This was my first time to watch an AIW show. I started out being very intrigued by all the promos at the beginning. I know some of the wrestlers, but I am not familiar with their characters. This gave me a brief overview. What it reminded me of was the UFC product. Fighter #1 doing an interesting soundbite followed by fighter #2 doing the same. It’s a formula that works. I don’t need the WWE 5-minute video package I just watched last Monday on Raw. Just give me brief promos so I can know I need to care about these wrestlers.
First match: 6 Pack Scramble: Sugar Dunkerston VS. Sabbath VS. AERO! VS. Kobald VS. Maximo Suave VS. Low Rider
I know who Sugar Dunkerton is from his Twitter presence, so I was excited to see him wrestle. Sabbath had no crowd reaction, but had a different look. Suave looked like a died-black-hair Amazing Red. AERO! looks like a skinny white guy wearing a mask. Low Rider looks like a low-rent Perros del Mal wannabe (I did not find his name listed as a Perro del Mal). And Kobald looks like a bad Mortal Kombat character. I was impressed by how Sabbath used his power and the other wrestlers sold it. Sugar Dunkerton did a clothesline that would have impressed Stan Hansen. And Low Rider did a powerslam type move into the turnbuckles I’ve never seen before. Random painted people attacked somebody and Kobald got the win.
Second match: BJ Whitmer VS. Eddie Kingston
This was my first Eddie Kingston match. I’ve followed Whitmer for about 10 years, going back to his IWA-Mid South days. I’m a little cautious about “the first time they’ve ever met” fights because they can be clusters because the guys have no chemistry together. It looked like there was a feeling out period and they let the drama slowly build. They told a story of Whitmer working over Kingston’s leg and Kingston trying to overcome. It got a “This is Awesome” chant. This was a GREAT match that really had the crowd going.
Whitmer and Kingston had a nice exchange and the crowd received it well.
Third Match: Chad “The Chad” Williams w/Chest Flexor VS. Tursus
There is a guy named Chest Flexor who must have a faction somewhere. The Chad looks like Randy Orton without the tattoos. The crowd chanted “Randy Rip-off” but I really didn’t think he was a rip-off; he just looked like Randy Orton. This is my first time to see Tursus after hearing so much about him, so I was very impressed with him. I’m surprised the WWE has not brought him in yet.
Winner: Chad by DQ
Fourth match: Team Duke VS. Team Dalton
I have no idea who these people are. Dalton Castle has a Puerto Rican faction as his partners. This RBI guy is named Bonds. I couldn’t figure out who I was supposed to cheer for. This reminded me a lot of a Ring of Honor 8-guy match from their early days. Dasher Hatfield was one of the major workers to stand out to me. Ben Fruith was another worker who stood out to me. He looks like he needs to eat, but man, can this guy sell. I was impressed that Izeah Bonds did a standing moonsault. It told a nice story.
Winner: Team Duke
Fifth match: Marion Fontaine VS. Shiima Xion VS. Chuck Taylor
I’ve tried watching some Xion matches on Youtube and stuff before. (I don’t currently watch the TNA/Impact! product.) Fontaine looks like he needs to eat. Xion has all the makings of a star, except for the awful tights. Chuck Taylor interfered in this match and made it into a 3-Way Dance. It just went way too short. I found myself more impressed by Fontaine with his in-ring action.
Sixth match: Josh Prohibition VS. Gregory Iron
I still have a deep-seated hatred of Josh Prohibition that goes back to him leaving CZW to start wrestling for XPW during the days of the PA Indy Wars. And holy s***, Greg Iron. He is everything Zach Gowen tried to be. He overcomes a huge disability, but he is still believable when he wins in the ring. The two had an unbelievable Street Fight. I knew about Iron from him the night CM Punk about how awesome he was. Regardless of how I felt about Prohibition, he and Gregory Iron were incredible in the ring together.
