This weekend, I attended not one, but two wrestling shows in less than 24 hours. The first and the focal point of the following is AAW’s ‘The Art of War; which was held in AAW’s, as well as, my own natural habitat, Chicago. The event was held at the historic Logan Square Auditorium, with a bell time of 7:30. I had the pleasure of having a second-row corner area seat, and although I didn’t arrive until the closing minutes of the Fight For The Future pre-show, we were treated to quite an eventful night; some of which made major waves throughout the industry.

Firstly, the Logan Auditorium is an experience that every Chicagoan needs to experience in some form or another, as it carries its own essence from the second you walk in, and with AAW present, this was only exuberated in tenfold. Some of the While the matches were not always perfect, the mass majority of the show was expectation exceeding. Sprinkled in with a few impromptu events of different caliber, this night was in the essence of awesome.

Here is a recount of the night as unfolded.

Grading follows in ranges of A, B, C, D, and F(no -minus or +plus grades).

 

The Rascalz (Dezmond Xavier, Zachary Wentz, and Trey Miguel)
Vs Ace Romero, PACO, and Rich Swann

This match was an instant pop with The Rascalz bringing the energy that Ace Romero, PACO, and Rich Swann matched and elevated. With plenty of hard hitting, fast paced, back and forth action which gave each player one or more shining moments, Rich Swann flew high tonight both literally and metaphorically and led their team to a compelling performance. But alas, with plenty of jaw-jarring sequences and spots in the books, The Rascalz’ were just far too cohesive and confident to put down for the count.

The Rascalz defeated Ace Romero, PACO, and Rich Swann: 14:34.

Grade: A

 

Sammy Guevara Vs Darby Allin

Sammy Guevara drew heat from the second he walked out with echoing hate. Few cheers including my own were drowned out by the sea of a destain. Atop this, like any true heel, he decided to take the mic and throw gas to the flames by trashing the city of Chicago. Sammy also took the promo time to boast on his value to AEW in an arrogant fashion, as well as, predict winning for a second time via “the simplest move in wrestling”, a side headlock takeover. Once the match began, we got a very fun match with several awing spots, including one where Guevara performed a shooting star press with a chair of the apron and onto Allin who was dangling from the barrier. Eventually, Guevara saw to ensure that “he doesn’t put anyone over” by delivering a low blow to Darby behind the referees back and converting the win via a side headlock takeover.

Sammy Guevara defeats Darby Allin: 11:18.

Grade: B

RELATED: Guevara Brings Championship Pedigree to AEW

Mance Warner Vs Jimmy Jacobs

While the match wasn’t particularly perfect in some aspects, it was most certainly action packed well paced, and extremely entertaining, making up for any slighted efforts. The best parts of this matchup, however, happened before, and after the bell. Beforehand, Mance Warner made everyone wait, with Jacobs even laughing at times at the fact, until the chorus of ‘Simple Man’ hit before even gracing us with his presence. A move in which Jacobs capitalized on by claiming that Mance was “not over enough for a five-minute entrance”, and that Mance is “not Terry Funk, and this isn’t Desperado”. We also got to see Mance’s crowd interaction taken to an entirely new level when one jaw jacking fan became engaged in a face to face showdown between himself and Mance. Mance showed that he is the future of sports entertainment with his reaction of the ages. Once the match began, the action spilled out into the crowd, as did many matches that night, but in turn results in some lacking sells; however, that may only be the case from my second-row perspective where at times was mere feet and even inches from the action. Ultimately Jacobs would lose this good ole’ fashioned brawl and would turn to Warner after the match with a nail in hand, repeatedly striking blows to Warner’s skull and leaving him in a pool of his own blood.

Mance Warner defeated Jimmy Jacobs: 11:08.

Grade: B

RELATED: Spotlight on AEW signing Jimmy Havoc

AAW Heritage Championship Match

DJZ (C) Vs Australian Suicide (AAW Debut)

This was simply a standard high paced match, that really serve to and successfully established Suicide within AAW. There’s not much to say otherwise on it aside from it successfully doing its job and putting Australian Suicide over as a heel without actually being put over by decision.  In turn, a smooth match helped serve, or at least maintain DJZ as much as it did Suicide. Solid match, future intrigue for Suicide following.

DJZ defeated Australian Suicide to retain: 11:38.

