Absolute Intense Wrestling “Jet Black New Year” results: Vetter’s review of Joshua Bishop vs. Isaiah Broner for the Absolute Championship, Derek Dillinger vs. Kaplan for the Intense Championship, Bulking Season vs. Bitcoin Boiz for the AIW Tag Titles, Wes Barkley vs. Brian Myers, Tom Lawlor vs. Shaw Mason


By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)

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Absolute Intense Wrestling “Jet Black New Year”
Streamed on FITE.TV
December 30, 2022 in Akron, Ohio at Tadmor Shrine

This venue has Egyptian murals on the wall opposite the hard camera and it’s really distracting. This building appears packed with a crowd of 400-600. We have a two-man commentary team, who said they just switched to this building a few days ago, so they are pleased the building is packed.

1. “The Main Event” Duke Davis & Ganon Jones defeated “The Bang Bros” Davey Bang & Austin Matthews and Money Shot” Elijah Dean & Zach Nystrom and “Members Only” Malcolm Cambridge & Calvin G. Lewis at 6:22. I have only seen The Bang Bros of these four squads. Davis or Jones are both muscular Black men and much bigger than everyone else here. Dean and Nystrom are white and they wore matching silver jackets that give off FTR vibes. Members Only are Black and make me think of the Street Profits.

Either Davis or Jones did a powerbomb over the top rope, with the competitor landing on several other wrestlers on the floor. Either Davis or Jones hit a back suplex for the pin. An okay match; if the commentary team knew who these guys are, they didn’t do a good job telling me. They typically referred to moves being hit by the team, not the individuals. Six minutes isn’t just enough time for eight guys to get their stuff in.

* Video montage with Matt Cardona, who is sending his buddy Brian Myers to AIW to wrestle. However, when we return to ringside, we don’t have any audio!

2. Wes Barkley defeated Brian Myers at 11:40. Myers spoke on the mic but we have no audio until he was literally finished speaking. Barkley is white with curly brown hair; his pants have tassels; he appears to be almost as tall as Myers. They brawled to the floor immediately. In the ring, Myers kept him grounded and choked him on the ropes. Barkley hit a sit-out powerbomb move for a nearfall at 7:30. Myers hit a DDT for a believable nearfall. Barkley hit a Stroke/forward Russian Legsweep for a nearfall, but Myers got his foot on the ropes. Barkley nailed an enzuigiri, then a top-rope frogsplash for the clean pin.

3. Philly Collins and Marino Tenaglia defeated “M-Dogg 20” Matt Cross and Josh Prohibition at 10:04. Collins looks like DJ Drake and Tenaglia looks like Dolph Ziggler; they came out to a remix of Phil Collins “Sussudio,” one of the worst-but-incredibly-catchy songs of the 1980s. Cross has been wrestling at least 20 years now; he’s been in ROH and has recently appeared in NWA. I’ve always been a fan. Prohibition is also bald but a little taller than Cross.

They all brawled at the bell. The heels worked over Matt Cross. Josh finally made a hot tag at 6:30. Cross hit a top-rope doublestomp. Josh hit a Death Valley Driver on Collins for a nearfall. Collins was handed a weapon; he hit Josh in the jaw with it, shoved the weapon into his own shorts, covered Josh, and got the tainted pin. Okay match.

4. Tom Lawlor defeated Shaw Mason at 14:52. Fite TV had some issues with the video freezing. Lawlor came out to Prince’s “1999,” and he was dressed in a cartoonish tux outfit, apparently ready to start his New Year’s Eve celebration early. Mason wore an amateur wrestling-style singlet; he appears to be even a half-inch shorter than the short Lawlor; he’s giving off Chad Gable vibes. These two traded intense mat wrestling holds and this has a realistic look. The announcers said he has been wrestling for just five months.

They brawled to the floor with Lawlor dropping him across the guardrails. In the ring, Lawlor dominated the action and he nailed a spin kick to the head for a believable nearfall at 10:00. Lawlor hit a piledriver for another nearfall. Mason hit a top-rope spinning crossbody block for a nearfall. They traded forearm shots. Mason applied an anklelock. Lawlor nailed a V-Trigger to the collarbone, then a kneestrike to the back of the head (he used that during the G1 Climax). Lawlor then hit a Tombstone Piledriver for the pin. That was really, really good, especially when you factor in how new Mason is to pro wrestling.

