AAW “The Independents Day” report: Vetter’s review of Mat Fitchett vs. 1 Called Manders vs. Fred Yehi in a three-way elimination match for the AAW Championship, Christy Jaymes vs. Heather Reckless for the AAW Women’s Title, Alexander Hammerstone and Ace Perry vs. ACH and Jah-C for the AAW Tag Titles

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

We are looking for reports on all WWE, AEW, NXT, Impact Wrestling, MLW, GCW, and other notable live events. If you attend a show, you are encouraged to send a report or even basic results to dotnetjason@gmail.com

AAW “The Independents Day”
July 15, 2022 in Merrionette Park, Illinois at 115 Bourbon Street
Replay available via FITE TV

Tyler Volz and Joe Dombrowski provided commentary. The lights were low so it’s hard to see the crowd, but there appeared to be perhaps 400 or so in attendance. The lighting was subpar from the hard camera, and this looks much better from the ringside cameras.

1. Davey Vega (with two heel partners) defeated Shane Hollister at 9:07. The announcers talked a lot about Hollister’s return to the ring after a six-year absence. Hollister hit a Shining Wizard for a nearfall at 6:30. Vega’s friends kept interfering; this is not a no-DQ match, so the referee really should be doing more here. Hollister hit dives to the floor on Vega’s friends, but as he re-entered the ring, Vega hit a brainbuster move over his knee to get the pin. Decent opener.

2. Fred Yehi fought 1 Called Manders to a draw at 3:06. This is a number one contender’s match. They brawled immediately to the floor. Yehi stabbed Manders with a weapon, and after some more brawling, the ref called for the bell.

* Immediately backstage, Mat Fitchett declared he was ready to take on all challengers, perhaps multiple challengers.

* Jake Something hit the ring. He wants a match tonight! Former wrestler (and AAW promoter) Danny Daniels hit the ring, but Something leveled him with a punch.

3. Russ Jones defeated AJ Alexander at 2:36. Russ is bald and very muscular, and Alexander bailed to the floor at the bell to avoid tying up.  Jones threw Alexander around, hitting a pumphandle suplex. Jones nailed a running knee to the back as Alexander was on his knees, to score the pin. A dominating squash match. Alexander’s friend hopped in the ring, but Russ beat him up too.

* A backstage segment with tag champions Alexander Hammerstone and Ace Perry, who are heels here. They justified an attack on some babyfaces during a prior AAW show. However, they argued over who was going to get the pin tonight. Perry is essentially Don Callis or Smark Mark Sterling; he is more of a pest manager than a top-tier wrestler.

4. Brayden Lee and Gnarls Garvin defeated Silas Young and Karam at 14:43. There is an issue here between the grizzled veteran Silas and the young up-and-comer Brayden, so they each chose a partner for this tag match. They did open against each other, but Gnarls and Karam quickly tagged in and brawled. The heels extensively worked over Brayden. Gnarls hit a top-rope frogsplash on Karam for the win, so nothing has been settled between Silas and Brayden. As the winners celebrated, Silas attacked Brayden from behind, then scampered to the back. Decent match but it stayed in second gear.

* Backstage segment with Sierra, who vowed to win tonight and become number one contender for the women’s title.

5. Billie Starkz defeated Vert Vixen, Sierra, Lady Frost in a four-way to become #1 contender at 5:53. Starkz is the teen who has competed everywhere this year with Game Changer Wrestling, and this was her AAW debut. Vert Vixen has appeared on AEW Dark. Starkz hit a nice half-nelson suplex on Sierra early in the match. Vert Vixen hit a Helluva Kick on Billie. Lady Frost slammed Sierra for a believable nearfall at 4:30. These ladies are going at a break-neck speed. Starkz nailed a Swanton Bomb on Vert Vixen for the pin. That was fun — a little clumsy at times — but fun and fast-paced. They got a lot in.

* Heather Reckless spoke backstage, where she vowed she was going to win the women’s title.

6. ACH and Jah-C defeated Alexander Hammerstone and Ace Perry to win the AAW Tag Titles at 12:24. Worth pointing out that Hammerstone had just returned from the WSW Australia tour days earlier. They all brawled at the bell and they vanished in the shadows on the floor. The babyfaces beat up the diminutive Perry early on. Hammerstone powerbombed Jah-C onto the ring apron at 3:30, and the heels took control, with Perry hitting a mid-ring shooting star press. Lots of basic heel tag maneuvers, cheating behind the ref’s back. ACH finally made the hot tag at 8:00 and nailed a dive through the ropes on Hammerstone.

ACH hit a nice German suplex on Perry for a nearfall. ACH hit a jumping Flatliner faceplant on Hammerstone for a believable nearfall. Hammerstone spun Jah-C around several times on his shoulders before hitting a swinging faceplant. Perry hit a Swanton Bomb for a believable nearfall. Perry hit a handspring-back-stunner on ACH. ACH applied a Texas Cloverleaf on Perry, who tapped out. The crowd went nuts for the title change. Easily the best match of the show so far.

*  Eric Young was interviewed in front of the crowd, urging people to attend the upcoming Impact shows in Chicago on Aug. 12 and Aug. 13. Young vowed he would make sure at least two AAW wrestlers get matches on the tapings, saying the world needs to see the quality wrestlers in the promotion, earning him a babyface pop. Mat Fitchett came out and got in Young’s face. Fitchett said he will come to the Impact taping and defend his AAW heavyweight title. Good segment.

