Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (11-11-2020)

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

We’re just a few days out from Full Gear which means it’s been a VERY busy week here what with three shows in a seven day period of time.  The time after a PPV is usually a good time to cleanse the pallet and begin things anew as the major storylines up to this point had gotten definitive payoffs on Saturday.  With a clean slate to work from, what new stories will AEW start to tell and will they be as good as the ones we have just closed the book on?  Let’s find out!!

 Team Taz comes out to announce that Brian Cage will be wrestling RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW, but before we can get on with the carnage, Taz calls out to Darby Allin (the new TNT champion) up in the cheap seats and advises him to not interfere or else he’ll be turned into a bloody smear on the ground.  He then starts talking smack to the visibly nonplussed Darby Allin about how he’s a TRUE wrestler and has no respect for the legends that came before.  Cage’s opponent on the other hand, is a WONDERFUL athlete and a genuine challenger for Brian Cage, and that challenger is…

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Brian Cage Vs. Matt Sydal

Kind of a random note here, but I have never seen Sydal wrestle anywhere else but here, and do you know who he reminds me of?  Dolph Ziggler.  They KIND of have similar faces and they both seem to have a retro cornball thing going on, but while I GENUINELY love Ziggler and think he’s a fine wrestler, Sydal is pretty amazing and I’m a little bit surprised at just how good this match is!  I figured it would just be another squash match to give Brian Cage an edge in wherever his story goes next, but was a fun competitive match between two guys with vastly different skill sets while still managing to work together seamlessly.  Sydal’s Achilles heel seems to be his ego as he takes every opportunity to mug to the crowd, and against another opponent that would probably be fine… but he’s up against THE MACHINE Brian Cage who is not easy to take down and is VERY quick to get back up.  After an initial flurry from Sydal, Cage takes firm control of this match and tosses Cage around the ring which under normal circumstances would be the end of Sydal, but he manages to tough out of it and gives Cage a run for his money.  Cage goes for some sort of move off the ropes but Sydal manages to reverse it into a Powerbomb and follows up with a Meteora.  Instead of pressing the advantage with a few moves on the ground though, Sydal goes back to the top rope which gives Cage enough time to roll out of the way.  Fortunately Sydal manages to avoid a Powerbomb from Cage and keeps up the offensive but just can’t put Cage away no matter how many kicks and flips he does.  Perhaps the most impressive moment is when Cage goes for a Powerbomb and Sydal somehow flips it into a Hurricanrana into a pin, and yet it’s STILL not enough to put Cage away!  Despite putting up a valiant fight, it’s not Sydal’s night to win as he once again goes for a move from the top rope but Cage grabs him out of mid-air and drops him into a Drillclaw; pinning Sydal and winning the match.  As soon as the match is over, Ricky Starks grabs the mic to proclaim his intentions of challenging Darby Allin for the TNT title because he is now finally ranked and he and his team will DESTROY anyone who dares to get in the way of his path to glory!  Considering the promo that came before it and how much Taz is pumping up his two boys for greatness it would have been the perfect time to have a squash match to make Cage look as strong as possible, but instead he had a great match with Sydal and still looked great by the end of it.  Team Taz’s story got derailed a bit by Lance Archer getting COVID, but it looks like things are back on track and I can only hope they have big plans for not just these three but for Will Hobbs as well!  He’s still owed that six man tag match, right?

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (11-04-2020)

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

I don’t know about you, but I’ve barely gotten ANY sleep this week and this whole “wrestling” thing feels a bit small and inconsequential given what’s going on in the US right now.  Hopefully by the time we get to the PPV on Saturday the votes will be tallied and we can all focus on fun things again, but there’s no doubt that AEW has a big uphill battle here with this Go Home show leading into Full Gear.  Do they manage to put on something memorable despite the world being laser focused on politics this week, or will it get lost in the shuffle like everything else?  Let’s find out!!

