Went to Friday Night Fights last night, screamed myself hoarse and decided to take a hot toddy to soothe my throat (having a cold already didn’t help). Yeah… I just woke up a bit ago, but I’ll try to recount what I remember.
Opening match: Haught & Cute versus Nutts & Brooks
Best match of the night. No, really! Well, that and the closing match were a close tie perhaps. Haught and Delaney entered in their usual high-energy crowd-pleasing manner. Nutts and Brooks followed close behind, unfortunately doing the glitter stick thing again. I say unfortunately because, as the saying goes, “glitter is the herpes of the craft world”. Despite attempts by the ring staff to clear the area with brooms between matches, every single wrestler throughout the night sported a shimmer of glitter they’d picked up. It looked like Twilight all night long. Anyhow, there was an excellent back-and-forward action to the match. All four are excellent wrestlers and worked with each other not to advance their own image, but to make everyone look good. Nutts and Brooks did an excellent job of keeping Delaney away from his corner where Haught, as a proper face, merely leaned over straining for the tag instead of leaping in as so many wrestlers, heel or face, do these days. Ultimately, Nutts and Brooks prevailed, keeping the Tag Titles they took off of Haught and Delaney, but not without taking several falls, including one simultaneous 2 and a half count.
Live Aftershock with Justin Plummer
Ostensibly, this was going to be another ChairShot Reality segment with Justin LaBar and the crowd had already been riled up on Facebook with suggestions of ways and means of protest (the prevailing idea was for everyone to come up with some sort of reading material and obviously tune out as soon as LaBar came in). After much booing as it was announced that LaBar would soon be entering, instead Justin Plummer came out in LaBar signature leather jacket to riotous cheering. After admitting that LaBar might be stranded at the airport due to Plummer walking off with the jacket, car keys in pocket, and ostensibly filming all of us on his phone to show to LaBar on Twitter (said video has yet to show up), Chuck Roberts showed up for an apparent dressdown but instead congratulated Plummer on how clever he was. Plummer then did an in-ring interview segment with Zema Ion on his return. I like Plummer and his Aftershock show. I do have to offer a bit of constructive criticism in that he needs to work on maintaining intensity in his speaking. After the entry with all of its yelling, he dropped down to a conversational level with Ion, which was a bit jarring.
HD Cannon versus Remy LaVey
I may be getting a match or two out of order here. Sorry, part of the issue of not taking notes and trying to write things up the day after. This was LaVey’s second match with IWC, his last one being at Proving Grounds also at White Oak. HD Cannon, of course, is a relative rookie in the IWC, but has more of a reputation (and has gotten more of a push). To be honest, I’m still not certain what LaVey’s angle is yet. Pale-skinned guy with a shaggy haircut and bad black dye-job, enters with a leather jacket on. I’m not certain whether they’re going for a pseudo-goth angle, a biker, or what. For the match itself, LaVey was pretty out-matched. Cannon has the physique and has the moves. LaVey is a bit pudgier and seemed to rely more on striking (although I have to say, he’s got some of the most convincing hitting technique in the promotion. Most of the guys take half-hearted telegraph swings that miss by inches, but his punches actually looked and sounded like they connected). Cannon won with a pinfall. I talked with LaVey a bit during intermission. He seemed to be really favoring his right shoulder and sounded a bit out of it; I suspect he actually got hurt out there. Seemed like a nice enough guy, but either he’s being counseled to come off as unimpressive (every promotion needs a jobber, I guess) or he needs to do more in the ring.
