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Sermon on the Mat (July 21): Premier XIII recap, Beyond Wrestling Flesh recap, AIW Absolution XI, Super J-Cup results, and more!

Mike LaRose

Welcome back to the Sermon on the Mat, your weekly one-stop shop for news from the wider world of wrestling beyond the big cable TV monoliths that get all the coverage.

So you may have noticed we're a bit early this week, and that's going to continue going forward, both because of the WWE pay-per-view weekend coming up and to hopefully line up better with indie wrestling's weekend-oriented schedule, as far as letting you know what's on deck for the weekend promptly and so on. We're also distending the format a little bit, because holy hell was Sunday packed full of awesome indie wrestling that deserved a recap.

In the news

AIW Absolution XI (Friday, July 22nd, 7:30PM, in Cleveland, Ohio)

Absolute Intense Wrestling are throwing down their biggest show of the year tomorrow and even though it's not going to be broadcast live anywhere, it's a stacked card full of rising stars and international television talent that's worth a bit of time in your braincase to consider picking it up when it hits VOD or hey, maybe buy a ticket if you're in the area, right?

Ethan Page (c) vs. Josh Alexander vs. Josh Prohibition (AIW Absolute Championship)

Candice LeRae & Johnny Gargano vs. Ethan Carter III & Karlee "Catrina" Perez

Alex Daniels (c) vs. Cedric Alexander vs. Facade vs. Jerry (AIW Intense Championship)

Louis Lyndon vs. Zack Sabre, Jr.

Hot Sauce Entertainment ("Hot Sauce" Tracy Williams & Tyson Dux) (c) vs. To Infinity and Beyond (Colin Delaney & Cheech) (AIW Tag Team Championship 2 Out of 3 Falls Match)

BJ Whitmer & The Duke vs. Frankie Flynn & ???

Bandolero, DJZ, & Laredo Kid vs. Gringo Loko, Skayde, Jr., & Steve Pain)

Raymond Rowe vs. Tim Donst

Dick Justice vs. Jock Samson

NJPW Super J-Cup first round results for August 20th

Matt Sydal (New Japan Pro Wrestling) over Kaji Tomato (K-Dojo)

Kenoh (Pro Wrestling Noah) over Gurukun Mask (Ryukyu Dragon)

Taichi (Suzuki-gun) over Yuma Aoyagi (All Japan Pro Wrestling)

Jushin Liger (New Japan Pro Wrestling) over Eita (Dragon Gate)

Will Ospreay (Chaos) over Titán (Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre)

Yoshinobu Kanemaru (Pro Wrestling Noah) over BUSHI (Los Ingobernables de Japon)

Ryusuke Taguchi (New Japan Pro Wrestling) over Daisuke Harada (Pro Wrestling Noah)

KUSHIDA (New Japan Pro Wrestling) over Taiji Ishimori (Pro Wrestling Noah)

The Super J-Cup kicked off its first edition in seven years early Wednesday morning US time, without too many surprises to be had. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't slightly disappointed that nobody made it through who isn't a) on the NJPW roster; b) on loan to Noah from the NJPW roster; or c) on the Noah roster, whom New Japan has some significant investment in at this point.

But even so, the men remaining make an excellent field for the second and final show on August 21st, and hopefully some of the eliminated talent will return for additional matches at that time. As for the quality of the show itself, I haven't been able to make the time to watch it as yet (god bless our Wednesday nights packed full of pro wrestling here in 2016, right?), but trusted sources tell me that Liger/Eita and KUSHIDA/Ishimori are good times in particular.

LA Park vs. Rush

Our free match this week comes from Lucha Libre Elite, and it features the original La Parka, LA Park and Rush beating the holy hell out of each other. I can't embed it here, so you'll have to settle for the link, but it's worth it. It's a hate-filled brawl, folks, and it is exquisite. You know it's hot when the finish comes halfway through the video and they're still going. The sort of full-on pier six off the hinges bloodbath that's hard to find these days.

Premier XIII (July 17th)

Buddy Royal over Levi Shapiro by pinfall.

Hold-for-hold action here in the opener, setting a tone for the evening. Royal is one step ahead from the start, getting caught occasionally but never for too long. Shapiro's height advantage keeps making opportunities for him but Buddy's got his number today, wrenching a hammerlock something unholy in a lengthy sequence as we pass the five minute mark.

A slap to the face sets Royal off and the two begin rolling around the mat and pounding on each other. Repeated punches to the shoulder with the arm wristlocked finally get Shapiro an advantage he can keep but Royal starts going after the leg and by the time we get to ten minutes they're just slugging it out with chops. Buddy locks on the figure four and eventually picks up the win after knocking Shapiro, still in the hold, out cold with a blow to the face. Really cool finish, that.

