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LIVEBLOG: Insanity Pro Wrestling’s “Showdown in Naptown” (Irish Airborne vs American Wolves/COMPLETE THOUGHTS)

by on April 12, 2011

By Thomas Green

Welcome to this week’s LIVEBLOG! This time out, we’re going to take a look at one of the most nationally-hyped Midwestern-based American indie shows in a year or so, Insanity Pro Wrestling’s Showdown in Naptown, which has gotten a lot of attention for the big names that came in for it (American Wolves, Kyle O’Reilly, Sami Callihan, etc.) mixing it up with IPW’s homegrowns that’ve gotten some buzz (Irish Airborne, Jesse Emerson, Dustin Rayz, and so on. While I was at the IPW show on Saturday night, I heard many people who were there live claim it was one of, if not THE, best show in Insanity Pro history.

If you dig what you read below, please go to or and pick up the DVD. Support independent wrestling; support the arts.

As always, check under the cut ever 10-15 minutes or so and I’ll have refreshed the blog entry with new thoughts as I watch the DVD live. If you have the show or were there in person to have seen it, feel free to comment and start a conversation about the show. That’s the best thing about the internet (other than Frontierville and that chubby kid who reviews candy on Youtube).

Without any further ado, LET’S GO!

-Whoever designed the pre-match screens is much improved from whoever did them previously. They look as good as anyone’s in the indie wrestling DVD market. 

-Rayz is a dude who totally would’ve made the 10 for ’11 if it was 11 for ’11. He’s on the cusp of something if he can just get momentum and bust out of the Midwest.
-Rayz, early on, busts out a really cool rolling armbar/LeBell Lock-style takedown dealie-a-bob.
-In terms of chain wrestling, Rayz is looking the best I’ve ever seen him. He’s had potential for a long time, but he’s looking so crisp. I love it.
-There’s not a ton of substance to this match, but if you just dig dudes doing really cool-looking, athletic junior heavyweight stuff, this is your match.
-Rayz just took the RVD DDT bump on a flying headscissors. JEEZ. Swann returns the favor by dying for our sins on a brainbuster.
-Swann could’ve busted both kneecaps with the way he landed the standing 450.
-Rayz goes over with an Oklahoma roll variation.
-Really, really fun sprint. Honestly, I thought Rayz looked a TON better than Swann in this match. Swann looked kind of clunky and lost at times, whereas Rayz was pinpoint on everything and seemed to be there for all of Swann’s stuff, which made him perfect for this type of match. Just a really cool, fast-paced, sub-ten minute opener that’d fit in perfectly on any Dragon Gate USA or Evolve show. Dustin Rayz has improved a ton in the past year or so and I hope he finds his way onto the DGUSA Midwest shows in September. 

-The referee looks like the lead actor from failed FX sitcom “Son of the Beach” and I love it.
-Kozina looks like he’s wearing an American Wolves starter kit (I’m guessing it’s the gear he wears when he teams with Davey Richards on little Midwest shows since they drive everywhere together).
-This is the exact opposite of the opener, where they go straight into the heat from the bell (whereas the last match was an eight-minute finishing sequence).
-Really neat spot where Davidson charges at Kozina in the corner and Kozina avoids it by ducking to all fours, which caused Davidson to trip over him into the turnbuckle.
-This is seriously the best I’ve seen Kozina’s offense look in years. Credit to Davidson (who I’m usually not a fan of) for being a solid base for him.
-I hate to be all nitpicky internet fan, but there was a BADLY missed superkick spot (if you get the DVD, you’ll know EXACTLY what I’m talking about). It stuck out like a sore thumb since this bout’s been shockingly good.
-Kozina won with the second straight rollup on the show. Other than doing pretty much the same finish as the first match, I can’t complain about much. The crowd was dead, so that might effect some people’s viewing of the bout, but considering I don’t think I’ve seen a good Tony Kozina match since he moved to the Midwest and I usually am not a fan of Dave Davidson, it surprised me how much I liked this.
-I just consulted with some friends who were there live and they told me I’m nuts, so judge this match for yourselves. Get the DVD. 

