Independent Superstars Of Pro Wrestling (ISPW) is an independent wrestling promotion based in New Jersey. They originally ran shows in the late 90s through 2000 before a hiatus from 2007 to 2010. However, since September 2021, ISPW has been consistently running shows again. Recently, one of their feuds has captured some attention on social media. The feud culminated in the first-ever TLC steel cage match. But who are the guys involved in the rivalry?
Crowbar is a veteran wrestler with over 30 years of experience and competed for all the major promotions during his incredible career. The current style of risk-taking moves is a popular form of entertainment, but Crowbar (also known as Devon Storm) was one of the first wrestlers to display an aerial attack on primetime television. Check out a match between Crowbar and Konnan on the February 12th, 1996, edition of Nitro. Crowbar’s offense preceded the Cruiserweight division in WCW. Crowbar’s major break occurred in late 1999/early 2000, teaming with David Flair and winning the WCW Tag Team Championships. In 2000, Crowbar won the WCW Cruiserweight and Hardcore Championships.
Since WCW, Crowbar has remained a regular on the independent scene, including stints with ROH and GCW, to name a few. ISPW has been a regular home for Crowbar since the beginning of the promotion.
Meanwhile, Rick Recon is a fresh face on the independent scene garnering some buzz through ISPW and having a couple of tag team appearances on AEW YouTube shows. Recon has worked for various promotions in New York, New Jersey, and New England. Recon’s persona is being a rockstar and headliner. I’m not overly familiar with Recon’s work, but the buzz of this feud caught my eye, and similar to my article on Davienne/JT Dunn’s feud, I figured to check out the feud. All four matches are available on ISPW’s YouTube page.
Match #1: Crowbar w/Vanessa vs. ‘King of ISPW’ Rick Recon w/ Dave LeGreca — ISPW St. Valentine’s Vengeance — 2/17/2023
Early on, neither man can get the advantage as they are feeling each other out. Recon kicks Crowbar in the corner and tosses Crowbar to the floor. Recon clubs Crowbar over the back and sends Crowbar face-first into the ring post and guard railing. Crowbar shoulder rams Recon from the apron and drops Recon throat first over the top rope. Recon kicks Crowbar and delivers an uppercut. Crowbar avoids a big boot and hits a sit-out powerbomb. Crowbar locks in a modified surfboard, but Recon doesn’t submit. Crowbar tries to lock in a camel clutch, but Recon reaches the ropes. Crowbar leg drops Recon over the bottom rope on the apron for a two count. Crowbar uppercuts and chops Recon followed by jabs. Crowbar leg drops Recon on the groin, but he is tripped by LeGreca. Crowbar grabs LeGreca, but Recon nails Crowbar with a knee strike from behind, sending Crowbar to the floor.
On the floor. LeGreca cheap shots Crowbar a couple of times. Recon sends Crowbar into the railing a couple of times. Recon somersaults into the ring to deliver a dropkick for a near fall. Recon jabs Crowbar over the back and puts a chin lock on Crowbar. Crowbar fights out with a strike and shoulder blocks Recon. Recon backdrops Crowbar, but Crowbar delivers a jawbreaker. Crowbar puts a sleeper on Recon, but Recon hits a slam for a near fall. Recon clubs Crowbar over the chest several times. Recon delivers an elbow drop and a knee drop before taunting the crowd. Recon delivers a leg drop for a two count. Recon puts a neck vice on Crowbar but doesn’t get a submission. Crowbar fights out with strikes in the corner. Crowbar elbows Recon but runs into a powerslam and Recon manages a two count. Recon takes Crowbar over with a snap suplex several times for a two count.
Recon misses a middle rope elbow drop. They begin to trade strikes and chops in the middle of the ring. Crowbar ducks a clothesline and tosses Recon with a German suplex. Crowbar connects with a double hook overhead suplex. Crowbar manages a two count after a northern lights suplex. Crowbar decks Recon over the top to the floor with a clothesline. On the floor, Crowbar rams Recon into the railing. Crowbar rams Recon’s arm into the ring post shoulder first. Crowbar grabs a piece of railing and a chair. Crowbar lays the railing over the apron and two chairs on the floor. Crowbar suplexs Recon onto the railing.
Crowbar hits a slingshot splash from the ring over the top onto Recon on the railing. Crowbar heads to the top rope, but LeGreca crotches Crowbar thanks to Recon distracting the referee. Recon plants Crowbar with a Pedigree, but Crowbar kicks out at two causing Recon to flip out. Recon punches Crowbar several times dropping Crowbar to the mat. Crowbar gets out of a full nelson and rolls Recon up to win the match.
