As Dorothy Gale said in The Wizard of Oz, “There’s no place like home.” Anyone who has a VCR, DVD player, television, or is alive has to remember that iconic scene toward the end of the film where she recites this anthem of just wanting to go home while tapping her shows. Part of me wonders if AAW staff members weren’t looking for a pair of ruby slippers to tap and wish they could go back home to Berwyn.
Let’s make this clear right from the start. The H.O.M.E bar in Arlington Heights was a terrible venue for AAW to run (hindsight being 20/20). A shortened amount of time to operate killed at least four matches dead and probably hurt the pacing of the show in a major way. I’ve heard nothing but good things about the sound system, but all the A quality audio in the world means nothing when you can barely see the freaking show. Hell, the lights even went completely out during one of the matches, leading to a funny line about it being a “dark match.”
The matches that were D.O.A? Christian Rose/Davey Vega, Angelus Layne/Navaeh/MsChif, Tony Rican/Knight Wagner, and Chris Dickinson/Keith Walker. Not that Rose should be losing at this stage, but Vega looked like a complete jobber for bowing out so quickly. If AAW doesn’t have significant plans for him, why do they keep using him? Fans will become conditioned to his jobber status and won’t take him seriously if AAW does decide to push him. The women’s three way went a whopping two minutes and felt like a slap in the face to the performers involved. If I want two minute women’s matches, I know where to go. AAW is trying to get the women’s division over. MsChif beating two high quality female competitors in Layne and Navaeh in two minutes helps no one. Rican and Wagner is something which has been building for months. Then it was over in less than four minutes. On a side note: in no way should someone who hasn’t wrestled for years in AAW be doing Phoenix splashes. It makes the other roster members who can’t look bad. Props to Rican for being able to do it but just because he can doesn’t mean he should. Wagner pronounced the feud dead in a post-match promo. So all those segments, including interviews, head shavings, and other miscellaneous crap, was building up to a three minute nothing match. Chris Dickinson has been tearing it up for AIW, ISW, and Beyond. Losing in under five minutes to Walker was not an impressive debut. Hopefully, he gets additional bookings out of this match since Dickinson fits right in with everything AAW is about. He’s crazy, stiff, cuts good promos, and has good matches.
I understand having the matches be short given the time constraints, but that also means the first things to go should be interviews. Jordan Francois McEntyre cut the same promo he’s been cutting for months. Did we really need to see him get hit with a Boz Driver? This is two minutes that could have easily gone elsewhere. Truth Martini had his Hoopla segment with Dan Lawrence. Lawrence making fun of a dirty old man fan for taking pictures of the waitresses’s asses was a funny line, but other than getting to see Seleziya Sparx make her AAW debut (and take her pants off), this was also five minutes which could have gone to one of the three matches that got shafted. This was especially silly since both got promo time after the show anyway. Martini mentioned a new House of Truth, and Lawrence repeated a lot of what he said during the Hoopla segment.
Another match which left me scratching my head was Jimmy Jacobs and Arik Cannon. Never ever should these two men be allowed in the same ring ever again in any promotion. They were supposed to have a match. Then Jacobs says the loser should leave AAW. Cannon agrees, meaning Loser Leaves AAW was happening with literally zero build or hype. Even worse was the finish as irish Airborne were at ringside rpoting for someone to lose. They got attacked by Cannon, and it ended in a big schmozz. Jacobs made the save for Cannon, leading to them drinking beers together and hugging it out. If this means they’re a team again, then someone should be forced to watch some of their tag team matches from last year. Those matches with House of Truth and Zero Gravity were far below par. Given their hatred of each other, even to the point where they would be willing to risk their AAW careers means the finish is all the more headache inducing. I’m fine with Jacobs being on his own and rocking it with guys like Young and Hollister. If Cannon tries, he can also provide a solid veteran presence. Them possibly being put together is like repeating history and expecting something to change. SPOILER ALERT: It doesn’t.
The final disappointment was fittingly the main event as Shane Hollister defeated Brian Kendrick in a completely forgettable encounter. Not sure if the time played a factor here, but Kendrick did what amounted to nothing. I’m happy the right guy went over, but AAW had to be disappointed with what they got here. Kendrick has put in some solid performances recently in DG USA. This was barely anything above mediocre. In no way do I think this is Hollister’s fault, but his feud with Sami Callihan will likely end up doing far more to get him over than this match will.
