Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (12-25-2021) – Holiday Bash

AEW Rampage is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT

If I had a rough time trying to catch up with a show happening on Wednesday, I was for darn sure gonna take my time getting around to the episode that literally aired on Christmas Day.  By their own choice, by the way!  They moved the show to air on that day instead of their usual timeslot; perhaps so that the subtitle is that much more accurate.  Still, while Rampage may have the harder to catch time slot this week, the shorter length and the snappier matches make it a bit more ideal to fit into a tough schedule where Dynamite feels like something you have to schedule around.  Is this another fun way to spend a Saturday night, even if it’s perhaps the worst night of the year for it?  Let’s find out!!

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Jungle Boy Vs. Isiah Kassidy

Jungle Boy is accompanied to the ring by Luchasaurus and Christian Cage while Kassidy is accompanied to the ring by Hardy Family Office

Remember when Private Party were wearing slacks and collared shirts?  Thankfully Kassidy is back in his original ring gear and it didn’t do anything to diminish the integrity of Hardy Family Office!  Now if they could start winning some tag matches again, maybe we’ll have the Private Party that was one of the highlights of early AEW!  Remember MJF talking about the pillars of this company?  Yeah, Private Party used to be one of them but they’ve been stuck with HFO for so long that it feels like we’ve all kind of forgotten that.  Thankfully this match does quite a bit to remind us of how good Kassidy is as he puts up a pretty good fight against Jungle Boy.  With a little help from Quen and Hardy on the outside, Kassidy is able to maintain a solid lead for the first half and through the commercial break, but he’s far from idle in the match as he hits a Springboard Cutter on Jungle Boy that drops him from the apron to the floor and follows up with a spinning dive over the ropes.  He also manages to reverse a Sunset Flip from Jungle Boy into a Drop Kick to his face which is the start of the heat during the commercial, but once we return it’s time for Jungle Boy to make his comeback.  A series of Elbow Strikes give him some space so he can finally knock Kassidy to the ground with a big lariat, and he follows up with a Falcon Arrow for a two count.  Kassidy gets a two count as well with a Poisonrana, but Jungle Boy turns things around quickly with a German into a bridge for another two count of his own.  He makes sure to hold onto the waist lock and tries to go for another German, but Kassidy grabs the ropes to try and break the hold which turns out to be a bad idea as Jungle Boy instead dumps him over to the floor below before following up with a Suicide Dive.  In a last-ditch effort to save his partner, Quen tries to grab Jungle Boy on his way back to the ring so Cage starts to beat his butt all the way to the back while Luchasaurus Choke Slams Jora Joel.  Not sure why since he wasn’t actually doing anything, but I guess it was a diversionary tactic on HFO’s part as Hardy immediately grabs Luchasaurus and goes for the Twist of Fate.  Luchasaurus is too strong however and shoves Matt Hardy into the charging Christian Cage who knocks the wind out of him with a spear!  With the kerfuffle outside brought to an end, Jungle Boy goes for another Sunset Flip and Kassidy once again escapes.  When he goes for another kick, however, Jungle Boy dodges and grabs the leg.  Kassidy tries to scramble to the ropes, but it’s too late and Jungle Boy locks in the Snare Trap which forces Kassidy to tap.  This was a pretty good opener!  I like seeing Private Party as at least somewhat effective again, and honestly, I’d love to see them go up against The Lucha Bros for the title at some point!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (12-25-2021) – Holiday Bash”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (12-22-2021) – Holiday Bash

AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT

As much as I love wrestling, the Holidays are a tough time to find the three hours it takes to watch these shows what with a million other things to worry about this time of year.  Still, you can’t say AEW doesn’t put in the effort, and not taking a week away from the show even with everyone being busy is laudable I suppose; especially since they film Rampage on the same night as Dynamite which hopefully meant that everyone got to go home as soon as it was over.  Is this a great present for AEW to give us despite the poor timing of it, or will it get lost in the Holiday shuffle like everything else we don’t have time to think about because we’ve got so many other things to do right now!?  Okay, maybe not everyone is stressed out like that, but that’s beside the point!  Is this a good show or not!?  Let’s find out!!

