As I said on Twitter, I watched a ton of AIW this weekend. As part of the weekly At Odds with Wrestling homework assignments, this past week the hosts and listeners like me were asked to watch AIW JT Lightning Tournament, nights one and two plus AIW Fresh Meat. All of this was and is available to watch on IWTV.
Due to this being something like 6-7 hours of wrestling I didn’t take super detailed notes for each match but instead enjoyed all of the wrestling over many days. I also had part of it spoiled for me, because I couldn’t stay off of Twitter, but not too much. With that out of the way, let’s head down to ringside.
AIW JT Lightning Invitational Tournament 2022 Night 1 on August 19 from Cleveland, OH.
Joseline Navarro vs Marino Tenglia.
Seems like a smaller crowd than usual at this venue, which is a damn shame. I’m sure there was a bundle ticket deal for all three shows. The crowd did get bigger and much louder as the weekend went on.
Joseline absolutely takes it to Marino. Marino DDTs Joseline on the hardest part of the ring. Jos is hanging with the former tag team champion. Marino with a superkick and a pin. Good opener. Joseline looked amazing. I honestly wish she won this match and advanced.
Arthur McArthur vs Chuck Stone.
The tag team champions collide! Artie comes out to “Night on Bald Mountain” and that’s amazing. Real fun starts with the match. These two are too familiar with each other’s moves. Artie has to kick it up a notch. Artie catches and holds Chuck for a power slam! Incredible show of strength. Artie charges hard, Chuck moves and rolls up Artie for the pin. Damn shame for Artie to lose but a good match between them.
Derek Dillinger (with Ziggy Haim) vs Mikey Montgomery (with the Duke).
Mikey works over the head and arm of Derek to keep him grounded. Derek hits the wheelbarrow suplex and takes control. Duke distracts Derek. Mikey is able to get back on offense. Too many people in the crowd are looking at their phones while these matches are taking place. This match might be the best I’ve ever seen Mikey. Mikey’s resilience must be pissing off Derek. Ziggy cracks Mikey with the clapboard. Derek hits an elevated stunner for the pin.
Casey Carrington (with Brian Carson) vs Ernest “the Cat” Miller.
Cat gets on the mic, calls Casey “pussy boy”. That won’t go away. Casey accidentally hits Carson, Cat takes advantage, and the Cat pins Casey. What?! I’m shocked. Nothing against Cat but I didn’t see this happening. A bracket buster for sure. Casey throws a temper tantrum and I don’t blame him.
Philly Collins vs Isaiah Broner.
Broner showing off some wrestling skills. Philly shows off more strength here. It’s like a role reversal of styles. Isaiah hits a huge lariat for the pin. Not what I expected from either man. Good surprise.
Colin Delaney vs Dalton Castle.
These two play games in and out of the ring. Sizing each other up. They went to fourth grade together! It’s not a bad match but I zoned out a bit. After the Cat’s win, I was pretty sure Dalton would also win here. Dalton does get the pin as expected.
Jackson Stone vs Kaplan.
Lariats vs suplexes. Stone rolls out of the way of a split leg moonsault. Stone with a big pounce and gets the pin. The matches seem to be moving a lot quicker and lasting a shorter amount of time.
Alec Price vs Chase Oliver.
Chases is getting to be PAC 2. Alec is so lanky. He has something but does he need more muscle? (Spoiler, my opinions for Alec changed over the weekend.) Price runs his mouth constantly and well. Chase hits a great Spanish Fly on the mat for a two count. Price is so driven. Oliver with an elbow to the back of the head, DVD into the corner, AND A shooting star to get the three count.
Adam Priest vs Dominic Garrini.
Great mat wrestling/MMA from Dom. Dom is a wrecking and stretching crew here. Priest attacks Dom outside to get back into the fight. He works over Dom’s arm. Priest grabs the back of Dom’s knee and pulls back. That hurt me to watch. Dom hits a driver of some sort and gets the win. So good and so far my favorite match.
Cheech vs Wes Barkley.
Cheech kicks out from the Stroke! Cheech has hit foot on the ropes, but the referee sees it. Cheech says the referee should be paying attention to his opponent’s shoulders, not Cheech’s feet. Wes takes down Cheech, and puts his feet on the ropes to assist with the pin. The referee is watching the shoulders! Wes gets the win and Cheech knows he’s been had, but appreciates it.
Jack Evans vs Drago.
Look at Drago! How much did it cost to bring this guy in? Evans hits a great 450 to win the match. Really fun, second favorite match of the night. But the crowd didn’t click with this one. Too many of them are on their phones. Once I noticed it I couldn’t not see it and it started to bother me. Thankfully, this night was the worst of the weekend and on the next two shows people started to pay attention to the wrestling that they bought tickets for.
Eric Taylor (with the Duke) vs Eric Young.
Taylor is super over tonight. Duke pulls the ref out right before Young is about to win. Oh that was huge. Taylor with a low blow and his finisher and pins EY. Taylor was taken to school in this match and passed. What an arrival. EY isn’t happy with Duke but shakes Taylor’s hand.
Let’s head into AIW Fresh Meat 2! Taking place in the afternoon on August 20.
Dom vs Tyson Riggs.
Tyson comes out to “The Touch” and has his karate gear on. Riggs gets a little lost during the match, you can see Dom helping him, but that will come along. “Bear Shark martial arts.” Dom with a cradle driver thing for the pin. Tyson has potential. This could be a fun show.
Alec Price vs Adam Priest vs Mikey Montgomery vs Philly Collins. Winner will face Joshua Bishop later tonight.
Price sings Oompa Loompa at Priest. Alec uses Mikey to take out everyone. Alec hits Sup-prise, like a step up enziguri stomp to pin Mikey. Alec grows on you. I like him more here than I did on night one.
