Quebrada Pro Wrestling, Puroresu, & Mixed Martial Arts Reviews by Mike Lorefice

IWA Mid-South "King of the Deathmatches 2004"
Oolitic, IN 6/25-6/26/2004

Night One (6/25/04)

1, 30/1. Delirious & Matt Sydal [x] vs Danny Daniels & B.J. Whitmer [o] (19:25) pinfall (unison powerbomb / diving neckbreaker drop)
A rather odd choice to open a deathmatch show with a twenty minute traditional tag team match. The principals were inoffensive but for Matt Sydal, who botched virtually his entire moveset save for some nifty mat work at the very beginning and - ironically - a Dragon Rana. The back-and-forth feeling out minutes predictably wore into Delirious getting gang-banged for six straight minutes (six hundred minutes if you factor in how the stretch actually felt). Once Sydal at long sodding last gets the hot tag and promptly botches everything, Daizee Haze involves herself with the match. Directly in front of the referee, she dismisses Daniels from the action with her Daizee Cutter finisher and gives Whitmer a top rope frankensteiner to set up Delirious' Shadows Over Hell. None of this, by the way, lead to a disqualification of the faces even though commentary made sure to open the show by delineating that IWA Mid-South is part of the National Wrestling Alliance and has count outs and DQs. With the faces thus in control, some sensationally ugly, amateur confusion between everyone leads to an anticlimax friendly fire kick on Delirious. When Sydal soon gets in trouble, Delirious refuses to be tagged in and goes after Haze while Whitmer & Daniels get the victory. Unnecessary, amateurish booking, staid formulae and a very poor performance from Sydal ensures this one will not be preserved in the Library of Congress any time soon. *

2, 30/1. C.M. Punk [o] vs Ray Gordy [x] (14:02) cradle
Yes, Ray Gordy is actually the son of former Freebird, Triple Crown champion and drug addict Terry Gordy. If he ever winds up in New Japan, they will assuredly make him wrestle under his real name of Terry Gordy Jr.

Textbook midcard encounter. Today a babyface, Punk controls first, then loses momentum when he brutally botches his turning cross-body attack. Whatever the spot was supposed to be we'll never know, because they proceed as if nothing wrong happened. Gordy dominates his stretch with power fighting and submissions - including a nifty back-roll guillotine choke. The reciprocating finishing phase opens with Punk pulling his knees to block a senton atomico. They trade nearfalls and Gordy kicks out of the Shining Wizard. When Punk attempts a top rope frankensteiner, Gordy rolls through and they trade cradles and flash pins until Punk wins with one. Gordy was a little sloppy but Punk did a good job of carrying him. There isn't much to take out of this, but it was a fine little pretention-free routine that'd be declared a match of the year candidate had it been on Raw. Gordy likely wouldn't look like much of a prospect if C.M. Punk hadn't been in the ring with him. **

3, 30/1. Chris Hero [o] vs Arik Cannon [x] (23:33) standing Hangman's Clutch
In a forum where mechnical - even half-hearted - cookie-cutter routine is the unfortunate norm, it is a joy when performers actively seek to smash up those dreary structures and strictures and actually do something different. What may be worse than the routine, though, is when the alternative attempts fall flat on their faces. Hero and Cannon had a genuinely interesting concept. Essentially, they wanted to weave '90s All Japan oudou in and out of '80s World of Sport-style British wrestling, even going so far as to eschew entirely the "you carry, I'll carry" match format. In fact, there was no real, traditional sustained stretch of control as - especially in the first half - all action was a pendular series of British grappling sequences punctuated by stiff strike trades. Cannon attempted to get traditional control with a stretch of submission attempts, but Hero would power out and go back to striking. This, of course, lead to a clear problem: there was no dramatic arc whatsoever. While they began with the interesting Euro-oudou concept, instead of exploring this idea and developing it in such a way that would lead to an acceleration of action, by the end the match collapsed into a random series of two guys just doing stuff at each other. Even worse, the sequences were flat, vacuously slow to develop and asynchronous to the point where it seemed a certainty that they were just trying to drag out time en route to a 30-minute draw. So, while this match in total must be marked a failure, if these two can sit down and really focus on the good ideas they had and work to implement them within a real plot, we could see the development of a fascinating progression in pro-wrestling match structure. **