-Hadley’s a dude from here in Lafayette who I think I’ve literally seen from his first match and he’s really grown a lot, so this will be fun for me to watch him wrestle a guy who’s blown up nationally. Chuck’s the one guy in wrestling right now I’d compare Jeremy to, so I hope they blend well together.
-The story of the match seems to be Taylor not taking Hadley serious, resulting in wacky hijinx when Hadley comes charging with all of his might and Taylor sidesteps or avoids him easily.
-Taylor looked like he blasted Hadley right in the nose on a Dynamite Kid dropkick from the second rope.
-This has been way less schticky than I expected, but it’s a good learning experience for Hadley to work like this with a guy with Chuck’s experience.
-Taylor goes over with the Awful Waffle. Solid match; if you come in expected balls-out DGUSA/Chikara Chuck Taylor, you might be disappointed, but it was interesting to see Taylor in the veteran role in a match. 

-Yep, that Simon Sezz.
-Simon has the weirdest collar-and-elbow lock-up form. It’s like he’s trying to push away an invisible man behind his opponent.
-Vortekz gets criticism for certain things, but the one thing I can say is that the dude’s kicks look great most of the time, especially since they look like they blast the opponent, but in the type of way where you tell he’s protecting the dude he’s working with. That’s the best type of wrestling.
-I really don’t want to be a dillweed, but there’s a reason I’m not saying anything nice about Sezz. He looks rough. I don’t think he’s done one thing in this match that hasn’t looked awkward.
-Vortekz goes over with his version of Ghanarea. The first match on the show I haven’t really dug, but three out of four isn’t shabby at all.
-After the match, Drake Younger (fresh from his heel turn with the blonde dyejob) jumps Vortekz. Kyle Threat (xOMGx) jumps in the irng to try to stop Drake from killing the poor guy, but gets a dick kick for his troubles, followed by a BRUTAL Drake’s Landing through a chair. On the DVD, it sounded like people were cheering since the stuff he was doing looked cool, which is about the opposite of what you’d want out of this (which is a shame, since Drake’s performance otherwise was strong). 

-If you didn’t catch the match I posted between Emerson and Chrisjen Hayme last week, I really think Emerson has a world of potential. He’s a big dude who can work with little guys and it not look ridiculous and he carries himself like he’s somebody.
-I heard an interview Cabana did recently where he described his style and how he determines when and when not to turn up the comedic charm. This is an example of him deciding to turn it up, since he’s not in the main event and he’s not at IPW every month, so when he comes in, their crowd would want to see him do his schtick and his ha-ha.
– The thing I dig about this match is that Cabana got his time to do his stuff, but Emerson got to make up for being the comedic foil during the heat. He got to look physically dominant and like someone on Cabana’s level, which is important since he’s involved in their heavyweight title picture.
-Cabana’s so good at the comedy and the chain wrestling that he often doesn’t get credit for some of the other things he’s good at, like his comebacks. He has the big, wild punches, the great, bugged-out look in his eye, the ability to create the illusion of lots of movement without killing himself…I dig it.
-Emerson wins the match via schoolboy when Cabana is distracted after he hits the Flying Apple on Greg Carey (on the DVD, it looked like Carey took a major bump for it too, so kudos to him).
-Solid bout. It was more of a character-building deal than a balls-out workrate match, but Cabana fit his role perfectly and did a good job of putting over Emerson (who more than kept up his end of the bout). 

-This is the most Irish-sounding match this side of Leprechaun O’Sheanessy versus the Potato Famine.
-Sami’s weird, in that sometimes I absolutely love him and other times, his over-the-top facials and selling compeltely annoy me. But, so far in this match, he’s completely toned that stuff down, which I dig.
-There’s a really cool moment where O’Reilly hurts his leg, so Callihan tries for a series of single-leg takedowns that seemed super-urgent and strugglelicious.
-I was going to put over how they built the match around how the first suplex that Sami hit would be the finish, but then O’Reilly kicked out. BOO.
-Sami wins with the Stretch Muffler, getting it off of a reversal of O’Reilly’s triangle choke. Overall, it was decent. Athletically, it was the strongest match on the show thus far, but them building the whole thing around Sami not being able to get the suplex, then O’Reilly kicking out of the first one kind of annoyed me. That being said, if they did a rematch, I wouldn’t mind seeing it.
IPW Junior Heavyweight Title: RICOCHET vs AR FOX
-I guarentee you someone out there will be disappointed that these guys went out to wrestle before they tried any flips…
-I typed that RIGHT as they busted out a great-looking spot where Fox lands on his feet doing the ringpost moonsault off of the apron, but Ricochet moved and thrust kicked him in the mush.
-Much like at Dragon Gate USA, Ricochet is working as a heel here. You’d think, with his lack of size and flashy moves, that Ricochet as a heel would be miscasting, but he’s shockingly talented at it.
-Real simple story to this match, which you’d normally expect Ricochet to be in the other role: Ricochet wants to keep AR Fox out of the sky, but whenever Fox gets an opening, he does some huge move and it’s a gamechanger.
-I really hope AR Fox doesn’t knock five years off of his career doing the apron legdrop.
-Sometimes when you do a flier/flier dream match with no base, it can completely fall apart since there’s no base, but these two look awesome together. Fox in particular is showing great ability to be a base for smaller junior heavyweights.
-Ricochet busted out the standing reverse 450. When’s the last time he did that one? Looked great.
-I love Fox to death; I think he’s awesome. But, much like the apron legdrop, I really hope he doesn’t hurt himself doing his Phoenix splash. He always ends up jumping too far and, especially on this one, the landing looked like it could’ve easily snapped his arm in two.
-Ricochet goes over with his spinning Angle Slam driver move. Really fun match. They probably didn’t go as ridiculously balls out as one would expect, but they still did a TON of cool stuff and they certainly left the door open for a rematch (which, if that’s why they reigned in the really gimongous nearfalls, I applaud them for having that type of foresight). 

