AAW TAKE NO PRISONERS
MAY 6, 2017
LOGAN SQUARE AUDITORIUM
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

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AERO BOY DEF. JASON CADE, CONNOR BRAXTON, MYRON REED, SPACE MONKEY, & PACO

This was perfect.

Unsurprisingly, these six took turns diving onto each other for nine minutes. Connor Braxton was a great big man. Since he’s thankfully dropped the hoverboard spot from his arsenal, he’s become a solid hand. His match with DJ Z from February remains the high point in his career, but this was a very fun performance from him.

The five flippy guys put on a great show. I hope this isn’t the last we see of Aero Boy in AAW. He’s a perfect fit for the company right now. His flying abilities were displayed tremendously in this match. Cade, Reed, Space Monkey, and PACO all brought their A-game as well. This six-way hopefully opened some doors for everyone involved. Awesome opener. Great way to kick things off. Aero Boy pinned Jason Cade with a 450 for the win. ***1/4

AAW HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
SAMI CALLIHAN DEF. ACH

Top notch effort from both men.

This match began in an instant after Rey Fenix ran in and attacked Sami Callihan, who, for whatever reason, had attacked Aero Boy after his win in the opener. What proceeded was 11 minutes of action. I have been critical of ACH in the past, and at times, what I feel is his lackadaisical effort. That was not the case here, as both he and Callihan worked their asses off to deliver an exciting sprint.

Both of these guys have a unique snap when they’re in the ring. Everything they do is a little quicker, and when they bump just right, it looks shockingly violent. Seemingly every bump Callihan and ACH took in this match had that extra bit of spice – a little extra “something” that caught my eye.

It looked like ACH had the match wrapped up, and had I not known the result ahead of time, I would’ve bought the false finishes down the stretch. JT Davidson’s interference with what would’ve been a three count did not bother me, as it was well timed. Callihan recovered soon after and made ACH submit with the Stretch Muffler. I loved the intensity to this match. Hopefully we see more ACH matches like this in the future. ***3/4

TREVOR LEE DEF. BOBBY FISH

Bobby Fish, who prior to his debut in AAW in an interview with Marty DeRosa stated that he was in AAW to win gold, put forth a strong effort in his debut. Fish will always work hard. For that reason alone, I hope there’s more AAW in his future. He and Lee were never able to kick it into the next gear, but Fish’s outstanding fundamentals, clashing with Lee’s new uber-heel, anti-dancing persona made for a fun bout. Lee rolled through a diving crossbody and grabbed the tights for the win, making it his third consecutive win on AAW shows. Hopefully he’s featured higher up on the card during the summer months. This was solid pro wrestling. It felt more like a very good TV match, if anything, but with it’s spot on the card, I have no qualms about it. ***1/4

Eddie Kingston was backstage talking about his faults as a person. He’s depressed, he’s been eating and drinking, and he doesn’t feel like he’s meant for the wrestling business. He’s brutally honest, and “this business” is full of liars and backstabbers. He’s ready to take out all of his anger on David Starr, who he claims is everything wrong with pro wrestling. “I’m Eddie Kingston, and I don’t want to do this anymore.” is how Kingston capped off his promo.

Interesting, to say the least.

COLT CABANA DEF. ETHAN PAGE

Ethan Page interrupted Cabana’s birthday celebration, which led to this encounter. The mic work before the bell was rather entertaining. Page and Cabana are both entertaining talkers, and with the inclusion of Marty DeRosa, who was out there to introduce Cabana, the short segment was rather enjoyable.

The match itself was fine. Harmless, I guess, although far from great. They brawled around the ring with Cabana’s parents eventually landing jabs on Page. Back in the ring, Page took control in a rather boring heat segment. Cabana battled back, countered a Spinning Dwyane, and submitted Page with the Billy Goat’s Curse. Not bad, but certainly skippable. **3/4

Chuck Taylor threatened to cut Alex Daniels, which was by far the highlight of this promo spot that also featured AAW rookies Trey Miguel & Stephen Wolf. I certainly wouldn’t mind Taylor taking some young guys under his wing. That would be a nice change in direction for him.

MICHAEL ELGIN DEF. ZACK SABRE JR

I’ve been reviewing AAW show for 12 months now, and this is the best match that I’ve reviewed yet. This tops the Sami Callihan vs. Low Ki Match of the Year contender from March and Sami Callihan vs. Chris Hero, which took place in the same building last November. This match ruled on a number of levels.

I have watched a lot of Zack Sabre Jr over the years, and this might be his single best performance I have seen.

Everything he did – his offense, his selling, his facial expressions, they were all perfect. Every kick he threw to the body of Elgin looked vicious. Every submission he attempted was performed with intensity, and his facial expression displayed a face that was desperate to win. He threw everything he had at Elgin, and in return, Elgin did the same.

ZSJ spent the entire match clawing away at the arms of Elgin, trying to reduce the power that the giant has in his arsenal. In the end, that plan didn’t work. Elgin was too powerful. It made complete sense. ZSJ is amazing, and his attacks were well thought out and on a normal man, they’d be devastating. Michael Elgin, however, is not a normal man. He’s an unstoppable powerhouse that is having arguably his best in-ring year ever. He had a solution for every predicament that the Brit tried to put him in.

