Rotten Rewatch #2

Dan Rice
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The response to the inaugural Rotten Rewatch has been overwhelmingly positive! Well actually, I’m lying. I’m writing this before the first edition has even gone live on Violent People. Here’s hoping people liked it, though I’d settle for people reading it! We’re fast forwarding two months and three shows forward in the IWA Mid South catalog for this column. We find ourselves still nestled in the Derby Sports Arena and still with only the one camera. We will obviously still have whatever limitations that imposes, though outside of crowd brawling I don’t really mind it all that much. Also this event has commentary which should help fill in any knowledge gaps I have. Let’s get into it!


IWA Mid-South Happy Helladays

12/26/1996

Derby Sports Arena – Louisville Kentucky

On commentary we have Ian Rotten, Gator McAllister(Rollin Hard,) and Tommy Succop.  Ian Rotten on commentary should be something!

IWA Mid-South Light Heavyweight Title Match: Tarek The Great vs Wild Child

Former Light Heavyweight Champ, American Kickboxer is the special guest referee.

Tarek and Kickboxer had some great matches. That’s some of the first IWA Mid South matches I saw on a vhs comp tape, back in the day. 

Wild Child immediately goes for a bunch of pinning combinations, as is the nineties light heavyweight way. Tarek takes over, misses a split legged moonsault and then crotched himself getting back in the ring. We’re off to a great start, folks! Ok actually, Tarek hits a sweet slingshot northern lights suplex. 

This commentary is killing me. Here’s a couple Ian Rotten quotes:

“Are you sure you two have penises in your pants?”

“Tarek looks like he could be one of them Middle Eastern terrorists.”

“Speaking of throwing up, how’s your girlfriend?”

American Kickboxer as referee sells everything like Mark Curtis mach 10. Every high impact move has him jumping as high as humanly possible into the air. 

Wild Child sets up a chair to jump to the outside, but the video cuts off and skips ahead so we don’t get to see it. I’m cracking up. The finish is a sick powerbomb off the top though. 

Pretty basic mid nineties junior heavyweight match, but with real stiff strikes for Tarek and a cool finish.

WATCH

Tracy Smothers vs. Ian Rotten

“Does Tracy think he gets paid by the minute?” – Ian Rotten

That’s the story of this match. Tracy just keeps running away repeatedly and refusing to wrestle Ian. Ian is on commentary for his own match here, by the way. He’s actually pretty self deprecating about it. 

Once they get started it goes hard and fast though. Ian hits a running corner drop kick that would give Danielson a run for his money.

Tracy takes most of the match at this point. After several near falls Ian Rotten takes over with a big T-bone suplex. Follows up with a Vader bomb and a northern lights suplex for the pin

“YOU ACTUALLY DID A BRIDGE”

WATCH but I definitely expected better. 

Superkick Match: Sean Casey vs. Chris Comet

This is a super kick match. What is that? I don’t know and the guy booking it seems to barely know. He says they both do super kicks and are in IWA.

After a few minutes of confusion by the announcers and the referee it’s determined the only way to win is with a super kick and a 1-2-3. 

In a match where only a superkick can get you the win these two do every kick in the book. They also continue to go for pin attempts off non superkick moves and the referee counts them. 

OH MY GOD. Finally Comet goes for the first superkick of the match. Sean Casey moves out the way and hits a superkick of his own for the immediate win. No pin needed. I don’t know man. Wait Casey goes for the cover and they count the pin after the match was already called off. Good. Great. Makes sense.

Why have a stipulation if literally no one understands or follows the rules SKIP

Bull Pain vs. Tommy Rich

Tommy Rich rules. Bull Pain rules. This should rule. A friend of my grandpa growing up looked identical to Bull Pain. He used to always give me a huge stack of quarters to play pool and Pac-Man at the Eagles. Then one time I saw him break a beer bottle over a dude’s head over a game of darts at 2pm on a Wednesday. What I’m saying is I’m pulling for Bull Pain in this one. 

This starts in progress, but doesn’t seem to have been going on too long. Sadly it goes into crowd brawling I can’t see pretty quickly. Bull gets busted open and they’re back in the ring. Tommy hits Bull with a gnarly double axe hammer smash and follows it up with a piledriver. Bull is only saved by the ropes.