Riley Rose vs Vik Vice.
Not bad. Some potential. Vik needs to calm down and breathe. He could really connect with the crowd once he gets comfortable. Rose gets the win.
To Infinity and Beyond vs Members Only.
Cheech and Colin and having fun with these “rookies”. Members Only get what I think was a shock win. Real fun match. Good chemistry from these guys.
Derek Dillinger (with Ziggy Haim) vs Hendrix Hawkins.
Hawkings has some good leaps. I might put Hawkins as second for the new talent this afternoon. Hendrix backdrops Derek over the guardrail into the crowd. Dives onto Derek. Good crowd fight. Hawkins suplexes Derek onto the floor. Derek misses a moonsault. Derek helps Hawkins to hit a move. Derek shoves the referee into the ropes, Hawkins falls. Hawkins hits a huge spear, and a senton, goes up top, kicks Ziggy away, and misses the frog splash. Derek with a summersault bomb and running knees for the pin.
The Duke vs Austin James.
Austin has some fans/family in the crowd. Comes out dressed like a baseball player. Dasher did it better. Duke driver and the pin. Nothing against Austin but this match didn’t hit for me.
Shaw Mason vs Wes Barkley.
Fans in the crowd for Shaw. I usually see Wes as a younger talent but he’s the veteran here. Wes stalls, Shaw follows outside, Wes suckers him in, back in the ring. Even when Shaw has momentum it seems like Wes is playing. Wes wrestles like a heel here and he’d be a good heel. Shaw off ropes, Wes catches him, Maserati driver, and only a two?! I don’t know about rookies kicking out of finishers but maybe this doesn’t “count”. Shaw as Kurt Angle Jr with a good ankle lock. The straps are down! Stroke attempt, reversal into an ankle lock, rope break, this Stroke hits, and Wes gets the pin. Very interesting. Wes takes off his shoe, is his ankle swollen? Wes puts over Shaw. Wes makes Shaw vs Tom Lawlor for the next show. Well there goes my weekend.
Sam Holloway vs Joshua Bishop.
Real good size to Sam. Lots of Sam shirts in the crowd. Sam’s dad or whoever is screaming at Bishop needs to settle down. Sam tosses Josh around! Josh takes it outside so he can get control back. This is so impressive. Josh hits the black hole slam and only gets a one! Josh hits the back of Sam’s head and gets the pin. This was crazy. Sam is the star of the night and one to keep an eye on.
Time for the last show!
JT Lightning Night 2 on August 21.
We see the trophy and the Intense title which the winner will earn.
Eric Taylor (with the Duke) vs Chuck Stone vs Jackson Stone vs Isaiah Broner.
Eric realizes he might be in trouble. Better crowd than night one. Eric tries for a tope but gets caught by all three. He’s power bombed into Duke. Chuck powerbombs Jackson. Eric off the top, hits a knee to Chuck. Eric sneaks in and pins Jackson. Eric Taylor advances to the shock of everyone.
Ernest Miller vs Dalton Castle vs Dominic Garrini vs Wes Barkley.
Ernest has Wes in a camel clutch. Dom comes running, kicks Ernest in the head, gets the pin. Wes is pissed. I’m calling it. Heel turn coming. And he’s going to be awesome.
Jack Evans vs Chase Oliver vs Marino Tenglia vs Derek Dillinger (with Ziggy Haim).
Oh damn. Marino goes for a springboard and eats it. Derek picks Ziggy up for a razor’s edge and throws her onto everyone. There is a lot of Rube Goldberg work in this match. Chase superkicks Ziggy. Boo! Boo this man! Sunset bomb to Chase, Ziggy gets caught in the mix, Derek gets the win.
Casey Carrington vs Arthur McArthur.
Brian Carson immediately runs in and this is a two on one assault. Eric Young with the save. “Walmart Bret Hart”. This is now a tag team match. EY looks like he’s having so much fun. Remember that guy? Boulder Shoulder by Artie for the pin.
Austin James, Vik Vice, Tyson Riggs vs Sam Halloway, Shaw Mason, Hendrix Hawkins.
A tag team match but it flowed more like a scramble. Hawkins pins Riggs. Good showcase. They all have lots of potential to get better.
Mikey Montgomery vs Riley Rose vs Adam Priest vs Philly Collins vs Joseline Navarro vs Drago.
I can’t call scramble matches. Just too much happening. Mikey with a crucifix rollup on Philly for the pin. Wow. Adam Priest threatens a kid in the front row that keeps flipping him off. The dad is laughing but trying to shut it down too. I can relate.
Alec Price vs Joshua Bishop.
Price really pulls the crowd into the match. Bishop gives a chop lesson. Bishop bomb onto AIW students. Bishop bomb for the win but it was a hard fought victory. Price will definitely be back.
Eric Taylor (with the Duke) vs Dom vs Derek (with Ziggy).
Dom with a cradle driver to eliminate Eric. Eric was amazing throughout this tournament. I think the upcoming winner, Eric, and Wes are going to see the most growth after this tournament. Derek and Dom shake hands. Let’s do this. Sunset bomb and running knees only get a two. Dom has Derek in a choke. Derek rolls to the outside and falls to the floor to break the hold. Everyone comes out to check on them. Really well done moment. They both roll back into the ring after what feels like forever. Crazy. One of the hardest fights I’ve seen. Derek running knees to Dom against the post. Double knees to the back of Dom’s head. Derek gets the pin. Ziggy runs in to hug. Dom and Derek hug. Big celebration.
What a weekend! Through it all I got a good sense of family from AIW. We’ll beat the hell out of each other, but mess with one of us and mess with all of us. Together they raise the ship that is AIW.