We begin the episode with Dasha interviewing Jericho (flanked by Jake Hager and Santana) who spends a good few minutes praising Jake Hager for his win at Bellator last week which hey, good for him!  It was certainly better than in his last match where he punched a dude in the groin and it got called a No Contest, but before Jericho can finish singing his praises, MJF comes in and interrupts them to tell him how much he appreciates the opportunity he’s been given.  Jericho, not too happy about being interrupted, doesn’t share this enthusiasm and in fact claims that MJF lacks something vital to be part of The Inner Circle; a Killer Instinct.  The same Killer Instinct that got Jake fifteen stiches in a fight he ended up winning and earned Santana his reputation as a ruthless fighter in the world of wrestling.  MJF?  Well until he proves otherwise, Jericho believes he’s just soft, and that’s just not going to work for them.  MJF doesn’t like any of these accusations and storms off; leaving Jericho to head to the announcers desk as he’ll be calling matches all night.  I kind of wish they’d also let Santana and Hager get sit at the desk too, but too many heels running the show and with Eric Bischoff having JUST shown up last week, people might start getting flashbacks to Souled Out and nobody wants that.

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Sammy Guevara & Ortiz Vs. MJF & Wardlow

Okay, quick question.  Perhaps I’m just hearing things, but they played the Inner Circle’s theme song here for Ortiz and Sammy’s entrance… and doesn’t it kind of sound like a knock off NWO theme?  I don’t recall ever hearing it before as they always used Jericho’s song Judas, and it just reminded me of that; especially when it starts with a deep voiced dude saying THE INNER CIRCLE which is not unlike how the NWO’s theme starts.  In any case (before I go on any OTHER weird tangents), let’s talk about the match itself.  More than any other story line for this upcoming PPV, including the Moxley match, the tag titles, and ESPECIALLY Sammy’s feud with Matt Hardy, the unrest within The Inner Circle brought about by MJF’s attempts to join them has been rather compelling so far and this match being the first flare up of this tension means it will certainly have consequences for the story on Saturday and going forward.  Now this might be a tag match, but for the most part it’s really all about Sammy and MJF with Wardlow and Ortiz being there to give the other two an opportunity to strut their stuff.  Sammy in particular looks VERY good here with an early hot tag that has him overcoming both Wardlow and MJF with relative ease.  The guy has had a ROUGH time of it the last few months with controversies, botches, and injuries overshadowing everything else, but his performance here is a strong first step for him to regain his clout as one of wrestling’s rising young stars.  MJF looks good here as well, but for most of the match he’s fighting with the upper hand and isn’t really pushing himself.  He’s has had his share of rough matches, but by design he’s never really excelled at that as he gets desperate way to quickly and resorts to cheap tricks at the slightest hint of a disadvantage, which goes towards Jericho’s assessment of him being soft.  He’s not to be discounted however even if he starts to waiver under pressure, and once it’s Sammy and MJF alone in the ring, the both of them start to work out their frustrations on each other in an excellent display of acrobatic violence.  Sammy ends up proving himself here as he actually manages to get the advantage and nearly gets a pin on MJF, and even though Wardlow breaks it up its clear that Sammy might just be the better fighter.  Ortiz gets back in the ring after dealing with Wardlow on the outside and him and Sammy get MJF on the turnbuckle.  They are setting up a tandem Superplex, but Wardlow comes in and suplexes all three of them with his mighty muscles, and the best part of this is MJF’s over the top selling as he seems to have taken the brunt of the damage while Wardlow poses for the audience.  All of this is fun and it does a good job of setting up the important dynamics between these wrestlers, but sadly things start to go off the rails at the end.  Sammy seems poised to win this if he can just get back himself and MJF back into the ring, but then Matt Hardy attacks him with a chair and not even a minute later MJF gets Ortiz into his Salt of the Earth arm bar where he taps out almost immediately.  MJF and Wardlow win the match and start heading for the back, but then MJF breaks off and sprints towards Jericho at the announce table; spearing him in his seat and having to be dragged away by Wardlow as Jericho gingerly gets up and smiles at his assailant.  Perhaps this man DOES have a Killer Instinct and Jericho will be surprised at what happens on Saturday!  The ending drags the match down considerably for me, but I liked the performances of everyone involved and MJF proves once again just how good he is at playing a character while also putting on a great wrestling match.  Presumably he’s going to win on Saturday or some other shenanigans will ensue as I doubt they’re going to drop this storyline with a clean Jericho victory, and I can only hope a long convoluted character drama already set up for all five (soon to be six!) members of the Inner Circle; like Shakespeare but with more chair shots!

