By Larry Goodman,
Mike Quackenbush won the 2007 Ted Petty Invitational Tournament last night in Midlothian, Illinois, as IWA Mid-South gave the fans all they could ask for at Night Two of the TPI.
High end technical wrestling is a given at TPI, but Quackenbush’s journey to the title was the most poignant story the tournament has ever told. He was nothing short of terrific in the role of the ultimate underdog babyface.
Night two drew a super appreciative crowd of 300 to the Preston Recreation Center.
(1) Josh Abercrombie beat Devin Moore in 5:11 with a variation of the crossface chickenwing to advance to the semifinals. They played off the finishes from their first round victories, which was one of the themes of the evening. Moore missed with the SSP. Abercrombie capitalized with the Taliban Backpack and locked in the submission.
(2) Brent Albright beat Joker in 10:55 to advance to the semifinals. This weekend was my first chance to see Joker live and he impressed the hell out of me. The story was Joker repeatedly besting Albright and offering to shake hands. Albright would refuse and get heat for it. Albright finally appeared to accept Joker’s offer and turned it into an exploder suplex and more heat. Joker hit an exploder of his own, and it was both men down. Albright took a risky bump from the top rope to the floor. Back inside the ring, Joker got a cross armbreaker, Albright’s finisher from night one. Albright reversed to the crowbar. Joker reversed that but Albright made the ropes. Albright finished Joker with a dragon suplex and a devastating half nelson suplex. The fans showed their appreciation for Joker’s efforts. The attitude of the fans is a big part of what make these tournaments so much fun.
(3) Human Tornado beat Nate Webb in 8:19 to advance to the semifinals. Webb cut his intro short and said he wasn’t doing a dance contest. “Don’t get in my face, sunshine” said Webb. “That was the most racist s*** I ever heard,” said Tornado, and it was on. The crowd popped huge when Tornado used The Pounce. Tornado creamed Webb with a flip dive into the second row, Webb came back with a wacky submission. Tornado used a Texas Cloverleaf. Webb trumped that with a figure four. Webb hit the Arachnakick for a near fall. A top rope battle ensued. Tornado slipped and pulled Webb down. It looked like a nasty bump. Tornado went to Dat Nigga Dead for the finisher. Big pop for Tornado’s win and chant of appreciation for Nate.
Webb said Tornado beat him in a match. but no way was he going to beat him in a dance off
They busted out all their moves and ended up dancing together. Very entertaining. Webb called “Sunshine” back out to do a promo.
(4) Mike Quackenbush beat Joey Ryan via submission in 11:44 to advance to the semifinals.Quack retained the IWA World Lightweight Title. Standing O for Quack’s entrance. Quackenbush caught his feet in the ropes on a tope and took a nosedive to the floor. The crowd was dead silent. The match continued. Quack kicked out Ryan’s superkick finisher. Lightning Lock but Ryan made the ropes.Quack kicked into high gear with top rope rana and a swanton bomb for a near fall. Ryan went for a pin using the ropes but Bryce Remsburg stopped counting at two. Quackenbush won it with Lightning Lock Beta. This crowd is nuts for Quackenbush. Quack looked a bit dazed as he headed to the back.
(5) Claudio Castagnoli beat Davey Richards in 8:50 to advance to the semifinals. Claudio was way over but in a more light-hearted way than Quack. The match was punctuated by amazing bursts of athleticism from Richards. Each one capped off with a stiff kick to the chest. Castagnoli hit the Alpamare Waterslide and the Match Killer. Richards rallied with a missile dropkick and a bridging German suplex, but Castagnoli got his knees up on Richards SSP from the heavens. Castagnoli dropped Richards on his head, blasted him with European uppercut and finished with the Ricola Bomb. Standing ovation. Best match thus far for night two.
