By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
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Absolute Intense Wrestling “Eye for an Eye”
Streamed on TrillerTV+
February 3, 2024 in Akron, Ohio at Tadmor Shrine Center
This building is packed and attendance is 400-500. The lights are on so lighting isn’t an issue. The Egyptian murals in the background are busy and distracting, but I’ve generally liked shows I’ve seen from this building. Matt Wadsworth and Dustin Alberty provided commentary.
1. Dex Royal defeated Mikey Montgomery at 11:48. Dex is a thin Black man with a mohawk and he’s fairly talented. Montgomery looks like a scrawny 16-year-old Brian Pillman, with wavy blondish-brown hair. Friendly reversals early, and Dex hit a doublestomp on the chest at 3:00. In the ring, they traded forearm strikes. Dex hit a flipping senton at 7:00. Mikey’s chest is red from the chops, and he might even be bleeding. Mikey hit a huracanrana, then a tornado DDT onto the floor at 9:30. In the ring, he hit a Sliced Bread for a nearfall. Dex hit a second-rope Spanish Fly for the opener. Good energy to get the show started right.
2. Chuck Stone defeated Tre Lemar at 13:39. Lemar has had a share of AEW matches; he’s Black with a splash of brown hair. Stone, a heavyset brawler, is like a shorter Braun Strowman, and he attacked Lemar from behind to open. Tre hit a top-rope flying forearm for a nearfall at 1:30, and Stone rolled to the floor to stall. In the ring, Stone began stomping on the smaller Lemar and he was in charge. Hew hit a sideslam for a nearfall at 5:00. Lemar hit a springboard back elbow, then a top-rope crossbody block for a nearfall at 7:30.
Lemar hit a dropkick to the face, then a leaping Flatliner for a nearfall. Tre hit a top-rope Frankensteiner at 10:30. Stone grabbed Lemar off the top rope and threw him to the mat, then he hit a rolling cannnonball and a Spinebuster for a nearfall. However, he missed a Bronson Reed-style Tsunami. Lemar immediately hit a top-rope elbow drop for a nearfall. Tre hit a spin kick to the head. Stone hit a low blow uppercut when the ref was out of position, rolled up Lemar with a handful of tights, and scored the cheap pin.
3. Dominic Garrini defeated Shelby Wylder at 7:49. I haven’t seen Shelby before; he’s a thin cowboy wearing a poncho. Strange to see Garrini without Kevin Ku also on the show. Shelby charged at Garrini and hit some kicks and a snap suplex, then a springboard stunner, and Garrini bailed to the floor to regroup. Shelby hit a trust fall dive to the floor on Garrini at 1:00. In the ring, Garrini hit a hard chop to the back and a backbreaker over his knee and he was in charge. He hit a stiff kick to the spine at 3:30.
Shelby has a red handprint on his back, and Garrini hit another backbreaker over his knee. Wylder hit a missile dropkick and a leg lariat, then a powerslam for a nearfall at 5:00. He hit a swinging neckbreaker for a nearfall. Garrini hit a decapitating clothesline for a nearfall. He hit a leaping Tombstone DDT, then he applied a rear-naked choke on the mat, and Shelby passed out. An extended squash; Garrini is just so much bigger and thicker that the winner was never in doubt.
4. “Money Shot” Elijah Dean and Zach Nystrom defeated August Matthews and Davey Bang to retain the AIW Tag Team Titles at 12:02. Bang and Matthews are from the Chicago area and a top Midwest tag team. Money Shot are white guys in their Stone Cold black vests and they remind me of NXT’s Forgotten Sons, and they are much bigger than Bang and Matthews. Matthews and Nystrom (who has long black hair) opened with standing switches. Bang hit a ax kick across Dean’s neck at 2:00. Dean (think Dax Harwood) hit a senton on Matthews. Money Shot hit a team suplex on Matthews and began working him over.
