Segunda Caida

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

Monday, June 24, 2019

Monday AIW - JT Lightning Invitational Tournament Night 1 6/14/19

Lee Moriarty vs. Colin Delaney

PAS: Fun opener with Delaney being pretty great in the role of the nasty veteran against a flashy young guy. I really liked all of the arm drag stuff at the beginning, Moriarty had a bunch of fun armdrag variations which Delaney took great, and I liked the idea of Delaney trying to hang early, getting frustrated and just bashing the side of Moriarty's head against the ringpost. I did think some of the Johnny Saint stuff by Moriarty felt unnecessarily cutesy, but this was mostly good stuff and I was really impressed by heel Colin.

ER: I really liked this, thought they had some really inventive exchanges, and I liked that they wouldn't end those flowery exchanges with a stand-off or another dumb exchange, it would usually end in a hard elbow show. It's so awesome that Colin Delaney went from being one of the weirder WWE signings, to a guy who is clearly a much better worker than most of the NXT roster. If it's what he wants, I really hope he gets back there, as he's become one of my favorite guys on the indy scene. Delaney can work super quick exchanges with anyone, but it's rooted in a veteran bully persona that always makes the sequences more satisfying than "athletic guys having an athletic match". All of the armdrags from both looked really good, and we had some quick sequences that took some unexpected turns, but the match was made by little cocky Delaney gestures. I loved when he dropped Moriarty with a hard suplex, and Moriarty's body kind of recoiled back up into a seated position, so Delaney just threw a chop to knock him back down flat. The Johnny Saint stuff did feel a little out of place (even Kingston on commentary tossed out a "uhhh guess we're doing Johnny Saint now") but again, I love when a flipper gets cute and gets elbowed for his troubles. Delaney's Diamond Dust-style cutter out of a suplex always looks cool, he really gets the physics of his move, and I actually liked him climbing up to the top rope to hit another cutter while Moriarty was frozen in a silly Mortal Kombat "FINISH HIM!" pose. Would have loved to see Delaney in later rounds, but this opener delivered.

Pat Buck vs. Swoggle

PAS: It's a Swoggle match, so we are going to get some comedy spots, a improbable suplex or two, and some weird stiff shots from a tiny guy. Buck has been around forever, he was an ex-OVW guy, but a Swoggle match isn't where you are going to show your stuff. I liked some of the AJ Styles comedy spots, Swoggle setting up for a springboard elbow is amusing, and I liked him trying for leapfrogs, but this isn't really for me.

Joshua Bishop vs. Tre Lamar

PAS: No Consequences explodes!! Bishop is really getting good, he is starting to work really stiff, and has great impact on his throws. Lamar is a fun pinball for Bishops big spots, including bumping huge on chokeslam and spinning sidewalk slam. I also liked the story of Bishop getting advantages when he used his speed and hit and run, but getting goaded into throwing hands and getting smashed. I did think the Wes Barkley interference was unnecessary and took some of the steam out of the finish which got a little overbaked. Still this was an impressive performance by two guys pretty new to wrestling.

ER: Phil is right about Bishop and Lamar being maybe the youngest guns experience-wise on this show (other than probably Zach Thomas), and I was super impressed with both here. Lamar is a real risk taker and he isn't just a guy with nice flips, he really makes his kicks count. Bishop really reminds me of Scotty Flamingo in style and confidence, and that's a fun thing to be in 2019 indy wrestling. Lamar takes a couple cool bumps into the crowd, and he could really make some big Bishop moves shine. Towards the end of the match Bishop hits this zillion spin sideslam that landed in such an aesthetically pleasing way, like how a baseball bat can feel almost spring loaded when you make absolute perfect contact on the sweet spot. I liked all of Lamar's kicks, think Bishop is like a cool Baron Corbin, so I dug this. Now, I also think the finish went completely off the rails at one point, and the interference and set up for it was the derailer. The match didn't need that, they were doing really good things on their own. Kept this from being really highly recommended.

Savio Vega vs. MJF

PAS: They seem to have MJF work the nostalgia acts they bring in, and he is a good choice as he can bump around and work shtick around their limitations. This was similar to the Shane Douglas match, although Savio may be a bit less mobile at this point. He still works pretty stiff, so when unloads it looks good. I am a Savio fan, but I didn't get the sense he has a big Dustin or PCO style run in him.

