By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
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International Wrestling Cartel “Super Indy 21”
Replay available via FITE TV
October 8, 2022 in Elizabeth, Pennsylvania at Marx’s Court Theatre
This show featured an eight-man single-elimination tournament with some well-known indy stars. It opened to a video package set to Skillet’s “Legendary.”
Joe Dombrowski provided commentary at ringside, and he always does a great job. Early on, Dombrowski listed some well-known names who have competed in this tournament, such as CM Punk, Sami Zayn, Joaquin Wilde, Corey Graves. Johnny Gargano and Jonathan Gresham. The ring is well lit and looks good, but the fans are sitting in the shadows, so I can’t really see how many people are there.
Derek Dillinger, who is IWC super indy champion, came to the ring and relinquished his title belt. The winner of the tournament gets the title belt, and he’s in the tournament, so he can win it back. I don’t know Dillinger but I immediately thought he’s comparable to Sami Callihan — a bit thick and looks like a brawler.
1. Cole Karter defeated Brian Pillman Jr. in a first-round tournament match at 9:44. Two AEW talents here. Karter is a full-fledge babyface here. Good reversals to open, and the crowd was hot. Dombrowski described Karter as a home-grown IWC talent. Karter hit a series of clotheslines at 8:00 and a Mafia Kick. Pillman hit an inverted DDT for a nearfall. Karter nailed a TKO stunner for the pin. Good opener.
NOTE: They are estimating on time. They announced we were 10 minutes in at 9:24. I think it was more for the competitors as a note to “wrap it up.”
* A backstage video with Dak Draper, who told a hilarious story about saving a little old lady from a runaway train.
2. Dak Draper defeated Dalton Castle (w/The Boys) via DQ in a first-round tournament match at 12:28. Two guys I consider to be ROH competitors. We got the complete Dalton peacock entrance, which I just think is awesome. These “boys” are not the Tate Twins, and Dombrowski pointed this out by saying that Dalton has boys in every town. Dalton is a huge babyface here. Dak is listed as 6’5″ (that is a two-inch embellishment); either way, he’s much taller than Dalton. Dalton hit a DDT at 4:00. Dak dropped Dalton throat-first on the top rope and took control.
Dalton went for a second-rope crossbody block, but Dak caught him and slammed him to the mat. They brawled to the floor at 9:30. They did some comedy where Dalton kept rolling away from Dak, and Dombrowski joked that Dalton has been taking notes from Orange Cassidy. Dalton couldn’t hit the Bang-a-rang. Dak hit a missile dropkick for a nearfall at 11:30. They traded stiff forearm shots. Dak spun the ref around and hit a low blow. The ref turned back to the action. Dalton hit a low blow punch, but the ref saw it, and he disqualified Dalton. Good match and I’m okay with that finish.
3. Channing Decker defeated Calvin Tankman in a first-round tournament match at 10:04. I don’t know Decker; he’s a white man with curly hair with slightly above-average size and build, but he’s giving up a lot of weight and size to the massive Tankman. Tankman missed a body splash seconds into the match. Tankman dominated early. Decker had a cut on his head, and the ref put on gloves; Dombrowski wondered if Decker could win three matches if he has blood loss. He went for a catapult senton but barely grazed Tankman at 5:00.
Tankman nailed the body splash for a nearfall at 6:30. Decker dove through the ropes and slammed into Tankman on the floor. His face was now red with blood. He hit a top-rope crossbody block in the ring for a nearfall. Tankman hit a backbreaker over his knee, then a pop-up spinning back-fist for a believable nearfall at 9:00. In an impressive spot, Tankman went to the top rope, but Decker put him on his shoulders and hit a Samoan Drop. Decker then applied a sharpshooter, and Tankman tapped out. The crowd chanted “please come back!” at Tankman.
* A video aired of Derek Dillinger, standing outside, promising he was going to win the tournament and retain his belt.
4. Derek Dillinger defeated Delirious in a first-round tournament match at 10:39. Delirious is a former Super Indy champion, and this is his first IWC match since 2009. Delirious, of course, went crazy at the bell. Dillinger has a director’s clip board; he is much thicker and heavier than Delirious, and makes me think of a taller Taz. They fought to the floor, where Dillinger slammed him head-first on the ring apron at 3:30, and he bent Delirious’ back around the ring post, and he was in charge.
Delirious nailed his leaping clothesline at 6:00, and 10 rapid-fire Hogan legdrops. He applied a sleeperhold on the mat. He nailed his Panic Attack running knee strike in the corner, then the Shadows Over Hell frogsplash to the back for a nearfall at 9:30. Derek nailed a sunset flip powerbomb into the corner and a running knee strike. Dillinger then nailed a face-to-face sit-down Bubba Bomb for the pin.
* Intermission, with a bonus match, from Super Indy 16 (five years ago).
