Reviews US Indies

AAW “Epic” Review (4/9/16)

This show is the twelfth anniversary of AAW, a great company from Chicago, and this show has an awesome looking card. This card went through many changes as people got pulled off of this show due to issues and scheduling conflicts including Sami Callihan and Matt Riddle. With some live reports that said that this show was amazing, I was so excited to review this, so let’s not waste any more time, and get into the show!

Candice LeRae vs. Heidi Lovelace vs. Jessicka Havok vs. Kimber Lee***

We start off with some ladies action tonight, and a fun note, Candice LeRae got a monster pop when she came out, it was pretty awesome. They did these cool camera shots of the talent before they entered through the curtains and it was sick. The only wrestler I am not the biggest fan of in this match was Havok, so I thought that this could have been good! A women’s wrestling chant was happening towards the beginning, and in this same time period, Havok was being dominate but Lee hit a sweet arm drag. Besides Havok, this was a very good match, and I thought it was a great choice for the opener, let the women go out first and rip it up. Candice hit an awesome somersault plancha. But all this praise gets negated by Havok looking she does not care and wrestling accordingly. She tried to hit the Callhan-esque kicks in the corner, and they were horrible. So happy Lee, Lovelance, and LeRae were in here though, they shined and looked great. Havoc ends up winning, getting the pin on LeRae, not the best finish but the match overall was very fun.

After the match there is a promo which there usually is, but Shane Hollister announces that he has another “cousin” backstage that will help him out tonight in a tag match.

Andrew Everett vs. Johnny Gargano****

The Big Dog vs. The Underdog, how could you not be hyped for this match up? This was the Big Dog Andrew Everett’s debut for AAW, and going up against Gargano was a good idea. They jokingly walk out of the match before it starts, and they come back, they get a sarcastic “Welcome Back” chant. Gargano tries to mat wrestle, but Everett flips his way out of all his attempts. He hits a springboard le lariat and then a lionsault early on. God I just love the Big Dog, I love the flips, he is my type of wrestler. Gargano hits a nasty superkick from the apron at one point and I loved it. There was an outside brawl during this match, that included some nasty chops and a bunch of superkicks! Everett tried to jump off the barricade onto Gargano, he moved so he connects with a nasty superkick. He also hits a standing shooting star for a near fall and then missed a 630, but Gargano responded with his signature DDT when they got back in the ring. Gargano at one point, when The Big Dog is on the top, just forearms his butt which was pretty funny. Everett hits a Shooting Star Press for a 2 count but Gargano reverses it into another pin attempt for another two count, I loved that spot. After a Lawn Dart, Gargano locks in the GargaNO Escape for the win. What an excellent debut for Everett and a great match we have here. They both got to show case what they are both great at. “Please Come Back” chants for The Big Dog, and I have to agree.

Kongo Kong & Shane Hollister vs. An Officer & A Gentleman (Chuck Taylor & Dan Barry) vs. Zero Gravity (Bret Gakiya & CJ Esparza)***1/4

Before the match Chuckie T and Dan Barry cut a hilarious back stage promo that had me laughing the whole time. They come out to The Sound of Silence, very fitting. This crowd absolutely loved Chuckie T and he hit a lot of signature stuff such as the boots in the corner. His partner was great as well, Barry hit a funny senton and the usual springboard he does which was followed by Chukie T’s fall into the ring that always gets a pop from me.. Fun Fact: Bret Gakiya gets called baby Bryan Alvarez during this match and it made me laugh every time. At one point Kongo Kong comes in and kills ZG and an Officer and a Gentleman. They kept trying to put Kongo down by diving on him but it would not work. This was just a very fun match, nothing else much to say besides that, a lot of cool moments. It may have went on a bit too long but it was still entertaining. Kong hits a splash off the top onto Barry to get the win. That was a ton of fun.

