Tuesday, November 4, 2014

AIW JT Lightning Invitational Tournament 2014: Night 2 Review

Michael Elgin fights to both win the tournament and retain his Absolute Title!

AIW JT Lightning Invitational Tournament 2014: Night 2
Cleveland, Ohio 5/24/14

1.) JT Lightning Invitational 2014 - Quarter Finals - Tim Donst vs. Josh Prohibition: ***1/2

These two are both mainstays in AIW, and the Cleveland Wrestling scene in general. I really enjoyed this match! Donst has really grown on me since CHIKARA "closed down" in 2013, and his work in AIW especially has been nothing short of fantastic. Josh Prohibition is someone who I've gotten to know through watching AIW, and I feel like he's very underrated, both as an in-ring performer and as a promo guy. All of these elements made for a really good match. Donst was eventually able to score the win and advances to the Semi-Finals

After the match, Josh Prohibition cuts a promo, talking about JT Lightning as well as his issues with Matt Cross (essentially a condensed version of the promo he cut on the Night 1 MP4/DVD). He challenges Cross to a match at Absolution IX.

2.) JT Lightning Invitational 2014 - Quarter Finals - Relaxed Rules Match - Eric Ryan vs. Danny Havoc: **3/4

Before the match started, Ryan asked for this to be a Relaxed Rules Match, and Danny Havoc agreed to it. The match itself was fine. There were so light hardcore elements in here, but not a whole lot. Ryan gets the victory and advances to the Semi-Finals.

3.) JT Lightning Invitational 2014 - Quarter Finals - Matt Cross vs. #Sparx: ***1/4

Here we have another interesting matchup in the Quarter Finals. It's an interesting mash up as #Sparx actually appears to be a tiny bit bigger than Matt Cross, who's the heel in this case. This actually turned out to be really solid. I thought it was pretty fun to watch, and both Cross & #Sparx came out of it looked good. Cross eventually puts #Sparx away with a Top Rope Death Valley Driver to advance to the Semi-Finals.

4.) JT Lightning Invitational 2014 - Quarter Finals - #AllEgo vs. Buff Bagwell: **1/2

Of course this match is probably known most for the fact that Buff Bagwell hit a freaking Canadian Destroyer on #AllEgo!! As a whole, while it wasn't on the same level as some of the other matches on this show or over the weekend, it was still entertaining. Bagwell sang the "American Males" song, and #AllEgo once again played his role perfectly. Enjoyable all around. #AllEgo eventually gets the win and advances to the Semi-Finals.

5.) JT Lightning Invitational 2014 - Quarter Finals - AIW Intense Champion Louis Lyndon vs. Sonjay Dutt: ***1/4

Once again, we had another solid performance from Sonjay Dutt. Like I said in my Night 1 Review, you can always count on Dutt to put on really consistent matches almost every time out, and he had another really solid match here with Louis Lyndon. We also got to see how good Lyndon is as well. In the end, Lyndon would get away with the victory and advance to the Semi-Finals.

6.) JT Lightning Invitational 2014 - Quarter Finals - AIW Absolute Title - "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin vs. Heidi Lovelace (with Sammy Geodollno): **

Here we have our last match of the Quarter Finals. The story of this match is that Elgin does not want to fight Heidi Lovelace (with the obvious size & power difference), but Heidi would keep hitting and hitting, basically forcing Elgin to hit back. This is a very odd direction to go in, considering that inter-gender wrestling has become a commonplace in AIW. The crowd wasn't into the strange things they were trying to do in this one, and it definitely hurt the match. Michael Elgin eventually gets the win to retain his title and advance to the next round in this very strange affair.

7.) Eight Person Tag Team Match - Gregory Iron & The Iron Curtain (Benjamin Boone, Dick Justice, & Joey Vincent Martini) vs. Colin Delaney, Marion Fontaine, UltraMantis Black, and Veda Scott: ***

This match was match last night after a Delaney, Fontaine & UltraMantis Black saved Veda Scott from an Iron Curtain attack. It was a fun match, albeit a messy one, as there was no real rhyme or reason. People just went in and out of the ring at will. Still, it was an entertaining to watch. I'm fans of everyone on the babyface team so it wasn't hard to for me to enjoy it. The real star of this match, however, was Dick Justice. You would NEVER think that a guy of his size could move around like he does. It's insane. In the end, Veda's team gets the win, and Scott challenges Gregory Iron to a one-on-one match at Absolution IX, which Iron accepts.

8.) AIW Tag Team Titles - The Jollyville Fuck-Its (Russ Myers & T-Money) vs. The Forgotten (BJ Whitmer & Jimmy Jacobs): N/A

Long story short, this ended in a no contest after both teams knocked out the referee right from the start, and then they spent a good amount of time just brawling all over the building until they brawled out of the building. I get what they were trying to do here, and I was fine with that, but I did not like how this match actually started. Both teams came down, and calmly waited for their introductions, which makes no sense to me, as if you're in an intense rivalry, where both sides hate each other's guts, they shouldn't calmly make their entrance and wait for their introductions. I think an attack during one of the team's entrances would have been a lot better. Jimmy Jacobs also came out in street clothes, with no shoes on, which I think spoiled where this whole thing was going.

9.) JT Lightning Invitational 2014 - Semi-Finals - #AllEgo vs. AIW Intense Champion Louis Lyndon: ***1/4

This is actually a very interesting match, as these two are stablemates in the group known as The Unit (consisting of themselves & #Sparx). They teased Lyndon lying down for #AllEgo, but it was a trick and the match was on. They had a good back & forth exchange, with of course, a number of hellish tactics thrown in. Eventually, #AllEgo is able to pick up the win and punch his ticket to the Finals.

