Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (08-27-2021)

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

We’re back with another episode of Rampage Against The Machine as The Elite are up facing some stiff competition at the PPV and this week and this episode is here to prove that to them as well as the viewing audience!  Is this the perfect tee up for the big title matches at the PPV, or are we gonna need the next two shows to really get the hype machine going for All Out in September?  Let’s find out!!

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Jurassic Express Vs. The Lucha Bros

Jurassic Express is accompanied to the ring by Marko Stunt while Lucha Bros are accompanied by Alex Abrahantes

It’d almost be redundant to say that both of these teams had a FANTASTIC match here, but DANG was this match awesome!  Jungle Boy and Rey start things off with some great athleticism between the two with this one Cazadora into an Arm Drag from Jungle Boy that looked like wizardry and this great spot from Rey which was ADMITTEDLY a bit convoluted, but still very cool to see!  For whatever reason he’s walking the ropes in Jurassic Express’s corner which I’d think would be the LAST place you’d want to be, and sure enough Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus try to shove him off.  Of course Rey Fenix, being a wizard himself, bounces off the ropes instead of tumbles over and is right side up again to land a kick and a flipping arm drag.  Showing off a bit?  Sure.  Still awesome anyway?  ABSOLUTELY!  Jungle Boy tries to go for the Snare Trap to end things quickly but Fenix rolls out of it and both guys tag in their respective partners which gives us Luchasaurus Vs. Penta for a bit, and I don’t know how to phrase this exactly but Penta’s got a STRONG presence to him that’s both very hammy and EXTREMELY menacing.  His slow walk followed by taking off his glove is over the top, but ALSO belies a confidence that his opponent can’t do anything to stop him, and even when they try they regret it immediately!  Luchasaurus learns this first hand when he grabs his hand mid-ZERO MIEDO, and Penta just DESTROY his left leg with a series of kicks!  Luchasaurus doesn’t take it for long though and goes for the throat which prompts Fenix to come in with a top rope kick that looks like something from a Jackie Chan movie and the whole thing descends into chaos as we go to commercial!  Now I can’t go over everything here move by move so we’ll speed things up a bit, but that was only like four minutes of action and the rest of the match is at that level!  We get a few big moves and some swift tags back and forth (including a Frog Splash from Fenix onto Luchasaurus, but the next big spot was a Jungle Boy tag that led to a BIG Lariat followed by a Poisonrana for a two count.  Fenix kicks out but Jungle Boy then finally locks in the Snare Trap right in the middle of the ring which is bad news for Fenix.  Penta runs in to break up the hold, but instead of just kinda jumping on them like wrestlers usually do, Penta hauls back and gives Jungle Boy a freaking GOALIE KICK right into the skull!  Now I watched it again and Penta DOES slap the leg so that terrifying CRUNCHING sound was NOT due to direct contact, but I still couldn’t tell you if he ACTUALLY kicked him or not and I wouldn’t think a swift kick to the temple is in Jungle Boy’s best interest.  In any case, Fenix tags in Penta who starts tearing Jungle Boy apart, and the Bros go for Fear Factor but Jungle Boy escapes and tosses Penta out of the ring.  Jungle Boy is now on the top turnbuckle with Luchasaurus holding Penta on the floor below… but in comes Fenix who rope walks his way to the corner and gives Jungle Boy a Top Rope Hurricanrana THAT SENDS HIM TO THE FLOOR!  Thankfully, Luchasaurus, Penta, and even Marko Stunt were there to save him from landing right on his head, and Penta drags him to the ring and gets a two count.  After all that we’re finally heading into the finish as Luchasaurus tags in but immediately eats a Hurricanrana which is enough to keep him down for quite a bit while which gives Lucha Bros time to finish off Jungle Boy with a Canadian Destroyer on the apron.  Luchasaurus is all alone now and eats a bunch of Superkicks from both guys and do some sort of… I guess half a Canadian Destroyer which led to a pin where BOTH guys were on Luchasaurus.  Not sure why the ref even bothered counting because there is NO way that was a legal pin!  Luchasaurus kicks out, but The Lucha Bros follows up with an Assisted Pile Driver and that’s finally enough to keep him down for the three count.  Lucha Bros win the match and will face The Young Bucks at the PPV!  Speaking of whom, the Bucks run in to try and beat on the Lucha Bros, but Jurassic Express chase them off; showing mutual respect for their opponents who they just had a PHENOMENAL match with!  I had my concerns about a spot here and there, but there’s no doubt that this was a show stopping match that made everyone look like super stars and is exactly what AEW needed to sell us on the title match at the PPV!  Remember, this tournament was announced TWO WEEKS AGO which back then felt like WAY too little time to try and start building a story, but in three matches these four teams have done a fantastic job of making the PPV match feel important and like a genuine highlight to look forward to!  I doubt the Lucha Bros are gonna win as they have that thing with Andrade to focus on while The Elite should probably stay as the top heel faction for a while, but whatever happens at the PPV there’s no doubt that it’s got more momentum behind it than anyone could have hoped for!

