Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (02-11-2022)

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

We’re back with another week of Rampage action, and with Dynamite being on something of a hot streak recently, this show has to work extra hard to be the best hour of wrestling each week! Can this episode hope to keep up with the amazing reveals and the brutal action on the main show, or is this going to be AEW’s B-show while Dynamite is building up towards the PPV? Let’s find out!!

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Roppongi Vice (Trent Beretta & Rocky Romero) Vs. Young Bucks

Roppongi Vice is accompanied to the ring by Orange Cassidy while the Bucks are accompanied by Brandon Cutler

I have no idea what a Roppongi is, but this is a team that was around for quite a while in New Japan, so having them go up against the Bucks is like the good version of when TNA kept hiring old guys to rehash old feuds on their show. I should probably find some of those matches as well because if this is any indication of what they were like, then they’re right up my alley because this was a goofy good time! The shtick starts off early when Trent and Rocky get a decent start on the Bucks, so they just give up and head up the ramp. Roppongi Vice obviously follow them, but SWERVE! They turn around and Super Kick them before running back to the ring in the hopes of scoring a count-out victory, which they very nearly do as Rocky barely makes it back at nine. Oh, but that’s not all! The Bucks get a few good shots in at Roppongi Vice due to their scheme and then start to menace Orange Cassidy who just peaces out and rolls under the ring. The Bucks drag him back out only to find that it’s Danhausen who starts waving his arms while Roppongi Vice hits Stereo Suicide Dives! The Bucks eventually regain control after this and start playing games with Rocky Romero (going so far as to the Best Friends hug in front of him), but eventually, he makes the hot tag to Trent who runs wild and the two hit a Doomsday Device on Nick Jackson. Soon after, Trent hits an Avalanche German on Matt Jackson followed by a Strong Zero which would have won the match, but Nick Jackson breaks up the pin. This was their best chance to bring the match to a close, but they are undeterred and go for another Doomsday Device… only for Matt Jackson to flip out of it and for the Bucks to then hit a Meltzer Driver on Rocky. Trent manages to break up that pin attempt, but he’s not able to break up the next one as the Bucks hit a BTE Trigger and get the pin to win the match. Orange Cassidy is checking on Rocky while Brandon Cutler is dancing around the ring acting like a Stooge, so Cassidy hits the Lousy Kicks before landing the Orange Punch. Not appreciating this attack on their henchmen, the Bucks hit a Superkick Party on Orange Cassidy, and then Jay White shows up and hits the Blade Runner on Trent; thoroughly trouncing the Baby Faces and setting the stage for an even STRONG Elite faction. As long as they keep adding new guys and new matchups, I suppose I can’t complain too much about this feud getting long in the tooth. It’ll be interesting to see how Jay White fits into everything, but how many more guys are we gonna get on both sides of this conflict? Is it going to be like one of those comic book crossover events where everything stops and focuses on this one big feud? That would actually be pretty awesome now that I think about it. Twenty dudes on one side of the ring versus twenty dudes on the other! Let’s make it happen!

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (02-02-2022)

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

We’re back with another week of Dynamite action that you probably forgot about already given that I’m still about two weeks behind! Then again, this DOES have the confrontation between MJF and CM Punk that we were waiting months to see, so perhaps the memories are still a bit fresh in your minds! Was this a fantastic blowoff to a fantastic feud, or were we all just setting ourselves up for disappointment? Let’s find out!!

