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Indy Wrestling in Middle America


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It's common knowledge that the coverage of independent wrestling on the internet (aside from perhaps IWA Mid-South) focuses mainly on promotions based out of the east or west coast of the United States. Lost in the shuffle, however, is a bunch of quality wrestling action and promos featuring Midwest-based independent wrestlers. It's pretty amazing what a slight shift of geography, and perhaps more importantly, having a solid, full-time job can do to the exposure of some truly talented weekend warriors.


So, with the approval of Loss, I'm starting this thread simply as a resource to introduce you to many Midwest-based wrestlers you:


a.) May only know as a name you've seen in the random results in Meltzer's daily updates

b.) Know for his/her work in a well-known indy like Ring of Honor or Chikara, but have never seen wrestle in his/her home promotion (Tyler Black, for example, in Davenport, Iowa's Scott County Wrestling and Chicago's AAW or the Northstar Express in Des Moines' 3XWrestling, Minneapolis' F1RST Wrestling, Council Bluffs, IA's Pro Wrestling Phoenix)

c.) Are familiar with his/her famous sibling or parent (Evan Bourne, Shawn Daivari, and Ted Dibiase all have siblings that have wrestled in the Midwest and Curt Hennig's daugther, Amy, recently began wrestling for Harley Race's World League Wrestling in Missouri)

d.) Have never heard of in your life


I plan on updating this thread with new clips of matches and/or promos, as well as additional information about the footage at least a couple times a week.


In the interest of full disclosure, I do work as Midnight Guthrie for 3XWrestling, an indy in Des Moines, Iowa. My intention with this project, however, truly isn't to give myself a bunch of publicity, but rather to give some of the talented guys and gals throughout this part of the States some additional exposure. Plus, because many of the wrestlers work more of a traditional, less "ROHish" style, I think some of the posters would really enjoy the action.


So, without further ado, I present the first week of the project in the posts below.

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I'm going to devote the first week or so of this project to the team of Darin Corbin and Ryan Cruz, collectively known as the Northstar Express. I chose Corbin and Cruz for a few reasons:


1. There is a lot of available footage of them on the internet

2. They're a team that some of you might already be slightly familiar with due to their appearances in CHIKARA and IWA Mid-South

3. In all seriousness, I think they're one of the best tag teams in U.S. independent wrestling today


As I mentioned above, many people have seen the acclaimed Northstar Express vs. Kings of Wrestling match from the 2006 CHIKARA Tag World Grand Prix. If you haven't seen it, it's as easy as going to your local Best Buy and purchasing the Best of CHIKARA DVD produced by Big Vision, as the match is featured on the disc. As an aside, you should really check the DVD out anyway, because it's a really great intro to CHIKARA.


Trained in Minnesota by Arik Cannon, Corbin and Cruz grew up together and are best friends in real life. Natives of Minnesota, both began their careers in central Minnesota in 2003. Cruz actually began his career under the gimmick of "Version 2.0" due to his uncanny resemblence to Matt Hardy, while Corbin is still considered the "brother" of Minnesota indy regular Aaron Corbin. They still live in Minnesota, basing themselves out of F1RST Wrestling in Minneapolis/St. Paul and wrestle around the state on a regular basis, while mixing regular stops in Chicago (AAW), Des Moines (3XWrestling), Council Bluffs, Iowa (Pro Wrestling Phoenix)and other smaller independent promotions.


In the past, they've been much heralded as part of the unofficial "IWA Mid-South Class of 2005-2006." In fact, Corbin held the IWA Mid-South Heavyweight title for a brief period of time:


IWA Mid-South Class of 2005-2006


IWA is where Corbin gained popularity due to his ridiculous dance moves:



As mentioned before, they've also made quite a few appearances in CHIKARA and were regulars in Canada's UWA Hardcore up until it closed shop:

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North Star Express vs. Olsen Twins - SLOOOOW MOOOOTION

Promo with manager JJ Dillion

North Star Express promo at Chikara's "Once in a Lifetime"


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In upcoming posts, we'll look at the NSE's much more impressive promo work, Corbin and Cruz in various singles matches, and, of course, their work as a tag team. Here's a nice sneak peek of what's to come, as the NSE take on the Phoenix Twins in AAW on 9/29/07. These two teams are about to hold a possibly feud-ending TLC match at AAW's "Windy City Classic IV" on Nov. 28, which should be the end of over a year of battling one another in Chicago's top indy.



Where to find more information about them:




http://www.myspace.com/corbins_belt - One of Corbin's gimmicks the last four years is to wear a scrolling LED belt he bought at Hot Topic to the ring, with different messages pertaining to the match, feud, etc. I believe I've seen someone else copy this, but he's the first wrestler I remember seeing do something like this. His belt also has it's own MySpace page.


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Is that J.J. Dillinger? It looks like J.J. Dillinger.


As a guy who spent five looong years working in various non-wrestling capacities on a million little shows that never hit the internet (save for my home fed USWO, who strangely always get their weekly results on Meltzer and OWW), I heartily endorse this product. There's a thousand charismatic, talented, and knowledgable indy wrestlers out there in flyover country, just waiting to be discovered; let us call them the Chuck Taylors of the world. Unfortunately, there are also ten thousand skinny backyard kids with no tights who rip of whatever spot they saw on whatever tape recently and don't know jack else, and twenty thousand aging pudgy guys with bad tights who have a basic grasp of psychology but are unable to do any maneuver more complicated than a dropkick. So, yeah, please do go ahead and trumpet the merits of any real talent.

