Thursday, November 24, 2016

AAW Windy City Classic X Review

Eddie Kingston & Keith Walker blow the roof of the Berwyn Eagles Club!

AAW Windy City Classic X
Berwyn, Illinois 11/29/14

1.) Louis Lyndon vs. Shane Hollister (with Scarlett Bordeaux): ***1/2

Hollister is coming off losing the AAW Heavyweight Title, along with his subsequent rematch, in the few months prior to this show, and has been getting some criticism from his manager/valet, Scarlett Bordeaux. I thought this was a really good opener. I’ve always enjoyed Louis Lyndon, and it’s a little surprising that a bigger promotion hasn’t picked him up yet. Hollister is, of course, a very good performer as well. There was some very solid back & forth action between these two, especially towards the end of the match. Eventually, Lyndon is able counter Shug’s Last Gift into a small package for the win!

After the match, Hollister wanted to shake Lyndon’s hand, and does, but Scarlett Bordeaux is none too happy with this. It’s pretty clear that their relationship in AAW is on thin ice.

Before the next match, Gregory Iron comes out with Benjamin Boone to cut a promo. He says that he’s an inspiration, and that he tried to guide Dick Justice, but then realized that he couldn’t, because Dick Justice is a loser and an idiot. Iron said he can turn anyone into an inspiration, and introduces Mr. Bernard, who I believe is the former Moondog Bernard (a lower-card wrestler in AAW who had a tag team called the L.O.S.E.R.S. with a guy named Seaman). Dick Justice interrupts this promo, and reveals to the Iron Curtain that Colt Cabana will be teaming up with him to take on the Iron Curtain on the AAW event in December. He wants to fight Iron now, but Benjamin Boone & Mr. Bernard go after him. Dick Justice takes them out, but Christian Faith comes out and attacks Dick Justice. This assault continues until Marek Brave runs out with a chair to make the save. He then calls for the bell, and our next match (for the AAW Heritage Title) is underway.

2.) AAW Heritage Title - Christian Faith vs. Marek Brave: **1/2

I’m not sure if this was a previously scheduled title defense by Christian Faith, or if Marek Brave just randomly called for a title match (I would guess the former, but I honestly don’t know), but regardless, we got a match. Marek Brave wrestled in his street clothes, which was odd since this wasn’t a Street Fight. I thought this was a decent match. It had it’s moments, but it honesty wasn’t anything special. Towards the end of the match, Dick Justice and Gregory Iron start arguing on the apron, which leads to Marek Brave diving from the top rope to the floor onto the Iron Curtain. He goes for a dive on the other side of the ring to the floor onto Christian Faith, but Faith just boots him out of the air. This would lead to Christian Faith getting the win to retain his AAW Heritage Title.

3.) Justice Jones (with Knight Wagner) vs. Marion Fontaine: *3/4

At this point, Knight Wagner looks like an Emo Chuck Taylor. This was pretty much an extended squash for Justice Jones. Fontaine managed to get in some offense, but Justice Jones ultimately prevailed. The match lasted about three minutes.

After the match, Davey Vega (who is wearing a knee brace and walking with a cane) comes out to check on Marion Fontaine. Vega is thankful for Fontaine’s friendship, and noted that he was supposed to wrestle Justice Jones tonight. However, he said that unlike Marion Fontaine, he would have actually beaten Justice Jones. Vega says he’s going to show Fontaine how he would have beaten Justice Jones, but then he just attacks Fontaine with his cane. I guess Davey Vega is a heel?

4.) Jimmy Jacobs vs. Chris Sabin: ***1/4

There really wasn’t a story going into this match. This was just two veterans of the independent scene going at it. I think Alex Shelley might have been the original opponent for Jimmy Jacobs here, but I’m not sure. For the most part, I thought these two had a pretty solid match. It’s hard for a match involving guys of this caliber to not be good (at the very least). The match featured some good back & forth action throughout. However, the match was hampered a fair deal by the finish. Essentially, Sabin faked a leg injury, and this brought the match to a halt. They played it up like it was a serious deal, but this just led to Sabin rolling up Jacobs for the win. Spots like this are really annoying because it makes Jacobs and the referee look really stupid. I don’t think anyone else in the building thought that Sabin was actually hurt.

