Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

AAW 1/15/16: The Chaos Theory Review

1. Drew Gulak vs. Louis Lyndon

ER: Lyndon felt a tad off in this one but is still a fun match for Gulak. There was some awkwardness like Lyndon hitting a flip dive into the crowd that I assumed ended with Gulak catching him and powerbombing him...except Lyndon sold that he hit the move totally fine so....guess he didn't just land back first on the concrete. But even if Lyndon's offense seemed a step off (though I did love his step up rana, and Gulak gamely throws himself into a dragon suplex), he fed Gulak's offense real nicely. Gulak plasters him at one point with a brutal rolling lariat, yanks at Lyndon's limbs a bunch in that way I absolutely love, kicks and elbows Lyndon around the ring, takes a big bump into the crowd. This could have been more, but I liked what it was.

2. Kongo Kong vs. Dan O'Hare & Wheeler Utah

ER: Damn, just a brutal 3 minute squash for Kong, like the best Umaga squashes multiplied by the best WWECW Viscera squashes. He hits a killer clothesline over the top to the floor on O'Hare, levels Utah with an avalanche, hits a crazy twisty sideslam, last ride powerbomb, a wild cannonball senton with both in the corner (one flopped in front of the other with in a tree of woe) and ends things with a full on unprotected top rope splash. Just a massacre. The whole thing plays as an awesome extended gif.

3. Heidi Lovelace & Kimber Lee vs. Allysin Kay & Brittany Blake

ER: I'm unfamiliar with the heel team, but liked them fine here. They wisely kept things to a manageable length here, just around 9 minutes, with Kay and Blake working over Lovelace. Kay at one point locked on a nasty cravate and says she's going to wist Heidi's ugly head right off, which is a level of heeling I can get behind. She's like Barry Darsow but with a nasty cravate. Blake is tiny but plays up that tiny little chickenshit role nicely, scratching at Heidi's eyes, hitting a neat rana on Lee that saw he vault off a kneeling Kay, and then right before Heidi's hot tag to Lee getting dumped with a rough backdrop driver. Lee looked good here, getting folded up on a Kay pump kick to the chest, and later hitting a low lift German on Kay to return the favor. Favorite spot of the match was Heidi aiming to hit the Heidicanrana (rana to a kneeling opponent) on Kay only to get caught, and Kay stands up from kneeling position to powerbomb her. It looked awesome and also worked as a nice foreshadowing of Heidi snapping it off for the pin moments later. This match had plenty of stuff that worked, although Lovelace looked more perturbed during her FIP segment than like someone who was actually getting roughed up by the heels. But at the same time it felt like the proper reaction for the offense she was taking.

4. Zero Gravity (Brett Gakiya & CJ Esparza) vs. The Hooligans (Devin Cutter & Mason Cutter)

ER: Well this was a hot little 10 minutes! I was unfamiliar with both teams going into this. Zero Gravity appear to be about 5'3" and skinny, Hooligans appear to be about 5'6" and fat. Hooligans are at war with their inner selves as they look like mini Moondogs with great bushy beards and fluffy hair, and cut off overall shorts...but their overalls are covered in punk rock patches. So...they're modern day Moondogs, who work at the mall, get a nice discount to Hot Topic and finally pulled the trigger on that 10"x10" Rancid patch for their wrasslin overalls. This whole thing had tons of hot sequences, some of which were tied together nicely, others which felt a little too rehearsed. You likely didn't come into this one hoping for things like nice stomach kicks or well thought out transitions, but the good stuff was enough to overshadow that other stuff. I really liked the Hooligans and would certainly seek them out. They're short, they're fat, and they got some cool double teams. Mason hits a neat fat guy standing moonsault, and later hits a variation where Devin boosts Mason's foot and allows him to hit an even higher one, ending with a kind of senton twist. They also had a brutal guillotine legdrop with one of Zero Gravity being held over a knee. ZG are small so some of their flying offense lands too lightly, but Gakiya had some cool kick combos (especially liked his hard jawjacker into a fast spin kick right across the mouth), and at one point they set up an awesome double team where they give Mason a chestbreaker out of the corner, Gakiya holds him over his knees, and Esparza hits a double knee drop off the top onto Mason's back. Nasty stuff (even if Mason sold it in that annoying way where you're falling, but have to fall into position for the next move, so you're kinda walking fast on your knees to get away from the ropes while still pretending you're selling the move). Hooligans were always there with nice lariats and serviceable punches, ZG were good to take big flipping bumps off of lariats, and they really did have some stretches where everything was strung together in tremendously satisfying ways. Fun stuff.

