Cleveland, OH – 7.1.2012
Commentary is provided by Aaron Bauer, Vic Travillgante, Paul Rodgers and Matt Wadsworth.
AIW Absolute Champion: Eric Ryan
AIW Intense Division Championship: Bobby Beverly
AIW Tag Team Champions: Youthanazia (Josh Prohibition & Matt Cross)
AIW Women’s Champion: Allysin Kay
No Ropes Barbed Wire
Rickey Shane Page vs. John Thorne
Thorne got to choose the stipulation for this match, and Page did not know the stipulation until today. They clobber each other with forearms. Thorne almost gets thrown into the barbed wire, but stops himself and slides to the floor. Page follows and sends a chair into his legs. He suplexes Thorne onto the chair as well. Thorne shoves Page’s shoulder into the wire before hitting him with a chair. Back in the ring, Page evades Thorne’s attack and sends him back first into the wire! Thorne side steps Page’s next attack and he goes into the wire too. Thorne scrapes the wire against Page’s arm and his forehead. He pulls of Page’s shirt and singlet before shoving his chest into it. Page pulls out a spike and gets his hand re-taped. Thorne pulls out his own spike after blocking Page’s spike attack. They both simultaneously drive the spikes into each others’ heads! Page and Thorne boot each other into the wire. Page overhead suplexes Thorne and his left leg gets caught in the wire. He drops Thorne with a Death Valley Driver. Page clips off some of the barbed wire. Thorne jabs him with the spike in the stomach, then pulls apart Page’s face with the loosened wire. Page spikes Thorne’s hand to stop him. He spikes Page in the head a few times and then wraps his arm in wire. He nails a rolling forearm. He wraps Thorne’s upper body in wire, puts on a sharpshooter, and pulls up the wire on Thorne’s face. Thorne quits at 11:16. The pre-match video package for this feud did an amazing job of chronicling this feud and had you believing these two really had it out for each other. That hatred carried over into this brutal match. It was sick, twisted and the best way this feud could have ended. Props to both guys for doing that amount of damage to themselves to tell a good story. ***1/4
John Thorne says the exact match he wanted from Page. He knows Page deep inside is a killer and says it’s time for him to live up to his potential. Page says someday soon things are going to change and thanks Thorne for making him realize who he is. Foreshadowing!
As the ring crew is taking down the barbed wire and setting up the ropes, The Submission Squad (Pierre Abernathy, Evan Gelestico & Gary Jay) come in through the side door, beating the hell out of Da Latin Crime Syndicate (Joey “The Snake” Diamante & K. Fernandez). They beat Da Latins down with chairs out in the crowd. Gelestico accidentall boots Abernathy, giving Fernandez the opening to give Gelestico a Death Valley Driver into a trashcan. Jay brings out a ladder from a storage area. Diamante powerbombs Jay off of the ladder and onto a pile of chairs! Da Latins end up leaving with their heads held high while The Squad has to help each other in getting out of the building.
Eddie Kingston vs. Arik Cannon vs. Drake Younger vs. Facade vs. Davey Vega vs. Ethan Page
Seleziya Sparx is in Page’s corner. Page gets mad at Cannon because he keeps eyeing her. He throws a shot before the mystery entrant, Eddie Kingston, comes out. This starts a fracas with the other five guys. Everybody but Façade is sent to the floor. He flies onto all of them with a springboard twisting senton. With everyone out, Kingston makes his entrance. Younger flies onto him with a somersault senton from the top rope! Kingston suplexes him onto the entrance ramp. Cannon and Vega trade holds in the ring while Page throws Façade into the guardrails. A chain of headscissors forms in the ring. Younger double stomps onto Kingston to break the chain. Facade gets two with a quebrada on Younger. Kingston superplexes Façade. Ego catches him with the Boom! Headshot. Vega huracanrana’s Page. Cannon blocks Vega’s huracanrana. He powerbombs