4. Round 1 - Barbed Wire Boards: Homicide [x] vs Lowlife Louie [o] (12:00) pinfall (Exploder into barbed wire board from B.J. Whitmer)
This was actually a decent, well worked little match until the finish. A fast lucha start soon leads to Homicide sending Louie face first into a barbed wire board with a drop toe hold. Homicide follows by violently, psychotically stabbing Louie's head and arm with a fork. Louie manages a momentum swing by blocking a piledriver and uses Homicide's own fork against him. When Homicide attempts a tornado DDT, Louie throws him off directly into the second barbed wire board and adds a Death Valley Bomb for a nearfall. Homicide comes back and trips him into the board for an STF with barbed wire. Then, because Homicide did not want to work multiple deathmatches, things get weird: we get a ref bump. They trade nearfalls with no one to count, then B.J. Whitmer saunters into the ring and gives Homicide an Exploder through a barbed wire board. The referee counts Earl Hebner larghetto style, Louie moves on, Homicide is pissed, and a brawl commences to set up Hero & Homicide taking on Whitmer & Gordy next evening. Retarded finish aside, this was smooth action with the deathmatch spots being both creative and delightfully sickening. Homicide did an excellent job carrying a non-talent. **

5. Round 1 - Barbed Wire Boards: Ryan Boz [o] vs Smokey C [x] (6:00) pinfall (nadare-shiki Northern Light Suplex through barbed wire board)
Prazak: "Smokey C was recommended by Mad Man Pondo..."
Punk: "What, does he owe Pondo money or something?"

Absolutely hilarious. Boz completely dominates the 80-pound backyarder to such a degree that Smokey C's sole moment of offense was a botched moonsault that dropped him on his own face. In response, Boz fully throws him like a javelin head first through a barbed wire board. After a lunchbox attack, Boz sets up another board on four chairs for the finish. A couple of "fuck you" headbutts later after Smokey lost his balance on the top rope, Boz crushes him to end this farce. Dave Prazak and C.M. Punk's riffing on Smokey C alone makes this a show highlight. n/r

6. Round 1 - Thumbtacks: Manslaughter [o] vs Trik Davis [x] (2:24) pinfall (neck-hanging powerbomb)
"Trik's a douche for doing this" --C.M. Punk
The tournament has had some no-shows so Trik Davis of all people volunteered to fill in. This is his first deathmatch, and he assures the fans it is also his last. He gets a hug from Dave Prazak and we're off. Manslaughter lays in some chops and adds a body attack. Trik tries to come back off the top with a cravate suplex and gets thrown into a pile of thumbtacks one minute in. After Trik gets a brief stint of double stomp-based offense, Manslaughter grabs him for the Yetay Bomb in the tacks and th-th-th-that's all folks. Unfortunately, this was too short for Punk to bring out his best material. n/r

7. Round 1 - Four Corners of Pain: Tank [o] vs Deranged [x] (11:09) pinfall (running somersault body attack through lighttube board)
"Many fans get a souvenir as a thumbtack goes directly into their eye and/or mouth" --C.M. Punk
If large, fat, bald white guys bleeding on each other is for you a sexual prerogative, then this match will make you wetter than monsoon season. On the floor on each side of the ring are framed wooden boards: one contains thumbtacks, one mousetraps, one barbed wire and one completely covered in fluorescent lighttubes. The Tor Johnson-esque twain utilise with gusto all except the mousetrap board - Deranged had set them all off accidentally before anything crowd-pleasingly disgusting could be done with them. Not willing to settle merely for thumbtacks and barbed wire, Tank produces his own personal hand sickle, going beyond Mr. Pogo to not just saw Deranged's forehead into a bloody mess, but also his mouth and groin. Though he gets checked self-exaggeratingly into the barbed wire board, Tank puts the exclamation point on the match by covering his opponent in a corner with the lighttube board and applying his full weight at speed to create a breathtaking burst of exploding glass. What was actually more shocking than any of the garbage spots was the fact that at one point Tank used an STO and Deranged, a moonsault. As is often the case with matches of this type, it can't be declared a rousing success in the medium of professional wrestling art, but at the same time they accomplished exactly what they wanted to do and brought quality entertainment to those who would be entertained by such a thing. **

8. Round 1 - Fans Bring the Weapons: Ian Rotten [o] vs Nate Webb [x] (7:58) pinfall (vertical drop brainbuster into lighttubes)
"The Great Muta is rolling over in his Cadillac somewhere" --C.M. Punk
They told the fans to bring the weapons, and bring them they did. Ian and Nate thus structured their match around hitting each other with said weapons and very little else. We're treated to pizza cutters and cheese graters into foreheads, watercoolers lashed to sticks, lighttube-coated hockey sticks, NES consoles covered in thumbtacks and just for the hell of it, a VCR flung at Nate's head. For good measure, Ian lays in some stiff punches and headbutts. Nate had quit deathmatch wrestling but filled in due to a no-show so in essence this was just a spurt of nonsense thrown together at the last second.

