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[2001-01-06-IWA-MS-An IWA Odyssey] Chris Hero & Mark Wolf & Todd Morton vs CM Punk & Colt Cabana & Paul E. Smooth (Elimination)

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Real good opening exchanges to the match between Morton and Punk, until a shoulder charge sees both men go down and they tag out to Hero and Cabana. The fast pace continues with Hero twice powering out of a spinning toe hold. Another shoulder charge and again both go down, although this time the tag is made to Wolf and Smooth. They immediately run into one another, clashing heads and the other four participants are in to check on their respective partners. Order is restored after a brief free for all and Morton with a hard knife edge chop to Smooth. Press slam where he very nearly spikes him head first to the mat. Wolf works a simple distraction spot, diverting the referee’s attention allowing Hero and Morton to double team Smooth in the corner. Tilt-a-whirl slam by Hero and Punk is in to break up the pin. Paul E. counters the Morton tilt-a-whirl with a headscissors, but is too slow to the punch and gets booted in the mid-section. Snap suplex as Punk looks to get a “Hero’s a bitch!” chant going from the apron. Wolf with a running lariat in the corner followed by a bulldog. He heads upstairs, however is too busy jawing with the fans and gets caught by Smooth who nails him with a top rope frankensteiner. Bronco buster, Wolf raises a foot though which connects with a flying Smooth’s groin. A belly to back suplex gets him the three, but it’s a double pin as Wolf makes the cardinal error of not raising his own shoulders, so the ref counted him down too and they’re both out of here. Morton takes to the floor after a pair of Cabana clotheslines and clearly frustrated, complains about a non-existent pull of the tights. The official is having none of it mind and tells him to get on with it. Lovely springboard sunset flip by Colt on Hero for a two. That’s topped by an even better looking piledriver on Morton who bounces a good foot off the canvas. The wrestlers almost get in each others way, before Punk hits what amounts to a reverse Thesz press on Hero before repeatedly punching him in the balls. Hero reverses the Irish whip and boots him in the guts. Double team back suplex/neckbreaker and Punk is eliminated leaving Colt all on his own. Cabana counters a Hero submission with a pin and he’s forced to let go of the hold, reverting to a safer rear chinlock. Or so he thought, as Colt with a jawbreaker for the escape. Sit out double underhook suplex on Morton and Hero is in to save his partner. A pair of DDTs to the opposition as Cabana takes it to the both of them until he’s stopped in his tracks by a poke to the eyes. Hero with a belly to back, but Colt flips over, shoves Hero into Morton and then schoolboys him as we’re down to our final two men. Morton pulls Cabana to the outside where he whips him into the ring post. Double axe handle off the apron and he then cracks Colt over the back with a chair. The action returns to the ring where Cabana rolls through on a reverse crossbody to pick up the win for his team. He’s jumped after the match by Hero, Wolf and Morton, but Punk and Smooth are out in double quick time to even things up and run them off.

 

You can bypass the first ten minutes of this as it is just the ring introductions and mic work that goes nowhere with them throwing insults at each other (Hero looks like a monkey, digs on Morton’s height, accusing the Punk team of all being gay etc). When this finally got going it was real good fare and the time flew by while I was watching it. Punk didn’t work as much as his partners in this, but more than contributed, looking great when in there with Morton and being animated on the apron. Cabana is still clearly someway ahead of him and was the MVP of this along with Morton. Hero was a notch below those two, and I also liked what we saw of Paul E. Smooth who, although admittedly a touch green, has charisma and is perfect for the heels to get the heat on. A highly enjoyable match with some innovative stuff and a vast improvement on the IWA-MS tag I watched from a few days earlier.

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An insane promo from Todd starts off saying he is pissed they have to fight three homosexuals. He hates homosexuals just like he hates everyone else in the crowd.  Alrighty then. Paul E. Smooth is doing his grinding stripper gimmick  on the IWA faithful and Punk and Cabana feel out of place with the whole ensemble. Prazak also does a promo talking about how gold bond mafia is a lame gimmick but what is the Resistance resisting?  Punk says he is wrestling a monkey, referee and a midget in a pretty funny line that gets the crowd to pop and is the least canceled of the promo work in this match so far. This isn’t a great match per say but it is good and more importantly does feel pretty important in one of the early indications of the direction IWA was heading into the next year or so. Gold Bond Mafia has their gimmicks but especially with Cabana and Punk, there is going to be a reliance on workrate. Ditto Hero who is fun here as the bruiser on the heel side. Wolf and Morton are the southern brawlers with Morton bringing more due to his experience but this match showed that style did compliment the indie style in a weird way. The match is southern in formula in that Smooth is worked over for the majority and there is frequent tags in and out from the Resistance. We learn this is an elimination match which I was unsure of at first. Match breaks down and is all action and Punk ends up getting pinned by Hero after him and Morton do a neckbreaker/backdrop double team.  Colt is isolated against Hero and Morton.  Colt fends off Hero and Morton and gets the quick pin on Hero. He then takes a nice beating on the outside by Morton but is able to get a quick win on him. Colt continues to be the most polished of all these guys IMO and overall this was a fun match and snapshot to watch. ***1/4 (6.5)

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