WrestleMania X-Seven is the first one post-Monday Night Wars. WCW had just been bought out the previous Monday, simulcast live on RAW and Nitro. WWF had survived a war for ratings, and survival, that had seemed all but lost a few times. This WrestleMania is often touted as one of the greatest WrestleManias of all time with a great main event, that is also hated because of the swerve at the end, which we’ll get to later.
Looking at the card on Wikipedia, I have to say that there are some intriguing matches, not mention the second official TLC match that I’ve seen several times (not that that ever stops me), the first of three WrestleMania matches Triple H would have against the Undertaker, a hardcore match I remember liking quite a bit, and the second round of Rock vs Austin.
So, will WrestleMania X-Seven live up to the hype and my vague memories? Let’s find out!
We get a great video about how WrestleMania brings people from all over the world together.
I forgot how much I loved the theme music for this WrestleMania. This year, it’s not JR and Lawler calling the action, it’s JR and Paul Heyman, the former owner of ECW (yes, he actually had an existence before Brock Lesnar). Heyman is excited because he’s never been to a WrestleMania before.
Intercontinental Championship Match: Chris Jericho vs William Regal
Jericho comes out to a great pop. Regal comes out to a loud round of boos, and while he’s coming out, we get a recap of this feud, which is an IC title version of Austin vs McMahon, only I don’t think Austin ever peed in McMahon’s coffee (Commenter: Ew. Even though I know that didn’t actually happen).
This was a really good match. The styles really worked well and the story was a lot of fun. Regal’s rough and tough style is an interesting contrast to the posh façade he has.
Winner: Jericho by pinfall
Highlights: Regal calling Jericho a ‘toe rag’ in a posh accent.
Comments: I really liked this match, though I do like NXT!Regal a little bit better than this version of him as an authority figure.
We see a limo with a ‘WCW 1’ license plate pull up and Shane McMahon climbing out (Shane ‘bought’ WCW out from under his dad the week before).
In an undisclosed area, the APA and Jacqueline are playing cards, but Bradshaw is too excited. Farooq and Jacqueline tell him to relax, but Bradshaw can’t, he’s in his home state at the Astrodome and tells them all about the things he used to come to the Astrodome to watch. Fired up by his excitement, Farooq and Jacqueline follow him out to the ring.
Six-Man Tag Team Match: Tazz and the APA (with Jacqueline) vs Right to Censor (with Steven Richards)
Unsurprisingly, Right to Censor is out first to a LOUD round of boos. Heyman doesn’t like JR calling RtC ‘extremists’, he prefers the term ‘hypocrites’. (Commenter: I’m with Heyman on that one). Richards starts to say something, but we’re saved by Tazz, who gets a great pop. APA gets a great pop and this match starts in chaos.
While this is a good match, there were some rough spots and it seemed that the RTC guys didn’t know how to work with Tazz because he was much shorter than the APA. I saw several spots where they seemed to be trying make contact with a taller person than Tazz.
Winner: Bradshaw gets the win for his team.
Highlights: Bradshaw’s legit excitement about performing in the Astrodome.
Comments: Seeing Right To Censor get beat up is always fun.
We get a promo for Snickers Cruncher.
Backstage, Trish is pushing Linda in her wheelchair when they run into Stephanie, who chides Trish for being late. She talks to her mother and says that at least Linda knows that one of her kids (presumably Stephanie) turned out okay. She then tells Trish, pausing to ask what Trish thinks of her jumpsuit with ‘Daddy’s Girl’ on the back, that they’re going to need champagne for Vince’s victory party, and generally treats Trish like a maid.
Triple Threat Match for the WWF Hardcore Championship: Raven vs Kane vs The Big Show
Raven is out first to an okay pop, and he’s brought some toys. JR says he doesn’t like Raven’s chances in this match, Heyman agrees that the only thing Raven can do is run like hell, which JR says he won’t do. Kane is out next to a great pop.
The match gets started before the Big Show comes out, so poor Show doesn’t get much of a reaction. The match officially starts when Kane throws Raven to Big Show, then hits the Big Red Missile on Big Show. While this was no Hardcore Battle Royal, this was a really good, fun match.
Winner: Kane gets the pin after a leg drop off the stage.
- Raven getting thrown through the glass.
- Heyman’s reaction to Raven going through the glass
- Big Show’s pitiful ‘ow’ after getting hit in the shoulder
- Use of the golf carts to get around in the back.