The final few minutes of this match were magical. I LOVED that after failing to submit Elgin with a LeBell Lock, he began to stomp away at the fingers of Elgin. Anger was plastered across the face of ZSJ. He was sickened that he couldn’t find the right combination of moves to submit the big man. He never did find that combination. Elgin battled through everything Sabre had, and after a Stan Hansen-esque lariat and a grossly powerful Elgin Bomb, he was able to come out victorious.

This is as good as it gets. A Match of the Year contender. It will finish in my Top 10 when it comes to end-of-the-year voting. Elgin was his usual, phenomenal self, but this was the Zack Sabre Jr show. He’s arguably the best pro wrestler in the world, and if he’s not the best, he’s certainly in the conversation. Bravo to both men, and bravo to the AAW crowd for reacting appropriately to the classic placed before them. ****3/4

Marty DeRosa interviewed Space Monkey. I’m so happy I just typed that sentence. It appears that Space Monkey will be in AAW going forward, which is great news.

DAVID STARR DEF. EDDIE KINGSTON

There’s something charming about Eddie Kingston.

He has never been my favorite wrestler, and at times he’s been a wrestler that I dread watching, but he talks his way into my heart like no other wrestler. I didn’t think he was even that good in this match, but his promo beforehand stuck with me, and it made me want to see him kick David Starr’s ass, and I love David Starr. Sadly, he did not. Starr was able to pin him just after the 10 minute mark with relatively no struggle. Fine match. ***

Eddie Kingston’s post-match promo was as good as it gets. He described his relationship with pro wrestling as a one-sided romance. He spent 15 years of his life dedicating himself to this craft, and it just hasn’t been good enough. Eddie dropped the mic and walked off to a thunderous applause. I have never been the biggest fan of Kingston, but I have the utmost respect for him.

CHUCK TAYLOR, STEPHEN WOLF, & TREY MIGUEL DEF. MAT FITCHETT, DAVEY VEGA, & ALEX DANIELS

More of this, indie wrestling. More six-man tags. This all-action, high-intensity bout was great stuff. Taylor looked right at home here. He was able to do comedy early, bump big throughout, and choose his spots to shine. Miguel & Wolf are still inexperienced, but I really like what both of them bring to the table. Alex Daniels, after this, should be an AAW regular. He brings an exciting blend of character work and in-ring ability to the card. Besties in the World rule. I can’t say enough good things about Mat Fitchett, especially. He and Stephen Wolf had a marvelous interaction in this one. Taylor, in the end, planted Alex Daniels with an Awful Waffle for the win. ***1/2

Trevor Lee was backstage with Marty DeRosa. I am all-in on this serious Trevor Lee attitude. He’s 23, he’s a TV star, and he deserves a Heavyweight Championship match. I can’t disagree with him. Great promo.

AAW HERITAGE CHAMPIONSHIP
PENTA EL ZERO M def. KEITH LEE

This actually left a lot to be desired. Keith Lee has been one of the most outstanding wrestlers in the world this year. I think his name has to be in the same conversation with the likes of Kazuchika Okada, Michael Elgin, Kenny Omega, Pete Dunne, etc. This, however, was not his night, nor was it Penta’s.

The normally white-hot Logan Square crowd didn’t seem to be all that into this, which is odd considering that these are two of the most charismatic wrestlers on the planet. Penta chopped down the big man, and before I knew it, he nailed Lee with two Destroyers and put him away. I wanted this to be better than it was. ***1/4

David Starr proclaimed that he was here to stay in AAW. He pushed out the old with Eddie Kingston, and he was ushering in a new era. Much like Trevor Lee, Chuck Taylor, and Space Monkey earlier in the night, this was a very enjoyable and engaging promo.

AAW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
AR FOX & REY FENIX DEF. JAKE CRIST & SAMI CALLIHAN

This match was bizarre. All four have found success in out of control brawls in the past, but for some reason, this match just lacked flow. It was a lot of spots, which is certainly not a bad thing, but for some reason, I was just not invested in this match.

I liked that Callihan spent his time in the match doing his best to destroy Fenix. Amazingly, those two have been feuding for almost a year now. They’ve developed some really great chemistry. Fox and Crist felt like background noise for the most part. Fox seemed to have an off-night, which could be due to him getting dropped quite literally right on his head on a steel chair, after he slipped out of Callihan’s clutches. Scary stuff.

Fox and Fenix got the win, which is exciting. Those two can have a lot of great matches in the AAW tag scene. This match, however, was just not what I wanted. It was fine, but these four are capable of more. ***1/4

Michael Elgin challenged Sami Callihan to a match for the Big F’n Belt, but before that, he has to get through Jack Swagger. Elgin proclaimed to be the gatekeeper of AAW. He’s looking past Swagger, however, and onto a match with Callihan.

Final Thoughts:

Buy this show for Zack Sabre Jr vs. Michael Elgin. It’s completely worth the purchase. It’s a MOTYC, and any wrestling fan is doing themselves an injustice if they don’t seek out that match. The rest of the card was good. I loved ACH vs. Sami Callihan, and I found small bright spots throughout the rest of the card. Thumbs up for AAW’s Take No Prisoners.