WAR on February 11th, 2012
Opening Match: Jason V vs. Tony G
Jason frustrates Tony with his ground game early on. Tony snaps off an armdrag and connects with a series of punches. He slams Jason into all four top turnbuckles and finds success with a baseball slide. Jason hits an STO and starts working over the back. Tony blocks a charge and snaps off a headscissors. Jason responds with a backcracker. They battle up top and Jason gets knocked down to the canvas. Tony connects with a diving headbutt for a nearfall. Jason tries to use a foreign object but Tony steals it from him. The referee stops Tony from using it and Jason sneaks in a quick rollup for the win at 6:17. For a baseball player gimmick, Tony does a good job of incorporating baseball mannerisms into his offense and the crowd was behind him here. On the other hand, the crowd quickly got onto Jason’s case and this was a decent opener for the time given that served its purpose of getting the crowd warmed up. **
Match #2: Reed Bentley vs. Arik Cannon
This match is being billed as “Hard Hitter vs. Hard Hitter,” a theme that can be seen throughout the show. They trade control of a wristlock and Cannon stomps on Bentley’s forearm. Bentley low bridges Cannon to the floor but misses a diving knee strike. Cannon lays in a few chops at ringside. They exchange elbow strikes. Bentley jumps Cannon as he reenters the ring and takes control. Cannon comes back with a swinging neckbreaker. Bentley catches him with a roaring elbow to the back of the head and hits a senton. He regains control until Cannon wins a strike exchange. Cannon slaps Bentley across the face and connects with a basement dropkick. Cannon hits a bulldog and comes off the middle rope with an elbow drop. Bentley avoids a charge and tries a rollup with his feet on the ropes to no avail. He connects with an enzuigiri but Cannon won’t stay down. Cannon connects with a northern lariat followed by a hard right hand. Cannon superkicks Bentley and hits a brainbuster for the victory at 10:17. These two delivered on the “hard hitter” tagline and they really won over the crowd with some fluid exchanges throughout the match. Although Cannon was clearly directing the action, Bentley was able to hang with him and I think he was the right opponent for Cannon here. I’m unsure how often Cannon appears for IWAU, but the crowd loved him and I hope that he’ll be back in the near future. I thought this was a solid brawl that allowed Bentley to prove that he could rise to the occasion. ***
Match #3: Blake Reed and Matt Maverick vs. AT Brooks and The Intimidator
If Generation Kill loses, they must disband. Maverick leg drops Brooks’ left arm and sneaks in a cheap shot in the corner. Brooks quickly returns the favor. He misses a corner splash and Maverick catches him with a boot. Intimidator enters the match and unloads a series of punches on Maverick. Brooks dodges another boot from Maverick but gets caught by a leg lariat. Reed hits a suplex on Brooks along with a backbreaker and Generation Kill isolate him. He connects with a leg lariat on Reed but doesn’t use the opening to tag out. Instead, Reed plants him with a swinging uranagi. Maverick hits Brooks with brass knuckles at some point. Intimidator randomly enters the ring and pounces Reed. He hits a spinebuster on Maverick followed by a stunner. Maverick falls onto a laid-out Brooks and Generation Kill squeak out the…wait! The referee notices Maverick’s brass knuckles and reverses the decision, giving Brooks and Intimidator the win at 9:43. Generation Kill must disband. I thought this match was going well until the overbooked finish. A reverse decision is just an odd way for any tag team to disband, especially the current tag team champions. However, I’d like it if Brooks and Intimidator used the momentum they received here to make a run at the titles or something of that sort. **¼
Doomsday rushes the ring and attacks Intimidator. Generation Kill are furious at ringside, claiming that they didn’t use the brass knuckles. The owner of IWAU strips Generation Kill of the IWAU Tag Team Titles and books a match between Doomsday and Intimidator.