** Intermission

7. Christy Jaymes (w/Ren Jones) defeated Heather Reckless to retain the women’s title at 7:54. Jaymes attacked her at the bell, and she hit a nice Blue Thunder Bomb. Reckless hit a stunner. I’ve said this before, but Heather is really short, maybe not even five feet tall. Heather hit a top-rope crossbody block for a nearfall. Reckless rolled to the floor and slapped Jones in the face. In an awkward spot, Jaymes kicked at Jones to get him in position to catch Reckless, who hit a moonsault to the floor on both of the heels. In the ring, Reckless hit another moonsault. However, Jaymes hit a Death Valley Driver over her knee for the pin. A bit clunky, and I know these two have a better match in them than this.   

8. Ren Jones (w/Christy James) defeated Nate Webb at 4:38. Ren, who has a passing resemblance to Rich Swann, attacked Webb while the “Teenage Dirtbag” entrance was still playing. They brawled into the crowd, away from ringside, and it is pitch black, so viewers can’t see a thing. They returned to ringside at 3:30. They brawled into the ring, where Ren hit a sit-out powerbomb for the pin. That was stunningly short.

* Billie Starkz, the newly-named number one contender, ran in the ring and hit a belly-to-back suplex on Jaymes, but James and Jones started to attack her. However, Ren and Christy scampered when Levi Everett, the Amish wrestler, hit the ring to make the save. Everett helped Webb and Starkz to their feet.

* Backstage, Calvin Tankman says he is here in AAW to take over. Short, simple, to the point.

9. Jake Something defeated Schaff, Conan Lycan, Hartenbower, Calvin Tankman, Levi Everett in a six-way at 12:10. Wow, these are some big, strong guys; this is NOT a typical indy high-flyer scramble match. I have written this before — Schaff looks a lot like Jake Something. My first time seeing Hartenbower, he is bald with a goatee, somewhat like Zack Gibson. All six brawled at the bell. Tankman dove through the ropes onto everyone at 2:00. Lycan hit a dive, and Schaff hit a dive. I can’t stress enough you wouldn’t expect those moves from guys this big and muscular.

In the ring, Jake leveled Levi with some hard clotheslines. He stood toe-to-toe with Tankman at 5:00, and they traded forearm shots. Tankman hit a hard back elbow that leveled Jake. Tankman hit a back suplex on two guys. Lycan hit a sit-out powerbomb on Hartenbower at 8:00. Schaff hit a top-rope frogsplash on Levi, but Everett kicked out. Levi did his ‘arm-churning’ move on Jake Something.

Tankman hit a pop-up uppercut move on Hartenbower for a nearfall, but Lycan broke it up. Jake hit a Burning Hammer/inverted DDT. Schaff and Jake traded offense. Hartenbower spearred Schaff. Jake then hit a Boss Man-style sidewalk slam on Hartenbower for the clean pin. That was really good stuff.

* Mike Bennett cut a backstage promo, saying he wished he could be there. He vowed he would be there in September and the crowd would see the “real, complete Mike Bennett.”

10. Mat Fitchett defeated 1 Called Manders and Fred Yehi in a three-way elimination match to retain the AAW heavyweight title at 15:08. Mat recently appeared on AEW TV; he is shorter and reminds me a lot of Tom Lawlor. Yehi and Manders immediately brawled again, picking up right where they left off earlier in the show. Fitchett joined about a minute into the brawling. Fitchett hit a Pele kick on the ring apron on Yehi, then one in the ring on Manders. They all continued to brawl in and out of the ring. Fitchett got a door from under the ring, but Yehi flipped Mat into the door, set up in the corner, at 6:30. Yehi slammed the door on top of Fitchett and Manders.

Fitchett and Yehi traded slaps and forearm shots at 8:30, and Yehi hit a Flatliner, and immediately applied a submission hold on the mat. Nice sequence. Yehi applied a sleeper on Fitchett and was seemingly in control. Out of nowhere, Manders rolled up Yehi for a pin at 10:53, eliminating Yehi. We now have a one-on-one match going forward.

As they fought from their knees, Mat and Manders traded headbutts, then got to their feet and traded forearm shots. Fitchett hit a snap German Suplex at 13:30, but Manders hopped up and hit a decapitating clothesline for a believable nearfall, and they were both down. They fought on the ropes in the corner, and Fitchett hit a top-rope crossbody block on Manders, then a running boot for the clean pin. Another really good match.

Final Thoughts: There were three really good matches here, and I could put them in any order. But, I’ll give the main event the best match, the tag title match earns second-best, and the six-way big-man match was third best. There was some really strong wrestling here from a lot of guys not known on the national scene.

I really like mixing in a squash match, like Russ Jones had here. Not every indy match needs 50-50 offense. Just looking at the two, Russ Jones deserved to win quickly and decisively.

On the negative side, the Silas Young tag match was a little below my expectations. I’m a huge fan of Silas; nothing wrong with the match but it wasn’t designed to be a show-stealer. The Nate Webb match and women’s title matches were also a bitter under my expectations.

AAW does a lot of things right. They carry storylines from show to show. They have good on-screen graphics, and they do as good of a job as any independent in mixing in backstage segments between matches. While this roster is largely unknown on a national level, these are really good workers. I enjoy Dombrowski’s commentary. The biggest fix needed is improving lighting over the ring, and particularly when wrestlers brawl to the floor.

The show clocked in just under three hours.


Be the first to comment

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.