The difference between ISW and almost every other independent promotion is they dare to be different in such a way where what happens in the ring is almost secondary to the characters, storylines that push the limit, and a very hard edge. My musical knowledge is pretty much bottom of the barrel, but ISW strikes me as a punk band that just doesn’t care what anyone else is doing. They want to do things their way and aren’t afraid to needle other places and wrestlers. What makes ISW tough to review is the way they run shows doesn’t necessarily jive with what I enjoy watching as a fan.
You might be wondering, “Jerome, why would you give them a second chance then?” Despite a disconnect with certain parts of the product, I do respect what they’re doing and find myself even enjoying some of the matches. This show in particular suffered from the lack of a big crowd. The Danbury crowd in March was one of the better wrestling crowds I’ve seen this year as they brought a lot of energy and added something to the show. For this show in Ottawa, the crowd wasn’t as big, and that ISW atmosphere wasn’t captured. I also feel some of the match times were hurt by another Canadian wrestling, C4, running later that night. It meant certain matches would seemingly just start to get going but then end.
My favorite match of the show once again featured Kitsune as he defeated a veteran of the independent wrestling scene, Michael Von Payton. I haven’t seen very much of Von Payton as he’s associated with a number of other federations, primarily in Canada. Some of his offense reminds me a lot of Kevin Steen, and the dynamic of him being the big brute wrestling the speedier Kitsune. Just like the Fox match, Kitsune broke out an unbelievable I’ve never seen before, as he floated over into a powerbomb and then effortlessly rolled into a jackknife pin. I went back and watched this multiple times to understand the physics of it, and I’m not sure I got it. This is one of the matches I felt could have used a few more minutes to develop because not only was the work solid, but I have to believe Kitsune is one of ISW’s pride and joys. Giving him wins is great, and I can only hope ISW realizes what they have and give him a platform to become the next great high flyer. Places like CZW and DG USA should be taking a look at this man soon.
If there are two people who resemble everything it means to be an ISW wrestler, look no further than Addy Starr and Pinkie Sanchez. They’re misfit toys who don’t quite fit in other places, so of course they’re going to wrestle for the championship called the King of Crazy. Originally scheduled to be Frankie Arion versus Addy Starr and Pinkie Sanchez versus Chris Dickinson, we instead got this one-on-one match. (Dickinson apparently did call ahead this time. Originally said something else here.) Starr simply said Arion was too much of a pussy to show up. No truth to that rumor. Lots of stiff strikes and general wackiness from these two. Sanchez and Starr have one major strength, their ability to bump around and look vulnerable while taking other people’s offense. Against each other, we got to see who was better at it. I’m thinking Starr by a nose, but these two certainly delivered a non-traditional, but still enjoyable to watch match. And Addy Starr finally got a title in ISW.
The main event was originally supposed to be Izzy Deadyet wrestling against Matt Tremont. Because of Tremont’s medical emergency, he was taken out and replaced with Danny Havoc. Then Havoc got injured, but Tremont was medically cleared, so the scheduled main event could take place. This was another match which suffered from a lack of time. I liked what they were doing with legos and incorporating some hardcore elements, but I didn’t feel like they went nearly as far as they could have to turn this into a truly epic main event. Tremont is someone who has something to him and a connection with the crowd. I’m not going to say I personally like his style, but he certainly works very hard at it and has a passion for not just being another death match wrestler. I do think this matters. Deadyet won cactus elbow , and the three count seemed to come out of nowhere. Favorite spot had to be Tremont hitting Deadyet with box of legos, and them spreading out all over the ring. I liked it because it was a natural way to set the legos up in the ring without it becoming to stagey. Tremont hit him with the box. The contents of the box went everywhere. Simple concept.
