MIW saw lots of crazy ups and downs this year but 2017 has by far been one of the most interesting in a long time. MIW ran 20 live events in 2017 including two new venues, one of them being a new regular stop, the Forest Lake American Legion. 37 different wrestlers competed for MIW in 2017 including 15 debuts. Before we turn the calendar to 2018, lets take a moment to recognize some of the great moments of 2017:
Wrestler of the Year: Scott Story
Scott Story kicked off 2017 in the moment of the year (elaborated below) when he defeated El Bano giving Pete Huge control of MIW. With Pete in charge, the path was paved for Scott Story to capture his first MIW championship and become the youngest MIW champion in a decade. Scott Story successfully defended that title from March through October, taking on all comers in all venues, and performing masterfully along the way. After a slight misstep in September, Story was able to recapture the MIW Championship in October to become the youngest two time MIW Champion ever, and the only man to win the MIW title twice in the same year. It will be nearly impossible for Scott Story to top 2017 in 2018, but if anyone has the potential to do it, it is this young star.
Impact of the Year: The Black Plague.
Stonehenge and Heavy Metal Lore were already formidable opponents in their own right prior to September, but when the two men, both over 6’6″ and both over 300 lbs decided to come together to form the Black Plague, they took MIW into their own hands. In just the last three months of the year, the Black Plague has laid waste to the very best MIW has to offer? Can anyone survive the Plague in 2018?
Rookie of the Year:Rylie Jackson
Rylie Jackson is a testament to paying your dues in professional wrestling. Upon receiving the blessing from his Academy instructors, Ken Anderson and Shawn Daivari, Rylie began showing up at MIW events to help out however he could, whether setting up the ring, taking ring jackets to the back, or just helping with the tasks of running a show, Jackson was eager to help with a great attitude all the way. In September MIW management could no longer deny the great work ethic and gave Rylie Jackson an unscheduled, impromptu match-up, where he defeated the Super Lover. It’s been off to the races ever since and Jackson has connected with the MIW audiences in a way that hasn’t been seen since JD Bandit’s rookie year, 3 years ago. Considering Bandit won the championship in just his first year, the future looks bright for Rylie Jackson
Most Improved Wrestler of the Year: Notorious Ryan Cruz
It would be nearly impossible to imagine that a 15 year veteran would be the most improved wrestler of the year, even more so when that wrestler is already considered one of the best independent wrestlers in Minnesota, but Ryan Cruz continued to wow MIW fans more and more each and every time out. Cruz had epic matches challenging Scott Story for the championship, defeated MIW stalwart Chris Jordan on back to back occasions and was involved in Match of the Year with Arik Cannon. Not only has Cruz elevated his game in 2017 in the ring, but in the gym as well. Cruz transformed his physique in 2017 and his increased power and strength have allowed him to take his wrestling skills to the next level. Cruz’s series of matches in 2017 have solidified him as a perennial top contender in MIW.
Match of the Year 9/30 Forest Lake American Legion: Electric Ryan Cruz vs Arik Cannon
Many of MIW’s faithful may not know that from 1999- 2015 MIW Owner, Terry Fox, was an instructor and coach in professional wrestling and ran a wrestling school in Minnesota. Terry Fox has always had an affinity for his wrestlers and holds them in high-esteem. This is important to note, because Arik Cannon and Ryan Cruz were not trained by Terry Fox, and Terry Fox could not stop gushing about the quality of this match, for days after the fact. The fan reaction was unbelievable and the fans in attendance were sure to let MIW know this match was phenomenal. This match did not take place on one of MIW’s biggest cards of the year, but it as an excellent reminder, that every MIW card is a can’t miss card.
(TIE)Moment of the Year 2/18 Chanhassen American Legion: Pete Huge takes over MIW.
After retiring from active wrestling in the spring of 2016, a bitter and disgruntled Pete Huge returned to MIW in the fall. Taking Scott Story under his wing, Pete Huge began to wage war on MIW and Owner Terry Fox. It all came to a head in February when Scott Story faced El Bano with control of MIW on the line. With help from a masked Russian associate (Huge denies) Scott Story defeated El Bano and Pete Huge has run MIW ever since. What plans does Huge have for MIW in 2018?
(Tie) Moment of the Year 11/10 Murzyn Hall Columbia Heights
MIW President Pete Huge decided to give Champion Scott Story the night off and Story did not attend the event. MIW fan-favorite Chris Jordan, demanded the fans of MIW deserved a fighting champion who would be there and represent them. Jordan demanded a title shot for the February 24th return date, and Huge only obliged if Jordan would put his career on the line against the title. To a gasp from the audience, Jordan agreed to put his 15+ year career on the line. Will this lead to Scott Story forcing Chris Jordan to retire being the 2018 moment of the year? We’ll have our answer on February 24th in Columbia Heights.