AAW
DEFINING MOMENT
SEPTEMBER 28, 2019
LOGAN SQUARE AUDITORIUM – CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

Watch: Smartmarkvideo.com 

PRE-SHOW MATCH
CLAYTON GAINZ VS. “SABOTAGE” SEAN HIGGINS 

Clayton Gainz submitted “Sabotage” Sean Higgins with a Tortue Rack at 4:21. 

Gainz is an up-and-comer who has appeared for AAW a handful of times now. Higgins is a St. Louis native who made the drive up, and yes, he comes out to “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys. 

Gainz is a very good heel who plays to the crowd more than a good chunk of the indie scene. He doesn’t do anything overly impressive, but he has a great physique and is incredibly charismatic. Every time he cut Higgins off with a move, he played to the crowd. 

Gainz is someone to keep an eye on as the indies look for new marketable talent. He is capable of playing to the crowd and eliciting reactions, it’s just a matter of when his in-ring talent can match his charisma. **1/2 

JORDAN OLIVER VS. AIRWOLF 

Airwolf pins Jordan Oliver at 6:56 with a twisting neckbreaker off of the middle rope. 

Airwolf and Oliver kick things off at a rapid pace. Seconds into the match, Airwolf goes to land a suicide dive on the outside, but Oliver’s crew pulls him out of the way sending Airwolf head-first into the barricade. Oliver and his crew have a “fuck boy-like” charisma that is refreshing to see. It feels very modern. Almost an updated version of ROH’s Special K. 

Airwolf busted out a lot of terrific offense in this match. He has all the makings of someone that can flourish in this company. Whenever he got on a role, however, Oliver’s Young, Dumb, and Broke lackeys were there to protect the standout of the group. Airwolf looked to have had things won after a middle rope facebuster (a la ACH), but Oliver’s stablemates entered the ring and stopped the count. 

In the end, Airwolf was able to outlast the attack put forth by Oliver and his cronies for the win. This was a terrific way to open up the show. Oliver and his crew need to be brought back immediately. ***1/4 

KIMBER LEE VS. ALLYSIN KAY

Tie up to start. Kay starts the match by pie-facing Kimber Lee in the corner. Kay insists that the crowd put their pinkies up but Chicago has a different idea. A “pinkies down” chant, led by Kimber Lee, starts. Kimber Lee goes through an impressive series of pins, but Kay is able to kick out of all of them. Kimber Lee immediately goes back on the defensive and eats a barrage of strikes from Kay. 

Lee eventually gets enough momentum to land a trio of German Suplexes, the third of which registers for a near-three count. Kay fights back and lands a big discus lariat for another two-and-a-half. The two collapsed to the mat and the crowd begins to clap along. 

Kimber Lee lands a Swanton Bomb, but Kay counters the pin. Lee kicks out and gets Kay in position for a Yoshi-Tonic, which she lands. Kimber Lee picks up the victory at 10:13. **3/4 

JIMMY JACOBS $10,000 BOUNTY ON THE MASK OF GOOD BROTHER #3
MATT JUSTICE VS. GOOD BROTHER #3 

The crowd is all about Good Brother #3. Big “3!” chants to start the match. Justice is an imposing fellow who decides his best course of action is to spit in Good Brother’s face. Good Brother returns in kind. Justice stops playing around and takes down the masked man with a spear before spilling to the outside. The action spills over the barricade and into the crowd. Justice throws Good Brother into more chairs and then smashes a beer can over his head like The Sandman, and the place goes wild, as they should. 

Up on the stage, Good Brother teases doing a dive onto Justice, but instead pokes him in the eyes. Good Brother attempts to leap off of a fan and crossbody Justice, but Justice catches him and dumps Good Brother off the stage. This looked like a nasty bump from where I’m sitting. As if that wasn’t enough, Justice grabs a big, bright orange ladder and sets it up on the stage. He lands a huge dive onto Good Brother and a handful of security goods. “Holy shit” chants rightfully ensue. 