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Jon Moxley Vs. Wheeler Yuta

Yuta is accompanied to the ring by Orange Cassidy and Danhausen

I still have no idea who this Danhausen guy is, but it hardly matters as he’s not much of a factor here. For the most part, it stays focused on Moxley and Yuta with only the occasional interaction with Orange Cassidy to foreshadow a future match between him and Moxley. As I’ve said before, AEW doesn’t typically do squashes with their named talent, and so Wheeler Yuta gets plenty of offense here with a Manhattan Drop, Step Up Enziguri, and Corner Splash combo giving him a decent hope spot in the middle of the match, and this forces Moxley to roll to the apron. The two start fighting on there, but it’s clear that whatever Yuta throws at him, Moxley can not only take it but dish it back with twice as much force and so he manages to hit a DDT on the apron that sends Yuta to the floor. This is when he spends time to confront Orange Cassidy while Danhausen does some sort of finger magic thing, and it gives Yuta enough time to land a Top Rope Splash onto Moxley, and this leads to a German Suplex into a bridge that gets Yuta a two count. The two go back and forth for a bit with Yuta managing to turn a Paradigm Shift into a slam on Moxley, but Moxley once again brute forces his way to having the upper hand. He locks in a Rear Naked Choke to stop Yuta’s momentum and knocks him to the floor with a King Kong Lariat. A Paradigm Shift soon follows and that’s all she wrote as Yuta stays down for the three count which gives Moxley the win. It wasn’t a bad opener, but it wasn’t anything special either. Moxley seems to be easing back into his role here at AEW with basic matches, but it looks like we’ll be moving towards something bigger soon enough because…

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Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (01-21-2022)

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

We’re back with more Rampage action, and this is the final episode of AEW before the Beach Break event!  The event that already happened because I’m still catchup up on things, so let’s not waste any more time and get right to it!

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Jon Moxley Vs. Ethan Page

Page is accompanied to the ring by Scorpio Sky

This is Moxley’s first match since returning on Wednesday’s show, and Ethan Page is a good opponent for him.  The two share similar brutish styles, but ALL EGO Ethan Page definitely allows for a lot of flair and spectacle in a way that Moxley is diametrically opposed to.  Page will toss Moxley around and put on a goofy grin while doing it, while Moxley will just grab the dude’s face and start biting it.  That said, for all of Moxley’s ferocity he does fall a bit short when it comes to strategy here as Page tries to work the knee throughout the match, and the commercial break starts when Moxley charges at him and he dodges so that Moxley goes face-first into the post and tumbles down to the floor.  I’ll give him credit for being a tough dude, but you can do that WHILE ALSO not hurting yourself as much as you hurt your opponent.  Things eventually settle into a back and forth routine as Moxley starts to focus and hits some solid moves, but he can’t quite nail the Paradigm Shift and ends up eating big moves from Page whenever he tries it.  A Brain Buster followed by a Single Leg Crab looks to move things in Page’s favor, but a Low Bridge and a Suicide Dive from Moxley keep him from taking over entirely.  Page hits back with an Avalanche Powerslam from the middle rope and goes to make the pin, but Moxley catches him and hits a series of elbows and knees right to Page’s face.  With Page reeling from this assault, Moxley locks in the Bulldog Choke which knocks out Page and gives Moxley the win.  But that’s not all!  On his way out of the arena, Moxley runs into none other than Bryan Danielson who gives him a sideways glance before stepping out of his way!  I’m sure that match is going to blow everyone away whenever they get around to it, but this was a fun and perfectly satisfying way to bring Moxley back into the fold.  Despite bringing back one of AEW’s biggest starts, it wasn’t bigger or longer than it needed to be; a lesson that they could stand to take to heart a little more often.

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (01-12-2022)

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

We’re back with more AEW action, albeit action that’s over a week old.  January’s been a rough month and the week-long power outage coupled with the bonus Battle of the Belts show that AEW threw at us, it’s been hard to find time to get up to date, but that’s a problem for another day as we’re here to focus on this one show!  Let’s get started!!

