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Chairshot Classics

WrestleMania XV: The Corporation vs The People

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WrestleMania 15 Steve Austin Vince McMahon Sports Entertainment

WrestleMania XV always seems like a strange WrestleMania. Even though this is the first WWF Championship Match at WrestleMania between Austin and the Rock, it was the middle of the McMahon/Austin feud, the whole Ministry of Darkness storyline was going on, this isn’t a WrestleMania that is very well remembered. Even looking at the Wikipedia page for this event didn’t really ring any bells, except for the title match and the Hell in a Cell because I’ve seen them on other programs or previous rewatches.

Why is that? With so many great, or at least interesting, storylines going on, why is this WrestleMania not well remembered? Let’s find out!

Opener

We start with Boys II Men singing ‘America, The Beautiful’ as ONLY Boys II Men can, AND they’re doing it acapella (no musical accompaniment). Being from Philadelphia, where this WrestleMania is coming from, they get an amazing pop.

We get another great old-timers promo for WrestleMania, narrated by Classie Freddie Blassie.

This this first time Michael Cole calls a WrestleMania, due to JR being out because of an attack of Bell’s Palsey.

Triple Threat Match For the WWF Hardcore Championship: Hardcore Holly vs Al Snow (with Head) vs Bad Ass Billy Gunn

Al Snow and Head are out to a really great pop. Al bangs Head (stop laughing, I couldn’t think of a better way to put it) for the crowd. Hardcore Holly is next to loud boos. Hardcore doesn’t seem too fond of the crowd. Billy Gunn is out last, but even without Road Dogg to lead them, the crowd does the New Age Outlaws entrance for him. Mr. Ass starts a promo, but Snow gets the jump on him.

Since this is a Hardcore match and Hardcore rules, I’m not going to try and keep up. It was chaotic, and fun and a good opener for WrestleMania because it got the crowd going.

Winner: Hardcore Holly by pinfall. The crowd isn’t happy and neither is Billy Gunn.

Highlights: The fans chanting for the Flyers after Snow uses a hockey stick on Hardcore Holly. Al Snow being Al Snow.

Comments: I love Hardcore matches, so this is a thumbs up for me.

WWF Tag Team Championship: Jeff Jarrett and Owen Hart (with Debra) vs D’Lo Brown and Test (with Ivory)

D’Lo is out first with Ivory, and her lovely purple scarf, to a nice pop. Test is out next to boos, the only reason these two are partners is because they were the last two left after a Battle Royal on Sunday Night Heat. Before the champs even get out to the ring, the challengers are already arguing. Jarrett, Owen, and Debra are out next, to an okay pop, which might be more for Debra, who is wearing a bikini with a riding coat, much to the shock and dismay, of Ivory, than for the guys with the championship belts on.

D’Lo and Test get the jump on the champions and we’re off! This match was actually really good. Test/D’Lo worked really well together, despite the arguing, and worked really well with Owen/Jarrett.

Winner: Jarrett gets the pin after the ref and Test were distracted by a disagreement between Ivory and Debra that brought Terri Runnels and Jacqueline out. Test and Ivory yell at each other, Ivory rightly pointing out that Test should’ve kept his nose out of her business and stayed in his corner to help D’Lo. D’Lo is NOT happy and confronts Test, blows are exchanged.

Comments: This was the final WrestleMania appearance for Owen Hart. He would be tragically killed in an accidental fall at the ‘Over the Edge’ PPV in May. RIP, Owen.

We get a recap of the Brawl for All Tournament that lead to Bart Gunn vs Butterbean. As I listen to Bart Gunn try to act like he really knows what he’s in for going up against Butterbean, whose record is extremely impressive to me, and I know next to nothing about Tough Man competitions or boxing, I get a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Brawl For All Match: Bart Gunn vs Butterbean

Our Special Officials: Vinny Pazienza – Special Guest Ref. Judges: Kevin Rooney, Chuck Wepner, and Gorilla Monsoon, who is almost unrecognizable due to losing a shocking amount of weight. Monsoon gets a great pop. Butterbean is out first to loud boos. Bart is out next to a nice pop. Oh, that bad feeling gets worse as I hear the rules for this thing and look at Bart and Butterbean.

