AIW’s JT Lightning Invitational Tournament 2016 Night Two
Photos courtesy of: AIWrestling.com
The Show: Saturday, May 28, 2016
Ring announcer Pedro DeLuca is out carrying the JLIT trophy. He brings JT Lightning’s kids (Hannah and Mike Haase) to the ring to pay tribute to their father.
The Duke is out with BJ Whitmer.
Colt Cabana mumbles through Road Dogg’s portion of the New Age Outlaw’s catch phrase. Billy Gunn then delivers his “suck it” line. Mayhem ensues.
Cabana and Whitmer are trading chops.
Josh Alexander breaks up a pin attempt by Ass on Whitmer.
Cabana chops the shit out of Whitmer.
Alexander unloads with chops to Cabana.
Cabana hits the Flying Asshole on Whitmer.
Whitmer drops Cabana with an Exploder.
Whitmer eats a Stinger Splash by Gunn.
Alexander locks a heel hook on Whitmer.
Whitmer stuns Alexander with a powerslam.
Cabana tosses Whitmer into the Duke.
Gunn lays out Cabana with a Fame-Ass-er.
Gunn hits the Fame-Ass-er on Alexander.
Alexander pins Gunn after a Roaring Elbow.
Winner: Josh Alexander
Even without Road Dogg present, it is amazing how over Gunn’s entrance is with the fans.
Ray Rowe enters the ring like a snarling beast.
Rowe hits an over-the-head belly-to-belly suplex on Tim Donst.
Rowe drills Donst with an Exploder.
Rowe and Dan Severn square off. This moment is electric. It’s really fucking cool.
Severn gives Rowe a Biel Throw. He then clotheslines Donst, then Rowe.
Tracy Williams tees off on Severn. He attempts an armbar, but the Beast gets to the ropes.
Severn blocks a German suplex.
Donst takes a brutal knee strike from Rowe.
Rowe no-sells a clothesline from Williams.
Donst stuns Rowe.
Donst with a Suicide Dive on Rowe.
Williams suplexes Donst.
Hot Sauce traps Donst in a crossface.
Rowe destroys Williams with a powerbomb.
Severn traps Rowe in a Dragon Sleeper.
Then Donst gets locked in one.
Then Donst and Hot Sauce at the same time.
The crowd went bonkers for this.
Severn no-sells a kick from Rowe.
German suplex by Rowe.
Donst locks Hot Sauce in a crossface.
Rowe gives Donst an Exploder into the turnbuckle followed by the Death Rowe for the pinfall.
Rowe gets on the mic. He puts over Severn. He says that even though he went to college, the only thing that made sense to him was wrestling. He said that Dan Severn blazed the path allowing him to do what he does. He then offers his hand to Severn to show his respect. The two men shake.
Winner: Raymond Rowe
GREAT. FUCKING. MATCH.
Severn was great during his Night One match with Colin Delaney. He showed a warmth and playful side that I don’t know that I’ve ever seen him exhibit before. Hell, he spent most of the match smiling. I didn’t even know that Dan Severn COULD smile.
But this is the match where the Beast showed up. The 57-year old former NWA World Champion and UFC champion reared the war face of which longtime fans are so familiar.
The clear high point of the bout was Severn no-selling the boot to the face from Rowe, while his other two opponents were locked in the double Dragon Sleepers. It was chilling.
Greg Iron is out with Alex Daniels as his second.
Cedric Alexander and Daniels start the match.
Louis Lyndon rolls up DJZ.
Daniels and Iron trip Z.
Daniels clotheslines Alexander out of his boots. He does a complete flip.
Lyndon and Daniels double-team Alexander.
DJZ gives a neck breaker to Daniels who in turn DDTs Lyndon.
Alexander and Z double-team Daniels
Z rolls up Alexander.
Daniels and Alexander knock each other out with kicks. This gets a “This is awesome” chant.
Alexander nails a Suicide Dive on Daniels.
DJZ executes a flawless “Jordan” dive on Alexander who is outside the ring.
Daniels with a reverse enziguri on Z.
Lyndon drills Z with a German suplex.
Daniels is floored with a Falcon Arrow by Alexander. He goes for the pin. Daniels kicks out.
DJZ hits a gorgeous Tornado DDT on Lyndon.
Z hits a 450 splash. However, Daniels sneaks in and steals the pinfall.
Winner: Alex Daniels
The athleticism in this bout was off the charts.
AIW brass has chosen to throw Daniels into the deep end of the pool and he is holding his own. I paid close attention to him prior to the start of the match. He adds these tiny little touches in which he appears to be mentally “centering” himself before the bell that adds to his overall package. He is onto something with this “realist” character, it just needs a bit of road testing and refinement.
I’ve said this before, but DJZ has upped his game. I’ve seen him for years and thought that he had leveled off. He has clearly been putting in the work. I’d like to see him get a shot at a bigger stage. Well, bigger than TNA.
Alexander is an absolute (no pun intended) pro. He is another guy who should be off to bigger things.
Brian Myers/Swoggle v. Little Guido/Big Mo
Swoggle and Big Mo start the match.
“Swoggle’s gonna kill you!”
Swoggle tries to tempt Mo into a test of strength.
Swoggle chops Mo’s belly.
Myers hits a gorgeous hesitation dropkick to Guido in the corner.
Myers v. Mo.
Myers chopping Mo.
Myers belly-to-back on Mo.
Mo back sentons Myers.
Swoggle back sentons Mo.
Swoggle with a suicide dive onto Mo.
Guido is up on Swoggle’s shoulders.