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As I mentioned above, many people have seen the acclaimed Northstar Express vs. Kings of Wrestling match from the 2006 CHIKARA Tag World Grand Prix.

I'd be amongst that group, and of all the teams I knew nothing about going into that tournament, they were definitely the one I came away most impressed with. If I'm Adam Pearce - and I'm pretty sure I'm not - they're the kind of team I'd be looking towards as potential hires for ROH. They have the in-ring technique necessary to keep the core ROHbot fanbase happy, plus the personality to fit in with the more "back to basics" approach that their supposedly going for now.


Three things I want to note:


1. I remember watching Royal Rumble 2007 and seeing MNM come out for their match with The Hardy Boys wearing fur coats embedded with scrolling LED displays and jokingly thinking to myself "damn, how are NSE supposed to get noticed in the big leagues now?"


2. I've seen the slow-motion routine done three different times now. Not sure if this was necessarily the funniest, as really, it was the same bit each time, so it's kinda run it's course with me. That said, I think this was best technically executed version of it, as I really was questioning whether or not they were actually doing the bit or if the video was just being played in slo-mo.


3. Fun little match at the end, but I actually thought it was more because of the Phoenix Twins than the NSE. Dash Phoenix throws a really shitty corner clothesline, but otherwise, dudes were really spot on with their stuff.


In any case, I am always for the uncovering and dissemination of great wrestling, so I thought this was cool, and I'm looking forward to more of these.

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Yeah, I'd love to see some of the other matches in the year-plus long feud between the Phoenix Twins and the Northstar Express. I believe this was the first match between the teams and I can only imagine Joey Eastman's antics at ringside managing the NSE after turning on the Twins' only adds to the fun.


Unfortunately, considering they wrestle as a team more often then in singles matches, there is criminally little footage of Corbin and Cruz in action as a team online. For now, I'll finish the introduction to the Northstar Express with a variety of full matches, match clips and promos, with some interesting anecdotes along the way. I have a number of Northstar Express tag team matches on DVD, so I'll try to upload one in the near future so the folks following this thread can get a true idea of what they are like working a standard formula tag team match in a live atmosphere.


As a team:


The Northstar Express are known throughout the Midwest as much for their smart-ass personalites and strong promo skills as their in-ring ability. It's interesting that the majority of wrestling fans have seen Corbin and Cruz from their CHIKARA footage, where they've only competed as faces. The fact is,while making great, spunky underdog faces, Corbin and Cruz are incredible "get in the crowd's face" heels and our definitely stronger on the mic in a heel environment. Corbin takes care of almost all the promo work for the NSE, but Cruz might actually be stronger of the two at jawing at fans during matches and getting them really fired up.


The story for the following three promos involves the NSE having held the 3XW Tag Team titles for over a year now - with almost every victory as a result of some form of cheating. In fact, Corbin and Cruz's main finishing hold as a team in 3XW isn't the Cruz Control, which they use in other indies, but a simple, strong punt by Corbin to a standing opponent's groin while the referee is distracted. Despite the odds being stacked against them countless times, Corbin and Cruz always found a way to win or simply took a countout or DQ loss. I, being a poor, poor, poor man's Sean Mooney/Craig DeGeorge/Todd Pettingill, have been absolutely disgusted with the NSE's cheating tactics and, until recently, hoped for nothing but the worst to happen to them.





There was an awesome series of events that led to the next promo. To make a long story short, the already way over NSE are now the top face team by virtue of getting screwed over by the the other top heel team in 3XW, Gage Octane and Mark Sterling (The Gentleman's Club). Corbin legitimately strained hamstring cords and tore his lanteris muscle during the match, which was a really odd coincidence that only strengthend the planned face turn and made Ryan Cruz look like a total badass for wrestling two men by himself for over 20 minutes, only to lose to the NSE's own finisher - a kick to the balls. Of course, they actually still cheat as much as they did before, ut it appears they'll just work more hope and face in peril spots.


Also - it is in your best interest to watch the awesome Mike Sydal and Zach Thompson promo about midway through the show and the excellent, intense Jeremy Wyatt promo about seven minutes in. If you're thinking "like Matt Sydal?"...yes, because Mike Sydal is Matt "Evan Bourne" Sydal's legitimate brother. Mike's been wrestling for about eight months now and is really becoming a great entertainer. He wears hand-me-down Matt Sydal tights and most of his offense involves not-as-crisp Matt Sydal moves, but he's still over like rover and is a fantastic promo. Funny thing is, he's actually the OLDER brother of Matt., even though he doesn't look a day over 21.


3XW Outside the Ring - November 2008 - Look for the latest Northstar Express 3XW promo during the last five minutes


The clip below is from CHIKARA's most recent King of Trios tournament. Just a really spectacular piece of action.




Question about the clip above - who is this Marion Fontaine? He actually looks pretty entertaining.


3XW music video with tons of NSE clips


Singles action:



This bout is from a recent Pro Wrestling Phoenix card. I believe it's sort of a paint-by-numbers match for these two, but this one is improved from a previous match I saw between the two of them in early 2006.


Ryan Cruz vs. "6% Body Fat" Rob James


I just discovered this for the first time myself and it was better than I expected. Really displays how great of a seller Cruz can be.



WCWC - Darin Corbin vs. Kris Klash from a small Oregon indy


Some of you may see the title of the clip above and think "WTF? Isn't Corbin from Minnesota?" Of course he is, but he honestly has been booked by WCWC, a smally Oregon indy that draws maybe 75 fans a show, on mutiple occasions.


