ON THE ROAD: IWA MidSouth “Ted Petty Invitational ’02”


Ted Petty Invitational – November ’02 – IWA Mid South – Clarksville, Indiana

“Every now and then when your life gets complicated and the weasels start closing in, the only real cure is to load up on heinous chemicals and then drive like a bastard…” – Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

Life can be confusing when you’re like me, distrustful of everything and lacking a solid direction towards anything in particular. So I wavered back and forth between actually launching into this particular weekend and not, until finally my wife, sensing my creative frustration with life, told me it’d probably be best if I went, it’d do me good. I called up Boogie Brown in the mountains, who’s knowledge of wrestling, as far as I know, is getting high with me and playing a whole lot of Royal Rumble on the Super Nintendo we had like a decade ago in this house we lived at. Boogie Brown, the eternal lounger, was up for the trip, so he rode up on Halloween night, the Thursday before the tournament started. And this was not so much about the wrestling as it was about the escape from life, albeit for a moment. Whatever.

Halloween night, me and the ol’ lady took our daughter out trick-or-treating and hit the backroad across the road from us, where Gypsy filled up half her bucket at three houses, because I bet we were the only trick-or-treater all night long. I learned that trick growing up in the country – you hit the spots where more urban people have recently moved and they still think kids are gonna come by, so they get all ready, then nobody shows up. You hit them up and BAM! you’ve got a shitload of candy. Me and my cousin got like three big brown grocery bags of candy each one year using that method. We got home and after the sugar rush wore off, the kid went to bed, the ol’ lady fell asleep on the couch and Boogie Brown showed up while The Island of Lost Souls starring Bela Lugosi was on. Great flick. The old black and white deals are so much better at cinematography, which seems like an incredibly gay thing for me to say. But the lack of special effects and color and production gloss caused them to have to be better with what they did. The Island of Lost Souls had all sorts of weird hybrid monkey men that that damned fat-ass Dr. Moreau had created. It was weird. Afterwards, I popped in a tape some dude had just sent me, which had the 55 minute match between CM Punk and Chris Hero from the old IWA Mid South Arena, to sort of prep Boogie Brown for the weekend. We were both impressed. Then I popped in the tape that Necro Butcher had sent me, where the first thing you see is him lighting his leg on fire and doing a flaming legdrop on Mean Mitch Page. Brown got pumped. I got pumped. We finished the last two beers out the twelve-pack and went to bed.

The next morning, we drove. We drove all the way through Virginia, then through West Virginia, then all the way through Kentucky. My car’s tape player doesn’t work, so all we had was the radio, and most of West Virginia and Kentucky is in this void of radio where there’s nothing but country, and not classic country but the shitty pre-fab pop country crap that the kids pushing babies through the Wal-Mart seem to love so much nowadays. Somewhere on this Earth, Waylon Jennings foot is in a jar twitching at how shitty country music has become. But we were forced to listen to the crap, as there was nothing else, not even a decent classic rock station. As the sun was going down and we’d been riding for like 8 hours, we hit Louisville, Kentucky, and the spot we were looking for was supposedly just across the river in Indiana, scenic industrial Clarksville to be exact. It was like 7 o’clock, and we had been counting on a time change of one hour to get a hotel room and plenty of beer beforehand, but no such luck. Time don’t change the way we went, stupid clocks. So we search out the fuckin’ IWA Arena, hitting the Woerner Avenue that it gives as it’s address. There’s nothing but a row of industrial wasteland, and some shitty houses on the other side of the street. We figure, fuck, let’s go get beer and a hotel and regroup and come back. Somehow along the way, I took a wrong turn and ended up on a fuckin’ bridge headed back to Kentucky, and traffic was moving impossibly slow because, of course, that cocksucking bastard Slaveowner George W. Bush was speaking in Louisville right there. We finally get across, and I figure one right turn and three left turns and we get back to Indiana. Man, I never saw so much shit trying to turn around. There were protesters walking around, cops everywhere, a fuckin’ horse drawn carriage was right on my ass, no shit, at a light, one of the fuckin’ horses leaning over and sniffing at the ass end of my Tercel. It was ridiculous, and I was getting all white-knuckled and thinking for the seven thousandth time in my life I should really go see a doctor and get a Xanax hook-up for such moments, as well as other moments of a more recreational variety.

Well, we make it back to Indiana, and the only hotels in sight look to be of the expensive variety and me and Boogie Brown, we’re of the more common variety, so fuck it, we stopped at a gas station to get some beer. Now there’s nothing I hate more than states I don’t live in having all sorts of fucked up alcohol rules going on. All we could find was warm cases of Budweiser, at a ridiculous price, yet they had Mad Dog and similar fortified wines in the cooler. That’s all you could get. I asked the dude at the second gas station where the liquor store was. He pointed me on our way, and going there we saw a hotel that looked straight out of a honkytonk movie. “We’ll stay there” me and Brown thought. We hit the liquor store around the corner where some old dude took about seventeen minutes to check our out-of-state IDs, saying things like “You don’t have a beard in this picture,” to Brown, and trying to say my license was expired so it wasn’t any good. Finally, after hanging out with this decrepit fuck for fifteen minutes, we had a suitcase of Old Milwaukee, which would quickly become the theme of the weekend, and a sixer of some Sam Adams. Back to the supposed location of the IWA Arena, since it was like ten till eight now, which was bell time, though we still didn’t know where it was. Luckily, this time, two people happened to be walking through a door and I saw a wrestling ring inside, so we knew we were there. We parked on the other side of an bread truck, and slammed the sixer of Sam Adams to lube ourselves up for independent wrestling goodness.

I take for granted that people who read the crap I write know all the basics about wrestling, but that’s not always the case; so let me explain it to you. Professional wrestling, to me, has always been a religion. You can believe or you can not. I remember being like ten and still into wrestling and the shithead know-it-all dude married to my dad’s cousin who used to play Spades with my folks while us kids knocked the shit out of each other in the yard, that dude asked me why I was still into wrestling, because it was fake. What do you tell a guy in that position? I knew it wasn’t real, but this was like 1983 and the internet and “smart” fans and shit, even Vince McMahon making it public knowledge it was a show hadn’t happened yet. Nothing much I could do except know he wasn’t like me, he couldn’t get into it. That guy ended up being a schoolteacher and we called him The Professor because he was such an asshole.

Anyways, professional wrestling is a religion, with various parallels going on. Growing up in southern Virginia, in Jim Crockett country, Ric Flair eventually became the Jesus figure of my religion – he was the epitome of what it was and what it should be. Back then, there were all sorts of local denominations, called territories nowadays, each with their own locally customized style and assortment of regular workers as well as the complement of touring good and bad guys that added spice to the long-running feuds, or made a big monthly show that much more big. Wrestling has always meant a lot to me, and now I make the wise-ass cynical excuse that if it didn’t exist, you couldn’t imagine it, because it’s so fuckin’ weird, or that I get into it purely for the sociological reasons of people watching. Both of those are partially true, but truth be told, I don’t know why the fuck I love it and still watch it. I’m just as clueless now as I was when The Professor put my ten-year-old ass on the spot back in the day – I just know if you question my beliefs, you are an asshole. This is the purest form of religion – I have no rational explanation, but I know I’ll hate you if you look down at me for believing what I believe.