Since my understanding of this stuff is limited at best, I’m not going to try and recap it.

Winner: Butterbean by TKO in the first round. Bart is on dream street and might want to stay there.

Comments: What the heck was that?! Who okayed this and why was Bart Gunn, who had no experience in Tough Man competitions, outside of working with other wrestlers, put up against a PROFESSIONAL BOXER AND FIGHTER?! People talk about burials, Bart Gunn’s career just got buried in concrete.

For some reason, the San Diego Chicken runs to the ring and acts like he wants to box Vinny Pazienza and gets KO’d with one shot.

We get a recap of Big Show and Mankind’s altercation on Sunday Night Heat, that Big Show got the worst of, I think.

Kevin Kelly is with Mankind and recaps all Mankind’s done to get into the Main Event at WrestleMania, and now has to go through Big Show Mankind says he’s done everything asked of him and that he’s done playing nice and Big Show better be aware of that.

Mankind vs Big Show – Winner will be special referee in main event

Big Show is out first to loud boos. Show looks huge, even on TV. Mankind is out next to a huge pop. This is just a few months after he shocked the world by beating the Rock on RAW for the title.

This was a pretty good match. Show and Mankind really meshed well and the match was more back and forth than you’d expect.

Winner: Mankind by disqualification after Big Show chokeslams Mankind onto two steel chairs. Show is confused and Earl Hebner bails out. Show’s so mad, he throws a chair at Hebner. Vince comes out to see what’s going on, Hebner stands on his decision. Vince admonishes Big Show for what he did, not because of Mankind getting hurt, but because that means Rock won’t have an advantage in the Title Match. Big Show turns to leave, but Vince grabs him (bad move). Show starts to chokeslam Vince and thinks better of it. Vince doesn’t seem to fully comprehend how lucky he is, but Show’s getting pissed. When Vince slaps him, Show’s had enough and levels Vince with one punch, to the joy of the crowd.

Highlights: Big Show getting a mouthful of Mr. Socko. Mankind hitting a giant sized lowblow to keep Big Show from getting away from Socko.  Big Show knocking out Vince.

 Comments: I like this match. Watching Show finally getting sick of Vince was fun to watch.

 We follow Vince and the stooges into the back, Pat Patterson points out that Mankind is being stretchered out and wonders what they’re going to do. Vince isn’t sure but wants them to call the cops and arrest Big Show for assault (good luck with that).

Four Corners Elimination Match For the WWF Intercontinental Championship: Road Dogg vs Goldust (with Blue Meanie and Ryan Shamrock) vs Ken Shamrock vs Val Venis

Road Dogg is out first to a huge pop. He does his usual entrance, with audience participation. Val Venis is next to a pretty good pop. Val seems to be happy to be there and the ladies seem happy to see Val. Goldust is out next with Ryan Shamrock and the Blue Meanie, not sure what’s going on there, but at least Goldust looks like himself again. Ken Shamrock is the last man out to an okay pop. All four men in the ring are former or current Intercontinental Champions.

Rules: Two men start in the ring, anyone can tag anyone in. Elimination is by pinfall, submission, disqualification, or countout. Last man standing wins.

Apparently, Shamrock and Road Dogg start us out, eventually. This is one of those matches that’s hard to follow and type. I have to say, all four guys worked well together, though there were a few ‘Really?’ spots, such as Venis hitting Goldust below the belt…face first.

Winner: Road Dogg by pinfall after Goldust is distracted by Ryan ‘accidentally’ grabbing his leg and Road Dogg counters Goldust’s powerslam. Blue Meanie and Goldust are livid with Ryan, who swears she was aiming for Road Dogg.

Comments: Aside from the odd finish, this was a good match.

We find Big Show being very nice to the mob of policemen trying to arrest him. He’s not cuffed since standard issue cuffs wouldn’t fit him.  Somehow, they get him into a car, and it doesn’t look comfortable.

