Monday, July 4, 2016

Summer of Wrestling 2016 #2 – AAW

I'm back with the second week of the 2016 Summer of Wrestling. This week I visited the land of AAW. I started going to AAW shows in Chicago in February 2015 and they have become one of my favorite promotions. My five matches I picked for them consist of four matches from a show I didn't go to this year and a match from 2014 that's free on their YouTube channel. Below are the Summer of Wrestling rules if you need to see them.

The Rules:

1. I will review 5 matches per week for 14 weeks (June 20 – September 19).
2. Every wrestling promotion is eligible for the Summer of Wrestling.
3. Every match I review must be a match I have never seen in its entirety before. If I can’t remember what happened in the match, it is eligible. Matches I’ve seen several times or know very well are not eligible for the Summer of Wrestling.
4. Not every match I watch this summer will be reviewed during the Summer of Wrestling. Matches from any upcoming wrestling show or Pay-Per-View are eligible if I watch them. The matches I review will be picked before I watch them.

1. Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa (AAW Defining Moment 09/12/14) ****1/4

This is a match I would have loved to see live. It's the only match from this week that happened at the Berwyn Eagles Club which has become my favorite venue to watch wrestling. I'm a big fan of both Gargano and Ciampa and I loved this match. It was 20 minutes of them going back-and-forth and it was impossible to call a winner until the end of the match. I could easily see either guy winning this match and there were plenty of near-falls. Great match and it ranks up there with Ciampa's AAW classics from 2015 and 2016.

2. AAW Tag Team Championship Match - The Hooligans vs. Mat Fitchett and Davey Vega (AAW Epic 04/09/16) ***

This was a good match. I think it was only 10 minutes long, but these four guys were able to get some good spots in. I have seen some great matches featuring the Hooligans and this is not one of them, but it was still enjoyable to watch. Fitchett and Vega are two of the most underrated wrestlers in indie wrestling right now.

3. Johnny Gargano vs. Andrew Everett (AAW Epic 04/09/16) ***3/4

I liked this match a lot, but in my opinion it fell just short of four stars. I think part of that was because this was an early match on the Epic card and it was just an exhibition match. If something was on the line or if this was the main event, I would have cared more for this match. It was a great effort by two of my favorite wrestlers. I just felt like it was missing something and it just didn't feel like a four star match. It got very close though. I don't want to say Gargano wasn't giving his best effort, but he did have to go to another show that night so he might have been holding back a little bit which I think is understandable.

4. Chris Hero vs. Trevor Lee (AAW Epic 04/09/16) ****1/4

I've heard many good things about this match. I've already seen most of it on the Epic DVD I purchased, but I wasn't paying attention very closely so I decided to give it another watch. This was a fantastic match. I think if this was a main event match for the world heavyweight championship, it could have been one of the best AAW matches of the year because both men really wanted to win this match. One of the biggest stories in the match was Trevor Lee refusing to quit and there was at least two or three times when I thought Hero had the match won and Lee kicked out at two. Like the Gargano and Ciampa match, I would have loved to see this live. Hero and Lee had an amazing battle and the crowd was loving it.

5. Tommaso Ciampa vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (AAW Epic 04/09/16) ****

This was the main event of the Epic 12th anniversary show. I like Sabre Jr. and I do think he's a great wrestler, but I tend to underrate his matches a little bit. I'm not sure if I underrated this match, but I may have. Ciampa and Sabre Jr. had a great match, but I guess my problem with it was that they did a little too much. This was just under 30 minutes long I think. I have no problem with 30 minute matches if I feel they needed the 30 minutes, but in this match, I don't think 30 minutes was needed. It did seem like they were slowing down the match too much. I'm not saying I want to see them rush through the match, but it seemed like they were aiming for it to go at least 30 minutes. It felt to me that it would have been not difficult to do everything they wanted to do in 20 or 25 minutes. I'm not sure if a shorter match would have made me like this match more but I didn't like how it seemed like they were trying to force a 30 minute main event instead of it happening naturally. That's just what I think. It's still a really good match, but instead of wanting the match to keep going, I got to a point where I was like, "You've given me all I wanted to see. You can get to the finish now."

Top 5 Matches of the Week:

1. Chris Hero vs Trevor Lee (AAW Epic 04/09/16) ****1/4
2. Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa (AAW Defining Moment 09/12/14) ****1/4
3. Tommaso Ciampa vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (AAW Epic 04/09/16) ****
4. Johnny Gargano vs. Andrew Everett (AAW Epic 04/09/16) ***3/4
5. AAW Tag Team Championship Match - The Hooligans vs. Mat Fitchett and Davey Vega (AAW Epic 04/09/16) ***

Top 5 Matches of the Summer:

1. Pro Wrestling Guerrilla World Tag Team Championship Three-Way Guerrilla Warfare Match - El Generico and Paul London vs. Brandon and Dustin Cutler vs. The Young Bucks (PWG Seven 07/30/10) *****
2. Kyle O’Reilly vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (PWG Battle of Los Angeles Night Three 08/31/14) ****1/4
3. Chris Hero vs. Trevor Lee (AAW Epic 04/09/16) ****1/4
4. Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa (AAW Defining Moment 09/12/14) ****1/4
5. Tommaso Ciampa vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (AAW Epic 04/09/16) ****

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