Before getting back in the ring, Justice takes a fan’s AEW sweatshirt, shakes his head, and then proclaims that AAW is the place to be. He launches a handful of chairs and a kendo stick into the ring and then continues to dominate. Out of nowhere, Good Brother escapes a kendo stick shot and then destroys Justice with an unprotected chair shot to the head. Justice kicks out at one and then the place goes wild. 

Justice gets back up, amazingly, and connects with two Death Valley Drivers onto chairs in an upright position. Even that is not enough to put down Good Brother #3. The crowd erupts with an “AAW” chant after the kick out. 

Justice then grabs a door (yes, a door) and sets in between the guardrail and the ring apron with Good Brother #3 laying on it. Good Brother gets up with not a second to spare and cracks Justice in the head with yet another chair shot. Instead of using that second to inflict more pain, Good Brother grabs yet another door and sets up a door-chair-door contraption. Justice uses that moment to recover, then Death Valley Driver’s Good Brother through two tables from the middle rope. Fucking. Insane. 

Right before Justice can unmask Good Brother, he gets nailed with a low blow and then a trio of running knees for the win. It’s rarely a compliment when I compare something to ECW in 2019, but this was as good of an ECW tribute act as you’ll see. This felt like an Arena brawl. AAW’s homebase responded in kind. These two went out there and killed each other and the crowd loved every second of it. Highly recommended. 

Good Brother #3 gets the victory in 13:51. ****1/2 

FOUR-WAY FOR AN OPPORTUNITY ON 11/30
PACO VS. JOEY LYNCH VS. CURT STALLION VS. ACE ROMERO

PACO, Stallion, and Romero are all crowd favorites. Everyone takes their shots at Romero in the opening moments, but he’s able to thwart all attacks. He sends Lynch flying into the ropes with a pounce early on. Stallion tries to gain control of the big man but he can’t even get his arms around Romero’s waist. He uses his quickness to catch Romero off balance and then he lands a German suplex and gets a big reaction. 

Lynch goes for a springboard arm drag but slips off the top rope. He recovers like a pro and moves into the rest of his offense. PACO is next to get in a flurry of offense. He connects with two suicide dives to the floor before eating knees from Stallion on a frog splash attempt. 

Great sequence moments later as Romero drops PACO with a Samoan Drop off of the middle rope, only for Lynch to connect with a moonsault onto Romero. PACO and Stallion pinned Romero against the barricade and the ring apron for Joey Lynch to land a moonsault from the top to Romero. Lynch bounced off of him in a way that made it look worse for Lynch than it did for Romero. In the end, Romero gets payback as he plants Lynch with a powerbomb for the win in 7:57. Romero earns a title shot on 11/30. 

This was all-action, fast-paced, and tons of fun. When Romero came into the promotion a few years ago, I thought he was going to be a short-lived gimmick wrestler. Instead, he’s proved his worth and his become a local favorite in the Logan Square Auditorium. The crowd should be electric for his title match. ***3/4 

MYRON REED VS. KARAM

Karam looks like he’s related to Tama Tonga. He’s a big dude who’s good at using his weight to his advantage. Myron Reed likes to flip around and works well as a foil for the bigger, slower Karam. Reed lands a huge dive to the floor and ends up in the crowd. Reed can’t follow up the momentum, however, and eats a faux-Rock Bottom for a two count. 

Reed eventually finds his footing and lands a springboard cutter. Before he can follow up, he’s attacked by Hakim Zane. He then attacks the referee, then a subsequent zebra who comes out and tries to make the save. Security eats some forearms before a bruiser and battered PACO comes out and attempts to make the save but comes up short. The match is ruled a no contest. NR

Zane cuts a promo about how he’s the total package and an original wrestler in a locker room full of carbon copies. Zane then says, “God created all men equal and then he made me the sequel.” A five star line if I’ve ever heard one.

