Last night I had the pleasure of attending the final AAW event of the year at 115 Bourbon Street in the Chicago suburbs. As an aside, I’d just like to thank the AAW promotion, staff and wrestlers for an incredible year as they have very much been my “home promotion”, and due to the pure level of talent, ongoing stories and friendships established there I would absolutely put them up against any company in the world. And thanks to the guys (and girl) that almost got us all killed on the 4:00 AM ride back to the hotel.
A special thanks to Kimber Lee and Heidi Lovelace who wrestled their final match on the indies last night. You’re both incredible talents, and even better human beings (even Kim, don’t let her heel character fool you) and it’s been a pleasure watching you both leave it all in the ring month after month for AAW. WWE is lucky to have you both.
Scarlett Bordeaux kicked off the show with Conor Braxton and Eddie Machete, interrupting the commentary team. She bragged about having a match on Monday Night Raw that week, and demanded that her boy Braxton be booked in a match. Homicide cut her off and the match is on.
(1) Homicide def. Connor Braxton. Homicide took control and brought a chair into the match, prompting the heels to triple team him to get control back. He no-sold Scarlett wailing on him for a good while, turned around and dropped her with an Ace Crusher.
Eddie and Connor beat down Homicide after the match until Kongo Kong and Markus Crane came out to make the save. Jake and Dave Crist came out with JT Davidson and dropped Homicide with a double team spike piledriver. At some point during the brawl a match started…
(2) Jake & Dave Crist def. Kongo Kong & Markus Crane. Jake took a really bad bump from Kongo during the match. I walked around with him during intermission and he definitely broke a few ribs.
(3) Matt Riddle def. Davey Richards. Both men were super over, and Davey got a great pop as his surprise opponent who definitely wasn’t advertised for the show. As you’d imagine, lots of strikes and kicks and submission. They went back and forth, calling it in the ring, and Riddle finally tapped him out in about 12 minutes with the Bromission.
(4) Michael Elgin def. Paco, Dezmond Xavier & Matt Fitchett. This was a lot of fun, with Elgin having the obvious size advantage and everyone having to double team him to take him down. Paco got a great reaction as the hometown boy. Elgin got the win after a sitout powerbomb from the top rope on Paco. Keep an eye on Xavier. This was an incredible year for him, and there’s already rumblings of him being the next major cruiserweight star on the indies.
(5) Drew Galloway def. Jeff Cobb. I didn’t catch a lot of this match as I was getting drinks at the bar and taking a smoke break. The crowd was hot for it though, and what parts I did see were good. Cobb is one of the most underrated performers anywhere in the world right now. Get that boy to Japan.
Galloway cut a promo after the match to send off his 2016, talking about his injury and being out of action for a good part of the year. He listed all the various promotions he’s been working for, including AAW, and says Vince McMahon was right to call him the “chosen one”.
(6) Pentagon Jr. def. Chris Hero. This should have been a match of the year candidate, but they blew out the entire top rope about a minute into the match. They managed to salvage it and did all their spots from the second rope, including a few Canadian Destroyers, but they had to go the finish in about seven minutes and you can’t help but feel sad after the years both of these guys have had, to not be able to go at their full potential for a solid 15-20 minutes.
Hero cut a promo after the match, saying he’s seen a million things happen in a ring, but he’s never seen the entire top rope just snap off the ring post before. He said that was a real boost of self esteem, obviously making a joke about his weight. He thanked the fans and said that people don’t go to AAW to see jacked up bodies, they go to see pro wrestling, and he’s proved that he’s the best in the world today. He said that it doesn’t matter if you have the body of greek god, or if you just look like “some guy” with a flabby stomach, and thanks the fans for an incredible year and making AAW his midwest home.
(7) Chuck Taylor & Colt Cabana def. Davey Vega & Silas Young. So…the story of this match has a history of Vega trying to bite off Chucky T’s penis. Yep. He enlisted Cabana as his Penis Protection Squad. A lot of great comedy here, with the final spot being Vega trying to go after Chuck’s junk, and Chuck revealing he was wearing an athletic cup the whole time. Colt tapped out Vega with the Billy Goat’s Curse. I love wrestling…
(8) Heidi Lovelace def. Kimber Lee. This was the final indie match for both women, as they’re heading to WWE in just a few days. Kimber played the heel and attacked her rival on the outside during her introduction. They worked a great match, and the fans were probably 70/30 split for Heidi, who has become the female star of the promotion.
After the match Kim thanked the fans and said that this was Heidi’s house, giving her the mic and walking away. Heidi took some time to take in the moment, and said it’s hard to grasp what was happening because she’s not sure if she deserves it or not. The fans erupted into a loud “you deserve it” chant, and she teared up. She made a joke about the top rope breaking on her last night on the indies, and thanked Danny Daniels for taking a chance on her years ago. She said that every ounce of success she has ever attained in pro wrestling was became of AAW, and left to a huge chant.
(9) ACH def. AR Fox to become the new AAW Heritage Champion. This was probably match of the night. Both guys did their thing, with tons of crazy moves and near-falls. ACH got the win in 12 minutes with a 450 splash, which was a little bit of a surprise to a lot of people. Fox took the belt from the referee and got some boos for it, but then gave the belt to ACH himself and the two shook hands. ACH is super over in that building.
(10) Sami Callihan def. Rey Fenix to retain the AAW Championship. Another good match, but I don’t think people were as invested in Fenix here because it didn’t feel like he had a real shot to win the title, at least not as much as someone like Pentagon would in the same setting. He did get the fans to rally around him, but Sami also had a legion of his own fans despite being the biggest heel in the midwest right now.
Callihan got on the mic after the match and said the AAW Championship was the big belt in all of pro wrestling right now. He said that he hates masked wrestlers and hates Rey Fenix, but they were born from the same mold and thanks him for the match, and tells him he has respect for him. He reveals that it was his birthday when he took Fenix’s mask earlier this year, and today is Fenix’s birthday so he wants to shake his hand. Eventually they did and Callihan beat the hell out of him.
The Killer Cult came back and joined in the beatdown. Homicide rushed the ring and somehow managed to fend off three people until Fenix came back to help him. Homicide cut a really, really offensive promo basically calling the Cult “pussies” and “fags” and “homos”, even dropping “cunt” more than a couple times, and challenged them to a cage match when Eddie Kington returns. It got so bad that a bunch of us were actively booing him – people were understandably not okay with the language and the homophobic and sexist slurs, especially given that AAW is a “family show” and there were a lot of little kids with parents hanging out. Keep in mind that in this situation, he was the “babyface”.
Not a great way to end 2016…
The show was fun, but felt a little “off”. For whatever reason all but four of the matches hadn’t been announced ahead of time; even a bunch of the wrestlers had no idea what they were doing until they got to the building, and it felt a bit more unorganized and pieced together than usual. A lot less heel on babyface action then usual, and while the crowd was still super into the show, it was missing something compared to their other recent shows which have been absolutely world-class. That’s not to take anything away from the wrestlers, who all did what they could and worked hard. I still had a lot of fun, there were definitely some great moments – it just felt “off” their usual offering.