Well, from the professional wrestling as a religion metaphor, Vince McMahon has always been hated by me because he attempted to capitalize on the belief system in place in ways nobody imagined. I do not think this makes him a genius; I think it makes him blasphemous. He took what adults could love and turned it into a cartoon for five-year-olds to whine to their parents about until they got a giant plush Hulk Hogan doll for Christmas. He actually made it the stereotypes and buffoonery that the non-believers like The Professor would accuse you of getting into. He took away the blood and turned on the house lights and mass marketed it and introduced crap like production values and writers and good goddamn he ruined it. I couldn’t believe in that shit.

Since McMahon’s beezlebubbian rise to mainstream prominence, most smaller wrestling groups have been varying amounts of good/evil, some leaning towards giving a select audience, or congregation, exactly what it is they want, or leaning towards the goofiness of the WWF usually using washed-up past characters from Vince’s parade of pop culture. The groups leaning towards the former build up, oddly enough, what’s called a cult audience. The IWA Mid South is like this.

Which, in itself, is interesting. There are a lot of indy wrestling companies attempting to recreate the cult appeal of Extreme Championship Wrestling, to different degrees of success. Shit, you can’t spit at a calendar without hitting a date that some group is running the old ECW Arena, better known as the Viking Hall Bingo Parlor. And all these groups use the washed-up characters from ECW’s past, or they push new indy superstars, which was how ECW made its name. In my opinion, and this was based on what I saw over the weekend I’m describing, IWA Mid South is far and away closer to the spirit of the earlier successful church of ECW, getting the most from guys who probably aren’t making much, if any, money, but do it for love. Danny Doring never did it for the love of wrestling. Ian Rotten, who runs IWA Mid South, worked in the earlier, wildly great days of ECW. He got his face punched with glass and barbed wire bats and his matches with Axl Rotten really helped define what American Death Matches could be. At the time, Paul E. Dangerously was in charge of ECW’s preachings. His philosophy was an updated version of what he saw cutting his teeth on the road throughout the south – Tennessee and backwoods Alabama and Georgia and the like – working as a manager. In fact, you go back to the late dying days of the territories or regional Churches of Wrestling, and both Dangerously and Jim Cornette were there, involved. And the best two versions of the Professional Wrestling since Vince crucified it completely have been Cornette’s Smoky Mountain Wrestling and Dangerously’s ECW. So you have a lineage.

Three beers in our system, me and Boogie Brown rolled into the front door and bought our weekend tickets. Necro Butcher had told me to let him know when I got there, so I told the lady at the card table to tell him the Raven guy from Virginia was there, and me Brown scoped the sociological scene. Well, actually, I looked for a place to piss, which was a bathroom that had been added as part of the room. The place itself was a big open warehouse section of this industrial complex featuring a giant neon red clock at a Colgate factory. It was insanely large and took up the sky and for the rest of the weekend, whenever we hit the car for alcoholic refreshments, we always knew what time it was. In fact, when me and Brown first showed up, we kept looking for a place to find out the time, as neither of us believe in watches or clocks or shit like that, and we were still confused on whether time had fallen backwards or not during our travels, and when we saw that big clock in the sky, we laughed at ourselves. Brown said, “That’s awesome…we drove all the way to Indiana to go kick it at a fuckin’ warehouse.” Anyways, the place is a big cavern with a ring in the middle and a few rows of chairs and it’s so great and real because there’s insulation hanging out the walls and all sorts of odd blood and grease stains on the floor and crazy kids running around hitting each other with Nerf footballs and screenprinted t-shirts for sale and a couple ladies selling sodas, ice cold, out a big cooler, and it was all just great. Perfect wrestling environment.

I come out the pisser and some big beer-bellied security guy asks me if I was Raven. I knew he was security because he had a faded black t-shirt with “IWA SECURITY” airbrushed on it, just the type of security shirt I would want to see. Shit, the only thing that could’ve made it better was if they had an airbrushed backdrop with champagne glasses clinging together for me to take a Polaroid of myself holding a wad of twenties, lamping. I says, “yeah,” and security guy tells me he’s got a beer for me, but I got to come outside because we can’t drink in the building. We walk out to this nice pick-up, and the guy, Roger, he gives me a Budweiser out the bag in his front passenger side seat, and I stand here chatting him up, thinking to myself, “Fuck, I just showed up in this state and here I am with some guy I never met giving me a beer. Fuck work and regular life.” Roger tells me how he’s known Necro for a while and traveled the road with him some, including up to Michigan with the Butcher and Mad Man Pondo. Boogie Brown came outside to find me, and we finished the beer, and we all walked back inside. Roger the security guy told me they were trying to get a liquor license for the building, and I could only dream. Shit, I’d move to Indiana to be near something like that.

We settled in for the usual forty-five minute wait you have from announced bell time to real bell time. Big Jon Burr, a guy I met through my website, had said he’d come, and sure enough he showed up, walking up to me saying, “Are you Raven?” I says yep, and we have three in our party now. Big Jon Burr looked a lot younger than I expected, considering he listened to the Electric Light Orchestra almost exclusively from what he told me. It didn’t really make sense for somebody that young to be that into ELO. But he seemed like a good dude, which was good, because through the intangible soulless World of the Internet, you’re more likely to meet jackasses than actual decent human beings when you make the crossover from 1s and 0s to real molecules in front of you, moving around and interacting. We all vibed on the greatness of the crowd, real looking people, believers, not smarmy half-The Professor type jackasses wearing shirts with Japanese writing. There were girls here, with actual vaginas. I always feel better if I can pretend I might hook-up, even though I’m happily married and all. Being a man, with a barely controllable penis, which is our nature, it helps for women to be there. Usually, at a wrestling show, they are not there.

Hey, they actually had a wrestling match!

“Classic” Colt Cabana vs. “Kamikaze” Ken Anderson:

I had seen Anderson before on some Steel Domain Wrestling tapes some dude from Minnesota had sent me, and he’s great. I’d never seen Colt Cabana, but he had a reputation as being quality. I can tell you this, I hated Colt Cabana. I wished for him to become paralyzed. He was a first-class cocksucker – he looked like one, he acted like one, and he teased and mocked the crowd. Which was great. Already, this IWA Church was pulling me in. I wanted the Devil, in the form of cocky Colt Cabana, who had the fuckin’ gall to happily and willingly come out to a Barry Manilow song, I wanted him to die. “Kamikaze” Ken was not the most obvious recipient of my trust and loyalty, but he was a great wrestler, with some lucha stylings to an extent, and he would do just fine. Of course, that bastard Cabana won. A good Church will let you see how the Devil can control your life before they give you the remedy.

“Sick” Nick Mondo vs. “Spyder” Nate Webb:

Mondo’s from Combat Zone, which is from New Jersey, which usually is the antithesis of everything Confederate Mack, so I wanted to hate Mondo. Nate Webb came out the back full throttle, running around the whole place along the walls, freaking out, and generally seeming like a crazy fucker who might be good enough to split a bottle of vodka later and let me borrow his Black Label Society CD for a couple of days. All three of us marked out for Nate’s intrinsic honest goodness, and we wanted him to destroy the Jersey boy. Mondo, however, working against my predisposed hatred of him, had a great fuckin’ match with Webb. I should mention right here and now, that if you’re into the fuckin’ move-by-move specifics of these matches, you’re in the wrong place. First off, I was drinking the whole weekend. Secondly, in my beliefs, the Big Picture is more important than all the little words that make up what I believe. Fuck that nonsense. But these guys had a great match, and Sick Nick Mondo won me over, through sheer pro wrestling goodness, though he seemed to be more of the heel in this thing than Webb. Spyder Nate was fuckin’ great, and we wanted him to win, but alas the mark in us lost again, and Mondo moved on. Fuck New Jersey.