The story behind this is really quite simple. Paraphrased from what Corbin told me himself, nearing the end of his final year of college, he was interested in perhaps wrestling in some new places to gain experience. In order to achieve this, he took a really easy approach - he simply found a website listing indy promotions all over the country, found the promotions on MySpace, and sent them a message, along with the DANCE PARTY! video I posted previously. I don't even think he sent any actual wrestling clips.


The promoter of WCWC, which Corbin tells me is all about family-friendly comedy wrestling, responded to Corbin's message, setting the wheels in motion for Corbin to actually be flown out to Oregon to wrestle. The promoter told his class of local trainees that he was thinking about booking a wrestler from Minnesota, and according to what I've been told, one of the student's excitedly looked at the promoter and asked "Is it Darin Corbin!?! Is Arik Cannon coming too?" This sealed the deal for Corbin getting a free flight to Oregon, but I don't believe Cannon has been asked to fly his pleather-clad self to the Pacific Northwest. I wish I knew the promoter's name, because Corbin says he's incredibly nice and that WCWC is a really excellent atmosphere to work in.


I honestly haven't watch the match above in its entirety, but I love the story behind 23-year-old recent college graduate and GameStop employee Darin Corbin becoming an almost-regular for a small promotion 1,000+ miles away.


By the way - the last match the Northstar Express competed in? The took on former WWE team The Highlanders (Robbie and Rory McAllister) on Nov. 15th as part of a really stacked Heavy On Wrestling event. I'm anxious to see the match myself, as it's one of Corbin's first matches back from his recent leg injury.


Actually, the full card had a pretty wild line-up:


Heavy On Wrestling "Have a Funkin' Nice Day" - Nov. 15 - Superior, Wisconsin:

- HOW Championship: The 'Anarchist' Arik Cannon vs. The 'Professional' Ben Sailer w/ special guest ref Mick Foley & special guest enforcer Terry Funk

- Austin Aries vs. The 'Popular' Nate Bash

- The Northstar Express vs. former WWE Tag Team the Highlanders

- Mikey of WWE's Spirit Squad vs. Dickie Rodz

- Black Stallion vs. Thoruf Marius w/midget Bad Boy Brian (These guys are both legitimately huge hosses. I'm shocked Marius hasn't been signed by WWE, but he has been in Pro Westling NOAH in the last year.)

- Former WWE Smackdown Diva Cherry vs. Former WCW star Daffney vs. Ann Brookstone

- Four Way Tables Match - Winner gets a championship match on the next show

'King of Throwdown' Venom vs. Arya Daivari vs. Joey Envy vs. Big Brody Hoofer


This wraps up the Northstar Express portion of the project for now. I'll try to space out these really long posts by putting shorter one-two video posts in between. There was just a lot of high quality stuff readily available for Corbin and Cruz.


As an aside there is an excellent, almost Pro Wrestling Illustrated-ish website for Midwest indy wrestling called Missouri Wrestling Revival, which actually maintains rankings and recently did a Top 100 feature. I urge you to check it out if you've enjoyed the thread thus far: http://missouriwrestlingrevival.wordpress.com/

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Thought I'd post this because the timing is perfect with the previous entries: AAW just released a really well done video that gives an overview of the year-long Northstar Express w/ Joey Eastman vs. Phoenix Twins feud. The likely feud ending match is co-main event TLC match taking place this weekend at AAW's "Windy City Classic IV," which is essentially their Wrestlemania.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Quick post tonight - came upon the following match, which is fun, short indy sprint with some good spots, but also has really nice punches thrown by Velazquez and Rockett eating offense extremely well, as well as the requisite "hilariously blown but still looks effective" indy-multiman match spot.


WCPW Battle of the Belts 18 - Lightweight Title Match - Marshe Rockett © v. Isaias Velazquez v. TNA Star Petey Williams


A nice example of two wrestlers early in their careers that lack polish but certainly show a lot of potential (Rockett and Velazquez) and put on a good show with the big "name" wrestler the indy brought in. It's the first time I've ever seen Velazquez, but I'd definitely like to see more of him. Rockett, of course, has become an indy name over the last year (at least in the Midwest) as a member of Da Soul Touchaz, who jumped on people's radars after appearing in the CHIKARA"King of Trios" earlier this year.


I also really like the work of the referee in this bout.


After doing some research, it appears this match is from May of 2006 as part of a somehwat joint TNA/WCPW card. For those wondering, yes, Windy City is still running shows, now in its 20th year. Certainly, however, it's no longer considered the top promotion in the Chicago area.



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This is pretty nice, short "big man vs. little man" match. Beck is a relative newcomer to wrestling on a regular basis, but has competed off-and-on for about three years under gimmicks such as "Cousin Mikey" (supposed to be Tony Scarpone's cousin - he looks very different now with the long hair and beard compared to the clean-shaven short-haired look he once had). Beck certainly is much larger than most on the indy scene and displays some nice agility here. Another year of seasoning and he might be a fixture in larger indy companies.


Shane Hollister is a great striker - the loud "CRACK!" his kicks make can only truly be apprciated when seeing him live - and is definitely one to watch for on the Midwest indy scene. He has wrestled on a few ROH preshows in recent months.

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  • 1 month later...

Quick update today to provide the results of a funky NWA: No Limits card I attended Friday. I'll try to provide another area wrestler profile in the near future.


