Segunda Caida

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

Monday, June 10, 2019

Monday AIW - Gauntlet for the Gold 4/26/19

I had so much fun at the AIW live show Mania weekend, I decided to go ahead and buy their shows going forward, it is a fed which deserves my cash. With all of the AIW shows available on, I am going to try to do a new show every Monday. Eric will be jumping in when something intrigues him.

Facade vs. Lee Moriarty vs. Louis Lyndon vs. Tre Lamar vs. Wheeler Yuta vs. Zach Thomas

PAS: This was a spotty six way, pretty much what you would expect from that match. AIW does really good spotfests, although it is their tag spotfests which really stand out. I hadn't seen much of Thomas before, and I liked some of his power stuff. Lamar had the best dive hitting a top con hilo with great height. There was kind of a scary moment when Facade tried for Teddy Hart's top rope doomsday destroyer, but slipped and ended up spiking Lamar awkwardly on his head, degree of difficulty of the stuff which inexperienced guys try (Facade has been around forever, but Thomas and Lamar are basically rookies) is always nerve racking.

MJF vs. Shane Douglas (w/ Francine)

PAS: This is as advertised. MJF talks some shit on the mic, Douglas curses out Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels and steals some of Tommy Dreamers ECW nostalgia act lines (I imagine those guys have the same booker, and if Dreamer is busy you can get Shane for 80 cents on the dollar). Francine looks way healthier now then when she was in her prime, together they look like a successful speedboat salesman and his wife who has really got into Yoga since her kids went to college. Francine may have had the best punches in the match, MJF knows how to bump around and stooge for an old guy, and the fans got to chant along post match to Douglas introing Bam Bam and Candido in heaven. Not my thing really, and doesn't translate to video particularly well, but for what it was designed to do it did it well.

ER: I'm not planning on watching this match, but I can attest to how nicely Francine has aged. I remember seeing her at a con several years ago and actually wound up standing next to her at one point, and had a brief, nice chat. She was very pretty and kind, in a way I was NOT expecting after seeing her in 1998. She aged much closer to an east coast Andrea Savage than a Jersey mob goomah. She seems like a really well adjusted woman for someone who got some insanely disgusting things screamed and chanted at her regularly when she was 25. I like nice wrestling stories.

La Familia de Tijuana (Bestia 666/Damian 666) vs. To Infinity and Beyond (Cheech/Colin Delaney)

PAS: It is pretty cool that Damian 666 has become an AIW regular, what an awesome dude to be showing up as indy fed regular in 2019. I loved the LFT brawl at the Wrestlemania weekend show, but this was much more of a straight tag, which doesn't really work within Bestia or Damian's strengths, best part of the match was probably Damian breaking out the leather belt and starting strapping. I do think To Infinity and Beyond have fun double teams, but this was more a cool idea then a great match.

ER: I really liked this. 2I&B is one of my favorite current tag teams, two guys I've liked for quite some time who have been really clicking, and I like them running wild on FdT due to FdT being forced to work normal. If they had come out stabbing Delaney in the face with forks that would be one thing, but I like them working straight. It never crossed my mind that Delaney would ever somehow get BACK into WWE, considering the weird circumstances that lead to him being there for 7 months over a decade ago. He's still among the very weirdest guys to get an official WWE action figure, and watching him now he's clearly good enough to be in NXT, which is the best. He's really good at working with FdT, setting up fun moments for Damian to attack him from the apron, and I really like Infinity's double teams, especially Cheech's facewash leading into an outside to inside 619 (it's easy to make something seemingly cutesy work when the end result is kicking someone across the face). FdT working straight and getting kind of dominated was great, because then it lead to a great reaction when Damian finally got a belt BY TAKING THE REF'S so he could start whipping ass and strangling dudes. Damian even wraps the belt around Delaney's throat and beals him across the ring, and I thought they set up the comedy tree of woe/69 spot really well. If FdT are going to be regulars (and I hope so because I like how they slot into AIW) then it makes sense to give us some straight matches with them, and this was just the amount of fun I wanted from the tag.

Deranged vs. DJ Z vs. Flip Kendrick vs. Gringo Loco

PAS: This is DJ Z's final indy match, and is a pretty great balls to the wall spotfest. Deranged comes out of deep freeze and looks awesome, he takes the biggest bump of the match, when he gets pushed off the top rope and flies rib first into the ring ramp, and was part of the craziest highspot a double moonsault by Deranged and DJZ. Pretty much everyone looked great though, Loco was right there to base for all of the crazy highspot stuff and everyone in this had great charisma with everyone else. Lots of high degree of difficulty spots all pulled off really well, and some great athletes doing athletic things.

ER: Hell yeah. I don't always love the idea of "dream match" booking, but I really like the idea of someone hand picking their opponent/s for their "retirement" match. DJ Z is going to NXT and we get AIW legend Gringo Loco back, and freaking DERANGED gets on another 2019 indy card! This was exciting as hell and an excellent charcuterie plate showcasing each person's talents. We get big bumps, dangerous flying, nasty car crashes, everything you'd want really. Loco takes a nasty snap suplex on the entrance ramp that lands hard, and minutes later Deranged gets shoved off the top rope and takes a bellyflop right onto the ramp, nasty as hell. Kendrick flies into everyone with a corkscrew moonsault to the floor, his own body whipping across the guardrail. DJ Z shows off some of his pretty lucha sequences he learned from Skayde, we get a couple of tower spots that are actually worthy of the set up (one seeing Kendrick getting lawndarted off the top by Z and Deranged into a Loco cutter, and later a surprise Spanish Fly onto the others on the floor), and everybody fits nicely into the hybrid lucha setting. Deranged drops crazy stuff that still looks good today, and he has that Jack Evans flying ability where he makes complicated spots look like violent breakdancing moves, putting his own twists on flying double knees off the top or a caught standing spinkick. But I like every individual in this one, and especially like how the match really felt like each of the 4 bringing an equal part of their style to it.

