Monday, March 25, 2013

What Wrestlefan Watched Vol. 2: AIW's Hard Hits And Big Flips

The Aftermath Of A War
Photo by Paul Stratoti

Hello blog readers. Long time no see. Yes, it has definitely been a while since I took the time to type some of my heads inner workings onto here. I wont come up with some elaborate excuse as to why I haven’t posted. My schedule has been ridiculously crazy and I have been doing a lot of cool things, so much so that I haven’t shown this blog any love in a while. First of all, I got to write for an awesome website called “The Mandible Claw”, curated by the great Danielle Matheson. I also wrote an excerpt for Danielle’s acclaimed “Best & Worst Of TNA Impact” column for With Leather. So go check out both of those through the links below, especially “The Mandible Claw”, which features tons of amazing pieces from awesome people. I am still in shock that a couple paragraph piece I wrote about the douchebag “Say Something” guy is on the same website where Chikara’s Ophidian listed his Top 5 bad horror movies. It’s a weird dream of mine that I never thought existed until now. But, the point is, I am here now and I cannot wait to keep writing. So let’s jump right into it.

I have mentioned before on this blog about Absolute Intense Wrestling out of the Cleveland area, and how great they have become at releasing a steady stream of content to their audience through Youtube and other forms of social media. Too many companies fail to embrace their internet community by dolling out content, whether it is in-ring action, promos, teasers etc. But AIW has made sure to not shy away from releasing tons of great videos for their fans, and as of late they have released a couple of full matches from their past events. I gave them a watch and I thought they would be perfect discussion topics for another edition of “What Wrestlefan Watched”.

The first match I witnessed was released by AIW to hype their most recent “Girls Night Out 8” event, which from what I hear was a giant success with it being AIW’s first iPPV. So as a treat, the company released the match between American turned Joshi stars Hailey Hatred & Jenny Rose from “Girls Night Out 6”. I have seen very little of both Hatred and Rose but they definitely opened my eyes with this encounter. This was the first appearance for Jenny Rose in AIW, which made it very difficult for the crowd to get behind her in the early goings, since she would be facing home grown talent in Hatred. Both ladies are the definition of “hard-hitters”, providing some cringe worthy moments, including one of the hardest short arm clotheslines from Hatred that I have seen in a while. Both competitors switched throughout between striking and technical wrestling, and after a series of near falls, Hatred was able to put away Rose with a nasty tiger suplex.

I must first note that this was a highly enjoyable match with both Hatred shining and Rose impressing. Both gave it their all and did their best of integrating the Joshi style, that the two have mastered in Japan, into AIW. That being said, as much as I truly enjoyed this matchup, I do think it was made apparent by the crowd in attendance for this match that it is going to be extremely difficult for that Joshi style of wrestling to be as respected in America as it is in Japan. Now, companies like Shimmer, NCW Femme Fatales, ACW and others have been able to incorporate the more hard-hitting style of wrestling that is evident in Joshi wrestling and fans have eaten it up. But, I must note how disheartening it was to hear fans yell “Beat that bitches ass” and “Jerry, Jerry, Jerry”. And no, they weren’t referring to the former ECW star that recently retired. As much as I want to hope and believe that more progressive fans will outweigh these types of fans, I don’t think we will see it happening. Oh, and whoever was in the crowd making fun of Jenny Rose’s battle cries during the match, you aren’t helping.

Then, I had the pleasure of witnessing a match that occurred back at AIW’s “They Live” event in 2011, between AR Fox and Uhaa Nation. It was around this time that Nation started to become the name that everyone needed to know if you followed independent wrestling. However, not too long after this, Nation was sidelined with a knee injury that took him out for over a year, an injury that many thought would be career threatening. Luckily, Uhaa just returned this past month to wrestling action and I have to say if this match was a showing of what Uhaa brings to the table, I have to see more. For those that don’t know, Uhaa Nation is 240 pounds, in great physical shape and is somehow able to bust out moonsaults and shooting star presses. His vertical leap is seriously astonishing and he does a great job of mixing both the agile maneuvers in with straight power and force. He doesn’t use the fact that he can do flips as a crutch. He flips when it matters and does the things that make fans go wild sparingly enough so that they mean something. Also, what more can a person on the internet say about how awesome AR Fox is. Everything he does is so crisp and deliberate, and it makes him one of the main reasons why I even somewhat pay attention to companies like CZW or Dragon Gate USA.

If there is anything that I can critique about this match, it has to be the commentary. Now, normally AIW’s commentary team doesn’t do anything to bother me. But there were points within this match where they got so caught up in the feuding between the announcers that they missed stuff like Uhaa busting out a standing moonsault, to the point that Gregory Iron had to steer the talk back on track. Commentary all around in pro wrestling needs a serious overhaul. I remember hearing Brandon Stroud mention on the Mandible Claw podcast of how he desires for indie companies to produce their DVD’s with no commentary, because he would rather watch the match, listen to the crowd and have the wrestlers tell the story rather than hear the commentators make jokes and get in the way. I can’t help but agree, especially with the storytelling aspects. I think people have unrightfully lost a great deal of confidence in wrestlers to tell the story that is occurring in the ring, that they feel commentary to be a necessity. The fact is that it really isn’t. Don’t get me wrong. Good commentary in pro wrestling is a possibility. But more times than not, two people are brought in to do commentary because a company thinks they need it, and it takes away more than it gives. I think some indies should experiment with at least providing an option on their DVD’s where you can watch without commentary, because I believe there is a market of people out there like me, who just want to watch the match and let it evoke an emotion without someone telling me what emotion to have.

Well, overall I encourage anyone to watch both of these matches, follow all four of these great athletes in all they do in pro wrestling and check out more of Absolute Intense Wrestling. I have actually ordered a couple of DVD’s from them and I can’t wait to give them a watch and see more of what AIW has to offer. After seeing the stuff they provide for free, it looks promising.

Until then,


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