Match #4: Danny Cannon vs. Ricochet
This match is being billed as “High Flyer vs. High Flyer,” which definitely isn’t a stretch in the least. They exchange leg kicks and Ricochet fights out of a wristlock. Cannon snaps off a headscissors and clotheslines Ricochet to the floor. He follows out with a dive. Ricochet back drops him onto the floor and lays in some stiff kicks at ringside. Cannon hits a german suplex onto the apron and lands a dive off the top rope onto Ricochet. In the ring, Ricochet connects with a gamengiri and hits a corner cannonball. Cannon answers with a double stomp but Ricochet quickly slows him down with a surfboard submission. Cannon fights back with a series of kicks and connects with a shotgun dropkick. He hurricanranas Ricochet into the middle turnbuckle and comes off the top rope with a tornado DDT. Ricochet hits a springboard ace crusher. Cannon escapes a backslide driver but gets caught by a pele kick. Ricochet hits a shoulder-capture suplex for a nearfall. He goes up top but Cannon brings him down to the canvas. Cannon misses a springboard double stomp. Ricochet connects with an enzuigiri but misses a shooting star press. Cannon misses a corkscrew press. Ricochet gets him in a fireman’s carry position but Cannon surprises him with a backslide driver for the victory at 13:27. I’ve liked what little I’ve seen of Cannon in the ring and this was a huge win for him. He worked well with Ricochet and they were able to maintain a frenetic pace for the entire duration of the match. There was a point in the contest where Cannon started unloading a series of high-risk moves and you could just tell that he is really coming into his own. This was a very good showcase of high-flying and much like Reed Bentley did earlier, Cannon was able to step up and prove himself against Ricochet. ***¼
Match #5: Cole James and Ax Allwardt vs. Shank Barzini
There is mutual respect between James and Allwardt and they are forming an impromptu team to try to take down Barzini. There’s also money on the line if they can defeat him. Barzini hip tosses Allwardt and connects with corner punches. Allwardt pushes him to the floor and then suplexes him back into the ring. James enters the match but Barzini clotheslines him. James hits Barzini with a briefcase behind the referee’s back for a nearfall. Barzini hits a death valley driver on James for the win at 5:16. This was a pretty harmless way to showcase Barzini, as James and Allwardt were able to make an impression after the match. *½
The owner of IWAU yells at James after the match until Allwardt attacks him from behind and hits a piledriver. James and Allwardt stand tall in the ring until the locker room runs out to chase them away.
Match #6: Darin Corbin vs. Gunner Franks
This match is being billed as “Man vs. Man.” Angelus Layne accompanies Franks to the ring. They have a pushup battle that Franks wins by a landslide. He also wins a test of strength. Corbin challenges Layne to a test of strength and she’s able to defeat him as well. Franks snaps off a few quick armdrags. Corbin grabs the microphone and demands that the match be conducted at a “manly, slow” pace. They have a slow-motion exchange accompanied by slow “this is awesome” chants from the crowd. Corbin sneaks in a cheap shot and gains the advantage. Franks avoids a top rope splash and unleashes a flurry of offense. He connects with a knee strike and goes up top. Corbin sends him to the floor. He hits hard and the referee goes out to check on him. Corbin throws him back into the ring and grabs Layne. She chops him and Franks sneaks in a rollup for a nearfall. Corbin hits a stroke for the victory at 12:18. The early comedy worked extremely well and this match was able to separate itself from everything else on the card thus far. I also liked how Corbin picked up a relatively clean win and didn’t need any shenanigans to do so. Franks looked good here and he seems to excel at the slower, more methodical style that he’s trying to portray. These two had solid chemistry together and it led to a fun and engaging contest. **¾
Match #8: I Quit Match: Alex Castle vs. Christian Rose
There’s a great video package shown before the match that explains how these two men reached this point. Castle charges the ring and connects with a yakuza kick. He spears Rose on the apron and slams his head into a chair. Castle utilizes a garbage can to connect with another yakuza kick. Rose throws the garbage can at him. Castle hits a back suplex onto a chair and applies a fujiwara armbar. Rose reverses the hold into a half crab but runs into a clothesline. Castle goes to the back and grabs another garbage can full of weapons. He hits Rose with a cookie sheet. Rose breaks a mop across Castle’s back and then chokes him with it. Rose repeatedly hits him with the cookie sheet but Castle quickly returns the favor. Castle charges at Rose but gets stomped down to the canvas. Rose connects with two flash kicks. Castle dodges a third and starts laying in flash kicks of his own. He catches Rose with a