Views from the Hawke's Nest: AAPW Zero Hour 2012
Posted by TJ Hawke on 12.14.2012
Colt Cabana returns to AAPW, but it's the ladder match that steals the show!
October 20, 2012
Commentators: Kevin Hunsperger & Adam Testa
Joey O’Riley vs. KC Jackson [No Limits Championship]
This match is the finals of the tournament to crown the first AAPW No Limits Champion (the AAPW equivalent of an X-Division Championship). It’s a nice looking belt. Joey O’Riley should be a future independent wrestling star.
O’Riley hit a running shooting star press for an early nearfall. Jackson came back, and he got a nearfall with a dropkick. Jackson was in control after that for a while. Jackson got an ankle lock, but O’Riley made the ropes. O’Riley made a comeback, and he managed to hit a slingshot DDT: 1…2…Jackson got his foot on the ropes! O’Riley went for the rolling Brogue Kick, but Jackson caught him with a Drunk Slam: 1…2…NO! O’Riley came back with a Trouble in Paradise. O’Riley then hit the Phoenix Splash: 1…2…3!
O’Riley is the perfect choice for the first AAPW No Limits Champion. Considering this was the opener, they were probably right not to do “too much,” but I think this match should have been later on the show and given more time. There was also a couple of sloppy moments in the match. It’s a shame that the tournament didn’t end on a high note (as there were several matches during the tournament that did more for me), but this was a solid start to the show. Match Rating: **1/2
J. Wellington Beauregard was backstage. He says he is a manager now, and his first client is former AAPW Heavyweight and Tag Team champion, Steven Davis.
Alex Castle (w/ Angelus Layne) vs. Kyle Sykes
Castle cut off Sykes early after Layne grabbed Sykes’s foot from the outside. Layne then choked Sykes, but Sykes was able to make a comeback shortly thereafter. Sykes went to the top rope, but Layne crotched him. The Great Cheyenne ran down and attacked Layne. The referee called for the bell, because the brawl spilled into the ring. The match ended in a no contest.
Cheyenne got the microphone, and she challenged Castle and Layne to a tag match. Angelus Layne didn’t seem to like this idea, but, well, Cheyenne didn’t accept that.
The Great Cheyenne & Kyle Sykes vs. Alex Castle & Angelus Layne
Cheyenne dominated the early action to the delight of the crowd. Sykes then got a nearfall on Castle with a neckbreaker. Castle managed to cut off Sykes, and the rudos started to work over Sykes. Sykes managed to hit Layne with an enzuigiri, and then he tagged out to Cheyenne. Cheyenne got a nearfall on Castle with a chokeslam. Layne came back in and hit Sykes with a Canadian Destroyer. Cheyenne attacked Layne, but Castle then caught Cheyenne with an Ace Crusher: 1…2…3
This whole segment was fine, especially since all these characters need more time in front of the AAPW crowd before they are given more important things to do. There was some awkwardness at the end though, and the finish fell really flat as Cheyenne was the most over wrestler in the ring. Personally, I would have had Sykes eat the pinfall, as Cheyenne may be over enough to put in some high profile singles matches. Match Rating: **1/4
AAPW 6th Anniversary Battle Royal
This match is contested under Royal Rumble rules. The match features wrestlers from AAPW’s past, present, and future. Steven Davis and JT Calhoun were the first two entrants. Chocolate Thunder was the next entrant. Next was Roscoe Harris. Next was Roscoe’s partner, Jimmy Wayne Fargo, who was quickly followed by Farmer Billy Hills. Zakk Sawyers was next out. Chocolate Thunder was the first wrestler eliminated. Fargo and Harris were eliminated by Hills. Justice was the next man out. Calhoun got eliminated by Davis, as Truk Thompson entered the match. "Playboy" Paul Rose was the last man out, but he was immediately eliminated. J. Wellington Beauregard got into the ring, and he tried to get Thompson signed to a deal. Thompson and Davis were the last two men in the ring, and they squared off. Thompson eventually tossed him from the ring to win the match.
