AIW: Absolution XI (2016)

Absolution XI

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

Cleveland, OH

Friday, July 22, 2016

 

The Show

Steve Guy is out to open the show. He has stumbled in the past but was fine here. After some brief announcements, he introduced ring announcer Pedro DeLuca to a huge pop.

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All Photographs in this review are courtesy of www.facebook.com/AIWrestling

Matt Cross replaced Bandolero. Cross is never in anything but peak condition.

This match started slowly but it slammed hard into second gear.

DJZ performed some re-donk-u-lous dives over the top rope to the floor. Absolutely crazy. Literal jaw-droppers. He has done nothing but push his personal bar higher and higher in the last couple years. He is ballsy and innovative.

Steve Pain showed up to do some work, as well. He drilled Laredo Kid with an awesome pop-up RKO. He hustled and held his own with a ring full of talented performers. I hope to see him back.

Eventually, Cross pinned Pain.

This was a stunt show in which every participant put a thick slab of stank on every move. It was a spotfest…but the best possible kind. I loved this match.

Winners: DJZ/Laredo Kid/Matt Cross

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Raymond Rowe wanted to shake hands to begin the match but Tim Donst refused and shot on his legs.

Later, Donst ate a forearm while leaping off the apron to the floor.

Rowe’s chops are legend.

Rowe facewashed Donst. Fuck. Just fuck. That can’t feel good.

The two trade catastrophic exploders.

Rowe bookended Donst on the apron.

Donst scores the win with a Death Valley Driver off the second rope.

When Rowe-Donst was put on second, I leaned over to my friend and commented that one of the two would turn up again later in the evening.

This was a solid, hard-hitting match between two of my favorites. Ray Rowe is a monster. Tim Donst is a soldier. It made for a great pairing.

Winner: Tim Donst

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Frankie Flynn’s mystery partner was Eddie Kingston. Not a huge surprise if one has been following AIW storylines.

The four opened by brawling around ringside. Even sitting in the bleachers, I couldn’t see much of the action.

Eddie Kingston waves a tiny flag that he found in the crowd. This garners a “U-S-A!” chant.

Kingston and Whitmer destroyed each other in a chop-trading spot.

The Duke chews his gum like he hates it.

Flynn hot tags Kingston.

“Fuck ’em up, Eddie” chant.

He hacks away at Whitmer.

Whitmer planted Flynn with a powerslam.

Flynn kicked out of a Duke Bomb.

In the most cringe-worthy move of the night, Whitmer powerbombed Flynn on the guardrail. It looked excruciating.

Kingston hit a  “Backfist to the Future” on Duke for the win.

Kingston called Flynn to the ring. He said that after he quit the company, the only person to call him was Flynn. He put Flynn over for his tenacity.

Winners: Frankie Flynn & Eddie Kingston

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Alex Daniels was accompanied to ringside by Greg Iron and Veda Scott.

Jerry left the match early because he hurt his neck.

There was a long stretch of the match featuring Facade squaring off with Alex Daniels.

There was an innovative spot where Facade gave a Hurricanrana to Cedric Alexander which causes him to leg drop Daniels. Fun stuff.

Jerry is back out. He throws powder in all three of his opponents’ eyes. He delivers a triple stunner. All three kick out of pin attempts.

Facade devastates Cedric Alexander with a Canadian Destroyer.

At this point, Ray Lyn makes her way to ringside with the Intense belt. She tosses it to Jerry. He drops it. Daniels nails him with it for the pin.

Daniels and his crew jump Jerry. He makes a comeback and kisses Scott. However, he eventually is overcome.

As the heels leave, Jerry takes the microphone and announces his retirement. He gets a huge ovation.

This was an interesting match as it was composed of four different wrestlers with four different skill sets who are at four different stages of their careers.

Daniels continues to progress his character. It felt like Ray Lyn will be positioned as his “girlfriend” from this point on. I think they will work well off of each other.

Jerry has always been a good utility player for the company. He has played a variety of characters over the years and always tried to make the best of the material given to him. His current incarnation as “AIW Superstar Jerry” is his best role. He is leaving wrestling on a high note.

Winner: Alex Daniels

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The match was advertised as a Texas Death match.

The attire in this match was awesome. Col. Parker wore a 3-piece suit and a cowboy hat with sneakers. Dick Justice rocked some boss-ass “mom jeans.”

Dutch Mantell appeared near the merchandise table and cut a great promo as he made his way to ringside.

Being the more mobile of the two managers, Parker interfered throughout the bout.

Samson got color after Samson partnered with a young lady in the audience to whoop his ass. She is in a wheelchair. Justice took the tray off of her chair and beat and choked Samson with it.

Justice started to bleed after Samson went to work on him with a cowbell.

Mantell and Parker got into a scuffle.

Justice hip-tossed Samson off the stage through a table covered with tacks. Justice pinned him. As per match stipulations, he won after Samson could not answer a 10-count.

Winner: Dick Justice w/ Dutch Mantell

 

Intermission

 

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Tyson Dux was unable to make the match due to travel issues, so Tracy Williams named Dominic Garrini as his replacement.

