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By Chris Vetter
Full disclosure: This DVD was sent to me to review.
International Wrestling Cartel, based in the Pittsburgh, Penn., area, held “November Pain 3” on Nov. 10, 2007. The crowd here is perhaps 350 – good for many promotions, but this is a bit smaller than usual for IWC. This venue is a gym, with a curtain cutting in the building in half. No problem with a low ceiling here! Multiple cameras record this show and lighting is good. IWC has perhaps the best commentary team going with Joe Dombrowski doing play-by-play and J. Worthington Farnsworth offering the heelish color commentary.
I love IWC. Promoter Norm Connors does a tremendous job of moving storylines from show to show, in a way that usually makes sense. Fans know to pay attention to small details, as they usually pay off later on. IWC also does a great job of mixing in the top nationwide indy talent against the best of the local wrestlers. Honestly, if I were a promoter, this is the sort of promotion I would want to run. So, with all that praise out of the way, let’s get to the show!
* Fabulous John McChesney walked to the ring, with his hair slicked back, and he wore dark sunglasses. Wow, he’s made an awesome transformation from beloved underdog to one of the most despised wrestlers going! The announcers talked about McChesney’s upcoming singles match against Low Ki. (They each have won once; this will be the tie-breaker.)
(1) Troy Lords defeats John McChesney via DQ at 2:13. They immediately traded punches. They rolled to the floor and traded chops, and Lords accidentally chopped the ring post. In the ring, McChesney missed a crossbody block and crashed to the mat. Lords hit a nice basement dropkick to the head, and he went for a top-rope flying headbutt, but McChesney got his knees up to block it. McChesney hit a Superkick for a nearfall. Lords flipped McChesney up in the air and hit a kick to the chest. Suddenly, Brent Albright entered the ring, and he hit Lords with a chair to the back, causing the DQ. The action was quick and good, so I’m disappointed the DQ came so quickly.
* Albright & Sebastian Dark beat up Troy Lords. Dennis Gregory strolled to ringside, and he got on the mic and berated Lords. “You don’t plan it right, you lose the war,” Gregory said. Hentai & Delirious ran to the ring and made the save as they all brawled. The announcers played up that Hentai and Lords don’t like each other, and wondered if they can trust one another. Intrigue…
* The cameras followed Hentai and Lords backstage. Hentai got on his cellphone and called someone (we don’t know who, but we’ll find out later.) Hentai told the person on the phone, “We’re out-numbered. We really need someone. Can you get to Pittsburgh?” Hentai smiled as he hung up the phone.
(2) Sara Del Rey defeats Daizee Haze at 10:20. This is the first EVER singles women’s match in IWC history! Del Rey was announced as the Shimmer champion, which I think is really classy of IWC to do. (I always approve of promotions acknowledging wrestlers’ achievements in other promotions, in a means of ‘getting the talent over.’) The crowd was HOT for this match, as the women tied up, but Del Rey easily shoved the smaller Haze to the mat. (How many times have I seen this match this year alone? It’s been a lot!) They traded mat holds, and Haze worked on the left wrist. J. Worthington Farnsworth was absolutely hilarious in his chauvinistic comments!
The women traded offense in a knucklelock, and Haze tried to slow her bigger opponent with a headlock. Haze tried a shoulder tackle, but it didn’t work. Haze hit an armdrag and a chop, then a hurricanrana for a nearfall at 5:00. Del Rey hit some stomps, and she hit a mid-ring running splash, then she applied a Boston Crab, and the crowd rallied for Haze. Del Rey hit a hair-mare, a kneestrike, and she was in charge. She applied a Gory Stretch, but Haze turned it into a sunset flip rollup for a nearfall. Del Rey tied Haze in the Tree of Woe, and she hit some kicks to the gut at 8:30.
Haze nailed a swinging Daizee Cutter/stunner, and they were both down. Haze hit a clothesline, then a sloppy crucifix takedown for a nearfall, then a second-rope crossbody block for a nearfall. Haze got a jackknife rollup for a nearfall. However, Del Rey applied the Royal Butterfly lock, and she turned it into a butterfly suplex for the pin. Very good women’s match. For a promotion that has only occasionally had women in the ring (in mixed tags), this crowd responded quite positively to seeing two of the best in the world. Even more importantly, they didn’t treat it like a WWE diva match.
