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20 Years On, IWA Mid-South May Have Its Best Roster Ever

It had been a while since I paid a visit to Southern Indiana’s legendary wrestling promotion, IWA Mid-South. I’m not big on blood and hardcore and deathmatches, a hallmark of IWA-MS, and truth be told, I decided to go tonight for one reason: OI4K. I’m a big fan of Jake and Dave Crist and their frequent companion Aaron Williams. All three have been regulars at IWA-MS for some time, and when I saw Dave Crist was scheduled to face another favorite in Shane Mercer, I decided it was time to go.

It was a trip worth taking.

The boys from Ohio delivered as they always do, but this was hardly a three man show. Every match on the card tonight delivered, from the opening bout between Desmond Xavier and A.J. Gray to the main event with Larry D. and John Wayne Murdoch. Top to bottom, this was the best wrestling show I’ve ever seen from IWA-Mid-South and one of the best independent shows I’ve ever witnessed.

 

Corey Storm and Myron Reed were two of the younger stars of IWA-MS who impressed in the early matches. Reed is a Louisville veteran with a ton of talent and charisma, and he took an action-packed three way match from Teddy King and Brett Havoc. Storm is just fifteen years old, but he looked like a a seasoned veteran in the ring with Jake Crist. He’s getting the education of a lifetime, working with veterans like Crist, and it’s very clear he has a bright future ahead.

Aaron Williams had a hard-hitting bout with Japanese star Shigehiro Irie. Despite his alliance with the hated manager The Rick, Williams had a strong following in the crowd. Ian Rotten stunned Williams and the crowd after the match by announcing that Williams will face Jessica Havok next week.

Two more members of OI4K, Zachary Wentz and Trey Miguel, had a show-stopping tag match against the Player’s Club, Mance Warner and Ray Waddell. Wentz is the current heavyweight champion at Rockstar Pro Wrestling in Dayton, and he and Miguel put on a clinic with Warner and Waddell.

Dave Crist vs. Shane Mercer followed the tag match and stole the show in every way possible. Mercer and Crist are two of the best kept secrets in the Midwest. Mercer is all power; Crist is a high-flyer. The crowd was electric for the entire match, and when Crist got the win, the fans leapt to their feet with a standing ovation.

As soon as the match was over, Dave Crist grabbed a microphone and told the fans they were witness to one of the best shows he had ever been a part of. Christ praised the fans for their dedication and heaped even more praise on the young stars of IWA Mid-South. “Ian Rotten has an incredible eye for talent,” he told the fans, and he encouraged everyone to, “Tell a friend, bring a friend, and make IWA Mid-South the best promotion in the Midwest!”

It would be a bold statement to say that the current incarnation of IWA Mid-South is the best ever. This is, after all, the promotion that helped launch the careers of superstars like CM Punk, Chris Hero, Daniel Bryan, and Seth Rollins. That said, it’s clear that something special is happening in Southern Indiana.

IWA Mid-South is in their 21st year. They are packing the Arena in Jeffersonville every Thursday night and the Memphis Flea Market (where Rotten says fans can see more of the hardcore action they are used to) every Saturday. That’s no small feat, running twice a week, and with Joey Ryan, Gary Jay, and Jessica Havok on the card for next week, it’s only getting better.

If you like great wrestling, I’d encourage you to check out IWA Mid-South Thursdays at the Arena. And if you like violence for violence’s sake, you won’t want to miss their Saturday shows (including this weekend’s King of the Crimson Mask show) in Memphis, Indiana.

Congratulations to Ian and the entire crew at IWA Mid-South. Thanks for an amazing night of wrestling.

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Best of 2016 with Aaron Williams

Aaron Williams calls himself the Baddest Man Alive, and he backs it up every night in the ring. He had a banner year in 2016 that saw him expand into new territories and even make an extra appearance on TNA. He has a shot at the IWA Mid-South Championship this week in Clarksville Indiana, and with the new vacancies atop the indy ranks (thanks to continued signings by the WWE), he’s one to watch in 2017. Here’s Aaron’s pick for one of his favorite matches in 2016:

“One thing I wanted for sure in 2016 (among a lot. But this one I got) was a match with Sami Callihan. Sami is a world class competitor, and he is truly one of the best in the world. Testing myself against him was something I needed just for me, I think. Sami and I have grown in the business together and although our careers have taken different paths. I’ve always believed I could hang with not only him but the best wrestlers in the world. This match was special to me. Even more so after Sami spoke after the match. The match may have gone different then how I wanted, but I proved something to myself that I hope people will see in the coming year. I’m far from done killing it, and the #PlanetWilliamsTakeover has just begun!”

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The End of IWA Mid-South?