“Sexy” Ace Steele vs. Super Dragon:

Dragon was one of the guys that pushed me over the top on making the long-ass trip. He’s the new school Sasuke/Sabu nutjob underground lucha legend from Southern California making more waves all over nowadays. He didn’t get much of a chance to shine in this match, which you’d think would suck, except Ace Steele was far better than I’d ever imagine him to be, considering I didn’t know shit about him, he has a creepy pointy nose like a fratboy hitting on your girlfriend at a meat market style pick-up bar, and he has the creepy all-over orange body tan that only a professional wrestler could get. Ace led the match, and Dragon followed, not busting out any of his high-flying crack-my-brain-for-your-cheap-thrills stuff I wanted. Steele won, and I made a mental note that Anderson from Minnesota and Dragon from California had both done the job already, which didn’t bode well for the rest of the tournament I feared.

B.J. Whitmer vs. “All That” Matt Murphy:

Man oh fuckin’ man, did Matt Murphy bring the hatred, much like Colt Cabana. I can really dig the fact that there’s guys out there who aren’t trying to be cool and actually want to piss you off. Murphy was trained by the ultimate old guy old school bad ass Harley Race, and Murphy does this thing where he’s a real athlete and doesn’t want anyone smoking in the building. Of course, the half-redneck, half-MTV2 news update segment crew in front of me was handing them out to each other. There was this crewcut dude in front of me in a Bruins hockey jersey, and you could tell he was way into IWA and was there every week, which was fine, this was his Church, not mine, and I should respect that. But he had this pock-marked face that reminded me of this kid Brian Todt I grew up, who was a little to gung ho about everything and not really bad ass enough to get any of it done. So this guy got my misplaced hate. Actually, I was too busy hating Matt Murphy to pay attention. The IWA crowd is very interesting, with some big, fat dudes in Hawaiian shirts and in front of and over from us was a guy taking notes, for Meltzer or Keller or somebody I’m sure, and he had that creepy mid-30s, glasses and short hair look that really over-the-top wrestling fans get. I know a few around here in Virginia, they’re always there, and they always don’t like what they see that much, and I’m really glad there’s pro wrestling to occupy these guys because they’d be eating babies if there wasn’t. B.J. Whitmer looked like his face had been burned in a terrible car accident, and I didn’t really give a shit about him at all, even though I was there, on my seat, waiting to hate Murphy. Whitmer couldn’t pull in my love, even in that agitated half-drunken state, but he won the match nonetheless, moving on into the next round.

Jimmy Rave vs. Tarek the Great:

This match blew me away. Me, Boogie Brown, and Big Jon Burr were all marking out for Tarek, a little redneck spitfire Buddha motherfucker. He was tough as fuck. And on top of that, Jimmy Rave was more than competent as the current NWA World Junior Heavyweight champion. I know he took that title off of Rocky Reynolds, a small super-heelish dick with a hot-ass girlfriend in that Cucumber, West Virginia, bleached blonde with two baby’s daddies already type way, I’d seen Reynolds a number of times in Virginia, and I was interested in what he and Rave must have done. Rave wears these baggy shiny pants and a blank tank top, so you figure automatically “generic indy youngster”. But he ruled, and didn’t really heel it up too much to counter Tarek’s overwhelming good guyness with the crowd, but it was okay. Rave, the way I saw it, if he could get just an ounce of charisma to go with all the fuckin’ bad-ass in-ring nonsense he could do, he could make some money off somebody in this business. Tarek’s thing was kicking the other dude a lot, and I’m not into the whole RVD/Low-Ki kicky kicky thing, I think it’s very overrated. But I’ve always hated martial artist guys; they always think they’re the shit, and half the fuckin’ time, one broken beer bottle swung at them, and they’re backing off into the corner apologizing and shit. Tarek didn’t have that type of pretentiousness, he came across as a decent dude in real life, but what I noticed was these big boot cover/shin guard pads that matched his boots, looking like part of his boots, but they slipped over them. They added to the pop he got off the other guy’s head. I then realized that that’s the same shit all those kicky guys wear. Fuckin’ gimmicks, man, fuckin’ gimmicks. We figured Tarek a lock to win since the IWA guys had been running shit thus far, but some little asshole wop-looking fucker ran in and clocked Tarek during a ref bump, and pulled Rave over top of Tarek for the pin. Rave heeled it up a little afterwards, but it was mostly just the little wop guy talking shit and he and Tarek promising to murder each other tomorrow night IN THIS VERY ARENA! Man, I love two-night wrestling shows.

This led to the first intermission, so we went out to the car and pounded beers. We all went through three or four, I can’t remember, and meandered back in, with dudes already in the ring of the next first round match-up.

Chris Hero vs. Matt Stryker:

I had talked with Hero and had him do a 23 Questions thing on my website before the tournament, and he seemed like a good guy. Plus, seeing some of his matches the night before on tape, he was fuckin’ honestly good as fuck in the ring. He cared, and you could tell, in an old school way, to give the fans what they wanted/needed, and to make himself proud. Guys who are their own worst critics always do shit the best. Egotistical motherfuckers get by on raw talent alone. Stryker, on the other hand, was pure evil, even more rudo than Cabana or Murphy. Burr told me that Stryker was from Florida, and trained under Dean Malenko I think. You could see the resemblances in the ring. Stryker was a mad scientist, using underhanded tactics to twist and contort and attempt to maim the fan’s favorite, Chris Hero. At the time of seeing this, and maybe still, this was probably the best wrestling match I’ve ever seen live. It was just the way I like it in 2002 – with old school stylings cross-bred with new school maneuverings and counters. Stryker never forgot, not even for a second, how he was evil, and he never laid off Hero unless he was jaw-jacking the crowd. And Hero complemented this perfectly as the struggling good guy, always limping on his damaged leg, enough to the point that I thought it might be legit. But again, this is Church, and good conquered evil after much perseverance and patience and a moment of weakness by the evil Stryker.

