The last time AIW held a more student-focused show as well as a show at Tequila Jaxx (House of the Rising Sun), I could sadly not attend. But since that show, AIW has debuted several new talents from their school and tonight sees most of them in their second matches ever. Personally, I very much enjoy these student shows. While not the most “Must See” events AIW or any wrestling company can hold, I do think it’s vital to see the next generation of wrestlers applying their craft, and I’m happy AIW is giving their students valuable time on their shows to show the world what they can do. Even despite the school being only three years old, there have been a lot of talent to come out that has greatly impressed me so far, so let’s see how this new crop does.
Match #1: Big Twan Tucker vs. Derek Direction
Sloppy, uneven, and very disappointing to me for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the match itself wasn’t very good. Both men did their best, but the match was still sloppy, lots of bad timing, and really weird spots that didn’t so much warm me up for the rest of the show but cooled me down. However, I understand this is Tucker’s second match and hope he can put this aside because he does have a great chance of being developed into something really good. Secondly, I don’t see Derek Direction as a good face. I’ve seen him plenty of times in other companies around the Cleveland Area (MEGA, PCW, UXWA) and every time I see him, he’s an absolutely tremendous heel and I consider him one of the best heels in the Northeast Ohio area. But here, his face spots seem awkward and not befitting of him. Maybe that is me just not used to him as a good guy, but he is much better a heel than a face by a large margin. Overall, I hope for better from these two men in the future.
Derek Direction def. Big Twan Tucker
Match #2: The P.M. Experience (Philly Collins and Marino Tenaglia) vs. Dedication Personified (Brian Carson and Dr. Daniel C. Rockingham)
THIS is what should have opened the show. This was a basic tag match, sure, but even the most basic matches have chances of being fun, and this was it. Tenaglia and Collins are likable enough babyfaces and Dedication Personified have low-key become one of my favorite acts in AIW. I just enjoyed the strong face and heel dynamic both teams have and their chemistry in this match showed a lot of potential for even better future matches. Overall, very solid encounter.
Dedication Personified def. PM Experience
Match #3: Myron Reed vs. Dominic Garrini
Honestly, not one of my favorite matches of the night. Which is a shame because I was really looking forward to seeing Reed’s AIW debut and seeing how he would mix it up with Dominic Garrini. While a lot of the action was fine, and a couple of spots looked neat, the overall flow didn’t connect and, for the most part, the match didn’t wow me all that much. Still, it’s a unique match-up that doesn’t happen as nearly as it should, so on the whole, I’d check it out.
Dominic Garrini def. Myron Reed
Match #4: AIW Intense Champion Alex Daniels vs. Facade
I know the whole “…dive vs. …headlock” fiasco left a lot of people feeling the need to try and “trigger” people who supported the “…headlock” side by doing a ton of high spots for the pop and the internet buzz. But when that comes at the cost of doing 4 Canadian Destroyers in the same match, I think we all need to take a step back and ask if trying to piss off people is really worth that.
That might just be my interpretation of this match, but I couldn’t think of anything else while watching this, which was not a bad match honestly. If anything, I think this is Daniels’ best match while holding the Intense title. Instead of the usual interference fest that Daniels’ matches usually are, here, without Greg in his corner, the match was a compelling contest between Facade and Daniels. If anything, this match shows just how far as a singles competitor Daniels has come, and while I think the 4 Canadian Destroyers were dumb, I can’t front and say Facade isn’t a fun guy to watch. It really is a fun match, just don’t expect a lot of headlocks here.
Daniels def. Facade to retain
Match #5: AIW Tag Team Champions To Infinity and Beyond (Cheech and Colin Delany) vs. Weird World (Alex Kellar and Evan Adams)
Weird World are not the best wrestlers. I wouldn’t even say that they enter the realm of “good”. But what they have to make up for it I think is more valuable than good wrestling: characters to get invested in. Weird World are two fun loving dudes that are weird, goofy, and ultimately the perfect underdogs to root for. In 2017, where your buzz usually sits around how awesome your moves/matches are, I enjoy the fact that a team like Weird World can get over by sheer personality alone. Speaking of, To Infinity and Beyond have come into their heel personas so well in the past few months. While before they were a fine babyface tag team, this heel turn has been a blessing. The turn did what any good turn does: take an act that needs to be shaken up or is just stale and twisting it so it becomes fresh and, most importantly, can be compelling enough to where people are invested.