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (10-14-2020)

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

Did you know the PPV is less than a month away!?  Doesn’t it feel like we JUST got done with a PPV a month ago?  Oh who even knows anymore; it’s not like time MEANS anything at this point.  We’re all just barreling through this ridiculous world at ten billion miles per hour, and hey if nothing else, since it’s happening the Saturday after the election (PLEASE GO VOTE!!) it’ll be either a nice treat for a world that just saved itself from the brink of destruction or it’ll be the last spot of joy before this country inevitably crumbles into a fascist dictatorship.  In any case, I hope that Will Hobbs gets a title shot on that show!  Before we look towards the future however, let’s keep our eyes squarely on the present and take a look at this show right now.  Will this episode start building up to the PPV in fun and exciting ways, or do they need a bit more time to get everything into place?  Let’s find out!!

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FTR Vs. Best Friends – AEW Tag Team Title Match

FTR is accompanied to the ring by Tully Blanchard

Look, we know that both teams are good and that they can have great matches, so I don’t want to sound negative about this on the outset.  It’s not a bad match, but BOY is it a non-descript one for what’s supposed to be a title defense!  Trent is in command for a good chunk of this match before FTR get the upper hand and start generating heat for what feels like an hour before Trent eventually gets the hot tag on Chuck who goes wild for a bit.  Things at least get a bit interesting there when Tully interferes and Chuck retaliates by chocking him with his own jacket, and there was a pretty impressive nearfall where Best Friends land a Soul Food on Cash to get a two count, but there’s just not a whole lot going on here.  Aside from the nearfalls, the only move that really stuck out for me was when Cash dropped Trent’s leg onto the ring ropes which was an interesting visual, but Trent doesn’t sell the leg at any point in the match (he even uses the knees to counter a Vader Bomb), so what was the point of specifically targeting it?  Speaking of nearfalls, FTR manages to regain the advantage and are getting the heat on Trent with a series of suplexes, but Trent won’t stay down for the three-count and tries to fight his way out of this rough spot.  They eventually brawl to the outside where Kip Sabian is playing away on an arcade cabinet, and Cash throws Trent right through it; destroying it utterly and leaving Kip with nothing but a fight stick to entertain him.  The match eventually returns to the ring and Trent manages to get the tag to Chuck, but it’s ultimately futile as Cash manages to smash Chuck in the face with the title belt while the ref was distracted which is enough for Dax to get the pin and retain their titles.  Like I said, there wasn’t a whole lot going on with this match and the stuff at the end, while entertaining, wasn’t exactly the most THRILLING directions for a match to take and I’d honestly take the match they had last week with TH2 than this one.

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Super Wrestling: AEW – All Out 2020

All Out and all the images you see I this recap are owned by All Elite Wrestling and Shahid Khan

The last few weeks of television have been disappointing as AEW is stumbling their way towards not just to this PPV but having a live audience again and doing it in a way that’s safe while also enhancing the show.  It hasn’t been an easy journey and they’ve made some mistakes, but the buildup to this show has been solid if nothing else, and with so many marquee matches to watch… well, let’s just hope that they can pull it off better than they’ve been pulling off Dynamite; and CERTAINLY better than from what I heard went down in that women’s Tag Tournament.  Is this show a culmination of all the stumbling effort they’ve been putting in the last few weeks, or has all that bad luck spilled over to the PPV itself?  Let’s find out!!

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Joey Janela Vs. Serpentico – Buy In Match

Serpentico is accompanied to the ring by Luther while Janela is accompanied by Sonny Kiss

