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.

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (01-12-2022)”

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.

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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”

Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (11-12-2021)

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

We’re back with more Rampage action, and I can finally say that this is THE final show before the Full Gear PPV!  For weeks everything has been inching ever closer to the big event and no matter what happened there was always a LITTLE bit more time to line everything up.  The Dynamite Show did about as well a job of that as you could ask for, but even so, this is their last chance to tie up any loose ends that may still be dangling!  Does this last leg of the current story arc get us where we need to go, or are they looking towards the future and what happens after the big show?  Let’s find out!!

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Jungle Boy Vs. Bobby Fish

Jungle Boy’s new scraggly facial hair must be giving him a serious confidence boost because the bell rings and he drops Fish to the mat under a hellacious rainfall of fists!  He then pushes him to the corner and lands a bunch of forearms before trying some fancy moves on the ropes, but this is where his hubris gets the best of him as Fish YANKS him down and Jungle Boy tumbles his way to the floor!  This error on Jungle Boy’s part gives Fish the advantage for a good chunk of the match, and even when Jungle Boy tries his fancy moves and manages to land the Springboard Arm Drag, he can’t quite get out from under Bobby Fish’s assault; culminating in a brawl on the apron where Bobby drops down and kicks Jungle Boy’s legs out from under him so that he tumbles once again to the floor.  Fish stays in control for the commercial break, but Jungle Boy eventually manages to fight back with some strikes and a low Drop Kick that’s followed by a Lariat that drops Fish to the mat.  Not to be outdone, Fish straight-up football tackles Jungle Boy and pushes him clear across the ring into the corner, and follows that up with a Back Drop for a two count!  Still, Jungle Boy has some momentum again and things go back and forth with Jungle Boy getting a German Suplex into a bridge as well as a Roll-Up for near falls, while Fish gives him an Exploder into the ropes before working over the shoulder.  These kicks to the shoulder however end up being Fish’s undoing as Jungle Boy catches him mid-kick and transitions into the Snare Trap.  Fish does his best to keep him from locking it in, but after a few elbows to the head by Jungle Boy, he’s no longer able to fight back and passes out almost as soon as Jungle Boy fully locks in the move.  It’s not over yet however as Adam Cole runs down and attacks Jungle Boy with Fish getting back up to help in the assault.  Fish holds Jungle Boy in place while Cole gets some chairs, and they start threatening the con-chair-to when Christian Cage and Luchasaurus run down to make the save.  Adam Cole runs away but Fish is caught, and instead of running to save his buddy, Cole just stays on the ramp while Cage lands the Kill Switch on Fish.  It wasn’t the most exciting match from either guy, and the ending felt a bit rushed, but it was a solid match and a fun opener to the show.  The one thing I didn’t like is how Cole left Fish to get attacked at the end as I really want them to push this reformed Undisputed Era angle a bit longer before finding cracks in the façade, and something like this wouldn’t have happened for several weeks at least.  Besides, isn’t the ultimate goal to turn Cole Baby Face!?  Let him stick up for his friend; it wouldn’t have hurt the story!

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (11-10-2021)

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

It’s the last Dynamite before Full Gear and AEW’s last chance to sell to us on their main show!  We of course have Rampage the night before, but with two hours of TV time, this is the show that will get the most done and tie up the most loose-ends!  Is it a satisfying Go Home show to give Full Gear the hype it needs, or are we just fumbling our way through this until we get to the other side and can start fresh?  Let’s find out!!

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Bryan Danielson Vs. Rocky Romero

