AAW “Never Say Die” report: Vetter’s review of Silas Young vs. 1 Called Manders in a cage match, Mat Fitchett vs. Eric Young for the AAW Title, Alexander Hammerstone and Ace Perry vs. Russ Jones and Heather Reckless, Josh Alexander vs. Gnarls Garvin, Myron Reed vs. Ace Austin

By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)

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AAW “Never Say Die”
April 29, 2022 in Merrionette Park, Illinois
Replay available via FITE TV

John E. Bravo came out in a Riddler jacket and pants (green, covered in black question marks.) He got the crowd to boo him, and he put over Davey Vega.

1. Davey Vega defeated Shane Hollister, Brayden Lee and Gringo Loco in a four-way at 10:42. The quick action you would expect. Gringo hit a flip dive to the floor on two opponents. Brayden hit a top-rock corkscrew press on everyone on the floor. Brayden hit a top-rope huracanrana on Gringo Loco. Vega hit a top-rope double stomp onto Loco’s chest. Hollister hit a Code Red. Everyone hit finishers, and Vega jumped on Lee and covered him for the pin. The announcers shouted that Vega stole this win.

2. Schaff defeated Victor Benjamin at 5:48. If you don’t know them, think of Schaff as Jake Something, and Victor as Arturo Ruas, and you’ll have a good sense of their look and size and fighting style. Both men have great physiques. Schaff hit a vertical suplex for a nearfall at 3:00.  Schaff hit a Death Valley Driver move for the pin. Good short brawl.

3. Mike Bennett beat Fred Yehi by DQ at 11:42. They opened with standing reversals and plenty of brawling. Yehi tied up Bennett, threw repeated shots at his head, and the ref called for the bell. Decent match.

* A promo from Silas Young, where he vowed he would win the cage match against 1 Called Manders.

4. ACH, Jah-C, and Rich Swann defeated Ren Jones, Hakim Zane, and Karam at 15:25. Zane is also known as Rohit Raju. All six brawled at the bell, and it spilled to the floor. Swann and Zane squared off, and the announcers called it an AAW dream match. It became apparent that Ren Jones wasn’t getting along with his teammates, and they argued while tagging in and out. Swann hit a handspring-back-cutter and he traded blows with Zane. The heels worked over ACH. However, ACH hit a brainbuster to pin Ren Jones.

5. Ace Austin defeated Myron Reed at 10:04. Ace attacked at the bell. Reed, wearing his chest protector, no-sold some chops. Myron hit a cool slingshot Code Red move. Ace hit a springboard spin kick to the head for a nearfall. Myron put Ace’s feet on the top rope and hit a faceplant for a nearfall. In a cool finish, Reed hit an Air Raid Crash, but Ace somehow reversed it and got a rollup for the pin.

* Eric Young did a backstage interview. He told Mat Fitchett he was coming for him.

6. Christi Jaymes defeated Skye Blue in a Street Fight at 10:01 to win the AAW Women’s Title . Blue, the Chicago native, was of course the babyface here. Ren Jones joined Jaymes to ringside. They immediately brawled to the floor, over the guardrail, and into the crowd. Unfortunately, this became hard to see, as they brawled literally onto the top of the tavern’s bar. They finally re-entered the ring at 6:00.

They set up chairs, but Jaynes handed her a tray of shots, and they took drinks, but then traded blows. Ren Jones hit Sky with a chair to the head, then Jaymes hit a chairshot too! Jaymes applied a sleeperhold, but Blue was out! The ref called for the bell, telling us we have a new champion.

* Backstage promo with Mat Fitchet. He said the AAW Title is now his legacy, and he’s not going to let Eric Young come in and take it from him. Good emotion.

