Going to this show came about because The Carver vs Dr Redacted was announced and I immediately told Jess I didn't care how far it was (it was estimated four hours) we were going to make it work. Not only had I not been to an ICWNHB show since Volume 1, I also hadn't been to NJ for quite some time as we've been going the other way (into MA) for most shows. I do miss NJ though because I miss Wawa and to get it out of the way now, yes, we went to Wawa on both Saturday night and Sunday morning.
I've been to so many wrestling shows since I last went to ICWNHB live and I haven't really been to any death match shows so this was special just based on that, but I do need to note that going to an ICWNB show isn't like going to any other wrestling show because it's a death match show and much more goes into that than your typical wrestling show. There were people there specifically to sweep out the ring after a match and then there was another crew specifically to load the ring with fuckery.
Watching the two crews work in between matches was kind of neat because there wasn't an intermission but there were little breaks instead. We were second row and as most of the glass was swept out of the ring into our direction, the fans in the first row in front of us got up and moved every time because otherwise they might have gotten hit by glass pieces. Sitting front row at this show would've been a different experience because of the way you could get covered in glass, light tubes, etc. I almost felt safer being in the second row.
This show was full of main event level matches and sometimes when you go to a wrestling show there is a wrestler or a match that you don't really care about and this just didn't have that. Every match, every wrestler up and down this card made me want to be at this show. And as every match went on and outdid the one before it, that just showed me why everything it took to get us there and back home was well worth it.
AKIRA vs Bam Sullivan opened the show and this was my first time seeing AKIRA live. This was also Bam Sullivan's debut and he's just so good I want to see him not only back in ICWNHB but really everywhere. We saw him previously in Blitzkrieg! Pro and that was a different style match, so this was a different version of Bam Sullivan we saw here and he was hugely over with the crowd.
Gary Jay is a wrestler I saw fighting in the midwest through IWTV and then he came to ICWNHB and it was just like another level for him. Gary Jay is someone we see nearly die at least twice in every match he has and he also has a Match of the Year contender out there in Pro Wrestling GRIND vs Ryan Mooney. And then this match had him versus his tag team partner Aaron Williams, who I love but had never seen live before.
These two just went out there and delivered. Before the show I said that they might be the match to steal it and they just might have. They had that match where maybe we didn't fully get it while it was happening either, but in the future when we look back it we're going to talk about it a lot more. I just know it.
The third match was between Kristian Ross and Chris Bradley, who I know as a tag team from H2O and other promotions but have never seen live before. If you think the crowd was kind of sleeping through the first two matches, this one definitely woke them up. Light tubes and chair shots and lots of blood. This was the first match of the night where it was really an idea of "Oh, we might get hit by something" and that was kind of cool.
During this match they used this blue water jug on a stick and at one point it came flying at us. I managed to kind of grab it with one hand, so I think I kind of stopped it, but it also got stuck on the stick part on the fans in front of us. Shout out to ICWNHB though for having someone behind us immediately checking on us and making sure everyone was okay. When you buy the ticket, you know the risks going in (or you should) but it was just nice there were people there also making sure the fans were good.
Danny Demanto and Brandon Kirk had one of those matches where it was just light tube after light tube and some other gnarly looking moves. When Danny Demanto was coming out though the venue lost power and I don't know how that translated on IWTV but it was really uncertain why the music and lights went out (I thought Atticus Cogar was coming) but the stream was also still going somehow and... yeah. That's just one of the reasons why it's better to be there in person than at home.
Really, the back body drop that Brandon Kirk took onto a chair is what I'm going to remember about this match the most. That and Danny Demanto trying to set up chairs, not having enough, screaming for them and the crew in charge of that just kind of shrugging their shoulders. This was certainly fun though and it kept with the theme of every match outdoing the one before it.
Hoodfoot vs Dr Redacted was one of the craziest matches of the night and certainly one of the most violent too. There were fans sitting next to us who told me they didn't know what to expect from Dr Redacted but they seemed into what he was doing and how he just not only wouldn't die but didn't seem to have a regard for his own well being, let alone that of his opponent.
Parts of this match were in places where we couldn't really see but at one point they came right into our chairs and as I'm trying to catch Dr Redacted I just hear Larry Legend yelling at the fans to get the fuck out of the way. I get so wrapped up in what is happening I often times forget that it can happen to me if I don't move. I have a video where I'm so close to them hitting each other and then I stopped recording because I realized I was too close and needed to seek shelter. But between light tubes, glass, fire, trash cans, skewers and darts I hope this is that type of match where people now demand Dr Redacted on their shows.
The last two matches were both title matches and the way the first one came about is kind of cool. AC Mack came to ICWNHB to face a mystery opponent in a death match with the Independent Wrestling Championship on the line. That mystery opponent turned out to be Krule and, well, Krule has the title now. Krule is an unstoppable monster. Literally.
I tried counting how many Independent Wrestling Title matches I've seen. I know I've seen Warhorse defend the title at least twice and then there was the match with Wheeler Yuta vs Daniel Garcia which went to the hour time limit. And most recently (but not too recent) was AC Mack defending it against Willow Nightingale. But when I tell you I've never seen the title defended like this before, I mean it.
At one point during this match, Krule came over near us- and at this point we were standing behind our chairs because of everything going on. And so I had to kind of jump from behind my chair to the other side of it. Krule is someone who in person is much more terrifying than on television. Krule just bleeds intimidation and when I saw him coming my way- looking like he was coming for me- it put the fear of God in me.
The main event was the main event and with the way all of these matches it was not an easy feat to do this. But this match had a lot of history and meaning for me, as a fan. I first saw Mickie Knuckles wrestle on DVD some twenty years ago for promotions I won't name now. And the thing was, at that time I was burning out on wrestling because I was primarily watching WWE, so seeing Mickie Knuckles was part of what brought me back in as a fan.
But I also have this strong love for women's wrestling. And I think in a lot of ways Mickie Knuckles was one of the first wrestlers who I saw and was like "Anything the men can do, the women can do too and sometimes even better!" So in many ways when I'm thinking of women's wrestling now, that starting point for me is Mickie Knuckles and this was my first time ever seeing her in person, so as a fan you just can't write a better story. This couldn't have been more perfect if we tried.
And don't discredit Kasey Catal either because she is just on another level right now. This match was two women headlining a death match show for a Championship that means something and this was quite honestly my Match of the Year because of not only what it meant going into it, but how it delivered as well. In non-death match terms, you have to think of this match as like Bryan Danielson vs Bret Hart, you know, the wrestler currently making their mark vs the wrestler who paved that way for them.
At one point during this match they came and wrecked all our chairs and this time we were all well out of the way. I also did not sit back down after that because not only was the crowd on its feet the entire time but there was now blood on my chair. And that's just also a nice way to think about this show because getting blood on your chair shows how violent it was but also you can't sit back down, not that you'd want to anyway.