AAW Day Of Defiance 2014
Merrionette Park, Illinois 5/2/14
1.) #WalkingWeapon vs. Brett Gakiya: ***1/4
Both of these men are making their in-ring returns to AAW following injuries (Gakiya had an orbital bone injury, while #WalkingWeapon had, I believe, a herniated disk along with having other non-injury related issues to deal with). This was a very solid opener. These two worked pretty well together with Gakiya, one half of Zero Gravity being the high flyer while #WalkingWeapon used his size & power. Just a very exciting way to start things off. #WalkingWeapon gets the win.
2.) Christian Faith vs. Mallaki Matthews: *3/4
This really wasn't much of a match, per say. It was mostly a way to get Christian Faith over. Matthews got a few moves in, but for the most part Christian Faith was in control, and eventually won.
Afterwords, Gregory Iron and the rest of the Iron Curtain come out. They continue beating down Matthews. Iron says he's come back to AAW to remind people who the real heroes are, such as himself, and to expose supposed heroes like Colt Cabana & Arik Cannon. They finish off Matthews before leaving.
3.) AAW Heritage Title - Matt Cage vs. CJ Esparza: **1/2
Here we have the other half of Zero Gravity in CJ Esparza. This was a decent match. It had the potential to be better, but it appeared that, shortly after the match began, Esparza hurt himself on a dive. I'm guessing this must have affected the match, as it only went for a few minutes total and Esparza didn't do much after getting hurt. Matt Cage retains his title in a match that appeared to have been hindered by an injury suffered by Esparza.
4.) Keith Walker (with Kevin Harvey, Tweek Phoenix & Nikki Mayday) vs. Ryan Boz: ***
This feud has been building for a good part of 2014, with We Are Here's attacks on Tony Rican & Ryan Boz attempting to save him from these attacks. This was a pretty good big man match. Both guys went back & forth and just beat the crap out of each other. I think Walker got busted open near his mouth (I want to say his lip) at some point. The match ended up getting hurt by interference by not just We Are Here, but Tony Rican as well. Through all the chaos, Walker is able to put Boz away for the victory.
After the match, Keith Walker & Tweek Phoenix hold Ryan Boz while Kevin Harvey throws a fireball in his face! This is serious!
5.) Eight Person Mixed Tag Team Match - Dan Lawrence, Marcus Crane, Joey Ryan & Veda Scott vs. Candice LaRae, Heidi Lovelace, Juntai Miller & Marion Fontaine: ***1/4
This has to be one of the most interesting matches of the year, when you consider who is involved, The teams are certainly unique to say the least. Joey Ryan, Candice LaRae & Veda Scott all making their AAW debuts in this one. I really enjoyed this match. It was honestly just a lot of fun. Everyone got to hit their stuff and we got a good mix of actual wrestling as well as comedy (Joey Ryan getting his trunks pulled down repeatedly). The team of LaRae, Lovelace, Miller & Fontaine get the win in this very entertaining affair.
6.) Six-Man Tag - The House Of Truth (Knight Wagner, Justice Jones & Alex Bernadino) vs. Marek Brave & The L.O.S.E.R.S. (Moondog Bernard & Sea Man): *1/2
Things start of quickly in this one as The House of Truth attack The L.O.S.E.R.S. as they make their entrance. After they've pretty much disposed of them, Marek Brave (who's been feuding with Knight Wagner) comes out and goes right after Wagner! It essentially becomes a three-on-one situation as Brave fights the H.O.T. off all by himself, with Moondog Bernard & Sea Man already taken out. Despite Brave's fight, things don't last much longer as Jones finishes him off while Wagner steals the pin. This was pretty short, but it was close to what it needed to be, if you asked me. Didn't need to go longer than that. More of a way to advance the Knight Wagner/Marek Brave feud.
7.) #1 Contender's Match - Kevin Steen vs. Jimmy Jacobs: **1/2
The winner of this match will challenge Shane Hollister for the AAW Heavyweight Title later on in the show. Steen & Jacobs always put on good matches together, and this time was no different. They had a solid back & forth match for a few minutes until Shane Hollister comes out and takes them both out with his title belt. This brings out AAW Owner Jim Lynam, who says Hollister isn't going to get away with crap like this, and then announced a Triple Threat between Hollister, Steen & Jacobs that starts right now.