Grade: B

 

WRSTLING (David Starr, Eddie Kingston, Jake Something, and Curt Stallion)
Vs Mat Fitchett, Sami Callahan, and Jessicka Havok

Leading into this match, The Besties in the World (Davey Vega and Mat Fitchett) entered the ring to announce the injury that Davey Vega had sustained rendering him unable to compete against their regularly scheduled opponents. WRSTLING then pours into ringside in entirety to Joan Jett’s Do You Wanna Touch Me. That same fan from earlier must have gotten a little too full of himself -or full of something toxic- after the encounter with Warner earlier on and decided to take it one step to far with Eddie Kingston by slapping him in the face. This resulted in Eddie attacking the said fan, providing probably the best and worst experience of the night. Eventually, after holding Eddie back, and the crowd demanding the fan be removed, Eddie took to the mic to warn that anyone who lays their hands on him would receive the same, and continue with his regularly scheduled heel talk. Once Eddie has said his words,  WRESTLING surrounded Davey and Mat and led an assault. Sami Callihan and Jessicka Havok who were attacked by WRESTLING at the end of 2018, then came in to save the day, after which Callihan cut a comedic promo, and prompted a 4 on 3 handicap match.

This match stood tall as one of the best matches of the night with plenty of action and story infused. At multiple points in this match, the crowd absolutely came unglued, most especially when Jessicka Havok tagged in to face off against Jake Something. The crowd just lost it, when Jessicka began to show herself as a powerhouse in the match. After several minutes of fans on their feet, Mat Fitchett appeared to try tagging out with nobody home. This prompted Davey Vega to come out and attempting to tag in, in which Fitchett refused, but this interaction ultimately proved as a distraction that garnished WRSTLING as the victors.

WRSTLING defeated Mat Fitchett, Sami Callahan, and Jessicka Havok: 12:23.

Grade: A

 

Intermission

During intermission, I tried to find my way over to those that sold me on the show, for a few sparse words. While making my way to Sammy Guevara, I did stop for a moment by Sami Callahan to ask him about the possibilities of reteaming with Dean Ambrose again once his contract with the WWE comes to an end seeing as Impact is certainly a viable option for Ambrose, and even if he goes AAW, the option is clearly on the table due to AEW’s pro-circuit approach that WWE famously lacks. Sami, while admitting he would consider the idea if it were ever an option he was to stare at in its face, he didn’t seem all that enthusiastic about the idea, and I’m pretty sure we won’t expect Callihan to seek the partnership out. Once I finally did make my way to Sammy Guevara, I only had a few words with him as intermission was already wrapping up, and I still had hoped for words with Kylie Rae, Rich Swann, and after his match earlier in the night, Mance Warner. Though while I was waiting for my turn to mention to Sammy that I was one of the few rootings for him, despite his shots at the city, and to applaud his performance, I did end up helping a die-hard fan who came barring gifts for Guevara with a picture of the two. I’ll also add that the picture turned out pretty damn good, not to toot my horn or anything. With Kylie’s lane nearly impenetrable, I did find my way to Rich Swann -who was on the other side of Rae- while on my way back to my seat. The brief time I had to speak with Swann from across the barrier before other attendees began to pass through the aisle, did result in my respects to Swann and his performance earlier that night, as well as, Swann mentioning how he loves working with AAW due to the atmosphere it’s fans bring forth. Personally, that’s great to hear as I’m hoping to see Swann in many AAW events to come. I never got a chance to talk with Warner as he was all the way on the opposing corner of the ring past Callihan, Rae, Guevara, Swann, and a bunch of other talents.

RELATED: Could Dean Ambrose Leaving WWE Change Things?

MJF Vs Kimber Lee

In a good way to reignite everyone’s interest post intermission. MJF took to the mic to explain how putting him up against a woman is a joke, and how Lee should be making him a sandwich before calling back to DJZ for ducking him and claiming that the Heritage Championship should be his. With the heat drawn, and fans rallying behind Lee, she and MJF put on an all-around solid performance in a fun matchup before MJF laid the bird to rest.

MJF defeated Kimber Lee: 6:18.

Grade: B

 

Fatu Vs Stephen Wolf w/ Connor Braxton

With Stephen Wolf appalled with the decision not to give him a proper match, he finds his way to the ring to issue an open challenge. This results in Fatu making his AAW debut, with initially zero pop. However, Fatu delivered a rapidly aggressive showing with plenty of shock and awe, resulting in a full pop from the crowd by the end of the short and savory matchup, leaving some fans even begging Fatu to come back.

Fatu defeated Stephen Wolf: 2:05.