- Raven getting partially run over.
- JR and Heyman’s commentary.
- Jimmy Korderas just going with it.
Comments: I don’t think WWE’s going to get their deposit back after this match. Holy crap.
We find Angle backstage going over tapes for his match with Benoit. E&C come in. E&C try to distract Kurt from the video by planning what they’ll do after he beats Benoit and they win TLC, but Kurt isn’t listening. He’s obsessed with making Benoit tap, apparently. Sensing that Kurt is in a MOOD, E&C leave.
We go to WWF New York, where Jimmy Snuka is holding court. Back in Houston, Coach is telling us that, for the first time, there are representatives from all fifty states and twenty countries at WrestleMania, and he’s talking to a representative from Australia. Our Aussie rep flew 36 hours from Brisbane, Australia to Houston, TX. She’s having a ton of fun, as are her fellow Aussies.
Rock enters the locker room and begins getting ready for his match.
WWF European Championship: Test vs Eddie Guerrero (with Perry Saturn)
Guerrero comes out first, Saturn is wearing a weird fuzzy hat, to little reaction and/or boos. Test gets a great reaction. This match is such a contrast in size and styles, but it seems to really work.
Winner: Eddie Guerrero by pin after Eddie hits Test with the belt, after a distraction by Dean Malenko .
Highlights: Saturn’s hat. Eddie Guerrero.
Comments: I always love an Eddie Guerrero match, even though Eddie wasn’t as crisp as he would be later, this was a good match.
Mick Foley is backstage with Michael Cole (Commenter: Oh, Lord, I forgot about the frosted tips) and asks if Mick can be impartial considering his numerous problems with Vince (not to mention the whole McMahon family). Mick says that he’s offended that Cole would suggest that he’d bear a grudge against Vince, then proceeds to list all the reasons why he’d have a grudge against Vince. Foley vows call things right down the line, and then does a cheap pop.
Austin arrives in his dressing room (that looks a lot like a bathroom).
Kurt Angle ws Chris Benoit
Angle is out to a quieter ‘You Suck’ chant, but that could be because the Astrodome is HUGE. Kurt cuts a promo about being an American hero and then trashes Texas and Texans. Benoit comes out to a great pop.
This was a fantastic match, which isn’t a surprise. Angle/Benoit is one of those that can just go forever.
Winner: Kurt Angle by pinfall using Benoit’s tights for leverage.
Highlights: The whole match.
Comments: I always like watching these two wrestle.
Michael Cole runs into Regal and asks him if he’s okay, Regal isn’t happy with the question, but we’re distracted by Kamala tearing apart Regal’s ‘office’ and rubbing a portrait of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II on his belly. Regal tells him to bugger off (still in the posh accent). We go back to JR and Heyman who don’t know what to think.
We see footage of the WWF Pep Rally at Ft. Hood.
Kevin Kelly is with Kurt Angle and says that Kurt has to respect Benoit after the war they just had. Angle says he doesn’t have to respect anyone because the better man won and he proved that he’s the best in the WWF. Benoit, still mad about Angle stealing the victory from him, attacks from behind and gets Angle in the Crippler Crossface.
We get a recap of the Ivory/Chyna feud, including Chyna’s ‘broken’ neck and the issue at Royal Rumble.
WWF Women’s Championship Match: Ivory vs Chyna
Ivory is out first to loud boos. She’s alone because Right to Censor is banned from ringside in exchange for Chyna signing a hold harmless clause in case she should get hurt. Chyna comes out to a loud pop and her fireworks gun.
This was a quick one. Without RTC to help her fight Chyna, Ivory didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of beating Chyna, not that she didn’t try to get a quick and dirty win. Chyna had the match won pretty quickly but kept breaking the pin for the hell of it.
Winner: Chyna by pinfall.
Highlight: Chyna playing up the neck injury to lure Ivory in.
Comments: This would be Chyna’s last WrestleMania. She would leave the company, still Women’s Champion after refusing to drop the belt, in the autumn of 2001 and never return. She passed away in 2016. RIP, Chyna.
Backstage, Vince, Stephanie, Trish, and Linda are in Vince’s office. Vince asks Trish if she doubled Linda’s medication so she wouldn’t get over excited. Trish assures him that she did (Comment: A. Why don’t I believe her? B. Ew about how they talk about Linda, even though this is an angle.) They go over when Trish is to bring Linda to ringside. Vince and Stephanie are all ready to go, when Cole comes in to get Vince’s thoughts on Shane’s purchase of WCW.
