After a busy couple days of wrestling around the Chicagoland area that featured five shows (maybe more, but who’s counting?), AAW is back at the Berwyn Eagles Club to kick-start another weekend of fun, excitement and certain shenanigans. Seven matches are signed for Thursday’s big event, with two championships on the line and a handful of debuts, including that of FKA Jack Swagger. The Eagles Club has been home to some of the biggest moments in company history — from Jimmy Jacobs throwing the IWA: Mid-South Championship in the trash, to CM Punk giving his endorsement to Gregory Iron, to the Tyler Black/Marek Brave barbed wire brawl, to the Silas Young/Michael Elgin wars, to Tommaso Ciampa’s heartfelt farewell. And that, really, is just scratching the surface. What history will be made in Berwyn at “Thursday Night Special”?
Enough chatter, let’s break down the matches:
The Match: Trey Miguel and Stephen Wolf vs. Team Tremendous (Dan Barry and Bill Carr) vs. Davey Vega and Alex Daniels
The Skinny: Miguel and Wolf are quickly becoming one of the hottest duos in AAW’s tag division. Team Tremendous last appeared in AAW at “Showdown” in August 2016, where they were defeated by Trevor Lee and Andrew Everett in about six minutes. Vega and Daniels teamed at the last show along with Fitchett against the team of Chuck Taylor, Miguel and Wolf. A win here for any of these teams might as well put them in line for a future Tag Team Championship opportunity.
My Take: My first thought upon seeing this match was, “Where’s Fitchett?” My second thought had to do with whether Alex Daniels is now a full-time member of Besties in the World, or if he’s just a one-off like that time Mike Tyson quote-unquote joined D-Generation X. After impressing me in a straight up tag match and a six-man tag, I am interested in seeing what Miguel and Wolf are able to do in the context of a match like this. I will admit I haven’t seen enough of Team Tremendous to really make a comment, but from what I’ve seen of them, they are fun-loving boys who know how to work a crowd. I think Wolf and Miguel get the win here and pick up some momentum going forward.
The Match: Colt Cabana vs. Trevor Lee
The Skinny: Of all the wrestlers selling merchandise at “Take No Prisoners” May 6 at Logan Square, Colt Cabana was by far the most popular and had the longest lines. Colt always has the crowds behind him, which is a stark contrast to Trevor Lee, who has been working overtime to piss off the fans and his competition alike. He accomplishes this by cheating and generally being a vile person from bell to bell. Cabana will need the crowd’s support to take down Lee, who as always has something to prove. This is a first-time match up, so what kind of nefarious acts go down is anybody’s guess.
My Take: I’m not the biggest Cabana fan in the world, I will admit, but I do think he adds a lot to a show, and at least around these parts, he’s a draw. He has a place and so does this match with Trevor Lee, but I still hope Lee treats him like a speed bump on his path to the AAW Heavyweight Championship — which he claims he will win by his 24th birthday on September 30. A couple weeks ago I was a little bummed that Lee’s match with Bobby Fish had only gone maybe eight minutes. While it’d be easy to joke about how I hope this match goes even shorter, because laughs, I actually want to see what Colt brings to the table here, so I hope they get their full time. When he wants to, Cabana can hang with anybody; hopefully we get that Cabana here. Despite Colt’s best efforts, I still see Trevor Lee winning by being a meanie.
The Skinny: FKA Jack Swagger, who insists upon being called by that name specifically, is also making his AAW debut at this event. In his first match on the indies, the former Real American will run up against AAW’s company gatekeeper, “Big Mike” Elgin, who is coming off one of the best matches in his career against Zack Sabre Jr. With a win over ZSJ, Elgin now claims to be number one contender for Sami Callihan’s Big F’N Belt, but a loss to FKA Swags here would set him back. It’s Swagger Bomb vs. Elgin Bomb on Thursday, whose will reign superior?
My Take: There is risk in booking Swagger, and there are plenty of questions to be asked. What are his capabilities outside the WWE’s restraints? Is he motivated? Will he be worth the price the company, presumably, paid for him? But there is upside, as well. All the eyes on AAW at the moment, and this is Jack’s first major match on the independents, so who wouldn’t be curious about this booking? Or this match, more specifically? That considered, I don’t know what to expect from Swagger, but I think Elgin will get a good enough match out of him. I see some fancy exchanges and some good grappling. I trust Michael Elgin to deliver no matter who he’s in the ring with, but Swagger’s still going over, kids. Sorry.
The Match: Fenix and AR Fox (c) vs. Shane Strickland and Lio Rush, AAW Tag Team Championship Match
The Skinny: This will be Lio Rush’s AAW debut. Strickland, who two months ago also made his debut at the Berwyn Eagles Club, has put together an impressive couple of matches his first go-around in the company and looks to secure his first win in tag team action. These two have worked together as opponents and as a team, and the chemistry between them is off the charts, so it makes sense for AAW to give them a shot at the newly crowned tag team champions. This match was originally scheduled to be Rush vs. Strickland straight up, but plans changed and now the tag titles are on the line. Which team will fly higher on its way to the top of AAW’s burgeoning tag division? And, I feel like I have to ask this bi-monthly: Will AR Fox survive?
My Take: This is the match I am looking forward to the most because it combines four talented performers with high stakes. After the NXT Tag Titles main evented last weekend at TakeOver — still bitter about the Ciampa thing, don’t even talk to me — I wouldn’t be surprised if the same occurred here. With the titles on the line, I see all both teams doing whatever needs to be done to stake their claim as the top team in AAW. However, Fenix and Fox are such a fresh act that I don’t see them dropping the belts for a long time, certainly not in their first defense. Watch the ceiling and hold your breath, because this one will be fast and fierce, with Fenix and Fox picking up the W.