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (08-25-2021)

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

When we’re this close to a PPV you can almost hear the Jaws theme in the background of every episode.  This constant mounting pressure to get everything ready and ship shape for the big show (which coincidently will include The Big Show) and it can be quite a juggling act between all of that and just putting on a good show for the TV audience.  Does AEW manage to keep spinning these plates as we move ever closer to All Out, or are some of them REALLY starting to wobble now that we’re in the home stretch?  Let’s find out!!

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Orange Cassidy Vs. Matt Hardy

We start things off as most Dynamite shows do with a straightforward crowd pleasing match.  Sure you could say that the Hardy/Cassidy storyline has been fleshed out over the last few weeks, but honestly it’s just an excuse to get a bunch of very over people in front of the crowds as often as possible to do their shtick and warm up the audience.  Said shtick by the way gets over quite big as it’s a war between Cassidy’s Lousy Kicks and Hardy’s Deletes with things taking a turn as Cassidy winds up for the big one.  Hardy implores him to wait a moment so that he can put his own hands in his pockets… ONLY TO PULL OUT WADS OF CASH!  He tries to punch Cassidy with these fistfuls of greenbacks but ends up eating a drop kick that sends the bills flying!  Unfortunately that ends up being the highlight as the match slows down quite a bit after that, and this is something that I’ve noticed with Orange Cassidy matches.  For whatever reason, the guy likes to have these long stretches where he just sells and sells and sells which I guess is to build up to his eventual comeback but as is usually the case (and is certainly the case here) it seems to deflate the crowd more than anything as Hardy just runs through him and keeps beating on him over and over again.  It’s not until Hardy starts signaling for the Twist of Fate that Cassidy gets his bearings and fights back in usual Cassidy fashion.  He throws Hardy out of the ring and follows up with a Suicide Dive, he lands a Swinging DDT for a two count, and he lands a Cross Body from the top rope.   The last of those seems to have broken his nose which was DEFINITELY not the plan and certainly made the rest of the match a bit hard to watch despite it REALLY picking things up.  It’s a much stronger back and forth bout with the two of them trading big moves; starting with them fighting on the middle rope.  Cassidy wins with a bunch of stomach shots, so he pushes Hardy off and Cassidy goes for a Senton with his hands in his pockets.  Cassidy then goes for the Twist of Fate, but Hardy just shoves him into the corner before landing an Elbow drop from middle rope for a two count.  Hardy goes for the Twist of Fate, but Cassidy spins out of it and lands a Twist of Fate of his own which Hardy just barely manages to kick out of.  Not deterred, Cassidy goes for an Orange Punch, but Hardy dodges and tries to put him in The Leech.  It’s a hard fight, but Cassidy escapes and pins Hardy’s shoulder’s to the matt by putting his hands in his pockets and locking Hardy’s legs between them which is enough to get the three count and win the match.  It was somewhat tedious and Hardy getting busted open didn’t help things at all, but there was some fun at the start and some big moves at the end.  Far from my favorite Cassidy match and not the best way to start the show, but hopefully things can pick up from here.