(One note: the RAWR-RAWR-RAWR death metal stuff really needs to go suck a peach, especially on pro wrestling shows. So many groups use it and it just blurs everyone together (not to mention it’s terrible). Swerve Video (IPW’s production group) used different songs for each pre-match “so-and-so versus so-and-so” screen, and other than some neat 70’s-style R&B song that actually sounded really cool and unique on a wrestling show, it’s mostly been the heavy, screaming stuff. This is absolutely not just a plea towards IPW (Dragon Gate USA, I’m looking at you too!)) 

IPW Heavyweight Title/Dog Collar Match: JON MOXLEY vs JIMMY JACOBS
-Really cool little touch where they sent out multiple referees to hook both of these guys up to the dog collar. I love the great moves and the athleticism as much as the next guy, but I pop much more for attention to little details like that.
-Speaking of attention to detail, Jimmy broke free before they could attach him and was able to go wild on Moxley. It totally put over the gimmick since they showed that, with the freedom of not being chained, one guy can do whatever he wanted, but once you hook them up, it evens the field and you’re going to get a fair, even fight.
-These guys are probably throwing strikes half as hard as Callihan & O’Reilly, but they’re so good that the intensity and the atmosphere of violence is twice as heightened (and I hope no one takes that as an insult about Callihan & O’Reilly; there are pluses to both sides of the coin).
-There’s an art to bleeding well in pro wrestling that sometimes gets lost in this day and age. Some guys look like they slice themselves, then just expect to look like a 1970’s Apter magazine cover. Jon Moxley is a GREAT bleeder. Not only does he bleed heavily when he bleeds (which he saves for the important matches), but he seems to know where to cut and how to up the blood going up to his head so it comes out in the deep, dark trickles that look viscerally beautiful. The man’s a king.
-They busted out the Valentine/Piper chain-over-the-mouth spot. FIVE STARS AUTOMATICALLY. (Short Tom story: I used to convince my year-younger nephew Mark to wrestle around with me when I was in elementary school. I really didn’t like him, so I just kind of tricked him into thinking wrestling was a certain way so I could beat him up (since even then, I was a chickencrap who knew I couldn’t fight, but I wanted to feel tough). Anyway, our title belt was this long, rusted chain with paper taped on as the main plate, but sometimes we’d take the paper off and use it for dog collar matches. I guess I didn’t get that it could KILL him at the time, since I used to take this rusty chain, wrap it around Mark’s head, then pull back and do the Piper/Valentine spot. I busted him open with it at least once since the rust was so defined that it sharpened around the metal. If he dies of Hep-C or some blood disease, now everyone knows why.)
-I can’t compliment these guys enough on how well they’ve put over the gimmick in this match. They’ve done SO much to bring attention to how the chain is everything in this match, from a weapon to an obstacle that affects both men’s offense to a bind that confines both men’s movement.
-Jimmy Jacobs won when he choked out Moxley. This might be the best match I’ve seen Jacobs in since the ’06 Whitmer series and the best Moxley match since his Tournament of Death match with Thumbtack Jack. Absolutely awesomely-worked gimmick match and an intense, violent feud-ender. This is definately in my top five, if not top three, favorite matches of 2011. 