After the match, Jimmy Jacobs cuts a promo saying that these fans wanted to see him face Alex Shelley, not Marty Jannetty.

Up next, Ryan Boz comes out to cut a promo. He says he wants to take care of that “pimple” known as Markus Crane (one-half of the AAW Tag Team Champions), who then comes out with his partner Dan Lawrence (the other-half of the AAW Tag Team Champions), who says they came to this show to defend their AAW Tag Team Titles. He notes that Ryan Boz doesn’t have a partner, but Boz reveals that he does have a partner in the form of Heidi Lovelace, who hits a double dropkick off the top onto Dan Lawrence & Markus Crane to start things off!

5.) AAW Tag Team Titles - The Wed Bandits (Dan Lawrence & Markus Crane) vs. Heidi Lovelace & Ryan Boz: **3/4

I thought this was a fine match, for the most part. It wasn’t the worst match on the show, but it wasn’t really that memorable either. To me, it’s amazing that Dan Lawrence & Markus Crane were actually AAW Tag Team Champions at one point. They’ve actively brought down the titles since they’ve won them. Towards the end of the match, Lawrence directs the referee’s attention to an injured Heidi Lovelace on the floor. This distraction allows Lawrence to kick Ryan Boz low, and Crane followed this up with a chair shot. The AAW Tag Team Champion then hit their tag team finisher, The Buddy System, on Boz to retain their titles.

After the match, Boz gets on the mic and calls for a Fans Bring The Weapons Match for the show next month against Dan Lawrence & Markus Crane. He adds that if he wins, he gets another shot at the AAW Tag Team Titles. Lawrence agrees to it, and the match is set.

6.) Berwyn Street Fight - The Hooligans (with Bucky Collins) vs. Zero Gravity: ***1/2

These two teams have been embroiled in a feud in the months leading up to this Berwyn Street Fight. This included a match in the AAW Tag Team Title Tournament the month prior at Jawbreaker that went to a No Contest. I thought this was a very fun hardcore brawl. A stop sign and various chairs were the primary weapons used in this match. It was entertaining to watch from start to finish. These two teams seem to work very well together, and this was another good chapter in their rivalry. The Hooligans would eventually get the win.

7.) Matt Cage vs. Johnny Gargano: ***3/4

Cage is coming off a recent run with the AAW Heritage Title, and this match was one of his toughest to date, as he took on Johnny Gargano. I thought this was really good. For me, it was just shy of being a great match. There was a ton of very solid action from start to finish. Gargano is just so amazing. He was great in this match, as he always is. Cage, however, looked very impressive as well. The only complaint I have is that they seemed to tease doing another “fake injury” finish, which would have been overkill (especially considering we just saw that in the Jimmy Jacobs/Chris Sabin match earlier in the show), but thankfully, that was just a near-fall. In the end, Cage was able to outlast Gargano, and scored the win over the two-time (and, at the time, current) Dragon Gate USA Open The Freedom Gate Champion. This was the second best match on the show, in my opinion.

8.) AAW Heavyweight Title - Eddie Kingston vs. Keith Walker (with Nikki Mayday): ****

When this match was originally announced, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. The only Keith Walker I knew (once I started watching AAW) was the guy that frequently teamed with Tweek Phoenix. I never saw him as more than that. He sure proved me wrong here, as he had a surprisingly fantastic match with Eddie Kingston for the AAW Heavyweight Title. I’m not sure what it was, but these two just clicked so well. The action was great, and the fact that Walker had teased prior to the match that he was probably retiring if he didn’t win the title really added a lot to the match. The crowd actually got behind Walker in a big way, and as a whole, they were pretty split between Walker & Kingston. Eventually, Kingston was able to put away Walker with several consecutive Spinning Backfists, followed by a Sliding D. If you haven’t seen this match already, you need to go check it out. It was a match that totally exceeded expectations.

