Written by: McXal
CJ McManus vs Thunderbolt vs Billy McNeil
Wondering who the hell these three are? So am I actually. They’re three young guys who Ian Rotten is apparently giving a chance to at the TPI weekend, and hey, I guess they’re pretty harmless in the opening slot. This probably could have been cut from the home release though I’m gonna guess. McManus comes to the ring with a James Brown doll and dances like a chode. McNeil wears big baggy green pants, and looks pretty green as well. Thunderbolt is huge…and dresses in purple.
McNeil and McManus double team the big guy to start with. McNeil stands on Thunderbolt’s back to deliver a back senton. That alliance falls apart when one of them tries to pin Thunderbolt. CJ with a neckbreaker on McNeil, before Thunderbolt wipes them both out with a clothesline. He suplexes both of them next. Press slam on McManus but McNeil breaks the pinfall. Death valley driver on Billy and this time McManus saves. Double slam from the smaller guys, and they both go up top. DOUBLE missile dropkick connects, but again they squabble over a pinfall. Gutbuster on McManus from McNeil. Electric chair pancake from McManus, but he gets thrown out by Thunderbolt. Double underhook impaler from Thunderbolt. CJ breaks the pin, then hits a superkick on Thunderbolt. He pins McNeil and takes the win at 04:41.
Rating – DUD – Well, that was lame. They’re all green, but it was mercifully short. Good luck to them in their future careers in wrestling, but I really don’t want to see them until they’ve gained more ring time.
We go backstage with the Tag champions Ryan Boz and Brad Bradley. They defend tonight against the Wildcards and Tank and Iceberg from NWA Wildside. Apparently it doesn’t matter how big the Wildside guys are. The Wildcards turn up and they bicker. Kingston and Marciano cut a promo that is equally as bad as Bradley’s. Why do I get the feeling the match will suck almost as hard as this segment?
Jimmy Jacobs vs Sal Rinauro – IWA-MS Light Heavyweight Title Match
Jimmy is sucking up his wounds from last night’s ladder match and defending the title against a man who was eliminated from the TPI yesterday. Sal put in a decent performance against Matt Sydal before finally falling victim of the moonsault belly to belly. Jacobs has to be pretty banged up after last night…it could make for a short title reign. Jacobs beat Rinauro in the first round of the TPI last year.
Jacobs limps around before we even get started. Sal goes right to the back with clubbing rights then a backbreaker. He follows with a vertical suplex for 2. Back body drops from Rinauro, then a hard whip into the turnbuckles. Jacobs goes for the Contra Code but Sal counters into a back suplex. Scoop slam, before Rinauro goes to the top for an elbow drop. Jacobs flees to the floor, but Rinauro just goes out after him and starts driving him into the ring apron. He hits the springboard suplex off the second rope for another 2. Torture wrack drop on Jacobs, again for 2…man this is a massacre thus far. Reverse elbow out of nowhere from Jacobs, and both men are down. They slug it out until Jacobs scores with a neckbreaker, then a DDT for 2. Suplex Side Effect from Rinauro gets 2 as well. Rinauro blocks the Contra Code again and hits a PUMPHANDLE DRIVER. Jacobs gets the shoulder up again. Jacobs lifted to the top rope, but he fights free…SENTON BOMB! He goes up again…ANOTHER SENTON BOMB! Jimmy retains at 08:29.
Rating – ** – Entertaining for what it was, but by and large it’s just warming up the crowd for the TPI stuff that’s to come. I enjoyed Sal’s back work, as it built on the Delirious match the night before, but ultimately in 8 minutes, it was never really going to get a chance to go that far. The finish was cool as Jimmy sucked up the pain (as he had been for the whole match) to hit one last offensive flurry for victory.
Backstage Ian Rotten is preparing for his match with Steve Stone. He’s still feeling his shoulder injury given to him by Bryan Danielson a couple of days ago. He plays hurt though…and he’s gonna kick Stone’s ass tonight.
Steve Stone vs Ian Rotten
It’s IWA-MS rules which means it’s falls count anywhere, anything goes etc. They used to be tag partners, Stone turned on Rotten, yadda yadda yadda. This is non-sanctioned by the NWA so it can get as violent as it needs to go. Goody…I do enjoy a boring garbage brawl. Rotten looks like Big Bossman these days. Stone has Jim Fannin in his corner.
Punk brings up the ROH Chicago Street Fight on commentary. They stiff each other on the floor to start. Low blow on Stone, but that’s soon forgotten and we go back to clubbering on each other. Stone slams Rotten’s hand into the canvas, before we brawl off into the crowd. Ian slams Stone into the wall. Rotten wants a piledriver on the floor but Fannin smacks him in the back. Rotten chases him off and he flees out a door…AND CHRIS CANDIDO ATTACKS IAN! He’s got fat since ECW…he looks like Ric Flair in fact. Stone and Candido attack the shoulder as Fannin starts yelling down the microphone. Candido muscles him up for a suplex then goes to the top to hit a diving headbutt on the shoulder. He does it a second time in case you missed it. More shots to the shoulder, as what I presume to be Ian Rotten’s wife trundles around with a chair for no reason. She does call Candido Shrek though. Eventually Iceberg comes out and runs them off…which hopefully means this crap is over.