10.) JT Lightning Invitational 2014 - Semi-Finals - Matt Cross vs. Tim Donst: ***1/2

Cross came out and jumped Donst from behind to get the match started. This was another really solid outing from Tim Donst tonight. The story was that Donst was selling a neck injury after his match earlier in the night with Josh Prohibition. Cross really did a good job playing the heel here, and Donst was once again great as he always is in AIW. Donst is able to score the win with a roll-up to move on the Finals. As I said earlier, another very good match from Tim Donst.

Afterwords, #AllEgo came out and viciously attacked Tim Donst with a chair, seemingly taking Donst out of the tournament all together.

11.) JT Lightning Invitational 2014 - Semi-Finals - AIW Absolute Title - "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin vs. Eric Ryan: **1/4

This was a very strange match. It seemed like they were going for another Relaxed Rules Match (although it was never announced) with all of the brawling they did outside the ring. Elgin just dominated the whole match, and it seemed almost like a squash. I heard that Ryan potentially injured his leg in this, as he quickly tapped out to Elgin when he locked in a leg submission, and he had to be carried to the back. Elgin, once again, retained his title and moved on the Finals.

12.) Chris Sabin vs. Johnny Gargano: ***3/4

Sabin is just coming off of being released by TNA. Gargano was originally scheduled to be in the JT Lightning Invitational Tournament, but had to pull out because he had to be at PWG's Sold Our Soul For Rock 'n' Roll. He was able to make it back for this show, however, and we got this match. This was a really good match. Gargano is one of best wrestlers in the world, so you know you're going to get a great match every singe time. Sabin looked really good in here as well. Obviously his in-ring style has had to change a little bit due to injuring both of his knees while in TNA, but he's still a very capable wrestler, and he proved that here against Gargano. Lots of back & forth action. Gargano is eventually able to put away Sabin and win what was arguably the best Match of the Weekend.

Afterwords, Sabin cuts a promo afterwords, putting over Johnny Gargano & AIW.

13.) Six-Man Scramble - Bobby Beverly vs. Davey Vega vs. Eddie Kingston vs. Flip Kendrick vs. Rickey Shane Page vs. Tyson Dux: **3/4

Here we have a Six-Way Match consisting of competitors who lost their tournament matches on Night 1, except for Tyson Dux, who wasn't in the tournament at all. You would expect this to be just a wild, out of control match, and that's pretty much what we got. The action was all over the place in this one. Tyson Dux & Bobby Beverly brawled to the back, while towards the end of the match, The Duke came out and attacked Rickey Shane Page. Through all of this mayhem, Davey Vega was able to score the win via pinning Flip Kendrick. Again, a perfectly fine match for what it was.

After the match, The Duke wanted Eddie Kingston to attack Rickey Shane Page. Kingston wasn't initially interested, but after The Duke offered him a wad of cash, Kingston changed his mind, getting back in the ring and attacking Rickey Shane Page. The Duke says he & Kingston are going to destroy Page, while Kingston remarks that it's "nothing personal....just business".

14.) JT Lightning Invitational 2014 - Finals - Three-Way Elimination Match - AIW Absolute Title - "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin vs. #AllEgo vs. Tim Donst: ***1/2

This was initially announced as a singles match, with everyone assuming Donst was out due to his injuries, but as soon as the match started, Donst comes out, and it looks like we're going to get that Three-Way after all. That didn't last very long, however, as Donst (selling his injuries) was eliminated by #AllEgo about a minute later. Thus, it came down to Elgin & #AllEgo, and Elgin was eventually able to put away #AllEgo to retain his title and wins the 2014 JT Lightning Invitational Tournament. The match itself was good, but I felt like there were a number of things wrong with it. Firstly, despite being on the biggest (and most popular) stars in AIW, I question putting Donst in the tournament all, especially if the AIW Absolute Title was on the line throughout. He already had a guaranteed title shot after winning Gauntlet For The Gold, so it didn't make a lot of sense for him to be here at all. Second, despite my first point, the idea of seeing an Elgin/Donst/#AllEgo Three-Way Match, was appealing to both myself and probably a lot of people in attendance, so the crowd got taken out of it when Donst was eliminated so quickly. Had he been in there a bit longer, I think it would have worked. Finally, the Elgin/#AllEgo portion of the match was nowhere near as good as their title encounter from Dead Presidents back in December. It was good, yes, but it didn't meet up to those expectations.

Afterwords, Elgin celebrates with his title, and the winner's trophy. He talks about how he is one of the best wrestlers in the world, and how him winning a tournament where he had to defend his title four times in two nights proved that once again.

Overall: 7.5/10

I thought Night 2 was slightly better than Night 1, but my general thoughts were about the same. There was no match that really stood out as being amazing, but we saw a lot of really solid and very entertaining matches. Gargano/Sabin had the Match of the Night, and Tim Donst had two of the better matches in the tournament. One thing I will say about this show (and this could apply to Night 1, but it was more of a Night 2 issue) was that it was just too long. Fourteen Matches is asinine for any independent wrestling show. It's acceptable to do something like Twelve Matches due to there being a tournament (see PWG's BOLA), but Fourteen Matches is not necessary. I think splitting this tournament into three nights would have been a lot better, but I understand that would have been next to impossible on this particular weekend, with PWG running and CHIKARA making its big return. I just could not watch this show in one sitting. With a runtime of almost four hours, it was a little too much. That complaint aside, I still enjoyed this show and the tournament as a whole. AIW is a promotion that's been on the rise in recent years, and it's one people should be paying a lot more attention to.

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