AAW returned to the Berwyn Eagles Club this weekend for the second annual Jim Lynam Memorial Tournament. Once again the best professional wrestlers from all around the world gathered to pay tribute to the life of a beloved Chicago radio personality and the former co-owner of AAW.
It was a truly special weekend for midwest wrestling fans, as well as the many people who travelled from across the country to be there celebrating Jim’s life and legacy. Much like last year’s inaugural tournament we were treated to a wide array of incredible performances; from instant classics featuring indie giants like Sami Callihan and Michael Elgin, to defining break-out moments from young, hungry talents like Myron Reed and Curt Stallion.
The passion for this business was evident in every single person that made this weekend possible, from the wrestlers to the promoters, the ring crew, announcers, cameramen, and everyone in between. A special thanks to AAW staff for allowing me to be a part of this truly memorable occasion.
Below is a recap from the event featuring my own thoughts on each match as well as results and analysis from our new staff member Doug Enriquez. All photos were taken by and for ProWrestling.com. Click any photo to enlarge. If you use any of our content please credit Mike Killam and ProWrestling.com.
AAW Jim Lynam Memorial Tournament
Night 1 – October 13, 2017
DJ ZEMA ION def. ANDREW EVERETT in 8:22.
Great opening match and a fun way to start the show. The crowd was hot for DJZ and his crazy light-up suit is even cooler in person than it looks in pictures. There was an awesome spot early on when DJZ got launched into the crowd after running on the outside, and Everett flew over the barricade on top of him.
Make sure you check out ProWrestling.com’s exclusive interview with DJZ talking his road to recovery, wanting to return to Impact Wrestling, his musical inspirations while performing and more.
ACH def. CURT STALLION in 7:43
Big reaction for ACH who was full babyface here. Stallion has been coming along since joining AAW earlier in the year and is one of the best up-and-coming young indie talents going right now. Lots of big moves teased on the apron with Stallion going for a Death Valley Driver. ACH did a lot of his usual Dragonball Z inspired attacks, and eventually got the win with a crazy looking brainbuster.
MARK HASKINS def. EDDIE KINGSTON in 12:59.
This was one of the best Kingston matches I’ve seen in years and Haskins really brought the absolute best out of him. The crowd was mostly pro-Eddie playing up all the recent drama between him and David Starr, and Kingston being the “old, broken” vet that needs to be put down. Haskins got a good reaction though and people were psyched for the rare appearance of one of the best stars in the UK. These two brutalized each other with some of the most stiff, echoing chops I’ve ever seen. They kept it mostly in the ring, which was different than a lot of Kingston brawls where he goes into the crowd. Mark got the win with a Death Valley Driver on the apron, then a second back in the ring, and finally transitioned into a series of submissions to get the win.
JEFF COBB def. ZACHARY WENTZ in 5:40.
Jeff Cobb is an impressive animal (also known as Matanza in Lucha Underground). The match’s offense was surprisingly controlled by Wentz, however brief it was, with Cobb sprinkling in his own power offense here and there. Every time that he pulled out a manuever it looked perfect, like it would seriously hurt. He made every opportunity count and turned a 6-minute match into something pretty awesome. Cobb got the win with his amazing Tour of the Islands powerslam.
REY FENIX (c) def. TREVOR LEE in 12:08 to retain the AAW Heavyweight Championship.
Trevor Lee is such a great heel and really knows how to work a crowd. He made the announcer announce him as “Impact Wrestling Star Trevor Lee” which got a ton of boos and the obligatory “F— TNA” chant. It’s funny, there’s a dozen other Impact guys on the AAW roster and none of them get those chants, but Trevor definitely knows how to work it to his advantage. As usual, Fenix had a great match, showcasing his athleticism, bouncing off the ropes, sling-shotting himself all over the place. Throughout the match Trevor kept playing to the crowd, throwing up middle fingers every change he got.
KEITH LEE & SHANE STRICKLAND def. MATT RIDDLE & ZACK SABRE JR in 20:45.
Easily the best match of the entire night. That’s not really surprising as all four of these guys put on a near-Match of the Year candidate any time they’re in the ring with virtually anyone. Lee and Strickland proved to be a tremendous team to be reckoned with, playing off each other from the start. So many brutal shops and strikes throughout. Lee dominated with power moves, Strickland was the high-flyer, Riddle killed everyone with strikes and kicks, and Sabre controlled the pace by countering literally everything into a hold.
There was an amazing near-finish spot where ZSJ had a submission on and Riddle had his opponents arms held back while he was kicking his face into mush. Brutal spot. Lee countered a triangle choke by Sabre into a powerbomb, and Strickland hit the diving double stomp to win. After the match the King of Bros tried to console his partner, but the Suzuki-Gun member shoved him down and walked out on his own.