After the match, Crowbar grabs a microphone and says that there isn’t a 31-year veteran who can compete at the level that he does. Crowbar says he doesn’t like Recon and likes LeGreca even less. However, Crowbar puts over Recon for putting on a good fight. Crowbar wants to shake Recon’s hand. Recon accepts, and they hug. However, Recon knee lifts Crowbar followed by a right hand. Recon pummels Crowbar. The lights go out briefly, and shoves Vanessa. LeGreca holds Vanessa as Recon continues to punish Crowbar. Recon grabs a piece of guard railing and a chair. Recon sets the railing up in the ring laying the railing over the bottom rope and chair. Recon tries for a powerbomb, but Crowbar fights free. Recon slams Crowbar onto the railing and stands tall while Vanessa checks on Crowbar. Crowbar recovers and challenges Recon to a no holds barred match. (***. There wasn’t much of a down period during the match, and it held my interest throughout. I enjoyed the brawling and overall style of the match. Crowbar hasn’t lost a step and still performs his trademark moves. I like Recon’s look; his heel work was effective in the match. Considering the aftermath, this feud looks to be focusing on respect.)
Match #2: Crowbar vs. Rick Recon — ISPW Living In The Now — 3/24/2023
They lock up, and Recon backs Crowbar into a corner but backs off. Crowbar shoulder blocks Recon and gets a one count after a snapmare. Recon bails to the floor to regroup. Recon returns to deliver uppercuts. Crowbar comes back with an inside cradle and delivers several kicks to the ribs. Recon eye rakes Crowbar and yanks Crowbar to the mat. Recon shoulder rams Crowbar in the corner several times. Crowbar pulls Recon to the floor, where they brawl for a moment, but the fancam footage is too far away to see what’s going on. Crowbar pummels Recon in the corner with several strikes. Crowbar elbows Recon in the corner but is met with a powerslam for a two count. Recon punches Crowbar against the ropes and delivers several overhand chops to the chest for a near fall. Recon tries for a cover, but Crowbar kicks out at two. They trade several forearm shots, but Crowbar stops Recon with a sleeper. Recon reaches the ropes to break the hold.
Recon sends Crowar into the ropes and splashes onto Crowbar’s back for a two count. Recon hits a fisherman suplex for a near fall. Recon elbow drops Crowbar followed by a knee drop and leg drop for a two count. They begin to trade chops in the middle of the ring and continue with uppercuts. Recon knee lifts Crowbar leading to a near fall. Recon misses a middle-rope elbow drop. Crowbar nails Recon with a running dropkick. Crowbar clotheslines Recon and chokes Recon over the bottom rope. Crowbar delivers a leg drop on the apron over the bottom rope for a near fall. Recon accidentally superkicks the referee after Crowbar ducks out of the way. Crowbar takes Recon over with a German suplex, and they brawl on the floor.
Crowbar tries to revive the referee, but Recon grabs a chair from the floor. Crowbar avoids a chair shot, and monkey flips Recon over. Crowbar jabs Recon with the chair, followed by a shot to the back. Crowbar hits a chair-assisted northern lights suplex for a two count. Crowbar continues with a swinging neckbreaker for a near fall. Crowbar elbow drops Recon several times for a near fall. Crowbar delivers a leg drop to Recon’s groin. Crowbar puts the chair onto Recon but fails to hit a moonsault; Recon has Crowbar on his shoulders and drives Crowbar down to the mat for a near fall. Crowbar nails Recon with a running baseball slide to send Recon into the railing.
Crowbar rolls Recon back into the ring, and they trade several strikes. Crowbar elbows Recon but runs into a Rock Bottom for a two count. Recon spears Crowbar and manages to get the three count. (**. I liked the first match better. They worked better in the brawling format and did more big spots in the first encounter. This felt like it lacked the intensity to follow up on the aftermath of the first battle. It’s not a bad match, but I was expecting more of a brawl similar to the first battle.)
Their next match would be contested inside a steel cage. This match got notable buzz on social media and grabbed my attention to check out the feud via clips. I’m pretty interested to see how the whole match plays out.