* Eric Xtasy hit the ring to host a talk show. He said his tag partner, Justin Idol, has asked to work some singles matches for now. Xtasy seemed saddened, but not bitter, toward Idol. (Again, small clues that are very important in Norm Connors’ storytelling.) Xtasy invited Bubba the Bulldog to the ring. Bubba is a radio personality who had a hand in starting IWC. Xtasy talked about Shane Douglas coming back next month. Bubba went on a RANT about how he ran Douglas out of IWC, and how he is the best wrestler ever to come from Pittsburgh, and that includes Kurt Angle. Fiery speech.
(3) Ray Rowe (w/J-Rocc) defeats Ricky Reyes at 16:57 in a match to become No. 1 contender. Former IWC commentator Jeff Gorman sat in the booth for this one, and he’s excellent. Rowe is tall and bald and looks like an MMA fighter, and the fans here have really taken to him. The wrestlers opened with an intense lockup and some mat reversals, as this has a good, realistic vibe to it. Reyes went for some kneestrikes to the head, but Rowe got his hands up to block most of them. Reyes hit some chops and forearms, then he applied a headscissorslock at 4:00. Reyes continued to dominate early, with some shoulder blocks to the gut in the corner, a butterfly suplex for a nearfall, and they traded chops.
Reyes worked the left arm, and he was in charge. They traded some STIFF forearms, and Reyes flipped Rowe to the floor at 8:00. Reyes hit some punches to the gut on the floor, and they traded blows around ringside. In the ring, Rowe hit a clothesline, then a nice T-Bone suplex at 11:00, then an overhead belly-to-belly suplex for a nearfall. Reyes fired back and applied his Dragon Sleeper in the middle of the ring, and Rowe was nearly out, but he didn’t let his arm fall three times. Rowe hit two standing powerbombs, then a sitdown powerbomb, for a nearfall! Reyes hit an enziguri, a Tornado DDT, and a back suplex for a nearfall at 14:30.
The crowd was hot and split. Reyes hit some spin kicks to the chest. However, Rowe hit a German Suplex … then another and another! Reyes kept trying to escape from Rowe’s arms, but Rowe hit German Suplex after German Suplex! After EIGHT consecutive German Suplexes, Rowe finally pinned Romero. Neat finish, as it showed that Rowe had to go to an “extra level” to put out his opponent. This loss didn’t hurt Reyes at all.
* The next match was slated to be a three-way. However, promoter Connors told the crowd that Azrieal couldn’t make it. Justin Idol walked to ringside and asked Connors if he could replace Azrieal in the match.
(4) Larry Sweeney defeats Davey Richards and Justin Idol in an elimination match at 15:37. They did a three-way test of strength. Idol & Richards hit a sandwich/front & back kicks on Sweeney, and Larry bailed. Idol and Richards traded forearms and spin kicks to the chest. Richards nailed his “Damage Reflex”/handspring-back-enziguri at 3:00. Meanwhile, Sweeney was strutting while stalling on the floor, watching his opponents beat each other up! Richards hit a snap suplex for a nearfall on Idol, then some spin kicks to the chest. Richards hit a Northern Lights suplex for a nearfall, but Sweeney hopped in the ring and made the save. Richards hit a uranage on Idol for a nearfall. Sweeney ran from Richards and hid under the ring. Sweeney then snapped Richards’ neck across the top rope.
Idol hit a top-rope flip dive onto both opponents on the floor. Idol hit a nice dropkick in the ring on Richards, then a nice snap suplex for a nearfall. Richards came back with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex on Idol. Sweeney hit a spinebuster on Richards, then a butterfly suplex on Idol and a second-rope elbowdrop for a nearfall. They did a tower spot out of the corner at 10:00, with Sweeney landing across the ring, and they were all down. Richards hit an enziguri, then got an O’Connor Roll on Idol for a nearfall. Richards hit a German Suplex with a bridge on Sweeney, but this left Richards’ stomach open! Idol hit a frogsplash on Richards to pin him at 11:32!
