AAW EPIC: The 13th Anniversary
April 8, 2017
AAW continues its Illinois expansion at yet another brand new venue. This time we head to Joe’s Live in Rosemont, right outside the airport, a great new location right next to some late night bars, restaurants, clubs and even a bowling alley. The inside features multiple bars, a balcony that looks right out over the ring, and best of all, screens everywhere with a live feed of the show so you can watch from anywhere in the building. Plus, it’s the closest show they’ve ever done to my house, so I’m personally hoping they come back as frequently as possible.
The show sold just over 700 tickets, with some last-minute ringside seating made available as they realized their original floor plan was a bit off. That’s a great number, especially since they didn’t push tickets as hard as they have for other locations. With the overflow into the bar area and all the screens, they could easily fit another 200-300 people in that building, meaning they’ll push tickets a lot harder the next time.
This was the first AAW event since WrestleMania week, with the vast majority of the roster having worked a half dozen matches in the last week, and most of the fans in attendance at the breaking point of over-saturation with pro wrestling. So with that being said, nobody could have blamed them if this show was on the weaker end of things. Imagine my happiness and pride in my “home promotion” when AAW EPIC not only exceeded expectations, but was on par (if not better) than some of the best shows that Orlando had to offer last week. Top to bottom there wasn’t a single bad match here, with Michael Elgin and Matt Riddle wrestling what will go down as one of the best matches of the entire year. An impressive achievement when the term “six star match” has been thrown around non-stop for the last four months.
AAW returns with PATH OF REDEMPTION on April 22nd featuring the debut of Lucha Underground titan Mil Muertes, who will step into the ring against Hardcore Holly. Also signed is Veda Scott vs. Samantha Heights, Chuck Taylor vs. Alex Daniels, Michael Elgin vs. Daga.
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1. The Besties in the World (Davey Vega & Matt Fitchett) def. Trey Miguel & Stephen Wolf. It was great to see Fitchett after one half of the Besties wasn’t able to make it out to Orlando. Trey Miguel is a 22-year-old local guy out of Ohio that is a mainstay with Rockstar Pro. I haven’t seen a lot of Wolf, but I know he worked out of DREAMWAVE quite a bit in 2016 and made his AAW debut back in January. Solid tag team match to kick off the show, and I liked what I saw from the two newcomers; hopefully we’ll see more of them in the future. [9:26]
2. ACH def. Shane Strickland. These guys have similar styles in the ring, but they’re two of the best in the world at what they do. To the best of my knowledge this was the first time these two have faced off in a singles match, and they nailed it. I can’t even say how impressed I am by these two, who I saw work half a dozen matches each at this level of intensity or more; their bodies have to be broken to hell, but they didn’t hold back a bit for the Chicago crowd. [12:43]
3. Trevor Lee def. Chuck Taylor. Several of us at the show decided that their new tag team name is going to be “Sexy Trucky Lee” going forward. There were some scattered “f— that owl” chants directed at Lee, who really doesn’t care. Another really good back and forth match. I could honestly watch Trevor and Dustin wrestle for three hours and it’d be well worth the price of admission. [9:45]
4. OI4K (Jake & Dave Crist) def. Angelico & Jack Evans. What a collection of talent in the same ring. I didn’t get to see a lot of this one because I was running around taking pictures, checking out the new venue, but the crowd was hot for all four guys. The “Iron Manager” JT Davidson got involved a few times for the cheap heat, as per usual, and from what I could tell they worked a great match. I’ll be sure to check this out when the VOD comes out. [12:24]
5. Michael Elgin def. Matt Riddle. Sweet mother of Moses, this was a great match. I saw their classic at the Glory Pro debut earlier this year, and this was either as good, or better. Easily the match of the night, and quite possibly better than anything I saw at the insane amount of shows I went to in Orlando. Riddle said he was disappointed because they botched a powerbomb spot at one point, but the majority of people didn’t even notice and for those that did, they recovered immediately and made it work. After the match Elgin cut a short promo and basically said that working Matt was like having the night off, and he’d do it again every night if he could. [14:49]
6. Fenix def. John Morrison. I’m starting to sound like a broken record here, but… another great match. Fenix was another guy that I saw a ton of times in Orlando, and it doesn’t matter if he’s in singles action, tag team action, or a part of a big multi-man match; he puts 110% of himself into every single match. Morrison came out to his old WWE music, and put on a hell of a performance. Always great seeing John in Chicago – AAW always puts together great shows with crazy amounts of talent, but he brings star power with him wherever he goes. [13:32]
7. The Killer Cult (Sami Callihan & Abyss) def. Low Ki & Kongo Kong. Eddie Kingston was originally supposed to be in this match, but as we noted this weekend, he was injured at a show during WrestleMania weekend and opted to take the week off. Low Ki cut a promo after the OI4K match about getting revenge on Callihan, and said he brought a massive surprise with him to even the odds; that ended up being Kong, who we hadn’t seen since February when he lost to Callihan. This was less of a match and more of a brawl, with them fighting around ringside, up into the risers, into the fans, and pretty much everywhere they could get to with ease. As much heat as Sami gets for being one of the best heels in the business today, Chicago HATES Abyss. People were chanting explicits and throwing up middle fingers all over the place. I’m not gonna call this a great wrestling match, but it was a hell of a fight that got an awesome reaction. [9:42]
8. Penta El Zero M (c) def. AR Fox to retain the AAW Heritage Championship. I was a bit surprised to see Fox in the main event as he had indicated that he was taking time off after WrestleMania, but I suppose he could just be finishing up dates. A fantastic main event to cap off a night of great matches, top to bottom. Penta did the Lucha Underground spot where he tried to break Fox’s arm mid-match, and the crowd actually chanted “break his arm”. This was awesome, on par with all the matches I saw them work in Orlando, outside of maybe the AR Fox Scramble Ladder Match at Wrestling Revolver. [10:11]