Alexander Hammerstone over Douglas James by pinfall.

Hammerstone uses his size and power advantage to dominate James early but the smaller man's athleticism keeps him from getting counted down early. Hammerstone follows a huge exploder with knee lifts and stomps to the ribs, really laying into Douglas's torso.

Hammerstone continues the punishment with an awesome bow-and-arrow abdominal stretch but James is able to slip out and lock on a guillotine choke! A superkick and a loosely-applied-but-still-effective poison Frankensteiner press the assault but Hammerstone's able to grab a schoolboy and turn it into a one-arm deadlift powerbomb. James manages to retake the offensive but Hammerstone counters a tornado DDT into a hugely impressive Shouten for the pinfall.

Really fun match, well paced. Already liked Hammerstone from seeing him previously but James acquitted himself well, as well.

Nicole Savoy over Desi De Rata by submission, earning a future Premier Women Athletes Championship title match.

Rata in charge early, perhaps surprisingly. But then Savoy levels her with a shoulder block and uses helping her back to her feet as a guise to apply a leg submission! Hold for hold for a moment and Savoy drops Rata with a German only to get caught in a crucifix. Butterfly suplex attempt blocked as Rata turns it into a slam and goes back to the arm. Savoy catches her with a pair of head kicks and then rolls the butterfly suplex into a choke for the win!

Short and sweet, a solid little exhibition. I was already into Nicole Savoy (check her out at the tournament at Shimmer 80 if you haven't, it's one of my favorite shows this year), but Desi De Rata also got to show some good stuff here. A longer rematch would certainly be welcome.

Tyler Bateman over Marcus Lewis by pinfall.

Easily the most colorful matchup on this show thus far, that's for certain. Bateman takes charge with Lewis's hand, wrenching and tearing before grabbing an inverted keylock. A short while later, wishboning of the fingers occurs! Nothing like a bit of small joint manipulation.

Lewis for his part comes back with a triangle choke and some hard strikes but Bateman just stays on him, eventually dropping him with a huge forearm out the corner. The strikes keep coming from both men, Lewis hitting a positively brutal big boot after landing on his feet on a German suplex. Rolling elbow but before Bateman can follow up Lewis has the triangle again! But it's not enough as Bateman fights out and pins him following an absolutely savage elbow strike.

The intensity and ferocity of the striking from both men made this one stand out. Quite a good time to be had.

Jeff Cobb over JR Kratos by pinfall to win the Premier Championship.

Very evenly matched, these two, and I'm a bit surprised by how much they're staying on the mat in the early going here, trading armlocks and jockeying for position. Unsurprisingly, it's Kratos who gets sick of it first and tries to deadlift Cobb into a German suplex right before the five minute mark. Cobb's too quick for that, but he ends up walking into a headlock moments later.

Kratos absolutely panics and backs into the corner after nearly getting caught by a belly-to-belly, a reaction which I always love. Huge twisting sunset flip from the God of War! Cobb goes for a Vader Bomb but Kratos stays back and catches him in a sleeper on the rebound momentarily. Kratos decapitates Mr. Athletic with a lariat! He comes back with a dropkick for two and both men are running low.

Deadlift suplex attempt reversed but Cobb slips out and goes for Tour of the Islands only to get rolled up. Kratos turns a German into a leg submission but Cobb has his own and when they disentangle, Kratos hits a piledriver! Not enough! Cobb lands a German and shoots Kratos off into the ropes for Tour of the Islands and the win!

Well that was great. Structured rather differently than I expected, but great all the same. Like two dudes that know each other inside and out and don't want to give up a single advantage.

Shayna Baszler over RAZE by submission to win the Premier Women Athletes Championship.

Baszler largely has her outwrestled but RAZE pushes her strength advantage early on. Down on the mat Baszler starts going to town on RAZE's arm, wrenching and stomping, locking it up and just generally dissecting her limb. Back on their feet and RAZE starts clobbering Baszler with strikes, including a few wicked knee lifts to the ribs. A Samoan drop gets one and RAZE follows up with a brutal stomp to the back of the head.

More midsection knees but the Queen of Spades manages to shoot back with some kicks and take the champion back to the mat. RAZE with a nearfall off a sweet snap Death Valley Driver off the ropes and it becomes a slugfest. RAZE shoulder-first into the ringpost and Baszler catches her and rolls through with an armbar for the win!

