AAW is back this Saturday night at Chicago’s Logan Square Auditorium for “Unstoppable,” a post-Thanksgiving super card boasting a number of new talents in place of the company’s old guard. Missing in action will be Number One Contender to the AAW Heavyweight Championship Michael Elgin, one-third of WRSTLING Jeff Cobb, and OI4K head honcho Sami Callihan, all three of whom are participating in NJPW’s World Tag League.
In their stead, and each making their debut, are Texas sensation Sammy Guevara, Ring of Honor standout Flip Gordon, and the criminally underrated Fred Yehi. As recent years have indicated, absolutely anything can happen on the show the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Remember, it was just two years ago when Sami Callihan returned and kicked then-champion Eddie Kingston in the face to set up his career’s most memorable run. And four years ago some guy named Kevin Owens won the Heavyweight Championship in one of the biggest shockers in company history.
Seven matches are scheduled, with another one or two to be added before bell time. Scheduled to compete in addition to the matches below are the Besties in the World (Davey Vega and Mat Fitchett), Curt Stallion, Paco Gonzalez, Jake Something and Connor Braxton.
The Match: Myron Reed vs. Flip Gordon
The Skinny: Where does he think he’s going? Flip Gordon comes into AAW on the heels of his breakout performance at Ring of Honor’s “Global Wars: Chicago,” where he took Will Ospreay to the limit and then some, a performance that got him booked for this match almost immediately. But he runs into another youthful sensation in “Hot Fire” Myron Reed, who’s been turning heads the better part of the last year, most recently having won the Scenic City Trios Tournament, along with Curt Stallion and Gary Jay. Both men are looking to show up and show off, but only one can get the W. Will Myron “flip” the script here, or will this match be Gordon’s in a flash?
My Take: Youth vs. youth. Inexperience vs. inexperience. Flips vs. Flip. No matter how you promote the match on the tip of your tongue, or in my case, inside my head, you’ve got to figure you’re going to see some crazy shit in this one. I would say “get yo’ popcorn ready” in a Terrell Owens voice, but nobody would understand the reference, and worst of all, the venue doesn’t sell food, so I’d be SOL. As it were, prepare for about 10 minutes of “ooh’s” and “ahh’s,” with Myron Reed grabbing the win.
The Match: ACH vs. Sammy Guevara
The Skinny: The Battle for Texas comes to Chicago, as AAW stalwart ACH, born in Austin, challenges newcomer and Katy, TX native Sammy Guevara. The latter cut his teeth in the WrestleCircus promotion, quickly becoming one of its top attractions, before moving onto success in PWG and other companies. Despite breaking out elsewhere, Guevera is still making his name in the Midwest. ACH has had an up and down 2017 — up: competing in New Japan; down: anything Troll Boyz — but he always brings the noise when confronted by dynamic wrestlers several years his junior (see: Myron Reed vs. ACH from July). Will Sammy prove he’s really the “Best Ever,” or does ACH have him figured out?
My Take: This isn’t a first-time match up, and whenever these two have faced off, it’s been a memorable experience, so bringing that to Chicago is something to get excited about. ACH and Guevera share good chemistry with each other, and ACH always seems to bring a little extra to his AAW matches, which makes this one of the matches I am looking forward to the most. Personally, I hope ACH moves up the card and eventually gets a shot at the Heavyweight Championship, so I’d like to see him get the win here. But if Sammy is sticking around, I’m calling the upset.
The Match: OI4K (Jake/Dave Crist) vs. Trey Miguel/Stephen Wolf
The Skinny: Despite recently being hobbled, with Jake injuring his foot, OI4K has never been hotter. The recent additions to Impact’s roster have already secured the Global Tag Team Championships and competed in a hare-brained barbed wire ropes match. The team of Trey Miguel and Stephen Wolf has been climbing the company ladder, in many respects literally, having most recently lost a ladder match for AAW’s Tag Team Championships on November 4 (and competed in another the month previous). Both teams are known for doing whatever it takes to win, both teams are riding high as of late. Whose momentum will carry them to victory?
My Take: The Crist brothers are easily one of my favorite acts of the last couple of years, and by now they’ve got to be the best tag team in AAW’s storied history, right? They’re almost always on top or in a spot where they can shine, and this match is no exception to that rule. Team EatClipz, as they like to be called, is a young, death-defying tag team with a lot of upside, and given Miguel’s association with the Killers, there is bound to be some good sequences in this one. I like OI4K here.
The Match: Shane Strickland vs. Fred Yehi
The Skinny: Whether as part of a tag team — either with Lio Rush or his own personal Kenan Thompson Keith Lee — or as a singles wrestler, the “King of Swerve” Shane Strickland has been one of 2017’s success stories not just in AAW, but all over the map. Generating buzz in companies like CZW, WrestleCircus and Defy, he has been coming into his own as of late. But destined to upend that story of glory is Fred Yehi, who’s most known for his work with the WWN promotions, and will be making his debut Saturday. Will Strickland be in “big trouble” with Yehi? Or will Swerve stomp out another one?
