AIW: Nightmare Before X-Mas Live Report

Photos courtesy Wayne Palmer

Absolute Intense Wrestling’s fifth annual Nightmare Before X-Mas show, while not implicitly Christmas-themed, did have its fair share of presents, surprises and joy. Most notably in the form of surprise visits from Jason Gory and Matt Cross, not one but TWO Colt Cabana matches, ACH’s first (and please, not last!) AIW appearance, showings from both Beyond Wrestling and St. Louis Anarchy, and Dave “Potato Dawson” getting the ever-loving crap beat out of him by Johnny Gargano. And that is only the tip of the pro-wrestling iceberg.

There were two pre-show matches, both of which I arrived in plenty of time to see and document properly this time.

A. Luis Diamante defeated Jason Gory – The first pre-show match saw Luis Diamante, representing Da Latin Crime Syndicate against surprise visitor Jason Gory, representing the Dead Wrestler Society from PWO. Gory got a pretty solid reaction on his way out to the ring, as I think we were all pretty surprised to see him there. The match itself wasn’t terribly long but had a lot of solid action, including some big top-rope moves from Gory. Unfortunately, one of those top-rope moves cost Gory the win when Diamante moved out of Gory’s landing zone.

B. Jarek 1:20 defeated Mazerati Rick – It was recently announced that AIW and Beyond have entered into a partnership; talent from Beyond will be at all future AIW shows. I for one am very excited about this. This particular show saw obvious crowd favorite Jarek 1:20 take on Mazerati Rick. Jarek spent most of the match having the heck beat out of him by Rick. Jarek only gained the upper hand after yelling “TIME FREEZE” while Rick was on crouched on the top turnbuckle. This froze everyone in the ring minus Jarek himself. He hauled himself to his feet, caught his breath, and turned time on again. Instead of laying helplessly on the mat, he dropkicked Rick in midair and pinned him for three. I cannot get over my love for Jarek’s magician persona and the way he plays it.

1. The Duke defeated Jock Sampson via countout – The show proper opened with Jock Sampson’s in-ring debut against The Duke. He stepped into the ring with a rope, cowbells and a chorus of boos. He took the mic for a moment just to threaten to kill everyone’s family if anyone started a “Galifianakis” chant. Naturally, a “Galifianakis” chant started almost immediately. The Duke came out shortly thereafter. It didn’t take much action for Galifian—I mean Sampson to exit the ring and attempt to run away like a bitch. Duke wouldn’t let him things continued at ringside, though it lead to Duke getting thrown into the barricade. Sampson hopped into the ring and onto the turnbuckle to announce that “I am the best of all time!” to which the crowd responded by starting an even more insulting look-a-like chant. Sampson tried to keep his momentum going with a big leap off the top rope, but Duke was able to move out of the way. Duke came back with a spinebuster and then sent Sampson over the rope with a lariat. Jock Sampson pouted at ringside and got counted out. He then grabbed his rope and cowbells and took after Duke with them. After beating him up for a few moments, Husk—I mean Sampson went on the mic to complain that he actually won the match, because throwing him over the top rope was a disqualification. He called us a bunch of virgins as a final salvo and stomped backstage.

2. ACH, Mat Fitchett, and Davey Vega defeated The Submission Squad (Evan Gelistico, Gary Jay, and Pierre Abernathy) – St. Louis Anarchy Offer Match – This was one of the matches I was most looking forward to. It took exactly one match to turn me into an ACH fan, which was him versus AR Fox at Beyond. If you haven’t seen that match yet, what are you doing here, go watch it. I’ll wait.

Just based on that one match alone I knew we were going to be in for a treat. Putting him with Fitchett and Vega, however, was perfection. ACH was a boss with the hugest leap I’ve ever seen in my life. And I don’t mean distance, although he did make it most of the way to the other side of the ring, but I mean height. I mean really high. I mean ten feet into the air and if that’s an exaggeration, it’s not by much.

Fitchett was also pretty boss, though he spent a great deal of time getting kicked around by various members of the Submission Squad and being victimized by “Stiff Ginger” Gary Jay’s particularly sharp chops. He had a gorgeous Fosbury Flop onto everybody at ringside and a beautiful Shooting Star Press towards the end of the match. That, in conjunction with ACH’s gigantic Frog Splash, lead the good guys to victory .

I’ve only recently become aware of the St. Louis Anarchy company, and I have to tell you, I’ve never been more sad that I don’t live in Missouri.

After this match was over, Pinkie Sanchez climbed into the ring and got on the mic, calling out anyone in AIW. Who rose to the challenge? None other than…

3. Eric Ryan defeats Pinkie Sanchez – They started out trading an increasingly hard series of chops which escalated into a full-out ringside brawl. Pinkie had enough and disappeared backstage for a moment before coming back out (presumably forced to by the more honorable members of the AIW roster). The brawl continued all over the arena, including the concession stand where Pinkie retrieved a cookie sheet for the purposes of breaking Ryan’s head. When they finally got back into the ring Eric Ryan found a second wind and went after Pinkie, locking him up, and slamming him on his head to secure the pin.