Match #3: Crowbar w/ Vanessa vs. Rick Recon w/ Dave LaGreca — Steel Cage Match — ISPW Rage In A Cage — 4/14/2023
On the floor, Crowbar grabs LaGeca allowing Recon to dropkick the cage door into Crowbar’s face. Recon sends Crowbar into the railing and chokes Crowbar briefly. Recon continues with chops against the railing. Crowbar drops Recon chest first over the railing to gain the advantage. Crowbar continues with strikes on the floor. Crowbar drops Recon over the railing chest first again. Crowbar tosses Recon face first into the cage and goes under the ring looking for something. Crowbar pulls out a piece of guard railing. Crowbar lays the railing over two chairs near the stage and forearms Recon several times. Recon is placed onto the railing and Crowbar leaps off the stage to hit a somersault dive onto the railing. Crowbar goes under the ring again and grabs a door, which is sent into the ring.
Crowbar pummels Recon with right hands on the floor and a chop. Crowbar sends Recon face first into the cage. LaGreca grabs Crowbar’s boot allowing Recon to gain the advantage. Recon suplexs Crowbar into the ring leading to a near fall. Recon uppercuts Crowbar and continues with right hands in the corner for a two count. Recon pummels Crowbar with right hands in the corner. Recon clotheslines Crowbar for a two count. Recon kicks Crowbar but runs into a spinebuster/elbow drop combo. Crowbar quickly locks in the modified surfboard but doesn’t get a submission. Crowbar leg drops Recon on the groin several times for a two count.
Crowbar presses Recon’s face into the steel cage and sets the door up in the corner. Crowbar stomps Recon in the corner and delivers a few elbow drops for a two count. Crowbar chops Recon against the ropes, followed by an uppercut. Recon counters a German suplex attempt with a low blow. Recon pummels Crowbar with a flurry of right hands on the mat. Recon continues to chop Crowbar in the corner for a near fall. Recon continues with a knee drop and puts a headlock on Crowbar. Recon decks Crowbar into the corner and looks to use the door in the corner. Recon uppercuts Crowbar several times in the corner. Crowbar blocks being sent into the door in the corner. Crowbar fires back with strikes, but Recon battles back. They trade strikes until Recon spears Crowbar through the door in the corner!
Recon slowly makes the cover, but Crowbar kicks out at two. Recon chokes Crowbar with the broken door. The referee removes the door from the ring, but Recon gets a chair and whacks Crowbar over the back. Recon jabs Crowbar several times in the midsection and several more chair shots over the back. Recon tries for a pedigree, but Crowbar backdrops Recon onto the chair. Crowbar catapults Recon face first into the cage. Crowbar proceeds to send Recon into the cage face first several times. Crowbar uses the chair on Recon. Crowbar hits a chair assisted northern lights suplex for a two count. Crowbar delivers a leg drop on the chair for a near fall. Crowbar mounts Recon and delivers a flurry of strikes.
Crowbar leaves the cage, goes under the ring to grab a table, and slides the table into the ring. LaGreca tries to stop Crowbar, but Vanessa back rakes LaGreca to stop his involvement. Crowbar sets the table up, but Recon whacks Crowbar over the back with a chair shot. Recon plants Crowbar with a Rock Bottom for a near fall. Recon hits a middle rope elbow drop onto the chair. Recon covers Crowbar for a two count. Recon goes to the top rope, but Crowbar crotches Recon on the top turnbuckle. Crowbar works over Recon with several strikes and kicks on the top turnbuckle. Recon falls to the apron and Crowbar has a chair. Crowbar smashes Recon in the face with the chair.
Crowbar continues with chair shots to the back as Recon lays over the table. Crowbar climbs to the top of the cage and leaps off to put Recon through the table! Crowbar makes the cover and pins Recon to win the match. (***1/2. A fun cage match with Crowbar pulling off some big spots. I can see the usage of weapons being a little silly, but we’re in an era where traditional cage matches tend not to go off with weapons involved.)
The final match of the feud takes place inside another cage but with tables, ladders, and chairs legally involved. It’s believed to be the first-ever match of its nature. It’s also the kind of stipulation I’d book in one of my notebooks during middle school because it’s something I’d never believe would happen. Well, it became a reality and is a match I’m quite looking forward to.
