AIW: 2012 JT Lightning Invitational Tournament – Day One

Cleveland, OH – 5.11.2012

Commentary is provided by Matt Wadsworth, The Duke, Aaron Bauer, Paul Aaron Rodgers, and Mat Fitchett.

We get a round of promos to open the show. ACH won’t hold anything back against his opponent and friend, Davey Vega, in their first round match. Ethan Page says he’s number one in everybody’s heart, but now it’s time for him to be number one in line for an AIW title shot. Veronica Ticklefeather tells Archibald Peck to not embarrass her tonight. She needs Peck to keep his eyes on the prize, and not on her. Rickey Shane Page plans to take the whole tournament in the name of JT Lightning, the man who this tournament is named after. Willie Mack plans to whoop Ethan Page’s ass tonight. Tim Donst discusses how one of the matches that inspired him was a bout between Bryan Danielson and Brian Kendrick. Donst faced Danielson in CHIKARA a couple years ago, but tonight he gets to face Kendrick. Donst has come a long way since he saw that match in 2004 and plans to show Kendrick just that. Louis Lyndon also thinks he’s going to win the tournament. The Sex Bob-Ombs get in a small war of words over who is going to win the tournament. Vega and Fitchett agree to share the trophy when one of them wins. Eric Ryan says if he has to get a title shot the hard way, he will do just that. Flip Kendrick plans to take out Rickey Shane Page in the first round. Ophidian repeats his Snake Style mantra a few times. He says the Handicapped Inspiration which will reach his expiration. Josh Prohibition plans to make JT Lightning proud when he takes on his tag team partner and fellow JT Lightning student, Matt Cross, in the opening round.

All 24 combatants for the tournament are introduced. Absolute Owner Matt Wadsworth comes out, with Chest Flexor following him in a huff. Wadsworth informs us that because Shiima Xion has not defended the Absolute Championship in over six months, he has been stripped of the title. Instead of the JLIT winner becoming the number one contender for the Absolute title, they will be crowned the new champion.

JLIT 2012 First Round Match
Mat Fitchett vs. Louis Lyndon

Chest Flexor is in Lyndon’s corner. Fitchett twists up Lyndon’s arm on the mat. Fitchett blocks a hip toss and rolls up Lyndon for two. He cartwheels out of an armdrag and gets kicked in the gut. Fitchett gets two with a crossbody. He’s too quick for Lyndon to get any offense in at all. Flexor grabs Fitchett’s leg and Lyndon forearms him from behind. Flexor holds Fitchett on the floor. Fitchett moves and Lyndon dives onto Flexor instead. Fitchett Fosbury flops onto Lyndon. Lyndon kicks Fitchett’s arm while Fitchett’s attention is turned to the crowd. He throws Fitchett’s arm into the guardrails. Lyndon works on the arm back in the ring. Fitchett avoids a corner strike. He misses a backflip kick. Lyndon puts on a Fujiwara armbar and Fitchett gets the ropes. They kick each other in the face until they knock one another down. Fitchett nails a clothesline and enzuigiri. A tornado DDT gets him two. Lyndon evades a shooting star press. He delivers two nice kicks to Fitchett’s head for two. He transitions into a cross armbreaker, causing Fitchett to get the ropes immediately. Fitchett moonsault kicks Lyndon before hitting Water for Elephants. Lyndon kicks out. Flexor grabs Fitchett as he goes up to the top rope. Lyndon knees Fitchett in the jaw. A super huracanrana leads to another cross armbreaker, giving Lyndon the win at 10:22. Much more cerebral and well paced than what you’re used to seeing from these guys. It’s always nice when work on a body part pays off, especially in a cool finish such as that. **1/2