“The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels vs. A.J. Styles:

Two things here, going into this. First, I hated A.J. Styles. He has that little greasy haircut, and is a young God boy, the type that rides his clean little low rider pick-up to the Wal-Mart to get the new Kenny Chesney CD as soon as it comes out, and has a sweet girlfriend and they don’t live together and look sweet and both have their actual prom picture, with them standing next to that fake column, actually caring about looking good together, and fuck A.J. Styles. He is the anti-thesis of all things Confederate Mack, much more than any New Jersey wop fucker could ever be. The Jersey trash is more of a parallel to my World, but the A.J. Styles have faith in things and believe in God and wear that single thin shiny chain close to the neck and all that, Goddamn them one and all. The other thing, my prejudice going in, which wasn’t so much a prejudice as it was me just taking shit for granted, was I had lumped Christopher Daniels into the whole mess of East Coast smart fan promotions indy guys, the same 7 or 8 guys who are always booked and their matches eventually become interchangeable and guys on computers go ga-ga over the shit all day long when they should be ogling women instead. Both of those prejudices of mine going in were shattered by this match. A.J. Styles is awesome, and much better than I ever gave him credit for; and Christopher Daniels is probably the best wrestler on the planet. No shit. There are so many little things that Daniels takes the time to do, quickly, and without calling attention to it, that makes him the best. Every movement of his in the ring is fluid and connects to the one before and behind it, and somehow, on top of that, he can connect the entire match into sub-themes and echoing sequences that alter slightly and it is all very great to watch and gives me respect for what a wrestler could be and at the same time pisses me off to know that most of what goes on in a wrestling ring doesn’t even try to go for that Supremacy anymore. Styles was going for his Styles Clash a couple times, but no fuckin’ way was he gonna win this. Daniels pulled it out, Boogie Brown had a new favorite wrestler, and we schemed all sorts of possible great match-ups involving the Fallen Angel the next night. It also made my heart happy to see the guy with the evil gimmick, Daniels, go over an infamous devout Christian, when, in real life, Daniels was struggling through indy engagements for years and years now and was awesome, while Styles has a been a blue-chip recruit in recent years, having a good gig in WCW before it went under and being a major character in the NWA TNA bullshit on Wednesday nights. It was a sort of real-life justice but the surface angle made it seem wrong, or something. I’m into stupid shit like that. Ian Rotten, the head preacher, made his way ringside after this and told both Styles and Daniels he hoped they’d come back and do it again, and gave them mad praise.

CM Punk vs. M-Dogg 20:

Apparently, this is an all-straight edge battle. These guys would’ve loved us in the parking lot. I’d heard all sorts of great things about how CM Punk was the absolute fuckin’ best, but M-Dogg stole the show in this match. That little fucker was pure adrenaline, never slowing down. Punk was good enough, probably just not the super-powerful indy wrestler I had envisioned from his rave reviews, and plus, it kind of creeped me out that a avowed straight edger would have the Pepsi logo tattooed on his arm. I guess it kind of goes against what I’ve figured straight edge to be about; then again, I’m an anti-corporate third generation alcoholic. As they worked towards the ending, there were a couple of botch-ups with Punk’s finisher, the Pepsi Plunge, but as stubborn as a quality professional should be, they stuck it out and ended the thing the way it was supposed to end, and CM Punk moved on. This was my least favorite of the first round matches, but goddamn, if I ever find myself in another situation where a match like this is my least favorite of the night, then I’ll consider myself lucky.

It was after one in the morning, and they called for another intermission to set up for the main event of the night. We hit the parking lot for another round of high-powered brew-dogging, I even had to bring Brown’s last one home as we were a-feared we’d get back in late like we did last intermission. It was late as fuck, we were drunk outside a warehouse in a strange state with nowhere to sleep for the night. God Bless Motherfuckin’ America.

The Necro Butcher vs. Corporal Robinson:

This was a first-time ever match in the history of Professional Wrestling, and it was something I could really put my teeth into – a Tequila Death Match, where each guy had to take a shot of tequila every two minutes during the match. In other words, the ref would stop the match, and both guys would take a shot. Robinson came out first, and I was immediately stricken with terror at the size of his forehead scars, on a serious Abby/Perro Aguayo level, and he looked like he was still 26 in the face. The fact this cigarette-smoking motherfucker could scar his body so badly at such a young age for the cheers of a few derelicts and alcoholics, well, it made me fear the guy. It’s not often in life I’ve actually feared guys, partly because of my own confidence and partly because I’m stupid as shit, and even when I do fear guys, I won’t often admit it. But I tell you this, I would not want to get close to Corporal Robinson. Necro Butcher made his way out with his little buddy Nate Webb, who was holding the tequila bottle in hand, a nice brand. Necro looked fucked-up already, he had that thousand yard glazed glare of a man who’s been drinking steadily from the same case of beer that just sits there on the floor, no ice, no glamour, just straight drinking. I can respect that, in fact, there’s an open 12-pack of Busch beside my feet and a forty in my hand, and they were both left in here last night, unopened, to chill in my cold ass house. Anyways, to show the bottle was not fake, they offered up a shot for anybody in the house. Big Jon Burr made a beeline for the ring, but they busted him by asking for ID. Why would these fuckers care about that? They’re hitting each other with light bulbs in a warehouse in Clarksville, Indiana? Oh yeah, they’re trying to get a liquor license, so says Roger the security guy. Burr was declined, and I was afraid that Necro and Webb would look for the guy called the Confederate Mack, oddly enough I was the only big, dreadlocked hillbilly in the place, and I was sure a shot of tequila on top of ten or eleven beers on top of an empty stomach was gonna be trouble, and in public to boot. Looking like a fuckin’ pussy scared me more than Corp. Robinson ever could. It’s the curse of the Southern Boy – I’d run at Robinson with a pair of toenail clippers trying to gouge his eyeballs out if somebody told me the whole room would think I was a pussy if I didn’t. That type of thinking has led me to many a shenanigan, scar, and great fireside story to tell. And I’m still alive, and not a pussy, for the most part.

Anyways, eventually the guys take their shots, I think three to start maybe, and Corp. is chasing each shot with a different can of ginger ale, which led me to start yelling at the ref to “Check ‘em, ref, he’s not drinking!” I figure the ref, who I forgot to mention, looks like Justin Credible’s little brother, should have to do something other than run around with a tequila bottle in this match. Well, after they were good and half-drunk, they start wailing away on each other with all the normal IWA hardcore type stuff, light tubes and chairs and the such. Necro gets his shirt pulled off early on and is taking bare back light tube shots, and is heavily lacerated early on. Shit, both guys are bloody pretty quick. A minute and a half later though, the ref stops the match for mandatory tequila shots. This continuous stoppage, combined with Necro’s obvious lethargic drunkenness, slowed down the pace of the match, leading to segments where the guys were sitting on chairs and punching each other in the face, but you know what? THEY WERE HAVING A TEQUILA DEATH MATCH AND BLOODY AND IT WAS ALL FOR 100 PEOPLE IN A WAREHOUSE IN BUMFUCK INDIANA! I can’t complain. Boogie Brown called it when we heard Necro talking banter during a shot break when he said, “That dude’s a lounger.” You could tell he was a regular guy who somehow had led his life into this position of being a “hardcore” wrestler, getting smashed with shit, and earlier in the year, getting his arm fucked up like a shark bite where they almost amputated the motherfuckin’ thing. I noticed he wrapped that spot of his arm with electrical tape, for extra protection I’m sure. Nate Webb seemed a natural at doling out shots the whole match, even taking a few for himself along the way. The bottle was almost killed when Corp. finally fell over and Necro fell on top of him in a gimmicked-pass out ending for the victory.

