House of Truth’s reign begins here!
AAW had a tag team tournament entitled “The Fate of Eight.” It’s very similar to Pro Wrestling Guerilla’s DDT4 in that you have the champions, the Phoenix Twins in this case, defend their titles throughout the tournament. Seven other teams vie for the belts. But to spice things up a bit, the winner of the tournament will not only get the belts but also have a wish granted. With all that in mind…
-Taped from Berwyn, Illinois
–Open with a Tyler Black promo. Oddly enough this was better than some of his ROH promos. He’s got a date with AAW champion Jay Bradley at Scars at Stripes but due to other commitments (ROH in Manassas) will not be in Berwyn tonight.
-Next up is a video package showing highlights of AAW matches with death medal playing in the background. And I now see why Gabe and DG USA have a relationship with AAW.
-Outside the Berwyn Eagles Club Arik Cannon and The NorthStar Express are walking into the building. Arik Cannon is gonna kick someone’s ass. Krotch’s sister Nikki, who’s just friends with one Darin Corbin, is whoring it up tonight. Krotch is not happy about his sister hanging around the NSE. Nikki calls her brother a loser, and Krotch responds by saying he’ll prove her wrong.
-Valerie Malone tries to get in through the back door, but she’s banned from AAW unless she buys a ticket based on previous actions. Owner Jim Lynam goes outside to find Chandler McClure, Jordan Mcentyre, and Knight Wagner outside protesting. Lynam gives Mcentyre and Wagner two minutes to get into the building for a tournament match. They immediately say to hell with McClure and bolt for the building. That was a funny segment.
-1st Round Match: The NorthStar Express (Ryan Cruz and Darin Corbin) vs. Irish Airbourne (Jake and Dave Crist)
NSE lost to IA at the previous show, so we’ve got the revenge factor in this one. NSE work heel in a fairly standard formula tag match that shows a lot of good energy early but eventually slows down. Not much to the match except the ref gets pulled from the ring when he’s about to count three, and the finish is a ballshot by Corbin onto Dave Crist leading to a three count and an NSE victory. Not a good way to start off a show with this kind of finish. It’s the opening match of not only the show but a tournament.
This also leads into a tangent. I hate it when the referee gets pulled out despute the fact that there’s still a cover going on in the ring. In fact, I will give 100 dollars in merchandise sales if a wrestling company shows the balls to have that spot executed, but the referee counts three anyway. 100 dollars. All to the wrestling company that pulls this off in merchandise sales if they finally forgo the stupidity of pulling the referee out and bring common sense back into wrestling. And the whole pulling ref thing? Thanks a lot Vince Russo. Tangent over.
Winner/Time/Rating: Northstar Express/8:01/**
-The Phoenix Twins get promo time and just talk about defending the belts three times potentially. Fairly good promo actually.
-1st Round AND AAW Tag Team Championship Match: The Phoenix Twins (Dash and Tweek) (champions) vs. Shane Hollister and M-Dogg 20 Matt Cross
Hollister reminds me of Jacobs a great deal, both in look and the way he carries himself in the ring. I’ll talk more about this in my Scars and Stripes review. I also noticed that our esteemed announcers could actually tell which Phoenix Twin was which. AAW-1 ROH-0. Twins pretty much dominate the early portion of this match, and it makes sense since Hollister and Cross are not a regular team PLUS they were only made a team 24 hours before the show. There’s a couple swank armdrag exchanges to start. Cross and Hollister do get some offense eventually, but it isn’t anything special. Which is fine by the way. Obviously, there wasn’t time to really get their stuff together and not being regular partners has to be awkward. Cross is also someone who works better in chaos and in multi-man type matches.
The ending isn’t all that great either. Hollister and Cross each hook in submissions, but the bell rings for a 15 minute time limit. The Twins immediately grant five more minutes showing how dumb they are. Now I was ready to bash the fact that the Twins would indeed advance, but it makes a lot of sense considering this was also a championship match and they technically can’t lose the belts because of a time limit draw. It also appears that Tweek broke his nose, although you can’t tell. But I did see some blood. Arik Cannon interferes since he’s got an issue with Hollister. This leave Cross alone to suffer Sweet Twin Music (I shit you not readers) and suffer the pin. Bad finish to what was a pretty good match.