Match #4: Crowbar vs. Rick Recon – Steel Cage/TLC – ISPW April 28th, 2023
There are ladders laid on the top of the cage in two corners. They lock up and struggle to get an advantage. Crowbar rams Recon in the corner, followed by a headbutt. Crowbar rubs Recon’s face over the top rope and chokes Recon briefly. Crowbar uses the ropes to send Recon backward to the mat and stomps on Recon’s hand. Crowbar shoulder blocks Recon and misses an elbow drop. Recon uppercuts Crowbar in the corner and delivers a chop against the ropes several times. Crowbar chops Recon in the corner, but Recon counters with chops of his own. Crowbar sends Recon chest first into the corner and delivers a clothesline. Crowbar mounts Recon with right hands and delivers a kick to the midsection. Recon blocks being sent into the cage, but Crowbar keeps control with several strikes. Recon gains control with chops in the corner. Recon sends Crowbar face first into the cage several times leading to a near fall.
Recon pummels Crowbar with right hands on the mat and delivers a back elbow to keep Crowbar on the mat for a two count. Crowbar elbows Recon followed by several stomps and chops. Crowbar jabs Recon followed by a forearm strike. Recon drives Crowbar over his knee, but Recon plants Crowbar with a Rock Bottom for a near fall. Recon knee drops Crowbar and delivers a leg drop. Recon heads to the top of the cage trying to grab a chair, but Crowbar hits an electric chair slam to stop Recon. Crowbar leg drops Recon on the groin. Crowbar hip tosses Recon out of the corner and delivers several stomps in the corner. Crowbar forearms Recon and climbs the cage managing to grab the chair, which has been tied to the cage. Recon recovers to spear Crowbar and gets a two count.
Recon jabs Crowbar with the chair and delivers chair shots over the back to bring Crowbar to his knees. Recon whacks Crowbar over the back several times and demands Crowbar stay down. Crowbar finally crashes to the mat after several blows to the back. Recon chokes Crowbar with the chair in the corner. Recon keeps the advantage with a chop and heads to the top of the cage to retrieve a ladder. Recon rams the ladder into Crowbar’s midsection in the corner and continues with chops in the corner. Recon runs towards the corner, but Crowbar smashes Recon with the ladder. Crowbar leg drops a chair onto Recon’s face for a two count.
They are on their knees when Crowbar chops Recon and Recon doesn’t return a chop. Crowbar lays the ladder over the middle rope and backdrops Recon onto the ladder. Crowbar delivers several elbow drops leading to a two count. Crowbar lays a ladder over Recon’s back and pulls Recon’s arms through the ladder trying for a submission, but Recon doesn’t give in. Crowbar drops the ladder over Recon’s back and stomps on his hand. Crowbar leaves the cage, and Recon follows into the crowd. They brawl where Recon rams Crowbar face first onto a table. Recon chops Crowbar against the wall several times. Crowbar sends Recon into the wall and slams a ladder onto Recon’s back. Crowbar slams a second ladder onto Recon a few times.
Crowbar lays a piece of guard railing over two chairs. Crowbar hammers away on Recon and lays Recon onto the railing. Crowbar leaps off the railing, hitting a swanton bomb onto Recon, and both men are laid out on the floor in the crowd. Crowbar brings a table into the ring, and Recon follows. Recon slams the cage door into Crowbar’s face before entering the ring. Recon covers Crowbar, but only gets a two count. Recon climbs the cage and grabs another ladder tied to the cage. Recon sets the ladder up in the corner, but Crowbar catapults Recon into the ladder face first. Crowbar sends Recon into the ladder a second time. Crowbar jabs Recon with the chair and hits a northern lights suplex with the chair for a near fall.
Crowbar sets the table up and pulls Recon up to his feet. Crowbar hammers away on Recon with a few strikes. Crowbar pummels Recon against the ropes before laying Recon on the table. Crowbar is stopped in the corner, and Recon slams Crowbar to the mat. Recon plants Crowbar with a pedigree onto a chair. Recon lays Crowbar onto the table and climbs the ladder in the corner. Recon leaps off, and elbow drops Crowbar through the table for the win. (****. The best match of the series and comes at the end. They did several spots earlier in the series, but that doesn’t bother me as a viewer. I like the callbacks to previous matches. I could nitpick about leaving the cage, but the stipulation allowed it. There was never escape rules stipulation. Ideally, I’d like the cage to stay in the cage with the weapons, but they’re good at brawling, and it was fun to mix it up outside the cage.)
After the match, Recon finally respects Crowbar, and it looks like he’s turning face in ISPW.
I enjoyed watching these matches and am glad ISPW made it available through their YouTube channel. Crowbar continues to entertain and is one of the few remaining guys from both ECW and WCW that can provide good, entertaining matches. Recon is an up-and-comer, and I’m hopeful he’ll continue to make a splash on the Indies.
Thanks for reading.