Tuesday, April 19, 2016

AWE HomeGrown 2016: Some Thoughts

Norko and I attended our first AWE show on January 10, 2016 when Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa came in for a show.  We realized at that moment that we had been missing out.  Due to some circumstances out of our control, we did not make it back to an AWE show until last night.  That show was HomeGrown 2016 and that show was incredible.  

This post is not going to be a full review with match results and recaps of the action because that isn't really what I do.  I am not very good at it, I don't enjoy it, and others do it so much better.  The purpose of this post is just to describe the atmosphere, and talk about some of the high points of the show.  Larry Goodman has posted a quick results entry over at Georgia Wrestling History which is a tremendous resource.

The January 10th show was held at The Enclave in the shadow of The Varsity in ATL.  This was our first visit to the new venue, the Campbellton Road Community Center, and I thought the venue was an upgrade.  Now The Enclave had a really cool, and unique vibe for a wrestling show so no complaints there, but this place seemed to be a better fit for a show like this and I believe can handle a larger audience.

We went with the general admission tickets which meant we had to stand for the show.  That wasn't a huge problem, but we are thinking about trying to get VIP tickets for the next show we attend because it does make for a long(er) show when you're standing the entire time.  On the flip side though it is an interesting experience standing for that long and milling around as the action comes to you.  It is just something to consider if you're looking to attend a future show.

As for the action itself...

  • Jimmy Rave defending the Georgia Wrestling Crown against AR Fox--This was a fitting main event for this show.  I touched on this in my previous post about AWE, but Jimmy Rave is absolutely perfect in what he does.  I've spoken to Jimmy Rave on The A1 Podcast and he could not have been more of a gentleman, but the moment you see him walk through the curtain that guy oozes nothing but contempt for his opponent, the audience, and the fact that someone is trying to take his title.  It really is an incredible thing to see.  His stable The Hierarchy does have their fans, but it is incredible to see a guy in 2016 just go for being a heel in a way that isn't remotely "Hey, look how cool I am" or with a wink to the audience.  Dude is on point here. 

    His opponent certainly held up his end of he bargain as AR Fox has an arsenal of impressive aerial moves.  The guy is exciting to watch and I hate that I had not seen more of him before  yesterday.  The match itself was excellent.  As the show was running long I was a bit concerned about the 2/3 falls stipulation, but they played that perfectly.  Rave hit a blatant low blow on Fox which gave Fox the first fall via DQ.  Rave briefly argued with the ref over the DQ before realizing that he had a wounded opponent.  He rolled Fox up to even the match at one fall a piece.  The way it happened came off as completely authentic and organic and not a planned spot.  That's what makes guys like Jimmy Rave so good.  They are believable.  I will have more on that aspect of the talent later in this piece too.  Winner (and still champion): Jimmy Rave  

  • Tommasso Ciampa v Martin Stone--I have now seen Tommasso Ciampa in person twice now and that guy is simply incredible as was his opponent Martin Stone.  This match started in such a way where I was amused by it, but also thought I might actually end up slightly disappointed in how it went.  By the end of it those guys had whipped the building into a frenzy.  The vibe was incredible.  Check out Ciampa's entrance, it gives you a small sample of the vibe and a look at the venue.

    In and odd turn of events this was my favorite match, but it got one of the shorter entries...go figure.  Winner:  Martin Stone

  • Chip Day v Sami Callihan--I am going to tread lightly here, but let's go ahead and acknowledge that there has been some chatter/criticism of Chip Day's physique.  What I will say to that is a) dude looked like he was in better shape than when I saw him in January and more importantly b) he can flat GO in the ring.  For that matter I could toss c) out there and say he has a certain presence about him in that he carries himself like a star.  He cut a promo before the match on the crowd for not supporting AWE from the jump and it came off as very impassioned, and very real.  It did not come off as "wink wink I'm working a shoot" here.  I said on Twitter that he "cut him a promo" and that was meant as a compliment.  It was an excellent way to start the match. 