4. Revolucion Lucha Libre Absolute Championship – Colt Cabana (c) defeated AERO! to retain the Revolucion Lucha Libre Absolute Championship –  Colt’s matches are always among the best because they are just so silly. Which isn’t to say he doesn’t have any actual talent, because obviously he does, but you can see how much Colt really just loves wrestling and loves to have fun with it.

For example, Cabana came to the ring among chants of “Fuck ‘em up, Colt!” When the match got underway, Colt flattened AERO! with a terrific slam, and then announced to all and sundry, “You’re fucked up!” A few minutes later, there was synchronized tumbling between the two.

Not to forget about AERO! or anything. He had a really good dropkick about halfway through and tried his best to get Colt with an off the top rope leap, but he missed, which allowed Colt to take advantage and eventually secure the pin after hitting a Flying Asshole.

The only even possibly negative thing about this match was that it was too short. Cabana’s matches always seem too short to me. Time flies when you’re having fun, I guess.

5. Bobby Beverly defeats Façade to retain the Intense title – Before the started, we had to suffer through Chest Flexor on the mic talking some irrelevant shit and announcing that his Christmas present was the return of Sassy Steph, who came out to stand ringside and generally be more irritating than anything else over the course of the match.

The action was pretty solidly back and forth through the whole thing, with both participants refusing to relent even slightly. Beverly may have more of an advantage however, with several members of Chest Flexor Industries at ringside, getting their cheating hands on Façade whenever the ref’s back was turned.

Façade did hold his own, leaping all over the ring, and on top of it, and outside of it, including tightrope-walking to the middle of the top rope and then flying onto various members of CFI at ringside. However, it was to no avail as Beverly got Façade grounded with a huge slam for the three count.

6. Marion Fontaine defeated Chuck Taylor – Marion Fontaine is quickly becoming one of my favorite guys on the scene. I’m pretty sure it’s not the mustache, so I’m thinking it has to be the fact he generally prescribes to the Colt Cabana method.

While This match started with a reasonably serious chant of, “Chuck him up!” from the crowd and then quickly dissolved into silliness, with Taylor and Fontaine trying to hipstoss each other across the ring and countering. This went on for two full rotations; from one corner and back again.

At one point Chuck showed up with a horrendous fake mustache that wouldn’t stay on. It ended up flying off into parts unknown when he tried to hit Fontaine with a crossbody and missed. He also missed a moonsault which allowed Fontaine to make the cover for the win.

7. Josh Prohibition and Matt Cross defeated Greg Iron and Colt Cabana – This may be why Colt’s first match was so short, so he could go all-out in this one. Something I, for one, am profoundly grateful for, since this one pretty much tied the St. Louis Anarchy exhibition match for match of the night.

Greg demanded Prohibition get in the ring in order to dish some hate left over from their match at Hell on Earth. Prohibition obliged, for three point five eight seconds before tagging in M-Dogg. Iron was speed to Cross’s precision and danced around him before tagging in Colt, who wasted no time in slamming the heck out of Cross, and then Prohibition when that wasn’t enough. Greg got back in and Prohibition slid outside of the ring like a coward. Iron refused to take cowardice for an answer and leapt through the ropes onto Prohibition. Though as it was, he may have hit the barricade slightly more than Prohibition… with his face… but it looked really cool.

Everybody ended back in the ring .Cabana and Greg debuted a nifty little tag team move: the Double Team Gimp Slap. Colt picked up Greg and slapped Cross and Prohibition across the face with Greg’s right arm. The hilarity ceased when Cross and Iron were left in the ring. He pretty much wiped the ring with Greg’s face. At one point he accidentally ran into Prohibition and knocked him to the floor, and Cabana was all over that.

Back in the ring, Iron found some in his reserves and busted out a gorgeous Hurracanrana on Cross and a flying elbow a few minutes later. He very nearly had three, if not for Prohibition sliding away from Cabana long enough to pull the ref away at two and a half. Prohibition then soundly DDT’d Greg and Cross followed up with his customary Shooting Star Press, ending the match.

8. Colin Delaney defeated Jimmy Olsen – Unfortunately, I am not able to give you a proper recap on this match, partially due to the fact that about half of it took place outside of the ring on the other side of the arena and because I spent the other half of it cleaning soda and god only knows what else off of my things.

The moral of the story is: Do not ever sit by trashcans at wrestling shows. People use them for garbage. Wrestlers use them on each other. Soda has an incredible splash radius.