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Orange Cassidy Vs. Adam Cole

Cole and Cassidy are two of the biggest stars who aren’t currently in the title picture, so putting them together in an opening match is as good a way as any to try and tear people away from their packed Holiday schedules to tune in.  It’s a solid match with a lot of back and for the action between the two, but things don’t really pick up until Cassidy gets a two count from a Diving Cross Body and a Swinging DDT.  This forces the Bucks and Brandon Cutler to come out just as Cassidy is going up top for a big splash, and instead of hitting Cole, Cassidy jumps down on Cutler.  It’s at this point that the Best Friends run down to make the save, but not before Cassidy hits a Suicide Dive on the Bucks which allows the Best Friends to fight them back up the ramp and to the back.  Despite his buddies getting overwhelmed, it does create an opening for Cole who throws Cassidy shoulder-first into the steps; hoping to neutralize his Orange Punch finisher.  Cassidy is left limp against the steps so Cole tries to follow up with a Boom Knee Strike, but Cassidy moves and Cole’s knee hits the steel instead of Cassidy’s squishy body.  With both suffering injuries, the two continue to brawl throughout the commercial break and start to kick things into high gear once we return.  Lousy Kicks, Brain Busters, Stundog Millionaires and Diving DDTs, All of which hit their mark, but the damage they’ve incurred end up blunting their effectiveness, so neither manage to get the pin.  Cole tries to set up Cassidy for the Panama Sunrise by dragging him to the corner, but Cassidy merely rolls away to overcome his scheme.  Frustrated by this, Colle tries to go after him but Cassidy hits a Michinoku Driver!  Now it’s his turn to set up a move as he puts on his shades and gets to the top rope, and once he’s up there he puts his hands in his pockets and tries to dive on Cole.  He’s WAY short on his dive however and ends up eating a Super Kick which allows Cole to get the Panama Sunrise and goes for a lackadaisical cover on Cassidy.  He might have won if he tried to do a serious pin, but Cassidy kicks out. Cassidy takes this unforced error from Cole and ducks and hits a Beach Break for a two count before setting up for the Orange Punch.  Seeing what’s about to happen, Cole rolls out of the ring right as Bobby Fish runs down to start yelling at the ref.  He’s doing it for a long time and Cassidy is just standing there looking perturbed, and right when I was wondering what the heck was going on here, NONE OTHER THAN KYLE O’REILLY RUNS IN TO ATTACK CASSIDY!  As soon as Cassidy is on the ground, Cole hits the Boom Knee Strike and gets the pin on Cassidy, but that’s almost immaterial because the big news here is that the original Undisputed Era (Roderick Strong was added later) has officially moved to AEW after WWE cast them aside like yesterday’s news!  There seems to be some tension as the Bucks run down and seem a bit hesitant about the Undisputed Era reforming right in front of them, but it was a solid match with a really cool surprise ending that is sure to get AEW even more clout with the fans!  I don’t know if we’ll hit the point where it becomes passé for great wrestlers from the other company to show up here and prove how great they are, but it certainly hasn’t happened yet!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (12-22-2021) – Holiday Bash”

Cinema Dispatch: Sing 2

Sing 2 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by Garth Jennings

Was anyone expecting the first Sing to be anything more than cloying and treacly?  I mean it’s not like Illumination has a great track record for this kind of thing, especially with those toothless Seuss adaptations, but they somehow pulled it off with that movie which was sweet, sincere, and my favorite animated movie the year it came out!  The moment that it was over though, I knew that a sequel was coming and that it was probably going to be a bad idea.  The first one worked as its own story, so trying to fit another one on top of it seemed like typical sequel folly and an obvious attempt at a cash grab.  Then again, it’s not like I was expecting anything out of the first one and it managed to surprise me, so why not the sequel as well?  Can this movie capture the magic of the first film and give us the rare animated sequel that is just as satisfying as the first one, or should we just be glad that we got a good movie in the first place and write this one off as a mere victory lap from Illumination?  Let’s find out!!