Matthew Justice vs. Joshua Bishop

PAS: Fun big boy punch out which really falls apart at the finish. Couple of really fun spots including Bishop catching a Justice dive and powerslamming him into the metal barricades. I also really liked Justice's chops, really lacing into Bishop's chest. Finish had Justice redoing his death valley driver off the ramp because the table didn't break and we got an elongated ref bump/Wes Barkley inference section. If that is going to be the finish, just do it. Here it just dragged on and killed the momentum of the match. Still excited about the rematch next show, though.

26. Eddie Kingston vs. Mance Warner

PAS: I thought this was great. Basically a WAR match, totally built around two relatively big guys punching and headbutting each other really hard and selling that exertion (neither guy is Ashura Hara, but neither guy is Ultimo Dragon sized either). I write this every time I review an Eddie Kingston match, but he is really amazing at all of the little things which make an all-time great wrestler. His reactions after getting hit with Warner's big headbutts were so good, first he wants to shit talk, and it is almost this delayed reaction where the brain trauma hits him a moment later. There is also some great knee selling later in the match, when Warner can't stand in front of Kingston anymore and has to clip his leg. I loved the finish, with Kingston going to the top, getting distracted briefly by the Duke and diving right into a Warner headbutt, which clipped him right on the jaw. It didn't take Kingston down immediately, but it was the beginning of the end. If Kingston is really retiring at the end of the year, he is going out with a huge run. It reminds me of Dick Togo's pre-retirement match streak, and hopefully Eddie will also just travel in South America, read leftist literature and return in a couple of years.

ER: This would have been more shocking if it didn't deliver on its on paper promise, and while I don't think it was quite up to the high standards Retirement Tour Kingston has provided us, there was zero chance I wasn't going to love this. Eddie adds so much to these ringside tour/in ring slugfest brawls, so much added personality, even just getting verbal in so many ways that a ton of indy guys are afraid to get. Seriously, look at how many times an indy guy pumps his fists and opens his mouth for a triumphant scream, only to be totally silent. Once you notice it you'll hate me for pointing it out. Kingston beats Mance with chops, nice overhand shots that always land, and he mixes them up by occasionally smacking Mance right on top of his shaved head. He's really good at making ringside brawls engaging, falling into rails, smacking into a ringpost, getting everyone a good look. But everyone knows and everyone loves when Kingston integrates an unexpected injury into a match, and it's a more unique formula than "guy works my arm, my arm is sore". Kingston always just pulls an injury doing something he regularly does, which is ULTRA relatable to me, person who is the same age as Eddie Kingston. King is great at working those "I slept for 8 hours but woke up with a neck kink" injuries, and here he came off the top rope with a knee across Warner's jaw but then sold landing rough on his knee for the rest of the match. I am someone who will do a goofy dance at work for a quick laugh on office birthday cake day, and then feel a tug in my ribcage for a week after. King knows how to create and sell injuries like this, and knows how to keep working a competent match through that type of injury. He hits an absolutely scorching powerbomb on Warner and is feeling out his knee afterward, and it's those little details that always make King matches mean so much more. His shit talking is always welcome and I love how he uses shit talking in the same way Lawler takes down the strap. It never comes at the same time, doesn't always set up a comeback, but always signifies a sea change in the match. He can use them to taunt his opponent into doing something stupid, he can use it when he's clearly behind and doesn't sense a comeback, he can do it just because he's upset his opponent is making him go through some shit, but it always feels placed with intention. These two don't aim to break noses or concuss, and I'm glad because they have the personality to work a match like this without hurting each other.

Josh Prohibition vs. M-Dogg Matt Cross

PAS: This was sort of a nostalgia match for something I am really not nostalgic for, but I kind of love that these guys are going out there and killing each other 20 years after those backyard wrestling videos. I really dug the story of the match which was put over on commentary, two kids who started together, Cross goes on to tour around the world, while Prohibition gets married and has kids, and Josh always wonders if he could have been the guy on TV. These guys have been doing this for so long, and are still in such good shape that they pull off complex stuff effortlessly. I really loved Prohibitions running tope over the guardrail, and Cross is still an explosive high flyer. It got a bit OTT at the end, although the 20 anniversary match of backyard legends should be a bit OTT. Prohibition gives almost a wedding toast speech at the end, and the whole thing is pretty endearing.

Gauntlet For The Gold

PAS: This was a royal rumble, which isn't really my thing, but I am going to love a Royal Rumble when everyone who comes out is a cool AIW guy. It is just going to be more exciting when music hits and it's T-Money or Weird Body then when its Dolph Ziggler or Baron Corbin. This match had some fun eliminations,  I loved Marion Fontaine grabbing Dr. Dan's tie, and when Dan lets go of the rope to block his face, Fontaine just lets go of the tie so he falls to the floor. There was a lot of Joey Janela in this match, like he runs through about a dozen separate comedy spots, and by the end I just wanted Sandman Sims to tap dance into the ring and eliminate him with a hook. I also am not familiar enough with AIW minutia to understand the meaning of the surprise entrances. Kingston winning is great, although I probably would have had him come in earlier. Kingston vs. Lawlor as a big time main event is really intriguing, and should be a great capper to Kingston's AIW career if he is indeed retiring.

ER: Throw another Kingston match onto our 2019 Ongoing MOTY List. At this point it feels like it's guaranteed every time he shows up.

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