The crowd did a Holy s*** chant and rightfully so. Every Greg Iron match deserves a Holy s*** chant. Forgetting that Iron has cerebral palsy, it was probably one of the best matches I’ve seen all year.
Seventh match: Eric Ryan VS. Bobby Beverly
From this point on, the only wrestler I’ve ever seen before is Sabu, so I promise I will stop saying this is my first time to see this guy. Eric Ryan really impressed me. I think Beverly did a good job of making Ryan look good. Something tells me he’ll get over in the future. Eric Ryan wrestled with a lot of passion and definitely got my attention. You can’t book or train for that.
The Olsen Twins VS. The Irish Airborne VS. AEROFORM
(Ok, so I’ve seen Colin Delaney before, but I really wasn’t into the WWECW product that much at the time.) The six worked really well together. I have no idea what I watched here because it was so fast-paced. Irish Airborne & AEROFORM are tag teams that could walk into Impact or AAA/CMLL and be successful. There was just so much going on it was hard to comprehend this match.
Winner: Irish Airborne
This was everything we wanted it to be. Six amazing athletes just doing their thing.
Ninth match: Sabu VS. Facade in a Falls Count Anywhere Match
I was curious why there were was a Street Fight and Falls Count Anywhere Match on the same card. On thing I have to give AIW credit for is distinct-looking wrestlers. It’s not like watching NXT where you see nothing different than the other 10 guys. Facade looks different. He has a distinct look and it differentiates him from “Joe Indy Wrestler.” And of course I worship Sabu and pray to him every night before I go to bed. I am intrigued by how Sabu reinvented himself. As he wasn’t able to keep up in the ring as much, he started using a toolbox like his late uncle (The Shiek) used to do. It added some longevity to his career.
This booking made absolutely no sense by having Sabu go over, but Facade bled. Prohibition/Iron was more of a wild brawl, but the image of Facade wearing the crimson mask was pretty good.
Tenth match: Rickey Shane Page VS. Vincent Nothing
The video package was well-done. I still had no idea about anything, but it looked to be very emotional. Nothing has a really good look. Page is way too young-looking, but I get what they’re trying to do. The commentating was pretty awful. The play-by-play guy was fine, but the color commentator bordered on stupid. Heel does not equal stupid. I loved Nothing’s in-ring style. I love me some MMA, so a fighter who incorporates some of his moves into wrestling makes me pop. Plus, an MMA fighter could be a huge heel. This had a “big match” feel. There were light tubes. That is all you need to know to grasp how intense this fight was. It got a “Match of the Year” chant during the match.
Wow. I think I missed a lot of the emotion which was probably like tuning in during a Season Finale. WWE, Impact, this is how you put a guy over. Right now, I believe Page could main event this company. I’m still going with Iron/Prohibition for Match of the Night, but Page gets my MVP. There was total commitment and it was kind of like a “coming of age” match.
Main Event: Johnny Gargano VS. Tim Donst
Donst is ridiculously over with this crowd. Donst is great when it comes to mat wrestling. I haven’t seen much in the way of a distinct look or personality to Donst, but he is super-over with this crowd and reminds me of Dean Malenko in-ring. Gargano had a RED chest. Gargano has a good look and I could see him in Impact before too long. The commentary deteriorated to Mark Madden levels. I can’t describe all the highlights of this match. All I know is that Tim Donst is one of my favorite new indy guys.
What a match. As they were signing off, Chest Flexor’s music hit and Shiima Xion started fighting Gargano and the match started.
Real Main Event: Gargano vs. Xion
This went on until Chest Flexor interfered, the referee turned heel and Xion won the belt.
So yes, I am in love with my new favorite non-Texas wrestling promotion. I cannot decide match of the night. Iron/Prohibition, Page/Nothing, Donst/Gargano would all be Match of the Year candidates with any promotion. This is a company I will put my money behind. It’s hard to find a certain name that stood out to me the most. Now that I have been introduced, it’s time to start following the stories that are to be told here.