few instances of annoyance and tropes that plague that style, but nothing extensively in this match made me roll my eyes to a huge extent and it was effective in getting over Cabana. ***

Cash Flo ( C ) vs. Blaze – IWA-MS World Heavyweight Championship

Flo jumps Blaze on the outside while Blaze was doing a promo. I know I was shocked too. This is an actually decent brawl between the two worked as a sprint. Flo sends Blaze into the chairs and Blaze comes back and works over Flo until he is busted open. There isn’t a ton of variety in the moves but the hate feels palpable and the strikes look good. A big light tube structure gets set up at ringside but no one goes through it as the finish results when Flo blocks a powerbomb attempt by Blaze and lands on him to retain the championship. Not a bad match at all, just very brief.

Thumbtack Tag Match – Trent Baker and Shadow Kid vs. Suicide Kid and Corporal Robinson

Some more promos beforehand. It is becoming comical at this point. The kids pair off as Robinson and Baker do on the other side. Baker is the first to get slammed on the pile of tacks in the middle of the ring and Corp clotheslinea him to put him back into the tacks. Suicide Kid gets hit with a bat full of thumbtacks and his head has them engrained. He atomic drops Shadow onto the tacks in the ring and then puts on a helmet to deliver a nut shot. Suicide gets double suplexed into the tacks and his body is a mess. They deliver one to Corp as well. The face team responds with double hurricanrana’s into the tacks for Shadow and Baker. They have used the stipulation here no doubt. A table gets brought inside and Shadow is placed on it. Suicide goes to the top of the arena and walks the scaffolding to deliver a sick leg drop dive to finish off the match. I actually thought that was awesome and the crowd goes wild. This didn’t overstay its welcome and used the stipulation wonderfully. A well-done death match. ***

Fans Bring the Weapons – Ian Rotten vs. Shank Dorsey

Dorsey gets the early advantage but that is shortlived when Ian gives him a hellacious clothesline and nasty chops in the corner. Ian slams a chair and the  literal kitchen sink. They go over to that monstrous light tube structure and sure enough Dorsey goes through it. Ian is acting legit pissed with this guy. Dorsey fires back but this just results in him getting thrown again through whatever was left of the light tube house. Dorsey takes a beating if nothing else as here he comes back with a light tube shot and punches of his own. Ian grabs a Dirt Devil and hubcap and uses that against Dorsey. He then staple guns his man region. Yikes. Russian Leg sweep through a light tube cluster is next followed by Ian doing a Burning Hammer to pick up the win. Ian really hammered this guy making it semi-entertaining to watch even if the match structurally wasn’t a work of art.

No Rope Barbed Wire Match – Rollin’ Hard and 2 Tuff Tony vs. Mean Mitch Page and Mad Man Pondo

We have our main event and it is probably the match on the card that I was the least interested in seeing. Pondo has a few words to say and gets thrown into the barbed wire immediately. I praised stuff like Combat Toyodo vs. Kudo from 96 for teasing the barbed wire spots but this was not the case here. The teams pair off with Tony and Mitch going at in the crowd and Pondo and Hard sending each other into the barbed wire inside the ring. Pondo being confined to the ring has made things more interesting as we get him and Hard having to work with the barbed wire and the two more active workers in Page and Tony being able to have a decently compelling brawl around the crowd. Right as I say that Hard and Pondo spill out and Pondo instructs the crowd to build a mountain of chairs. He then takes a hiptoss through them. I realized that Pondo is a worker that builds to memorable spots and doing the craziest shit he can think of in a match. That makes him a good wrestler if SeniorLarito is gif’ing his stuff on twitter, but it creates too many lulls in the action watching the match as a whole. The staple gun has been a popular weapon of choice tonight and Tony and Hard both get items stapled to them. Hard is able to bounce back and hit a death valley driver unto a thumbtack bat. We get some more spots but everyone seems to be losing steam and the match should end fairly soon. Tony gets Irish whipped into the barbed wire and Page is wearing it like a robe. Pondo sets up four chairs and looks to retrieve something else. I would have loved to have seen Pondo as a kid playing with Legos. He stands up on the chairs with Tony and DDTs him through the chairs and a stop sign to pick up the victory. Another match that wasn’t terrible but it did get really long winded toward the end and I think the deflated crowd sort of justifies that.

This show top to bottom was stronger than the first show I have watched even if no one match grabbed me tonight like the Sabu vs. Tracy vs. Ian match from the first show. Our next show will be IWA Valentine which is a show that IWA ran with some consistency up until 2006, but the first one doesn’t seem to have the most intriguing lineup. Hopefully there will be some surprises.