Eddie Kingston (c) vs Sami Callihan
AAW Heavyweight Championship
115 Bourbon Street, Merrionette Park, Illinois, United States
(reviewed 01/13/2017) Hopefully this manages to be better than the tag match that preceded it, though something tells me that it won’t be. At the very least, a very good promo package precedes this match, highlighting their recent history. Unsurprisingly, things start off heated and mean between these two, with lots of striking, slamming, and spitting. Playing the keep away game, Callihan takes control with some brawling on the floor, going after the champ’s perennially-injured arm and leg with the help of the guardrail and a pair of steel chairs. This match wasn’t announced as no disqualification, so it’s weird that the referee is so cavalier about Callihan using weapons directly on his opponent, and the commentary adds no light to the situation either. In any case, Callihan goes to work with a pair of chairs, and it’s fairly good stuff, as Callihan is good at getting the most out of dominating an opponent, and Kingston is good at selling and fighting from underneath. A sit down spot gives Kingston the opportunity he needs for a comeback, but his knee prevents him from taking total control at first. Callihan bumps and sells quite well for Kingston’s offense, which is usually a problem for Kingston, as people can’t or don’t make his shit look good for a variety of reasons. The champ’s bad wheel continues to be a problem for him, allowing Callihan to fight out of a superplex attempt and superkick his knee. A surprisingly good Liger Bomb doesn’t win Callihan the match, but a stretch muffler comes close, forcing Kingston to reverse it into a pin attempt to survive. Kingston evens things up with a spinning backfist, but a second one hits the referee instead, knocking him out. Dave Crist runs into the ring and gets in Kingston’s face, and he and his Ohio brother double team the champ, though Kingston kicks out of Callihan’s pin attempt after a chop block and boot to the neck. Still, the distraction from Crist and Callihan’s general intensity prove to be too much for him, as a number of mean kicks and the reverse gin-n-tonic wins Callihan the match. Good stuff here, occasionally rising to the level of “great” with a few sequences, but a weird lack of rules and an awkward intrusion by Dave Crist (not that the booking is awkward, but rather the execution) sully things a little bit and prevent me from outright loving this. Still, there’s more than enough great selling, striking, bumping, and general heat from these two to send me home happy.