9. Round 1 - 2/3 Glass Log Cabins: Corporal Robinson [o] vs Dysfunction [x] (7:41) Boot Camp Bitch (2-1)
"Already off to a bad start, Corp takes his shirt off..." --C.M. Punk
Corp dominates the early minutes but Dysfunction blocks his finisher and hits a Death Valley Bomb into the glass for the first fall, then enters his own stretch of domination. He stupidly attempts a pinfall after a diving guillotine drop with a chair. The rest of the match was all Corp, who looked pretty good for an indy deathmatch guy. Dysfunction didn't really get to do a whole hell of a lot beyond the leg drop to the point where the result seemed like a foregone conclusion. Neither guy did anything horrendously wrong, but the match type does not lend itself well to dense or particularly psychotic action. *

10. Round 1 - Fans Bring the Weapons: Mad Man Pondo [o] vs J.C. Bailey [x] (11:22) pinfall (suplex off bleachers through a bunch of chairs and lighttubes)
"Big Japan isn't in Oklahoma, in case anyone at home was wondering" --C.M. Punk
An extremely slow, jockeying start eventually explodes into Bailey hitting a nice tope suicida with a lighttube. Thence, it's time to hit each other with random crap. Pondo hits a 2nd rope piledriver through an ironing board festooned with lighttubes and Christmas lights, a Fire Thunder into a big bushel of tubes that do not break, and a flying attack with Castle Greyskull. The remaining three minutes of the match are devoted to Pondo assembling a massive construction of chairs and tubes and suplexing Bailey through it for the victory. Afterwards, Toby Klein runs to the ring, staples paper to Pondo's face then sets it on fire, presumably to allow Bailey to advance despite doing the job. In total, this was nothing more than cheap backyarder crap done at a very poor pace.

11. Round 1 - Fans Bring the Weapons: Necro Butcher [x] vs Toby Klein [o] (16:52) pinfall (Death Valley Bomb on to chair)
"You just witnessed the greatest deathmatch in IWA history" --Ian Rotten
While some may view this as an apotheosis of garbage wrestling (if such a thing were even possible), idiomatically this was far from such stupidity as Mad Man Pondo and others slopped together earlier on the show. They were crazy, masochistic, irresponsible - all the things that would go into backyarder trash, yes - but they fought. It was a toe-to-toe epic bloody battle, not a floor show of hitting-each-other-with-crap-the-marks-brought. If anything, Necro and Toby pulled off a 21st century upgrade of the near-mythical original King of the Death Match encounter between Dory Funk Sr. and Iron Mike DiBiase. Reports vary as much as any legend, but one thing is certain: Dory and Iron Mike brawled all over the building in anything goes madness that resulted in both men literally hospitalising each other. Instead of breaking beer bottles over each other's heads (as Terry Funk reported his father and Iron Mike doing), Necro threw an old fashioned tube computer monitor directly at Toby's head, Toby used a Liger Bomb off the bleachers directly to the hard floor, Necro countered a sunset bomb from the apron with a frankensteiner and later did a tope con giro over the ring post, all amidst a firm foundation of full strength punches and headbutts. Indeed, their striking was more shocking than any lighttube attack: these guys genuinely destroyed each other for virtually no money and the entertainment of 197 fans.

The only real - and slight - issue was for the second time in the evening, a deathmatch ended with a ref bump. Necro breaks momentum with a reversed hammer throw directly into his Asiatic Spike submission finisher. Toby attempts to break the hold with lighttube attacks, but Necro bravely holds on, eliciting a very worthy roar of approval from the crowd. Toby finally shoves backwards into a corner full of lighttubes, but the referee happens to be in the way. Necro still holds on to the Spike and Toby taps, but with no ref it doesn't matter. He rolls up Necro, but no ref. They blast away stiffer-than-UFC punches from their knees, Toby eventually clobbers him with a chair and hits the Death Valley Bomb directly on to one and the revived referee counts Hebner-style. Old school good ole boy Ian Rotten probably thought this heightened the drama, but it was just pointless. They could have done the finish exactly without the referee going down and it would have looked even more epic.

