Tag Archives: Christopher Daniels

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (12-04-19)

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

So apparently last week’s show had some frighteningly low ratings which kind of surprised me. No, not that the ratings were low but that anyone besides me DID watch it last Wednesday as I myself, watching the show for this recap series as much as for its own sake, couldn’t dedicate the full two hours to just watching it as I had about a dozen other things to do that night before Thanksgiving. Look, I’m a millennial and TV as a thing you had to make time for on a fixed schedule is about as outdated to me as landline phones, so I’m surprised the ratings have been as good as they are; especially with TNT initially projecting about half a million viewers per episode which last week’s show still managed to clear easily despite being such a big dip. To me, that’s not as important as the quality of the show itself which has been pretty solid the last few weeks even if the last one felt like they were phoning it in a bit considering they were basically working on a holiday. Now that we’re back on a regular schedule with nothing else to get in the way, does AEW come back stronger than ever? Let’s find out!!

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The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) & Dustin Rhodes Vs. Proud and Powerful (Santana & Ortiz) & Sammy Guevara

The show begins with a six man tag match which had a bunch of wrestlers we haven’t seen in the ring for quite some time. The Young Bucks as well as Dustin Rhodes have been showing up here and there for brawls and what not, but it’s been close to a month since they’ve actually had a match and maybe even longer for Dustin. Yeah, maybe getting your arm slammed in the door by the muscle bound mo-fo in a polo known as Jake Hager was NOT the best idea since the dude still has a cast on now, but regardless of that how was the match? Actually pretty good! Despite being more or less the “old man” of the promotion (even though he’s only a year older than Jericho) Dustin is still a superstar who the crowd will put over at the drop of a hat. He manages to land a tandem Super Kick on Sammy with The Young Bucks, he does that worn out gimmick he’s been trying out that’s actually pretty endearing, and he is still fast, tough, and agile with some impressive snap suplexes and some sort of front flip dive from the apron. The other standout however is Sammy who takes SO much abuse in this match but makes it all look easy. He may not have the mic skills of MJF, but he may be the second most talented “new guy” in the promotion after him; especially after landing some very impressive moves. Dude does this AMAZING 630 splash from the top ropes, looking like Sonic the Hedgehog doing a Spin Dash, which was amazing to see but still not enough to put Dustin away who only gets more and more love from the crowd because of it. Now this isn’t to say that The Bucks and Proud and Powerful didn’t hold their own as Dustin and Sammy wouldn’t have looked quite as good with them, and they certainly do have the more refined tag team repertoire to fill in the gaps of the match. The finishing move was utterly ridiculous where Dustin and Nick were holding Santana and Ortiz upside down with Sammy on the mat. Matt then jumps from the top rope, kicks Proud N Powerful on his way down, and then lands on Sammy. Excessive to be sure since they didn’t NEED to damage Santana and Ortiz to get the win, but if you CAN show off you might as well do it. I really did enjoy this match quite a bit and everyone in it looked REALLY good, but I always prefer the opening matches to be a bit shorter and this one could have ended during the comeback following Dustin kicking out of the 630 instead of going on for another five to ten minutes or so. It also advances the storyline a bit as THE ELITE Vs. THE INNER CIRCLE is definitely an angle they’re building up steam towards, but I was really hoping Dustin would grab the mic after the match and challenge Jake Hager (the guy who fractured his arm) right then and there like when Darby Allin accepted Jon Moxley’s challenge. A few tweaks here and there might have improved it, but still a good way to start the show.

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (11-27-19)

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

We’re back with even more AEW action on one of the few days of the year I really don’t feel like having AEW action!  I spent the WHOLE time this show was on frantically cooking things for today and I can’t imagine all the workers there were too happy to be doing this instead of spending time with their families, but maybe I’m wrong about that.  I mean that crowd was pretty good for a night before Thanksgiving wrestling show, and this particular holiday is kind of nonsense anyway, so maybe they’re exactly where they want to be!  In any case, I think we can probably cut each other a bit of slack here if I missed anything or didn’t fully grasp the DRAMA with what was happening, okay?  Let’s get started!!