Winner/Time/Rating: STILL AAW Tag Team Champions-The Phoenix Twins/15:52/***
-Silas Young and Dan Lawrence cut a promo that makes no sense. They talk about ignoring the first round and not even worrying about the championships. Huh? They have an issue with the House of Truth based Valerie Malone now dating Josh Raymond despite Young and Malone having a child together. Look guys, hate those guys all you want, but you make a team like the Phoenix Twins look real bad when you place personal issues ahead of the titles. Jay Bradley interrupts in the funniest way possible (climbing over a table) and looks menacing. He’s got an open challenge and Silas Young might want to get in on that action too. Least the Heavyweight title ranks ahead of grudges.
-1st Round Match: Suds and Buds (Silas Young and Dan Lawrence) vs. The Best Around (Bruce Maxwell and T.J. Cannon)
-Mr. Lawrence got a haircut courtesy of the House of Truth that makes him look like John Cena after spending 30 straight days in a sauna. No offense to him cause he’s definitely winning as far as wardrobe goes. PBR symbol > jean shorts. Really freaky nerdy story I told on the podcast. I could have sworn that I’d seen The Best Around before, specifically in CHIKARA. I sent Kevin Ford a text and within two minutes, I received the show they wrestled on That would be the only time I’ve ever seen them wrestle. They show some good double team moves, but they remind me too much of 2.0, the most underrated tag team ever. Lawrence plays face-in-peril until tagging in Young. He then blitzes his opponents and shows more energy then I think I’ve ever seen from him. Best Around take back control and they try a double team 450 off the shoulders. This fails. Young hits a Rolling Thunder followed by a Springboard Moonsault. 1-2-3. Finally, a clean finish to an okay match. Nothing too special but no major botches and a good finish was appreciated.
Winner/Time/Rating: Silas Young and Dan Lawrence/9:43/**1/4
-1st Round Match: The House of Truth (Josh Raymond and Christian Able w/ Truth Martini) vs. Jordan Mcentyre and Knight Wagner vs. Zero Gravity (Brett Gakiya and C.J. Esparza)
This is under elimination rules. I like how the “Fate of Eight” tournament has nine teams. Nice double teams from Zero Gravity. Gakyia in particular looked quite good. House of Truth are wearing… Not quite sure. It’s weird. That much is for certain. The two heel teams go to work on C.J. Esparza. Nice spot as Esparza is just about to make the tag, but Raymond tears Gakyia off the apron. I love that spot so much. And once Gakyia gets in again, he continues to impress with some wacky moves off the ropes. Raymond snuffs out a rally. Chandler McClure walks out (from the locker back… bad) and serves as enough of a distraction to insure Mcentyre and Wagner get eliminated. Esparza’s finisher is a Shooting Star Elbow which strikes me as the dumbest finisher of all time considering how easy he could break… a lot of stuff really. First fall ends in 8:11.
We quickly get to the ending, which is way messed up. Esparza has Able in a roll-up, but there’s no referee. Someone screwed up since manager Truth Martini wasn’t on the apron in time and the ref standing there didn’t make sense. Martini finally gets up to distract the referee, while Raymond appears to hit Esparza with something. Later you find out it’s the boot of Martini but because of the hard cam being used and seeing the distraction, it was hard to tell what was happening in the ring. A heel team winning because of shenanigans doesn’t bother me as much as this finish, which came off bad. Not sure who screwed up, but it’s clear someone did.
Winner/Time/Rating: Josh Raymond and Christian Able/8:47/*1/2
-Marek Brave cuts a promo about not cutting a typical wrestling promo while cutting a typical pro wrestling promo. He’s wrestling Danny Daniels in a street fight. Least he ditched the make-up and got a haircut.
-Jay Bradley and Dave Prazak come out and with no Tyler Black, it’s time for a public work-out. Prazak has an opponent.
-AAW Heavyweight Championship: Jay Bradley (champion w/ Dave Prazak) vs. Dewey Dawson
Might as have picked this kid’s name out of a hat. Dawson runs the ropes so awkwardly, and he looks so out of shape, I get ready to break out a negative star rating. Thankfully a kick to the face and lariat ends this farce in under thirty seconds.
Winner/Time/Rating: STILL AAW Champion-Jay Bradley/:26/None
-Krotch comes out now to prove he isn’t a loser. Bradley’s response is quite funny as he taps Krotch in the face with the mic. Good stuff.