We lurk around, and Necro pukes into a trash can right in front of the Smart Mark Video camera, and is hyping up the camera man as he does it – “Do you guys out there want me to throw up? Do you want me to throw up?” and Nate says something about eating cigarette butts and Necro finally loses it. He stumbles out the back door. I hit the pisser, having held in the relentless pain of my bladder during that nonsense match, and as I come out, it’s one of those moments that makes me proud my mama raised me the way she did and this whole Confederate Mack bullshit has grown into what it is. I come out, big dreadlocked freaky motherfucker in an army jacket covered in shitty patches, and to my right is Necro Butcher, face covered in blood, hair full of glass, beard with puke still on it, and he looks at me and says, “Well, sorry it’s under these strange circumstances, but it’s a pleasure to finally meet you.” He was too drunk to converse a whole lot, as he seemed concerned where his shirt was that he lost during the match, getting this long-haired kid to get it, smacking him stiff-like across the chest, and slurring, “If you’re my friend, you’ll find my shirt.” It was all too much to absorb.

Necro said he’d be back out in a few minutes, to wait around, he couldn’t do any partying that night because he was pretty fucked up, but he wanted to bullshit. Chris Hero came out while we stood around, he was limping, forever selling the angle, God Bless him. I talked to him and he was nicer than fuck, almost disturbed me that a guy coming across as that genuine a guy could be caught up in the seedy world of professional wrestling. His roommate was Mark Wolfe, another wrestler, and they hipped us to the cheap hotel in the area, the Colonial Inn right off the interstate. We hung out for a while longer, then I got creeped out because I’m not one to hang out trying to kick it with someone famous, even if famous inside of a weird sub-culture only, because I’ve always felt that was gay and shit. So we split. It was after two.

Jon Burr followed us, and I got lost seven times on the way to where we were going, going back to where we started to try and regather myself, Burr pulled up beside us, I assured him it was all good, a cop drove past, and we tried again. Finally, I saw the hotel, ran over a curb to take a right I had missed, did a U-turn when I saw I was getting ready to go back on the interstate, and there we were at the Colonial Inn. Actually, we stopped at another place first, and they didn’t have any rooms. At the Colonial Inn, it was another of those situations that I always seem to find myself in, with some fat lady taking my money and registration crap, telling me the prices were jacked because there was a Boy Scout convention or Farm Club meeting or some shit in town, so only pay for one night and tomorrow it’d probably be cheaper. They had a bar next to it, but it had just shut down, and some feathered hair chick a few years older than me and with hips that said she had three or four kids told me they’d be open tomorrow night again, it was karaoke night, and she’d buy me a drink. The other lady asked her if she worked the next night, and she laughed out loud, looking at me, “No, but I’ll come back by tomorrow night for the party!” She gave me quality directions to a liquor store still open, and I thanked the World for having liquor stores open in Indiana till 3 in the morning. Shit, across the border in Kentucky, folks at stores were giving us weird looks when we asked what the liquor laws were, since all we saw were warm cases of Budweiser in the types of places that in Virginia you could get all your drinking needs.

We got our room, very quality, with a spackle spot in the shape of a foot to the side of one of the beds. We quickly piled into Burr’s car to get to the liquor store for a couple of cases of beer to get through the night. I think we had like three left from the case we bought before the show. The liquor store was to the right of this spot, with a dark bar to the left called The Keg, and they had an adjoining hallway. It was perfectly Bukowski-like. I loved it.

Back at the hotel, we drank a shitload of beer and bullshitted about music, filling as much ice as we could into the sink to cover a few beers in true hotel room fashion, and flipped the TV around to all sorts of dumb shit. Burr had a VCR and tapes, and to be honest, I’m not sure if he hooked it up that night or the next day, but I remember watching a lot of dumb shit. I immediately looked for public access. We were blown away by the wrestling and sucking back beers like maniacs. I was the first to pass out in one of the beds, so I don’t know how the rest of the night went down. Fuck them and fighting over the second bed.

I woke up with Boogie Brown sleeping on the floor in the corner. Brown is the Ultimate Lounger, never causing confrontation, and I’m sure he just took the corner on his own accord, leaving Burr with the other bed. Those dudes were still out cold, so I left outside to the real World to pay for another night in the room before cleaning ladies hassled us, and to find a pay phone to call my family back home and a paper box to get hip to this World I was in for a second. I love being in strange towns and getting their shitty little newspapers, which to them is the whole World, and to me is weird and alien. Life is fuckin’ interesting as all get-out, and stupid as shit at the same time. We’re all so meaningless it seems idiotic to get all hung up on all the things we get hung up on, yet we do it every day of our lives, anyways.

There was a mall right there near the hotel, as I rode around in my car, groggy but awake, and I used the pay phone to leave another message with the family. Looking at the bullshit “you are here” lay-out thing, I saw they had an arcade upstairs in this joint.

Back at the hotel, nobody was really moving yet, I read the paper, and chilled. Boogie Brown stirred first, with his customary “loungin’” call-out. Burr got up and grabbed a beer, which sickened me to my soul. We sat there, trying to get ourselves together. A buffet seemed in order, so we hit some chain buffet place, where the food sucked, but our waitress was a chick named Amber, and she was simple Indiana perfect sweet. The food really sucked, and the shithead manager dude was yelling at the people in the back to get more cheese potatoes out there or something. He was a first class minor league cocksucker, and we hated him. The crowd stared at us as we looked out of place, purely. I ate more food than anybody, even Jon Burr’s half Indian fat ass, because I refuse to let the buffet beat me down. It’s all in pacing, and pure American gluttony.

Everybody was feeling sort of shakey from the night before, so I checked my mental rolodex and remembered when I used the pay phone today that the whole upstairs of the stupid mall was an arcade joint. So we went there. It was sensory overload. We wasted some time and quarters. Big Jon Burr was all about playing the truck driving thing. I can’t remember how I wasted my money. We all played the WWF Royal Rumble shit, but people kept joining mid-match, so it never ended. Basically, it was a big quarter-sucker, even more so than these new-fangled video games of today. In my day, it was some shit when you had to put two quarters in a game. Now you sit in the motherfuckers and put your ATM card into it. I blew a whole dollar in the shaky air hockey game, which we stood around for like seventeen minutes waiting to use, then it stole my change. Fuck Indiana and it’s air hockey malls. Mother fuck it.

Eventually we meandered out, since people were grabbing their kids around me. I dig being all fucked up looking, but at the same time, when some 19 year old mother of two wearing a Korn long-sleeved tee is pulling her shitty little WIC kids away from me, it hurts my feelings. I’m a sensitive guy.

Hanging out at the mall made me realize why nu-metal is so big, because where I live there’s actual black people and hip hop is king. But out there, I didn’t see any black people, and the Korn and Meshuggah and shit like that shirts were out in full effect. Metal is alive because in the Midwest, motherfuckers hate shit and don’t know any black people. It’s perfect.