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Chris Jericho’s Thanksgiving Thank You Spectacular

As announced last week after Jericho’s heartfelt apology, the episode started with a Thanksgiving Party in the ring that no one was invited to but we were all more than welcome to spectate as Jericho just chews up the scenery with more voracity than most people have eating the stuffing and creamed corn on National Turkey Day.  Before he even gets into the ring someone named Soul Train Jones (I’m pretty sure he was in one of The Inner Circle’s video packages) introduces Jericho who then comes down to the ring accompanied by a marching band because you don’t get Le Champion to do anything half assed.  The crowd is totally marking out for the guy with chants of THANK YOU JERICHO before starting to boo him the moment he starts speaking, and this really did add a lot to the segment; especially when Jericho offers them fifty cents off his T-shirts and they react like they won a car.  The inner Circle eventually comes in after Jericho has pimped out all his new merch, and they proceed to give him various gifts to show their appreciation for the dude who made them the biggest names in wrestling.  Sammy Guevara gives him a standee of the two of them hugging while Proud N Powerful give him a basket full of… stuff I guess.  Vicks Vapo-rub, a box of dominos, booze, basically everything you would need to survive in a fallout shelter once the bombs start to drop.  Even Jake Hager gets in on the revelry as he comes out with a very uncooperative goat named Chris Jeri-goat which is the second best name for a goat right after Benedict Cumber-BAAAAAA-tch.  I don’t know why any of this is happening and I hope that animal wasn’t TOO distressed, but it seemed to be all in good fun and Hager could not keep a straight face in the slightest.  The last gift however was the best one of it all because it reminded me of the only wrestler better than Jericho (The MIz) which turned out to be his dad who is a former hockey player and proceeds to hometown team; Like father like son I supposed.  I did like this segment, but I feel they should have cut it a bit shorter or made them more of heels throughout as they come off as fun loving and kind of dorky dudes celebrating how much they appreciate each other which is not exactly the image you want for your dominate heel faction.  I mean even if you wanted to argue that they were self-centered and cocky, it’s still not particularly THREATENING, and the one thing about all these guys is that they know how to cause damage when you least expect it; not just waste time giving each other pats on the back.  EVENTUALLY though, there comes a point where he has the ring announcer read a thank you note from TNT to the crowd, but the guy doesn’t read it in as nice a tone as LE CHAMPION would have wanted and so they Inner Circle curb stomps him.  FINALLY they start to act like heels but then out of nowhere three dudes in the marching band rush the ring, turn out to be SCU in disguise, and start cleaning house; INCLUDING knocking Soul Train Jones right no his ass!  I don’t know how much you can claim to be good guys if you’re clothes-lining dudes in their late fifties, but it did end the segment on a high note which is good enough for me.

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (11-13-19)

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

With the fallout of Full Gear fresh in our minds, this week’s episode of Dynamite has a lot to live up to as well as a lot of storylines to start building back up.  Will Cody live up to his word and not challenge for the AEW title again?  Will MJF be able to explain himself for his betrayal of Cody?  Will Jericho continue to be a smarmy jerk that we all love to hate?  Hopefully the answer to all three is a HECK YES, but let’s find out!!