5. Matthew Justice (w/Bill Alfonso) defeated Joey Janela in a street fight at 24:04. Hard to believe, this is a first-ever singles meeting. Early in the match, Janela did a baseball slide dropkick to the floor on Alfonso, drawing loud boos; Bill was bleeding near his eye. Justice set up a chair in the ring and used it to launch himself over the top rope to the floor on Janela at 3:30. Alfonso got in the ring and threw a chair at Janela’s head, and everyone was down. Justice got chairs and a door.

Janela cracked a Singapore Cane across the head, then hit a top-rope superplex through the door set up between two chairs at 7:30, drawing a “holy shit!” chant. They brawled over the guardrail and into the crowd. Justice leapt off the top rope and onto Janela, who was lying on a table at ringside. In the ring, they had the dueling chairshots. Justice whipped chairs at Janela. (I hate that.) They began beating each other over the head with the cheap door shrapnel. Justice hit a Death Valley Driver through a door in the corner for a nearfall at 14:30.

Janela clocked Justice with an unprotected chair shot to the head. (These guys clearly aren’t paying attention to the Miami Dolphins drama. Concussions are a scary thing.) Justice hit a Van Terminator coast-to-coast missile dropkick. They fought on the ring apron, and Janela gave him a piledriver by leaping off the apron and through a table at ringside at 19:00. In the ring, Janela hit a top-rope double stomp onto a chair lying on Justice’s chest for a nearfall. Janela set up a guardrail between two chairs in the ring. However, Justice hit a second-rope Death Valley Driver onto the horizontal guardrail for a believable nearfall at 23:00. Absurd that wasn’t the finish.

Justice hit a chokeslam, and he covered Janela in debris. Justice then hit a top-rope elbow drop onto the debris pile to get the pin. An okay hardcore match; I can do without the chairshots to the head, but at least no glass, staple guns, light tubes or pizza cutters.

* Intermission. AIW will be back in action Feb. 11.

6. Sam Halloway defeated Jeffrey John, Swoggle, Austin James, Chase Oliver, and Joseline Navarro in a six-way scramble at 8:57. Swoggle fell down the stairs on his way to ringside; really not sure if that was intentional or not. I have seen Swoggle of course, and Jeffrey John once, but everyone else is new to me. Halloway is really tall and looks like Brutus Creed, looking more like a football player than a wrestler, and he’s apparently a recent AIW wrestling school graduate. Joseline is a Black woman with white hair; she is curvy like Nikkita Lyons. Everyone jumped Halloway at the bell. Swoggle hit a running buttbump in the corner on Chase Oliver, and Joseline hit one on Oliver as well.

This has been fairly fast offense, and suddenly most are brawling on the floor. The big Halloway hit a dive over the top rope onto four opponents at 4:00! Joseline hit a Lungblower on Halloway, then a huracanrana. Halloway took her head off with a Mafia Kick at 6:00, and the crowd reacted because it looked vicious. Hoogle’s son hopped in the ring and hit a stunner on Halloway. Austin James missed a moonsault. Chase Oliver immediately hit a Shooting Star Press on James.

Jeffrey John nailed an Athena-style top-rope head-capture stunner on Joseline, then a frogsplash on her for a nearfall, but Halloway made the save. Halloway hit a chokeslam to pin Jeffrey John. “Halloway gets the victory in his hometown,” the commentator said. This kid looked good and easily stood out above the other five in this match.

7. Eric Taylor and Mikey Montgomery (w/The Duke) defeated “Bulking Season” Chuck Stone and Arthur McArthur to win the AIW Tag Titles at 13:26. Stone and McArthur made me think of AEW’s Bear Country, as they are just thicker/heavier than their skinny opponents. McArthur hit a delayed vertical suplex, and the larger Stone hit a senton for a nearfall. Taylor and Montgomery grounded Stone and worked over his knees, and it’s evident the skinny kids are the heels. Stone hit a spinebuster at 6:00 but couldn’t make the tag.