I’m happy to report not everything on this show was either a disappointment or got too little time. ACH and Lamar Titan wrestled an excellent match against each other, a fantastic showcase for both men as Titan showed what he could do against a high level opponent. Titan proved he belongs and a year from now, this could reach an even higher status. This got 15 minutes, and they worked within the time frame well to actually make me enjoy this show. I guess a minor complaint was seeing Kevin Harvey interfere after not doing so for months. Was this an error of some sort? Based on everything associated with Take No Prisoners, it feels like this show took place in the darkest timeline. I’m not sure if Harvey had ever interfered before this point. Regardless, the announcers or someone should have made this into a bigger deal.
AAW’s other singles champion wrestled before intermission, in an example of odd match placement and referring back to the awkward pacing I mentioned before. Maybe Masada’s AAW debut against the champion shouldn’t be in the main slot, but given how poor the real main event was, these two certainly could have capped off the night better. Masada is a better wrestler than people give him credit for and against an opponent like Elgin, he can show that skill. This was a very good back and forth power type match. There was a great sequence where Elgin was put into a cross armbreaker by the challenger, but he then powerbombed out and set up for the finish.
Mat Fitchett continued his string of having solid matches but still ultimately losing. This time it was Silas Young. I’m not sure what Young is being rebuilt for, given he needs to be separated from the AAW title for a long time, but at least Fitchett benefits from working with someone that good. With a couple more minutes, I think the crowd, which was fairly quiet the whole night, could have had more to sink their teeth into. Val Malone did see some involvement, but Young won relatively clean with the Stock Lock submission.
The best match of the show was an eight man tag that was as fun an atomicos as you’ll see. Honestly, I think I enjoyed this match more than even any of the Chikara atomicos which have taken place this year. Marion Fontaine and Louis Lyndon teamed with Zero Gravity to wrestle the heel foursome of Irish Airborne and Monster Mafia. It’s amazing how two guys not even on the roster can endear themselves so quickly to the crowd and earn opportunities in AAW quickly. Ethan Page and Josh Alexander looked outstanding in this match, and I want to see these eight men interact frequently the next few months… okay, maybe not Airborne versus Gravity in a straight tag since they’ve wrestled roughly 100 times. Still, this was a fun match very similar to an AAW match I saw a couple years ago when ZG teamed with Age of the Fall against IA and House of Truth. The craziest thing of all may have been watching Page take four reverse ranas in a row. Pure craziness and if you’re into the Chikara type atomicos, this will your match. I only wish the commentators could have embraced this match instead of focusing so much on making jokes and distracting the listening audience from the action. This was neither their best night or AAW’s best night.
This was my least favorite show so far in 2013 as far as AAW. It’s a testament to how good they have become that there are some good matches, but I still think there were enough overall problems to say I would hesitate before buying this show. You can probably wait to see the eight man tag on the best of, and there weren’t really a lot of storylines advanced.
-Taped from Arlington Heights, Illinois
-Commentators: Phil Colvin and Dave Prazak
Quick results, times, and star ratings:
Christian Rose defeats Davey Vega by pinfall after a twisting Go 2 Sleep/3:29/*
Titan gets promo time at last and gets to show some solid talking ability.
MsChif defeats Angelus Layne and Naveah in three way match. MsChif pins Layne after the Desecrator /2:19/*
Knight Wagner defeats Tony Rican by pinfall after a roll-up with the tights/3:21/*
Silas Young (Val Malone) defeats Mat Fitchett by submission with the Stock Lock/11:01/***1/4
AAW Heritage Championship: ACH retains over Lamar Titan (w/Kevin Harvey and Nikki) by pinfall after the Big Bang Attack/12:02/***1/2
AAW Heavyweight Championship: Michael Elgin retains over Masada by pinfall after a spinning powerbomb/17:22/***1/2
Keith Walker defeats Chris Dickinson by pinfall after the lariat/4:53/**1/4
Zero Gravity (Bret Gakiya and CJ Esparza), Marion Fontaine, and Louis Lyndon defeat Irish Airborne (Jake and Dave Crist)(AAW Tag Team Champions) and Monster Mafia (Josh Alexander and Ethan Page). Fontaine gets the pin on Dave after a springboard moonsault/16:22/***1/2
Page mocking Lyndon. Control lost quickly. Double dives caught by the Mafia. Guerilla presses. Heat segment on Gakiya. Lyndon goes crazy on everyone. Four reverse ranas on Alexander in a row. Page sent colliding into his partner on the outside.
Jimmy Jacobs and Arik Cannon wrestle to a no-contest/N/R/**1/2
Shane Hollister defeats Brian Kendrick after Shug’s Last Gift/10:02/**3/4
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