To be brutally honest, I thought this show was going to be a little bit of a mess after I heard that Ty Colton, TDT, and even Kevin Steen had to drop out because of personal reasons and in response to this, AIW Management said on social media that they were going to shake up the card and replace the open bookings with either returning stars or new blood. Don’t get me wrong, AIW is awesome and I truly do enjoy their product, but there was a nagging thought in the back of my head that this show could have felt like a jumbled catastrophe. But low and behold, AIW went #Clutch and presented a show that was better than ANYONE expected. Hell, it may have even been better than what the original card could have been. Like I said in my preview, I was joined on this excursion by my brother Jarett who never attended a wrestling show. His overall reactions were positive but said that we are not coming early again because of the 2 hour line wait. With that said, let’s go through the card starting with:
Match #1: Tim Donst defeated Alex Shelly
Reactions: This match was pushed to the opener to get the crowd hot, and get them hot it did. Shelly and Donst both looked great and their back-and-forth action was tight and fast-paced. This match pretty much set up the rest of the night.
Highlights: Donst and Shelly going from shaking hands to spitting in each other’s faces during the course of the match. Great Storytelling.
Match #2: Tyson Dux defeated Shane Hollister
Reactions: The one low point of the match, for me. It wasn’t bad per say, but I expected a bit more of a faster and more hard hitting match between the two. I think I was spoiled by the 4-way at GftG9, with Hollister’s beast mode and Dux’s sheer intensity, that, while still present in this match, weren’t turned to 11 like last time.
Highlights: The dueling “USA” and “Canada” chants from the crowd.
Match #3: Seleziya Sparx defeated Veda Scott in a “Pick Your Poison” match decided by Greg Iron
Reactions: Quick, brutal, and fun. Just how I like my undercard matches. Sparx’s use of lighttubes on Scott’s back as shrapnel flew into the crowd was the scariest thing I have ever experienced as my time as a wrestling fan. Iron came out at the end to screw over Scott and afterwords through himself on her. The feud between these two isn’t over by a long shot and I am glad for it. It’s one of the best Indy feuds going right now.
Highlights: Bulb shrapnel. Bulb shrapnel everywhere.
Match #4 Matt Cross defeated Bobby Beverly, Davey Vega, Lucas Towns, Brent Baker, and Cheech
Reactions: My thoughts before the bell: “Who the hell are Towns, Baker, and Cheech and what the hell are they doing on my AIW show?” My thoughts after the bell: “Oh. So that’s who they are. I’d like to get more acquainted with these gentlemen.” Towns, Baker, and Cheech looked great in their debut match in AIW and put on a spot-fest with Cross, Beverly, and Vega that was lightning quick-paced, fun, and ultimately an enjoyable experience. AIW is known for giving younger, not-so-well-known guys a chance at making an impression, and for the most part, like here, it pays off big-time. Dux came out and attacked Beverly with a chair, which led Cross to pick up the win. The prospect of that match makes my wallet want to jump out and force itself into Chandler Biggins and John Thorne’s pockets.
Highlights: Cheech holding up two people at once for his relatively small frame.
Match #5 Gregory Iron defeated Josh Prohibition in a “Pick your Poison” match decided by Veda Scott
Reactions: Iron gets his ass beat for the better part of the match but, though through some interference by the Iron Curtain and a surprise heel turn on Josh by long-time friend and partner Matt Cross, Iron is able to pick up the W. After the match, Cross cuts a really damn good heel promo on Josh, calling him a “part-timer” and saying he had no respect for the business. If the shit didn’t hit the fan yet, it sure did now.
Highlights: The turn and Iron who performed and sold Josh’s offence like a true champ.
Match #6 Athena defeated Nikki Storm to retain the AIW Woman’s Championship
Reactions: Athena has basically made AIW her bitch in the past 2 months. Not only beating long-time queen of AIW Allysin Kay for the Woman’s Title at GNO 12 last month, she now is on the war path, beating Nikki Storm, who in my opinion, played a great heel in this match. With a new gimmick, a clear direction, and the crowd behind her, Athena is going to make 2014 her year, not only in AIW, but I think in other promotions as well.
Highlights: “The O Face” and Storm’s bickering with the crowd.
Match #7 The Jollyville Fuck-Its (T-Money and Russ Myers) defeated Faith in Ryan (Eric Ryan and Rickey Shane Page) and Flip Kendrick/The Duke to retain the AIW Tag Team Championship
Reactions: There is a difference between watching a hardcore match on TV and live. You see it on TV, video, whatever, and you just shake your head sadly while cringing. Live, however, you become terrified for your life. Light bulbs, guitars, bottle caps, ramen, barb wire, crutches, fish hooks, skewers, and freaking BEA ARTHUR will never be seen the same by me again after this match. It’s your standard hardcore match, to be sure, but seeing as this was my first one live, I spent most of my time in fear for my life. Still, average match that led to the formation of “The Forgotten” a stable consisting of BJ Whitmer, Jimmy Jacobs, and the returning Tommy “Crimson” Mercer, who say that they will not be forgotten and will make their mark on AIW. Excuse me while I mark the hell out.
Highlights: The varied weapons, the “Bea’s Hardcore” chants, that ending promo, T-Money MURDERING Flip with an over-the-top-rope PPPOOOUUUNNCEEE!!!
Match #8 Michael Elgin defeated Colin Delaney to retain the AIW Absolute Championship
Reactions: This match was funny, intense, competitive, and just a joy to watch. Great back and forth between the two the entire match, telling a great story of respect and determination. Elgin wins, is challenged by Donst, management breaks it up, and Elgin puts his title on the line during the entirety of the JT Lightning Tournament in May. Again, excuse me while I mark the hell out.
Highlights: The beer toast, Delaney’s devotion to staying in the match, Elgin coming out dressed as New Jack.
Match #9 #ALLEGO Ethan Page and Louis Lyndon defeated Johnny Gargano and ACH
Reactions: I was worried by the news that Steen had to drop out and postpone the debut of the Panda Express. His replacement, ACH, came out as a HUGE surprise and proceeded to join the 3 other workers in a fun little match that really didn’t warrant being the main event, but was still enjoyable. My biggest “Oh Shit” moment came at the end when ACH was presumably injured, which turned out to be thankfully nothing serious. Nice funny match, but did not need to be the main event.
Highlights: ACH’s surprise return, Gargano and ACH channeling their inner Dudley Boyz.
Final Thoughts: Shit didn’t hit the fan here. Shit hit the airplane turbine. This show sets up SOOO many possible storylines and match ups with such grace and skill. An obvious “must buy” for when it comes out on DVD. If you haven’t started watching AIW, pick up the DVDs or .MP4 files from SmarkMarkVideo.com right away. $15 a pop is a great price for these shows.
Matches of the Night: Delaney vs. Elgin, Donst vs. Shelly
Wrestler(s) of the Night: The Forgotten