Sunday, February 19, 2017

AAW The Art Of War 2015 Review

Eddie Kingston defends the AAW Heavyweight Title against Davey Richards, while The Hooligans & Zero Gravity go to war in a TLC Match!!

AAW The Art Of War 2015
Merrionette Park, Illinois 2/28/15

1.) AAW Tag Team Titles - The Wet Bandits (Dan Lawrence & Markus Crane) vs. OI4K (Dave Crist & Jake Crist): **3/4

The Wet Bandits had issued an Open Challenge Match, and O4IK (the former Irish Airborne) answered the call. They were former AAW Tag Team Champions, but hadn’t appeared in AAW for quite some time. I thought this was a fine opener. Honestly, this was probably one of the best title matches we’ve from The Wet Bandits during this title run. There were very few shenanigans, and that was greatly appreciated. In the end, OI4K scored the victory to capture the AAW Tag Team Titles. The only thing I didn’t like about the match is that OI4K didn’t look quite as dominant as he should have, but other than that, this was a solid opening match.

2.) Allysin Kay vs. Nevaeh: **1/2

This is the AAW debut for Allysin Kay. I thought this was a fine women’s match. Nevaeh looked solid, but this was mainly a showcase for Allysin Kay, who ultimately won the match. Nothing much else to say other than that.

3.) “Money” Matt Cage vs. Silas Young: ***1/4

Silas Young made his return to AAW back at The Chaos Theory 2015 when he attacked Eddie Kingston. Young had been on the shelf for a number of months with a knee injury. Here, he’s making his in-ring return against Matt Cage. This was a pretty solid match. There was some solid back & forth action throughout, and both guys looked good. The match wasn’t spectacular, but it was perfect for its spot on the card. Silas Young would get the victory in the end.

Some guy tries to interview Silas Young after the match, but Young sends him away. He takes the mic and said he’d lying if he didn’t say that it was an amazing feeling to come back to AAW. He’d only been away from AAW for a few months, but it felt like bizarro world to him. Young called out the fans for cheering Eddie Kingston after Kingston attacked his wife during the feud he had with Kingston in 2013/2014. He said all of the fans have crapped on him, despite his hard work. He tried being the good guy, but the fans were all selfish assholes. He says that if Kingston wants to run his mouth, he’ll come right up to him and punch him in the face. Interesting that they’re reviving this feud, but with the roles seemingly reversed.

4.) AAW Heritage Title - Six-Way Elimination Match - Christian Faith (with Gregory Iron & Mr. Bernard) vs. Benjamin Boone vs. Davey Vega vs. Marion Fontaine vs.  Mat Fitchett vs. Tony Kozina: ***1/2

This was originally scheduled to be a Five-Way Elimination Match, but Gregory Iron took the mic before the match, and claimed that AAW was bullying Christian Faith (and The Iron Curtain in general) by having him defend the title in this situation. After negotiating with AAW management, Iron announced that Benjamin Boone would be added to the match, making it Six-Way Elimination Match, so he could make sure Christian Faith retains his title. As a whole, I thought this match was really good. You always want matches like this to be packed with action, and that’s pretty much what we got here. There were plenty of cool spots throughout this match. At one point, Fontaine hit a huge elbow drop from the top rope to the floor onto everyone else (except Davey Vega), and then, Vega hits and insane hurricanrana on Fontaine from the top all the way to the floor onto everyone else! That was crazy. As far as the eliminations go, Fitchett eliminated Boone and then Kozina in quick (and emphatic) succession. Vega then eliminated Fontaine, and then Fitchett eliminated Vega. Finally, Christian Faith eliminates Fitchett to retain his AAW Heritage Title. This match was exactly what it needed to be. There was plenty of action, and all six guys got a chance to shine. In particular, Matt Fitchett came out of this looking very good, scoring three eliminations and being the last one left against Christian Faith. 

5.) #1 Contender’s TLC Match - The Hooligans (with Buck Nasty) vs. Zero Gravity: ****

Here we have the culmination of a long feud between these two teams. They’re wrestled against each other in all sorts of matches, but this #1 Contender’s Match would finally put an end to the rivalry. In this particular TLC Match, you can only win via pinfall or submission (similar to the Ryback & Team Hell No vs. The Shield TLC Match from WWE TLC 2012). I thought this was a fantastic TLC Match!! It was easily the best match in the feud between these two teams. They both utilized tables, ladders, and chairs in an attempt to destroy each other, and there was plenty of insane stuff throughout this match. At one point, Zero Gravity pushed Buck Nasty off a ladder, sending him through a table on the stage! Eventually, Zero Gravity won the match, and became the #1 Contender’s to the AAW Tag Team Titles in the process, after putting one of The Hooligans through a table after jumping off two ladders. Again, this was a crazy match filled with a number of great moments.

