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!!

.

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 (12-08-2021)

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!!

.

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…

.

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!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (12-08-2021)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (11-05-2021)

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

We’re back with more Rampage Action as Full Gear is getting closer and closer!  The last episode of Dynamite built some of the groundwork for the angles that will play out in the PPV, but I found it to be a bit of a mixed bag and not terribly exciting.  Can Rampage, with its shorter run time and focus on payoffs rather than story-building, be the fun and engaging spectacle that I felt was missing from Dynamite?  Let’s find out!!

.

Bryan Danielson Vs. Anthony Bowens

Bowens is accompanied to the ring by Max Caster

I always liked Bowens more than Caster as he had a bit more enthusiasm to him while Caster can come off and UNBEARABLY obnoxious.  It’s a shame that so often he’s playing the supporting role in this group, but tonight is his chance to take the spotlight and lock it up with one of the greats of the business!  Bowens has a decent start as his strength over Danielson and is immediately apparent!  He tosses Danielson around which is impressive to see, but it isn’t doing a WHOLE lot except stroking Bowens’ ego; neither is the Crucifix pin for a quick two count on Danielson that he tries WAY too early in this match.  Danielson doesn’t get a word in edgewise for a while but he’s clearly biding his time and finally gets an opportunity to land a high kick to Bowens before grabbing his arm and manipulating it to keep him under his control.  Danielson uses this advantage to toss Bowens in the corner and the two trade blows there for a bit before Bowens goes for a Suplex, only for Danielson to somehow smash his knee into his head on the upswing.  Not missing a beat, Danielson flips him over and goes for an Arm Bar which is only causing more damage to the arm, and while Bowens gets to the ropes to break the hold, he lingers too long on the apron and Danielson kicks him right out of the ring.  It’s not looking good for Bowens whose relative lack of experience is making him an easy target for Danielson, but he does catch a break when Danielson goes for a Running Kick, only for Bowens to catch him and drop him onto the apron.  If that wasn’t enough, Caster gives Danielson a clothesline while the ref isn’t looking which starts the heat for Bowens.  Danielson eventually fights his way out with a series of Uppercuts, and a big elbow strike from Danielson knocks Bowens to his knees where he then lands a bunch of Yes Kicks for a two count.  Danielson drags Bowens to the corner and starts hitting his Running Knee Strikes, but Bowens dodges one of them that leaves Danielson stuck in the corner, and he hits a Big Enziguri as well as a move called The Arrival (basically a Draping DDT), that gets him a two count.  Bowens tries to keep up the heat on Danielson, but he escapes and takes out Caster.  He then tosses Bowens over the ropes onto Caster and then lands a Cross Body from the top turnbuckle onto both of them.  With Caster effectively dealt with Bowens softened up, Danielson tosses his back into the ring and hits a Missile Drop Kick that practically knocks him out.  Instead of going for the pin though, he starts stomping on his face and puts him in the LaBelle Lock.  Bowens taps out and Danielson wins the match ahead of the TNT Title Tournament Finals that will be on Full Gear.  It was a fun match and giving Danielson a bit of juice ahead of the big show isn’t a bad idea.  That said, it’s just kind of THERE without much drama involved which is why I hope they do the same for Miro as I think he has a MUCH more interesting story to tell and a much more interesting match to make out of it.

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (11-05-2021)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (10-23-2021)

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

We’re back with more AEW Saturday Night Action that I didn’t get to until… well probably TUESDAY if we’re being honest which is especially rough since AEW is going back to Wednesdays and that show has already aired by the time I get this recap out!  Oh well, this is the life I chose and it involves weird wrestling schedules.  As long as the action is good, it’s not too bad of a tradeoff!  Does this episode pack a punch or did I procrastinate on a show that probably wasn’t worth sitting through in the first place?  Let’s find out!!

.

