AAW Owner Describes Financial Hit After Venue Screws Them – Exclusive

For nearly twenty years, AAW has served as the standard for independent pro wrestling in the Chicagoland area. The list of former Champions for the promotion reads like a who’s who of the current pro wrestling landscape. Before he had full auditoriums singing along to his entrance song as Seth “Freaking” Rollins, The Architect could be found carrying AAW’s Heavyweight Championship under the name Tyler Black. In December 2005, Danny Daniels purchased the promotion and has continued to grow its legacy under his leadership.

Earlier this month, however, the indie fed was thrown a curveball where they were forced to cancel their Crush & Destroy show, set to take place at Irving Hall in Chicago, at the very last minute. In an exclusive Haus of Wrestling interview, AAW owner Danny Daniels described the circumstances around the surprising cancellation.

“It was show day or the night before, and we got the call around 11 pm that the city of Chicago came to the building and they confronted the owner, and they found out that the owner did not have the proper permits to run live events,” he described. “Now, the reason why we were at Irving Hall is the owner also owns Logan Square Auditorium, and he rented that venue out for three months to a Star Wars burlesque show, and we didn’t find out about that until two weeks prior to our last Logan Square show.

“So, everything’s been last minute with this owner, it’s just, it’s been a headache lately. We’ve been there since 2015, and really haven’t had too many issues until this year, really, and, again, we were told last minute that we had to run our May event at Irving Hall. May came around, and we did our show, no real issues, and we didn’t think anything of it. We paid this man rent, we come in, and we do our show. I mean, we did our May show, and he did arrive very late, so we couldn’t do all our production but that’s a conversation for another day.

“Anyway, June rolls around and we find out that the night prior that we’re not going to be able to run the show the following day, and we tried contacting him the night of, and the morning of. The night prior, when we found out right away, the morning of, repeatedly, ‘Hey, what’s going on? Can we get in? Are we doing the show?’ And we got nothing back. So, if it wasn’t for the ring crew guy, Merle, who rents out his ring to a lot of the Midwest shows, if it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t have known.”

When an independent pro wrestling show like this falls apart at the last minute, a lot of dominos begin to fall. An event on the level that AAW runs include top talents, production people, and many others to make it happen. These are also individuals that promoters build up lots of trust with, and many times form friendships.

“Financially, it breaks you because the talent put that date aside, so you have to honor that,” he lamented. “So, at first, we have to pay all ticket buyers, we got to refund them. When that’s complete, we’re not totally complete with that yet, we’re still reaching out to everybody who’s bought tickets, either telling them, ‘Hey, do you want do you want to ticket for our next upcoming show on July 15 in Berwyn or do you want to refund?’

“Now, a lot of people that live in the heart of Chicago, they don’t really have a car. They just take public transportation or Uber. So, for them to go to Berwyn, which could be a 45-minute drive with traffic. A lot of people aren’t going to do that. So, you have to refund everybody, and, going back to the wrestlers, you’re not getting your hotel money back. You’re not getting your flight money back.

“If we would have known in advance, I could have gotten refunds on all these, or tell the guys, ‘Hey, try to find another booking,’ but the morning of, you have to honor those bills as a promoter, and that’s, you know, that’s your end of the bargain is you have to honor that. So, the guys are going to get paid, it’s just going to be a process because we are pretty much fronting the cost of a wrestling show with no income coming in, and there’s really nothing you can do.

“The owner of the building just pretty much screwed us. It sucks, but, you know, in all the years I’ve run AAW with our team and my partners, we’ve never canceled a show other than for COVID. This is the first time this has happened.”

AAW will get back to action on July 15 at the Berwyn Eagle’s Club in Berwyn, IL. Tickets can be found HERE, and more announcements about the show will be announced shortly.

If you use any quotes from this article please give a h/t to Haus of Wrestling for the transcription and link back