Idol and Sweeney began trading forearms. Eric Xtasy (Idol’s partner!) appeared at ringside, cheering on Idol. Sweeney hit a back suplex, and they were both down. Sweeney hit some more punches, then a fisherman’s suplex for a nearfall at 14:00. Idol hit an overhead neckbreaker for a nearfall, then a backbreaker over his knee for a nearfall. Idol missed a move in the corner. Sweeney then hit a piledriver and a top-rope elbow drop for the clean pin. Xtasy didn’t get involved in the match at all. Good action.
* Sweeney got on the mic and talked about getting a Super Indy title shot on Dec. 8th. He then shouted, “I want McChesney in a cage!” Norm Connors agreed to the match! Idol shoved Xtasy! Xtasy was apologetic to Idol. “I’m your tag partner,” Xtasy told him. “I wanted you to win.” Idol was frustrated.
(5) Delirious & Hentai & (mystery partner) Shirley Doe defeat Brent Albright & Sebastian Dark & John McChesney at 12:41. Solid, standard six-man tag action. Delirious & Hentai came out together, and the commentators wondered how they would survive two-on-three. However, Doe came out with a chair, and he nailed Dark. All six brawled. In the ring, Doe applied a Camel Clutch on McChesney, and Delirious hit a basement dropkick to McChesney’s exposed face. Hentai nailed a double knees shot on McChesney. Dombrowski said Doe has had a year-long absence from IWC. McChesney hit a nice dropkick on Hentai. The crowd was surprisingly fairly quiet, as the heels worked over Hentai. (Doe had been a heel for so long, it didn’t feel like the fans were quick to take him as a returning babyface.)
Dark hit a snap suplex for a nearfall at 2:30. Albright hit a European Uppercut, and he tied Hentai in a Surfboard, leaving his chest exposed; McChesney nailed a doublestomp on the chest! McChesney posed like Low Ki, and the fans acknowledged it by taunting him. Cool. McChesney choked Hentai in the corner. Albright hit some LOUD chops that leveled the smaller Hentai. Hentai hit a hurricanrana and he made the hot tag to Delirious at 5:30. Delirious hit a back senton on Dark, then the Panic Attack/running knee on Albright. Dark hit some punches, and the heels began to work over Delirious. Delirious and McChesney traded chops. Albright hit a backbreaker over his knee for a nearfall.
The heels were hitting some basic tag moves to keep Delirious in their corner. McChesney hit a nice standing dropkick for a nearfall at 9:30. Delirious fired back with a missile dropkick on Albright, and he made the hot tag to Doe! Doe hit some punches on all three heels. Doe and Dark traded dueling chairshots. Dark hit a DDT onto a folded chair. It was just Doe vs. Dark now… the other four have apparently brawled to the back. Doe fired back with a top-rope Rana on Dark. Doe then hit an Air Raid Crash on Dark for the pin. The fans, who seemed lukewarm to Doe during the match, stood and gave him a big ovation after the match, chanting “Welcome back!” Standard six-man.
* Michael Façade & Johnny Gargano came to the ring, and they were upset that they didn’t have any opponents tonight. Gargano told the referee to count to 10 and give them a count-out victory. However, Sexual Harassment (Justin Idol & Eric Xtasy) hit the ring to answer the challenge! Idol was selling a neck injury from his match earlier in the show.
(6) Eric Xtasy & Justin Idol defeat Michael Façade & Johnny Gargano at 10:23. Xtasy started against Façade, and Eric easily shoved his smaller opponent to the mat. The commentators talked about upcoming shows, pushing a Sabin & Shelly vs. Prohibition & M-Dogg match. Idol and Gargano entered and they traded good mat reversals, then some armdrags, and they had a standoff. Gargano couldn’t hit an armdrag on the bigger Xtasy. Gargano’s chops also didn’t have any effect. Façade hit a missile dropkick on Xtasy at 3:30, then a standing moonsault for a nearfall. Façade hit a second-rope spin heel kick on Xtasy. Xtasy hit a full-nelson faceplant on Façade.