8.) AAW Heavyweight Title - Triple Threat Match - Shane Hollister (with Scarlett Bordeaux) vs. Kevin Steen vs. Jimmy Jacobs: ***1/2
This was a pretty entertaining title match. They did some brawling around the building (they were in a bar, so of course they did some spots involving the bar, most notably Steen jumping off the bar onto Hollister & Jacobs). Once they got back in the ring, things got a little slow, but the second half of the match was really good and more than made up for it. I kind of question why this wasn't made a Triple Threat in the first place. Would have been much better had they gone with that from the very beginning. Hollister is able to take advantage of Jacobs & Steen fighting each other to score the win & retain his title.
After the match, Kevin Steen & Jimmy Jacobs get frustrated, and start cutting promos on one another. Jacobs says Steen doesn't care about AAW, which Steen vehemently disagrees with, saying that pro-wrestling is his home. He says Jacobs is bothered by the fact that the spotlight is always on him. Jacobs says Steen doesn't care and that AAW has always been his home (for nearly nine years). He says Steen screwed him out of winning the title tonight as Steen leaves.
During the entrances for this next match, Jake Crist comes out without his brother, Dave Crist. After Men Of The Year made their entrance, Jake takes the mic and explains that he has found a new partner, and that man is #WalkingWeapon, who attacks Elgin & #ALLEGO from behind to get things going!!
9.) AAW Tag Team Titles - Ladder Match - Men Of The Year ("Unbreakable" Michael Elgin & #ALLEGO) vs. Jake Crist & #WalkingWeapon: ****1/4
So apparently this was set up as a Ladder Match after the feud Men Of The Year had been having with OI4K, but with Dave Crist unable to make, #WalkingWeapon was picked by Jake Crist to take his place. It's certainly an interesting pick, as both Michael Elgin & #ALLEGO have history with #WalkingWeapon. I was curious to see how this went as the majority of the guys in this match weren't necessarily high flying guys. Even with this worry, the match itself turned out to be great! All for guys held their own and we got to see a lot of brutal ladder spots. The highlight of the match involves Jake Crist, who after getting a ladder pulled out from under him, grabs onto one of the overhead trusses of the venue, and gives a massive leg drop onto #ALLEGO from the truss!! That was insane!! Eventually, Elgin is able to take out both Jake Crist & #WalkingWeapon and retrieves the belts to retain the Tag Team Titles for his team.
10.) Steel Cage Match - Eddie Kingston vs. Silas Young: ****1/4
This is a feud that has been building for nearly a year, basically since Eddie Kingston made his AAW debut on the 2013 edition of Day Of Defiance. Now after everything that has gone down between these two, they settle it within the confines of a Steel Cage. This was a really great Main Event! You really got the sense these two hated each other and it showed throughout the match. They brawled out through the crowd before even getting in the Cage, used the Cage itself (of course), and used Tables, Ladders, and Chairs, all in an attempt to inflict maximum punishment on each other. The big spot of the match came when Silas Young powerbombs Eddie Kingston from near the top of the Cage through a table!! He then puts in the Stock Lock with a combination of knee strikes, and Young is finally able to win the match and the lengthy war with Kingston! Just a very entertaining Steel Cage Match. My only complaint would be that they did spend the beginning part of the match brawling through the crowd, when we already saw that earlier in the night during the World Title Match. Other than that, this match was a fitting concluding to the Eddie Kingston/Silas Young rivalry.
As a whole, the show was pretty solid. The Ladder Match for the Tag Team Titles, despite the last minute substitution, was really good, while the Eddie Kingston/Silas Young Steel Cage Match was a great blow off to their one year feud. However, if you take away those two matches, the rest of the show was actually very average. You had some decent undercard matches, like the opener and the eight person tag, but the rest was sort of a mixed bag for me, personally. I like the idea of Hollister being a champion, but from what I've seen, the majority (but not all) of his title matches haven't been anything special or noteworthy. His match tonight was a similar case, where it was a pretty good match, but ultimately not a match that makes his reign memorable. If AAW can put together a good undercard, much like they did with The Chaos Theory & Point Of No Return Shows earlier in the year, you have the potential for some really must see shows, but as was the case with this show, a rather weak undercard dragged the show as a whole down. Despite these issues, I would say the Ladder Match & the Steel Cage Match are well worth going out your way to see.