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Before our first match, we get an update on Kenny Omega who (in storyline; I’m pretty sure it’s just a work) is not cleared for tonight’s show due to the injuries he sustained in the Light’s Out match he had with Jon Moxley at Full Gear. We also learn that Michael Nakazawa is a friend of his which is relevant because…

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Jon Moxley Vs. Michael Nakazawa

You know a Nakazawa match is serious business when he foregoes the baby oil!  Right off the bat he just tosses it away and starts coming after Moxley with everything he’s got to avenge his bleeding buddy, but to no avail as Moxley makes short work of him in a match that barely goes on longer than a minute.  I didn’t mind it though!  I like being showed that Nakazawa can have a serious side to him and it’s important to make Moxely look as strong as possible if he’s going to continue being a top guy in the company; neither of which requires a whole lot of time and is a refreshing change of pace for a promotion known for REALLY long matches.  Besides, the real point of all this is to give Moxley the mic afterwards who proceeds to gloat as hard as he can and promise to destroy EVERYONE at AEW until the company itself is destroyed and he is the only one left remaining.  He issues an open challenge to the locker room for anyone to take a shot at him which at this point may be just as prestigious a challenge as going for the title itself.  Jon Moxley is THAT good at being pissed off, aggressive, and in complete control of his surrounds.  Surprisingly the crowd is pretty mixed on the guy which is great because it shows that the audience is willing to play their part in the story because of how invested they are in the product.  What’s even MORE surprising though is that no one from the locker room takes him up on the offer which either means that everyone backstage is scared or that they want to drag this story out a bit more so we that fans can speculate on who would be the best person in the company to try and take Moxley down a peg.  I prefer it if a show like this doesn’t drag things out early on and this was a great start right off the bat!

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Super Wrestling: AEW – Full Gear

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

While technically being the fifth AEW PPV (sixth if you count All In which was basically AEW Zero), this is the first one since they’ve gotten the TV series and have started to focus more on long term storylines.  Not only that, but it’s coming off of a MASSIVE amount of success from Dynamite which has consistently beaten NXT in the ratings, so there’s a lot of hype and high expectations surrounding this PPV which is always a double edged sword as it means more people are interested in seeing it but that they’re also much more easy to disappoint.  Can AEW continue their streak of high quality wrestling action with their latest PPV?  Let’s find out!!

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Britt Baker Vs. Bea Priestly

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The only match they had on the pre-show for Full Gear was this match against Britt Baker and Bea Priestly which I GUESS is supposed to be the blow off to a feud, but they never HAD a feud to begin with.  They had one match all the way back before they got on TV and I think they were on a tag team match a few weeks ago, but at no point did they interact in any meaningful way to sell this supposed rivalry between them.  There’s a video package before the fight where Britt talks smack about Priestly and I just don’t think it works because Britt brings up stuff we’d NEVER heard of until now about her being possibly injured in the Fight for the Fallen match and it’s also completely one sided as Priestly doesn’t even show up in the video, so for all we know she’s just out there doing her thing and being respectful towards everyone while Britt is off to the side seething for no good reason!  Now all that having been said, when the two of them actually DO get in the ring they are fighting like this match means something.  Britt is definitely all scowls and fury which is a far cry from the babyface she often portrays, and Priestly is definitely relishing just how much she’s gotten under her skin.  The moves as well are less coordinated and flashy as they are just slugfests and pain clinics which is how you definitely want to pay off a feud even if this particular one still didn’t feel properly set up.

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“How many fingers am I holding up?  HOW MANY!?”

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Super Wrestling: AEW – Fight for the Fallen

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

We’re back for Part 3 of the AEW saga which will hopefully be better than Alien 3, but probably not as good as Back to the Future Part 3.  Will it be better than the last PPV Fyter Fest?  Well we’ll find out soon enough, but can I point out that twice in a row now they’ve given these shows out away FOR FREE which, even with the TNT deal approaching fast, STILL feels like it’s riding the line between confidence and foolishness.  All I’m saying is that I came to peace with having to pay money for these things, and it’s feeling kind of weird that the moment I do they decide to give them away!  I’m usually not that lucky with these kinds of things, but I guess I’ll ride this no charge train until it derails!