him into the corner and turns him inside out with a lariat. Younger goes for the Drake’s Landing. Cannon blocks it, but ends up taking a brainbuster for two. Vega and Younger fight on the top rope. Page puts Vega on his shoulders and hooks Cannon for a DDT. Younger crossbody’s Vega, causing Page to drop Cannon with a DDT. Kingston and Facade break the two pin attempts in the ring. Façade catches Kingston with a springboard enzuigiri. He gets his knees up to block Façade’s Arabian press, then gives him a uranage suplex. Kingston nails Page with a rolling forearm. Sparx gets on the apron to stop the count. Kingston accidentally backfists her! Page rolls Kingston up for two. They then knock each other down with clotheslines. Kingston yakuza kicks Cannon. Younger gives Façade a Death Valley Driver on the apron! Younger picks up a chair, but Page dropkicks it into his face. Vega yakuza kicks Page. Kingston Saito suplexes Vega. He and Cannon trade Saito suplexes of their own. Cannon only gets one with a brainbuster. He gets two with Total Anrchy. Kingston delivers two Backfists to get the pin at 10:42. This would have been considered one of ROH’s best Six Man Mayhems back in its prime. The action was wild, chaotic fun from start to finish and all six competitors got a chance to shine. Page, Vega and Façade usually do good work in AIW, but the other three I would love to see come around more often. ***1/2
Bare Knuckle Brawl
Marion Fontaine vs. Colin Delaney
Special Guest Referee: Archibald Peck
Major kudos to Pedro Deluca for playing the old school ring announcer roll for this bout. Arik Cannon is Delaney’s corner man. Delaney celebrates a small sucker punch to Fontaine’s stomach. Fontaine is so desperate for a fair fight, he offers Delaney a free punch if he obliges. A “tallyho!” from Fontaine frightens Delaney to the point where he hits the floor. Fontaine gets in his own punches to Delaney’s stomach. Peck separates them in the corner as the first round ends. Delaney takes Fontaine down by his legs. He gets admonished for it since this is not under wrestling rules. Same goes for when he bodyslams Fontaine. They knock each other down with stereo punches to the face. They get a chance to recover at the end of the round. Fontaine’s straps come down. Delaney throws a chair at his head! Peck unwillingly rings the bell to start Round 3. Fontaine punches his way out of a suplex. A big wind up punch to the stomach takes Delaney off his feet. Delaney pulls out a chain. Fontaine strikes him hard before Delaney can get a punch in. Peck declares Fontaine the winner via Knock Out at 7:50. That was fun, but not as zany as I was hoping for. I really liked Delaney trying to cheat and incorporate wrestling moves, only for it to backfire in the end. I wonder where they go with Fontaine now. **1/2
Youthanazia and Aeroform come out for their scheduled tag team championship bout. As the two teams are facing off, Veronica Ticklefeather makes her way out. She has brought a tag team that will take the belts and end the world in December: The Batiri! This match is now a three way tag team match for the titles.
AIW Tag Team Championship
Youthanazia (Josh Prohibition & Matt Cross) vs. Aeroform (Flip Kendrick & Louis Lyndon) vs. The Batiri (Obariyon & Kodama)
Chest Flexor is in Aeroform’s corner, while Veronica Ticklefeather is of course in The Batiri’s. Aeroform and Yotuhanazia fight before the Batiri make it in. Aeroform misses dives on the floor. Cross suicide dives onto both of them. Prohibition fights off both Batiri members. He suplexes Kodama for two. Prohibition sends him and Lyndon to the floor. He attempts a dive but gets cut off by Obariyon’s flying forearm. He knees Prohibition in the stomach for two. Kodama’s basement Blockbuster also gets two. The Batiri keep beating on Prohibition until he falls back after Obaryion’s dropkick and tags in Cross. He misses a cartwheel elbow in the corner. Kodama and Obariyon deliver a few different dropkicks to him. Aeroform come in to clean