Absolute Intense Wrestling returns to Turners Hall on August 4, 2012, for Girls Night Out 7, the first show in company history featuring an all-woman card. I’ll be there in my official capacity as “women’s (wrestling) expert,” and as a mostly unbiased judge of wrestling cards, #GNO7 looks like the company’s strongest to date. As always, there is a strong mix of national, international, and local talent, along with the promise of two massive feature bouts.
In the main event of the evening, Allysin Kay defends her AIW Women’s Championship against “The Blasian Barbie” Mia Yim. The two have had a bloody, violent history in AIW, and at #GNO7 they look to settle the score in the promotion’s second-ever Steel Cage Match. Cage matches don’t happen often in indie wrestling (for two good reasons: they’re expensive, and they take an incredibly long time to set up), and are only booked when the situation calls for it. Yim and Kay have met twice in an AIW ring, and there was blood both times. In their first match, Yim broke Kay’s nose with a stiff kick, which resulted in a war of words across twitter and various podcasts leading to an anxiously awaited rematch. At Girls Night Out 6, they met in an unsanctioned Fans Bring the Weapons match for the vacant AIW Women’s Championship. The match saw the use of light tubes, machetes, and garden hoses, but came to an end under dubious circumstances when Kay’s estranged manager Chest Flexor interfered, costing Yim the match and the title. The new champion, none too happy with Flexor’s interference, took her frustration out on the leader of Flexor Industries, asking for the match to be restarted so she could finish Yim herself.
Instead of doing that, AIW’s acting president Matthew Wadsworth promised a third encounter, one in which nobody could interfere. Now one of the most intense rivalries in AIW’s history (and, indeed, in wrestling today) comes to a close in one of the sport’s most barbaric enclosures. Cage matches in independent wrestling aren’t for the faint of heart or the weak kneed. Given the heat between the two and the title that’s on the line, blood will likely be shed and reputations will be made or broken. Both women have done great things in the past year, and this match is the culmination of their hard work and sacrifice. Only one of them can leave the cage a champion. The woman who does will have staked a claim as being one of the best in the world. Read more
Of course I was there after having posted about it several times, and in official capacity no less, but AIW’s Girls Night Out 6 is the sort of pro-wrestling event worth writing about. On a night when TNA drew 2,000 (mostly disinterested) people (in a 9,000 seat venue) for their version of a wrestling revolution—an overblown, all-cage-match show—AIW put on an all-women show in a community athletic club, and, while I might be biased, I’d be willing to bet that AIW put out the better card. Small venues and tight-knit, passionate fans make for a sense of urgency, a need to perform (and perform well) that hasn’t been felt in any of the major promotions for quite some time. I’m very proud to have been a part of last night’s show, and can think of few better shows to have made a debut on. Unfortunately, the nature of being behind the commentary table prevents me from giving a straight recollection of the evening’s events, so you’ll have to bear with me while I ramble about myself and my feelings as the night went on. Read more
Way back in January, I got to call a match between Sara Del Rey and Mickie Knuckles—the main event of Absolute Intense Wrestling’s Girls Night Out 5 (which you can purchase here)—which was the fulfillment of an (admittedly odd) childhood fantasy that, were it not for a Kickstarter campaign, would have forever been unchecked on my bucket list. For those of you wondering how I did in a sense different than me critiquing myself months after the fact, here’s some news: In seven days, I will be behind the microphone at AIW’s Girls Night Out 6, the first all-woman card in the promotion’s history and, if you ask me, the best one they’ve put together yet.