I do however know that there was a “THIS IS AWESOME” chant at one point and both guys ended up bloody before the match was over, so I’m sure it was really, really good. Plus Olsen announced that was his very last match, which made the fact that I missed about 90% of it even more sad. Clearly we are just going to all have to buy this on DVD. I apologies for my failure as a reporter during this match.

I learned my lesson about the trashcans though.

9. Aeroform defeated the Irish Airborne and The Batiri – This match was 90% Irish Airborne being awesome and 10% cheating Aeroform. They seriously dominated most of the match. The Batiri, sorry to say, really felt like kind of an afterthought.

Dave Crist – who would later be the star of the show, as you’ll see in a minute – had an epic backwards double clothesline which took out Louis Lyndon and one of the guys from Batiri. Right after Jake flew off the top rope onto his opponents. Irish Airborne were dominating this match… up until the point that somehow Aeroform won. It was over so quickly that I don’t even know what happened. Aeroform were celebrating, their music was on and I – and I would like to believe most of the crowd as well – were going “Wait, what?”

Ohio wrestling crowds are not nearly so polite; the actual reaction was a raucous chant of, “Fuck that ending!”

Though there was a bonus ending to the match. An unruly and quite possibly drunk fan took it upon himself to crawl over the barricade and was promptly kicked in the face by Dave Crist. And then bodily dragged out of the arena.

Most of this I heard on hearsay, as all I saw was a fan being dragged out with blood on his face and Crist yelling “AND THAT’S WHY YOU DON’T TRY TO GET IN THE RING!” I hope that makes it to the DVD too. I don’t know how I always miss the good things.

10. BJ Whitmer defeats Rickey Shane Page by submission – This was a match composed mainly of submission maneuvers, brute force, and a “Let’s go Chin Locks” chant, which should say something. There were a few standout moments, like Whitmer throwing RSP halfway across the room with a brutal German suplex. RSP’s also had a really nice senton bomb.

Personally, I thought this match was a little slow with lots of grappling. I think you can tell what kind of wrestling I find entertaining. If someone’s not jumping off of something within five minutes, my attention tends to wander.

However, after RSP tapped, the crowd did launch a, “That was awesome!” chant, so perhaps I am in the minority here.

Afterwards, Whitmer got on the mic and commended RSP on his in-ring skills, which I thought was very kind of him.

Alright, are you ready for this? I can tell you right now that you aren’t.

11. Johnny Gargano murdered Dave “The Potato” Dawson (with special guest ref Tim Effin’ Donst) – First of all, Dave came into the ring wearing the most ridiculous gear I have ever seen in my entire life, and that includes the time when Curry Man had a curry hat. Words cannot even describe the ridiculousness of this gear. Not even the words, “Shiny bubblegum pink briefs” really do it any justice.

The second Gargano came in, Potato ran out and into the back. Various members of Flexxor Inc. came out in his stead, including both members of Aeroform and The Chad. They all ganged right the heck up on Johnny and hogtied his hands around his back. It looked like Dave was about to take Johnny’s head off with a chair, but then the good guys came to the rescue, led by Façade.

It then turned into a full-out CFI vs. Everybody Else free-for-all brawl in the middle of the ring. It thinned out somewhat, leaving the actual competitors in the ring with everyone else on the outside of it. And that is when I noticed Dave Crist on top of the basketball hoop.

Dave Crist jumped off the basketball hoop onto most of the roster.

The floor was not padded.

He did not break his neck.

Dave Crist jumped off the basketball hoop. Seriously. I don’t believe it either, and I was there.

It’s pretty ballsy to steal the show from Johnny Gargano, not to mention nigh on impossible, but I think Dave Crist managed it that night.

Of course, the match wasn’t over yet, not by a long shot.

The roster relegated themselves back where they came from, leaving Dave and Johnny to their own devices. Or rather, to Johnny’s own devices. And by “devices” I mean “a chair and Dave’s head.”

Johnny pretty much beat the crap out of Potato with a series of kicks and a folding chair. I lost track of chair shots. He might have broken the chair. “Mashed Potatoes” was a legitimate chant response.

Needless to say, Dave was bleeding and Johnny got his three-count. Dave was led dazed and bloody backstage.

And then, because this whole crazy brawl wasn’t enough, Tim Donst turned on Johnny and started beating on him. The ring turned into Brawl 2.0.

Somehow Matt Wadsworth cleared the ring and got on the mic. He announced that Dave the Potato was the first rung on the ladder to running Chest Flexor Industries out, and Potato did indeed get his fucking head kicked in, so on to step two.

Honestly, what more is there to say? AIW put on yet another awesome show; they never fail to blow me away. I don’t know if it’s the talent, the feuds or just the crowd. Perhaps it’s some combination of the three. All I can say is they put on some of the best shows I’ve ever seen and there is no doubt in my mind that they will continue to do so. Though I’m not at all sure how or even if they’re going to be able to top themselves. I can only wait and see and hope for the next show. And I hope to see as many of you there as possible!

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