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AAW Art of War Review

Hello and welcome to my first AAW review! This is the second show of the year and it looks to be a good one. Show opens up with the commentators giving a run down of the show and then an awesome video package of wrestlers.

Joey Janela vs. Trevor Lee***

This should be a hoot and a holler. This was Joey Janela’s AAW debut and if you have not seen him in Beyond or CZW, I highly recommend you do! And Lee always puts on a good match. Lee offers a hand shake to the Bad Boy but as you can expect, he slaps Lee in the face and Lee just gets pissed off which includes just chucking Janela across the ring. They then take the fight to the outside and they trade strikes. Lee just throws Janela back in the ring, tries for a deadlift German but Janela reverses it. Lee charges after him but he side steps him and goes head first into ring post. Janela goes up to the top and hits a nice splash and then takes control of the match. Janela hits a couple of elbows from Lee and he is back in this one. DEADLIFT GERMAN! 2 count for Lee, so close! Janela just throws Lee into the buckle. Superkick from Janela! He reverses Lee’s bulldog into an one arm powerbomb. Lee moves out the way and Janela flies to the out side setting up a Penalty Kick from Lee to brutally connect. While Janela is about to dive to Lee who is on the stage, Lee just runs in and hits him with a signature double stomp! Small Package Driver! Lee wins! A great opener, good showcase of both talents. The crowd was a bit dead at first which was kind of expected but the crowd really got involved afterwards. Some really dope spots in this one.

AR Fox vignette comes on, calling out Matt Cage. I really can not stand him on the mic but it was not that bad.

Alex Daniels & Candice LeRae vs. Connor Braxton & Eli Machete**1/4

Braxton comes out with a hoverboard as his partner Eli Machete just seems so disappointed in Connor. Alex Daniels is very underrated, his work in AIW is usually a highlight of the show. Usually intergender matches aren’t really good to me, but LeRae is an exception. Candice starts off the match by tripping over Machete, which he gets really mad at that and tags in Braxton. He gives her some flowers which was just a set up for Eli Machete to attack her. Braxton has Candice LeRae in a suplex position but he does not want to hit a woman, and LaRae tags out to Daniels. He starts off hot and hits some good looking agile and flippy offense. But slowly Daniels starts to get dominated by Machete and Braxton. Daniels finally tags out and Candice hits a terrible hurricanrana. She then puts Braxton into an octopus hold and ends up double teaming them to the out side. LaRae hits an assisted rana to the outside and Daniels hits a great looking dive to both members of the opposite team. Candice tries a ballsplex on Eli but Braxton hits a nasty big boot to her face. Braxton brings out the Hoverboard but Machete gets mad and leaves it in the back. Braxton takes another out from under the rin but Machete stops him again, until Daniels is stuck in a waistlock. Eli brings him closer to Braxton, who is now riding it towards Daniels, but he movies out of the way and Braxton accidentally spears Machete! Ballsplex! Reverse Rana! 630 senton! LeRae and Daniels win! Candice was pretty solid, but Daniels was great. The hoverboard stuff got a bit annoying towards the end. But it was just an average match and got a bit boring.

Joey Janela cuts a backstage promo on how Chicago is a terrible city for not cheering him like Philly and New Jersey does. He also calls himself a living breathing sex god. To be honest, it was a pretty good promo, almost a worked shoot.

(AAW Heritage Championship)AR Fox (c) vs. Matt Cage***

Cage comes out with Scarlett Bourdeaux, Cage is so gosh darn underrated, love seeing him on bigger platforms. Fox is the current holder of the Heritage title. Cage starts off by hitting some strikes and stomping a mud hole. Awesome Japanese arm drag from Fox. Fox then hits the most flippy arm drag and then hits the signature 3 AR Fox dives and lands pretty badly on the last dive. They then brawl on the outside. Cage then takes the fight to the stage, hitting some chops then bringing it back into the ring. AR Fox goes up to the top, and tries to hit a swanton, but Cage gets his knees up and hits a Zig Zag type move. AR Fox hits a cutter off the second rope after being Irish whipped! He then hits some clotheslines and does a matrix dodge. He goes up to the top and hits a Swanton for a nearfall. 450 Splash from AR Fox after a Death Valley Driver and only a 2 count! Cage rolls out to the outside and as Fox tries for a dive, but Scarlett distracts him and the ref, so Cage capitalizes. He hits a brutal spinebuster for a 2 count. Fox tries a small package pin but only gets 2. Cage goes up to the top, Fox tries the Lo Mein Pain, but Cage hits the Death Valley Driver and then a one knee codebreaker. Only a 2! Fox rolls up Cage in a crucifix and gets a 3 count for the win! A really fun match. In my opinion, AR Fox has been having a pretty good year. His matches have been a lot of fun to watch. He seems to be cutting back on the flips a bit and it is working. Cage also was really good in this one!