NWA: No Limits returned after a long hiatus Friday, Jan. 9 to hold its first show in Iowa City, Iowa. The stacked card featured Stevie Richards, Elix Skipper, Tyler Black, Jimmy Jacobs, The Phoenix Twins, The Skullkrushers, MsChif and more!


Match 1: Six-Man Tag Team Match - "The Unbreakable" Zach Thompson, Aaron Masterson and "The Main Attraction" K.C. Jackson defeated Maddog McDowell, Ruff Crossing and "The Hype" Jimmy Shalwin.


A fun, fast-paced match to start the night. Thompson, Masterson and McDowell are based out of 3XW in Des Moines, but also work for MECW in St. Louis and Thompson can also be seen in Underground and GALLI. Crossing works for POWW. Shalwin works for various Michigan indies and occasionally in IWA Mid-South. Jackson works many places in Illinois and Iowa.


Thompson sold really well for the face team's offense. This was my first time seeing both Crossing and Shalwin, and I was impressed with both. Shalwin wears excellent gear that says "Strong SMILE" on the back. Crossing definitely is tall for an indy wrestler.


The end of the match saw the set up to an apparent dive sequence gone awry as a grounded Thompson hit the sizeable Shalwin low as he was perched on the second rope, leading to Thompson rolling him up for the pin.


Match 2: Triple Threat Match - Knight Wagner beat "The Rockstar" Jimmy Rockwell and "The Pop Icon" Donnie Peppercricket


Decent match. Wagner is a regular for Scott County Wrestling and AAW. Rockwell calls 3XW home, but also competes in Pro Wrestling Phoenix, CEW and MECW. Peppercricket is based out of PWP and also competes in CEW and occassionally 3XW and IWA Mid South. Wagner, who lives in nearby Coralville, was super over with the crowd. Finish saw Peppercricket down outside the ring as Wagner gave Rockwell a Michinoku Driver for the pin. Wagner and Rockwell shook hands following the match.


Match 3: NWA World Tag Team title match - The Skullkrushers (Rasche Brown and Keith Walker) successfully defended the titles against the Phoenix Twins in an outstanding match. I personally felt this was the match of the night. Brown and Walker struck fear in the crowd from the get go by throwing chairs into the ring during their entrance, swinging chains and generally being menacing dudes. Brown has a fantastic evil smile and laugh. They are absolute monsters size-wise by any standard - Indy or WWE.


This match featured awesome displays of power by Walker and Brown and really athletic, fast-paced moves by the Twins, who did an excellent job in the smaller, spunky underdogs role. This was my first time seeing the Twins in person and they're actually quite a bit taller live than they look on video.


The end came after a Doomsday Device by the Skullkrushers earned the pin for the NWA World Tag Team champions.


Match 4: Winner is declared the King of Des Moines - "Sugarfoot" Alex Payne beat Hunter Matthews. These guys are both originally from the Des Moines area and were actually classmates. Payne is a product of the Ring of Honor school and mainly wrestles dark matches on ROH shows and in east coast indies. Matthews is a regular in SCW, AAW and MECW.


Decent match that featured a number of near falls. Their were two instances where ref Jenna Stark hit the mat for three just as a shoulder was popping up, but it was more the fault of the wrestlers who seemed to be expecting Earl Hebner-style "2.9 and delay" counts instead of the consistent 1-2-3 count Stark used. As soon as each instance happened, Stark quickly corrected herself and the match continued.


Payne earned the win by dropping Matthews on his head and neck with a frankensteiner into a rollup for the pin.


Match 5: Stevie Richards and Krotch defeated "The Canadian Sex Icon" Ryan Slade and "Mean" Mason Beck.


Good match. Beck is a regular in SCW and AAW, Slade wrestles in 3XW, SCW, GALLI, Underground and others, Krotch is a regular in SCW, 3XW and AAW. Richards didn't hold anything back and looked in fantastic shape despite reports of being hospitalized recently due to a lung issue. The crowd was really into Richards and Krotch. Krotch picked up the win for his team after a Krotch Rocket on Slade. Before the pin, Richards nailed Beck with a beautiful superkick and continued to pound on him outside as Krotch got the win. Beck is one of the tallest wrestlers you'll see anyway in the Midwest. Stevie was understandably the most over wrestler on the show.


Match 6: The Mississippi Madman beat "Old Timer" Jeff King. If you've ever seen the Madman, you know how enormous he is and what an awesome character is he. King utilizes a complete 60's-era wrestler gimmick, with an old-style one-strap singlet, plain black boots and classic tube socks with a horizontal line design at the top. Quick, fun match that saw the Madman earn the win by falling on King after a failed bodyslam attempt.


Match 7: NWA World Woman's title - MsChif successfully defended her title against Melanie Cruise. Mschif is also the current SHIMMER champion, while Cruise is based out of POWW. To be honest, I missed most of this match, but what I saw was good.


Match 8: NWA Iowa State title - Shane Hollister successfully defended the title against Jimmy Jacobs


Good match which was actually shorter than I expected. Both men were very over with the crowd. The finish saw Jacobs miss a top rope senton, landing back first on Hollister's knees. Hollister then quickly rolled up Jacobs for the win.


Match 9: Tyler Black beat "Primetime" Elix Skipper. Excellent match. With Skipper not being on TV in about two years (for those new to wrestling, he was cruiserweight star during the final years of WCW and was a big part of TNA earlier this decade), I wasn't sure what to expect, but he looked awesome here and is in really good shape. Great back and forth match that saw both men utilize fantastic kicks. Skipper did use a tightrope-walk hurricarana on Black. Many nearfalls and the end came after Black nailed the kneeling Skipper with a huge superkick. Skipper should really still be wrestling on TV, and assuming the ROH/ HD Net TV deal happens, we'll see Black on TV soon enough.