Vince says shocking is what’s going to happen in the street fight.
We get a recap of why Vince and Shane are having a match: Vince demanding a divorce, Linda’s nervous breakdown, Vince’s affair with Trish, Shane’s rage over Vince’s actions, and Shane buying WCW out from under Vince.
Street Fight: Shane McMahon vs Vince McMahon (with Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley and Trish Stratus). Special Guest Referee: Mick Foley
Shane is out first to a nice pop. It’s weird to hear Shane come out to his ‘Here Comes the Money’. Shane gives a shoutout to the former WCW stars in a section in the Astrodome, it’s a pitifully small number compared to the amount of talent WCW had at one time. Shane then introduces Mick Foley, who is the special ref for this. Foley gets a great pop. Vince and Stephanie get a minimal pop.
This was a pretty good match considering that the two people involved are not the most experienced wrestlers. This wasn’t pretty, but it was fun and seeing Vince and Stephanie get theirs is always a good time.
Winner: Shane by pinfall after hitting the Coast to Coast.
- Shane, Linda, Trish, and Mick getting their respective revenges on Vince and/or Stephanie.
- Shane hitting the Coast to Coast.
- Shane and Vince trying to not hurt each other too badly
- The pop when Linda got out of her seat and nailed Vince below the belt.
Comments: I enjoyed this, even though Shane and Vince where either whiffing or stiffing each other, it was a lot of fun to watch.
We get a video recap of Axxess with the Hardys. Kevin Kelly comes up and talks to Matt about TLC. Matt says while he and Jeff want to win the Tag Titles, the match is more about getting back at Edge, Christian, and Rhyno for harming Lita, among other things.
We find Hunter backstage, getting his game face on. In the bowels of the building, Undertaker is warming up.
We get a video recap about the feud between E&C, the Dudleys, and the Hardys.
TLC II for the WWF Tag Team Championship: Edge and Christian (with Rhyno) vs The Dudley Boyz (with Spike Dudley) vs the Hardy Boyz (with Lita)
Hardys are out first to a nice pop, Lita isn’t with them due to being gored by Rhyno. E&C are next, to an okay pop, Rhyno isn’t with them due to being injured, but we’re not told why. Dudleys are out last to a great pop, Spike isn’t with them due to also being gored by Rhyno.
This match is so crazy, there’s no keeping up with it. This is a really great match and a great sequel to TLC and the Triangle Ladder Match. The inclusion of the managers could’ve been a disaster, but the story allowed it to not seem intrusive.
Winner: Edge and Christian with an assist from Rhyno
- Bubba Ray saving Jeff Hardy’s career by getting the ladder out from under Jeff before Edge hit the Spear.
- Lita hitting the Litacanrana.
- Spike saving Lita from Rhyno
- Edge’s spear to Jeff off the ladder.
Comments: I love this match. So many great moments.
We get a full video at Axxess and the fun everyone seems to be having.
Finkel announces that WrestleMania X-7 has broken the all-time attendance record for any event at the Astrodome: 67,925.
Gimmick Battle Royal
Mean Gene Okerlund comes out to a nice pop. Bobby Heenan also gets a great pop.
All the gimmicks came out to various level of pops Doink, Michael P.S. Hayes, Sgt. Slaughter, and Hillbilly Jim get the best pops.
Winner: Iron Sheik. Sgt. Slaughter doesn’t like that, sneaks back in the ring, and hits the Cobra Clutch, to the joy of the crowd.
- Okerlund and Heenan back in WWF
- All the gimmicks
- Bobby Heenan on color.
Comments: This was just a lot of fun to watch and remembering all these guys.
We get a recap of the feud between Triple H and the Undertaker, including Trips and Taker wrecking each other’s rides, Stephanie taking out a restraining order on Taker, and Taker and Kane’s…ingenious way of getting Taker his match at WrestleMania: Having Kane (who didn’t have a restraining order against him) kidnap Stephanie and threatening to have him throw her off the top of a parking garage.
The Streak: Undertaker vs Triple H
Motorhead are there and sing Triple H to the ring and Trips gets to summon his courage as the bell begins to toll. The Deadman Cometh. Even though he’s in the middle of his American Badass gimmick, Taker still includes the gong in his entrance, but comes out on a motorcycle to a great hometown pop.
