Plenty of swagger, action around Chicago this weekend
By Mike Pankow
May 9, 2019
Chicago wrestling just keeps getting bigger and better with some big shows in the area this weekend along with an appearance by a former World Heavyweight Champion in a mixed martial arts event.
Former WWE Superstar Jack Swagger, known as Jake Hager, competes in his second MMA fight on Saturday night at Allstate Arena when he faces T.J. Jones, as part of Bellator 221. Hager defeated J.W. Kiser with a first-round submission on Jan. 26 at Bellator 214.
Hager worked for WWE for about a decade, first as part of its ECW brand. He was a former ECW Champion before winning the Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania XXVI before cashing in on Chris Jericho at the SmackDown after Mania to win the World Heavyweight Championship.
Hager has also wrestled for MLW and Lucha Underground. He appeared at the first Warrior Wrestling show a year ago and faced his former WWE nemesis Alberto Del Rio in a rematch from WrestleMania 29.
ROH/NJPW War of the Worlds: Ring of Honor, in conjunction with New Japan Pro Wrestling, makes its first Chicago-area stop since last year when it brings the War of the Worlds and TV taping to the Odeum in West suburban Villa Park on Sunday night, May 12.
Announced matches include a four-corner survival match with former ROH World Champion Jay Lethal, current ROH World Television Champion Jeff Cobb, RUSH and NWA World Tag Team Champion PCO. The Briscoes (Jay and Mark) challenge the Guerrillas of Destiny for the ROH World Tag Team Championship.
ROH Champion Matt Taven and Women of Honor Champion Kelly Klein are also booked for the event, which also will feature Dalton Castle, Kenny King, PJ Black, the Allure (Angelina Love, Velvet Sky and Mandy Leon) and former WCW star Yuji Nagata.
Meet and greets with most of the advertised talent are also scheduled. For more information on the meet and greets and the lineup, go to https://www.rohwrestling.com/live/events/51219-war-worlds-chicago-il.
AAW Pro: AAW Pro presents Take No Prisoners at Logan Square Auditorium on Chicago’s North side on Saturday night, May 11. The promotion keeps getting hotter after its recent announcement of its first show in Milwaukee in July.
TNP’s main event will be Sami Callihan defending the AAW Championship against David Starr. Callihan continues to make himself one of the biggest stars on the independent scene.
Other matches announced include Jessicka Havok against Thunder Rosa in an AAW Women’s Championship match, MJF defending the AAW Heritage Championship against Mance Warner, LAX facing the Besties in the World in an AAW Tag Team Championship match.
Former WWE Cruiserweight Champion TJP is also making his AAW debut as he is scheduled to square off against Myron Reed. Other advertised talent include the Lucha Bros., Fatu (with Chicago’s Armando Estrada), Jimmy Jacobs, Ace Romero and the Rascalz (Dezmond Xavier, Trey Miguel and Zachary Wentz).
As of now, only standing-room only tickets remain. For more information on tickets, go to https://aawpro.ticketleap.com/.
Warrior Wrestling: Promoter Steve Tortorello has stacked the deck for Warrior Wrestling 5: May-hem, which takes place Sunday afternoon, May 12 at Marian Catholic High School in South suburban Chicago Heights, with proceeds again going toward student scholarships.
Warrior Wrestling Champion Brian Cage defends the title against Wardlow, who is “on AEW’s radar,” according to recent podcast comments by Tortorello. Cage has held the title since Warrior Wrestling 2 on Sept. 2, 2018 and has successfully defended the champion against Bandido and all three members of the Rascalz.
The other top advertised match (and possible main event) is the match between Tessa Blanchard and Jordynne Grace to crown the first-ever Warrior Wrestling Women’s Championship. WWE legend Molly Holly will be the special guest referee.
Other bouts include MLW Champion “Filthy” Tom Lawlor facing UK star Chris Ridgeway, Austin Aries against Eddie Edwards in a cage match, the Lucha Bros (Penta El 0M & Fenix) against Kotto Brazil and Daga, Chicago’s Gringo Loco against Volador Jr., a grudge match between Chicago’s Pat Monix and Sam Adonis and a wacky tag team match with the Space Pirates (Space Monkey and Shane Sabre) squaring off against the Ugly Ducklings.
One of the most interesting bouts is Brian Pillman Jr. against Robert “Ego” Anthony” in a “Hair vs. Clown Match.” If Anthony wins, he gets to cut off Pillman’s famous mullet, but if Pillman is victorious, he gets five minutes in the ring with Anthony’s manager, Frank the Crown.
Like at previous Warrior events, there will be a VIP Fan Fest which starts two hours before the show (at noon with main card at 2 p.m.). A $25 admission to the fest gets fans access to the wrestlers on the event for free autographs and photo opportunities. For more information and ticket sales, go to: http://www.warriorwrestling.net/.