We see a quick clip from SmackDown where Brock Lesnar savagely destroys a one-legged man in front of his mother. The kid, Zach Gowen gets some serious color in the clip and Michael Cole says that Brock broke the young mans only leg in two places. When they try to take the young man out on a stretcher Brock continues to destroy him and he even smears the dudes blood on his chest. He I guess when your trying to really drive the Heel turn home what better way then to have the individual destroy a man with one leg. This clip leads us into our match for the WWE Championship.
Before the match starts we see a package of Kurt Angle’s road to recovery from his neck injury and how he and Brock ended up here. It shows clips of Brock and Kurt’s friendship and how Brock was there to comfort him in his recovery. Vince then would set-up a Steel Cage match between himself and Brock Lesnar with Kurt as the special guest referee. It was all a work and Brock would betray Kurt in the cage with F5s.
The challenger, Brock Lesnar enters the arena first and the fans are booing him, much like they would today. This is good heat here though, and not the kind he receives today. The WWE Champion and two time US Gold medalist, Kurt Angle enters and he gets some cool pyro to go along with his “You Suck” chants. Kurt kisses the medals before he hands the Title over to the ref and he goes over the rules. Each men return to their corners and the bell sounds. As soon as they tie-up in the collar and elbow Brock drives Kurt to the corner and the ref is forced to separate them. They square up again and Kurt is quick to take Brock down with a hammerlock. Brock reverses it and it is Kurt who is now in the hold. The men continue the back and forth a bit longer and it is in the style of a high school wrestling match. After they roll around a bit they return to their corners and do it again. They try to collar and elbow a few times but Lesnar just over powers Kurt and shoves him to the ground. I understand that they both have similar pedigrees but after awhile this start grows stale. Kurt hits three arm drags in a row and this forces Brock from the ring to regain his composure. While on the outside he instead loses his composure and freaks out. He smashes some monitors and the kicks at the ring stairs like a small child. Brock then threatens to throw the stairs into the ring but the ref stops him. He continues his tantrum by grabbing the Strap and trying to leave with it, while saying “It’s mine”. This is great Heel work by Brock here and it helps to show that he has a weakness and that’s what every good Heel needs. Angle chases him down and delivers a clothesline to Lesnar’s back. Brock no-sells it and the two trade punches on the apron. This is a battle that Lesnar obviously wins and he soon whips Kurt into the ring apron. But after a kick to the midsection Kurt regains the advantage and returns Brock to the ring. Brock is first to his feet and violently whip Kurt into the turnbuckle. But Kurt comes out of the corner quick to hit a belly-to-belly and go for the cover. But Brock isn’t finished yet and kicks out.
Brock comes from nowhere and picks Kurt up for a gorilla press slam. He holds him in the air for a moment before he just tosses him out of the ring. Brock Lesnar is just a freak of nature and his strength really shows here. Brock joins him on the outside and whips him into the ring steps. He then returns Kurt to the ring and stomps away at Angle’s back. He goes for the cover but it’s Angle who isn’t done yet and he kicks out. The tilt-a-whirl backbreaker that Lesnar delivers next is super brutal, but Angle still kicks out of the cover attempt. After the kick-out, Brock applies a rear naked choke that he slowly transitions into the body scissors. The “Angle” chants start now an Kurt finally rises to his feet and escapes the hold with elbows to the midsection of Lesnar. Kurt bounces off the ropes but Brock takes him out with a knee to the gut. After some stomps in the corner, and chokes from Brock’s boot, Angle explodes from the corner and rolls Brock up for the pin. The crowd counts along, but are forced to stop at two when Lesnar kicks out. Lesnar is pissed and just flattens Angle with a clothesline. He then picks Kurt up for a high cradle and slams him to the mat. But once again Angle kicks out. At this point in the match we here Michael Cole mention that one year ago, at SummerSlam, Lesnar became the youngest World Champion ever.(You can read more on that here.)
The back and fourth continues but Brock seems to always come out ahead. Brock whips Kurt to the corner and rams him with his shoulder. When he takes a few steps back and charges, it makes a solid connection. He whips Kurt to the other corner, but this time when he charges, Kurt moves and Brock tackles the ring post. Angle explodes into Lesnar with some shoulder block but after two Lesnar is still standing. So Kurt delivers a dropkick to the back of his knee and this takes the big man off his feet. Both men are slow to their feet and Kurt sits him back down with a flying forearm. He follows it up with a triple German suplex and hold the third one for a pin. But Lesnar still isn’t done and he kicks out. When they return to their feet Lesnar grips Angle and tosses him with a belly-to-belly. He attempts a second one but Angle escapes and goes for the Angle Slam. It isn’t time yet and Brock escapes and shoves Angle into the ropes. When he bounces back Brock slams him to the mat with a spinebuster. He again goes for the cover but Angle still has some gas left and kicks out. Lesnar is taunting Angle as he waits for him to rise to his feet. Lesnar goes for the F5 next but Kurt is able to reverse it into a tornado DDT. This is a cool spot here folks. It is Kurt’s turn to go for a cover now but Brock isn’t out of gas either and he is the one now kicking out. At this point in the match the fans are really popping with ever move. This is always a good sign and really shows the fans are hanging onto every move and unsure of when the finish will come.