Matthews hit a leaping DDT on Nystrom at 5:00 and he made the hot tag. Bang hit a stunner and a handspring-back-elbow, then a top-rope crossbody block for a nearfall. Bang hit a moonsault to the floor while Mathews hit a dive through the ropes. They hit a team top-rope doublestomp on Nystrom for a nearfall at 7:30. Bang tied Nystrom in an Octopus. Nystrom hit a decapitating clothesline on Matthews at 10:00. Bang hit a clothesline, then the Spears Tower for a nearfall, and everyone was down. Dean hit a discus forearm. Nystrom accidentally hit Dean! Money Shot hit a Spike Piledriver, with Nystrom pinning Bang. Entertaining.
* Money Shot kept beating up Bang and Matthews until the Philly & Marino Experience ran in and made the save.
5. Magnum CK (w/Ziggy Haim) defeated Derek Dillinger (w/Katie Arquette) at 7:56. Magnum’s long robe and overall presentation reminds me of Damian Sandow (except he’s clean-shaven). Dillinger is a rotund brawler; think a taller, thicker Taz. An intense lockup to open. CK hit a shoulder tackle. Dillinger choked CK in the ropes and grounded him. Dillinger applied a Full Nelson and turned it into a Bubba Bomb for a nearfall at 4:00. CK hit a leaping shoulder tackle and a bodyslam. Dillinger hit a baseball slide dropkick to the floor, and he slammed CK’s head on the apron, then he hit a senton on the apron; he rolled CK into the ring and got a neafall at 6:00.
Haim got in the ring and jumped on Dillinger’s back so Derek punched her. CK hit a spinebuster on Dillinger. CK teased he might hit Katie; he paused but then he kicked her. Dilinger hit a German Suplex. Haim used a chain to crotch Dillinger! It allowed CK to hit a slam for the pin. Decent brawl, and it didn’t need to be longer than this.
6. Alec Price defeated Joshua Bishop, Paul London and Sam Holloway in a four-way at 10:51. This is the match I tuned in for. Holloway is the 6’8″ kid who I compare to Julius Creed and he clearly has some amateur wrestling background, and he’s the guy this promotion should be building around. I’ve written this before, but Paul London is literally in his ‘Fat Elvis’ era, singing his way to the ring; he’s a shell of the stellar high-flyer he was in the early 2000s. Today, he’s wearing white, a cowboy hat, and he’s carrying a bull rope, while singing terribly off-key. It’s really sad to see, actually. Holloway hit a shotgun dropkick on Bishop to open the match and we’re finally underway. He hit a butterfly suplex on London.
Bishop backed Holloway into the corner and hit some chops and a fallaway slam. Price hit a springboard crossbody block. Price hit a double dropkick on Bishop and London at 3:00, then a second-rope flying leg lariat on each of those two. Bishop hit a Black Hole Slam on Price. Holloway hit a nice pump-handle suplex on Bishop at 4:30. Price hit a superkick on Sam. Sam clotheslined Bishop to the floor, then he hit an impressive dive over the ropes onto Bishop. This kid is a blue-chipper. Price hit a Canadian Destroyer on London at 6:30.
Bishop and Holloway stood in the ring; Holloway pulled down the straps of his singlet, and they traded chops. Bishop is tall but Holloway has an inch or two on him. They did the spot where they both got suplexed over the top rope to the floor at 8:00. Price hit a dive over the top rope onto both. London got a trash bag, carried it into the ring, and began hitting opponents with it; he’s like a hillbilly Santa Claus with that. He cracked the trash bag across Holloway’s back. London hit a clothesline on Price, then a Mafia Kick at 10:30, then a Hogan Legdrop. Bshop hit a Black Hole Slam on London. However, Price hit his Surprise Kick/step-up mule kick on Bishop to pin him. A very good match and could have been the main event.
* Backstage, PME and Money Shot were brawling in a narrow hallway and out a door.