JLIT 2012 First Round Match
Kodama vs. Bobby Beverly

Beverly’s Intense Division title is not on the line. Chest Flexor is in his corner. Beverly rakes Kodama’s eyes. Kodama bites him in retaliation. Beverly throws Kodama to the mat by his hair. Kodama nails a dropkick. Beverly backdrops Kodama’s skull first onto the top turnbuckle. Kodama huracanrana’s Beverly to the corner. Beverly shoulder blocks him to the floor and kicks him into the crowd. Kodama throws him head first into the guardrails and a chair. Kodama sprigboard crossbody’s onto Beverly in the crowd. Beverly kicks Kodama to stop a suicide dive. Kodama whips him into the guardrail but then takes a boot. They trade strikes back in the ring. Beverly enzuigiri’s Kodama as he comes off the ropes. A Michinoku Driver gets him a two count. Beverly gets two with a Saito suplex. Kodama ducks a superkick and gives Beverly a modified spinebuster. Beverly catches Kodama and tosses him right on his face. Kodama uses the ropes to give Beverly a neckbreaker. Flexor gets on the apron to stop Jake Clemons count. Beverly superkicks Kodama and gives him a modified EVO for the pin at 7:26. I was surprised at how much intensity these two brought. They had a fun, compact brawl and managed to get the usually hated Kodama over as the defacto babyface. Props to them for that. **3/4

JLIT 2012 First Round Match
Marion Fontaine vs. Facade

Fontaine is dressed up sort of like a kid from the Newsies/an old timey street fighter. The inspiration for this transformation can be watched here. Fontaine poses for some fisticuffs. Façade kicks him in the chest. Fontaine can’t believe that’s legal. Façade catches him with a Manhattan Drop. He punches Façade in the stomach as he jumps up. Fontaine ends up holding Façade’s leg while Façade holds Fontaine’s fist. They eventually agree to let each other go and reach a stand-off. Façade cleanly breaks a lock-up in the corner. Façade has a headlock on when the bell rings. Apparently this match has rounds, as Façade sits in a stool and uses a spittoon in one corner. Façade gets a shoulder rub from the referee. Fontaine sends Façade out with a crossbody headbutt. Fontaine ensures diving to the floor is legal. Façade snaps his neck across the top rope and hits a springboard dropkick. Façade runs up the ropes and dives onto Fontaine on the floor. A springboard kick and a split-legged moonsault get Façade a two count. Fontaine elbows Façade. He comes off the second rope with a falling right punch. Fontaine dedicates an elbow to the year of 1927. He airplane spins Façade, tiring himself in the process. Façade blocks a punch and gives Fontaine a spin-out facebuster. He puts Fontaine in the Dread Lock (his version of a Cattle Mutilation. Fontaine uses a jawbreaker to escape. A big right haymaker gives Fontaine the win at 11:26. I must admit, I like this change Fontaine has undergone. I hope he can keep it fresh enough that it won’t become old hat after only a few shows. Façade was a good sport and played right along. I appreciate a match being different, especially in a large tournament like this. **1/2

JLIT 2012 First Round Match
Ophidian vs. Gregory Iron

This is a rematch from “Joshimania: Night 2.” The dynamic in AIW is a bit different because Iron is not so beloved by certain Cleveland fans. Ophidian kicks Iron in the face right at the bell. Ophidian gives him a Northern Lights suplex. Iron responds with a Code Breaker and a Gimp Slap for two. Ophidian misses a twisting crossbody. Iron hits Handicapped Parking for two. Ophidian blocks his huracanrana with a buckle bomb. Ophidian gives him double knees from the top rope for two. Ophidian grabs his clavicle and lands an enzuigiri. He gets two with a slingshot quebrada. Ophidian puts him in the Lightning Lock for a quick moment. He calls for the Ophidian Death Grip. Iron escapes that and tries a prawn hold. Ophidian sits down on it and pins him at 4:38. Surprisingly short match and an upset considering Iron being a relatively big name in AIW. Not sure why this did not get more time, but this was going pretty good until the abrupt finish. *1/2

Iron thought that was a two count. He tells the fans to shut up so he can talk on the microphone. He wonders why the fans boo him. He says it’s not because he has been wrestling Cleveland legends that are beloved by the AIW fans, but rather that people from Cleveland are bitter and jealous of his success. The people don’t like that he was able to find success and admiration outside of the city. Iron tells the fans that they are delusional and are far more handicapped than he is. He thinks they need a reality check.

