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Chairshot Classics

WrestleMania 22: Big Hit or Big Flop?

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WrestleMania 22 Stage

WrestleMania 22 comes to us from the Windy City and features what looks like a very stacked card, including Rey Mysterio vying for the World Heavyweight Championship, a Casket Match, and the Chairman of WWE in a No-Holds Barred Match. Surprisingly, this show gets really great reviews all around, so let’s see if they’re justified!

Opener

Michelle Williams (Destiny’s Child) sings ‘America, the Beautiful’. We get a great video about the superstars hanging with our Armed Forces.

There’s a great video about the history of WrestleMania and promos for the big matches on the card.

World Tag Team Championship Match: Big Show and Kane vs Chris Masters and Carlito

Carlito gets a decent pop, Masters does not. Big Show and Kane get a great pop. As Kane and Big Show get to the ring, Carlito and Master bail out, probably the smartest thing they could’ve done.

Winner: Big Show and Kane by pinfall. Afterwards, Carlito and Masters argue over who is at fault. Masters tries to blame Carlito, but Carlito leaves.

Highlights

  1. Kane hitting a dropkick and a leapfrog (yes, seriously)
  2. Show hushing the crowd, so they can hear the ‘smack’ of his hand on Masters’ chest.
  3. Carlito trying to do an armwringer on Big Show.
  4. Big Show hitting a superkick

Comments: This was a good match. Kane and Big Show worked really well together and with Carlito and Masters

We go to Coach who is talking to HBK about his issues with Vince. Shawn says he told Vince the truth and he’s never regretted telling the truth. He reflects on how last year, he and Kurt Angle tore the house down but he doesn’t expect a five star match tonight because his match with Vince is going to get violent, brutal, and ugly. He tells Vince to say his prayers because his ass is getting kicked tonight.

Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Rob Van Dam vs Bobby Lashley, Finlay, Matt Hardy, Ric Flair, and Shelton Benjamin

Just about everyone gets a decent pop. RVD and Flair get the best ones.

Winner: Rob Van Dam

Highlights:

  1. Ric Flair doing a ladder match at 57 years old and hanging with guys much younger than himself.
  2. RVD winning the briefcase
  3. Matt Hardy suplexing Flair off the ladder.

Comments: This is one of the best Money in the Bank matches, in my opinion.

We go to Josh Matthews who is interviewing Mean Gene Okerlund, the first commentator to be inducted into the Hall of Fame (Monsoon, Ventura, and Heenan don’t count because they were wrestlers and/or before their broadcast careers). Okerlund says he had a great time the night before and ran up quite a bar tab. They are interrupted by Randy Orton, who scoffs at Mean Gene’s induction. Mean Gene isn’t in the mood for this and walks off, saying some not-nice sounding things about Cowboy Bob Orton.

Randy is a little perplexed by Mean Gene’s attitude and says that what he was going to say is that when he’s inducted into the Hall of Fame, it’s going to be for nights like WrestleMania when he’ll make history by beating ‘paper champion’ Kurt Angle and ‘charity case’ Rey Mysterio and become World Heavyweight Champion. He goes on to brag about being The Legend Killer and dares anyone to disagree. A tap on the shoulder reveals Batista. Batista is all pleasantries but reminds Orton that whoever wins the title is just holding it until he gets back from injury and promises to be back soon. He also vows to be World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania 23 (he’s either psychic or spoiling his storyline for the next year).

It’s time for the Hall of Fame reveal, but we’re told that Bret Hart won’t be there because he was ‘uncomfortable’ participating with the evening’s proceedings (Translation: He didn’t want to be around HBK). The audience isn’t happy with Bret chickening out. Our inductees: Mean Gene Okerlund,  Sensational Sherri (who is on the arm of Ted DiBiase), Tony Atlas (part of the first African-American Tag Team Champions, along with Rocky Johnson), Verne Gagne (Owner/Promoter of AWA), William ‘The Refrigerator’ Perry (1986 Chicago Bears, participated in WrestleMania II), The Blackjacks, Eddie Guerrero (Vickie and Chavo Guerrero accepted for him), and Bret Hart, who refused to participate. Vickie gets a lot of love from the other inductees and Eddie gets the best pop. Tazz and Cole are clearly emotional.

