AAW
Jim Lynam Memorial Tournament 2021 – Night 1
October 29, 2021
Berwyn Eagles Club
Berwyn, Illinois

Watch: FITE

Chicago’s premiere indie AAW returned to the iconic Berwyn Eagles Club for the first time since November 2017. That show—Hell Hath No Fury 2017—may as well be from a different century when you see some of the names listed up and down the card.  This will be the first of three nights for AAW in the hollowed wooden walls of the Eagles Club this week and the opening round of the prestigious Jim Lynam Memorial Tournament.

Keep in mind for this review, I attended the show live so I can’t speak to any of the FITE production.

The night began with AAW owner Danny Daniels talking about AAW’s return to the Eagles Club and the return of the Lynam Tournament after a year hiatus (COVID). Daniels brought out three former AAW mainstays: Krotch, Marek Brave and Shane Hollister. Each spoke for a few moments about their history in AAW and the Eagles Club concluding with Hollister saying he wanted to come back to AAW. Daniels shook his hand and, well, it looks like the former AAW Heavyweight Champion will be making his return to the company.

Jim Lynam Memorial Tournament
Lee Moriarty def. Ace Perry

Ace Perry felt like a dark horse to go far in the tournament this year but that hope quickly faded when he drew AEW star Moriarity in his opening round matchup. The two had a short but fun match with Perry playing his usual obnoxious heel role. Moriarty stayed focused throughout the match and did give into any of Perry’s antics. Finally, Moriarty put Perry away with a crossface to move onto the second round. ***

Jim Lynam Memorial Tournament
Daniel Garcia def. Thomas Shire

Typically in one night or weekend-long tournaments, wrestlers will play up the exhaustion of having to wrestle so many matches in so little time. Very often energy consumption and risk mitigation are top of mind. Garcia and Shire didn’t get the memo. These two beat the HELL out of one another for nearly 10 minutes. Hard strikes, huge suplexes, lariats, powerbombs, you name it. The match started very basic as the two men felt one another out. Shire then chopped Garcia which set off Red Death who then proceeded to destroy Shire’s knee and go in for the kill. Shire had arguably the nearfall of the night after htting a huge Airplane Spin and Powerbomb but Garcia kicked out at two. Just as Shire was about to walk over to Garcia to continue the assault, Garcia grabbed his leg and made Shire tap. This rocked. Go out of your way to see this. ****

Backstage, John E. Bravo is looking for a replacement for Davey Vega, who could not make the show. Bravo is desperate and even tries to bribe former AAW wrestler and current staff member Tony Rican. It doesn’t work and Bravo is left scrambling.

Jim Lynam Memorial Tournament
Alexander Hammerstone def. Manders

I either heard this incorrectly or someone needs to update their weight but did AAW bill Hammerstone as being 220 lbs.? Maybe when he was in high school? Anyway this was a BIG BIG boy battle. Bombs, clotheslines, huge chops throughout. I’ve always love the look and the aura of Hammerstone but never quite enjoyed the work as much as I wanted. This match, though, was perhaps the most complete Hammerstone performance I’ve ever seen. He’s a guy who by looks alone jumps off the page at a modern indie show and he seems to be improving in the ring quite a bit. Hammerstone did pull out the win but these two had a HELL of a match in this opening round. ***3/4

Jim Lynam Memorial Tournament
Mat Fitchett def. Jake Something

Fitchett started his weekend off great with an impressive and fun match against Jake Something. These two have respect for one another which led to more of a back and forth wrestling match and less of a war like the previous two matches. This one saw a lot of really cool nearfalls, fun spots in and out of the ring and a Fitchett win out of nowhere as Something was a BIT too worried about asking the crowd what his name was. Something’s negligence gave Fitchett an opening to roll him up in a crucifix pin for the win. ***3/4

AAW Heavyweight Championship
Fred Yehi (c) def. Sean Logan

AAW Champ Fred Yehi initiated an open challenge which was answered by… Sean Logan. I don’t know who Sean Logan is. And unfortunately, things didn’t go well for the young man. Yehi had complete and utter disdain for Logan and put him away in a minute and a half. NR

Yehi was not happy with his competition and asked AAW to bring someone else out. The returning PACO answered the challenge and we had our second title match of the night.

AAW Heavyweight Championship
Fred Yehi (c) vs. PACO

Hey! It’s PACO. AAW’s most lovable wrestler made his first AAW appearance since April. PACO gave a valiant effort but Yehi, once he was ready to end the charade, put the plucky underdog away with a Perfect Plex. ***

Yehi… was still not pleased and said he wants AT LEAST one more match tonight. This brought out Gringo Loco for our third title match of the night.

AAW Heavyweight Championship
Fred Yehi (c) def. Gringo Logo

This was fun with a few close nearfalls but like the match with PACO once the story of the match turned to Yehi’s advantage, it was only a matter of time. Yehi gave Loco a FEW nearfalls but the champ overwhelmed him in the end to pick up his third and final victory of the night. ***

Jim Lynam Memorial Tournament
ACH def. Frontman Jah-C

Jah-C accepted John E. Bravo’s offer and replaced Davey Vega in the Lynam Tournament. This was a real fun back and forth in ACH’s return to the company. Jah-C had great presence and while ACH was a little rusty, as the match progressed and as both men got more comfortable the match really got going. ACH won with a cutter to advance in the tournament. ***1/4

Jim Lynam Memorial Tournament
Schaff def. Hakim Zane

Zane was his usual amazing heel self here. It’s been said by many, including those on this very site, but Zane/Rohit Raju may be one of the most underrated guys in wrestling right now. The best heel (non-MJF division) in the business and just a professional wrestler in every sense of the word. After some antics by Zane and his lackey, Schaff was finally able to put the AAW Heritage Champion away and move onto the next round. ***

Jim Lynam Memorial Tournament
Myron Reed def. Arez

Hard-hitting, high-flying action that may have been a contender for match of the night… if it had gone longer. Just as it felt like they were getting momentum going and really building towards a great match, it was over. Reed picked up the win to advance. Fun match but these two definitely have a better match in them. ***1/4

Jim Lynam Memorial Tournament
Josh Alexander def. Mance Warner

Alexander is the reigning Lynam Tournament winner and is looking for a repeat this year. He started off on the right foot here with a big win over Mancer. There was an initial feeling out process at the beginning of the match that quickly turned brutal as something set Alexander off. The normally collected Alexander rolled out of the ring, grabbed two chairs then proceed to hit Warner in the back. Warner rolled out of the ring and grabbed a table. We knew it wouldn’t be long before someone was going through it and well, it was Mancer who ate a Death Valley Driver through the table. Alexander, who was a mad man in this match, then grabbed a shard of the table on Mance’s ankle then put him in an Ankle Lock. Mance did get to the ropes but it felt like only a matter of time before it would be over for Warner. Alexander started kicked Mance in the head until the ref pulled him off. I thought we were getting a TKO here but Alexander instead picked up Warner, hit a C4 Spike and continued in his quest to repeat as tournament winner. This was really good and a great way to cap off a solid as hell night of wrestling. ***1/2

Final Thoughts

A quick, easy and solid Night 1 for AAW’s Jim Lynam Memorial Tournament. While there weren’t any huge surprises or upsets, each tournament match brought something to the table and there really wasn’t anything I’d consider anything less than good. Very high recommendation for this show.