If you’ve ever seen the two WrestleMania matches these two would have almost a decade later, you probably already know how this went: Very physical, very brutal. JR mentions Taker win/loss record up to 2001: 8-0, and while he calls it unprecedented, it’s not treated as a huge deal by him and Paul Heyman doesn’t elaborate further.
Winner: Undertaker by pin. The Streak stands at 9-0
Comments: I liked this match a lot.
Backstage, we find Rock on his way to the ring. Austin is in the bathroom, staring at his reflection. What is he thinking?
We get a recap of the road to WrestleMania for these two, including having Debra, Austin’s legit wife, manage the Rock.
No Disqualification Match for the WWF Championship: The Rock vs Stone Cold Steve Austin
Finkel announces the No DQ stipulation, to JR’s surprise. Austin is out first to a thunderous pop. Rock is out to an equally thunderous pop.
Rock and Austin pretty much pick up from where they left off back in 1999. This was a really great match and told a great story.
Winner: Austin by pinfall after Vince McMahon helps him take out the Rock. Afterwards, Austin and Vince face off and then, to everyone’s shock, shake hands. Austin sold out to Vince in exchange for becoming champion.
Highlights: JR and the crowd’s reaction to Austin and McMahon becoming partners.
Comments: While I get that Vince and Austin probably thought that the Austin/McMahon thing had really run its course, especially with Austin losing a year of his career, I’m still not sure what Austin selling out to McMahon was supposed to accomplish. We would get the Two Man Power trip in the months between WrestleMania and the start of the Invasion angle, but for the present time, I’m not sure what the point was: Austin was still hot, the crowds still popped for him, why try to make him a heel?
So, does WrestleMania X-Seven live up to the hype? Yeah, it does. This was a really good show, wonky ending aside.
Match of the Night: I really can’t decide because there were a lot of really great matches.
Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed this show and it seemed to move very quickly.
Attitude Of Aggression #275- The Big Four Project Chapter 3: Royal Rumble ’88 & WrestleMania IV
The Attitude Of Aggression returns for Chapter 3 of The Big Four Project, a chronological analysis, review, and discussion about WWE’s Big Four PPVs/ Premium Live Events. On this Episode, Dave welcomes back the one and only PC Tunney to discuss two more immensely important events in pro wrestling history, the inaugural Royal Rumble and WrestleMania IV. The 1988 Royal Rumble was different than any other Rumble in history and not just because it was the first. Dave and Tunney break down the fascinating history of the first installment of an event that would evolve into an annual favorite for many in the WWE Universe. From there, the guys recap the surreal events that led to the end of Hulk Hogan’s 4-year reign as WWF Champion and set the stage for, arguably, the most important tournament in WWE History at WrestleMania IV. Macho Madness reached new heights that night. But was Savage the first choice of Vince McMahon to emerge from Atlantic City with the gold that night? We have the whole story for you here on Chapter 3 of The Big Four Project!
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Chairshot Classics: What I Watched #15 – AAW Defining Moment 2018
Harry covers a show that helped to continue Sami Callihan’s 2018 infamy. AAW Defining Moment should be a fun trip down memory lane!
Apologies for the slight delay getting to this but it’s Harry here once again. And for as verbose as I can be at times, I don’t feel the need to waste any time getting to this one. This is the second part of the double shot for AAW on ‘All In’ weekend in Chicago.
The WayBack Machine takes us to August 31st, 2018 as we once again arrive at the Logan Square Auditorium (and oh boy does that become important later) for AAW’s Defining Moment 2018.
What I Watched #15
AAW Defining Moment 2018
Logan Square Auditorium in Chicago, IL
Runtime: 3:18:22 (HighSpotsWrestlingNetwork)
Commentary By: Tyler Volz (PBP) and Marty DeRosa (Color)
- Match 1: Curt Stallion/Jake Something def. Ace Romero/Colt Cabana, Something pins Cabana @ 8:41
- Match 2: Shane Strickland pins Darby Allin, top-rope Swerve Stomp @ 13:30
- Match 3: Jessicka Havoc def. Palmer Cruise/Steve Manders, pinning Cruise with a Chokeslam @ 2:52
- Match 4: OI4K (Dave/Jake Crist) def. Ace Austin/Brian Cage, Dave pins Austin @ 5:55
- Match 5: AAW Heritage Title- Trevor Lee © pins DJ Z (Shiima Xion), roll-through on CBB with tights @ 13:30
- Match 6: AR Fox/Myron Reed def. Bandido/Flamita, double cover @ 15:42
- Match 7: Maxwell Jacob Friedman taps Marko Stunt, Salt of the Earth @ 10:41
- Match 8: Sami Callihan pins Jimmy Jacobs, Cactus Driver on a bridged guardrail @ 17:52
- Match 9: AAW Tag Titles- Eddie Kingston/Jeff Cobb © def. Davey Vega/Mat Fitchett, Cobb pins Fitchett @ 14:19
- Match 10: AAW Heavyweight Title- Brody King pins ACH ©, All Seeing Eye (Whiplash) @ 22:46
Curt Stallion/Jake Something vs. Ace Romero/Colt Cabana
*The match was decent but nothing special. A pretty big win for Something at the end with the three count over Cabana, who has a storied past in Chicago and was one of the biggest names in independent wrestling. That said, I personally don’t love the flukish nature that Something pins Cabana, as I think Something could have used a defining pinfall to really give him a rub going forward.
