WrestleMania X-8 comes to us from Toronto, only the second time WrestleMania emanated from outside the United States and this WrestleMania saw the return of the legendary Hulk Hogan, after a nearly nine year absence, taking on The Rock. Nash and Hall returned, with Hall taking on Stone Cold Steve Austin. Triple H returned after a nearly one-year absence and winning the Royal Rumble to face Undisputed Champion, Chris Jericho. Ric Flair returned to WrestleMania after a ten- year absence to face the sinister Undertaker in a No DQ match.
That’s a pretty stacked card by any measure and that’s only the big name matches. So, does this incredibly stacked and star-studded card live up to its potential? Let’s find out!
We open with Saliva singing the theme song of WrestleMania X-8 (or one of them, at least) and a video montage of the feuds going into WrestleMania.
After that, we get a promo by the superstars about what WrestleMania means for them and the business.
JR and Lawler are back together at ringside.
Intercontinental Championship Match: William Regal vs Rob Van Dam
RVD comes out to a great pop. Regal gets no reaction or very quiet boos.
These guys worked really well together, which is a little surprising since neither of them have a traditional wrestling style, but the contrasting unusual styles worked really well.
Winner: RVD by pinfall after hitting a Five Star Frog Splash.
Highlights: RVD kicking the brass knuckles away from Regal.
Comments: This was a really great start to WrestleMania.
We go backstage where Christian is mocking DDP’s self-help guru gimmick. Lilian Garcia asks him about his feud with DDP. Christian says that since he’d used DDP to get back to winning, he didn’t need him anymore.
European Championship Match: Diamond Dallas Page vs Christian
Christian gets a great hometown pop, despite being the heel, and changing his hometown to Tampa, Florida. DDP gets an okay pop from the crowd.
This was an okay match. I can’t say it’s the best I’ve seen from either guy before, but it wasn’t bad.
Winner: DDP retains via pinfall after hitting the Diamond Cutter. DDP tells Christian that he’s proud of him for not losing his temper, even though he lost. Christian throws an absolute fit
Highlights: Christian being secure enough to throw a temper tantrum on PPV TV. DDP leaving through the crowd.
Comments: This would be DDP’s only appearance at WrestleMania as a competitor, he would retire later this year due to injuries. This would also be the last WrestleMania for the European Title, as it, along with the Hardcore and Intercontinental Titles would be unified before the IC belt was unified with the World Heavyweight Championship.
Hardcore Championship Match: Maven vs Goldust
Goldust is out first to a good pop. Maven is out next and he gets an okay pop.
As far as hardcore matches, this wasn’t quite as fun and chaotic as previous ones, but it was still okay.
Winner: Spike Dudley gets the win by pinning Maven (anyone can join the match under Hardcore Rules), even brought his own ref. As Spike celebrates, Crash Holly shows up and chases Spike backstage, with Goldust and Maven in hot pursuit.
Highlights: Spike getting the victory. The gold trashcans and shovel.
Comments: This would be the last WrestleMania for the Hardcore Championship. It would be unified with the European and Intercontinental Championships. The final Hardcore Champion was Rob Van Dam.
Drowning Pool gives us the story of our Undisputed Championship match.
Backstage, we find Crash Holly going after Spike Dudley. Spike and Crash are almost run over by Al Snow in a golf cart with a ref, but Al hits a wall of cardboard boxes. Spike manages to get away, but is ambushed by Hurricane Helms, who flies away before Al Snow can get to him.
Kurt Angle vs Kane
Angle actually gets a good pop, along with the ‘You Suck’ chant. Angle trashes the Canadian pairs figure skaters, who were robbed of their gold medals by a corrupt Olympic judge. Kane gets a really good pop.
This was a really good match up. The contrast in styles worked really well for both guys.
Winner: Kurt Angle by pinfall, putting his feet on the ropes.
Highlights: Angle hopping up and down with frustration
Comments: I enjoyed this match. I don’t remember why these two were having a match at WrestleMania, but this was a good one.
Backstage, Hurricane is carefully making his way around the arena, when he wanders into the shower are that Godfather’s ladies are using. Not wanting to get caught he hides behind a dressing screen with a broom as protection (yes, they’re really going there). This is mostly just an excuse to have scantily clad women and juvenile humor in a scene, but it was funny anyway.