JLIT 2012 First Round Match
Willie Mack vs. Ethan Page

Mack takes control in the opening minutes, doing damage to Page’s arm. Page’s chop against the ropes has no effect. Mack leg lariats Page after ducking his back elbow. Mack pounces Page as Page comes off the ropes. Page back elbows him from the corner but gets Samaon Dropped. Mack follows up with a standing moonsault for two. He dropkicks Page to the floor. Page drags Mack out and gets drilled with a right hand. Page enzuigiri’s Mack on the ring apron. He throws Mack into the ring post. Page claws at Mack’s face in a Camel Clutch. Page hits a clothesline. Mack snapmares Page and drives his knee into his back. A running low Blockbuster gets him two. Page applies a side headlock. Mack escapes and exchanges forearms with Page. Mack hits him with a flying chest kick. Mack body slams Page and legdrops him for two. Page dropkicks him in the corner. Mack clotheslines Page floating through the ropes. He slingshots back in with a dropkick. Page superkicks Mack in the neck. He drops him with a neckbreaker and goes to the second rope. He hits a flying enzuigiri. Mack grabs the bottom rope to stop the count. Mack enzuigiri’s Page to the floor. Page catches him with a shoulder block. He leaps in from the apron with an Ace Crusher for two. Mack throws some boots at Page before lifting him into the Chocolate Thunder Bomb for the pin at 14:17. These two came in with a bit of buzz and lived up to expectations. Page has grown a lot since I last saw him years ago and Mack, with a little more experience, could have the tools to be a major player. This was a good showcase for both men. ***

JLIT 2012 First Round Match
Archibald Peck vs. Colin Delaney

Veronica Ticklefeather is (unwillingly) in Peck’s corner. Delaney has on a CHIKARA shirt, making this somewhat of an old school CHIKARA vs. new school CHIKARA battle. Delaney tries to do some dancing which Peck is not feeling. Delaney takes off the referee’s shirt and tries to make it a match between Peck and referee Dave Dawson. Peck is not a fan of that either. Peck almost falls for some dancing in a stalled out test of strength. Delaney talks to Veronica and mocks Peck’s marching. Peck then comes out to march and Veronica refuses to participate. This makes Peck very sad. So sad that Delaney has to lead Peck through the match and acts hurt to bring up Peck’s spirits. Peck ends up hitting a leg lariat once he finds he smile. He marches around after dropping an elbow. Delaney brings Veronica into the ring and asks her and Peck to hug it out. Delaney then attacks Peck from behind as it was all an elaborate ruse. Peck drop toe holds Delaney across his knee. Delaney hip tosses Peck into a knee strike. Delaney dropkicks him in the stomach. Peck catches Delaney with a boot. He drop toe holds him into the corner and drives his elbow into Delaney’s neck. Peck’s spin-out backbreaker earns a two count. Peck drops him on his head for two. Peck calls for his finisher, the Cranial Crescendo. Delaney fights him on the ropes. Peck comes off the top and gets caught with a leg lariat. Peck kicks out. He misses a corner elbow. Veronica stops Peck from doing a slingshot maneuver. She wants Peck to dedicate the move to her. He does, but gets caught with a gutbuster. Delaney comes off the top with the 12 Large Elbow to the back of Peck’s neck for the pin at 15:06. I don’t think this clicked exactly as they wanted it to. Was some of the humor funny? Yes, but it was also disjointed. I thought once Delaney turned on Peck and showed his true colors that the match began to drag. At least we will get a continuation of the Delaney/Fontaine feud in the next round. Veronica leaves Peck by himself after the match. **1/2