Cabana usually makes for a fun watch and I’ve grown to enjoy Ace Romero the more I see him (he especially stands out for Limitless, which I hope to get to one day soon). Jake Something is a huge star in the making and you can see it even early in the run of AAW that he has. Stallion is what Stallion is. Solid opener, but nothing you’ll remember post show. (**½)
Darby Allin vs. Shane Strickland
*Showstealer, plain and simple. Strickland had been with AAW for a while but to the best of my memory, it was more often in a tag team with Keith Lee (funny how that works out with 2022 eyes on it, as Swerve and Keith are the current AEW tag champions at the time of writing). I do believe this is only Darby’s second match in AAW (the prior being a five-ish minute loss to Brody King). Both guys are huge names now and with efforts like this, it’s easy to see how. Darby tries to keep pace with Swerve and is able to do so for a good portion of the contest until Swerve finds that next gear down the stretch and puts Allin down with the Swerve Stomp to a massive (deserved) ovation from the crowd. (****)
Jessicka Havok vs. Palmer Cruise/Steve Manders
*I dislike handicap matches in general. However, unlike certain other writers for this site, I don’t mind intergender wrestling. But the suspension of disbelief gets lost here when you have two dudes the size of Cruise and Manders struggling with Jessicka Havok, who should realistically not being coming in at 100% after taking the Ganso Bomb from Brody King through the chairs the night before. I won’t rate the match due to the Larry Csonka (RIP) Rule of not rating anything shorter than three minutes, but I’m calling this a miss regardless. (X)
OI4K (Dave/Jake Crist) vs. Ace Austin/Brian Cage
*The Brothers Crist come out to ringside to stand next to Havok after said match and call out Brody King and Jimmy Jacobs. They get one of those two men as Jacobs makes his way out, but informs Dave and Jake that neither he nor Brody will be facing them due to having prior obligations, but he did find the perfect opponents for OI4K. As for the opponent, Cage does make for a good size fill-in for Brody King. Ace Austin is a OI4K trainee that hadn’t quite made a name for himself at the time but has since turned into a pretty good wrestler, having just competed for NJPW in Best of the Super Jr’s as well as being Impact Wrestling’s X Division champion for a while.
The match itself was not memorable at all. I will admit to typing this review on a bit of a delay and other than the finish (a Tiger Driver ‘98 by Dave to Austin), I don’t remember anything that happened during the course of the contest. Not the best impression for these four men to leave. (**)
AAW Heritage Title- Trevor Lee © vs. DJ Z
*I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…I like DJ Z. I liked him more under his previous identity, but this was him using the Impact Wrestling name for more notoriety with the casual fan. That being said, despite DJZ winning a three way relatively quickly the night before while Trevor was in a war with Ace Romero, I never felt the title was in jeopardy here. For as much as I like DJZ’s run with AAW, this misfortune of his injury just so happened to coincide with Trevor Lee becoming one of the hottest acts on the undercard and there wasn’t anything in the build up to the rematch (despite some good promo work from Z) that made me think that the strap was switching here.
