Tuesday, July 05, 2011

IWL iPPV Thoughts

About a month or so ago a relatively new promotion in Mexico named IWL announced they'd be running an iPPV with Madman Pondo as the top draw. Naturally this was met with a lot of skepticism because most of the companies that do iPPV's barely break even and that's with much more star power and promotion. Not to mention the technology is still relatively new - case in point the last DGUSA iPPV had no video for half the show on the live feed. Nevertheless IWL went ahead and kept plugging the show so I figured if I was free that day I'd order it and see what was up. I'd never ordered an iPPV before and figured if I was ever going to try it out it should at least be now to support Lucha Libre in the hopes IWL will run more of them or other lucha promotions might jump on the bandwagon and give it a shot.


- Multiple camera angles. One of my worries was this wouldn't come off looking major league but IWL came through. We had a hard cam and two ringside cams.

- The commentary was SUPERB! I cannot stress this enough. I feel bad now because there were two gentleman on commentary and the only one who's name I know off the top of my head is Milton Eloir (@miltoreioir on twitter). Pardon my French but these two "knew their shit". They were calling everything correctly, putting over the talent, the moves and they dropped tons of references that demonstrated they actually knew a lot about Lucha Libre. (Example: Mentioning Mike Segura almost went to ECW at one point.) But forget all that - the best thing about these guys? THEY WERE EXCITED! You could tell they were having fun watching the show and trying to communicate that to those of us watching. My favorite commentators for any Lucha Libre shows are the Tercera Caida guys (Jose Manuel Guillent/Bernardo Guzman) but these guys were just as good. Now if we can just get Televisa to hire them to do CMLL/AAA instead of that idiot Leonardo Riano.

- Enrique Yniesta made a special appearence as ring announcer and he did a fine job getting the crowd pumped up and making sure we knew who was wrestling. I'm a hardcore Lucha Libre fan so obviously I know who I'm watching but having an audible ring announcer announce the wrestlers one-by-one for the average fans who might be watching is very important. If I could offer one suggestion it would be to have Enrique do quick post-match interviews with the winners on future shows. Mike Segura won his match and then did an interview by himself and then walked onto the stage to do another interview. They should have just had Enrique go to the ring and talk to Mike afterwards.

- The wrestling was generally good to very good. This was the most important part of the show for me personally because while I always want to support Lucha Libre I am not going to support something bad that I am not having fun watching. I had lots of fun watching this show and a lot of that was beacause almost all the wrestlers were working very hard.

- 5 matches announced, 7 matches took place. Always good to get more bang for your buck!;)

- There were some storylines and build for future matches. I'm a hardcore fan so I would have been happy just watching a normal Lucha Libre show but it was nice for the average viewer to see a new group created, an impromptu match and challenges after the main event for a possible hair match.

- The main event far exceeded my expectations. I am not a fan of hardcore wrestling at all but I had a blast watching the main event. I'm not sure if I would regularly get into watching a match like that but once in a while is fine and I liked how they did it. It wasn't like the DTU hardcore matches where guys are planning their moves 3 minutes in advance and have the security setting up the weapons to use. I hate that and anyone who knows me knows that. This was just six (+ Hilario) guys beating the crap out of each other and bleeding all over the place. Worked for me!

- The show finished in less than 3 hours. This is PERFECT! I don't care how great the wrestling is or isn't - there is no reason shows should be lasting 4 hours or more. Are you listening ROH?



- Obviously the technical issues early on which caused us to miss most of the first match and the angle leading into the second match. I expected this though and was just happy it was one really long outage rather than a bunch of them throughout the show. That already put these guys ahead of Dragon Gate USA.

- The "shoot fight". Much like hardcore wrestling, I am not a fan of MMA. If I want to watch MMA, I will watch an actual MMA show. If I want to watch MMA, I will watch actual MMA where the guys aren't faking it. I prefer wrestling over MMA b/c wrestling is exciting and MMA is not. So I don't want to see two guys fake fighting and even worse - making it as boring as possible so it looks like real MMA. I'm hoping this was a one-time thing or the next one with Zumbi will be the last one.

- I like surprises and matches getting changed while the show is going on because it leads to fun things sometimes but I think it can be bad business to advertise certain matches/wrestlers and then not deliver them when the show happens. It didn't really effect this show at all but it's something to make note of for the future.

- Sometimes the camera guys missed some of the important action. The few of us watching together in the chat knew what moves were coming either because we've seen it before or the wrestlers were taking so long to get prepared to do them so surely the cameramen must have known they were coming too but each time they missed showing it. Example: Peligro's finisher. They showed him setting up the move and cut away exactly when he was about to jump off the top rope.

- This is a really minor thing but the show should have ended with a goodbye. We didn't know if the show was over or not until the camera just shut off.


As for the match-by-match comments...

Veneno vs Emo Extreme

All of us watching went nuts for Emo Extreme just for the surprise factor. I love random people showing up out of nowhere.:) Good match until the feed cut out.

