Heart of a Champion: The Best of Tyler Black in AIW

Matthew Wadsworth hosts the DVD, doing an introduction before each match. He does a very good job explaining the backstory of each match, so there’s no need to worry about watching these matches out of context.

Disc One

Tyler Black vs. Nobutaka Moribe
”Firestorm” – 1.25.2007

Moribe and Black trade holds, looking for the advantage. Black knocks Moribe down with a shoulder tackle. Black catches him with a clothesline after a leapfrog. Black hits a nice dropkick for two. Moribe rakes Black’s eyes and stomps on him in the corner. Moribe hits a flurry of chops and punches, and then mule kicks Black hard in the stomach for two. Moribe slingshots Black throat first on the bottom rope. Black rolls to the floor, but Moribe throws him back in and hits a backbreaker. Moribe applies a rear chinlock while digging Black’s back into his knee. Black breaks free and hits a Pele kick. Black hits a couple strikes and a backdrop. Black hits a forearm and a big boot for two. Moribe drops Black with a reverse STO. He hits a flip senton for two. Moribe hits a wheelbarrow suplex for two. Black escapes a suplex, but Moribe elevates Black into a powerbomb. Moribe heads to the top rope. Black avoids a frog splash and hits God’s Last Gift for the pin at 6:35. This was a lot of action for a short match. Both guys didn’t back, and I would have loved to have seen this with some more time. For what it was though, it was pretty excellent. **3/4

Tyler Black vs. Matt Cross
”Extreme Is Dead” – 1.26.2007

This is billed as a battle of two Wrestling Society X superstars. Cross and Black exchange wristlocks. Black gets a headlock on the mat. Black applies a Haas of Pain variant which Cross quickly escapes. Cross stalls by interacting with some fans. Black grabs Cross by the ears and brings him back into the ring from the apron. Black knocks him down with a shoulder tackle. Black hits a few armdrags and then cranks on an armbar. Cross escapes and Black sends him to the floor with a headscissors. Cross comes back in. Black misses a springboard crossbody. Cross hits a senton for two. Cross beats on Black and then throws him to the floor. Cross teases a dive, but instead just exits the ring normally. Black gets his eyes raked before he can get in any strikes. In the ring, Black fights back and hits a Pele kick. Black hits a beautiful dropkick. Black hits a springboard clothesline for two. Cross comes back with a springboard double stomp for two. Cross hits a pump-handle driver for two. Black counters a split-legged moonsault by getting his knees up. Cross sweeps Black’s legs and goes up top. Black evades a reverse 450 splash, and rolls up Cross for the pin at 12:03. Sort of an anticlimactic finish for and otherwise fun match. The stalling from Cross took the focus away from the match for a little too long. Still, this was a fun back and forth contest between two guys with similar styles. **3/4

AIW Intense Division Championship
Starless (Champion) vs. Tyler Black vs. Shiima Xion

”The Oncoming Storm” – 4.28.2007

Xion interjected himself into what was supposed to be a singles match between Starless and Black. Starless hits a couple hip tosses to send Black out. Xion attacks Starless from behind, but Starless knocks him into the corner quickly. Black comes in. Starless drops him and Xion with a combination DDT/inverted DDT for two. Starless hits Black with a pair of Northern Lights suplexes and a swinging neckbreaker for two. Black gives Starless an atomic drop, and Xion clotheslines Starless down for two. Black and Xion both choke Starless on the mat. Black and Xion team up against Starless. Starless gives Xion a headscissors takedown, and Blck hits Starless with a springboard clothesline for two. Black and Xion hit a tandem suplex. They have a disagreement over who will pin Starless, giving Starless enough time to get up and get in a few shots. Xion trips Starless, and Black hits him with a standing shooting star press for two. Black and Xion exchange punches, allowing Starless to come in and knock both men down. Starless hits Xion with a double knee strike for two. Black gives Starless the Paroxysm and Xion breaks the pin. Xion takes Black down with a hurricanrana. He hits a tornado DDT and Starless breaks the pin. Starless hurricanrana’s Xion off the top rope onto Black, and pins Black for two. Xion superkicks Starless, Black big boots Xion, and Starless hits Black with a springboard kick, leaving all three competitors helpless on the mat. The fight spills to the floor, with Starless backdropping Black into the crowd. Starless fights with Black in the crowd, and Xion dives off the top rope onto both guys in the crowd. Black throws Xion into a wall. Starless hops from a high ledge onto Black and Xion! In the ring, Black hits the Bucke Bomb on Starless. He follows up with a Michinoku driver, and Xion breaks the pin. Xion hits a top rope dropkick, sending Black to the floor. Starless hits a suplex into a facebuster for the pin at 12:35. This was a very exciting triple threat match, with the champion coming out looking like the strongest competitor in the match. These guys pulled out some really cool and crazy looking stuff, and the crowd was hyped for basically the entire match. Good stuff all around. ***1/2

