AAW UNITED WE STAND
JULY 15, 2017
115 BOURBON STREET
MERRIONETTE PARK, ILLINOIS

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JOHN MORRISON DEF. COLT CABANA

I guess the best thing to say about this is that it was inoffensive and short. Morrison was originally set to wrestle Chuck Taylor. It’s a shame that didn’t happen. What we got here was a comedy match that lacked comedy. It was shockingly tame. There was no sense of intensity at all. That’s not on Cabana, that’s what I’ve come to expect with him. This was just a bad match, which is a much bigger blemish on Morrison’s already poor AAW track record than Cabana’s.  **

Marty DeRosa was backstage with AR Fox. He announced that he’d be teaming with Jeff Cobb tonight, as Rey Fenix is stuck in Mexico with visa issues.

SAMANTHA HEIGHTS DEF. SCARLETT BORDEAUX

I enjoy Samantha Heights. She’s made a name for herself in Rockstar Pro and on AAW’s LaSalle territory shows this year. She’s arguably over ambitious, but she works really hard and I like that. Scarlett doesn’t do anything for me as a wrestler and that’s all there is to it. Even with that in mind, I was a fan of this match. Heights clearly carried it. She bumped like crazy for Scarlett. I liked Heights’ offense a lot. She has a devastating flying crossbody. I wasn’t crazy about the finish, which was Heights hitting Low Ki’s signature “miss the Shining Wizard/rebound with a kick to the back of the head”. She doesn’t have the timing Low Ki does, so it ended up being one of her weakest looking moves. Other than that, I have no qualms. I hope to see more of Samantha Heights in the future. **3/4

“I believe in myself!” was the main message of Mat Fitchett’s promo. He’s wrestled the likes of Chris Hero and Zack Sabre Jr, so he’s used to big matches. Matt Riddle might be his biggest test yet, however. Before he could leave, Davey Vega interrupted. Fitchett told him to buzz off before he could make his point.

STEPHEN WOLF, TREY MIGUEL, & PACO DEF. JAKE SOMETHING, CURT STALLION, & DANNY ADAMS

My word, this was beautiful. This is what I like from my wrestling. Six guys looking for a spot on the card were given a little bit of time and made the most of it. Miguel & Wolf have been tearing it up since debuting in AAW late last year, and PACO, the loveable loser of the St. Louis area has been impressive in his AAW outings as of late. Their opponents are products of Michael Elgin and the St. Louis area, and they killed it.

Jake Something stood out more than anyone in this match. This was he and Stallion’s AAW debut, and while Stallion certainly disappoint, it was Something who made the bigger impact. Despite his cringeworthy name, he’s a breath of fresh air in AAW. He’s a bigger guy who can move, but he worked like a big guy. There are wrestlers I really enjoy that are big, but some more worried about going hold-for-hold or worse, flip-for-flip with their smaller counterparts and lately, that has really bothered me. Something is big, and he worked big. Bravo.

Wolf and Miguel are really something special. I hope they breakout soon. They’re incredibly young, but both guys seem ready for something more. Almost everything they do is timed just right and painfully smooth. They pinned Danny Adams, who held his own, but made the least impact on me in this match. Adams felt like a Jimmy Kanda or Takashi Yoshida type, if we were to relate this to Dragon Gate. He had his role, and his role was done well, but he just didn’t stand out in the way that a Masato Yoshino would or a Jake Something did. ****

ACH DEF. MYRON REED

What a night for the future of AAW.

Rarely do I enjoy ACH vs. another small wrestler, but he and Myron Reed delivered a bizarre, albeit entertaining match. ACH positioned himself as the grizzled vet, as he should’ve, and worked over the lower back of Myron Reed as soon as the bell sounded. Reed did a great job of selling the back throughout the match, and ACH did little things, like ending a battle of go-behinds with a forearm strike to the lower back constantly to continue his onslaught.

Positioned later on the card, I think this match would’ve had a little something extra to put it over the top. I don’t think the crowd was geared up for such an epic. I certainly wasn’t. I came into this expecting a typical AAW undercard match, and instead got an emotional rollercoaster that featured Reed fighting with everything he could. The match peaked with Reed’s utterly insane dive over the ring post to the floor. He couldn’t capitalize on this ludicrous dive, however, and ACH was able to recover, drop him on his head with a Brainbuster, and pick up the three. Reed made a name for himself in this match. Well worth going out of your way to see. ****1/4

Keith Lee was referred to as “wrestling’s dad” by Sami Callihan on Twitter, so in this promo, Lee referred to Callihan as his stepson, and said he’d treat him as such when “he beats that ass”. I was going to say that probably sounded better on paper, but I just typed it out and it still sounded terrible. A rare and hilarious miss for Keith Lee.

OI4K DEF. WAR MACHINE

OI4K can scram. I didn’t realize how little I missed them as a unit until now when they blew chunks against War Machine, who has been one of the best tag teams in the world as of late. They had a strong first few months of the year, but there are just so many better alternatives. Even a young team like Miguel & Wolf is at least more engaging than OI4K. War Machine threw them around, which was great, and then OI4K cheated, did some sloppy offense, and eventually pinned War Machine. This annoyed me. **3/4  

PENTA EL ZERO M & SHANE STRICKLAND DEF. TREVOR LEE & GARZA JR

I had high hopes for this all-star mix & match tag match, but I was unfortunately let down. I was very critical of super goofy, always dancing Trevor Lee in the past. He’s changed his demeanor, and thankfully so, but sadly it looks like Garza Jr now has the happy feet. He was all schtick in this match. I think anyone else on the card would’ve been more efficient in Garza’s role on this evening. He just didn’t have his head into it.

