Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Matches from AIW Bloodsport 9/9/16

1. Shawn Schultz vs. Tim Donst vs. Eric Ryan vs. Facade

ER: I haven't seen three of these guys before, and it's obviously been several years since I've seen Donst. Donst used to have his amateur wrestling body and gimmick, but now he's been clearly inspired by Kevin Owens' WWE success and Ethan Page's continuing Evolve push, so has modeled his look more after them. I came away from this really impressed by Eric Ryan, and also Facade. Facade looked like a guy playing a club promoter in the movie Strange Days. But he ties togther his indy offense nicely and adds nice thump to his transition strikes, feels much more like a late 90s OMEGA guy like Shannon Moore, than your current breed of similar indy workers who have flash but all their tie-together stuff looks garbage. Ryan was killer, moved really fast and took big bumps, hit some nice power offense. Best spot was him going for a suicide dive early, and his opponent just moves, and Ryan literally just does a suicide dive into the guardrail. Whole match was built around Donst in the crowd not wanting to wrestle, so you knew he was going to come in and win. But this was worth it just for the Ryan/Facade parts.

2. Eddie Kingston vs. Dan Severn

ER: Neat little 4 minute match, cool enough that had it happened on a 1998 episode of Shotgun would still be talked up today as a syndicated gem. Dan Severn is almost 60 and has hardly aged in 18 years, so it may as well have happened on Shotgun. They do a bit of tough matwork, Severn getting a double while Kingston works underneath for a kimura. Next time Severn shoots in for a double Kingston is waiting with a low knee, and Kingston acts surprised that it actually worked! Severn goes down from the knee and Kingston punces with muay thai knees, Severn blocks a backfist in a cool way, and that puts him in grappling range and Severn tosses Kingston a couple times with some cool unorthodox throws, then chokes him out. This came off like a cool Dave Taylor/Jerry Flynn WCWSN match, which makes it a win in my book.

3. Colin Delaney/Cheech vs. Russ Myers/T-Money vs. Steve Pain/Gringo Loco

ER: AIW is really good at throwing together these multi man spot tags, but it helps when you have someone like Steve Pain in there running things. This probably would have been better if we dropped Myers/Money from the equation, but there were enough moments that they added to that their inclusion was fine. Steve Pain, though - especially in matches like this - is just a bank full of money. He has all sorts of awesome convoluted offense, big slams and trippy powerbomb combinations, he's good at hand holding through other guy's cool spots, bumps big on a hiptoss to the floor, and will run face first into a back elbow. Loco has slowed down a little since his IWRG peak but he brings professionalism to a spotfest like this, so while maybe he should cut down on the complicated dives that have barely been clearing the apron, he's still an excellent hand in there to tie things together. Cheech and Delaney are fun together, dug their stereo dives and their silly Rube Goldberg style assisted rana. For their part Myers brought some amusing comedy, I did laugh at his terrible kip up spots, and his wild moonsault off of Pain's shoulders threatened to kill everyone. Money brought a slick dive over the top rope and a big pounce. Really love these kind of matches and I really need to start seeking out all Steve Pain matches.

4. Louis Lyndon vs. Matt Riddle

PAS: Louis Lyndon is an original Beyond Wrestling dude who I always enjoy, he used to do a Bruce Leroy gimmick and now seems to be doing some sort of Captain Mike Rotundo shtick. I really liked the start of this with Lyndon throwing cool lucha armdrags and Riddle countering them with armbar attempts, it was a very cool mix of styles and got me amped for the match. Unfortunately it didn't really live up to its early promise, as Riddle did a lot of hack cheap shotting and they were off on a couple of spots. Finish was a ref distraction and a low blow. Wouldn't mind seeing them match up again, but this wasn't much.

ER: I thought this maintained more than Phil did, as the early awesome spots ran longer than the couple troublesome spots down the stretch. But I liked Lyndon more than I liked Riddle in this one, which surprised me. Riddle definitely facilitated some of Lyndon's more complicated things and went over easy on germans, but Riddle also has begun doing tons of complicated build up to weak looking finishes. There was a moment where he was doing some slick standing floatovers and I thought he was going to spin into an old Minoru Tanaka armbar but instead he ends with a stupid looking Pele kick that just rarely reads well. It's like the more confident he gets in a wrestling ring, the more stupid stuff he tries, and the more he gets further away from his actual cool MMA integration. I didn't really need to see him ever try his hand at KENTA style kick combos, but we're starting to get more of that and less of the wild bumps and less of that Fujiwara/Ishikawa "always dangerous" spirit lurking underneath. Phil is right that Lyndon started this out hot, and some of those armdrags made me flip. That one where he grabs Riddle's wrist and does a snap bridge, tossing Riddle over? Nuts. Lyndon had a bunch of cool stuff here, and although they got crossed up a couple times down the stretch I thought the cool outweighed the overly cooperative. I actually liked the finish with Lyndon pulling the ref in front of him to stop Riddle's attack, then punting him low. So overall I liked this more than Phil, but it's starting to look like the bloom is coming off the Riddle rose a bit, but hopefully it's just a case of the guy working more and more, therefore more less than stellar performances emerging with the larger sample.

5. Shayna Baszler vs. Heidi Lovelace

PAS: This was the main event of an MMA tinged show, and by far the best I have seen Baszler look in her short pro-wrestling career. She comes off a little like a female Don Frye, cocky asshole, sort of likable, but a total killer. She has this great taunt early in the match where she chains into submissions while counting them out, I could have tapped you with this, or this, or this. Her cockiness leads to a great near fall where she flips off Lovelace only to get her head kicked in. Heidi brought it, working super stiff, and finding cool ways to use ranas as piledrivers. Bayzler still will occasionally pull a shot too much, but she is developing a better sense of when to lay it in, and has great charisma. Finish was cool with Heidi going for a senton, which lands her right into Baszler's rear naked choke. Post match Jessyman Duke and Rhonda Rousey come out to help her celebrate, which was pretty neat.

ER: I really liked this and was really impressed with Lovelace. Baszler was impressive as well, especially for someone who's probably just 25 matches into her career; but Heidi had this all mapped out, paced things really great, fed some great spots to Shayna, and really knew how to build this. The counting off submissions spots was such a great dickhead spot, "Here's an armbar, here's a wristlock, kneebar, heel hook, now I'll let you up." Phil pointed out how she can still pull too many shots, and there were a couple that came off bad, but that's where I thought Heidi really excelled, as when Shayna would pull one Heidi would respond with one of her stiffer shots, almost waking up Shayna to a "oh yeah, I can hit harder!" and her response blows would always be bigger. Loved Heidi's headscissor that smashed Shayna's face into the guardrail, and that kneeling rana that did the same, into the mat. Also dug Baszler shit talking a skater kid in the front row, who looked like a tiny male Heidi, with a starter mustache. There were a couple times where they went out to fight right in front of him, and they would lay it in for a little close up magic. Heidi knocked the finish out of the park with her "getting choked out" facials. Her face was looking pale and her lips even looked blue, made me think Shayna was actually murdering her. Really cool match, and I really hope they match up again somewhere down the line.

ER: Really fun show (especially when you skip matches with Ethan Page, Michael Elgin and BJ Whitmer!), and Baszler/Lovelace was good enough that it landed on our 2016 Ongoing MOTY List. But I dug all the matches I watched.

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