Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (09-09-2020)

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

We’re back with even more AEW wrestling action as this is the first episode following their big All Out PPV!  Things have not been looking great for AEW as their last few Dynamite have been pretty meh and there was the EXTREMELY unfortunate incident with Matt Hardy at all out, but coming off of a PPV means a chance at a fresh start, and I’m fairly confident that AEW can fight their way out of this funk.  Is this the start of a brand new vision for the company with new storylines, new stars, and better in ring action, or should will we just be getting more of the same?  Let’s find out!!

The show starts with Tony Schiavone interviewing both Jericho and MJF who just so happen to have arrived at the exact same time.  They exchange pleasantries and praise each other for their skills, as well as assure the other that they were robbed in their PPV match.  As soon as they are out of each other’s earshot however, they call each other losers which is hardly surprising considering they’re both egotistical heels.  It was a fun little exchange that almost feels like a BTE sketch and is a fun little lead in for the first match.

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Jurassic Express Vs. The Lucha Bros

This was a pretty good match where everyone was trying to go to eleven, but there were also a few botches here and there that undercut the intensity of it.  An early one that the announcers even called attention to was when Jungle Boy tripped while launching off of Luchasaurus’s back which isn’t too surprising considering one of the big stories out of All Out was just how hot and humid it was and it’s no surprise that people are slipping on things.  Still, Jungle Boy DID manage to just barely land his move on Rey Fenix, so the match didn’t come to a dead stop when it happened which was lucky for them.  In fact, as good a job as everyone does here, this really was Jungle Boy’s night as the trip up is pretty much forgotten as soon as he gets the hot tag and runs wild on Pentagón and Fénix.  An impressing Hurricanrana from the top rope followed by what I can only describe as a double arm drag gives him a solid advantage; at least until Pentagón shoves him off the apron and knocks him to the floor.  Things go back and forth for a while until Pentagón lands a Back Stabber on Jungleboy and sets him up for an assisted pile driver, but the timing here is REALLY terrible and pretty much ruins the end of the match.  Rey Fenix lands the stomp for the pile driver and Pentagon has Jungle Boy ready to pin, but he sees that Rey Fenix is running the ropes to take out Luchasaurus on the outside so he waits to do the pin until that spot is over which Jungle Boy naturally kicks out.  Heck, in case you missed it the first time, they show a REPLAY of it where you can see VERY clearly that Pentagón is just SITTING THERE doing nothing!  The match only goes on for a minute or two after that where Jungle Boy rolls up Rey Fenix for the win, but that very obvious botch took away a lot of the momentum for The Jurassic Express’s win here.

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (08-27-2020)

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

Okay, so I had thought I posted this thing like three days ago but I guess with all the New Mutants and Bill & Ted excitement that I forgot to finish this darn thing and so here I am trying to put this thing together right before the next episode of the show is supposed to air.  I’ve forgotten what it’s like to actually be BUSY doing this stuff which is in its own way a comforting bit of nostalgia (remember when we all got to DO things before the world came to a screeching halt?) and I’ll hopefully won’t be making this mistake again in the future; especially since we not only have another episode of Dynamite this week but a PPV on Saturday!  Let’s get started!!

There was an announcement that AEW would be selling tickets to fans and I think this is the first week where that’s the case.  The opening moments spend A LOT of time focusing on all the people in the crowd, and while it IS outside and they DO seem to be separated into clusters, it still makes me very nervous.  In any case, Chris Jericho is on commentary tonight and gets a full entrance, while the wrestlers in the opening match to the Tag Team Gauntlet are already in the ring, so I guess AEW knows whose entrance is the money maker.

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Tag Team Gauntlet Match – Number One Contender for the Tag Team Championship

Now I didn’t quite get what this was when they announced it (I thought it would just be a four way between the four teams) but thankfully the give us a quick rundown of the rules.  It starts with The Nightmare Family and The Bucks, then the winner of that match immediately has to face Best Friends and then the winner of that has to face FTR.  These kind of matches never really made sense to me as it doesn’t REALLY show who the best team is as one the freshest team will obviously stand the best chance and I think it works better in a Royal Rumble where you DON’T have to wrestle a full match to advance and there are ways to strategically recuperate if needed.  Still, it should be fun to see all these teams go at it; especially with FTR as the final boss!