Fun match. Only my second time seeing Baszler and she's a hoot to watch. These MMA types make with the good grappling, and her defense against Nicole Savoy, whenever it happens, will definitely be worth watching.

Another fine show from Premier overall, too. The presentation is a little dry and it's not for everybody, but if you dig shoot-style technical grappling in your pro wrestling, give it a shot. You won't be disappointed, and hey, you don't gotta take my word for it-- it's on their YouTube, free of charge!

Beyond Wrestling: Flesh (July 17th)

Jonathan Gresham over Zack Sabre, Jr. by submission.

Jonathan Gresham rockets to the upper echelon of my indie entrance music leaderboard by coming out to a version of Castlevania staple Bloody Tears!

Anyway, this one was jam packed with the sort of quality grappling action you expect from two of the best in the world like this. Long inverted keylock sequence early on, not the sort of hold you usually see guys build around like that. Sabre following that up with a stepover surfboard, just generally going to town with double wristlock. Gresham goes to just wrench Sabre's head off and gets cracked with a European uppercut for his trouble.

Gresham turns the tide with a series of arm drags and strikes and an arm wringer that puts Sabre shoulder-first into the mat hard. Sabre turns a leapfrog into a drop toehold and straight up stands on Gresham's left hand and head while wrenching and snapping his right back! Strike for strike and Sabre keeps the advantage, stomping hard into Gresham's shoulder. Denied the arm strength to continue grappling, Sabre starts laying kicks in, culminating with a Pele to the arm!

Forearms into slaps into kicks and Gresham's fired up! Forearms but he strikes with the lame arm and howls in pain. Goes for several flash pins but nothing keeps Sabre down. Stunner into an enzuigiri, looking for the Dragon Suplex but his arm won't hold the nelson and he hits a big German! Trading flash pins and nothing connects, Gresham looking for floatover DDT and Sabre counters into a half nelson suplex and the Penalty Kick!

Sabre with a flipping northern lights suplex into the armbar but he can't lock it. Gresham with another flash pin attempt and he floats into a crossface and then an arm-trap reverse chinlock before Sabre escapes with his own rollup. Seated slaps from two men near empty turn into traded chops as they get to their feet. Gresham with a tilt-a-whirl armbar takedown into the Octopus but he can't keep it up so he improvises, getting the win with what is essentially an insane abdominal stretch variation.

Awesome, awesome match. I was hoping to do this recap in a more abbreviated format for the most part, but this was just too good to do anything but my full-on pseudo-liveblog format.

LuFisto over Veda Scott by pinfall.

Forearm for forearm to start after Veda makes the mistake of insulting LuFisto's age, and the veteran's size advantage soon comes into play. Machine gun chops from both women and LuFisto goes to work on the knees. Just taking Veda to the proverbial woodshed here, tying her up in the ropes and clubbing her repeatedly.

Veda finds an opening eventually and turns the tide with a roundhouse kick and a Regalplex before getting her own back, choking LuFisto on the ropes. German Suplex denied but Veda goes back to kicks and strikes and keeps her down. Leg-trap armbar variant but LuFisto is able to lean back and turn it into a pinning predicament. Knucklelock on the apron but LuFisto is able to overpower her and powerbomb her into the apron!

Veda manages to hit the Shining Wizard for two and LuFisto hits a cradle fisherman DDT into return. Burning Hammer attempt but Veda slips out for the bridging Saito Suplex! Uraken! BURNING HAMMER!

Little bit of David and Goliath, little bit of veteran that's still got it vs. cocky rookie, all added up to a lot of fun.

Team Pazuzu (Angel Ortiz, Jaka, & Mike Draztic) over Brian Fury & Da Hit Squad (Dan Maff & Monsta Mack) by pinfall.

Quick tags from Da Hit Squad and Ortiz comes in and challenges Maff to a dance-off, which somehow works. Well, except for the part where it ends with Maff lariating his head off. Inverted DDT/Rock Bottom combo on EYFBO! They return the favor with a dropkick-assisted sunset flip powerbomb.

Pazuzu go to town on Mack for a while but Mack is eventually able to duck out of the way and force a collision before German suplexing one of them to belly-to-belly another! Quick tags and Mack back in with a stepover wristlock before Draztic catches Da Hit Squad with a double springboard cutter! All hell breaks loose for a while, culminating with a mixed triple suicide dive, with Jaka, Ortiz, and Maff all diving!

Mack up to the top but EYFBO cut him off with a double overrotated Russian Legsweep! Maff jumps off into a superkick and Pazuzu chop him down bit by bit before Brian Fury in to try and make the save. He eats a powerbomb neckbreaker double stomp for his trouble and it is over!

