Black Label Pro, one of the premier indie promotions in a burgeoning Indiana indie wrestling, is presenting a near-forgotten classic in FSM Chapter Two, the second and final event in the Fight Sports Midwest (FSM) series presented by NWA Midwest in Portage, Indiana on May 11, 2007. The event will be streaming on IndependentWrestling.tv (IWTV) on Sunday, April 4 at 4:30pm CDT/5:30pm EST. The 2007 event features a host of wrestlers who have since gone on to great success on both the indie circuit or larger promotions like WWE, IMPACT Wrestling, AEW and more, capturing a solid time capsule of the US indies in the mid-2000s.
**FIGHT SPORTS MIDWEST**
— Black Label Pro (@BLabelPro) March 31, 2020
FSM Chapter One took place on April 17, 2007, and featured a huge number of stars that would go on to bigger things – such as Austin Aries, Samoa Joe, Tyler Black (Seth Rollins), Claudio Castagnoli (Cesaro), and Eddie Kingston.
FSM Chapter 2 featured some of the same stars but added even more. Here’s a look at the full card that will be airing on Sunday on IWTV, just prior to WrestleMania 36 Night Two.
Jigsaw vs. Gran Akuma
Jigsaw has long been one of the most underrated US indie wrestlers of the 2000s and in 2007, he was just hitting his stride. A CHIKARA original, Jigsaw began with the promotion and continues to work for CHIKARA in 2020. A CHIKARA Young Lions Cup Champion and 2x CHIKARA Campeonatos de Parejas (Tag Team) Champion, Jigsaw also made a name for himself outside of CHIKARA’s fantasy realm, competing for such promotions as Ring of Honor, Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW), IWA Mid South, EVOLVE Wrestling, and Game Changer Wrestling (GCW). A former CZW Junior Heavyweight Champion, he’s also competed internationally – he’s worked in Europe with HOPE, PROGRESS Wrestling, and Fight Club: PRO in England and in Ireland with Over The Top (OTT) Wrestling.
His opponent, Gran Akuma, is another CHIKARA original, who worked with them from 2002 through 2018. A member of Team FIST with Icarus and Chuck Taylor, the trio was also a part of the Kings of Wrestling faction that included Claudio Castagnoli (WWE’s Cesaro), Chris Hero (NXT’s Kassius Ohno), Larry Sweeney, Arik Cannon, and others. Akuma wasn’t CHIKARA exclusive either – he worked with Dragon Gate USA, Full Impact Pro, CZW, AAW Pro, and countless other US indie promotions before retiring in 2018.
Metal Master vs. Shane Hollister
Metal Master may not ring any bells for many non-indie die hards, but the man under the mask, Chad Collyer, had runs in TNA (where he teamed with Hernandez in The Elite Guard) and Ring of Honor and was a long time regular with Ohio’s Heartland Wrestling Association (HWA). The Indiana native also had a brief cup of coffee in WWE from 2007 to 2009. During his indie run in 2007, he donned a mask and became The Metal Master.
Iowa’s Shane Hollister was a long time regular with Chicago’s AAW Pro, where he became a 2x AAW Heavyweight Champion, AAW Heritage Champion, and AAW Tag Team Champion with Bryce Benjamin in Adrenaline Overdrive. He also competed in his home state of Iowa with SCW Pro Wrestling and 3XW Wrestling.
The Iron Saints (Sal Thomaselli & Vito Thomaselli) (w/ Kimberly Kash) vs. The Phoenix Twins (Dash Phoenix & Tweek Phoenix)
From 2003 to 2009, the Iron Saints tandem of brothers Sal & Vito Thomaselli terrorized the Midwest in the likes of iWA Mid South, CZW, CHIKARA, and Juggalo Championship Wrestling (JCW), where the duo became 3x Mid South Tag Team Champions and JCW Tag Team Champions. They were accompanied to the ring by former SHIMMER wrestler Kimberley Kash.
At FSM Chapter Two, the Thomasellis faced another brother duo in the Phoenix Twins, who competed from 2002 to 2010. The two imposing twin brothers, Dash & Tweek, were long time competitors in AAW Pro, where they captured the AAW Tag Team titles on one occasion.
Josh Abercrombie vs. Human Tornado
Michigan’s Josh Abercrombie has had a 17-year career that continues to this day. A student of Truth Martini, he got his big break with IWA Mid South in 2003, where he became a 2x IWA Mid South Light Heavyweight Champion, as well as becoming a regular in AAW Pro alongside Christin Abel in The House of Truth, managed by his mentor, who guided them to two reigns as AAW Tag Team Champions. The same year as FSM Chapter Two, Abercrombie won tag team gold in Germany at Westside Xtreme Wrestling (wXw) alongside Absolute Andy, and he also competed in ROH and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG).