Tommy works over the cut on Bulls head for quite a while, and it’s great. Punches, elbows, clotheslines etc. Bull ducks a clothes line and they go outside. Bull takes over, but again you can’t see it. Feels like a sentiment that’s going to be common on these early IWA Mid South shows.  Even the commentators mention their video coverage sucks as I’m typing this. 

Bull is in control and hits a Bull Splash for a big two count. Billy the P distracts Bull and the referee after this, giving Tommy time to grab a chair. Tommy just starts destroying Bull arm with the chair. Lots of great looking chair shots and dives with the chair all to Bulls arm. After a couple minutes of this the referee calls for the bell. Why? I don’t know and neither does the Booker of the show on commentary. It’s no DQ and Bull doesn’t appear to have given up. What. An. Ending.

This was honestly the toughest match to make a decision on in the illustrious history of this column. The stuff you see is amazing, but between joining and progress and crowd brawling there’s plenty you don’t see. Plus, theending was so bad. This breaks my heart, but SKIP

The Rough Riders vs. Gator McAlister & Ox Harley

Gator immediately turns on Ox and it becomes a three on one beat down. Well, four on one if you count Bill the P who’s there’s too. They set up two chairs and give Ox a shield style triple powerbomb onto the back of the chairs and it’s NASTY.

This doesn’t really count as a match, but WATCH

Ricky Morton vs. Doug Gilbert

Our announcers strangely start out this one making fun of the Memphis wrestling style. Referring to the punch as a “Memphis highspots” and “punch, punch, kick, kick, punch.” Which one is an awesome match layout and two describes a ton of IWA Mid South matches.

Morton is the heel here and takes practically the whole match save the last 60 seconds. In this 60 seconds Gilbert makes a comeback, goes for a pin off a bulldog which is stopped by a Tracy Smothers distraction. During this Morton gets the chain and hits a punch for the win. What a hilarious finish to have for a match where the announcers insult Memphis wrestling.

Another heartbreaking SKIP there’s really just nothing interesting here sadly.

Four Corners of Pain Death Match: Mad Man Pondo vs. The Beast

I have zero idea who The Beast is, but he looks like a mini Abdullah the Butcher. The ring is covered with Christmas ornaments. Gross. This quickly goes outside and we see nothing, but the back of some peoples heads. There is a cool moment where apparently The Beast is on a table on the outside. We see Pondo dive to the outside, but have no idea if he lands at all. They roll back inside and The Beast stops Pondo’s momentum with a thumb to the eye and then a DDT to the Christmas bulbs. Pondo gets control and kills The Beast with a rocker dropper on the edge of a chair. Finish is The Beast seated on a chair and Pondo hitting a senton onto him. It’s jarring seeing Pondo so mobile.

This is a WATCH just for the finishing stretch. 

Handcuff Match: Tommy Rich, Tracey Smothers & Ricky Morton vs. Ian Rotten, Doug Gilbert & Mad Man Pondo

It’s Team IWA VS Team USWA

Apparently a handcuff match is similar to a war games match in structure. All members of the teams except two will be handcuffed. The team with the advantage(Team USWA) will unlock a member after five minutes to make it two on one. Every two minutes an alternative person is uncuffed. 

Here’s where it gets stupid. After this happens the object of the match is to handcuff your opponents. Once every member of a team is handcuffed again the opposing team wins. 

I don’t have high hopes for this one. 

Oh also Pondo isn’t out here so I think the match listing may have spoiled that…

It begins as expected with a lot of mic work and stalling. 

The action starts out as Doug Gilbert vs Tracy Smother and it rocks. Just a bunch of punches, low blows and a piledriver. I guess the five minute countdown started during the talking and stalling because this is quickly a two on one match. 

Once it’s three on two Pondo comes in for the save, but not really because he respects the rules so Pondo comes running out to handcuff himself! This is so stupid. Like there’s a lot of stuff chair shots and punches in between just one of the dumbest ideas in the history of wrestling. Think of the ground that covers.

“Why is Tommy Rich back in handcuffs? That’s the object of the match.”

Doug Gilbert is the last person not handcuffed so Team IWA wins.

For the love of God please SKIP this match. What could have been a great six man tag match is marred by convoluted rules and an anticlimactic ending. 

This is a show full of all timers and it’s just nothing. A slightly above par junior match and a fun beat down are not reason enough to revisit this event. 

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dan-r


Host of Violent Volumes, co-host of Talking Tourneys, and all around violent person.