This past Saturday night, me and Jonny V. checked out the eighth-anniversary show for our little local independent, In Your Face Wrestling, which was held at the Duanesburg Area Community Center in the village of Delanson. This year IYFW has divided their events between this venue and the community center in Ballston Spa; this was our first time seeing them here. It looks like they prefer this venue, though, as all of their upcoming events are scheduled for Duanesburg rather than Ballston Spa, and it's easy to see why. The Duanesburg community center is a much newer building - only built in 2008 - and is much nicer. The gym area where the event was held is much bigger, with nice built-in bleacher seating rather than the metal risers the Ballston center features. It also seemed quite a bit easier to get to - despite never having been to the area we got there in the dark via GPS with no issue at all - and the parking lot is way bigger.
It was pretty cold so the building's lobby was opened well before showtime. The evening's first amusing moment came when we were in line to enter the gym area when it was opened. Chip Stetson
, the heel in the main event, cut past the line to get to the curtained-off hallway that I assume was serving as the backstage area, just quietly saying "excuse me, please." Jon jokingly commented that "hey, bad guys aren't supposed to be polite," which Stetson heard - he whipped around, suddenly in character, and said, "who said that?!" Inside the gym they had a merch table set up with IYFW's shirts and DVDs as well as a vendor selling wrestling action figures, and a section of the table set up with Shane Douglas' 8x10s for him to sign at later. Like the setup they use in the Ballston Spa shows we've been to, they had three rows of folding chairs set up at ringside, but this time we opted for the top row of the bleachers, which gave a nice view looking down into the ring. There was a good turnout for one of these shows too; just estimating it looked like there were at least a hundred in the crowd, maybe more.
The show opened up with the IYFW Rumble. Standard Rumble rules with a fast countdown. Prince Ashul-Naul
, half of the tag team Northern Fury, started out; every thirty seconds another wrestler entered. There were around twelve guys total - among them, our pick Good Lord Willing
, Liam McFerrin
, both members of Team RPG
and the Rickety Rocket
), Lance Madewell
and the recently-debuted Tyler Vincent
, along with a few others I didn't recognize and whose names I missed (I assume recent graduates of IYFW's training program). Oddly enough nobody got eliminated until everyone had entered. They did the classic "big man elimination" spot with everybody teaming up to get Ashul-Naul out of the ring. After getting his wig knocked off, Good Lord Willing proceeded to use the wig as a weapon. Vigo and Willing stacked up four opponents in the corner and hit splashes on them. After getting eliminated, Daniels came back wearing a green mask and snuck into the ring, only to immediately get eliminated again. It ultimately came down to Vigo, McFerrin and Vincent; as McFerrin was trying to throw Vincent out, Vigo came in and tossed them both. After the bell, McFerrin came back in and made like he wanted a one-on-one match right now, but after exchanging words McFerrin blew him off and left. Pretty fun battle royal and a good way to open the show.
Next up was a battle of newcomers as Maximo Suave
took on the debuting "Big Rig" Dewey Murray
. From a distance Suave vaguely looks like a young 2 Cold Scorpio. Murray had shiny purple boots, an odd compliment to the rest of his gear which consisted mostly of tattered rags. They played it as speed vs. power, with Suave taking several power moves but coming back with kicks and a few flying moves. Suave got the win with a couple of superkicks. An undercard match with one wrestler being relatively new to the company and the other making his debut, and not bad for what it was.
Next up, the Savage Wolves
- brothers CJ Scott
and Damon Ravage
- took on "The Mighty" Fronz Roddy
and a partner of his choosing, who turned out to be "The Shaft" Bobby Ocean
. This was a continuation of the rivalry between Roddy and Scott, whose issue began in the Coronation Cup Tournament a few months ago when Scott used a foreign object in their match to knock Roddy out of the tournament early. As local talent go, these guys are a cut above (and Ocean has, in fact, worked for some of the bigger northeastern indies, including 2CW and, more recently, Northeast Wrestling). Not only do all four of them possess above-average ring skills, but are also great at the performance aspect, the faces playing to and the heels bantering with the crowd throughout the match to draw them in. After several good exchanges, the match broke down with all four guys in the ring and each managed to get in a finisher on an opponent; finally Roddy hit a running powerslam on Ravage for the pin. Roddy and Ocean played to the crowd for awhile after the match. Since Roddy pinned Ravage rather than his main rival Scott, that means the feud can still continue.