Grade: B

AAW Women’s Championship Match
Kylie Rae vs Su Yung

In typical fashion, Kylie Rae performed well and shined bright, as did Su Yung, bring an all-around well-balanced matchup. The crowd was torn, between the competitors for the most part, although, oddly enough, “you sold out” chants briefly emerged for Kylie Rae. I’m not sure why they would say that being that AEW stands for the literal opposite of selling out, even to the point of Kenny Omega turning down yet another WWE contract. AEW is also highly indie-circuit friendly, and no other AEW signee received this chant. Was it because she’s from the Chicago area? I’m not sure that makes total sense either being you would think we’d want to see our own succeed. Even more sound baffling when you consider the reaction to the final events of the night. Then again, not only is Chicago a vicious city notoriously known for turning on one another, but she was also the only woman AEW signee there and might have made some feel a bit more confident in their hackling, especially considering the events beforehand with Eddie Kingston. I think we’ll write that one off as a douche bag dilemma, but it is something I now plan to keep an eye on going forward. Regardless, the match delivered well and did its job. There wasn’t really anything significant to the match other than the title being on the line, and while they did perform fluently and well paced, nothing really stood out aside from a few moves sequences that were more head nodding than jaw-dropping. Eventually, Kylie forced Su Yung to tap out, resulting in Jessicka Havok to come out to the ring. Jessicka had come out to firstly congratulate Kylie on both her win and her growth -possibly in a show of support relating to the “you sold out chant” which honestly might have killed the entire vibe of this matchup, but also to declare herself as the rightful holder of the AAW Women’s Championship and extend a challenge to Kylie. Of course, Kylie did the honorable thing, as Kylie does, and accepted this match, which I will witness first hand come to Hell Hath No Fury, which happens to fall on my birthday.

Kylie Rae defeated Su Yung: 11:24.

Grade: B

RELATED: WWE Hall of Famer Endorses AEWs Kylie Rae

AAW Tag Team Championship Match – Three Way Dance
The Lucha Bros (Penta El Cero Miedo & Rey Fenix)(C)
Vs LAX (Santana & Ortiz)
Vs Fiyahfox (Myron Reed & AR Fox)

Okay, so this match was the match of the night as far as most are concerned, but to me it looked like Lucha bros were having some communication issues, that resulted in some wonky and quite honestly jarring working. It looked as if Penta had even pointed towards the presence of LAX at multiple points of snag. Now this could simply be because keeping pace with three teams isn’t so easy, or because of a dialect issue or both. Regardless, even if you cant blame them for it too much, it was just too jarring and put a little bit of a piss on it, but luckily when this wasn’t happening, the match was off the rails, with Fiyah Fox losing first, and LAX and Lucha looking to settle their differences from when LAX demasked the Lucha Bros. It really was a great match aside from when Penta seemed to be having some issues, even from Penta. After Fiyah Fox left, the match rode very fluently and pretty much worked to erase the errors that came before. Most importantly, was how this match ended. Just as Lucha Bros looked to retain, the lights went out, and the building erupted, as each and every one of us instantly knew what was about to happen. The lights went on, and The Young Bucks appeared. The Bucks returned the favor to the Lucha bros with the exact same moves from the Double or Nothing Rally when Lucha took out the Bucks. LAX seized the opportunity and claimed gold off the actions of The Young Bucks. Santana proceeded to grace for the Bucks, he and Ortiz held their titles high, and then left the area before The Young Bucks returned to the ring where they cut a promo confirming their match at Double or Nothing, and signed off with super-kicks and a reference to their tweet following the events at the MGM Grand saying, “we’ll see you around, we know your schedules”.

LAX defeats The Lucha Brothers: 13:54

Grade: A

In conclusion, AAW’s The Art of War was one hell of a show and I really can’t wait for Hell Hath No Fury, which happens to take place on my birthday.  Plenty of Variety, action, surprises, spots, intensity, and really everything you need in a wrestling show, right down to the hecklers. I would also like to mention that while, I missed Kylie Rae in the intermission, I did make my way past Su Yung and to Kylie after the show. Which really sucked for two reasons. One was that I had no more cash left and couldn’t show any support, and the other is that if you are familiar with my CON ALT DELETE Experience, then you know am rolling with a temporary piece of shit for a phone and therefore, my selfie, while great, still looks whack. Good news is that i’ll be front row at Warrior Wrestling IV and I’ll have the proper means to correct both situations. I’m totally going to pull off a “happy to be here” shirt.

RELATED: NJPW x ROH | Honour Rising | Night 2 | Results and Review

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