My Take: Strickland has quietly put together an impressive year for AAW, one that is defined by depth. He’s competed in tags and singles, for championships and for pride, and a match with Fred Yehi will cap things off nicely for him. Yehi, who wrestles for EVOLVE, FIP and other companies, has never been given the go as “the guy,” though he’s more than capable. AAW fans who’ve never seen his work are in for a treat, as his unique style will push his name out there almost instantaneously. Strickland will win this one, but Yehi will deliver just as much in defeat.
The Match: WRSTLING (David Starr/Trevor Lee) vs. Eddie Kingston/AR Fox
The Skinny: With partner and overall suplex machine Jeff Cobb competing in New Japan’s World Tag League, along with partner Michael Elgin, WRSTLING leader David Starr had to get creative to keep his vision of AAW’s future going. At November 3’s “Hell Hath No Fury,” Starr recruited fellow mat jockey Trevor Lee to join the mix in a move that will give each party much-needed direction. Now Lee and Starr go head-to-head with two of AAW’s most well-respected names in Eddie Kingston and AR Fox, both of whom were present for the stable’s formation at July’s “United We Stand.” Can Fox and King find revenge? Or will Eddie quit yet again?
My Take: In my mind, David Starr is the best thing going in AAW right now, and that is a product of sheer will on his part. He isn’t around every month, but he makes every match, promo, thought or action count — note the exclusive merch he created for his AAW appearances. Adding Trevor Lee to the mix was smart, and keeps this ball rolling, but where does it end, I wonder? What is the end goal of WRSTLING? I think this group could hold guard at the top of the card, Starr its charismatic leader, but that remains to be seen. I like the team of Fox and Kingston, but let’s face it: They’re fodder for this new, dominant stable.
The Match: Penta El 0M (c) vs. Zema Ion
The Skinny: Since his match of the year candidate with Drew Galloway at March’s “Homecoming,” DJ Zema Ion has more than impressed both AAW management and fans alike with his high-flying, risk-taking offense. After winning a six-pack challenge to become number one contender to the Heritage Title on November 3, the Chicago native now sets his sights on wrestling’s face of fearlessness, Penta El 0M. DJZ is on an upward trend no matter where he’s competing, but make no mistake: Toppling Penta for the title will be no easy task. Should the fans get the air horns ready just in case?
My Take: There’s something about these two guys and the city of Chicago. DJZ, for one, calls it his home, so his reactions are always loud and passionate. He’s our boy. He’s one of us. But Penta El 0M, along with brother Rey Fenix, has made Chicago his home away from home, and he always delivers for AAW. I love it when those elements come together, when you know the crowd is going to be rabid, on the edge of its seat, wanting both men to win. This match is going to rule hard, any way you slice it. That said… give me Zema Ion in an upset. Easily the toughest call of the night.
The Match: Rey Fenix (c) vs. Jimmy Jacobs
The Skinny: Since his selfie of doom, Jimmy Jacobs has been the talk of many of the same towns he once made before agreeing to write for WWE’s creative team. That buzz came to a swell three weeks ago when he returned to confront AAW Heavyweight Champion Rey Fenix, challenging the luchador to a championship match in Logan Square Auditorium. There is nothing like seeing Jacobs in an AAW ring, but Rey scratched and clawed for the better part of a year just to hold the gold. Will the returning Zombie Princess reclaim his crown? Or will Fenix rise once again on his way to a win?
My Take: This is another match that could go either way. Jimmy Jacobs has been one hot commodity as of late, and a victory in the main event of “Unstoppable” would be the highlight of his already absurd return to the independents, but he’s got to go through Rey Fenix to do it. And that’s no easy feat, as Fenix has been putting on some of his best performances for AAW this year. What it comes down to, I suppose, is the main event of Windy City Classic XIII in December. Who matches up better with Big Mike? This one can honestly go either way, so I’m not even going to bother picking. In fact, maybe they’ll both win, setting up a triple threat. All roads lead to December 30. Until then.
NEWS AND NOTES:
- Tickets for upcoming AAW shows are available now. On December 2, AAW returns to LaSalle, IL for “Legacy,” featuring Matt Riddle vs. ACH, AR Fox vs. Sammy Guevara vs. Myron Reed, Jimmy Jacobs vs. David Starr, plus women’s action. On December 30, AAW is back at 115 Bourbon Street for Windy City Classic XIII. Signed to appear is “X-Pac” Sean Waltman, as well as the winner of Jacobs/Fenix vs. Michael Elgin for the AAW Heavyweight Championship.
- Season tickets for AAW’s Chicago and LaSalle 2018 calendars are available now.
- “Unstoppable” marks the final show for long-time AAW color commentator and my close, personal friend, Phil Colvin. We here at Pro Wrestling Ponderings wish Phil the best in his future endeavors, and thank him for more than a decade of memorable calls. Here’s hoping he’s got at least one more “Sweet Jeebus!” left in him.