Chicago-based AAW is one of the top independent wrestling companies in the world and has become one of the go-to promotions for the next big things in professional wrestling. They make their Milwaukee debut this Friday at Turner Hall with Destination Milwaukee, which should be a great show and, hopefully, the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship with the city.
AAW’s bona fides speak for themselves. A look at their alumni is a literal who’s who in professional wrestling. Everyone from WWE Universal Champion Seth Rollins (then known as Tyler Black), Johnny Gargano, the Young Bucks, and WWE United States Champion Ricochet have appeared at this company that’s consistently shown an outstanding eye for talent and a willingness to let that talent do their thing.
There may be no better proof of that than the company’s annual singles tournament, the Jim Lynam Memorial Tournament. The 2018 tournament featured 16 competitors, and from that group eight, are now signed by either WWE or the upstart All Elite Wrestling, with the rest holding places on either the MLW or Impact Wrestling rosters. The term “super indy” was invented for places like AAW and they have earned their reputation by consistently delivering the goods on their shows.
Despite the constant flux of talent, AAW has remained strong by maintaining a potent mix of the past, present and future on their roster. Destination Milwaukee perfectly illustrates that as the show will feature Juventud Guerrara—former WCW Cruiserweight champion and frequent receiver of “You’ve Still Got It” chants—taking on Boone the Bounty Hunter John Morrison, Jessicka Havok defending her AAW Women’s title against Impact star Taya Valkyrie, and Jim Cornette’s favorite wrestler Sami Callihan facing FATU (who is somehow related to The Rock, Yokozuna, The Usos, and every other Samoan wrestler you know…except Samoa Joe) in an AAW World Heavyweight title match.
There is also a potential show-stealer on the card with Josh Briggs taking on Josh Alexander. Plus, homegrown stars like Curt Stallion and Jake (what’s his name?) Something, as well as independent wrestling legend/highly entertaining podcaster Jimmy Jacobs.
One of the key draws of Destination Milwaukee is one of the final independent appearances of the Lucha Brothers, Pentagon and Fenix. These two made their name in the United States on the now defunct Lucha Underground, but they really blew up after making AAW their home promotion in the U.S. and stealing shows across the country. They will take on the FireFox team of AR Fox and Myron Reed in what’s sure to be a high-flying, lucha spectacle.
Turner Hall is one of the best wrestling venues in the country and there is a real chance here for Milwaukee to become a home away from home for AAW. With the close proximity to the ring from any seat, the affordable drinks keeping the crowd hyped, and the wood flooring that makes you feel the shake of every big move, Turner Hall is a fantastic venue for the type of wrestling that AAW presents.
With Mondo Lucha being an annual event at this point, NXT treating Milwaukee like just another stop on the 18-month loop, and Ring Of Honor determined to self-sabotage themselves into apathy by moving their next show to Potawatomi for some reason, Milwaukee has a hole for top-level wrestling and AAW could be just the thing to fill it.
With a great card in a great venue, there is no reason that a successful Destination Milwaukee can’t make Milwaukee a destination for AAW.