WWE United States Championship Match: Chris Benoit vs John ‘Bradshaw’ Layfield (with Jillian Hall)

JBL comes out first, in his limo to a round of boos. Benoit gets a great pop. This was a really physical match, but it wasn’t a great one for either man. Still, it was a good one, but not as great as it seemed on paper.

Winner: JBL by pinfall, using the ropes for leverage.

Highlights: JBL playing up the heel by mocking Eddie Guerrero and getting his a** kicked for it.

Comments: This was an ‘eh’ for me.

We get a recap of the Foley/Edge feud.

Hardcore Match: Mick Foley vs Edge (with Lita)

Joey Styles joins us for this match. Edge and Lita are out first a round of boos. Foley is out to a great pop

This match was insanely good and starts with Edge trying to Mick with a baseball bat. This would be Lita’s last WrestleMania as a full-time competitor. She would retire in November, but would make occasional appearances, such as being inducted into the WWE HOF, and presenting the newly reinstated Women’s Championship.

Winner: Edge by pinfall

Highlights:

  1. Edge taking the thumbtack bump.
  2. Mick wearing barb wire under his shirt
  3. Spear through the flaming table

Comments: Kudos to both guys for an amazing match.

Booker T and Sharmell are backstage and Sharmell is begging Booker to not make her go through with this match. Neither of them know why the Boogeyman is after them. They make their way to the ring and are waylaid by various people, none of whom are much help.

Handicap Match: Booker T and Sharmell vs The Boogeyman

Booker T and Sharmell come out to a quiet pop. Boogeyman is out next to no pop. Booker T makes Sharmell start the match, which she doesn’t want to do, but it’s a ruse so that Booker can attack Boogeyman from behind. To say this match was filler is being kind. I don’t know who Booker ticked off to get put in this mess, but it couldn’t have been this bad.

Winner: Boogeyman by pinfall.

Comments: I have no idea why this had to be on WrestleMania.

We get a recap of the Trish/Mickie feud.

WWE Women’s Championship: Trish Stratus vs Mickie James

Mickie comes out to a pretty good pop despite being the heel. Trish gets a great pop. This was a really great match. The perfect mix of story, psychology, and match. The crowd turning on Trish and cheering Mickie was unexpected, but very interesting since Trish had been the perennial sweetheart of the fans, whether she was a face or a heel.

Winner: Mickie James by pinfall with the Mick Kick, which was a bit of a letdown. Mickie celebrates happily, to the joy of the crowd.

Highlights: The crowd turning on Trish mid-match and JR/Lawler’s reaction to it. Mickie showing her incredible in-ring skills.

Comments: This is the match that made me a Mickie James fan, so it is near and dear to my heart. This would be Trish’s last WrestleMania as a full-time competitor. She would retire in September after winning her seventh Women’s Championship and still makes occasional appearances.

We got backstage with the McMahons for a segment that I won’t go into because it bothers me immensely, even though I know it’s a work.

The Streak: Undertaker vs Mark Henry – Casket Match

The druids bring out a freight car sized casket. We get a quick recap of the Taker/Henry feud. Henry comes out first to a round of boos. Not very many people seem to think Henry has a prayer of beating Taker.

The lights go out, lightning hits the stage, and flames erupt. The Deadman Cometh.  Mark Henry is talking smack and trying, not very successfully, to act like he’s not scared.

As is usual, for most of Taker’s WrestleMania matches, this was not a technical or scientific masterpiece. This was a brutal, physical, fight. Mark Henry is NOT someone Taker can just toss around, like he has most of his opponents.

Winner: Undertaker by putting Mark Henry in the casket. The Streak is 14-0.

Highlights: Taker tombstoning Mark Henry.

Comments: This was an okay, match. Both guys did a great job, but I just wasn’t into it.

We get a great shot of Chicago and a recap of the feud between Vince and HBK.

No-Holds Barred Match: Shawn Michaels vs Vince McMahon

HBK gets a great pop. Vince gets a good pop too. He shows off his jacked physique and does his BMF walk. This was one of those ‘Vince and _ work out past issues by beating each other to a pulp’ matches. It wasn’t pretty or fancy, but it told a good story.