Cerebro Maligno, Epitafio, Fantasma de la Ópera, Sepulcro vs Amenaza Infernal Jr., Epidemia, Niño de Fuego, Quimico Jr

We joined this as the ATM were cutting a promo and the match was turned into 4 on 4. So the first few minutes we were trying to figure out who was who since we had never seen these guys before. Infernal Jr. really looked like Madman Pondo under a mask. If it wasn't Pondo the maybe a friend of his? The hiptosses were from the wrong side and he wasn't doing anything else but bumping into his opponents. Trolly got to do a splash so that was awesome to see. Tecnicos really didn't get to do anything except for Quimico Jr. who had a great series of moves. Rudos won easily. Nothing special of a match.

Daga vs Heavy Boy

Daga's promo was good and we could actually hear him! That's another step-up from DGUSA/ROH iPPV's! Turned into an unscheduled match against Heavy Boy. Daga did a dive and they brawled for a bit. It actually kind of dragged in the middle but the ending was awesome as Daga made a comeback and absolutely MURDERED Heavy Boy with a Reinera Driver. We all went nuts after seeing that move! A fine bonus match.

Mike Segura vs Pesadilla vs Naruto

Pesadilla had some awesome gear. Naruto is TINY! Segura is usually the smallest guy in any matches he is in but he dwarfed Naruto. Typical three-way match with one guy often outside resting while the other two fought inside the ring. Segura did an awesome moonsault plancha. We all groaned when Pesadilla got the lighttubes from under the ring but the live crowd cheered so clearly the crowd came to see some hardcore wrestling. This was also when we figured out why Naruto was wearing gloves and a hoodie.;) Segura eliminated Pesadilla who was my pick to win so good thing I didn't bet on it. A table got involved and Segura power bombed Naruto off the top rope when he tried a frankensteiner. Looked vicious and surely it HAD to be the finish... except Naruto kicked out. I'm not sure why. Segura pushed him back down and tried one more time... this time getting the 3 count. Very confusing finish. Daga vs Segura will be a great match whether it's on iPPV or not.

Freelance, Tribal, Hammer vs Cyborg, Cerebro Negro, Peligro

We thought it was Toxico at first but that's my fault. First off this man looked exactly like Toxico but second the announcers called him Peligro and I thought Toxico was the one who changed his name to Peligro. We did eventually figure out it was Ragde. There was some awesome matwork early on, the type of which you only see in IWRG most of the time. Rudos then began brawling. Freelance took a SCARY backdrop. Eventually we got everyone chopping each other which turned out to be the only thing Hammer was good at. The guys were just killing each other and the crowd loved it. We loved it! Both Freelance and Tribal got to show off their high flying which is always fun to watch. Freelance took his happy pills I guess because he looked the best I have seen him in a while. Hammer was useless so we were begging him to get chopped some more. They did the expected dives and Freelance came CLOSE to landing in the crowd on a springboard moonsault! I think we all wanted the match to go longer but they ended it right when they got back in the ring with the cameras missing the finish. Cyborg posed for pictures afterwards and we got more shoutouts from the announcers!

Heddi Karaoui vs Jorge Macias

I think I've said all I can about this already.:)

Angel o Demonio, Super Crazy, Tony Rivera vs Fantasma De La Opera, Madman Pondo, Zumbido w/ Hilario

Announcers mentioned Tony Rivera's recent "issues" as he came to the ring. Super Crazy sure looks old with no hair. Zumbido had the most professional ring entrance of the show so far with music and dancing (everyone else just walked to the ring). I can't tell if it was planned or not but somehow Angel o Demonio ended up on his back as soon as he stepped out from backstage. Oops? Hilario showed up as a surprise and cut an English promo which was perfect for us in the chat room!:D Match turned into a brawl right away and everyone bled... EXCEPT PONDO! He eventually got cut later on but at first it was very weird to see Rivera bleeding and Pondo not. They tore the building apart including Rivera being buried under 20 chairs, a table being broken (camera missed it!) and fans + announcers running for their lives. After about 15 minutes of chaos we had Rivera do an INSANE somersault dive on Zumbido and Hilario followed by a moonsault from Super Crazy. The finish was supposed to be a suplex onto a table on fire but it wouldn't go up in flames. Oops. Pondo put Demonio through the table and covered him anyways. Then after the match he got his lighttubes from under the ring and they put Demonio through those also! All the undercard rudos and tecnicos got involved and then Rivera/Zumbido began challenging each other. It was the typical ending to a live Lucha Libre show but it was a little chaotic watching for us b/c we didn't know if the show was done or there was going to be a big ending.

Overall I'd give the show a B+. I would 110% order another show if they announced one. The show exceeded all my expectations and more. We all had a ton of fun watching and chatting at the same time. If there is another iPPV they certainly set it up well with possible matches including Daga vs Segura, Rivera vs Zumbido and Zumbi vs Heddi. That means IWL has more intriguing matches coming up than CMLL has had all year!:o If you are any sort of Lucha Libre fan you can't go wrong for putting $10 down to see an authentic independent Lucha Libre show. Who knows... maybe a few years from now both AAA/CMLL will be running iPPV's or whatever iPPV's will be called then and we can all think back to the first company in Mexico that ran a show like this - IWL!

Thanks to IWL management for making a show like this happen, thanks to the announcers for all the shoutouts, thanks to the wrestlers for putting on a fun show, thanks to Trolly for being adorable and thanks to Cubsfan for hosting a fun chat and not throwing me under the bus for confusing everyone into thinking we were watching Toxico!

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