AIW Gauntlet for the Gold 5

Cleveland, OH – 2.19.2010

Absolute Owner Chandler Biggins opens the show. He calls out current tag team champions Faith in Nothing. Christian Faith and Agent Aaron Bauer come out, but Vincent Nothing isn’t there. We’re told that Faith has suffered a neck injury that may have ended his career and that Vincent Nothing is nowhere to be found. Because of it, Faith In Nothing have forfeited the titles. Because of it, a Tag Team Gauntlet will be held to crown new tag team championships.

Tag Team Gauntlet for the AIW Tag Team Championship

Alpha Beta Duke (The Duke and Nick Belushi) defeat Lights Out (Corey Winters & Ben Fruith) as well as The Jack of Love (Jefferson Saint & Chest Flexor) in the first two pairings. Da Latin Crime Syndicate come out to face Alpha Beta Duke. The power goes out and the music begins to skip as DLCS get in the ring. We’re now in total darkness with no music. The house lights come on and a brawl begins. A couple guys come in from the crowd. One guy distracts the officials while another wrestler comes in and attacks Alpha Beta Duke. The officials quickly get him and he’s taken out. Chandler Biggins and Belushi go to confront the wrestlers, and they get pushed out. K. Fernandez uses this opportunity to take out the Duke and pin him. Diamante and Joey the Snake wrestle the next fall, leading me to believe he DLCS are wrestling Freebird style. The Pink Mustaches of Marion Fontaine and Pinkie Sanchez are the next team, and they eliminate DLCS after Fontaine rolls through a wheelbarrow from Diamante into a prawn hold. Aeroform (Flip Kendrick & Louis Lyndon) are the final team. The Pink Mustaches lay it in to Lyndon, but he’s able to finally tag in Kendrick. Kendrick hits Fontaine with an Arabian Press for the pin and the AIW tag team championship…or so we think.

Agent Aaron Bauer grabs the microphone as Christian Faith hands them the belts. Bauer says this Gauntlet was his idea and concept. He says he has one more team; The Young Studs of Eric Ryan and Bobby Beverly. Christian Faith looks none too pleased with with Bauer’s addition. Aeroform try for immediate pinfalls but fail. The Studs bail to the floor, and Aeroform fakeout dives. They then hit the floor where the Studs drag them into the audience. Aeroform get tossed in the ring. They baseball slide the Studs back and hit stereo moonsaults onto them. Aeroform bring Beverly back in and hit a double dropkick. Ryan sends Kendrick to the floor. Beverly gives Lyndon a urinage backbreaker. Ryan follows up with a top rope senton for two. The Studs bully Lyndon for awhile, till Lyndon hops off Beverly’s back and makes a tag. Kendrick tags Beverly with an enzugiri. Kendrick drops Ryan face first with a belly-to-back suplex. Beverly breaks the pin and superkicks Kendrick. Beverly drops him with a DDT. Lyndon messes up a reverse rana on Beverly, knocking down both guys. Ryan nails Lyndon with a package piledriver. Kendrick drops Ryan face first with a belly-to-back suplex once again. Kendrick heads up top, and Aaron Bauer crotches him. Ryan and Beverly hit the Cop Killer/Double Stomp combo for the pin at 35:22. This ended with the three best teams in the tournament which helped, and Alpha Beta Duke’s matches were kept short. This also got Bauer over as a heel and set up the Young Studs as big heels. ***

Bauer cuts a promo afterwards saying he’s back the Young Studs now. Faith hands over the tag titles unhappily. Ryan looks for a handshake, but Faith knocks him down with a forearm. Beverly hits Faith with the tag title belt in response. The Studs leave with their heads and belts held high.

Absolute Opportunity
Johnny Cockstrong vs. “The Smooth Savage” Jonny Mangue

Mangue wristlocks Cockstrong and headbuts his palm. Cockstrong reverses, and Mangue gets a headlock. Cockstrong takes Mangue down to the mat and Mangue applies a headscissors. He slaps Cockstrong on the back and turns into a pin for two. Mangue sunset flips him, and Cockstrong falls cock first onto Mangue’s face. Cockstrong slingshots in with a sit-out butt bump for two. Mangue ducks a clothesline and hits a neck breaker. Mangue hits a Rolling Thunder headbutt and sends Cockstrong to the floor. Mangue follows with a pescado. In the ring, Mangue hits some headbutts. Cockstrong hits a shining…cock for two. Cockstrong slams Mangue and falls cock first on his face. Cockstrong hits a flying elbow for two. Mangue then gives him a Rydeen Bomb for two.
Cockstrong throws Mangue off the top rope. Cockstrong hits another big shining cock for two. Mangue drops Cockstrong with a big Samoan Drop. He turns Cockstrong over into a Texas Cloverleaf. Cockstrong escapes. Cockstrong hits a hurricanrana. He holds onto Mangue’s legs and pins him at 7:44. Really strong showing form both guys. Even Cockstrong’s offense wasn’t absurd, but just fit his gimmick and always seemed effective. Mangue though really did a great job and I hope he gets a full time spot in AIW. **1/4

Jack Verville comes out and says he wants a warm-up match before the Gauntlet. He says bring out anyone, naming some of the AIW scrubs. Instead, he gets the monster Tommy Mercer.

