Watch: FITE TV 

John E. Bravo in a Pikachu-colored suit opened the show with his clients Davey Vega & Hartenbower. After encouragement from Bravo, Vega finally threw down his Besties in the World jacket in an act of betrayal. These guys have the “I hope they get hit by a car” type of heat. Bravo.


Jake Lander is a courageous individual who ultimately lacked the sheer number of people to fend off the Vega-led army. Lander is AAW’s resident bowling bowl, similar in stature to Tomohiro Ishii but taking pages from the X Division playbook rather than Riki Choshu. On this night, however, it was Vega showing impressive feats of strength, catching Lander on his shoulders out of a springboard moonsault before an eventual counter that led to a close nearfall, only for it to be broken up by Hartenbower.

Vega used the opportunity provided by his muscle to rack up a series of big moves. He put Lander away with a brainbuster on the knee for the win. ***

John E. Bravo called out Russ Jones to the delight of the Logan Square Auditorium, but Jones was jumped by some more of Bravo’s goons on the way to the ring. Jones fought them off and turned his attention to Hartenbower, first, who ate a Goldberg-quality spear, then Bravo, who ate a vicious knee strike to the back of the head.

Ace Austin promised to be the new AAW Heritage Champion in a backstage promo.


It’s fun seeing Juice Robinson work in this environment given his apathy towards the US indie scene for so many years.

This was a fresh change of pace for Manders. Juice’s wacky charisma, mixed with the fact that he was wrestling in front of his hometown crowd, provided Manders with an environment that let him be mean, but also let him rest from the copious amounts of plunder that we’ve seen him involved with over the last couple shows.

This seemed like a pretty easy outing for both men with most of the drama in this match coming from Robinson’s ability to milk every millisecond of his kickouts. Manders was looking for a moonsault when inFAMy ran in and clocked him with the tag belts, leading to Robinson scoring the pinfall. The inFAMy belt shot looked really poor from my spot in the building and took away from an otherwise enjoyable affair. **3/4

inFAMy continued their attack on Manders after the match, noting that Deonn Russman was in the hospital because of Manders and so they wanted to put him there as well. Their beatdown was interrupted by Jake Something and Stallion Rogers.


With this defeat, inFAMy failed to secure their third successful Tag Team Championship defense.

This is the best thing inFAMy has done since landing in AAW. Their work up to this point has either been middling walk-n-brawls or tag matches that haven’t quite hit their mark, but having their prior post-match attack bleed into this, a tag title match with two of AAW’s most recognizable homegrown stars, was a stroke of genius.

A lot of this match was built around Rogers making his triumphant return to AAW’s tag division, but I continue to be marveled at Jake Something. He’s not only getting bigger, physically, but he’s continuing to grow into a more complete wrestler. Something was the driving force of this bout. He sold like a beast, his offense looked great, and he was the glue that kept this all together. Manders got his payback on inFAMy, launching water bottles at them, giving Something the opportunity he needed to hit his finisher for the win. This was a ton of fun. ***1/4

Daniel Garcia promised to make Davey Richards tap out. GET INTO IT.


Rich Swann was such a delightful surprise for Destination: Chicago. I still think he’s one of the most consistent bell-to-bell wrestlers you’ll find and he’s proven over time, whether it be six-mans in Dragongate, scrambles in CZW, or featured matches in EVOLVE that he can deliver in any setting. He used the CZW part of his brain tonight and we were better off for it.

Swann was great, but the star of this match was Schaff. As one of AAW’s most notable muscle-bound freaks, Schaff was basically working this as a 4-on-1 match with the smaller combatants ganging up on him. That proved to be a hurdle that Schaff could climb as he routinely tossed around multiple men with ease and then eventually dove onto all four.

Even in the spotlight of Swann and Schaff, the other three participants in this match brought out their best. Frontman Jah-C is rough around the edges, but his big spots delivered when they needed to. I say it every month, but I’m not sure how Ace Perry isn’t booked everywhere. He can talk and he can work and the same goes for Hakim Zane.

Zane won via rollup, as he’s prone to do. This continued the trend of matches that weren’t great, but were objectively fun. ***1/2

Davey Richards talked about the resurgence of technical wrestling and I got butterflies in my stomach.


Myron Reed falls in his third defense of the AAW Heritage Championship.

Reed and Austin grew up traveling the same roads together. Reed, from day one, has been an ambitious flyer who has always been spectacular in moments but has rarely looked like a complete package. Austin, on the other hand, developed a recognizable character quickly and slowly progressed his in-ring skills, but is never someone that I would describe as “spectacular”. I’ve seen a lot of Ace Austin matches that were “fine” and a lot of Myron Reed matches that were flawed but ultimately “spectacular.”

This had all of the frills you’d expect from a Myron Reed match with the sensibilities that Ace Austin brings to the table.

Yes, Reed nailed a perfect dive over the post to the floor, but more importantly, he was able to follow up on it in a way that didn’t cause the match to falter at any point.