AAW Heavyweight Championship: Jay Bradley vs. Krotch
The announcers mention that Krotch is a training partner of one Tyler Black. This match… Oh brother. It’s an eleven minute squash that just refuses to end. This was one of the most boring matches I’ve seen in 2009. It reminded me of Mike Awesome vs. Spike Dudley. Even that at least had Awesome putting Spike through a table. Bradley tries to powerbomb Krotch through a table. Too bad the table doesn’t break. This was after Krotch bulldogged Bradley on the table. Krotch flips Bradley off before getting lariated (Is that a word) to put everyone out of their misery.
Winner/Time/Rating: STILL AAW Champion-Jay Bradley/10:43/DUD
-Prazak and Bradley want another challenger. Silas Young runs out, but House of Truth is soon to follow. Shouldn’t Young be concentrating on the tag team tournament first? They commence a beatdown until Young runs outside. Val Malone chokes out Silas and the beatdown begins once again. As I wonder what’s taking Dan Lawrence so long, he runs out and House of Truth turns their attention to him. They backdrop him through two chairs. They’re supposed to have a semi-final match, but that’s not looking so great now.
-Semifinal Match and AAW Tag Team Championship Match: NorthStar Express vs. Dash Phoenix and M-Dogg 20 Matt Cross
Tweek is at the local hospital getting stitched up so Cross is one half of the tag team champions I guess. The Phoenixes and NSE have a long storied rivalry that I hope to review some time in the future. TLC matches. The first ever AAW cage match. Definitely want to talk more about that feud. It’s a big old brawl to start. Not much of a tag team match since Cross and Phoenix have never tagged before. Poor M-Dogg. Cannon tries to take out Cross since he hates Hollister that much and wants to help his buddies out, but Hollister also comes out to counter the interference. Dash rolls up Corbin for three after a cool double double stomp by Cross.
Winner/Time/Rating: STILL? AAW Tag Team Champions- Dash Phoenix and Matt Cross/3:50/*
-Shane Hollister challenges Arik Cannon for the Heritage title. Cannon agrees so it’s…
-AAW Heritage Championship: Arik Cannon (champion) vs. Shane Hollister
Another brawl to start… kind of the theme to this show. They go inside and outside of the ring. Cannon is a dastardly heel for sure. They have a fairly physical match with a number of neckbreakers and punches. Some awfully stiff shots contained in this match. Then it’s time for a big finish. Once again, this one needs to be explained.
Shane Hollister hooks the far leg after a big kick. This is bad since Cannon has to try and get the leg on the ropes. Hollister lets go, but the referee counts three with no leg on the rope. Cannon finally gets his leg on the rope. The announcers try to explain that Cannon had his leg underneath the rope, but I saw nothing of the sort. Also, keep that in mind for a future match on this very show. So Cannon’s leg on the rope leads the referee to just assume it was there all along (even though it wasn’t) and the match continues. Almost immediately, Cannon hooks the tights in a roll-up for three. Referee doesn’t see that, but he didn’t see the leg “underneath or on” the rope either. Bad looking finish that makes this referee look like a complete moron.
-Hollister and Cannon agree to a Stairway to Hell match at Scars and Stripes. They brawl for a while before, during, and after this. A barbwire chair is introduced into the proceedings . What took two sentences for me took them about eight minutes.
-Danny Daniels promo. He’s undefeated in 2009, and he plans on beating Marek Brave.
-Semifinal Match: House of Truth vs. Silas Young
Not much of a match since Lawrence got taken out earlier. I was going to complain about Young getting beat in two minutes, but looking back it does make sense. He’s already had a match and been beaten down. Plus, it’s 2 on 1. House of Truth uses their finish which isn’t named. I can only describe it as a Wheelbarrow Skullcrusher. Picture it if you can.