Facade versus Ashton Amherst
This was an “unsanctioned” match, which apparently translates out to “official except no titles will transfer and no disqualification”. Amherst had a good entrance, riling up the crowd with how he’s trying to insult all of us in our stupid town and yet we lap it all up. Shades of Bobby Fish, to be honest. Facade did his usual except he didn’t spraypaint a fan’s sign (probably because there were none in the front row tonight), instead spraypainting his own, and giving it to Cray-Cray Lady (the angry grandmother who curses the heels). The match itself was good with Facade largely having the upper hand, but realistically knocked back on occasion by the larger Amherst. Amherst tried to leave the match at one point, proclaiming that Facade was “cheating” by “grabbing his hair at least three times” (Amherst is either heavily balding or has his hair cut in a close buzz cut, so this was a joke) and was told by Chuck Roberts that he couldn’t leave the ring because this was “an unsanctioned match”. Dunno how that works… maybe Chuck was implying that if he didn’t wrestle now, he’d just get curbstomped backstage? Anyhow, the match was good with the referee (former wrestler, I’m told) thrice getting hit by moves and getting knocked out enough to not see Facade successfully pin Amherst. Ultimately, Amherst successfully hit a back-to-belly piledriver on Facade onto a steel chair and then pinned him for the win but not title. As I told my wife, it was an excellent example of making both guys look strong, since both of them could be argued to have gotten the win but without any title changing place. I would not put this one among my top Facade matches, but he’s a good wrestler and they made each other look good.
Zema Ion versus Brian McDowell
Zema Ion entered the ring and seemed ready to call out RJ City when Team STD came outand pre-emptively accepted his challenge. After a bit of friendly team beating, they left him in the ring with McDowell. It was an alright match, but a bit forgettable. McDowell seemed to be having cardio issues (he’s a much bigger guy) and I suspect that Ion is still on the road to recovery, as he didn’t do a number of his acrobatic moves (it might also be a matter of whether McDowell was able to follow such moves. A number of Ion’s more flashy moves look like they require a wrestler who can execute a flip on their own without landing on their heads). Ultimately, Ion won with a submission where McDowell tapped out seconds into it for a somewhat anti-climactic ending.
Four versus Four tag match: Team STD (minus McDowell and Marshall Gambino versus W.A.R., Matt Segaris (Blue Collar Slaughterhouse), and Mike Rayne
I don’t like oversized tag matches, but Chuck seems enamored with them. Because of the complexity of so many people in and around the ring, it’s actually less exciting than a regular tag match because it so often devolves into either a straight-up brawl or little bits of action happening simultaneously all over the ring. The addition of Mike Rayne was a surprise addition. I guess one of the members of BCS couldn’t make it (I think it’s Segaris who was out there… I get him and McBride confused on occasion). Well, it started out with the brawl situation until the faces were the guys left in the ring whereupon the match in general happened. They actually maintained this as a regular tag match for a good bit of it with only one person tagged in at a time. At first, the faces dominated the action, tagging in a fresh guy occasionally as they would dominate a member of Team STD and then let them tag out for another guy. Aiden Veil did a bit where he beat up each of the four members of Team STD in turn, then slid out of the ring and tried chatting up the Gambino valet (Madison? It’s the girl who’s always spilling out of her shirt) before playing a bit of grab-ass with her and getting clouted over the head. When he re-entered the ring, Marshall was very unamaused, and had had time to recover, and long segment of Aiden getting beat up in the Team STD corner ensued. Ultimately, Aiden managed to fight his way out and make the tag. There was more tag action, pretty standard stuff, although there were some odd bits like Palace going for his signature AVIATION!!! top rope maneuver when the only person anywhere near the ring was Chest Flexor, his teammate, on the ring ropes (and, as is typical once he puts on the goggles, Palace missed even the wrong target and tumbled off the side of the ring). Ultimately, Marshall got into a yelled discussion with Flexor, I assume indicating that he didn’t think much of them, and Team STD left the ring en masse, leaving Marshall to fend off all four members of the ostensible faces, who proceeded to disregard the tag match rules entirely and all enter the ring to beat up on him while the referee basically looked at the pigpile and shrugged. That is, of course, my other big pet peeve about tag matches, that no one pays any attention to the rules. Gambino was pinned and it looks like the team-up of Team STD and Marshall may be over.