Bryan Danielson Vs. Dustin Rhodes – AEW World Title Tournament Match

I checked and this is another match that Danielson didn’t get to have when he was at WWE which makes me think that he came into AEW with his bucket list of matches as a rider on his contract.  The match starts out okay as Dustin is meeting him in terms of strength and is at least staying competitive in terms of technique, but it soon becomes clear that Dustin has a problem with stamina and has to take a break pretty early in the match just to catch his breath.  Danielson is magnanimous enough to give him a moment to do so, but as soon as Dustin comes back he shows no mercy and immediately takes Dustin to the ground to work over the legs.  It certainly isn’t Dustin’s night as he spends forever on the mat and can barely keep himself standing against Danielson’s offense when he does manage to stand back up.  Now I get what they were doing here as the frustration on Dustin’s face was pretty evident, but I still found a good chunk of this match to be slow and methodical in a way that I didn’t find very exciting.  It’s not until Dustin starts to mount a comeback that things pick up, but even then it comes in fits and spurts instead of a true comeback.  Dustin manages to fight off an attempted German Suplex before landing one of his own, but then Danielson takes him down again and starts working the arm.  There’s a good stretch where Dustin gets a Powerslam followed by a Hangman Neckbreaker for a two count that leads to this very cool Flying Clothesline, but as soon as that’s done Danielson locks in the LaBelle Lock, and Dustin has to scramble his way to the ropes.  Danielson starts laying in some kicks (at which point Dustin says the F word on NATIONAL TELEVISION) and they start trading blows back and forth.  Dustin goes for the Uppercut, but Danielson dodges it and transitions into a Crucifix pin for a two count; kicking him a few times for good measure.  Dustin is in the corner after this and so Danielson charges but ends up eating a MASSIVE Clothesline from Dustin that turns him inside out before landing the Pile Driver for a two count.  Dustin is starting to feel the momentum and so tries to follow up quickly with a Suplex, but Danielson breaks out of it and manages to lock in the Guillotine.  Dustin is fighting back with all his might, but the submission ends up being too much for him to overcome and he passes out in the middle of the ring; giving Danielson the win and advancing him in the tournament.  It wasn’t a long match but I still would have cut a few minutes out as it took a bit too long to get going and the comeback didn’t have enough of a punch to it.  A solid effort from two very talented guys but far from the best match we’ve seen AEW open with.

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (10-23-2021)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (10-16-2021)

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

Having the week away from wrestling certainly helped me relax and refocus, but then having three hours of shows back to back is perhaps balancing out the calm I gained from being away for a bit.  Still, this is AEW and even if their schedule can be a bit intense, especially when I’m working on so many other things recently, their shows do tend to be some of the more entertaining things I see all week.  Is this yet another fun show from AEW to lift my spirits, or can I already feel the burnout creeping back in?  Let’s find out!!

CM Punk starts the show with his entrance as he’s joining the commentary team once again.  The crowd isn’t sick of it yet, so why fix what isn’t broken?  It’s not like he’s resting on his laurels as he IS having matches pretty regularly, but coming out for the entrance is definitely gonna help his longevity and the crowd is more than happy to see it!

.

