Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Professional Wrestling Review: AAW Killers Among Us 2016

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We opened with a four way tag team match which could be considered to be a bit of a mess if you don't know all of the players involved.    Candice LeRae & Heidi Lovelace took on Connor Braxton (not fka Pepper Parks in TNA) & Eddie Machete as well as Markus Crane & Shane Hollister and the team of Desmond Xavier and Kongo Kong, as Kong came out and attacked whoever Xavier's partner was supposed to be.   Kongo Kong won the match for his team and he looked rather impressive.   After the match, Connor Braxton (Who likes to ride a hoverboard) and Eddie Machete issued an open challenge.   This brought out Tommaso Ciampa to the Talking Heads "Psycho Killer".    Ciampa took care of both of those guys and then issued his own open challenge which took us into our second contest.  

Josh Alexander and Tommaso Ciampa had a really good match.   It makes me feel like Ciampa could win the CWC because of how strong he can look when booked properly.   I think he also has this loose cannon side to him where he could just go beserk in NXT one day and end up fighting William Regal even.    They ended with a hug and it was just a good example of professional wrestling and a match you'd want to check out if you haven't seen Ciampa yet outside of NXT or simply want to see more of him outside of NXT.   See how NXT is helping all of the independents right now??

The guy on commentary who said in the opening match that he hates women noted that as much as men don't want to fight women most men are scared of Jessicka Havok.    Kimber Lee was Havok's opponent tonight and I'm kind of confused as to why neither of these two women are in NXT right now.      Havok nearly had Kimber Lee submitted several times, but it was ultimately her power which gave her the advantage and wow did Jessicka Havok look good in this match.  It was also a nice sort of TNA/SHINE vs. CHIKARA type of contest and I enjoy how AAW has managed to put together these matches which you might not see for various reasons in other promotions.    Heidi Lovelace came out when Havok tried to continue the assault on Kimber Lee after the match.   Havok got the better of Lovelace though, just proving she maybe shouldn't have tried to come help.

Speaking of which, Drew Gulak (who likes to hang out in EVOLVE and CZW) took on Silas Young, who tends to spend his time in ROH.    So it's kind of funny how these two might not have otherwise met and yet AAW plays into this idea of fantasy booking on some level.    It's also a bit of genius in terms of booking because people who enjoy the work of Silas Young in ROH should be watching this as well as people who see Drew Gulak in the CWC.   it just kind of somehow brings all aspects of professional wrestling together-- or at least a few main points at least.     Gulak took the knee brace of Young off at one point and Young ended up winning with a rather cheap rollup.   This was a good enough match I just wish it had a better finish, but you can just sit back and enjoy this one without really thinking about the finish too much.

Heidi Lovelace and Kimber Lee had a backstage segment where Lovelace said Havok was just another challenge for her to overcome.   I don't know though, it might have just been a scene between Jane Krakowski and Rachel Dratch.

The Hooligans are a modern day version of The Moondogs.   They have weathered overalls and refuse to wear shoes for whatever reason.   it's like Hillbilly Jim and Necro Butcher somehow joined forces to create a tag team.     Davey Vega and Mat Fitchett have a decent team put together but they don't really seem like they have a gimmick down yet other than perhaps being emo.    The Hooligans have some piercings and patches sewn on their overalls though, so they're kind of like the Hot Topic version of the Moondogs even.   This was an all right match with the champs retaining.   At the very least it didn't take up too much time so there's that.

There are reasons why I watch the professional wrestling events that I choose.    One of the main reasons why I chose this show was to see Chris Hero vs. Drago.   Chris Hero has been everywhere and yet not Lucha Underground (I could see him come in for a season or two one day though) and as such I like the idea of Drago vs. Chris Hero.   Hero had a size advantage- not just in weight but in height.   After several near falls, Chris Hero won with a tombstone piledriver.   Hero went back in the ring to shake the hand of Drago and the crowd had one of my favorite chants right now: "Both these guys".     Chris Hero might go down in history as one of the best professional wrestlers in the world to have never had a big run in WWE.    Hopefully he gets a shot in WWE one day, but that remains to be seen and he seems to be doing just fine without WWE right now.   Again, I wouldn't mind seeing Hero have a stint in Lucha Underground either.

In our second lucha libre themed match of the night, AR Fox defended the AAW Heritage Championship against Aero Star.    AR Fox might forever be known to me as the guy I saw the t-shirt for at Savers (for a mere $2.99) but it was in size XXXL, which of course makes me believe the previous owner either died or lost a lot of weight.  (Let's say the weight loss thing)  With a quick 450, AR Fox won this match and it seemed a bit short if you asked me.   It was barely five and a half minutes which makes me wonder why they brought in Aero Star to lose so quickly, but whatever.   I still like seeing the Lucha Underground talent outside of LU/AAA.    This was a fun match for as long as it was a match.