When I talk about ISW tweaking other companies, there is a particular match which comes to mind as the opener featured Jaka against El Hijo Del Bamboo. First off, whoever wrestles behind the panda suit deserves major props for being able to wrestle as well as he can. I probably would barely be able to walk and Bamboo is breaking out high-flying kicks. I’m a big of Jaka for his wrestling and the fact he does a gimmick which I would consider to be passé about as well as one could expect. Lots of comedy early as neither man knew how to react to the other. At one point, the ring announcer teased them with…a banana. See how this is becoming familiar. Even Uno and Krotch on commentary had this exchange: . “The winner of this gets the banana.” “That’s another company’s gimmick.” The ending featured Jaka eating the banana and dropping the peel in the middle of the ring. Bamboo executes the spinning kick but slips on the peel and gets chokebombed immediately. Was this a direct shot at Wrestling is Fun? I don’t know. But it was quite the coincidence and speaks to the punk attitude (meant in relation more to music and not an insult) ISW brings to the table.
Someone else who has wrestled in Wrestling is Fun and Chikara is Amasis. His comeback story has been a clear highlightof 2013 as he’s probably in the best shape of his career but has also changed his offense significantly. There’s far less high-flying and diving, but he makes up for it by using more strikes. I’ve enjoyed from what I’ve seen of Amasis, and the match with Oni was no exception. Again with more time, it could have been even better, but both guys came off well. Oni hit what I can only describe as a Regalplex into a cutter.
After losing in a tag team match at 3D, the Food Fighters of Pasquele and Bastian Snow defeated Buxx Belmar and Shitty in a solid back and forth match. The work was solid, even if the way they introduced a condom into the match was a bit gross. Nonetheless, these guys played their characters well, and I was satisfied with what I saw. The two remaining matches had a bit of an interesting connection to them. First, Dan Barry lost to Mathieu St. Jacques in an alright singles match. Barry was supposed to team his buddy cop partner in Bill Carr, but Carr beat up a jaywalker the previous night. You may remember from 3D St. Jacques was also a part of a tag team with Thomas DuBois. Instead of a presumed tag match, we got a singles match instead. St. Jacques won with the alligator clutch while holding onto the rope. Later on, Giant Tiger picked up the victory in a pretty wacky four way involving Leon St. Giovanni (who according to the announcers is out to destroy all the animals in ISW), Jae Rukin (a decent high flyer with lots of room for improvement), and Craiglist Homo (whom Tiger had lots of interaction with at the show). In referring to this company as an R-rated version of Chikara, this match is a perfect example with some wacky humor and Tiger paying off what Barry earlier said about a jaywalker being beaten up by Bill Carr. Tiger admitted to being beaten up for jaywalking in quite the coincidence. Tiger won an okay match with the no hands pedigree on Craiglist Homo.
Summer Slamtasia was a pretty easy watch and not a waste of time. With longer matches, this could have easily been a better show. ISW is a fascinating company to watch because of how different they are. I only wish the in-ring work could match some of the zaniness. They're certainly not for everyone, but there is enough to say this is worth a minor recommendation.
-Taped from Ottawa, Ontario
-Commentators: Mike Rotch, Player Uno, Dan Barry, and Aaron Epic
-Jaka defeats El Hijo Del Bamboo by pinfall after a chokebomb/7:27/**1/4
- Mathieu St. Jacques defeats Dan Berry by pinfall with the alligator clutch as he held onto the rope/7:33/**
- Oni defeats Amasis with a Regalplex into a cutter/7:16/**1/2
- Giant Tiger defeats Jae Rukin , Craigslist Homo (w/Ricky Badcliffe), and Leon St. Giovanni. Tiger pinned Homo after a no hands pedigreed /8:25/**1/2
-The Food Fighters (Bastian Snow and Pasquele) defeat Dirty Shit (Buxx Belmar and Shitty) by pinfall after a double team team splash/12:45/***
-King of Crazy: Addy Starr wins the title over Pinkie Sanchez by pinfall with back-to-back sliding D’s/12:31/***1/4
-Kitsune defeats Michael Von Payton by pinfall with the shooting star press/11:44/***1/4
-ISW Championship: Izzy Deadyet (champion) successfully defends over Matt Tremont by pinfall after a shining wizard as Tremont had legos in his mouth/11:04/**1/4
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