Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (04-08-20)

AEWDYNAMITE

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

We’re back with another episode of House Show of the Dead, where our valiant heroes try to put on an indie wrestling program in the middle of our present day apocalypse!  Now I was pretty down on last week’s show for whatever reason and perhaps that’s more on me because I heard that a lot of people enjoyed it; especially with the return of the live crowd to make some noise.  Perhaps I was overly critical and just need to find the good in what they can put on instead of hoping for what they can’t.  Will this week be another success for the scrappy billionaire funded company, or will my skepticism from last week prove to be prophetic?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with a promo from Jake Roberts who starts rambling about how awesome Lance Archer is, comparing him to standing in front of a train or jumping out of a plane without a parachute, and he even takes shots at Marko Stunt for getting his ass kicked last week!  I’m still not sure if he WANTS Cody to face him or not.  I’m pretty sure he calls him an idiot for even entertaining the idea of facing Lance but the calls him a coward if he doesn’t!  Damned if you do I guess.  In any case, the first match has already started.  Wait, what!?

.

Lance Archer Vs. A Jobber

Yeah, before we can even get properly started introducing the show, letting us know that Jericho is gonna be on commentary this week (yay!) and recapping Archer’s match from last week, he’s already beating the snot out of some dude who I THOUGHT was Brandon Cutler at first but is some guy named Alan Eagleson.  We’re what, four minutes in before Archer does that Blackout move and wins the match?  This match is so fast and so furious that Jericho and Tony Schiavone just wait for him to be done with his little squash match before running down the card!  It may not be the most EXCITING or ENGAGING match in the world, but I appreciate just how quickly they got in and out; starting the show off with a BANG instead of a twenty-minute slugfest like we saw last week.  It was a DECENT slugfest to be sure, but I tend to feel that brevity is key when setting up an opening match.

.

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (04-08-20)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (04-01-20)

AEWDYNAMITE

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

Welcome back to another episode of CHRIS Jericho!  See what I did there?  Jericho is a post-apocalyptic TV show, and… you know what, never mind.  Now if you haven’t heard, due to the current circumstances AEW has finally caved and is basically suspending their story lines to do a TNT Tournament that’ll start next week.  That’s right, AEW officially has a fighting tournament filler arc and I’m sure Kenny Omega is just tickled pink at the idea if it wasn’t for… well everything else around it.  Before we get to that however, we still have this week’s show to get through, though I doubt we’ll be advancing storylines too much since we still have no idea when things can get up and running again.  Let’s see what they came up with!

The first thing they announce right at the start is the brackets for the opening round of the TNT tournament which are as follows.

Shawn Spears Vs Cody

Sammy Guevara Vs. Darby Allin

Kip Sabian Vs. Dustin Rhodes

Lance Archer Vs. Colt Cabana

Not a bad lineup I guess, and the finals will be held at Double or Nothing (assuming that show is still on) which certainly gives us something to look forward to and makes this feel a bit more than just a time killer.  Now the big question each week is what they’ve had to change to compensate for whatever regulations and best practices are in place to minimize the COVID-19 risk.  This is perhaps the most radical change yet and frankly I’m not sure how much I liked it as they’ve decided that instead of having the ENTIRE arena on display that they’d basically cut it down to a space barely larger than a school gym.  The entrance is VERY close to the ring, they put up big screens on the sides that say AEW only a few feet from the barricade, and they even have a roof above them!  The space may be smaller BUT the tradeoff is that they got a FEW more people to fill out the area between the barricade and the giant screens.  It’s not as crowded as it was on the first one of these (I’d estimate no more than twenty people total including those in the ring and the necessary crew) but we’ve got people cheering again which is definitely an improvement.  However, there is one BIG drawback this time around which is the noise of the ring itself as we are hearing a lot of rumbling and crashing throughout the matches.  I’m guessing it’s the acoustics of the new space and they’re working with what they have, but the audible rumble is pretty distracting and drowns out a decent amount of the shouting from those in the stands.  I’m still all for the initial setup if that’s feasible and frankly I’m not sure why it WOULDN’T be considering they have a decent amount of people here tonight, but I think we’ll be sticking with this format for a while as I’m pretty sure all of this is pre-recorded (no matter what that LIVE tag says in the top left corner) and they recorded a heck of a lot more than just this episode.  Anyway, on to the first match!