Really fun six-man, just non-stop action and it's always great to see Da Hit Squad in action.

Crusade For Change hit the ring afterwards and take out Da Hit Squad before Team Pazuzu come back to run them off.

Chris Dickinson over Pinchie Sanchez by pinfall for a spot in Team Pazuzu.

The story here early on is Dickinson just absolutely dominating Sanchez, but Sanchez refuses to give up, even in the face of multiple piledrivers. Sanchez finally wakes up when Dickinson charges in and Pinkie catches him with a boot and a tilt-a-whirl DDT. Double stomp to Dickinson's arms! A running leg lariat and Pinkie's firmly on the offensive, throwing kicks and dragon screws but a fakeout rolling solebutt leads into powerbombs, the second of which Pinkie reverses! Figure four and Dickinson's in serious pain.

Both men running out of gas, resorting to desperation strikes before Dickinson catches a springboard and drops Sanchez on the top turnbuckle. AVALANCHE FALCON ARROW! NOT ENOUGH! Back to slaps on their feet and Dickinson locks a choke in. Sanchez back to his feet and fights out with elbows but Dickinson suplexes him! Dickinson back to the top but Sanchez slips out and hammers his knees and hits a Burning Hammer!

Somehow Dickinson pops out and runs a damn victory lap! Back to strikes and Sanchez drops him with a spinning heel kick before hitting a moonsault for two. A second one, still no good! Pazuzu Bomb into the corner! It's over!

A little excessive at the end there, especially with the Burning Hammer nearfall, but overall the story of Dickinson's dominance and Sanchez's resilience worked pretty well.

Kimber Lee over JT Dunn by pinfall.

Dunn in charge early on but eventually Lee grabs a nearfall on a hurricanrana and cuts Dunn off on a dive with a kick to even it up a little. Doesn't last, though, as Dunn hits a knockout forearm and goes to his mentor Chris Hero's favored hold, the cravate.

Dunn makes the mistake of getting in the ref's face for a moment and Lee takes him to Suplex City, with twenty Germans in a row! An interstitial slap or two in there and the last one ended in a bridge! Not enough for the win, though.

Dunn to the top, Lee puts him in the tree of woe but before she can land offense Dunn tosses her away. Misses the double stomp, Lee bicycle kicks him and lands a tornado DDT! Gets her up in a fireman's carry, she reverses to a poison Frankensteiner! Dunn clips her with a flying forearm!

Kneeling slaps as both competitors are spent, Lee with hammer blows and a bicycle kick but Dunn kicks her leg out from under her again and hits a Tiger Driver! Double bicycle kicks! Dunn looking for what seemed to be a Hero's Welcome but he fakes out and kisses Lee before hitting the Death Blow! When it comes up empty he gets in the ref's face and gets powerbombed into the alligator clutch for his trouble and loses.

Definitely got real excessive at points. Twenty Germans is fun and all, but they could have ended the match then and there and I would have been happy.

Matt Riddle over Tommaso Ciampa by submission.

Unfortunately I abandoned my live note-taking here due to a pounding migraine and the VOD is not yet up on, but this was a great match all the same. Story of the match was dominated by Ciampa going after Riddle's exposed toes, which is always wonderful, wrenching and even biting them several times, all while Riddle fired back with strikes before eventually moving on to work the arm, which got him the victory. Lot of cool stuff in this one, too, including a deadlift Project Ciampa in counter to a triangle choke and Riddle countering the second rope Air Raid Crash by waiting it out and grabbing an armbar after landing.

Post-match, Catch Point came out to support Riddle and said they were here in Beyond to stay, only for Team Pazuzu to run out and beat them down to close the show.

So, in summation, two absolutely awesome technical wrestling matches to open and close, really fun women's match and six-man tag, and two good matches featuring smaller, ostensibly weaker wrestlers fighting against seemingly unstoppable odds that were marred by a bit of indie excess here and there.

That's a damn good show to me, and worth your time on VOD, whether through WWNLive whenever it finally goes up (and as a note, the live + VOD package I bought was limited to a 90-day viewing unlike the usual WWN "buy it, keep it forever" deal, and I assume the final will be as well) or right now on Beyond's YouTube-based subscription service.

As always...

Remember folks, no matter what type of wrestling you like, no matter how down you feel about the state of WWE, TNA, ROH, or any other "big-time" pro wrestling, there's something out there for you. There's a pro wrestling product that can hit you in the right spot and make you love wrestling like you thought you'd never be able to love it again. It's there, I promise. You just gotta reach out and find it, and that, my friends, is what the Sermon on the Mat is all about.

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