AAW is one of my favorite US independent promotions, located in the Chicago region of Illinois. The premiere promotion in the mid west, their cards never fail to deliver and are always a fun time to watch. There is a good mix of local talents and bigger names at these shows, which creates a good dynamic. This show is not any different, as we have Chris Hero vs. Drago and Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Johnny Gargano announced for the show.
Candice LeRae & Heidi Lovelace vs. Connor Braxton & Eli Machete vs. Dezmond Xavier & Kongo Kong vs. Markus Crane & Shane Hollister
Our opening match here is a smorgasbord of talent jammed into a multi team tag match. These matches are usually always a fun spot fest to start a show off or be put in the usual “death spot” to hype up the crowd. Scarlett Bourdeaux comes out with Machete and Braxton. LeRae and Lovelace are 2 of the best intergender wrestlers so I was excited for their inclusion in the match. Xavier came out with Darin Dinero but Kongo Kong attacked him and took his spot. This match was very fast paced and a lot of fun. Xavier brought in the great highflying element, and he was my favorite part of the match. My least favorite part though is the overused and now dumb hoverboard spots that Connor Braxton does. While a bit sloppy, it did its job and was a ton a fun to watch! There was a reverse-rana/tower of doom spot that made me want to cringe with how bad it looked, but besides that nothing outrageously bad. Kong gets the win with a splash ***
After the match, Scarlett shoots on the crowd and her team, getting mad at how her team lost, and opens up a challenge for her team. Tommaso Ciampa comes out and tells them to get out of his ring. Then we have stupid hoverboard stuff but thankfully Ciampa clears them. He then issues his open challenge!
Josh Alexander vs. Tommaso Ciampa
Josh Alexander has returned to AAW after a neck injury to answer Ciampa’s open challenge! What a surprise! These are 2 personal favorites of mine so I was very excited. This match had a great pace, starting off slow with it seeming like Alexander was getting acclimated again with wrestling after coming back from retirement. Then we got into them just throwing every thing at each, with it slowing ramping up, chops to suplexes to Finlay Roll’s to their signature maneuvers. These 2 brawled on the out side and on the apron with Ciampa hitting his signature apron knees and Ciampa getting hit with a brainbuster on the apron. After many near falls, Ciampa hits a nasty knee for the win. This was an awesome return to AAW for Ciampa and it was just a sick match in general ***1/4
Jessicka Havok vs. Kimber Lee
Havok is coming out with JT Davidson. I will have to admit, I really do not like Havok, she just seems to not care any more and her matches are never really good any more and If they are, it is due to their opponents. She plays the monster role in this match, throwing Lee around the ring and out side into barricades. As per usual, the match was slow and boring, and that was no fault of Lee. This felt like a glorified squash match, Lee barely got in any offense and she rallied a small comeback that included a German Suplex. After an Air Raid Crash, Havok wins in 6 minutes. That was pretty bad, Havok is so slow and sloppy. After the match Havok attacks Kimber Lee, but Heidi Lovelace makes the save. Heidi ends up meeting the same fate as Lee *
Drew Gulak vs. Silas Young
The Last Real Man vs. Catch Point. I love both of these guys, but their styles are so different, so I did not know how it was going to go down. Before the match, Silas Young shoots on the crowd and his opponent and it was very entertaining. Gulak early on takes off Young’s knee brace after some grappling but he ends up paying for it as Gulak gets hit in the face with the brace. When Silas took control of the match, he used the brace a lot and brawled on the out side. Silas Young would try to choke out Gulak with the brace but Drew Gulak was able to reverse it and let him have a taste of his own medicine. When Drew Gulak was in control he would destroy the weak knee of Young. Silas Young rolls up Gulak for the win. The match was a bit underwhelming but it was still good **3/4
AAW Tag Team Championship: Davey Vega & Mat Fitchett (c) vs. The Hooligans
Right off the bat, the Hooligans ambush the Besties right when they enter the ring. The Hooligans were nasty and they were vicious, not letting up in the early part of the contest. At one point they teamed up on Vega hitting double chop/double punches. The match was going well but then Buck Collins comes in, hits a Buck Blaster on Fitchett but thankfully he kicks out and Vega eventually saves him from the clutches of the Cutter Bros. After the interference this match seems to lose all momentum, and with a dumb ref spot, it just lost me after a very good first half. Fitchett wins with a Rana/Piledriver combo he has been using, and it is so sick **1/2
