Monday, April 20, 2015

AAPW's Spring Breakdown Review

Action at the AAPW school
Photo Credit: Michael Dupin
I am a notoriously lazy person. If I don’t write something within the first couple of days of an event happening, you can just forget about it. That’s why, last month, when AAPW held their Mayhem in March show, I did not do a review. Same thing happened with Inspire Pro’s Phenomenon show. By the time I even attempted to write about both of those events, all the juice was gone out of them (much like the blood from Andy Dalton’s skull), so I opted to just wait until the next show.

In the case of America’s Academy of Professional Wrestling, their show was this past Saturday, April 18th, entitled Spring Breakdown. If you are unfamiliar with AAPW, then I suggest you take a gander at my review for their first show of 2015, The Stars Are Born. It was a really good show! This recent show is a continuation of the stories told through the first two. So, shall we begin?

Actually no, let me first take the time to thank Carl, Lacey, Laura, Pat, and Linda for coming to the show in support of Laynie Luck (as well as her dad, Joe, who always comes), as they are not wrestling fans (like a lot of people some watched as children, but didn’t continue as they grew older), but are in theatre, so, this was really up their alley. Theatre is all that wrestling really is, just with more punches to the face. And the key to a good show: getting the non-fans emotionally invested in the matches, even ones not featuring friends of theirs. It was almost as much fun to watch their reactions than anything else.

Now, with that out of the way, let’s now begin the part where I say a lot of words about a show you’ll likely never see.


The show actually started off with several promos, but I’ll talk about those as they correspond with the matches, but our opening bout featuring two dudes new to AAPW. They aren’t students, but just talent they brought in for the show. Madness had a lime green-tipped mohawk. That was the most distinctive thing about the match, which was solidly performed, but nothing that was going to blow your socks off. The key was the crowd was into it, which was nice, and the function of an opening match.

At times I thought I was watching a Jeff Gant match. For those unfamiliar with Jeff Gant, he was a scrawny dude in Anarchy Championship Wrestling whose favorite move was the dropkick. At least it seemed that way, as he threw a lot of dropkicks. Eventually, Gant would actually get pretty good, but I have no seen him in quite some time (at least over a year), although I’m sure he’s still throwing those dropkicks. Joshua City was the dropkicking fiend in this match, even hitting a missile version at one point.

But for most of the match, City was on the defensive, taking a hearty beatdown by Madness. As it was, overall, it was a solid affair, with most everything hitting, and in the end, City picked up the victory. I don’t know if we’ll see more of these guys going forward, but I’m not opposed to it. It’s always a nice change to see most talent that’s not one of the students. I mean, that’s the purpose of these shows is to give the students the experience, but it also helps to get to see (and hopefully work) with people from elsewhere.


I have absolutely no idea who Cash Money is, but he had an awesome cash-themed shirt (it was just a bunch of dollar bills (could have been any denomination, I didn’t get that close) that, instead of green, were gold. His opponent was everyone’s favorite young curmudgeon, Zac Taylor, who we can actually cheer now, although no one was aware of that at the beginning, booing him as we had been accustomed.

As the match wore on, however, it was clear that Cash Money was a bit of an ass. He controlled the majority of the match, giving Taylor all the sympathy, which the people were happy to give him. Personally, I was already a fan, but it was nice to see everyone else get on board with it. It was also nice that they were able to do the turn without any fancy. It was all told with in-ring storytelling, which is the best way to do anything. In the end, after taking everything Money had to give, Taylor went on a quick flurry, and put Money down for the 1-2-3.

So far with these AAPW shows, Taylor probably has the best batting average as far as match quality goes, besting Johnny Walker in the best match of THE STARS ARE BORN, falling short in Vega Del Rio’s debut at MAYHEM IN MATCH but putting on a good match, and then, here again, with Cash Money. It wasn’t match of the night (we’ll get to that in a bit), but it told a great story, got people behind Taylor, and set things in motion going forward for him. Next month they are having a 20-Person Battle Royal to crown the AAPW Heavyweight Champion and if it were me? While, don’t get me wrong, Don Rodrigo is probably the best overall character on the show, I’d strap Taylor. He essentially has the most experience, and you can easily have him take on any of your visiting stars (he was originally scheduled to face Rey Ortiz, but that obviously did not happen).


Early in the show, George de la Isla brought Laynie Luck and Vega Del Rio to the ring to speak on the events of last month. At that show, Don Rodrigo defeated Luck, and afterwards proceeded to be a Grade-A asshole and sore winner, by continuing the assault. Del Rio made the save, but Rodrigo was able to escape harm with a well placed testicle tap. As you could imagine, Del Rio and Luck weren’t pleased with how things ended for them at Mayhem in March. But they were interrupted by Rodrigo and… a cat? Well, a woman, acting as a cat. Allie Cat is here name. He lead her to the ring on a leash. I gotta say, Rodrigo is the most developed character, he IS Don Rodrigo full-stop. And Allie Cat? Man, she committed to that role. If you’re character is basically a cat, well, you either gotta go all-in or it’s going to fail. She pulled it off with flying colors.