5. Chris Hero v. Sami Callihan AAW 1/15/16

PAS: This was kind of the US Indy version of Shibata v. Ishii from the dome show. Two big hitters just unloading on each other. Hero and Callihan are much more varied and expressive performers though and that is why I liked it better. Callihan has a very Terry Funkish selling thing going on, he is always checking his jaw for broken teeth, drooling grossly after a big shot, stumbling around, he also really knows how to unload, I loved him recklessly chucking a chair at Hero's ankles. This did have some of the same flaws as the Dome show match, as it did get a little repetitive, still I am really happy to see Callihan back and pounding on people, and Hero is always worth watching.

ER: Damn, you guys. If you're ever sitting around thinking "I wish I could watch Hero and Callihan kick each other in the face about 30 times" then your wish has been granted. That *is* something that I've wished for, so color me happy. And I don't think it had those Dome show flaws that Phil brings up, as the repetition is there, but there's an actual build and meaning behind what these guys are doing. Watch Hero come out of the gates strong, get immediately slowed down by that chair to the ankle, keep going back to the well even though it gets less effective each time, attempt to change his gameplan too late, and eventually succumb. This isn't just brainless elbow exchanges where the 14th one happens to get a 2 count but the previous 13 just get jack off fists and screaming. The first three minutes of this are just the most fast paced ass beating minutes around. Hero's pump kick, specifically his tornado pump kick, is my favorite strike in wrestling. I don't understand the physics of it, but damn do I love watching him spin as that leg lashes out into teeth. Hero kicks Callihan all around, follows him to the floor with a Fuerza bump kick through the ropes, and here's where we get our turn of Sami winging a chair right at Hero's legs. Hero limps in and is noticeably slowed, still going for kicks but yelping and limping after, allowing Sami to jump in with more of his attacks. Hero still is able to catch him a bunch, but the shots get less and less. Beautiful moment where Hero goes to fire off an elbow, plants on his bum leg and barely grazes Sami with the shot, ending up leaning into and on Sami as the damage has caught up to him. Hero still gets a last gasp with his awesome snap piledriver, but at a certain point it becomes more of the Sami show, with Sami teeing off with kick after kick after kick, basically setting up that leg injury early, and knowing he can outlast Hero from there. Awesome stuff. Hero stays great no matter how much cottage cheese, and Sami is having a wonderful return to form.

6. Shane Hollister, Mat Fitchett & Markus Crane vs. Connor Braxton, Buck Nasty & Eddie Machete

ER: Man why do the comedy matches always end up going longer than any other matches on the show. This was what it was. You either like the comedy or you don't, and you either care if half the moves whiff and most of the flying spots overshoot or you don't. I care, so I watched this x2 and was probably better for it. Hollister is in the awkward position of trying to work somewhat serious here, Fitchett is one of those smooth graceful flyers who gets great height on a standing moonsault but manages to whiff on three different Pele kick variations, Crane is working a crazy guy comedy gimmick, like Mark Briscoe without actual stiff strikes. Braxton has size and did get a laugh out of me coming out to Ridin' Dirty while slowly rolling on a hoverboard (admittedly for a comedy spot, his Big Swing while riding a hoverboard is about as top fucking notch as you can get in a modern comedy spot), Buck Nasty was managing the Hooligans earlier and I'm not really sure what he's going for as he tries to combine comedy with standard issue indy big strikes and spots, but isn't really good at any of it (he did take a nice bump into the ropes off a comedy moonsault spot with Crane), and Machete I really didn't get a feel for at all. It had some nice enough moments, liked Braxton's bump from the ring to the stage, followed by Hollister launching Fitchett into him. Overall, again, it was what it was.

