On a snowy, freezing Saturday night, wrestling fans came out of the woodwork to enjoy a night full of violence, swearing and trash-talking.
International Wrestling Syndicate (IWS) put on an incredible show last Saturday night in front of a sold-out crowd at Club Unity.
This was my first time attending one of their events and hot damn was it worth it. It was an action-packed night filled with broken doors, chair shots, broken glass, ladders and a lot more gyrating than I would’ve thought to see at a wrestling promotion known for their hardcore matches.
Here’s a full rundown of the card:
Max Lemire def. Kevin Beru: World’s Largest Cruiserweight Challenge
Wrestlers with the build of Max Lemire’s body type are usually roped into the same category as beef heads that can’t do much. In addition, he was joined by his ring manager Professor H, and this is the typical heel (bad guy, for you non-wrestling fans) prototype.
Boy, did Lemire crush that theory.
The crowd was on Kevin Beru’s side and wouldn’t budge from that position. It’s hard to hate a guy who comes down to the ring by himself, trying to put a bully like Lemire in his place. This was a good back and forth match with both wrestlers taking some good bumps.
The sound of vicious chops was echoing through the room and I couldn’t help but feel for both guys.
While the referee was distracted by Lemire, Professor H gave Beru a shot to the throat with his cane which would lead to Beru’s demise.
Match rating: 6.5/10
Veda Scott def. Meave O’Farrell
To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect from this match. But that’s the thing about expectations and IWS—they are often defied.
One thing was very clear from the time the bell rang; these women kick ass. Last night was the first time these two had ever wrestled together so naturally, you would expect some rust and a little bit of sloppiness.
If you saw this match, you’d think these two had been wrestling together for years.
The match had very few, if any, lulls. This was the type of match that if you blinked, you’d miss something. Both wrestlers showed off their arsenal of moves and it made for a highly entertaining match.
Match Rating: 7.8/10
SeXXXy Eddy def. Puf
This was… something.
Again, I didn’t know what to expect from this entire show. I was certainly not expecting what ensued in this… “match.”
I really just don’t know what to say. This segment had a lot of gyrating, spanking and references to SeXXXy Eddy’s semi erect penis. I’ve heard tales of SeXXXy Eddy’s naked moonsaults, but unfortunately (fortunately? I don’t know anymore) this match only featured him spanking Puf with his rainbow-coloured Croc.
Somewhere in all this madness, there was an actual wrestling match. Regardless of all the add-ons and gimmicks mentioned, it was actually a very technical match. Puf even showed off some flexibility by pulling the “Matrix” move a couple of times after absorbing some left-hand punches.
SeXXXy Eddy ultimately put the match to bed with his signature (clothed) moonsault.
Match Rating: 6.9/10
Hardcore Channing Decker def. The Green Phantom
Before we get into it—there was a really cool moment before the match.
PCP Crazy F’N Manny, the founder of IWS, came out to talk to the crowd, full of longtime IWS fans. At 43 years old, the years are catching up to him and he felt like it was time to hang up his wrestling boots for good.
Hardcore Channing Decker, who considers Crazy FN Manny a mentor, came out and offered him one more match before retiring. Not just any match, a “Death Match” at IWS’s flagship event, “Unfnsanctioned,” on Mar. 21. And of course, staying true to the name Crazy F’N Manny, he accepted the challenge.
Alright, back to the action.
The Green Phantom was one of two performers that I was really excited to see. I had heard a lot about him, how crazy he is, and it was finally time to see if he lived up to the hype.
Spoiler alert: He did.
Decker fed him chop after chop across the chest to start the match and Phantom returned the favour.
Then things got wild. A famous saying in wrestling is “you never know what you’ll find under a wrestling ring.”
Well, in this case, it was a bunch of wooden doors, chairs and a skateboard with light tubes attached to it. Chaos quickly ensued.
Phantom and Decker went blow for blow in this one. Decker threw a chair at Phantom’s face. Phantom responded by power-slamming Decker through a door. Decker ultimately got the last laugh when he hit Phantom across the chest with the makeshift light-tube-skateboard weapon, shattering the glass all over the place. I even got a couple of glass shards to the face.
This was reminiscent of Mick Foley’s match with Edge in WWE’s (World Wrestling Entertainment) Wrestlemania 22.
Match Rating: 8.2/10
No contest between Kevin Blanchard (champion) and Benjamin Tuli for the IWS Canadian Championship
This was the first match back from the show’s intermission so they had to come back with a bang.
This one had the potential for being the match of the night. Top rope moves, power-slams, suplexes—it was as good as it gets.
But unfortunately, it’s not how you start, it’s how you end.
Due to interference by Matt Angel by way of a chair shot to the face of Tuli, the match ended without a winner.
Hats off to Blanchard and Tuli — this could’ve been one for the ages had it ended with a winner. Nonetheless, the crowd was on the edge of their seats from the match’s entirety.
Match Rating: 8.7/10
Tabarnak de Team (TDT) def. Kevin Blackwood and Daniel Garcia
Tag team matches usually aren’t my thing but how could I not get behind two good Quebecois boys in the team of
Mathieu St-Jacques and Thomas Dubois.
TDT did most of the beating up with Blackwood and Garcia refusing to go down easily. But ultimately when you get body-slammed through a door, your odds of winning a match go significantly down. Both Blackwood and Garcia suffered that fate.
Match Rating: 7.3/10
Matt Angel def. “Speedball” Mike Bailey in a ladder match for the IWS World Championship
What. The. F***.
If I only had three words to describe this match, those would be them.
This match was easily the best one of the night, and that’s saying a lot considering the quality of matches that were performed throughout. Technically, both wrestlers were very sound. The crowd was on their feet the entire time chanting “holy sh*t” at what they were seeing.
There were a ton of death-defying spots in this match, mostly off the top of a ladder. Regardless of most of the fans being behind Speedball, Angel took the match in dramatic fashion, making for an excellent finale.
This entire show was a true reminder that there is hidden talents all over the place and that the best wrestlers aren’t only in the WWE or AEW (All Elite Wrestling). The independent wrestling circuit has an enormous amount of talent and it was capped off by Bailey and Angel’s match.
Match Grade: 11/10
Overall Show Grade: A-
IWS’s next live event is Unfnsanctioned on Mar. 21 at Club Soda.
Photos by Laurence Brisson Dubreuil