So we went back to the hotel room, and Jon hooked up his VCR and kept making us watch things, the most notable being Terry Gordy talking about how fuckin’ great his van was and then rolling around on the ground in a cocaine frenzy, just because he could, and to put himself over as a Crazy Heel. Man oh man, Gordy and Michael Hayes with the background semantics of the extra ass-kicker Buddy Jack Roberts was fuckin’ perfect. For some reason the night before, I had bought a six-pack of Woodchuck Cider Ale, and everybody else was too pussy to drink it, so I sucked at it like an alcoholic. We also had a couple jugs of tomato juice to get our red eyes going. We sat there and watched shit on the VCR and drank and got primed for a second night of wrasslin’. When me and Boogie Brown are around, the conversation will eventually go to this dude Crazy Chris, who lived next to us. There are too many great Chris stories to tell, but here are some…I met him by sitting on my porch and he came out on his and said, “Hey man, you wanna shot of Southern Comfort?” and I said, “Yeah, you wanna smoke a bowl?” and a friendship was forged. I used to sit in his room in the room-for-rent place he stayed at with his ol’ lady Danelle, and we’d get high, and they’d get into serious knock-down drag-out arguments, sometimes even with violence, and it was like Jerry Springer, live in person. In fact, I never saw the Springer shit before them, and on TV it just doesn’t live up. An example of a fun night with Chris and Danelle…

Danelle: Chris, stop actin’ like you didn’t do nothin’. Raven, was Chris with you last night while I was at work?

Chris; Danelle, leave Raven alone. Can’t you see he’s havin’ a good time. (Special note: Chris had not been with me, but I’m sure I was the alibi, since I lived next door.)

Danelle: Chris, shut up! Raven, was he with you last night, or were you with that bitch again, Chris?

Chris: At least I never fucked no nigger.

Danelle: CHRIS! Raven, that is not true. I never fucked a nigger. CHRIS! Can you come here for a second?…

And it would go on and on like that, and I’d sit there and pack myself bong hits and take shots of SoCo to my heart’s content, knowing that Chris would eventually overrule Danelle by entertaining me with loud Slayer riffs and saying, “You like that, don’tcha?” Or, if I said I was crashing out because they were fighting too fuckin’ much, “NAW! That’s pitiful man. I thought you came to party.” It was great, like living next door to a cartoon with a crucified squirrel tacked up to his wall.

Anyways, we got into Big Jon Burr’s car, and I found a King Diamond CD in the backseat and it was only appropriate, in honor of Chris, since we were drunk, to pump the fuck out of some Abigail and slam another beer.

Okay, we found the giant neon Colgate clock again, and it was all good. We had like 12 beers left in the car. It was all good.

“Classic” Colt Cabana vs. Sick Nick Mondo:

Ehh, I hated Cabana (because of his great rudeness in the ring, not because he sucked), and Mondo was still soaked in shitty CZW New Jerseyness in my mind, so I was just trying to settle into things. Pretty much the same amount of people as the night before, with some notable differences. There were some folks sitting behind us that looked a little too clean and collegely for an IWA show, so I awaited to see what their deal was. Cabana is so heelish, it’s disgusting; I hoped he wrecked his car on the way home that night. Mondo, much like A.J. Styles, won me over by seeing him live. Of course, now that those memories are long gone and mostly dranken away, fuck him again. Mondo sucks. And he lost.

B.J. Whitmer vs. “Sexy” Ace Steele:

I forgot to mention that the night before, for no reason, two skinny chicks got to arguing with each other, and Whitmer came in and talked shit, which was odd since he worked as a face his match, then was a heel with the women. Some big punk rock goddess type in a CBGBs tank top came out and kicked everybody’s ass, and Ian said that the second night, which is tonight in this long road report chronologically, since Whitmer liked to interfere, he had to ref a 3-way dance between the women. Whitmer was upset and shit, and his face still looked like he had a car battery blow up in his face somewhere along his life. Anyways, Steele had become my favorite the night before, he ruled and he had that creepy orange tan. Whitmer looked like a fuckin’ fag. We had done all sort of drunken nerd configuring of how the brackets would play out, and the first half seemed destined to put Ace Steele in the finals. However, this match ended in one of those Brian Adias double pins from a bridge German suplex thang where the one dude, I think the guy on the bottom in this one, lifts one shoulder at the last second and wins in a controversial decision. Whitmer was that guy. Steele had been the man, and Whitmer had been competent but non-descript thus far. We figured for sure this meant Colt Cabana in the finals.

Chris “Great American” Hero vs. “Downtown” Jimmy Rave: 

Jimmy Rave was the fuckin’ greatest the night before, and Chris Hero is Chris Hero, so we expected mighty things from this encounter. And it lived up to it. Jimmy Rave is absolutely great, considering he has no apparent heel or face personality whatsoever in the ring. Should he develop even a little bit of charisma, he will be over huge and sick gay promoters nationwide will want to exploit him. Hero is what a wrestler should be today, which is as dedicated as all the miniature fuckers everybody loves yet bigger than those fuckin’ stiff kickin’ minis. In this match, Hero’s arm was getting killed, and continually worked on, and he sold it, yet somehow got a submission on Rave and Rave submitted. Fuckin’ great, though the Hero/Stryker affair from last night was better, in my opinion, which doesn’t really mean shit since I’m just some fuckin’ guy.

CM Punk vs. “The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels:

Daniels is evil and Punk is straight edge, so our allegiance was obvious. Fuck, we were drinking and driving our way here listening to King Diamond. Punk put his IWA title on the line again (did I mention he did that last night?) and Jon assumed it meant he’d win. I, however, drunkenly overanalyzed things to suggest Daniels would win, only to lose the title to Hero next round, which would set up a fantabulous Chris Hero/Chris Daniels match in the semis. Of course, I was drunk and full of shit. Punk got a submission win, living up to the great expectations I had of him more so in this match. Daniels is the Motherfuckin’ Man in the Wrestling Ring, with every move fluent and fitting. He and Punk had some great sequences, and I was really into this one. The fuckin’ doofus in front of me, the guy in the hockey jersey from last night, he kept yelling, “I believe, Punk.” What the fuck is he talking about? Goddamn, wrestling fans are fuckin’ stupid. The one thing about Punk is he’s got a cocky demeanor and it made no sense to me whatsoever that he was a good guy. Then again, I don’t understand Reality TV at all, and wish they’d fuckin’ euthanize the Osbournes. Seems to me the IWA crowd is pot-smoking, beer-drinking, blue collar derelicts, and a straight edge guy should be Heel As Fuck. But like I said, I’m just some dumbass.

We figured an intermission was next, but fuck no, it was time for…

Tarek the Great vs. Danny Daniels:

Hey! The grudge match set up by the previous night’s nonsense. Tarek the Great is our hero by now, and if Daniels wins, we promised to burn down Clarksville, all seven factories, two malls, Big Lots, and four liquor stores of it. They had a regular match, building up and shit, then Tarek took an errant chair shot, with the edge of the chair gouging part of his brain out. He got the quick victory and laid there as people cared to him. He was bleeding right nicely, however, being the little Spitfire Redneck Buddha he was, he staggered to the back under his own power, cussing out anybody offering him help. God Bless that crazy little fucker; what a rock star.