So before we get started, let’s talk about the setup of the show itself.  There’s a slight change to the ring here in that there’s a ramp leading directly to it rather than a ramp to the outside where they have to then climb in.  At first I wasn’t sure if I liked the idea of a raised platform on the outside of the ring, but I never noticed it hindering anyone and they managed to sue it effectively a few times throughout.  The open air theater is fine even if I’m usually not a big fan of it as natural lighting feels a bit dull, but they do it late in the day so most of the matches are at night under controlled lighting anyway so it works out fine and it ends up feeling like a casual affair rather than a full on Double or Nothing production.  It’s good that they kept things on a much lighter note here because I’ll tell you right now, this is the worst show they’ve done so far even if it’s still a solid wrestling program.  We’ll get to why soon enough, but if it has an edge over Fyter Fest they at least set the tone right with this almost picnic vibe to keep it all feeling more casual.  That also extends to the announce table though as our three announcers feel like they’ve regressed back to Double or Nothing; struggling to find things to talk about; especially in the lower key matches that really could have used the boost.  Matches like, just for example… the first one on the preshow!

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Peter Avalon “The Librarian” vs Sonny Kiss

AEWFFTF1“The Librarian” is accompanied to the ring by Leva Bates “The Librarian”

First things first!  The last time we saw Sunny Kiss was when he was shoving her butt into Tommy Dreamers face back in the Double or Nothing Battle Royale and on top of that, I referred to him as a woman.  I did in fact assume their gender and it turns out that I was wrong.  According to a tweet from Sonny Kiss, he uses He/Him pronouns so I will use those going forward.  ANYWAY!  The Librarians have gotten quite a bit of flak in the short amount of time and while I DO appreciate what they’re going for and just how much heat they’re willing to take from the audience, I honestly I don’t think this match is doing them much favors.  First major problem is that Peter Avalon shouldn’t take off his librarian costume.  Wearing traditional wrestling trunks as he does in this match, he looks like a dork and not in the good way.  Certain heel gimmicks need to carry into the ring for them to work; particularly ones where the gimmick is that they are not in fact wrestlers.  Just look at Baron Corbin who is a pretty effective heel and never takes off his “manger” outfit when he’s in the ring, at least as far I’ve seen, and it helps convey his status as a sniveling authority figure.  Sonny Kiss on the other hand projects style, grace, and attitude through every costume choice, every move he makes in the ring, and every appeal to the audience whenever Peter’s on the ground.  I think the gimmick can work, but there’s certainly room left to tweak it.

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“Can I join your team?”     “Only if you can look half as good as I do.”     “Dang it…”

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Super Wrestling: AEW – Fyter Fest

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

We’re back with another PPV brought to you by the throne smashers themselves, AEW!  Things have certainly changed since Double or Nothing, haven’t they?  For one, WWE has completely lost the plot from what I’ve heard and responded to AEW with nonsense, bad story lines, and an overabundance of Shane McMahon.  With their primary rival of sorts doing such a poor job of responding to the new challenger, which is surprising in its own right, it only got stranger when AEW announced that THIS PPV would be completely free; a move that still baffles me considering how successful they’ve been up to this point.  Sure, Double or Nothing MIGHT have been a bit pricey at fifty bucks, but they could have at least charged twenty or even ten for it which would have gotten them a heck of a lot more money than ZERO!  I guess TBS and the Khan family have the money to throw around, and I’m not about to complain TOO much about not having to pay for a show like this.  The bigger question is what’s different in this show and have they improved since Double or Nothing?  Eh… sort of.  As far as commentary, Excalibur has improved but JR still sounds a bit rusty and out of touch; especially when he referred to Cima as “an Oriental.”  I mean look, we can argue about how much of a slur that is or whether JR has any genuine ill feelings about Asian wrestlers (and I can think of WAY worse people they could have gotten as an announcer where the answer to those questions wouldn’t even be debatable), but it really does make him seem like an awkward fit for what is supposed to be a very modern and forward thinking wrestling company.  While the announcing has improved, sadly the camera work still has a few rough patches that will hopefully get ironed out before they go to TV.  I only mentioned this very briefly in my last recap, but the editing sometimes misses spots or more often will miss whenever there’s drama at the end of a match.  Someone does a low blow, someone else enters the ring, stuff like that will almost go by unnoticed because whoever is running the cameras is focusing on something else an nearly misses the action.  Again, this is the kind of thing that can be easily fixed with experience and I’m not gonna begrudge them this learning curve, but it is even more noticeable here than it was last time. In fact, I’d say that’s the overall vibe I’m getting from Fyter Fest.  It’s still really good stuff, but I think the high from Double or Nothing has started to wear off and so it’s easier to see and evaluate its flaws.  The big one that MOSTLY stayed in the pre-show but kept coming back to annoy me was the show’s theme where they didn’t JUST name it after something topical but had to do little skits to make sure we ALL KNOW that they saw the documentaries too.  Kenny Omega is trying to find instruments for bands that don’t exist, The Young Bucks lost their luggage and need to find new costumes, and they even brought models out before swiftly replacing them with mannequins.  It all just felt so corny and unnecessary when they could have used that time to put up a few promos for the matches which frankly were desperately needed as many of them seemed to have a story but one that we weren’t informed of ahead of time.   Let’s put all that aside though and just focus on the matches!  So how did the pre-show kick things off?