First Round – Natural Nightmares Vs. Young Bucks

QT Marshall is a great wrestler but is even better at making everyone else look good and he does a great job eating a bunch of moves from The Bucks before Dustin jumps in and runs wild for like a minute before gassing out completely and taking a prolonged breather.  The Bucks though are polite competitors and give him a chance to catch his breath which proves to be a pretty big mistake because Dustin comes back very strong and he and QT take control of the match for a bit.  Now in most tag matches this would simply be getting heat for The Natural Nightmares, but because this is a gauntlet match, it means that every minute The Bucks take punishment means they’re going into the next match that much worse for wear.  QT Marshall has both Bucks in the ring and goes for a QT special which as far as I can tell is a flip in the ring followed by a back elbow, but The Bucks duck the blow and follow up with Superkicks.  At this point The Bucks are in full control of the match and after a minute or two of moves Nick gets the pin on QT after both of them land a BTE Trigger.

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (08-22-2020)

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

With another PPV just two weeks away (literally this time due to the schedule change), AEW has to kick things into overdrive to get people pumped for the big show!  No more of this back and forth where one week is good and the next week is meh!  Nope, just good matches, good stories, and lots of exciting angles so that people drop their fifty bucks to see it all play out!  Does this show manage to create the right kind of buzz to sell All Out to the fans at home, or will it take more than one good show to get things back on track?  Let’s find out!!

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Private Party Vs. FTR

Already in the ring and with no introductions, both teams are in the ring and this match is underway.  Not only that, Tully Blanchard is in FTR’s corner wearing an FTR jacket so I guess they’re teaming up with him and the conspicuously absent Shawn Spears.  I thought they were going to go with Arn, considering the meeting they had a few weeks ago, but I guess his and Cody’s heel turn isn’t happening any time soon.  FTR gives a lot to Private Party in this match, and they look pretty good!  Marq Quen and Isiah Kassidy can be a bit hit or miss at times, but they seem to have brought their A game here, and FTR continue to be consummate professionals in whatever they do.  Still, there’s not much TO this match even though both teams are doing a great job in it.  We get some Superkicks from Private Party, FTR beats up Quen in the corner for a while, and Private Party tries to fight back with high flying and flashy maneuvers; my favorite probably being when Kassidy flipped over the ropes into a Stunner on Dax Harwood.  The only part that felt a bit off was some not especially great looking Leapfrogs from FTR, but other than that it’s a solid match between two teams.  At some point Quen is down and Kassidy is trying to make the save by diving onto Harwood on the outside.  At the last moment, Tully Blanchard pulls him away and Kassidy lands on the floor; leaving Quen alone in the ring and so both members of FTR bring this to a close with the Goodnight Express for the pin.  So, yeah; it was a good match, but not one that had a lot of highs and lows for me.  Nothing stood out all that much despite both teams putting in the effort.

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (06-24-2020)

AEWDYNAMITE

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

It’s been a heck of a week in the wrestling world, hasn’t it?  Needless to say that my already drained enthusiasm from last week’s recap took a very significant hit with all the news coming out, but the show must go on and it’s of some comfort to me that I have something locked in a scheduled every week to try and keep my brain puttering along during these less than ideal times.  So then!  Does AEW still have what it takes to put on a good series of wrestling matches and entertaining promos, or is the world in a funk that even the very best the industry has to offer can’t drag us all out of?  Let’s find out!!

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Wardlow Vs. Luchasaurus – Lumberjack Match

Wardlow is accompanied to the ring by MJF while Luchasaurus is accompanied by Marko Stunt and Jungleboy