They had the intermission our alcoholic desires so desperately needed, and we went out to Burr’s car to pound the 12 ozers. We drank a few, and wandered back, but some kid calls out, “Hey Dreadlocks!” and I figure, “Here we go, my first Indiana fight.” But it was just some kid involved in IWA who had a beer for me from Necro Butcher, Old Milwaukee even, how considerate. I shared it with the kid, because he was, after all, the one who stood outside to give it to me and call some fuck he never saw before “Dreadlocks”. We here all sorts of announcing and shit going on and slam the beers and head back in, to see already in the ring…

A.J. Styles vs. Super Dragon vs. Matt Stryker vs. M-Dogg 20: 

This was probably the greatest spot-filled match I’ve ever seen, perfectly done, as shit was going on all over, everybody got a chance to shine, and you never knew which way to pay attention. It was what a bullshit four corners match should be – sensory overload full of high spot insanity. Dragon never got his chance to really shine the first night, but here he pulled off some of his Sabu v2.0 shit, and Stryker was evil like he should be, and Styles was the sensational Styles, having others cover for his weaknesses and eating up the crowd’s adoration. However, what shocked me was little ass M-Dogg 20, who really stole the show in this match. He was fuckin’ awesome. He hit some forward flipping shit turned into a rana on the outside type jam on Dragon right in front of us, and I didn’t quite mentally digest it all when I saw it happen. It was a great match, with nobody letting anybody win, until Styles hit his Styles Clash from the top on M-Dogg 20 over a fallen Super Dragon for the pinfall. Absolutely great shit. And I was drunk.

“Classical” Colt Cabana vs. “That Guy” B.J. Whitmer:

So Whitmer is face last night, then heel with the chicks, then heel against Steele, and now face…fuck him. I really don’t care now. No one else seemed to care about Whitmer either, but we all knew to boo Cabana, motherfucker with his visor on backwards and coming out to Barry Manilow, fuck him. And wearing red, too, I’m LBC baby, Dogg Pound Gangsta 4 Life! Yeah yeah yeah, we figured Cabana boy to win, but nope, the burned face character-less wonder Whitmer won and went to the finals.

Chris Hero vs. CM Punk: 

So Boogie Brown, who doesn’t really like wrestling, me and him had watched the Hero/Punk 55 minute jank the night before we left, so I could indoctrinate him to the IWA Mid Southness of what he had agreed to go along with, so we had high expectations. Punk put his title on the line again, and then got all mad and yelled into the mic about how HE SAID THE TITLE WAS ON THE LINE WE ALMOST KILLED EACH OTHER FOR LIKE FOUR MONTHS OVER THIS BELT AND CAN’T YOU GET EXCITED NOW ABOUT IT type shit. I hate that bullshit, dudes yelling at the crowd to get into it. Fuckin’ make me get into it, motherfucker. I paid to be there, and if I’m bored and want to sit there and not fuckin’ cheer, then fuck you, I can. That being said, this match fuckin’ rocked, and the crowd was brought back from their Whitmer-induced apathy.  Hero and Punk were not afraid to knock the fuckin’ shit out of each other, with the steady violent forearm madness. If there is one feud I’d like to see a Best of tape out there to try and get somebody I know to send me a free copy of because I’m lazy and broke, this would be the feud. Hero did the job and CM Punk moved onto the finals.

I think there was another intermission, because I vaguely remember drinking beer and talking shit outside about how great that last match was. Ahh, drinking beer and pissing behind dumpsters in a strange industrial parking lot in a far-away state.

Lacey vs. Rain vs. Hailey: 

This was the 3-way women’s match, with two strippers, one good and one bad, and the big beautiful punk rock goddess chick, and B.J. Whitmer was supposed to be special ref, but I guess he was booked in the tourney now, so Joel Gertner was the special ref. I did not recognize the fucker at first, as he’s deep into the Blue Meanie diet and looking nothing like the guy you’d remember from ECW’s dying days. The crowd, notably the doofus in front of me, was really pissing me off because they kept insinuating Hailey was giant and unattractive. These motherfuckers were all ugly and fat themselves, yet they wanted to put these scrawny crank whores on a pedestal as the penultimate women, while this real chick was right there. There was nothing ugly about her. Every time she did some move where her skirt trunks thing showed her tennis-player style panty shot to the crowd, the pimpled doofus in front of me would yell down to his buddies, “CAN YOU SEE, BRIAN? CAN YOU SEE? I DIDN’T KNOW IF YOU’D BE BLIND BY THAT THING. HAHAHAHA.” God, I wanted to shoot him. Somewhere during this nonsense, some hot wigger chick behind me came up and asked if I had any rolling papers, and I didn’t, and that IWA kid came up and gave me a Solo cup and a beer and told me to keep it low so nobody saw, and I enjoyed a nice adult beverage while watching the wrestling in a warehouse with insulation hanging out the walls. It was perfect. I loved the wigger chicks behind us, just because they wanted rolling papers and kept rolling their eyes at the delinquent kids running around bouncing nerf footballs off everything while matches were going on. The World needs more big punk rock chicks wrestling, though she missed a lot of shit, probably new to the ring. Lacey was the good stripper, and she had sweet eyes, which I’m sure tricked weaker men than me into dropping twenty dollar bills her way. Rain was evil stripper. Hailey won this match, and I’m sure will now be thrown into the never-ending stream of Lacey vs. Rain matches in the Midwest indy scene.

Ian Rotten vs. Josh Prohibition: 

As Ian was the killer of young wrestlers, I assumed this would be vicious and evil. And what the fuck is it with all these straight edge wrestlers nowadays? When Ian talks on the mic during the show, hyping or informing things, he’s half hunched over and half-paralyzed and beat-down looking, in a good way. But he gets in the ring and can do some amazingly athletic things for a guy as mangled as he is, really. It’s fuckin’ beautiful to watch. He didn’t redden and stretch the kid as much as my evil heart desired, but it was what it was, an Ian Rotten match against some kid on a card full of great lightweights, and I can’t remember much about it.

Except the whole religion/cult of wrestling thing I was talking about earlier. Ian took the mic and busted the whole deal wide open. He gave a sermon, about how it was hard to keep doing and how he loved it and appreciated everybody there but it was hard to keep doing. Goddamn, I was moved, and drunk, and waiting for the collection plate to get passed around. Ian walks around, back and forth, and just stream of consciousnesses these sermons, and I’m sure they’re very inspirational in the locker room and that’s probably why Ian has such a great stable of regular guys and once-in-a-while guys on an indy budget. Shit, I was ready to give my soul to Ian; he’s got the whole Manson-like cadence of voice down whether he means to or not, a sort of combo of a good promo combined with solid down-home honesty.

B.J. Whitmer vs. CM Punk: 

Ian brought Ace Steele out, and they showed off the trophy which was now the Ted Petty Invitational, and even had a Vic Capri thing carved on the bottom of it. With Steele giving the trophy away, my old school heart was predicting a Punk victory punctuated by Steele smashing the trophy all over Punk and turning vicious evil heel on him. But then again, Ian paid good money for that trophy, it weren’t no Goodwill bowling trophy with a new nameplate, so no shenanigans occurred. Punk put his title on the line again, but by this time I could’ve gave a shit less about B.J. Whitmer, so I didn’t really pay attention. He won, and got the trophy. Then Punk took the mic and talked about how he had fractured his skull and his friend helped him out and it was the scholarly looking well-adjusted punk rocker couple behind us who looked out of place, and suddenly it made sense. She was crying and Punk was being honest about how she helped him get over his skull-fracturing and it moved me as it reminded me of the type of people I’d hang with playing dice on Greg the Rocker’s back porch in Richmond across the street from the Avail house. Except Beau Beau. Goddamn that guy is a piece of shit. And he was dating Lita when she got her tit job to join the WWF. So dice-playing, college-town, punk rock references in wrestling goes full circle. Where’s Kat at? Anybody seen her lately? Tell her to email me.