Doomsday Device to Guido.
Double Superkick on Mo.
Myers hits Mo with an elbow off the top rope.
Swoggle with a Tadpole Splash on Mo for the pin.
Hornswoggle then cut a short (pun intended) promo.
Winners: Brian Myers & Swoggle
Great little comedy match. It was funny, yet still was packed with lots of action. Swoggle squaring off Big Mo was an epic visual.
Pick Your Poison #1
Josh Prohibition v. ???
Ethan Page is out to announce that he has chosen Eric Ryan to be Josh Prohibition’s opponent for the evening.
The competitors immediately take the match out of the ring.
They trade chops.
Probo drops Ryan across the metal barrier. He locks on a reverse chin lock, before sinking in a single-leg Boston Crab.
Ryan lays out Prohibition with a clothesline. He follows with a sitout powerbomb.
Probo Drunken Driver.
Winner: Josh Prohibition
What is there to say? This was an exciting match between two skilled and familiar wrestlers.
It’s nice to have Eric Ryan back. He is local to NorthEast Ohio that probably should be a touring wrestler. He has a great look and is tough as nails. I don’t recall ever hearing him do an extended promo, but his work alone should be enough to get him booked outside the region on a regular basis.
Mixed Tag Team Match
Johnny Gargano/Candice LeRae v. Greg Iron/???
Once Iron was in the ring he motioned toward the entrance and Veda Scott’s music hit. Hope and Change have reunited.
Gargano hit Iron with a Lawn Dart. He and LeRae then blasted Iron with a double Superkick.
LeRae scored the pinfall.
Winners: Johnny Gargano & Candice LeRae
I must admit that the reunion of Hope and Change is a bit perplexing. Iron and Scott had a violent war that went in some creepy directions. I’m intrigued, but not necessarily excited, to see how AIW creative explain the reconciliation.
Pick Your Poison #2
Ethan Page v. ???
Josh Prohibition came out to introduce Ethan Page’s opponent. Out came Homicide.
The two begin by brawling wildly through the audience. They soon ended up next to my friend and me in the bleachers.
‘Cide threw a chair at Page’s head.
They fight over to the merchandise tables, one of which is destroyed in the melee.
Homicide suplexes Page on the ramp and breaks it.
They finally make their way into the ring.
Page hits a Fallaway Slam.
‘Cide is rocked by a Powerbomb.
Homicide hits an Exploder.
Page with an RKO.
Page scores the pin.
Winner: Ethan Page
This was a wild, hard-hitting match.
Homicide has not lost a step since I first started seeing him back in the early-2000s.
While Ethan Page draws most of his heat from his over-the-top promos, don’t sleep on his brawling. He went toe-to-toe with one of the best in the business.
It was a fun fight.
JLIT 2016 Finals
3-Way Elimination Match
“The Realist” Alex Daniels (w/ Greg Iron) v. Raymond “Death” Rowe v. “Walking Weapon” Josh Alexander
Rowe cuts a promo about being the only finalist with a direct connection to JT Lightning.
Rowe levels Daniels with a powerbomb. He then stretches him on the floor in some sort of submission maneuver that my vantage point wouldn’t allow me to see.
Rowe hits a Superman Punch.
In another intricate move: Alexander has Rowe in a sleeper. Daniels belly-to-back suplexes the pair.
Alexander does a twisting suicide dive on his opponents.
Daniels is superplexed by Alexander.
Alexander locks Daniels in a heel hook.
Daniels enziguris Rowe.
Daniels takes a bad spill off the top rope.
Rowe pins Daniels.
Business really picks up at this point.
Alexander nails a jawbreaking powerbomb. He follows with a Roaring Elbow.
Ray kicks out of a pin attempt.
Alexander scores with multiple Roaring Elbows.
Josh Alexander scores the pin on Ray Rowe.
Rowe gets on the mic and puts over his opponent like the true professional that he is.
Alexander declares that he is going after Ethan Page’s Absolute Championship.
Winner of the 2016 JLIT: Josh Alexander
The tournament finals were about as fierce and stiff as it gets.
Daniels definitely held his own once again, but he is still young.
When the match came down to Rowe and Alexander the intensity ratcheted up.
These were two snarling bulls going to war. Some men don’t have the mentality or physical tools to take things to the level that Raymond Rowe and Josh Alexander do. There was a severity to every move they executed that was captivating. Neither man held back in the slightest. This is where greatness is fostered.
This was a helluva match.
This was a great show. It was the perfect cap to a long weekend of wrestling.
The crowd stayed white hot for both installments of the JLIT 2016. As more matches piled up over the weekend I feared the intensity of the audience might wane but this wasn’t the case. A mixture of smart booking and talented performers kept interest peaked for both events.
Coming out of the show, I’m excited to follow the growth of Alex Daniels. I think he has the dedication and mindset to excel.
A glaring omission from the tournament and the company overall was Rickey Shane Page. He has basically been AWOL from AIW since losing the Absolute Championship last fall. I’m not sure why he wasn’t used, but he was in the building. He is tough as nails and sorely missed. Just sayin’…
After the event concluded, promoter John Thorne asked me how I felt about his decision to make the semi-finals and finals multi-man matches.
I was honest and told him that going in I didn’t think it was a great idea. But upon seeing it executed, it worked.
He laughed and said, “Ya gotta learn to trust me.”
Touche, Mr. Thorne. Touche.
Full JLIT 2016 Night One coverage can be found HERE.
AIW DVDs and digital media can be purchased HERE.
-Zep the Bear