As we count down the days until May 25’s AIWF World Championship finale, anticipation is building. one of the four competitors in the deciding “fatal four way” has a distinct advantage.
Justin Flash has been here before.
In 2007, Steven Hayes (then known as “Alpha Omega” was a particularly cocky and arrogant AIWF World Champion. The then-300 pounder was the proverbial “immovable object,” terrorizing his opponents with his rule-breaking ways. Known for throwing fireballs at opponents and doing everything in his power to push the envelope, observers wondered if Hayes would ever be beaten.
“Back then, Alpha Omega was a bear,” AIWF observer Stanley M. Franklin related. “He was a much bigger guy back then, and the AIWF was then known as the most violent organization in the world. Alpha Omega was a chief reason for that. You think he’s crazy now? He was a maniac then.”
In October of 2007, Hayes’s bravado was at an all-time high. Justin Flash (who was only 23 years old and weighing in more than 120 pounds less than Hayes at 180lbs) narrowly defeated Sweet Daddy (himself a former AIWF World Champion) in a grueling bout, Hayes decided to bully the young up-and-comer.
The hulking champion grabbed the arena microphone and challenged the spent Flash to a match, stating that if he ever wanted the AIWF World Championship he’d have to wrestle him now.
Hayes proceeded to order the bell to ring and the referee to start the match. He proceeded to beat the younger, smaller Flash down, using power moves and his size advantage to dominate him. At one point, Hayes hit a version of the “Go To Sleep” maneuver, leaving Flash staggering.
Then, “Alpha Omega” made a fatal mistake.
He charged Flash like a bull, thinking he could run the smaller man over. Flash saw an opening, grabbed Hayes by the neck, and executed his patented finisher, “The Flash Effect” (also known as the “Sliced Bread.”)
Three seconds later, Justin Flash became the AIWF World Champion. The 23-year high-flyer held the title for almost a year, defending it almost every week.
“Flash’s year at the top was amazing,” Franklin said. “Every week, all over the place, he’d have a new challenger. Almost every opponent was larger than him, sometimes twice his size. But Justin Flash beat ‘em all for most of 2008.”
Flash went on to hold the title until he was defeated by five-time world champion Jimi Love.
After a brief late-2012 sabbatical, Justin Flash has returned to ring action with about thirty-five more pounds of muscle and with five more years of experience under his belt. No matter who wins the final spot in the fatal four-way (as of press time, only Kyle Matthews, Salem Sinner Sixx, and Flash had secured spots in the finale) Flash has one element that none of the other competitors have; he is a former AIWF World Champion. Can he do it again?
An eternity has passed since the younger Flash dazzled AIWF crowds with an array of high-flying moves that stretched the imagination. Flash’s acrobatic style, combined with a daredevil streak the likes of which Mount Airy crowds have rarely seen before or since, resulted in one of the most fun-to-watch title reigns in the organization’s 21-year history.
Can he recapture the glory? He certainly is focused.
“I’m walking into that fatal four way in Blue Ridge, Georgia, with the most determination,” Flash said after beating longtime friend Jason Blade to qualify for the finale. “And I’m walking out of that building with the AIWF World Title.”
Kyle Matthews is on a roll lately. Salem Sinner Sixx is a brute force who can dominate opponents. Who knows what will happen in Alabama between Death Row, Thomas Shock, and Justin Overstreet?
But Justin Flash has an advantage that is tough to ignore.
He’s been here before. There is little reason to think he can’t win again.