After the match, Kingston brings Walker to his feet, and leaves him alone in the ring so he could have a moment with the fans.

9.) The American Wolves (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards) vs. The Monster Mafia (“All Ego” Ethan Page & Josh Alexander): ***1/2

So I was pretty excited to see this match. The American Wolves are a fantastic tag team, while The Monster Mafia were well on their way to being a great tag team in their own right. This match was very good, and had a lot of solid action from both teams, as you would expect. Unfortunately, shenanigans towards the end of the match really hampered things. There ended up being two referee bumps. The first occurred when Richards accidently kicked the original referee when Ethan Page moved out of the way. The second occurred when Josh Alexander tossed the second referee who came out to fill in the first referee. The match came to an end when Alexander caught Edwards with a jackknife pin (while Page was holding back Richards). That last part of the match really hurt what could have been a great match, and in general, the led to the show ending on a poor note. I think it would have been much better if they switched this match with Eddie Kingston vs. Keith Walker for the AAW Heavyweight Title, but that’s just me.

Overall: 7.75/10

As a whole, I thought this show was a very mixed bag. You definitely had some very good to great stuff on here, with Eddie Kingston vs. Keith Walker being the match of the night, followed closely by Matt Cage vs. Johnny Gargano. There were also some other very good matches on the undercard, including the Berwyn Street Fight between The Hooligans & Zero Gravity, and the opening match between Louis Lyndon & Shane Hollister. However, the card was hurt by a number of questionable finishes, such as what happened in the Jimmy Jacobs/Chris Sabin match, and the AAW Tag Team Title defense. The worst offender, when it comes to match finishes, was The American Wolves vs. The Monster Mafia in the Main Event which, while still a very good match, had a number of shenanigans that ended the show on a down note. Even with these issues, the show was still relatively good, as I mentioned earlier.

AIW Hell On Earth X Review

AIW holds its final show in Turner's Hall!

AIW Hell On Earth X
Cleveland, Ohio 11/28/14

This was a particularly big show for AIW. Not only is Hell On Earth one of their biggest shows of the year, but it was also the final AIW event in Turner’s Hall, which had been AIW’s home for several years. There were questions at the time about whether this would be AIW’s last show all together, but thankfully, they were able to find a new venue to run their shows at.

1.) Alex Shelley vs. Josh Prohibition: ***

The show kicked off with a match between two competitors who actually know each other very well. I thought this was a pretty solid opener. There wasn’t anything spectacular, but the action was relatively good from start to finish. I might have gone a tad higher with my match rating, but the finish took away from it a little bit. As Josh Prohibition was about to put Alex Shelley away, Raymond Rowe’s music hit, which distracted Prohibition (this was when Rowe was still out of action following his motorcycle accident). This allowed Shelley to roll up Prohibition for the victory. Again, this was a fine match that was hurt slightly by the finish.

After the match, we get a promo from Josh Prohibition. He admits that he’s got too much pride to hang it up and retire, but adds that disrespectful punks like Raymond Rowe keep him going. He says that his challenge to Rowe is still out on the table, and says that when they do meet, it’ll be one of the most violent matches people have ever seen.

2.) AAW Tag Team Champion Jimmy Jacobs vs. “Nasty” Russ Myers: N/R

Around this time, The Forgotten (a stable consisting of Jimmy Jacobs, BJ Whitmer, & Tommy Mercer aka Crimson from TNA) and The Jollyville Fuck-Its (Russ Myers & T-Money) were feuding over the AIW Tag Team Titles. On this show, however, only one person from each team is in the building, so we’re getting a singles match. Jacobs takes his him taking off his clothes (a jacket, a shirt, and some jewelry) and getting ready for the match (wrist tape and knee brace). At the start of the match, Jacobs sets up a chair in the ring and just sits there. He then attacks Russ Myers with a chair for the immediate DQ. He goes to town on Russ Myers, who wins via DQ, with this chair. Jacobs goes to leave, but Myers recovers and dives onto Jacobs. They brawl around ringside and in the crowd for several minutes. Myers eventually hits a moonsault from the top rope to the floor onto Jacobs, clearing the guardrail in the process. He then gets his revenge in the ring by going to town on Jacobs with a chair. Basically, we didn’t get a true “match”, but more of a brawl that extends this program. It’s weird that the match didn’t actually happen, but I don’t have an issue with what they did.

