(IWA-MS – Ted Petty Invitational Tournament – Memphis Trading Post – Memphis, IN – September 15, 2017)
(STOP! Read Full coverage of TPI 2017 Night 1 coverage HERE before proceeding)
Shane Strickland vs Jake Crist
The match started hot with Strickland diving over the top rope onto Crist as his entrance was being made. Both guys showed great chemistry with each other and proving they’re worthy of being called some of the best in independent wrestling. After a lot of good back and forth action between the two, Crist won in 9:30 min with a backslide pin. The opening match of any show is crucial. It sets the flow for the rest of the event, and while you want it to be as good as it can be you also don’t want it to be too good that it ends up overshadowing the rest of the card. This match found a balance between being action-packed and not overshadowing any of the matches that followed.
Zodiak vs. Eddie Kingston
While the first match was fast and hot, this match slowed things down but in an interesting manner. Both Kingston and Zodiak are established as big guys who hit hard, and this match was about finding out who can hit harder and who has the better stamina. At one point, Zodiak hit his signature heart-punch on Kingston on the outside which kept him on the floor for what felt like an eternity. Kingston’s unique gift is that he’s always able to keep you guess if he’s selling his pain or if it’s legit. After a long hard battle, Kingston won in 13:25 after a “Backfist to the Future.” While not as stiff as some of the matches were the night before, both men brought out a lot in each other and it made for an entertaining bout.
Devon Moore vs Jonathan Gresham
Many might see Devon Moore as simply a death match worker. Well, this was a match to prove he’s more than that. The match started out with a lot of technical-based wrestling, and you might think it was Gresham who was busting out all the submission holds but you’d be surprised to know Moore not only kept up with him but he, himself, brought out some nice-looking submission holds. As it was starting to get more action-packed toward the end, Gresham won the match at 10:55 with his “Octopus Stretch” submission hold. It was a good combination of technical and fast-paced action. Once again I’d like to state Devon Moore held his own here and, despite losing, went out looking fantastic.
“Legendary” Larry D vs Mance Warner
These two have a bit of history with each other in IWA, so going into this match they wanted to beat the hell out of each other. Both guys are known for hitting vicious headbutts, and this was full of them. I can understand the uneasiness of seeing unprotected headbutts in 2017, but at no time during this match did I feel uneasy or worry about the safety of both performers as I thought it was clear both guys knew what they were doing. Larry D wins in 12:23 with a running shoulder backbreaker. Stiff, hard-hitting match that the fans in attendance were fully into.
Homicide vs Su Yung
Intergender wrestling is still a highly debatable topic in 2017. In my personal opinion, like any sort of match, it can be done in a right or wrong way. Both Homicide and Yung are talented and unique competitors and I thought both displayed their strengths here. Yung won in 12:33 with a top rope crossbody. This ended a fun brawl that spilled out all around ringside. Fans popped big time when Yung won the match.
Aaron Williams (c) vs David Starr (IWA Mid-South Heavyweight Title Match)
Williams continues to defend the IWA Heavyweight Championship in every one of his matches throughout the tournament. The most enjoyable thing about a match like this is each guy trying to one-up each other with their intensity and the stiffness of their strikes. I established earlier that David Starr can be considered one of the best in independent wrestling today, but with more matches like this, Williams could one day soon be in the same class. Williams wins in 14:18 with a roundhouse kick. Best match of the tournament so far.
Non-Tournament: Space Monkey vs Nate Webb
This was the match after intermission and anyone who’s gone to an independent wrestling show knows usually matches after an intermission can be sometimes dreadful to sit through. This was NOT the case as Webb and Monkey brought out a lot of entertaining comedic spots. It never felt like they were trying too hard. Nate Webb wins in 12:48 via DDT. Fun match. Although, it could have been little better if they had shaved off a few minutes.
“Legendary” Larry D vs Jonathan Gresham
“David vs. Goliath” matches have been a staple in pro wrestling for quite some time. In this case, Larry D had about half a foot and at least 100-150 pounds more than his opponent Jonathan Gresham. The story of this match was Larry’s brute force vs. Gresham’s quickness and adaptability. Going in, my thought was it would be a short one with Gresham pulling off an upset win of sorts but this was far from that. These two pulled off an incredible match that I urge you to watch as quickly as possible. Gresham wins the match in 18:52 after two shooting stars and a sleeper hold. Again this was a damn good match that in my opinion should put Larry D on the map as a great “hoss” competitor and further establish Gresham as an amazing talent.
Aaron Williams © vs. Eddie Kingston (IWA Mid-South Heavyweight Title Match)
Following Larry D/Gresham was a hard task for Kingston/Williams but they found a way to put on a match for which fans were invested. About a minute or so into things, Williams powerbombed Kingston onto the concrete floor which left fans shocked and concerned for Kingston’s health. Eventually, Kingston got back into the match and tried his best to hang with Williams but he was no match for Williams’ strikes. Williams wins in 6:30 after a roundhouse kick. This was exactly the kind of match that needed to follow the spectacle that was Larry D and Jonathan Gresham, as it showed Williams is willing to do whatever it takes to hold on to the championship. I have to commend Kingston’s performance here.
