AIW: Hell on Earth 13 Review

November 24th, 2017

Opening Match:  Matthew Justice vs. Shawn Shultz
Justice hangs onto a side headlock until Shultz connects with a cheap shot.  Justice responds with a flying knee strike and reigns down punches and a thesz press.  He follows with a somersault senton from the apron.  Shultz sends him into the ringpost and takes control.  Justice blocks a charge in the corner and hits a belly-to-belly suplex.  They exchange chops and Shultz hits a basement DDT.  They battle over a superplex and Justice comes off the top with a flying knee strike for the win at 8:03.  I haven’t seen Justice wrestle in about a year but the man seems rejuvenated.  The crowd loved him, he brought great energy, and he used his size to make his offense more impactful.  Shultz felt like an afterthought, but this was a decent showcase for Justice.  The finish sort of came out of nowhere, but the crowd was fired up for Justice.  **

Match #2:  Magnum CK vs. PB Smooth
Magnum attacks before the opening bell.  They brawl at ringside and Smooth connects with a big boot, sending Magnum into the guardrail.  In the ring, Smooth finds an opening to chop block Smooth’s left leg.  Mangum continues to work over the left leg until Smooth finds life with another big boot.  Magnum connects with a flying elbow drop for a two count.  Smooth avoids a second one and both men are down.  Frankie Flynn gets on the apron to distract Smooth.  Magnum hits a spinebuster for the victory at 11:38.  This was a LONG twelve minutes.  Magnum working over Smooth’s leg was a sound idea conceptually, but in practice it led to a really uninteresting match.  I have no doubts about Magnum’s character, but I don’t think this contest did him any favors.  ½*

Match #3:  Dominic Garrini vs. Ethan Page
Page comically reads the prayer posted on the gymnasium wall before the match.  Garrini tries to ground Page early on.  Page connects with a superkick and hits a rope-assisted butterfly backbreaker.  Garrini finds an opening to work over Page’s left arm.  Page trips up Garrini and hits a DDT.  He takes control until Garrini escapes a powerslam and hits a german suplex.  Garrini applies a kimura but Page powers him into the turnbuckles.  Garrini fights off an iconoclasm and locks in a triangle choke.  Page kicks out of the hold and hits a powerbomb for a nearfall.  Garrini connects with a high knee strike but Page responds with a knockout kick.  Garrini avoids a swantan and immediately locks in a cross armbreaker for the win at 9:35.  This was a great, concise showcase.  You got the sense that these two had each other scouted, but Garrini came into the match with a better gameplan.  Page likes to joke around and Garrini punished him for it.  The action embraced their personalities and styles and delivered big time as a result.  ***

Match #4:  Dick Justice, Marino Tenaglia, Philly Collins, Alex Kellar, and Evan Adams vs. AJ Gray, Garrison King, Joshua Bishop, Malcom Monroe III, and Tre Lamar
Adams sends Lamar to the floor and teases a dive.  Justice snaps off a few armdrags on Gray and tries a headscissors to mixed results.  Monroe and Tenaglia have a fast-paced exchange followed by Kellar and Bishop having a big-man exchange.  Bishop stomps Kellar to the canvas and comes off the middle rope with a lariat.  Kellar responds with a gutwrench suplex.  No Consequences work over Adams until he avoids a moonsault and makes the tag.  Kellar absolutely cleans house and everyone starts brawling around ringside.  Justice kind of dives off the apron.  Monroe, Lamar, and King land stereo dives to the floor.  Tenaglia follows with a great dive after jumping off of Collins’ back.  Gray blocks a dive from Collins and lands a moonsault to the floor.  In the ring, Kellar uses Adams as a battering ram.  Lamar and Monroe connect with stereo missile dropkicks to Kellar.  Bishop nearly murders Adams by hurling him across the ring.  Everyone starts trading offense.  Gray connects with a lariat on Collins and lands a phoenix splash for a nearfall.  Tenaglia hits an insane springboard blockbuster on Gray.  Monroe hits a here it is driver on Tenaglia, but Lamar steals the pin for the victory at 17:10.  This match had its fair share of miscommunication as well as insane spots, but I think the good ultimately outweighed the bad.  They seemed to establish a rhythm down the finishing stretch and that’s when the crowd really got behind them.  Seventeen minutes seemed long, but there was rarely a dull moment here.  **½

