We start off with a promo from BJ Whitmer. Rico is so drunk he couldn’t even bother to ring announce tonight. Also, the crowd looks really scarce compared to the first shows I have reviewed. This is the IWA atmosphere I am used to. BJ calls out Ian. Ian gets into it with a fan yelling and says he will refund him his fucking money right there. We should start a counter on how many times this happens during Ian’s opening spiels. Anyway, they set up a match for later.
Chris Hero vs. CM Punk
So here we have the first singles match of these two. Punk comes out first and mocks Hero by doing his gestures and enters to his entrance music. Hero is rightfully pissed off at this development. Some good basic wrestling starts us off with Hero maintaining his heel role and barking at the referee during the break. Punk floats over and grabs a chinlock and Hero responds with some arm wringers. Hero gets taken down with a toe hold and takes out his frustration on a chair outside. Hero continues to remain frustrated and that results in getting a pep talk from Todd Morton of all people. Prazak gets in the ring to encourage Punk and we get a breakdown in the match with Punk saying that he thinks Prazak can take Hero based on what he has seen so far. They don’t let this go on for too long and have it where Punk trips Hero, Prazak lands one elbow and then Punk takes over with a chinlock using Hero’s arm. Hero looks better but then takes a big chance and hits the post tumbling to the outside in what has become a sort of signature Hero spot that I am unfamiliar with him taking later on in his career. Punk does a tope and his slingshot flip clothesline back inside the ring. Hero is finally able to take over with a flipping backbreaker where Punk’s stomach hits the mat. Hero hits a really nice lariat. Morton gets in a few shots on the outside and chokes Punk over the bottom rope. Hero maintains the focus on the neck region with a leg sweep and a submission with his leg cranking Punk’s neck. Hero hits a twisting neckbreaker and that earns a nearfall. Hero continues to work over the neck region and has done a good job stabilizing a body part on top. Punk gets a hope spot with a hurricanrana but Hero is able to maintain the momentum by hitting a leaping neckbreaker from the second rope. Outside, Morton chops the shit out of Punk and continues beating on him. They are teasing a draw with the announcement of the time limit. Punk starts mounting his comeback and has good energy. He also fires three rapid fire punches to Punk’s crotch region. Double underhook back breaker and split legged moonsault from Punk. His offense in this match is showing how spotty it could be in the beginning of his career. Hero follows Punk up to the top and he hits the Pepsi Plunge to finish off Hero in around 19 minutes. This match certainly had flaws but it was easy to see the groundwork and dynamic of these two working together and this was a good first chapter in a lengthy IWA history book. **3/4
Shadow Kid vs. American Kickboxer
Here is two guys that I have seen can be decent with the right opponent but don’t exactly shine on their own so we will see what they can deliver in this match. Kickboxer has to cut a promo before the match. Can’t we just wrestle for once guys? A long stall happens and Kickboxer starts working the leg of Shadow. Shadow gets up limping which is promising to sell the damage and even limps when he goes outside. However, he is taking way too long to get this match underway. Some more punches for Kickboxer in the corner with Shadow visually shaking his head while Kickboxer is asking the crowd but not being bothered to block the shot. Shadow comes back and finally the match has a pace to it. Kickboxer hits a good lariat that wallops Shadow. Kickboxer has dominated this match so far and in a complete nonsensical spot he kicks the ref and then throws him to tope Shadow. Plancha is performed on Kid and a huge nutshot from Kickboxer. This match has been a mess. An awesome moment in the background as a kid shoot slaps the two people that brought him to the show in camera view. Kickboxer grabs a kendo stick and I ask myself if I am watching a WWE Hell in a Cell. Shadow takes over and hits a leg drop from the second rope and locks on an abominable stretch. Brent Blades hits a stunner on Kid from what I can’t understand and Kickboxer hits his spinning press to win. I am going to try to forget I ever witnessed this match.