Tommy Mercer vs. Jack Verville

Verville hits a couple forearms and punches with no effect. Mercer blasts Verville with a big boot. He knocks over Verville with a trifecta of clotheslines. Verville hits Mercer in the throat and catches him with kicks. Mercer hits a spinebuster. Mercer throws Verville into the corners. Verville gouges his eyes and slams his neck on the top rope. Verville grabs an overhead wristlock and drops Mercer with a neckbreaker for two. Mercer fires back with punches. Verville uppercuts him. Verville kicks out Mercer’s leg. Verville snaps Mercer’s neck, and Mercer fires up. Mercer drops Verville with a spin-out face buster for the win at 3:40. This got Mercer over as a killer which was the goal all along. ½*

Winner gets the #30 Spot in the Gauntlet for the Gold
Johnny Gargano vs. Sterling James Keenan

Keenan won the #30 spot by defeating Drake Younger back in December. Tonight he’ll defend that spot against Gargano. Gargano takes down Keenan with a shoulder block after Keenan pushes him off from a headlock. Gargano goes to the mat and reapplies the headlock. Keenan slams Gargano’s wrist against the turnbuckle, then slams him in a hammerlock. Keenan chokes Gargano on the ropes. Keenan looks to knock Gargano off the apron, but Gargano hits his patented slingshot spear. Keenan rakes Gargano’s eyes. Keenan takes Gargano over with a suplex for two. Keenan lays in some strikes to Gargano’s mid-section and back. Gargano rolls up Gargano for two. Keenan hits a hard clothesline, hitting Gargano’s arm as well. Keenan applies a short-arm scissor. Gargano escapes and Keenan brings him to his feet. Keenan whips Gargano into the corner. Gargano rams his shoulder into Keenan’s face, and Keenan gives him an uppercut. Keenan comes off the ropes, and Gargano catches him with a dropkick. Gargano goes up and over Keenan, but Keenan kicks him in the gut. Gargano hits a jump-up neckbreaker for two. Gargano ducks a big boot, but Keenan cracks him with one anyway when Gargano turns around. Gargano sunset flips Keenan for two. Gargano looks for the Uniquely You, but Keenan rolls into an armbar. Gargano taps out at 13:49. This was a good match with sound psychology throughout. **1/2

Chris Dickinson comes out talking about how his usual matches keep getting changed. Davey Richards bailed, Façade had a broken foot, and supposedly his set opponent for tonight (Eric Alverado) quit wrestling altogether. Annoyed, Dickinson calls out Absolute Owner Chandler Biggins. Biggins says Alverado never contacted him and calls him a piece of shit and then pisses on PRIDE Wrestling for whatever reason. Dickinson demands he still get a match tonight. Façade answers the challenge.

Intense Division Championship
Chris Dickinson (Champion) vs. Façade

This match starts with both guys laying in forearms to one another. They then exchange kicks to the chest. Each guy snapmares the other and kicks them in the back, and the process repeats. Façade takes Dickinson to the apron with a clothesline. Dickinson trips Façade on the apron, and Façade falls to the floor. Dickinson chokes Façade on the guardrail. Façade fires back with a chop, and Dickinson kicks him in the shoulder. Façade gives Dickinson more kicks to the chest. Dickinson throws Façade into the crowd. Dickinson snapmares Façade and kicks him in the back. Dickinson stands on a chair that is on Façade’s face. Façade throws Dickinson ring side. Façade jumps off the guardrail with a flying kick. Façade throws Dickinson onto the ringside table. Façade slams a chair on Dickinson’s arm. Façade stands over Dickinson, and Dickinson locks in a heel hook on Façade. Dickinson places the chair so it’s set on Façade’s leg and kicks the chair. Dickinson runs at Façade, and Façade throws a chair at the knee that Akuma worked over last month. Dickinson gets sent into the crowd. Façade springboards off the guardrail into a clothesline on Dickinson. Façade splashes on Dickinson. Façade crossbodies Dickinson into a wall. Façade tosses a few chairs into the ring as Dickinson fights up with chops. Façade takes him back down and tosses him back over the guardrail. Dickinson crotches Façade on the guardrail. Dickinson comes off the apron with a kick on the crotched Façade. Dickinson gets back in the ring. Façade tries to come in and Dickinson kicks him. Dickinson clotheslines Façade on the apron. Dickisnon brings Façade back in with a Falcon Arrow for two. Dickinson sets up a chair. Façade bulldogs Dickinson face first onto the chair and pins him for two. Façade hits a quebrada for two. Dickinson ducks a lariat and hits a bridging German suplex for two. Dickinson places a chair on Façade’s chest. Dickinson heads up top. Façade throws the chair at Dickinson in the skull. Façade kicks Dickinson, crotching him on the top rope. Façade swings Dickinson’s legs around. Dickinson comes off the top rope with an Ace crusher to Façade through the table on the floor. Dickinson pins him on the ground to retain the title at 12:15. I had no idea that you could pin the guy on the floor, but okay. This was a really good match with both guys throwing some great stuff at one another. In my eyes, they redeemed their poor showing at Nightmare Before X-Mas 3. Well done! ***1/4

