AAW Heavyweight Champion ACH makes his first defense against Jimmy Jacobs. AAW Heritage Champion Zema Ion takes on Trevor Lee. NJPW star Tetsuya Naito meets Sami Callihan in the main event.
AAW presents Showdown
From: Chicago, IL
NOTE: This show featured a match between Michael Elgin and Myron Reed but isn’t included on the copy that I have. That is because of Elgin’s very public case regarding sexual assault. I won’t get into it here, but it’s easy to get caught up on the matter on Twitter.
Opening Contest: OI4K (Dave & Jake Crist) vs. WRSTLING (David Starr & Eddie Kingston): Kingston has Starr on his shoulders to play to the crowd and Jake comes off the top to hit a cutter!
Jake has the cover but it takes a moment for the bell to ring and Starr kicks out at two. Kingston knocks Dave off the apron and gets kicked by Jake in the corner. Jake hits a top rope crossbody and drops Kingston over the middle rope. Jake spin kicks Kingston and spikes Starr with a Death Valley Driver for a near fall. Starr drops Jake over the top rope followed by a running lariat and tags in Kingston. Starr DDT’s Jake over the middle rope and Kingston delivers another DDT. Starr comes off the ropes with a running kick. Jake is worked over by Starr in the corner with chops. Starr gets kicked by Jake several times and Jake hits a German suplex. Jake powerslams Kingston into Starr in the corner to keep momentum. Crist Brothers double team Starr with a catapult knee strike. They also hit a double stomp/tombstone combo but Starr gets his boot on the bottom rope with help from Jeff Cobb. Dave kicks Cobb from the apron a few times. Cobb grabs Dave and slams him over the apron back first.
Kingston gets in Starr’s face but Jake fights them off with right hands. Kingston tosses Jake with an overhead suplex. Starr slaps Kingston on the apron and that fires Kingston up. Kingston delivers three spinning back fists. Starr returns to the match and puts a sleeper hold on Jake to win the match. (**. I’m liking the dynamic between David Starr and Kingston. The match started off really well and they kept a decent pace. I think Starr is going to be a major heel for AAW.)
Backstage, Marty DeRosa tries to interview MJF, but MJF doesn’t want to be interviewed by a bald guy. He goes to Sarah for an interview. She introduces him and then he takes over. MJF is pretty sure that his undefeated streak will continue. He’s not afraid of Ace Romero because he’s better than you.
Second Contest: MJF vs. Ace Romero vs. Hakim Zane vs. Paco: MJF avoids Romero at the start and tries to get the guys to listen to him. MJF proceeds to insult them all because that’s a good idea. MJF is met with three superkicks and he rolls to the floor. Romero clotheslines Zane and Paco before MJF comes back in and tries to club Romero. MJF eye pokes Romero and sends him to the apron. Romero forearms MJF from the apron and gets kicked by Zane and Paco to knock him off the apron. Paco head scissors Zane but is stopped on the top turnbuckle. Paco comes off the middle rope with a head scissors. MJF sends Paco to the floor and taunts the crowd. MJF slides to the floor and chops Romero but Zane takes both Romero and MJF out with a suicide dive. Paco takes everyone out with a somersault dive. Paco and Zane battle in the corner with Zane sitting Paco on the top turnbuckle. Zane hooks Paco looking for a suplex but Romero comes over for the Tower of Doom and they land on MJF, which is a spot they had done on the last show I believe.
Zane hammers away on Romero with several running strikes and a cannonball splash. Zane is met with a double stomp off the middle rope by MJF. MJF takes Paco over with a wrist clutch suplex for a near fall. Zane tosses MJF into the corner with an overhead suplex. Romero dropkicks Zane to the floor and that leaves Romero with Paco. Paco avoids a slam and comes off the middle rope botching a Code Red and MJF breaks up the cover. MJF sends Paco to the floor and shoves Romero down. Romero forearm strikes MJF several times. Romero blocks an eye rake. Romero is spat on by MJF and he clubs him but is met with a superkick. Romero hits a Canadian Destroyer on MJF sending him to the floor. Romero takes MJF out with a suicide dive!
Romero is kicked by MJF and MJF nearly pins Paco. Paco kicks MJF and Zane comes in to deliver a few knee strikes. Paco spikes Zane with a Cradle Shock for the win. (**1/2. Romero was really good in here and there were several moments where the crowd was amped for his offense. MJF continues to be a solid heel and Paco earning the win is fine for his rise in the company.)