Top-to-bottom, this was a really outstanding show and it's one you'll really enjoy when it's released on DVD by SEP Video in about a month. Dave Prazak was part of the commentary team for this event. You'd be amiss to not add this to your DVD collection if your a Midwest indy fan. By the way, and I don't know his name, but the ring announcer did an outstanding job. The other two refs on this show were Steve Biley and Sean Morrow.

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  • 1 month later...

AAW has posted another fun match from their most recent event, Bloody Valentine, which took place 2/21/09. It features Shiima Xion (of Norm Connors' IWC fame) making his Chicagoland debut against AAW mainstay and former WWE developmental talent Silas Young.


This is my first time seeing Xion in a full match and I came away pretty impressed. For two guys who've never faced each other before, they work very well together in this contest.


Obviously, the idea was to debut Xion in the area against a respected veteran of the company, and for what they are going for, this works as well as they could possibly want.


It also features the commentary of Derek St. Holmes, a veteran Chicago-area wrestler who does a really nice job as a color commentator.


AAW - Shiima Xion vs. Silas Young - Bloody Valentine 2-21-09


Also - the NWA: No Limits show from January featuring Stevie Richards, Elix Skipper, Tyler Black, Jimmy Jacobs, etc. I mentioned in my previous post is now available. Here's a preview video of the DVD:


NWA: No Limits 1-9-09 DVD Preview

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I was really impressed with the Shiima Xion/Silas Young match. That was my first time to see either guy. Silas Young in particular looks like a star, and is probably good enough to get picked up. I will give them credit for doing some impressive things, but one thing I really liked was that they teased more big moves than they actually delivered. I also enjoyed a lot of the matwork. Not something I'd call a great match, but definitely a surprisingly good one, very fun, with two guys who seem more experienced than they probably are.

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I'm curious what the small NWA member territories think about the NWA world title being put on Blue Demon Jr when it seems there's a lot of groups in the US that could benefit from having a "world title match". I know having the NWA champion on your card doesn't have the drawing power it did in say, 1975, but there's still some name recognition out there that a group could use to get a few extra tickets sold.


I guess that's just typical NWA thinking though, they'd rather use the belt to try to prop up a territory that isn't going to work (the NWA name has pretty much zero meaning in Mexico since the old school champs almost never toured there) instead of using it to help the US groups.

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I don't think the situation is much different from Crockett vs. The Rest in after 1984 and Coraluzzo vs. The Rest in the 90s


Can you remember how many NWA affiliates were around 15 years ago and how nothing ever came around? Its the same right now. Or remember when TNA hijacked the NWA titles. Some sole promoter will get hold of the titles and the others won't have any good out of it

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Cody, do not think these threads are going unappreciated. I know there are not too many replies but these can be great resources esp. for possible footage for upcomoing comps. Keep it up!

Thanks for the support, guys. I've never been worried about the amount of replies - the view count alone shows at least people are reading the thread. Plus, to be honest, most posters probably don't have much prior knowledge of the wrestlers/promotions I post about to be able to add their own experiences to the discussion.


In response to the NWA discussion, keep in mind that the current NWA is comprised of nothing more than a bunch of indy promotions full of wrestlers with day jobs to supplement the very minor income they may make from wrestling. Given the circumstances, I agree it's awful silly to put the belt on Blue Demon Jr., though, the NWA seems to attempting to target to the Latino market in So Cal, Las Vegas and Texas. But, if that's the plan, there's plenty of luchadors within the US they can put the belt on.


Don't ever expect the NWA World Champion to be much of touring champion, however, because it's far to costly for most NWA affiliates to afford flying the champion in. If you go to an NWA card and see one of the "major" (there's SOOO many NWA singles/tag belts right now), it's 90% because the champion lives within driving distance of the building.


The NWA just held a major show on Sunday in Sioux Falls, SD they advertised for over a month on their TV show. It's Tuesday and I haven't read a word about it ANYWHERE - and I keep up with Midwest wrestling happenings much closer than most. I even know people who worked on the show, so I finally emailed one of them today to find out how the show went. So...I'll post the results if I ever get them.


Expect me to post some more content in the next couple weeks because I actually have a bunch of Midwest wrestling to touch on. Would it be terribly frowned upon if I posted promos/matches directly involving the indy company I work for? I don't want to come off as an annoying shill, but there's some great stuff I'd like people outside of Iowa to see and I'm sure some of you would appreciate it.

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Finally - NWA results from Sioux Falls, SD. The event was held in an arena that seats up to 6,500-7,000. The approximate attendance for this show - 600. Still, I would consider it pretty successful by Midwestern wrestling attendance standards. I think the only true advertising being done was the NWA Showcase airing in syndication in Sioux Falls, and the ads only featured the announcement of the NWA World Tag Team title match and King V and Silas Young in action.


I just found an article (complete with name errors) done by the local paper here: http://www.argusleader.com/article/20090302/NEWS/903020319


Winners in bold with my comments following:


Wicked Lester Brody vs. Montoya X - Referee Steve Biley

- Lester Brody is a big dude who's legitimately fought for the UFC. His fight name escapes me at the moment, as I think his real name isn't Lester Brody. He definitely has a great look. Montoya X is a bigger wrestler by local indy standards, but probably realistically weighs about 230. He's a chubby but solidly-built Latino who possess a truly great top rope splash in his arsenal. I haven't seen him wrestle in some time, but he's always been pretty capable in the ring.