AIW Intense Division Championship
Starless (Champion) vs. Tyler Black vs. Shiima Xion

”Absolution 2” – 5.20.2007

Xion and Black jump Starless before the bell. Black and Xion get in a shoving match, and Black inadverantly helps Starless give Xion a headscissors takedown. Starless hits a standing moonsault on Xion for one. Starless gets sent to the floor and Black nails a suicide dive. In the ring, Xion gives Black a wheelbarrow armdrag and a headscissors for two. Starless hops off of Black’s back, and takes Xion off the top rope with a hurricanrana. Black takes Starless down with a clothesline. Black lays in some chops. Starless rolls through a sunset flip and rolls up Black for two. Black puts Starless onto his shoulders in an electric chair position. Xion missile dropkicks Starless off of Black’s shoulders, causing Starless to give Black a reverse hurricanrana. Starless knocks down Xion with a leg lariat, then gives him a sit-out facebuster. Black breaks Starless’ pin attempt, then follows up with a frog splash for two. Black misses a splash on Xion in the corner. Xion stomps on Black and kicks Starless to the floor. Xion dives off the top rope onto Starless. Starless throws Xion into a scaffold near the entrance ramp. Black and Starless fight on the side of it, and Starless kicks Black to the floor. Starless then hops off the scaffold with a moonsault onto Black and Xion. Back in the ring, Starless tries an O’Conner roll on Xion, but Black flies in with a springboard clothesline to break the pin. Black blocks a snapmare driver from Xion. Black pops-up Xion into a kick to the gut for the pin at 7:29. Black is your new Intense Division Champion. Man, this was just as exciting an action packed as their first encounter. The fall came from nowhere and the wrestlers had the crowd in the palm of their hand. These three put on another great match, and I honestly think this could have been a four-star encounter with some more time. ***1/2

AIW Intense Division Championship
Tyler Black vs. Chris Hero

”Tomorrow Never Dies” – 9.30.2007

Wadsworth calls this one of the best matches in AIW history, so I’m kind of excited for this. Shane Hollister accompanies Black to the match. Hero twists on Black’s ankle. They trade wristlocks. Hero grabs a cravate and Black immediately bails to the floor. Black comes in and gets a wristlock, but Hero does multiple nip-ups to reverse it and Black over. Black goes to the floor again. Black gets a side headlock back in the ring. Hero uses his momentum to escape, and Black reapplies it immediately. Black fails to knock down Hero with a some shoulder blocks. Hero hits a clotheslines and a senton for one. Hero hits a handstand senton for two. Black snaps Hero’s neck on the top rope and applies a triangle choke in the ropes. Black releases and chokes Hero on the ring apron. Hero hits a flurry of chops on the floor, and Black sends him face first into the ring post. Black chokes Hero in the ring with his boot. Black drops a knee and lands a legdrop for two. Hero tags Black with a rolling elbow. Black responds with a big boot, but Hero dumps Black with a leg-capture back suplex. Hero knocks Black down with some kicks to the head. Hero hits a twisting cravate neckbreaker for two. Black rolls to the floor and Hero follows him out. Hero lights up Black with chops. Hollister grabs Hero’s leg, but Hero kicks him away. Hero hits a slingshot senton for two. Hero hits a rolling elbow and a release suplex for two. Black escapes a cravate and hits a Pele kick. Black hits a springboard clothesline for two. Hero hits some more chops. Black responds with a big boot and a standing shooting star press. Hero grabs a cravate, suplexes Black, and hits him with a yakuza kick for two. Hero hits a powerbomb for two, then applies the Hangman’s Clutch. Hollister gets on the apron. Hero boots him down. Black rolls up Hero and grabs his tights to score the pin at 16:50. This was as good a match as advertised. Both these guys put on a great performance that seemed to be perfectly timed and paced. They got just enough time to do everything they had while keeping things interesting as well. A nice hidden gem. ***3/4