In case you didn’t know, a Lumberjack match is one where wrestlers stand outside of the ring and if either wrestler in the match gets thrown out of the ring or tries to run away, the lumberjacks will put them back in the ring.  Seems like an odd match for two guys who WANT to fight as you usually do a Lumberjack match to wrangle a cowardly heel, not to mention that these two being as big as they are won’t likely be stopped from leaving if they REALLY want to, and on top of that it’s not the best look in the world to have THIS many people participating in a match and being this close to each other in the middle of a pandemic.  On the other hand, it’s become clear this week that AEW’s testing policies have been pretty effective as no one at their company has wrestled positive while WWE just had a huge outbreak due to the incredibly lax testing that they’ve done.  Frankly, though, I wouldn’t even call this a Lumberjack match as they don’t REALLY do their job and it’s more of a Rumble.  No, not a Royal Rumble; more like a West Side Story Rumble where the ones on the outskirts are there to antagonize the other side, and Luchasaurus or Wardlow getting tossed over the wrong side of the ropes will certainly mean bad news and a few cheap shots.  It also comes off a bit like an attempt to drill it into everyone’s heads that THEY NEED TO CATCH PEOPLE because there are so many dives in this and it’s not like they couldn’t use a refresher course considering how many people have gotten hurt recently!  So the two of them fight all over the place occasionally having to toss off the lumberjacks and throw people over things, but eventually, Luchasaurus gets a chokeslam and goes for the pin… when MJF manages to distract the ref.  SERIOUSLY!?  The ONE THING you need to look for is pinfalls, and when one happens you stop to instead chat with this dude?  Luchasaurus should have gotten the win as he’s got Wardlow for more than a three count, so in retaliation, Jungle Boy spears MJF off the apron and into a crowd of heel lumberjacks waiting below.  Unfortunately, this gives Wardlow enough time to do a low blow behind the ref’s back and gets the pin with an F-10; an impressive feat considering how big Lucahsaurus is.  The scene then devolves into chaos as the Sharks and the Jets… I mean the Heels and the Faces, all storm the ring and start hitting each other for a few minutes before things calm down and Tony Schiavone announces that at Fyter Fest it will be MJF & Wardlow Vs. Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus.  This was a great match and I really enjoyed the interplay between these two competitors as both are way more flexible and agile than their size would lead you to believe; with Wardlow landing a Hurricanrana on Luchasaurus and Luchasaurus doing some sort of clothesline reversal where he flips around the arm and forces Wardlow into a near fall.  I’d be interested to see if they do more Lumberjack matches like this in the future, especially since we won’t be having fans for a while longer, but all in all, it was a great way to start the show; just as long as everyone used hand sanitizer afterward.

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (06-17-2020)

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

It is week… I don’t even know anymore, of the COVID era of wrestling and like everything else things are starting to blur for me.  I USED to be able to at least keep up with the WWE PPVs, but Backlash looks about as interesting as a symposium on paint drying and NXT is only faring slightly better.  That’s not to say that AEW has been above reproach in recent weeks as I’ve found the most recent episodes a bit of a chore to get through at times, but they’ve at least kept things afloat for me as a wrestling fan while the rest of the country (and the government in particular) is doing everything they can to prolong this crisis.  Gee, I’ve been getting on my soapbox a bit much lately!  Let’s just try to forget the world for a bit and focus on another fun show of dudes beating the crap out of other dudes and yelling into microphones!  Can this week’s AEW get me out of my lockdown lethargy and get excited for this noble sport once again!?  Let’s find out!!

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Kenny Omega & Hangman Adam Page Vs. The Natural Nightmares (Dustin Rhodes & QT Marshall)

The Natural Nightmares are accompanied to the ring by Brandi Rhodes

Not wasting any time, the show begins with The Natural Nightmares already in the ring while Omega and Hangman get their full entrance.  Seriously, I can believe Dustin got the Jobber treatment!  QT Marshall, sure, but they couldn’t give freaking DUSTIN the airtime to play his song!?  If it wasn’t clear from the lack of buildup last week and the entrances here, Dustin and QT Marshall don’t have much of a chance at winning these belts, but even if they spent the time to make this seem like a legitimate challenge before entering the ring, the match itself would give away how unlikely The Natural Nightmare’s chances are within the first few minutes.  I don’t know, Dustin doesn’t look his best in this match and Kenny is bumping like a mo-fo which makes it all feel a lot faker than it should.  There’s something about Kenny that I first noticed in his match against Joey Janela where it’s hard to buy some people fighting against him.  Dustin is looking worse than he ever has working against Kenny as it just looks so fake for him to sell this damage of moves that don’t look like they’re doing that much.  It’s not much better for QT Marshall who is certainly more athletic than Dustin and manages to look okay against Adam Page, but there’s just not enough here to invest in the bout as it feels far too scripted.  The match heats up eventually once Marshall pulls off this awesome flip kick, and Dustin eventually does that amazing Canadian Destroyer of his, so from that point on the match feels a bit more even handed.  QT Marshall even gets the advantage with a Diamond Cutter and it’s at that point that Allie comes out from the back to cheer for him who if you recall has been dating him for a few weeks now.  Her encouragement spurs him to try and take out Omega with a jump from the top rope… and he totally whiffs it, so good job Allie!  They go for a bit after that but it’s clear that Marshall’s momentum has been lost and he eventually eats a Last Call from Omega and Hangman to end the match.  It took a while to get there, but I ended up enjoying it by the end.  I think Kenny’s one fatal flaw is his ability to sell for lesser opponents, and it’s not like he isn’t TRYING but it seems he has trouble making it convincing in certain circumstances and it was the case for at about half of this match.  Aside from that it wasn’t the best match from any of the wrestlers involved, but it ended up being an alright way to start the show.

