Let me start by saying that it’s easy to be an ‘armchair booker’, especially when you’ve sat in on booking meetings for other companies. When it’s just you, playing fantasy booker, everything makes sense. So it would be easy for me to criticise for some of the decisions made on Sunday, but as I enjoyed the show I don’t wish to be harsh...let’s just begin shall we?
Rather than just bringing one child to the IPW show, I had all 3 kids plus my long suffering\non wrestling fan girlfriend along for the ride. I enjoy her comments on the shows that I drag her to as she is the polar opposite of an ‘indy fan-boy’. She has no idea who anyone is, or if they are famous, and just calls it how she sees it. I shall include her comments in brackets under the moniker of “non wrestling fan” as she can be quite insightful. Not often, but she can be.
We arrived late, for once, and only had a few minutes to chat to Jeremy Graves and Jon Briley from Progress Wrestling before the show started. We did manage to get a picture of Lion Kid, who is not everyone’s cup of tea but my kids like him so I won’t have anything bad said about him!
First up, Stixx was Dean Allmark. This match set the standard for the night, as it went outside (non wrestling fans view – why are they outside the ring, we can’t see what they’re doing?) and was very fast-paced. I have only seen Stixx once, at the Troxy show, and I’m not convinced that he’s as good as everyone else seems to think he is. He does nothing technically wrong, he just doesn’t do much for me. Allmark was excellent though, doing some good dives and taking a wicked slam on the floor near the end. Stixx got the win, which is a shame as I would have loved to have seen more of Allmark in the final match.
Due to an injury to his original opponent, Dave Mastiff faced T-Bone. I like T-Bone (non wrestling fans view – he has lovely eyes) as he plays the side-kick role very well (after the Spud vs Scurll brawl he harassed referee Chris Roberts for ages outside the ring, not many people would have noticed, or cared, but I like the fact that he carried on the angle) and Mastiff is fast becoming a UK version of Kevin Steen. His body should not be capable of doing what he does to it, and it’s gotta hurt himself and his opponent when he does that cannonball, and he’s super-over with the crowd. Mastiff pretty much squashed T-Bone here, which I was fine with.
The Hooligans vs Project Ego. This is where things went a bit weird. Ego are the number 1 contenders for the tag straps. They have got themselves over by being the funniest double act since Head Cheese and have lovely new ring gear. In the absence of the LDRS, the break-up of Haskins and Redman, and the lack of any real competition, IPW must be getting them ready to be the tag champs. So, the Hooligans were just there to make up the numbers, right? Nope, the Hooligans went over. Huh? What is this, non-logical TNA booking? Don’t get me wrong, I loved the Hooligans (non wrestling fans view- who are the guys in the pink, are they famous?) – I’ve seen Zebra Kid before and while his gimmick was daft (why a zebra, are they scary? Might as well call yourself ‘Giraffe Guy’) when I saw him wrestle Austin Aeries on a PWG show he won over the pro-Aeries crowd with his ring skills and character work. The Hooligans were a mix of Bushwhackers with the Steiners. Yes, short of licking each other’s faces they were Luke and Butch. But they were flying out of the ring left right and centre (note to people sitting in front of the hard-cam, move next time!) and got the upset victory. Ego destroyed them with their briefcase afterwards, but the damage was gone. Not sure where that leaves the tag belts now, Zack isn’t coming back anytime soon and Marty is busy with other stuff – it would have been best to strip them of their belts and give them to Travis and Kirby – now they have no contenders and no champions. Good work!
Match number 4, Marty Scurll vs The Rockstar Spud, I’ve talked about this feud in a previous column, so I’ll stick to what I saw in the ring – not out of it (wink, wink) – and it was an odd match to say the least. Lots of out of the ring brawling, Spud got tossed at our feet (literally) and Marty seemed really hacked off. The crowd had a heel element to it that abused Marty all throughout the match and he didn’t seem to know how to handle it. I took one of the kids to the toilet and heard the ref announce Marty had won – what? There was no build up, no heat, no shine, just a flash pin by Marty. Then the locker room emptied to break them up. Not the classic I was hoping for but they are building up the angle that they genuinely dis-like each other. To be fair, Marty wasn’t at the gimmick tables – and he has been at every other show I’ve seen him at – so they are working the angle good and proper or he genuinely had a strop-on...
