IPW National Wrestling Hall of Fame Show 2016 Review

Ricochet! Sami Callihan! Jake Dirden! Tessa Blanchard! Wes Brisco? A cage match main event! JJ Dillon!

Tony Sly, Ray Feuring, & Ryan Slade vs. Sterling Riegel, Clay Cooper, & Latin Thunder

Larger, brawling guys against smaller, flipping guys. This was a mostly fast-paced opener that didn’t overstay its welcome and showcased everyone involved. I thought Riegel, Cooper, Slade, and Sly all looked the best. Riegel and Cooper were the designated high flyers and looked like they could be a good surrogate tag team while Sterling’s twin brother Logan recovers from injury. Thunder was okay, but he’s a little large to be doing the luchadore gimmick. Feuring is chunky, which I guess plays into his ironic “sexy” gimmick, and his spinebuster wasn’t very good. The lone, static hard camera missed a wild dive by Sterling, which is unfortunate. The finish came when several wrestlers hit their finishers one-by-one until Sterling hit a top rope blockbuster on Slade to get the pin. Enjoyable if you can ignore a few poorly-executed moves. It would have been interesting to see how it would have gone had B. Brian Blair been able to make the show, since Sterling was filling in for him.

Winners – Riegel, Cooper, & Latin Thunder

Rating – OK

Zero Gravity (Brett Gakiya & CJ Esparza) vs. The Legend Killers (Matty Star & Sparrow)

The last match was bigger guys against littler guys, and this match is much the same. The Legend Killers are coming off feuding with the Riegel Twins, and this is kind of like those matches if the Riegels were shorter and more experienced. ZG show off their speed, agility, and dives first until Gakiya is cut off and isolated for a while. When Esparza makes the hot tag, everyone pretty much stays in the ring. The Killers stop ZG’s finisher, the flippy cup (one guy suplexes the other into a 450 splash), and hit their own sole food/selfie kick combo (now called Take the Selfie), but it gets broken up. Lots more double team moves here than in the Riegel matches, I feel. Zero Gravity do eventually get the win with the flippy cup. There weren’t any bothces, but there were a few miscues. Thumbs up anyway.

Winners – Zero Gravity

Rating – Good

Before the next match, we get footage from earlier in the night when legendary Four Horsemen manager J.J. Dillon was in the ring with James Jeffries. IPW champ Justin Decent and manager Jason Michaels were ragging on Dillon from the entranceway, distracting him so Jake Dirden could sneak up behind and choke him. Decent runs in to attack Jeffries, but then Wes Brisco shows up and fights the heels off. Dillon puts over Brisco, and a match between Brisco and Dirden is announced for later. And now it’s later…

Wes Brisco vs. Jake Dirden

I don’t remember Wes Brisco being this jacked in TNA, but it has been a while. Dirden shows strength first but bails when Brisco gets the upper hand. Brisco starts working the left arm with an over-the-rope armbar. He also does a running somersault off the apron. Dirden gets the upper hand after throwing Brisco into the post outside. He proceeds to beat on Brisco as if he’d rather get a TKO victory than a pinfall. Brisco comes back out of a neck crank and fires off some stuff, none of which involves working the arm again, unfortunately. Dirden goes for the thumb to the throat, but Brisco hits him with a Death Valley Driver to get the pin. Not bad.

Winner – Wes Brisco

Rating – OK

Sami Callihan vs. Ricochet 

NOTE: This match goes all over the place, and IPW’s single static hard camera isn’t able to capture everything. Fortunately, alternate camera angles of the complete match are available here and here.

Fellow match critic T.J. Hawke will be disappointed to hear this this match is not a #SamiSprint. It goes about 25 minutes and the pace isn’t deliberate until maybe the last seven of those. There’s a lot of chopping and boots to the face and stuff. Also plenty of flipping by Ricochet. The crowd is really into everything, so they do well in that respect. Personally, I wish the story was about how Sami jealously wants to prove he’s just as good as his internationally recognized opponent (which they tease early), but I he seems more interested in making faces and taking long pauses between pinfall attempts. The match would make a good highlight video, but I would have liked it as a whole had it only been ten minutes or so. Ricochet eventually gets the win after a shooting star press.

Winner – Ricochet

Rating – OK

Jessicka Havok & Frankie Jay vs. Tessa Blanchard & Kiandra

Tessa and Kiandra are fan favorites, while Frankie seems more excited to about Havok than Havok is about her. The match isn’t very long. Tessa and Frankie do some wrestling, and then the heels isolate Kiandra for a short while. Frankie tags herself in once or twice. Tessa gets a hot tag and runs wild, but Havok soon plants Kiandra with an Air Raid Crash to get the pin. Afterwards, the referee keeps the heels from fighting with Tessa as Tessa helps Kiandra up and to the back. Then Frankie tries to celebrate with Havok, but Havok gets sick of her and chokeslams her to a big pop. The match is OK, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re looking to see how good any of the participants are, because no one gets much of a spotlight.

Winners – Jessicka Havok & Frankie Jay

Rating – OK

Steel Cage Match: James Jeffries w/ JJ Dillon vs. Justin Decent w/ Jason Michaels

This is for Decent’s IPW Heavyweight Championship. It’s under Escape the Cage rules, which gets a boo from the crowd.

The cage is a big factor in this match, as both guys throw each other head-first into it several times. There are no dives off the cage, but Jeffries performs a few top rope moves. It’s basically Jeffries’ speed against Decent’s power; almost every time Jeffries gets momentum, Decent cuts him off with a DVD, powerbomb, or the like. Not a lot of blood, though someone’s arm does get cut a little. They try to escape over the top of the cage most of the time, but when Jeffries finally tries to go out the door, Jason Michaels slams it in his face. This lead JJ Dillon to go over and punch Michaels out (off camera). He then slams the door into Decent, and Jeffries takes the opportunity to climb out. I liked it.

Winner – James Jeffries, new IPW Champion

Rating – Good

Overall: Good. This was a fun show. I wish I could have been there. Thanks to IPW and Midnight Guthrie for letting it go up for free!



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