We get a recap of the issues between Flair and Undertaker and the implication that Taker was put up to this by Vince, to get Flair out of the WWF (something Vince had been trying to do for months).
The Streak: Undertaker vs Ric Flair – No Disqualification Match
Undertaker comes out on his motorcycle to a nice pop. JR comments that Undertaker is 9-0 and has never lost at WrestleMania. Again, this is used as a statement of why Flair will have a tall mountain to climb (Flair was 0-1 at WrestleMania). Flair gets a great pop, as expected.
This match gets physical very quickly. An extremely skilled ring vet, Flair might be, but he knows how to fight and takes it to Taker.
If you’re looking for one of Flair’s technical classics, look somewhere else. This match was rough and physical. It was still as good as you’d expect from Flair at this point in his career.
Winner: Undertaker by pinfall. Taker takes out Charles Robinson, aka ‘Little Naitch’ for the hell of it, I guess. Before leaving, Taker counts his WrestleMania wins on both hands, he is 10-0.
- Arn Anderson coming to Flair’s aid and taking bumps with a bad neck.
- Flair still being the Dirtiest Player in the Game.
- Taker taking it to Anderson while clearly trying to not harm him.
Comments: This one of the best matches in the Streak, in my opinion.
We get a promo from Booker about his match with Edge where Booker tries to pretend he’s a genius, not sure why, but he is, and botching it. Apparently, he and Edge are feuding over hair care product endorsement that Booker thinks Edge stole from him.
Edge vs Booker T
Booker comes out to a minimal pop. Hometown boy, Edge gets a great pop, as expected. We get a reminder that at WrestleMania VI, Edge was in the ringside area as a kid and is now competing in WWF.
Okay, stupid feud aside, this was a good match. At this point, Booker and Edge were still primarily known for their tag team skills, so seeing them in a singles match is nice.
Winner: Edge by pinfall. The crowd loses it, as they should. Edge looks incredibly proud and emotional.
Highlights: Seeing the two members of the, arguably, most successful tag teams in WWF and WCW going at it in singles competition.
Comments: I enjoyed this.
Backstage, Hurricane is still trying to get out of Skydome with the Hardcore Championship. Coachman approaches him and asks about the scene with the Godfather’s ladies. Hurricane says he’s not a ‘Hurriperv’, but he is the Hardcore Champion. Mighty Molly approaches and recommends leaving on the Hurri-cycle, when Helms turns to go, Molly clocks him upside the head with a skillet and becomes the new Hardcore Champion, but for some reason, she runs back into the building, instead of leaving.
We get a recap of the Austin/NWO feud and why the NWO was brought to WWF.
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Scott Hall (with Kevin Nash)
Austin is out first his usual great pop. Hall and Nash get a pretty good pop. This match gets physical very quickly, but it’s a really good match and we got to see Austin get some revenge.
Winner: Austin by pinfall.
Highlights: Austin attacking Nash for the hell of it. Hall selling the Stunner.
Comments: This would the last WrestleMania appearance as in-ring competitors by Hall and Nash. They would make appearances during WrestleMania weekends, both being inducted into the Hall of Fame, and doing a run-in to back Sting in his match at WrestleMania 31. This would also be Referee Tim White’s last WrestleMania as a full-time ref. He’d be injured during the Hell in a Cell match between Triple H and Chris Jericho and after a one match return in 2004, retire as a ref.
We get a video about Axxess, which always looks like a ton of fun.
Four Corners Elimination Match for the WWF Tag Team Championship: Billy and Chuck vs APA vs The Dudley Boyz vs The Hardy Boyz
Dudleys and Stacey are out first to a great pop and they dance with Saliva, who sing them to the ring. APA don’t get nearly that good of a pop after that entrance. Hardys get a really good pop. Billy and Chuck get almost no reaction.
This match was really crazy right from the start, but it was a good match. Everyone seemed to want to eliminate Billy and Chucky.
Winner: Billy and Chuck by pinfall. The crowd is livid because Billy and Chuck spent most of the match outside the ring.
Comments: This would be Jeff Hardy’s last WrestleMania for a few years. He would be released in 2003 due to personal and work issues. He would return to WrestleMania in 2007.
Backstage, Hall and Nash are steamed over Austin’s victory. Nash says that the loss was a one-time thing and it won’t happen again. He then says they’ll take out what happened to them on Rock. Hogan comes up and tells them to stay out of his match with Rock, he wants to beat Rock on his own.