Dante Martin Vs. Malaki Black

Dante Martin is accompanied to the ring by Lio Rush

Malaki Black has been quite an interesting person to watch these past few weeks as he’s run through the Baby Faces of the company with obviously heelish intent, but the crowd refuses to boo for him and instead seem to WANT him to destroy everyone in his path.  AEW has at least reacted to this by adding shades of gray to Cody’s character in response to the crowd turning on him, but they seem to be staying with the course as Dante is yet another Baby Face for this guy to trounce.  Then again, he’s got Lio Rush in his corner who is serving up some serious Heel vibes, so perhaps they were already anticipating the crowd turning on Dante and are giving him a manager to ease the transition.  What matters most however is the match which is another solid showing from both Martin and Black.  Martin continues to show off his high flying skills, but his lack of power leaves him VERY vulnerable to Black’s devastating offense.  He manages to hold his own in so far as keeping at arms-length of Black, but there’s no path to winning if he can’t get any moves in and so every time he tries to land a hit it’s either countered or shaken off by Black who favors grounding him with submission moves for most of this match.   Dante does eventually find his groove and gets a few good moves in against Black, starting with a Reverse Hurricanrana that’s followed by a Springboard Senton.  He then tries to follow up with a Double Jump Moonsault, but Black dodges and starts slugging away at him.  To everyone’s surprise, Dante manages to land an Enziguri during this strike exchange and it manages to stagger Black.  Not to be underestimated however, Black quickly recovers and lands a Middle Rope Meteora that’s followed by a Roundhouse Kick and a German Suplex combo that was EASILY the highlight of the match, but Dante somehow managed to kick out of it!  To teach this kid a lesson about staying down when beaten, he drags Dante up to the corner for a Superplex, but Dante fights back and lands Top Rope Hurricanrana which SHOULD be the start of his comeback but Dante’s knee has taken A LOT of abuse this match between the submission from Black and his own wrestling style that it’s finally giving out and he’s not able to capitalize on his spectacular moves.  Black manages to kick out of a slow cover from Dante after finally landing that Double Jump Moonsault and quickly reverses it into a Single Leg Boston Crab.  However, this is where things get kinda weird as Black lets go of Dante to start clutching his stomach.  Excalibur thinks it’s rib problems, CM Punk thinks the DARKNESS WITHIN HIM is melting his insides, but either way, it allows Dante to try a Springboard Stomp to finish the match.  Black, whose stomach problems aren’t so bad that he doesn’t see what’s happening, dodges the move and hits Dante with a Roundhouse Kick which is finally enough to get the pin and win the match.  I can’t say that I liked the ending as Malaki being nearly undone by an unforeseen bout of indigestion was not how I would have built to the climax, but it was still a solid match between two great workers at the company!  I don’t get the sense that the crowd is turning on Dante the way they did Cody so perhaps Black hasn’t gone FULL Fiend yet, but I’m still curious what Lio Rush’s role in all of this is going to be as he didn’t even try to interfere in the match.  Maybe he saw what happened to Chavo and decided against being that kind of manager; at least for the time being!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (10-16-2021)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (10-01-2021)

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

So the last Dynamite was a pretty rough slog to get through which means I’m in JUST the right mood for what AEW themselves are calling THE FASTEST HOUR OF WRESTLING and at least until last week that was usually the case.  Does Rampage get us back on track with a light and fun episode of wrestling action, or will it be bogged down as much as the last Dynamite and even the last Rampage?  Let’s find out!!

.

Bryan Danielson Vs. Nick Jackson

Nick Jackson is accompanied to the ring by Matt Jackson and Brandon Cutler

So now that Danielson and Omega got their first big match out of the way, we can start going through some of the other dream matches while building up towards the rematch; a win-win situation if you ask me even if the crowd didn’t like their first match ending in a draw.  Nick Jackson is also a good opponent to put him up against in his quest to face off with the ENTIRE Elite as people are still talking about his singles match with Rey Fenix, and it should come as no surprise that these two have a great match!  Danielson may not have Nick Jackson’s high flying abilities, but he’s good at keeping him grounded and has a pretty sizable advantage throughout the match.  Jackson’s case isn’t helped by the fact that he isn’t taking this seriously at first opting to show off and play around with cold spray rather than face Danielson directly, and he pays for this several times with Yes Kicks, brutal submissions, and a Dragon Sleeper that he only manages to escape by thumbing Danielson in the eye.  The only reason he gets the heat during the commercial break is that he throws Danielson outside and starts distracting the ref while Matt Jackson tackles and hammers him on the floor.  Still, he can’t help himself and starts to play around by giving Danielson his “unique” variation on the Yes Kick that only serves to tick Danielson off; so much so that he’s starting to FEED off the force of those kicks until he’s finally standing tall!  He spits in Nick Jackson’s face and just goes WILD on the guy!  STRIKE!  KICK!  STRIKE!  KICK!  A nonstop barrage of offense from Danielson as he makes Nick Jackson PAY for giving him such puny kicks!  Nah, he’s gonna show him what REAL kicks look like and gives him a bunch of Yes Kicks for a two count!  It’s time for Nick Jackson to put up or shut up, so after taking a few Running Knees from Danielson, he stops him in his tracks with not one but TWO Super Kicks that net him a two count.  Nick Jackson then goes for the 450 Senton, but Danielson gets the knees up and he instantly transitions into the LeBell Lock.  Jackson rolls to the apron and Danielson follows with even more Yes Kicks, but Jackson ducks after the first few and Danielson hits his shin on the ring post.  Jackson follows up with a German Suplex on the apron and an Escalera to the floor before he tosses Danielson into the ring to put him in a Sharpshooter where he just barely gets to the bottom rope to break the hold.  It’s starting to look bad for Danielson who rolls out of the ring, but luckily for him, Nick calls his shots and shouts SEE YA before charging at him with a kick and he’s able to duck it only for Brandon Cutler to eat he move instead.  In the confusion, Danielson lands a German Suplex on the floor and rolls Nick Jackson in which could spell the end of this match, so Matt Jackson gets on the apron to distract the ref.  Danielson gives him a forearm that sends him to the floor so naturally Nick Jackson gives him a surprise roll-up, and even if it only got a two count, it at least leveled the playing field between them as we head into the finish.  Jackson lands a Superkick and goes for a Roundhouse to follow, but Danielson dodges and lands a Tiger Suplex into a bridge for a two count.  Still holding Nick Jackson he starts HAMMERING on the dude’s chest to the delight of the crowd, and once he’s done he locks him in the Cattle Mutilation.  Nick Jackson taps out which gives Danielson the victory to the consternation of The Elite who come out to look after Nick Jackson while Jurassic Express come out to look after Danielson.  A brief brawl breaks up as it naturally should, and Jurassic Express gets the upper hand in anticipation of an upcoming Eight Man Tag Match between the two factions.