7. Josh Alexander defeated Gnarls Garvin at 13:50. Gnarls is similar to Trevor Murdoch in size, weight, body type. They immediately brawled to the floor, then brawled in the ring. Gnarls clotheslined Alexander to the floor, then dove through the ropes onto him. In the ring, Gnarls hit a Saito Suplex for a nearfall. Alexander hit a pair of German Suplexes. Alexander hit a standing powerbomb at 11:30. Gnarls hit a crossbody block, but he missed a frogsplash, and Alexander immediately applied an ankle lock. However, Gnarls reached the ropes at 13:00. However, he struggled to get to his feet. Alexander hit his C4 butterfly piledriver and scored the pin. Good brawl.

8. Ace Perry and Alexander Hammerstone defeated Russ Jones and Heather Reckless at 8:49. Reckless has appeared on AEW Dark several times now, and she is really, really tiny. Perry attacked Russ to start the match, but Russ quickly tagged in Reckless, and the two of them beat up on the slender Perry. Hammerstone tagged in but he initially refused to hit Heather. However, Reckless hit some chops and a huracanrana. Finally at 6:00, Hammerstone and Jones stood toe-to-toe and traded stiff forearms. Jones hit a stiff knee strike to the jaw., then a spear for a nearfall.

Heather Reckless hit a top-rope crossbody block on Perry for a nearfall. She went to the top rope for a move, but a heel manager pushed her to the mat. Perry immediately got a rollup to pin her. I didn’t enjoy this. I don’t like intergender matches as a general rule, but Reckless is tiny and slender and wouldn’t have stood a chance in a real fight against a large, muscular man like Hammerstone. This was too cute, too cartoonish, for my tastes.

9. Mat Fitchett defeated Eric Young to retain the AAW Title at 12:46. Fitchett, who was destroyed on AEW Dynamite last week, is small but muscular and has a passing resemblance to Tom Lawlor. Eric Young is taller and thicker and he dominated with pretty basic offense. Fitchett came back with a top-rope frogsplash for a nearfall. Young hit a top-rope elbow drop for a nearfall at 9:30. Young fired back with a piledriver for a believable nearfall. Fitchett hit a spear to score the pin. So-so match and admittedly below my expectations.

There is a break here while a cage is set up. This is where AAW could learn from Pro Wrestling Revolver and air a match from a prior show to keep viewers entertained at home.

10. 1 Called Manders defeated Silas Young in a cage match at 23:31. The cage is thin wire with a handful of thicker beams; it seems sturdy enough. They brawled on the floor extensively before they ever got in the ring. Silas was bleeding on the forehead at 8:00. Silas hit a low blow, then gave Manders a slingshot into the cage. Manders also is now bleeding from the forehead. Silas slammed Manders through a table at 13:00 for a nearfall.

Silas tried to stab him with scissors, but Manders avoided it. Manders got the scissors and he struck Silas in the head with them. He gouged Silas across the forehead; this has crossed the line into being disgusting. Manders licked the blood off the scissors. Manders hit a Bulldog Powerslam. Silas’ female valet entered the ring somehow in an attempt to save Silas. However, Manders gave her a Bulldog Powerslam through a table set up in the corner. Silas hit a low blow for a visual pin, but the ref was busy checking on the valet.

They took turns hitting each other over the head with the wood shards from the table at 18:30, but the more they hit, the more obvious it is this is thin paper that probably doesn’t hurt that much. Manders hit a hard clothesline for a nearfall. A double-decker table spot was set up on chairs. They brawled on top of the cage in the corner, and Manders hit a top rope powerbomb from the top of the cage, through the two tables, for the pin. Quite a finish!

Final Thoughts: So often, when a double-decker table is put together, it seems to fall apart before anyone touches it. Not here. The finish went off exactly as I’m sure they planned it. While I object to the blood, it really wasn’t that much, and certainly less than a typical Jon Moxley match these days. The cage match earns best match, as it was certainly memorable and lived up to what fans wanted.

I’ll give Alexander-Gnarls second-best, with the four-way scramble opener third-best, with Ace Austin-Myron Reed earning honorable mention. This was a solid show, and it ran nearly four hours, largely due to that break before the main event.


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