Match #5:  Louis Lyndon vs. Gringo Loco
They showcase their agility by avoiding each other’s offense.  They trade headscissors and find themselves at a stalemate.  Loco catches Lyndon with a dropkick and lands a dive to the floor.  That was a really bad landing for Loco.  He takes control back in the ring until Lyndon is able to lay in a series of strikes.  Lyndon lands a nice asai moonsault to the floor.  Back in, Lyndon applies a dragon sleeper but Loco armdrags out of it.  Loco hits a nice springboard ace crusher for a nearfall.  He follows with a springboard senton.  Lyndon responds with a german suplex and Loco lands right on his neck.  They trade quick pin attempts to no avail.  Loco hits a pumphandle gourdbuster but whiffs on a moonsault attempt.  Lyndon hits a reverse hurricanrana for a two count.  Lyndon applies a dragon sleeper for the win at 12:04.  This was a rough outing for Loco between hitting the guardrail on his dive and getting dropped onto his neck by Lyndon’s german suplex.  Whether intentional or not, the story of the match became Lyndon trying to outlast Loco and take advantage of his better endurance.  They undoubtedly worked hard but something was missing here to take the action to the next level.  **¾

Match #6:  Tracy Williams vs. Tom Lawlor
Lawlor attacks before the opening bell and sends Williams into the guardrail.  Williams takes out some frustration on Lawlor’s cornermen and suplexes Lawlor into them.  In the ring, they trade strikes until Lawlor is able to tackle Williams.  Lawlor comes off the middle rope with a lariat and takes control.  Williams slams Lawlor onto his knees to break a submission and create some space.  Lawlor blocks a lariat with a headbutt and applies a sleeper.  Williams counters into a high back suplex and synchs in a crossface.  They battle over leverage and Lawlor hits a front slam along with a german suplex.  Williams answers with a huge lariat for a nearfall.  They battle over suplexes and Williams goes back to the crossface.  Lawlor fights like a madman to escape and hits a styles clash for the victory at 14:04.  I wasn’t terribly invested in the action early on, but they eventually won me over with the little things that they were doing to make the action stand out.  The finish was incredible, as they had me convinced that Lawlor was not escaping the crossface with the amount of times Williams reapplied pressure.  If you enjoy their styles, I would certainly check this one out.  ***

Match #7:  Colt Cabana vs. Jimmy Jacobs
They trade armdrags with Cabana making Bryce Remsburg assign points.  Jacobs quickly becomes tired of the antics and starts throwing chairs into the ring.  Jacobs actually gets Cabana angry a la 2007 Ring of Honor.  Jacobs kisses Cabana and hits a spear.  He takes control until Cabana fires back with a series of punches.  Cabana comes off the middle rope with a splash.  Jacobs locks in a guillotine but Cabana backs him into the turnbuckles, taking down Bryce.  Jacobs stabs Cabana with his spike for the win at 8:58.  This felt like the reigniting of a rivalry between these two, which would be exciting.  Watching these two wrestle ten years after their infamous Windy City Death Match was a treat, even if the match wasn’t setup to steal the show.  Jacobs was the one person who knew how to get under Cabana’s skin and I’m glad they referenced that here.  **¾

Match #8:  AIW Tag Team Titles: To Infinity and Beyond (Cheech and Colin Delaney) © vs. The Jollyville Fuck-Its (Russ Myers and T-Money) vs. The Young Studs (Eric Ryan and Bobby Beverly)
The challengers gang up on the champions to start.  The Young Studs inadvertently collide on stereo crossbody attempts.  To Infinity and Beyond work over Ryan until T-Money gets the tag and cleans house.  T-Money hits a spinebuster on Cheech and Delaney.  Beverly catches Cheech with a saito suplex and hits a brainbuster on Delaney.  Ryan adds a coast-to-coast dropkick as the action breaks down.  T-Money lands a dive to the floor.  Beverly blocks a moonsault from Myers in the ring.  Ryan and T-Money brawl into the crowd and up the bleachers.  T-Money POUNCES RYAN OFF THE BLEACHERS.  Oh man.  That was a doozy.  In the ring, Myers hits a death valley driver on Beverly.  Delaney follows with a standing spanish fly on Beverly.  Cheech powerbombs Myers onto Beverly and To Infinity and Beyond retain their titles at 13:03.  The action felt quite lifeless and the crowd could not care less until Ryan got pounced off the bleachers, which was objectively cool.  I have not watched AIW in some time but if this match was any indication, Cheech and Delaney are not working out as tag team champions.  It seems like the tag team division needs some fresh teams in the mix.  **