I am entering uncharted territory here, the stuff of “What I’d Like to Be When I Grow Up” essays that, to me, were no less unrealistic than those old-hat ones about becoming an astronaut or a firefighter or Superman. To say that I’m excited about this opportunity is an understatement. To point out that I’m somewhat nervous going into next week’s show is probably unnecessary. AIW, since I started attending shows last summer, have seemingly grown by leaps and bounds. They’ve moved to a bigger venue, they’re attracting a diverse array of talent from across the country, their events are drawing attendees from across a freaking ocean … and they’ve hired me on as an announcer. Here’s an approximation of my reaction:
If you live anywhere near the Cleveland area—say, within a five hour drive—you should put together your shekels and see this show. Tickets are $15, and while gas and tolls and food and such cost money, there’s nothing quite like live wrestling in an intimate setting. If you can’t make it, I encourage you to purchase the eventual DVD or .mp4 release, which’ll be plugged in this space as soon as they’re available. Support independent professional wrestling! Support women’s wrestling! See the following:
Hailey Hatred has only recently made her return to the United States after a very successful tour of Japan, during which she held five championships simultaneously, becoming perhaps the most decorated wrestler since Ultimo Dragon. She also became an incredibly polished wrestler during her time in Japan, this despite an already impressive Stateside career that includes a reign as the AIW Women’s championship. She’s also capable of taking her game to the extreme, as evidenced by a brutal “Compton Rules” match against John Thorne a mere two days ago, at AIW’s Straight Outta Compton. Here, for your viewing pleasure, is Hatred’s final defense of the JWP Openweight Title, against Kaori Yoneyama, from December of last year:
Jenny Rose, for those unaware, was formerly masked SHIMMER-stalwart “Jumping” Jamilia Craft, who ditched her old look after a trip to Japan, where she wrestled for Kyoko Inoue’s outfit. As Jamilia Craft, she looked every bit a blue chip prospect, but I haven’t seen much of Jenny Rose and am looking forward to what is, I believe, a first time meeting of two women who have a lot to offer after their time in Japan. “Show stealer” is a phrase too-often applied in wrestling, but if any match on the card deserves the moniker, this’d be my choice.
The last I checked, Sara Del Rey was still my favorite wrestler. Rather than quantifying that for the 400th time, I’m just going to post a match Del Rey had against Hailey Hatred:
Whereas Del Rey is often called the best woman wrestler in the world, Veda Scott is still a relative newcomer in wrestling, entering her second year. There’s a lot of positive buzz surrounding her, however, and for good reason. I’ve seen Scott wrestle live at two previous Girls Night Out events, and she has made rapid strides as an in-ring competitor between her 2011 match with Cherry Bomb, and her encounter with Kimber Lee from Girls Night Out 5. I could be mistaken, but I think this, too, is a first time match, probably the biggest in Veda’s career. Get acclimated to Veda Scott with AIW’s Behind the Curtain interview, and a match she had against her trainer (and Del Rey’s former tag partner) Daizee Haze:
The main event of Girl’s Night Out 6 is an unsanctioned match for a sanctioned title belt. If that seems weird, Kay and Yim were originally scheduled to face each other in a grudge match stemming from the events of Girls Night Out 5, where Kay personally kicked Yim out of Flexor Industries and Yim retaliated by breaking Kay’s nose in gruesome fashion during their match to determine the #1 contender to Mickie Knuckles’ AIW Women’s championship. This, truthfully, would be enough to justify the price of admission.
If their match in January was surprisingly brutal, the beef between the two—insults and tirades and threats traded over Twitter and various podcasts—has transcended professional boundaries, promising a hate-filled, nasty encounter. The AIW Women’s Championship—vacated by Mickie Knuckles, who personally requested this match be for the title—only adds more fuel to the fire. A clip of their match from Girls Night Out 5 begins at 26:00.
All of this is in addition to Gabriella Vanderpool vs. Leva Bates, Miss Heidi vs. K.C., Crazy Mary Dobson vs. Venus, Kimber Lee vs. Jennifer Blake, Sassy Steph vs. Cherry Bomb, Melanie Cruise vs. Taylor Made, and Taeler Hendrix vs. Annie Social. This is just an insane mix of talent, from SHIMMER regulars to east coast regulars, with nary a bikini model in sight. For more information on the show or to buy tickets, visit Absolute Intense Wrestling’s website, check them out on Facebook, or follow their Twitter account, @aiwrestling. I will most likely talk about this event excitedly until the day I die, so be ready for that, friends.