With AWS having not run in a year, there had been a void in the Southern California wrestling scene. For 14 years AWS had been putting together shows that featured a virtual who’s-who of wrestling in SoCal, booking top guys from around the area and featuring them in matches you’d find nowhere else. On top of that AWS was the only promotion to regularly feature crossover matches with the area’s lucha promotions, bring in luchadors that a lot of indy fans wouldn’t get a chance to see otherwise. There was a lot of excitement when AWS announced it would returning, and this show definitely lived up to expectations.
Espiritu over Ryan Taylor [7’31]
This match was a tribute match to Southern California pro-wrestling hall of famer Cincinnati Red who sadly passed away last year. I first saw Red wrestle on a CCW show back in 1999 and when I began working for CCW I remember how nice he was and how much knowledge he had about wrestling. He was actually a really good technical wrestler, but at that time period hardcore wrestling was really popular and he embraced that and really excelled at that too. In early 2001 he had a really stiff, brutal match with Samoa Joe (his student) on an MPW show that helped cause UPW to stop allowing their guys to work other shows (and also helped create this very website, but that’s another story). Red was a big supporter of this site and was always available to answer any questions relating to SoCal history or whatever I may have. Since he hadn’t been an active wrestler in awhile and was mainly working behind the scene, I don’t think a lot of people were aware of his contributions to wrestling in the area and I could go on forever about it, but I’m glad AWS has this match to honor Red and keep his name out there.
As for the match itself, this was a really good opening match. Ryan Taylor is consistently great and one of the best technical wrestlers in SoCal at the moment. He’s a guy the WWE should be jumping all over to sign. Espiritu has really been able to reinvent himself and is starting to get a bit more exposure outside of EWF and will hopefully get more higher profile bookings, as he is also really good. I wish the match could have been a bit longer, but the length was fine for an opener. This was a really good match to start the show.
Eli Everfly over Legacy [8’57]
This was actually the match I think I was looking most forward to. Eli Everfly is really good, and since he was on tour with Puscifer he improved further still. In a lot of his older matches there would be points where it seemed like he was rushing things and they wouldn’t go as smooth as he’d like. He hasn’t slowed down but it’s like his skill caught up with his speed. I mentioned this in another review awhile ago, but he does some little things that really set him apart. An example is he never seems to be waiting around for a guy to do a dive. He is always doing something and then at the last minute he is there for the dive. In too many matches wrestlers are just standing there waiting. I had seen Legacy on a few lucha shows and he has been super impressive, even more so considering he has only been wrestling about a year. He is the newest wrestler in the Moro dynasty, and barring injury he is going to be a star. This was a really good match with tons of impressive high flying. At one point Eli did a moonsault to the outside and Legacy got out of the way, causing Eli to land in the chairs that looked pretty scary. Eli eventually won after hitting a Spanish Fly then putting a submission hold on Legacy getting him to tap.
Speaking of the Moro dynasty, Super Boy should get elected to SoCal Hall of Fame. He may be the best luchador to ever come out of SoCal not named Rey Misterio Jr. Check out his 90s work in Michinoku Pro. On top of that since 2004 when he retired he has done a ton to promote lucha libre in Southern California and is responsible for helping to train a ton of luchadors, including Legacy.
Twisted Sisters (Thunder Rosa & Holidead) over Sage Sin Supreme & RAZE [9’59]
Another really good match. Thunder Rosa and Holidead work so well together, it’s too bad women’s tag team wrestling is so rare in SoCal. They are going to be great in Stardom’s tag tournament later this year. Sage Sin and RAZE both looked really good in this too. Really good stuff here, probably my second favorite match on the show. The only sequence I didn’t care for was when Sage and Holidead were fighting on the outside and Thunder Rosa was going to go for a dive. It took awhile to develop and Sage and Holidead were just standing around waiting for someone to jump on them. Sage did throw a few punches to try and cover, but it took too long. Thunder Rosa did a stomp from the top rope onto Sage to get the pin.
SoCal Crazy over Scorpio Sky to win the AWS Lightweight title [9’52]
This was a really nice fast paced match. They did the spot towards the beginning where they keep avoiding the others moves that normally ends in a face off and the audience applauds. Only these guys just kept going and never slowed down.
