I have had the pleasure to attend AAW shows for over three years now in Chicago, flanked by friends who have been going for even longer than that. Over the years, I’ve seen many talented wrestlers come and go, from Tomasso Ciampa, the Lucha Brothers, ACH, Heidi Lovelace, DJZ, & more. In that time, I have also seen the change in the crowd.
Many fans that were AAW loyalists have gone, while AAW has garnered new fans of a new era, for better or worse. Some of these fans are wide eyed, there to support the brand regardless of changes that happen with the brand, while also being “good fans”, booing the heels, cheering the faces, and the wrestlers respond with energy and performances in kind.
Other fans, as is the way of many current wrestling fans, have gone out of their way to “put themselves over” in lieu of the product while being the smart fans or “smarks” as it were, cheering the heels, while booing faces. This has led to confusing matches and at times a dead energy over the crowd. However, there have definitely been moments where both types of fans stop and suspend their disbelief to enjoy the product, bringing the fan out of people once again (see Good Brother #3 vs. Matthew Justice below).
AAW has responded accordingly, stopping booking former AAW staples, while featuring brand new talents to cater to fans both new and old. They’ve changed their former motto from BBB (Google a bit to find out their formerly inappropriate, yet hilarious branding) to a more friendly-to-the-fans product.They’ve also done their best to weather the recent MULTIPLE storms that they’ve faced, from talent injuries, the purge of talents signing with companies like WWE/NXT & the emerging AEW, & of course the plethora of brands that continue to sprout up in the Chicagoland area, threatening to take not only AAW’s talent, but coveted buildings & space that AAW has built from the ground up with grit and hard work.
Through it all, AAW has continued to put on phenomenal shows, and that was evident when they put on Defining Moment from the Logan Square and the name couldn’t have been more appropriate. The card was one that was one of mystery, with the biggest match that had been months in the making unfortunately having to be cancelled when Eddie Kingston wasn’t able to team with David Starr to go against former WRSTLING team members Jake Something & Curt Stallion due to injury.
Even still, AAW put on one of the best shows of the year, surprising many and cementing a “new era” with a new world champion and many new talents who we hope we see again. AAW continues to define what it is in Chicago to be a trail blazer in independent wrestling, but also take risks which allows them to have phenomenal shows like Defining Moment proved to be. See the full results on the next page…
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