Friday, March 31, 2017

AAW Epic: The 11 Year Anniversary Review

Jimmy Jacobs says goodbye to AAW, while Eddie Kingston & Silas Young do battle once again!

AAW Epic: The 11 Year Anniversary
Berwyn, Illinois 3/21/15

Scarlett Bordeaux interrupted Phil Colvin & Dave Prazak while they were doing the opening introductions for the show. She took the mic and said that she's disgusted by the fact that things are still the same in AAW (with regards to the fans being “pigs” and such). All she sees in the locker room are disappointments and losers, and took a jab at her former client Shane Hollister. Scarlett said that she turns nobodies into somebodies, and once she’s done with them, they go back to being nobodies. She adds that when she says someone’s career is over, it’s over, and remarked that she thinks there’s someone out there who she can lead to greatness. This brought out Shane Hollister. He took the mic from Scarlett Bordeaux, and he made some sort of sexual joke towards Scarlett (something involving him taking the microphone out of her hand). He asked if anyone really wants someone else’s leftovers (again, referring to Scarlett). In response, Scarlett tried to slap him, but Hollister blocked it. Scarlett bailed, and Hollister said that his ankle is healed, emphasizing that his career is far from other. Hollister promised that he would be AAW Heavyweight Champion once again.

1.) Davey Vega & Justice Jones (with Knight Wagner & Angelus Layne) vs. Marion Fontaine & Paco Gonzalez: **1/4

Justice Jones & Paco Gonzalez have been having some issues as of late, while (I think) problems between Davey Vega & Marion Fontaine developed once the former turned heel. This was….an ok tag team match. It went just under five minutes. There was some nice back & forth action between Davey Vega and two guys on the babyface side, but then Justice Jones just KILLED Paco Gonzalez with a lariat. Vega then hit a brainbuster on the knee to score the win for his team.

After the match, Knight Wagner took the mic, and said that Justice Jones is the new face of pain, adding that nobody could take him off his feet. The heels are then interrupted by Ryan Boz. He got in the face of Jones, and the two traded blows. Boz not only took Jones off his feet, but he busted open Jones’ lip as well. The heels were sent packing, and Boz stood tall.

2.) Allysin Kay vs. Athena: ***1/4

I thought this was a pretty solid women’s match. Allysin Kay played her role as a heel very well and, of course, Athena is always exciting to watch. There was some good exchanges throughout the match. The only real complaint I have about this one was the finish, which saw Allysin Kay get the win via heel shenanigans. That definitely took away from the match a little bit, but besides that, this was pretty solid.

3.) AAW Heritage Title - Christian Faith (with Gregory Iron & Mr. Bernard) vs. Louis Lyndon: ***1/2

Christian Faith had been holding the AAW Heritage Title for a couple of months at this point, and here, he was defending the title against Louis Lyndon. I had a feeling that this was going to be solid, but this exceeded my expectations. These two had a really good title match. The start was a tad slow, but things did build up, and got better from there. The second half of this mach was particularly great, with some very cool back & forth action. In one particular spot, Lyndon hit jumping reverse hurricanrana off the top rope to Christian Faith, which was insane. The only drawback here was the constant interference from Gregory Iron & Mr. Bernard. Their interference attempts didn’t have that much of an impact, but their presence was certainly felt later in the match. Towards the end of the match, Mr. Bernard distracted the referee while Louis Lyndon had Christian Faith in the Dragon Sleeper. Faith tapped out, but the referee couldn’t see it. This massive distraction allowed Faith to recover, and he took out Lyndon to retain his title. Again, this was a very good match that featured some great action in the closing stretch.