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (08-18-2021)

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

We’ back with another week of AEW action, and not only are we one week closer to the All Out PPV, it’s the first Dynamite since the premier episode of Rampage and all the fallout that came from that! Can AEW prove they can manage three hours of television without things getting spread too thin or storylines getting too big and sprawling? Let’s find out!!

We begin with episode with Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston who have some sort of announcement to make. Of course, being wrestlers, they can’t just simply do that and are gonna go through their full entrances in the crowd before saying a word; little do they realize that that’s what THEY are expecting! Who are THEY? Why, none other than 2.0 and Daniel Garcia who bash the two of them with pipes in the middle of the crowd and run to the ring to call out Darby and Sting who oblige the request, and so we begin…

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Sting & Darby Allin Vs. 2.0 (Matt Lee & Jeff Parker) – Texas Tornado Tag Match

2.0 is accompanied to the ring by Daniel Garcia

The former Ever Rise going from NXT castoffs to big TV stars in just a few short weeks on AEW, going so far as to beat up the former champ and one of the most over guys at the company, will no doubt a thorn in WWE’s side for months on end, especially with the latest batch of releases from the company, but regardless of that, both Matt and Jeff have proven themselves to be great additions to AEW and their association with Daniel Garcia has been one of the better things about the last two weeks of the show. As for the match itself, they keep it short and sweet with a lot of selling from the Heels and a lot of big Baby Face spots for Sting. Also, I guess the TEXAS part of this means No DQ because the bell has barely rung before they take things to the top of the stadium to duke it out there with Daniel Garcia backing up 2.0. The Baby Faces aren’t running away with this however as they do eat a bunch of offense from 2.0, particularly this one spot where 2.0 basically threw Darby up into the top part of an entrance way (google says it’s called a jamb) and then falls back down to Earth onto his back which frankly isn’t the WORST bump I’ve seen Darby Allin take. However, they eventually get the upper hand and make their way to ring while a freshly recovered Kingston drags Daniel Garcia away to presumably take a beating for his part in all this. There are a few more rough spots that the Baby Faces take like when Darby is Suplexed into his skateboard (wheels up) and when Sting eats a Powerbomb into a table, but the Baby Faces are resilient and Sting basically No Sells the table spot to the utter dismay of 2.0. Sting lands a Double Scorpion Death Drop on the two of them and THEN puts them both in a Scorpion Death Lock; both of whom tap out immediately; winning the match and once again putting 2.0 right in their place! It was definitely a fun opening match, and while I still don’t LOVE everything that Darby is willing to do in the ring, this was comparatively a less intensive match and the sheer power of THE ICON STING at the end of the match got the crowd in a great mood for the rest of the show!

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (07-07-2021) – Road Rager

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

AEW is back on the road and to celebrate they have a rather sizable show for their first stop in Miami!  Now this isn’t the first show in front of a full crowd as Daily’s Place was starting to fill up at the end there, but we’re in a whole new market with fans who have been starving for live wrestling action, and AEW plans to deliver!  Is this a worthy show to kick off the start of a new era, or will it take a bit of time before things settle into place?  Let’s find out!!

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Cody Rhodes Vs. QT Marshall – South Beach Strap Patch

Both competitors are tied together with a strap.  To win, one must touch all four corners of the ring consecutively.