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The show starts with Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, and Kyle O’Reilly coming out to talk about how awesome last year was and how great 2022 will be; Cole in particular bragging about not being pinned or submitted yet which means he’s undefeated as a singles wrestler.  The party gets cut short however as the Young Bucks come out with Brandon Cutler to confront Red Dragon (Fish and O’Reilly) as both teams are going to be chasing after the Tag Team Titles.  Cole is stuck between the two groups to try and make them all play nice when Best Friends come out with Orange Cassidy to throw a match at this powder keg that’s already primed to go off.  Naturally, a brawl ensues and Cole hits a low blow on Orange Cassidy which causes Kris Statlander to jump in, but then Britt Baker runs down to the ring and Curb Stomps Statlander.  With her out of the way, she holds down Cassidy while Cole gives him a few kicks and the Boom Knee Strike before sharing a kiss in the middle of the ring.  The fact that Cole and Baker are a couple has been brought up before on the show, but this is the first time they’ve been in the ring together since his arrival.  They announce later in the show that they will have a Mixed Tag Match with Cassidy and Statlander, and frankly, I’m excited to see it!

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CM Punk Vs. Wardlow

Wardlow is accompanied to the ring by MJF

I’m a little surprised that Wardlow didn’t come down with Shawn Spears considering how integral he’s been to Wardlow’s matches up to this point, but I guess MJF wants to get a view of the carnage and didn’t want to share floor space with one of his cronies.  Carnage, by the way, is exactly what we get here as Wardlow is twice Punk’s size and probably half his age.  Punk manages a few shots in the corner and goes for a GTS, but Wardlow shrugs it all off and easily overpowers his opponent.  He tosses Punk around for a bit and throughout the commercial break until he’s ready to set him up for a Powerbomb, but Punk escapes and hits a Roundhouse kick to the head.  He gets a few more kicks and a bunch of clotheslines which do little more than stumble Wardlow, but then he hits a Springboard Clothesline that finally knocks the big guy to the mat.  I hope that minor victory was sweet because Wardlow is upset now and finally hits the Powerbomb after a distraction from MJF.  He hits him with another, and another, and a fourth, and a FIFTH!  Wardlow is finally ready to pin him, but MJF has to rear his ugly head and demands that Wardlow hit him with even more Powerbombs despite CM Punk being a pile of putty on the mat.  Wardlow rolls his eyes and hits him with a few more Powerbombs, including one Powerbomb through the timekeeper’s table, but that’s still not enough and MJF demands a ninth one.  Wardlow reluctantly picks him up to do it again, but Punk quickly rolls him over into an Inside Cradle and keeps Wardlow down just long enough for the three count to win the match out of nowhere!  Punk rolls immediately to avoid the wrath of Wardlow, but the one who is really wrathful is MJF who gets in the ring and gives Wardlow a serious tongue lashing; complete with shoves and finger jabs to the chest!  Wardlow has had enough of this and grabs MJF’s arm whose eyes start to grow huge, but Shawn Spears finally makes his appearance and runs in to quickly act as peacemaker between the two.  Wardlow walks out without taking another shot at MJF, but he’s definitely ticked off as he storms up the ramp.  I can’t say that this was the match I was expecting to get, especially given how many Powerbombs Punk was able to sell for Wardlow, but I enjoyed it quite a bit!  Sometimes you can get away with an unconventional style and pace if it serves an interesting story, and I think the impending breakup between MJF and Wardlow is one of the stronger ongoing storylines they have at the moment.

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (01-05-2022)

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

It’s a New Year for everyone and a new channel for AEW!  None too soon, if you ask me!  The show has never dipped so low as to compare it to WWE, but there were some rough patches in the latter half of 2021 that had me hoping that a fresh start will kick things back into gear and give us the kind of wrestling show that we want to see from AEW!  Does the move to TBS reinvigorate the show, or is it just more of the same no matter where you find it?  Let’s find out!!