Next Sgt. Fury
- the other half of the tag team Northern Fury, along with Vigo - took on "S.O.G." Ronnie Ribs
. I guess this was put together for Veteran's Day, as the ring announcer made a point to mention that both men are real-life veterans. Fury came out with face-and-body paint to look like Captain America, and gave his toy shield to a kid in the crowd. The match was a little slow in spots with some long rest-holds; I don't know how often Fury wrestles singles matches (this is the first time I've seen him outside of tag matches, at least), so I wonder if that's a symptom of him being used to having a partner to tag out to. Fury won with a roll-up as Ribs was going for a figure-four. After the match Ribs acted despondent and said he was going to quit, and Fury got on the mic and gave him an inspirational speech, saying that when they were serving together Ribs never quit, and he's not going to let him now. Ribs appeared to accept Fury's advice and shook his hand. At this point Lenn Oddity
, still with an injured foot, came out. Oddity had turned heel at IYFW's last show by attacking Fury. As Fury was distracted by Oddity, Ribs attacked him from behind and beat on him until Vigo ran in for the save. This drew out Liam McFerrin, who backed away from the fight with Vigo after the battle royal. Ribs and McFerrin continued the assault on Fury and Vigo as Oddity waved his arms like an orchestra conductor - apparently the whole thing was his plan from the beginning. Finally Ian Daniels and Rickety Rocket came down to pull the KO'd Fury and Vigo out of the ring. Great post-match angle that presumably sets up a tag grudge match at the next show.
At this point we had the mid-show intermission. The band Hungry Jack
played such classics as "Wooden Legs and Real Feet," "Teenage Airhead Zombie Girl," "Jesus Stole My Moped," and "H.R. Pufnstuf's Lament" (and, oddly enough, a cover of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" too). Both Good Lord Willing and Hungry Jack's frontman Smokey Toenails vehemently deny that they're the same person; I think we know what that means.Shane Douglas
was at the merch table during the intermission, so we took the opportunity to meet him. We talked to him a bit about seeing him in the 1991 Royal Rumble, local wrestling, and how he watched Raw
last week and found it "embarrassing." He's somebody you hear stories about and his outspokenness has certainly gotten him in trouble with different companies over the years, but when it comes to meeting the fans he seemed like a really cool guy. I got an autographed photo of his for my collection - he had a few choices of pictures; I got what I'd bet is his most popular - a circa 1997 photo of Douglas with his then-Triple Threat teammates, Chris Candido, Bam Bam Bigelow and Francine.
After the intermission it was time for the title matches and main events. First up, the IYFW New Breed Title was on the line as "Mr. Canada" Ricky Williams
defended against 2014 Coronation Cup winner Elite Terrell
. Good back-and-forth action with Terrell using fast kicks and high-flying moves as Williams tried to slow down his opponent. There were one or two blown spots, but nothing too bad. Terrell got the win and the belt by pinning Williams after a running flipover neckbreaker. Williams is a solid hand and Terrell, while rough around the edges, definitely has promise.
The IYFW Tag Team Championship was on the line next as The Rochester Wrecking Crew
and Rob Sweet
- challenged champions The Knockout Gang
and Jamar Justice
). The Rochester Wrecking Crew guys were wearing matching Macho Man tribute outfits with pink trunks with stars and yellow boots and pads. They were much smaller than the Knockout Gang guys, which was the basic story of the match - small babyfaces vs. big heels. There were some good exchanges with the Rochester guys using fast offense while the Knockout Gang used power and size. In the end, the Rochester Wrecking Crew appeared to have the upper hand, but Justice got one of the tag title belts and smashed both faces with it in full view of the referee. The Knockout Gang lose by DQ, but protect their title and, of course, provide a reason for a future rematch.
The sub-main event saw special guest "The Franchise" Shane Douglas
taking on IYFW Champion "The Pillar" Roman Dominguez
. The belt was not on the line, though - several weeks ago, IYFW posted a video promo from Dominguez where he explained that he wanted the match because as a champion, he's offended that Douglas made his career by throwing down and disrespecting the NWA World Title, but he'll only fight in a non-title match because he doesn't want to risk the same thing happening to the IYFW Title. I actually thought that was a really cool backstory for the match; certainly beats just putting the special guest in the main event just because. The match itself was slowly-paced, with Dominguez trying to wear Douglas down with bearhugs while Douglas drew on the crowd for support. In the end, Douglas whipped Dominguez into the corner, squashing the referee in the process. Douglas hit the belly-to-belly suplex and went for the pin as the crowd made a five-count, but there was no ref to make it official. Douglas went to check on the ref, allowing Dominguez to hit a low blow. Dominguez then hit two kicks to the head with Douglas over the rope and locked on the Suffoco (his main finisher, a front facelock choke). After an odd delay the ref (who was already recovered) finally called for the bell and awarded Dominguez the win by stoppage.