Match #9:  Zema Ion vs. Jody Fleisch vs. Laredo Kid vs. Matt Cross
Ion and Kid have a fast-paced exchange to start the match.  Cross catches Kid with a backbreaker.  Fleisch and Cross try to one-up each other in a fun exchange.  Fleisch hits a huge reverse hurricanrana on Kid.  Fleisch lands an asai moonsault to the floor and his knees slam the guardrail in a scary landing.  Kid lands a dive into the crowd onto Fleisch and Cross.  Fleisch runs up the venue wall and lands a moonsault onto Kid.  Ion throws Fleisch over a merchandise table and dives onto him.  Cross lands a crossbody off a set of bleachers.  In the ring, Fleisch hurricanranas Ion off the middle rope.  Ion superkicks Kid but eats a 720 DDT from Fleisch for a nearfall.  Cross and Fleisch land attempt stereo shooting star presses but miss.  Kid missile dropkicks Cross to the floor and takes him out with an asai moonsault.  Kid lands a 450 splash onto Fleisch and hits a spanish fly on Ion for the win at 10:36.  As expected, this four-way was very good and showcased tremendous athleticism.  Fleisch was injured off his early asai moonsault but muscled through the rest of the match, which was insane.  The crowd’s standing ovation for them after the match tells the story here.  ***½

Match #10:  AIW Absolute Title: Fans Bring the Weapons: Tim Donst © vs. Nick Gage
Donst makes the ring announcer introduce him as “the only one in this match who’s not a convict.”  Alrighty then.  They brawl in the crowd and attack staff members who try to stop them.  Gage sends Donst into a row of chairs and a fan eats it..  They actually run into Jimmy Jacobs at his merchandise table and break the table.  This is wild.  Donst hits a russian leg sweep into the guardrail.  Gage blocks a dive with a chair shot and they take the action back into the ring.  Gage punches out Bryce Remsburg because he can.  He takes barbed wire to Donst’s forehead.  Donst locks in a camel clutch and hits a fireman’s carry neckbreaker.  Donst hits a death valley driver through a bed of carpet strips.  He dumps thumbtacks onto Gage.  Gage responds with a DDT into the thumbtacks and connects with a facewash kick.  Donst fights off a superplex and lands a flying crossbody.  Gage answers with a spinebuster and a falcon arrow into the thumbtacks for a nearfall.  Gage pulls the guardrail against the ring skirt.  Donst dives onto him.  Back in, they trade forearms and hit each other with cheese graters.  Gage hits a chokebreaker for a two count.  Donst hits an ace crusher into barbed wire for a nearfall.  Gage hits a dragon suplex and connects with repeated knee strikes.  Gage hits a second chokebreaker for a nearfall.  Gage follows with a death valley driver through barbed wire to become the new AIW Absolute Champion at 22:28.  There is no one else in pro wrestling even similar to Gage.  He’s legitimately scary and uniquely believable as a guy who just does whatever he wants.  Donst has become a very competent death match wrestler over the past few years, so this was a highly enjoyable death match if that’s your thing.  Although I think twenty-two minutes was a bit much, the action never dragged.  Obviously, death matches are polarizing and mileage will vary, but these two worked hard and made the title change feel special.  ***¼

-Show Grade: B
You Need to See:
You’d Enjoy Watching: four-way, Donst/Gage, Williams/Lawlor, Garrini/Page, Cabana/Jacobs
You Should Avoid: Magnum/Smooth

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