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Hangman Adam Page Vs. Bryan Danielson – AEW World Title Match

The last match felt a bit padded with the commercial breaks interrupting the ebb and flow of the action, but in the end, I think we got everything we needed to out of that match, so watching this one felt a little bit redundant.  There really isn’t much of a status quo change or some new issue that they have to work through; it’s just a shorter version of what we saw last time.  Now that’s not to say that the action isn’t great or that Danielson isn’t one of the best in-ring storytellers working today, but I didn’t find myself enjoying the sequel as much as I would have hoped.  There still feels like there’s a bit of padding here as Danielson starts the fight by intentionally stalling to try and get Hangman frustrated.  This goes on for a few minutes and is certainly a great way to start a match, but almost as soon as Hangman starts to fight back, he’s stymied by Danielson who tosses him arm first into the post, and so Danielson slows things down once again as he starts to work the arm over.  Hangman gets a break from this after hitting Danielson with a Fall Away Slam, but Danielson regains control almost immediately when he drops Hangman into the ring steps, which is the point where the blood starts flowing and is another thing I’m ambivalent of.  There’s a lot of blood in this match (Danielson gets opened ups as well) and there are a lot of head butts to make the most of it, and while I can appreciate blood and violence in certain contexts (the Street Fight on Rampage being a good example), it just felt really excessive here.  I’ve been wary about Danielson wrestling for a while now, and seeing him with a crimson mask doing running Headbutts over and over again feels like taunting at this point.  Aside from some slowness here and there and the worrisome violence, the action is as good as you’d expect.  Danielson is keeping up a good fight and Hangman looks to be in trouble throughout, but every once in a while he’ll hit a big move that sets up a Buckshot Lariat.  The first one is when Hangman catches Danielson mid-dive to hit a Deadeye on the floor.  He tosses Danielson in and sets up on the apron when Danielson comes up with the most BRILLIANT strategy imaginable to avoid the Buckshot!  He drops to the mat!  I mean yeah, it sounds simple when you say it out loud, but very few people (including Kenny Omega) seem to realize that standing is the only way the move can work.  Truly, Danielson is a master tactician in the ring!  Hangman’s second attempt happens after a Moonsault to the floor, and while Danielson stays standing for this attempt, he manages to dodge it and hits his Running Knee Strike and gets a very close two count!  Danielson remains firmly in control for a while here and even does that face stomp thing that he did to the Dark Order.  Hangman fights his way out of it and lands a rather scary-looking Back Drop Driver that leaves Danielson dazed.  Hangman goes to the apron, lines up his shot, and FINALLY hits the Buckshot Lariat which is enough to get the pin and win the match!  Hangman retains his title, and in doing so delivers Bryan Danielson his first loss at AEW!  I understand the reason behind having the last match be the longest match in AEW history, and I guess you need SOMETHING for the show’s big move to TBS, but it felt like a lot of the same stuff we saw last time, and the things they did add (i.e. the blood) didn’t make it feel any more important.  Still, not a bad way to start the show and to start the TBS era of Dynamite!

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (12-22-2021) – Holiday Bash

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

As much as I love wrestling, the Holidays are a tough time to find the three hours it takes to watch these shows what with a million other things to worry about this time of year.  Still, you can’t say AEW doesn’t put in the effort, and not taking a week away from the show even with everyone being busy is laudable I suppose; especially since they film Rampage on the same night as Dynamite which hopefully meant that everyone got to go home as soon as it was over.  Is this a great present for AEW to give us despite the poor timing of it, or will it get lost in the Holiday shuffle like everything else we don’t have time to think about because we’ve got so many other things to do right now!?  Okay, maybe not everyone is stressed out like that, but that’s beside the point!  Is this a good show or not!?  Let’s find out!!