Blaze ( C ) vs. 2 Tuff Tony – IWA-MS World Heavyweight Championship Match
Blaze has defeated Cash Flo on a show we didn’t get to view and here he is in his first defense of the prestigious title. Blaze does get into a heated debate with a fan at ringside. One critique that can be levied against IWA-MS is that the world title picture has been mid card fodder so far and it seems real arbitrary as to whom receives shots. Tony has been defeated in the previous two matches we have seen but here he is earning a shot. This starts with a wrestling base and Tony grabbing an armbar and chinlock. 2 Tuff Tony hits a neckbreaker and grabs a quick pinfall attempt. Blaze hits a lowblow to gain his bearings. That has been a popular move so far tonight. Blaze hits a powerslam and is still selling the damage of his back. These guys probably should have worked better to vary their look for the benefit of the home viewer as when they are on the far side of the ring it can get blurry. Blaze sends Tony to the outside and it was inevitable that this match ended up there. Blaze gets sent into the wood steps that he wedged into the corner. Blaze hits a DDT and both men are down. Diamond Cutter from Blaze and I am shocked that we haven’t had any blood so far. Some more back and forth with some near falls and Blaze hits a sit out powerbomb to end the boring match.
Todd Morton vs. Harry Palmer – Chain on the Poll
Palmer flails away and punches Morton to the ground. Palmer walks Morton around ringside and this allows Morton to come back. This allows for a more spirited exchange with Morton getting beat down into a chair and being posted. Palmer goes for the chain first but he gets crotched by Hero. Morton takes over with a kick straight to the balls. At least he is varying it up from the punches we have seen so far. Morton stands up on a chair and yells at someone in the crowd which is an awesome way of projecting himself. Morton takes over inside the ring and hits a nice double diamond cutter off the second rope. The gimmick of this match is a hindrance though as neither guy is going after the chain on the poll with that much vigor. Morton hits a face smash but again why is he not going after the chain. Furthermore, Morton excels in being a jaw jacking prick on top but that is counterproductive to a gimmick where urgency is a qualifier. Morton actually gets a guy so riled up that he steps out the crowd and tries to go after him before security intervenes. Palmer is able to crush Morton’s neck on the ropes and Hero intervenes again when Palmer goes for the chain. Morton finally acts like he is going for it but he instead jaws with the crowd allowing Palmer time to rebound and low blow him. Palmer knocks out Hero and now is able to grab the chain. Morton has a chain of his own already though which in a large way turns me around on the whole match because NOW it makes perfect sense that he wouldn’t be desperate going for the chain on the poll. He way lays Palmer with it and earns the pinfall. **1/2
Trent Baker vs. Rollin’ Hard
Back and forth action to start which quickly spills to the outside. Good action with Baker hitting Hard across the ring apron. Inside the ring, Baker hits a leg drop and an inverted atomic drop. DDT earns a nearfall and this is worked at a quick pace. Hard makes a quick comeback but it is again stunted by Baker who slows things down with a chinlock. Baker goes for his rugby ball in his bag and this allows Hard a moment of recovery. Hard makes his comeback and hits a death valley driver to pin Baker. Baker gets his heat back and busts open Hard with his rugby ball after the match. Short and inoffensive stuff here.