Idol tagged in and hit a Russian Legsweep on Façade, then some right & left kicks. The heels started to work over Idol. Façade tied him in a Muta Lock, then he hit a Gordbuster and a Northern Lights suplex on Idol for a nearfall at 6:00. The commentators talked about how Xtasy should be in the ring more, especially since Idol already had a grueling match earlier. (Are they hinting at an Xtasy heel turn? That’s how I took it.) Gargano hit a low blow kick and a Lungblower for a nearfall. The announcers pushed that Gargano is only 20 years old.
Idol hit a top-rope moonsault on Gargano, and the crowd is hot. Extasy got the hot tag, and he hit some punches and a clothesline, then double chokeslams at 9:30. Idol airballed an enziguri attempt on Gargano. Idol & Xtasy then hit a Spike Piledriver, and Xtasy pinned Façade. Good match. The commentary team stressed that Xtasy was serious throughout the match and left his (tired) gay humor at home for this night.
(7) Dennis Gregory defeats Chris Hero at 16:41 to retain the IWC heavyweight title. Good match. Gregory got on the mic and said he didn’t bring the IWC title with him tonight. He ordered McChesney & Dark to the back, saying he can beat Hero without any help. The match began, and Hero worked the left arm, and he tied Gregory’s legs in a knot. Hero applied a modified Figure Four leglock, and the crowd chanted for Gregory to tap out. Hero switched to an anklelock at 5:30, and he focused on Gregory’s left leg. This is methodical but solid mat wrestling. Hero applied a Horse Collar, but Gregory escaped. Hero opened up the offense with some chops and forearms, and Gregory bailed and stalled for an EXTENDED period on the floor. Gregory got on the mic and boasted about how he’s a “war hero.”
Hero hit a punch that leveled Gregory on the floor, and he brought Gregory back into the ring at 10:00. Gregory hit a big clothesline, an elbow drop, and some shoulder blocks in the corner. Hero hit a second-rope Buff Blockbuster, and they were both down. Hero hit an overhead flipping neckbreaker, and he was fired up, and the crowd was hot! Hero hit a Mafia Kick on the floor at 13:30. Back in the ring, Gregory peppered Hero with some punches. Hero hit a Mafia Kick and a second-rope cravate swinging neckbreaker for a believable nearfall, but he missed a top-rope doublestomp to the chest.
Gregory hit a faceplant for a nearfall. Hero got an O’Connor Roll for a nearfall. Gregory got an inside cradle for a nearfall, and he yelled at the referee. Hero got a rollup for a believable nearfall. Hero went for the Hero’s Welcome/spinning faceplant, but Gregory countered it and got his own rollup, put his feet on the ropes for leverage, and scored the tainted pin. McChesney & Dark returned to the ring and celebrated with Gregory. Hentai & Lords ran out and chased off the villains.
* Shirley Doe got back in the ring and taunted Gregory. “I hate you,” Doe said. “I want to see you die.” Doe said that Gregory’s next opponent would be … Ray Rowe! Rowe got in the ring and stood nose-to-nose with Gregory, until Dennis shoved him away. Rowe then hit a German Suplex and a T-Bone Suplex on Gregory for a visual pinfall, as Rowe’s teammate, J-Rocc acted as a ref and made a ‘three-count’ on Gregory.
(8) Mickey & Marshall Gambino (w/Jimmy DeMarco & Vendetta) defeat Shiima Xion & Jason Gory (Babyface Fire) in a street fight at 11:50. Good brawl. Both men wore street clothes. Dombrowski did a good job of recounting the history of this feud. BFF charged the ring and hit the heels with cookie sheets. The heels got crotched together. Vendetta & DeMarco attacked Gory on the floor. In the ring, Marshall got a cookie sheet and he nailed Xion on the head. Marshall applied a Camel Clutch at 3:00. The heels hit a team back suplex on Xion, then they stomped on Gory. Mickey hit Gory with a cookie sheet on the head for a nearfall.