15219367_10211256468433234_1316175058918177984_nWrestling has not been this hot in Louisville in decades.

While OVW rides a wave of enthusiasm fueled by their increasingly talented roster and their 900th TV taping, turmoil has erupted across the river.

Two years ago when I released Bluegrass Brawlers, I highlighted two Indiana promotions that, at the time, were running regular shows: the venerable IWA Mid-South, and Destination One Wrestling. Running monthly under former Ian Rotten student Rick Brady, D1W brought in some terrific talent including OI4K, Crazy Mary Dobson, the Indy Card Mafia, and Tracy Smothers. A series of unfortunate events forced D1W to go on permanent hiatus in 2015, and the promotion hasn’t been seen since.

That changed the night of the 20th anniversary show for IWA Mid-South, when Tracy Smothers faced IWA-MS Champion JJ Garrett with the title on the line. Smothers was on the ropes against the younger champ, but just when it seemed like Garrett had the match won, the lights went out and a man wearing a mask appeared on the apron. Garrett grabbed the guy and removed the mask to reveal “The Rick” Rick Brady!  The Rick’s sudden appearance gave Smothers the distraction he needed to hit Garrett with his stick and pin him. Once out of the ring, Tracy announced that the IWA title will now be known as the D1W title.

Over the next few weeks, The Rick promised that D1W was taking over and baited Ian Rotten into putting 50% of his company up vs. the chance to finally get his hands on The Rick for 5 minutes alone. Rotten took the bait and a six-man dog collar match was booked to settle the matter. Rotten selected Nick Depp, John Wayne Murdoch and JC Rotten to represent team IWA while  The Rick chose Mitch Ryder, Legendary Larry D and Derek Neal to represent team D1W.

The six men brawled all over the building on Thanksgiving night. During the closing minutes JC Rotten went down and grabbed his knee in pain. He fought his way back into the ring and was caught by Mitch Ryder and put into a figure four leglock. He immediately tapped. JC’s valet Tori entered the ring to check JC and was grabbed by Larry D. The fans were horrified, fearing for Tori’s safety, when Larry grabbed the girl in a huge hug! JC popped to his feet, revealing his knee injury to be a lie. He wasn’t hurt and he had just betrayed his father. The IWA locker room emptied out, but the D1W contingent beat them down in the ring.

Ian Rotten himself came off to chase away the D1W crew, but it was too late. The Rick now owns half of IWA Mid-South, and Ian and The Rick are now 50/50 partners.

I realize some of you Smarks reading this are rolling your eyes right now. “It’s all a work! You know Ian would never put up ownership in IWA!” That attitude is everything that is wrong with the IWC. Folks, this is old school. This is what packed gyms and arenas for decades before the WWE conquered the wrestling world, and guess what? It still works!

Right now, D1W/IWA Mid-South is as hot as they’ve ever been. They’re running twice a week on Thursdays in Clarksville, Indiana at Jammerz Rollerdrome and Saturdays in Memphis, Indiana at the Flea Market. Their fans are energized, and so too are the D1W fans who have missed their favorite promotion. The Rick is steamrolling IWA fans left and right on Facebook, and Tracy Smothers is proving (as he has over and over) that he’s one of the most underrated heels of any generation.

Will D1W take over, or will Ian save his beloved IWA Mid-South? Whatever happens next, the real winners are the fans enjoying a true old-fashioned blood feud!

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Kick Out at Two with Rachael Ellering

rachael_ellering_-_cionohlweaeycp4Die hard old school wrestling fans know the name Ellering. Paul Ellering is the Hall of Fame manager of one of the most devastating tag teams of all time, the Road Warriors. Current fans may know him as the mastermind behind NXT’s most devastating new force, the tag team known as Authors of Pain. He’s a legend in the business, and whenever he shows up, destruction follows.

But since this is No Men November on the Kick Out at Two Podcast, this week’s episode is not about Paul Ellering. It’s about Paul’s daughter, the second generation superstar making a name for herself in the independents, Rachael Ellering.

Rachael is an exciting young performer who is making her mark all across the country. She’ll be in the Louisville area this Thursday (Thanksgiving Night!) with IWA Mid-South, at NOVA Wrestling in Virginia on Friday, and WrestleCade this coming weekend.

Download the Kick Out at Two Podcast, and find out why Rachael calls herself the One in One in a Million!

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Spyder Nate Webb on Kick Out at Two

On the Halloween edition of the Kick Out at Two Podcast, Righteous Jesse and the gang welcome 17 year veteran Spyder Nate Webb to the show.

The Indianapolis native has worked with numerous promotions over the years including CZW, IWA Mid-South, and Ring of Honor.