McArthur finally made the hot tag and he worked over Taylor and Montgomery. The heels hit a Gotch-Style PIledriver (think Minoru Suzuki!) for a believable nearfall on McArthur. Stone removed his red T-shirt and all four brawled in the ring at 9:30. Taylor hit a Frankensteiner out of the corner on McArthur, and everyone was down. The champs hit a team bulldog move for a nearfall, but Duke (the heel manager) pulled the ref from the ring at 11:30, so the ref ordered Duke to the back. McArthur went for a sunset flip, but Taylor sat down on him and scored a clean pin. New champs! A passable match; no one was terrible but no one really caught my eye here, either.

* A video package aired highlighting the feud that has led to the next match.

8. Derek Dillinger (w/Ziggy Haim) defeated Kaplan to retain the AIW Impact Title at 14:13. Dillinger is the babyface and got a nice pop. Haim has the goth rock chick look. Both guys appear to be in their 20s and have the modern “Bully Ray” look; they are rotund, thick, bald, and have short beards. Dillinger attacked before the bell and they brawled, in and out of the ring. They brawled extensively amongst the fans. In the ring, Kaplan hit a rolling cannonball in the corner for a nearfall at 6:00.

Dillinger nailed a hard, unprotected chairshot over the head. Yuck. Dillinger hit a Samoan Drop onto an open chair for a believable nearfall. They brawled on the floor some more. In the ring, Kaplan hit a Spinebuster for a nearfall at 13:30. Kaplan accidentally speared Ziggy. Dillinger grabbed a title belt and hit Kaplan in the head, then he hit a Stomp for the pin. Yuck.

9. Joshua Bishop defeated Isaiah Broner to retain the AIW Absolute Title at 15:38. Bishop is the tall guy with curly blond hair, and he wears a black vest; everything about his look makes me think of a young Sid Vicious. Broner is a Black man who is big, bald, with a long beard, and he wore a Lakers’ Kobe Bryant jersey to ringside; think Ahmed Johnson. Broner charged at him and nailed a spear to open the match! They immediately brawled to the floor in front of the fans, and Bishop was bleeding from his forehead. Broner whipped Bishop’s legs into the guardrail at 3:00.

Broner tossed Bishop over the guardrail and onto rows of empty chairs in the crowd, as the fans had scattered. In the ring, Bishop hit a side slam and an overhead suplex at 6:00. They traded blows while on their knees, then from the standing position. Broner hit a German Suplex for a nearfall. (Didn’t expect that!) Bishop hit a Mafia Kick and a Boss Man slam, then a running forearm to the back of the head for a nearfall at 8:30. This match really looks like what I’d imagine a 1997 match between Sid Vicious and Ahmed Johnson would look like.

Bishop tried to bring a table into the ring, but Broner hit a baseball slide dropkick onto him. Broner set up the table in the ring. They began trading more chops at 12:30. Broner hit a Boss Man slam, then a modified Lesnar-style F5 slam for a nearfall. Bishop hit a Death Valley Driver through a door in the corner for a nearfall at 14:30. Bishop hit a chairshot to the head, then a Razor’s Edge overhead powerbomb through a table in the ring for the pin. Decent brawl that was well laid-out.

* Bishop thanked the fans for coming out. He made an open challenge for their next show in February. Tom Lawlor hit the ring, still dressed in that dorky tux suit. Lawlor said he just returned from Japan. He said that Bishop is going to WWE tryouts and is “rushing to get out of here.” He aded: “In February, that belt is coming back home.” He then attacked Bishop.

Final Thoughts: Lawlor is so good in the ring that he and a new wrestler in Shaw Mason earned best match. I’ll go with the main event for second place. While I don’t like like street fights, I’ll still give Janela-Justice third-best for the show. Between Shaw, Halloway, and the main event, AIW let some interesting, young talent really shine here. I like variety on a wrestling show, and this one was really missing a women’s match.

I know I’ve written this before, but those of us who watched Chris Benoit in real time had him on a pedestal, and were sickened by his end-of-life actions… I just can’t justify unprotected chairshots to the head.


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