4.) AAW Tag Team Titles - Three-Way Elimination Match - OI4K (Dave Crist & Jake Crist) vs. The Wet Bandits (Dan Lawrence & Markus Crane) vs. Zero Gravity (Brett Gakiya & CJ Esparza): ***3/4

This was originally supposed to be just OI4K vs. Zero Gravity for the AAW Tag Team Titles, but The Wet Bandits interrupted the proceedings before the match could begin. Dan Lawrence took the mic and said that he’s involving their rematch clause, meaning that this was now a Three-Way Elimination Match. I wasn’t very happy to see that The Wet Bandits were added to this match, given that their title reign was mediocre at best. However, once again, we got an undercard title match that totally exceeded my expectations. I enjoyed this A LOT!! This was basically packed with fast-paced action right from the opening bell. OI4K and Zero Gravity were both great here. As far as The Wet Bandits go, this was probably the best performance I’ve ever seen from them. Unfortunately, they were eliminated first after OI4K hit Crane with a spike tombstone piledriver. The match came down to the originally advertised bout, OI4K vs. Zero Gravity, and in the end, OI4K emerged victorious, retaining their AAW Tag Team Titles.

5.) Falls Count Anywhere Match - “All Ego” Ethan Page vs. Jimmy Jacobs: ****1/4

These two met back at The Art Of War, and in that match, Page just sneaked away with the win. Now, they’re meeting in a Falls Count Anywhere Match, in the final AAW appearance for Jimmy Jacobs, who would be heading to WWE in a few weeks time. For the third time in a row on this card, a match that I thought would be good exceeded my expectations. This was a fantastic match!! It was probably the best match on the show, in my opinion. The first portion of the match was more lighthearted for sure, with weapons like a stop sign and a wheelchair being used. However, once things got more serious, this got really good. The hammer from the ring bell and some steel chairs were brought into the fray. At one point, Ethan Page got on the ring apron and actually mooned the crowd. That was…..something. Anyway, the latter portion of the match is when things got super serious. Jimmy Jacobs, of course, brought out his railroad spike. His initial attempt to use it missed, and later on, Page turned the tables when he used the spike on Jacobs, which busted him open pretty bad. Page would use the spike a couple of more times on Jacobs, which just made things even worse. Despite the punishment he took, Jacobs fought back, and took the fight to Ethan Page. Later on, Jacobs brought out a ladder, and managed to hit a huge senton off the top of it!! That was crazy. He later locked on the End Time, with an assist from a steel chain, but that couldn’t get the job done. Eventually, a Spinning Dwayne off the the top rope gives Ethan Page the victory. 

This was pretty awesome. They got a lot of time, and they certainly made the most of it. Again, it was a little slow to get going, when the match was more comedic, but once things got more serious in the second half, this turned into a great match. There were so many good near-falls in that second half, and that added a lot of drama to this one. I guess my only complaint was that they didn’t really utilize the “Falls Count Anywhere” stipulation. This was essentially a Street Fight, as they never made any serious attempts to score falls on the outside. Other than that minor complaint, this was fantastic, as I already mentioned. It was a big victory for Ethan Page, and a great final match in AAW for Jimmy Jacobs. 

After the match ended, a good portion of the locker room empties out to celebrate with Jacobs. Someone from AAW management takes the mic (Was it Jim Lynam or Danny Daniels? I’m honestly not sure). Whoever it is, he said that if AAW had a Mount Rushmore, Jimmy Jacobs would be the first guy on it, adding that AAW wouldn’t be here without him. Jacobs takes the mic and thanks the wrestlers for coming out to the ring and the fans for coming out to the show. He said that he appreciates every single fan that comes out to see AAW events. Jacobs then said that after sixteen years in wrestling and ten years in AAW, the only thing he could say is thank you. The crowd gives Jacobs a standing ovation as he exits through the crowd.