When Kurt returns to his feet and pulls the straps of his singlet down the crowd goes from a rumble to an earthquake. Kurt is taunting Brock to rise to his feet and when Lesnar does he is rewarded with an Angle Slam. The cover is made but the ref stops at two, even though Lesnar made no attempt to kick-out. At this point Kurt pulls the straps of his singlet back up then quickly pulls them back down. I think this was some kind of signal to the guys in the back. Angle then applies the ankle lock and Lesnar is squirming to escape. Lesnar eventually escapes the hold by pulling Angle towards him and this then makes Angle collide with the official. Both men are slow to return to their feet but the ref still lay there “unconscious”. Kurt then applies some kind of weird inverted armbar that leaves him hanging from the back of Lesnar. Lesnar finally falls to the ground and Angle applies the ankle lock again. Brock gets to the ropes but with the ref still knocked out, Angle just drags Lesnar back to the center of the ring. Brock soon starts to tap-out but the ref is still down and this is when we hear the crowd explode and rise to their feet. Soon Vincent K. McMahon enters the ring and lays Kurt out with a chairshot to the back. After the chairshot Vince quickly exits the ring and hides the chair. He then stands outside the ring and spectates, as he looks on innocently. The reactions from Vince here are priceless. The crowd hit McMahon with some “Asshole” chants as Brock slowly rises to his feet. Lesnar is hopping around on one foot as he picks Angle up and delivers the F5. Angle lands squarely on his head here and probably wasn’t good for that neck of his. Lesnar is slow to make the cover and at this time the ref is starting to move again. The ref makes the slow count and the fans join in because they think this thing is surely over. Even know Angle is running on E, he manages to kick-out. The look of shock on Lesnar’s face and anger on McMahon’s here is just great stuff. Brock goes for another F5 but this one is reversed and Angle soon has him in another ankle lock. Lesnar crawls and touches each rope but Angle is quick to pull him back to the center each time. For some reason the ref doesn’t break the hold each time. Eventually Lesnar can no longer hold on and, for what I think is the first time in his career, taps the mat. Kurt Angle retains the Title and the crowd cheer him on with “You Suck” chants. This was a phenomenal match and told a great story. Kurt Angle has said that Lesnar was supposed to go over here but that Lesnar insisted that he loose this one. He thought it would be better for his character to tap-out and show some signs of weakness. I wish he was still so humble and went out and performed like the Brock Lesnar of old. If you are a doubter of the in-ring work of Brock Lesnar I suggest you go back and watch some of his matches with Kurt Angle. But the craziest part of this whole match is that Kurt wrestled the whole thing with a torn hamstring. It may not of been the wisest of decisions but I tip my hat to you Mr. Angle. Match Time:20:49
After the match and celebration Vince re-enters the ring to try and hit Kurt with a chair. He manages to duck it though and starts to beat the hell out of the boss. At this point I noticed a sign that reads “La Parka=Ratings” and this made me chuckle. Shout-out to whoever that sign dude was. Angle then sets the chair up and crushes it by Angle Slamming Mr. McMahon onto it. And for this Michael Cole wishes Vince a Happy Birthday and this is in fact his actually birthday. He turned 58 on this day and after the show the entire crew would join him in the ring to celebrate it. This is some cool stuff and it is out there on the inter-webs someplace. I suggest that if you are a fan of this era of wrestling you go watch it, after you finish reading this of course.
Howard Finkle tells us that the next match will be No-Holds Barred and introduces Kane and The Big Red Machine Enters first in the darkness. As soon as he hits the ring Rob Van Dam enters and the crowd is popping. RVD lands some quick kicks but Kane no-sells them and lays Rob out with a clothesline. Kane soon takes Van Dam to the outside and begins to beat him off the security rails. This is when we hear the first “RVD” chants from the crowd. They chants power Rob to unload a few kicks before he moonsaults off the security wall and land on Kane. The Big Red Machine eventually stops the attack by whipping RVD into the ring post. Then he goes under the ring to grab the ladder. He then takes it into the ring but Rob uses the ropes as a fulcrum and drives the ladder into Kane’s face. RVD hits the top ropes next and comes of with a roundhouse to Kane’s chest. RVD next hits a crossbody against the ropes that send both men to the floor.
