Cleveland, Ohio 5/23/14
Before any of the matches took place, all of the competitors came out and posed for a group photo with the JT Lightning Invitational Tournament Trophy. JT Lightning was a legend in the Cleveland Independent Wrestling scene, who had a hand in training many wrestlers from the Cleveland Area (Johnny Gargano, Matt Cross, and others).
There is also this INCREDIBLE promo from Josh Prohibition, which is included in the MP4 release (and I assume the DVD release as well), that details the history between himself and Matt Cross, after Matt Cross turned on him at the previous show.
1.) JT Lightning Invitational 2014 - First Round - Matt Cross vs. Flip Kendrick: ***1/4
For those who missed it, Matt Cross recently became a heel after turning on his tag team partner and longtime friend Josh Prohibition at the last show. This was a pretty good match. Cross seems to have settled into his new role as a heel pretty well, and he has a solid match here with Flip Kendrick. Cross wins to advance to the Quarter Finals.
2.) JT Lightning Invitational 2014 - First Round - Tim Donst vs. Marion Fontaine: ***
This is a very interesting first round matchup. Even though the result of this match was pretty much a foregone conclusion, it was still very solid. Donst continued his streak of wrestling people with different styles, and Fontaine looked good in here as well. An entertaining match...you really can't ask for more than that. Donst wins to advance to the Quarter Finals.
3.) JT Lightning Invitational 2014 - First Round - Jimmy Jacobs vs. Eric Ryan: **1/4
At the last show, we saw Jimmy Jacobs for yet another heel stable. This time, he formed The Forgotten, which consists of himself, BJ Whitmer, & Tommy Mercer (formerly known as Crimson in TNA). This match turned more into an angle as AIW's Tag Team Champions, The Jollyville Fuck-Its, came out and heckled Jacobs from the front row (They're feuding with The Forgotten). This caused Jacobs to be distracted an allowed Eric Ryan to roll him up for the win. Ryan advances to the Quarter Finals
4.) JT Lightning Invitational 2014 - First Round - Rickey Shane Page vs. Heidi Lovelace (with Sammy Geodollno): ***1/4
So Heidi Lovelace is accompanied by her....rather interesting friend Sammy Geodollno. Here we a real contrast as Page had the definite size advantage, though Heidi was the heel. This was another pretty fun match. I find Rickey Shane Page as someone who doesn't quite get the attention that he deserves, because he's a very solid performer. Heidi also deserves a lot of credit but she took a BEATING at several points during this match. Lovelace is eventually able to fight back and score the victory over Rickey Shane Page to advance to the Quarter Finals.
5.) JT Lightning Invitational 2014 - First Round - AIW Intense Champion Louis Lyndon vs. Bobby Beverly: ***1/4
Lyndon made it imperative that his AIW Intense Title is not on the line in this match (in contrast to Michael Elgin's AIW Absolute Title). Once again, we had another pretty solid match. Both guys are good in the ring and that obviously translated through this match. The only thing I'll say is that I'm a little surprised that Beverly didn't get out the first round. Nonetheless, Lyndon advances to the Quarter Finals.
6.) JT Lightning Invitational 2014 - First Round - Buff Bagwell vs. Jock Sampson: *3/4
Now THIS was something. I honestly don't know what to say about this one. It was so much a match as it was an entertaining spectacle. We got all sorts of crazy & weird tactics, some of which involved dancing and Bagwell's female valet. There really isn't much else I can say. It has to seen for it to truly be believed. Bagwell is able to score the win in this odd & ridiculous encounter to advance to the Quarter Finals.
7.) JT Lightning Invitational 2014 - First Round - BJ Whitmer vs. #Sparx: **
#Sparx is the second female entered in the tournament, and is someone who's been on a bit of a roll as of late, having a very strong performance in the Gauntlet For The Gold Match. Once again, however, the big story about this match was The Jollyville Fuck-Its appearing in the front row to heckle at BJ Whitmer. These two were able to have a good match until Whitmer got DQ'ed (I believe he hit the referee, but I'm not sure) and a brawl between The Jollyville Fuck-Its & The Forgotten broke out. The match might have been better if it had an actually finish, but I get that they're trying to advance an angle. #Sparx advances to the Quarter Finals.