Following the events of the first film, the Moon Theater is back and better than ever!  The all-star cast of Meena, Johnny, Rosita, and Gunter (Tori Kelly, Taron Egerton, Reese Witherspoon, and Nick Kroll) are living their dreams and selling out shows every night; all of which should make Buster (Matthew McConaughey) who owns the theater very happy, right?  I mean that’s kind of the dream that they were all striving for in the first one!  Well… no.  Apparently, they all want to go to the Sing universe equivalent of Las Vegas and perform shows there; presumably next to furry versions of Blue Man Group and Carrot Top.  After a talent scout (Chelsea Peretti) brushes them off, Buster drags his cast as well as Ash (Scarlett Johansson) to the big city to prove that scout wrong and appeal to the biggest producer in the city; Jimmy Crystal (Bobby Carnavale).  Through some high-level schmoozing and a white lie here and there, he agrees to give them a shot; albeit it with quite a few strings attached.  They have three weeks to throw together a lavish Broadway-style show from scratch, they have to include Crystal’s daughter Porsha (Halsey) in some way, and they need to find rock legend Clay Calloway (Bono) so he can be a part of the show.  That last one, in particular, is going to be difficult as no one has seen or heard from him in fifteen years, but if Buster says he can get him, then by Jove, he’s gonna get him!  Can the crew pull off yet another amazing show, even with the added pressures of a bigger production and an overbearing executive?  What new challenges will our heroes face on their latest venture, and is this perhaps the end of the road for them?  I mean it’s not like Buster has a habit of getting in over his head, right?  Surely he knows what he’s doing!

“I don’t know, can we make it ten percent more heartfelt?  Which one of these dials adds more heart?”
Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: Sing 2”

Cinema Dispatch: Spider-Man: No Way Home

Spider-Man: No Way Home and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing

Directed by Jon Watts

It’s been a rather underwhelming year for the superhero genre which once towered over the world.  The Pandemic has pushed the release schedule around several times which means we’re waiting longer for these movies, and to me, the MCU is having trouble finding their voice after Endgame put a pretty definitive end to the original story arc.  Frankly, the best we’ve gotten from the MCU in the last two years have been the Disney+ shows that may not always hit their marks but definitely have a lot of interesting ideas that probably wouldn’t work as a movie; even with these things being overly long for the most part.  Still, it’s hard not to get excited about another Spider-Man film; especially one as specifically targeted to my generation as this one is.  Does it manage to pull us out of the MCU funk and deliver on all the ludicrous promises the trailers have made, or is this going to be as convoluted and pointless as the Clone Saga; or even worse, One More Day?  Let’s find out!!

Following the events of Spider-Man: Far From Home, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) has been revealed to the world as their friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, and this newfound celebrity (and infamy) has thrown his life into chaos.  Investigations from the government, a bunch of weirdos throwing bricks through his windows, and a very awkward school environment where half of them want to see him become their mascot and the other are hurling conspiracy-laden insults at him.  See, this is why you need to be rich or a soldier to do the Superhero thing; either commit to it full time or pay people to go outside for you!  It gets to be such a burden that Peter begs the MCU’s cool uncle Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to use his wizard magic to erase his identity from the mind of everyone in the universe.  Let’s just say that it had mixed results as the world doesn’t forget his identity, but there are now a bunch of villains running around who seem to know him; including Doctor Otto Octavius who has four robot arms (Alfred Molina), Max Dillon who has electricity powers (Jamie Foxx), Dr. Curt Connors who’s a lizard man (Rhys Ifans) Flint Marko who spends most of the movie as a human-shaped sandcastle for whatever reason (Thomas Haden Church), and of course Norman Osborne who still suffers from pretty severe mood swings (Willem Dafoe).  Now if you’ve kept up with the Spider-Man films for the last twenty years, those names should seem pretty familiar.  Sadly the Spider-Man of this universe didn’t get to see those movies, so he has to discover who all these people are, why they became villains in the first place, and if this confluence of inter-dimensional fan service can actually turn into a good thing for all involved.  Will Peter Parker, with the help of his friends, his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), and his sorta-bodyguard Happy (Jon Favreau), be able to stop these guys from tearing apart this universe and perhaps even get past their overwhelming hatred of wall-crawling superheroes?  Who else may have found their way into this universe, and what can they do to either help or hamper Peter’s attempts to fix everything?  So is J Jonah Jameson (JK Simmons) also an inter-dimensional buzzkill, or is there no universe that can escape his ludicrous conspiracy theories and get-rich-quick schemes?

