DON’T STOP BELIEVING
February 6, 2017
115 BOURBON STREET – MERRIONETTE PARK, ILLINOIS
STEEL CAGE MATCH
OI4K DEF. OUTLAW INC.
As previous readers of my AAW reviews can guess, this was not the match for me. I don’t like the Crist brothers, or the current states of Eddie Kingston or Homicide, and I don’t love cage matches. This was bad brawling that somehow felt lazy. How many shortcuts do you guys need? Because AAW didn’t lock the door, Sami Callihan was able to waltz into the cage and attack Kingston and Homicide. This led to Abyss coming out, who wrestled Callihan at Defining Moment back in September. Abyss clutched the throat of Callihan and signaled for a chokeslam, but it was a ruse! How I wish Sami Callihan had a mustache so he could twirl it so maniacally. Abyss chokeslamed Homicide, leading to a pin. Abyss is now in the Killer Cult. The Killer Cult is now worse than I ever imagined it could get. DUD
AR FOX DEF. DJ Z, DEZMOND XAVIER, & MOOSE
I have nothing but respect for indie wrestlers, but if you’re one of them and you’re reading this, all I ask is that you please stop dancing.
Opening dance spot aside, this match ruled. AR Fox continues to be one of the most exciting and dynamic high-flyers, and I think it’s criminal that his talents aren’t on display on a bigger stage. I could say the same thing for DJ Z, who I really hope gets more focus in AAW this year, whether it be on these Chicagoland shows, or in the LaSalle territory.
All four men looked motivated and agile here. There’s no overarching story (to say there was a story at all is being generous), but these four know how to put on a show. This was wildly entertaining, and seeing Fox come out on top seems like the right result to me. 2017 should be the year of the AR Fox resurgence. This was a tremendous amount of fun. ***3/4
AAW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
ANDREW EVERETT & JACK EVANS (C) DEF. MAT FITCHETT & DAVEY VEGA
They teased a dance spot and I about lost my mind. Thankfully, Davey Vega broke it up, which is by far the best thing he’s ever done.
For as much crap as I give Vega, mostly because I think Fitchett is destined to breakout and this tag team is holding him back, Vega looked like the best of the four in this match. The makeshift team of Evans and Everett had strong chemistry. I wish AAW would give trios matches a chance; I’d love to see Everett, Evans, and Trevor Lee do some damage as a trio.
This was a perfectly fine match. I liked it a lot, to be fair, but I can’t help but feel like Fitchett should be above this. Maybe this will be the start of something new for him, since this was technically the Windy City Classic rematch, just with Evans subbing in for the injured Trevor Lee. Evans rolled Vega up for the pin. This was good stuff. ***1/2
AAW HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
SAMI CALLIHAN (C) DEF. CANDICE LERAE
There’s a lot to get to before the actual title match. Callihan came out and talked about the open challenge he set up for the evening. He then talked about how he, and I quote, “loves when people shit on him.” Charming.
Candice answered the call, but Callihan changed his mind and said that she must beat him now before she can get a title match. A few moments later, after a devastating Poison Rana, Candice had earned herself a title match.
The match itself was much better than I expected it to be. The crowd bought into the idea of Callihan losing his title, even to a challenger like Candice, because of the way that Callihan’s first reign ended in what was a shocking loss to Pentagon Jr. at the time. Candice fought hard, and the two created a few exciting nearfalls, but they were just that – nearfalls. Callihan submitted her with a Stretch Muffler to retain.
I’m so close to turning the corner on Callihan, but this was a step in the wrong direction. Callihan isn’t big by any means, but Candice is so much smaller than him, and I think because of that, Callihan was overly animated, even for his standards, in this match. Everything felt like it was just a little too much. Too much whiplash here, too big of a facial expression there. It’s a nitpick, but it stuck out enough for me to feel like I needed to bring it up. Other than that, this was another solid outing for Sami, and a drastic improvement over what we got from him in the summer months. ***1/2
KONGO KONG DEF. CONNOR BRAXTON & EDDIE MACHETE
Eddie Machete might be the best name in wrestling. That’s all he has going for him, however. Kong squashed these two geeks and made it clear that his focus was on Sami Callihan and his title. NR
MATT SYDAL DEF. DAVEY RICHARDS
The last time that these two were involved in the same match was in 2007 as a part of the No Remorse Corps vs. Resilience feud. You have to go back a year earlier to find a time that they weren’t on the same team.
This was tame for both men’s standards. Sydal’s three month sabbatical obviously created some ring rust, and he’s still shaking it off. This was perfectly okay wrestling. I hope Davey continues to get booked, because he’s looked good in his recent outings. Sydal won with his signature Shooting Sydal Press. **3/4
MERCEDES MARTINEZ DEF. ANGELINA LOVE
I don’t want to be mean. I’m sure these two ladies are nice people, but they are not good professional wrestlers. Martinez is someone I’ve been watching off and on since I started watching indie wrestling, and I’ve yet to see her have an above average match. I truly don’t think Angelina is capable of having an above average match. This was really, really bad. Don’t watch it. 3/4*
DREW GALLOWAY DEF. SILAS YOUNG
This was Silas Young’s AAW farewell match. Chris Hero, Heidi Lovelace, and Kimber Lee have all said goodbye recently, and this was now the time for one of AAW’s most important figures, if not the most important figure, to say his goodbye. Silas Young dominated AAW at a time when not many eyes were on the product, but his run atop the promotion as Heavyweight Champion kept them afloat when they needed to be. Since the boom in attendance, Young has been mostly a midcarder, with opportunities here and there to shine at the top of the card.
This is one of those matches that I wish I could praise, but I can’t say a single good thing about this match. This is one of the most boring displays of wrestling by two supposed top guys I’ve ever seen. This was a nothing match. It dragged, and was only made worse by unspirited kickouts and a crowd that died by the seconds. This was not a good way for Young to leave the promotion, and this was just another example of Galloway not delivering in AAW. *3/4
ABYSS DEF. COLT CABANA
Another match that I was impatiently waiting for the finish. This looked bad on paper, and I’m someone that still enjoys Cabana. This wasn’t bad from a technical standpoint, but Cabana looked very uncomfortable in this brawling environment – not that he’s a bad brawler, but there was no heat to accompany it, and I’m totally cool with seeing Abyss never wrestle again. This was awkward and I would’ve greatly appreciated a few minutes less of this. Three poor matches in a row. **
REY FENIX & ACH DEF. MICHAEL ELGIN & BRIAN CAGE
I can’t say enough good things about this match. It was exactly what it should’ve been, which was a showcase for ACH and Fenix and their incredible, jaw-dropping offense, and a way for Cage and Elgin, who have teamed for years in PWG, to show off their remarkable feats of strength. Fenix and ACH look so motivated in the ring, and it’s a delight to see. Fenix, to me, especially now that Hero is gone, is the regular MVP of AAW shows. Each month, he seemingly delivers the match of the night, and tonight was no different.
Hopefully this isn’t the last time we see Elgin and Fenix square off. They had a barnburner at AAW’s debut show in LaSalle and they continued that violence here. Fenix plays right into Elgin’s strengths, and vice versa. Hopefully come October, Fenix will be the Heavyweight Champion. I certainly wouldn’t mind Fenix vs. Elgin in the main event of the Windy City Classic this year. ****1/4
The second half of this show is a disaster, let’s just be upfront about that. Silas Young vs. Drew Galloway was abysmal, and the ladies’ match prior wasn’t any better. That being said, the middle of the card and the main event delivered. It’s hard for me to give a show a thumbs down with a main event this good. Thumbs in the middle, leaning up, for AAW’s January outing.