Backstage, David Starr is talking to Eddie Kingston. Starr knows that Kingston is sad that Starr has ownership of Eddie’s contract. Starr reminds Kingston how much of a loser he was before he had his contract. Starr is the one bringing Eddie back to his old self. Starr wants Kingston to realize that sooner rather than later. Starr says they can accomplish anything they want if Kingston sees that. Starr wants to know how many times it takes them to beat Killer Cult before they move onto something. They will be at the Anniversary Show on March 16th and promises to do big, big things. Starr has to go to UK and won’t be able to see Trevor Lee and Jeff Cobb win their respective matches. Kingston is biting his lip to control himself from losing it.
Marty DeRosa is in the ring and introduces the new AAW Heavyweight Champion ACH for an interview. ACH is greeted with a positive reaction from the crowd. DeRosa asks what is next for ACH in AAW. ACH says he’s going to be a fighting champion and take on anyone. Some music begins to play and out comes Jimmy Jacobs. Jacobs does his poses and says he isn’t out here to cut ACH off or anything. Jacobs says he’s been a big ACH fan for a long time. Jacobs recalls telling ACH he was going to be a World Champion five years ago. Jimmy asks what took ACH so long to achieve that goal. Jacobs notes that ACH had a lot of promise in ROH but that didn’t work very well. He also mentions NJPW and that ACH must have pissed them off too. Jacobs thinks that ACH is nothing but a clown and everyone will realize that. ACH responds with humor dismissing the serious insults that Jacobs used. ACH asked if Jacobs wanted to take a selfie. ACH says that guys like Jacobs held him back. Jimmy calls ACH by his real name and says that nobody held him back other than himself. Jacobs made a conscience effort to not put ACH over in WWE. Jacobs reminds us that he almost beat Rey Fenix with two bum knees and today is his birthday. Jacobs challenges ACH to a match tonight for the championship. The fans are chanting “NO!”. Jacobs sees a little boy in front of him and not a man. ACH accepts the challenge saying, “Lets see if you’re a better fighter than you are a writer and you don’t get fired playboy.”
Backstage, AAW Tag Team Champions Davey Vega & Mat Fitchett are interviewed. Vega talks about his commentary from the last show. They are defending the tag titles against a mystery team. Vega hopes it isn’t Keith Lee because he had three tries. Mat Fitchett gets offended by Vega saying he’s been carrying the tag team, but Vega says he said tag team division.
Third Contest: Dezmond Xavier vs. Jeff Cobb: Xavier starts off with a series of right hands to Cobb’s ribs. Xavier tries to send Cobb to the floor and settles for a dropkick sending Cobb to the floor. Xavier tries for a head scissors but Cobb avoids it. Cobb misses an elbow drop and is kicked by Xavier for a near fall. Xavier continues to strike Cobb on the mat to keep control of the match. Cobb lifts Xavier up by his foot and drops Xavier down to the mat with a clothesline. Cobb works over Xavier with stomps in the corner. Cobb tosses Xavier across the ring from the apron. Cobb hits Xavier with an overhead suplex. Xavier kicks Cobb on the jaw but is met with a clothesline. Cobb puts is foot on Xavier for a near fall. Xavier fights back with a cutter and uppercuts. Xavier kicks Cobb in the corner and tries for a suplex but Cobb blocks it. Xavier kicks Cobb a few times followed by a running kick for a near fall. Cobb drops Xavier with an uppercut in the corner. Cobb yanks Xavier out of the corner and hits a swinging back suplex for a near fall. Xavier elbows Cobb in the corner and goes to the apron to deliver a 619 around the post. Xavier connects with a handspring kick but Cobb kicks out at two. Xavier heads to the top but lands on his feet on a 450 splash attempt. Cobb plants Xavier with Tour of the Islands for the win. (*3/4. I wasn’t really feeling this. The match felt pretty slow and plodding and lacked much excitement. There were a few good spots by Cobb that displayed his strength. However, Xavier wasn’t really given much of a chance to shine or anything. WRSTLING continues to get a strong push.)
Backstage, Sami Callihan talks about the show tonight selling out in 90-minutes and how impressive that is. Sami takes credit for the sellout and says that Chicago is his town. He believes he is the best thing going today in wrestling. Sami promises the match with Naito will be a MOTYC.
