Less than 48 hours after the wrestling world was stunned by the sudden passing of ECW alumni Balls Mahoney came a second blow. Former Ring of Honor and AAW wrestler Christian Able passed away at the young age of 32.
Able had started his career in 2006, and was a student of Dan Severn, and real-life friend and current WWE writer Jimmy Jacobs. Able is best known for his time as a member of the House of Truth stable with his best friend and tag team partner Josh "Jug" Raymond. Able had made appearances with CHIKARA and a dozen or so other companies during his ten short years on the circuit. Able was a charismatic heel in the ring, but a very humble and thoughtful man outside the squared circle.
I may have only met Able a handful of times, but one of the last times I saw him perform was one of the most energetic and amazing tag team matches I had seen in a long time, and deserves to be recounted here.
The night was September 24, 2010 in Berwyn, Illinois at AAW's Defining Moment: Fade to Black. The show was named in honor of longtime AAW standout Tyler Black, who gave his final "Indy" wrestling match to his home promotion, before heading to Florida to become future WWE Champion Seth Rollins. Rollins had just recently become tag team champions with Jimmy Jacobs at AAW, and in his last contracted performance was set to face off against the just budding House of Truth stable of Josh Raymond and Christian Able.
It was main event time. Able and Raymond followed the lead of manager Truth Martini, who was wearing a pristine, vanilla ice cream white suit and matching bandana, with his blonde hair spilling out from it.
The bell rings, Able goes after Jacobs to start things off. The two trade jabs and locks, before Able tags in Raymond. But after a few strikes, it's time for a breather. Able and Raymond have a huddle with Truth, but Raymond gets back into it. Tyler tags. There's a good bit of back and forth and a few armbars before Jacobs and Able tag back in. Jacobs has the upper hand until Able surprises with a vertical suplex. Before long, snapmares have been traded, and the two teams are neck and neck against each other. Raymond and Able temporarily take the lead, double-teaming Jacobs, but soon, Tyler steps in to even the score. The House of Truth head for the outside, only to have Jacobs and Tyler launch themselves at them! But once back in the ring, it's all business. After several strikes, the two teams go into trading chops, each one a luder *SMACK* than the last. Tyler, mocking future rival John Cena, does a "You can't See Meeeee" followed by an attempt of an STF onto Able, but Raymond makes a save. Able goes to the outside as Tyler tries to attack from the rope, but Able catches him, and rewards Tyler's efforts with a Lawn Dart, before returning him to Raymond. Raymond hits Tyler with a back cracker, but a pin attempt is foiled by Jacobs. Jacobs tries to hit the contra Code, but Able drops him with a powerbomb, then holds him down as Raymond hits a Lionsault for a two count. Gaining a second wind, Jacobs and Tyler try to superplex Raymond, but Able thwarts them quick with a push. Jacobs returns with a shooting star, but Able can't be taken down. Still, Jacobs goes for a flurry of strikes before Able catches him with a clothesline, then he kicks Tyler off the apron. He goes to powerbomb Jacobs again, but Tyler delivers a superkick before making a leap from the rope. But just as the former Age of The Fall members are about to retain the tag belts, Silas Young appears and beats Jacobs all the way to the back, leaving Tyler out all alone. Tyler holds his own, holding back Able with a Pele, but Able fights back. Able and Raymond go for the Tower of Truth for a two count, lighting up the crowd. A second attempt only angers Tyler, as he drives the two into a corner. Truth Martini hits the ropes to distract Tyler and almost whacks him with the book, but Tyler delivers a superkick to Truth. He then hits Able with a bucklebomb, but Raymond slides in from nowhere, pinning Tyler for a three count with a schoolboy roll-up, thus earning the AAW tag team titles for himself and Able.
As I snapped my disposable Kodak camera to capture the victory, Able ran past me, hogging the picture while holding his half of the belt up, screaming "WOOOOOOOOOOOOT!!!" with the elation of a child on Christmas morning. He ran around the ring at top speed, making faces at the crowd and laughing at Tyler, who stood in the ring looking as angry and confused as you would imagine.
Christian Able was old school. A devious heel with the body of a brawler, but he was never afraid to drop enough high-flying moves to make a gymnast jealous. But outside the ring, he was a polite charmer. Humble to a fault who never wanted to hog the spotlight nearly half as much as his on-screen persona would have you believe.
It's hard to believe that match was almost six years ago, and harder more to imagine that this bright, young talent has left us this soon. In his memory, I implore you to check out the match I speak so well of: http://smartmarkvideo.com/aaw-dvd-september-24-2010-defining-moment-fade-black-berwyn-il
It's too early to say why we lost this incredible wrestler so young, but it is my hope he will not be forgotten.
Koriander Bullard is an author, cartoonist and human rights advocate. Keep up with her on Facebook!