3.) The Iron Curtain (Gregory Iron, Benjamin Boone, Jerry, & Rhino) vs. The League of Justice (Bobby Beverly, Cheech, Colin Delaney, & Dick Justice): **1/2

This is the continuation of the ongoing issue between former Iron Curtain member Dick Justice and Gregory Iron. The League of Justice was all decked out in USA-themed gear. Before the match, Iron cuts a promo where he randomly mentions that he got to hang out with the Insane Clown Posse. He then says Joey Vincent Martini (another member of The Iron Curtain who was scheduled to be in this match) was hurt, before announcing that he’s found a suitable replacement in the form of Rhino.

The match itself was decent. From a match quality perspective, this was the worst match on the show (not counting the immediate DQ in the match that preceded it), but it was by no means terrible. A basic eight-man tag team match. Towards the end of the match, Iron tried to give orders to Rhino, and pushed him around a bit. He eventually slaps Rhino, which sets The Man Beast off. He gives Iron a belly-to-belly suplex before following up with a Gore. This allows The League of Justice to get the win.

After the match, Rhino shakes hands with The League of Justice before leaving.

4.) Dog Collar Match - Eddie Kingston (with The Duke) vs. “All Ego” Ethan Page: ***1/4

These two have been feuding in the months leading up to this show, and this was (I think) their first major match. Page had recently turned babyface, and in the process, started having issues with The Duke, who hired Eddie Kingston to take Page out. As for this match, it was…..very weird. Kingston dominated the majority of the match, especially the first half. Page gets busted open by Kingston during this initial assault, and starts bleeding heavily. The second half of the match was much better, as Page was eventually able to mount a comeback, and fought off interference from The Duke. Despite fighting back with everything he had, the loss of blood proved to be too much as Kingston got Page in (I believe) a crossface, and the referee called for the match to be stopped. This awarded the victory to Eddie Kingston. Again, this was a very strange Dog Collar Match. It only went about twelve or thirteen minutes, and while it was still a solid match, it really felt like an extended squash of Ethan Page.

After the match, Eddie Kingston cuts a promo (sans a microphone) saying that he just crucified Ethan Page, and tells the crowd in Turner’s Hall to go to hell. The Duke then cuts a profanity-laced promo, talking about how “Jesus” (Ethan Page) needed to die, and added that he could have bought Turner’s Hall, but he didn’t because he hates the fans so much. Matt Wadsworth (who I believe is the President of AIW) announces that Eddie Kingston vs. Chris Hero will take place at their next show in December, which is also the first show in their new venue. Ethan Page then recovers and takes over The Duke with a Rock Bottom. 

5.) Johnny Gargano vs. Matt Cross: ***1/4

Gargano was originally scheduled to face Ethan Carter III, but EC3 came out with his left arm in a cast, and explained that he got hurt training (if I recall correctly, he had suffered a bicep injury). He proclaims that he’s biggest wrestling TV star from Cleveland, and adds that he wrestles for TNA, a “real” wrestling company. He says that he was able to find a replacement, who is also from Cleveland and a wrestling TV star in the form of Matt Cross, who had just started with Lucha Underground.

I believe commentary mentioned that this was the first time Matt Cross had been seen in AIW since he lost to Josh Prohibition several months earlier at Absolution IX. The match, for the most part, was pretty solid. This wasn’t a fantastic match by any means (and I think we all know these two can have a much better match), but for what it was, I thought the match was pretty solid. Gargano looked to have Cross beat when he locked him in the GargaNo Escape, but the injured EC3 runs into the ring and breaks it up, causing the DQ.

