AAW Defining Moment
September 16, 2016
115 BOURBON STREET
MERRIONETTE PARK, ILLINOIS
Watch/Download: Smart Mark Video
Prince Mustafa Ali vs. Rey Horus
Things were just starting to heat up when Ali took a dive to the outside and hit his head on the barricade. The match was ruled a no contest. Scary stuff, glad to hear Ali is okay. Hope to see both he and Horus back in AAW soon. NR
AAW Tag Team Championship
Mat Fitchett & Davey Vega def. OI4K
This AAW show is off to a bizarre start. Fitchett & Vega, who are now dubbing themselves as “Besties in the World”, have had a great year. Fitchett, in particular, continues to impress me. This cut out the bad part of most OI4K matches. It was so short that they couldn’t take the match to the floor and brawl around. This was a bonafide sprint. Of course, right as things looked like they were about to hit the next gear, Homicide runs in, nails an Ace Crusher, and drapes Vega over one of the OI4K brothers for the three count. Yes, Homicide has a feud going on with OI4K, but he just showed up! Disappointing, solely because I want better for Fitchett & Vega. **3/4
Josh Alexander def. Drew Gulak
This is by far the best Alexander has looked since returning earlier this year from injury. This also happens to be one of the best Gulak matches of the year. Gulak’s grappling normally puts him in complete control, but here, he was literally grabbing at Alexander, hoping to control him for the slightest possible moment. Alexander’s power was on display, which was nice to see. He wasn’t working as a power junior, but rather a powerhouse. He’s bigger than most guys he wrestlers and rarely do I feel like he’s actually the bigger man. Things really heated up towards the ear as Alexander threw his headgear at Gulak, which is an awesome spot. More wrestlers need more props that they can throw. After tossing the headgear, Gulak grabbed onto his hear, and then Alexander grabbed onto Gulak’s notoriously broken nose. Loved that stuff. Alexander pinned Gulak with a spinning tombstone. Two thumbs up to this match. Played to both guy’s strengths. ***3/4
Heidi Lovelace & Kimber Lee def. The Hooligans
I was dreading this match coming in. The Hooligans are very hit-or-miss with me, and Kimber Lee is someone that has never done a thing for me, but this ended up being fine. The offense that the ladies got in wasn’t eyeroll-inducing, although I think it killed some of The Hooligans’ aura. Lovelace got the pin on a cradle. **1/2
Homicide, Kongo Kong, & Markus Crane vs. OI4K & Havok
OI4K works double duty tonight. With Havok (and Sami Callihan), they’re The Killer Cult, which is a monstrosity of a name. It doesn’t help that Havok and Callihan have been two of my least favorite wrestlers this year. Kong, who deserves so much better, brawled with Havok around the building, as did Crane with one of the OI4K brothers. That left Homicide in the ring with the other half of one of the midwest’s top tag teams. Homicide called for a glass bottle from the crowd, and made somewhat of a spectacular catch to grab onto it. I certainly wouldn’t want a wrestling fan throwing glass at me. ‘Cide cracked the bottle on the ring post, leaving jagged glass, but before he could use it as a weapon, Sami Callihan ran out and tackled him.
And that was it.
Match over. Time to move on. Time for a Callihan match. This was such a colossal waste of time. Havok can get lost. OI4K was so much better earlier in the night when they didn’t have to crowd brawl. DUD
Sami Callihan def. Abyss
On paper, this seemed like it was going to be an abomination. It never hit Worst Match of the Year levels, which I had expected going in. That being said, it was another brawl that felt passionless. I understand that it’s Abyss, and that not only is this his calling card, but it’s really all he can do at this point in his career, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. The match took a turn for the worse as Callihan went for his springboard from the inside of the ring, in which he delivers a forearm to his opponent on the apron, but he slipped on the middle rope and immediately clutched his knee.
The referee quickly held up the “X” after seeing Callihan rolling around on the canvas in pain. AAW crew ran down to the ring and helped Callihan to his feet. The match was called off. Callihan and Abyss shared a tender moment in the ring before Callihan hobbled backstage. Abyss stood in the ring like a dope, giving away that Callihan would return to the ring and attack him. Oh man, get ‘em!
Wrestlers wonder why fans laugh off injuries when they’re in the moment, and it’s because of dumb angles like this. Go back to the opening match when the match actually did have to be stopped because of an injury. Why would you go through with this finish? This was extraordinarily dumb. *3/4
Andrew Everett, Trevor Lee, & Jack Evans def. AR Fox, Dezmond Xavier, & Moose
This was quite the spectacle. It started off as one of those indie matches where you just had to be there, which is sadly a trend with some of the guys in this match (most notably the two lads from the South). The break dancing was fun, but I don’t want to review break dancing. Once the grappling started, I was completely enthralled with this. Five of the six men in this match are incredibly athletic, and Moose is a great base for the flips. This all worked. Jack Evans should be a multimillionaire. He picked his spots, and his spots ruled. Xavier and Fox could be a very fun tag team down the road. A flip train of Everett’s 630, Evans’ 450, and Lee’s Swanton Bomb put Xavier away. Super, super fun. ***3/4
Jeff Cobb def. Matt Riddle
This, to many people, was the most anticipated match of the night. Cobb is finally breaking out and being booked in super indies, and Riddle is the next big thing on the indies, and rightfully so. This was shorter than I would have hoped, with Cobb throwing around Riddle for a majority of the match with Riddle subsequently taking amazing bumps. Few people in wrestling bump better than Riddle. He looks fearless whenever he’s in the ring. Cobb pinned Riddle after a vicious suplex. This was too short to truly be great, but I really liked what they did while they went at it. Cobb is booked for the Jim Lynam Memorial Tournament, so we’ll see more of him in AAW soon. Hopefully Riddle follows suit. ***1/4
Fenix def. Chris Hero
Chris Hero is unhuman.
It’s not only that he continues to have great matches nearly every time he steps foot into the squared circle, it’s the fact that he’s doing it against such a variety of opponents. It’s Zack Sabre Jr in EVOLVE, young British breakouts in Revolution Pro, and high-flyers, from Trevor Lee to Drago to Fenix in AAW. There are few men in history that have had such diverse years.
The fact that Hero, for his size, is able to hang with Fenix, move-for-move, is a beautiful thing. Fenix is one-upped at times by Hero’s marvelous lucha abilities. I can see how the finish of the match would be monotonous to some, but I enjoyed it. Hero kept delivering elbow after elbow the skull of Fenix, and right as he looked to put him away with a dreaded Tombstone Piledriver, Fenix reversed it and dropped Hero on his head with a Piledriver of his own.
Simply put, that was one of the most impressive things I’ve seen all year. Fantastic finish to a great match. ****
Thumbs up for this show. If you can get past the lame Havok match, which is plaguing every AAW show, this was a hoot of a show. Loved the main event, Alexander vs. Gulak over delivered, and the six-man killed. This was outstanding stuff from AAW.