“Looks like they already turned you into an NFT.”     “Seriously?”     “Yup.  And it sold for five-hundred grand.”     “See THAT’S the kind of evil-doer I should be fighting.”
Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: Spider-Man: No Way Home”

Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (12-17-2021)

AEW Rampage is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT

It’s another night of AEW action during a week that pretty much all people dread.  Sure, the Holidays can be fun and all that, but this is a stressful time for a lot of people, including me, so fitting in my usual output has been a challenge.  I’m still going to do it, but I think Rampage is going to go by a lot faster than usual if you catch my drift.  Is this a fun boost to get us ready for the final week of rushing and shopping, or is it less a reprieve and more of a grim specter of things to come?  Let’s find out!!

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The Young Bucks, Adam Cole, and Bobby Fish Vs. Best Friends, Orange Cassidy, and Rocky Romero – Eight-Man Tag Match

The Young Bucks are accompanied to the ring by Brandon Cutler while Best Friends are accompanied by Wheeler Yuta

The Young Bucks and Best Friends feud continues unabated, and while it does feel like we’re spinning our wheels, it’s never a bad idea to get these two groups in the ring as often as possible.  The matchups certainly haven’t gotten stale yet, and it even manages to make an Eight-Man Tag Match not feel overly excessive or drawn out.  The Best Friends get a lot of offense in early on as Cassidy and Cole stare at each other from opposite corners, but when the opportunity arises for them to meet in the ring, Cole keeps to himself and lets the Bucks deal with Cassidy.  The Heels eventually take control of the match with some sly beatings outside the ring, but The Best Friends didn’t call themselves that for nothing and take several opportunists to save Cassidy from being pinned.  Cassidy eventually fights back and gets the hot tag to Trent who runs wild over everyone; fighting the Bucks and Cole by himself, giving Bobby Fish a spear on the outside, and even hitting Brandon Cutler with a Backdrop.  It’s good to see Trent back in action again and he looks pretty good, but it doesn’t last forever as the Heels isolate him in the ring and take turns utterly destroying him!  He’s yanked off the turnbuckle by Nick and lands neck first on the top rope, he eats Brain Busters and Superkicks from the Super Clique, and he even gets hit by a Diving Headbutt from Fish!  Even with all that, Trent manages to kick out at two, so the only logical thing is to take the guy coming back from spinal surgery and give him an AVALANCHE FALCON ARROW!  This should have been the end of the match, if not the death of Mr. Trent, had Cassidy not run in to break up the pin, and that’s when the match devolves into the usual Eight-Man shtick where everyone runs in to hit a big move until it’s just the legal men alone in the ring.  After a spectacular flurry of moves that ends with Cassidy hitting a Springboard Flip to everyone on the floor below, Trent manages to land the Crunchy on Bobby Fish to get the pin and win the match!  It was a pretty fun opening bout!  Perhaps there was a bit too much chaos in the second half as no one is even trying to follow the rules, but even with that, it managed to stay comprehensible and kept everyone looking strong!  The feud will surely continue from here, but with matches like this, it’s clear they haven’t run out of things to do just yet!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (12-17-2021)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (12-15-2021) – Winter Is Coming

AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT

We’re back with AEW, and there’s certainly a chill in the air as Winter has officially come!  We’ve still got a few more weeks of shows this year, but this is the big one that they try to build up as a game-changer to start the New Year on a high note; especially with the AEW World Title on the line in a genuinely competitive match!  Will this be as exciting as when Moxley lost the title to Kenny Omega on last year’s show, or will my enthusiasm drop faster than the temperature outside?  Let’s find out!!