Serpentico is one of those dudes who I’ve seen A LOT standing on the outside of the ring these last few months, but this will be the first I’m seen him in a match.  According to the announcers, he and Luther have formed a tag team on Dark which is why he’s out here sticking his tongue out like he does, and Luther if you recall was the dude who was hanging out with Brandie Rhodes when she was doing her Nightmare Collective Shtick.  Well whoever these guys are, Joey comes out the gate with gusto as he’s still upset about having lost his match against Jericho as badly as he did (complete with giant bandage on his forehead in case you forgot what happened), and in his rage he manages to shake off whatever offense Serpentico can muster… at least until he gets pushed off the top rope and takes a real nasty looking tumble.  It doesn’t look like he got injured, but it was definitely not a fun ride down!  Serpentico takes over for most of the match after that and the guy seems like a decent wrestler with some solid gymnastics to his repertoire, but the story of this match is that Joey has more stamina and strength; so whatever ten moves Serpentico dishes out can’t seem to match the impact of one of Janela’s.  Now usually the one who has to fight from underneath is the babyface in a match like this, but Serpentico is also a dirty cheater as he’s constantly distracting the ref so that Luther can take cheap shots at Janela, and with this strategy Serpentico is able to stay in the game and even get a few near falls, but it’s just not enough to secure victory.  Janela’s building up speed for a big attack on Serpentico, but Luther grabs his legs from the outside while the ref is distracted.  Sonny Kiss, who’s been holding back this entire match, decks Luther in the face and Janela finishes him off with a Diving Drop Kick.  With Luther no longer a factor, Janela knocks Serpentico down with a running clothesline before landing a top rope elbow drop to get the pin.  It was a fine match though I think Janela is one of those guys who works WAY better when he’s got a story to build off of.  Even something simple as his feud with Shawn Spears led to that AMAZING Santa Claus match, so if this is the start of something with Serpentico then I’m all for it!

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (08-22-2020)

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

With another PPV just two weeks away (literally this time due to the schedule change), AEW has to kick things into overdrive to get people pumped for the big show!  No more of this back and forth where one week is good and the next week is meh!  Nope, just good matches, good stories, and lots of exciting angles so that people drop their fifty bucks to see it all play out!  Does this show manage to create the right kind of buzz to sell All Out to the fans at home, or will it take more than one good show to get things back on track?  Let’s find out!!

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Private Party Vs. FTR

Already in the ring and with no introductions, both teams are in the ring and this match is underway.  Not only that, Tully Blanchard is in FTR’s corner wearing an FTR jacket so I guess they’re teaming up with him and the conspicuously absent Shawn Spears.  I thought they were going to go with Arn, considering the meeting they had a few weeks ago, but I guess his and Cody’s heel turn isn’t happening any time soon.  FTR gives a lot to Private Party in this match, and they look pretty good!  Marq Quen and Isiah Kassidy can be a bit hit or miss at times, but they seem to have brought their A game here, and FTR continue to be consummate professionals in whatever they do.  Still, there’s not much TO this match even though both teams are doing a great job in it.  We get some Superkicks from Private Party, FTR beats up Quen in the corner for a while, and Private Party tries to fight back with high flying and flashy maneuvers; my favorite probably being when Kassidy flipped over the ropes into a Stunner on Dax Harwood.  The only part that felt a bit off was some not especially great looking Leapfrogs from FTR, but other than that it’s a solid match between two teams.  At some point Quen is down and Kassidy is trying to make the save by diving onto Harwood on the outside.  At the last moment, Tully Blanchard pulls him away and Kassidy lands on the floor; leaving Quen alone in the ring and so both members of FTR bring this to a close with the Goodnight Express for the pin.  So, yeah; it was a good match, but not one that had a lot of highs and lows for me.  Nothing stood out all that much despite both teams putting in the effort.

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (08-12-2020)

AEWDYNAMITE

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

Did you all know that the next PPV All Out is going to be on September 5th!?  That feels WAY too soon, doesn’t it!?  Then again, who knows anymore?  What does time even MEAN when we’re all cooped up in our houses and alternating between sleeping, eating, and binge watching?  Well if we’re stuck in these rote rituals for the foreseeable future, we may as well keep recapping these AEW shows until things get better which by my estimation should be what, fifteen years?  In any case, let’s see what AEW has for us on this show which has a greatly hyped main event and some sort of tag team celebration!  Let’s get started!!

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The Young Bucks Vs. The Dark Order (Evil Uno & Stu Grayson)

