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IWC: Winner Takes All 2016 Review

December 10th, 2016

Opening Match:  Wardlow (w/ Justin LaBar) vs. Jimmy Vegas
Wardlow gets aggressive at the opening bell but Vegas out-powers him.  Vegas hits an olympic slam but misses a charge in the corner.  Wardlow hits a powerslam and takes control.  Vegas fights back with a belly-to-belly suplex and a fallaway slam.  Wardlow responds with a death valley driver.  He gets cocky and Vegas traps him in an ankle lock.  Wardlow taps out but LaBar has the referee distracted.  Wardlow low blows Vegas and rolls him up for the win at 7:55.  The finish makes sense in light of what would eventually become the IWC Heavyweight Title picture by the end of the night, but match quality-wise the finish did them no favors.  I think these two have a solid match in them but this wasn’t the platform for that.  *½

After the match, LaBar announces that Zema Ion will not be able to defend the IWC World Heavyweight Title tonight due to injury.  RJ City comes out to collect his title.  Ion makes his entrance and announces that he isn’t cleared to compete tonight.  He vacates the title.  Wardlow attacks Ion and he’s carried to the back.  In a surprise turn of events, LaBar cuts ties with City and Wardlow attacks him as well.  Wardlow and City will battle in the main event for the IWC World Heavyweight Title.

Match #2:  IWC Tag Team Titles: The Fraternity (Channing Decker and Trent Gibson) © vs. Remy Lavey and Keith Haught
The Fraternity attack before the opening bell.  The challengers fight back with a double team flapjack.  Haught hits a seated senton on Gibson, who responds with a mafia kick.  The Fraternity isolate Haught until he takes advantage of some miscommunication and makes the tag.  Lavey hits a neckbreaker on Gibson, causing him to DDT Decker.  Decker recovers by suplexing Haught from the middle rope.  Lavey connects with a double missile dropkick but the Fraternity respond with a gamengiri.  Decker hits Lavey with a blockbuster across Gibson’s knees for a nearfall.  The challengers hit a backbreaker-flying knee drop combination on Gibson.  Haught and Lavey apply stereo boston crabs but the Fraternity escape the holds.  Haught is pushed off the top rope and to the floor.  Decker throws alcohol into Lavey’s eyes.  Gibson rolls up Lavey and the Fraternity retain their titles at 12:07.  The Fraternity have been a godsend to the tag team division this year and gave Haught and Lavey perhaps their best match yet.  The finish would have been much more tolerable had we not seen nearly the same finish in the last match.  **¾

Match #3:  Ladder Match: Andrew Palace vs. Team Storm (Jaxon Argos and RC Dupree)
Team Storm need to climb the ladder and pull down a briefcase containing full-time IWC contracts.  Palace backfists Dupree and hits a saito suplex.  He sends Argos into the guardrail and forearms him into the front row.  Palace eventually succumbs to the numbers game.  He fights back by catapulting a ladder into Team Storm.  Palace crotches them on the edge of a ladder as well.  Palace irish whips Dupree into a ladder and then slingshots Argos into a ladder.  Argos tries to climb but Palace takes him out with an electric chair slam.  Palace attempts a Hernia Driver on Dupree but Argos intervenes with a chair shot.  Team Storm beat him down with chair shots.  They take control with double team maneuvers.  Palace hits a double sliced bread out of the corner and finds life.  He takes out Team Storm with ladder shots.  Palace shotgun dropkicks Dupree into a ladder and hits the Hernia Driver.  The lights go out.  When they come on, Jack Pollock makes his IWC debut and attacks Palace.  Argos and Dupree powerbomb Palace into a ladder.  Pollock grabs the briefcase for Argos and Dupree at 21:03.  Twenty-one minutes may seem long, but the stipulation here was interesting enough to keep me engaged.  They also did a good job of keeping Palace looking like a threat without making Team Storm look stupid.  This match blended wrestling, weapon spots, and an angle in a way that made sense and benefitted everyone involved.  Good stuff.  ***