After the match, “Sweet” Lou Roberts (who had been on the injured reserve for a while and has been working as a commentator for the DVD’s) climbs into the ring for a post-match interview (which IPW usually doesn’t do, so *angle alert*). Rayz browbeats Jacobs for (I’m presuming) the sick, bloody style of matches that Jimmy’s taken part in during the feud with Moxley, but before Jacobs can retaliate, Dustin Rayz jumps in the ring and reform their Messiahs of a New Age team while double-teaming Jacobs. Sami Callihan jumps in to save Jacobs, so I’m assuming at a future show, we’ll get that tag match. 

IRISH AIRBORNE (Dave & Jake Crist) vs THE AMERICAN WOLVES (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards)
-Interesting approach coming into the match, where the Irish Airborne (then heels) turned on their manager Greg Carey after their tag title loss the month before, becoming fan favorites again before this match. It’s probably for the best, since I forsee the Wolves pounding up a Crist before the Airborne make a fun, high-flying comeback and we all love it. But that’s why guys wrestle matches and they don’t just write them out on paper…
-Wow, the Wolves are way more over than I thought they’d be. Davey’s worked IPW some, so I’d expect people to like him, but I think this was Edwards’ IPW debut. I dig.
-I’m surprised more people haven’t given Dave Crist a second look, especially with how great of a visual persona he’s created with the custom vests and mohawk.
-The timing on the Airborne’s running kick to the head/Lionsault combo couldn’t have been more perfect. Dave Crist pretty much landed with Edwards.
-…and the match is going EXACTLY as I said above. The Wolves have Dave Crist in the ring and are pounding the tar out of him.
-The Airborne are absolutely hanging with the Wolves. Sometimes in situations like this, the more established team will eat up their opponents and give them nothing, but the Wolves (to their credit) are giving the brothers Crist time to shine and they’re taking fine advantage of it.
-There was a curious spot where they did a double-down/tag after both teams were running wild all over the place. Weird since the ref hadn’t enforced a tag in minutes.
-Really awesome deal where Dave Crist went for an enziguri, but Davey Richards literally did a jumping leg grapevine into an anklelock.
-Big ups to Dave Crist for selling his worked-over leg after Jake did the Death Valley Driver onto the knees portion of their Irish Air Raid sequence.
-The Airborne go over when they hit Davey Richards with a tombstone/double stomp combo. GREAT match…honestly, just a slight notch below the really great Ring of Honor tags of the past year (Briscoes/KOW series, the first WGTT/KOW match, etc. which I use as the standard since they honestly have the best tag division in wrestling right now). I’d LOVE to see the Airborne get another shot at Ring of Honor the next time they come through the Midwest (I would say Evolve, but their tag division is kind of lame thus far, and ROH has a ton of good teams for the Crists to have standout matches with).

Overall, this was easily the best Insanity Pro show ever. Their Super Juniors tournament shows are usually fun, but those have a habit of going way long. This DVD clocked in at under two and a half hours and is really easy to watch in one sitting. The in-ring product was the best overall I’ve ever seen on an IPW card (Moxley/Jacobs and Wolves/Airborne are as strong of a 1-2 punch as you’ll see on any show), the crowd was the hottest I’ve seen them have in a while (and they drew a packed house, so congrats to them), and the DVD production is much improved from even a year ago. The only complaint I would have is that the commentary was really quiet, but that can easily be fixed. Bravo to Insanity Pro, who really seem to be riding a wave of momentum in 2011!

Like I said on Episode 30 of the podcast, people like to complain about where the next so-and-so, or the next hot indie wrestling promotion is coming from. You’ve got to make an effort. There are groups out there like Insanity Pro that have these great young talents that just need the right eyes to see them in order to break out, and they’re actively making an effort to put these guys in with big-name talent who can help them get better and draw more attention to them. If you’re one of those people: PLEASE watch this show. You’ll find at least a couple of guys who’ll be the “IT” guys of the next few years if they stick with it. IPW’s doing good stuff; check them out. 

  1. Gage Davis permalink

    Reviewed this show on youtube. Easily the best show I’ve ever watched live. Amazing show with basically everything that a pro wrestling fan would like.

  2. Gage Davis permalink

    U should also review the SJHT 2010 that was also a amazing show.

    • We might…if you want more IPW content, check out episode #29 of the podcast, where Nick Maniwa & I did a review of IPW’s Uprising event from a couple of weeks ago right after it concluded in the parking lot. Thanks for the support for the site, my man.


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