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Hangman Adam Page Vs. Bryan Danielson – AEW World Title Match

A rather bold choice for AEW to start with the big match instead of saving it for the main event!  Then again, given what’s about to happen it was probably the only choice they could go with as this match goes on for over an hour!  That’s right, more than half the show is dedicated to this one match, and we’ll talk about what this meant for the rest of the show once we get there, but for now, we need to talk about what happened here.  First and foremost, Danielson proves once again that he’s not just a great technical wrestler but a fantastic storyteller between the ropes as he’s very good at projecting the entirety of his thoughts through his movements and facial expressions.  It’s clear at the outset that Danielson does not consider Hangman to be an insurmountable challenge.  He’s certainly bigger and strong than him, but Danielson has faced those kinds of odds before and he has a plan for it.  For several minutes of the match, he refuses to engage with Hangman to any degree by keeping his distance, avoiding any real contact, and using the ropes to keep Hangman at bay; all the while grinning from ear to ear as the frustration mounts in Hangman.  He’s waiting for Hangman to get ahead of himself and to do something brash which Danielson can easily overcome, but Hangman is no fool and is keeping his cool just as much as Danielson is.  After a while of this, Hangman gets a quick boot to the chest that catches Danielson off guard and there’s a moment of uncertainty before he collects himself and gets back on track.  Still, Hangman has found his inch and he manages to force this into a proper match.  Danielson has to start engaging with Hangman, but he’s also staying smart about it by going for submissions and trying to damage the limbs while avoiding big moves from Hangman.  The strategy seems to be working, but Hangman manages to force Danielson into more direct confrontations and so Danielson starts using his chops and kicks that eventually send Hangman out of the ring.  This is when things start to get more violent as Danielson and Hangman start to slug it out in a war of brutal attrition, and this is what we get for a good chunk of the match.  Sometimes Danielson is in control, sometimes it’s Hangman, and they stick to their initial strategies as much as they can.  Hangman is hitting a lot of big and flashy moves like the Moonsault from the top rope to the floor, but Danielson stays on track and keeps picking at Hangman’s limbs to neutralize their power.  He also is keeping a sharp eye out for Hangman’s finishers, and so attempts at the Deadeye or the Buckshot Lariat are constantly avoided throughout the match despite the crowd desperately wanting to see it.  The only thing about the match that doesn’t work very well, and is probably why they should have saved this for a PPV, is that they simply can’t run the show for a full hour without commercial breaks and so the pacing of the match feels a bit wonky.  The worst of this is when Hangman goes for a Moonsault but is shoved off the turnbuckle by Danielson.  He hits the apron on his way to the floor and Danielson bashes Hangman’s shoulder into the post; continuing his strategy of neutralizing Hangman’s offense.  However, this also causes Hangman to bleed and so for an entire commercial break he’s being looked at by the doctors as Danielson poses in the ring.  We saw this same spot used in the Guevara/Lethal match and I just don’t think it’s helpful to a match.  If you need to fill a commercial break, then sure; have the doc look at the wrestler so that the TV audience doesn’t miss anything significant.  However, this still creates the problem as to why the ref doesn’t call for the bell as soon as the doctor is out there, or why he stops the ten count while the doctors attend to him.  It highlights the advantage that the champ has in title defense (titles can only change hands on pinfalls or submissions) which is great when you have a Heel champ, but it’s also not the kind of thing you want to advertise when it’s a Babyface with the title.  In any case, Hangman finally starts to stumble his way to the ring once the commercial break is over and they keep going from there.  We’re only at about the halfway point so the injury is kind of a moot point, but they do at least keep track of Hangman’s shoulder which is being brutalized by Danielson and is going to make it nearly impossible for Hangman to hit the Buckshot Lariat.  Turnabout is fair play however and Hangman starts targeting Danielson’s leg after he misses a Yes Kick that sends his shin right into the post.  This ends up playing into the rest of the match as we get closer and close to the time limit, and once we’re down to the final five minutes they have to leave everything they can in that ring to see who is still standing by the end of it!  Danielson has Hangman on the match and grabs his arms to start stomping on his face, the same way he did to all the members of the Dark Order, but with the bad leg, it’s not hard for Hangman to escape.  Danielson charges and Hangman catches him to at last land the Deadeye, but it’s only a two count.  Undeterred however, Hangman is now the one to grab his opponent’s arms and stomp on their face; a taste of Danielson’s own medicine if you will!  With Danielson sufficiently dazed, Hangman goes for the Buckshot Lariat with whatever strength he has left in the arm… BUT DANIELSON DODGES IT AND PUTS HANGMAN IN THE LABELLE LOCK!   With just over a minute left in the match, this is Danielson’s last chance to come away the champion, but perhaps that eagerness left him open for Hangman to escape and Slingshot him into the ropes.  Hangman hits a big lariat on Danielson which leaves him nearly dead on the floor, and Hangman goes to the apron one last time.  He waits for Danielson to stumble back to his feet, and he FINALLY hits the Buckshot Lariat just as the time expired!  Whether or not Hangman had enough in the tank for that hit to keep Danielson down for good is something we will never know, but it was about as satisfying an ending as you could get for a match that ends in a time limit draw!  This was a good match and I thought that both guys put in an exceptional amount of effort here, but I don’t think it needed a full hour to tell this story; especially with the commercial breaks wreaking havoc with the pacing.  Where we’ve seen PPV quality matches on TV before, this felt like a PPV match shunted into the TV format, but there’s very little doubt that the ending of this match is to set us up for a PPV main event, so as far as that goes it did its job brilliantly!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (12-15-2021) – Winter Is Coming”