This was a battle royal. Truk Thompson is a new guy, so I’m glad he got the win. Match Rating: Battle Royal
Cage and Rose came through the crowd, and the match immediately started as a huge brawl. Hawkins and Espinosa got the advantage early, but Zakk Sawyers came out and tried to attack the challengers. He failed because he is Zakk Sawyers. OverKill were able to climb the ladder first, but the challengers knocked them down. The challengers then climbed. Rose powerbombed Espinosa off the ladder. Hawkins gave Cage a hurricanrana from the ladder. Rose went to send Espinosa into a table, but Espinosa then gave Rose a German suplex through the very same table. Espinosa then gave Cage a Rock Bottom on a ladder. Hawkins followed it up with a senton onto Cage. The challengers went to climb again, but Rose knocked them off the ladder. Cage and Rose set up a table outside the ring. Cage sent Hawkins into a ladder. All four men started climbing ladders, but then they all knocked each other off to the mat. Cage recovered and gave Hawkins a Gibson Driver. Cage went to the top rope, but Hawkins kicked him to the floor and through the table. Rose took out Espinosa with a step ladder. Ace Hawkins went to climb, but Sawyers showed up and saved the belts. Rose and Hawkins then duct taped Hawkins to a ladder. Rose climbed but Espinosa pulled him off the ladder. Espinosa gave Sawyers and Cage big slaps. Espinosa taped Sawyers to the stage. Espinosa and Rose both climbed until they were at the tops. Espinosa used the belts to hit Rose and knocked him off the ladder. He then grabbed the belts! New Champs!
This was a really fitting end to this feud, and it was easily the best match on the show so far. They managed to balance the brawling aspects and spots that are traditionally a part of ladder matches, so that the match felt like a fight that each team wanted to win instead of just a stunt show. The story of the heels using their belts as weapons all year long paid off perfectly with Espinosa being able to finally win the belts by using one of the belts as a weapon. I feel like this was a breakthrough match for AAPW in terms of producing a story that not only grips their base audience, but the story also leads to matches that appeal to a wider base of independent wrestling fans.
The only thing that I didn’t like about the match is that they teased a balcony dive of some kind and never delivered. Now, I’m not saying I want people doing balcony dives, but if you are going to tease one, you probably should deliver. So, my point is, they should haven’t teased one. Match Rating: ***3/4
Gaylord Stevens and Colt Cabana were sitting down backstage. Gaylord read a list of places that Colt had worked before. Colt said ‘Gaylord’ over and over again, because he’s five years old. They did some more “comedy.” It went on a long time. Colt did some more homophobic teases. The point of all of this is that Stevens was trying to bribe Colt to not wrestle tonight. Colt looked like he was going to agree, but he thought better of it. Colt Cabana, noted (and admitted) cheapstake passing on a payday to not wrestle is not the most realistic storyline of the year. That was not anti-Semitic joke. That was a Colt Cabana joke.
Heath Hatton introduced "Serial Thriller" Shane Rich. Rich talked about his struggles. He seemed to be teasing retirement. He says he’s not going to retire. The crowd cheered. He wants to challenge the winner of the main event. This was an OK babyface promo to get the crowd to rally behind him going into 2013.
Bull Bronson vs. Mississippi Madman
If this isn’t the worst match of all time, I will be severely disappointed.
Madman hit a lariat, and Bronson fell to the floor. Madman followed him to the floor, where Bronson sent Madman into the steel steps. They ended up back in the ring, with Bronson in control. Bronson dominated the match for a while. Madman finally came back with a Russian legsweep. Bronson came back with a belly-to-belly suplex for a nearfall. The normally hot AAPW crowd is dead for this match. Bronson went for a middle rope legdrop, but Madman avoided it. Madman came back with a spear. Bronson came back with a corner splash and a Vader bomb: 1…2…3.
I normally don’t complain about the shitty workers in AAPW because they are usually over with the crowd. This match was not over though, so it felt like a bigger waste of time. I don’t need to see either of these two men wrestle again. Match Rating: ½*
Colt Cabana & Heath Hatton vs. Ax Allwardt & Gaylord Stevens (w/ J. Wellington Beauregard)
Allwardt comes out to Kansas’s “Carry On My Wayward Son,” which makes him an OK guy in my book. This is Cabana’s second match in AAPW.
Colt and Hatton were in control to start the match. Ax didn’t have much success. Colt asked for Gaylord. Gaylord put on a protective helmet. Cabana took the helmet and put it on his head, and then the referee’s head. Cabana and Hatton were in complete control for a long-ass time. Everyone ended up on the floor, and the rudos were able to use the numbers game to isolate Hatton. They brought Hatton back into the ring, and they got the heat on him. Hatton was eventually able to escape, and he tagged out to Cabana. Cabana ran wild for a bit. Colt had Allwardt locked in the Billy Goat’s Curse, but Gaylord low blowed Colt with an umbrella. Gaylord went to powder Hatton, but he hit Allwardt instead. Allwardt was blind, so he accidentally gave Gaylord a piledriver. Hatton counted the pin, so Allwardt thought he had the match won. Hatton hit Allwardt with a DDT variation: 1…2…3!
After the match, Hatton nailed J. Wellington Beauregard in the balls with an umbrella.