We get a recap of Kane/Triple H, including Chyna turning on Triple H.

Kane (with Chyna) vs Triple H

Kane is out first to a quiet pop. As he approaches the ring, the San Diego Chicken jumps him from behind. Everyone assumes it’s Triple H again, but it is revealed to be Pete Rose, wanting to get back at Kane for tombstoning him last year. Charley Hustle’s hustle backfires and he eats another tombstone. Oddly, the crowd isn’t mad at Kane for this, even though Pete Rose used to play for the Phillies.

Triple H is out next to a better, but still quiet pop. Triple H sneaks up behind Kane and lowblows him before the bell rings and we are off!

Not surprisingly, this is really great match. Trips and Kane worked really well together and told a great story.  That said, there were a few rough spots.

Winner: Kane by disqualification after Chyna hits Kane with a steel chair instead of Triple H. Kane is shocked goes after Chyna and Triple H hits him with the chair, before hitting the Pedigree on the chair. The crowd is shocked, which turns to joy when Chyna jumps into Triple H’s arms.

Highlights: Mean Street Posse ‘helping’ Triple H over the barricade when he seems stuck but doing it in a way that keeps them looking like heels. Triple H and Chyna’s reunion.

Comments: I liked this match. The reunion between Trips and Chyna was nice, but I keep think there’s something I’ve forgotten about this reunion.

Kevin Kelly is backstage and repeats that they have no ref for the WWF match. Vince just HAPPENS to wander into shot and says that he has a ref shirt in his gym bag and that HE’S going to be the special guest ref, which puts Austin’s chances of winning the title at about 0%.

WWF Women’s Championship Match: Sable vs Tori

Sable is out first to a nice pop and seems to have changed quite a bit from last year, according to Cole, new attitude, new demeanor. She gets on the mic and cuts a promo on ‘all the women who want to be me and all the men who want to have me’ and does a…dance, I guess. Tori is out next, in what looks like a weird catsuit, to a minimal pop.

This match was so bad, that after about a minute, I skipped it.

Winner: Sable wins by pinfall after Nicole Bass attacks Tori while the ref is out of commission.

Comments: This match was so bad, I had to skip it, and I’ve sat through three or four godawful Mixed Tag Matches, what does that tell you?

We go to X-Pac with DX and Chyna, Triple H says that with Chyna back, DX is stronger than it’s ever been, and Shane better bring his A game, because X-Pac is going to hand him his ass, but something feels off about this whole thing.

WWF European Championship: Shane McMahon (with Test) vs X-Pac

Shane and Test are out first to no reaction. X-Pac comes out to an okay pop, and alone before being jumped by the stooges. That’s quickly taken care of, and now Shane has to fight him.

This was a reasonably okay match, considering Shane’s limited ring experience at the time, but Pac took care of him and it wasn’t an utter trainwreck.

Winner: Shane McMahon by pinfall, after Chyna distracted the ref and Triple H pedigreed X-Pac when X-Pac had the match won. (Commenter: Oh, THAT’S what I forgot about this show!). Triple H continues to punish X-Pac until the Outlaws come out. Billy Gunn shooting in so fast, he almost went out the other side of the ring.

The brawl continues until the lights go out and Kane’s music plays. The jilted Big Red Romeo comes out to get him some of his two-faced Juliet and company, and chases the Corporation out of the area while the Outlaws tend to X-Pac.

Road Dogg hears King say that DX is finished and corrects him stating that that ‘jackoff’ (Triple H) is the one that’s finished.

Highlights: Shane missing the Bronco Buster. Trips and Chyna’s turn.

Comments: I like Shane McMahon matches, even if they aren’t the best technically. The turn of Chyna and Triple H was a surprise to me, given DX’s rebellious nature.

We get a recap of why of Undertaker and Boss Man are facing off and the whole war between the Corporation and the Ministry of Darkness, which is one of the most disturbing storylines in WWF/E history.

The Streak: Undertaker vs Big Boss Man – Hell in a Cell

Boss Man comes out first to a decent pop, but there’s still plenty of people booing when the lights go out. Taker and Bearer come out to a really good pop, despite Taker being a heel and his persona bordering on Satanic.

