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Masters of Pain Caps Off Great Weekend at IWA East Coast

It’s been twenty months since I took a road trip to see professional wrestling, and IWA East Coast broke the Covid-enforced moratorium with a bang this past weekend. The promotion hosted three shows from Friday through Saturday, and the entire weekend was a blast.

IWA East Coast hosted their festivities at Skateland, a roller rink set up inside an old elementary school just southeast of downtown Charleston, West Virginia. The decor along the two story walls surrounding the rink included playful graffiti, billiards tables and accessories, and high up in one corner, a life-size replica of Michael Myers, complete with butcher’s knife.

“To me, this building represents all of West Virginia,” said one local on Saturday afternoon. “You have all this fun stuff, and then, a little bit of creepiness.”

Made sense to me. Earlier that day I made the obligatory one hour trek to Point Pleasant to see the Mothman Museum and statue. Yes, it’s absolutely worth the extra time and your $4.50 admission. (You will spend more in the shop. Trust me!)

Back to the wrestling. The action began Friday night when eight men took part in the Zero G Crown Tournament, including Kincaid, Facade, Gary Jay, Aaron Williams, and Jake Crist. The first round match up between Crist and Williams alone made the trip worthwhile for me, but the entire evening was full of great action.

Third generation wrestler Malcolm Monroe III came into the building as an unknown, but by the end of the evening, everyone was chanting “Three! Three! Three!” Host Mad Man Pondo hyped the kid up in his first major event outside his home state of Michigan. Odds are he’s going to be doing a lot more traveling in the near future.

Fans dumped plenty of hate on Jake Crist, who heeled it up all night long as he sailed through the brackets. At one point the crowd split with a “Let’s go Jake Crist / Dave is better chant.” The former Impact star proved he deserves to still be on someone’s roster, and he took home a giant trophy to add to his resume.

Saturday afternoon, the ladies of Girl Fight took center stage. Fans were treated to two great opening matches featuring Girl Fight regulars Charlie Kruel, Mickie Knuckles, Nikki Victory, and Big Mama.  A lesser known competitor named Shayla Hyde put the Girl Fight fans on notice when she hit a 619 on the Black Widow Harley Fairfax. The crowd popped big, and Shayla scored a huge upset.

Another new face who impressed was young Judi-Rae Hendrix from Lexington, Kentucky. I met Judi on Friday night, when she picked up a copy of Tracy Smothers’ book and told me she was training with Bobby Blaze. Having not met her before, I was surprised to see Hendrix in the main event slot with newly crowned Girl Fight champion Billie Starkz. Hendrix quickly showed she belonged, going toe to toe with Starkz and earning a “This is awesome” chant after hitting the champ with a Canadian Destroyer.

Starkz got the win, but fans definitely took note of Hendrix and her tenacity. This is another young lady to watch in the coming years!

Saturday evening was the Masters of Pain deathmatch tournament, featuring eight of the best deathmatch artists in the world: Shlak, Shane Mercer, John Wayne Murdoch, Akira, Jimmy Lloyd, G Raver, Alex Colon, and Nolan Edwards. To be honest I am not a deathmatch guy, but I have endless respect for the men and women who do these types of matches. I also firmly believe that some of the deathmatch specialists are among the very best wrestlers in the world, period.

I’ve often said you could take John Wayne Murdoch, put him in a time machine, and drop him in Memphis or Mid-South during their hey day. A number of the guys competing with him Saturday night would do equally well in that sci-fi scenario.

The show was fun and frenetic from start to finish, but the match that had everyone buzzing in the building and online was the second round clash between Shane Mercer and Akira. Why Mercer is not signed to a major company is beyond me. His combination of power and athleticism are unmatched on the indies. Mercer and Akira dueled it out in a shower of glass shards and fluorescent lights with big flips and power moves throughout. Akira outlasted Mercer, and afterwards, Mercer took a moment on the mic to honor the student who had just bested one of his teachers.

The evening came to a grand finale when Akira and Nolan Edwards entered a ring filled with fan-made weapons to fight for the Masters of Pain trophy. The boys made use of everything from a door covered in barbed wire to a preschool baseball bat covered in glass Christmas ornaments. That said, it was the garbage can full of light tubes that stole the show. The boys began trading head shots, one after another, faster and faster, as if determined not to leave a single bulb unbroken. The flurry of popping glass had the fans on their feet, stomping and screaming for more. The night ultimately belonged to Akira, who bested his close friend and brother Nolan Edwards to win the tournament.

IWA East Coast plans to bring back Masters of Pain next year. If they do it up like these did this year, I highly recommend fans making the trip. The hospitality is warm and friendly. The local flavor is fun. And as I already mentioned, the Mothman is only an hour away… although Mad Man Pondo swears he heard the creature in his hotel room Friday night.