EC3 & Matt Cross continue to attack Gargano, but Josh Prohibition runs out to make the save. He cuts a promo getting on the case of EC3 & Matt Cross for cheating on the last show in Turner’s Hall, and puts over Johnny Gargano in a big way. He then makes a challenge for himself & Gargano vs. Matt Cross and whomever EC3 could find for show in December. EC3 accepts this challenge, and that marks the second match announced for their next show.

6.) Eric Ryan vs. Chris Sabin: ***1/4

This really wasn’t a story behind this match. It was just a showcase match featuring a former AIW Absolute Champion taking on household name on the independent scene. I thought this was a pretty solid match. There was some very good back & forth action between these two. Much like the opener, the finish did detract from the match a little bit, as Sabin got the win on a rollup with a handful of tights, but still, the match was good.

7.) AIW Intense Title - Six-Pack Scramble - Davey Vega vs. Veda Scott vs. Alex Daniels vs. Louis Lyndon vs. Joshua Singh vs. Flip Kendrick: ***1/2

These Six-Pack Scrambles are a stable of many AIW events, and on this occasion, Davey Vega’s AIW Intense Championship was on the line. I thought this was a very good match. It was the best match on the show, up to this point, and ultimately (for me) ended up being the show’s second-best match. As you would expect in a match like this, there was a ton of fast-paced action from start to finish. All six competitors got a chance to shine, and as a whole, it was pretty entertaining. Davey Vega eventually picked up the win to retain his AIW Intense Title.

8.) Marion Fontaine vs. Rockstar Spud: ***

So this was pretty much a comedy match. For what it was, I enjoyed it. This was something completely different on the card, and proved a good break between the Six-Pack Scramble for AIW Intense Title and the Four-Way Main Event for the AIW Absolute Title. Marion Fontaine & Rockstar Spud are both incredibly entertaining, and they had a fun little match here. Fontaine would get the win in the end. No complaints from me.

After the match, Rockstar Spud cut a promo, where he urged the fans to support independent wrestling, specifically AIW and all of the great talent who perform for the company.

9.) AIW Absolute Title - Hell On Earth Four-Way Match - Tim Donst vs. Rickey Shane Page vs. Josh Alexander vs. Tyson Dux: ***3/4

Hell On Earth is a show that’s always headlined by an Anything Goes, Falls Count Anywhere Match titled the Hell On Earth Match. On this occasion, Tim Donst is defending his AIW Absolute Title against Rickey Shane Page, Josh Alexander, and Tyson Dux. I would say that this was the best match on the show. All four guys worked hard, and the match had a lot of really good action throughout. However, the match wasn’t without its issues. I don’t feel like they really took advantage of the stipulation to its fullest extent. There was some brawling on the outside (which involved the usage of chairs), and towards the end the match, a table and several light tubes were introduced, but for the most part, it didn’t feel like a true “hardcore” match. It just felt like a regular four-way match with some usage of foreign objects. That being said, one of the biggest spots of the match saw Rickey Shane Page falling off the top rope, to the floor, through a table with light tubes on it. Again, I thought the match was really good, and even though it had hardcore moments, I don’t think it fully lived up to the stipulation. Tim Donst eventually retained his title in what appeared to be a controversial finish, where he and Josh Alexander appeared to have a double submission on Tyson Dux, but Donst was awarded the victory since he had his submission on first.

After the match, we got a promo from Tim Donst. He says that AIW is about the entire locker room busting their asses for the fans, adding that it’s their job to make pro-wrestling better. Donst notes that it’s the last show in Turner’s Hall, and says that the fans are the ones who made this venue so special to AIW. 

Overall: 7.25/10

For the most part, this was a pretty solid outing from AIW. It wasn’t an amazing show, but there really wasn’t a bad match to speak of. Aside from an Eight-Man Tag that was pretty average, and a match that didn’t even really happen, the rest of the card hovered somewhere between *** and ***3/4. The Six-Pack Scramble for the AIW Intense Title and the Main Event were the two best matches on the show, in my opinion. Once again, this was a fine showing from AIW, as they held their last show in Turner’s Hall.