Eddie Kingston vs. Arik Cannon vs. Drake Younger vs. Facade vs. Davey Vega vs. Ethan Page (7/1/12)

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Absolution is typically the biggest show on the AIW calendar, so I was a little surprised to see this match, which happened just a little over two months ago, uploaded on YouTube today. Three of indie wrestling’s best and three up-and-coming wrestlers met in a six-man scramble in the evening’s second match, and despite everything that happened at that show, despite a good number of contests that will go down as bests in AIW history, this is one that still sticks. Being a six-man scramble, there’s not really a narrative arc to follow here, but that’s fine. It’s a combination of talent, big moves, and surprise appearances. It’s a taste of what’s to come in AIW. And, since this is my blog and since I’m biased, it’s about that one time I got to announce a match featuring one of my favorite wrestlers.

Eddie Kingston is no stranger to feature bouts. As CHIKARA’s Grand Champion, he has taken on challenges from top talent within that company, from Ring of Honor, from Japan and around the globe. When you’re a good champion, people tend to notice. When you’re a great champion, when you’re the foundation of the company you’re the champion of, its just the opposite. Wrestling fans tend to complain about good champions, about their direction, their opponent, their fear that the title will be snatched away too soon. CM Punk is a good champion. Kevin Steen is a good champion. CHIKARA, despite consistently putting on good shows, bringing in new talent, expanding to new markets, has been accused of having a down year creatively, but not Eddie Kingston. Nobody questions Eddie Kingston because he is a great champion, because, as the avatar of the CHIKARA brand, he will put on a great match with Jigsaw, with Sara Del Rey, with Steen, with whoever. I’ve yet to read about or see a weak Eddie Kingston match this year, and it’s not because fans are forgiving or because I haven’t seen every Eddie Kingston match, but because Kingston is a great champion. Great champions represent their company every night, regardless of what crowd they appear before, and it was really no different at Absolution 7. Even in a ring with five other guys, Eddie Kingston was THE MAN. Suplexes, backfists, passion—say what you want about the merits of fighting spirit, but when you’re in a crowd, live, and somebody in the ring is getting dumped on the back of his head only to keep getting up, it’s hard to argue with the man’s passion and the passion the fans have for him. I know I’m a small cog in a much larger machine and that what I think of a guy doesn’t really count for much, but it was an honor to give voice to an Eddie Kingston match, and its an honor I hope to one day have again.

That’s not to take anything away from Younger, Cannon, Facade, Vega, or Page. Younger, making his return to the AIW roster, had a match indicative of why 2012 has been a great year. Cannon is an invaluable performer, somebody who I wish crossed through Ohio more often. Facade has really opened my eyes since he saw him. Davey Vega and Ethan Page, I think, are two wrestlers who are going to surprise a lot of people in the coming year. Vega is gaining more exposure thanks to Wrestling_Is and the Submission Squad’s ill-fated appearance at CHIKARA’s King of Trios, but if you read this blog post and you’ve only seen Vega from some tag team match a bunch of dudes in Philly didn’t care for three years ago, do yourself a favor and look up what he’s done in ACW, SLA, Beyond Wrestling, and AIW. He and his tag team partner were booked to face the Briscoe Brothers at Absolution 7, and it wasn’t because of a fluke or a lack of tag teams. He and Mat Fittchett—collectively known as the Sex Bob-Ombs—are one of the best tag teams in wrestling. Vega’s also an incredibly solid hand in singles action, as his show stealing bout with ACH at AIW’s JT Lightning Invitational Tournament will readily show.

And Page. Man, does Page impress me. I follow the guy on Twitter, and his drive to improve in all aspects of the wrestling business is second to none. I’ve become a big fan of his in a very short amount of time, and while I don’t think his skills are as effectively displayed here as they would be in your typical singles match, his sweet springboard ace crusher is. Page’s best AIW match, thus far, was against Willie Mack at the JT Lightning Invitational tournament, but I firmly believe that the best is yet to come. At the next AIW event (Point Break, which is this Sunday), he will take on Davey Vega in a match that will most likely steal the show. This isn’t announcer hyperbole or company shilling, but on a card where Kingston will face BJ Whitmer and Tim Donst will take on ACH (OK, so there’s a little bit of shillmanship to this), Vega vs. Page is the one I’m most looking forward to. Sure, I love Kingston, and yes, I expect great things from Donst and ACH, Whitmer, Futureshock, the Irish Airborne, The Batiri, and everybody on the card (OK, so there’s a lot of shillmanship to this), but I think everybody buying a ticket to this Sunday’s show expects great things. I sit by or at the announcers’ table for the duration of the show, and when you’re separated from the crowd even a little bit, you notice how they react to the wrestlers in the ring. The crowd is a little quieter for Vega when he’s on his own, is a little quieter when Page is on the attack. They don’t expect great things from these two. They’re pensive. At #JLIT, they waited for ACH or Willie Mack to take command before really sinking their teeth into the contest. At Point Break, it’s just Vega and Page. And while it’s great to go into a match expecting something awesome and receiving it, I’ve always love it when a match people sleep on becomes the match people talk about. I don’t know if it’s a match I get to call, but its one I’m very excited for, one I’ll be paying especially close attention to.

If you’re in the Cleveland area or are within appreciable driving distance or want to go crazy and see this shindig despite living several state lines over, I encourage you to do so. Go to shop.aiwrestling.com and purchase a ticket to this Sunday’s Point Break, emanating from Cleveland, OH’s Turners Hall with a 6:00 P.M. belltime. Tickets are only $15, and an online pre-order gets you in the door early. A full-blown shill will be up in this space soon with more information, but until then, check out AIW on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr for more.