In Your Face Wrestling held their third-annual Memories, Moments & Mayhem
convention and event two weeks ago, and so for the third consecutive year Dan Talks Rasslin' and Jon of Live From My Mother's Basement were in attendance. This year it was held in Delanson rather than Ballston Spa. Although it's in a much more isolated location (basically in the middle of nowhere), the Duanesburg Community Center is a much nicer facility than the one in Ballston Spa. An immediate impression is that the convention was much busier than last year's; there was a steady stream of people coming in throughout the day and always a lot of people around at any given time.
The lineup of special guests went through a few changes leading up the event. The first person announced was X-Pac, but he fairly quickly dropped out of the event due to scheduling conflicts. Monstrous BC (Brodus Clay/Tyrus) and Drew Galloway were also announced, but Galloway was pulled after signing with TNA and Tyrus was pulled soon after as well. Still, the final lineup was great: Jeff Jarrett
, Buff Bagwell
, Stevie Richards
, The Godfather
, Brian Myers
(Curt Hawkins) and Melissa Coates
were all on hand.
Upon going into the convention we hung out a bit with Lenn Oddity
and friends, then went to Stevie Richards
' table. We talked with him for awhile about his career, some of his friends like Meanie and Lisa Marie Varon, seeing him at House of Hardcore III
in the mixed tag with Victoria against Carlito and Rosita (interesting that he wasn't happy with the match as he felt he was out of shape at the time and didn't feel well - I never would've known, and enjoyed it a lot), and of course a lot about DDP Yoga, which he's now a certified instructor of (I've been doing it for about six months now myself).
After that we got autographs from Sabu
and Genie Melissa Coates
, who were brought together by one of the vendors. Sabu was quiet, which isn't surprising since I don't recall ever seeing him talk on TV anyway. Cool to be able to meet him in person after seeing him in so many wars. The picture I got is of him and Genie together and they both signed it.
Next up was the Godfather
. We actually met him once before at House of Hardcore IV
's meet-and-greet. He told us he was wrestling Vigo and wanted to know if we had any strategy suggestions, and ultimately decided he was just going to offer Vigo the girls. Jon got a picture of him as Papa Shango, which he signed under that name.
That's a cool thing I've noticed - some wrestlers who have had multiple names or gimmicks will sign pictures under the name of the persona the picture is of, and sometimes will even ask what name you want them to use. The picture of Godfather I got at the HOH show is of him with the Nation, and he signed it as Kama Mustafa. Each of my three Katarina Leigh autographs is signed under a different name depending on which she was using in the picture (one is Katie Lea, one is Winter, and one is 'The Infamous' Katarina Leigh). And when we met Lisa Marie Varon, I picked a picture of her as Victoria and she asked if I wanted her to sign under that name (I said she could use any name she wanted).
We then went to Haku
, who is a guy I never expected to have a chance to meet. He was really cool too, he talked to us for awhile about different parts of his career, his son joining TNA and how we all hoped TNA or another company could rise to being a legitimate alternative, how Barbarian and Bobby Heenan are doing, etc. Talking to him like this, if you weren't familiar with him already you'd never guess he was legendary as one of the toughest men of all time. Of the pictures he had to offer, me and Jon both picked the same one, which was of him as Meng in WCW, with the big pants and hair. He liked that we remembered all the different parts of his career and signed our pictures as "King Haku/Meng."
After taking a break to step outside, we came back in and went to Jeff Jarrett
's table. He had come in a bit later as his flight was delayed. I said up front that I wouldn't press him for insider info on what's happening with Global Force, but thanked him for bringing the NJPW show to PPV. He did say that he was working on getting more international stuff to American PPV. We talked about some other stuff and I told him the story of the WWF house show in Albany in 1998 we saw him at - all night I was taking what I thought would be awesome action shots on a disposable camera; when I finally got them developed the only thing you could see was Jarrett's leg (he was wearing that shiny silver outfit with the straps at the time); he seemed to get a kick out of that. Jon got a Bullet Club shirt from his table (I have to get one of those at some point) and I got his autograph on one of his new Global Force 8x10s.
Next we went to the merch stand that was set up in the ring. They had a lot of the same stuff as last year - old action figures, juice glasses with the Undertaker
symbol, DVDs, stuff like that. I grabbed the WWE "Rivals" DVD set, which came with a classic-logo t-shirt. Another guy in the ring had a box of old magazines for a dollar each so I grabbed a bunch of those - the Pro Wrestling Illustrated 10th Anniversary and 1997 Wrestling Annual issues, a Wrestling All-Stars issue with a preview of WrestleMania X
, a RAW Magazine from 2004 with Stacy Keibler on the cover, and a couple of others.