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (10-01-2021)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (09-29-2021)

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

We’re back with another episode of AEW action, though this is something of a special episode.  Not in the USUAL AEW sense of adding a subtitle and a few marquee matches, but because this show takes place in Rochester where Brodie Lee is from and where he was supposed to debut before the Pandemic put everything on hold.  Because of this, AEW has put together a stacked card to not only continue their ongoing storylines but to celebrate and the people he affected during his time at the company.  Is it a proper celebration for the Exalted One who was taken from us far too soon?  Let’s find out!!

CM Punk comes out at the start of the show and he once again joins the commentary team on this episode.  I’m starting to wonder if he’ll actually do all that much wrestling as he seems perfectly content to sit in the booth and talk about everyone else.  I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to it as I think he’s got a lot of potential for that kind of role, but I’m guessing the checks Tony Khan had to write to get him aren’t about to go to someone who stays OUT of the ring.

.

Jungle Boy Vs. Adam Cole

Something we’ll run into a few times in this episode (which was also a bit of an issue on the last episode) is crowd reactions as the place goes unglued for Adam Cole despite being the heel in this conflict.  I gut that everyone is happy he’s here instead of at the other place, but it always feels off when someone is going above and beyond to be a heel and just gets the opposite reaction for it.  Then again, if you could argue one thing in favor of Paragon Cole, he does seem to have the experience advantage in this match and most of the time when he gets the lead it’s from outsmarting Jungle Boy which means that the young guy has to learn on the fly to outmaneuver the veteran.  Cole tries to keep Jungle Boy grounded with headlocks and mat work while keeping him off his game with feints and misdirection; particularly when he puts on the brakes on a charge Jungle Boy had scouted and had started flipping over; only to find Adam Cole behind him and is dragged to the mat for a one count.  Still, you can’t count the Jungle Boy out as he uses the same trick on a Cole a minute later and ends up knocking him out of the ring with a Springboard Arm Drag followed by a Drop Kick.  Cole needs to slow him down, so he baits him to go outside the ring with him before rushing back in and attacking Jungle Boy when he tries to get into the ring behind him.  Jungle Boy manages to escape the beating and goes to the turnbuckle, but Cole pushes him off and he tumbles to the floor in a bump that looked PRETTY bad but doesn’t seem to have caused an actual injury.  In any case, Jungle Boy is hurting and so Cole gets the heat during the commercial.  Jungle Boy eventually manages to fight back and tries to even the odds by landing a Basement Drop Kick on Cole followed by a BIG Lariat that sends him flipping in the air before landing on the mat.  The gamble pays off as the match gets VERY even at that point with them trading blows and pulling off big moves to try and wear the other one down.  Jungle Boy gets a German Suplex into a bridge for a two count and puts Cole in the Tree of Woe to land a Drop Kick, but then Cole follows up with a Backstabber and the Last Shot for a two count as well.  Cole goes for the Panama Sunrise from the apron to the floor, but Jungle Boy rolls away, runs into the rings, hits the ropes, and goes to dive… only to eat a Step Up Enziguri to the face.  Not to be outdone, he lands a Hurricanrana from the apron to the floor and tosses Cole back into the ring.  However, his follow-up of a Springboard Cutter fails to hit its mark as he eats a Superkick instead, and Cole uses this to land the Panama Sunrise… ONLY TO GET A TWO COUNT!  Shock and awe fill the arena as Cole’s finisher didn’t do the job and he tries to follow-up with THE BOOM, but Jungle Boy ducks and locks him in the Snare Trap.  Cole crawls to the ropes so Jungle Boy breaks the hold to drag him back to the center which gives Cole an opening to kick him in the face.  Cole gets up with Jungle Boy right behind him and it looks like Cole is grabbing the ropes with Ref Aubrey sandwiched between them, and while she’s unable to see what’s going on Cole lands a kick to the groin.  Seeing as neither one of their finishers ended the match, he took the path of least resistance and cheated with a move that knocked  Jungle Boy down which allows Cole to land THE BOOM, and gets the pin to win the match.  This was yet another fantastic showing from Adam Cole who is clearly proving himself to be a valuable addition to AEW.  I think the crowd is making things a bit awkward though because they LOVE this guy despite being a clear Heel, but aside from that I definitely want to see more matches with him!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (09-29-2021)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (09-24-2021) – Grand Slam