AR FOX def. DEZMOND XAVIER in 7:33.
This was exactly what you might expect out of these two. Lots of high-flying, crazy maneuvers, and just non-stop back and forth action from bell to bell. The spot of the match was Fox going for his flip off the ring post, but Dez catching him into a reverse DDT. Fox hit the 450 splash to advance. This really was a lot of fun, although the crowd was still exhausted from that 20-minute tag match.
MYRON REED def. BRIAN CAGE in 9:26.
This has to be the beginning of Myron Reed’s rising star. He’s been killing it with Michael Elgin’s Glory Pro promotion in St. Louis and everyone in AAW loves him. He’s pretty impressive, even as Brian Cage’s massive size and strength is on display. Cage was throwing Reed across the ring dominating him for much of the match, controlling the pace. Several small bursts of momentum for the underdog, and ended up pinning Cage with a surprise rollup for the massive upset. The crowd was visibly shocked.
SAMI CALLIHAN def. MAT FITCHETT in 10:06.
Davey Vega was on commentary. Still a little weird to see Callihan without the AAW Championship. The match started with the two trading suicide dives back and forth onto each other, crashing into the barricades. Fitchett got thrown in the crowd at one point. Sami ended up winning with a cradle piledriver in another good match.
Afterwards Sami actually put over his opponent, continuing the slow burn to his babyface turn. Or…at least him being slightly less of an a–hole to his opponents. Davey Vega hit the ring and calls himself the best thing that ever happened to Fitchett, saying that neither has done much since the Besties broke up. He announced that he convinced management to pull them from the six-man scramble tomorrow night, because instead they’re going to be in a tag team match. Fitchett tried to punch him, but Vega hugged him instead.
MICHAEL ELGIN def. PENTA EL 0M in 19:46.
What a freaking main event! This gave the tag match earlier in the night a run for its money. The crowd was super hot for this, with dueling chants of “Big Mike” and “Cero Miedo”. They battled back and forth with some huge impact moves from Elgin, including a hurricanrana that had the crowd chanting “Lucha Elgin”. Penta hit several destroyers in a row just to have Mike still kick out. Big Mike then hit the Elgin Bomb, but Penta somehow kicked out. Having no other choice, Elgin killed him with a reverse Death Valley Driver to finally get the win.
* * * * *
AAW Jim Lynam Memorial Tournament
Night 2 – October 14, 2017
DJ ZEMA ION def. ACH in 6:42 to advance.
Match started with ACH getting blindsided again, just like in night one, with a dropkick to the back of the head. They fought out into the crowd shortly after with DJZ launching his opponent into the air and over the barricade, then ACH doing the same on the opposite side but like four rows deep into the crowd. Insane spot. The match ended with a series of nice reversals and DJZ getting the surprise with. Really fun opener.
MICHAEL ELGIN def. MYRON REED 13:29 to advance.
One of the best matches of the entire weekend; possible the best depending on who you ask. This was a battle of the Master vs. The Student and the crowd knew it. Big Mike got a huge reaction at the start, but as things went on and Reed took more and more of a beating, the crowd slowly got behind him until it was a 50/50 split. Myron got destroyed in several big spots and sold it like a champ, with some fantastic facial expressions. Elgin gave him dozens of brutal strikes and elbows, powerbombs, etc. He even hit a second rope Elgin Bomb but it wasn’t enough. Big Mike got frustrated and hit a spinning Elgin Bomb that finally did the trick. Both guys got a standing ovation. This was 100% the weekend of Myron Reed’s coming out party in AAW.
JEFF COBB def. AR FOX in 11:28 to advance.
Finally we got the fight between these two that has been brewing for months. Cobb cost Fox the AAW tag team titles at the end of the summer setting up his heel turn and newer mean streak. Fox wasted no time and attacked Cobb to start the match. He went for his moonsault off the ring post but got caught out of the air. Lots of big moves and counters on the apron and the floor. Cobb pulled down his opponent’s pants near the end of the match revealing some red, white and blue tights underneath. That got a huge laugh and a big “USA” chant; not sure if it was intentional. Cobb ended up pulling out the win with another Tour of the Islands.
SAMI CALLIHAN def. MARK HASKINS in 13:58 to advance.