Fourth Contest: AAW Tag Team Champions The Besties In The World (Davey Vega & Mat Fitchett) vs. The Air Buds (Stephen Wolf & Trey Miguel): Vega shoves the challenger and Fitchett tries to stop him but they all begin to brawl in the ring. Vega and Fitchett hit running splashes in the corner. Air Buds send the champs to the floor and hit stereo suicide dives to the floor a couple of times. Miguel arm drags Fitchett from the top rope and head scissors Fitchett. Wolf tags in and is met with chops from Fitchett. Miguel takes Vega down with a neckbreaker. Fitchett dropkicks Wolf on a leapfrog attempt. Vega enters and they dropkick Wolf followed by a splash for a near fall. Fitchett slams Wolf followed by a knee drop. Wolf continues to be worked over by the champs. Vega uppercuts Wolf into a corner and keeps a basic advantage. Wolf boots Vega in the corner and drops Vega over the top rope before coming off the top with a crossbody. Wolf kicks Vega away and tags in Miguel for the hot tag. Miguel cleans house with kicks and heads to the top rope delivering a double knee strike on Vega for a near fall.
Wolf tags into the match and splashes Vega in the corner as does Miguel. The challengers deliver dropkicks in the corner but Fitchett breaks up the cover. All four men are in the ring trading right hands. The champs deliver Pele kicks to the challengers followed by powerbombs for a near fall. Wolf takes Vega over with a reverse hurricanrana and Miguel superkicks Fitchett. Vega is sat on the top turnbuckle where Miguel hits a hurricanrana and Wolf hits a frog splash from the top for a near fall. Vega drops Miguel over his knee and Fitchett takes Wolf off the top with a hurricanrana. Besties hit a dropkick/brainbuster combo on Wolf for the win. (**1/2. I like Besties In The World as the act actually has depth to their characters and their promos are entertaining. The match was solid action and the challengers had some quality heat moments.) After the match, Vega celebrates with a blonde woman and Fitchett is kind of kept off to the side but eventually hugs Vega. The blond woman doesn’t appreciate that. There’s an added layer of friction for the champions.
Backstage, Ace Romero is interviewed regarding his debut in Chicago. MJF comes over and says nobody wants to interview Romero. Romero gets in MJF’s face and threatens he’d toss MJF through the wall. MJF reminds Romero that he’s undefeated and better than Romero. Romero is pissed about that.
Fifth Contest: Curt Stallion & Jake Something vs. Chuck Taylor & Colt Cabana: Stallion and Cabana kick off the match. Stallion stalls for a bit and takes off his vest which Something puts on and dresses like Stallion. Cabana slaps Stallion and Curt goes to his corner to regroup with Something. Cabana takes Stallion over with a toss and gets a near fall with a rollup. Taylor gets tagged in and Stallion begs off. Stallion goes to his corner and tags in Something. Taylor works over Something with a basic headlock. Taylor tells Something to fall down on a shoulder block so he tries again and Something still doesn’t go down. Something runs over Taylor with a shoulder block. Taylor stomps on Jake’s feet and is able to finally knock Something down with a shoulder block and the same happens to Stallion. Cabana enters and they deliver forearm strikes in the corner. Something gets jabbed in the middle of the ring and Stallion gets knocked to the floor. Something knocks both Cabana and Taylor down and Stallion works over Taylor against the railing. Something drops Cabana with a body strike and plays to the crowd. Stallion continues to work over Cabana in the corner. Cabana gets a near fall on Stallion with a rollup.
Stallion cuts Cabana off with an elbow strike. Cabana tries to dive to Taylor for a tag but comes up short and Stallion taunts Chuck. Something splashes Cabana in the corner and Colt drops to the mat. Cabana stops Something with a forearm strike in the corner. Stallion gets sent to the floor and Cabana head scissors Something to the mat. Cabana still can’t get a tag to Taylor and Something works over Cabana in the corner. Something accidentally splashes Stallion in the corner. Taylor finally gets the tag and he clotheslines Stallion a few times. Taylor powerbombs Stallion but Something breaks up the cover. Taylor is stopped by Something with a body strike. Cabana takes Something out with a springboard moonsault. Stallion double stomps Taylor and Cabana comes off the top only for Stallion to uppercut Colt. Taylor superkicks Stallion and knocks Something off the apron. Something grabs Taylor by his foot and Stallion delivers a running headbutt strike for the win. (**. There wasn’t much interest into the match and the crowd certainly didn’t pop for the finish. The finish felt really lame and didn’t make Stallion or Something look very strong. It’s an important win for the duo, but it was just a weak way to end the match. It seemed like everyone knew it, too.) After the match, Stallion cuts a promo saying they want the Besties In The World right now. They want a title match right now. Here comes the tag champions to confront them. This leads to all four men brawling in the ring. Stallion and Something get the better of the exchange leaving the champs laying. Stallion grabs Scarlett but she grabs his nose to break free. Stallion begs off and she turns her back. Scarlett low blows Stallion but Something plants her with a swinging slam. Stallion licks a laid out Scarlett, too.