Garrini and Cheech start out. They trade moves on the mat.

Early on, it seemed like there was a botched 3-count.

Colin Delaney shouted, “12 large,” in tribute to deceased manager Larry Sweeney, as he flew off the top rope.

To Infinity & Beyond won by pinfall when they powerbombed Hot Sauce on Garrini’s prone back. It looked painful.

I hope the TI&B v. HSE feud wraps up soon. It feels like it has been going on forever. Nothing against the wrestlers, it is just time for the rivalry to conclude. I’d like to see some new tag teams brought in the territory.

Winners: To Infinity & Beyond

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Louis Lyndon came out and talked smack.

Sabre went to work on Lydon. He stretched him and ate him alive. He headed off Lyndon at every turn.

For the first half of the bout, ZSJ is in control. Slowly, Lyndon made it competitive.

Things heat up after some near-falls.

Lyndon tapped.

Witnessing Sabre work is a treat. He is incredibly smooth and technically dazzling. I did notice that he seems to genuinely enjoy stretching his opponents, which plays oddly considering he is a babyface.

I’m curious to see more of Sabre’s selling. He sorta just dishes it out but doesn’t take much in return.

Winner: Louis Lyndon

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EC3 and Karlee Perez were a duo on NXT during its previous incarnation as a contest. He was “Derek Bateman” and she was “Maxine.” Collectively they were known as “BetaMax.”

Bateman got on the mic. He complimented Gargano for his forthcoming full-time gig with NXT. He said he has the skills for wrestling but wondered if he could handle the competitions of the old days.

He then announced that Matt Striker (as played by Steve Guy) would host a short series of competitions between the two teams. There was a Q&A portion, a physical portion, and a talent portion. One particularly disturbing incident involved Steve Guy landing face first in Bateman’s crotch.

The finally of the contest was Johnny and Candice’s talent. They did a dance to the song, Time of My Life, from Dirty Dancing. Just as things built to the iconic big lift, Bateman jumped Gargano.

The match was short and sweet. The guys squared off against the guys and the girls versus the girls.

It concluded with LeRae pinning Maxine.

Gargano and LeRae then went for the Dirty Dancing lift again, which they hit.

At this point, EC3 ran back to the ring and demanded that they try the lift. Johnny backed up and ran toward Carter, who lifted and caught him in the iconic pose. It was the non-wrestling moment of the night.

Johnny got on the mic and thanked the crowd. He even called Eddie Kingston to the stage and gave him a hug.

Johnny’s last independent match will be Sept. 23 for AIW.

Winners: Johnny Gargano & Candice LeRae

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The three begin by brawling through the crowd.

Page and Alexander traded blows in the ring.

Ref bump.

Page got ahold of the title belt. He drilled Probo and Alexander with it.

Out runs referee Tom Dunn.

Prohibition kicked out of a pin attempt.

Prohibition piledrove Page on the belt to win the championship.

After a brief celebration, Tim Donst ran out and attacked Prohibition.

He explained that fans had been jeering him in recent months, so he was going to give them something to boo.

He said that the fans feel bad for Prohibition because he is old.

He talked about coming back to AIW to face Nick Gage, being a cancer survivor, and a recent tragedy involving his parent.

Winner: Josh Prohibition

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Overall

This was a great in-ring show. The opening lucha match is MUST SEE. It was thrilling.

The NXT segment is silly and smarky enough to please both novice and hardcore fans.

For AIW completists, this show is historic because it marks Josh Prohibition’s first Absolute championship.

However…

I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t mention that the show started an hour late. Intermission was at 10:30 pm. Gargano and EC3 didn’t take the ring until 11:30. The main event didn’t go on until after midnight.

I spoke to AIW co-owner John Thorne and he was genuinely apologetic. He explained that Karlee Perez had transportation issues that caused the delay.

I get it. Shit happens. But transportation problems or not, you still have 400+ people waiting around. The city of Cleveland was an oven that night. It just made for a long evening.

I also think the delay hurt the quality of the show. The comedy segment would have played a helluva lot better if it wasn’t almost midnight.

I feel bad for Josh Prohibition. After 12 years he finally wins the Absolute title…in front of an exhausted crowd. Condense the evening a bit and who knows how that affects the aura of the moment.

Another thing I feel undercut the moment was having Donst run out to turn heel at the end of the evening. This isn’t the first time that things have been booked so that someone gets a big win (a championship, Gauntlet for the Gold, etc…) and they immediately take a beatdown to close the show. Sometimes things just need to be allowed to breathe and feel special.

In all…

AIW does it again. Absolution XI was a helluva good event. I’m telling you, it’s worth it just for the lucha six-man alone. However, there is plenty of other good stuff on the show. I highly encourage the AIW loyal or curious fans of independent wrestling to check it out.

Purchase AIW DVDs & MP4s HERE.

More Wrestling

AIW’s Gauntlet for the Gold Eleven

North East Wrestling: Wrestling Under the Stars

AIW: What’s in the Basement, Klopek?

AIW: Back to the Future Cup (2016)

Interview: Derek Direction

-Zep the Bear

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