This might be the most notes I’ve ever taken for a single show, so let’s get right to it. If you don’t know by now, each and every week without a major wrestling PPV (so, not this upcoming weekend) the fine hosts of the At Odds with Wrestling podcast assign each other a wrestling show to watch as homework. This week we were all meant to watch the latest AIW show whenever the recording went live on IWTV. In a major swerve on Saturday it was announced that the show would be airing live. I joined the hosts and many other fans with #AIWGauntlet for the next three hours. Now, for my thoughts on this show and be sure to listen to the podcast late Thursday night/early Friday morning.
I get such a kick out of the opening IWTV video. It’s obviously a tribute to the MTV moon man promo. I hope IWTV always plays wrestling. I also love this venue that AIW is wrestling in tonight. Looks huge on camera, great art on the walls, well lit, and always tons of energy from the fans.
Bang Bros vs Bulking Season.
Speed vs power. Have these two fought before? Whether or not they have, there is great chemistry from the start. Bulking Season hands off a delayed suplex, and then does it again! What a show of strength. August of the Bang Bros reverses this into a roll up but only gets a two. Chuck Stone rocks August back and forth with a chin lock, which makes August’s feet slam back and forth in rhythm, which makes the fans clap. What a subtle but great little way to get the crowd into the match even more. Davey comes in with a fast offense to hold off Bulking Season. Davey drinks the Bang drink! Davey slams Stone! Bang Bros hit the Bang Bus, a rolling two person spear, but only got a two count. Arthur drinks the Bang! Artie with a Banged up double northern lights suplex. Bulking Season hits a claw assisted last ride power bomb for the win.
What a great fun opening match and I’m so glad I’m watching it live.
Casey Carrington (with Brian Carson) vs Bobby Orlando.
My kid loves the goat, Bobby Jr. Bobby holds up Casey for a front row fan to chop him. Good thing that fan was paying attention and not texting. Carson comes in with the distraction and Casey takes advantage. Casey punches but Orlando catches his fist and bites it! Orlando sends Casey corner to corner. Bobby hits a great looking elbow. Carson goes after Bobby Jr which distracts Bobby Sr and Casey gets the pin.
The more I see of Bobby Orlando, the more I want to see. Loads of fun and you have to love the goat.
Bitcoin Boiz and the Duke come out for an open challenge promo. Duke just soaks up that heel heat. Who will answer the challenge? It’s the Jollyville Fuck-Its! The who?! The what? I have no familiarity with this team at all. But I jumped right into digging everything about them. Russ says fuck it and walks away from a dropkick attempt. T-Money just whoops ass. Where have these guys been hiding? Money is an absolute beast. Lots of no selling, lots of power. Duke trips up T-Money. Bitcoin hits a cutter on Money for a count of two. There’s a great powerbomb combo by Bitcoin onto Russ, but Russ isn’t the legal man! Money comes back with a pounce, an Alabama slam, and punches Duke! Russ comes off the top and Money makes the pin.
Wow. Again AIW shows me someone I’ve never seen before, that I now have to see so much more. Thanks to some other AIW fans on Twitter, I was sent a few links. Good wrestling fans are a welcoming and fun community.
Kaplan vs Tom Lawlor.
Kaplan with a tope suicida to jump start the match. Kaplan whips Tom, and then pulls down the first pair of Tom’s shorts, but continues the whipping. Tom fights outside and gives chops up against the guardrail. Followed up by a running boot. Good fight, really slugging it out. Tom keeps coming back and it takes forever for him to finally be down. Kaplan brings in a chair. Tom with a drop toe hold but Kaplan saves himself during the fall so he doesn’t crash into the chair he himself brought in. Amazing match storytelling. Tom with a choke but Kaplan powers back and runs Tom into a corner. What a fight! The ring actually moves! Kaplan brings in some weapons. Running power slam but then Tom locks on a choke and luckily Kaplan makes it for the rope break. Tom moves a door out of the ring but it lands across the ring and the guardrail. I have no idea if that was the plan or luck, but it looked cool. Tom crawls out of the ring and is above the door. Kaplan brings him back in and they keep countering each other. I can’t keep up with the action. A huge tease for the door spot but it doesn’t happen. There’s a slight miscue but they roll with it as if Tom was trying to avoid Kaplan. Kaplan hits a huge lariat but comes up short of the three. Kaplan tries a Dead Man’s Curve but only gets a two for that as well. Kaplan misses the split leg moonsault. Tom wraps up Kaplan and hits some knees, but Lawlor can only get a two. Tom with a choke, Kaplan is down, Kaplan grabs a kendo stick in the ring and uses it on Tom but Tom catches it and chokes Kaplan with the kendo stick! Kaplan taps! The door was never used! What an exciting ending sequence for this match.