FATU VS. DARBY ALLIN 

Fatu flings Darby around with ease to start the match. Allin retreats to the floor and challenges Fatu to fight him on the outside, only for Allin to pop back in the ring and land a trio of dives on Fatu, the third of which sends them crashing into the crowd. Like clockwork, the AEW superstar follows up with a Coffin Drop to the floor. Allin goes for another one when the two resume action in the ring but Fatu counters with a Powerbomb and a Superkick. Ouch. 

Fatu ragdolls Allin and launches him into the turnbuckles. As Allin begins to fight back, Fatu puts his hands behind his back and challenges Allin to hit him. Allin obliges, lands a flurry of strikes, then a pop-up stunner. Fatu uses his size to his advantage on the counter, however, and begins to palm Dabry’s head. In return, Allin takes a bite out of his hand, but Fatu is still able to land a chokeslam. Both of these guys do little things so well. 

Huge pop-up Samoan Drop by Fatu that leads to a two count. The crowd bought it as a possible three because they went nuts when Allin kicked out. Fatu puts the smaller Allin on his shoulders and climbs to the middle rope. Fatu goes for a Samoan Drop but Allin flips out of it, sending Fatu face-first to the canvas. I have never seen that before. 

Allin lays in a handful of strikes before going for a springboard attack on Fatu. He’s caught, however, and drilled with a sitout tombstone. Fatu follows up quickly with a moonsault and Allin still manages to kick out. Logan Square erupts in cheers. Best Moonsault Ever from Fatu puts the AEW standout away for good at 9:48. ****

Allin gets a standing ovation after the match. In his few appearances in AAW, he made his presence felt. 

AAW WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
HAWLEE CROMWELL VS. JESSIKA HAVOK (c)

Hawlee Cromwell answered the call for Havok’s open challenge. She shows no fear despite being outweighed, shorter, and less experienced than the two-time AAW Women’s Champion. She eats a running knee as payback for her early taunts and then repeated boots in the corner. Cromwell does what she can to fight back, but he’s caught with a crossbody and then planted with a tombstone piledriver. Havok retains at 2:20. 

Sarah Shockey comes to the ring to interview Havok. She asks her what’s next for her in AAW, but before she can answer, Jimmy Jacobs hits the ring. He grabs the microphone. Jacobs requests Shockey leave the ring, then asks the same of Havok, but she refuses. She gets up in Jacobs’ face when he mentions it again. Josh Briggs slides in the ring and proceeds to intimidate Havok. Kris Stratlander comes out stands up to Briggs. Jacobs says she doesn’t need to be out here and is given a Superkick from Stratlander in return. NR

JESSIKA HAVOK & KRIS STRATLANDER VS. JIMMY JACOBS & JOSH BRIGGS 

Stratlander dives onto Briggs on the floor and then Havok follows suit. The four brawl on the outside, Briggs with Havok and Jacobs with Stratlander. Briggs and Jacobs are an entertaining team given their disparity in height. Stratlander lands a modified electric chair to Briggs and follows it up with a moonsault off the apron. Stratlander is incredibly athletic. However, that amount of athleticism can’t save you forever. Briggs brings her up and then plants her on the apron with a chokeslam. 

Havok begins a fiery comeback capped off with a big German Suplex. This gives Stratlander a chance to recover and she comes back into the fold with a double crossbody. Her shine is short-lived as Briggs, once more on the attack, sends her flipping through the air with a crazy suplex. Havok catches Briggs with a hurricanrana, but her momentum doesn’t last long as she also takes a chokeslam. Briggs goes to deliver the same to Stratlander, yet again, but she counters with a Meteora and then a Canadian Destroyer. Stratlander has really started to make a name for herself here the past two months. 

Briggs then silences the crowd by sending Stratlander flying with an indescribable bump. It was filthy. Stratlander gives Jacobs a defiant middle finger before a masked man under the Good Brother garb hits the ring. Jacobs expects it to be Mance Werner, and when it’s not he gets distracted, giving Stratlander a chance to roll him up for the win. A fine, chaotic match. ***1/2 

Jacobs grabs a microphone and is in denial over what he just saw. He says the bounty for Good Brother #3 is still out there and on November 30, Nick Gage will be here to attempt to retrieve it.

