AWS “Yay Wrestling” September 22, 2018 – review

AWS was back in South Gate this past Saturday with its penultimate event in 2018, Yay Wrestling. The show was hampered by three last minute changes; one an improvement, one a downgrade, and one a wash, but the two main attractions of the Women’s Championship and Lightweight Championship were going on as scheduled.

True Grit (Jesse James & Hoss Hogg) over SoCal Crazy & Mariachi Loco [14’43]

There was some pre-match dancing and post-match dancing. In all with a nearly 15 minute match and the before and after stuff this match took 30 minutes. The dancing and everything got a good reaction from the crowd, but the issue with it is what it does to the crowd later when everyone is tired and the main event isn’t getting the heat it deserves. There are already nine matches on the show, the opener shouldn’t use up a half an hour. The match itself was fine. This was True Grit’s South Gate AWS debut. This was speed and flash versus True grit’s power, with power winning in the end. True Grit hit lariats on both Loco and Crazy and pinned both at the same time for the win.

Vanessa Kraven over Heather Monroe [9’39]

This was originally supposed to be Barbi Hayden facing Kraven, but Hayden couldn’t make it and Heather Monroe took her place. Despite the size difference Monroe matched up well with Kraven. Monroe did a good job selling for Kraven, and her character work is great. Lately she’s been more of a heel most places in Southern California, but played more of a face role here. I thought Kraven looked good and had nice power offense. Hopefully she comes back out at some point for a match with Raze. Anyway, Kraven won with a sit out chokeslam.

Lil’ Cholo over Peter Avalon [9’18]

Both Peter Avalon and Ray Rosas were pulling double duty on this show. A few people questioned the need for this beforehand, but ultimately it played into what happened later. I wasn’t at the last AWS show in July, so I don’t know if this was setup there or not, but this was basically a battle of two SoCal veterans. This was good for what it was but felt like just filler.

JR Kratos over Suede Thompson [10’28]

Before the match everyone in my area was predicting Thompson would do the spot where he tries to kip up but can’t and try to sell a shirt in the match. He did the kip up spot but not the shirt spot. Thompson is a much better wrestler than he is a comedian. I thought they worked well together and Thompson did a good job of making Kratos look strong. It’s crazy Kratos doesn’t get more Southern California bookings, especially with the shortage of good big men. Kratos threw Thompson around as promised and won with a knee strike.

Vipress over Kiera Hogan [8’34]

Vipress was a late replacement for Shotzi Blackheart. This probably would have been better with Shotzi in the match. Vipress has good presence, but I don’t think its anything against her when I say she isn’t on Shotzi’s level yet. There was quite a few miscues in this and it never really built any rhythm. Vipress threw Hogan a chair when the ref wasn’t looking and took a dive, tricking the ref into giving her the DQ win.

PPRay (Peter Avalon & Ray Rosas) over Delilah Doom & Leva Bates to retain the AWS Tag Team Championship [10’47]

Delilah Doom and Leva Bates came out as PPRay, complete with Doom having Peter Avalon’s mustache. I’m sure I say it every time but Doom has so much energy and natural charisma it so easy to get behind her in a match. Her facial expressions and the way she shows exhaustion are top notch as well.  PPRay should have made Doom and Bates put the Shimmer titles on the line. This was really entertaining. PPRay won with a double team Death Valley Driver on Doom.

Andy Brown over Maxx Stardom [18’29]

Maxx Stardom was a late replacement for B-Boy. I thought this was really good. Stardom seems like he’s about to really break out.  With him working MLW and them adding a Spanish language program there is a ton of potential here. Stardom and Brown really complimented each other and matched their energy well. The match was the longest of the night to that point, but never felt like it was going long. After a really good back and forth match, Brown won with the package piledriver. I thought this was the second best match on the show.

Melissa Anderson over Ruby Raze to retain the AWS Women’s Championship [9’51]

As someone who has seen Melissa’s career from the beginning, I’ve really enjoyed the transformation from high flyer to brutal beat down artist. Raze held her own for part of the match, but Anderson’s attacks were just too much. She kept attacking Raze’s shoulders through out. Raze got beat up inside and outside the ring. Eventually Anderson was just delivering kicks to Raze’s shoulder while Raze was on the ground and Raze could no longer defend herself forcing the ref to call for the bell. This did a good job telling a story and was really good. Even though Raze hasn’t been successful going for the AWS Women’s title, she has still been kept strong in the promotion. With Melissa Anderson destroying her in this they are really trying to build her into a monster, likely for Shotzi Blackheart to face.

Douglas James over Ray Rosas in two out of three falls to win the AWS Lightweight Championship. [31’57]

This was a two out of three falls match with the first fall being a normal match, the second fall being submissions only, and the third being a last man standing match. These two were supposed to meet a long time ago in AWS but Douglas James went under contract to PCW and it never happened. Usually in these types of matches the first two falls don’t mean anything because everyone knows it is going to a third fall. Rather than just rushing through the first two falls they played the first fall pretty much like a regular match, with Douglas James really trying to work over Ray Rosas’ surgically repaired leg. James even hit a frog splash on Rosas then went back up and hit a second one just on his leg. They kept coming back to the leg throughout and it played an important part in the overall story of the match. James won the first fall in 10:08.

With the second fall being a submission only fall James continued to work the leg but Rosas was able to get the upper hand. Rosas wasn’t able to get James to tap but he was able to make him pass out getting the fall in 16:53. After the fall Rosas immediately wanted the bell rung so the ref could start making the 10 count on the passed out James, but Rosas was unable to stand right away himself because of the damage done to his leg, giving James a chance to recover. I normally think last man standing matches don’t work in this day and age. Waiting for a ten count is too much inaction. Putting it at the end of a two out of three falls match, and doing the ten count rarely helped here.

The third fall saw a ladder brought out and some pretty crazy bumps with that. James was bleeding too. The way they setup the first two falls really gave the impression of exhaustion for both wrestlers, and Rosas did a great job of continuously selling his leg. The crowd was tired, likely from the marathon show before this match, but they were able to get the crowd into this. James setup a row of chairs on the outside and they both fought on the ladder in the ring before both wrestlers went crashing to the floor. Rosas leg eventually was too badly damaged and James was able to get the ten count and win the AWS Lightweight Championship. Douglas James is the 29th champion in the title’s history, a history that actually predates AWS itself. This was an excellent match, and in my opinion the best match in AWS in 2018. I rated it at **** 1/2.

Post match we saw PPRay remove their H.A.T.E shirts and leave them in the ring (not until after Peter Avalon wiped his ass with his), ending their time in the group. They shook Douglas James hand and took out their former H.A.T.E brother Justin Borden.

I thought this was a good AWS show, with the last four matches all being really good. I still think the shows need to be tightened up some, whether it’s cutting a match or two or just making sure the wrestlers in the opener aren’t out for 30 minutes. Still, AWS shows are always a lot of fun with unique matches and a fun crowd. In the 16 years the promotion has been around I don’t think I’ve ever left disappointed, tired yes, but disappointed no.

AWS will back on October 20, 2018 in South Gate with It’s Halloween Time.

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