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

We’re back with more (and more, and more, and more) Rampage action as AEW’s attempt to fill every waking moment of my life with wrestling is moving forward unabated!  Hopefully things can slow down a bit and we can get back to our standard three hours of TV a week, but the Dynamite episode of Grand Slam was pretty excellent and they’ve got a solid card lined up for this EXTRA LONG episode of Rampage, so perhaps a little fatigue is worth it if it means a few more fantastic matches!  Is this a satisfying conclusion to the Grand Slam event that started on Wednesday, or will I be far from the only one wanting to go back to a one hour Rampage by the time this episode is done?  Let’s find out!!

.

CM Punk Vs. Powerhouse Hobbs

Hobbs is accompanied to the ring by Hook

CM Punk more or less proved he could still have solid matches when he went up against Darby Allin, but now we’re gonna see if he can put some shine on the talent who aren’t already at the top of the pecking order.  Hobbs came on the scene in a BIG way and was signed almost immediately, but he’s not really lived up to his potential; mostly due to a lack of marquee matches if you ask me.  That’s probably why they went with him to go up against CM Punk as you can’t ask for a better match-up to get eyeballs on you, and for what it’s worth they both do a solid job here.  Punk hits Hobbs with a Drop Kick as soon as the bell rings and starts working over the left leg which proves that at least SOMEONE knows what you’ve got to do to take a big man down!  Still, even with Punk’s fancy tactics, it’s hard to overcome the sheer POWER of Hobbs who knocks him to his knees with ONE Headbutt from Hobbs sends Punk to his knees.  On top of that, Hobbs has Hook in his corner so even when Punk gets the advantage through better technique he can’t always capitalize on it like when he puts Hobbs on his shoulders for a GTS very early in the match only for Hook to get up on the apron.  You’d think Punk would be able to just finish the move despite a guy looking at him funny, but that’s one of those quirks about the wacky world of wrestling and sure enough, he puts Hobbs down to go after him only to eat a Running Cross Body from Hobbs that knocks him flat on his back.  Hobbs gets the heat for a while and milks the crowd for as many boos as they can give him, and despite a few hope spots from Punk like a quick roll up for a two count, Hobbs remains firmly in control up to and throughout the commercial break.  Punk finally escapes with a few elbows to the face, and a Spin Kick followed by a Swinging Neck Breaker gets him some momentum.  He lands a Top Rope Elbow Drop for a two count and gets Hobbs on his shoulders once again for the GTS.  Punk actually finishes the move this time but it doesn’t connect as Hobbs blocks the knee on his way down, and hits him with one of his HELLACIOUS Spine Busters!  Hobbs gets him up on his shoulder for his finisher Town Business, but Punk wriggles out and puts him in a choke which nearly knocks him out.  He fights back and breaks the hold with a Back Drop which he follows with a Stampede that only gets him a two count.  After Punk gets an Avalanche Hurricanrana for a two count of his own, he tries to put Hobbs in a Triangle Choke which is a HUGE mistake as the number one rule of Big Guys is don’t leave their legs free, and as you’d expect Hobbs lifts up Punk and lands a Sit Out Powerbomb.  Punk kicks out at two and so Hobbs just tries hammering Punk in the middle of the ring to wear him down, but this allows Punk to land a Roundhouse Kick that sends Hobbs Reeling.  Punk signals for the GTS when Hook jumps on the apron once again, and of course Punk goes to deal with him which allows Hobbs to charge from behind.  BUT WAIT!  This is all a misdirection as Punk sees this coming from a mile away and sidesteps the charge so that Hobbs knocks Hook into next week which is perhaps the biggest bump Hook has taken since he started showing up in Team Taz!  With Hobbs distracted, Punk gets him on his shoulders and FINALLY hits the GTS to get the pin and win the match to the utter delight of the fans!  It was a pretty good match for the most part and I think I liked it more than the Darby Allin match.  Hobbs just seems to be bringing a lot more out of Punk so that he’s less the Elder Statesman of Wrestling looking to play to impress the crowd and more of a down and dirty fighter that I find much more entertaining and I suspect is the kind of wrestling that CM Punk fans want to see from the guy.  This Team Taz feud is far from over and I can only hope that the rest of the matches Punk has with them will be just as good!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (09-24-2021) – Grand Slam”

Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (09-17-2021)

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

We’re back with another episode of Rampage; or as I like to call it, the quiet before the storm!  The next Dynamite is one of those shows with a subtitle to it which means it’ll be stuffed with big matches and important storylines, and the Rampage after that is going to be TWO hours long instead of the usual one!  As if All Out didn’t exhaust me enough already!  Well in any case, we’ve got this nice one hour show to get through between now and then, so is another action packed fun-sized wrestling show, or did they move everything worth watching to the Arthur Ashe Stadium shows?  Let’s find out!!

.

The Lucha Bros Vs. The Butcher and The Blade

The Lucha Bros are accompanied to the ring by Alex Abrahantes while The Butcher and The Blade are accompanied by HFO

I wouldn’t say that The Butcher and The Blade are a BAD tag team, but they do need the right opponents to make them shine which is why their most memorable match was against The Young Bucks; one of the best teams out there when it comes to carrying a match.  The Lucha Bros easily prove themselves to not just be great workers but great champs as well as they put on a darn good show with The Butcher and The Blade here who give them a decent run for their money; mostly through cheap tricks and overwhelming force.  Actually facing them in a fair fight is pretty much a non-starter as The Blade starts things off by trying to keep up with Fenix, but just can’t get a hold of him and tags in The Butcher.  His strength makes him a bit tougher to overcome, but Penta and Fenix’s teamwork cuts him down to size, so it’s time for the Heels to get dirty.  Penta has a hold of The Butcher and Fenix goes up for a top rope move, but The Blade knocks him off the ropes; giving The Butcher a chance to get some offense on Penta.  Fenix tags himself in to cut The Butcher’s momentum, but then he ends up on Butcher’s shoulders for an assisted Knee Strike with The Blade.  So far so good for The Butcher and The Blade, but once things settle to a more civilized tag match, The Lucha Bros get the advantage again with some good strikes from Fenix, Sling Blades from Penta, and dives from both of them to The Butcher and The Blade who had rolled outside the ring.  It’s not until a MASSIVE Cross Body from The Butcher that their momentum is halted and the Heels can finally get some heat.  Penta eventually gets the hot tag to Fenix and both teams start trading some big moves.  A Fear Factor from The Lucha Bros, some sort of Backdrop move from The Butcher and The Blade (looked kind of like FTR’s Big Rig), and eventually Penta is trying to get to the corner for a tag when The Butcher and The Blade make their most dastardly move yet!  Fenix DOES get the tag, but The Butcher is there immediately to knock him out the ring while The Blade TIES PENTA’S MASK TO THE RING POST!  Penta is forced to sit there and watch as The Butcher and The Blade start to overwhelm his brother and he is ultimately forced to remove his mask and land a Super Kick while covering his face!  The kick lands squarely on Butcher’s jaw, and Fenix gets the pin to win the match!  It’s not over yet however as Private Party run in and attack Penta and Fenix, the former still without a mask and covering his face, when Proud N Powerful run in to make the save.  The masks are always a soft spot for me and a quick way to get me to boo someone, so having this work into the finish of the match was a pretty solid way to cap it off.  It’s not even in the same LEAGUE as the Bucks match at the PPV, but for a title defense on the B Show it was pretty good!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (09-17-2021)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (09-15-2021)