Rating – DUD – That sucked…hard. It was a shock seeing Candido turn up, but that was like three seconds amidst about ten minutes of utter sh*t. I can’t express how much you should just fast forward this. This is my problem with IWA-MS. They have all this great wrestling, and they still feel the need to pump this kind of crap onto their shows. It’s pointless, stupid and they’d definitely get more of my business if there was less garbage like this.
Backstage Candido cuts an awesome promo. He wanted a second chance in wrestling from Ian, but he said no…so he went to Stone and Fannin who gave him that second chance. Fannin intends to continue his quest to take over the IWA. Candido rants again…he’s entertaining at least. Elsewhere Ian Rotten has his shoulder shoved back into the socket…lovely.
Rainman vs Danny Daniels
Finally we go to TPI action now, this is the second round. Rainman caused an upset last night as he eliminated Chris Sabin, and now he progresses to this match. He finds himself up against last years winner, Danny Daniels. Daniels went past Rainman’s fellow Wildside athlete Todd Sexton to get here. Can Rainman pull out another upset?
Daniels almost wins it right away with a schoolboy. Daniels stretches the arms, and almost catches Rainman in another quick pinfall as he tries to escape. Double stomp from Daniels, then a somersault senton splash for 2. He crotches Rainman against the ringpost but then gets caught on the top rope. Daniels goes for a tornado DDT but Rainman counters with a sitout powerbomb. Big boot in the corner from Rainman, then a Yakuza kick for 2. Hillside Strangler from Rainman but Daniels makes it to the ropes. Daniels with a thumb to the eye then a dropkick off the middle rope. Daniels ducks some wild swings from Rainman, then nails a jawbreaker. German suplex scores for 2. Daniels goes upstairs and horrible botches a flying rana. Jumping Edge-O-Matic from Rainman gets 2 out of nowhere. He goes for that pumphandle but Daniels low blows to escape, then nails rolling cradle back suplexes for another 2 count. Daniels rolls through a backslide attempt but takes an Alabamaslam. PUMPHANDLE POWERBOMB from Rainman for 2. Rainman goes to the top but Daniels kicks the ref into the ropes to crotch him. Forearms from Daniels before SUPERPLEXING Rainman off the top. RAINMAN CRADLES DANIELS FOR THREE! It’s another upset at 09:58.
Rating – ** – That probably doesn’t deserve that high a rating, as it was slow, and at times downright messy, but after Rotten/Stone, I’m feeling generous to anyone that at least attempts wrestling. This isn’t particularly good though, and considering this field, I don’t think either one of them belongs in the semi-finals…Rainman advances though. He faces the winner of Joe/McGuiness.
Nigel McGuiness vs Samoa Joe
This is one of the more exciting ties of the second round for me. Joe is a big favourite for the tournament, and advanced in a hard hitting match against Roderick Strong. Nigel came past Claudio Castagnoli yesterday, and now gets to pitch his talents against the ROH World Champion. He’s getting a decent push seemingly everywhere he goes at the moment. A good performance here would really show he’s deserving of it.
Nigel is the heel here whether he likes it or not. Joe is OVER. Nigel tries to do his chain wrestling with Joe, but is visible having a hard time with the size. Duelling ‘Lets go Nigel’ and ‘Lets go Joe’ chants which is awesome. Camel clutch from Joe, turned into an armbar as he continues to wear him down. Big kicks from Joe as Nigel forces some separation. Headlock from McGuiness, and he manages to hold onto it even though Joe attempts a back suplex. Finally Joe fights free and unleashes chops then a big forearm which knocks McGuiness over. Grounded abdominal stretch from Joe, but McGuiness counters into a hammerlock. Cross armbreaker from Joe and Nigel squirms to the ropes very quickly to break it. Joe goes for the STO slam but McGuiness counters it…SUPERKICK FOR 2! Uppercuts from Nigel BUT HE GETS B*TCHSLAPPED! Joe hits a flurry of kicks to the legs and McGuiness goes down. Kicks to the chest, then headbutts in the corner. Chest punches…E Honda slaps…JUMPING ENZIGURI! McGuiness is taking a beating right now. He comes back with a front facelock though, then a few more European uppercuts. Nigel goes for his headstand in the corner AND JOE KICKS HIM RIGHT IN THE F*CKING FACE! Chop/kick combo into the knee drop for 2. They trade elbows, and incredibly Nigel knocks Joe off his feet. He hits a nice dropkick to continue the assault. Big forearms from Joe, then more chops and slaps. Artful Dodger from McGuiness…HAMMERLOCK DDT! SHORTARM SCISSORS! He goes for a second Hammerlock DDT but Joe takes him down. KNEE STRIKES…CHOOOOOOOOKE! McGuiness taps at 13:30.
Rating – *** – That was a lot of fun. It wasn’t quite up there with Joe/Strong in terms of brutality, but man they hit each other hard. That boot to the face as Nigel was in the headstand was pretty disgusting. If Nigel had that match with Joe in ROH people would be calling it a big breakout match for him, and it honestly is that good. Is there any better wrestler in the world right now than Samoa Joe? The replays show just how brutal that last contest was. Damn they hit hard.
