This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "IWA Mid-South" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (February 2008) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
IWA Mid-South
AcronymIWA MS[1]
StyleProfessional wrestling
Hardcore wrestling
Strong style
Death Match
HeadquartersNew Albany, Indiana
Founder(s)Ian Rotten
Owner(s)Ian Rotten
SisterIWA Deep South
IWA East Coast
IWA Texas

Independent Wrestling Association (IWA) Mid-South (also known as IWA Mid-South, IWA-MS, and IWA Mid South Wrestling) was an American independent professional wrestling promotion based in New Albany, Indiana. It was formed by Ian Rotten in 1996.


Hardcore wrestling

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 feud with former tag team partner Axl Rotten. He formed the promotion shortly after being fired from Extreme Championship Wrestling in the mid-1990s.[3] IWA Mid-South's first live event occurred on January 6, 1996, in New Albany, Indiana. On October 10, they held the first of what would become weekly shows in Louisville, Kentucky. April 3, 1997 saw IWA Mid-South crowned its first Heavyweight Champion, Tower of Doom, when he won a three way dance in the finals of a tournament.[4]

Move to Indiana

Going into the year 2000, a series of incidents with the Kentucky Athletics Commission forced IWA Mid-South to move its operations to Charlestown, Indiana. In late 2000, IWA Mid-South started to make a slow shift to more technical based wrestlers and matches. During that year Dave Prazak became a featured manager, ring announcer, and commentator. He played a prominent role in bringing in Colt Cabana and CM Punk to join Chris Hero and other technical wrestlers. With this change brought the birth of the Ted Petty Invitational Tournament (TPI), then known as Sweet Science 16. The first TPI was held in 2000 and won by Chris Hero. During this time, a match featuring Punk and Hero lasted 92 minutes and has since been referred to by ESPN's SportsCenter as one of the longest sporting events.[5]

In 2002, IWA Mid-South moved its base to Clarksville, Indiana. From 2003 to 2007, IWA Mid-South ran shows in a wide variety of venues, mostly Indiana and Illinois. During this span, they had a 51-month streak of running at least one show in every calendar month.[6] 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, IWA Mid-South announced that it would return with smaller budget shows, starting with Chapter 2: In The Beginning on November 20, 2009. On March 28, 2011, IWA Mid-South announced it would end operations immediately.[7]

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 Death Match tournament. During that autumn, IWA Mid-South promoted a number of small shows in the Bellevue, Illinois area. IWA Mid-South then closed down once again.

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. They ran multiple shows there before the building went under new ownership. They then relocated to Jammerz Rollerdrome also In Clarksville. They also ran at The Arena based in Jeffersonville Indiana before moving to the New IWA Arena at the Memphis Trading Post in Memphis, Indiana where they were running two shows a week, Thursday nights and Saturday nights. They then moved to the Axl Rotten memorial hall in Connersville, Indiana until 2021 when they relocated to the new IWA Wrestling Center in New Albany, Indiana where they began to regularly shows. They also ran occasionally in Indianapolis, Indiana.

On June 13, 2022, Heavyweight and Junior Heavyweight champion Jake Crist publicly called out Ian Rotten over not having been paid in a month, and proceeded to set fire to both belts in a bag. Fellow IWA-MS wrestlers John Wayne Murdoch and Satu Jinn announced they would pull out of the upcoming King of the Deathmatch 2022 event in response. The next day, IWA-MS abruptly announced on their Facebook page that all upcoming shows had been cancelled, leaving the promotion in hiatus once again.[8]

Mike Levy incident

On June 21, 2008, during IWA's 2008 Queen of the Deathmatch tournament in Sellersburg, Indiana, Mike Levy, an inexperienced indie wrestler from North Carolina, was booked to face Mickie Knuckles in a semi-finals tournament match. Through the course of the match, Mickie delivered several stiff punches and weapon shots to Mike Levy, even going so far to shoot headbutt Levy so hard that it left her with a lump on her head. Ian Rotten and wrestlers Tank, Devon Moore, and Rotten's then pre-teen son (now wrestling as J.C. Rotten) rushed the ring and legitimately attacked the young wrestler resulting in heavy bleeding.[9] The incident garnered heavy backlash and was investigated by Indiana police, but no charges were filed.[10] According to Rotten, the attack was staged and Levy was allegedly "told upfront he was going to take an ass whooping."[11] Levy is still active in the North Carolina independent circuit.[12]