Biley, along with Todd Countryman, refs for a number of Midwestern indies. He and Countryman also are part-owners of 3XW.


Sheik vs. Marshall Scott - Referee Todd Countryman

- This would be the modern day version of The Sheik, who's based out of Pro Wrestling Fusion in Florida. I just recently discovered him on YouTube myself and he looks like a pretty entertaining competitor who wrestles similar to the original Sheik. I've read that he will be managed on TV by Joey Eastman, who's a really excellent heel manager based out of Chicago. I believe he also used to ring announce for IWA: Mid-South and others. Marshall Scott is one of many wrestlers from Iowa's Impact Pro Wrestling on the show (the NWA used IPW promoter TS Aggressor's ring). I've never seen him before, but imagine he's decent because the more capable wrestlers of IPW's roster were on the show.


Young Bucks vs. Skullkrushers - Referee Rob Page

- I would really like to see this match because the Skullkrushers are awesome heel monsters and the Young Bucks are the perfect long-haired teenage heartthrob faces to get pounded by the Walker and Brown. I imagine this comes off like a modern Powers of Pain vs. Fantastics or Rock N Roll Express (did they ever face each other? I'll be shocked if they haven't). Rob Page is smaller ref out of Minnesota that does a really good job. You can see him on most Minnesota indy shows, including F1RST Wrestling.


Arik Cannon vs. Tony Sly - Page

- Cannon is one of the bigger names on this show. He's an excellent striker whose famed strangely peaked in the early years of his career, 2004-2005, wrestling for IWA Mid-South. Like the Young Bucks, he's also wrestled for Dragon Gate and was part of Wrestling Society X. He's also the promoter of F1RST Wrestling in Minneapolis, which features pretty strong production values for a once-a-month indy. He's actually better now than in his early years, but sticks mainly to Midwest indies and the occasional PWG appearance. Sly, like Cannon, wears pleather gear, but his has always looked pretty awkward. He's tall, about 6'4", and wrestles mainly in Iowa. He's not the most technically sond wrestler, but does a decent job of getting heel heat.


Angel Armoni vs. Derek Stone - Biley

- Stone is a Midwestern indy wrestler and trainer treated with total reverence by a huge number of area wrestlers. He's trained a lot of guys who've also trained a lot of guys. In fact, there was period time in the late 90s-early 00's that when someone was trained by Harley Race, they actually were trained in the ring by Derek Stone with the input of Harley Race (obviously, Race can't do the physical in-ring training anymore). In his mid-to-late 30s now, Stone is still recovering from a gruesome leg injury in suffered in 2006. He's really solid in the ring and old-school enough that he still keeps kayfabe even around fans after shows are over.

Angel Armoni is also a veteran - he's in his 40s, I believe - but I've never had a chance to see him live. He's apparently wrestled in ROH dark matches and in FIP. Ha - an Armoni match has actually been reviewed by Phil Schneider: http://www.deathvalleydriver.com/dvdvr/dvdvr106.html


Mark Sterling vs. Mike Sydal - Biley

- Sterling is a really excellent, methodical heel that shows fantastic intensity and truly makes you believe he wants to do nothing more but hurt his opponent. He should really get a WWE dark match tryout at some point - he's just as sound as Silas Young and Young was in development at one point. Sydal is the legitimate brother of Mike Sydal and has shown marked improvement throughout his first year in wrestling. He's already a way stronger promo than his brother - I'll try to upload a promo of his in the next couple weeks. He really is an excellent promo and can fly well to boot, which is a rare combo to find. Sterling is helping to train Sydal, and these two have already faced each other around the circuit in countless singles and tag matches. I just saw a truly great tag team match featuring Sterling and the criminally awesome but unknown Gage Octane against Sydal and Zach Thompson, who is becoming an excellent seller.


AJ Smooth vs. Silas Young, NWA Midwest title match - Countryman

- Countryman told me he blew the crotch out of his pants in this match. Young, as noted in previous posts, is really solid and has already been in-and-out of WWE development. Smooth has amazingly improved since 2005 - he was pretty terrible, to be honest - and is now an wrestler I look forward to watching when his name is on the card. He plays a good long-haired cowardly heel. He inexplicably has a target on the ass of his tights.


Mitch Paradise vs. King V - Page

- King V is of course Big Daddy V/Viscera/Mabel. Think what you want of him, but he's always made any wrestling card stronger in my opinion because he's so unique. Mitch Paradise is a sizable veteran of Minnesota indies but surely looked small next to V.


Very odd card, considering the NWA did very little in flying in wrestler from their TV show. I'm sure this kept costs down, however, and for the size of crowds they can expect to get right now, it makes sense to have a handful of names and to fill out the rest with local competitors. As a whole, I bet it was fun to watch, but the original ticket prices I saw showed that the NWA was asking almost WWE levels, which just isn't going to work with this level of talent and fame.

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I'd like to see the Silas Young match as the more I see of him, the more of a fan I am, but other than that the two local "NWA" cards that drew like 60 people seem to have had better talent. Then again, the February return date never materialized, so...


I'd love for a return to prominence of the NWA, but it's never going to happen at this rate.

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Zach Gowen brings the intensity!