In another part of the arena, Mighty Molly is trying to find a place to hide with her Hardcore Championship. She races down a hallway only to be hit in the face with the top part of a Dutch door by Christian, who pins her to become the new Hardcore Champion.
We get a recap of the Rock/Hogan feud.
The Rock vs Hollywood Hulk Hogan
Hogan comes out to an incredible pop, heel or not. The dueling chants have already started. Rock also gets an incredible pop. And we get a Hogan/Andre level staredown. I still get goosebumps.
Hogan has never been the most technically sound wrestler, but this is one of those matches where it doesn’t matter how good or bad the wrestling was, the story it told was great.
Winner: Rock by pinfall. After the win, Hogan gets to his feet and offers Rock a handshake, that Rock accepts. After Rock leaves, Hogan is confronted by Nash and Hall which quickly turns into a beatdown. Rock comes to Hogan’s aid and the two of them fight off the Outsiders. Hogan turns to leave, but Rock convinces him to pose for the Hulkamaniacs, including Rock.
- The staredown
- Hogan wanting to win on his own.
- Crowd not knowing who to cheer for
- Rock telling Hogan to bring it
- Hogan and Rock shaking hands.
- Rock showing Hogan respect and letting him have time with the fans.
- Rock still being a Hulkamaniac.
Comments: Even though it’s not the greatest match ever, I still enjoy this match every time I see it.
We go to WWF New York where Big Show is having fun.
Finkel says that WWF has set a NEW Skydome record: 68,237 fans.
Triple Threat Match for the WWF Women’s Championship: Jazz vs Trish Stratus vs Lita
Jazz is out first to no real reaction. Lita gets a better pop, but I think the crowd is waiting for the hometown girl. Trish gets a great hometown pop.
Lita and Jazz start before Trish gets to the ring and Team Bestie gangs up on Jazz. This match wasn’t the best in terms of technical skill, but it was still really good. All three women worked well together.
Winner: Jazz by pinning Lita, thus saving the hometown girl from taking the pin
Highlights: Lita not being able to get her top off and saying ‘f**k it’.
Comments: Even though Trish didn’t win, seeing how much she’d improved since her WrestleMania debut just two years before is astonishing. I enjoyed this match a lot.
Christian has made his way outside, where a cab is waiting. Thinking he’s home free, Christian runs to the cab and drops his stuff in it. Maven attacks Christian from behind, gets the pin, then takes off in the cab with Christian’s stuff and the Hardcore Championship he came in with. Christian throws another fit, and you can hardly blame him.
WWF Undisputed Championship Match: Chris Jericho (with Stephanie McMahon) vs Triple H
Triple H comes out first to a great pop, sang to the ring by Drowning Pool. Y2J and Stephanie come out to an okay pop. The pairing of Jericho and Stephanie is an odd one to me.
Given the real-life relationship between Triple H and Stephanie, seeing him and Steph ‘rough’ each other up is really funny because they were each trying very hard to be gentle.
This was a really good match and a decent story, real-life relationships aside.
Winner: Triple H by pinfall after the Pedigree. Triple H and the crowd celebrate his triumphant return to WrestleMania.
- Triple H using the figure four
- Stephanie and Triple H being enemies while trying to not hurt each other is seriously funny.
Comments: I really enjoyed this match and I’m glad the feud continued for awhile.
So, did WrestleMania X-8 live up to the potential? Yeah, it did. This was a really stacked, star-studded card and all the matches delivered.
Music Acts: I’m very critical of WWE taking time out of WrestleMania let music acts perform, but I love what they were doing with live groups in the early 2000s: The bands that performed were there because they performed the theme song and/or were going to sing one of the bigger superstars to the ring. It didn’t take up time that could’ve been used on another match, the acts were quick and had an actual purpose. I wish WWE would do this again instead of having a half-time show.
Match of the Night: Rock vs Hogan. I believe the that THE title should always go last, but Rock/Hogan had more of a main event feel than the Triple H/Jericho match.
Hardcore Championship: I really liked the running Hardcore Match. It was a lot of fun and had some funny segments in it.
Final Thoughts: I really liked this show. I wouldn’t make a special effort to watch it just because, but it was a fun show.
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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