Was there the usual swag from Kingston, Hollister, Jacobs, & Silas?
Not sure of your use of "swag" here -- not your fault, I blame it on the kids and their overuse of that word. Kingston wasn't there, and Hollister got thrown around like a little bitch for 13+ minutes. Scarlett got snot-rocketed, and it was disturbingly nasty. Steen's nasal passages somehow emit an entire mist, who knew? Great performances from Silas and Jacobs, though. The finals of the Allegiance Tournament was off the charts good. The crowd was extremely into everything, minus one or two matches featuring the likes of Markus Crane, Heather Patera, Tony Rican, etc. Not going to throw any shade on them, though, they all tried hard and they didn't eat up much time at all. Women's match (Heidi Lovelace/Patera) went six and a half, and a match between Rican/Marion Fontaine/MsChif and Knight Wagner/Dan Lawrence/Crane went maybe eight. Nothing on the card overstayed its welcome, with most major matches running between 10-14 minutes. They kept a tight, brisk pace, and the action in the matches was pretty fast. I liked the change up here, especially considering this is the same company that just last year did a 60-minute draw AND a 30-minute draw.
My MOTN is Matt Cage vs. ACH. Cage is so, so good, and here was his breakout match. The face/heel dynamic here was among the clearest I've seen in some time, as ACH absorbed a nuclear level of cheers, while Cage played his heel role perfectly. At one point, he was jawing with a fan behind me, then he grabbed a bottle of water from the time keep and spit it all over him (and me). Later on, he attacked a fan, slapping off his hat and nearly knocking him off his seat. That really shocked me, because it wasn't the only instance of wrestlers pushing the envelope and crossing the line, and you know what? It worked. Those actions got Cage a monstrous amount of heat, and I had people coming up to me legitimately wanting to hurt him for what he did. They thought it was real, and never before have I seen the lines blurred quite like that. Not in person.
Man, Ethan Page and Ricochet. I can't get over it. They tried so very hard to play the heels, and they faced two ultra-babyface teams, and they still got cheered. Ricochet limited his flippy shit and Page was a huge dick to the fans, but you could sorta tell they were having way too much fun to keep up the act. Really go out of your way to check out their two matches. I believe they need to be seen to be believed.
As annoying as Steen can sometimes be in PWG and ROH -- the "bigger" indys -- I find his work for smaller companies really enjoyable. I'll admit that the match wasn't a five-star classic (probably ***1/4, honestly) but it served its purpose and it was fun. It was entertaining. The crowd was into Steen, and there had to be over 100 more people there than a typical AAW show, all because of Steen. Place was at capacity and then some, probably a good 300 people in a 250-capacity bingo hall. Poor guy almost ran out of shirts, too. In my mind, for all the business he's brought to AAW, all the people he's entertained, I don't mind his being annoying or hawking his shit. He's earned his place, in my mind. (He also wore a Young Bucks shirt instead of his own. I was hoping he'd have stuck in his Heisenberg T, though, which he had on before the event.)
Snowflakez, even though it's hard to determine such a thing from remembering off the top of my head:
Page/Ricochet vs. Zero Gravity - ***1/2
Young/Jacobs vs. Irish Airborne - **3/4
Heidi Lovelace vs. Heather Patera - **1/2 (Surprisingly hard-hitting contest, pretty fun watch)
Kyle O'Reilly vs. Louis Lyndon (No Ali) - ***1/4
Keith Walker vs. Sea-Man and Moondog Bernard - SQUASH (But a very, very entertaining one at that)
Matt Cage vs. ACH - ****
Crane/Lawrence/Wagner vs. Rican/Fontaine/MsChif - ** (Clear low point of the evening)
Marek Brave vs. Christian Rose, Loser Leaves Berwyn - *** (Unnecessary and stupid finish, but a decent brawl)
Page/Ricochet vs. ??? (
) - ****
Steen vs. Hollister - ***1/4
Star ratings are low on some matches because the wrestling quality wasn't particularly high, but this show wasn't exactly about watching two guys gracefully trade holds for a half-hour. It was about chaos and energy and coming at the other guy as hard as you possibly can, so I guess I'd say this was a more strike-heavy show? Kicks and slaps and chops and punches and forearms and elbows. Plenty of flips from Lyndon and Ricochet to keep the kids happy. Stories got advanced more than the past three or four shows put together. There was a lot of comedy, a hot crowd, and dat pacing.
Pick up this show if you want to have a shit and a giggle. Good variety of matches. Women's match, a brawl or two, two championship matches, a Loser Leaves Town. Everything connected and resonated with the people. Best feeling in the world is being a part of a crowd that boos the shit out of the heels, but then stands up to applaud them after their matches out of respect. The whole "I don't like you, but I do respect you" thing.
And I officially talk too much. Sorry, broz. Just a bit beaming still.