Larry Sweeney/Hallowicked/Jigsaw vs Icarus/Gran Akuma/Trik Davis
It’s a Chikara 6-man here, although strictly speaking Trik isn’t as entirely Chikara based as the other five guys. Hallowicked is acknowledged as the best of the bunch, as evident by his placing in the TPI, where he was knocked out yesterday to Nate Webb. Larry Sweeney has a hilarious look, and is definitely capable in the ring. My favourite of the bunch is Akuma, who combines an excellent look with crisp execution and decent pacing. Trik and Icarus have terrible haircuts. Expect all the pseudo-lucha you can stand.
Icarus and Jigsaw start and they chain around the arm. Monkey flip from Icarus, then a satellite headscissors. Hallowicked and Davis and they go for the arm work as well. Deathlock from Davis, before they decide it’s time to hold hands and armdrag. Davis is green. Sweeney and Akuma in now. Armdrags from Akuma before he gets sent to the apron. Suplex from Akuma gets 2. Sweeney hotshots Akuma over the top rope then brings Wicked back in. He works Gran over for a bit before Sweeney comes back with the double axehandle. Double underhook suplex, followed by a cocky cover for 2. Bulldog from Akuma and he tags out to Trik. Wicked is tagged as well but he takes some shots from Davis. Everyone hits offence on everyone else in the corner, before Jigsaw and Sweeney get dropkicked to the floor. STEREO TOPES by Akuma and Icarus. Hallowicked goes to the top but gets caught by Davis…SUPER RANA ON WICKED TO THE FLOOR! Davis comes off the second rope but gets caught by Jigsaw and dropped with an INVERTED TOMBSTONE! Sweeney with a DDT on Icarus for 2. Swinging DDT from Akuma to Jigsaw. Fist drop by Icarus and Akuma on Jigsaw. SUPER FISHERMAN BUSTER ON ICARUS from Hallowicked. That’s enough to win it at 09:59.
Rating – ** – It was fun but at under 10 minutes, they wasted too much time at the start feeling each other out for no real reason. They should’ve gone to the bigger spots more quickly in my opinion. Check out some Chikara if you like long multi-person lucha style tags…they’re not my bag but the Chikara guys are good at what they do.
Matt Sydal vs AJ Styles
Back to the TPI second round here. Sydal is a star on the rise, particularly in the IWA largely due to his clashes with AJ Styles. They met first at Simply The Best 5, and earlier in this very week met at A Phenomenal Invasion in a rematch. Now they clash again with a spot in the semis up for grabs. Sydal came past Sal Rinauro to get here, whilst AJ beat long-time friend/adversary Jimmy Rave.
Down they go as AJ looks to ride Sydal, but the smaller man makes the ropes. Styles again clasps a waistlock and tries to hold Sydal down. Armdrag from Sydal, but as he goes for a headscissors AJ goes for a Styles Clash. He grabs the ropes but gets slapped out to the floor. PESCADO FROM STYLES! Dropkick from AJ. He nails a hard backbreaker which leaves Sydal writhing on the canvas. Headbutts in the corner, then a kick to the back. Out of nowhere Sydal drop toeholds Styles into the second rope. He gets dragged off the top rope though, and AJ hits the nip-up hurricanrana after a couple of nearfalls. Styles looks for the MutaLock that he beat Rave with last night, but Sydal makes the ropes. Sydal ducks the discus lariat and AJ tumbles out of the ring. They fight over a suplex on the apron…AND SYDAL TURNS IT INTO A DDT! He goes to the top rope for a TWISTING MOONSAULT TO THE FLOOR! Back inside Sydal hits a gourdbuster, then stands on AJ’s back for a shooting star. Styles avoids that but gets a slingshot headscissors instead. Bow and arrow stretch on AJ, but he counters into a cover for 2. Sydal goes for a shooting star press BUT STYLES GETS A BOOT UP! They stiff it out with each other before fighting over a waistlock. Pumphandle backbreaker from AJ, into the swinging backbreaker. Mexican roll up from Sydal for 2. Sydal avoids a lariat…Styles goes for the Styles Clash…COUNTERED WITH A HURRICANRANA FOR A NEEEAAAR FALL! Sydal takes AJ to the top rope for a superplex, but AJ heaves him up…FOR A SUPER STYLES CLASH! AJ wins it at 12:36.
Rating – **** – That’s what AJ Styles is all about. He’s not the perfect technician, but in all action, exciting, hard-hitting bouts like that, he really is excellent…and Matt Sydal hung with him every inch of the way. 2005 really could be this guy’s year if he can turn in performances like this against all kinds of opponents. That’s definitely one of the matches of the tournament thus far.
Ian Rotten comes out with his arm in a sling to give still more time to the god-awful feud with Jim Fannin and his Dream Team. At the 8th Anniversary Show it’s going to be Steve Stone and Chris Candido against Ian Rotten and Dusty Rhodes.
Rain vs MsChif vs Mickie Knuckles vs Daizee Haze vs Lacey vs Mercedes Martinez
New Women’s Champion Mercedes Martinez is in this match, but won’t be defending the title she won from Lacey last night. Rain and Lacey are frequent tag partners, and have feuded in the past. Mickie Knuckles and Daizee Haze are frequent partners as well. Haze has apparently had a decent series of matches with Lacey too. MsChif has a lame name but an awesome look. Rain is the hottest girl in this match, and that’s saying something with Lacey, Daizee and Mercedes in it. Knuckles is a former student of Chris Hero and Ian Rotten. She also dances with CM Punk on her way to the ring. IWA is weird. Elimination rules apply for this one. I’d rather see it go one fall – Six Man Mayhem style.
