Absolute Intense Wrestling also known as AIW, an independent wrestling company based out of Cleveland, Ohio had their first Rubber City Con on November 3rd in Akron, Ohio. Wrestling Cons are not something new. With the current craze of comic book conventions and entertainment conventions in general, it only makes sense that the idea of creating a con for the independent wrestling scene would be something positive that could really draw fans in. All fans really want is an entertaining, amazing wrestling show and the chance to get to meet their favorite wrestlers, to talk wrestling with them, and just to say hi; AIW gave the fans both.
Sometimes Smaller is Better
Rubber City Con took place in the Tadmor Shrine and was not what one would expect from a con. Having been to several Comic Cons myself, usually there’s tons of different rooms, with tons of different activities, and somehow you’re never able to see everything you want to or interact with everyone that you wanted, which in turn leaves you disappointed. Rubber City Con did not leave me with that disappointed feeling. I was able to walk around and see all the tables, interact with wrestlers, as well as other fans who I had never met before. By having the con be on the smaller scale it provided fans with an environment that didn’t feel stiff or forced, it felt more like a bunch of friends getting together before a wrestling show to hang out. To make the con aspect even better for fans, AIW had two pre-show matches that took place before the actual start of the show. This gave the fans something to do beforehand while at the same time getting them excited for the wrestling that was to come.
Time for a Show
The show itself was off the charts insane but in the best way. The main show started off with Allisin Kay defeating Faye Jackson, which was one of my personal favorite matches of the night. Both women are such forces in the ring that it’s impossible to look away while they’re in there. Their personalities in the ring are so strong that I was all around entertained and felt myself wishing the match could have went on for a little bit longer, I was enjoying it that much. The next match was a six-man scramble between Zach Thomas, Pat Monix, Wheeler Yuta, TKD, Bobby Beverly and Danhausen, which ended with Zach Thomas winning the match. Normally, I am someone who doesn’t like ring chaos. If there is too much going on and my attention must be divided between a bunch of different things, I feel as if I am being cheated. It’s impossible to watch everything going on at once and I feel like I am missing out on something. That was not the case with this match. I was able to take in everything that was going on while still being entertained at the same time. It was done in such a way that I could focus on every wrestler, and what they were doing; I loved that.
Starting off with two great matches the show continued with Dr. Daniel C. Rockingham going up against Sharkboy who replaced Gillberg who canceled due to food poisoning. Having seen Dr. Dan wrestle before I was excited for this match. I had never seen Sharkboy before, but I was excited to see what would happen with the two of them in the ring. Dr. Dan won against Sharkboy, but this was actually one of the few matches on this card that had disappointed me. While I enjoyed the humor of the match, as well as the athleticism, it just fell flat to me. Halfway through the match I became indifferent and found myself not caring about the outcome. While I certainly laughed, and the talent was clearly there, I just felt myself wondering what the next match would be instead of being captivated by what was going on in front of me. What followed Dr. Dan and Sharkboy was nothing short of incredible. The Twins (Swoggle and PB Smooth) and “Cowboy” Bob Orton faced Duke Money (The Duke, Mance Warner, and Jock Samson) with Twins and Orton winning the match. This match was everything that a wrestling match should be. It had the perfect combination of humor, athleticism, charisma, it was all there. Though I could have predicted at the beginning of the match who would win, while it was going on that was completely forgotten, and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. It was a terrific way to end the first half of the wrestling show.
The second half of the show started off with The Weird World Experience (Weird World (“Weird Body” Evan Adams), and Alex “Worldwide” Kellar), The Philly Marino Experience (Philly Collins & Marino Tenaglia), and Joel Gertner going up against The Production (Frankie Flynn, Magnum CK, Derek Direction Eddy Only, and Danhausen). While The Production might have the tag team titles and the theatrics of wrestling in their arsenal it wasn’t enough for them to win this match, leaving The Weird World Experience, The Philly Marino Experince, and Joel Gertner victorious. This was my second favorite match of the event. I have always been a fan of matches that move the story being told forward while also keeping me on the edge of my seat with the match itself at the same time, this match executed that perfectly. The match was a strong start to the second half of the show and I only hoped that it would get better from there. I was not disappointed. The next match was for the AIW Intense Championship and using the word intense would be a gross understatement for the match. Matthew Justice and Tim Donst used the entire room for their match and yes, I really mean the entire room. At one point, the two were bringing their match through the crowd when Justice turned to a fan, asked if he could use her purse to hit Donst, and was pleasantly surprised not only when she said yes, but also when it hit Donst and caused a satisfying thud… turns out the fan carries a book with her wherever she goes causing Justice’s plan to be executed even better than he could have imagined. Matthew Justice defeated Tim Donst, until Referee Dave Dawson overturned the decision of Tom Dunn due to Justice knocking him down and awarded the match to Donst by DQ. Justice was not pleased with these results and ended his time in the ring by then challenging Donst to a No-Disqualifications Match on November 23rd at Hell on Earth for the Title. Making every fan in the room want to go run and by Hell on Earth tickets. Yes, their match was that good.
The show rounded itself off with two more matches before coming to the main event. Eddie Kingston defeated Dominic Garrini. This then led to Kingston calling out the current AIW Absolute Champion for a match at Hell on Earth. The second match resulted in Tre Lamar and Chase Oliver defeating Z & E (DJ Z and Andrew Everett). Both matches showed the talent of the individuals respectively and I specifically enjoyed the way Kingston and Garrini’s match developed more story for the upcoming Hell on Earth show. The main event was for the AIW Absolute Championship which led to Joshua Bishop being defeated by Tracy Williams. It was a main event that honestly, blew me away. It made me forget about everything else that was going on and had me strictly focused on what was going on in front of me.
Was It a Success?
All in all, I thought AIW’s Rubber City Con was a success and I would love to see them put on this show again next year. Having something to do before the show itself was a lot of fun. What I find so refreshing, when going to independent wrestling shows, is how relaxed and fun the environment can be when you have the right group of people around you. I was fortunate enough to have a fun group of people sitting around me which made the show itself even more entertaining. As for the con aspect, the same could be said. Walking around the area people would say hi and smile, sometimes if they had the time they would even stop to talk. To put this in perspective, this is only the second AIW show I have ever been to. A lot of people will say that wrestling is for everyone, but it is clear at AIW shows that’s not something that is just said, that is something that they truly feel, and want you to feel as well.