ER: Man I loved this. It's perfectly timed at 7 minutes, it's up there with my favorite MJF performances, and I thought Savio looked really cool on offense and totally nailed his spinning heel kick as well as he nailed it in 1996, only with 50 lb. of additional bulk. This whole match is Savio throwing hard chops, a big headbutt, nice punches, and these great open hand thrusts to MJF's throat. MJF throws a bunch of great downward angle left hands and hard kicks to the stomach as if he was actually working a show in Puerto Rico. I didn't need anything more than kick and punch, because both guys worked some compelling kick and punch. The spinkick was so much better than I expected, and I really liked both guys here. I've enjoyed a ton of Abdullah the Butcher matches where he did less than Savio did here, Savio needs to just embrace being the new Abby and his career has a second life.

Mance Warner vs. Dr. Daniel C. Rockingham

PAS: This was a relaxed rules match with DCR trying to prove how tough he is by jumping Mance. He gets in some big shots, but most of the match is Mance pummeling Dr. Dan, including running him into chairs held by audience members and stapling self help pamphlets to Dr. Dan's forehead. I find staple gun stuff kind of gross, and the match was kind of a waste.

KTB vs. Flip Kendrick

PAS: Fun big guy vs. little guy match with KTB having a bunch of great ways to toss around Kendrick, and Kendrick having a bunch of ways to squirm his way out of trouble. Really good KTB performance, he has good wild energy and keeps on the attack. I loved the powerbomb where he steps on the bottom rope to add torque, and the top rope TKO where he stepped on the middle rope before hurling Kendrick was spot of the show so far. I would have liked a little more flash from Flip, he can be one of the most spectacular wrestlers in the world, and he felt a subdued on offense. Still very nifty match.

Marko Stunt vs. Tim Donst

PAS: Match had some real moments of excitement. Stunt is the size of a third grader, but is an electric bumper and really gets tossed to the celling by Donst on some of these moves. I also really dug some of Stunts dives into the audience. Unfortunately there was also some real stinkers: they do a Malenko/Guerrero roll up sequence which was as bad looking as anything I can remember seeing, some moments where both guys were bumping early for spots, and the finishing roll up looked slow and awkward. In this case, I think the bad outweighed the good and I can't recommend the match.

Kid Kash vs. Louis Lyndon

PAS: Lots of this I liked, although I don’t think it came together as a great match. Kash is really good at eating someone up, it has a very Benoit or Dynamite feel to it, he really works over Lyndon with simple violent offense. Lyndon is a guy I normally like, but he felt a little out of his depth here. There was another awful looking Malenko/Guerrero roll up section here, which should be banned from wrestling for life. Kash’s finishing brainbuster was super violent, and I would love to see him back against Kingston or Lawlor, someone who can give it back to him.

Matthew Justice vs. Danhausen

PAS: This was a no DQ match, and basically was Justice vs. all three members of the Production (RIP Frankie Flynn and Magnum CK). Like you might expect it was a bunch of really crazy bumps by everyone involved. Justice takes a superplex onto the ring apron (which was truly nuts, this was a first round match for fucks sake), Danhausen gets suplexed over the top onto Derek Director and Eddy Only. There was one pretty egregious Justice no-sell of a german suplex, otherwise this was fun garbage stuff. I really love the Production as an act, and they are all really fun crash dummies.

ER: I thought this was great, but I also fully admit that I'm over the moon for The Production at this point. I think they're the best Special K since Special K, and I loved Special K. They attack the same way, like dangerous and mildly ineffective ninjas, but they all have unique repertoires that all complement what the others are doing, and it makes the matches into fun car crash spectacles. This was the biggest Danhausen showcase I've seen, and he has a lot of cool stuff, but really everybody involved breaks out some crazy moments. Justice is really fearless, and I could not believe they went through with that top rope suplex to the apron. Both guys' legs looked wobbly and so much could have gone wrong, but you know this is going to be a production, baby! I loved Justice throwing the Pros into each other, at one point stacking them rudely, wedged into the corner of the guardrail, tossing them all on the pile; later he tossed Danhausen to the floor onto Eddy and Derek (and now I want a Danny & Derek & Eddy shirt). I think they're really good at causing constant problems for opponents, while seeming completely beatable, while not looking like pushovers. It's a real tough balance that I think they nail, and it's part of what makes them so damn appealing. Crazy bumps and neat spots throughout, their match seems like it's regularly the most fun 10 minutes on a card.

36. Eddie Kingston vs. Zach Thomas

PAS: Eddie Kingston continues to be unassailable. Thomas is basically a rookie (he doesn’t even have a Cagematch profile), and Kingston brings him along to a really great match. Kingston beats on the kid early, and Thomas comes off really tough taking Eddie’s chops and punches. Thomas is a thick kid and is able to take over with some big power moves, including a nasty spinebuster. There was maybe a kick out or two too many at the end, but Eddie is so great at portraying frustration that I minded it less then I normally do. I also really liked Thomas’s glassy eyed selling, and his runs of offense were pretty great. I like the idea of Eddie making young guys on his final run, he did it with Thomas Shire, and this match should vault Thomas into someone to watch.