Holy crap this was great. The “Iron Manager” JT Davidson came out to do official introductions for Callihan. A show of respect started off the match and the crowd was behind both guys 50/50. The mutual respect went right out the window as soon as they started beating the crap out of each other. Brutal, hard-hitting match that involved numerous chair shots, biting, fish hooks, spitting in each other’s faces, etc. They set up two chairs in the corner and teased several moves through them, until Haskins eventually hit a Death Valley Driver through the chairs. He locked in an armbar and they teased a great submission spot, but Sami got his fingers on the bottom rope. Both guys are dead and start kicking each other in the face. It finally ends with a Callihan cradle piledriver.
TEDDY HART def. STEPHEN WOLF, ANDREW EVERETT and BRIAN CAGE in a four-corners match in 9:54.
This was absurd. Teddy Hart got a great reaction and hung in there with two of the best high-flyers on the indies today and one very large powerhouse. Tons of big spots. Hart did a moonsault into the crowd onto all three guys. Cage slammed two guys at the same time. Hart did a crazy double underhook Canadian destroyer. Really the core of the match was everyone trying to take down Cage, and him being an impressive brute that wouldn’t stay down. Hart got the win with a top rope destroyer that brought the house to its feet. Loud “please come back” chant after.
MICHAEL ELGIN def. DJ ZEMA ION in 10:52 to advance.
Fast paced match showcasing some of Big Mike’s athleticism once again, as he hit a big hurricanrana. Another “lucha Elgin” chant two nights in a row. DJZ put up a great fight with kicks, strikes and big dives, but he got caught and thrown hard into the ring apron. Elgin caught him out of the air into the Buckle Bomb followed by the Elgin Bomb.
JEFF COBB def. SAMI CALLIHAN in 0:33 to advance.
Cobb attacked Callihan before the match, then laid out JT Davidson for good measure. He forced the referee to ring the bell, hit the Tour of the Islands, and won a crazy quick squash match. Cobb got insane heat for this and went over huge. Just for good measure he hit a second Tour of the Islands after the match and left him laying.
DAVEY VEGA & MAT FITCHETT def. CONNOR & CURT STALLION, PACO & EDDIE KINGSTON in a triple threat tag team match in 12:24.
Paco is so over in Chicago. I’m not sure anybody really knows why Paco is so over, but he is. Every single time. Loud “f— Davey Vega” chants that continued for a long time. Braxton is also really hated, probably because he’s only even in matches with Paco. The drama continued between the former Besties as Vega kept tagging himself in without consent from his partner. Stallion at one point did a big flip to the outside to take out all five men. Braxton murdered Paco with the ring bell, and Vega rolled him up with a handful of tights to win.
REY FENIX & PENTA EL 0M def. DEZMOND XAVIER & ZACHARY WENTZ in 16:02.
Awesome back and forth match. Dez was already over but this was in a lot of ways a huge showcase for Wentz, who looked like a major star by the end of the match. Crazy moves with everyone exchanging destroyers at one point. Wentz got thrown several rows deep into the fans. The chemistry between the Lucha Bros is just absurd; they’re even better together than they are apart, which is saying something. Getting all four champions together in one match was just something very special for the fans, who ate it all up. Dez got murdered into a pile of chairs with a combo cradle piledriver and spike. After the match, the Lucha Bros showed a ton of respect to the tag team champions and put lucha masks on them before all four celebrated together.
Teddy Hart came out after the match to a great pop. He announced that he was back, and had more dates confirmed for AAW coming up. Another great pop. He said what he wants is a championship, and both Penta and Fenix said he could step up any time, any place.
MICHAEL ELGIN def. JEFF COBB in 20:01 to win the 2017 Jim Lynam Memorial Tournament.
What a final match… Last year’s finals was Chris Hero vs. Zack Sabre Jr. and it was one of the single best matches of the entire year; this lived up to that from my perspective. Great match between two monsters, with Elgin being built up having the year of his career and Cobb getting tremendous heat with his recent mean streak. They murdered each other with chops, elbows, suplexes, etc. Cobb kicked out of the Elgin Bomb, Elgin kicked out of the Tour of the Islands. Just insane strength on display from both. Eventually Elgin fired up and hit a reverse Death Valley Driver to win it all.
Michael Elgin closed out the night by thanking AAW and the Chicago fans. He said there are three things in this world he can say for certain that he loves: his wife, his son Jax, and “professional f—ing wrestling!” The crowd chanted “Thank You Elgin”, “Big Mike”, “You Deserve It” and “AAW” to end an incredible weekend.[ngg_images source=”galleries” container_ids=”2″ display_type=”photocrati-nextgen_basic_slideshow” gallery_width=”600″ gallery_height=”400″ cycle_effect=”fade” cycle_interval=”5″ show_thumbnail_link=”0″ thumbnail_link_text=”[Show thumbnails]” order_by=”sortorder” order_direction=”ASC” returns=”included” maximum_entity_count=”500″]