Sunday, February 19, 2017

AIW I Choo-Choo-Choose You! Review

A new AIW Absolute Champion is crowned!

AIW I Choo-Choo-Choose You!
Cleveland, Ohio 2/20/15

1.) Six-Woman Tag - Team Barely Legal (Alexia Nicole & Jasmin) & Veda Scott vs. Marti Belle, Mary Elizabeth Monroe, & Taeler Hendrix: **

Team Barely Legal partnered up with Veda Scott back at Charge It To The Underhills in a match that was pretty bad. Fortunately, they had a slightly better outing as they took on the pairing of Marti Belle, Mary Elizabeth Monroe (better known as Kelly Klein in ROH), & Taeler Hendrix. The action was slightly better in this one, making it a mostly passable match. The stories here, however, were more important that the match itself. First, you had Marti Belle & Taeler Hendrix (two heels) not exactly getting along with Mary Elizabeth Monroe (who was a babyface). Then, you had Alexia Nicole & Jasmin not getting along, and in the end, it cost them the match, as Hendrix got the win for her side after a kiss and a headbutt on Alexia Nicole. The dissension between Team Barely Legal frustrated Veda Scott to the point that she just left the match towards the end. Again, this was at least an improvement over the women’s match from the previous show.

After the match, Team Barely Legal get into a shoving match that eventually turned into a brawl when Jasmine attacked Alexia Nicole, and they needed to be pulled apart.

2.) Brian Myers vs. Cliff Compton: **3/4

At the start of the match, Brian Myers goes to back, and brings out one of the old WWE Tag Team Titles (from the SmackDown Era of the brand split in the mid-to-late 2000’s). Myers says that everyone wants to find out who was truly the best SmackDown Tag Team Champion. Compton accepts, and it looks like we’ve got a title match, I guess? The referee then goes to the back, and exchanges his black & white referee shirt for a dark blue shirt, to be more fitting with the nature of this match (SmackDown referees wore blue shirts). This was an entertaining match. They did a bunch of famous moves towards the end (like the Stone Cold Stunner), before Myers eventually wins with a superkick. As someone who started watching wrestling during the brand split, I enjoyed the inclusion of the SmackDown stuff. It took a match that I honestly didn’t care about (especially considering the participants), and turned it into a match that I enjoyed.

Next up, we have Dennis Stamp coming out to the ring for a special appearance. For those who don’t know, he was a wrestler who was made famous after being part of the Beyond The Mat movie from 1999. He’s just so happy that he’s actually gotten booked on this show. Stamp says he’ll always be a wrestler, and started to read some of his poetry, but is then interrupted by The Iron Curtain. Gregory Iron talked about how the promoters of AIW told him that they weren’t booking him going forward because he’s stale. Plus, they don’t like how he treats the fans. Iron says he’s a victim of bullying, and adds that he’s disgusted about Dennis Stamp being booked instead of him. He tosses away Stamp’s poetry, and challenges Stamp to a match. This brings out Dick Justice & Grado. The latter said he didn’t travel 5000 to see Dennis Stamp get his ass kicked….he came to see Dennis Stamp kick ass! Stamp says he doesn’t have any gear, but Grado takes off his singlet, and gives it to Stamp (don’t worry, Grado was wearing a second singlet underneath). They then call for a Six-Man Tag Team Match against The Iron Curtain, and it looks like that match is next!

3.) Six-Man Tag - Dennis Stamp, Dick Justice, & Grado vs. The Iron Curtain (Gregory Iron, Benjamin Boone, & Jerry): **1/2

This was pretty much a comedy match, but for what it was, it was entertaining. Dick Justice & Grado got in some of their spots, but in the end, Dennis Stamp got a measure of revenge by pinning Gregory Iron for the victory. Again, it was essentially a comedy match, but it was fine for what it was. If you’re someone who loved the Beyond The Mat movie, then I’m sure you’ll love seeing Dennis Stamp here.

4.) Chris Sabin vs. Colt Cabana: ***1/4

We finally got our first truly good match of the night. I actually really enjoyed this one. There was a lot of solid action from start to finish, and there never seemed to be a dull period. The match also seemed to tell a good story, as Sabin tried to cheat numerous times, but Cabana always found a way to fight back. Eventually, Sabin caught Cabana in a pin by one of the corners, and used a long rope (that’s part of his ring gear) to hold on to the ring post, which allowed him to get the win. Again, this was a very solid match.

5.) AIW Tag Team Titles - Four-Way Match - The Forgotten (Jimmy Jacobs & BJ Whitmer) vs. The Batiri (Kodama & Obariyon) vs. The Beaver Boys (Alex Reynolds & John Silver) vs. To Infinity & Beyond (Cheech & Colin Delanely): ***1/2

Out of all the matches on this show, I was probably looking forward to this one the most, considering the four teams involved. This was a really good match for the AIW Tag Team Titles. There was solid action right from the opening bell, and it continued throughout the entire match. All four teams got the chance to shine at various points (in particular, John Silver got to showcase his power), and the crowd seemed to be into it. Eventually, The Forgotten managed to score the victory to retain their titles.

