Independent Wrestling Association Mid-South

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This article is about the Louisville, Kentucky, USA based wrestling promotions. For similarly named wrestling promotions, see International Wrestling Association (disambiguation).
IWA Mid-South
Acronym IWA MS[1]
Founded 1996[1]
Style Professional wrestling
Hardcore wrestling
Strong style
Headquarters Louisville, Kentucky
Founder(s) Ian Rotten
Owner(s) Vince Jones, Kevin Adams, Mike Miller
Sister IWA Deep South
IWA East Coast
IWA Texas
IWA Tri-State

Independent Wrestling Association (IWA) Mid-South (also known as IWA Mid-South, IWA-MS, and IWA Mid South Wrestling) is an independent professional wrestling promotion based in Louisville, Kentucky.


Independent Wrestling Association: Mid-South (IWA-MS) formed in 1996 in Louisville, Kentucky. The owner, Ian Rotten,[2] is one of the first to bring hardcore style of wrestling to the United States with his violent feud with former tag team partner Axl Rotten and formed the promotion shortly after leaving Extreme Championship Wrestling in the mid-1990s.[3] IWA-MS first came on the scene on October 10, 1996 with the first, of what would become weekly shows in Louisville, Kentucky. On April 3, 1997 IWA Mid-South would crown its first Heavyweight Champion, Tower of Doom, when he won a three way dance in the finals of a tournament.[4]

In early 2000 IWA Mid-South would move its operations to Charlestown, Indiana. Many changes were made to IWA and its roster while in Charlestown. In late 2000 IWA started to make a slow shift to more technical based wrestlers, and matches. During that year Dave Prazak became a featured manager, ring announcer, commentator and he played a prominent role in bringing in Colt Cabana and CM Punk to join Chris Hero and others to get IWA Mid-South recognized for its technical matches as well as its hardcore. IWA:MS became known as a place to see the best up and coming Indy wrestlers in the Midwest, and many of its alumni now wrestle for WWE, TNA, and ROH. With this change brought the birth of the Ted Petty Invitational Tournament (TPI for short), then known as Sweet Science 16. The first TPI was held in 2000, named after former ECW, WCW, and WWE wrestler Rocco Rock, and won by Chris Hero. In the years after its birth the TPI has become one of the most respected tournaments in the wrestling world.

Along with the Ted Petty Invitational tournament their annual King of the Death Match Tournament is among their highest drawing shows.[citation needed]. IWA Mid-South has also been notable for the how frequently they run shows. From 2000 to 2005, they ran over 50 shows each year on average; from 2006 to 2008 they ran over 30 shows each year.[5]

In 2002 IWA Mid-South would once again move its base to Clarksville, Indiana following a disagreement with the landlord of the Charlestown building over rent. While in Clarksville IWA would introduce another tournament a strong style tournament. IWA Mid-South would again leave the Clarksville building, also known as the IWA Arena, after another disagreement with the landlord over rent.

From 2003 to 2007, IWA Mid-South ran shows in a wide variety of venues, mostly Indiana and Illinois. The Lincoln Center in Highland, Indiana, the Hartman Recreation Center in Joliet, Illinois, and the Don Preston Recreation Center (also known as the "MidloDome") in Midlothian, Illinois, were the three most prominent venues. During this span, they had a 51-month streak of running at least one show in every calendar month.[5] That streak ended with the December 7, 2007, show "A Rotten Farewell", which featured an Ian Rotten retirement match (He returned to wrestling in 2008). IWA Mid-South then went on a planned hiatus, restarting operations with their 500th show on March 1, 2008.

On August 26, 2009, IWA Mid-South announced that it would cease its operations after the Kings of the Crimson Mask show on August 28. However, on November 3, 2009, IWA Mid-South announced that it would return with smaller budget shows, starting with Chapter 2: In The Beginning on November 20, 2009. Since returning in November 2009, IWA-Mid South has run in Addison, Illinois, Bellevue, Illinois and Litchfield, Illinois.

On March 28, 2011, IWA Mid-South announced on their message board that it would end operations immediately.[6]

In July 2011 IWA Mid-South re-opened under new ownership. On September 16 & 17, 2011 the company returned with its annual King Of The Deathmatches tournament. The show received rave reviews from those who attended, with Drake Younger been crowned the eventual winner.

Autumn 2011, saw IWA Mid-South promote a number of small shows in the Bellevue, Illinois area. Attendances for these shows were lower than anticipated, however despite the shows positive reviews from fans and critics IWA closed down once again. Although, Ian Rotten claims they simply did not put on shows in this time period instead of officially "closing".

In July 2013 Ian Rotten announced he was once again promoting shows under the IWA-MS banner, this time returning to the old Clarksville Arena. The "Old Scars and Bad Blood" card featured Sabu, BJ Whitmer, Drake Younger, and Axl & Ian Rotten in a Tag Team Taepai Death match. Attendance for this show would far exceed expectations, drawing 400+. IWA-MS has since been running shows regularly every other month with the exception of the 2013 TPI. Fans and wrestlers alike say Rotten seems genuine about being an honest promoter and all around person since being diagnosed with cancer in September.

Current Championships[edit]

Championship: Current champion(s): Won from: Date won: Location:
IWA Mid-South Heavyweight Championship Kongo Kong Hy-Zaya June 29, 2014 Clarksville, Indiana
IWA Mid-South Light Heavyweight Championship Devon Moore BJ Whitmer September 1, 2012 Bellevue, Illinois

Defunct Championships[edit]

Championship: Final champion(s): Won from: Date won: Location:
IWA Mid-South Tag Team Championship Up in Smoke
(Cheech and Cloudy)
Mickie Knuckles and Devon Moore May 3, 2008 Joliet, Illinois
IWA Mid-South Strong Style Championship Nick Gage Michael Elgin
(title announced as defunct at the Revolution Strong Style Tournament 2008)
August 17, 2008 Joliet, Illinois
IWA Mid-South Hardcore Championship
(now merged with IWA Mid-South Heavyweight Championship)
2 Tuff Tony
def. Delilah Starr and Mad Man Pondo to unify titles
Delilah Starr March 4, 2000 Charlestown, Indiana
IWA Mid-South Television Championship Shark Boy Chip Fairway April 2, 1998 Louisville, Kentucky
IWA Mid-South Deathmatch Championship Devon Moore Corporal Robinson June 21, 2008 Sellersburg, Indiana
IWA Mid-South Women's Championship Daizee Haze Mickie Knuckles May 2, 2008 Joliet, Illinois

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Cagematch : IWA Mid-South (German)
  2. ^ Bell, Jason. "Ian Rotten's Bio". Official Home of Ian Rotten. Retrieved 2007-04-18. 
  3. ^ Williams, Scott E. Hardcore History: The Extremely Unauthorized Story of the ECW. Champaign, Illinois: Sports Publishing L.L.C., 2006. (pg. 68) ISBN 1-59670-021-1
  4. ^ "I.W.A. Mid-South Heavyweight Title". Puroresu Dojo. 2003. Retrieved 2007-04-18. 
  5. ^ a b "I.W.A. Mid-South Results History". 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  6. ^ Gerweck, Steve (2011-03-30). "Indy group closes down in midst of real life drama". WrestleView. Retrieved 2011-03-30. 

External links[edit]