    Callihan is a guy that I know by rep and not by seeing a whole lot of to be honest.  He was good and the two of them put on a show.  I am not sure I totally dig the look and all that, but I can see why folks like him for sure.  It was nice seeing him live.  Winner: Chip Day

  • The Hierarchy (Murder-One and Kimber Lee) v Owen Knight and Kiera Hogan--This was a lot of fun with the babyface team showing a lot of fire and The Hierarchy doing Hierarchy things.  Murder-One is a guy that I have been impressed with for a long time and Kimber Lee is another indie vet who I know by reputation, but haven't seen a lot of really.  I think the best way to describe her and that team in general is violent.  She is a tremendous addition to The Hierarchy.  Back to Murder-One, he's one of those guys that makes you believe.  He walked past me at some point because I didn't notice them coming to the ring after the DJ Hyde/Iceberg brawl and you immediately know that business is about to pick up.  He has an aura of a no-nonsense guy who is going to bring the pain.  It comes across in his promos (like the one he cut before Chip Day's match), it comes across from the moment he enters the room.  Murder-One and Kimber Lee are not to be trifled with is what I know. 

    That's not to sell the other side short as they were tremendous here too.  As already mentioned they showed a lot of fire and more than held up their end of the bargain.  Winners: The Hierarchy
  • The Rest of the Show--This post is starting to ramble so let's bottom line some things here.  Here are some other takeaways I had.

    • Aaron Epic is a stud.  Again, we've seen him twice and he's absolutely brought it both times.  Do not sleep on this guy.  Shane Strickland's offense was incredible in that match as well.  Definitely want to see more of him as well. Winner: Aaron Epic

    • ROAR Match--I have spoken plainly about how I do not care for Intergender stuff, but Ashton Starr is really solid in this role and all three women were impressive here as well (Gabby Gilbert, Brittany Blake, and TNA's Marti Belle). Winner: Ashton Starr

    • DJ Hyde v Iceberg--This was the kind of war you'd expect it to be with the two involved.  Iceberg got a light tube jammed in his forehead.  The two of them brawled all over the venue.  Hyde got the win, but as mentioned above Murder-One showed up to avenge 'Berg's loss.  I like the idea that The Hierarchy doesn't necessarily interfere in matches, but will make you pay if you come out of one with a W.  Winner:  DJ Hyde (Although..."If that's what a winner looks like I don't want to be one."--Brian Christopher and others

    • Team IOU v Spring Street Suicide Squad--Speaking of wild brawls...this one also fit that criteria as it was a Last Team Standing match.  The venue was split in their support for these teams which eventually led to a "F*@k that side!" chant.  This thing degenerated (in a good way) to the point that I think we thought the match was simply thrown out, but Team IOU was declared the winner.  They introduced a dog collar to the proceedings in order to get that win though.  Sound & Fury came out to assist Spring Street Suicide Squad from what I could tell.  That action mostly happened on the other side of the ring from us.  It was a bit difficult to see what was going on there. Winners: Team IOU

    • Adrian Armour had another impressive showing against Sylar Cross.  Armour is a guy I have heard mentioned as a "Keep your eye on him" type of talent.  I know from his social media he is working on his physique as well and it shows.  He shows great fire as a babyface with an edge.  He isn't "upbeat, positive babyface" so much as he is "pissed off I'm going to hurt you babyface."  Winner: Adrian Armour

    • Sound & Fury v Beautiful Bald Besties--The Besties are a riot.  I saw them at Tyrone's Founders Day event last year I think and they play their part very well.  Sound & Fury was clearly a favorite of those in the arena and both Huckaby and Black were really good.  I would like to see both of these teams in AWE again. Winners: Sound & Fury

Atlanta Wrestling Entertainment is a promotion that puts on one heck of a show and deserves your attention and support. As mentioned, I have been to two shows now and was blown away by the talent in that building. The fans are passionate and FIRED UP! The vibe in the building is simply incredible and I say that as someone who was in Cornelia, Ga when AJ Styles, etc. were tearing the house (well Church of Southern Wrestling) down every time they had a show.

If you are in or near ATL, I highly recommend checking out a show. I can just about promise you that it will absolutely deliver.  They are 2 for 2 when I have been in the building.