6.) Josh Alexander vs. Johnny Gargano: ****

After failing to capture the AAW Heavyweight Title from Eddie Kingston at The Chaos Theory 2015, Alexander managed to bounce back in a big way. He scored a huge victory over Ricochet at The Art Of War, and he managed to get another big win here when he defeated Johnny Gargano. I thought this was a great match. It wasn’t quite as good as the Falls Count Anywhere Match that preceded it, but still, I really enjoyed this. Both guys are awesome, so it’s no surprise that this delivered. This match featured some great action from start to finish. The second half of the match was particularly good, as Gargano did everything he could to avoid the spinning tombstone, but once Alexander hit it, the match was over. I wouldn’t call this a truly spectacular match, but it absolutely delivered.

Alexander got on the mic after the match. He said that for months, his goal had been to be AAW Heavyweight Champion. Last month he beat Ricochet, and tonight, he just beat Johnny Gargano. He then calls out Samoa Joe for a match on AAW’s next show on April 10th.

7.) Four-Way Scramble Match - Candice LeRae vs. Chris Sabin vs. DJ Z vs. Mat Fitchett: ***1/2

This one, at least initially, was being conducted under Four-Corner Survival rules. Of course, things broke down as the match progressed, but as a whole, this was a really fun match. All four participants had the chance to shine here, and there were plenty of entertaining spots. At one point, Candice LeRae went for a ballsplex on Chris Sabin, but she couldn’t execute the move, as she claimed she couldn’t hold on to Sabin’s small dick. LeRae would eventually hit all three men with ballsplex, but in response, the three guys gave her a triple superkick. Eventually, Sabin managed to score the victory after hitting Fitchett with the Cradle Shock.

8.) Blindfold Match - Dick Justice vs. Gregory Iron (with Mr. Bernard): DUD

I never thought I’d see a Blindfold Match in a promotion like AAW, yet here we are. To be fair, this did have a decent build to it, as Gregory Iron and the rest of The Iron Curtain had tried to blind Dick Justice on a number of occasions. As far as the match goes, there really isn’t much to say here. It was pretty awful. At one point, Iron tried to cheat, as he took off his hood and attacked Dick Justice while Mr. Bernard had the referee distracted. This didn’t work, however, as Dick Justice managed to fight back, and got the win over Gregory Iron. Again, this was pretty bad, as you would’ve guessed. Thankfully, it didn’t go very long, so I suppose that’s one positive. Regardless, you should probably skip this.

9.) AAW Heavyweight Title - Eddie Kingston vs. Silas Young: ****

There’s a lot of history between these two. They had a very heated rivalry that started in 2013 and continued throughout 2014, culminating in a Steel Cage Match at Day Of Defiance 2014. After being out for a number of months with a knee injury, Silas Young made his return to AAW at The Chaos Theory 2015, when he attacked Eddie Kingston who, since that Steel Cage Match, had won the AAW Heavyweight Title. This was an interesting contest, because the babyface/heel roles had essentially reversed. As far as the match itself goes, I thought it was pretty great! This was a very physical bout that saw both guys beat the crap out of each other. These two went back and forth, and the match nearly ended on a number of different occasions. While it wasn’t quite as good as their Steel Cage Match from several months prior, it was still pretty awesome. Ultimately, Eddie Kinston would get the win to retain his AAW Heavyweight Title.

After the match, Silas Young took the mic. He asked if the applause from the fans was supposed to cheer him up, because he doesn’t appreciate it. Young said that he doesn’t care about the fans, and then the “Last Real Man” makes his exit.

Overall: 8.25/10

This was a pretty great show from AAW. Aside from the opener (which was ok for what it was) and the Blindfold Match (which, unsurprisingly, was terrible), everything on this show delivered. In some cases, we had matches that exceeded expectations. The two undercard title matches certainly feel under that category, as they were both much better than I was expecting. Ethan Page vs. Jimmy Jacobs in a Falls Count Anywhere Match was easily the match of the night, with Josh Alexander vs. Johnny Gargano and Eddie Kingston vs. Silas Young for the AAW Heavyweight Title not that far behind. AAW celebrated their 11th Anniversary with a great night of wrestling, and this is a show that you should definitely check out.

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