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (06-10-2020)

AEWDYNAMITE

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

We’re back with even more AEW goodness, though for whatever reason I’m just not feeling it going into this episode.  Last week we had the big main event that was built up in the week prior while this week’s match was just thrown out at the end of last week’s show.  I mean sure, the Orange Cassidy and Best Friends Vs. The Inner Circle match will be fun, but other than that I’m hard pressed for an episode that has less going on heading into it.  That said, hype is far from the most important part of a wrestling show and AEW has done far more with far less, so I’ve little doubt that this will be yet another outing from them.  Will this be yet another collection of solid matches to the week that much more bearable to get through?  Let’s find out!!

Before the first match begins we are informed that Jericho will be joining Jr, Tony, and Excalibur in the booth tonight.  Jericho doesn’t JUST walk to the booth and do commentary!  Dude comes out with his FULL entrance and theme music just to walk to the right and put on a headset.  THAT’S how you get a show started!  I know that JR has his own theme, but why doesn’t everyone else?  I’d LOVE to see what Excalibur’s entrance is like!

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FTR Vs. The Butcher & The Blade

The first showcase for the former Revival is something that fans have anticipated for months, so can they live up to those expectations?  Heck, it’s been a while since we’ve seen The Butcher and The Blade in action so you could argue they have as much to prove as FTR does, and thankfully both teams manage to bring their A-game here for a very satisfying opening bout.  I still don’t really GET The Revival the way that apparently everyone else does (I still don’t know which one is which), but they are a VERY good team here and pull off some impressive moves; especially this one part where one of them grabs Blade out of mid-air and slams him to the mat which looked brutal and a spot later where the bald one superplexes The Blade to the mat and is soon followed by the one with hair landing an elbow drop from the top rope.  There’s also a great bit of storytelling here where a lot of the big wigs at the company, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Jake Roberts, you could even count Jericho since he’s calling the match, have come out to see what happens.  Everyone wants to know what FTR are about and are hoping to recruit them to whatever faction they represent; whether they’ll join The Nightmare Family, help Lance Archer get another stab at the belts, or join The Inner Circle which frankly would be the BEST option.  I’d love to see Santana and Ortiz get super passive aggressive at them like a bad sitcom plot.  The match eventually comes to an end when FTR lands a Goodnight Express on The Butcher (kinda looks like a Jackhammer only with two people) which gets him out of the match and they immediately follow it up with a Mind Breaker (a pile driver thingy) onto The Blade for the win.  FTR are then being interviewed in the ring when The Young Bucks come out form the back.  They tell FTR how great the match was and they thank them for helping fight off The Butcher & The Blade two weeks ago.  However, they are a LITTLE bit salty that FTR has kind of been avoiding them up to that point and makes it clear that THEY are the best tag team at AEW and FTR can sit comfortably in second place.  It looks things are about to spark between them when The Butcher comes back and takes out The Bucks.  FTR tries to make the save but are overwhelmed by Kip Sabian and Jimmy Havoc who come out… for some reason, but are soon run off by Kenny Omega and Adam Page who come out to ACTUALLY make the save.  Once the heels are gone, the three teams are left to stare at each other; a teasing of things to come as these three times will no doubt clash in the near future.  In a company full of really great tag teams, I’m not convinced that they are at the TOP of the heap (especially with the Omega/Page Vs. Bucks match still fresh in my memory), but they’re gonna have lots of chances to prove themselves so perhaps I’ll change my tune soon enough.  In any case, this was a fun match and a solid introduction for these two.