Speaking of the ring, IYFW sprang for a new one. Same size - 16x16, I believe, so noticeably smaller than the standard rings you see on TV (most companies past and present like WCW, ECW, ROH, Lucha Underground, and, when they had a square ring, TNA use an 18x18; WWE's is 20x20). But the battered ringposts with "IYFWrestling.com" handwritten on them in marker are gone, as are the ropes held together with electrical tape. The mat on the new ring is blue instead of green and thus looks out of place (IYFW's color scheme is green and silver). Definitely an improved look overall. However, they still had the same rickety ring steps, which were still broken from when Ricky Williams hit them with his title belt at the last show and actually broke part of the steps off.
Lastly I picked up Buff Bagwell's autograph. He seems like a guy who's always in character (or maybe it's not a character at all, and what he's really like). The picture of him I got is a WCW pic and we talked a bit about how great Nitro was and how we wished it was still around. He took a photo for free with everybody who bought an autograph.
After that we waited around for the show to start. In the past they would close the gym area for an hour while they set up, but this time they kept it open and let everybody stay if they wanted. I guess just because the Duanesburg building has more room than the Ballston Spa one did. We got a spot at the top of the bleachers and looked through the magazines while we waited for the show.
The show began with IYFW Champ "The Pillar" Roman Dominguez
in the ring. He did a short promo about how there would be a title match tonight only if he decided he wanted one. That started the night's overarching story, with IYFW officials trying to negotiate the title match.
The opening match had "Mr. Canada" Ricky Williams
and masked newcomer The Canadian Assassin
(who was pretty clearly Chip Stetson), accompanied by Blood Money leader "Millenium Millionaire" Scott Scarsdale
, taking on The Wild Kingdom
- Good Lord Willing
and "Wildcard" Lance Madewell
. Willing and Madewell were in the opening match at the last show against the Stooges; this time they had a bit more of a serious opposition. As the match went on Willing got isolated and double-teamed by the heels as Madewell tried to get in but was stopped by the ref, distracting him so the heels could double-team Willing more. Eventually Willing got the hot tag and cleaned house. Madewell then threw the Assassin into the corner, where Willing hit him with a chocolate Easter bunny; Madewell then got the pin. Fun match and, of course, Good Lord Willing is awesome.
After the good guys left, Williams and Scarsdale berated the Assassin for losing and then fired him. The Assassin tried to leave with the Canadian flag on a hockey stick (Williams' signature object), but Williams got it back. Williams then demanded another opponent. Some familiar music hit: "Buff... DADDY!" Buff Bagwell
, still in great shape, danced to the ring to answer the challenge. He and Williams had a relatively short back-and-forth battle, with Buff using lots of clotheslines to put Williams down and send him out of the ring. Buff went up for the Blockbuster, but with the ref's back turned, Scarsdale hit him with the flag hockey stick, and Williams got a quick pin on him. After the match Williams and Scarsdale put the boots to Buff, but Buff fought back and nailed them with a double clothesline, and sent them packing. He then broke the flag hockey stick over his knee and then made like he was going to pee on it, but fortunately thought better of it before Buff's stuff made an appearance.
Match number three saw two rookies, Zack Clayton
and William Slade
, go one on one. I think I mentioned in the last IYFW show report that Clayton looks a little like a young Randy Orton, and has one of the better physiques of the IYFW guys. Slade shaved off the Matt Cross-like beard he had been sporting at the last show. For a couple of rookies, these two actually had a hell of a match, with lots of hard-hitting action. Clayton looked especially impressive with some crisp slams, and Slade sold really well. Slade got his nose busted early in the match and was noticeably bleeding for the rest of it. In the end Clayton hit a neckbreaker out of a Gory Special for a two count, then hit a regular swinging neckbreaker for three. I would've switched the order of those last two moves, but still, these two did great.Drake Evans
came to the ring and said that he had signed a title match contract, and demanded Dominguez come out to sign and face him. Alexzandra
, an IYFW board member, came out and said Evans was wrestling Jeff Jarrett instead. At least that's what I gathered - most of the segment was actually spent trying to get the microphones to work. Oh well.
Next was a handicap match as new tag team the Space Cowboys
, the Rickety Rocket
and Garrett Holiday
, took on heavyweight Prince Ashul-Naul
. The lightweight duo tried to stick and move against the big man, but it wasn't enough - the Prince hit two double chokeslams on them for the win.
