Wow, what a miraculous journey this has been! We’ve revolutionized the mini-series genre to the point that WOE is considering turning us into an anthology series! It is just so wunderbar.
Unfortunately, our show’s administrative costs have gotten out of control. As such, you may not see The Devil’s #1 Wrestling Detective Agency unless you paypal me lots of money straight away. Just paypal me money, and you will almost definitely get more seasons of the show.
“AIW – Gauntlet for the Gold 2015″
Hour #3 kicks off with Josh Alexander (accompanied by Veda Scott) defending his Absolute Championship against Dick Justice. This was such an interesting styles clash, as Alexander wrestles like a late-2000s indie wrestler that takes himself too seriously, whereas Justice looks and works mostly like a parody of 1980s WWF wrestling. While Justice looked poor at times in the mechanics of pro wrestling, he took his beating well. This was essentially a slightly extended, slightly competitive squash match that Alexander (obviously) won. This would not work as a main event of a show, but it is fine when you have a Royal Rumble-style match on top. A fine effort that accomplished what it needed to. (***) (PS: The AIW fans lived down to their reputation in regards to their taunts at Veda Scott. Trash.) (PS #2: @TomBlargh is The Big Dog.)
The show concludes with the Gauntlet for the Gold match. It’s a Royal Rumble match (complete with 30 wrestlers), and the winner will get an Absolute Championship shot at Absolution 2015 (which is AIW’s equivalent of Wrestlemania). I cannot recall a single Royal Rumble match on the indies that I have heard good things about. A large part if what makes the WWE Royal Rumble so much fun is that we all know it’s supposed to be important. The winner does not just get a random title shot, they get a title shot at the biggest show of the year. My point is, AIW is smart to make their Royal Rumble match so important as it gives the match a better chance of getting over.
Sadly, there was nothing overly special about this Rumble. Much like your typical WWE one, there were some cool moments, surprises (Jimmy Facade!), labored setups for spots, and the sequences designed to continue/start feuds. Overall, I was bored too much throughout the match give it a real positive review. The finish was also way too clunky/annoying for my tastes. Eddie Kingston was eliminated by Ethan Page, but the referees were too distracted to notice. Kingston then tossed Page through (not over) the ropes, and the referees assumed Page was eliminated. While I can see the argument that it put heat on Kingston before the eventual winner (Rickey Shane Page) eliminated him to win the match, I would prefer a path that did not require all-time stupid referees to get us there. (Referees being hopelessly incompetent is both an endearingly stupid part of wrestling and annoyingly cliche part of wrestling.) The good news is that RSP won the match and gets a big title shot in the company. He’s a damn fine choice, and I think he will have a good match with Josh Alexander. (**1/2)
“AAW – Art of War 2015″
Hour #3 kicks off with Josh Alexander (you cannot make this stuff up) taking on Ricochet. This was worked in the prototypical “major indie” style that many wrestlers have unfortunately fallen into in recent years. This style knows all the steps of the dance but does not have any rhythm or soul. It is a style that I have clearly grown too cynical towards and has contributed to my lack of interest in the “major” independent groups. They executed it fine, and the crowd seemed into it. It is just a kind of match that I am no longer interested in watching. (**1/2)
The show concludes with Eddie Kingston defending the AAW Heavyweight Championship against Davey Richards. 2012 me was craving this match so badly (especially after Chikara and ROH started working together). 2015 me is rather tired of Davey Richards and not interested in watching Kingston outside of Chikara (and also no longer willing to watch Chikara tbph). This match threatened to over-deliver, as it looked like the match was going to be built around Kingston’s injured right hand (his hand smacked a ringpost during a reckless backfist attempt). They quickly ignored that though and worked a match designed to make both men look tough! They hit each other with everything, and it was met with polite applause most of the way through. It’s possible I would have enjoyed this match in 2010, but it is so far away from something that I want from wrestling now. They worked hard of course, but it was the worst thing a wrestling match could be: boring. (*)
Silas attacked Eddie after the match to set up the next title match. We then got some backstage promos after the show and another Dick Justice vignette. Justice challenged Gregory Iron to a blindfold match.
Thoughts After Hour #3
Despite the hilarity of Josh Alexander starting hour three of each show, these hours did manage to feel distinctly different in terms of tone at the very least. Heck, the fact that Eddie Kingston is a major heel in AIW and the face of AAW at the moment makes up for the fact that he has big pushes going on in both companies.
Investigation Complete – Final Conclusions
I started this investigation to determine, once and for all, if AAW and AIW are truly two different companies. While they have different names and different people in charge, there is a genuinely shocking amount of similar features…just based on these two random shows! There are so many wrestling companies out there at the moment, and the companies that are offering something truly unique are the ones that are the most successful. Any company that wants to truly flourish should be striving to differentiate themselves from the pack in any way that they can.