DVD Review: AIW Girls Night Out 4 (29 July 2011)
Absolute Intense Wrestling presented its “Girls Night Out 4” show on July 29th in Lakewood, OH. As you’d expect from the show name, this is the fourth such card featuring the women of AIW. I’ve actually never seen any of the previous GNOs, so this DVD represents my first taste of the AIW product save for a brief YouTube clip here and there. Initial thoughts are that the DVD is nicely produced, with good VQ and sound, and the package includes an entire DVD of the four-match “Guys Night Out 4” undercard. Unfortunately, for a show boasting a really good number of top quality names, the attendance appeared to be quite sparse. Nevertheless, they reacted where they needed to for the majority of the show, which is a good thing.
My biggest complaint as far as the overall production is concerned – and I might as well get this out here rather than repeat myself time and time again throughout the review – is the heel commentator on the show, who seems to spend most of his time firing off misogynistic and at times offensive commentary in an apparent attempt annoy the viewer. It worked. I believe his name is Aaron Bauer, and hey… I’m a commentator myself, so I know that this guy is just playing his “heel commentator” role, but there are ways to add colour and be a heel without resorting to the basest comments and without overbearing the match. I mean, does wondering about whether they do apartment wrestling, or insinuating sexual situations with most of the women add a single solitary thing to the product? It certainly isn’t getting anybody over, and it constantly makes the viewer re-think why they’re bothering to invest any time in the product. Haven’t we learned anything from Michael Cole in 2011? On the other hand, the play-by-play guy Pedro DeLuca does a fine job calling the action.
Mena Libra vs KC
I’ve never seen KC before, but I understand she’s the newest graduate at the House of Truth. Using Volcano Girls by Veruca Salt as entrance music endears me to her immediately. Mena Libra is making her comeback here from a broken foot, so it’s strapped up in some sort of a walking boot. The match is pretty alright for an opener. I got the feeling for much of the first half of the match that the two were going over some well drilled stuff from their training sessions. Competent, but fairly soulless – but things picked up quickly. Mena plays possum with her foot injury to get the heat, and KC’s comeback is nicely fiery. Finish worked really well too, as Mena put her (injured) foot right up to catch KC coming off the ropes. KC is knocked loopy for a three count. Perfectly decent opening match fodder – though the Sin Cara-esque wacky lighting is strangely distracting.
Veda Scott vs Cherry Bomb
Veda Scott is a SHIMMER/ROH Academy graduate, who recently debuted a blog here on Ringbelles (more editions to come soon), and I don’t know at this point, but I’m pretty sure she’s still in single figures for the number of pro matches she’s had… so while there are things that she’ll get better at with experience, one thing she has right from the beginning is a good performer’s instinct. She’s always in character… she’s always doing or reacting to something, and it’s really fun to watch. You can’t always teach that instinct, so I get the feeling things are going to be bright for Miss Scott. Speaking of bright, Cherry Bomb is a lot of fun to watch as well. Good look, good skills, very likeable… she should be booked in more places. Anyway, this is a match that the crowd really got into. Veda threw in some really nice things, such as redeeming herself from a pretty shoddy looking abdominal stretch by turning it into a sweet Anaconda Vice takedown. The finish here is lethal, as Cherry positions Veda in a… erm…. compromising position in the corner, and dropkicks her coccyx. Veda appears to crack her skull on the steel ringpost, and there is a fan in a Nexus T-shirt at ringside who legitimately looks like he soiled himself and thinks he’s seen a fatality. Amazing reaction. To be honest, if I’d not known that Veda was alive today, I’d have feared the worst too. Cherry gets the pin, and both girls get a “Please Come Back” chant. Tremendous stuff.
Allysin Kay vs Mickie Knuckles
Allysin comes to ringside accompanied by her Team Be Jealous partner Jessicka Havok, while Mickie Knuckles (nicknamed the “Walking Episode of Cops”, and with sweet new Imelda May entrance music) feels obliged to bring out a 6’6” woman called Andrea to work her corner. To be honest, she did nothing. This was quite a fun match. Everybody knows Knuckles reputation as an ass-kicker, so Kay spent much of the time utilising holds in an entertaining manner… such as “tuning up the band” in the corner only to grab a side headlock, or threatening to punt Knuckles in the spine only to apply a rear chinlock. All very Allison Danger. Knuckles eventually made a godly comeback, but the finish was a variation on the old Warrior/Rude/Heenan WrestleMania V finish, with J-Hav grabbing Knuckles legs as she has Kay picked up for a pump-handle suplex, causing Kay to fall on Knuckles. Apparently bent referee Dave Dawson obliges with a quick three count.