The heels hit a team slingshot suplex on Xion. Gory hit a Swanton Bomb at 5:30 on Mickey. Gory hit a clothesline, while using the cookie sheet. A woman with the Gambinos hopped in the ring, but Gory wouldn’t hit her. Mickey hit a standing powerbomb on Gory onto a folded chair for a nearfall. Marshall hit a side suplex on Xion across the top of two chairs for a nearfall. The heels hit some blows to Gory’s back. Gory hit his QAF/Code Red on Marshall onto two OPEN CHAIRES at 9:00 for a nearfall!! WOW. Xion hit a Tornado DDT on Marshall for a nearfall.
Xion missed a top-rope corkscrew press. DeMarco poured some thumbtacks on the mat. The Gambinos then gave Xion a team Spinebuster onto the tacks for a nearfall at 11:00! OUCH! The Gambinos were upset the move didn’t get them a pinfall, so they repeatedly slammed Xion onto the tacks! Ouch again! Marshall then slammed Gory from the top rope onto Xion on the mat! Mickey covered Xion for the pin. Solid street fight with some good big bumps at the end.
* The Gambinos left the ring. DeMarco was still in the ring, and he pulled out a taser. Gory attacked DeMarco with a cookie sheet. Gory called the Gambinos back to the ring, as he used the taser on DeMarco! They set up the steel cage match for Dec. 8!!
* In one final bonus promo, J-Rocc stood backstage with his tag partner, Ray Rowe. J-Rocc said they came to IWC two years ago. “2006 was the year of the Cleveland Mafia,” J-Rocc said. J-Rocc told Rowe that Gregory feared being in the ring with him. This promo went a bit too long, as J-Rocc started to repeat himself.
Final thoughts: DVD runs 2 hours, 41 minutes.
This was a good show, and it really set up the big double-header that IWC has set up for December.
I’m giving best match to Rowe vs. Reyes. It had an intense believability to it, as they countered each other’s moves, and Rowe realizing he had to go an ‘extra mile,’ with EIGHT consecutive German Suplexes, to get the victory. Good stuff. Not an IWC match-of-the-year candidate, but best on this solid show.
I’ll give the fun three-way elimination match second best. Sweeney vs. Idol vs. Richards had some good action, and Idol is really impressing me. Even with Sweeney essentially a babyface here, he sticks to his gimmick, doing a lot of stalling and letting the other men beat on each other, then sneaking in when he can.
Third-best match goes to Hero vs. Gregory, especially for the final five minutes. The main event was an entertaining brawl, and that is fourth best. I can easily see anyone coming up with a different order for those top four matches, as they were all really close.
Outside of the opener – which was purposely cut short – there wasn’t any ‘below-average matches’ here. That’s a testament to a well-rounded IWC roster. The guys I see in IWC almost exclusively – McChesney, Idol, Xion, Gory, Rowe, Lords – are really fun to watch. Gargano is starting to show me something. I’m still not a big fan of the Gambinos, DeMarco, Xtasy and Vendetta, but they are all solid in the ring.
Norm Connors does the little things that other promoters fail to do – just look at how he’s handled the babyface turn for Hentai. After a few years as a heel, Hentai is a face again. BUT, the other faces who he fought against for years aren’t automatically accepting him. The announcers made a point of saying that Troy Lords is downright LEERY of Hentai, as he SHOULD BE. Too often, promoters don’t bother to acknowledge rifts like this; Connors doesn’t ignore these details.
The negatives: Very little here. The Bubba segment was skippable, but we’ll see where they go with this when Shane Douglas comes back next month. McChesney vs. Lords was disappointingly short – they could have done that finish 8 or 10 minutes into the match, not after just two. The Doe comeback was weird. His pop when he came to the ring wasn’t what I expected, and he didn’t get a huge pop when he made the hot tag late in the match. That said, the crowd gave him a nice standing ovation at the finish. I dislike these formula six-man tags, with Doe standing on the ring apron until the very finish of the match. (IWC had an identical formula six-man tag with Jimmy Snuka a couple years ago.)
This DVD earns a mild thumbs up. The lighting is good, the commentary is excellent, the storytelling is sharp and moves along from show to show. My only complaint is it is lacking one “big” match that stands out here. Learn more about this exciting promotion, and pick up this DVD, at www.iwcwrestling.com.
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