Nick Gage (c) VS Matthew Justice - AIW Absolute Championship 3/23/2018
JJZ: So as soon as I saw a Nick Gage match I said "Yup!" If someone asked me to describe this match knowing nothing about AIW I'd say it's the most ECW match I've seen in years. Gage is a mad man that I would be very afraid to meet in a dark alley. Justice has a goddamn death wish. The stuff he takes in this match makes me feel a little bad that I get entertainment out of it. He can give it back as good as he gets but in this match I wouldn't be surprised if he had to take a trip to the hopbital after it was over. These two could have an insane long term feud if they haven't already. Heyman could've put some asses in seats with these boys. The home stretch got a little sloppy joe but the best sandwhiches are a little messy.
CJD: Ooof! What a fight. This definitely would have made a young CJD yell out in a drunken stupor "they need to go to the hopbital!!" It's been said before but AIW is the only promotion that actually captures a little of that ECW magic. I would credit it to them always being inspired by ECW but never exactly trying to emulate it. Gage is a great example. They booked him as a tough as nails fighting Champion instead of just a deathmatch guy, which is a stroke of Heyman genius like you said. That sort unexpected depth is exactly what made ECW special, but when people try to recreate it most of the time they just focus on the violence. This match had that too, and had it in spades. Something I loved about Necro/Kasai that I forgot to mention is what a lost art good crowd brawling is. Most use it as filler, but in that match and this one it actually drives the story and feels warranted. The intensity of the collar & elbows on the outside set the tone for this one right off the bat and they never took their foot off the gas.