Preview: AIW Hail To The King, Baby! (February 23rd, 2019)

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Photo: AIW

Ohio’s Absolute Intense Wrestling returns to Akron this Saturday for Hail To The King, Baby! While not just a clever nod to Evil Dead‘s Ash, it also signals a very special appearance by former seven-time NWA World’s Heavyweight Champion and WWE Hall of Famer Harley Race. Race’s appearance is just the cherry on top for a fun and stacked indie card.

The Duke, Dr. Daniel C. Rockingham & The Party Never Stops (Big Twan Tucker & Parker Pierce) vs. Kikutaro, Ryder Reid, Weird World (Alex Kellar & Evan Adams)

Photo: AIW

A huge 8-man tag team as some carryover resentments from December’s Welcome to the Party Pal lead to another huge matchup. The Duke‘s tandem Duke Money (Jock Samson & Mance Warner) were on the losing end of a similar match then, losing to Kikutaro‘s squad of misfit toys, and this time the Duke is leading the pack himself. Dr. Daniel C. Rockingham rejoins Duke’s team, but this time they’re joined by The Party Never Stops. Big Twan Tucker of TPNS has teamed with Duke’s crew before and this time he’s joined by his usual tag partner, Pierce Parker. They’re facing a new squad lead by Kikutaro that features Weird World, who have faced The Party Never Stops before, at last May’s Chandler Biggins Memorial Tag Team Tournament, and in January of 2018’s Death Rowe. They’re joined by an emerging star who has worked for both AIW and IWA Mid South in the past year in Ryder Reid.

Louis Lyndon vs. TKD

Photo: AIW

Louis Lyndon is an AIW and Midwest legend, a 13-year pro who has done it all. A former AIW Intense Champion and 2x AIW Tag Team Champion in Aeroform with Flip Kendrick, the 33-year old will be looking to continue his legacy as he faces a young star in TKD, who has been rising the ranks of AIW the past year.

Zach Thomas vs. Danhausen AD vs. Wes Barkley vs. Takeshi Minamino

Photo: AIW

Three of AIW’s brightest emerging stars take on a Japanese veteran in Fatal Four Way action. Zach Thomas and Wes Barkley are both rising stars, while Danhausen AD is emerging as one of the bright spots from The Production waiting to break out. Takeshi Minamino is a 15-year veteran of Michinoku Pro Wrestling (MPW) in Japan, who also wrestles for All Japan and Big Japan Wrestling. Also known by his alter ego HAPPY MAN, he made his US debut last year with Bar Wrestling and Game Changer Wrestling (GCW) and looks to continue his US tour with a stop in the Midwest.

Pick Your Poison: Kevin Thorn vs. Dominic Garrini

Photo: AIW

Joshua Bishop and Dominic Garrini have embroiled in a bitter feud that has lead to this evening and their Pick Your Poison matches, where each man chooses the other’s opponent. Dominic Garrini really came into his own last year with EVOLVE Wrestling, as a member of Catch Point, before starting Sadkampf with Kevin Ku. But in AIW on Saturday, he’ll be going at it alone. His opponent for the evening is a former WWE Superstar with darkness running through his veins. Originally known as Mordechai, he became better known as Kevin Thorn during his appearance with WWE’s rebooted ECW.

Pick Your Poison: Joshua Bishop vs. “Filthy” Tom Lawlor

Photo: AIW

While Bishop chose a Prince of Darkness for Garrini’s opponent, Garrini has gone a more physically demanding route, choosing current reigning Major League Wrestling (MLW) World Heavyweight Champion and former UFC fighter “Filthy” Tom Lawlor as Bishop’s opponent on Saturday night. Lawlor has emerged as a top indie star out of a strong 2018, and he won’t be intimidated by the brash bravado of Joshua Bishop, whose stock has been rising considerably since he debuted in AIW in 2017.

Britt Baker vs. Tasha Steelz

Photo: AIW

All Elite Wrestling‘s first women’s signing, Britt Baker, returns to AIW for the first time since last August, when she defeated Allie Kat at AIW WrestleRage 3. As a focal point for AEW’s women’s division, expect big things out of the DDS this year. She’s facing one of the fastest rising women’s stars right now in New Jersey’s Tasha Steelz, who has built a solid name for herself with work in Women’s Wrestling Revolution (WWR), Chaotic Wrestling, RISE and Ring of Honor‘s Women of Honor.

AIW Intense Championship: Matthew Justice (c) vs. Wheeler YUTA vs. Tre Lamar

Photo: AIW

Last November, Matthew Justice defeated Tim Donst for the AIW Intense Championship at AIW Hell On Earth 4, and last month defended it against KTB in a slugfest. This Saturday, the big man will put it on the line in a triple threat match against two wrestlers looking to break out nationally in 2019. Wheeler YUTA got a nice pop in the WWE recently, when Drew Gulak suggested that 205 Live General Manager Drake Maverick check out his file, but fans of MLW, Beyond Wrestling, CHIKARA, AIW and more have known of his prowess for a couple of years now. Tre Lamar is part of the No Consequences stable that also includes Joshua Bishop, AJ Gray, and other rising AIW stars, and he gets a big singles shot being added to the title match.

AIW Absolute Championship: “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams vs. PB Smooth

Photo: AIW

“Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams ended 2018 on a high note, signing with Ring of Honor after a lengthy run in EVOLVE to join Juice Robinson‘s new stable Lifeblood. But in AIW, he’s been Absolute Champion for over 200 days and on Saturday will put that title on the line once again. He’s fought off challenges from Matt Cross, Eddie Kingston, Joshua Bishop, and former Catch Point teammate Dominic Garrini, but on Saturday he faces a giant in the seven-footer Pretty Boy “PB” Smooth. A former AIW Tag Team Champion, Smooth is looking to establish himself as a force in AIW’s main event for 2019, and a huge victory over Williams for the top title in the company would be a great start.

Photo: AIW

Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world.

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