Rain and Lacey start and they chain with a certain amount of fluidity. Eventually they high five each other and tag out to MsChif and Haze with big forearms. Facebuster from Daizee, and she counters a suplex attempt from MsChif into a small package. Rolling cradle and neither woman manages a pin after it. Baldo Bomb from MsChif for 2. She eventually tags out to Mickie by biting her hand. Mercedes comes in with her. Open hand chop from Martinez, and that leads to a forearm duel. European uppercut from Knuckles knocks the champion down. She gets 2 with a northern lights suplex. Kawada kicks from Mickie, then a PALM STRIKE! She tags MsChif back in with a headbutt. Satellite octopus stretch on Mercedes, into a roll-up for 2. Daizee gets tagged in with a slap. Mercedes gives her a spinebuster for 2. Lacey tags Martinez out with a kick to the back, but Daizee gives her a big kick to the head. Lacey with a swinging neckbreaker, and Rain comes in to give her a Ki Krusher for 2. Rain goes for Acid Rain but Daizee counters with a victory roll for 2. Satellite headscissors connects, and she tags Martinez in. Lacey saves Rain from a fisherman’s buster…DOUBLE UNPRETTIER on Martinez for 2. Rain goes to the top but Mercedes is up in time. SUPER FISHERMANS BUSTER by Martinez! Rain is eliminated. Knuckles in but Mercedes blocks a Shining Wizard. SAITO SUPLEX from Mercedes eliminates Mickie. Lacey comes in but Martinez tags out to Haze. Daizee misses a missile dropkick and Lacey gives her the IMPLANT DDT! That’s Haze gone now. CHAOS THEORY from Mercedes eliminates Lacey. MsChif and Mercedes are the last two. Satellite DDT from MsChif for 2. MsChif goes for a DDT, but Martinez muscles her up for a powerbomb. MsChif blocks the Fisherman’s Buster. MsChif wins at 12:42 with the Desecrator DDT.
Rating – ** –Not as good as Lacey/Martinez from last night, but that was a solid effort. It had all the usual female wrestling problems – in that they’re just not as good as the men and they don’t hit anything clean ever…but they worked hard and that counts for something. They threw in some fun spots as well, so that helped boost the ratings. Lacey is the best of this lot by a mile in my opinion.
Petey Williams vs Arik Cannon – IWA-MS Heavyweight Title Match
Obviously the title is still on the line here, as Williams is continuing the tradition of defending the IWA Title throughout the TPI. Both Williams and Cannon had fun, underrated first round matches (against BJ Whitmer and Super Dragon respectively) that weren’t helped by a crowd deflated by such a long show. Cannon’s arrogant persona really intrigued me yesterday so I look forward to seeing him again. Petey is a talented little guy too, so if these two click we should be in for something good.
Cannon tries to slow Williams down with headlocks and headscissors. Headscissors takeover from Williams, then a hurricanrana which sends Arik to the floor. Williams looks for the slingshot rana but Cannon rolls inside. Slingshot sunset flip from Petey for 2. Cannon with a right hand as Williams sits on the top rope – SWINGING NECKBREAKER off the top rope! Cannon follows that with another neckbreaker, then a series of strikes to the neck. Flipping necksnap from Cannon, then some neck chops. Headbutts to the neck from Arik then a deathlock with a kravatte. Williams fights free but walks right into a swinging neckbreaker. He hits a brainbuster but he delays pinning to argue with the fans. Russian legsweep from Petey and now both men are down. Right hands from Williams, then a double knee gutbuster. Petey gets 2 with a swinging DDT. BACK DROP DRIVER from Cannon for 2. Williams goes for a sunset flip out of the corner but Cannon grabs the ropes and almost steals it. Sit-out facebuster from Williams, turned over into the Sharpshooter. Cannon makes the ropes since Petey has done zero leg work to set up for that. Stepping enziguri from Williams…CANNON COMES BACK WITH AN EXPLODER! Williams kicks out so Cannon lifts him into a second Exploder. Petey ducks the Glimmering Warlock, and pops right up looking for the Canadian Destroyer. Arik blocks that, and Williams injures his knee in the process. Williams waits till Cannon turns his back and springs right back into life…BUT CANNON STILL BLOCKS THE CANADIAN DESTROYER. GLIMMERING WARLOCK! Cannon wins at 12:19 and he is your new IWA Champion.
Rating – *** – This isn’t a sparkling advertisement of what Petey Williams can do, as he was pretty poor in this. Cannon spent about five minutes working over his neck and he completely forgot to sell it – that annoyed me. What this match is, however, is a brilliant example (once again) of Cannon’s heel charisma. He is a talented man when it comes to working a crowd. Based on his two performances so far I’d definitely like to see him get a shot in ROH – and see if his stuff can get over on a bigger stage. The finishing segment of this match was pretty electric two, as the crowd popped huge for the title change.
Mike Quackenbush vs Nate Webb
This is the penultimate TPI Quarter Final bout. After beating Hallowicked, Webb sets foot in the second round of the tournament for the first time ever despite numerous previous attempts. He faces Quack, who’s confidence will be sky high after upsetting IWA stalwart and his Chikara co-trainer Chris Hero last night. Now he must be the favourite in this match, because surely Nate Webb cannot match his phenomenal pure wrestling skills. Quack enjoys Webb’s entrance enough to clap along. Chris Sabin enjoys Nate’s entrance so much he comes out with him and belly dances. Nate Webb enjoys his entrance so much he leads the crowd in a Mexican wave. Samoa Joe (on commentary) enjoys the entrance so much he rips on the WWE.