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Orange Cassidy Vs. Adam Cole

Cole and Cassidy are two of the biggest stars who aren’t currently in the title picture, so putting them together in an opening match is as good a way as any to try and tear people away from their packed Holiday schedules to tune in.  It’s a solid match with a lot of back and for the action between the two, but things don’t really pick up until Cassidy gets a two count from a Diving Cross Body and a Swinging DDT.  This forces the Bucks and Brandon Cutler to come out just as Cassidy is going up top for a big splash, and instead of hitting Cole, Cassidy jumps down on Cutler.  It’s at this point that the Best Friends run down to make the save, but not before Cassidy hits a Suicide Dive on the Bucks which allows the Best Friends to fight them back up the ramp and to the back.  Despite his buddies getting overwhelmed, it does create an opening for Cole who throws Cassidy shoulder-first into the steps; hoping to neutralize his Orange Punch finisher.  Cassidy is left limp against the steps so Cole tries to follow up with a Boom Knee Strike, but Cassidy moves and Cole’s knee hits the steel instead of Cassidy’s squishy body.  With both suffering injuries, the two continue to brawl throughout the commercial break and start to kick things into high gear once we return.  Lousy Kicks, Brain Busters, Stundog Millionaires and Diving DDTs, All of which hit their mark, but the damage they’ve incurred end up blunting their effectiveness, so neither manage to get the pin.  Cole tries to set up Cassidy for the Panama Sunrise by dragging him to the corner, but Cassidy merely rolls away to overcome his scheme.  Frustrated by this, Colle tries to go after him but Cassidy hits a Michinoku Driver!  Now it’s his turn to set up a move as he puts on his shades and gets to the top rope, and once he’s up there he puts his hands in his pockets and tries to dive on Cole.  He’s WAY short on his dive however and ends up eating a Super Kick which allows Cole to get the Panama Sunrise and goes for a lackadaisical cover on Cassidy.  He might have won if he tried to do a serious pin, but Cassidy kicks out. Cassidy takes this unforced error from Cole and ducks and hits a Beach Break for a two count before setting up for the Orange Punch.  Seeing what’s about to happen, Cole rolls out of the ring right as Bobby Fish runs down to start yelling at the ref.  He’s doing it for a long time and Cassidy is just standing there looking perturbed, and right when I was wondering what the heck was going on here, NONE OTHER THAN KYLE O’REILLY RUNS IN TO ATTACK CASSIDY!  As soon as Cassidy is on the ground, Cole hits the Boom Knee Strike and gets the pin on Cassidy, but that’s almost immaterial because the big news here is that the original Undisputed Era (Roderick Strong was added later) has officially moved to AEW after WWE cast them aside like yesterday’s news!  There seems to be some tension as the Bucks run down and seem a bit hesitant about the Undisputed Era reforming right in front of them, but it was a solid match with a really cool surprise ending that is sure to get AEW even more clout with the fans!  I don’t know if we’ll hit the point where it becomes passé for great wrestlers from the other company to show up here and prove how great they are, but it certainly hasn’t happened yet!

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (12-15-2021) – Winter Is Coming

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

We’re back with AEW, and there’s certainly a chill in the air as Winter has officially come!  We’ve still got a few more weeks of shows this year, but this is the big one that they try to build up as a game-changer to start the New Year on a high note; especially with the AEW World Title on the line in a genuinely competitive match!  Will this be as exciting as when Moxley lost the title to Kenny Omega on last year’s show, or will my enthusiasm drop faster than the temperature outside?  Let’s find out!!

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Hangman Adam Page Vs. Bryan Danielson – AEW World Title Match

