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[2001-01-03-IWA-MS-New Year's Knockout] Chris Hero & Todd Morton vs 2 Tuff Tony & Madman Pondo

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It sounds like a couple of fans have been on the back of the wrestlers all night, so before this get started Pondo takes it on himself (well claims he was ‘elected’ by all the boys in the back) to deal with the hecklers but stumbles through the line he’d pre-prepared to say to them! Hero and Morton jump their opponents before Jim Fannin has even finished the introductions, throw Pondo to the floor and start to double team Tony. He ducks the double clothesline, Pondo hooks Hero’s ankle and pulls him to the outside while Tony nails Morton with a lariat. They steal the Dudley’s ‘Wassup’ spot, although with 2 Tuff doing a twisting headbutt off the top to the groin. The crowd start chanting “monkey boy” at Hero and he makes out as if he’s leaving, but quickly returns from the dressing room. Hero and Tony engage in a nice bit of wrestling that ends when Hero resorts to a hair pulling when caught in the top wristlock. 2 Tuff gets the better of the ‘test of strength’, stomps on Hero’s hands and he’s back on the arena floor again. Spinning DDT by Tony for a one count, while Pondo gets a two after a flying clothesline. Hero rakes him across the eyes and he makes the tag to Morton. There’s an aggressiveness about Morton here as Pondo ends up slumped in the corner following a barrage of forearms and stomps. Morton whips him into the turnbuckles but then runs into a big boot. He takes a spin bump off the clothesline and ducks to the outside to try and regain his senses. Pondo makes the cover after a bodyslam, but the ref is otherwise engaged with 2 Tuff who’d been goaded into the ring by Morton and Hero breaks it up with a leg drop to the back of the head. Hero and Morton start to utilise the double team behind the official’s back, while those “monkey boy” chants are getting more annoying the longer this goes on. An ugly miscommunication between Pondo and Morton which they follow with an ugly looking DDT. Just as Pondo is about to make the tag, Hero with the distraction and the ref doesn’t see it, ordering Tony back onto the apron. Morton misses the frog splash and Pondo finally makes that tag. 2 Tuff whips Hero into the turnbuckles and he goes flying over them to the arena floor. They cover him with chairs and Pondo with a careless leap from the middle rope down onto him. As Pondo and Morton go at it at ringside, Tony misses the twisting splash and Hero small packages him for the win. Pondo turns on Tony after the match holding him responsible for their loss, saying how he’s the one that “works in motherf*cking Japan, not this jabroni asshole” and how Tony wouldn’t be on the clown show if it wasn’t for him. He’s annoyed that Allister Fear got a bigger pop than him and wonders what he has to do for these people to realise that he isn’t a jabroni like everyone else in the back?

 

That match wasn’t enough for Morton and “the biggest little man in professional wrestling” is itching for another fight. He says that there is no-one in the IWA that can go toe to toe with him and if anyone has got the balls... Sabu answers the challenge and quickly gets the better of both Morton and Hero who high tail it from the ring. The fun isn’t over yet as Sabu is then jumped from behind by Tracey Smothers. The pair of them go at it as the locker room empties in an attempt to try and separate them. They have no luck and it becomes a wild and chaotic scene with chairs and furniture flying all over the place, Tracey attacking other wrestlers, flipping off fans and giving everyone the middle finger. As it looks like they’ve dragged Sabu off out of there, Smothers starts cutting a profanity laced promo only for Sabu to return. Ian Rotten tries to calm the situation but it ends up having the opposite effect. He says how Tracey wasn’t booked on the show tonight and just showed up, while ‘Sell Out’ Smothers tells him that he goes where he wants and does what he likes. Tracey wants a match with Sabu on the next show, which Ian agrees to, and fed up with his behaviour goes as far as saying he’ll give Sabu a $500 bonus for every bone of his that he breaks. Like Ian’s honouring that! With everything seemingly sorted, he once more tries to get Smothers to leave which this time results in the two of them fighting on the floor and exchanging blows.

 

When I saw the time counter on this, then when Jim Fannin announced it had a thirty minute time limit, I was convinced it was going the duration and we were getting a broadway. That was reinforced by how pedestrian like Tony and Hero were in the opening ten minutes, so I was pleasantly surprised when it didn’t. I think it was Chad who said something like would we ever see a good Pondo match in 2000, I’m now wondering if we’ll ever see a good Pondo match in the decade. Pondo as the FIP and working a twenty plus minute weapon free match really isn’t playing to his strengths (that’s if he has any at all!). There was some decent wrestling between Hero and Tony (the latter being much more competent than I expected) and the Hero/Morton team had some basic old fashioned heel antics, but there’s nothing here worth going out of your way to see when it comes to the match. What you need to do is skip all that and go to the post-match as Tracey Smothers is on fire! This was some performance; crazed, scarily out of control, looking for a fight and is damn sure he’s going to get one. Believable in everything he did and you were just transfixed waiting to see what he would do next. I could’ve done without Ian interjecting himself into this mind and his repetitive knocks about Cornette were tiresome.

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Hero is certainly someone to track in 2000. He was on the outside looking in on my top 100 workers of 2000 and I fully expect that is the last year he is active that he will fall outside of the top 100 or maybe even the top 75. Him teaming with Morton here was good to see as they really established themselves as an old school bruising tag team.  Pondo isn’t exactly good as a FIP but he was well enough to convey the story beyond his limitations and overall this was a good match.  Tony is someone that if he would have been in IWA as much as some others, he probably would have had a lot of under the radar gems as he has a solid base. At minimum I wish he would have been around as much as someone like Adam Gooch in late 2002/early 2003.  Morton/Hero getting the win in cheap fashion was expected and an IWA standby.

The aftermath is really where this shines though.  Morton is ready for more and here comes Sabu out to answer the call. I will say I thought the reaction to Sabu was pretty weak given his notoriety.  Things ramp up with Tracy smothers coming out and they brawl and just cause chaos. IWA does 2/3 of these big wrap around the building, riotish type events a year from 2001-2003 and this one worked beautifully for me.  Especially when Ian gets involved and at one point, Tracy charges towards him and they both go down.  This was 15 minutes of compelling stuff that would have felt right at home in a Memphis studio. ***

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