house. Kendrick slingshot dropkicks Obariyon into a low boot from Lyndon. Aeroform attack Cross’ leg. Cross manages to slip out of a double backdrop attempt. Prohibition tags in. He gives Lyndon a reverse DDT and wheelbarrow slams Kendrick. Flexor gets on the apron. Lyndon accidentally bicycle kicks him. Prohibition goes for the Drunken Driver. Lyndon reverses for a huracanrana. He turns around and eats the Skull Bronzing from The Batiri. Kendrick huracanrana’s both Batiri members simultaneously, then delivers a twisting quebrada. Cross stomps Kendrick on Prohibition’s shoulder into a TKO. Lyndon sends Prohibition out and puts a legbar on Cross. Prohibition saves his partner. Kodama gives Prohibition a spinebuster. He recovers quickly and puts Kodama on his shoulders. Cross gives Kodama a doomsday device, but Kodama turns it into a reverse huracanrana on Prohibition! Obariyon flies in with the Rapture for the pin and the titles at 10:43. Two years in a row Absolution has a good three team tag title bout. Last year’s was a lot more based around high flying and spectacle while this was more methodical. It pleases me to see The Batiri getting recognition as they have grown immensely in 2012. A rematch against either team, especially Youthanazia, is something I’d like to see. ***
Texas Bullrope Match
The Duke vs. Jock Samson
The only way to win this match is to touch all four corners in succession. Duke punches and elbows Samson in the corner. Samson stops Duke from driving the bell into his forehead. Duke does choke him with the rope on the floor. He crotches Samson on the ring post and knocks him down with the cowbell. He sets up a table between the guardrail in the ring. Samson takes control as they head back in the ring. Duke ducks a clothesline and pulls the rope up between Samson’s legs. He chokeslams Samson and hits the Duke Bomb. He begins touching the corners. Samson rolls to the floor to create distance between Duke and the fourth corner. Duke misses a splash against the guardrail. Samson slams a chair into his head and pulls him into the ring post. He even uses Duke’s own paddle against him. Duke throws Pedro Deluca into the Duke and hits Duke with a chair. Samson touches three corners. Duke pulls the rope to stop him from getting the fourth. Samson pulls Duke into the crowd by the rope. Duke slams the cowbell into Samson and spills beer on him. He knocks Samson down with a clothesline back in the ring. Samson puts on a sleeper hold. Before Samson can touch the fourth corner, Duke pulls him in for a spear. He goes for the Duke Driver. Samson counters it with a DDT. Samson places Duke on the previously set up table on the ring and guardrail. Duke throws a chair at his face when he goes to the second rope. Duke comes off the second rope with an elbow, but the table does not budge. A Duke Driver does the trick, sending both men crashing to the floor! Duke hits all four corners and is declared the winner at 17:41. I don’t know what I expected going into this match, but I got more than I bargained. These guys bled and kicked the crap out of each other while also telling a solid story. The Duke Driver through the table will be one of the spots that people remember when they think back to Absolution VII. I gave Kudos to Thorne and Page for killing each other for our amusement; these two deserve the same. ***1/2
The Duke puts over Samson for being tough and asks for a handshake. Samson does so and gives Duke a hug as well. They celebrate with some beers. Duke talks about the growth and strides AIW has made over the past seven years. He has always been loyal to the company and appreciates all they have given him. He wants to continue his loyalty by giving AIW the only thing he has left: his spot. He clarifies that he is not retiring or leaving the company, but rather leaving the active roster so someone else can take his spot. For now, until they need him back to beat someone’s ass, he will be doing other things in AIW. He gets a standing ovation, and deservedly so.