Webb foolishly walks right into some wrestling exchanges right off the bat, which Mike has very little problem controlling. They miss a flurry of strikes and keep the pace up in an awesome near miss segment. SUPERKICK from Quackenbush sends Nate outside for a SOMERSAULT PLANCHA! Quack ties up the arms and the legs in a wacky submission of some description. Pendulum swing from Mike as he just toys with Webb. Headscissors takedown from Nate sends Quackenbush to the floor. TUMBLEWEED TO THE FLOOR by Nate Webb. Russian legsweep from Quack, rolled into an anklelock, but Nate makes the ropes. E Honda slaps from Quackenbush, but Webb fires back with the Arachnid kick. INVERTED BRAINBUSTER from Quack for 2. Full nelson slam from Nate, before he locks in the Webb of Death. No submission there, so Webb heads upstairs…but misses the Tumbleweed this time. Lightning Lock from Quackenbush at Webb taps at 07:28.
Rating – ** – That was surprisingly enjoyable. They kept it brief, which helped since this was a major clash of styles. They packed in some fun spots, and there was some psychology on the part of Quackenbush as well, as he continually worked the leg in his weird submissions, and his weirder submission finisher applies pressure to that particular limb as well.
Bryan Danielson vs CM Punk
When the draw was made this was the pick of the second round matches, so it’s fitting that it is the last one to go out. Danielson got here after defeating Alex Shelley in a competitive match, whilst CM Punk got here in an awesome match with Austin Aries. They clashed on ROH soil at Reborn Stage 1 and put on a good match, which would be far more memorable had they not both put on better matches with different opponents the following night. Continuing the trend they started yesterday, can they produce something that blows their ROH match out of the water.
Hammerlock from Punk, but Danielson is able to counter and work a hammerlock of his own. He picks apart Punk’s other arm as well and looks for the Cattle Mutilation – but Punk is in the ropes. Wristlock takedown from Dragon, but Punk counters and applies a Crippler Crossface. Danielson counters to a version of the Anaconda Vice, but Punk escapes and we have a stand off. ‘I hope your parents die’ – Punk to a kid in the crowd. Camel clutch from Danielson, into a headlock. Punk escapes and connects with a dropkick. Danielson comes right back with a dropkick of his own though. Full nelson from Dragon, but Punk grabs the ropes again. Danielson gets 2 with a knee drop. He again goes to the full nelson, and when Punk breaks that he maintains control with a back body drop. JUMPING PILEDRIVER from CM Punk. He follows that with a neckbreaker, then a dropkick right to the neck – clearly attacking the neck just as Dragon has been. Punk gets 2 with a snap suplex. They throw some huge strikes at each other, but Punk wins with a LARIAT TO THE NECK for 2. Chinlock from Punk, wearing Danielson down. Dragon breaks free with a back suplex, but both men are worse for wear. Diving European uppercut from Danielson, then a snap suplex of his own. DIVING HEADBUTT scores for 2. Punk gets sent out and tries to roll back in but gets a dropkick from Danielson. Punk is on the apron though AND HE SUPLEXES DRAGON TO THE FLOOR! Danielson appears to injure his knee there, and Punk with some strikes. Somehow Danielson is able to get up and he AIRPLANE SPINS AROUND THE RING! Back in the ring Punk nails a dropkick to the knee, then the SHINING WIZARD for 2. Punk looks for a Pepsi Plunge but Danielson counters with a back body drop off the top. CATTLE MUTILATION, but Punk isn’t tapping. Mule kick from Punk…Dragon ducks the Pepsi Twist and hits a DRAGON SUPLEX for 2. CATTLE MUTILATION AGAIN! Punk taps at 16:04.
Rating – *** – Really competitive stuff, but I thought Dragon’s complete no-sell of the two injuries Punk exposed cost the match big-time. Punk worked the neck early, and injured the knee with a suplex off the apron to the floor. Yet Danielson was able to win with the Cattle Mutilation – a submission hold which utilises both those body parts significantly. Luckily it’s CM Punk and American Dragon, so it’s not like there’s nothing to keep you entertained here.
Brad Bradley/Ryan Boz vs Wild Cards vs Iceberg/Tank – IWA-MS Tag Title Match
Well, this is sure to suck. The Wild Cards (Blackjack Marciano and Eddie Kingston) are alright against the right opponents…but there aren’t any of them here. Bradley and Boz are big hard-hitting guys that don’t have a lot else going for them, whilst Tank and Iceberg are big fat bastards who suck. Iceberg is definitely amongst my least favourite wrestlers ever…and had I seen more of him, I’m sure Tank would be too. Oh well, maybe they’ll surprise me.