Davey Vega & Mat Fitchett vs. Zero Gravity**1/4

Fitchett and Vega have communication problems off the bat. Zero Gravity forces them to the outside and hit tandem dives to the outside. Vega is just being dominate on the outside and the Zero Gravity members have a miscommunication and he kicks him with a baseball slide. Vega takes the fight in the ring and dominates the match. Gakiya hits a block buster! 2 count. Then Esparza hits an assisted double stomp and an assisted flip from Esparza for a two count. Fitchett hits a torture rack knee combo for a 3 count. A really short match, nothing special here besides some fun flips and such.

Eddie cuts a backstage promo on Sami Callihan, saying he crapped the bed in NXT. Love Kingston on the mic personally.

(Monster's Ball) Abyss & Kongo Kong vs. Russ Jones & Ryan Boz***1/4

The combined weight of Kongo Kong and Abyss is 762 pounds; these dudes are monsters. They start out brawling until Abyss and Kongo Kong splash them in the corner. Abyss gets a cheese grater and uses it on Boz’s head. Boz is already bleeding! All of them start brawling into the crowd, Kong throws Jones into the chairs. Boz throws Abyss into the barricade. They eventually bring the fight towards the ring, fighting on the outside. Boz and Jones set up a ladder on the apron, between the barricade. KONGO KONG TRIES A MOONSAULT! He misses! Abyss gets a bag thumbtacks and puts them on the mat. While trying to put Jones through some Thumbtacks, Box runs up to stop it, but it was a bad idea as it leads to him being pushed through to the outside, onto the ladder, balls first. Kong splashes Boone, the other teams manager through the table and Abyss chokeslams Jones onto some thumbtacks for a 3 count. This was a damn car crash, but I loved every second of this match. Abyss is still pretty good but Kong was so damn good in this one. So agile for a man that size.

Davey Vega announces he has a Heritage title shot next show.

Buck Nasty & The Hooligans vs. Dave Crist, Markus Crane & Shane Hollister**

Match starts off hot with Crane hitting a double hurricanrana on the Hooligans, Buck Nasty hits a enzuiguri and Buck Nasty then gets hit with a Blue Thunder Bomb by Crist. Hollister, Crist and Crane hits some dives, which were really dope. All 6 men then start to brawl on the outside. The Hooligans hit a moonsault/leg drop combo for a 3 count. Buck Nasty hits a (pun intended) nasty cannonball on Crane. Then the Hooligans hit an assisted moonsault. Hollister runs in and gets kneed in the face by Nasty. It’s then an all out brawl as every one runs in. BRUTAL HEADLOCK DRIVER FROM CRIST! Only a 2. Hooligans accidentaly DDT each other, then Crane hits a splash on them. Buck Nasty gets hit with a head lock driver maneuver and that gets the 3 count for Crist’s team. Just painfully average. I did not have motivation to watch this. It was not bad, but it was just pretty boring after a while even if it was relatively short.