AAW HERITAGE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH”
DAVID STARR VS. JAKE SOMETHING (c)

Starr slaps Something repeatedly to get things underway. Starr proves to be more than just talk early on. His attack on Something is vicious and calculated. Something threatens to leave with the belt after being bested by Starr in the early goings, so Starr comes out and brings him back to the ring. Early on, it’s all Starr. 

Something is able to power back with some brutal forearms. He’s someone who makes the most of what he does. One of the best workers in the midwest going today. He lands a cannonball with Starr pinned against the barricade and takes full control of the matchup. Something whips Starr into the turnbuckle and as Starr falls onto the mat, Something steps on Starr’s head. Amazingly, Starr is able to counter into a deep ankle lock. Something is forced to use the ropes to escape. 

This match is much slower paced than what we’ve seen on the rest of the show, but it works. Something is a smart, bruising worker, and Starr is at his best when he’s playing the submission game. Starr launches into a clothesline that sends Something realing, but it’s not enough to take him down. Another lariat doesn’t do the trick, but a headbutt does. 

Something brings the belt into the ring at the 20-minute mark and threatens to hit Starr with it. The referee grabs the gold and a confrontation follows between Something, his partner Stallion, and the referee. Behind the ref’s back, Starr clocks Something with the title and then hits a huge lariat. It looks like a three count but Stallion pulls the referee out of the ring. Starr makes Stallion pay for it with a duo of dives. Had he not gone for a third, he might be the new AAW Heritage Champion, but his third attempt was met with a Black Hole Slam. Something retains at 21:46. ***1/4 

The Lucha Brothers, AAW Tag Team Champions Besties in the World, and Nick Gage vs. Good Brother #3 are all confirmed for 11/30 at Logan Square Auditorium. 

AAW HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
SAMI CALLIHAN  (c) VS. JOSH ALEXANDER 

Callihan powerbombs Josh Alexander ten seconds into the match and Alexander pops right back up. The two trade forearms before Alexander spins Callihan around and slams him back down. Say what you will about Sami Callihan (and I have said a lot), but the AAW crowd truly cares about the results of his matches. Half the crowd has a burning desire to see him win, and the rest of the crowd wants nothing more than for him to lose. I really just want him to not spit so much. 

Alexander gets sent like a lawn dart from the middle rope to the apron and Callihan firmly establishes control with that. He brings out a chair and proceeds to beat the Canadian standout down with said object. Callihan targets the neck of Alexander, which plagues the latter as he begins a comeback, pinpointed by dropping Callihan ribs-first onto the apron. 

Callihan pleads with Alexander to give him his best shot as he takes off his vest, but as Alexander winds up, Callihan knees him. Alexander gets him back moments later. Even if it didn’t lead to the finish, there was something so pleasant about watching Alexander put Callihan in an ankle lock. All wrestlers that wear headgear should be required to have an ankle lock in their arsenal.  

Callihan lands a sitdown piledriver on a chair, but Alexander has enough fight in him to get his shoulder up. Callihan comes right back and gives him a traditional piledriver, this time Alexander kicks out at one. The Canadian’s straps come down, but he eats a low blow before anything can occur. A third piledriver. Still not good enough for the win. Alexander whips off his headgear. Callihan goes for a fourth piledriver but Alexander counters with a backbreaker on the knee. Alexander now goes for a spinning tombstone and Sami kicks out at 2. 

Once more, the ankle lock is applied. Alexander locks it in the middle of the ring and this time, Sami Callihan taps. We have a new AAW Champion at 17:10. ***3/4 

Ace Romero comes out and stands nose-to-nose with the new champion, Josh Alexander. The two will go at it on 11/30. 

FINAL THOUGHTS 

AAW’s Defining Moment was yet another example of AAW putting on a first-class show. AAW’s storylines are coherent and engaging, their wrestling is elite and exciting, and the atmosphere is second to none. AAW returns to the Logan Square Auditorium in Chicago, Illinois, on November 30.