A rather bold choice for AEW to start with the big match instead of saving it for the main event!  Then again, given what’s about to happen it was probably the only choice they could go with as this match goes on for over an hour!  That’s right, more than half the show is dedicated to this one match, and we’ll talk about what this meant for the rest of the show once we get there, but for now, we need to talk about what happened here.  First and foremost, Danielson proves once again that he’s not just a great technical wrestler but a fantastic storyteller between the ropes as he’s very good at projecting the entirety of his thoughts through his movements and facial expressions.  It’s clear at the outset that Danielson does not consider Hangman to be an insurmountable challenge.  He’s certainly bigger and strong than him, but Danielson has faced those kinds of odds before and he has a plan for it.  For several minutes of the match, he refuses to engage with Hangman to any degree by keeping his distance, avoiding any real contact, and using the ropes to keep Hangman at bay; all the while grinning from ear to ear as the frustration mounts in Hangman.  He’s waiting for Hangman to get ahead of himself and to do something brash which Danielson can easily overcome, but Hangman is no fool and is keeping his cool just as much as Danielson is.  After a while of this, Hangman gets a quick boot to the chest that catches Danielson off guard and there’s a moment of uncertainty before he collects himself and gets back on track.  Still, Hangman has found his inch and he manages to force this into a proper match.  Danielson has to start engaging with Hangman, but he’s also staying smart about it by going for submissions and trying to damage the limbs while avoiding big moves from Hangman.  The strategy seems to be working, but Hangman manages to force Danielson into more direct confrontations and so Danielson starts using his chops and kicks that eventually send Hangman out of the ring.  This is when things start to get more violent as Danielson and Hangman start to slug it out in a war of brutal attrition, and this is what we get for a good chunk of the match.  Sometimes Danielson is in control, sometimes it’s Hangman, and they stick to their initial strategies as much as they can.  Hangman is hitting a lot of big and flashy moves like the Moonsault from the top rope to the floor, but Danielson stays on track and keeps picking at Hangman’s limbs to neutralize their power.  He also is keeping a sharp eye out for Hangman’s finishers, and so attempts at the Deadeye or the Buckshot Lariat are constantly avoided throughout the match despite the crowd desperately wanting to see it.  The only thing about the match that doesn’t work very well, and is probably why they should have saved this for a PPV, is that they simply can’t run the show for a full hour without commercial breaks and so the pacing of the match feels a bit wonky.  The worst of this is when Hangman goes for a Moonsault but is shoved off the turnbuckle by Danielson.  He hits the apron on his way to the floor and Danielson bashes Hangman’s shoulder into the post; continuing his strategy of neutralizing Hangman’s offense.  However, this also causes Hangman to bleed and so for an entire commercial break he’s being looked at by the doctors as Danielson poses in the ring.  We saw this same spot used in the Guevara/Lethal match and I just don’t think it’s helpful to a match.  If you need to fill a commercial break, then sure; have the doc look at the wrestler so that the TV audience doesn’t miss anything significant.  However, this still creates the problem as to why the ref doesn’t call for the bell as soon as the doctor is out there, or why he stops the ten count while the doctors attend to him.  It highlights the advantage that the champ has in title defense (titles can only change hands on pinfalls or submissions) which is great when you have a Heel champ, but it’s also not the kind of thing you want to advertise when it’s a Babyface with the title.  In any case, Hangman finally starts to stumble his way to the ring once the commercial break is over and they keep going from there.  We’re only at about the halfway point so the injury is kind of a moot point, but they do at least keep track of Hangman’s shoulder which is being brutalized by Danielson and is going to make it nearly impossible for Hangman to hit the Buckshot Lariat.  Turnabout is fair play however and Hangman starts targeting Danielson’s leg after he misses a Yes Kick that sends his shin right into the post.  This ends up playing into the rest of the match as we get closer and close to the time limit, and once we’re down to the final five minutes they have to leave everything they can in that ring to see who is still standing by the end of it!  Danielson has Hangman on the match and grabs his arms to start stomping on his face, the same way he did to all the members of the Dark Order, but with the bad leg, it’s not hard for Hangman to escape.  Danielson charges and Hangman catches him to at last land the Deadeye, but it’s only a two count.  Undeterred however, Hangman is now the one to grab his opponent’s arms and stomp on their face; a taste of Danielson’s own medicine if you will!  With Danielson sufficiently dazed, Hangman goes for the Buckshot Lariat with whatever strength he has left in the arm… BUT DANIELSON DODGES IT AND PUTS HANGMAN IN THE LABELLE LOCK!   With just over a minute left in the match, this is Danielson’s last chance to come away the champion, but perhaps that eagerness left him open for Hangman to escape and Slingshot him into the ropes.  Hangman hits a big lariat on Danielson which leaves him nearly dead on the floor, and Hangman goes to the apron one last time.  He waits for Danielson to stumble back to his feet, and he FINALLY hits the Buckshot Lariat just as the time expired!  Whether or not Hangman had enough in the tank for that hit to keep Danielson down for good is something we will never know, but it was about as satisfying an ending as you could get for a match that ends in a time limit draw!  This was a good match and I thought that both guys put in an exceptional amount of effort here, but I don’t think it needed a full hour to tell this story; especially with the commercial breaks wreaking havoc with the pacing.  Where we’ve seen PPV quality matches on TV before, this felt like a PPV match shunted into the TV format, but there’s very little doubt that the ending of this match is to set us up for a PPV main event, so as far as that goes it did its job brilliantly!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (12-15-2021) – Winter Is Coming”