“At the end of the podcast he basically cuts a promo on the fact that he has to go to court for being a good civilian,” says Righteous Jesse. “It’s amazing.”

Download and subscribe to the Kick Out at Two Podcast on iTunes and on Soundcloud!

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Twenty Years of Doing It by Their Rules

There’s nothing in the world like an “IWA Mid-South Rules” match. That’s because in an IWA Mid-South Rules match, there are no rules. There’s no disqualifications, and falls count anywhere. And if you see the action coming your way, grab your stuff and get OUT of the way.

IWA Mid-South has been doing it their way for a long, long time. They’ve seen dozens of would-be competition come and go in that time. They’ve been chased out of buildings and entire states. The haters can keep on hating because this Thursday, IWA Mid-South will celebrate its 20th anniversary.

Ian Rotten has booked a stellar line up in celebration of the milestone anniversary. There’s no flier online yet, but the line-up, care of IWA Mid South’s Facebook page, says all you need to know:

“Money” MATT CAGE vs “Knockout Artist” CHRIS HERO vs COLT “Boom Boom” CABANA

THE THREEJECTS (REED BENTLEY, JOHN WAYNE MURDOCH & NICK DEPP) & MARK WOLF take on TODD MORTON’s HANGMEN, DEREK NEAL & BULL PAIN

JJ GARRETT defends his IWA World Title against “The Wild Eyed Southern Boy” TRACY SMOTHERS

“Dangerous” DOUG GILBERT vs KONGO KONG

“Fight or Die” COLE RADRICK vs “Callihan Death Machine” SAMI CALLIHAN

4 WAY TAG MATCH: SAGE PHILIPS & TEDDY KING vs THE BROTHERHOOD (BROTHER REED & MICKEY MUSCLES) vs BOMB SHELTER (ZODIAK & JOSEPH SCHWARTZ) vs NVD (HY-ZAYA & SHANE MERCER)

RAM JAM vs ZACH GOWEN

LOSER LEAVES IWA: “Nasty” NATE CROSS w/ DAHLIA vs JC ROTTEN w/ TORI

20th ANNIVERSARY IWA RUMBLE! 2 competitors start, every minute another competitor enters the ring!

DIRTY DUTCH MANTEL is also scheduled to appear!

The show will be at Jammerz Roller Rink in Clarksville, Indiana on Thursday, October 6. First and second row seat holders get early admission at 5:30 PM for a Meet and Greet. Doors open at 6:45 with bell time at 7:30.

Tickets are $30 for first row, $25 for second row, $20 for general admission. Kids 13 and under are $15.

Contact Misty at BestMistyEVER@gmail.com to order tickets.

Congratulations to Ian and the amazing crew who have kept this Kentuckiana tradition going for two decades!

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Primus Primer: Cash Flo

14199677_1157799777631907_5163760381507081028_nToday’s Primus Primer comes once again from Righteous Jesse of the Kick Out at Two Podcast, who gives you a look at another dangerous veteran in the tournament, Cash Flo!

Cash Flo is walking into The Primus on September 9th with full intentions on winning the PWF championship. A man who has been in the business of professional wrestling since 1997. A man who cut his teeth in hardcore wrestling, Cash Flo is someone who should not be taken lightly.

I’ve seen PWF fliers that mention “Professor Cash Flo’s chop class.” I finally got to witness that in person earlier this year. It sounded like he was fully capable of causing someone’s chest to collapse.
With nearly 20 years of experience, Cash Flo is someone who is no stranger to championships.

Having held multiple IWA Mid South championships and the PWF tag team championships, I would say Cash Flo has a great chance at winning the Pro Wrestling Freedom championship September 9th.

Pro Wrestling Freedom presents The Primus, Friday night, September 9, in Jeffersonville, Indiana at The Arena. For show information and tickets, visit The Primus event page on Facebook

Follow and subscribe to Righteous Jesse and the Kick Out At Two gang on iTunes and Soundcloud

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Primus Primer: Hy Zaya

Over the next two weeks, Eat Sleep Wrestle will be spotlighting the competitors for Pro Wrestling Freedom’s upcoming show, The Primus. We begin today with Local fan favorite, Hy Zaya. 

There may not be a more independent wrestler in the country than Hy Zaya. At the end of 2015, Hy Zaya and his travel partner Shane Mercer had build a mini-territory for themselves, with three strong promotions booking them weekly. By the end of January, all three promotions were shut down.

Hy Zaya didn’t quit. He branched out. He made new contacts, connected to new promoters, and committed himself to learning a few new things, not the least of which is television.

Hy Zaya has become a break out star on the newly revamped OVW. He’s working heel in a few places after 18 solid years as a babyface. He’s imparting his own wisdom on the students at OVW, and he is still learning everything he can.