Once the egregious stalling and heat section on Penta ended, the match drastically improved. It wasn’t great by any means, and even slapping a “good” sticker on it almost seems like a favor to the four, but three of them worked hard, and I appreciated some of the creativity from Penta & Strickland. They had shockingly good chemistry. They won with a complex Package Piledriver/Double Stomp combination. It sounds much cooler than it ended up being, but again, I appreciated the effort. ***

Sami Callihan cut his best promo of recent memory in the bowels of Bourbon Street. With Callihan, I always think there is an element of cheese when he talks. He just uses verbiage that I’m not overly thrilled about, but this struck the chord that it needed to with me. He’s a “#draw”, and no matter how many great matches someone like Michael Elgin has, he’s still main eventing shows that are selling out. He said he’s tired of being walked on, and tonight, Keith Lee is going to be made an example out of.

AAW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
ZACHARY WENTZ & DEZMOND XAVIER (C) DEF. AR FOX & JEFF COBB

I’m very glad that AAW decided to put the gold on Wentz & Xavier here. These two always seem to kill it, and this match was no different.

The story here is that Cobb screwed AR Fox. He was a substitute for Fenix, and after destroying the challengers early on with his abnormal and freakish strength, he was involved in friendly fire with Fox. This ticked off Cobb, who eventually headbutted Fox (a beautiful headbutt, mind you) and left him for dead as Scarlett & Graves used their assisted moonsault on Fox to secure the victory and the titles.

First and foremost, I hope this leads to an AR Fox vs. Jeff Cobb match. The world needs to see that. Second, this was an outstanding effort by all four men. Cobb works best when he’s throwing people around, and that’s exactly what he did here. Fox, Xavier, and Wentz are some of the top flyers in the game and they showed just that in this match. Very enjoyable. ***1/2

David Starr cut an arthouse-style promo, shot in black & white and edited with a few different camera angles. I respect the ability to branch out and try something new, but this never grasped my attention. I felt like Starr was just repeating himself.

MATT RIDDLE DEF. MAT FITCHETT

Mat Fitchett continues to not be able to get over the hump of defeating a top guy on the indies as he fell to Riddle in this contest. Much like his match vs. Zack Sabre Jr a month ago, this was a fine exhibition, but it failed to reach that elusive “next level”. Fitchett certainly got his spots to shine. I loved that they made a big deal out of him taking Riddle down to the mat.

Other than that, this match was a little flat. At his best, Riddle is a guy that brings something totally different to the table. Spamming tombstones and destroyers are not his speciality. This match certainly didn’t have a “Matt Riddle” vibe. He was replaceable. He was also victorious, as he made Fitchett tap with the Bromission. ***1/4

CHUCK TAYLOR DEF. DAVEY VEGA

This was a match. Taylor charged Vega right out of the gate. They spent most of this match outside the ring, either in the form of crowd brawling or doing moves on the stage. That’s how Taylor ended up picking the win, following up a piledriver on the stage with a piledriver in the ring. **1/2

A pissed off Jeff Cobb was backstage about to give a promo when David Starr interrupted him. These two both want to get the best out of each other.

I QUIT MATCH
DAVID STARR DEF. EDDIE KINGSTON

Eddie Kingston crowd brawls are never going to do it for me. This wasn’t actively bad, although I personally found the mic work in this match to be rather cringe. Eddie Kingston’s story right now is that he’s lost everything, and David Starr reminding him of that all while trying get him to quit is good in theory, but that sort of stuff just doesn’t strike a chord with me.

Jeff Cobb ran in and drove Eddie Kingston through a table in spectacular fashion, which eventually led to the victory. I am all about a possible Starr/Cobb tag team, although I hope it eventually takes them away from Kingston. They’d be dynamite in a tag division with Xavier & Wentz, Miguel & Wolf, and possibly even War Machine.

This match was just another I Quit match. I never like them, and this was no different. ***

AAW HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
SAMI CALLIHAN DEF. KEITH LEE

Like almost all Sami Callihan defenses, this had a big fight feel. Callihan has become such a unique figure in AAW, no matter if the show is in Berwyn, Bourbon Street, or Logan Square; when Sami Callihan steps into the ring, he means business.

Keith Lee’s monster-like offense wasn’t enough to dethrone the ace of AAW. He tossed Callihan around in the early stages of the match, even hitting a Spirit Bomb moments into the match in what could’ve easily been the finish.

Callihan eventually targeted his knees, which reduced the big man to a frail, gentle giant. When he’s not over the top with his antics, or worse, spitting, Callihan is really quite entertaining when he picks a body part and targets it. I really enjoyed him wildly throwing a chair at Lee’s knee to stop a moonsault attempt.

Speaking of chairs, they were involved with the finish, as Callihan brained Lee with an unprotected chair shot to the head for the three count. I don’t condone unprotected chair shots, but I very much enjoy that after Lee was hit with one, it led immediately to the finish. They certainly made the most out of it. This was not Callihan’s best defense of the year, but I have no strong qualms about this content. ***1/2

Final Thoughts:

The young guys stole the show at AAW’s United We Stand. The six-man tag match and ACH vs. Myron Reed make this card worth purchasing. Both title matches were quite fun, and I am very excited to see what Wentz & Xavier can do with the gold. My one complaint about this show is that it went over three hours. That’s just too long for an AAW show. Despite its length, I still give United We Stand a thumbs up.