Prince continued attacking his opponents after the match, until finally Haku
hit the ring. The ref quickly called for the bell as Haku hit some kicks on Prince and then put him in the Tongan Death Grip for the pin. For whatever reason, Holiday and the Rocket decided to try their luck against Haku, and he quickly laid them out as well. Then some IYFW students came in the ring and Haku disposed of them with headbutts and kicks. Then a couple of the security guys came in and they got taken out. Having beaten up basically everybody, Haku finally left to - from us - a standing ovation. Honestly, the rest of the show could've just been guys coming into the ring and Haku beating them up and I would've been happy. Remember that episode of WCW Saturday Night that ended with Meng just walking around backstage putting people in the Death Grip?
The next match was Vigo
of Northern Fury against The Godfather
. Neither came alone - Vigo had partner Sgt. Fury
with him, and of course Godfather had the "ho train," made up this time apparently of local girls. Godfather did the classic "pimpin' aint easy" promo. True to his word, Godfather, saying he had no issue with Vigo, offered him the hos, but Vigo said he couldn't because he was married. Godfather sweetened the deal by bringing out another girl with a whip. Fury said he wasn't married, and ended up leaving with the girls. The bell then rang and Godfather and Vigo battled for a bit, with Godfather hitting the running Ho Train move in the corner. At that point Lenn Oddity
and the Scumdogs of Sanity
came out and the Scumdogs got in the ring to attack Vigo. The ref threw out the match as the Scumdogs beat on Vigo and also went after Godfather when he tried to stop them. Sgt. Fury, having apparently gotten away from the hos, ran back out, and Northern Fury and Godfather cleared the ring.
After the intermission, Chip Stetson
came out and said that the was supposed to be the special ref for the tag title match, but he lives here in Delanson and this is the biggest show of the year, so he wants to have a match instead. He called for anybody to come out and face him. He got more than he bargained for, though, as Genie Melissa Coates
appeared in the entryway, and the "Suicidal, Homicidal, Genocidal" Sabu
followed. Before the bell, Stetson said he respects Sabu and shook hands with him. After the initial lockups, Sabu apparently wished for a chair and Genie provided it, and Sabu went to work with his classic chair moves - the Arabian Facebuster, chair dropkick in the corner, and just throwing it at him. They brawled in and out of the ring, Sabu hit some more chair shots, and then put Stetson in the Arabian Clutch for the submission. They shook hands again before Sabu left to his ECW music. A basic weapon match, but it worked, and I'm not sure how much more Sabu can do at this point. Still a cool and probably rare opportunity to see the hardcore legend in action.
After that Yvonna Leach
, the IYFW commissioner, announced that because the Scumdogs of Sanity attacked Vigo earlier, the tag title match - scheduled to be the Scumdogs vs. champs the Knockout Gang
- was now a three-way match with Northern Fury added to the mix. Additionally, since Stetson withdrew from the guest ref spot, the new guest ref would be JP Black
, a mainstay of both the Northeastern and Texas indies. I believe Black was the trainer of Vik Dalishus, who is himself now a trainer at Tommy Dreamer's House of Hardcore school. Black would also prove to be a more capable referee than the actual refs of IYFW... which he did while wearing chaps.
The tag title three-way commenced with Northern Fury at the disadvantage against the hands of the two heel teams. Fury was face-in-peril for a good chunk of the match. It eventually broke down with all three teams fighting at once and eventually hitting their tandem finishers - the 3DII from the Scumdogs; the Blackout (double rolling elbow) from the Knockout Gang. Northern Fury made a big comeback and Vigo pinned Gabriel Soul of the Knockouts to win the belts. We were pulling either for the Knockouts to retain or the Scumdogs to win, but I do get putting the belts on the faces - IYFW has more heel teams than faces right now, so putting the belts on the faces allows for more potential matches.
Next up the IYFW New Breed Title, the company's secondary belt, was on the line as Elite Terrell
defended against "Mr. Must See TV" Tyler Vincent
. This was a long match, and did have some good fast-paced action. They did lose the pace a few times - at one point after a dive to the outside, Vincent walked a lap around the ring for no particular reason - but considering they're both newcomers and Vincent has less than ten matches under his belt, it wasn't bad at all. Terrell got the win with a shooting star press, which had a pretty scary botched landing. The last time he tried the move, at last years Memories, Moments & Mayhem
, the same thing happened - he should probably stay away from that move until he can perform it safely.