Speaking of PWG, at FSM Chapter Two, he faced off against one of the faces of the West Coast indie scene of the time in PWG mainstay Human Tornado. From 2004 to 2010, Human Tornado made huge waves with PWG, capturing PWG Tag Team gold alongside El Generico (WWE’s Sami Zayn). At the time of this event, Tornado had just lost the PWG World Championship (to his former tag partner Generico) and several months later, would capture his second PWG World title, defeating Karl Anderson and Roderick Strong for the vacant title. Tornado’s style was innovative and high octane and he helped establish PWG in its formative years. He continues to perform on the West Coast and has found some revitalization with appearances with GCW.
Low Ki vs. Alex Shelley
In 2007, Alex Shelley was just starting to make steam as part of the Motor City Machine Guns with Chris Sabin, tearing it up in both TNA and Ring of Honor. But he was a successful singles grappler prior to forming one of the next decades greatest tag teams, as he was a 2x wXw World Champion and CZW Junior Heavyweight Champion.
Low Ki was a former ROH World Champion who was running down on his second stint with TNA, where he’d enjoyed his second run as TNA X-Division Champion (as Senshi) and was continuing to dominate the US indies – shortly after FSM Chapter Two, he won his third Jersey All Pro Wrestling (JAPW) Heavyweight title.
NWA Indiana State Tag Team Title Tournament First Round – Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup 2007 Qualifying Four Corners Tag Team Match: The North Star Express (Darin Corbin & Ryan Cruz) vs. Threat Level Midnight (Billy Roc & Trik Davis) vs. CJ Otis & Truth Martini vs. Marek Brave & Ryan Epic
Minnesota’s North Star Express were another rising tag team on the US indies, who competed from 2004 to 2017. They competed briefly with CHIKARA but had moved on to great success in AAW Pro in 2006 for a run that ran through 2011 and saw them become 2x AAW Tag Team Champions. They would go on to work for their home state’s F1RST Wrestling (adding F1RST Tag Team gold) before breaking up in 2017. Darin Corbin, a former IWA Mid South Heavyweight Champion, has since become a top singles star with Freelance Wrestling, where he’s a former Freelance World Champion, while Ryan Cruz still competes in the Minnesota indie scene.
Billy Roc was another Indiana indie star (who would go on to a 15 year career) who would compete for IWA Mid South and Indiana’s Insanity Pro Wrestling (IPW), where he was a 2x IPW Mid-American Champion and IPW Junior Heavyweight Champion. In 2007, he briefly teamed with Trik Davis, an IWA Mid South star coming off a recent run as IWA Mid South Heavyweight Champion.
Michigan’s Truth Martini also competed, in a tag team with fellow Michigander CJ Otis. Martini was a veteran indie wrestler with AAW Pro and Michigan indies like Xtreme Intense Championship Wrestling (XICW), Independent Wrestling Revolution (IWR), and more and was still years away from heading to ROH to start the House of Truth. His partner, CJ Otis, was a regular with Price of Glory Wrestling in Michigan, and also worked for IWA Mid South, XICW, and a year after FSM Chapter Two, did a three-month tour with All Japan Pro Wrestling.
Iowa’s Marek Brave was longtime friends of Tyler Black (now WWE’s Seth Rollins) and together in The Black & The Brave won tag team gold in AAW Pro and NWA Midwest. While Black was off having his own success in ROH, Brave stuck with AAW Pro, and was the AAW Heavyweight Champion at the time of FSM Chapter Two. He now co-runs The Black & The Brave Wrestling Academy in Iowa with Rollins, although he still competes for Iowa indies like 3XW and SCW Pro. For FSM Chapter Two, he paired up a rookie from Indiana named Ryan Epic. Epic would go on to a lengthy run with Underground Championship Wrestling (UCW) that year that continues to this day (although UCW has gone through several names changes, such as NWA Underground from 2007 to 2011, and Pro Wrestling King (PWK) which its been since 2013).