Austin was thrilling in this match in a way that I wasn’t sure he could be. He matched Reed in the ring and provided his combatant with the structure needed to produce a great match. That’s just what this was. This was a great match.

Reed missed a stage dive into the center of the ring, leading to Austin hitting his finisher for the win. I loved seeing both guys step up to the plate like they did here. ***3/4


Zane coaxed Austin into a title match because they had both wrestled already in the night. Before the bell rang, Karam came in and destroyed Ace Austin, giving Zane the opportunity to hit a knee and win the title in 5 seconds. It was a good idea, in theory, but I thought this was a rare misstep from Zane.


I do not remember an atmosphere like this in the Logan Square Auditorium before. This was such a drastic shift from the scramble match two bouts prior and such a level of class up from the Heritage Championship match that preceded it. There was a level of intensity hanging over this match that acted in such stark contrast to the heat-heavy, but still easily consumable AAW product. This is what happens when you have two world-class wrestlers bring their best into your promotion.

Davey’s return to wrestling brought me excitement for a number of reasons. As the years have gone by, I’ve become just as invested in the drama surrounding Davey outside of the ring as I am in what he’s capable of doing in it. 2021 Davey has found the light. He’s remarkably calm on Twitter and remarkably calm in the ring. He was so calculated in this match, shifting down from the patented frantic pace that he normally brings to the table and embracing Garcia’s more methodical approach to the ring.

I was fully captivated by all of this. Davey has come back at full force and Daniel Garcia cannot miss right now. This happened in the right promotion in front of the right audience.

Their work here was sublime, easily maneuvering from one hold to the next without ever missing a beat. As the match wore on and the strikes began to fly, every strike looked like it could cave in the chest of whoever was on the receiving end. This is exactly what you’d hope for in a match from these two guys.

Garcia targeted Davey’s knee the entire match, but it was a pinfall that caught him in the end as Garcia narrowly escaped the clutches of Davey’s ankle lock and rolled him up for the win. Go watch this immediately. ****1/4


With this win, Allysin Kay has made her second successful defense of the Women’s Championship.

Davey vs. Garcia, this was not. We all like different things, and I personally am not into two wrestlers trading swigs from a can for over a minute. Especially in a title match. I largely lost any desire to care about this match after the drink spot. Nothing they did in the following five or six minutes compelled me to care. This was a tough outing for both women. **


Seeing Laredo Kid in person is always an eye-opening situation. He pops so much more when he’s mere feet away from you rather than on a screen. I think a lot of people take his crispness for granted. When he’s on, and occasionally that is an if, but when he’s on he’s an exhilarating experience.

Arez is of a similar cloth but somehow more insane than Laredo. Arez brought out a certain level of meanness in Laredo Kid that pulled this match from being an exhibitiony, touring style of match to something with some substance behind it. Of course, Arez busting out stuff like a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker also greatly helps the quality of a match like this. He did a number of things that blew my mind.

Laredo won with a one-man Spanish Fly in just over 10 minutes. This was nuts. ****


It’s a daunting task wrestling for an hour no matter what. Being put in this position, going broadway after an already long show that featured a handful of really great matches, is a situation that is nearly impossible to win in. Hour-long matches are inherently flawed and it puts guys like Fred Yehi and Josh Alexander, two of the best wrestlers in North America, in an awful position. There’s no denying that these guys worked their asses off. There were parts of this match that were great. Alexander chopping Yehi on the stage so hard that Yehi fell into a pile of chairs was terrific. So much of the limb work in this match was as dynamic and engaging as you’d hope for.

Still, they went an hour.

Even with Fred Yehi writhing around in agony in one of the most dramatic ankle lock teases I’ve ever seen, this match was fighting an uphill battle from the jump. There’s a version of this match that is half as long and twice as effective, and I hope somewhere down the line AAW unleashes that match on the public because it will be must-see.

The work for a majority of this match was so snug and so intense that the moments in-between, the plodding spots that are inescapable in an hour-long match, stood out even more.

I can’t put over the effort from both of these guys enough. Inside of a hot, cramped Logan Square Auditorium, they did everything they could to keep the crowd engaged for the full time limit and they largely did just that. By the time they started teasing finishers and milking submission holds with 15 minutes to go, the crowd was there for it. They might not have loved the finish, but they were invested in the journey that took them there.

This is where wrestling ratings become very arbitrary. It’s impossible to escape the perils of working as long as they did. This felt like an hour. It was grueling to watch, let alone compete in. I have no desire to ever watch this match again and I know these guys have a far better match in them, but for the crowd to be as into it as they were down the stretch, and for these guys to go for as long as they did with no errors and only a few spots that reeked of killing time, I have no choice but to say this was a great match.

Far from perfect, but undeniably great. ****

Final Thoughts

AAW successfully kicked off one of the biggest wrestling weekends of the year with one of their best shows in years. The variety on this show, between the technical wizardry of Davey Richards and Daniel Garcia, the highly enjoyable lucha showcase between Laredo Kid and Arez, and the effort put forth in the main event make this a show that is must-watch for anyone invested in the current indie landscape.