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Six-man Tag Team Match

AEWFF1Private Party: Isiah Kassidy and Marq Quen
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SoCal Uncensored: Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky (Schuyler Andrews)
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Best Friends: Chuck Taylor and Trent Beretta

There’s a lot going on in this first match which is good because you want to get the crowd on board right away so they can carry that energy for the rest of the show.  We’ve got Private Party as the newcomers who I think AEW is trying to push as future superstars of the company considering they got a whole episode of Road to Fyter Fest dedicated to them.  We’ve got two thirds of SCU who had one of the best matches in all of Double or Nothing, and while I wasn’t really impressed with The Best Friends last time (definitely a victim of the last show running long), they get a pretty good pop from the crowd so I was willing to give them another chance.  The only thing that I didn’t like right off the bat was the fact that this was a Triple Threat tag match and they always use this weird rule where only two compeitors can be in the ring at a time; leaving one team to just sit on the sidelines while the other two actually fight.  I don’t understand why they don’t have one member of each team in the ring like say… an ACTUAL Triple Threat, but we’ll get back to this later on in the match.  For now, I just want to point out that everyone in this looks great and does some very impressive acrobatics!  SCU continues to be the best tag team as far as I’m concerned as they can take already impressive wrestlers like Private Party and Best Friends and make them look even better than they already are!  There’s this really impressive spot where Isiah Kassidy and Marq Quen go back to back on Kassiran in beautiful and brutal fashion!  If I could say one thing about the match it’s that it FEELS a bit too much like an exhibition; like everyone is here to help the other team show off their moves instead of win the fight, but frankly that’s a rather minor complaint when the moves are THIS impressive!

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He should change his name to Mark QUAIL!!  …  Because he’s flying through the air?  …  Really, nothing?  Is this thing on?

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Super Wrestling: AEW – Double or Nothing

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Double or Nothing and all the images you see I this recap are owned by All Elite Wrestling and Shahid Khan

Welcome to all you Marks, Smarks, and everything in between, to my very first recap of a wrestling show!!  Now I’ve been watching WWE pretty consistently for the past year as wrestling is something I’ve always been interested in but I always felt there were barriers to entry that kept me away from it.  Well thankfully WWE solved that problem right away with the amazing WWE Network that only costs ten bucks a month, had more or less up to date content (the shows there are a month behind the live broadcast) AND it had the ENTIRE BACKLOG OF CONTENT stretching back to its earliest broadcast days in case you wanted to catch up on anything that you didn’t know the full story of!  Even so, becoming a fan of this stuff has also let me in on some of the more pernicious things about the company that can sometime temper my enthusiasm.  Vince is still a MASSIVE jerk, the Saudi Arabia deal is a total disaster, healthcare for the talent is still a problem, and the company keeps scumbags like Hulk Hogan and Randy Orton on their payroll.  It’s almost like there should be a viable alternative brand out there or something, but where are we gonna get one of THOSE!?  Anyway, let’s take a serious look at what Cody Rhodes, The Young Bucks, and a couple of billionaires managed to put together in what is no doubt the most hyped and anticipated wrestling show of the year!!