Cinema Dispatch: The Last Duel

The Last Duel and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Studios

Directed by Ridley Scott

It’s officially catch-up month over her as I scramble to fit a few more reviews in before the New Year and try to catch up on some of the things I missed, so hey; why not two Ridley Scott movies back to back?  While House of Gucci had a modest amount of box office success despite some rather underwhelming reviews, the same cannot be said for this film which came and went with barely a notice from general audiences.  Did we all miss out on a fantastic gem that deserved a lot more attention at the box office, or is this just a really bad year for the venerable director?  Let’s find out!!

The story takes place in Medieval France and follows three people whose fates are inexorably and cruelly intertwined.  Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) is a simple if narrow-minded warrior in the French army who takes a wife, The Lady Marguerite (Jodie Comer), and while there are some advantages to the marriage in terms of property and a bit of esteem in the court, he’s still very much outclassed by his friend, the Squire Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver).  He doesn’t come from a family of warriors or is in an advantageous marriage, but still, he pulled himself up through cunning and political maneuvering to become a chief adviser to the nearby lord, Count Pierre d’Alençon (Ben Affleck).  The tensions between Jean and Jacques escalate as Jacques curries more favor with the community while Jean is just kinda being sad in his castle with his wife and mother, and it all comes to a head when Jean returns from the capital to find his wife in an utterly distraught state.  She says that while he was gone, Jacques broke in and raped her which Jacques denies vociferously.  Being a man of honor (and one that doesn’t listen to his wife), Jean challenges Jacques to a duel to the death, with the caveat being that if Jean falls in battle then Marguerite will be burned at the stake.  With so much riding on something as arbitrary as a fight with swords, can justice truly be meted out for Marguerite?  Is there more to this story than any of the three participants are willing to share and is there more to the duel than meets the eye?  First Joan of Arc, and now this?  Seriously, Middle Ages!  Get your act together!

“If this duck quacks an even number of times, you are innocent.  An odd number however and you will be condemned as a witch!”     “Is there an appeals process?”     “That involves two cows a budgerigar, and a length of twine.”
Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: The Last Duel”

Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (12-10-2021)

AEW Rampage is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT

We’re back with another week of Rampage action, though this one finds itself in a bit of an odd spot.  The next Dynamite is the big Winter is Coming show, and they wrapped up all the major storylines on the Wednesday show, so this is kind of just filling the gap between the two shows.  Sure, Rampage works best when it gets to do its own thing separate from Dynamite, but sandwiched between the Dynamite show and Winter is Coming, can it manage to find enough fun action and compelling narratives to keep from feeling entirely disposable?  Let’s find out!!

