IWA Wrestling – Volume 1: Best of the 70’s
Rated: UR/Region: 0/1:33/Number of disc: 1
Available from VCI Home Entertainment
Well, let me just say this right now, if you are looking to get this IWA disc for work-rate, you are with the wrong disc. This is a very old school style here (it IS the 70’s) and as a result most matches look more like fights, with fancy movies nowhere to be seen and a whole lot of punches, kicks, and rest holds. Now that isn’t to say that this is a bad thing. That was simple how things were back then and most matches seem to be just a speed bump to a much bigger story overall and a lot of those angles are touched on in some of these matches.
Now the history of the IWA is a bit short. It was associated with the NWA, was based in Detroit, and just ran from 1975 to 1978. The titles of the promotion was a bit sketchy, as most don’t seem to have an official history and about all we know about their main title is the champion for the most part was legendary Mexican wrestler Mil Mascaras. Some folks say they were champion, but an official list of the who and when was a bit hard to come by. You also get such wrestlers here as Ox Baker, Thunderbolt Patterson, Mighty Igor, Dino Bravo, Ernie Ladd, and a whole bunch of other guys that if you were like me and born in the 80’s you probably never have seen in action before. Still, while this is a release packed with a lot of squash matches, you still get 20 matches total and it is a nice look at a promotion that had a lot of stars, but a short shelf life.
Dominic Denucci vs Karl Kupp
This match has more to it than most you’ll find here, but is mostly dragged out by a whole heck of a lot of rest holds. That makes it more of an angle going by the ending than a match. I must say, while I love and respect the history of wrestling, I’m happy we don’t get as many hold-happy matches like this now.
Lucious Larry vs Rick Gardner
Nothing wrong with the action here, but it all boils down to being an extended squash. I hope you like squash matches (Where one person just cleans the floor with the other), because this disc is packed with it.
Pampeno Firpo vs Ron Dooney
Pampeno Firpo was apparently the U.S. Champion and he’s just here to show us what he can do and to promote other matches coming up for him that we won’t be seeing here.
OX Baker vs Rujet Woods
Ox was probably one of the best talkers and heels you’ll ever see, regardless of era. He’s here to do his thing, but mostly get the crowd upset. He’s also here to stir it up with the announcer Tex McKenzie, who is also a wrestler. Ox was also the IWA North American Championship, but apparently the belt isn’t on the line.
Dick the Bruiser vs Gary Fargo
The Bruiser is a bad, bad, man. Fargo here isn’t as well off as other Fargos we’ve heard of in wrestling. The fans love seeing Dick here, but again, not much to this one.
Ernie Ladd vs Tim Wilson
“The Big Cat” Ernie Ladd was a tall and charismatic wrestler, who could play the good guy or bad guy well. You’ll see him doing both on this release. He’s the bad guy here, but Wilson isn’t just here to get beat, as they make a match out of it and we get a pretty good, but short big man style match.
Ivan Koloff vs Wendell Burgess
Believe it or not Koloff is a former WWE World Champion. He was still a pretty big man here, but Burgess..Not so much.
The Sheik vs Tom Reeseman
This was more along the lines of just showing up how crazy (and crazy over) The Sheik was! Like most squash matches I won’t raise the rating, but I can tell you that the story after this one does a lot more for Sheik than the match ended up doing.
Bevery Shade & Bonnie Steel vs Masked Beauty & Barb Owens (2 out of 3 Falls/Sky Low-Low is the ref)
It is a two our of three falls ladies match with a midget ref! That was basically tossing all the gimmicks you at the crowd for the time. Nothing wrong with the match in total, but mostly a comedic affair
The Martell Brothers vs Nelson Royal & Luis Martinez
We managed to again have ourselves a neat little tag match between the top team of the area (Martell Brothers) and the more than game team of Royal and Martinez. We got basic tag stuff here, but the crowd seems really into it which helps a lot when you are watching a match.
Thunderbolt Patterson vs Buddy Porter
Patterson was a really popular wrestler and he’s here to entertain the crowd and show the people at how just how charismatic and fun he is to watch. So, you can guess what that means for this.
Mighty Igor vs Goliath
Igor is the lovable strong idiot, while Goliath looks like he could be something, but apparently wasn’t. The match is short and to the point with some big guy stuff happening. Could have been a much better slug fest out of the big guys, but mostly lacks the time and effort for that.
The Love Brothers vs Dino Bravo & Gino Brito
The #1 Contindership for the tag titles are on the line here and we get a pretty good match, but it does come with a bit too many botches for one’s taste I’m sure. Still, overall, when you add everything together it still manages to be one of the best matches on the release. Maybe because it is one of the few true back and forth matches.
Thunderbolt Patterson & Ernie Ladd vs Goliath & Erik the Red
I’ll once again mention that if Goliath was better in the ring, he at least had the size and look to be something. Erik the Red looked to the part, but appears to be just a jobber as well. The match here isn’t bad, but isn’t too serious and was used mostly for the fun of Ladd and Patterson. Three our of the four here are rather large and that is a sight to see.
Dory Funk jr. & Pierre LaFive vs Bulldog Don Kent & Kurt Von Hess
This is a pretty good tag bout as well, that seems to once again also be a footnote in a much bigger story they are building. Funk is a former NWA champion and the bad guys here are clearly out to use ever heel move in the book to get him, which leads to some post-match fun and an appearance from Terry Funk!
Mil Mascaras vs Beautiful Bruce (IWA World Title Match)
Mil is putting the top title of the company on the line here, bt the corner man of Bruce, Ernie Ladd keeps getting in the way of the action. You’ll see a little bit of a match here, but not enough of one to really do anything for you.
Mark Lewin vs Kurt Von Hess (NWA United States Title Match)
Lewin is the NWA U.S. champion while Von Hess is our evil German. It is a punch and kicky match, but it is one with some fire to it and that helps out a whole lot in the thick of things, especially when compared to some of the lesser quality matches this one packs
Bulldog Brower vs Sika Anoa’i
Brower was probably the most hated guy in this promotion. Sika would go on to get popular as a Wild Samoan in WWF and also become a Hall of Famer. He’s also the father to current WWE Champion Roman Reigns. He’s not much here yet, so this becomes another squash affair.
Jerry Lawler vs Bobo Brazil
What we see of this one looks good! It is a very Memphis style affair, if you are from around here you know what that means. It also seems to be clipped a bit. But it is still good to see The King as well as Bobo here.
Bulldog Brower vs Mighty Igor
This isn’t a bad match to close the disc out with. There is a whole heck of a lot more action going on during the segment than in any actual real match and it makes you want to wait to see these two have at it officially again. No actual match here, so I can’t rate it, but the story being told was a hot and heated one, especially with how well the crowd loves Igor.
– PRE-MATCH INTERVIEWS WITH: Beautiful Bruce, Mighty Igor, Ivan Koloff, Bulldog Brower, George Cannon, Erik the Red, Dino Bravo, Luis Martinez,Vittorio Argentina Apollo, Cowboy Bob Ellis, Tex McKenzie, The Love Brothers, Al Costello
– Mighty Igor arm wrestling before match Dick the Bruiser and Ernie Ladd line up in a 3 point stance
– Someone Is Going to Lose Some Hair!