JLIT 2012 First Round Match
Eric Ryan vs. Obariyon

Obariyon slaps Ryan instead of shaking his hand. Ryan throws a flurry of forearms before getting caught with a spinebuster. Ryan gives him a quesadora armdrag. Obariyon sends Ryan to the floor and suicide dives after him. In the ring Ryan avoids the Flying DDT. He double stomps Obariyon’s back for two. Obariyon gets two himself with a flying forearm. He whips Ryan into the corner. Obariyon catches Ryan with a back bracker for two. Ryan superkicks Obariyon into a German suplex. Obariyon lifts him. Ryan sunset flips through and Obariyon knees him in the face. Obariyon delivers the Reverse Go 2 Sleep for two. Ryan catches Obariyon on the top rope. Obariyon shoves him off and hits the Flying DDT. Ryan kicks out! Obariyon goes for it again. Ryan catches him with a superkick. He gives Obariyon the Package Piledriver for two which surprises Ryan. Ryan goes for a super Frankensteiner. Obariyon instead catches him with a second rope Styles Clash! Ryan kicks out of that. He hits another Package Piledriver to put Obariyon away at 8:08. That had a bit of finisher overkill, but was exciting and had the fans solidly in Ryan’s corner. The Batiri really shined in their singles outings tonight. ***

JLIT 2012 First Round Match
Colt Cabana vs. BJ Whitmer

Southside St. Clair is in Cabana’s corner. Cabana and Whitmer exchange arm holds. Cabana baits him into a Gedo Clutch for two. He does it again. Whitmer chops Cabana as he comes off the ropes. Cabana curses and Whitmer tells some younger fans to cover their ears because of it. Cabana chops Whitmer and does a little Fargo strut. This leads to a chop and forearm exchange. Whitmer catches him with a big boot. Whitmer back elbows Cabana for two. He also gets two with a dropkick. Cabana gets his boots up as Whitmer comes off the top rope. Cabana’s wind up punch and overhand chops take Whitmer off his feet. He airplane spins Whitmer into a roll-up for two. Whitmer fights out of a headlock, only to be taken down with a flying hip attack. Cabana misses the Flying Asshole. Whitmer strings a snap suplex and Northern Lights suplex together for two. Cabana elbows him to the corner. The Flying Asshole and a lariat get a two count. Whitmer catches him coming off the ropes with an exploder suplex. Cabana kicks out of the Golden Gate swing and fisherman’s suplex combo. Cabana and Whitmer fight on the ropes. Cabana drops him with the Chicago Skyline. Whitmer kicks out. He goes for Colt .45. Whitmer counters with a backslide for the pin at 11:36. This is the kind of Cabana I have been hoping to see more of lately; the guy who can wrestle and not go overboard with the comedy. He and Whitmer had a great back and forth contest that harkened back to their earlier ROH days. These guys frankly aren’t getting enough credit these days. ***

JLIT 2012 First Round Match
Tim Donst vs. Brian “Spanky” Kendrick

They reach a stalemate after fighting over a top wristlock. Kendrick goes for an armbar. Donst turns over into Camel Clutch. When Kendrick escapes Donst digs his fists into Kendrick’s legs. When Kendrick jumps to the second rope, Donst German suplexes him. He sends Kendrick out with the STO. Donst rubs his forearm into the side of Kendrick’s head and stretches his side out across the ring post. He gets two with a suplex back in the ring. Donst slams Kendrick on his stomach for the same result. Donst gives Kendrick a dangling backbreaker to the floor. Kendrick slams Donst’s face into his knee. Donst cleverly gives him a bulldog to take back control. Kendrick rolls up Donst to counter a German suplex. Donst throws Kendrick to the floor when Kendrick goes for a tornado DDT. Donst suicide dives onto him. Donst launches Kendrick from the ropes to the canvas. Kendrick fights off Donst’s shoulders and hits a leg lariat. He kicks Donst in the side of the head. Donst counters Sliced Bread #2. Kendrick superkicks Donst once coming off his shoulders. He misses a frogsplash. Donst immediately puts on From Dusk Til’ Donst. Kendrick gets his foot on the ropes. Donst goes for a power slam. Kendrick rolls through and small packages Donst for the pin at 9:28. This has to be the bracket buster for the tournament. I’m a little disappointed to see Donst lose so early, but he will get his due in AIW soon enough. The match itself was good, but like a few others matches tonight ended a bit abruptly. **3/4

