Segunda Caida

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

Monday, August 12, 2019

Eric Reviews Great Matches from AIW Absolution 2019, One Week After Phil Reviewed Them

46. The Production (Derek Director/Danhausen/Eddy Only) vs. 40 Acres (PB Smooth/Tre Lamar/AJ Gray)

ER: I was bummed by the non-match we got last time, and this gave me just what I wanted. It's no surprise that giving these guys time to do their thing was going to be fun as hell, and this was probably even better than I thought it would be. This was the first time I've seen The Production as babyfaces, and it kind of works because they have so many fun spots. 40 Acres work as a great heel stable, real showoffs with talent worth showing off. This was predictably all action, and the action was cool. Danhausen had this slick slingshot German, Derek was hitting cannonballs and sunset flip bombs, Only was throwing hard elbows and punches (and then getting hiptossed from the apron to the floor because my god), and we built up to a dynamite moment where PB hits the slam dunk onto Danhausen on the top rope while Lamar is hitting a huge tope con giro over him and into the obstructed view Director. I loved Danhausen scrambling onto PB, dug PB's big punch, and dug the plausible way they gave The Production the win.

PAS: These guys teased a match at JLIT, and I was amped we got to see a whole match. This was unsurprisingly great, I talked before about how the face/heel dynamic of this feud seemed off, but I take that back, the Production are great babyfaces and 40 Acres have a real nice heel charisma. Lamar especially comes off like a great super athletic dick, the wide receiver who does a six part dance routine after a six yard catch. He really rips off some awesome highspots in this match, including a crazy flip tope. Smooth threw a good looking KO punch, and threw around Only and Danhausen, and Gray was throwing heat. There was some superfluous stuff with Danhausen making guys eat beads and kicking them in the mouth, but man was this energetic, innovative, stiff, violent tag wrestling done well. All of these guys outside of Gray are AIW students I think, and the fact that they can deliver this is pretty impressive.

50. Philly Marino Experience vs. To Infinity and Beyond (Cheech/Colin Delaney)

ER: This is a big blow off tag match, which earns them some of its end run excess, but not all of it. This was rather different from their excellent May showdown, and I dug how this was a lot of TIAB cutting off the ring and preventing tags. Cheech and Delaney were stalking the ring with big confidence, always trying to slow things down and punishing mistakes. TIAB weren't necessarily breaking rules, but they worked like guys who had the answer key to the test and weren't being showy about it. Philly had some big offense (his tope must be like getting hit with a Yugo in a crosswalk) and I like how they kept him cornered and occupied. I love how the tope turned immediately into Delaney hitting the sliding German while Marino was still on the middle rope, one of several cool ways TIAB kept shutting down momentum. Delaney does some complicated things that don't read as complicated, they come off easy, like when he casually climbed up and over the ropes to hit an effortless springboard cutter on Philly. It looks like it should be more difficult, but again, Delaney looks like he has all the answers.

I didn't really love the home stretch, starting with Marino kicking out of an absolutely devastating Delaney tombstone off the middle buckle. I don't think there was much chance of anything else down the homestretch looking any more dangerous than that, and some wind got taken out of my sails on that kickout. From there the match didn't seem as organic to me. It felt like a series of resets and restarts, hitting a big move, taking a breather and then all getting up to try another move. Some of them were pretty nasty (the tag team vertebreaker on Marino looked neck snapping and lead to a nice use of breaking up the ref's sure to be 3), other stuff looked pretty stupid (Philly setting up a tandem "I grab him and you flip my leg and then I hit him" kind of move but really requiring Cheech and Delaney to move to specific spots to do it). PME deserved the big win, and they went out and have a big match, and a bunch of this match was primo. But I think that home stretch seemed too set-up heavy for wrestling with no props.

PAS: This was the climax of this feud with PME being the super over babyfaces getting one last shot at the heel champions.  It is a classic wrestling story and these are a pair of teams who can execute it to a tee. I have talked before about what a great classic heel team To Infinity and Beyond are, and this was a hell of a heel team performance, Colin Delaney is a such a smarmy prick, he had this great smirk on his face on the outside and gets such joy out of cheap shots and cheating.

There is this great spot early when Marino stands on the second ring rope to hold the ropes open for a Philly tope on Cheech, Colin slides into the ring on one side, and slides all the way to the other rope grabbing Philly's legs on the way out and just dumping him on his head. Just awesome stuff. During the heat section on Marino that follows, Marino is able to get loose and hit a springboard blockbuster, and Delaney just grabs his wrist after the impact to slow down the tag. You just don't see that kind of attention to detail much anymore.

I did think this got a bit kickout heavy at the end, and there were a couple of complex things that PME tried which didn't come off cleanly. It drops it a bit below their awesome May match in my mind. Still I loved this, and the big PME victory felt like a huge moment in the fed.

64. Matthew Justice vs. Joshua Bishop

ER: This is one of those matches where my opinion may shift depending on my mood while watching it, but I watched this with the bleary eyes that come after taking a 20 minute after work nap, and I gotta say the 1999 throwback worked for me. These two are crazy and I don't know how someone like Justice functions at a day job. I can only speak through my own body's experience, but there are days where work is a pain because I slept wrong, or I had my neck tilted while watching TV on the couch or something. I can't imagine taking some of the spills these two take and then a couple days later go "Well, time to put in a couple cosmetic body hours at the gym!" The idea of "letting your body heal" makes no sense to me after seeing them take these falls, because while they are doing a tribute to 1999, my body is still recovering from stupid sports things I did in 1999. How are these men able to do THIS!?