6.) “All Ego” Ethan Page vs. Jimmy Jacobs: ***1/2

These two started having issues towards the end of the year, and now they’re having their first singles match. This was another really good match. There was plenty of action from start to finish, and I thought these two worked very well together. It’s nice to see Ethan Page getting some singles outings after a few disappointing efforts with Josh Alexander in tag team matches on some of the previous shows. Towards the end of the match, Page puts the referee between himself and Jimmy Jacobs. He uses this distraction to hit Jacobs with a low blow, and picks up the win. The match was pretty entertaining, but way this ended clearly set up a rematch.

7.) Justice Jones (with Angelus Layne & Knight Wagner) vs. Paco Gonzalez: **

At The Chaos Theory 2015, Justice Jones (along with Angelus Layne & Knight Wagner) cost Paco Gonzalez the AAW Tag Team Titles. This was a relatively short match, but for what it was, I thought it worked pretty well. Paco Gonzalez got the early jump on Justice Jones, and actually took the fight to him on the outside, but Jones managed to retake control. Paco then fought back, and actually took out Angelus Layne & Knight Wagner, but Jones ultimately won in the end. Jones looked dominant once again, but Paco Gonzalez looked good here as well, despite coming up short.

8.) Josh Alexander vs. Ricochet: ****1/4

Out of all of the matches on this card, I was probably looking forward to this one the most, and it certainly delivered. I thought this match was awesome!! In my view, it just barely edges out the TLC Match as the best match on the show. It did start off a little slow, but for the most part, this was packed with incredible action from start to finish. Ricochet does so many amazing things, and Alexander is great in his own right. This was so much fun to watch, and these two seemed to work very well together. Ultimately, Josh Alexander managed to get the victory after catching Ricochet with a spinning tombstone piledriver. This meant that both members of The Monster Mafia got victories in singles action.

9.) AAW Heavyweight Title - Eddie Kingston vs. Davey Richards: ***3/4

This match actually has some backstory to it, as after he became the first CHIKARA Grand Champion, Eddie Kingston called out Davey Richards (who was the ROH World Champion at the time). It wasn’t my most anticipated match on this show, but I was definitely curious to see it. When the dust settled, it wasn’t a great match, but it was still very good. The match seemed to get off to a slow start, but the place gradually picked up, to the point where the second part of the match was very good. It was a relatively long match, but they didn’t go overly long, so that was another positive. I know both guys aren’t exactly the most popular guys on the independents, but this was a singles match that I wanted to see, and I think that, for the most part, they delivered a pretty satisfying match. It was very good, but it never reached the levels of being great. Eventually, Eddie Kingston finally put Richards away to retain his AAW Heavyweight Title.

As soon as the match ended, Silas Young came out and attacked Eddie Kingston. He locks him in an armbar, and it takes nearly half the locker room (including some referees) to pull Young off. After Young and the people that had pulled him off went to the back, Kingston took the mic. He called out Silas Young for attacking him from behind again, and says that next time they meet, he wants an anything goes, falls count anywhere match. Kingston tells Young to drag his “whore” wife out of bed to see it. Richards then took the mic, and called out a fan in the front row who had apparently been heckling him during the match. He then said that no matter where he wrestles, he always remembers that he came from independent wrestling. Richards said it might be his final match in AAW for the time being, but he was grateful to wrestle for such a great company, and was privileged to wrestle a guy like Eddie Kingston. He then handed the AAW Heavyweight Title to Kingston as the show came to a close.

Overall: 8.25/10

As a whole, this was a pretty strong show from AAW. Josh Alexander/Ricochet and The Hooligans/Zero Gravity TLC Match were both fantastic, and are definitely the two matches to check out from this show. You also had a pretty good main event between Eddie Kingston & Davey Richards for the AAW Heavyweight Title, and a number of very solid matches on the undercard, such as Ethan Page vs. Jimmy Jacobs and the Six-Way Match for the AAW Heritage Title. Even the matches on this show that weren’t exactly the best were still entertaining. If you’re looking for shows from AAW in 2015 to check out, this was definitely one of them.

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