(Bonus Classic Match) Adam Cole defeated Jonathan Gresham at 25:43 to win the Super Indy 16 tournament (bonus match). I haven’t seen this. An intense lockup to begin and plenty of mat reversals. Gresham hit a delayed vertical suplex at 9:00 and they were both down. He went for a top-rope move but Cole caught him with a superkick. Gresham worked over the fingers and wrist while tying Cole up on the mat; they are definitely working a Gresham-style mat-based match.
Cole hit an enzuigiri and a running knee for a nearfall at 16:00. Cole applied a mid-ring Figure Four Leglock. They rolled out of the ring to the floor, with Cole able to keep the submission hold on. In the ring, Gresham hit a German Suplex, and they were both down at 19:00. Gresham tried to run across the ring,, but he collapsed after being in the Figure Four for so long. He then nailed a dive through the ropes onto Cole on the floor. Gresham hit a pretty Shooting Star Press — never seen him do that move before — for a nearfall, and they were both down at 21:00.
Cole hit a running knee and a neckbreaker over his knee for a believable nearfall, and Cole was shocked that didn’t get him the pin. Cole went for a superkick, but Gresham caught him and applied a mid-ring Octopus, but Cole reached the ropes. Gresham went off the ropes again, but Cole caught him with a superkick. Cole once again nailed his neckbreaker over his knee, and this time it scored the pin. Good match; it took a bit to really get going, but it was a fun bonus match.
* Back to live action! That was a long intermission, though, for fans in attendance.
5. Cole Karter defeated Dak Draper in a semi-final tournament match at 9:46. Cole hit a nice huracanrana and dropkick early on. They fought on the floor, and Karter barely got back in the ring at 4:00 before being counted out. They brawled in and out of the ring. Back in the ring, Draper hit a nice Doctor Bomb for a believable nearfall at 9:00. Karter hit a TKO stunner for the pin. Decent match. Karter sold an elbow injury after the match.
6. Derek Dillinger defeated Channing Decker in a semi-final tournament match at 13:04. They brawled on the floor before getting in the ring; lighting is just so-so on the floor. Decker hit a snap suplex on the bare gym floor at 3:00. They finally got in the ring at 6:00, with Dillinger in charge, and Decker is bleeding from the forehead again. Decker applied a Sharpshooter at 10:30, but Dillinger reached the ropes. Dillinger hit a sunset flip powerbomb into the corner. Dillinger then nailed a face-to-face sit-down Bubba Bomb for the pin; this was the same finish as his first win.
* Katie Arquette cut a backstage promo, saying she is coming for Ashley D’Amboise’s title.
7. Ashley D’Amboise defeated Katie Arquette to retain the IWC Women’s Title at 8:38. We have seen both of them on AEW Dark in the past. Katie attacked before the bell and dominated the action, and she hit a nice German suplex for a nearfall at 3:00. The Fite TV signal went out several times. Katie tried to gt a title belt from ringside (presumably to use it), but a guy wouldn’t give it to her. In the ring, D’Amboise hit a Rock Bottom uranage for the pin. Just ok; this was hampered by the picture going out sporadically.
8. Anthony Young, Bill Collier, Duke Davis, and Ganon Jones defeated Jock Samson, Spencer Slade, Elijah Dean, and Zach Nystrom in an eight-man tag. I don’t know any of these eight guys. Jock is an overweight hillbilly dressed like Henry O. Godwin. Slade wears head gear, like Josh Alexander. Collier is big and muscular, looking like a young Chris Harris. Like the prior match, the signal kept going out, hampering my ability to get to know who these guys are. This is fairly basic, with the heels working over one of the Black babyfaces for an extensive period of time. Collier finally made the hot tag and beat up a lot of the heels. In an amazing spot, Collier held three men in his arms or shoulders before hitting a Samoan Drop. He then pinned Slade.
9. Cole Karter defeated Derek Dillinger to win the IWC Super Indy tournament at 11:28. An intense lockup to start and Cole hit some dropkicks. Dillinger focused on Cole’s damaged right arm. Unfortunately, the FITE TV signal issue has continued into the third straight match, hurting the ability to view this match. Dillinger hit a senton splash at 3:30. Dillinger dominated the bulk of the match. However, Karter hit a TKO stunner out of nowhere to win the match.
Final Thoughts: I am a sucker for tournaments, going back to WrestleMania IV. That said, the four guys I wanted to see advance in the first round all lost. I understand giving Karter the win, as he’s a decent wrestler and clearly quite popular here. However, he’s part of a jobber faction in AEW, and that really hurts his standing.
Dombrowski does a great job, and he had help in the booth from a heel providing color commentary (I didn’t catch the name.) However, I struggled to follow the eight-man tag, in part because of the lost signal, and I didn’t know anyone in the match.
The show clocked in at about three hours.