I enjoyed that match.
Sassy Stephie vs Sara Del Rey
Stephie was a last minute replacement for Super Oprah, which is a pretty good trade-up as far as I’m concerned. Stephie makes mention on the mic about how some personal issues had kept her out of AIW up to now, and it was only a last minute opportunity to wrestle Del Rey that meant she was there. Certain sections of the crowd spent much of the match heckling Stephie over these past “issues”, including telling her to go back to Firestorm (an apparent “rival” Ohio promotion) and other assorted unkind chants. Given that by the end of the night, both Stephie and AIW seemed keen that they could continue to work with each other suggests that things have been settled, and hopefully we won’t hear any such chants in the future. The match was alright. Del Rey (as babyface) dominated Stephie from the off for some time, including some vicious looking kicks. Stephie got the heat and worked over Del Rey with some nice offense, including a sweet variation on a Cattle Mutilation… however, the “Queen of Wrestling” came back slowly and put away Stephie decisively with the Royal Butterlfly. I don’t think anybody saw Stephie on Del Rey’s level, but it was good.
Roxie Cotton vs Portia Perez
Good news and bad news for the retiring Roxie Cotton. Sadly she doesn’t use “Let’s Go To The Mall” as entrance music, but on the other hand, she is described as “weighing in at 50 shopping bags”, which tickled me. Much of the start of the match was Roxie working comedy spots and infuriating, tripping and slapping Perez. To be honest, that was the best bit of the match, as once it settled down into an actual match it was fairly mundane until Cotton missed a Senton, gets Superkicked and pinned. The awesome bit was the post match, when an emotional Cotton cut a “farewell speech” on her retirement… then suckerpunches Perez with a fantastic heel turn. She announced that Roxie Cotton was gone, and that she is now and will forever be “Gabby Gilbert”. The heel turn was nicely executed, and it was kinda weird to see Portia Perez of all people get suckered. Good reaction to the turn, which really was the entire point of the segment.
AIW Absolute Womens Title: First Blood Rules
Jessicka Havok vs Angel Dust
My Ringbelles colleague Lee once memorably (to me, at least) described Jessicka Havok as a “wonderful beast”, and that’s quite honestly all I was thinking throughout this first blood match. Havok looks like she’d kill you as soon as look at you, and by comparison, Angel Dust is anything but – being positively *tiny* by comparison. It makes for a phenomenal visual though, and the story of the match writes itself. Havok is mighty and devastating… Angel is small and determined. The two brawl over the hall, with Havok unsurprisingly having the better of most of the action – be it carrying Angel Dust around by her throat or launching the slight figure of Angel Dust into a bunch of non folding chairs. Just as things were looking in Angel Dust’s favour, Allysin Kay turns up and does *something* to Angel Dust’s face… you can’t really see, but it’s enough for referee Dave Dawson to call for the bell, claiming that Angel is the first to bleed. “That’s fuckin’ ketchup!” she protests… but I guess the call stands, and she chases Kay to the back.
As she runs there, she passes Mickie Knuckles, who is standing on top of the ramp, armed with a contract which allows Knuckles to challenge Havok at any time… leading to
AIW Absolute Womens Title
Jessicka Havok vs Mickie Knuckles
Knuckles storms the ring, hits Havok with two lariats, an awesome spear and the wrist-clutch sit-out bomb for the three count in under a minute. This is right out of “WWE Money In The Bank” booking, but for what it’s worth, I really dug it. Team Be Jealous got their comeuppance at the end of the night, and the supremely likeable Knuckles was the one to do it. Presumably this sets up a return match at Girls Night Out 5, which I am totally fine with.
At under two hours for the main show, GNO5 breezes past in an enjoyable way. Nothing really outstayed its welcome, and in fact, there are one or two matches I’d have happily seen a few more minutes devoted to. Matchmaking was good too – and things did appear to make sense. In-house storylines were progressed, and new talent was introduced. I can’t complain about any of that. You can’t justifiably judge something like this alongside SHIMMER, for example, which uses basically the entire world as its talent pool – so for a smaller show with drive-in talent only, there’s a lot to recommend here. My biggest criticism remains the awful commentary and the sometimes distracting lighting – but there’s enough here to ensure that I’ll pick up Girls Night Out 5, whenever that may be.
(All of the tremendous live photography in this review used courtesy and with permission of the very excellent Jillian Priest Photography. Check out and “like” her work)