ER: This was really good, a really impressive performance for Thomas and another notch in Kingston's arguable best ever year. Thomas has a nice moveset; he's a big kid, and does a lot of throws that look really heavy, no obvious leaping into any of them, just big throws that lift heavy and land hard. Unfortunately for him, Kingston has that same skillset, and makes sure to try and top him and knock him back into place any chance he gets. Kingston works him into a nice belly to belly, later hits a crazy one off the top that could have gone badly for both (and really, set up with a savage chop to Thomas's neck, the belly to belly was definitely worse for Thomas), and I loved the moment where Thomas tried to set up his unnecessarily complicated powerbomb (can we put an end to moves that need a large man seated on someone's shoulders to complete? Unless someone can actually find a way to make it plausible?) but can't get King on his shoulders, so King turns it to his advantage and folds him in half with a tiger suplex. King threw tons of big chops and hard punches, and the backfist was always a danger; he generously leaned chin first into all of Thomas's pump kicks, and I really dug Thomas's big offense explosion down the stretch, running in with all kinds of kicks and a big cannonball to cap it off. Kingston had so many great reactions throughout, surprise at being hit harder than expected, anger at being hit harder than expected, trash talk before hitting back harder than Thomas expects, there's always so much going on with his body language and facials. At one point he sells a rydeen bomb like it immediately caused a pinched nerve near his shoulder blade to act up, and sells a spinebuster with equal parts annoyance and pain; he sells one punch like it split his finger nail, and I absolutely love that stuff. I think this should have ended on that backfist to follow up the tiger suplex, but I also think that Thomas earned it to wind up standing at the end of this, really hard fight from both guys.

Nick Gage vs. AJ Gray

PAS: Gray is clearly excited to work a Nick Gage match, and brings some real zest to the normal proceedings. He jumps Gage at the bell and works him over with the chain, until he misses a senton off the ring apron and smooshes a chair. Gray takes most of the biggest bumps in this match, including two nasty unprotected chair shots and a piledriver on a cinder block, although Gage eats a brain buster on a chair. Cool Gray performance, and Gage did his thing.

40. Dominic Garrini vs. Erick Stevens

PAS: Hell of a nasty fight. Stevens is coming back after a 10 year retirement, and had a list of guys he wanted to work, which seems tailored to hard hitting quasi shoot guys, and they really lace into each other. A year or so ago, Garrini’s big issue was that his strikes were hit and miss, he has fixed that completely, and now he throws cool different stuff with real pop to it. I loved how he mixed in his Ju-Jitsu in this match, trying for a calf slicer, sinking in a triangle choke, and jumping a rear naked choke. I especially loved the spot with the triangle: Dom locks it on, Stevens tries to slam him out of it, only for Dom to sink it in more, and finally Stevens breaks in by spiking Garrini’s neck on the bottom turnbuckle. Stevens has some stuff which looks slightly dated, but he unloads with cracking chops and thick knees, and a couple of his slams and backbreakers looked great. Great main event, and I am excited to see what Stevens does on his comeback tour.

ER: I dug this, tons of good ideas, though I did think it went on a bit long after Stevens took some pretty major damage. I really liked late 2000s FIP Stevens, until he went nuts and ate nothing but nuts and got down to 0% body fat. I'm glad he's back and seemingly wanting to fight a ton of guys who will hit him really hard. Garrini is a guy I still have some issues with, I think he still needs to get better about not just waiting around to get hit (he does it more obviously than most, but honestly he's still fairly new at this and it will improve), but he's certainly great at hitting hard and that's a much bigger point in his favor. I thought he was almost too effective here, as he laid such a good beating on Stevens that I thought it was fairly unbelievable when Stevens was up doing his own big moves after. It felt like Garrini burned some really awesome stuff like a short piledriver and a sick brainbuster. Those deserved better treatment from Stevens. I loved Garrini's knucklelock turned into a tight triangle, loved all his submission stuff really, but the stuff around the triangle was really cool, and ended with a painful as hell buckle bomb by Stevens. Stevens is lean but he always feels believable slamming Garrini, and Garrini being bigger made it look like he landed harder. There was some fat I wanted trimmed, a fighting from knees exchange and Stevens getting a run of stuff right after Garrini had him convincingly beat, but this was overall a really cool match up that I had no idea I wanted.


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