JLIT 2012 First Round Match
ACH vs. Davey Vega

They spend some time trading holds. ACH headscissors Vega into the ropes. Vega huracanrana’s him to the corner. Vega back kicks him in the face. Vega ducks a kick to the head which ACH respects. ACH cartwheels into a dropkick and drives his knee into Vega’s side. ACH splashes him in the corner. Vega goes for double arm submission on the mat, but ACH moves to the ropes to escape it. Vega misses a corner splash. Vega forearms ACH to block his springboard attack. ACH backflips off the apron, and Vega suicide dives into a tornado DDT on the floor! Vega goes after the arm back in the ring. ACH clotheslines Vega in the corner. Vega blocks the Super Saiyan. A slingshot tornado DDT gets Vega a two count. ACH gets the ropes when Vega goes for the arm again. ACH sends Vega to the apron. ACH kicks out Vega’s legs on the ring apron. From the floor, ACH clotheslines Vega against the ropes. ACH gives him the Heat Seeking Missile. He drives Vega’s back into the guardrails. He puts on a Guillotine, which Vega breaks with the ropes. ACH gets two with a Falcon Arrow. ACH clotheslines him through the ropes. Vega ducks an oncoming dive but eats an enzuigiri. A forearm exchange ensues. Vega huracanrana’s ACH for two. ACH gives him a stunner and a running knee strike. Vega German suplexes him for two. Same for a second German suplex. ACH tries to block it, but ends up taking a Dragon suplex. ACH rolls to the floor after kicking out. Vega goes for his suicide tornado DDT again. ACH blocks it. He gets thrown into the guardrails and booted in the face. Vega pump kicks ACH back in the ring, and he still manages to get up. ACH rolls up Vega for two. Vega puts ACH in a modified triangle choke in the ropes. ACH powerbombs Vega back into the ring, but Vega keeps the hold on. ACH seems done, but his arm only drops twice. He picks up Vega in a cradle DDT. That puts Vega down for the count at 20:53. This had some excellent layers to it, most importantly the aspect of these two being so familiar with each others arsenals due to excessive travel/ring time with each other. Because of it, ACH wrestled a much different match than he usually does. Vega was the severe underdog but had a strong showing and convinced a few fans that he had ACH’s number of times. My only complaint was the length, but it’s a minor one since I don’t feel the match dragged. ***1/2

JLIT 2012 First Round Match
Rickey Shane Page vs. Flip Kendrick

Chest Flexor is in Kendrick’s corner. Kendrick slaps Page a few times. Kendrick moonsault armdrags Page to the corner. Page ducks a kick and slaps Kendrick to the floor. He throws some kicks back in the ring. Page puts on a sharpshooter and Kendrick grabs the ropes. Page has himself a violence party in the corner. Flexor grabs Page’s leg. This causes Page to chase Flexor around the ring. Kendrick catches Page with a twisting crossbody. Page trips Kendrick and forearms him in the side of the head. Page sends Kendrick to the crowd. Kendrick catches Page’s leg when he goes for a kick and slams it into the top of the guardrail. Kendrick wisely targets Page’s knee back in the ring. Flexor even gets in some shots when he can. Kendrick victory rolls Page. He goes for a standing shooting star press. Page instinctively gets his knee up to block, which of course hurts him. Kendrick kicks his knees out. Kendrick back flips onto Page’s shoulders and Page gives him a Death Valley Driver. Page throws some back elbows. Page misses a corner strike. Kendrick gives springboards in with a Flying DDT for two. Kendrick goes for a dive. Page catches him and drops him stomach first on the ring apron. Page swanton bombs onto him for two. Kendrick blocks a wheelbarrow suplex with a facebuster. Kendrick hits a springboard 450 splash for two. A twisting moonsault has the same result. Kendrick does a sweet dragonrana with an extra rotation. Just then, John Thorne appears on the stage. Page kicks out of a shooting star senton. Page pops him up for a kick. He buckle bombs Kendrick and tornado kicks him. Flexor distracts the referee. Kendrick kicks Page low. Thorne pulls Flexor off the apron and throws him into the guardrail! Page nails a rolling elbow. He powerbombs Kendrick into a cloverleaf. Kendrick taps out at 13:26. Another very good back and forth contest with solid psychology. Not only did the match serve itself well, but further built Page and Thorne’s rivalry in a very interesting way. Page is another underrated guy who I hope gets some big opportunities. ***1/4

