In Streets Ahead, we invite columnists to write about wrestlers and companies that are still on their way up or you might not be too aware of. Simply put, if you don’t get on board with them, you’ll be streets behind.
Today, we have Jerome Cusson to tell us about the company that was once known as All American Wrestling, but now seems happier to just go by AAW. Jerome is our personal favorite writer for PWPonderings, so we highly recommend that you follow him on Twitter (@JeromePWPEditor) and read his work. Take it away, Jerome!
Having now followed AAW for four years, I can honestly say that no company has improved more. They have found a way to use Ring of Honor talent better than Ring of Honor, given wrestlers their first major stage and created one of the best atmospheres in all of independent wrestling at the Berwyn Eagles Club.
What is AAW?
This is a company that started in the mid-2000s but first gained prominence when Jimmy Jacobs threw the IWA-MS heavyweight title in a trash can right in the middle of the ring. They are also the promotion that had Tyler Black (a.k.a Seth Rollins) in a barbed wire match. In some ways, they have become similar to AIW and PWG in putting some dream matches together and showcasing guys who are prominently used in the bigger indies, but they also maintain their local connections by using guys like Dan Lawrence and Jordan McEntyre. Maybe they’re not the biggest names, but they have a strong connection with the AAW, particularly Lawrence.
The biggest name associated with AAW’s history is Tyler Black. Trained by Danny Daniels, he is the guy who really convinced me to check out my first AAW show. I was trying to find a local company to make a connection with in the summer of 2009. Based on what I had been seeing from Black in Ring of Honor, I was convinced this company could be prominently featured on Pro Wrestling Ponderings.
I think what also helped was seeing underutilized talents such as Arik Cannon, Silas Young and Josh Raymond. One of the wrestlers who I ‘discovered’ on that night was Shane Hollister and he has been someone I’ve followed pretty closely since this show.
Hollister had a fairly serious leg injury which derailed him just as he was finally getting chances in places like Evolve and Ring of Honor. Now that he’s healthy and the heavyweight champion, there’s no reason Hollister can’t become the second coming of Tyler Black and rise to as much prominence as he has done.
Who are some of the standouts in AAW?
No promotion has treated Silas Young with almost near reverence as AAW has the last seven years. His win-loss record has to be the best of anyone on the roster given his two AAW title reigns consumed almost three years. This company has given him a chance to show why he’s one of the best, and Young has certainly lived up to high expectations.
When Michael Elgin had his incredible match with Davey Richards at the Ring of Honor Wrestlemania shows last year, AAW pounced by putting him in a series of matches with Silas Young, including a one hour draw and epic 45 minute “I Quit” match that climaxed with Elgin finally winning the AAW title.
Wrestlers such as Louis Lyndon, Marion Fontaine, Ethan Page, Josh Alexander, Irish Airborne, and Jimmy Jacobs are used a bit differently but contribute just as much to the company.
Where to get started?
So many suggestions. Day of Defiance is honestly my choice for best independent wrestling show of the year with all killer and no filler. That might be a great place because of some incredible matches and a little dose of comedy thanks to Mixed Martial Archie.
Want to find out more about AAW?
For news updates, event listings, and to see a pretty picture of Scarlett, check out www.aawrestling.com
To purchase shows on DVD, MP4, or streaming, check out www.smartmarkvideo.com
Follow AAW on Twitter: @AAWPro