Romero is accompanied to the ring by Best Friends and Orange Cassidy

Before we get into any of this, I want it to be clear that I’ve never seen a Rocky Romero fight and I have no idea what Chaos is; nor do I fully understand what Orange Cassidy’s role in it is.  I’m glad that AEW is working well with a bunch of companies and that we get Forbidden Door matches like this every once in a while, but I’m a guy who covers this show pretty consistently and even I felt a bit out of the loop on this.  Perhaps I’m overstating the case, but AEW already has a problem with their YouTube shows intermingling with Dynamite and Rampage, and adding New Japan stuff to that mix isn’t the best idea unless they REALLY take the time to go into it.  In any case, this is pretty much just a warm-up match for Danielson to get ready for his fight against Miro at the PPV, and unlike the Omega match that opened on the last Dynamite, I think this did a solid job of building him up and getting fans excited to see what happens on the big show.  For the most part, it’s a submission battle as both go back and forth trying to get some leverage with Romero focusing almost exclusively on the arm.  He proves to be a wily competitor as Danielson has some big moves to show off and gets some serious damage in, but there’s always the threat that Romero will grab the arm out of nowhere and try to break it such as when Danielson lands an Elbow Drop on the dude’s leg and ends up having to scramble his way to the ropes as Rocky locks in the Cross Arm Breaker.  At one point Danielson is tossed through the ropes and ends up face to face with Cassidy who puts his hands in his pockets; effectively distracting Danielson as Romero charges from the ring and lands a Suicide Dive.  This gives Rocky an opening for a few good moves and to crush Danielson’s arm some more, but they both end up pretty worn down by German Suplexes, Hurricanrana, and a whole lot of punches and kicks in the middle of the ring.  Eventually, the two start trading submissions and Romero gets the full extension of the Cross Arm Breaker, but he doesn’t get him to tap as Danielson forces Romero to break up his hold by pinning his shoulders and getting a two-count.  Danielson is still in this manages to stop a Sliced Bread attempt in its tracks which leaves Rocky on the ground, and he eats a bunch of stomps from Danielson who goes in for the LaBelle Lock.  He can’t quite get the move on as Romero is fighting back, but he swiftly switches tactics and locks in the Tequila Sunrise which is finally enough to get Romero to tap out.  It was an old-school bout between two guys who know how to work that kind of match, and while it was perhaps a BIT too competitive for Danielson who’s going into a big match on the PPV; it still worked better than the Omega match.  Romero is a guest of the show and guests are usually portrayed to be VERY tough, and the stakes in Danielson’s match aren’t as high as in Omega’s.  Frankly, I’m about as interested in seeing Danielson go up against Cassidy as I would Omega or Hangman Adam Page, so I think I might be pulling just a LITTLE bit more for Miro to win the tournament at Full Gear!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (11-10-2021)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (10-29-2021)

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

Spooky scary wrestling; it only happens once a year!  Well… twice a year I guess since AEW has two shows now, and honestly I’m grateful for it because if this tribute to the best holiday of the year is even half as good as the Dynamite show, then we are in for a GHOULISHLY good time!  Is this a FANG-tastic collection of COFF-FUN matches to make you SCREAM, or is this a foul beast that was better left in its tomb?  Hey, would you rather me get these all out now or parcel them out through all of November?  Let’s find out!!

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Daniel Bryan Vs. Eddie Kingston – AEW World Title Tournament Semi-Final

Danielson and Kingston both had rather disappointing opening matches in this tournament, but with the semi-finals underway they both have a chance to redeem themselves, and boy do they ever!  It doesn’t start off very intense as Danielson seems to be worried about engaging in any sort of brawl with Kingston and so is biding his time to land some flashier moves while Kingston is ready to brawl but isn’t about to walk into a trap.  Danielson finally gets his chance by running the ropes and landing a Flying Clothesline on Eddie that sends him to the corner before landing a kick to his face, and Kingston rolls to throw a chair around in frustration before getting back in the ring with Danielson.  With the momentum in his favor, Danielson starts taking some of Kingston’s shots which he sells like bowling bowls to the chest, but taking those hits gets him close enough to Kingston to REALLY start doing some damage.  He works over Kingston’s left arm which should help dampen those powerful strikes, and Kingston can’t do much against his submissions until Danielson tries to throw him into the ropes and he eats a knee instead.  Things keep getting nastier and more brutal as the match progresses which favors Kingston whose strikes are leaving some DISTRESSINGLY red marks all over Danielson’s skin.  He’s gonna have to do more than just tank Kingston’s moves if he wants to win, but he seems too tired to go back to his original strategy.  Fortunately, he gets a lucky break as Kingston charges and Danielson pulls down the ropes and sends him to the floor, but when Danielson tries to press the advantage, Kingston DESTROYS him on the outside with an Elbow Strike and a Suplex.  Now Kingston may fight light a brute but he’s also a shrewd competitor and allows the ref to start the count instead of trying to attack Danielson more which is a sound strategy considering Danielson’s state, but he just BARELY gets in at the nine count.  After a few more moves from Kingston, he puts Danielson on the turnbuckle for a Superplex, but Danielson fights him off which should give him a bit of breathing room… except that all it means is that Kingston can bash him across the chest from a standing position on the floor; something that I’m sure his deeply red chest isn’t thankful for.  Kingston tries to get up again, but Danielson escapes from underneath instead of fighting him off and gets behind him to land an Avalanche Belly to Back Suplex!  The two start trading blows on the mat and Danielson gets a few of his Yes Kicks in before transitioning to a series of Arm Bars as he tries to force Kingston to submit.  Out of NOWHERE though, Kingston lands a DDT and the two start trading blows on the mat.  They eventually get up and the two continue to just beat the crap out of each other until they both just collapse which causes the crowd to go WILD!  This is intense, exciting, and despite Danielson’s very red chest, it doesn’t look like anyone is taking serious bumps or risking injury without losing a single ounce of its brutality!  It’s time to wrap things up however, so Kingston makes his way over to Danielson, but it’s a trap as Danielson locks in the Triangle Choke.  Kingston punches wildly and even throws him the bird, but it’s not enough to escape the hold and Kingston passes out; giving Danielson the win and advancing him to the finals of the tournament!  Danielson has had some pretty amazing matches since he arrived, but that was something special!  The crowd loved it, I loved it, and it’s going to be a hard one to follow!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (10-29-2021)”