Andrew Everett, Cedric Alexander, Moose and Trevor Lee had a match which was a lot like TNA vs. ROH.   I'm not sure why HurriHelms' boys weren't just put together into a tag match against Cedric Alexander and Moose, but oh well.    I liked the idea behind this match since it mixed up opponents for various guys and I got to see some of them shine when they seem to always fight the same matches, so it's kind of like... How do I explain this... These four men all share in common the fact that they are all hyped up a lot and I have yet to really see that match that makes me go, "I get it now.  This guy is really good", so looking for that match with all four men in the same boat just makes this kind of cool on some level.     Trevor Lee had some decent dance moves and the reference to he and Everett being trained by Brother Nero came out early enough.   Earlier in the night there was a promo with the two guys Ciampa beat up and they were discussing how they were the top students of Seth Rollins.   Whatever happened to Marek Brave??   After everyone danced- including the ref- the four wrestlers left as the crowd chanted "Match of the Year".    There was some talk of Trevor Lee teleporting and that was funny.    It is worth noting that even though I don't really feel like I've been won over by any of these four men yet I at least know who they are- and they are characters- unlike the tag team title match before.     Trevor Lee won this one and he was the character I least needed to be influenced to like, so it's back to the "win me over" category for the other three.   Cedric Alexander has the CWC to win me over, for the record.

Johnny Gargano vs. ZSJ is one of those matches I could watch forever.  If the stars aligned properly, this would be a main event at Wrestlemania some time in the future.    While I've seen ZSJ in a dream match against Kurt Angle this is a bit different.    I like to think of it as someone like Daniel Bryan meeting CM Punk before either of them were in WWE, but Gargano and ZSJ are still in a league all their own.    This makes it difficult to compare with other wrestlers because these are two of the best right now and they really don't have equals.   Both are in the CWC and if the finals doesn't come down to ZSJ and Ibushi then I suspect Gargano to win the whole thing.  It's just one of those things where I'm thinking ZSJ should win the CWC but if he doesn't Johnny Gargano would be my next pick (as either would go to the finals against Ibushi)    If they still made "Best Of" wrestling DVDs (which they do to some extent) both of these guys would have this match on their DVD but really these are both guys who could have every match they compete in on their "Best Of" set.    This is a great way to familiarize yourself with two of the CWC participants and if you already know who they are then you'll obviously want to see them do battle here.     The story here is that Johnny Gargano is a great all around wrestler- perhaps the best all around wrestler in the world today- as he can adapt to any style, which makes me really want to see him face Chris Hero based upon the way the commentators were talking earlier in the card.    But ZSJ is the best technical wrestler in the world today.   Gargano should have been able to win this match if he took ZSJ out of his element, but this became mat based at the end and Gargano ended up tapping after getting stretched in all sorts of ways by ZSJ.   Still, neither man has anything to be ashamed of after that match.    It's going into my list of "Best of 2016" for sure.

I'm not sure where to begin with the main event.    Sami Callihan and Dave Crist took on Homicide and Eddie Kingston.   Clips were shown before the match of what lead up to it all, as Callihan and Crist tried to kill Kingston.   This was my first time seeing Sami Callihan since he left NXT and one would have to wonder whether or not he might be back there soon enough with the roster expansion coming.    Should Sami Callihan return to NXT I would hope he would bring the brothers Crist with him this time.   They could run things down there.   In any case, this was never meant to be a wrestling match but rather a brawl and that's exactly what it was.   At one point, Eddie Kingston threw Dave Crist into a trash can while Homicide and Callihan were threatening to throw each other off the balcony.   I realized this was one of those situations where there may not be a winner via submission or pinfall but rather just a matter of these four men beating the hell out of each other.    Jake Crist made his return- after retiring six months prior- and then the Crist brothers (aka Irish Airborne aka Ohio Is 4 Killers) took Eddie Kingston to the back leaving Sami Callihan and Homicide one on one.   Homicide got a fork, but Callihan got the better of him and managed to pin him which kind of surprised me.   It was also said that Sami Callihan will defend the title against Pentagon Jr. at the next AAW event like this and so I definitely am looking forward to that one.

My favorite part of this entire AAW show perhaps was that the card had everything on it that I like to see as a wrestling fan.   From Chris Hero to Drago and Aero Star and AR Fox it had that lucha libre style to it (Also somewhat found in the four way match with Trevor Lee) while also that technical mat-based style with Gargano-ZSJ and then it just ended a hardcore brawl which featured one of my all-time favorites in Homicide.     So if you enjoy the various styles of wrestling that I do then I don't think you will find a more complete card today than AAW's Killers Among Us and this is going on record as being one of my favorite shows of 2016 thus far as well and I can't wait for their next event in July.  

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