As for the match itself, they have really good chemistry together and that isn’t a surprise given how many of the same promotions they were working for at the time as well as their history in AAW up to this point. I do think this match does a nice job of setting the stage for a return match as it is DJZ’s offensive attack at the end of the contest that gets reversed into the cradle (with a handful of tights) for the finish. The nature of the victory leads me to believe that the story with these two isn’t over quite yet. (***½)
AR Fox/Myron Reed vs. Bandido/Flamita
*This was similar to the main event the night before, but didn’t have the same crowd investment that match did. Bandido and Flamita once again shine here and it is easy to see why they become semi-regulars in AAW after this weekend. AR Fox and Myron Reed (Team Firefox, as they were referred to by Sarah Shockey) get a massive victory with a double pinfall following stereo 450 splashes. This sets up Fox and Reed for a title match against the winners of WRSTLING vs. Besties later in the night, but honestly, I think that Bandido/Flamita was the better pairing to have go forward to a title shot. Firefox had previously unsuccessfully challenged for the tag belts and if I’m being fully honest, I prefer AR Fox as a singles wrestler over being in a tag team. Good match, but I think the wrong team wins. (***½)
Maxwell Jacob Friedman vs. Marko Stunt
*Marko had just made a name for himself at GCW’s Lost in New York (a show I have watched) and this was a way for him to break out back in his Midwest home. MJF has been on a hot streak point up to this point (believe he is the current CZW Heavyweight champion, though I don’t think he ever actually defends that title) and MJF would make himself a known commodity the next night opening the ‘All In’ PPV against Matt Cross (in a losing effort)
Easy story to tell with MJF taking the much smaller Stunt lightly and Marko making him pay for it. It is unfortunate that more people didn’t get to see what Stunt is capable of, because his run in the indie scene before he went to AEW was quite special to watch due to his ability to connect with a crowd (no different here). The finish sees MJF take advantage of the arm work that he did early in match and after Marko escapes a fujiwara armbar, MJF is able to catch Marko in ‘Salt of the Earth’, a wakigatame (Marko on stomach as MJF applies a cross-armbreaker) for the the tapout. Very good work and Marko does really well for himself in his debut with another high end US Independent. (***)
Jimmy Jacobs vs. Sami Callihan
*Ooooh, boy. A lot to unwrap with this one. Let’s get the match first, because the drama that it creates leads to the fallout that has to be discussed. It is honestly a pretty standard Sami brawl for the time frame. PWG used to have what was known as the “Sami Sprint”…by which it would be Callihan vs. Opponent and the match would run anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes of hard hitting back and forth action with little in terms of a cohesive story or selling. Pretty much a ‘can you top this?’ kind of situation. This feels like that in a sense because the match features both Sami and Jimmy going into their well of tricks (the crowd brawling, the spike, the guardrail that gets used in the finish) while maintaining the crowd reaction from the prior night’s tag match. Fittingly, the finish is visually impressive as Callihan hits the ‘Cactus Driver’ (pulling piledriver) on a guardrail bridged across two metal folding chairs to secure the three count. (***½)
The bigger story coming out of this is that this match almost costs AAW the Logan Square Auditorium and almost ends even more disastrously personally for Callihan. At one point, Callihan and Jacobs are brawling over by the stage in the venue (traditionally used for concerts) where Callihan buries Jacobs under a portion of the stage. Callihan then starts winging metal sitting chairs (not the standard folding ones you see in most companies because the four legged dinner table type chairs) at Jacobs. A voice comes over the house mic telling Callihan to stop, causing a loud visceral boo from the crowd. Callihan more or less tells said voice to “fuck himself” and hurls more chairs at Jacobs.
At first, I thought it was Danny Daniels telling Callihan to stop, but it turns out it was actually building management. This becomes important when after the three count goes down, building security surrounds the ring to escort Callihan out of the building as they were pissed at Sami for throwing chairs that the venue used for other events. As I’ve heard the story, Callihan thinks this is part of a storyline and begins to push the security guys until one of them shows Callihan that he is carrying a real pistol and will use it if necessary. Things break down from there with the rest of OI4K getting involved and eventually Sami is escorted to the back (and presumably out of the building).
How much of this is real? How much of this is scripted? How much of this was sensationalized for additional attention? I don’t have the answers for those questions. I do know that cooler heads would prevail and AAW was able to continue running at LSA, however I feel the truth lies somewhere in the middle. It may have been a planned altercation to play off the recklessness of Callihan. It may have been a real reaction from the building to what they perceived as damage to personal property. The old axiom in wrestling is “believe none of what you hear and half of what you see”. Overall, it makes for a great story with a relatively happy ending all considered. But man does it take the wind of the crowd for quite a while. And I will have to check out the follow up AAW shows to see what the fallout truly is.