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First Impressions

Before we get to any of the matches, I wanted to point out two key points that apply to the show as a whole.  First, the production is FANTASTIC!  I’ve seen a couple of TNA shows and a bout or two of Ring of Honor, and they always looked like the lesser version of what WWE can put together; what with their massive screens, multi-camera setup, and detailed set design to really give them a flashy and professional presentation.  Fortunately AEW has realized that this is gonna be a key thing to figure out right off the bat because if they LOOK like a second rate company then people will TREAT THEM like a second rate company, and after this show I don’t think anyone will be doing that!  Sure, it’s not WRESTLEMANIA or even some of the higher end PPVs as far as production, scope, and sizzle, but its right up there with what Raw and SmackDown pulls off each week.  Where it DOES lag behind WWE however, is the commentary; particularly that Excalibur guy who doesn’t have a particularly commanding voice and seems to fumble over his lines a fair bit.  It’s not just him though; the other guy (I don’t even remember his name) and even JR seemed a bit rusty here and they seriously need to work the kinks out of this before they get to their television deal.  Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s start with the Pre-show matches!!

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Casino Battle Royale

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The Clubs: Dustin Thomas, MJF (Maxwell Jacob Friedman), Sunnny Daze (James Dylan), Brandon Cutler, and Michael Nakazawa
The Diamonds: Brian Pillman Jr, Orange Cassidy, Jimmy Havoc (James Mcahren), Shawn Spears
The Hearts: Billy Gunn, Glacier (Raymond Lloyd), Jungle Boy (Jack Perry), Marq Quen, and Ace Romero
The Spades: Luchasaurus (Austin Matelson), Marko Stunt, Sonny Kiss, and Tommy Dreamer
The Joker: Adam “Hangman” Page

Now the thing about Battle Royale matches is that while they can be flashy and fun, they’re also kind of a mess to stage and so a lot of the time you have people hanging out in corners for a long time or someone getting a bit of momentum before being stopped in their tracks so someone ELSE can have the spotlight.  With the right timing and a lot of flexibility on the participants though, it CAN be great.  This one?  Eh… I wasn’t all too into it.  The first thing that felt odd was that they set up these rules about people going out in waves and how it was ALL random, but it still felt incredibly staged so why not just say that AEW management set up four groups themselves?  Why the elaborate explanation about a deck of cards; especially when we don’t SEE anyone draw from it?  I guess that’s the benefit of a weekly show where you can spend ten minutes having your wrestlers dramatic draw cards and set up the dynamics for each bracket, but on a PPV it felt needlessly complicated.  Ignoring that though, the Battle Royale itself felt like it moved at a snail’s until at least three of the brackets came in, but there were some highlights!  MJF cemented himself as the de-facto heel right off the bat by kicking Dustin Thomas in the face and calling him Lieutenant Dan.  In case you didn’t know, Dustin Thomas is a wrestler with no legs, which proves that MJF hasn’t seen a movie since the late nineties.  I bet at some point he’s gonna shout RUN FOREST, RUN at someone who’s running to the ring or maybe even do a SHOW ME THE MONEY gimmick.  The other great thing that happened very early in this match is Michael Nakazawa busting out a bottle of baby oil and just COVERING himself with the biggest smile you could ever imagine!  I mean it DID help him out of a jam at least, but you’d think someone would want to do that BEFORE they got into trouble!

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I wish I could enjoy ANYTHING in life as much as Michael Nakazawa loves being covered in baby oil…

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