This was also her first match. Ever. She’s only been in training for two months, so she immediately got thrown into the deep end. Luckily, the match was kept fairly basic. She attacked Luck before the bell and just did some good heel work by yanking on her hair every time Luck tried to create some space. Eventually, Luck got the upper hand, much to the delight of the crowd, but Rodrigo had seen enough and broke up the match. Vega Del Rio made the save on Luck’s behalf.

For some reason, the referee called it a no contest although it was Rodrigo who interfered meaning it should have been a DQ win for Luck, but either way the match was cut short. No one was happy about that, so as a compromise, George made a tag team match, playa!

Quick sidenote: they were selling 8x10s of all the students (all money went to the school) and I went up to buy one of Laynie Luck’s and the lady at the table said they had sold a lot of those. SO PROUD! She also signed her first autograph (and check out that new gear, so good!):
Photo Credit: Michael Dupin
Both of the women (the only ones in AAPW) were clearly the most popular as far as photos and autographs go. The only one that was maybe close was probably Rodrigo, but I don’t have any sales figures on that (or anything really).


Now the tag team match, which was oddly competed under intergender rules, meaning the men fought only the men and the women only fought the women, which is possibly the dumbest of all dumb rules for a match. It takes all the drama out of a match, as it’s essentially two singles matches going on simultaneously. It’s especially dumb in this situation given that Luck and Rodrigo have already had a match (and a good one) last month. So, I don’t quite get the reasoning. If you’re plan is to keep the two sexes separated, well, there’s only two women. TWO. That’s it. So, maybe let them fight the men, since, ya know, they should be anyway? It gets even more complicated when you think about them being in the 20-Person Battle Royal next month. Can they only eliminate one another? Doesn’t make sense. But let’s not harp on that any longer than we already have, OK?

The match was good, only hampered by the strange rules (sorry, can’t quite get over it), but everything was done crisply and if you want to break Allie Cat in, tag matches are the best way to do it, not so much just tossing her to the wolves in a singles match. You can hide deficiencies in a tag match. It reminds me of Batista when he joined Evolution (and even Roman Reigns as part of the Shield), as he didn’t have a lot of singles matches, instead he was in tag matches with Chris Benoit and Ric Flair. You’ll just get better through osmosis. So, personally, stick with tag matches first, because you don’t want to rush your only other female into something she may not be ready for.

That said, she didn’t seem to be nervous or too hesitant to do anything. So, maybe I don’t know anything? (I don’t, trust me.) If she can just incorporate some cat-things into the in-ring product, she’ll be fine. Rodrigo was is usually amazing self. I really don’t need to say much of anything about him anymore, ‘cause he’s got the character down, even being able to still be his character within the context of a wrestling match.

Luck and Del Rio were the babyfaces people could get behind and they played their roles well. The only thing I would have to say as needing work is getting the fans to cheer for your partner while they are down. Slapping the turnbuckle, getting a clap going, those kinds of things, but the actual work between the ropes was good. The finish came when Luck had her head knocked off with a boot in the corner and Rodrigo assisted Allie Cat in getting her feet on the ropes for the pin attempt unbeknownst to the referee. This will all surely continue, as you can’t keep cheating and expect to not get your comeuppance.


And now our Match of the Night. Things all started at THE STARS ARE BORN when Kody Krash picked up a win over Quinten Lynch and in the main event Donnie Giovanni defeated Comrad Silovik, only it was by DQ thanks to a Lynch run in. They beat Donnie down until Krash made the save. Then, last month, the four men had a tag team match that saw Silovik and Lynch get the win after Amir Assaud attacked with his Iraqi flag. The three men were joined up it would have appeared. Now, at this show, the three men came out for some words and announced their team name:

Nations United Terror Syndicate


And thus led to the biggest chant of the night of “NUTS! NUTS! NUTS!” It was so good. So simply, so silly, so perfect. Wrestling isn’t hard, guys. The beauty being that they didn’t even realize they had given themselves that name. Lynch said it best, “It’s not NUTS, you’re meant to say the whole thing, Nations United Terror Syndicate!” Ah, I loved it.

The match was booked as a six-man tag team match, but Giovanni and Krash were a man short, having not found anyone to team up with them. The match started hot with the faces having the upperhand and actually controlling for a bit to begin. Eventually, the numbers game put them on the defensive, as NUTS took control. A lot of quick tagging in and out kept everyone relatively fresh.

I gotta say, first, Donnie Giovanni is a big guy. He’s short, but has some girth, but he can move, and actually has a pretty damn great dropkick. Also, Lynch? He’s one of the better characters AAPW has right now. Funny tidbit, he actually went to college with my friend Carl and Laura that came to the show. Small world. Anyway, the match went as you would expect, with some hope spots for the good guys, but the heels always being able to cut it off.