Isaiah Broner vs Eddie Kingston.
Did Isisah try to punk/flinch Eddie? Eddie with a chop, Isaiah with a forearm. Everyone from the crowd and through the tubes and wires and signals to our own homes reeled back and thought, oh shit. It’s on. Big hit from both men and then Eddie controls Isaiah’s body, and the veteran experience kicks in. Isaiah tries to come back but Eddie counters with a Greco-Roman thumb to the eye. Isaiah follows Eddie outside, and that’s where this match is all Broner. Back in and Eddie runs through a lariat attempt and then locks on an armbar. Broner escapes and it’s chop time. Isaiah’s forearms are disgusting. Neither man will stay down. Eddie with a backfist but Broner spins with it, Eddie with a Taz-plex, followed up with another backfist and finally Broner stays down and Eddie gets the pin. Wow.
Broner earns Eddie’s respect after the match and I know and have seen enough to know that that is something that actually has to be earned.
It’s Ziggy Haim time! She leads Derek Dillinger to the ring for his match vs Chase Oliver.
This match will be under Intense rules. Derek with a huge hurricanrana. Ziggy distracts Chase, and me. Ziggy distracts again, Derek crushes Chase. Ziggy hits a leg drop on Chase. Ziggy chokes Chase. Derek with a moonsault and tries for the rolling buckle slam. Chase kicks Ziggy! What sort of monster kicks an angel? I thought Derek was the heel of this match but I guess I’m wrong. Chase hits a pile driver but Ziggy distracts the referee. Ziggy slaps Chase. Chase hits a DVD on Ziggy driving her into Derek. Derek throws Ziggy into the ropes and she knocks Chase down. Derek tosses Chase across the ring. Derek hits the sunset flip powerbomb and follows it up with knees to get the three. My fandom is becoming well known, but really a great showing from all three here.
Matt Cardona (the Absolute and Intense champion) (with Chelsea Green) vs Dominic Garrini.
Listen, Ziggy is number one but holy shit Chelsea. Matt makes friends with fans in the front row. Cardona hits Dom with one of the titles! Dom comes back with a face wash. Cardona is about to tap but then PME comes in and takes out Dom. It’s a DQ?! In front of Dom’s family? In a minute? What the hell is this? The Rip City Shooters come out to even up the odds. Cardona hits Bishop with a chair, which Josh no-sells. Wes hits the Stroke. The Shooters grab clippers and are going to start cutting some hair. Chelsea hits a low blow on both members of Rip City. I guess that’s it. Who could come out to balance out the assault from the House of Bro? The Gauntlet is about to start and any help in the back is preparing for that. Could there be anyone from the outside? Anyone that is here in secret? Anyone with a history in AIW that could come out and despite being a heel, in this building will be treated not only as a face, but as family?
D. M’fing. D! Holy shit Britt Baker is here. Britt gets a Road Warriors pop from the AIW faithful. Britt immediately goes for the Lock Jaw but Cardona pulls Chelsea away. Poor Chelsea. Britt asks for the mic, “you’re one of my best friends, but these boys are my brothers.” Damn. Britt makes this an 8 person tag team match. The crowd go banana.
I have trouble calling 8 person tags, there’s so much going on. That said, the story and flow of this match was amazing. OMG, it’s Britt versus everyone! We get the expected but hot finisher spot sequence. Marino with a “ba-bay” and Britt returns the shout out by hitting a destroyer. Chelsea spikes Britt! Only two. Cardona accidentally hits Chelsea with the belt! Bishop tosses Cardona onto everyone. Britt gets the lockjaw on Chelsea and her team wins.
What a moment for everyone, and we still have the Gauntlet. It is announced that there will be a meet and greet opportunity with Britt following the Gauntlet. Is there an ATM in this building?