This was match was good fun, and it accomplished everything it needed to, given that the result was not really in doubt (at least in my mind). Hatton is positioned as a strong singles main eventer for 2013, and I would like to think he will win the title next year. Allwardt is very good at his role, and I think he is a valuable member of the AAPW roster. Colt Cabana is not my favorite wrestler these days, but he has definitely added something to both AAPW shows he has been on. Match Rating: ***
McGuire was in control to start the match. McGuire got a nearfall with a vertical suplex. McGuire went for a top rope elbow, but Masters avoided it. McGuire sent Masters into the cage over and over again, until he was busted open. Masters came back with a Liger Bomb. Masters was in control for a while after that. Masters went to climb the cage, but McGuire managed to crotch him on the ropes. McGuire then hit a Nigel Lariat from the middle rope. McGuire went for a superkick, but Masters avoided it and nailed him in the balls. That was sloppy. Masters hit the FU. Sean Chambers, the owner of AAPW, came into the ring and hit Masters with Brass Knuckles. Sean told McGuire to pin him. McGuire said he didn’t want to win like that. Chambers then laid out McGuire with the Brass Knuckles. I am not a fan of this storyline. Masters went for the pin: 1…2…NO! Masters went for another FU, but McGuire avoided it and hit a superkick: 1…2…3! McGuire is now a three-time AAPW Heavyweight Champion.
Shane Rich came out after the match and gestured that he wanted a title shot. Both of those men are three-time champions.
I think we’ve officially reached my limits in terms of how much satisfaction I truly get from main events that feature Edmund McGuire and Mike Masters. All three DVDs that AAPW has released has featured McGuire in the main event, and the diminishing returns are starting to shine through. Now, obviously, if the crowd was red hot (as they usually are for everything AAPW does), I would have enjoyed this much more. However, the crowd just wasn’t that hot, so I was really just watching the end of a good story told by workers that are not inherently interesting to watch. The effort was there, but McGuire and Masters have had much better matches this year against each other and against other opponents. AAPW has a lot of talented workers, and I would like to see other wrestlers get a chance to main event in 2013. Match Rating: **3/4
Adam Testa tries to get answers from Sean Chambers, but nothing comes of it as Chambers just leaves the building. I’m not really a fan of authority figures becoming important players in storylines, but we’ll see where this goes.
This match is for Pearce's NWA World Heavyweight Championship. Hatton has been feuding with Ax Allwardt, and as a result, Allwardt has been banned from ringside. Allwardt's manager, Gaylord Stevens, is on commentary (and he was very amusing).
AAPW has a pretty old-looking ring announcer, and Pearce just shoved him down. RUDO. Epic spot that was. The crowd was totally behind Hatton. Hatton hit a big chop early on that caused Pearce to retreat to the floor. Pearce went back to the ring, but Hatton took him right down with a dropkick. Pearce tried to go to the back, but Hatton chased him to the back and pulled him out by the ear. Back in the ring, Pearce cut off Hatton with a spinebuster. Pearce worked Hatton over after that. Pearce got a nearfall after he hit a lariat. Pearce called for a piledriver, but Hatton avoided the attempt and hit a swinging neckbreaker. Hatton made a big comeback and they ended up on the floor. Back in the ring, Gaylord Stevens tried to hit Hatton in the head with his umbrella, but Hatton blocked the attack. Pearce then rolled up Hatton with a handful of tights: 1…2…3!
Ax Allwardt came out to celebrate with Stevens and Pearce. Hatton got on the microphone and challenged Allwardt and Stevens to a tag match at the Zero Hour show. They accepted the challenge. Hatton then informed them that his partner will be Colt Cabana. The rudos flipped out.
This was a dam fine TV main event. Pearce's rudo character is perfect for AAPW crowd, and Hatton played his role very well. The only real disappointing thing about this match was the finish, but at least the finish made sense in the context of the feud. I hope to see Pearce vs. Hatton II one day before Pearce completely retires. Match Rating: ***1/4
The 411: This is AAPW’s third DVD this year, and while it’s not perfect, it’s definitely an enjoyable watch. The ladder match, by far, is the biggest reason to watch this show. It features two future independent wrestling stars (Matt Cage & Christian) and a tag team (Espinosa & Hawkins) that should be getting more opportunities in other promotions. The show also features Joey O’Rikey solidifying himself as part of AAPW’s foundation, and Colt Cabana continued the AAPW’s trend of maximizing their investment in outside stars. I think McGuire and Masters could have had a better main event, but it certainly didn’t insult your intelligence. While AAPW’s last DVD, Summer Chaos, was much better in my opinion, this show still shows that AAPW has a lot of tools to make waves in 2013. It all depends on the talent they use and how they use them. You can buy the show as a $3.99 Download, which is, quite frankly, a steal. AAPW’s other two DVDs are also available at that price, and they are more than worth the four dollars.