In any event, though this would never get any kind of Match of the Year consideration due to the prepondering sensibilities of fans and analysts who would decry this as "not actually wrestling," I would demand those with such opinions contrast and compare this with other famous, well-heralded brawls over wrestling history. The idiom these two worked in wasn't entirely different from Bret Hart and Steve Austin's submission match or the various Fights Without Honor ROH has done over the years. You see, the key difference that must be reiterated that separates this match from other so-called "garbage matches" (which were in fact the majority of the other first round tournament matches) is its organicism. You genuinely felt like Necro and Toby wanted to beat each other. It wasn't torn from the "correct" - as some would have you believe - script of professional wrestling match construction, but it was still a real match. Indeed, the shocking brutality made this more real than most, and belongs in a special section of the annals of wrestling history for it. ****

Night Two (6/26/04)

1, 30/1. MsChif [o] vs Mickie Knuckles [x] vs Daizee Haze (4:28) pinfall (Desecrator)
Fairly reasonable implementation of a poor concept with the Haze carrying the other two. Mickie was stiff and MsChif interesting, but Daizee was far and away the genuine prospect. Not much to go on in under five minutes, but the action was mistake free and very athletic on Daizee's part. For the finish, Delirious saunters on down and distracts Daizee. MsChif simultaneously blows mist in Daizee's face while using her finisher on Mickie. Quite irrelevent beyond hinting at varying levels of potential. Thankfully, these ladies are allowed more time and less silliness elsewhere on the independents. *

2, 30/1. IWA Mid-South Light Heavyweight Title: Matt Sydal [x] vs Delirious [o] (15:46) pinfall (Chemical Imbalance II)
Despite being champion, Sydal is in the babyface underdog role, getting bullied pillar to post by the newly turned Delirious. Sydal is wrestling with a broken wrist, so Delirious mercilessly goes after that obvious target, supplementing this most basic of strategies with heel affectations. Such tomfoolery doesn't exactly suit Delirious, but he's a good enough performer to make it work well enough. The real problem here is that Sydal had very nearly a jobber role, earning just one stretch of control for slightly more than a minute at the two-thirds point. The reciprocating, finisher-trading climax was sloppy and disjointed, highlighted by both men horribly botching a reverse frankensteiner. The match culminated lamely with Delirious hitting his finisher with zero fanfare seconds after Matt had smoothly countered the very same move into a rolling pin. While certainly not a major title by any stretch of anyone's imagination, you'd still like to see a new champion crowned with a real story, not a five minute indy sprint prefaced by a dreary, one sided slog. Delirious' ten minutes of work on Matt's wrist didn't even factor into the finish! **

3, 45/1. Chris Hero & Homicide [o] vs B.J. Whitmer & Ray Gordy [x] (14:22) pinfall (Copkiller)
A brainless but spirited lucha-inspired blitz of an opening soon segues into Hero brutalising Gordy's arm. His assault is quite harsh, featuring a backbreaker with the arm hammerlocked and a double stomp directly to the appendage. When Homicide tags in a couple minutes later, he ignores this battery completely and the dangerously flaccid Gordy follows his lead and sells none of the damage. Indeed, it would be a blessing were this the only malfeasance on Gordy's part, but alas: he is flat-out terrible in this match. His abysmal showing is a marvelous testament to C.M. Punk, who carried this barely-ambulatory sack of hammers to a reasonable performance the previous evening. The only thing he seemed comfortable with were chop trades, and even those were unrefined and ill-coordinated. Everything else was an utter mockery, punctuated with perhaps the world's worst-ever Tiger Suplex. Instead of his opponent going backwards into a bridge, Ray just sort of crumpled downwards as Homicide slid slowly across his face into what wasn't even a pin yet was counted as such. Now, this would be plenty entertaining in an Ed Wood sort of way if Gordy was all that was wrong, but yee gads no. Shattering all possibility of disbelief being suspended, it is not Gordy but actually Homicide - without any logical or identifiable rationality - who gets the honor of being cut off from his corner, with Gordy himself getting most of the dominating ring time! After Homicide acquires a random, magical explosion of fighting spirit, the "hot" finish is a trainwreck of badly conceived, dramatically incongruous lucha simultaneity, horribly mistimed thanks to Gordy having no clue and blunted even further by interference from Jim Fannin. Eventually, the drug addict's son gets dropped on his head to end this far sooner than the 45-minute time limit and the presence of Chris Hero threatened. For their parts, Japanese-trained Homicide and Whitmer pulled off the best and most crisp - albeit very brief - action. Hero was faster and less cravate-dependent than usual but his offense remained contrived and sloppy all while he showed no real eagerness to help his opponents shine. Not that anything could have helped Ray Gordy in this one. *