Chris Hero vs. Drago
This was my most anticipated match for the whole show, Chris Hero is on track to be the Wrestler of the Year and Drago is very entertaining. This had a big fight feel to it, with out a title or anything on the line, it felt important and they took the time to build up the hype and it was sweet. Hero eventually turns into his good ol bully self, which is the best version of Chris hero. Just nasty, his strikes get more vicious and more disgusting. He hit sick looking kicks and elbows. He used his size to his advantage, body slamming and hitting Drago with a massive senton. But when Drago was in control, he was flying like a bee, while also stinging like one, ferocious attacks and a sick tope suicida. While a bit sloppy at some points, the match was amazing! It was what I had hoped that match would be. The element of Lucha against the hard hitting style of Hero was amazing. I would recommend you all see this one ASAP! After multiple piledrivers, Hero won with a Tombstone piledriver ****1/4
AAW Heritage Championship: AR Fox (c) vs. Aero Star
Me, as a connoisseur of flips, patron of the flips, was beyond excited for this match. Aero Star is a very unique luchador and is quite frankly insane. Right off the bat, we are shown a ton of agility and quick moves, a ton of kip ups. Aero Star did all of his weird dives and springboards that look like they should not work, like a second rope dropkick from the outside and a code breaker from the same position, insane. This is a match that you HAVE to see for yourself, with so many dives and flips, it was my wrestling heaven. Aero Star needs to come back more and AR Fox, never change. AR Fox ends up winning and retaining with the 450 splash. A VERY quick match, clocking in at almost 6 minutes, but it was honestly amazing. If it was only a bit longer ***1/2
After the match, Fitchett comes out to ask for a Heritage title shot from Fox. Davey Vega comes out to stop him but AR Fox stops Vega from stopping Fitchett, and the title match is on!
Andrew Everett vs. Cedric Alexander vs. Moose vs. Trevor Lee
The amount of talent in this match is amazing, all of these guys are amazing, and that is not a stretch. All are unique and interesting. All of these men were beyond over! They all got their own chants before the match. After a bit of pre match goofing, which was actually kinda funny, with every one doing something “impressive”, we got underway. Moose took charge early and hit a SICK dropkick. This was a great spotfest, with every one hitting sweet moves and insane dives. There was a flying Moose when he jumped from the ramp to the ring taking out all 3 men. After many crazy moves, Lee hit the SSP Slam on Moose for the win. What an awesome spot fest. Jesus, insane ****
Johnny Gargano vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
A preview of the WWE CWC? Both men are in the CWC and both are awesome wrestlers! ZSJ is easily the best technical wrestler in the world and we saw that on display during this match. He can really grapplefrick in that ring, it is like World of Sport had never died. During the match ZSJ had some great banter with the crowd and he took it out on Gargano. He was even clapping along to the chants while grapplefricking Gargano. ZSJ was absolutely destroying his hand but Gargano started to come back after his signature apron spear. Towards the end, the match really picked up and it got crazy, and it was a very good bout! ZSJ got Gargano to tap with an odd variation of the Octopus hold, an awesome finish ****
The Killer Cult (Dave Crist & Sami Callihan) vs. Outlaw Inc.(Eddie Kingston & Homicide)
I was oddly intrigued in this match, and seeing Homicide any where really is a treat. Even though Outlaw Inc.’s run in ROH was pretty weak, this was a perfect for them. If you were expecting a normal wrestling match, then you were very mistaken, this was going to be a damn brawl. And it was. Early on they ALL dove to the outside, killing each other. Then they went to the outside where it devolved, or evolved in a way. They just killed each other, so many weapons, and so many crazy spots. It was a car crash in a good way. They went to the bar where it got even more crazier, with Callihan and Kingston brawling and Homicide hits a Bar DDT onto Crist. After a good 5 minutes or more brawling, they finally get back in the ring. We then get a barrage of suplexes that were awesome. Eddie Kingston even did a frankensteiner. Jake Crist runs out to help his brother and Sami, even though he was retired, so I guess he is returning. Homicide nearly kills JT Davidson but then gets caught by Sami and a low blow. Callihan gets the win with his stuffed Piledriver. That was an insane match, and a perfect way to end the show ****
Besides one hiccup, this show is amazing. This is a show of the year contender and AAW is well deserving of this success. Follow me on twitter at @a7xweeman if you would like and thank you for reading!