.

Kenny Omega Vs. Trent

Trent is accompanied to the ring by Chuck Taylor and Orange Cassidy

Kenny Omega is definitely the superstar here so I wouldn’t get your hopes up about Trent getting a surprise win, but it doesn’t exactly feel like a one sided bout either as Trent is DEFINITELY the workhorse of the group.  They have a decently competitive match to start with, and Kenny even comes close to getting a hug from Orange Cassidy before Chuck drags him away, but it isn’t all THAT interesting until about halfway through when Trent decides to start playing a bit dirty.  He starts to work over Omega’s recently injured hand for all its worth which actually ends up backfiring on him as Kenny doesn’t get hurt as much as he gets PISSED, and turnabout is fair play in these situations so Kenny starts smashing him into as many things as possible outside the ring.  He shoves him into the barricades, he throws him into a pole, he even lands a German Suplex on the guy out on the ramp which looked absolutely devastating and must have SUCKED for Trent.  Eventually it comes down to both of them trying to beat the clock as they only have five minutes left to pull off their most devastating moves to get the pin.  Counters after counters!  V-Triggers!  Whatever that rope running flip that that Trent does!  They keep throwing whatever they can at each other and yet with just two minutes left to go neither of them are ready to give up the ghost!  There was a brief botch at this point when Kenny goes to the top rope and Trent is SUPPOSED to climb up there to meet him.  He slips on his way up there and so Kenny has to wait a beat longer than he was supposed to, but Trent makes it up a moment later and things go just fine from there.  Well… not for Kenny who has to eat this devastating throw across the ring, but at least things flow smoothly from there!  One minute to go and Kenny is still dazed from Trent throwing him off the top rope, but at the last second he manages to land a One Winged Angel for the pin with mere seconds left on the clock!  It was a solid enough match if a bit too long; not just for an opening match but for one in this kind of environment.

.

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (04-01-20)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (03-25-20)

AEWDYNAMITE

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

We back with week two of AEW Aftermath: The Post-Apocalyptic series where the whole world is gone except for these brave heroes putting on shows in an empty arena for all the zombies and mutants still roaming the wastelands!  I mean good on them for putting out another episode, but I’m not sure how much longer they’re gonna get away with doing this live every week as things seem to only be getting worse in this country.  Still, as long as we have Dynamite I’ll be here to let you know about it!

The episode begins with Cody, Kenny, and Tony in the announcer’s booth.  Apparently JR and Excalibur couldn’t make it for whatever reason; though we are assured that they everyone is fine.  In addition to the lack of announcers, we also don’t have a crowd of wrestlers outside the ring like we did last time.  Instead we have like five dudes in some sort of back room watching the show that we occasionally cut back to.  I don’t want to dock the show for things it can’t control as they clearly had trouble getting as many people as they did, but the people outside the ring cheering and jeering as the matches went on was such a big part of what made last week’s episode work as well as it did.  Thankfully Tony and our rotating cast of announcers try talking AS MUCH as possible during the matches so that it never gets too quiet.

.