7. Ryan Boz vs. Abyss

ER: It would appear we are definitely into the x2 portion of the show. Boz used to look like CM Punk and now he looks all old and dried out, like Sheriff Eli Thompson during the last season of Boardwalk Empire. You may be surprised to know, but Abyss is still incredibly bad at pro wrestling. Truly one of the worst workers to ever get an extended television run. His set up time on spots is extraordinary. It just takes him forever to do anything. I had this on x2 through most of it, and it was still stunning how long it would take him to search for weapons, get into position, move the match along; him holding Boz by the head and walking around during the crowd brawl portion played like it was in real speed, and then him struggling to kneel down while searching under the ring for plunder played like I had somehow accidentally played it in slo mo. It's clear his knees are shot as it was painful watching him just try to stand up after rolling into the ring, but for a big "monster" man does he wimp out on every piece of offense he throws. He actually puts his hands out in front of him to stop his momentum on shoulderblocks!! I can't believe it. It's hysterical. "I want to make sure I don't actually hit you, I better put my arms out to slow down my charge." He looked flat out embarrassing throughout the duration of this. Boz, however - maybe just in comparison to Abyss, who knows - was a pleasant surprise. I liked his short uppercuts during the crowd brawl, he took a huge bump into chairs off an Irish whip, nice bump in the rail. Shoot at least he *tried* to make a terrible wrestler look devastating. He had great facial expressions and really came across like an unpleasant scum, which will get you somewhere in my book. He made the best of a terrible situation.

8. AR Fox vs. Davey Vega

ER: Yuck. I'm probably not the best guy to be reviewing a match like this as this indy workrate this is awesome type stuff usually leaves me blowing in the wind. This one certainly did. For every little thing I like there are usually a few things I hate. AR Fox hit plenty of his signature offense where he hits a flip dive or senton at an invisible opponent who is just beyond his actual opponent. Both guys do some dangerous shit here, like plenty of stupid stuff, but what you're left feeling is how meaningless it is when they're up bouncing around seconds later. Fox at one point takes a Falcon Arrow on the apron, which would be crazy even if his legs hadn't hit the top rope, sending him quickly neck first into the apron and down to the floor. But moments later he's back inside setting up all his offense for the finishing run. Fox threw nice elbows on the apron, I liked Vega blocking one and hitting a superkick, dug Vega getting the knees up on a 450, but this was all fancy packaging, empty calorie bullshit that you don't even enjoy eating.

9. Eddie Kingston vs. Trevor Lee

ER: Well at least we're through the other side of our x2 portion of the evening. And this was predictably good, even though Lee seemed off a step in spots. He jumps all over Kingston's arm to start and we get a bunch of great limb attacks. I'm a big fan of stuff like taking a limb and slamming it into things, and here Kingston's left arm gets bounced off guardrails, ring posts, and in the spot of the match his shoulder gets corkscrewed brutally into the mat. Lee kept going right after that arm and I like how it slowed the rest of Kingston's game, leading to a big spinning backfist (with his right) attempt that Lee caught, rolled through and locked on a rough armbar on that weakened left arm, and thankfully Kingston was close to the ropes. I have seen Lee look better than he did in this match, and a lot of his kicks to Kingston's arm and chest looked a little limp and wet noodle-y. I did like his superkick to a seated Kingston though, and the way Kingston slumped to the mat afterward. Kingston took a lot of damage in this one, so it was surprising when he caught Lee with a backfist, hit a half German and then polished things off with another backfist. I like that they keep the backfist deservedly strong, but Lee took a whole lot of this match and really came off like he was dishing everything he had at Kingston, and then Kingston just kinda takes it all and dispatches him with a couple backfists (which as much as I love the backfist, it's tough seeing two of those putting a guy down after watching what Hero and Callihan unleashed on each other. These brutal shots to the head are a slippery slope). It kinda made Lee come off like a guy clearly below Kingston, which has not been the case on previous AAW show. Still, I overall dug the match, really thought Kingston came off great. His selling was top notch, not just the way he put over his bum wing, but the way he took Lee's other attacks, the way he would get to ropes, just a fine performance.

ER: After the show we get promos from several of of the wrestlers, including a classic Kingston promo where he calls out the fans who says he sucks, and how he knows Trevor Lee does not suck, but Lee still lost. "He might've dislocated my shoulder, still didn't stop me, still lost." Kingston is really easy to buy into.

ER: Fun overall show with several matches I liked, one legit MOTYC, a fun squash, and about an hour of easily skippable nothingness. Hero/Callihan was great and is an easy choice for our MOTY list (linked below), but I also loved seeing The Hooligans for the first time, witnessing my first hoverboard assisted Big Swing, and this is an easy show to recommend.


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