JLIT 2012 First Round Match
Matt Cross vs. Josh Prohibition

This main events the show since Cross and Prohibition were two of JT Lightning’s prized pupils. They are also currently the AIW tag team champions. A string of blocked moves ends when Cross huracanrana’s Prohibition to the floor. He hits a suicide dive as well. Cross drops Prohibition chest first on the guardrails. Prohibition picks up Cross and ends up being shoved into the ring post. Cross does an elbow drop from a gymnast position on the ring post. Prohibition gives him a backbreaker in the ring. Prohibition gives him a neckbreaker in the ropes but misses a slingshot senton. Cross gets two with a Yoshi Tonic. Prohibition suplexes him into a stunner for two. He puts a claw on Cross’ clavicle. Cross bicycle kicks him to the floor. Prohibition snaps his neck on the top rope. Prohibition trips Cross into the STF. Cross grabs the ropes to escape. Prohibition blocks a kick with an overhead suplex. Cross goes for a moonsault. Prohibition gets his feet up and catches Cross in the face with them on his way down. Cross recovers and trips Prohibition into a senton. Cross slides off Prohibition’s back. He springboard double stomps him in the back, following up with a standing moonsault. Prohibition kicks out. Cross goes for Prohibition’s own Drunken Driver. Prohibition instead buckle bombs Cross and gives a brainbuster across his knee. Cross kicks out. Cross gives him a reverse huracanrana to block another crucifix bomb. Prohibition evades the shooting star press. He hits the Drunken Driver for the pin at 12:03. Much like the ACH/Vega match, this was a great match between allies. These guys worked really hard and had somewhat a “Greatest Hits” contest to pay homage to their fallen trainer. There was no more appropriate way to end the evening and both guys should feel good knowing they did justice to the tournament’s namesake. ***1/4

Bonus “Beyond Wrestling Showcase” Pre-Show Match
Team Michigan (Maserati Rick, KJ Crush & Jack Verville) vs. The Submission Squad (Pierre Abernathy, Evan Gelestico & Gary Jay)

Crush easily overpowers Jay. He and his teammates each get in a few punches. Rick and Crush double backdrop him. Rick dropkicks him for a one count. Verville puts on an arm submission after hitting a leg lariat. Gelestico and Abernathy run in but get put in submissions by Crush and Rick. Crush keeps Gelestico in a Boston Crab when Jay and Abernathy escape. Rick puts on a Camel Clutch while Verville dances on his back. Abernahty grabs Verville as he hits the ropes. Gelestico holds his legs so Jay can double stomp him. The Squad wear down Verville in their half of the ring. Verville shoves Gelestico into Abernathy and tags in both his partners. Crush and Rick send them out, then hip toss Jay into the ring. Crush gives him a rolling Death Valley Driver. Rick gets two with a quebrada. Gelestico sends Crush to the floor. He superkicks Rick to Abernathy, he punts Rick into a modified Go 2 Sleep from Gelestico. Abernathy drops him with a Shell Shock. Verville breaks the pin. Jay gives Verville a wheelbarrow facebuster. Verville drives Jay’s skull into the mat with a rope-assisted piledriver. Gelestico sends him to the floor onto Crush. Rick gives Gelestico a spinebuster. Abernathy shoves Rick off the top rope and onto Gelestico’s knees. Gelestico small packages him for the pin at 7:26. That was actually a fine showcase for everyone involved. The Squad looked better here than they have on some of the recent AIW main shows. The Michigan Team also had a good showing. I would definitely be welcome to a Beyond Showcase in AIW again. **1/2

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