30 Man Gauntlet For The Gold
Winner becomes the AIW Absolute Champion

This is a Royal Rumble style match. Eliminations occur by throwing somebody over the top rope, and both of their feet hitting the floor. The match will start with two participants, and every 90 seconds a new AIW wrestler will join the match. The winner of the Gauntlet for the Gold will be declared the new AIW Absolute Champion.

The order of entry is:

1. Façade
2. Johnny Gargano
3. “The Smooth Savage” Jonny Mangue
4. Chris Dickinson
5. Jefferson Saint
6. Chest Flexor
7. Jack Verville
8. Ben Fruith
9. Johnny Cockstrong
10. Southside St. Clair
11. Tommy Mercer
12. The Duke
13. Eric Ryan
14. Flip Kendrick
15. John Thorne
16. K. Fernandez
17. Christian Faith (Who was unable to compete due to injury.)
18. Jay Ice
19. Nick Belushi
20. Benny Boone
21. Gregory Iron
22. Bobby Beverly
23. Hobo Joe
24. Robert Paulson
25. Marion Fontaine
26. Louis Lyndon
27. Corey Winters
28. K. Fed
29. Dave The Potato
30. Sterling James Keenan

Order of Elimination
1. Jack Verville by Tommy Mercer
2. Chst Flexor by Tommy Mercer
3. Jefferson Saint by Tommy Mercer
4. Ben Fruith by himself
5. Southside St. Clair by Johnny Cockstrong
6. Johnny Cockstrong by Tommy Mercer
7. Jonny Mangue by Johnny Gargano
8. Flip Kendrick by The Duke (I think)
9. John Thorne by Chris Dickinson
10. The Duke by Himself (went to check on Thorne)
11. Nick Belushi by ???
12. K. Fernandez by ???
13. Jay Ice by ???
14. Benny Boone by ???
15. Hobo Joe by Gargano throwing Paulson into him
16. K. Fed by the Young Studs
17. Corey Winters by Façade
18. Dave The Potato by Tommy Mercer
19. Gregory Iron by Sterling James Keenan
20. Robert Paulson by Sterling James Keenan
21. Louis Lyndon by Sterling James Keenan
22. Chris Dickinson by Tommy Mercer
23. Bobby Beverly by Tommy Mercer and Johnny Gargano
24. Eric Ryan by Tommy Mercer
25. Marion Fontaine by Sterling James Keenan
26. – 29. Johnny Gargano, Sterling James Keenan, Façade, and Tommy Mercer all hit the ground at the same time.

Match Notes
– Gargano and Façade were taped up and banged up from their matches earlier in the night.
– Jefferson Saint saw all the competitors in the match and refused to enter. His Jack of Love teammates (who came out in the next two spots after him) also refused to enter. They also prevented Ben Fruith and Johnny Cockstrong from entering the fray. Southside St. Clair comes out and calls all of them pussies. He leads the charge and everyone comes in the ring.
– When Tommy Mercer entered, he ran roughshod and eliminated the entire Jack of Love and Johnny Cockstrong.
– Agent Aaron Bauer egged Christian Faith to come out, but he never did due to injury. (Therefore the eliminations only go up to #29, not #30)
– Someone hops out of the crowd and beats up Thorne when he gets eliminated. He gets escorted by officials and staff. The Duke comes out to check out the situation.
– The match stops when The Potato comes out. He tries to team up with Sterling James Keenan. Dave gets attacked when he enters, and then thrown out.
– In regards to the final four. Gargano and Keenan were sent to the apron. Mercer picked up Façade to slam him over the same side of the ring as Gargano and Keenan. Mercer also dumped himself over the top rope, and all four guys toppled to the floor.

All three officials agree that all four men’s feet hit the floor at the same time. Therefore, Absolute Owner Chandler Biggins comes out to make a decision. Biggins didn’t see what happened as he was kicking out the wrestler who attacked Thorne earlier. After deliberation, Biggins decided all four of the wrestlers will compete in a four-way match in late June at AIW’s biggest show of the year: Absolution 5. The winner of that match will be crowned the new AIW Absolution champion. This show takes place as part of a doubleshot with CHIKARA in the same building (the West Park Party Center in Cleveland, OH).

This was a fun Royal Rumble type match, driven by story the entire time. I really like how the order worked out and how the four final guys looked liked the best of the bunch. I am actually anticipating the four way title match come June. ***1/2

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