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!!

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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…

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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 Dynamite (12-01-2021)

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

We’re back for another week of AEW action, but we start this recap on a somber note as JR isn’t here for this show because he’s fighting skin cancer.  We all hope the best for him and his family, and expect to see him back shortly as he’s one tough dude and is already rearing to come back!  This also means that for this week (and any other weeks he’s not available), we will be getting a lot of guest commentators to try and fill his absence.  Get well soon, JR, and let’s get started with the show!!

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Bryan Danielson Vs. Alan Angels

Hangman Adam Page joins the announce team for this match.

The big problem with Danielson’s quest to kick the head off of every Dark Order member on his way to facing Hangman is that it’s entirely unnecessary as Hangman is more than willing to fight Danielson, so it’s not like with MJF where he forces someone to go through all his Heel buddies before taking him on.  They even have a date in place with the Winter is Coming show in a few weeks, so there are no real stakes to this and Danielson is just doing it to do it while the Dark Order are playing into his hand.  It worked the first time with Evil Uno and perhaps twice with Colt Cabana, but Alan Angels coming out here just seems like folly.  Still, Angels has kind of a shtick now of being a guy who never wins matches but always gives the big dogs a run for his money, though I’m sure that’ll be cold comfort for him if Danielson kicks one of his teeth out.  It starts off strong for Danielson who remains in full control of the match despite a few decent hits from Angels here and there.  He gets a surprise Backslide for a two count and tries to capitalize on it, but Danielson quickly regains control with a Butterfly Suplex into an Arm Bar.  Angels makes it toe the ropes and comes back with a Drop Kick that sends Danielson out of the ring; following up with a Suicide Dive and a Moonsault from the middle rope.  This advantage is short-lived as Danielson hits him with a Spanish Fly as soon as they are back in the ring, and even when he does get a chance to climb the turnbuckle, he misses the Moonsault and eats a Running Knee from Danielson.  He doesn’t go for the pin, however!  Instead, he starts stomping on Angels’ face as he did to Colt Cabana; thankfully with no lost teeth, at least as far as I could tell, and Danielson transitions into the Knee Bar which he Angels immediately taps out of.  Oh, but the tap is no good in this match as Danielson refuses to let go of the move for almost a minute after the bell rings and starts to claim that he tore Angels’ MCL which is probably NOT true, but I guess they have to keep up this destruction of the Dark Order story.  Hangman Adam Page is about to run down to attack Danielson, but John Silver comes out and tells him not to go after him as Tony Khan has scheduled a match for Winter is Coming and therefore has decreed that if Hangman and Danielson fight each other now, they will get suspended.  That’s a pretty good reason not to go after Danielson, though it’s not the only reason because… SILVER’S GONNA TAKE HIM DOWN HIMSELF!  He runs down but Danielson runs out, claiming the Silver is beneath him, but they will be facing off next week before Danielson followed by Hangman at Winter is Coming the week after.  It was a good opener as Angels put on a good show for himself while keeping Danielson looking strong, and they didn’t spend too much time on it.  It still seems like a weird choice for the Dark Order to keep throwing themselves at Danielson, but if they lead to good matches like this then I guess I’m fine with it.