Disc Two

AIW Intense Division Championship
Tyler Black vs. Shane Hollister

”Hell On Earth 3” – 10.28.2007

Black’s original opponent isn’t here, so AIW owner Chandler Biggins force Black to put his belt up against his protégé and friend, Shane Hollister. Hollister rolls up Black immediately for two. Black has his shirt over his head, and Hollister trips him and rolls him up again for two. Hollister sends him to the floor. Hollister trips Black as he gets back in the ring and applies a headlock. Black sends Hollister to the floor and hits a double axe handle and a back rake. Back in the ring Black hits a Samoan Drop for two. Black applies a full nelson on the mat. Hollister escapes, but Black gives him a Manhattan Drop for two. Hollister hits Black with an enzuigiri. Hollister follows up with a leg lariat and a hurricanrana for two. Hollister hits a reverse DDT/elbow drop combo for two. Black crotches Hollister in a tree of woe to block Hollister from hitting Sliced Bread #2. Hollister catches Black with a kick to the head and comes out of the corner with an ace crusher and a kick to the head for two. Black blocks Hollister from hitting a shining wizard and throws Hollister into the corner with a Buckle Bomb. Black misses a frog splash. Hollister hits a sole butt, but Black nails him with a yakuza kick. Black hits a springboard frog splash for two. Hollister tries to make a comeback, but Black catches him with a superkick for the pin at 10:31. This was an exciting, fast-paced match in which every near fall in the home stretch was believable. I thought many times Hollister was going to take the belt, as he put on a heck of a performance against his friend and partner. I’d love to see these guys mix it up again. ***1/2

AIW Intense Division Championship
Tyler Black vs. Josh Prohibition

”Nightmare Before X-Mas 1” – 12.16.2007

Shane Hollister accompanies Black to the ring. Prohibition attacks before the bell. Black gets crotched in the corner, and Prohibition dropkicks him in the back of the neck for two. Prohibition hits a double underhook suplex for two. Hollister grabs Prohibition’s leg, and Prohibition throws Black onto him. Black shoves Prohibition into the steel guardrail gut first. Black beats down Prohibition both in and out of the ring. Prohibition comes back with some punches and a DDT for two. Prohibition hits a slingshot snapmare for two. Hollister distracts Prohibition, allowing Black to drop him neck first on the top rope. Black hits a springboard clothesline for two. Block ducks a Tiger Driver ’98 and hits an F5. Black punts Prohibition in the temple but only gets a two count. Black misses a frog splash. Prohibition drops him with a brainbuster across his knee for two. Black backs Prohibition to the corner and places him up top. Prohibition throws Black down stomach first. Black trips Prohibition off the ropes and hits the Paroxysm for the pin at 9:18. This was on it’s way to be something awesome, but it was still great with the time given. It got a little slow in the middle, but the ending (like most of these matches) was heat filled and unpredictable. Another fun, exciting match. ***1/4

AIW Intense Division Championship
Tyler Black vs. Johnny Gargano

”Destroy Everything” – 3.21.2008

Gargano challenges Black to an impromptu title match. Black says he’ll do it if the regular time limit of 30 minutes is cut in half to 15 since Black has places to go. Gargano agrees. Of course, Black tries to waste time on the floor. Gargano has none of it, and fights Black on the floor. Gargano hits a senton in the ring for two. Black regains control and stretches Gargano’s back out across his knee. Black grounds Gargano and chokes him. Black hits a vertical suplex for two. Gargano fights back with some chops, but Black pokes him in the eyes. Gargano tries an O’Conner Roll and gets two. Black applies a Camel Clutch. Gargano escapes and gives Black a neckbreaker across his knee. Gargano takes down Black with a hurricanrana variant. Gargano hits a springboard kick to the face for two. Black hits a chinbreaker. Gargano hits an ace crusher for two. Black kicks Gargano down. He pins Gargano while putting his feet on the ropes, but Gargano kicks out anyhow. Gargano ducks a dropkick, and he and Black hit each other with stereo crossbody’s. Gargano drops Black with the Uniquely You. Just as Gargano pins Black, the time limit expires at 15:00 exactly. The stipulation of the match made this a very predictable ending, but at the same token it helped build to the next match on this DVD and had good action throughout. Solid stuff all around, and I look forward to the rematch. **3/4