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The Lucha Bros Vs. FTR – AEW Tag Title Match

The Lucha Bros are accompanied to the ring by Alex Abrahantes while FTR are accompanied by Tully Blanchard

You’d think this would be a match to save for the big show on Wednesday instead of throwing out on the B-Show; especially since these two teams had a match at Triple-Mania less than a week ago.  Why not let them rest until the Wednesday show and try to put on a barn burner instead of filling a slot that could literally go to anyone else?  Rampage is a good place for random matchups, and it’d be nice if we got some highlights from Triple-Mania or even just a promo to set up this title match!  Well, we’ve got the match that we’ve got, and I guess it was their way of making this Rampage not seem insignificant; so let’s see how it plays out.  It starts off well with the Lucha Bros getting a solid lead on FTR, but the No Flips All Fist guys are hard to keep down no matter what you throw at them!  Penta decides to go for psychological warfare and theatrically takes off his glove which he tosses to Cash who dutifully catches… and then IMMEDIATELY eats a kick to the face!  Rey then tags in and jumps really high in the air for a Cross Body on Cash, but after landing he’s grabbed by Dax and is dropped spine first onto the apron; giving FTR some heat as we head into the commercial.  Rey eventually makes his way to the corner to tag in Penta who hits Sling Blades on both guys before landing the Backstabber on Dax.  Things go back and forth for a bit between Penta and Cash with some very cool reversals thrown in, and soon enough Rey tags back into the match.  He punches Tully Blanchard in the face who thought it was a good idea to get up on the apron and taunt him, and starts to face off both members of FTR just like Penta did because I guess the Heels are allowed to do whatever they want; isn’t that right Ref?  In any case, Dax catches Rey in a Springboard move and drops him with a Slingshot Liger bomb for a two count, and Dax tosses him into the ropes where Cash is waiting to bash him with the belt much like he did in their first meet up.  Rey manages to stop himself and avoid the belt shot just as the ref sees what’s going on, and the two of them yank the belt out of Cash’s hands… which then goes right into Dax’s face!  Oh well!  Guess Rey’s gonna hit him with the Frog Splash and win!  NO WAIT!  Dax is still holding the belt and just lifts it up as Rey comes down; conking him in the face and going for the pin.  Despite seeing little flying birds circle his head after that shot, Rey manages to kick out at two and things just go into overdrive from there!  Rey tries to fight off FTR and goes up top for some sort of move, but he gets caught by both of them and they smash him to the mat with a Big Rig.  They go for the pin but it’s broken up by Penta who comes flying in from the top turnbuckle; wiping everyone out taking a little breather on the floor while the crowd is going wild!  It’s down to a battle of chops as both teams are in the ring and trading blows back and forth until Fenix lands a Cutter on Dax, only to eat a Gory Bomb from Cash.  Penta is back in the ring and Cash does his best to fight him off, but in the end he winds up eating a Fear Factor and the Lucha Bros get the pin to win the match.  I’m still a bit baffled that they gave away a title match (especially one this good) on Rampage, but if you are gonna give it away then why not make it fantastic?  If nothing else, it was WAY better than the one on the PPV!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (12-10-2021)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (12-08-2021)

AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT

We’re back with another week of AEW action and drama as the Winter is Coming special is only one week away!  Last year we saw the title change hands on the Winter is Coming show, and this year we have Danielson and Hangman in the main event!  Could there be another upset in the making?  Well, we’ll have to wait until next week to find out, but we’ve got a lot more in store for that show that this episode needs to set up!  Is this the perfect Dynamite to get everyone invested in the big show next week?  Let’s find out!!

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The episode starts on a rather odd note that somewhat encapsulates the entire show.  MJF’s music hits and the hometown crowd is excited to see him… but then CM Punk comes out.  I mean hey, CM Punk is great and all, and I’m sure the crowd wanted to see him, but he tricked them into thinking MJF was coming out, and this also means they don’t get to see him come out to Cult of Personality!  For probably the first time since he got to AEW, CM Punk is getting booed by the Long Island crowd, and while he seems to be fine with it, going so far as to antagonize them and begging them to boo louder, it’s not a great start to a promo that is kind of all over the place.  I still don’t know what this whole Britt Baker thing is and I don’t think the crowd gets it either, and then he starts talking about nineties basketball which is starting to wear on the crowds’ patience.  Eventually, he throws down the gauntlet and even says he’s willing to face MJF tonight, but the guy never comes out and Punk goes to the back as Cult of Personality FINALLY plays.  Not a great start to the show as we didn’t even get a brawl between Punk and one of MJF’s stooges, but I guess we were saving the guy for what comes next which is…

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Dynamite Diamond Battle Royale

The last two in the ring will have a match on next week’s show for the Dynamite Diamond Ring

Since MJF is the hometown boy, he’s the only one who gets an entrance while everyone else is already in the ring like jobbers.  He also gets a full entrance video with a narration done by a guy who sounds a lot like Barry Scott who used to do TNA promos.  The guy starts listing off all of MJF’s high school accomplishments as he’s walking on a high school football field, which is funny because that’s what you expect sad losers in their forties to do.  In any case, here’s who we’ve got for this match! 