Next up was presumably the final chapter in the rivalry between "The Wolf" CJ Scott
and "The Mighty" Fronz Roddy
, which has been one of the best parts of IYFW for some time. This time they've selected teams for a six-man tag match. Scott has his brother "Savage" Damon Ravage
(collectively, they're the Savage Wolves
) as well as special guest Brian Myers
, while Fronz brought established ally "The Shaft" Bobby Ocean
and special guest Stevie Richards
. Richards entered to the Blue World Order music, and looks to be in great shape. As the teams stared each other down, Myers mocked Richards by doing the DDP Yoga "Diamond Cutter-Hulk It Up" pose. This was really good stuff - the IYFW guys in this match are probably the best in the company; Ocean has worked regularly throughout the northeastern indy scene as of late (including Northeast Wrestling and Big Time Wrestling), and the guests worked well. Bobby Ocean was face-in-peril for awhile, but eventually the rivals Scott and Roddy got to square off. The end came with most of the wrestlers on the outside with Scott trapped in the ring with Roddy and Richards; Scott promptly ate a Stevie Kick and turned around into Roddy's Aus Crusher for the pin and final redemption. Roddy, Ocean and Big Stevie Cool posed for awhile to a great reaction from the fans. Match of the night by far.
Finally was the main event with Drake Evans
and Jeff Jarrett
squaring off. Jarrett is still using his TNA theme "My World" as he did at Wrestle Kingdom
. He was in full Bullet Club gear; even his guitar had the Bullet Club logo. They locked up and did some rest holds; Jarrett broke away and did his strut. Jarrett worked on Evans' legs for awhile then set up the figure-four, but Evans got to the ropes. He went for the figure-four again in the middle of the ring, but Evans managed to roll it into a small package for a flash pin. As Jarrett argued with the ref and Evans sold his legs, Roman Dominguez
came in with the contract, saying he just signed it and demanded the ref start the match between he and Evans.
The ref eventually complied and Dominguez went after Dominguez and beat him down for awhile. Eventually, though, Dominguez punched out the ref when he tried to stop the beating. Jarrett came back in with his guitar and acted like he was going to help Dominguez, but, of course, it was a trap - when Dominguez turned around, Jarrett kabonged him with the guitar, then called out JP Black to make the pin for Evans to win the title.
I get what they were trying to do here - the match with Jarrett was all a ruse, with Evans and Jarrett working together to lure Dominguez out and setting up the title match, then Jarrett helping Evans win the belt. But I don't think it came off that well - having Jarrett lose as quickly as he did, even if it was all a ruse, deflated the crowd, and despite ostensibly being the company's top face, it just doesn't seem Evans is all that popular with the crowd to begin with. Of the company's babyfaces, Fronz Roddy, Bobby Ocean and even Good Lord Willing all get much better reactions from the crowd; even Chip Steston, at best a tweener, gets better reactions, and all of them are more skilled than Evans as well. I get having the babyface win the main event of the biggest show of the year, but personally, I would've preferred Dominguez retain as he's much more interesting as a dominant heel.
Hmm, a company pushing somebody into the title picture without the support of the fanbase... where have I seen that before.
So, there you have it. The convention was fantastic and the show, while not a home run, did have its moments. The six-man match was great, the Clayton-Slade match was surprisingly very good as well, and I got to see Meng go on a rampage live. Definitely a fun time. As far as what's upcoming, next month is FWE's Battle of Bridgewater
, which we'll be attending the second night of. Then in August is Northeast Wrestling's Wrestling Under the Stars IV
, at the ballpark in Fishkill - no tickets yet for that, but almost certainly we'll be going. In between IYFW has another show on Memorial Day weekend, which is a possibility.
-The Wild Kingdom (Good Lord Willing & Lance Madewell) d. Ricky Williams & The Canadian Assassin
-Ricky Williams d. Buff Bagwell
-Zack Clayton d. William Slade
-Prince Ashul-Naul d. The Space Cowboys (Garrett Holiday & The Rickety Rocket) in a 2-on-1 handicap match
-Haku d. Prince Ashul-Naul
-Vigo drew The Godfather by no-contest
-Sabu d. Chip Stetson
-Northern Fury (Sgt. Fury & Vigo) d. The Knockout Gang (Gabriel Soul & Jamar Justice) and The Scumdogs of Sanity (SOG & Surma) to win the IYFW Tag Team Championship (special referee: JP Black)
-Elite Terrell d. Tyler Vincent to retain the IYFW New Breed Championship
-Bobby Ocean, Fronz Roddy & Stevie Richards d. The Savage Wolves (CJ Scott & Damon Ravage) & Brian Myers
-Drake Evans d. Jeff Jarrett
-Drake Evans d. Roman Dominguez to win the IYFW Championship