Adam Cole vs. ACH
They trade holds to start. ACH twists Cole’s arm around his leg. Cole rolls him up for two. After leapfrogging each other, they also each snap off an armdrag. They reach a stalemate and shove each other. They get into such an intense knuckle lock, that it goes to the floor and into the crowd. They slam each others’ hands into the commentary table and still will not let go. Cole bends ACH’s back across the guardrail. ACH puts on a headscissors with knuckles still locked. ACH releases the knuckles to stop a monkey flip on the floor. ACH enzuigiri’s Cole and springboards off the guardrail with an overhand chop to the head. He back elbows Cole in the ring for two. Cole forearms ACH on the ring apron. ACH scissor kicks him in the ropes. Cole enzuigiri’s ACH from the floor to stop a suicide dive. In the ring, ACH comes off the second rope with a forearm to the back of the head. Cole kicks out and gives ACH a neckbreaker across his knee. ACH spins him out with a reverse DDT. He gets two with a running knee strike. Cole superkicks ACH as he slingshots in. Cole gives him a brainbuster over his knee for two. ACH misses a second rope 450 splash. He drives Cole into the mat with a stomp. Cole throws a couple superkicks. He goes for a wheelbarrow back cracker, but ACH prawn holds him and gets the pin at 14:32. This was a lot different than I think most people expected. It had a little bit of the flash we’re used to seeing out of both guys, but I think the crowd got deflated after the long double knuckle lock spot. I enjoyed the match, but not as much as I expected given the quality of competitors involved. ***
Intense Division Championship
Bobby Beverly vs. BJ Whitmer
Chest Flexor is in Beverly’s corner. Beverly’s early strikes don’t do much damage to Whitmer. Beverly throws him to the floor where their strike exchange continues. Whitmer back elbows him back in the ring. Beverly trips him back to the floor. Whitmer whips him into the guardrails. Beverly hits a bicycle kick. Whimer exploder suplexes Beverly into some chairs in the crowd. Whitmer chops him around the building. Flexor distracts Whitmer so that Beverly can punt him from the apron. He comes off the apron with a forearm. Beverly keeps control back in the ring. Whitmer fires up from an onslaught of chops. He catches Beverly coming off the ropes with an exploder suplex. He gets two with a Northern Lights suplex. Same with a big boot. Beverly prawn holds Whitmer to block another suplex. He kicks out his knee and gives him a superkick to the side of the head for two. Whitmer blocks another superkick. He strings two Fisherman’s suplexes together for two. Beverly Japanese armdrags Whitmer to the corner. He drops Whitmer with a butterfly DDT. Whitmer kicks out. He side steps an attack. He gives Beverly a Complete Shot and puts on the Peruvian Necktie. Beverly taps out at 13:02, making Whitmer the new champion. This dragged a little in the middle, but the opening and ending portions were good enough to make this well-rounded. I may have expected a little more intensity given the nature of their feud but I wouldn’t go as far as to call this disappointing. Both guys have made great strides since last years’ Absolution and this match was proof positive of that. ***
Irish Airborne (Jake & Dave Crist) vs. The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe)
Mark and Jake start off. They end up at a stand-off. Jay and Dave tag in. Dave flips out of a wristlock and armdrags Jay to the ropes. He hits a dropkick that causes Jay to retreat to the corner. Dave clotheslines him before tagging Jake back in. Jake puts on a headlock. Dave comes back with a senton across Jay’s neck and back. The Airborne take turns working over his neck. Dave gets two with a quebrada press. Mark blind tags in. Jay whips Dave into Mark’s clothesline. The Briscoes overpower and dominate Dave in their corner until Dave catches Jay with an enzuigiri. Jake tags in and kicks Jay as he skins the cat to the top rope. He gets two with a crossbody. Jake puts him in a seated stretch. He flips off Mark to draw him into the ring. Even though he breaks the hold, The Airborne are able to keep Jay trapped in their corner. Jay elbows and punches his way out so he can lunge towards Mark for a tag. Mark throws his signature redneck kung-fu at the brothers Crist. He gamengiri’s Jake and Jon Woo dropkicks Dave to the corner. He brings Jake down with the Iconoclasm for two. Dave sends Mark into a superkick and Tiger suplex from Jake. Jay breaks the cover. He throws Dave out of the ring and head first into the guardrail! Jay gives Jake a spinebuster. Dave comes back in and snaps Jay’s neck across the middle ropes. He sends Jay out with a springboard elbow. Jake powerslams Mark into the corner. The Airborne give Mark the Irish Air Raid for two. Jay stops them from hitting Irish Coffee. He gives Jake the Jay Driller for two. Dave gets sent to the floor. The Briscoes hit the Doomsday Device on Jake for the pin at 12:45. This was definitely a step up from their encounters in 2006/2007. I’m surprised the Airborne didn’t get the win here, but hopefully it means The Briscoes are destined to return to AIW. Both teams had excellent outings and it made for a fun match. ***1/4
Absolute Championship – Elimination Match
Eric Ryan vs. Tim Donst vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Shiima Xion
It’s quite a feat when you can get the AIW champion, a CHIKARA superstar, the DGUSA Open the Freedom Gate champion, and a full time TNA roster member in the same contest. Xion was a late entry; this was originally scheduled as four-way between the other combatants. He was stripped of the title because he was inactive on multiple AIW shows during his reign. Matt Wadsworth allows him entry into the match since he was indeed stripped of his title.