I try not to plug stuff that involves me too often, but this is a really excellent promo by former WWE star Zach Gowen (of one-legged wrestler fame). And really, I'm just there in the opening 10 seconds to set up what turns out to be an excellent promo.


The backstory for this is that Gowen won the heavyweight title on a benefit event for a young man that recently had his leg amputated due to the same cancer that claimed Gowen's leg. It was an amazing event and more than $4,000 was raised for the young man's family.


I should note that Gowen was a total class act - his one year in WWE certainly gave him a "professional" polish, if you will, in that he didn't approach coming to the wrestling show like he was going to another rec soccer league game, but more like it is a profession. He also used his own money to fly down to the event because he wanted to wrestle on the show at less cost to the organization.


Of course, Gowen certainly won't become a regular in 3XW due to the costs involved, but you sure as hell aren't going to have Gowen lose or even win by DQ on a benefit event like this. So, prior to the footage in the video, there was mass chaos with everyone on the show coming out to brawl and the original ref getting tossed out of the ring. A second ref counted the pin, but it was revealed this week that commissioner Todd Countryman bribed the 3XW Board of Directors to rule the match a no contest due to the circumstances surrounding the finish of the match. Countryman asked Casanova to interfer in two previous matches involving wrestlers he manages, so he was paying Nova back. So with the no contest ruling, Casanova is still the evil heel champion.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wrestling in the local media:


The first story aired this morning on Iowa Public Radio, which is the Des Moines-area NPR affiliate. Click the link under the "Wrestling Performance Art" blurb:




It's a really well done story about 3XW, but you could insert a number of indy companies and have the same story. John Pemble, the reporter, was an excellent guy to interact with and did a really great job compiling a ton of material for the story, especially considering he wasn't a wrestling fan at all. The day of the show, he must have recorded about two-three hours worth of interviews, crowd noise, and any other noises present in wrestling and wittled it down to the 3:35 that aired. I personally spoke to him for at least 15 minutes and all you can hear of me in the story are the portions with commentary being recorded for DVD. The audio he used sounds great.


Then, there's this, featuring a weatherman getting attacked by wrestlers in Illinois and thw worst Go 2 Sleep of all time. Make sure you watch the video through to the last few minutes, because that's the best stuff.




Click the link on the left for the video.

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I've seen the weatherman tape. That dude was like an Andy Kaufmann-level working non-worker, his smack talking was awesome. The "wrestlers", though... oof. Was that even supposed to be a G2S? I literally couldn't tell exactly what they were going for, they should've done a standard body slam or something equally simple. The one who did the move looked like a couch potato, and the other one just looked like a couch. That guy was like the Stay-Puft Marshmellow Man's nerdy little brother, he never took his glasses off even when they were doing a spot, and generally looked like the least-intimidating guy on earth who weighs in excess of 400 lbs.

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  • 2 months later...

Without any further delay between updates, I have some more action out of the Midwest.


I know many of you enjoyed the Silas Young vs. Shiima Xion match from Chicago's AAW. Here's another battle featuring an Ohio/Pennsylvania indy star battling a Midwest staple as Johnny Gargano makes his AAW debut against Shane Hollister. Hollister has been in some higher profile matches and promotions over the past year and is developing to a level where he's in-demand by many promoters every weekend. It's really remarkable how crisp his wrestling looks in person - he's improved by leaps and bounds over the past few years and his performances are really starting to stand out on the shows he competes. Plus, he just earned a win over Al snow of all people on an IWA Mid South show.


This is a really fun fast-paced match with many innovative maneuvers.


I'm shocked Hollister isn't already a regular in ROH - not just because of his wrestling style and ability, but because he's real-life great friends with Tyler Black and Jimmy Jacobs.


And I still don't know how to embed video on this board - is it possible?



A match I'm really pumped for is later this month when Hollister takes on Mike Sydal, brother of Matt "Evan Bourne" Sydal, in 3XW. Mike, who is actually the OLDER brother of Matt, has been wrestling for about 1 1/2 years now and already displays some spectacular high flying ability. He's a super polite dude and while he may be getting booked a whole bunch of places now based on his family's name, he's being brought back based on his talent. Plus, he travels with Midwest veteran Mark Sterling, who is just an absolute hidden treasure outside of the Midwest and is just an incredible heat-garnering heel. They've recently been getting booked regularly in IWA Mid South, so they should begin to meet some higher "internet name" competition.


One way Mike stands out from his brother is definitely his promo ability. For an indy wrestler, Mike isn't one to just mumble his way through some slopped together nonsense. He has a really unique and clear speaking style.


Here's a promo he cut last July that I would say is actually at the low-end of his spectrum. If you're wondering - that is me fielding him the question. Watch as I ramble my way through trying to explain the sloppy indy wrestling booking of a face wrestler chosen by a heel commissioner for a gauntlet match - then watch Mike's much more clear and precise and sensical explanation.



I wish I had more of Mike's promos online already. He cut two before a title match this past March that are just phenomenal, and feature him talking about traveling through the "harsh deserts of Africa" to compete. There's also a great one where he talks about how he has "lightning bolts in his fists."


Actually, the very end of this episode of Outside the Ring features a really odd promo Mike cut after an AWWWEEESSSOME match with Kraig Keesaman in front of about 30 people. The promo starts at the 14:30 mark. No bullshit - he really was reading an Arthur C. Clarke book backstage. This is almost recent Paul London-esque, without the buzzing. He also fully admits that after viewing, this doesn't make much damn sense.