This seemed pretty anticlimactic at first, and the miscue between the ref and the timekeeper certainly didn't help. But with a few days for it to sink in, I can see why Douglas would agree to put Dominguez over in the match. At this point in his career, Douglas doesn't really have anything to gain by a win, nor will a loss really hurt him in the long run, especially if that loss isn't completely clean (there was a low blow involved). Dominguez, meanwhile, has everything to gain - whether he stays in IYFW or eventually moves on to bigger things, he can always use the fact that he beat Shane Douglas in promos as a feather in his cap, and IYFW and its title lose no prestige either since their champion didn't get beaten by someone from outside the company. So although Douglas winning would have been a big pop for the crowd, this result was maybe a better option for the company in the long run and I have to give Douglas a lot of credit for using his name value for the benefit of this company rather than just his own gain.
At any rate, after the match Douglas conferred with the ref in disbelief, telling him there was a low blow, then hit another belly-to-belly on Dominguez. They continued fighting until the babyface locker room emptied to separate them. Dominguez left followed by the other face wrestlers, leaving Douglas in the ring alone. He got a mic and cut a nice promo putting over Dominguez' toughness, then thanked the crowd and talked about his history with the Triple Threat, saying that his brothers are here in spirit. He named Bam Bam and Candido in turn, each name getting a round of applause.
After this there was only one match left - the grudge match in the steel cage, with Drake Evans
and Chip Stetson
settling the score (hence the event's subtitle). It took awhile to get the cage set up (the four sides were just separate pieces tied with straps to the ringposts, and a couple of ring crew members, including Dewey Murray, crouched at ringside to hold the centers of the cage sides - I probably should have taken a picture of it). As the cage was put up Hungry Jack stalled for time by playing a few more songs. Finally the match was ready to go and Stetson got the first entrance followed by Evans; Hungry Jack played both men to the ring. During his entrance, Stetson paused to give the stink-eye to some kids holding up a "Stetson Sucks" sign. Evans got the second entrance and the match started as soon as he got in the cage. This was a pinfall-rules cage match; I doubt the cage would support being climbed over (I actually prefer this format for cage matches to escape rules anyway). As you'd expect, the cage itself factored into a lot of the offense, with both men slamming each other into it. Stetson got busted open early, although Evans eventually bled as well. Stetson - who is really a great old-school heel - put Evans down and flexed for the crowd, yelling "look at me!" Eventually it got to that part of the match where both men were in desperation mode, and Evans finally hit Stetson with an Angle Slam (with a pretty nasty landing), then a second, better-looking Angle Slam and finally a double-underhook piledriver (Jay-Driller) for the pin. After the match they got a mic and Stetson said that now that this was all over, they didn't have to like each other but they definitely have to respect each other.
Pretty fun show for IYFW to end their year on (and, of course, you can't beat the $10 ticket price). They'll be back in Delanson for another show in January, and then the Memories, Moments & Mayhem
convention and event in March. As for me, I have one more event this year - Ring of Honor's biggest show of the year, Final Battle
, at Terminal 5 in Manhattan. Stay tuned for the live report from that next month.
-Vigo won the IYFW Rumble (d. Garrett Holiday, Good Lord Willing, Harley Stevens, Ian Daniels, Jacoby, Lance Madewell, Liam McFerrin, Prince Ashul-Naul, The Rickety Rocket, Tyler Vincent, Volcano Mike, William Slade and Zach Clayton)
-Maximo Suave d. Dewey Murray
-Bobby Ocean & Fronz Roddy d. The Savage Wolves (CJ Scott & Damon Ravage)
-Sgt. Fury d. Ronnie Ribs
-Elite Terrell d. Ricky Williams to win the IYFW New Breed Championship
-The Rochester Wrecking Crew (Hellcat & Rob Sweet) d. The Knockout Gang (Gabriel Soul & Jamar Justice) by DQ (Knockout Gang retain the IYFW Tag Team Championship)
-Roman Dominguez d. Shane Douglas in a non-title match
-Drake Evans d. Chip Stetson in a steel cage match
---Photo HighlightsThe Franchise in the ring with the Pillar.The merchandise/memento takeaway. Event ticket and Shane Douglas' autograph for the collection.