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Pondo Is Jericho!

In case you missed it, Mad Man Pondo was on Talk is Jericho this week.

Pondo , G Raver, and filmmaker Jeff Waldridge appear to discuss deathmatches, deathmatch culture, and Jeff’s documentary on the subject, Hardway. They also take the time to promote the Masters of Pain tournament June 12 in Charleston, West Virginia.

Click here to listen to the episode.

Click here to order the Hardway documentary.

And click here to get a signed copy of Mad Man Pondo’s autobiography!

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Is This the End of Righteous Jesse??

This week the Kick Out at Two Podcast welcomes Air Paris to the program. Righteous Jesse talks with Air Paris about partnering with A.J. Styles, NWA Wildside, and being the father of a young wrestling fan.

It’s a shame to think that after 87 episodes, this could be the end of KOAT as we know it. Why? Because Saturday night, Righteous Jesse is going to die. He’s promoting his second show ever with Southern Underground Pro “Don’t call it SUP GRAPS” Wrestling, and he’s booked himself in a deathmatch against former KOAT guest and legendary deathmatch wrestler, Tank. I’m not sure why Jesse would do such a suicidal thing or why his friend the Wilkman or girlfriend Bonnaroo Brittany would allow it. We can only pray that Jesse will survive and live to podcast another day.

The Kick Out at Two Podcast is available on iTunes, Soundcloud, and Stitcher every Friday.

Southern Underground Pro Wrestling’s second show, Show You No Mercy, takes place Saturday night, June 10, at The Cobra in Nashville and features Bonestorm champion “The Lodestar: Curt Stallion, “The Blue Eyed Devil” Tripp Cassidy, Kevin Ku, Percy Davis, Brett Ison, Chase Jordan, Matt Lynch, Caleb Courageous, and Jeremiah Plunkett. Show information can be found on Facebook or Twitter.

Condolences on the loss of Righteous Hesse can be sent via Twitter to Bonnaroo Brittany.

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Shlak talk to Kick Out at Two

Righteous Jesse told me they have Shlak on the Kick Out at Two Podcast this week. I hadn’t heard the name before, so I looked him up. Here, in his own words from his Twitter profile, is Shlak:

“I R SHLAK. pro wrestling crash test dummy, I tattooer at black vulture, I in eat the turnbuckle, crack house, n other bands.”

And here is another quote I found on his feed:

“Guns don’t kill people. SHLAK kills people.”

Kick Out at Two is a must-subscribe for die hard indy fans because they bring you guys like Shlak all the time. Get to know the intense, ultra-violent deathmatch veteran on this week’s episode, then go back and see who you’ve missed. Let Jesse, the Wilkman, and Brittany be your gateway into the wild world of independent wrestling.

Go to www.koatpodcast.com and subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, or Soundcloud today.

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Kick Out at Two Presents Jeff Cannonball

Kick Out At Two Podcast returns this week with CZW’s Jeff Cannonball. The 29 year New Jersey native is a death match specialist. Let’s hope Righteous Jesse, the Wilkman, and Britt can get out of this one with no visible scars.

Give Jeff a look in the match below, then go to iTunes or Soundcloud to download the Kick Out at Two Podcast.

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Death is Coming

One of the highlights of Eat Sleep Wrestle is a chapter about deathmatches, a particularly brutal form of professional wrestling frequently involving barbed wire, fluorescent light tubes, and all manner of weapons. The chapter included descriptions of some of the most brutal and barbaric deathmatches ever attempted. Nearly all of them originated from one tournament: IWA Mid-South’s King of the Deathmatch.

Next weekend, Death returns to the place CM Punk once described as the ideal location for Wrestlemania. The first round matches and stipulations have already been announced, and it looks like this year’s event will only add to the tournament’s bloody legacy.

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The KOD tournament will also feature a title match between IWA-MS champ Hy Zaya and the Iron Demon, Shane Mercer. The two young stars have built a rivalry and a legacy worthy of following in the footsteps of IWA-MS legends past Chris Hero and CM Punk. Any match between these two is not to be missed.

The Weekend of Death also features the Queen of the Deathmatch Tournament. Originally created as a way to feature hardcore legend Mickie Knuckles, the ladies’ tournament has become a must-see event for deathmatch fans in its own right. IWA Mid-South has always been at the forefront of promoting women’s wrestling, and this weekend, eight women will vie for IWA Mid-South’s most prestigious women’s crown.

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For more information, visit the IWA Mid-South Facebook page. Tickets are selling fast!