“One of the strangest things was learning not to post about the show after TV tapings,” he said. “I have to wait until Saturday to see how the show airs before I can say anything. The cool thing, though, is that on Saturday mornings, my Ninja Babies can wake up and see me on TV!”

In spite of his success at OVW, Hy Zaya considers himself a true free agent, freer than he’s ever been in the business. With no home promotion to tie him down, he’s able to go and work any place he wants. Everywhere he’s been, he’s left the fans begging for more.

Hy Zaya is one of twelve men vying for the new PWF championship at Pro Wrestling Freedom: Primus on Friday, September 9 in Jeffersonville, Indiana. He’s a strong favorite, given that PWF is in his backyard, but he knows he has his work cut out for him with his first round opponent, Jimmy Rave.

“I’m going to be watching a lot of Jimmy Rave video the next two weeks,” he says.

For event and ticket information, visit the PWF: The Primus page on Facebook.

Hy Zaya’s story can also be found in the book Eat Sleep Wrestle, available in paperback and on Kindle and Smashwords.

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What does it mean to be King of the Deathmatches?

13882399_909037079242294_2072948225721408746_nWhat would it mean to win IWA Mid-South’s King of the Deathmatch tournament?

I posed that question to several of this year’s competitors. Here’s what they had to say.

John Wayne Murdoch: “It would mean everything to me, I have worked so hard and put my body through so much. This is a must win moment for me.”

Reed Bentley: “King of the Deathmatch for me would be equal to winning the IWA World Title. I pride myself on being a hybrid wrestler, someone who can truly do it all and do it well. So I need to win that deathmatch title to prove I’m the best in a different way than I did when I won the IWA World Title three times.”

Rickey Shane Page: “There’s only one guy in history who has won Tournament of Death and King of the Deathmatches in the same year, and that’s Matt Tremont. I’m looking to make history. I’m looking to do the same thing.”

Dale Patricks: “Everyone who comes to see King of the Deathmatches will see a new champion crowned, and that’s me.”

Josh Crane: “There’s no place I’d rather be than IWA Mid-South with the people that love what I love: some of the best technical wrestling, some of the best strong style wrestling, some of the best hardcore wrestling in all the world… I’m coming home, my home. King of the Deathmatches. And I think this time, I’m going to take it home.”

Joseph Schwartz: “I’m here to make a point. I’m going to King of the Deathmatches, and I’m going to win, because my legacy is written in blood.”

Deadly Dale: “I’m going to come home with that bloody crown clenched in my first, and you people will remember who I am. You will remember Deadly Dale!”

Jeff Cannonball: “Everywhere I go, my peers they have one goal, but my goal was never their goal. My goal is death. My goal is to win King of the Deathmatches.”

Matt Tremont, two-time defending King of the Deathmatches: “King of the Deathmatches probably means a lot to a lot of people for various reasons. I now have won KOTDM twice: 2014 defeating Josh Crane in the finals and last year defeating John Wayne Murdoch in the finals. I was the first person ever to win back to back King of the Deathmatch tournaments. It means a lot to have my name on the history list and even more to do it twice. This Saturday I have the chance to make even more history by winning three years in a row. It was an overwhelming feeling in 2014, humbling in 2015, and it would be the same this year, as many don’t see it coming… It’s a prestigious tournament with a field of 16 this year, and I can’t wait for the violence.”

King of the Deathmatch begins August 6th at 3 PM at Pride bar + lounge, 504 State Street in New Albany, Indiana. Front row is already sold out, but seats are still available for $25. Email BestMistyEVER@gmail.com for ticket information.

Special thanks to Righteous Jesse of the Kick Out at Two Podcast for his assistance on this story!

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Chris Hero is on Kick Out At Two

When Righteous Jesse tells me who the weekly guest is on Kick Out at Two, I head to YouTube and look for the most recent match I can find featuring that guest. I want to give people the most up to date, relevant introduction possible to the many stars they feature.

Not this week.

This week their guest is one of the marquee names appearing at the Scenic City Invitational, Chris Hero. Hero has been around the world many times. He had a brief run in NXT as Cassius Ohno. He recently wrestled for more than three hours straight to raise money for ALS research.
But before all that, he wrestled CM Punk.

I’ve posted this before, but it’s worth watching again. And again. And again. This match is everything I love about indy wrestling: a wild an raucous crowd, and two young athletes who will do anything to make a name for themselves. It was voted the #1 match in IWA Mid-South history. This is Chris Hero and CM Punk: Tables and Ladders, in the building CM Punk once called the perfect place to host Wrestlemania.

Watch below, then go to iTunes or Soundcloud to download this week’s episode of Kick Out At Two.