Match #4:  IWC Women’s Title: Elimination: April Sera vs. Britt Baker vs. Marti Belle vs. Sonya Strong
The winner will become the first ever IWC Women’s Champion.  Belle and Strong attack before the opening bell.  Baker and Sera fight back with lariats.  Everyone brawls into the crowd.  Back in the ring, Baker and Sera have a quick exchange.  Strong breaks up a rollup despite this being elimination rules.  Strong and Belle work over Sera while keeping Baker out of the ring.  Sera avoids a charge from Strong and hits a neckbreaker on Belle.  She powerbombs Strong for a nearfall.  Baker takes out everyone with a dive from the top rope to the floor.  Baker sets up a table at ringside for some reason.  Belle sends Sera through the table.  No one gets disqualified so I assume this is no disqualification?  Belle hits a pedigree on Strong to eliminate her at 9:29.  Baker hits a rocker dropper on Belle to eliminate her at 10:03.  We’re down to Baker and Sera.  Sera connects with a basement superkick.  Baker responds with the Brittsburgh Plunge to become the IWC Women’s Champion at 12:55.  This match felt like it was wrestled at half speed and the rapid-fire eliminations didn’t allow them to tell a story down the stretch.  I understand why people like Baker, but I don’t think anyone would contend that she’s ready to carry a whole division on her own.  I applaud IWC for focusing on women’s wrestling this year, but in order for the women’s division to add to shows, it actually needs to deliver good matches.  *

Match #5:  Proving Ground Battle Royal
The winner of this match will earn a title shot at the annual Proving Ground event next year.  I don’t know who half of the wrestlers in this match are, rendering play-by-play moot.  Bulk Nasty starts eliminating fools as BC Steele keeps track at ringside.  I have scoured the internet and have not found a complete listing of everyone in this match.  Even cagematch.net comes up short.  The final three are Shane InYaFace, Johnny Playboy, and Bulk Nasty.  Wait a second, Chest Flexor runs into the ring and was never eliminated.  Nasty chokeslams Flexor over the top rope to eliminate him.  Playboy and Nasty team up on InYaFace.  Playboy dissolves the friendship with an accidental superkick.  InYaFace eliminates Playboy.  InYaFace is able to power Nasty over the top rope for the victory at 11:17.  This was pretty harmless.  Nasty looked strong and the crowd enjoyed InYaFace winning.  I think battle royals are generally lame but InYaFace certainly has potential.  *½

Match #6:  IWC Super Indy Title: Chris LeRusso (w/ BC Steele) © vs. Sam Adonis
Chris Jericho made a rare appearance to do the ring introductions but it’s obviously edited out of the VOD.  Adonis gets the better of a few opening exchanges.  He boots LeRusso off the apron.  Bulk Nasty comes to ringside to help the champion regroup.  Adonis lands a dive onto everyone.  They briefly reenter the ring before Adonis suplexes LeRusso over the top rope.  Nasty attacks Adonis behind the referee’s back, allowing LeRusso to take over.  Adonis almost wins off a small package but Steele distracts the referee.  Tons of interference from Steele and Nasty follows.  The referee doesn’t eject them for some reason.  Adonis connects with a mafia kick and both men are down.  Adonis runs up the ropes and lands a crossbody.  He applies cattle mutilation and LeRusso taps, but Steele distracts the referee.  Nasty slides LeRusso the belt.  LeRusso hits Adonis with the belt to retain at 15:12.  A colossal waste of time.  They went overboard on the interference and the illogical idea of the referee not ejecting Steele and Nasty was bothersome.  LeRusso is a good wrestler and defenses like this one don’t help him or anyone else involved.  ½*

Match #7:  IWC World Heavyweight Title: RJ City vs. Wardlow (w/ Justin LaBar)
The title is currently vacant after Zema Ion forfeited it due to injury earlier tonight.  Wardlow hits an overhead suplex and asserts his power advantage early on.  LaBar gets in some shots on City at ringside.  My tolerance for interference is at an all-time low at this point.  City comes back with a boot but LaBar crotches him on the ringpost behind the referee’s back.  Oh my.  Wardlow hits a michinoku driver for a nearfall.  City fights back with a low blow.  They exchange strikes and City clotheslines Wardlow to the floor.  Back in, City comes off the top rope with a double axe handle.  Wardlow answers with a spear.  City connects with a flying knee strike but Wardlow rolls to the floor to avoid getting pinned.  In the ring, City locks in Goodnight Everybody.  Wardlow powers out of the hold and hits City with the belt behind the referee’s back.  City fights back with Goodnight Everybody again.  LaBar props a chair in the corner.  Wardlow backs City into the chair to break the hold.  Wardlow hits a spear and lands a swantan to become the new IWC World Heavyweight Champion at 13:41.  The problematic aspect of this match was asking the fans to suddenly buy City as a spunky, resilient babyface.  I am left scratching my head as to why Wardlow needs any help to win matches.  Especially after the previous match, the decision to go heavy on interference here was infuriating.  A generally solid year for IWC ends on a somber note.  *¾

-Show Grade: D
You Need to See:
You’d Enjoy Watching: Palace/Team Storm
You Should Avoid: LeRusso/Adonis

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