Dennis “War Machine” Gregory versus Sam “The Natural” Cassidy
Short match. Dennis largely dominated the action, delivering his signature constant commentary throughout the action, including a shouting match with one of the fans and reprimanding one kid at ringside for swearing. Cassidy was a bit awkward again, missing at least one move where we was supposed to hook Gregory’s arms and legs up behind his head and then drop onto his back, slamming Gregory to the mat. As it was, he missed hooking the legs, resulting in Gregory landing awkwardly and recovering for a bit outside the rign, shaking his wrist and complaining about Cassidy’s bad technique. After a few minutes of wrestling, Gregory got Cassidy into a submission hold and it was all over.
Logan “Heavy Metal Jesus” Shulo versus John “Big League” McChesney
Two veteran wrestlers, both with impressive skills in the ring, what could go wrong? Well, nothing did. It was an excellent match, very much worthy of being the main event. McChesney acknowledged that Chuck had stipulated that the rest of Team Big League (which, these days, seems to be only Nutts and Brooks, probably since Bobby Fish is busy with Ring of Honor matches) leave ringside, so McChesney ordered them to go to the commentary table. What followed was an excellent example of face versus heel. Occasionally, people accuse McChesney of only being able to win via cheating, but he showed excellent wrestling skills in the match, wrestling smart, repeatedly targeting Shulo’s leg in what looked to be progressively painful attacks. McChesney is about the same height as Shulo, but less built, so it made sense for him to take what advantage he could and run with it. Shulo, of course, fought back, but it was largely McChesney’s match as he dominated the action and showed that indeed, he can stand on his own as a wrestler. There was a weird bit later in the match where McChesney, staggering after a beating, proceeded to climb the corner post and sit there, but it turned out to be set-up for him stealing Logan’s signature move of getting an opponent handing upside-down from the corner ropes and stomping on their face, jumping from the post. There were also two lovely Boston Crabs (also signature moves by Shulo, although ones I haven’t seen him do in the ring for a while) by McChesney where Shulo had to struggle for a rope break, unable to get out of the hold otherwise. Near the end, Shulo was getting the upper hand and Brooks tried to enter to interfere with Nutts holding him back, providing enough of a distraction for McChesney to rally. After the second time this happened, Chuck ordered the ringside staff to escort Nutts and Brooks outside, banned from the building for the rest of the match. I have to say, seeing Brooks literally picked up and carried out by the short black guy in the ringside staff was one of the funniest bits of the night. Shulo finally landed his signature piggy-back spin-around slam (I think it’s entitled his “Halo Bomb”) and I’d swear that they rang the bell for the pin before Shane Taylor came in and blindsided Shulo, necessitating all of the faces from the night to come out and run him and McChesney off and carry Shulo out. Chuck Roberts has since posted that Shulo had to go to the hospital and blames Norm Conners (who wasn’t present) for the events. Honestly, I got more of the feeling that Taylor acted on his own, that McChesney was trying to stand on his own for the match and Conners is going to disassociate himself from Team Big League, leaving Justin LaBar as the evil manager, possibly with Taylor joinging up.
Overall, an excellent night. Tickets were cheap and attendance was a bit sparse, but the people who were there were enthusiastic. It was announced that October’s match is having its name changed from No Excuses 2013 to Retro Reunion, apparently welcoming back some former stars including some fellow named Egotistical? *shrug* Before my time, I suppose (not difficult to do since I only started attending last year). We also had Cody Knotts arriving to promote his film, Pro Wrestlers Vs Zombies including showing off a new trailer / music video which includes shots of IWC’s own Facade and Ashton Amherst as well as footage of Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Roddy Piper, and Kurt Angle. They had a “biggest fan” competition during the event to win free tickets for the debut United States (first showings will apparently be in England and Germany) in Uniontown, PA. My wife won one, so we will be attending. There were a lot of kids at the match tonight. It was a bit disruptive having them running up and down the bleachers throughout the matches, and at least one of them slapped McChesney on the back as he came in, something that would get most of the adults thrown out. It played well when Shulo did his “benediction” pre-ring bit with all of the kids huddled around the ringside fence and him evidently saying something very earnest to them although I couldn’t catch what. Still, they were enthusiastic, and that’s half the fun at wrestling. Unfortunately, my wife and I will be missing the next event. She scheduled our Halloween party for that day. Ah well, so much for dressing up as Jason Gory…