This was a series of crazy spots leading into more crazy spots, but if you're going to do a series of crazy spots well, these were absolutely crazy. There really is something taboo about unprotected chairshots, performed well after a time where "we all know". In 1999, we had a little plausible deniability. We don't have that now, so it really adds a big hit of crazy to a match modern match when they have multiple unprotected shots. Bishop looks really good even when he's not strewn bleeding on pavement (look how undeniable his lariat is that sends Justice over the top to the floor!), but he's also really impressive at handling weapons, getting good reads on doors, guardrails, chairs, a guy who makes nasty shots look nasty. Justice gets his body put through the ringer, like an early lawn dart into the crowd that just sees him land awfully on a bunch of set up chairs; later in the match he gets powerbombed from the ring onto a propped up guardrail at ringside, and that railing doesn't give a ton as Justice just sticks to it like a spider's web. I thought Barkley and Alfonso were great seconds who added to the match. Barkley was great at teasing a fall from the balcony (I wasn't actually expecting him to do it!), got brained by a thrown chair from Alfonso, and that chairshot set up a big spear through a door from Justice. Alfonso was a good presence, amusing tree of woe'd himself to set up a chair assisted dropkick for Justice, took a big bump getting thrown out of the ring, really was much more active than I expected. Bishop has great heel champ charisma, and Justice is a real diehard babyface, and that powerbomb into barbed wire was a suitable finish for their brand of crazy.

PAS: Justice comes out with Bill Alfonso to even the odds, and Alfonso is still pretty great as a garbage wrestling second. Bishop is clearly a ECW Superfan and was visibly thrilled. It is tough to run another match after flying off a balcony in the match before. You really can't do it again and it would be insane to try to top it. The presence of Alfonso really made this almost a tag match, with a lot of the big spots going to Alfonso and Wes Barkley, including Barkley getting thrown off the balcony and being speared through a door. We also got a lot more construction in this match than in the May match, which outside of the finish kept it pretty propulsive. Here they spent a lot of time setting up the big bumps and spots. They were really big bumps and big spots, but the intensity waned a bit. Still these are two crazy dudes, who are going to do crazy shit on a big show, and the elbow off the entrance ramp by Bishop and the Awesome bomb on the rail by Bishop stand up to any crazy shit you are going to see all year.

17. Eddie Kingston vs. Tom Lawlor

ER: This was a match I probably only could have enjoyed if it involved Eddie Kingston. He has a way of twisting moments that I've long tired of seeing into something at minimum interesting, and at best high drama. This is a great match-long collapse of Kingston, a match about twice as long as I'm used to seeing him in, and it plays out like Bad Lieutenant: King starts out in bad shape, and things only get worse the longer it goes. I like the desperation attacks King goes for at various points, throwing strikes at whatever part of Lawlor is closest to him, and lashing out at whatever part of Lawlor will buy him an extra second of recovery. Lawlor wears him down from go, and we build to our big centerpiece of the match, which is the epically long chop battle. If you told me you had just seen a match with an "epically long chop battle" and I needed to see it, I'd politely tell you to fornicate yourself and then go watch something that wouldn't curse my eyeballs. And this was a long chop battle. Probably too long. But Kingston is that old comedy note of a joke running so long it goes from funny to unfunny and back again. Kingston takes this spot through a real rollercoaster, he and Lawlor milking every minute of it, and the announce crew was great at talking about how neither man wants to punch because that would be admitting they needed an easy way out. Kingston is not ever going to be the guy taking the easy way out, and everyone knows that, and so this becomes a game of outlasting a man who will never do what is best for himself, just a guy who can't quit because of pride. I loved the twists and turns of the chop battle.

I was there live for the Bryan Danielson headlock match (it was both good and bad), and Kingston did more interesting things here with a chop than Danielson did with a headlock. I loved when he dropped down to a knee before throwing one, loved how his arm kept getting more chopped out the longer it went, and I loved Lawlor calling him a pussy which leads to the strap down moment. I cannot think of another person in wrestling who would have made this sequence anywhere near as engaging. The backfists were maybe the meanest I've ever seen Kingston throw, loved how Lawlor timberrrred from them, and love how Kingston's match-long pride kept him from actually capitalizing on his sure wins. Lawlor eating a backfist but managing to fall on the arm, leading to a big sub attempt followed by trapped knees to Kingston's chest until he can't take any more and gives up the arm, was a fantastic finish. Kingston absorbed punishment and hard kicks and knees and called Lawlor a motherfucker like only he could. The nearfalls in this were great as I was standing on my feet thinking Kingston was actually going to get the belt after that first backfist. These two crafted a match that borrowed from other styles and other genres, but was clearly their own thing. And I don't know who else would be able to do this thing as well as they did.

PAS: This is big match, main event Eddie Kingston which is about the best thing in wrestling in 2019. These guys were clearly trying to work a King's Road All Japan match and pulled it off, although it was a bit more '99 AJPW than '94 AJPW which I would have preferred.  The long chop section in the middle achieved its goal for sure, and it was performed about as well as that spot can be. Kingston is amazing at selling a chop, gritting through pain to fire back, and refusing to back down, and Lawlor was right with him. It is a spot I don't like, but it did deliver. Opening feeling out section was really great, I love the little shootstyle beats that Kingston added to his game the last couple of years. Finish run was epic stuff, Kingston obliterating Lawlor with backfist, but being too beat up to jump on the pin, and I loved Lawlor hanging on to the arm after eating a suplex and leading in to those sick knees to the head and the armbar stoppage. It felt like AIW was building to an Eddie win, although losing in a match like this really doesn't damage you. I wonder where they go from here with him, if he is indeed retiring in a couple of months. Kingston and Lawlor as a Walking Tall tag team against Bishop and Barkley will be a lot of fun, but it feels like he needs another big story act to finish up his run.

ER: All of these matches are on our 2019 Ongoing MOTY List. This should not be much of a surprise.

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