B J Whitmer vs. Ian Rotten
Whitmer continues to be the person that looks the most different in 2016 from his 2001 form. Rotten gets the best of Whitmer in their first exchange and Whitmer bails to the outside. The stalling here was more active and creative than Shadow Kid in the earlier match with BJ making a phone call in the middle of the match. Ian is dominating most of the match only letting BJ get in a few openings. He does the shattered dreams to BJ and hits a nice leaping elbow. The second one was a mistake to go for though and Whitmer locks on a nice armbar to emphasize the damage on the arm. Whitmer locks on a crossface and is really wrenching on the arm in fascinating fashion. Ian starts the finishing stretch hitting a German that I thought came a bit too early. I was happy when Whitmer is the first one up and hits a flying kick to regain control and then goes right back to the arm. Saito suplex from Rotten and a standing dropkick. Ian is able to hit these high impact moves but he isn’t able to finish up on anything. Whitmer gets a big frog splash from the top but takes a split second to hesitate before the cover. A suplex from BJ and another big dive off the top get the pinfall in a pretty shocking result for me. Ian does a good promo afterwards putting Whitmer over but also continuing the feud. This was an interesting to match to watch because the beginning was Rotten really gobbling Whitmer up, he responded by working on the arm and then he is able to secure the win. **1/2
Suicide Kid vs. Jerry Lynn
I have pretty low expectations for this one but we will see how it goes. Opening wrestling is well done and wasn’t that exhibitionist. The second sequence was worse and does end in dueling arm drags. Third sequence has reversals and missed moves and the pace of this is quick during the sequences. I liked Lynn taking over when Kid does one too many flashy move and he eats a nasty clothesline. Sky High powerbomb shows that the point of emphasis for Lynn is Kid’s back. He does a surfboard variation to put this over and bends Kid back into a chinlock. Kid is able to hook Lynn on the ropes and I thought he was going for a Tarantula but he flips Lynn over to the outside. Big missile dropkick for Kid gets a nearfall and now he is on top. Northern Lights Suplex with a floatover and another one gains another two count. Kid works a bow and arrow a bit and then does the cardinal mistake of headbutting Lynn on the apron. A plancha from Lynn wipes him out on the outside as we are ten minutes into the contest. Kid DDT’s Lynn onto a chair on the outside but Lynn responds by throwing Kid into the rows of chairs. I am surprised to be saying this but I prefer to see these guys go back to wrestling as the pace that was a refresher in the early going has slowed down. Kid gets crotched on the ring posts but slams Lynn into the concession stands and we have quite a bit of back and forth action now. Lynn locks on a Gory Special which Kid breaks out of but he then eats a backbreaker. The fifteen minute call is made in the match. Kid does hit a nice bump where he scales the ropes and hits a hurricanrana out of that. The wind is coming out of my sails with this match with the back and forth and overall spotty nature in a lengthy match like this. I have the same problem as in the RVD vs. Lynn matches but if you do like that style, you should enjoy this. Kid hits another hurricanrana but Lynn roles through and then we get the inevitable pin sequence for both men. The announcer states there is only one minute remaining in the time limit and both men are down. The bell ends with Kid delivering the Sliced Bread #2 and the crowd gives these guys a standing ovation and chants for five more minutes. They oblige the crowd and start going back and forth with strikes. Kid does a diving headbutt into Lynn’s nuts which is not very gentlemanly. Lynn hits a good sit out powerbomb from Kid punching him in the corner. Kid goes for the bronco buster but Lynn is able to get a boot up. The extension period is winding down now and it is pretty clear where we are headed unless there is a surprise finish. Lynn hits a Tornado DDT and there is two minutes left in the overtime. The overtime period winds down with Lynn hitting the Cradle Piledriver but not being able to pin in time. Like I said, this is one of those exhibition type matches that you either love or loathe and I always fall in the latter bucket of those discussions.
Before the main event we get a touching hazing moment of Brent Blades where he has to lap dance a fan and then receives a dance from Rotten for himself. I have no idea what this was all about but I am glad we have video documentation.
Mean Mitch Page and Shank Dorsey vs. Corporal Robinson and Cash Flo
Pier six to start and then we get our first pairings with Corp and Dorsey on the outside and Page and Flo on the inside. Corp gets some light tubes which haven’t made an appearance so far today which is a change of pace for an IWA-MS show. The punch exchange in the middle of the chairs between Dorsey and Corp is nice and Corp takes the chair face first. We turn to Page and Flo who have also tumbled to the outside. Corp is busted open but able to hit Dorsey with a chair assisted leg drop. Flo is using a thumbtack bat on Page. Piledriver onto the chair by Corp and we get a nearfall. Dorsey responds with a DDT on the chair. Corp busts out a hurricanrana which was a surprise and Flo does a dive into the building. These original pairings are still being maintained late in the match. The pairings split up and Corp is damaged on the inside of the ring. Dorsey front suplexes Flo onto a chair as Page hits a big dive on Corp from the top but Flo is barely able to make the save. Corp waves Dorsey back in the ring and hits the Boot Camp followed by Flo leaping leg drop for the win. Run to the mill hardcore action here.
I would disagree with this show being under the moniker of Simply the Best. The opener is good and historic and there is some surprise finishes, but everything else was fairly pedestrian and this was by far my least favorite show so far. I think I wanted more blood in my IWA-MS action.