4. Quarterfinal - Staple Gun: Ryan Boz [x] vs Lowlife Louie [o] (6:01) 6 bills to 4
The final ever (no really, honest) King of the Deathmatches continues with a true product of undeniable genius: you do not win by pinfall, submission, knockout, stoppage, ring out or any other way but by stapling dollar bills to your opponent. Six, in fact, making this technically a best of eleven falls match. Hard as it is to believe, then, this match was predicated upon Boz and Louie stapling each other. Mouth, buttocks, legs, pendulous Louie-tits, you name it. In this intricately plotted, psychologically bottomless epic, Louie quickly goes up four bills to two, only for Boz to mount a comeback before taking the finish in the forehead with all the dramatic tension of a kindergarten safety demonstration. Most interesting to report was Lowlife Louie's selling: he responded to both elbow shots and an Exploder by rolling on the mat, twitching and screaming in agony as though he'd just been scissored in half by a hungry, swooping pterodactyl. Nevertheless, staples removed, entrails tucked back in and he's on to the semifinals.

5. Quarterfinal - Barbed Wire Ropes, Lighttubes, Lemon & Salt, Pool of Rubbing Alcohol: Ian Rotten [x] vs Corporal Robinson [o] (9:06) pinfall (Boot Camp Bitch into pool)
Here, we have barbed wire around the ropes, lighttubes taped to each corner and a plastic kiddie-pool filled with rubbing alcohol and topped with lighttubes and barbed wire on the floor. The neutral corners are also liberally attended by containers of kosher salt and lemons. They predicate the match mainly on stiff punches, with Ian adding some psychotically stiff headbutts. They go to and fro thusly in a reasonably standard pro-wrestling format. Corp withstands Ian's finisher and comes back to hit his Boot Camp Bitch into the pool of alcohol for the finish. This was pretty tame since whoever wins the tournament has to wrestle three matches in one night, but it was quite a bit more blood and guts than the previous match even with Corp keeping his shirt on. Ian was filling in for a no-show so Corp going over was once again fait accompli. *

6. Quarterfinal - Barbed Wire Ropes & Barbed Wire 2x4: Tank [o] vs Deranged [x] (5:37) pinfall (hip attack with lighttubes)
Manslaughter walked out so we get an angry, vulgar Ian Rotten promo and a repeat of round one. Having to slop something together at the last second, this was significantly worse than their previous evening's match. While last night was all-out violence within some kind of premeditated framework, this was more in line with the backyarder stupidity of Rotten-Webb and Pondo-Bailey - simply hitting each other with some crap. The hip attack finish was kind of fun, though.

7. Quarterfinal - Barbed Wire Ropes & Electrified Lighttubes: Toby Klein [o] vs J.C. Bailey [x] (7:01) pinfall (spinning Death Valley Bomb on to electrified lighttube board)
Sure enough, last night's Pondo-burning was indeed to get Bailey into the next round. Each man gets a roughly even stretch of getting fucked up before a "okay, time to go home now" finish. They demonstrated a bit more wrestling than many of the other tournament matches, but this was still strongly based on the mark-quartermastered properties department. J.C. gets dropped crotch-first on to a lighttube lashed to a parking cone then ensnared upside-down on the barbed wire ropes, Toby gets whipped with a bag of explosive snaps (which continue to go off through the remainder of the match) and scoured with a fork, both guys get punctured with an electric staple gun. As with the other quarterfinals, if this had been the only match Klein had to work, they could have gone longer and crazier. *

8. Semifinal - Fans Bring the Weapons: Corporal Robinson [o] vs Lowlife Louie [x] (4:48) pinfall (Boot Camp Bitch on to lighttubes)
Louie comes to ringside bearing a barbed wire dildo. Corp has not cleaned the previous match's blood from his face. Robinson dominates with the various silliness the fans brought, the sickest attack being a strike with a plastic bat coated with thumbtacks that drives at least fifty tacks directly into Louie's big bald dome. Louie tries to mount a comeback in the end with his dildo but Corp blocks, shoves the phallus into Louie's mouth and sends him to lighttube bootcamp. Corp is through to the finals and Louie has somehow earned the fans' respect. I guess zero offense and a fake penis shoved down your throat will do that.

