Solo Darling vs. MJ Jenkins
The backstory on this one was that at GNO 17, Solo defeated Jenkins, and this was the rematch. Not a very good match, but serviceable as an opener. I just didn’t feel a “click” in chemistry between the two which lead to some awkward looking moves and some slow spots. I do have to give kudos on Jenkins who is still a standout on these shows, at least to me, as she is a damn fine heel worker and someone who I do hope to see more of outside of these GNO shows. Overall, not anything to write home about.
Jenkins def. Darling
Karen Q vs. Kiera Hogan
A match where it seems that both these women were told to go out and go balls to the walls. Near falls, big spots, and tons of back and forth action, this match was a rush from start to finish. This was my first time watching both ladies and I can say that I was a good introduction. Not much else to say except good match.
Karen Q def. Kiera Hogan
Rise of Phoenix Championship: Angel Dust © vs. Shotzi Blackheart
Spoilers: This was my match of the night.
This was also my first time watching Blackheart, and again, a very good introduction. Blackheart was a terrific face in this match; always clawing back up and showing passion and dedication to try and dethrone the champion. But the highlight of the match was without a doubt, Angel Dust. Angel Dust is someone that I feel is criminally underrated when it comes to women’s wrestling, with her matches oozing effort and dedication, and here was no exception. Dust was an incredible heel, taking every shortcut she could to keep Shotzi down and yelling at the crowd when they heckled her. My only complaint would be a very anti-climatic finish, but in the end, a fun ride while it lasted.
Shotzi Blackheart def. Angel Dust to win the Rise of Phoenix Championship
Veda Scott w/h Gregory Iron vs. Penelope Ford vs. Alexia Nicole.
I want it to be clear that I don’t dislike any of the individuals in this match. I think Nicole can grow into a good hand in the future, Ford has done some fun stuff in WSU, and Scott is one of my favorite women’s wrestlers active out there just through sheer effort and determination on her part. But with that said, this match absolutely stunk. Timing issues, botches, and really weird spots (especially the awkward constant bickering of Ford and Nicole in some moments) did drag this match down A LOT. A definite skip on this event EXCEPT in the case of seeing how absolutely jacked Gregory Iron is.
Veda Scott def. Ford and Nicole
Holidead vs. Tasha Steelz
This was my first time seeing either Steelz and Holidead live. Steelz was fine but was sadly outshined greatly by Holidead, whose character work was on point. Not much I can really say about this in hindsight, but pretty decent overall.
Holidead def. Steelz
LuFisto vs. Sonya Strong
The biggest disappointment of the night for me. At the beginning it looked like it was going in a good direction, with Strong toying with LuFisto, only to have LuFisto go full on rage mode. That’s fine and dandy, but I felt that the match never got out of 2nd gear. Overall, it’s a good match, but I kept feeling the match would just explode into something even bigger than what it ended on. I guess, in the end, me wanting more is a good thing, but here it just felt weird.
LuFisto def. Strong
Faye Jackson vs. Ray Lynn w/h Veda Scott and Gregory Iron
Your view on this match is entirely dependent on how you view the “No Strings Attached” group. Personally, outside of disturbing me with certain scenarios (like the post match Milkshake Incident), I enjoy the fact that all members are willing to look like total geeks when they get beat up, and in this match, there was plenty of that. Honestly, the match surprised me with being better than I think it was going to be. It wasn’t great, but a nice match with a group of heels cheating out the wazoo and getting their comeuppance. Basic pro wrestling, but sometimes basic is all you need.
Jackson def. Lynn
Britt Baker def. Rebel with Special Guest Referee Gail Kim
Eh. Nothing really bad, but nothing really good. Rebel is not the best pro wrestler, but I admire the fact she went full on heel here and held nothing back. Baker is still improving by leaps and bounds the more I see her, but I wished she had a better match on this night. Again, not good or bad, but just kind of there.
Baker def. Rebel
AIW Absolute Women’s Championship: Shayna Baszler © vs. Allysin Kay
I’m torn on this match.
On one hand, I felt this went too long and in too many directions with a lack of direction. At first, Kay and Baszler do some worked MMA since both have experience in MMA and for a while, I was digging it. Then they went to the outside and did some crowd brawling. “Okay”, I thought to myself, “Maybe now this is a traditional Cleveland crowd brawl”. But then that ended and they ended up doing some comedy. Then THAT ended and they went straight up wrestling. At this point, I was worn out and was just waiting for the end. Either of these directions would have been fine to take, but to do them all at once felt very uneven and unfocused.
On the other hand, I felt that both Kay and Baszler excelled in performing all of these. Even though the parts didn’t mesh, the parts on their own did work.
It’s a mixed bag of a match that I’ll give a mixed reaction to.
Baszler def. Kay to retain the AIW Absolute Women’s Championship
Overall Thoughts: GNO’s are usually a really fun time, and here, it was still the case, but the card itself was a mishmash of good and bad. For me, I think both sides equalize enough for me to call this show “middle of the road”. If you are looking for a lot of good women’s wrestlers and possible new stars, definitely check this out. But if you are expecting a top to bottom “lose your mind” kind of card, this show isn’t for you.
If you would like to purchase this show, the show will be available to purchase on MP4 at SmarkMarkVideo.com and DVD at SMV and shop.aiwrestling.com soon.