Backstage, Paco is interviewed and he says that his future is bright and any chance he is given he will take advantage of it. He is here to stay in AAW.
Sixth Contest: AAW Heritage Champion Zema Ion vs. Trevor Lee: Ion baseball slides Lee as Lee was cutting a promo. Ion sends Lee over the railing into the crowd and Ion leaps off a chair to take Lee out with a dive. Ion continues to hammer away on Lee and takes out Lee with a crossbody into the crowd. Ion splashes Lee against the railing. Back in the ring, Ion controls Lee with a head scissors on the mat. Lee reaches the ropes to break a leg submission. Ion takes Lee over with a head scissors and goes to the floor but Lee traps Ion in the apron delivering strikes. Lee continues to beat on Ion with uppercuts. Lee works Ion in the corner with basic blows in the corner. Lee sends Ion hard back first into the corner and Ion crashes to the mat. Ion tries to fight out of the corner but Lee works over Ion with boot shots. Ion bites Lee’s chest in the corner but Lee comes back with an eye rake. Lee catches Ion on an attempted hurricanrana but Ion lands on his feet only to be decked with a right hand. Ion arm drags Lee to the corner and delivers several elbow strikes. Ion stops Lee with a jawbreaker and a neckbreaker. Lee misses a boot but on a second attempt connects. Ion goes to the apron for a splash and attempts a springboard moonsault but Lee got his knees up for a near fall.
Lee avoids a tornado DDT but not a kick on the chin. Lee comes off the ropes but is yanked down by his foot. Ion plants Lee with a tornado DDT and hits a somersault DDT for a near fall as Lee got his boot on the bottom rope. Ion heads to the top rope but Lee sends the referee into the ropes to crotch Ion. Ion attempts a powerbomb but Lee holds onto the ropes. Ion hits a middle rope hurricanrana to send Lee across the ring. Lee counters a crossbody with a fallaway slam for a near fall. Lee and Ion trade rollups several times. Lee counters a rollup and is able to get his hands on the ropes for the cheap win. (**1/2. A fine match with the obvious finish as they set that up kind of poorly. The finish protects Ion but puts the title on a guy who is getting over in his heel role and should work very well in this role. I like the direction for WRSTLING.)
Backstage, Jake Something and Curt Stallion cut a promo about being real and they aren’t playing games with people. They want to make money and win championships. Something says he’s been undefeated for a year before getting a title shot. They don’t understand how Besties are champions when they beat them. Stallion talks about beating up Chuck Taylor and Colt Cabana after thinking they were cool growing up on YouTube. They are confident they will win the tag titles, basically.
Seventh Contest: AAW Heavyweight Champion ACH vs. Jimmy Jacobs: They lockup into a corner where Jacobs stands on the bottom rope and taunts ACH. Jacobs takes ACH down to the mat and nearly wins with a bridging rollup. Jacobs takes ACH down to the mat with a headlock. ACH comes off the ropes with a shoulder block and arm drag before playing to the crowd. ACH dropkicks Jacobs causing Jacobs to bail to the floor. ACH fakes a dive and plays to the crowd in the middle of the ring. Jacobs tosses a few chairs into the ring and ACH takes a seat in one of them. They trade several right hands until Jacobs bites the champion on the forehead. ACH scoop slams Jacobs followed by a knee drop. ACH grabs a chair and tries to atomic drop Jacobs onto it but Jacobs counters with a drop toe hold onto the chair. They brawl on the floor trading strikes. ACH grabs a phone and does a selfie with Jacobs. Jacobs low blows ACH and sends him into the post face first. Jacobs sends ACH face first into a steel chair in the corner. Jacobs wedges a chair in the corner before sending ACH face first into it. There’s another chair wedged across the ring. Jacobs sends ACH into the other chair face first as well.
Jacobs rams ACH face first onto a few chairs in the middle of the ring. ACH drives Jacobs face first onto the chairs a few times to get momentum on his side. Jacobs whacks ACH with a steel chair. Jacobs whacks ACH over the back with a chair for a near fall. Jacobs slaps ACH a few times in the corner to keep control of the match. ACH stops Jacobs with a kick and Jacobs sends himself face first into a chair on a missed spear attempt. ACH double stomps Jacobs after a leg sweep and a dropkick follows. ACH clotheslines Jacobs in the corner and heads to the top rope. Jacobs decides to bail to the floor to regroup. ACH kicks Jacobs from the apron. ACH kicks Jacobs from the apron and Jacobs delivers a chair shot. Jacobs plants ACH with a DDT onto the chair for a near fall. Jacobs waits for ACH to get to his feet and attempts a Slice Bread but lands on his feet and rolls to the floor acting like he’s hurt. The referee rings the bell and officials come out to check on Jacobs. ACH heads over to Jacobs to check on him as well. ACH helps Jacobs up to the apron and Jacobs appears to be emotional about getting hurt. Jacobs grabs the ring bell and decks ACH with it! Jacobs was faking it! Jacobs rams ACH face first onto a chair. Jacobs gets a choke hold on ACH, but ACH counters with a brainbuster onto the chair for the win! (***. They used the chairs to get through the match it felt like, but Jacobs pulled off the fake injury angle extremely well. Everyone live bought into it and they seemed shocked that Jacobs was fooling them. That was honestly a great job at pulling it off. For a fifteen minute match, it was solid enough and kept me interested.)