9. Semifinal - Fans Bring the Weapons: Toby Klein [o] vs Tank [x] (4:40) submission (barbed wire to mouth)
Both guys juice richly and wander around using the fan-supplied plunder. Unlike the previous tournament matches, both manage some genuine pro-wrestling moves beyond the typical punches and headbutts. After dodging the lighttube hip attack, Toby wraps a free strand of barbed wire around Tank's mouth and pulls back until he taps. Our final is set and Tank gets a genuinely well-earned "please come back" chant. Like virtually every deathmatch on this show, had this not been part of a one-night tournament, these two could have produced something interesting - especially bearing in mind what both suggested in their first round matches.

10. Final - House of Pain (250+ Lighttubes): Corporal Robinson [o] vs Toby Klein [x] (13:50) referee stop (Boot Camp Bitch into ground Cobra Clutch)
The ring is fully enswathed with over 250 fluorescent lighttubes, not counting the added plunder throughout the arena. Looming over the proceedings yards from the ring is a grim, enormous cubic monolith of lighttubes mounted on chairs and situated at the foot of a balcony. The story is clear: Corporal Robinson lost in the finals of the 2000 tournament and performed worse and worse thereafter, being eliminated respectively in the semifinals, quarterfinals and first round in the next three editions. As this is the last ever King of the Deathmatches, this is the IWA lifer's final chance to capture that coveted crown. Throughout both shows, commentary has all but blown the finish with hyperbolic selling of this very theme.

They open with an epic duel of lighttube shots rather presaging the following year's chop duel between Kobashi Kenta and Sasaki Kensuke. Neither man backs down or falls down from fully three minutes of repeated head shots. Corp puts an exclamation point on the exchange by haughtily removing his shirt, to which Toby ups the match's erotic potentiality by reciprocating. Obviously, the pith of the match is a brawl towards the monolith. Along the way, plenty more tubes are broken in addition to hard punches and chair shots, our hero Corp taking a savage beating unquestionably for the sake of an epic comeback later.

Such a comeback begins on the balcony. They duel with chairs and tease suplexes, Toby eventually knocking Corp through the 95-lighttube strong structure. Making his way down to the floor, Toby covers but Corp kicks out at 2.9! Toby returns to the ring and piles up tubes while Crop cannot even get to his feet. He tries crawling on his hands and knees to the ring, eventually being retrieved by Toby, who promptly attempts his Death Valley Bomb finisher. Corp blocks, hits Boot Camp Bitch and, too weak to even attempt a cover, desperately holds on to the cobra clutch until Toby passes out and the ref calls the match.

Credit must be given for actually attempting a story, unlike every other deathmatch on this show, but this was hardly an epic. Corp did a great job of selling his desperation and destruction after the big spot off the balcony, but far too much of this was just guys getting hit with glass. As is the case with many wrestling matches in any style, this had a good beginning and good ending, but the connecting bulk between those two points was rather weak. The "last chance" storyline is especially eye-rolling in retrospect, since this tournament was the last King of the Deathmatches... until the next year. In fact, the tournament was contested every year after this until 2011!

Ultimately, though the effort in both work and storytelling was there and the fans went home happy, there is virtually nothing to take out of this beyond a deathmatch tournament interestingly ending with a ref stop finish. **

~ ~ ~

Of the twenty-one matches put on across these two nights, by my reckoning only ten of them were "real" pro-wrestling, and of those ten only three were from the fifteen match tournament. The non-tournament matches were flawed in various and sundry ways of both performance and booking, but none wonting in effort. In the tournament, Homicide carried his student Lowlife Louie into a match Louie would be wholly incapable of on his own, the tournament final had a well-delineated story and Tank & Deranged put on a notable display of violence, but nothing on the show - tournament or otherwise - could hold a candle to Necro Butcher versus Toby Klein, the lone diamond amidst creepy rural Indiana rough.

At the end of the day, watching this level of independent wrestling is less about asking "was this a great match?" (though obviously you'll take one if you get it) but more "who is a genuine prospect?" On this weekend of wrestling, the answers are obvious: Punk of course, but also Delirious, Necro, Whitmer, Homicide and Daizee Haze were far and away the standout performers you definitely want to see more of and hope they move on to bigger and better things. Not because they have "cool moves" but because they can carry a match even when their opponent has the talent of a half-deflated blow-up doll. So, though certainly these two shows were terrible with but a single match worth being extracted and preserved for the ages, scouting for real talent can make such as this worth watching.

Also of note is that Ian Rotten talked on the mic twice for a grand total of 18 minutes.


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