Silas Young vs. Timothy Thatcher***1/2

Before the match, Silas cuts a promo, making fun of the crowd, and it is amazing, the guy knows how to get heat, and he is the last real man. I was interested in this match, I think every Thatcher match has been good outside of EVOLVE and wanted to see if this lives up to that. As you could expect, a ton of grapplefrick, but it was very entertaining. Young was pretty good at fricking the grapple and it made that very entertaining. Young got in some very good strikes, including a cool step over flashy kick but it was not that flashy as Silas is a real man. Young starts to get cocky, but he done fucked up as Thatcher hits a sweet belly to belly. Silas gets a very close near fall after hitting his plunge signature. Silas kicks out of a Headbutt, gets stuck in an arm bar, but rolls him up and Silas gets the three count! Once again, another great Thatcher match outside of EVOLVE.

Chris Hero vs. Trevor Lee****3/4

Two of my favorite wrestlers currently, I was beyond excited for this match up when it got made last minute. Hero and Lee are easily two of the best for me at this moment, great wrestlers. They trade some holds in the beginning and it was very entertaining but Hero just kicks the shit out of Hero and does jumping jacks, and then they trade AWESOME strikes. They brawl on the outside real quick and my god it was awesome, this match in general was awesome and I loved it. They tried to kill each other and it was so god damn entertaining. Trevor Lee hits his signature stomp and commentary jokingly says, “He stole that from Kofi!”, that made me laugh a lot. Hero had Lee in a cravat and threw him off the top, only a two count! HERO MISSES A MOONSAULT AND THEN GETS DEADLIFTED BY LEE. I AM MARKING OUT! Lee kicks out of a rolling Elbow and then Hero went for it again which he then reversed it into the moonsault press. Brothers, HOOT ALERT. HERO HITS THREE PILEDRIVERS to finally get the win. Just a brilliant match, I can not recommend this enough. Absolutely loved this. After the match Hero puts over Lee on the mic.

Gregory Iron vs. Kongo Kong*1/2

Gregory Iron starts this off by berating the fans and lays out an open challenge. Kongo Kong comes out, I would say poor Iron, but he was being a dick. Kongo kills him and Iron gets barely any offense in and then gets killed with a massive splash. Completely skippable and the only real bad match on the whole show, mainly due to booking. Also there was no way ANY match could follow that last one.

(AAW Tag Team Championship) The Hooligans (c) vs. Davey Vega & Mat Fitchett***

After last month’s match with Gulak, Fitchett seems like a star and I was rooting for them completely. Early on he hits a dive and ALMOST over shoots them all, that could have been pretty scary, but it looked sick as heck. This was just a very fun match, The Hooligans were nearly going to kill Vega at one point, he was going to get choked out. The match picks up towards the end, and it really showed the resiliency of Fitchett, he kept kicking out of stuff and it was sick. Fitchett wins with the same move he did to Gulak and they are the new AAW tag champs! So happy to see Fitchett win the belts, and Vega deserves them too. A very fun match.

Tommaso Ciampa vs. Zack Sabre Jr.****

This looks like a damn hoot on paper. Ciampa’s entrance is always dope with the theme and the clapping, feels so cool. This was Sabre Jr.’s AAW debut. In the beginning they grapplefrick for a bit, and Zack is awesome at that so no complaints here. He makes rest holds interesting to watch, it is amazing. They brawled on the outside for a bit and was very entertaining, Sabre Jr. got crotched on the rail and then chopped. The pacing was very much awesome and it was fitting for a match that had a big fight feel, with out a title or prior build. Ciampa got his signature outside knees in, while Zack was draped over the rail and I love them so much. When the pace picks up, it gets crazy, so many transitions into holds from Sabre Jr., Ciampa hitting some crazy moves like a Project Ciampa. I could have watched these two go on for a lot longer and this was a long match, a very great match. After two nasty knee lifts, Ciampa puts Sabre away, this was a great way to end this show! A hoot!

Hate to sound corny but this show lives up to its name, as it is so EPIC! Three matches are must watch here, so much fun to sit through and review, I think this may go under the radar, but it was awesome! For all your AAW reviews, you are already in the right place, Wrestling With Words.

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