(6) Chuck Taylor beat Scorpio in 14:10 to advance to the semifinals. Taylor retained the IWA World Heavyweight Title. After being babyface for a night against Jimmy Jacobs, Taylor was back to playing comedy heel. He reluctantly accepted Scorpio’s handshake. “There might be SARS on that glove.” Clever stuff and a lot of fans are into it, but it seemed out place for the heavyweight champion in a serious tournament. The main problem was Taylor’s offense looked sloppy. Crowd went kind of dead. Taylor got his knees up on a Scorpio moonsault and gave him Soul Food. Scorpio hit the Pele and went to the top as in night one, but Taylor brought him off the top with Omega Driver. Not that great a finish and a disappointing match.
Ian Rotten put Scorpio over as one of the all-time greats. Rotten talked about how much it meant to him that Scorpio was in the tournament, being that went back to early ECW and knew Ted Petty. Rotten asked Scorpio to come back to help the young IWA guys take it to the next level. Fans chanted “Please come back.” Scorpio said he would. Scorpio said IWA had most dedicated fans anywhere.
Rotten announce that Quackenbush was out of the tournament on the advice of Ed Chuman from the NWA. Abercrombie would get a bye to the finals. That really sucked the wind out going into the intermission.
(7) Claudio Castagnoli beat Brent Albright in 14:20 to advance to the finals. Strong heel/face dynamic in this one. Crowd was strong for Castagnoli, who appeared to be the top babyface left in the tournament. Albright didn’t make any friends with his bad behavior in the quarterfinal match. They opened with an intense test of strength. Each escaped the other guy’s finisher. Albright controlled with a lengthy headlock, like 7 minutes worth. Castagnoli got untracked with an 11 revolution giant swing. Albright did a victory roll. Albright countered the Ricola Bomb with an exploder suplex for a near fall. Albright got the Crowbar (Fujiwara armbar) but Castagnoli got a ropes break. Albright caught a diving Castagnoli with the Crowbar into a cross armbreaker, his first round finisher. Castagnoli made the ropes. Albright foiled another Ricola Bomb attempt with a half nelson suplex for a great near fall. Castagnoli ducked a high crossbody. Ricola Bomb! Crowd showed respect for Albright.
(8) Chuck Taylor beat Human Tornado in 12:12 to advance to the finals. Taylor retained the IWA World Heavyweight Title. Very fun match. Taylor was much better here. Tornado ran off with Taylor’s belt before the match. A kid told Taylor he screamed like a girl, which got a “you got served” chant. This was a showcase for Tornado’s acrobatics. Taylor raked Tornado something fierce. Tornado did a slingshot with a double stomp to Taylor’s head on the way to the floor. Tornado did an awesome whirling tornado DDT for a near fall. Taylor resorted to donkey kick to the groin. But Tornado did the Balls of Steel no sell and hit Dat Nigga Dead, Taylor got a foot over the ropes. Tornado tried for his finisher again, and Taylor reversed it with the Omega Driver for the pin. Taylor told the kid he was going to get a knife and repeatedly stab him in the face. Tornado got the “please come back” chant.
Abercrombie entered the ring. As the forfeit was being announced, Quackenbush made his intro to a monster pop. It was one of those moments when it’s great to be a pro wrestling fan.
(9) Mike Quackenbush beat Josh Abercrombie via submission at 9:43 to advance to the finals. Quackenbush retained the IWA World Lightweight Title. Abercrombie couldn’t handle Quackenbush straight up, so he started going after his potentially concussed head. Quack started working the leg. He knocked Abercrombie off the top with a palm strike and set up for a tope. The crowd was saying no. Quackenbush did a flip dive over the top to show that he was OK. A Quackendriver II popped the crowd, but Abercrombie kicked out. Quack kicked out of the Taliban Backpack and refused to submit to the chickenwing crossface. It was a matter of when not if for Abercrombie, who tapped to inverted cloverleaf version of the Lightning Lock. Biggest pop of the night. The fans chanted “one more win.”
Rotten said IWA Mid-South got kicked out of the NWA because Quackenbush went against their wishes. Rotten thanked Quack for getting him out of the contract.