NWA World Women’s Championship: Amazing Kong (c) vs. Ann Brookstone
In May of 2007, before she was Awesome Kong in TNA, she was still Amazing Kong and the reigning NWA World Women’s Champion. She was recently returned to the US from six years in Japan, where she competed for All Japan Women’s Wrestling (AJW), NEO Ladies, Pro Wrestling ZERO1 and Japanese Women Pro-Wrestling Project (JWP), and was entering the US indies with SHIMMER and other smaller promotions. Only a few months after this match, she debuted in TNA and immediately began her legendary feud against Gail Kim.
Her opponent was Minnesota’s Ann Brookstone, who had only debuted in 2004 in her home state indie scene. She would go on to compete for IWA Mid South, SHIMMER, F1RST Wrestling, and Steeltown Pro Wrestling (SPW) in Manitoba, Canada, but she was a regular with NWA Midwest, which got her a title shot against Kong at FSM Chapter Two. She also competed for North Dakota’s XJAM Pro Wrestling as Ann Thraxx, where she was a 4x XJAM Women’s Champion.
Joey Ryan vs. Eddie Kingston
In 2007, Joey Ryan was still years away from becoming the King of Dong Style and was only four years into co-running his own promotion, California’s PWG where he was a mainstay. He had worked for NJPW in some of their earliest US shows (including a match against Daniel Bryan in 2004) and had only recently lost the PWG World Championship after a 406-day reign.
Meanwhile, Eddie Kingston was still the same beast we know and love today, but himself had recently lost the CZW World Heavyweight title and was months away from winning the IWA Mid South Heavyweight Champion. He had also been a 5-year veteran of CHIKARA, where he would go on to become the first CHIKARA Grand Champion, a title he would hold an astounding 924-days (from 2011 to 2014).
Arik Cannon vs. Joey Mercury
Chicago’s Arik Cannon is a 19-year veteran indie star now, but at FSM Chapter Two in 2007, he was barely six years into his career and had recently moved to Minnesota to start F1RST Wrestling – their first show was in April of that year. He was also beginning work with AAW Pro after several years with IWA Mid South and CHIKARA and at the time he was a 2x IWA Mid South Heavyweight Champion and CHIKARA Young Lions Cup Champion.
Joey Mercury has just been released by WWE a few months prior to FSW Chapter Two, following a five-year run that saw him become 3x WWE Tag Team Champions alongside John Morrison (then Johnny Nitro) in MNM. He was an indie pioneer, following an earlier career with Ring of Honor, Maryland Championship Wrestling (now MCW Pro), and a brief run at the tale end of the original ECW, where he was in Young Blood with Christian York.
Tyler Black (w/ Jimmy Jacobs) vs. Marty Jannetty
Iowa’s Tyler Black was barely four years into his career when he headed to fight at FSM Chapter Two, competing primarily with IWA Mid South and AAW Pro. A former AAW Heavyweight Champion and IWA Mid South Light Heavyweight Champion, he was only a few weeks removed from capturing the Absolute Intense Wrestling (AIW) Intense Championship and was just beginning a stellar run with ROH that would culminate in winning the ROH World Championship in 2010. By 2011, he was off to Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) and WWE, where he would become the man now known as Seth Rollins, a 4x World Champion in WWE (2x WWE Championship and 2x WWE Universal Champion).
At FSM Chapter Two, the young Black was paired up with former WWE Superstar Marty Jannetty, who was one half of The Rockers tag team with Shawn Michaels in the 1980s and early 1990s. Jannetty would find moderate success in WWF after The Rockers disbanded in 1992, even winning the WWF Intercontinental Championship in 1993. By 1996, he was gone from the WWF Universe, but after brief attempts with WCW and ECW, was back on the indie circuit. He made two brief appearances with WWE again in 2005 before returning to the US indies, where he was during his match against Tyler Black. He would return to WWE one last time later that year, facing Mr. Kennedy on the Raw 15th Anniversary Show.
NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship: Tiger Mask IV vs. Mike Quackenbush
The main event features two technical legends in a match for the NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship. The reigning champion was NJPW Legend Tiger Mask IV, who was already three IWGP Junior Heavyweight titles into his six total by the time of this encounter. Tiger Mask was 446-days into his first of two reigns as the NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion, having defeated Black Tiger IV (Rocky Romero) for the title in February of 2006 in Japan.
His opponent was late 90s indie innovator Mike Quackenbush, who was only a few years into ownership of his own promotion, CHIKARA, which he’d founded in 2002, less than five years prior. A technical marvel, the pairing of Quackenbush with Tiger Mask was an indie dream match in 2007.
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world. FSW Chapter Two will stream on IWTV at 4:30pm CST/5:30pm EST on Sunday, April 4, 2020.