Hello Dave and Bryan:
I had the pleasure of attending AAW's "Day of Defiance" show in Berwyn, IL two days ago. I've seen a lot of good from AAW over the years, but what they pulled off may have been their best and most note-worthy show in a long time, if not ever.
First, they booked Archibald Peck to play his infamous Mixed Martial Archie character, and somehow was able to get Archie to shoot this insane training video. For some reason, it hasn't blown up the Internet yet:
Archie vs. Davey Richards was a long-awaited battle of a character mocking MMA vs. pro wrestler who wants to be all-MMA. It was Archie at his comedic best--drinking water, declaring the end of a round, celebrating like an idiot on a rope and around the ring, all while Richards played straight. The finish was ever better: Archie setting up a Karate Kid-crane kick and Richards just kicking him in the head for a KO. MMA silliness in a pro wrestling ring. Glorious.
This transitioned into a tag between ACH/Michael Elgin and Richards/Kyle O'Reilly that feature plenty of striking, but plenty of hard work and big moves that just continued to work the crowd into an absolute frenzy, standing in applause towards the end. A lot of no-selling? Yeah, but the action was so strong, it made you forget it. I would describe more, but I did not take enough notes to do it justice. Probably a 4 & 1/2 star match.
Eddie Kingston's debut for the promotion was excellent, with three wins in a row on one night, but his attacking Silas Young, hitting his valet, and powerbombing Young through a table on the floor was the strongest start to an indy feud I've seen in a long time. Kingston was at his profane & funny best, and pretty much turned the crowd on him, although they were cheering for him earlier.
The main event: Shane Hollister vs. Sami Callahan, last man standing. Many kicks. A few head stomps. Somebody got placed on a cart and got shoved into a wall. Hard to watch, although there was no blood. Sami didn't work like he was going to WWE and had to protect himself. Finish was a suplex on a chair. Not a lot of plunder, just a lot of pain and torment. Could have been a 4-star match as well.
The show is worth going out of your way to see. Should be on sale at Smart Mark Video soon.