Su Yung vs Jake Crist
This is a tough task here for both competitors following the two previous semi-final matches. Like her previous encounter with Homicide, Yung took a lot of punishment from Crist here, including taking a superplex from the top rope onto twelve chairs. Yung dished out her own punishment too, but it wasn’t enough as Crist won in 10:35 with another backslide pin. Damn fine brawl. Unfortunately, the match suffered from following the previous bouts as the crowd simply wasn’t as into it as much as they could’ve been if it was placed earlier on the card.
Non-Tournament: Anthony Henry and Shane Sabre vs Ludark Shaitan and Gary Jay
This is a match of strange bedfellows, as all four wrestlers come from different parts of the of North America and, to my knowledge, have never teamed up before. Shane Sabre, based out of the Toronto-area teams with Anthony Henry who’s from Georgia, while Gary Jay, based out the St. Louis teams with Ludark Shaitan who competes in Mexico. I must admit Gary Jay and Ludark didn’t show that much chemistry. To the contrary, Henry and Sabre looked as though they’ve been teaming up for a couple years. Jay/Shaitan win in 10:20 after double-stomp/sliding forearm combo from Jay. It was a fine enough tag match, which honestly left me wanting to see more from Henry/Sabre as a team.
Non-Tournament: Kongo Kong/Cole Radrick/Ace Perry/Dave Crist vs Shane Mercer/Calvin Tankman/Arik Cannon/Johnathan Wolf
To put it bluntly, this was very fun to watch live. These kinds of matches can be hard to pull off, as you want to see all the competitors showcase their skills but at the same time, you don’t want the match to drag on for too long. While this match was the longest of the weekend, the pacing was crisp enough that it never felt exhausting to sit through.The established vets of Kong, Crist and Cannon looked great and the rest of the younger guys each showcased why they all have a place in the business, most notably Ace Perry and Cole Radrick. (I’m certain they will have a great future in wrestling.) Team Kong won in 24:05 after three springboard ace cutters from Ace Perry on Johnathan Wolf. This was was full of some wild and crazy action.
Aaron Williams vs Jake Crist vs Jon Gresham (Three-Way Dance for the IWA Mid-South Heavyweight Championship)
After 4+ hours sitting through 12 matches and two intermissions, we find ourselves in the finals of the TPI. Both the wrestlers and fans in attendance were fairly tired at this point (it was also going on 1:00 AM as the match began), but it did not deter the wrestlers or the fans from being energetic. Gresham was eliminated at 6:00 after a roundhouse kick from Williams, which was unfortunate as I would’ve liked to have seen involved more. Williams and Crist spent the next twenty minutes with some great exchanges and lot of nice near falls. The most interesting spots here were both men trying to defeat their opponents in the same manners they got to the finals, that being Williams utilizing his roundhouse kick and Crist with the backslide pin. Fans in attendance were filled with anticipation to see who would come out the victor and in what fashion. Finally, though, Aaron Williams wins the match and the tournament in 27:07 min after his third roundhouse kick.
Triple threat matches can be tough to pull off, and even after the grueling matches these three went through to get here, they still managed to pull off a great and entertaining final round of the tournament.
Before he had time to celebrate, Aaron Williams was attacked after by Shane Mercer. Mercer brought out a metal spike and busted Williams’ head open with it. Devon Moore comes out for the save and runs off Mercer. However, Moore was carrying his “Opportunity in a Box” briefcase, which is IWA’s version of “Money in the Bank.” He cashes it in for an impromptu title match.
Devon Moore vs. Aaron Williams (IWA Mid-South Heavyweight Title Match)
During the match, Mercer interfered again, this time attacking Moore. This ended up helping out Williams, as he was able to defeat Devon in 1:05 with a short-arm lariat. To be honest I’m not sure if this angle/match was necessary to close out a 5-plus hour show but I suppose this was to establish a long-term storyline/feud between the three competitors. And it did show the toughness of Williams being able to defend the title again on the fly.
After all of this Williams thanked all the fans for coming out and supporting him and the company. Ian Rotten got on the mic and thanked him personally. He established Williams as not only as one of the best wrestlers on the current roster but as one of the best to ever win the tournament and as someone who carries on the legacy of Ted Petty.
A five-plus hour show is never easy to sit through, but IWA-MS found a way to make use of practically every minute. It never felt like the show dragged on for too long. Yes, I, myself, and many people in attendance were exhausted by the end of the event, I still left feeling like I didn’t waste a penny of my money or a second of my time being in attendance.
I urge everyone reading this to pick up both Night 1 and Night 2 of the 2017 edition of the Ted Petty Invitational.
-“Juicy” Pat Lucey
(Contributor Pat Lucey thinks he can drink more light beers in a single sitting than Mance Warner. The Super No Bueno staff in no way supports Mr. Lucey’s outrageous claim.)
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