Ryan chops Xion on the floor. He feeds him to Donst and Gargano. Xion ducks their tandem clothesline and dropkicks Ryan into the guardrails. Xion comes off the top with a dropkick to both Gargano and Donst. Ryan armdrags Xion a couple times and rolls him into a back kick. He gets two with a senton. He comes off the top with a double stomp to Xion’s back. Gargano and Ryan dropkick Xion as he comes off the second rope. Gargano rolls Ryan into a low enzuigiri. He gets two with a powerbomb. Ryan ducks some kicks and places Gargano on his shoulders. Donst spears them both. Xion frogsplashes Ryan for two. Donst puts From Dusk til Donst on Xion. Xion gets the ropes to escape. Gargano slingshot spears Donst while Ryan suicide dives onto Xion. Gargano lawn darts Donst into the corner. He gets two with a superkick. Ryan German suplexes Gargano and Xion hits a 450 splash on Ryan for the pin at 4:16. We are no guaranteed a new champion. Xion slams Gargano and hits a moonsault for two. Gargano puts him in a tree of woe. Donst suplexes Gargano into Xion. Donst German suplexes Xion off the top rope. Gargano gives Xion the Hurts Donut and puts him in the Garga-No Escape. Xion taps out at 6:23, leaving the match to Gargano and Donst, the guys who main evented last years Absolution event. Gargano throws a flurry of forearms. Donst bulldogs him, but Gargano recovers quickly to throw a rolling clothesline. Donst throws Gargano off the top rope with a Death Valley Driver. Gargano goes for a crucifix pin. Donst puts him in from Dusk til Donst instead. Gargano grabs the ropes and goes to the floor. Donst suicide dives onto him. Gargano and Donst counter each others’ moves back in the ring. Gargano finally hits the Hurts Donut for two. He puts on the Garga-No Escape. Donst gets the ropes. He blocks the Hurts Donut with a STO. He gets two with a Gator Roll. A second Gator Roll gets him the pin and the title at 11:53. AIW deserves so much credit for helping build Donst into a credible main event star. His journey since debuting in the company in July 2010 has been incredible, and watching him evolve into what he is now is nothing short of incredible. This was a spectacle of a main event and did a remarkable job calling back to the history between all four competitors. If there’s one thing AIW deserves a lot of credit for, it’s how good their storylines have been since last years’ TPI. ***1/2
As soon as the match ends, the arena goes black and a graphic that says “Nixon” comes up. When the lights come back on, four men in suits and Richard Nixon masks are in the ring. They all superkick Donst simultaneously and attack every person who tries to get in the ring to stop them. Chris Dickinson is the first to unmask. He hasn’t been seen in wrestling for over a year and in AIW for longer than that. Dickinson and Whitmer get into a fight in the middle of the ring. The other Nixon members jump in, causing the ring to fill with other members of the AIW roster to fight with Whitmer. The other members unmask, revealing themselves as Rickey Shane Page, Bobby Beverly and Eric Ryan. Dickinson gives Whitmer a fisherman’s buster. Dickinson is left to fight for himself as Page, Beverley and Ryan tear down the AIW set. The lights in the building also go off. Nixon slips through the back door during this time. The roster and fans are in awe at this new group. What a hell of a way to end Absolution VII.
The Bonus section on the first disc features Vic Travillgante getting ready to announce the winner of the AIW Intern Contest. Suddenly, Veda Scott makes her way out to the ring. She says “we” (her and her unknown client) are disgusted that those in the Intern contest think they could be a part of the wrestling business without putting in the hard work others have. After that, Gregory Iron is introduced as her client. He spoke his mind on AIW at the #JLIT, and suddenly, he’s not booked anymore. He espoused his issues with AIW to Scott who feels that Iron has been wronged by AIW management. He turns his attention to the potential interns and verbally berates them one by one. He even smashes one of their pairs of glasses! One of them, Justin Doane, calls Greg a crippled bitch. Iron smacks him in the face and brings him into the ring. He begins to stomp on Doane and chokes him in the corner. It takes multiple AIW officials to get Iron to let go. This is a drastic change from the Iron of old, and I am very interested to see where this leads.