They had an intermission, I think, and Ian promised the blood and guts everybody loves after the break, with a Royal Rumble hardcore style thing. We went outside and drank beer and it was almost two o’clock in the morning. Goddamn. Liquor stores close at three.

Rollin’ Hard vs. Necro Butcher vs. Spyder Nate Webb vs. Corporal Robinson vs. Bull Pain vs. 2 Tuff Tony: 

It was a gauntlet death match or some shit, and Rollin’ Hard came out with a bag of flour. Why the fuck is a five pound bag of flour so dangerous? I was stoked to see Rollin’ as he’s a guilty pleasure of mine, a Kentucky hick pretending to be black carrying around a stop sign with KILL WHITEY painted on it. He’s the motherfuckin’ Food Stamp Champ, in case you didn’t know. They had some Christmas lights tacked down to some plywood and shit. Eventually, everybody was out, Nate did a crazy flip, he and Butcher took the brunt of the abuse, flour was everywhere. In all the nonsense of it all, Bull Pain won the match, and the crowd was scattered, then Pain kicks this chick that Jon had been ogling all weekend long, she was wearing those cut-off top style pants that were pre-fabbed all fringed out, hanging out ringside, some sort of IWA latcher-on, and Pain kicked her. Everybody, heel and not, turned on him then, yelling “YOU DON’T HIT A WOMAN!” Pain yelled at Rollin’ “you nigger wannabe” and he inflected the “nigger” like scary rednecks who still believed that shit way too much from my youth. I knew this one dude who was in the projects with me one time, looking for a bag of weed, in Farmville, and this cat Tyrone, who was straight crazy and I didn’t want to fuck with because he’d beat my ass twice already and very obviously carried guns, well he pulled an Uzi on this other dude I was with, and other dude says, “That don’t scare me; you’re just a nigger with a gun.” And I split pretty fast because watching people get murdered ain’t fun, though dude is still alive and Tyrone is in jail and I didn’t even get a bag of weed that night. Anyways, the inflection of “nigger” was the same, and there’s more than just the accepted “nigga” and “nigger” shit, because you can tell sometimes how somebody says “nigger” how much they believed it. Bull Pain believed it. I tried to keep myself with one person in front of me, even while talking shit to him, because I was sure Bull Pain was gonna flip and start killing people, and I figured if I had one dude’s shoulder in front of me, I could push him into Pain if he flipped in my direction, survival of the fittest, baby. Of course, Big Jon Burr was standing right behind me the whole time, I’m sure thinking the same shit. Ian Rotten came to the rescue, and he and Pain talked all types of shit that goes on to this day, seriously. That hot chick that Pain kicked in the gut, he ended up licking her on the face, and that’s the most disgusting visual wrestling has given me ever, as Pain reminds me of El Duce from the Mentors and that girl reminds me of some sweet, young softball player from Indiana who got caught up in the seedy underworld of independent professional wrestling.

We hung out, then realized it was like 2:30, so I talked Burr and Brown into hitting the liquor store for another case or two of beer. They split. I hung about, talked to Hero, he told me Necro was pissed I split the night before, and I worried he’d hit me with something. Not really, but I didn’t feel like getting hit with shit tonight. Necro came out, chatted up the fans, shit was going on everywhere, he gave me a beer and I said the dudes I was with had gone for more beer and he said good move as he was out of beer. A bunch of shit happened, and we ended up back at the hotel room, drinking more. Eventually, Necro and that kid who called me Dreadlocks, his name was Kelly, they showed up and we drank and talked shit and all. Necro had lumps of flour under his skin and I realized why flour is dangerous. Basically, it was beer-drinking on my mind, and I was kind of creeped out how everything went back to wrestling with these guys, but at the same time, they were dedicating themselves to it, so fuck it, go with it. I’m not gonna relive all the dumb shit Necro said, because he was pretty candid about how stupid and cool certain people could be, but he told a couple funny Jamie Dundee buying crack stories, and explained how he wanted to go to Japan and would let Mad Man Pondo lop his finger off to do so. I thought that was kind of fucked up, but as he explained it, he’s 29, getting old, can’t do this bullshit forever, ain’t WWE marketable, so why not go out like a fuckin’ legend. And it all coincided with the whole “I’d rather die like a bad ass than live like a punk ass” philosophy I’ve been trying to instill into my family-having ass lately. I found it interesting that Necro had gone to Boogie’s Wrestling Camp in Shawsville at one point, but quit because they were dicks. That’s where I was getting ready to go when my ol’ lady got pregnant. And Frank “The Tank” Parker, one of the trainers, was a guy who helped Boogie Brown’s friend collect debts in southwest Virginia. It truly is a small World. It was also funny hearing Necro explain why the lobsters were dead in the finals of the King of the Death Match tourney with Nate Webb.

The kid was way into the whole IWA/Ian thing, which was creepy, but he was young, and it was a cult promotion. He and Necro left, and when they went out we saw the sun was almost up. Boogie Brown said he hadn’t had a beer in a few hours, so he thought we should split, and we did. I was passed out in the passenger seat of my car before we even got out the hotel parking lot.

I woke up to somebody tugging me really hard on my left sleeve. I was tilted sideways, looking out the passenger side window. I opened my eyes and saw a guardrail. I could hear cars whizzing past. We were on the side of the interstate. I turned. Brown was all red and his arms had hives and shit on them and he was freaked out. “Raven, you gotta take me to the hospital, I think I’m dying.” Brown had taking a whole pack of ephedrine, and was having problems with it. I was still drunk, and we were halfway across Kentucky by now. I took over and we drove into Ashland looking for a hospital, stopping at a store for milk for Brown and lots of water and caffeine for me. They gave fucked up directions and I tried to remember as much as I could and basically digested the general direction in a compass sort of way and headed that ways. Down the road, we found an ambulance place, so I swerved up in there, and two dudes, very obviously recovered rednecks, came out and offered help. They were cool as fuck, and when I showed them what Brown had taken, one of them laughed. “Aww yeah, I used to mess around with amphetamines. Basically, you just gotta ride it out.” Then he turned to Brown, “Unless you feel like you NEED to go to the hospital. Then you should go. But all they’re gonna do is hook you up to an IV and let you ride it out.” After these dudes reassured Boogie Brown he wasn’t actually gonna die like he thought he was going to, we moseyed on down the road. A hitch-hiker was there, so we picked him up, some old guy headed to Pennsylvania from Alabama, looking for work. He was the seventh person this weekend to ask me if I had any weed, he called it reefer in his true old-schoolness. He talked and talked and we egged him on and tried to just soak up his general purpose, which was to be there after we got back on the interstate after Brown thought he was gonna die, which happened because he took too much ephedrine with coffee to drive while I was passed out because we drank beer all night long with the Necro Butcher and some kid. It all works out just like it’s supposed to.

We dropped the hitchhiker off outside of Charleston, actually going a few miles out of our way to put him in the perfect spot, since he had apparently gotten arrested years earlier at the spot we were gonna conveniently drop him off at. I gave dude two bucks, and we headed east some more. I stopped for food and turned the car back over to Brown, and woke up at the Scottsville exit. I was home. Life is fuckin’ weird, and way too fuckin’ short.