This was an INTERESTING match if nothing else.  I’ve heard of this kind of strap match before, but it always seemed overly convoluted and I’m not sure WHAT they are supposed to prove.  After watching it, there is some strategy to be had (do you try to stop someone in the middle of a run of posts, or do you fortify your position on the last one) but ultimately its closest to a Last Man Standing match where the goal is to keep an opponent down for an arbitrary amount of time; in one case for a ten count and in the other for as long as it takes someone to walk to the four corners of the ring.  What ended up standing out more for me was the strap which is both a blessing and a curse here.  There are some fun things they do like when Cody yanks on the strap so that QT bounces off the ropes, but the strap is so long and unwieldy that it made a lot of this match seem EXTRAORDINARILY dangerous.  At one point it looks like Cody got caught up in the strap during a suplex and it threw his balance off which wrecked his shoulder which I don’t BELIEVE was a legit injury, but I never like to wonder if someone is actually hurt while watching a wrestling match.  For the most part Cody maintains control as he cuts off QT’s moves pretty easily and uses the strap as a whip to turn his flesh pink, but there’s always something there to stop Cody from getting all four corners to end the match.  The big moment is pretty early when Aaron Solow goes after Cody but he’s soon chased off by Dustin Rhodes who fights him through the crowd.  The next is that VERY scary suplex that Cody sells for most of the match and hinders him in his attempts to finish this off quickly; especially after eating an Avalanche Powerbomb which somehow looked LESS scary than the suplex from earlier.  His closest chance at victory is a Draping Diamond Cutter that gets him as far as three corners, but Cody starts yanking on the ropes which forces QT to start attacking him again.  Cody however is fully energized by this point and runs WILD on QT with a series of big punches and big moves.  He lands a Cody Cutter which is soon followed by three Cross Rhodes, and QT stays down long enough for Cody to get all four corners to win the match.  If I didn’t worry that Cody and QT were going to DIE at some point in this match I would have called it a great opener, but the fact is that they didn’t and they put a lot into it to make it work, so it gets credit for that at least.

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (06-30-2021)

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

The Pandemic is not over yet despite what many will have you believe, but as far the Wrestling business and other live events, it’s at a point where enough people are vaccinated that they can fill arenas without worrying about super spreader events; at least not to the degree of risk there was even a few months ago.  Because of that, AEW will be returning to the road with next week being their first show out of Daily’s Place in Jacksonville Florida since more or less the start of the pandemic.  Do they give us a fantastic sendoff to the city of Jacksonville for all it’s done to keep AEW afloat, or are they already half-way out the door and just threw something together?  Let’s find out!!

Before we start the opening match, Jericho comes out to a raucous rendition of Judas as he is joining the announce team for this show; mostly to call the Sammy/MJF match in the main event, but he’s always a fun presence whenever he shows up in the booth!

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Young Bucks Vs. Eddie Kingston & Penta El Zero M – AEW Tag Title Qualifier Match

Penta is accompanied to the ring by Alex Abrahantes

AEW will rarely resemble WWE, and the few times it does it’s usually the GOOD parts like getting wrestlers from the past that people like and the occasional goofy celebrity spot.  This feud between The Bucks, Kingston, and Penta though resembles some of their worst tendencies which are its incessant 50/50 booking and running matchups into the ground as these two teams have been fighting back and forth since the PPV; longer if you count the fact that Kingston and Moxley were fighting with them before that!  To their credit though, the matches have been improving and The Bucks are only getting more fun in their utter contempt for good taste; case in point, the diseased rats they’ve glued to their face that they are calling facial hair with Nick in particular is sporting a very bushy Hogan-stache that seems to be drawing heat from the crowd all by itself.  Aside from that, it’s a pretty straightforward match with the Heels getting the heat and the Baby Faces breaking free to run wild.  Its good wrestling to be sure, but they aren’t doing anything I didn’t see the last few times they locked up; even the really cook stuff like Penta’s roll up into a DDT or when Kingston starts no selling a bunch of kicks feels like diminishing returns.  The best moment was probably the nearfall where Kingston throws Nick up onto the turnbuckle, Penta follows up with a kick, Kingston then lands a German Suplex, and Penta catches him into a Backbreaker.  The Bucks get a similar nearfall when they land The Lucha Bros own finisher (Fear Factor) onto Penta which Kingston breaks up at the last second, and this leads to The Good Brothers coming out to heckle Kingston and Penta as well as distract the ref while Cutler runs out for the cold spray spot.  Matt Jackson has Penta in position, but Penta comes up with the BRILLIANT tactic of… ducking, and instead Matt eats a bunch of cold spray to the face!  Frankie Kazarian runs out to take out Cutler which leaves Penta and Kingston to finish off matt Jackson with a Pile Driver and a back fist to get the pin and win the match; earning their chance to challenge for the Tag Team title!  If I hadn’t seen The Bucks versus Kingston and Penta for the last few weeks this would have hit a lot harder as the moves work was solid and the ending had a lot of fun spots to it; especially with Kazarian living up to his name as the Elite Hunter to just spoil The Bucks endless attempts to cheat.  This does set us up for yet another match between the two teams, but with the title being on the line it will hopefully bring enough gravitas to make it feel not as much like every other match we’ve seen so far from them.