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (12-01-2021)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (11-24-2021) – Thanksgiving

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

We’re back with more Dynamite action, and I guess this would count as one of those special episodes they like to do?  It doesn’t have a cool name like Grand Slam or the upcoming Battle of the Belts, but they did put in the effort to add Thanksgiving as a subtitle and a nice fall background to the big screens!  Is this a fun collection of matches that we will all be thankful for, or will it put us to sleep faster than the tryptophan in turkey?  Let’s find out!!

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The show is supposed to begin with a CM Punk match, but they only get as far as his entrance before MJF throws everything off track.  Coming out before QT Marshall’s music can play, MJF not only taunts Punk with a promo, but the two of them proceed to take twenty minutes to talk and talk and talk!  Now to their credit, it’s all good stuff!  MJF starts by giving Punk a backhanded compliment about his Pipe Bomb promo being the highlight of his career (insinuating that he will never be that good again), and proceeds to dress him down for his run at AEW and whatever else he was up to before returning to wrestling.  He mentioned that CM Punk wrote some comic books which I HAD to look up as soon as I heard that, and while we sadly don’t have the Punk equivalent of those incomprehensible WARRIOR comics, he did in fact write a Drax the Destroyer series for Marvel.  Perhaps I’ll check that out someday, but regardless of that, Punk responds by saying that he’s disappointed in MJF and makes fun of his silly name; looking as if he’s unfazed by the barrage of hate from MJF, but I get the feeling it’s starting to get under his skin.  They go back and forth for a bit with Punk being compared to John Cena and MJF being compared to the Miz, but by the end of this, neither side has given up any ground.  Punk is willing to fight him at the moment, but MJF is willing to let this run out a bit longer and just walks away; much like how Punk walked away from him last week.  I think MJF just coming out and picking on a new Baby Face every few weeks is starting to get repetitive, but so far it’s at least more engaging for me than I found his feud with Darby Allin was.  Points for that at least, but we’ll still need to see where all this is going.  Anyway, what were we doing before we were so rudely interrupted?  Oh right!

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CM Punk Vs. QT Marshall

QT is accompanied to the ring by Nick Comoroto and Aaron Solow

Considering the guy got preempted for a full TWENTY MINUTES, he puts up a much better fight than I expected him to.  Punk starts the match in full control with a series of Power Slams that turn QT’s spine into jelly, and the dude’s own backup can’t even do their job effetely as Nick grabs Punk’s boot (which does absolutely nothing) which immediately gets them BOTH tossed out by the ref!  Solow didn’t even do anything, and yet he’s being pushed around by the refs who, I will remind you, are some of the most ineffectual refs in wrestling!  None of this points to QT having much of a chance here, and yet he gets a good knee shot and lands a few blows which don’t exactly turn the tide in his favor, but gives him enough momentum to start gloating to the crowd.  It goes back and forth for a bit as Punk fights back with a Back Body Drop and a Flying Clothesline from the apron only for QT to regain control with a Pop-Up Elbow Strike and a Liger Bomb for a two count.  It’s a turn of events so unexpected that JR comments on how Punk is not on the ball this match and I’m not sure that’s quite what the crowd came to see, but eventually Punk gives them what they want with a few big moves to get them going before landing a Flying Elbow from the top rope.  With QT dazed and confused, Punk signals for the GTS, scoops him up, hits the knee, and gets the pin to win the match.  I feel like this would have worked better for me if QT didn’t get as much offense in here and they kept it quite a bit shorter.  It’s nearly a fifteen-minute match that comes off the heels of a twenty-minute promo, and while I’m sure there are plenty of Punk fans who can’t get enough of the guy, having him on screen for a full uninterrupted half-hour felt a bit excessive. 

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (11-24-2021) – Thanksgiving”