Winner: Shawn Michaels by pinfall, leaving Vince in a pool of his own blood.

Highlights:

  1. HBK taking out the Spirit Squad.
  2. Vince taking an elbow drop from a 20ft ladder.
  3. Shane trying to save his dad while being handcuffed.
  4. JR and Lawler’s commentary.

Comments: A Vince match works because everyone wants to see the boss get his butt kicked, no matter how much they might like them.

We get recap of the Angle/Mysterio/Orton situation.

Triple Threat Match for the World Heavyweight Championship: Kurt Angle vs Rey Mysterio vs Randy Orton

Mysterio is sung to the ring, and instead of a superhero costume, he comes out dressed as an Aztec warrior (or, that’s what I THINK that’s what his outfit is supposed to be). Orton gets a good reaction. Angle comes out to a really good pop.

This was a great match, which is no surprise, given the men involved. A great story of perseverance is told, and we get a great WrestleMania moment.

Winner: Rey Mysterio by pinfall. The crowd LOSES it. Angle and Orton are furious. Rey’s in tears and is joined on the top of the ramp by Vickie and Chavo Jr, who congratulate him.

Highlights: Rey FINALLY becoming World Heavyweight Champion!!! Everyone being emotional.

Comments: I have no shame in admitting that I still BAWLED when Rey won. Eddie would’ve been so proud of him.

We see Cena and Triple H prepping for their match.

Playboy Pillowfight: Torrie Wilson vs Candice Michelle

Candice Michelle is out first to a quiet pop, as does Torrie.  For some reason, even though it’s supposed to be a pillow fight, Torrie and Candice are both in evening gowns.

Unbelievably, this actually ended up being a wrestling match, not a very good one, but an actual wrestling match, instead of a sexy pillow fight. I’m almost glad I didn’t skip it.

Winner: Torrie Wilson by pinfall.

Comments: Best that I’ll say is that it was quick and they didn’t use pillows.

Now that that’s over, it’s time for the recap of the Triple H/Cena feud.

WWE Championship: John Cena vs Triple H

Triple H comes out in his first ‘Skull King’ entrance. These would become more and more elaborate. He gets a really good pop, despite the outfit and entrance, that Triple H even said looked stupid.

Cena’s entrance begins with a video about the Chicago gangsters and tying it to ‘Hustle, Loyalty, Respect’. A NICE 1920/30s era car comes out (don’t ask me what kind), protected by ‘gangsters’ with Tommy guns. Our tough guys (most of whom are soon to be familiar faces) surround the ring as Cena’s music hits. Cena gets his usual mixed reaction, dressed in a trenchcoat and fedora, with his own Tommy Gun, that he fires off (blanks were used, obviously).

This was a really good match. The clash of styles really worked for the story and psychology.

Winner: John Cena by submission.

Highlights: The entrances

Comments: I liked this match a lot.

Notes: One of the ‘gangsters’ accompanying Cena was a little-known superstar in development named CM Punk.

Overall Comments

So, was WrestleMania 22 all it was cracked up to be? Yeah, for the most part. There were not outright bad matches and the bad ones were mostly just ‘Why is this on here?’ than ‘WTF?’.

Stinkers: Booker T and Sharmell vs Boogeyman. I have no idea why that was put on the WrestleMania card. Playboy Pillow Fight gets a pass on this one because it actually turned out better than it sounded.

Match of the Night: Edge/Foley and Michaels/McMahon.

Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed this show a lot. The focus was on the wrestling and not on the backstage stuff.


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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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Created in 2017, the Chairshot Radio Network presents you with the best in wrestling and wrestling crossover podcasts, including POD is WAR, Women’s Wrestling Talk, Chairshot Radio daily editions, The #Miranda Show, Badlands’ Wrestling Mount Rushmores, The Outsider’s Edge, DWI Podcast, Bandwagon Nerds, the Greg DeMarco Show, 3 Man Weave, Five Rounds, Turnbuckle Talk, The Reaction and more! You can find these great shows each week at theChairshot.com and through our distribution partners, including podcasting’s most popular platforms.

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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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