30 Minute Iron Man Match
Tyler Black vs. Johnny Gargano

”Absolution 3” – 5.25.2008

Gargano takes Black down with a bodyscissors armdrag, and then sends Black to the floor with a second armdrag. Black takes a breather. He slaps Gargano, then goes back to the floor when Gargano charges at him. Black stalls on the floor. When he comes back he and Gargano engage in a test of strength. Gargano stomps on Black’s hands and slaps him in the face. Black goes back to the floor. He goes to the back, but Gargano chases after him and throws him back into the ring. Gargano gives Black a few punches. He dropkicks Black in the back after a snapmare for two. Gargano slingshots Black in the ring from the apron for a two count. Gargano slingshots himself into a splash on Black for two. Black rakes Gargano’s eyes and takes him to the corner. Black chokes Gargano on the middle ropes. Gargano bulldogs Black into the corner and hits a senton. Black backs Gargano to the corner. Gargano blocks a clothesline and hits a tornado DDT. Shane Hollister runs out and crotches Gargano on the top rope. Black pins Gargano and puts his feet on the ropes, scoring the first fall of the match at 9:48. Black is up 1-0. Black fails to capitalize on an immediate pinfall. He forces Gargano out to the floor where Hollister gets in a hard punch. Black goes to the floor and attacks Gargano as Gargano lay on the mat. Black gives Gargano a hard backbreaker for two. Black drops Gargano on the top rope and dropkicks Gargano to the floor. Black teases doing a move off the top rope, but flips off the fans instead. Gargano gets to the apron and rams his shoulder into Black’s mid-section. Black rolls through a sunset flip and dropkicks Gargano in the face for two. Black applies a bodyscissors. Black transitions into a seated abdominal stretch. Black bites Gargano in the head and releases the hold. Black applies a standing abdominal stretch. Gargano fights free and falls back so that Black’s head collides with Gargano’s own knee. Gargano hits two Manhattan drops. He hits a modified hurricanrana and nails Black with some punches. Black blocks an O’Conner Roll. Gargano skins the cat, dumping Black to the floor. Gargano skins the cat back in the ring and hits a pescado. Hollister interjects, but Gargano rolls Black into a cradle to score a pin at 21:33. Things are tied up at one fall a piece. Black hits a modified Rude Awakening for two. Gargano hits a springboard kick to the face for two. Black hits an F5 and a superkick for two. Black blocks the Uniquely You, and both guys hit a crossbody simultaneously (just like their first match!) Block gives Gargano a big Buckle Bomb and a yakuza kick. Black hits a frog splash for two. Black goes back up top. He misses the Phoenix Splash but lands on his feet. Black hits a sole butt. He blocks Gargano’s Uniquely You and goes for God’s Last Gift. Black snapmares Gargano. Black hits a Pele kick and Gargano hits a superkick and an enzuigiri. He hits the Uniquely You but only gets two as the clock drops to under 1 minute. Gargano hits a second Uniquely You and gets the pin at 29:37. Gargano leads 2 to 1. The block expires at 30:00 and Gargano is your new Intense Divison Champion. What a heck of a finish. This was a very smartly worked and worthwhile 30 minute match. Neither guy slowed down after the initial feeling out period and things got more intense and exciting as the match went on. I thoroughly enjoyed this and think they made the most of the stipulation. ***1/2

Tyler Black vs. Mike Tolar
”Die Another Day” – 9.21.2008

Black avoids a lock-up by going to the floor. Tolar rolls up Black for two, and Black goes back to the floor. Tolar gets a front chancery. Black backs Tolar to the corner and rams his shoulder into his gut. Tolar wrenches on Black’s arm. Black bails to the floor again. Tolar and Black get in a test of strength. Black takes Tolar down in a headlock. Tolar rolls up Black for two. He transitions into an armbar. Black goes to the floor and Tolar chases him. Black stomps on Tolar as Tolar slides back into the ring. Black slams Tolar’s head into two corners and chokes Tolar on the second rope. Black hits a backbreaker for two. Black beats on Tolar as Tolar dangles from the ring apron. Black hits a running kick to the side of his head for two. Black hits a snap suplex and chokes Tolar on the mat. Tolar hits a running double knee strike. Tolar hits some punches and a back elbow. He hits a flip dropkick for two. Tolar hits a splash in the corner and a jumping shoulder block for two. Black whips Tolar to the corner. Tolar blocks God’s Last Gift. Black hits a springboard lariat for two. Black blocks an O’Conner roll. Tolar ducks a clothesline and hits a release German suplex for two. Black hits a superkick. He looks for God’s Last Gift, but Tolar cradles him for the pin at 14:54. This was not a very exciting match, and certainly not a great to end a DVD filled with awesome contests. This was very basic and Tolar is just too vanilla to keep this match interesting. **

Overall: This is a DVD filled with great matches. This is almost like a collection of the “Lost” Tyler Black matches. Black shows how why he was considered one of the elite in independent wrestling and why he’s earned his spot in WWE. This is almost an entire DVD worth of hidden gems, and for $15, I definitely recommend picking it up. You can buy a copy from the folks over at AIW Wrestling

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