One of the most impressive spots (probably in all of AAPW to this point) was Silovik scooping up Giovanni, with one arm, mind you, and body slamming him to the mat. He held him for a good bit, too, even walking around with him. It was an awesome display of strength. I just wish Silovik would have shouted, “HOW YOU DOIN’?” in Giovanni’s face. Opportunity missed.

Towards the end though, Krash was basically a dead man on the apron, as Giovanni was crawling to the corner. That’s when we got our surprise of Cool Cat Jones making his way out and taking the tag. He is a very large man. He’s as big as Giovanni but with height as well. Jones laid waste to NUTS, eventually securing the victory with a big powerslam and splash combo on Assaud, giving the good guys the win.

Obviously, this is not over, as the NUTS aren’t going to take this loss well, and I’m sure they’ll have something planned for next month. One quick note, they had a revolving door of commentators joining George for the evening, with Lynch being a good one for the Luck/Cat/Del Rio/Rodrigo section of the show, and then Rodrigo just killing it during this six-man. So good.

PAPA DON def. MR. B in a Chicago Street Fight

Now it was time for the main event, pitting the man in charge of AAPW, Papa Don, coming out of retirement (he retired three years ago) after a 17-year career to face Mr. B. A man who had never beaten Papa Don. Last month, Mr. B faced off against Ricky Starks with Don performing duties of the referee (which he regularly does on these shows), but B got verbally and physically abusive to Don, leading to a big pull-apart brawl. It took everyone in the back to keep the men apart, which did so poorly, because both men kept breaking loose to continue the assault.

So, a Chicago Street Fight was made, and this happened almost immediately:
Photo Credit: Michael Dupin
These guys brutalized each other. Tire irons were used, trash cans, a ladder, and even a table was broken by the body of Mr. B. It was all out mayhem and then it really got crazy. The first referee was knocked out, so a second one ran out but the pinfall was kicked out of. Almost immediately that referee was sandwiched between Papa Don and a ladder in the corner, incapacitating him. Another pin attempt was made, but no referee. Finally, the third guy made his way in, and he… counted both guys down. Following a superplex, both men had an arm draped over the other one. So, the referee called a draw.

No one was happy about that and there was much confusion. I’m not sure why someone didn’t just go, “OK, there needs to be a winner, we’re restarting the match.” Instead, things just kind of meandered, we got a crazy inside cradle as a finish, but both guys shoulders were down again and two separate officials made the count for each guy. So, it was chaos. Eventually, Papa Don was all, “it’s over!” put Mr. B down and he got the 1-2-3 to win. It started out so good, but kind lost it’s steam with all the double pins and whatnot. Overbooking only works in certain situations, and it didn’t in this case.

That said, there were two things that heightened the drama of the match. The first was a thunderstorm started. The rain was relentless outside. And at one point, as soon as there was a kick out, thunder rumbled in the sky. It was so goddamn awesome, you don’t even know. Just added a little bit extra to it. The second thing was Mr. B’s daughter. She’s a sweet kid that will talk your ear off, but, and I’m not sure if everyone noticed it, but that girl was BAWLING her eyes out. I don’t know if it was because of the storms or her dad getting his ass kicked, but it added a whole other level to it, that I’m sure not even the guys in the match were aware of.

So, yeah, it petered out in the end, but there was enough along the way that it wasn’t a let down. Had they been able to clean up the ending, it probably would have been Match of the Night thanks to the two things they had no way of knowing would occur during the match. Wrestling is unpredictable and that’s what makes it awesome.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Another solid show for AAPW. The first show drew a lot more fans than anyone probably thought, the second one was probably half that, and this third one was more in line with the first. It helped that we brought five extra people with us, but overall there were quite a few new faces. Of course, you had the regulars that come to support their families and friends on the show, but also just some other people.

It was nice that they had merchandise, too. Sure, it’s only headshots, but it’s something, and the money goes to the school so they can continue to make improvements (they do need a new ring, or at the very least a new mat), but it also lets the talent interact with the fans. Sure, everyone kind of hangs out after the shows, but I feel a lot of the people settle in with their people, the ones that came to the show because of them, so this let everyone mingle, plus, it let the little kids get autographs. And if you ever wanted to know the reason why WWE should treat their women better, it’s for those little girls that were asking Laynie Luck and Allie Cat for their autographs. They seem them in there, especially facing off against men, and they are inspired. They can see themselves up there, and that’s always a great thing. Representation, guys, it’s not hard. Just treat everyone equally and with respect and you’ll have a better and more diverse audience who are willing to spend money on your product.

The next show will be held on Saturday, May 16th, at the same location in Pflugerville, Texas. If you live in the area and want a inexpensive and fun night (only $10 for adults and $5 for children), then you should definitely make plans to attend. They will be crowning the new AAPW Champion in a 20-Person Battle Royal, which are always fun, along with other big matches that haven’t been announced yet. But, feel free to keep tabs by visiting their Facebook page and if you are interested in becoming a pro wrestler or know someone who would, you can get info on their website.