Before The Bucks can finish doing their poses and get in the ring, three Creepers come out from the back and start pounding away at them; softening them up as Grayson and Uno casually saunter to the ring!  The Dark Order has REALLY come into their own in the last few weeks and has become one of the most pervasive elements in the show.  Considering how much of a joke they were just a few months ago, it’s a testament to AEW and their foresight in seeing what The Dark Order could become if given enough time to work out the kinks.  After Nick Jackson gets unceremoniously tossed into the ring, Matt Jackson goes to take out the Creepers outside the ring, but in doing so opens himself up for a devastating Suicide Dive from Grayson.  Uno and Grayson then proceed to brutalize and tenderize poor Nick Jackson and look darn good doing it!  I may not have used these exact words in the past, but I find Evil Uno to be one of the most magnetic personalities in the company; a guy who imbues his character into all of his actions and has a great rapport with his partner Grayson.  He’s also a genuinely good worker even if he’s not exactly THE BEST wrestler at the company and does a great job selling for The Bucks once they get their comeback.  The only thing that’s kind of throwing me off a bit is that Uno has some sort of gimmick going on with the tape he has wrapped around his wrist.  He’s at his best when he’s being clever and this feels like an attempt at that, but I’m just not getting it.  In any case, The Bucks’ comeback is cut short and Matt finds himself outside the ring surrounded by three Creepers with a very intense looking Evil Uno waiting for him to jump back in the ring.  Matt’s ingenious move to escape is to dive under the ring itself and come out the side which was a fun little spot.  Another fun spot was when Evil Uno did that thing where he grabs Matt Jackson’s leg, tossed it to the ref, and then gave him a Cutter.  It seems to be his new thing, and I certainly still enjoy it!  Sadly it’s not enough to secure victory for my favorite Spooky Perverts, and the turning point back to the Bucks is when Matt lands a hellacious spear on Evil Uno which gives him enough time to give Nick the hot tag.  Nick runs wild; throwing Grayson into the crowd and Super Kicking Uno in the head.  After The Bucks land a Risky Business on Uno, Matt goes for the pin but only gets a two count.  Undeterred, the duo lands a draping Swanton Bomb onto Uno and would surely have gotten the pin if Uno hadn’t gotten his foot on the ropes.  See, this is why special moves should be in the middle of the ring!  You’re just wasting your EX meter if you do it near the edge!  Grayson comes out of NOWHERE and gives Matt Jackson a Huricanrana from the top ropes at which point the two start trading big moves and near falls.  Grayson takes Matt Jackson and throws him into the entrance tunnel; leaving the Creepers to guard it while the two of them finish off Nick Jackson.  It looks like they’re about to win, but Nick Jackson manages to wriggle out of Uno’s hold and turns it into a pin.  Grayson runs as FAST as he can and is FLYING through the air to break up the pin, but he is a second too late and Nick Jackson gets the win to the shame and consternation of The Dark Order.  This was an AMAZING opening match and was a GREAT example of what I want to see in tag team matches like this!  We’ve gotten quite a few tag matches the last few weeks and while some of them have been good, this one blows the rest out of the water as far as I’m concerned, and I cannot wait to see what Uno and Grayson do next.  Maybe they’ll even WIN a match on Dynamite!

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (06-10-2020)

AEWDYNAMITE

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

We’re back with even more AEW goodness, though for whatever reason I’m just not feeling it going into this episode.  Last week we had the big main event that was built up in the week prior while this week’s match was just thrown out at the end of last week’s show.  I mean sure, the Orange Cassidy and Best Friends Vs. The Inner Circle match will be fun, but other than that I’m hard pressed for an episode that has less going on heading into it.  That said, hype is far from the most important part of a wrestling show and AEW has done far more with far less, so I’ve little doubt that this will be yet another outing from them.  Will this be yet another collection of solid matches to the week that much more bearable to get through?  Let’s find out!!

Before the first match begins we are informed that Jericho will be joining Jr, Tony, and Excalibur in the booth tonight.  Jericho doesn’t JUST walk to the booth and do commentary!  Dude comes out with his FULL entrance and theme music just to walk to the right and put on a headset.  THAT’S how you get a show started!  I know that JR has his own theme, but why doesn’t everyone else?  I’d LOVE to see what Excalibur’s entrance is like!

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FTR Vs. The Butcher & The Blade