Chris Hero & Drew Gulak vs. Johnny Gargano & Tomasso Ciampa****

On paper, this seems like an amazing match and I was so excited to sit down and watch this, a lot of these guys are my favorites. Gulak and Ciampa start off the match, with a handshake, and a kiss from Ciampa. They then quickly move into some great chain wrestling. Which is expected from some one like Gulak. Ciampa tags out to Gargano and Gulak tags to Hero, which really pops the crowd. They lock up and trade holds. Ciampa gives Gargano some great advice, “Don’t fuck with him.” Gargano runs off the rope but just falls when they collide. They then avoid a bunch of strikes from each other until Hero hits a chop and a kick. Ciampa tags in and they throw some BRUTAL strikes. SAITO SUPLEX FROM CIAMPA! Gargano tags in but gets hit with some chops. Gargano goes for his signature DDT but gets caught and gets hit with a clothesline from Gulak who tags in, but he quickly comes out the match. Hero grabs his foot and just slams it into Gargano’s head. Making quick tags, he tags back out to Gulak, and Gulak takes Gargano to the mat. Hero and Gulak hit some great double team moves for a 2 count. Hero takes Gargano to the outside and starts to destroy him. Gulak starts to hit multiple springboard boots. They attempted a double piledriver but Gargano fights back and does not let that happen. Ciampa tags in and he chops Hero and takes control of the match until he runs into a boot from Hero. BRUTAL CLOTHSELINE FROM CIAMPA! Only a 2 count. Ciampa tries for a top rope Air Raid Crash but gets knocked down and gets hit with a boot and an elbow. Gulak gets in and Ciampa gets shoved for a bit until he tags out to Gargano who hits his signature dive through spear. LAWN DART! Ciampa gets in and they hit a double strikes on Gulak and a knee for a 2. Gulak and Hero hit nasty chops on Ciampa, he tags out and Gargano dives onto Hero. ANOTHER SPRINGBOARD DDT! German and then a rolling elbow from Hero/Gulak! Ciampa makes the save. Gulak goes up top and hits a diving clothesline and a death blow from Hero! And only a 2 count! He hits a boot and elbow on both but Gargano and Ciampa hits some double team moves and that all leads to a 2 count. Gargano/Ciampa and Hero/Gulak trade pins, submissions and strikes. PILEDRIVER FROM HERO! BRUTAL ELBOW! Gargano is knocked out and Hero gets the 3! What a match, I really enjoyed this one. All of these guys out on a great performance. I would love to see Gulak and Hero team more, they have natural chemistry and Ciampa/Gargano are great together. Such a hard hitting match, you all NEED to see this one!

(AAW Championship) Eddie Kingston (c) vs. Sami Callihan***3/4

Before the match, an awesome hype video plays including a Sami Callihan promo, who kills it. Huge fan of both of these guys so I was excited to see how this match played out! Action starts off hot with a bicycle kick from Callihan and some biting from Kingston. Tensions are high. Crowd is hot. Kingston hits some brutal chops and then they take the fight to the outside. Callihan spits on his hand and then just chops Eddie, and gets a chair. And another one, just attacking the leg. They take the fight back in the ring and Callihan is assaulting his leg. Callihan gets Kingston in a Boston Crab, almost getting him to tap. They both sit down in chairs and slap each other and trade strikes. Callihan then hits 5 of his corner running boots, and they look like they miss completely. Kingston just gets up and kills him with a lariat. Eddie starts to hit a bunch of Kobashi style chops and Callihan falls to the ground. Kingston hits a disgusting dragon suplex for a 2 count. Half n Half from Kingston! They go up to the top rope and Sami tries for a sunset bomb but Eddie wont budge, so he kicks out the knees. LIGER BOMB! STRETCH MUFFLER! He gets out and hits a backfist and the second time he tries he hits the ref and Dave Crist comes out and attacks Eddie. They had to get a second rope. BACKFIST FROM EDDIE! Only a 2! He hits Crist with a backfist but immediately gets hit with some of Callihan’s Bicycle kicks. STUFFED TOMBSTONE FOR THE 3 COUNT! New champ! He then cuts a promo about everything that happened and Crist holds Kingston down while Sami taunts him. They try to suffocate him but some wrestlers run out to help, but they try again. CIAMPA COMES OUT WITH A BASEBALL BAT! They run off, and Ciampa grabs the mic and he says he demands a title match. Honestly the match was great until the interference from Crist and it just seemed to suck the life outta the match. It was pretty unnecessary, but it is nice to see Callihan as the champ.

Overall the show was fun most of the time to watch, not a completely horrible match on this card. I would say you HAVE to see that tag with Hero and Gulak vs. Gargano and Ciampa, just great. Thanks for reading this review and for all your indie wrestling reviews, be sure to stay here, at Wrestling With Words!


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