Given the two participants and the environment, this isn’t a pretty match, but it was very good until the end.

Winner: Undertaker by pinfall. The Streak is 8-0. Afterwards, in a truly horrifying move and some help from the Brood, he hangs Boss Man by a noose from the rafters.

Comments: This is the one match of Taker’s Streak that I truly HATE.  Even knowing and seeing that Boss Man had a harness on and that he really WASN’T in danger, the sight of him hanging by that noose made me sick. If there was ever a time that I wasn’t a fan of Undertaker’s, his Lord of Darkness/Satan phase was it.

We get a highlight reel of the WWF WrestleMania Rage Party, which looks like a LOT of fun. It was a concert and a party, with WWF people coming in and out, cutting promos, and generally hyping WrestleMania.

Michael Cole is in the ring and we’re told that JR will be calling the main event tonight. Lawler seems happy to see him and JR seems happy to be there.

No Disqualification WWF Championship Match: The Rock vs Stone Cold Steve Austin – Special Guest Referee: Mankind

Vince comes out first, clad in his ref shirt, to LOUD booing. Suddenly, HBK’s music hits and the Commissioner of WWF comes out to a LOUD pop. (Commenter: It’s weird to see HBK as an authority figure). HBK chides Vince for not reading his own rulebook and tells him that if he’d read the rulebook, he’d have known that there’s only one man who can appoint an official for a match and that one person is NOT Vince McMahon, it is the Commissioner of WWF, who just HAPPENS to be Shawn Michaels. HBK then tells Vince to get lost and bans Vince and the Corporation from ringside. Then promises that if any member of the Corporation shows up during the match, he and Vince will be having a fight out in the parking lot.

After all that, the Rock comes out to a pretty good pop, but not the thunderous ones he would get in a year or so. Rock doesn’t seem bothered that he’s got no backup from the Corporation. Austin comes out to his thunderous pop.

There’s a lot of trashtalk and the fists start flying before Austin takes his t-shirt off. This match was a precursor to the other two WrestleMania matches these two would have, it was a really great match.

Winner: Stone Cold Steve Austin by pinfall. Mankind returns from the hospital to count the pin after several refs are taken out. Austin celebrates with the fans while Vince loses his mind outside.

Highlights: Earl Hebner swearing and visibly frustrated when Rock kicked out. HBK barring Vince from the match. Mankind taking out Vince.

Comments: While I enjoyed this match, I’m a little miffed that the drama over the referee took up so much time, at least from what I can see on the Network.

Overall Comments:

So, why is it that WrestleMania XV isn’t better remembered? I have to say, most of this card is forgettable. We got some interesting swerves, and the matches were okay or good, but nothing about this card really stands out except for Hell in a Cells, for horrible reasons, and the Main Event.

Stinkers: This is a three-way tie.

  1. In Terms of Overall Quality: Sable vs Tori. I’ve never skipped a match during this rewatch and I had to skip that one.
  2. In Terms of How I Felt When the Match Was Over: Undertaker vs Boss Man. I never want to feel that sickened and horrified ever again over a wrestling match.
  3. In Terms of Sheer Stupidity: Bart Gunn vs Butterbean. That was the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen.

Match of the Night: Rock vs Austin.

Final Thoughts: This was an okay show. Other than Hell in a Cell, Brawl for All, and the Women’s Championship, I like most of the matches on the card, but I wouldn’t pull this one out to watch just because I wanted to watch it.


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Attitude Of Aggression #275- The Big Four Project Chapter 3: Royal Rumble ’88 & WrestleMania IV

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Attitude of Aggression
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

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!

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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

8/31/2018

Logan Square Auditorium in Chicago, IL

Runtime: 3:18:22 (HighSpotsWrestlingNetwork)

Commentary By: Tyler Volz (PBP) and Marty DeRosa (Color)

 

THE RESULTS

  • 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

 

THE BREAKDOWN

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 INCIDENT

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.

 

THE SIGNOFF

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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