AAW Tag Titles- Eddie Kingston/Jeff Cobb © vs. Davey Vega/Mat Fitchett
*Trevor Lee’s promo before the match is not one I can do justice. I recommend the show in general, but Trevor’s asshole smarmy heel persona in AAW (Impact Superstar Trevor Lee) is one of the best things going in the company.
Match is good but you’d have to expect that from the four men involved. Kingston and Cobb work surprisingly well as a team and despite being on separate pages for most of the bout, Vega and Fitchett do link up for a few double teams (corner enzuigiri/Kippou kick combo being standout among them) to continue to prove why they are one of the best tag teams in pro wrestling (still are to this day, though not known as the Besties in the World anymore). The finish sees the final stab from Vega to Fitchett as Vega chooses to take Scarlett to the back after she gets knocked off the apron, leaving Fitchett alone to take a one-two combo of the Backfist to the Future from Kingston that staggers him into a Tour of the Islands from Cobb to finish the contest. The ring work is on point, the story is very well told and you can hear the disappointment from the crowd when Vega chooses the hussy over his long-time tag partner. (****)
AAW Heavyweight Title- ACH © vs. Brody King
*Unfortunately, something gets lost during the course of this contest through no direct fault of the participants. As I understand it, Brody King got concussed relatively early in the bout. Credit to ACH for keeping things together as well as he did, but I would be curious to see what they are capable of with both competitors at 100% capacity for the full duration of the match.
As for the match, it does tell a pretty good story. ACH comes in still pretty beat up from the match with Jeff Cobb the night before. However, ACH lets his pride (or perhaps his ego) get the better of him as he once again tries to hang step for step, strike for strike and move for move with a man much bigger than he is. It ends up coming back to bite him at the end as a distraction from Jimmy Jacobs allows Brody King to take a distracted ACH up into the All Seeing Eye (fireman’s carry into a Michinoku Driver) for the three count to crown a new champion. Slightly cheap on the distraction ending but does help get Jimmy some of the heat he lost earlier in the evening back after dropping the contest to Callihan. (***½)
THE FINAL REACTION
Overall, a better show then the day before but not without a couple flaws. Obviously, the big story to come out of this show would be the fact that AAW almost lost Logan Square Auditorium due to the issues in the Callihan-Jacobs match. Thankfully, those would be resolved and to my knowledge, AAW is still running there. But it gets awfully hairy there for a few.
The highs: two four star matches on this show and they come in completely different type contests. Eddie Kingston continues his march of dominance in AAW and cuts one hell of a promo at the end of the show to run down how ACH let him down by losing the title. Marko Stunt has a fun debut and quickly gets the crowd behind him. The lows: that handicap match helped no one and the tag match that followed wasn’t much better. The main event isn’t what it could have been either, but that’s a case of shit happens with the early concussion to King. I will also say that I thought Sarah Shockey did a better job on color commentary yesterday then Marty DeRosa does here.
We’ll call it an 8 overall. As I said, it is a better top to bottom show then Destination Chicago is. And while high on the guest stars (for obvious reasons), you also get a really good look at what the overall AAW roster is all about too. I look forward to coming back to AAW down the road (ironically, upcoming shows are a double shot as well for the ‘Jim Lynam Memorial’ tournament), but I do want to mix in some other odds and ends before I do so.
Best Match/Moment: Shane Strickland vs. Darby Allin
Worst Match/Moment: The Havok handicap. Especially when you consider what Steve Manders would come to mean for AAW, it’s a really inauspicious debut.
Overall Show Score: 8/10
MVP: Eddie Kingston. The key part of a match that tied for best match of the night honors and absolutely shows why he is viewed the way he is when it comes to talking with an amazing promo to close out the show.
So, where does ‘What I Watched’ go from here? I go on vacation in about a week’s time and will be gone for most of August. I spoke to Andrew and what I hope to do is reformat the ‘All In’ report that I did to the new style so you guys have something to tide you over. As for where I go when I get back from vacation…well, the Peacock WWE Network watch-through that I am working on has reached a show that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen (and if I have, it has been quite a while). Therefore, ‘What I Watched’ #16 will be ECW’s Guilty as Charged 1999 to set the tone for a year where all hell breaks loose in two of the three major promotions. Hopefully, you guys enjoy the ‘All In’ redo to hold you over and I’ll be back later in August with Guilty as Charged. I appreciate everyone who has been checking these out and if you’ve missed any, feel free to click on my name at the top of the article to check out my archive. Thanks for reading.
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