Up next, we got a segment involving AIW Absolute Champion Tim Donst. He mentioned that he appreciated all of the kind words he got from people after spending nearly a week in the hospital, but unfortunately, he had some bad news. Donst announced that he had a tumor in his kidney, and thus, he needed to have it removed. He wasn’t sure whether he’d ever wrestle again, and thanks all of the wrestlers and fans for all of the support. Donst then said that he’d be vacating the AIW Absolute Title, because the fans deserve a champion to lead the company. 

To follow up on what just took place, Matt Wadsworth came out and announced that Rickey Shane Page, Ethan Page, Eddie Kingston, & Josh Alexander would be in a Fatal Four-Way Match later in the night to crown a new AIW Absolute Champion.

6.) AIW Intense Title - Fatal Four-Way - Davey Vega vs. Eric Ryan vs. Tracy Williams vs. Tyson Dux: ***1/4

To continue the theme of titles being defended in Fatal Four-Way Matches, we have another one here as Davey Vega is defending his AIW Intense Title. I thought this was a pretty fun match. Similar to the earlier Four Way, there was a fair amount of action, and all the participants involved had a chance to shine. There were actually some fun moments between Tyson Dux & Tracy Williams as they tried to one-up each other with submission holds. In the end, Davey Vega managed to retain his title. Another fun multi-man match on this show.

7.) Six-Way Scramble - Abe Jackson vs. Alessandro Del Bruno vs. Flip Kendrick vs. Candice LeRae vs. Joshua Singh vs. Tyler Thomas: ***3/4

This kind of match has seemingly become a staple of AIW cards, and we have another one here. It’s an interesting mix of characters, as you have a bunch of guys from Canada, and AIW regulars, from students to more experienced competitors. I had a feeling this was going to be good, but when it was finished, it was definitely better than I was expecting. This was really good. It was packed with action, as you would expect with a match like this, but what made it stand out compared to similar matches is that they did a bunch of really unique stuff that I hadn’t seen before. In one spot in particular, we saw people hitting 450 splashes onto an increasingly pile of bodies. I might be the high person when it comes to this Six-Way Scramble, but I honestly thought it was the best match on the entire show. Eventually, Candice LeRae managed to get the win.

8.) Six-Man Tag Team Match - Dudes On TV (Ethan Carter III, Raymond Rowe, & Zema Ion) vs. Alex Daniels, Johnny Gargano, & Josh Prohibition: ***1/4   

So this match is a continuation of what happened at Charge It To The Underhills, but with Ethan Carter III (who had finally been cleared to compete), Raymond Rowe, and Alex Daniels joining the mix. This was a good Six-Man Tag, but given who was involved, I feel like it could’ve been better. The action was solid throughout, and they did manage to tell a decent story, with The Dudes On TV isolating Alex Daniels, building up to an eventual hot tag. The finish probably hurt the match a little bit also, as Zema Ion distracted the referee on the outside, which allowed Rowe to hit Gargano with the ring bell. Rowe then put EC3 on top of Gargano, and The Dudes On TV get the win. Again this was good, but it was just missing something. I guess this was meant to build towards bigger things down the road, so that’s a positive.

After the match, Josh Prohibition & Raymond Rwe have a stare down, but Zema Ion hits the former with the ring bell from behind. On this night, The Dudes On TV stand tall.

9.) AIW Absolute Title - Fatal Four-Way Match - Josh Alexander vs. Eddie Kingston (with The Duke) vs. “All Ego” Ethan Page vs. Rickey Shane Page: ***1/4

As mention earlier, Tim Donst was forced to vacate the AIW Absolute Title, so this Fatal Four-Way Match was made to decide the new champion. This was a very….interesting match, to say the least. It was surprisingly short main event, as it was just under ten minutes. To their credit, they did manage to pack a fair amount of action in this match, and in a weird way, this felt like the latter half of a twenty-minute main event. In the middle of the match, the locker room emptied out to support the four men fighting for the title (mainly Rickey Shane Page). Towards the end of the match, Ethan Page tried to dive onto Eddie Kingston, but The Duke shoves the referee in the way, causing Page to accidentally take out the referee. The Duke then tried to hold down Page for Kingston, but Page ducks, and Kingston inadvertently hits The Duke with a backfist. Following this, Kingston & Page brawled to the back, leaving just Josh Alexander & Rickey Shane Page in the ring. Another referee came out, and he also got taken out inadvertently. While this second referee was down, Rickey Shane Page tried to go for (I guess) a superplex on Alexander, but Veda Scott jumps on the apron and throws powder in his face! This allowed Josh Alexander to take advantage, and he wins the AIW Absolute Title after hitting a spinning tombstone. 

Veda Scott presented Josh Alexander with the AIW Absolute Title after the match, but Tim Donst runs them off as the show comes to a close.

Overall: 7.0/10

This wasn’t exactly the best showing from AIW, but it was by no means a bad show. After the opening match, the first portion of the show had a fair amount of comedy stuff, but from Chris Sabin vs. Colt Cabana onward, the show got better from an in-ring standpoint. Oddly enough, the Six-Way Scramble was my pick for the Match Of The Night. All of the title matches were pretty solid, though the match that crowned the new AIW Absolute Champion was probably the most newsworthy, as far as results are concerned.

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