Kane is first to his feet and whips RVD into the ring steps. After a few more blows against the security wall, Kane return’s Rob to the ring to continue the beating. RVD slows can down with a flipping heel kick and its his turn to take over the match. After a few shoulder blocks, Rob springboards of the second buckle and hits another roundhouse. When Rob goes up top again it is thwarted when Kane shoves him off the tope rope and into the security wall. The “Holy Shit” chants are given for this action. The ladder is back in Kane’s hands now and he drives it into the face of RVD. Next Kane returns RVD to the ring and tries to cover. But RVD isn’t done yet and kicks out. This enrages the big man and he takes to choking RVD, until the ref forces the break. Kane goes after the official after this and when Rob Van Dam returns to his feet Kane flattens him with a clothesline. Kane stomps on him, like ten times, before he chokes Van Dam with his boot. Van Dam dodges the next clothesline though and this sets up an enziguri to the side of Kane’s face. Kane is quick to stop the attack by throwing Rob off the apron and into the security wall. This is when we see Kane start to ascend to the top turnbuckle. He flies of the top, for a lariat, but RVD moves and Kane hits the wall. The crowd reward him with “You fucked up” chants. He then drives the ladder into the midsection of Kane. But Kane is quick to recover and lands a DDT on the outside. Kane charges RVD with the stairs next but he is quick with a drop toe hold, that send Kane’s face into the steps. Both men are slow to return to their feet and RVD dropkicks Kane over the security wall. RVD then teeters Kane on the security wall so that he can leap from the apron and hit a spinning leg drop. Rob grabs a chair next and when he lifts it above his head the crowd erupts. A spinning heal kick puts Kane on his back and this leads to Rob putting the chair across his chest. RVD then sacrifices him self to hit a rolling thunder, onto the chair. But Kane sits up in a similar fashion as The Undertaker. Rvd is quick to dropkick him in the face and return him to the mat. RVD then goes to the top rope and goes coast-to-coast with the chair and tries for the VanDaminator. Kane rolls from harms way and the landing here is just brutal. Kane is back outside and RVD leaps the ropes to try a crossbody. Kane catches him though and Tombstones him onto the ring steps. Kane returns him to the ring and makes the cover. 1,2,3 and Kane is the victor here. The match as a whole was entertaining and had some great highspots. It is definitely worth the watch. Match Time:12:49
We see Linda McMahon enter the locker room that Bischoff is nursing his injuries in. Eric starts to cop a plea with here but she just slaps him in the ice-bag, that he holds on his face. And finally the Main Event is upon us!
We see the Elimination Chamber lowered onto the ring before Lawler and JR tell us about the first Chamber match from the previous year’s Survivor Series. Triple H lost his Title in that match, that took place at Madison Square Garden. Chris Jericho would be the one to take the Strap on that day.
Before we start the match I just want to say that this was a tough to cover , due to the chaos, so I will be just highlighting the entrances, highspots and eliminations here.
Howard Finkle runs through the rules before he starts to introduce the participants in this match. An Evolution member, Randy Orton makes his way down and enters his cage. Kevin Nash is next and when Big Daddy Cool enters the crowd explode. The WWE Universal Champion and head of Evolution, Triple H enters next and is joined by Ric Flair. We see Goldberg walk through the back before he enters the arena accompanied by “Goldberg” chants. He enters a cage and they are now full. JR tells us here that the doors of the cages will open at random, every three minutes. Chris Jericho is next and is receiving a nice pop. And last but certainly not least, The Heart Break Kid , Shawn Michaels enters and the crowd is now on their toes. I find it funny that at last years SummerSlam, Michaels made his return for one match. We see how that went.
Jericho and Michaels start and trade some holds. Michaels hits a nice springboard crossbody, off the second rope, but this doesn’t slow Jericho and they continue to trade roll-ups and backslides. Jericho eventually attempts the Walls of Jericho but Michaels is quick to reverse it. The counter appears on screen and Randy Orton is next out. He is quick to hit HBK with a crossbody off the top rope and try for a pin. Michaels kicks out and the three men continue to battle. There is a hard slam for Orton onto the chain floor, from Y2J, and he soon puts Shawn in The Walls. But Kevin Nash’s cage opens and he levels Jericho with a clothesline. Nash continues to dominant the match until Michaels hits him with a superkick and Jericho makes the cover. Just like that Nash is eliminated. This would be the last time we see hom in the WWE until 2011. The Game, Triple H enters next but before he can exit the cage, Michaels levels him with the superkick. The Jackknife that Nash delivers to Orton is brutal but he is eliminated and cause some havoc before doing so. At this point HBK and Jericho both are showing some color. Goldberg finally comes in and clears the ring as the crowd is exploding. But Jericho and Michaels tries to double team him and this leads to Goldberg laying them both out with a clothesline. He hits Orton with a spear and soon eliminates him with a pin.
Goldberg then picks Jericho up and throws him into the cage, from the ring. Goldberg then explodes Jericho through the plexiglass with a spear. Michaels soon receives a spear and a Jackhammer is next. At this point Michaels is eliminated by a pin. Jericho takes another brutal spear that he follows with the Jackhammer and the pin. Jericho is gone. Triple H gets his ass kicked and is about to take a spear when he levels Goldberg with the sledgehammer and gets the cover. Evolution then joins Triple H in the ring and beat his ass. A decent match but Goldberg should of went over here and that was the original plan. That changed because they wanted him to go over in a better match but Triple H was dealing with a groin injury. Who says dating the bosses daughter doesn’t have its perks. Match Time:19:12
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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