At Odds with Wrestling Homework: AIW One Step Ahead.

It’s time once again to watch some wrestling as part of the (near) weekly At Odds with Wrestling podcast homework. This AIW event took place last Saturday and can be easily watched with a subscription to IndependentWrestling.TV. Just $10 a month for hundreds of shows and thousands of hours worth of independent wrestling and all of the men and women who bust their asses all over the world.

PB Smooth vs Chuck Stone vs Eric Taylor (with Mikey Montgomery and the Duke) vs Wes Barkley.

Very interesting booking, which makes sense later this evening and long term. PB Smooth looked to be on the outside a bit too much. For such a big guy, I had a feeling where this was going. I also expected to see more of Wes Barkley in the match as well. He was in a good amount, but it’s Wes so I thought about 20% more than he was in. Which, again, made sense later. Great work by Stone and Taylor, with Mikey and the Duke getting their moments in too. I’m thinking this match is down to Stone and Taylor, but booked as a four way to get everyone on the card. Then, just when I forgot he was even out there, PB Smooth is back in the ring and gets a dominant win. I thought I knew what was happening, tried to guess the outcome, and was completely surprised. This seems like a good omen for a great night of wrestling.

Ethan Wright vs Levi Everett.

I love Levi’s gimmick. In fact, I would love to watch people see him for the first time. This unassuming character. The butter churning goofiness at the beginning. Everyone letting their guard down. Then he can go in the ring. I’ve never seen a bad Everett match no matter who he faces. The match got a lot more physical than I expected as well. Great wrestling and fighting, and it’s only the second match! That said, there is something going on with Wright. I think he’s about to break out. There was an intangible in this match that feels like his work is clicking on another level. Maybe I’m right, maybe Levi brought something out of him. Either way, I’m going to be paying closer attention to Wright in the months to come.

Kaplan vs Arthur McArthur.

Speaking of fights! This was awesome. What a great showing by McArthur too! I saw Kaplan and I thought, nothing against Arthur but Kaplan has this. Then the brute strength and the growing violence within Arthur takes center stage for a majority of the match. I’m being surprised again and I have no idea who will win here. The crowd is amazing and I’m fully expecting a powerful win by Arthur. But dammit they got me again. Kaplan seems to realize he took Arthur too lightly and kicks up his own offense to get the win. I would love to see these two fight again.

The Mane Event vs PME.

OK, PME is upset they lost the tag team titles and there’s a lot of discussion wondering how that will effect their performance and attitudes going forward. Possibly more on that later. Mane Event had this dominant looking move where one holds his downed opponent’s head with his foot while the other runs up for a big kick to the face. Not a finisher, but that’s a good signature move that could pop the crowd. You look at Mane Event and then you look at PME and assumptions can be made. Which made the story of this match work so well. The more experienced PME out smarted Mane Event through most of the match. PME worked the legs of their taller opponents and used every bit of accumulated tag knowledge to control the match and come close to the win. Mane Event out of no where hits, the flea flicker? I think that’s what it was called. Real good work by both teams and Mane Event offers up the post match handshake. PME refuse and leave the ring. Speculation begins over what this means for the team.

“The Gaycon” TKD vs Effy.

We don’t say “the black wrestler” or “the woman wrestler” anymore, because there’s so many. One day we won’t say “the gay wrestler” either. These two men are both out, and according to the commentary team TKD recently came out, partially inspired by Effy. Now, Effy has his schtick and his ways to mess with his straight opponents. So this match had a very different dynamic. All of those mind games don’t work here, or work differently. This showed a side of Effy I hadn’t seen before. I knew he is a good wrestler, but he’s damn good. And so is TKD. What could have been a joke, and I shudder to think what WWE would do with either of them, turned out to be a hell of a wrestling match. Crazy. Almost like it’s possible to have characters and wrestling at the same time without falling into sports entertainment.

Thunder Rosa vs Joseline Navarro.

These two beat the shit out of each other. I’ve watched a lot of Thunder Rosa matches recently, one live the night before this show, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen her so violent. Again, AIW fools me and I thought there was legit heat in this match and maybe it was turning into a shoot. Maybe a bit too stiff. This was a proving ground for Joseline. She may have lost but she just hung in there for 15 minutes with Thunder. Rosa puts Navarro over at the end and I feel like this moment is going to be looked back upon as the rest of the wrestling world noticing Joseline. I loved seeing this side of Thunder. I loved seeing Joseline refusing to stay down. A fantastic fight into the crowd. I’m a mark for women’s wrestling, but this really was an exceptional match on an already great card.

Matthew Justice (with Bill Alfonso) vs Derek Dillinger (with Ziggy Haim).

Time for bad things to happen to people. Holy shit these two beat the hell out of each other. Credit as always to Alfonso and Haim who will get in there and take their bumps, add to the match, but never take the focus away from their wrestlers. It confused me at first but I am all for the AIW doors. Especially the imported ones. Safer than metal table legs, just as much impact. I’m sure someone will be stealing the idea soon enough. I already knew Justice was insane but so is Dillinger, and Haim is close behind. Another great brawl, and a main event on any other show.

Matt Cardona vs Joshua Bishop (Absolute and Intense titles on the line).

Unfortunately I knew how this match ended, because the internet went nuts and I couldn’t watch it live. I think Bishop is under rated and his name should be known and seen in more places. I think say what you will about Cardona, and you’re right, he is creating a new path in wrestling. He’s also bringing more attention to many of these promotions, and I hope more money as well. The match could have gone either way and while the crowd loves Bishop I think they were excited for the possibilities of what happens next if Cardona wins. PME comes out… and beats the hell out of Bishop! Is this over the tag titles, or something deeper? That is a question to answer another day. For today, Bishop has already had a brutal match and a 3 on 1 attack is definitely too much for one man. The crowd is pissed. How dare PME help this outsider to win not one but two of the titles? Cardona absolutely embracing the hatred and just bathing in it.

AIW is putting out must see TV shows each and every time out. Character development, plots, working in visiting talent in ways that make sense. Best of all, the crowd gets this and we’re all on this roller coaster ride together. Receipts are coming not only on the next show but for months to come and I can’t wait to watch it all.

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