Last match before the break, Tozawa vs Haskins, Mark is on a 3 year unbeaten streak in IPW, he drove Redman out of IPW and still had some fans despite doing nothing ‘face’ like at all. Tozawa was awesome and this match was the match of the night, (non wrestling fan comment – I didn’t like this match...) and I only wish it had gone on longer. The smart money was on Haskins going over the Japanese import who wouldn’t be there at the next show. But they put Tozawa over, really? Why have you built up Haskins to have him lose to someone that, unless they meet up on a Dragon Gate show, he will be unable to get his revenge against? Baffling, especially more so after results later on!
An awesome first half to the show, the 2nd half would have it’s work cut-out to equal it!
Intermission, I got to talk to James Dahmer of the London Riots about the continuing fall-out after the cancelled\re-scheduled FPW shows. But that’s another column for another day...
Next up, Rene Dupree and Terry Frazier. Now, as I dropped out of wrestling for a few years I haven’t seen Dupree before. Two things, firstly,he’s huge. Secondly, he either doesn’t know how to sell or just refused. He chopped the living crap out of Frazier. I haven’t seen chops that stiff since Super Dragon made Chris Bosh bleed 5 years ago! He looked like a total monster, imagine Batista with a gaelic twist, and when Terry hit him with his best moves Rene just ignored them and carried on the beating. And then he got pinned out of nowhere. What? You had Mark Haskins lose but Terry Frazier win? Yeah, that makes sense!
Magnus vs Sha Samuels was up next. Now, I don’t like Sha Samuels, I know he’s the heel and I’m supposed to hate him, but I think he’s an awful figurehead for the companyb(non wrestling fan comment – he doesn’t look like a wrestler) and his title run has been lacklustre. I would have had Lion Kid go over 6 months ago, the crowd were popping big for the near falls that night, because he doesn’t do any big moves and relies on outside interference (as he did here). He’s not a cool heel champion, no one really hates or loves him, he’s just there. Plus he shaved his beard off, schoolboy error! T-Bone ran in and attacked Magnus, the match was boring anyway so I wasn’t that fussed. Magnus looked good though, the kids met him afterwards and he was very friendly, I would have let Magnus win and defend the belt when he next came back to the UK, IPW have proven with the tag belts that they don’t apply the mythical “30 day rule” so why not? He might even wear it on TV in the US – give them a bit of international rub - but that’s the beauty of ‘fantasy booking’, who knows if Magnus wants to have to carry the belt through customs when he goes home!
So the final 4 man match (pins, submissions, over the top rope – a 4 man Rumble would have been fun) was Stixx, Mastiff, Marty and Tozawa. Stixx went down to an armbar in a few minutes, Mastiff followed after the ref allowed Stixx to attack him afterwards. That made no sense. But we got what we wanted, Tozawa vs Marty Scurll. And before it even started, it was over. Maybe they all had trains to catch, maybe the first half of the show over-ran, because they sure didn’t muck around and finished the 4 way match in about 10 minutes! Marty won, and then everyone looked around for the Spud run-in, which we got, and then Magnus and Tozawa (well Magnus actually, Tozawa just picked up Marty’s belts for fun!) made the save. Much shouting and posturing from Samuels, T-Bone and Spud to Marty, will Marty get the triple crown of titles? It wouldn’t be a bad call, in my opinion, have him and Zack drop the tag titles and have Zack challenge him for the Heavyweight title. They showed at Progress Wrestling how awesome a singles match between them could be, I’d gladly pay to watch a re-match.
So, a great first half, an average second half, baffling booking, non selling monster imports (well, one of them – Tozawa sold!) and the announcement that Johnny Gargano and Jerry Lynn will be over later on in 2012. Despite my criticisms, it was a great evening – just get the belt off Sha Samuels, please Andy?
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