Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (01-28-2022) – Beach Break

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

We’re back with more AEW action, though at this rate we’re probably a solid two weeks behind here and I’m sure everyone has already moved on to talk about whatever headline-grabbing events occurred on the most recent episode. Still, it’s good to keep chugging away at these for posterities sake, and honestly, missing an episode of wrestling is like skipping over an issue of a superhero comic; you’re guaranteed to get lost if you don’t have the complete picture at all times. Does this episode of Rampage live up to the Beach Break event in ways that the Dynamite show did not? Let’s find out!!

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Jon Moxley Vs. Anthony Bowens

Bowens is accompanied to the ring Max Caster

Despite Moxley’s overwhelming popularity, he’s not a guy who lets it go to his head. Where a place like WWE would want winners to be winners and never show an inch, AEW has a much less strict attitude for its wrestlers which is just another reason that fits in so well here. To wit, Moxley gives up quite a bit to Anthony Bowens who eats a lot of offense and does a lot of bumping at the start of the match but eventually turns things in his favor for the rest of it. It helps that Caster is on the outside to provide the occasional distraction, but Bowens is still a great wrestler and they certainly don’t want to bury him here, even against a top talent guy like Moxley. Bowens manages to hit a Superplex on Moxley which gets him a pretty close two-count, and Caster makes a big save by pushing Bowens out of the way of a Suicide Dive. This gives Bowens a chance to hit a DDT, but still, Moxley will not stay down as he kicks out at two. With Bowens seeing the writing on the wall, he manages to get a chain from Caster and attempts to hit Moxley behind the ref’s back, but Moxley quickly hits a Cutter that leaves Bowens flat on the mat. Caster makes a desperate attempt to even the odds, but Moxley throws him out of the ring immediately and finishes off Bowens with a King Kong Lariat and a Paradigm Shift. I’m glad that Moxley is back and putting on good matches, and I’m MORE than glad that AEW is recognizing Bowens as a solid talent, but the match couldn’t really rise above being good as I think the Acclaimed formula is getting stale. Having Caster interfere constantly and teasing the boom box spot only for the Heels to get their comeuppance is a fine formula, but it starts to lose its impact if that’s what we see every time.

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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!!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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 (06-18-2021) – Friday Night Dynamite

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

We’re back with the final episode of Friday Night Dynamite as they have one more show on Saturday before returning to their usual Wednesday night timeslot.  It’s been an interesting few weeks to say the least with some great action but also one of the worst episodes they’ve had in some time.  Can they finish their time in this new timeslot with a bang, or are they just not gonna be able to get their groove back until they return to their familiar night?  Let’s find out!!

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Jake Hager Vs. Wardlow – Mixed Martial Arts Match

Considering that they have to set up the octagon and that I HIGHLY doubt a match like this would work as a main event, it makes sense that they’d do the MMA match right off the bat.  Personally, I’m not much of a fan of this kind of fighting.  Sure there are some good matches out there if you search YouTube for a bit, but I am not going to be able to judge this based on any legitimate mixed martial arts merits and only on whether I found it entertaining in some way.  That said, even someone as inexperienced as me can tell this is nowhere close to a shoot match considering they don’t have judges which means it has to end with one person beating the other.  Also they didn’t bother hiring an MMA ref and just have Aubrey out there.  I mean I GUESS she could be trained as an MMA ref, but I’ve certainly never heard of her doing that and the lack of known MMA professionals involved in this outside of Hager just makes it seem like a big game which I’m sure will annoy the MMA fans before the match even starts.  Once it DOES start… I don’t know; I guess it was alright.  If nothing else, I think they managed to find a decent balance between an actual fight and WRESTLING THEATER as it doesn’t feel TOO absurd as an MMA match, but it also feels like a highlight reel.  It starts off small with the two being extremely defensive and throwing out the occasional jab, but eventually Hager manages to take Wardlow down for a few shots which he doesn’t sell all that much.  In fact, by the end of the round Wardlow’s power completely overtakes Hager and spends the last two minutes punching him on the ground or against the wall.  Second match continues where the first left off with Wardlow maintaining an advantage, but Hager gets into the groove of things and his MMA training proves to be more than Wardlow can overcome and he eventually passes out from a Triangle Choke.  Of course there’s some brawling afterwards as Shawn Spears goes after Hager and MJF comes out of nowhere to attack Dean Malenko who ALSO came out of nowhere, but then Sammy comes out to chase everyone away and to ensure that this feud will be continuing for the indefinite future.  I couldn’t possibly tell you if this was a GOOD MMA match, but it was at least brisk enough that I never got bored in it.  Hopefully this does whatever it needed to for AEW, though I wouldn’t be too heartbroken if they don’t do this kind of match again.

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (06-11-2021) – Friday Night Dynamite

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

We’re back with another episode of Dynamite and frankly I’m ready for these Friday shows to end.  Not because of anything to do with the show itself (though last week was PRETTY bad) but because it throws off my entire schedule!  I would have wrestling during the week and then the weekend for other stuff, but NOW everything is all crammed into two days!  We only have a few more weeks of this strange timeslot so I’ll grin and bear it, but they’re gonna have to put on a GREAT show to make up for last week’s and for making my weekends that much more stressful!  Let’s take a look!

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Christian Cage Vs. Angélico

So apparently Matt Hardy has a bug up his butt about Christian Cage tossing him out at the Casino Battle Royale, and so he’s hired Angélico from TH2 to have a match with him.  I mean I’m sure he was going to have a match with SOMEONE this week so I’m not sure why this particular matchup is so dastardly, but Angélico is one of those people on the roster like Joey Janela, The Varsity Blondes, and Penelope Ford who are around every once in a while and probably have had a bunch of matches on Dark or Elevation but REALLY should be getting more of a spotlight on Dynamite.  The guy definitely has a unique physique looking like the handsome brother of Slenderman (dude has some SERIOUSLY long limbs!) and he’s so good at giving us a kind of match we don’t see enough of at AEW which focuses on submissions instead of high spots or big guy brawling.  Every time Cage gets an advantage with a flashy strike or some sort of throw, Angélico is ready to cut him off and start working over his arm again until finally he has him in some sort of Arm Bar right in the middle of the ring!  Cage is desperately trying to fight back against Angélico’s move as the crowd chants PLEASE DON’T TAP, and he finally makes it to the ropes to break the hold but is far from out of the woods.  He makes a comeback with a reverse DDT, a Missile Drop Kick, and a Flying Headbutt, but none of it is able to keep Angélico down for a three count who himself is starting to lose steam after all these near falls.  He makes a big mistake by trying to match Cage’s style and goes for a spot on the ropes only to get kicked out of midair and eating another two count.  From there it’s mostly desperate flailing from the two of them which Christian proves to be the better one of the two and manages to finish off Angélico with the Kill Switch.  As soon as the bell rings, Angélico’s partner Jack Evans runs in to attack Cage which goes rather poorly all things considered as he’s tossed ut of the ring with little effort.  However, this does distract Cage long enough for Matt Hardy to sneak in from behind and land a Twist of Fate on him that leaves Cage dead in the middle of the ring.  Angélico and Hardy are about to kick him some more when Jungle Boy runs out from the back and chases off Hardy and his two flunkies; leaving Cage and Jungle Boy to celebrate this victory in the middle of the ring.  It was certainly a nice change of pace to start out with a match like this and I certainly hope it’s a sign that things are going to be MUCH better this week!

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