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (04-28-2021)

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

Blood and Guts is only one week away, and while it REALLY feels like it should be at least a month down the road, AEW has done their darnedest to try and make it as big a spectacle as they can.  Will this final week of hype be enough to make it a huge success, or will the rushed build in this show mean that few will care to tune in next week?  Let’s find out!!

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Hangman Adam Page Vs. Brian Cage

Before the match can properly start, Cage and Team Taz bum rush him and stomp him into the ground before The Dark Order rushes out to make the save.  They at least manage to chase off Hook, Hobbs, and Starks, but Page is still alone with THE MACHINE who gives him a Powerbomb on the ramp before tossing him into the ring and continuing his assault.  Page tries to fight back and gets a very brief hope towards the end, but it’s ultimately a losing proposition a Cage lands the Drillclaw and wins the match in about five minutes.  It may not have been the most EXCITING match as it was essentially an extended squash, but there are several things about this that made it FANTASTIC!  Team Taz has been on a losing streak for a while and Page has been on a winning streak, so this kind of shake up is perfect for setting up a feud with some real stakes to it as Cage so effortlessly destroyed Hangman and it’s unclear if he can beat him even without getting Powerbombed at the start.  On top of that, you have Taz on commentary selling not just this one match but the story of Team Taz up to this point and how Adam Page ultimately fits into it which only adds to the tension as to what’s going to happen next.  In less than ten minutes, AEW managed to set up a new feud and give it some real weight which is impressive for any show to pull off, and even as a squash match it was fun to watch.  Not a bad start to the show if you ask me!

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (04-21-2021)

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

Another week, another episode of AEW action, though things have definitely changed now that WWE NXT is on a new night and AEW is going unopposed.  So far it has meant a pretty sizable bump in the ratings (no doubt helped by Mike Tyson’s recent appearances), but with a growing audience to satiate, can AEW put on a show that will keep the new fans coming back without losing the audience that got them here in the first place?  Let’s find out!!

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Hangman Adam Page Vs. Ricky Starks

Ricky Starks has NOT had a good go of it lately.  He came in strong with a show stealing match against Cody, but since then he’s been become kind of a joke by virtue of being the smallest guy in Taz’s stable.  Here he manages to show some great moves and hold his own against Hangman, but even then he’s fighting from underneath for most of the match.  Page is bigger, he’s faster, and even ends up fighting smarter as Starks can never seem to keep an advantage for more than a moment before Page stops his momentum in its tracks; at one point even hurting his ankle which only makes things that much more difficult for Starks.  Still, he gets in some good moves towards the end; especially a Sitout Powerbomb where he pretty much deadlifts The Hangman which was an impressive feat of core strength, before dropping him back down.  Sadly it only gets him a two count and Hangman manages to fight him back to the corner where he lands an Avalanche Fallaway Slam followed by a Lariat which gest him a two count in return.  Of course, there’s only one way to end this and so Hangman goes for his Buckshot Lariat, but Spears dodges the move and lands a hellacious looking Spear on the Hangman that gets him a VERY close two count!  Rethinking his strategy, Hangman doesn’t go for another Buckshot and instead gets Starks into a submission hold that focuses on the bad ankle which Starks is forced to tap out to; giving Hangman the win.  Starks looks good in almost every match he has and this is perhaps the best he’s looked in a while, but I’m left wondering what his role is at AEW and if Team Taz is ever going to get a significant win on this show.

Taz, seemingly just as frustrated, starts yelling at Page which allows Hook to run in and Chop Block him which gives him, Starks, and a fast arriving Brian Cage, to stomp a mud hole into the Hangman.  Before any serious damage can be done, The Dark Order rush out to chase Team Taz away; once again proving their loyalty to The Hangman who, as far as I can tell, STILL isn’t a member of the group and probably won’t be for some time.  It was a good opening match to be sure that gave Starks a bit of shine even in defeat, and if nothing else it was a MUCH better showing from The Hangman than his match against Max Caster two weeks ago.

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