Ray Rosas won a 6 man elimination match [28’39]
-Order of elimination Jacob Diez, Rico Dinamita, Mariachi Loco, Tito Escondido, Lil’ Cholo
The setup to this match was that it would start with two people and the next wouldn’t enter until a wrestler was eliminated. It started with Mariachi Loco and Jacob “The Vegan Superman” Diez. A person near me said that he is going to throw bacon at Jacob Diez next show, so be on the lookout for that. These guys matched up pretty well but Loco eventually got the pin which brought out H.A.T.E member Rico Dinamita next. Mariachi was able to defeat Rico, but as fellow H.A.T.E member Tito was coming out, Rico hit Mariachi with a powerbomb making Tito’s job a little easier. After Tito eliminated Mariachi Loco, Lil’ Cholo was out next. Lil’ Cholo was able to pin Tito and then H.A.T.E member Ray Rosas came out. Rosas was able to get the pin on Cholo, with help from his teammates and become the #1 contender for the AWS title. Good match that went a little long, but that was mainly due to the format.
Note: Atox says this was to become the #1 contender to the lightweight title. I could swear it was announced as being for the heavyweight title at the show. I don’t know what to believe anymore.
After the match H.A.T.E cut a promo saying how Bart is throwing his money away running a women’s show next month and women should only be doing dishes. Ray started singling out RAZE, which lead to her chasing him off. Five members of H.A.T.E versus RAZE and four other ladies is scheduled for the next AWS show.
Next I was called to the ring to announce B-Boy as the first Cincinnati Red/Dynamite D Legends award recipient. A little backstory on this, the creation of this award, sort of a life time achievement award that is independent of the hall of fame for active wrestlers who trained in SoCal, was still being worked on when I was asked to do it on Wednesday. I was hesitant because no announcement was made, no award was created, there was really no planning, but after hearing the full plan I agreed. At the show itself it was only announced as the Cincinnati Red award because we had not yet gotten the OK to put Dynamite D’s name on it. More on the award with an official announcement in a few days.
B-Boy came to the ring, gave a little speech, and then he called his girlfriend Laura into the ring. She was blindfolded and the crowd started chanting “get the table.” When the blindfold was pulled off, B-Boy was on his knee and asked her to marry him. She said yes.
Hudson Envy over Shayna Baszler to retain the AWS Women’s title [10’47]
I really liked Hudson’s new gear. This was another really good match that was different than anything else on the show. They worked a lot slower, stiffer style with Shayna trying to incorporate a more catch wrestling style with Hudson countering with some more high risk stuff. It’s really good to see Hudson back in the ring. She’s only worked a few matches after a fairly long lay off, but she didn’t show any rust and looked good. Hudson hit an air raid crash for the win.
Super Boy Jr. & Principe Indu Jr. over LA Fuckers (Shamu Jr. & Piloto Suicida) [13’23]
As I mentioned with the previous match, this was also different than anything else on the show. That was a great thing about the show is that every match was unique and no two matches were alike. There was tons of crowd brawling in this, and I think they may have wasted an entire case of beer smashing cans on each other’s heads. It was a fun match, but these type of matches you usually have to be there for and don’t come across as fun on video.
Tyler Bateman over Willie Mack and Brian Cage to win the AWS Heavyweight title [12’32]
I thought this was a really good match, and my match of the night. All three guys are probably legit wrestler of the year candidates this year. There was a lot of back and forth action in this and all three guys looked really good. Tyler Bateman hit a suplex on Willie and got the win to become the new AWS champion.
This was a really good return show for AWS. Like I mentioned every match was unique and there wasn’t a bad match on the show. The show also is a great showcase for people who aren’t familiar with SoCal wrestling, as it highlighted a lot of different local wrestlers and different styles. It is a testament to how much not only fans in SoCal love AWS, but the wrestlers too that every match happened as advertised. There were no changes to the original announced card aside from the four-man elimination match being expanded to a six-man and the injured Che Cabrera not being in the match (he was still on the show though). I’d recommend getting this on video when it comes out, especially for the main, the two women’s matches, and Eli Everfly versus Legacy.
AWS will be holding their next show on September 24th with Ladies Night 2 featuring the return of ROH’s Taeler Hendrix to SoCal.