The first showcase for the former Revival is something that fans have anticipated for months, so can they live up to those expectations?  Heck, it’s been a while since we’ve seen The Butcher and The Blade in action so you could argue they have as much to prove as FTR does, and thankfully both teams manage to bring their A-game here for a very satisfying opening bout.  I still don’t really GET The Revival the way that apparently everyone else does (I still don’t know which one is which), but they are a VERY good team here and pull off some impressive moves; especially this one part where one of them grabs Blade out of mid-air and slams him to the mat which looked brutal and a spot later where the bald one superplexes The Blade to the mat and is soon followed by the one with hair landing an elbow drop from the top rope.  There’s also a great bit of storytelling here where a lot of the big wigs at the company, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Jake Roberts, you could even count Jericho since he’s calling the match, have come out to see what happens.  Everyone wants to know what FTR are about and are hoping to recruit them to whatever faction they represent; whether they’ll join The Nightmare Family, help Lance Archer get another stab at the belts, or join The Inner Circle which frankly would be the BEST option.  I’d love to see Santana and Ortiz get super passive aggressive at them like a bad sitcom plot.  The match eventually comes to an end when FTR lands a Goodnight Express on The Butcher (kinda looks like a Jackhammer only with two people) which gets him out of the match and they immediately follow it up with a Mind Breaker (a pile driver thingy) onto The Blade for the win.  FTR are then being interviewed in the ring when The Young Bucks come out form the back.  They tell FTR how great the match was and they thank them for helping fight off The Butcher & The Blade two weeks ago.  However, they are a LITTLE bit salty that FTR has kind of been avoiding them up to that point and makes it clear that THEY are the best tag team at AEW and FTR can sit comfortably in second place.  It looks things are about to spark between them when The Butcher comes back and takes out The Bucks.  FTR tries to make the save but are overwhelmed by Kip Sabian and Jimmy Havoc who come out… for some reason, but are soon run off by Kenny Omega and Adam Page who come out to ACTUALLY make the save.  Once the heels are gone, the three teams are left to stare at each other; a teasing of things to come as these three times will no doubt clash in the near future.  In a company full of really great tag teams, I’m not convinced that they are at the TOP of the heap (especially with the Omega/Page Vs. Bucks match still fresh in my memory), but they’re gonna have lots of chances to prove themselves so perhaps I’ll change my tune soon enough.  In any case, this was a fun match and a solid introduction for these two.

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (05-06-20)

AEWDYNAMITE

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

We’re back, not only with AEW Dynamite but with AEW Dynamite LIVE.  Yes, it’s their first live show in quite some time despite circumstances REALLY not changing since they decided to stop doing them, but I guess they want to get things as close to normal as soon as possible so with the return to Florida they’ve got quite a stacked show for us.  Is it a return to form after a few weeks of good but compromised episodes, or are we in for the same matches we were already getting; just in a bigger room?  Let’s find out!!

So first thing’s first, we’re back at Daily’s Place in Florida since they’ve lifted restrictions on wrestling shows; calling them an “essential service” despite there being nothing essential about it, and with the way these empty arena shows are done, almost no benefit to the local economy.  Now sure, I’ll admit that the BIGGER stadium looks better than shoebox they were using for all those taped shows, but it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth that this is only happening because local, state, AND the federal government are all acting irresponsibly for short term gain, and the fact that they are doing this live instead of taping a whole bunch of content only makes it that much worse.  Yes, I know Tony Khan sent out a tweet saying EVERYONE WAS TESTED NEGATIVE, but even if we assume those tests are accurate (they aren’t always), it just feels like a bad precedent to set for everyone else who wants to reopen business before it’s safe to.  In any case, they’ve got pyro, a big screen, more room for the wrestlers on the sidelines to distance themselves (I guess we can count that as a plus), and Jericho is off announcing duty to be replaced by both Excalibur and JR.  I’m certainly glad that they’re back, but Jericho’s hilarious commentary, as well as his chemistry with Schiavone, was something special and we should definitely see more of it in the future.  Anyway, onto the first match!

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Cody Vs. Joey Janela

I actually do not remember if we’ve seen these two lock-up before.  Joey fought Moxley in a really good match and Kenny Omega in a not so good one, but Cody?  Not ringing a bell.  I’m certainly interested to see how this will go with Janela playing a decidedly mid-card role at the company and Cody’s a pretty big star to put him against, but then again the lines between A-List talent and the B-Team have started to blur now that everyone’s fighting in empty arenas (and QT Marshall’s back yard), and I’ll be darned if Joey doesn’t look GREAT here so maybe I was a bit too harsh on the guy!  Joey tends to come off as a jokey guy where funny expressions and painful spots take precedence over… big moves and physicality, but he takes this match seriously and pulls off a lot of decent offense with quite a bit of speed.  Still, it looks like a bit of a mix up when Joey takes the advantage and Cody’s stuck on the floor.  That feels a bit unbelievable where something more competitive throughout would have probably come off a bit better.  The Colt Cabana Vs. Lance Archer match is a good example of someone looking AMAZING all the way through a match despite never truly having the advantage, and I think it would have served both men if Cody stayed in control for more of this.  Things eventually even out in the match after he dodges a run from Joey and follows it up with a Disaster Kick to the face, and after some decent moves from both sides, Cody eventually snags the win with a surprise Cross Rhodes out of nowhere.  It dragged a TINY bit due to Cody overselling for Joey, but this was a solid match to start off with and I’m glad that they reestablished the Cross Rhodes as such a devastating move.

