I am trying to integrate the principles of aikido in the stand up fighting I am learning/teaching in the Modern Army Combatives. I find that without the threat of strikes and kicks, things like iriminage, and kaitenage don't really work so well. Once we go "hot" on strikes and kicks, aikido starts having more relevance.
I would submit based on my experiences that without the threat or intent of atemi, that aikido really does not work very well.
Aikido takes on more relevance whenever we place it in the context of our lives 'other' practices. This is the place where we have a template of effectiveness to our own understanding and we can apply the art in diligent inquiry.