Both Wild Cards try to start with Tank, with Marciano ending up taking a big slam. Kingston steps up next but Tank is just too damn big for him. Eddie eventually hits some kicks to the back, but Tank no-sells those and kicks him in the face. Tank snapmares Iceberg onto Kingston, and Iceberg follows that up with a leg drop for 2. Bradley in with Kingston and he outwits some Wild Card cheating shenanigans. Boz and Marciano now, and Blackjack gets massacred with strikes in the corner. Boz and Bradley stare down the big fat f*cks, and Blackjack walks into the middle of them and slaps Tank. He runs away to the outside but is met by Iceberg and Tank again. UGLY MOONSAULT OF SUCKTITUDE by Eddie Kingston! Boz sails out next with a crazy tope which wipes out pretty much four rows of chairs. SUICIDE DIVE FROM BRADLEY! Iceberg and Tank brawl with the champions in utterly uninteresting fashion after that dive segment. Cannonball senton from Tank to Boz for 2. He gives Kingston a side effect for another nearfall, then slaps on an anaconda vice. Bradley with a Nebraska Tumbleweed on Eddie, much to the disgust of Nate Webb on commentary. Marciano stomps on Iceberg but there’s no way in hell he’s keeping him down on the canvas. TANK WITH A HEAD DROP COBRA CLUTCH SUPLEX! Bradley and Boz deliver a series of elbow drops to the unfortunate Marciano. Iceberg waddles across the ring to deliver a fatty elbow drop of his own. Washing Machine by the champions on Marciano for 2. They give Iceberg a double suplex as this match continues to drag on. Kingston throws powder into Bradley’s eyes, and he accidentally lariats his own partner. Tank chokeslams Blackjack over his knee then decides he wants to go to the top rope. Kingston powerbombs him off the ropes, and helps Marciano hit the Russian Roulette Drive-By, which is enough to make the Wild Cards your new champions at 16:41. Incredibly after all that, Iceberg and Tank get ‘please come back chants’…ARE YOU PEOPLE NUTS??
Rating – * – Seriously, who booked this lot of muppets to go over 15 minutes? Who in their right mind would ever book Tank and Iceberg to go anything over 10? I actually don’t mind Kingston and Marciano so I’m glad they won, but this was not their sort of match at all. Bradley and Boz aren’t anything special, and if they weren’t so damn big wouldn’t get booked nearly as much on the indy scene. But yeah, I give it a star for the hilarious commentary by Prazak and Nate Webb, and the few brutal spots they managed to squeeze into the 17 minutes of suckfest.
Rainman vs Samoa Joe
It’s time for the TPI semi-finals now, and incredibly, Rainman is still in this thing. He’s pulled off unlikely upset wins over both Chris Sabin and 2003 winner Danny Daniels to make it this far. Unfortunately, now he’s faced with one of the red-hot favourites – the undefeated Samoa Joe. Samoa Joe has put on two incredible matches thus far in the tourney (with Roderick Strong and Nigel McGuiness) so will fatigue play a factor for him here?
Rainman jumps Joe during the introductions and absolutely unloads on the ROH Champion. He scores with a big boot…but only gets 2. Joe comes off the ropes…LARIATOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Rainman is dead at 00:55.
Rating – N/A – I’m being nice and giving this the N/A treatment because, in some ways, this was an entertaining minute. The crowd were electric for Rainman’s underdog routine, and Joe’s big lariat at the end got one of the biggest pops of this whole event. That also but Joe over enormously as the man to beat in the final. However, I’m still going to pick some holes in the booking. Why push Rainman so hard, over two pretty big names (Sabin and Daniels) only to job him like a b*tch in less than a minute. All the effort made to put the guy over as a decent talent in the company falls flat on his face when he got entirely punked out in this. Plus it makes Sabin, and more importantly, one of the promotions top heels (Danny Daniels) look enormously weak. Joe awaits the winners of Cannon/Styles and Quack/Danielson in the final.
Arik Cannon vs AJ Styles
Cannon is on a role going into this. He’s already beaten Super Dragon and Petey Williams to make it to the semis, and has become IWA-MS Heavyweight Champion in the process. Styles has come through physical bouts with Jimmy Rave and Matt Sydal to get this far, but has his work cut-out to overcome one of the standouts of the tournament (in my opinion) in the Anarchist.
Both men throw out some big forearms, before Styles takes control, running Cannon’s head into the turnbuckles. AJ looks for the Styles Clash early but Arik clings to the ropes and manages to headscissor him to the floor. Arik clubs away at Styles on the outside, then DDT’s him back into the ring through the middle rope for 2. Brainbuster from Cannon after some neck chops, perhaps indicating an intent to attack the neck. Slingshot neckbreaker nailed by Arik and he prepares for the Glimmering Warlock. Styles blocks that and hits a couple of clotheslines. Quebrada inverted DDT gets 2 for AJ. Styles goes to the apron to absolutely destroy Cannon with a springboard forearm. Cannon blocks the discus lariat and scores with a T-bone suplex. AJ ducks the Glimmering Warlock again…DISCUS LARIAT! Cannon is done at 06:04.
Rating – ** – I’m sure it could’ve been miles better had it got more time, on a different night when both men hadn’t already wrestled once, with AJ having to save energy for the final too. I loved Arik’s attempts to bring some psychology to the party with his neck-focused offence, but for most of this it was nothing but spot-rest-spot-rest, rinsed and repeated and that frustrated me. Still, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed seeing Arik Cannon for the first time on this show, and definitely intend to check out more of his stuff.