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!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (10-16-2021)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (10-08-2021)

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

We’re back with another episode of the quickest hour in wrestling, and honestly, I’m glad for it as I’m ready for a break.  The next Dynamite isn’t until the Saturday after the next Rampage which means that as soon as I’m done with this I’m good on wrestling for about a week!  Perhaps by then I’ll be back into the spirit of things, and perhaps this episode of Rampage is just what I need to get me headed in that direction!  Is it another breezy collection of fun matches that remind me why I love wrestling in the first place, or can my one week break not come soon enough?  Let’s find out!!

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CM Punk Vs. Daniel Garcia

Garcia is accompanied to the ring by 2.0

Daniel Garcia has swiftly become one of my favorite up-and-coming guys in the company and I think he shares a lot of strengths with Punk which could make for a VERY interesting match.  What I like about Garcia is that he always finds a way to tell a story in the match and does at least ONE thing memorable in them.  Here, it’s simply that Garcia is scared of Punk despite all his bluster and has to rely on 2.0 to keep him the least bit competitive.  It starts with some lockups and tests of strength that Punk wins rather easily, and after giving Garcia a shoulder tackle the kid scrambles to the corner.  We will see him do this a few times as he can’t get a word in edgewise on Punk, and things are starting to look desperate when he eats TWO Body Slams back to back.  Punk goes for a third but Garcia escapes and lands an Elbow shot to the lower back which finally gives him an edge on Punk and Garcia gets a few moves in.  It’s a short-lived advantage however as Garcia charges the corner only for Punk lands a Back Elbow and gets Garcia on his shoulders for the GTS.  This is where 2.0 come in as they jump on the apron and Jeff Parker drags Garcia off Punk’s shoulders while Matt Lee distracts the ref.  Garcia then drags Punk to the apron and smashes his leg into it before going to distract the ref himself as 2.0 throw the leg against the post.  Garcia starts to get the heat by working the leg over during the commercial, and now that he has a clear advantage he’s back to being a smarmy jerk.  This is where Punk’s strengths come in as his authenticity adds a lot of gravitas to the action and his disdain for Garcia while ALSO selling the injury makes the story that much more compelling; especially with Garcia just CRANKING on that leg to the point that you start to wonder if Punk MIGHT be getting his first loss at the company.  Despite the disadvantage, Punk remains defiant and manages to get up to work Garcia in the corner for a bit, but the leg makes it impossible for him to land any big moves and a Suplex attempt ends with Garcia tackling the bad leg.  He stomps Punk into the corner and goes for another charge, but Punk gets out of the way and Garcia’s Drop Kick attempt ends with him landing on his back.  The two start to trade some big moves for near falls like a Roundhouse Kick and a Pepsi Twist from Punk as well as a Neck Breaker and Backdrop from Garcia, but then Punk is the one who gets too big for his britches as he signals for the GTS despite the bad knee.  Sure enough, Garcia escapes and puts Punk in the Sharp Shooter which only makes things worse for his injury, but thankfully he’s able to kick Garcia away who stumbles into Matt Lee and then when Garcia charges at Punk he tosses him into Jeff Parker so that they both tumble to the floor.  With all three outside the ring, Punk takes them out with a Cross Body from the top rope to the floor before throwing Garcia back into the ring for a Springboard Clothesline.  He doesn’t go for the GTS again, but he DOES manage to land a Pile Driver that he transitions into the Anaconda Vice and that is enough for Garcia to tap out!  A very fun opening match and once again shows us why Garcia is a great up-and-coming talent and that Punk still has a few tricks up his sleeve!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (10-08-2021)”