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

It feels like we JUST got done with the PPV, and already we’re building up to ANOTHER big show; in this case the Arthur Ashe Stadium show on the next episode which has been a huge feather in AEW’s cap since they started selling tickets for it, and everyone originally assumed that Danielson would premiere there.  Instead, it looks like we’re gonna get a match which is much more exciting, and it looks like a pretty stacked card all things considered!  Does this episode bring enough energy to get us pumped for yet another AEW event, or are we still all too exhausted from All Out for this to get us all that excited?  Let’s find out!!

The show begins with CM Punk coming out for his entrance and to hang out with the crowd before eventually finding his way to the broadcast booth and he joins the announce team for most of the episode.  I’m not sure if he has a lot of experience in that role, but he came off pretty well!  A little green perhaps, but he’s got a lot of the strengths that Jericho brings to the table by having that in-ring experience that he can articulate well during matches.

.

Adam Cole Vs. Frankie Kazarian

Not wasting any time in getting this guy in front of the crowd, we start off with Adam Cole’s first match since joining AEW; helped along by none other than Frankie Kazarian who once again is the most underrated guy in the whole industry!  A very good choice as you couldn’t ask for a better sparring partner for what is easily the best chance he’ll ever have at a first impression with a new audience!  It starts with a good back and forth with Frankie getting a slight edge, but things start to go a bit sideways when Cole tosses him over the ropes to the floor and it looks like he slipped when he landed.  It looks like he broke his fall with both his elbows and possibly his face, but he managed to get through the rest of the match just fine and I haven’t heard anything about an injury so it seems that he’s okay.  That was the only rough spot in the match though and everything else looked REALLY solid with a lot of cool moves from both of them.  Kazarian fends off Cole with a Leg Drop through the ropes before going for a Springboard Sunset Flip, but Cole rolls out and kicks him in the face before Grounding Kazarian with a headlock on the mat.  Kazarian gets to do the Baby Face spot of slowly fighting out of the headlock before getting a surprise roll up on Cole that he transitions into a submission that Cole has to kick his way out of.  From there it’s just great moves back and forth, a Neckbreaker from Cole, a German Suplex into a bridge from Kazarian, there’s even this one great spot where Kazarian is trying to put him in the Cross Face Chick Wing, but they are close to the post so Cole runs up and kicks off of it to knock Kazarian on his back and roll into a two count!  It’s not as flashy as a true high flying match, but it finds a great balance between athleticism, technique, and strength that makes it feel really old school but with enough sizzle to not feel outdated.  My favorite spot was probably when Cole lands a Super Kick and goes for a Panama Sunrise only for Kazarian to reverse it into an Alabama Slam which looked cool and made Kazarian look like the strongest dude on the planet for one shining moment there!  Kazarian follows it up with a Springboard Leg Drop for a two count and they start trading blows back and forth.  Kazarian gets the better of the exchange and goes for a Suplex, but Cole reverses it into an Ushigoroshi and gets a VERY close two count.  Undeterred, Cole charges at Kazarian who tosses him onto the apron; throwing blows back and forth but neither one can land a hit until Kazarian goes for another Leg Drop through the ropes but Cole is ready for it this time and dodges it which leaves Frankie flat on his butt and he’s forced to roll away from the ropes.  In doing so however, he gives Cole time to get to the top turnbuckle and he finally lands the Panama Sunrise followed by a Running Knee to get the pin and win the match!  Cole proved himself in this to be a darn good wrestler which I’m sure most of the AEW audience didn’t need to be convinced of, but there are those in out there who needed something like this to really understand why everyone else is so excited for him, and honestly just as much credit goes to Kazarian who is always fantastic and will hopefully one day be TRULY recognized for it!

Cole gets the mic after the match and calls out Christian Cage, Luchasaurus, and Jungle Boy before confirming that at the Grand Slam episode of Rampage, he and the Young Bucks will face them in a Six Man Tag match!  If it’s even half as good as the match here then I’m all for it, but with so much talent I’m sure it’ll be much better than that!  Maybe even four fifths as good!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (09-15-2021)”