Former championships

Championship Date of entry First champion Date retired Final champion Years active Notes
IWA World Championship April 3, 1997 Tower of Doom June 16, 2022 Jake Crist 1997-2022 On June 14, 2022, Crist vacated the title due to not being paid. Upon that, the company ceased operations, it became deactivated as a result.
IWA Mid-South Tag Team Championship July 18, 1997 The War Machines
(War Machine #1 and War Machine #2)
June 14, 2022 GKFAM
(Piper and Prima Donny)
1997-2022 The titles became deactivated on June 14, 2022, upon the promotion ceasing operations.
IWA Mid-South Junior Heavyweight Championship July 1, 2018 Logan James June 14, 2022 Jake Crist 2018-2022 On June 14, 2022, Crist vacated the title due to not being paid. Upon that, the company ceased operations, it became deactivated as a result.
IWA Mid-South Women's Championship June 11, 2005 Mickie Knuckles Alice Crowley June 14, 2022 2005-2002 The title became deactivated on June 14, 2022, upon the promotion ceasing operations.
IWA Mid-South Light Heavyweight Championship January 6, 1996 American Kickboxer 2012 Devon Moore 1996-2013 Championship retired in 2013 for unknown reasons.
IWA Mid-South Strong Style Championship March 1, 2008 Michael Elgin December 6, 2008 Nick Gage 2008 Title at the 2008 Revolution Strong Style Tournament.
IWA Mid-South Hardcore Championship April 15, 1999 Pete Madden March 4, 2000 2 Tuff Tony 1999-2000 The Hardcore Championship was unified with the Heavyweight Championship in a three way match which also included Delilah Starr and Mad Man Pondo at Extreme Heaven.
IWA Mid-South Television Championship September 30, 1997 Rollin' Hard April 2, 1998 Shark Boy 1997-1998 Shark Boy defeated Chip Fairway at a live event and the championship was retired thereafter.
IWA Mid-South Deathmatch Championship February 7, 2009 Drake Younger December 6, 2008 Devon Moore 2007-2009 Championship retired on this date.


Tournament Latest winner Date Notes Ref
Ted Petty Invitational Tyler Matrix April 24, 2021 Defeated Jake Crist and John Wayne Murdoch in the finals. [13]
IWA Mid-South King of the Deathmatch Eric Ryan July 31, 2021 Defeated Orin Veidt in the finals.

See also


  1. ^ a b c Cagematch : IWA Mid-South (in 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. ^ "UFC News: C.M. Punk appears on ESPN SportsCenter, has a new answer regarding the difference between Dana White and WWE's Vince McMahon". December 17, 2014. Retrieved February 13, 2015.
  6. ^ "I.W.A. Mid-South Results History". 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-06.
  7. ^ Gerweck, Steve (2011-03-30). "Indy group closes down in midst of real life drama". WrestleView. Retrieved 2011-03-30.
  8. ^ Applegate, Colby (June 14, 2022). "Jake Crist Demands Payment From IWA Mid-South, Promotion Cancels All Future Shows". WrestleZone. Retrieved July 23, 2022.
  10. ^ Thacker, Matt (August 5, 2008). "No charges from Sellersburg wrestling video". The Evening News and The Tribune. Indiana. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  12. ^ Mike Levy << Wrestlers Database << CAGEMATCH << The Internet Wrestling Database
  13. ^ Sanz, Alejandro (April 25, 2021). "Resultados IWA MS Ted Petty Invitational 2020 día 2". (in Spanish). Retrieved April 25, 2021.