Backstage, AAW Tag Team Champions Besties In The World and Scarlett are interviewed. Vega is pissed about Fitchett what he did with Scarlett. Fitchett seems to be jealous of Scarlett and reminds Vega what they accomplished together. They tell each other to lock it up. Vega tells Stallion and Something if they want these they come and get them.
Main Event: Tetsuya Naito vs. Sami Callihan: The crowd is pumped for this main event. They stand in the middle of the ring to confront each other. They do their respective taunts. Naito spits on Callihan and Sami returns to the favor. They begin to trade forearm strikes in the ring with Naito delivering a dropkick to a seated Sami. Naito continues to work over Callihan with strikes. Sami clotheslines Naito and plays to the crowd. Sami nails Naito with a springboard clothesline off the apron. Sami comes off the ropes and slides to the floor. Naito came back into the ring and did his taunt in the middle ring laying on the mat, which has the crowd go nuts for. Naito also sits on a chair to play more mind games with Callihan. Sami gets another chair and enters the ring. They swing the chairs but Sami gets the better of it. Naito blocks an exploder suplex attempt but a second time Sami hits it for a near fall.
Naito rolls to the floor to regroup but Sami quickly follows and sends Naito into the guard railing chest first. Sami spits on his hand and then chops Naito against the railing. Sami sends Naito chest first into the railing a second time. Callihan sits Naito on a chair and proceeds to run around the ring but Naito stops Callihan with an atomic drop. They get on the apron and trade strikes. Sami pokes Naito’s eyes to stop his momentum. Sami puts on Naito’s hat, too. Naito fights back with an eye rake and delivers a neckbreaker on the apron! Naito goes for the cover but Sami kicks out at two. Naito drops Sami over his knee in the corner and delivers a swinging neckbreaker for a near fall. Naito puts Sami on the top turnbuckle looking for a superplex. Sami bites Naito’s hand and attempts a sunset flip powerbomb but Naito holds onto the ropes. Callihan traps Naito’s head in the corner to deliver a superkick and a sit down powerbomb. Sami switches into a Boston Crab but Naito isn’t going to give up. Sami switches into an STF but again Naito isn’t giving in. Sami decides to switch to a crossface, but Naito is able to reach the ropes to break the hold.
Sami wedges a chair in the corner and appears to have a plan. Naito boots Sami in the opposite corner a few times. Sami forearms Naito and tries to send him into the chair, but Naito counters. Naito tosses Sami into the steel chair followed by a tornado DDT for a near fall. Sami drops Naito with a double underhook shoulder breaker for a two count. Naito counters the Stretch Muffler for a near fall. They trade a few kicks but Naito is able to hit Destino for the victory. (***. It certainly wasn’t a classic, but this was what the fans wanted to see and they worked a solid match to close the show.)
Backstage, AAW Heritage Champion Trevor Lee and Jeff Cobb cut a promo. Cobb was on the phone telling David Starr that Lee did it. Lee says he’s an Olympic champion now. They do some Flair woos. Lee says that they needed some control and wrestling rules to lead to their dominance. They have gone back to the roots in wrestling. Cobb says without rules there is chaos. Cobb is happy that Lee came home with gold. They are pumped.
Backstage, AAW Heavyweight Champion ACH cutting a promo about being reminded off all the things that has happened in his career. He is setting the tone for one of the greatest title runs in AAW history. He thanks Jacobs and then reminds him that he lost before laughing and ending the segment.
AAW may be my favorite independent promotion going right now because they are dedicated to telling stories and having layers to them. As you can see in this review, there wasn’t that one standout match that you need to see. It was a solid overall show with some decent wrestling, too. I find myself invested in the long-term storylines for AAW.
Thanks for reading.
34-year-old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Long-time fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls, and Minnesota Vikings. An avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on old-school wrestling.