Styles thinks he’s won the IWA Title, but Cannon snatches the belt back. He says Petey Williams agreed to defend the belt through the tournament – he didn’t. Arik didn’t agree to anything, and he walks out still the champion, and having pissed the fans off one more time. Cannon rules! Ian Rotten comes out and books Cannon vs Styles for the title at a future show, but it never happened since Arik broke his collarbone and had to be stripped of the belt. Rather than this promo crap, couldn’t have the match gone 5 minutes longer?
Mike Quackenbush vs Bryan Danielson
Easily the pick of the semis is this. Both of these guys are established technical wrestlers, and if they get the time (which I’m not sure they will, after the brief Joe/Rainman and Styles/Cannon matches) this could be pretty good. Quack has beaten Chris Hero and Nate Webb to make it this far, whilst Danielson has had a harder route than perhaps anyone to the semis, winning gruelling matches against Alex Shelley and CM Punk.
Danielson refuses a handshake and ties up Quack on the canvas. He applies a standing crossface, but Quackenbush counters by going to the legs. Bridging leglock from Mike, which is pretty sweet. Danielson escapes that but Quack is able to block the Mexican surfboard. Quackenbush counters out of a knucklelock by again going to Danielson’s legs. Enziguri attempt by Danielson ducked, and Mike traps him in the Mexican surfboard. Dragon escapes that and decides to go to the leg, trying to show that he’s better than Quackenbush at working that body part. Airplane spin from Dragon, but Mike counters with an armdrag. Dropkick from Danielson, but both men are slow to their feet. Back to the arms goes Danielson, applying a version of the Rings of Saturn, complete with a foot in Quack’s face. Slingshot suplex from Dragon, and he heads to the top rope to MISS the diving headbutt. Bulldog from Quackenbush, followed by a dropkick for 2. Lightning Lock drop from Mike for another nearfall. CATTLE MUTILATION on Danielson but Dragon is just too close to the ropes. Quack misses a swanton and walks right into the AIRPLANE SPIN. Because he hasn’t had enough spinning around, Danielson follows that with a giant swing. Everyone is dizzy, but Danielson snatches on Cattle Mutilation. Quack refuses to tap, but just like his match with Shelley earlier, Dragon rolls it into a pin to win at 11:28.
Rating – *** – I’m almost disappointed this took place in a tournament meaning these two couldn’t go at it for something like 20+ minutes. Quackenbush actually seems to know more holds than Bryan Danielson, and I’d love to see them just work each other over in a much longer match. I really liked heel Dragon’s psychology in this, switching between the arm and the leg to prove himself a better wrestler. Quack has put on a commendable performance of his own this weekend. He’s still not my favourite wrestler in the world ever, but I’ve certainly gained a greater appreciation of him.
Jimmy Rave vs Todd Sexton vs BJ Whitmer vs Alex Shelley vs Austin Aries vs Claudio Castagnoli vs Chris Sabin
Yes, you read it right, a whopping seven guys in one match. This is under elimination rules and obviously features a number of guys who were eliminated in the first round of the TPI. I have an idea for IWA. Rather than padding out the second night of the tournament with a load of sh*t (like Rotten/Stone, Boz/Bradley/Wild Cards/Tank/Iceberg and McManus/Thunderbolt/McNeil) and throwing a bunch of really talented guys into a match like this where none of them are going to look especially good, why not book these guys into a series of singles matches. Any combination of these two in a one-on-one match appeals to me more than any non-tournament match on this card, or this seven-man match. To recap, Rave was eliminated by AJ Styles, Sexton by Danny Daniels, Whitmer by Petey Williams, Shelley by Bryan Danielson, Aries by CM Punk, Castagnoli by Nigel McGuiness and Sabin by Rainman.
It’s a big slugfest to start, with everyone seemingly targeting poor Chris Sabin. STEPPING TORNADO DDT ON EVERYONE BY Sabin! Castagnoli flies to the floor with a tope, and he gets followed out by Sexton with a somersault pescado. Bottom rope tope by Aries, and Shelley is next out with the CORKSCREW PLANCHA! MOONSAULT PRESS from Sabin. Rave is the only guy left, but he gets cut off by a superkick from Sexton. VERTEBREAKER ON SEXTON by Sabin, and he eliminates Todd. Aries comes in and he eats a brainbuster. Sabin goes for the Vertebreaker again, but Aries counters with a spinning brainbuster. 450 SPLASH polishes off Sabin. Aries and Shelley fight as the GeNext members collide. Clothesline backbreaker from Shelley, then a La Magistral pin to eliminate Austin. Shelley drop toeholds Claudio into the bottom turnbuckle then delivers a tornado DDT. Castagnoli blocks Shellshock and locks in a cobra clutch…Shelley taps. Whitmer soars in with a diving headbutt. Chris Candido on commentary is hilarious. Castagnoli and Whitmer take turns in hitting each other really hard, before BJ hits a Shining Wizard to eliminate him. Rave almost eliminates Whitmer with his Crappy Wizard. Whitmer is bleeding for some reason but Rave tries to take advantage by grinding his fist into the cut. Rave blocks the Exploder ’98…and BJ responds by blocking the Satellite Crossface. Russian legsweep from Jimmy, into the Crossface this time. Whitmer goes for the Wrist Clutch, but Rave counters with Ghanarea for 2. Golden Gate Swing from Whitmer…WRIST CLUTCH EXPLODER NAILED and that’s enough. Whitmer wins at 10:22.