What I’m getting at with all of this is that this is a very good match story wise and psychology wise. This was as old school as it could have been, right down to the Dusty Finish. This was a great example of the heel vs. face dynamic showcased earlier and by the end, both teams had the crowd in the palms of their hands, which makes the aforementioned finish really resonate in heat that wasn’t “screw this promotion for cheating us”.
My honest match of the night and I hope to see if Weird World can evolve from this to be even better than before.
To Infinity and Beyond def. Weird World to retain
Match #6: Garrison King vs. Trey Lamar vs. Malcolm Monroe III vs. Chase Oliver
If you were to ask me what my least favorite thing to review is, I’d probably say scramble matches. Not because I dislike them or anything because I absolutely love them. Instead, it’s mostly because I really have nothing to say unless it is high stakes or has great character dynamics. In a match like this, however, outside of me saying “These are very green wrestlers doing cool looking spots for about 8 minutes”, there really isn’t much to say. If you are into high spot matches, this is up your alley.
Garrison King def Everyone Else
Match #7: Joshua Bishop vs. Jonathan Wolf
And this is where the show died for me a bit. This match had the makings for a good match and the heart was in the right place, but this is a good showcase for the importance of match building. If you look at a man like Kazuchika Okada, you can see why he’s the best wrestler on the planet now in part thanks to his ability to properly build a match. It’s always a slow climb to the top with very few exceptions. This match, 3 or so minutes in, had Wolf Tombstone Piledrive Bishop to the floor in front of Bishop’s family. I get why he did it, and in theory, that sounds like an awesome spot, but to do that so soon into the match and kill the vibe for the rest of the match is a very bad mistake. After that, the match became more of a chore to sit through and when it was over, I was just happy it ended.
Bishop def. Wolf
Match #8: The Jollyville Fuck-Its (T-Money and Russ Myers) vs. The Young Studs (Eric Ryan and Bobby Beverly)
Before the interference finish, this was a great tag match between two teams I really dig. However, mostly the match is a set up for a 5-on-5 Tag match at Absolution between the AIW Students vs. Fucks-Its, Studs, and a 5th partner. Really, that’s all I can say about it. The match up until that point was really fun, but the angle overshadows the rest of the match. I’d still check it out though.
Fuck-Its vs. Young Studs went to a No Contest
Match #9: Parker Pierce vs. Frankie Flynn
Again, not really much to say. Pierce looked better here than his debut (thankfully no group of kids were sitting in the bar where Parker could people into) and Frankie’s heel run has been so far so good. This was a match, and that’s the most I can say.
Flynn def. Pierce
Match #10: AIW Women’s Championship: Shayna Baszler © vs. Angel Dust
What was originally going to be Baszler vs. Candice LeRae, due to issues, Angel Dust was the replacement. While LeRae vs. Baszler would have been more appropriate as the main event, I can’t knock Angel Dust, as she is a more than solid replacement and someone who I feel has been criminally underrated as far as not just female wrestlers, but indy wrestling itself. As for the match, it ended up being pretty damn solid. Baszler as the dominating women’s champ is something I am in love with right now, bringing a sense of superiority and danger to every one of her defenses. This match showcases that beautifully as she demolishes Angel Dust while AD sells every bump like it is death. Overall, not the best AIW Main Event this year, definitely not the worst.
Baszler def. Angel Dust to retain
Overall: I’d be lying if I said this was a top to bottom “Must See” card. While there were some matches coming out of this I’d recommend to watch (Tag Title match, Intense title match, Women’s title match) most of the other matches I felt lacked anything either memorable or very good. But that’s the thing with student shows, you never know how things are gonna go with people with little experience in front of live crowds. I also feel the need to say that even watching live, this almost got to the point where it felt like a chore to sit through it all, with 10 matches on the card and the array of underperforming matches. Not one of AIW’s best shows, but even their worst shows have some good aspects.
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.