MJF, Wardlow, Lio Rush, Dante Martin, Ricky Starks, Will Hobbs, Matt Hardy, Frankie Kazarian, Jay Lethal, Matt Sydal, Lee Johnson, and Lee Moriarty.  Also, Shawn Spears is outside the ring with an MJF branded folding chair.

Now the best way to do a Battle Royal is to not just focus on who’s going to come out on top but to seed future matches and expand on existing feuds.  Sure, you can throw a few guys in there just to get tossed out like Lee Moriarty who felt the wrath of a rampaging Wardlow, but then you’ve got Team Taz in there with their newly added member Dante Martin.  They’re working together to try and ensure that someone in Team Taz gets into the match (much like how Wardlow is protecting MJF), and they have to go through all people that Dante has burned along the way.  The first one out is Matt Sydal who gets tossed by Will Hobbs, and while I THINK that one was unintentional (it looked like he was trying to grip the middle rope to hold on, and the announcers don’t even acknowledge his elimination), it was bound to happen at some point and it’s always good to make Hobbs look strong!  We’ve got Matt Hardy who gets some brass knuckles from The Bunny that he uses to bash Jay Lethal and toss him out, but then he gets eliminated by Dante Martin right after; thinning the herd further of non-Team Taz members.  Wardlow is not liking this and so he goes to confront Will Hobbs where they trade shoulder tackles for a bit until Wardlow gets the upper hand and sends Hobbs to the apron.  Wardlow can’t finish him off, but then Lio Rush comes in with a Running Senton looking thing and eliminates Hobbs.  Things settle down for a bit as we go to commercial with the only thing of note being MJF who takes cheap shots on Dante before running back to the corner protected by Wardlow.  I bring this up because it’s another example of the show not quite gelling with the crowd as THEY are popping for it but the announcers spend half the match chiding MJF like a bunch of pearl-clutching moralizers.  I guess you can’t let the storylines and tone be entirely dictated by how one specific crowd is reacting, but the commentary just had me rolling my eyes throughout.  Things start to pick back up when Lio goes after MJF but faces the wrath of Wardlow instead.  With a well-timed Drop Kick from Dante Martin, Wardlow is on the ropes and Lio along with Lee Johnson try to throw him over.  Seeing an opportunity, MJF lifts ALL THREE of them over the ropes; eliminating Rush and Johnson but also taking out his bodyguard.  Oh, and Kazarian charges after MJF only to go sailing over the ropes.  Thanks for coming, buddy!  MJF’s feeling pretty good about himself having just eliminated four guys… but then he realizes he’s all alone in the ring with Ricky Starks and Dante Martin.  The two members of Team Taz approach MJF with the utmost of menace… AND THEN DANTE DUMPS RICKY STARKS!  That’s right!  Dante has betrayed Team Taz in some sort of long con to get this match against MJF at next week’s show; something that MJF finds quite amusing as he raises Dante’s hand before walking out.  That’s when Ricky starts to beat up on Dante and MJF takes a moment to consider helping the little punk.  He hems and haws before finally rushing to the ring to confront Ricky… and then starts to beat up Dante because MJF is a jerk and you better not forget it!  The only one to come down and make the save for Dante is CM Punk who chases off MJF and confronts Ricky.  Dante gets up and lands a Drop Kick that sends Ricky right into CM Punk for a GTS which knocks Ricky out cold and surely sends a chill down MJF’s spine!  I want to be a little bit annoyed by the commentary team and guys like Kazarian and Jay Lethal were brought in to do absolutely nothing, but the good parts of the Battle Royale were REALLY good, and the ending was a fantastic swerve that was perhaps the best ending for this!  I would have liked to see Dante have at least one match under the Team Taz banner, but this will no doubt lead to some serious fallout in the next few weeks and I can’t wait to see it!

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