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (04-29-20)

AEWDYNAMITE

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

We’re back with another week of AEW Thunderdome where the wanders of the empty world battle it out for supremacy, at least that’s I how I figure Lance Archer sees it whenever he steps into the ring!  The last few weeks have been quite solid with Jericho’s commentary bringing a lot of life to the show and the TNT Tournament giving us something to grab onto while all the other storylines are put on hold, but with the announcement that AEW will be going live next week (despite PLENTY of reasons not to), this is perhaps the end of an era for this show.  Do they go out on a high note or will we be begging for the changes that next week will bring?  Let’s find out!!

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Cody Vs. Darby Allin – TNT Tournament Semi-Final

Cody is accompanied to the ring by Cody Rhodes

The TNT tournament by all accounts has been a success.  The matches have been solid, they’ve worked hard to sell the belt as something worth chasing, and having Lance Archer in the background as an unstoppable monster like Toguro has certainly raised the stakes in every one of these matches.  The only real problem is that the one that no one can control; namely that the matches feel undercut being in such a small arena with such a small crowd.  Then again, it MIGHT help the rest of us not notice if they didn’t try to recreate PPV matches like the Darby/Sammy match from last week or even this match right here, but they have to work with what they’ve got and if nothing else the show starts with a REALLY solid promo for the match.  It’s not Darby Allin’s usual black and white shtick, but there is some genuine artistry on display here with some serious mood lighting as the two talk portentously about how much they want to win the belt.  It puts us in the best possible mindset for the upcoming match

The match starts off with a band as both of them want to end it as soon as possible; trading blows and zero count pins faster than Jericho can throw out wiseacre jabs.  There’s a spot early on where Darby charges at Cody who dodges it easily, but Brandi what RIGHT in front of him when he did and so Darby smashes right into her.  Come on dude, what did you THINK was gonna happen?  Even Jericho calls Cody out for putting his wife in the path of destruction like that!  However, it does seem to get Cody all fired up and he maintains control of the match for a good bit which allows Darby to do the one thing he’s best at; namely take an obscene amount of damage and look darn good doing it!  There is a weird spot later in the match where it LOOKS like Darby is distracting ref Aubrey while Cody is outside the ring and he gets bashed over the head by Britt Baker wielding a sandal.  I’m not sure what that’s about as Darby may not be exactly a GOOD guy, but I’ve never known him to be a straight up cheater, nor a particular friend of Britt Baker.  Maybe she just felt like hitting someone and Darby JUST SO HAPPENED to have something important to say to the ref, but in any case it manages to even things out between them as we head into the final stretch of the match.  They start trading finishers, Cody teases the weight belt but doesn’t use it, and Darby even nails Cody with the Cross-Rhodes which got a nearfall so close that I genuinely thought for a minute there that they were gonna swerve us!  T’was not to be however as Cody kicks out of it, and after a few more moves from both men including a Cross-Rhodes from Cody himself, the match does come to a close in an… interesting fashion.  Cody goes for a Moonsault off the top rope but Darby gets his knees up and follows it up IMMEDIATELY with the Coffin Drop.  From the angle they showed it, looked like Darby actually got the pin off of this, but it turns out that Cody was able to grab him and twist him slightly backwards so that HIS shoulders were on the mat and Cody did indeed just barely get the pin!  Admittedly the ending looked a BIT silly, but this match was GREAT because despite the ending feeling rather pre-determined it did manage to feel competitive.  Letting Darby get THAT close to victory and having him do Cody’s own move against him created genuine drama that Cody MIGHT just lose the match which made it one of the better matches we’ve gotten in the last few weeks!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (04-29-20)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (04-22-20)