Winner/Time/Rating: Josh Raymond and Christian Able/1:36/1/2*
-Berwyn Street Fight: Marek Brave vs. Danny Daniels
This starts out as every street fight you’ve ever seen. They brawl through the crowd and end up at a merchandise table that’s thankfully been cleared off. Daniels and Brave exchange suplexes, but the TABLE DOESN’T BREAK. These tables are hardcore. Back towards the ringside area and Brave introduces a golf club for a nutshot. Unlike the announcers, I’m too classy to make the obvious ballshot joke. Steel guardrail introduced by Brave but Daniels dropkicks him onto that guardrail. OH THE IRONY! Brave comes back with bodydrops back in the ring. He brings a chair and works him over with that. He then puts the chair over Daniels’ groin area and hits him with the top half of the now broken golf club. Must…not…make…joke. Barbwire chair is back and Nick Brubaker runs in to help Daniels out. Daniels with a spear followed by a piledriver. 1-2-NO!!!! Guardrail set up once again. Brave reverses for a piledriver of his own. He then goes looking for something underneath the ring but can’t find it. Brave then heads backstage to find… A LADDER! Before using the ladder, he takes scissors and cuts up Daniels. Back inside the ring, Brave misses a dive. Daniels with a release suplex. Uh-oh. Table gets brought into the ring. They’ve been the best performers of the night to this point. Referee finally proves himself to be useful and helps Daniels set up the table. What a pal. Brave superkicks Daniels and prepares to put Daniels through a table once and for all. Ryan Boz comes out and stops any dives. He’s got all kinds of plastic and stuff on his left elbow because of an injury. Daniels HITS A RUBIX CUBE ON BRAVE’S NECK. And guess what? Table doesn’t break. Also, what a brilliant move to execute on a guy who once had his neck broken. Speaking of brilliant, Daniels piledrives Brave onto the table. Wouldn’t you know it? Damn thing doesn’t break. Brave is dead. Daniels covers for a three count… However, I’d like to point out Brave’s arm was underneath the ropes. Where was the referee ordering this match to continue? Finally, forget pro wrestling redefined. These tables are redefined. There have been I think six table spots. Not a single table has broken.
Winner/Time/Rating: Danny Daniels/25:41/**1/2
-Backstage, Jimmy Jacobs cuts a promo about his own match with Danny Daniels at Scars and Stripes. This was also immediately better then any of his promos in ROH this year.
-Final Round Match for the AAW Tag Team Championships: House of Truth vs. Dash Phoenix and M-Dogg 20 Matt Cross (champions)
This time, Cross and Phoenix come out with the belts. Pretty weak four man brawl to start but things pick up with Cross and Raymond doing a nice series of moves on the outside. Elsewhere, Able powerbombs Dash on the apron. House of Truth goes to work on Dash until Cross comes in. Able hits a deadlift powerbomb for two. That looked way more impressive then I’m sure it actually was. Raymond takes control and hits a shooting star shoulderblock. Well, that was exceedingly useless. Cross saves the day again. Referee gets distracted again and Martini uses his boot. What exactly is the point of distracting the ref when there are no disqualifications? Raymond then covers with his hands on the ropes and the referee is positioned in such a way where it’s damn near impossible for him not to see. It turns out to be only a two count but sheesh. Martini tries to interfere but misses a blind charge. Wild exchange as House of Truth ends up on the outside. Mason Beck returns to AAW to help the House of Truth. He moves Raymond and Able out of the way when Dash Phoenix attempts a dive. That splat was just gross. Tweek then runs in and goes to town on the Truth members. The flurry doesn’t last as House of Truth hit a backdrop followed by their wheelbarrow skullcrusher for three. NEW CHAMPS! House of Truth celebrate. Now you might remember that Truth also get a wish granted. Raymond’s wish is for Val Malone to not be banned. Awesome. This, my friends, is how you build up a heel tag team and establish them. For all the bad on this show, the storytelling here was really really good.
Winner/Time/Rating: NEW AAW Tag Team Champions- Josh Raymond and Christian Able/12:12/**3/4
-Phoenix Twins cut a promo and vow revenge.
-Danny Daniels gloats. Nick Brubaker says Zero Gravity held him back. Ryan Boz threatens everyone in AAW.
-Weak House of Truth promo to end the DVD. Should have ended with the in-ring celebration instead of all the lame promos.
Final Thoughts: Boy, it’s tough to recommend a show that appeared to have as many messed up endings as this show. There were a couple of decent matches, but there wasn’t anything you should go out of your to see. Obviously, you can’t blame AAW for Tweek’s injury, but it certainly did them no favors.
Overall, I think a nice direction was at least set up for future shows if nothing else. Dan Lawrence and Silas Young essentially got screwed out of a potential semifinal match while The Phoenix Twins weren’t healthy for the final two matches and can claim they deserve their shot. Heels winning tournaments tend to work out for these sorts of reasons. So basically, I give the DVD a thumbs down but it’s not a complete disaster since there was at least some good angles on the show.