Kraig Keesaman's a wrestler I'm going to feature here very soon if I acquire more of his recent footage online because he's awesome - he's definitely the type of wrestler this board would love. He's been insanely good this year having entertaining matches with everyone and their grandma. He has a sort-of modern day Viking gimmick where he has the music and Nordic-inspired gear, but doesn't go overboard with "HUFF HUFF" or any of that. Plus, in real life, he's extremely talented at playing the piano and making his own wine. He makes spectacular wine. I might even upload a match or two of his on SendSpace and put them up for download here.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Recent midwest happenings:


"The Anarchist" Arik Cannon, who is the owner/promoter/booker of his own indy in Minnesota, F1RST Wrestling, recently drew just under 500 fans to a F1RST show featuring the first match between Jerry Lynn and Sean Waltman in years.


Here's the full results, as written by sphinx on the DVDVR board:


this show was awesome.

Started with a graphic of Misawa on the big screen at the club.


1. Arya Daivari (Tna's Sheik Abdul Bashir's younger brother) was defeated by Horace the Psychopath.


2.Pete Huge and Allison Wonderland defeated Yellow Dog and Shark Girl when Allison gave the Dog a low blow. (Shark Girl is apparently Daffney under a mask, Yellow Dog was just local goof). Allison and Shark Girl were on totally different pages a LOT of the time.


3.Cody O'Neill, Cory O'Neill & Aaron Corbin VS Arik Cannon, Ryan Cruz & Darin Corbin. Awesome match with a tons of dives towards the end, the Northstar Express brawled to the back with Cory and Aaron leaving Cannon and Cody left in the ring. Cannon won with his version of the shining kekka kick thingy. This was Cody's retirement match, so afterwards, Cannon and Cody cut promos putting each other over.


4. Rob James defeated Danny Havoc in a thumbtacks on a pole match. Havoc cut himself really deep and bled a ton. It was kind of gross. All kinds of stupid/sickening spots in this match, including Havoc taking a Northern Lights Suplex on a barbwire baseball bat.


5. Venom & UDO VS Ben Sailer & Nate Bash. Sailer and Bash won when Sailer pinned Venom. It was a good match, nothing spectacular. I think Sailer maybe the next breakout guy from MN if he could get an opportunity somewhere like PWG, ROH or Chikara.


6. Falls Count Anywhere In The Building! Ann Brookstone VS TNA Knockout Daffney. They did this match a couple of months ago but this one was so much better. Ann attempted to throw Daffney off the stairs of the club. Actually, it was kind of scary because Ann almost lost her. Ann also put Daffney in the lucha pendulum spot and was swinging her head right into the bar. As this was happening, my friend order a beer form the bartender. They brawled into the men's room where Daffney put Ann's head in the urinal trough. Then proceeded to cup the water/urine mixture and throw it on Ann's head. Ann ended up winning the match back in the ring with a school girl.


7. Jerry Lynn VS X-Pac. X-Pac went over with a roll up. There was a ref bump and Jerry put Pac through a table. They hit all their signature spots with them both kicking out of each other's finishers. A really really fun match with both guys working really hard. After the match, Pac cut a promo putting over Lynn as the best guy he had ever been in the ring with and promised to come back home to Minneapolis again soon. At the end of the match the entire roster came out from the back and gave both guys a standing ovation.


I posted this over at F4W, I figured I might as well post it over here as well. The attendance was about 500 according to First Wrestling. Slick Mick Karch and Mortimer Plumtree were in attendance.

Mortimer Plumtree has done a lot of the commentary on the F1RST discs that I've seen. Yellow Dog is almost always Jaysin Strife under a mask, unless he's now outsourcing his gimmick to other Midwest indy workers - sorry if this revelation ruins anything for IWA Mid-South fans, where he's supposedly been forced to leave town for a year. As for Allison and Shark Girl being on different pages - Allison is usually on a different page with every opponent she faces. Malia Hosaka of all people had a hell of a time with her here in Des Moines last October.


I'd love to see the O'Neill Brothers & Aaron Corbin vs. Northstar Express & Arik Cannon match because on paper alone, this match encompasses a lot of history.


Regarding Sailer, him and Bash make a really exciting team. Sailer is definitely one of the best guys in the Midwest as far as using a "ROH"-type style - the funny thing is that F1RST is probably the only promotion he wrestles in in where you can see more than a match or two of that style on the card. Bash has actually heavily improved in his singles matches in the past couple years and is a blast to watch.


It's hilarious to me that "6% Body Fat" Rob James wrestles in so many "deathmatches" considering he is actually an amateur bodybuilder and doesn't look at all like someone who would bump into tacks. Funny thing is, his gimmick was ironic when he staring using the moniker because he actually was kind of flabby and now he's legitimately worked himself into being muscular to the point where the nickname fits.


Glad to hear Cannon and Co. had such a large attendance. First Avenue must have been totally packed.


Cannon also does a hell of a nice job on indy wrestling video production. Here are two videos he's quickly put together since the event:




From all accounts, this show went much smoother then when The Sandman was brought to Minneapolis a few months back - there's clips on YouTube of fans giving the very drunken Sandman vs. Horace the Psychopath match "boring" chants.

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Guest jaedmc

Speaking of Arik Cannon he'll be facing Shane Hollister in a Stairway to Hell match for AAW this Saturday. Alse Tyler Black is Main Eventing with Jay Daniels for the title, and Jimmy Jacobs is taking on Danny Daniels.

I'm debating going. On one side is General Admission of only 10 bucks AND $1 Beers. On the other side is my wife.

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