The Gauntlet for the Gold! 30 people. A new entrant every 90 seconds. The winner will be the new #1 contender.
It’s a battle royal, so there’s not a lot of notes except for entrants and high spots.
Joseline Navarro is first followed by Katie Arquette. Marion Fontaine is third and immediately tossed by the two women. The ladies beat each other up some more. Ben Boone is fourth. Boone comes out with a rose. The ladies double spear him and he rolls to the outside. Casey Carrington IV is 5, Brian Carson at 6. They double team and eliminate Joseline. Double kick onto Katie. Boone then blinds them with rose petals.
CPA at 7. Cpa takes off his shirt to get to work, and has a second shirt and tie under! The second tie is a clip on. He has a third shirt. He reapplies the tie. Everyone’s losing it.
Mikey Montgomery at 8. Sid von Engeland at 9. Isaiah Broner at 10. Oh, people are going out. Carson out, CPA out, Boone out, Sid out. Mikey asks for Katie’s help. Mikey is tossed onto everyone. Isaiah gives Katie a free shot, another, a third. Katie says screw this and eliminates herself. To live and fight another day.
T-Money at 11 and it is on. Face to face. Big men slapping meat. Chuck Stone at 12 and we have even more meat. Tom Lawlor at 13 and he just beats everyone down. Dom at 14. Dom at 14?! WTF. That doesn’t seem right. Dom knows what no one else knows, Casey has been hiding under the ring since Isaiah came out. Dom drags Casey back out, into the ring, and promptly eliminates him. Casey comes back and attacks Dom with a chair then tosses Dom over the top. And it counts?! This is some bullshit.
Marino at 15. Lawlor and Stone throw Marino in. Tom slams Stone, impressive enough on its own, onto Marino. Gary the King Baller at 16. Look at Baller’s sneakers! Marino eliminates Baller. Calvin G Lewis at 17. Calvin tries to partner up with T-Money. Calvin clotheslines Money, but he no-sells it. No move meat. Eden von Engeland at 18. Eden drops Chuck Stone but Eden falls to the floor. I wonder if that was accidental. T-Money bumps Calvin out. Dick Justice at 19. Stone eliminates T-Money. Too many guys are in the corner for way too long.
I love that everyone, from the crowd to the wrestlers, are reacting to the music of the next competitor. Manders at 20. Manders vs Isaiah. Marino jumps Isaiah. Marino holds Isaiah’s arm and Manders tosses Isaiah over the top. Damn. I bet there will be a receipt later. Big Twan Tucker at 21. Wes Barkley at 22. Philly at 23. PME team up. Arthur McArthur at 24. Everyone attacks at once and eliminates Tucker. Nasty Russ at 25. Malcolm Cambridge at 26. Malcolm eliminates Russ. Josh Bishop at 27. Philly eliminates Arthur. Wes almost eliminates Philly. Wow that was close. Kaplan at 28. Ziggy at 29 but she gives her spot to Derek. Derek eliminates Calvin. The Duke is number 30!
Kaplan clotheslines Tom over the top. Chuck eliminates Philly. Duke eliminates Chuck. Marino is saved by the table. Manders eliminates Kaplan. Marino eliminates Wes. Down to four – Duke, Derek, Marino, and Josh.
Everyone tries to get Bishop out. Bishop hits a choke-plex to remove Marino from the match. Derek with a sunset bomb onto Duke and the running knees. Bishop with a DVD on Derek. Ziggy saves Derek. Bishop tosses Duke. Derek vs Josh. Josh barely skins the cat to save himself, he’s just too damn tall. Josh tosses but Derek hangs on. Both men fight on the apron. Clothesline back into the ring. Bishop bombs Derek through the time keeper table. Derek is out and Joshua Bishop wins.
Cardona comes back out and attacks Bishop. Bishop tosses Cardona out.
The next show is going to be insane. So much is set up here. I can’t wait to watch it. I can’t believe AEW or WWE hasn’t grabbed Bishop yet. He was an absolute star tonight. Side note, there have been mentions from Dom or from Thorne that Dom went through some things. Based on the amount of ring time he had tonight between what was going to be the title match, the 8 man, and the Gauntlet, I hope he’s ok.
If you have access to IWTV I highly suggest watching this before the next AIW show.