AEWDYNAMITE

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

We’re back with more AEW goodness for all of your post-apocalyptic entertainment needs, and with the TNT Tournament in full swing we have more than enough amazing story lines and matches to keep us going through this lean period, right?  Well truth be told the new normal has felt a bit lacking here and there and the TNT Tournament isn’t exactly the best substitute for their Blood and Guts match, but given how things are going they’ve been trucking along just fine.  Does that continue with this week’s episode, or are the wheels starting to look wobbly on this road trip thru the wastelands?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with yet another promo, but this time it’s NOT from Jake Roberts sitting in a lawn chair; rather it’s Cody sitting in a very NICE chair!  The setup is that e’s in some sort of control room watching multiple monitors of the wrestlers involved in the TNT Tournament and he does his absolute best to imbue it with gravitas and prestige since it’s what they’ll be focusing on after the big championship match blow off from last week.  From what I understand, Cody and crew have been a bit hesitant to introduce a new belt to the company because they didn’t want something that would just be a Midcard Belt; something that isn’t as good as the main championship, but gives the lower tier wrestlers to fight over.  I’m not sure I fully agree with that sentiment though because there are wrestlers who aren’t going to be big name stars but you still want them to have something to do, and having a “secondary” belt makes sense to me for those purposes, but I guess it’s all in the framing.  Instead of saying this belt is for the losers (like the 24/7 title at WWE or even arguably the Intercontinental and USA belts) you do what Cody is doing here and try to make into something that should be rightfully worn by a great competitor; not someone who couldn’t hack it in the big leagues.  Does he succeed?  Well, it’s hard to say because we’re still limited with a limited crew so it still feels a bit like something for “the other guys” in AEW to fight over, but once the world gets back on track and AEW is in full swing again, we’ll see what comes of it.  For what it’s worth Cody does a good job with the promo and the extra editing time they have for stuff like this is definitely paying off with some flashy visuals, but I’m not sure if it’s doing much more to convince me of the greatness of this belt than the matches themselves.  Speaking of which…

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Darby Allin Vs. Sammy Guevara – TNT Tournament Quarter Final

These two are easily the best up and coming stars of wrestling (not just AEW) which will make this a fantastic match, though I’m not sure they’re making the most of this as we’ve seen Allin and Guevara lock it up before and it feels like we need to have more of a reason for them to do it again.  Still, we are living in rough times and I guess we have to do the best we can with the resources we have, and they at least give the two of them VERY good video promos prior to the match.  The start of the match is very reminiscent of their match at Revolution where they utterly DESTROY each other before the bell even rings, and while I appreciate them wanting to put on a match as high caliber as that to make this tournament (and their feud) feel like a big deal, I’m not sure if Sammy and Darby should be doing freaking ladder spots in a nearly empty arena like this.  Even with the wrestlers on the outside doing their best to whoop and holler, it feels like a spot that only had a fraction of the impact it should have.  Things just kinda get worse from there.  Sammy tries to press the advantage he has by putting Darby on the top rope, but he reverses it and manages to get Sammy upside down which lets him then take off his boot to… I guess more effectively work the ankle?  I don’t know, trying to take your opponent’s clothes off comes off as pretty goofy to me and it has the opposite of the intended effect on me; the idea being that without his boot it’s even MORE brutal when Allin works the ankle, but the guy NOT having a boot on highlights the unreal nature of the sport.  This also has the effect of making Allin out to be the bigger heel with Sammy having to constantly fight from underneath which I don’t exactly mind as Sammy is a fantastic wrestler, but with all the goofy spots and Jericho doing such a great job announcing, I’m wondering if AEW wants to give The Inner Circle a softer image.  Sadly, this doesn’t mean we’ll be seeing Sammy Vs. Cody in the semi-finals as Darby gives the over the shoulder stunner and tries to follow it up with another move, but Sammy reverses it into another move which Darby THEN reverses again into a roll up for the win.  Overall I wasn’t the biggest fan of this match.  It felt kind of oddly paced to me as these two spent a lot more time recovering from big moves than trading fast and furious blows, and the best part was right at the end when they were trading counters which sadly didn’t go on long enough for my liking.  I also kind of wish Sammy won because I feel like a match between him and Cody would be a BIT more interesting right now, but I have no doubt that Cody and Allin have the potential to tear the house down!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (04-22-20)”