8.) JT Lightning Invitational 2014 - First Round - Sonjay Dutt vs. Davey Vega: ***1/2
Dutt is making his return to AIW here against Davey Vega, whose broken out as a singles competitor over the last few months. This was a really good match. Definitely one of the better matches on the shows. Sonjay Dutt is someone who will always put on a solid & consistent performance, and I thought he meshed really well with Davey Vega. Dutt was eventually able to catch Vega with a roll-up to score the win and advance to the Quarter Finals. I though Vega was going to win here, but given what they did with him the next night, I'm fine with it.
Sonjay Dutt cuts a promo, putting over Davey Vega & AIW.
9.) JT Lightning Invitational 2014 - First Round - No DQ Match - Danny Havoc vs. UltraMantis Black: ***
In lieu of this being a No DQ Match, the commentators pointed out that UltraMantis Black had a "hardcore/death match past". This wasn't quite as good as the Hardcore Match between Danny Havoc & Tim Donst earlier in the year, but it was still a very solid match. Light Tubes, Chairs, and Barbed Wire were all involved in this match. We got to see a side of UltraMantis Black that we don't normally see. The match was perfectly fine for what it was. Danny Havoc wins and advances to the Quarter Finals.
10.) JT Lightning Invitational 2014 - First Round - Colin Delaney vs. Josh Prohibition: ***
This match was a freaking sprint! It only went five minutes or so, but they packed a lot action into it. The fact that the second move of the match was Josh Prohibition's Finisher, The Drunken Driver (also known as Jay Briscoe's Jay Driller), says a lot. Again, a lot of good action in here packed into a very short amount of time. A second Drunken Driver gets the victory for Josh Prohibition, who advances to the Quarter Finals.
11.) JT Lightning Invitational 2014 - First Round - #AllEgo vs. Veda Scott: ***
Veda Scott is the third female participant in this year's JT Lightning Invitational Tournament. This was again...another solid match. #AllEgo was as fantastic and entertaining as he always is, and Veda Scott put in a very solid performance as well, getting in a good deal of offense in. Unfortunately for her, she would fall short and #AllEgo would score the win, advancing to the Quarter Finals.
After the match, Gregory Iron came out with his Iron Curtain and surrounded the ring. It looked like they were going to attack Veda Scott, but Colin Delaney, Marion Fontaine, and UltraMantis Black (who had all lost their First Round Matches) came out to even the odds. Their was a challenge for an Eight Person Tag Match the next night, which was accepted!
12.) JT Lightning Invitational 2014 - First Round - AIW Absolute Title - "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin vs. Eddie Kingston: ***3/4
This is a first time ever matchup, and it's honestly surprising that no other independent promotion had booked this match until now. Michael Elgin stated beforehand that his AIW Absolute Title will be on line throughout the tournament. I thought this was a very good match, one that I think was the best match on the show. We got some of the brawling that we would come to expect from these two, but we also got a lot of Elgin working over Kingston's arm, leading to him getting a submission victory, which I thought was very impressive. I feel as though I liked this a bit more than most, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Michael Elgin advances to the Quarter Finals.
Both Michael Elgin & Eddie Kingston take turns cutting promos afterwords. Kingston puts over Elgin and says he wants a rematch sometime in the future. Elgin says that tonight showed just how good of a wrestler he is, and that he's going to win this tournament.
The first night of the 2014 JT Lightning Invitational was relatively solid. There wasn't a single match on this show that was really blow-away, but there were a lot of really good matches in the *** range that make for a really entertaining show. You get to see a diverse field of competitors, which is always cool to see, and a lot of different matches. If you're into tournaments, then this is another one that you should look into. In the end, it was a really solid night of wrestling, and you can't ask for much more than that.