Rating – ** – It actually started as a promising little spot-fest, but the flurry of nonsensical eliminations absolutely killed it…and got rid of the three most exciting wrestlers in the match. I appreciate the need for Whitmer to win this, he’s a big heel in IWA. But, did Rave really need to go that long into the match, or Castagnoli for that matter? Surely Sabin, Shelley or Aries, all far more spot-orientated and exciting wrestlers than Rave or Claudio would’ve been better bets.
Samoa Joe vs AJ Styles vs Bryan Danielson – 2004 TPI Final
Just like the previous match, this is under elimination rules. The first pinfall eliminates the loser of that fall, and then we go down to two men battling it out to win the 2004 Ted Petty Invitational. This really is a tough call here. Do you pick Joe, who’s undefeated in IWA and has been booked like an absolute monster. Do you pick Danielson who is getting pushed as a big heel, and has come through three damn good matches, or do you pick AJ Styles, probably the top wrestler on the indy scene, former NWA World Champion etc? Dragon has an obvious disadvantage in that he’s spent more time in the ring than either of his opponents during the tournament – 42 minutes. AJ Styles has only spent 32 minutes in the ring whilst Joe (after his demolition of Rainman) has just 29 minutes to his name.
The fans are on their feet before the match even gets underway. Joe and AJ look for early pinfalls but neither is successful. Danielson rocks Joe with a big European uppercut before all three of them jostle for position on the mat. Three-way choke hold spot, before Joe traps Styles in a Boston crab. Danielson throws AJ outside but misses a pescado. ELBOW SUICIDA ON STYLES BY JOE! AJ goes back inside to get a run up for a SOMERSAULT PLANCHA! Joe pelts AJ with kicks then sets up a chair. OLE OLE KICK NAILED! Danielson sets Joe up in a chair…OLE OLE DROPKICK! Now Styles props Dragon up for an OLE OLE FOREARM STRIKE! Back in the ring Joe gives Styles a spinning heel kick. Danielson monkey flips AJ INTO A HURRICANRANA ON JOE! AJ goes for the quebrada inverted DDT and Joe charges into a running STO on him, taking both guys down for 2. Dragon goes after Joe’s legs and Styles eventually dropkicks him into a bridging deathlock. Northern lights suplex on Styles whilst he holds onto the deathlock for 2. Styles comes back with the discus lariat but he runs right into Joe’s STO slam. Joe calls for the Musclebuster but Dragon cuts him off on the top rope with a running forearm. SUPERPLEX ON JOE! DRAGON SUPLEX ON STYLES for 2. CATTLE MUTILATION LOCKED IN! Styles breaks it and hits the overhead enziguri…INTO JOE’S CHOKE!! DANIELSON TAPS!! Down to the final two, and they set about killing each other with strikes. Joe gets 2 with a running elbow. AJ with a jumping forearm…E HONDA SLAPS FROM SAMOA JOE! JUMPING ENZI BY STYLES! AJ sets up for the Spiral Tap but Joe pulls him off the top. Musclebuster escaped…but AJ doesn’t have the strength for the Styles Clash. He goes for it again and eats a jumping enzi from Joe. Palm strike from AJ but he still can’t hit the Clash. AJ goes for it one more time…STYYYYYLES CLAAAAAAASH!! It’s over!! AJ is your winner and the 2004 TPI Champion at 14:32.
Rating – **** – The final was as good a match as you could expect from three guys who’d already wrestled twice previously in the evening, competed on three previous nights as well, and in a match going less than 15 minutes. Three of the best in the world trading awesome spots, it’s hard to complain. I liked the cool spot on the outside where they all traded Ole Ole offensive strikes, and Danielson monkey flipping AJ into the hurricanrana on Joe was great. Lets face it, this wasn’t a technical classic, but for mark-out spots, excitement, and a testament to three guys going balls to the walls despite an immense amount of fatigue, it’s a great match to end a really good tournament.
Everyone piles into the ring to pay homage to AJ in his victorious moment…except Petey Williams who gives him the Canadian Destroyer. HUH?? Ian Rotten cuts his 86th promo of the weekend putting Styles and the tournament over. ‘I’m gonna break that little faggot’s neck’ – AJ on Petey.
Tape Rating – ****1/2 – Why so high, when only one match reaches that standard? Well, simply put, you won’t find better value for money anywhere. On two nights, over two shows this show delivers a whole boatload of consistently damn fine wrestling. Night 2 does drag a little, with miles more crap on it than the first night, but the TPI stuff is still freakin’ good. Nobody really got enough time in the ring to produce an MOTYC which is disappointing, but with almost 10 hours of good wrestling, not having an MOTY sounds like a trivial complaint. Just go out and buy this now, it’s fantastic and you won’t regret it. In particular I fondly remember great the performances throughout by Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Bryan Danielson, CM Punk, Arik Cannon, Mike Quackenbush, Matt Sydal and a few other people. You need this set in your collection folks. Man this is the longest review ever…
Top 5 Matches
5) Samoa Joe vs Nigel McGuiness (***)
4) AJ Styles vs Matt Sydal (****)
3) AJ Styles vs Samoa Joe vs Bryan Danielson (****)
2) Samoa Joe vs Roderick Strong (****)
1) CM Punk vs Austin Aries (****1/2)