tongs-assisted low blow. The action goes back to the outside where Rose crotches Castle on the guardrail. He breaks some sort of plastic shovel over Castle’s head and hits a senton on the floor. In the ring, Castle fights off Rose and props a metal sheet on top of a chair. They battle over a suplex and Rose drops Castle onto the contraption. Rose steals the microphone from the referee and says that Castle doesn’t have the mean streak to win this match. Castle throws him into a propped chair and hits him with a cookie sheet. He starts choking Rose with a wire. Rose drops Castle chest-first onto a garbage can. Rose somehow attaches a cookie sheet to his elbow and connects with a roaring elbow. He lands a dive to the floor but Castle blocks a second dive with a garbage can shot. Back in, Castle again props a metal sheet onto two chairs. Rose connects with a basement superkick. They battle up top and Castle powerbombs Rose through the metal sheet. Rose fires back with a stiff roaring elbow and brings out duct tape. Castle steals it and duct tapes his arms to the top rope. Jason V runs out and tries to throw in the towel for Rose but Castle yakuza kicks him off the apron. Castle gets on the microphone and talks about Rose’s demise. Castle yakuza kicks Rose and backs off the referee, saying “he’s not done yet.” Castle tries another yakuza kick but his leg gives out and he falls to the canvas in pain. He hits Rose repeatedly with a cookie sheet and connects with a superkick. Castle dumps thumbtacks in the ring. Reed Bentley charges the ring and attacks him. Bentley frees Rose while Jason holds back Castle. Arik Cannon runs out to make the save. He hits a rope-assisted neckbreaker on Rose and brawls to the back with Bentley. Jason low blows Castle but Matt Cage runs out and hits Jason with a chair. Cage stares down Castle as the crowd chants for them. He hands the chair to Castle. Castle DDTs Rose onto the chair. Rose applies a boston crab and uses the chair to sit down while applying the hold. Castle refuses to quit. Danny Cannon runs out and connects with a flying double stomp on Rose. Castle hits a half nelson slam into the thumbtacks. He threatens to curb stomp Rose into the thumbtacks. Rose quits before that can happen, giving Castle the win at 32:25.
For the most part, I thought this was a fitting end to their rivalry. There were parts of this match that I liked and disliked, but I’d say the good far outweighs the bad. There was a point in the match where Castle avoided Rose’s flash kicks, a direct callback to their Towel Match from All or Nothing where Rose won with a series of flash kicks. I liked how Castle had them scouted this time. There was another point where Rose stole the microphone and accused Castle of not having enough of a mean streak to win this type of contest. That made the finish, where Castle threatened to curb stomp Rose into thumbtacks, extremely poignant. While I haven’t seen the majority of this feud play out, I have to say that I thought the constant interference bordered on overkill. I understand that wrestlers like Jason, Bentley, and Cannon may have played a part in this feud, but their involvement almost took the focus away from Castle and Rose. Additionally, I think this match could have benefited from a shorter duration as there were a couple spots where the brawling became repetitive. Overall, I would say this was an appropriate feud-ending match. While there were aspects of this main event that didn’t fully work, as I said before, the good far outweighs the bad. ***¾
Overall: WAR 2012 is the type of show that would be a great introduction for someone who wants to start following IWAU. The undercard mixes some widely-known independent wrestling mainstays like Arik Cannon and Ricochet with some of IWAU’s best talent. This led to a really fun undercard where wrestlers like Reed Bentley and Danny Cannon were able to stand out and prove themselves. The two main events come through as well. The IWAU World Heavyweight Title match was an entertaining triple threat encounter with solid performances from all three men while the main event ended the Castle/Rose rivalry on a positive note and added historic value to this event. I should mention again that this would be an excellent starting point for someone looking to follow IWAU and WAR 2012 earns a solid recommendation.
Ryan Rozanskii has been a professional wrestling fan since he was six years old. His first memory of it comes from witnessing Scott Hall win a sixty-man battle royal at WCW World War 3. Of course, that was before alcohol became a problem for Scott. Speaking of alcohol, Ryan is a youngster…not even old enough to consume alcoholic beverages. However, Ryan has used swear words to describe how much he loves Pro Wrestling Ponderings. That is something he’ll never try again, due to the risk of possibly being grounded by his parents. Some people compare Ryan to Butters from South Park. Currently, that comparison has yet to have any legitimacy.
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