Chris Hero vs. Ian Rotten from IWA-MS 2002
Post by Case Lowe:
I’ve seen this match described before as “meth-lab BattleArts”, and while that may be the greatest description for a match that I’ve ever seen, I never got that impression. No, this was the closest thing to a mauling since Tracy Smothers wrestled a bear in Continental.
Rotten, whether he likes it or not, is the bear in this situation. His clumsiness and blind aggression completely works for me in this bout. I don’t even know if I’d call what he did “good,” but it was effective. Hero was so young and hadn’t developed his Knockout Artist shtick yet, so his point of attack was not to throw elbows, but rather headbutts. Shoot headbutts. Headbutts that made sounds and caused blood to poor out of Rotten’s skull. Not bad, kid.
This match was violent, intense, and really pretty gross. Gross not because of the blood, but because of the fact that Hero and Rotten rolled around on a filthy, disgusting mat for upwards of 15 minutes. I’m sure grappling with the lads is a real hoot, but not on this mat. This was 2002 IWA-Mid South and if I were there, I’d be doing everything to shake, rattle, and roll my way into not taking a bump.
This match has no commentary, at least on the YouTube version, and I’m very happy it didn’t as it really let the sounds of Hero and Rotten screaming in pain come through my TV and into my ear canals. Both guys, at one point or another in this match, screamed like a woman. (Editor’s note: ehhhhh. “High-pitched scream” will do, Case. C’mon, you’re better than that.) Rightfully so, I guess, as the limb work here was brutal. Volk Han makes submissions look like art and Akira Maeda hits his strikes with intense precision – these two just made things look like they hurt really, really bad.
I have to recommend this match to everyone. It’s something different from what’s going on today. It’s much more violent than the modern #GrappleFuck style and certainly not as crisp as the shoot-style promotions of the 1990s, but this is a damn good wrestling match.
Rating: Better Than Whatever You Were About to Watch