(10) Eddie Kingston beat Chris Hero in a Last Man Standing Match (23:48). Sick violence. Hero bludgeoned Kingston to within an inch of his life. This match may be better on DVD because the first half was brawling through the crowd. Couldn’t see a lot but it sounded stiff. Hero was killing Kingston He kept putting Kingston down and breaking the ref’s 10 counts to dish out more punishment. Hero did a Boston crab while sitting in a chair on Kingston’s back. Kingston’s nose was busted open. Hero stomped on Kingston’s fingers until they were useless. Kingston looked a mess. An ultra sick exchange of headbutts here. Even Rotten was cringing. Kingston somehow summoned up the resources to no sell a cravate suplex, hit a dragon suplex and level Hero with a knockout lariat. At 18 minutes, Hero was finally down for a count, Hero fired chair at Kingston’s head from long distance. Bullseye. Hero hung the chair around Kingston’s neck and did the cravate buster. Kingston was up at seven. The crowd chanted “Eddie.” Hero put a section of guard rail on top of Kingston and did a top rope double stomp. Kingston was up at the count of eight. Kingston connected with a spinning back fist and plunged Hero’s head into the section of guardrail with a backdrop driver. The crowd chanted “holy s***” as the count reached 10. Hero got the loser chant again. But they switched to “Thank you Hero” as he was being helped to the back.
(11) Iron Saints (Vito & Sal Thomaselli) vs. Nigel McGuinness & B. J. Whitmer ended as a no contest (18 minutes). McGuinness said he had no partner and decided to accept someone of questionable character rather than go without. So the story revolved around how well McGuinness and Whitmer would get along. Whitmer showed he has a sense of humor here. McGuinness gave Sal a receipt for punching him in the face by murdering him with a lariat. It was heat on Sal with solid cooperation between the heels. Finisher were spoiled by both teams. Whitmer “accidentally” kicked McGuinness in the face. They started fighting. Albright hit the ring to separate them, but then he and Whitmer doubled up on McGuinness.
Postmatch, Saints made peace with McGuinness. Whitmer and Albright challenged Saints to a match at a future show in Midlo. Sal is doing a gimmick where he’s running for president. A fan yelled “universal health care, Sal.”
(12) Mike Quackenbush beat Claudio Castagnoli and Chuck Taylor to win the TPI and become the new IWA World Heavyweight Champion in a total time of 17:41. Taylor was content to sit back and pick his spots. Some of the highlights…Castagnoli got caught in the Quacken Clutch. Taylor did a great flip dive. Castagnoli picked Quackenbush off the top rope with a climbing enzuigiri and gave Taylor a 13 revolution giant swing. Castagnoli hit the Ricola Bomb on Taylor, but he got a foot on the ropes. The spot of the match saw Quack somehow mount Taylor on Castagnoli’s shoulders. From there, he bitch slapped both of them and dropkicked Castagnoli’s knee to induce an Electric Chair drop on Taylor. Quackenbush kicked out of the Ricola Bomb and eliminated Castagnoli with a tombstone driver at 13:59. Taylor tried for a flash pin. No go. The crowd was huge for Quackenbush. He applied an STF and Taylor made the ropes. Taylor hit the Omega Driver. When Quackenbush kicked out, the handwriting was on the wall. Liger Bomb by Quackenbush for a near fall. Quack locked in the CHIKARA special. Explosive pop as Taylor tapped.
The postmatch was charged with emotion. Rotten said Quackenbush was a class act and he was honored to have him as tournament champion. Quackenbush reflected on what an incredible year 2007 has been for him – starting with King of Trios, then marrying the girl of his dreams, winning the NWA Lightweight Title, winning the TPI, and an upcoming tour with Michinoku Pro. He said this moment would stay with him for the rest of his life. The crowd chanted “thank you Quack.” Quackenbush called for one last chant for Ted Petty to close the show.
NOTES: The next IWA Mid-South show is in Joliet on 10/13. Their 500th show will be in Plainfield on 12/8 with Rottens’ retirement match vs. Mickie Knuckles and Sandman.