7. Isaiah Broner and Wes Barkley defeated Eric Taylor and The Duke at 12:16. Taylor is the champion but of course the belt isn’t on the line in a tag match; he is similar to VSK. The Duke is older, balding with a goatee. Broner always reminds me of Ahmed Johnson or Ezekiel Jackson. Barkley has short, curly black hair and also wears a Stone Cold vest, and he’s a popular babyface here. Duke and Barkley traded standing switches. Broner hit a Guerrilla Press on Taylor, then he tossed Barkley to the floor onto the heels at 3:30. In the ring, the heels began workng over Barkley in their corner. Taylor hit a John Cena elbow drop at 7:30.
Broner finally got the hot tag and he hit a spinebuster on Taylor for a nearfall, but Duke made the save. Barkley hit a Hart Attack clothesline. The ref got bumped. Taylor hit a low blow kick on Broner and a neckbreaker over his knee on Barkley. Chuck Stone hit the ring and tossed a belt to Taylor. However, Barkley ducked being struck by the belt. Barkley hit a Jarrett-style Stroke face plant to pin Taylor. Solid tag match, and of course, top challenger Barkley got the pin on champion Taylor in a non-title tag match.
* A nice video package showing off the prior matches between Josh Prohibition and Tyler Jordan.
8. Josh Prohibition defeated Tyler Jordan in an Akron Street Fight at 20:09. Jordan reminds me of a young Jason Jordan. These two have fought a few times now in recent months. Prohibition is white, bald and has been wrestling around 20 years. Jordan hit a spin kick to the face. Jordan knocked Josh off the ring apron to the floor. However, Josh got a kendo stick and he struck Jordan with it at 1:30, and he jabbed it into Jordan’s neck. Josh hit a running kick on a seated Jordan at ringside, and they kept brawling on the floor. Josh dropped Jordan throat-first on the guardrail at 3:00. They began brawling through the crowd and around the building. There is a set of bleachers against one wall, and they fought up the bleachers. Josh crotched Tyler on a handrail at 5:30.
They got back into the ring and Josh had a ladder. Jordan hit Josh in the head with the ladder at 8:30. He used a chair to strike the ladder and send it into Josh’s crotch, and he got a nearfall. They brawled to the floor again. In the ring, Josh snapped Jordan’s neck across the second rope at 11:30. Jordan dove through the ropes onto Josh. In the ring, Tyler hit a split-legged moonsault for a nearfall at 13:00, then a second-rope flying forearm, then a Tiger Driver for a nearfall. Tyler hit a German Suplex. Josh hit a Death Valley Driver through a door set up in the corner for a nearfall at 15:30.
Josh hit a T-Bone Suplex onto the ladder in the corner and got a believable nearfall. A table was set up in the ring. Jordan hit a superkick. Jordan nailed a Jay Driller at 19:00, and he put Josh on the table. He climbed a ladder and he hit a frogsplash onto Josh for a nearfall, but the lights went out as the ref was counting! They came on just a second later. A guy named Jason Bane (bald, thick, white with a goatee, probably in his 40s) hit Jordan with a clothesline! Josh quickly covered Jordan for the pin.
* The commentators said Bane hadn’t been seen on the wrestling scene for years. Bane beat up the trainee students who tried to stop him. Josh Bishop finally got in the ring and stood nose-to-nose with Bane.
Final Thoughts: A solid show. The Price four-way lived up to my expectations and earns best match. That was a really good main event (and about as benign of a street fight as you’ll see in indy wrestling in 2024), and that earns second-best, even with the cheap finish. Jordan has looked so incredibly good in these matches with Prohibition, but I now need to see him mix it up with other guys.
I’m just such a big fan of AIW’s young core of Sam Holloway, Dex Royal and Tyler Jordan. All three youngsters just ‘get it.’ Tre Lemar is really polished, too. Montgomery isn’t quite on the level of the others I just mentioned but there is promise there, too. The negatives are few. London still is a shell of himself, but I do think he’s lost weight since a year ago and is in marginally better shape. I’m not sold on Eric Taylor as champion but he’s solid in the ring, too. While I don’t care for the brawlers (Stone, Money Shot) as much, that again goes to my preferred style.