Cody Vs. Jimmy Havoc

I haven’t been keeping up with Dark, so maybe Jimmy’s been showing up there a few times, but damn has it been a long time!  I remember he was getting a decent enough storyline with Tony Kahn, but I get the feeling that his drunken scuffle with Excalibur halted that right in its tracks.  Still, desperate times call for desperate measures, so I guess Jimmy’s back in good graces for now.  The story of the match is that Cody isn’t really taking Jimmy seriously, and frankly neither is Kenny who’s calling this match with Tony.  They see him as nothing more than a sparring partner to keep Cody in shape between now and the eventual Blood and Guts match which is not a bad idea for a story, but I still don’t feel like Jimmy is proving Cody wrong ENOUGH for him to really start taking him seriously.  Still, Jimmy is a good worker and is willing to get rough and dirty with the biggest Face at the company which is not nothing, and I think a less flashy style works better in an empty arena when there isn’t a crowd to play to.  Cody didn’t get that message however as he does that thing where he runs to the back and then runs back at full speed to do a lariat on his opponent.  It’s a good move, but without a crowd it doesn’t hit as hard.  What DOES hit hard though is when Jimmy takes something called a Reverse Suplex from the top rope which to ME looks an attempt to MURDER the guy by dropping him on his head that he just barely escapes from.  Cody follows that up with two Cross Rhodes which feel rather muted since there was no applause when he hit it, and then he gets the pin to similarly muted effect.  Not a bad match given the circumstances, but just didn’t have the same oomph to it like the matches from last week.

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (03-25-20)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (03-18-20)

AEWDYNAMITE

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

Welcome back to another week of AEW which will more than likely be the LAST one we get for a while!  I mean we’ll probably still have SOMETHING on Wednesday nights to fill that timeslot, but unlike WWE who’s got a performance center to keep the ship going with empty arena shows, AEW has no such facility to get them through this COVID19 outbreak and I doubt any arenas will be keen to letting them host another show; nor will the talent be all that jazzed about going to new states week after week in the middle of all this.  Personally I’d suggest TNT to just put on a mix of Dark and PPV matches for the new few weeks, but before we contemplate what the future holds for this company, let’s see what they’re putting on right now!

We begin the show in the middle of an empty arena with Cody under a spotlight in the middle of the ring.  He doesn’t dance around the obvious and gets right to the elephant in the room which is this virus that is affecting everyone and how we need to be aware of what we need to do to protect ourselves and others.  This segues from a pep talk to the audience at home to a direct message to both Adam Page and Matt Jackson; both of which have been bickering for the last few weeks and need to resolve their differences in light of these trying times and in the face of the upcoming Blood and Guts match between The Elite and The Inner Circle.  Matt, Page, and even Kenny Omega eventually come out and TRY to work on their difference with Matt Jackson going so far as to swallow his pride and asks Adam Page to stand with them, but Adam’s got some serious drinking to do, so he doesn’t give them an answer just yet.  Not exactly a surprise considering his behavior the last few weeks, and Kenny tries his best to lighten the mood by telling the crew to hit the lights, start the music, and fire off all that pyro they’ve got saved up to kick this show off right!  It was certainly an interesting segment and the empty arena did lend a lot of eerie gravitas to it all that made the realities of the day as well as the schism in The Elite all the more apparent.  Let’s hope that the matches find a way to work with the circumstances as well as this segment did.

Before that though, we HAVE to check on Tony Schiavone who’s interviewing MJF to find out what he’s even doing here.  It turns out that he’s not here to wrestle but is instead here to watch the undercard losers duke it out… as well as place some bets with Shawn Spears, but that’s on the hush hush!  Speaking of which, the setup is definitely unique and kind of ingenious given the circumstances.  I haven’t seen the WWE shows yet so I don’t know how they set things up in their empty arena, but here they had a very small audience mingling on the barricades made up of AEW talent like Sonny Kiss, Joey Janela, and even Jake the Snake Roberts with his new protégé Lance Archer; all hooting and hollering as much as possible to bring a bit of life to the show.  They also filmed the show at a very different angle as the primary camera is typically placed perpendicular to the ramp but they decided to move it to so that it’s facing both the ring AND the ramp.  I think it works for the most part as it covers up the fact that there is next to NOBODY there, and it’s certainly different from anything I’ve seen before on a wrestling show.  Anyway, onto the first match!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (03-18-20)”