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Super Wrestling: AEW – Double or Nothing 2020

AEWDON20-0

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

It’s been a rocky few months to say the least since AEW’s last PPV Revolution.  It’s almost as if the world changed at the very moment, with Revolution happening at the end of February; the same time as the first cases of COVID-19 in Washington turned fatal.  AEW has done what it can to keep the lights on as the months wore on and more and more people got sick, but nothing has been the same since then and whether or not it’s possible to pull off a great PPV in this environment.  Will this be a great show that we’ll remember despite the prevailing circumstances, or is this yet another part of this period in history that we’d all just like to forget?  Let’s find out!!

The Buy In kicks off with Lance Archer beating the hell out of a tire with a sledgehammer while Tony Schiavone is trying to get an interview with Jake Roberts.  In response to whatever question Schiavone is asking, Roberts instructs Archer to beat the crap out of whatever half-demolished run down building they happen to be training in, and Archer proceeds to destroy a toilet; presumably a call back to Cody destroying the throne at the first Double or Nothing.  Seems a bit hokey to me, especially since I’m pretty sure that even I could mess up a toilet give a hammer that big, but it gets the point across well enough.

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Private Party Vs. Best Friends – Buy In Match For Number One Contender Spot

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It’s been a while since we’ve seen Private Party who became one of the biggest success stories in those early AEW PPVs, so it’s somewhat fitting that they not only return on Double or Nothing but manage to put on one HECK of a show with the Best Friends.  Kassidy does a bunch of flippy kicks and stuff, Quen does his ridiculously awesome Moonsault, and despite a few hiccups here and there in the execution, the two of them do some great tandem maneuvers that give The Best Friends a run for their money.  However, Best Friends have been around kicking butt and taking names for months now (not to mention their connection to the EXTREMELY hot Orange Cassidy) so there was little doubt who would be going home with the win here; especially with Trent giving some amazing Suplexes and a HELLACIOUS spear to Isaiah Kassidy.  The Best Friends are frankly better than they’ve ever been and while the can sometimes slip in gimmicky slapstick mode, they are all business here and look like genuine threats to the rest of the division.

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The beard looks good on him!  Not as good as Trent’s, but baby steps!

In any case, after smashing Kassidy into a post on the outside, Trent and Chuck land a Strong Zero on Marq Quen (which looks a bit like a Meltzer Driver) and get the pin for the victory.  Not sure when they’ll get their shot at the title, especially if Adam Page is only here for the PPV, but I’m certainly looking forward to that match!

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (05-06-20)

AEWDYNAMITE

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

We’re back, not only with AEW Dynamite but with AEW Dynamite LIVE.  Yes, it’s their first live show in quite some time despite circumstances REALLY not changing since they decided to stop doing them, but I guess they want to get things as close to normal as soon as possible so with the return to Florida they’ve got quite a stacked show for us.  Is it a return to form after a few weeks of good but compromised episodes, or are we in for the same matches we were already getting; just in a bigger room?  Let’s find out!!

So first thing’s first, we’re back at Daily’s Place in Florida since they’ve lifted restrictions on wrestling shows; calling them an “essential service” despite there being nothing essential about it, and with the way these empty arena shows are done, almost no benefit to the local economy.  Now sure, I’ll admit that the BIGGER stadium looks better than shoebox they were using for all those taped shows, but it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth that this is only happening because local, state, AND the federal government are all acting irresponsibly for short term gain, and the fact that they are doing this live instead of taping a whole bunch of content only makes it that much worse.  Yes, I know Tony Khan sent out a tweet saying EVERYONE WAS TESTED NEGATIVE, but even if we assume those tests are accurate (they aren’t always), it just feels like a bad precedent to set for everyone else who wants to reopen business before it’s safe to.  In any case, they’ve got pyro, a big screen, more room for the wrestlers on the sidelines to distance themselves (I guess we can count that as a plus), and Jericho is off announcing duty to be replaced by both Excalibur and JR.  I’m certainly glad that they’re back, but Jericho’s hilarious commentary, as well as his chemistry with Schiavone, was something special and we should definitely see more of it in the future.  Anyway, onto the first match!

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Cody Vs. Joey Janela

I actually do not remember if we’ve seen these two lock-up before.  Joey fought Moxley in a really good match and Kenny Omega in a not so good one, but Cody?  Not ringing a bell.  I’m certainly interested to see how this will go with Janela playing a decidedly mid-card role at the company and Cody’s a pretty big star to put him against, but then again the lines between A-List talent and the B-Team have started to blur now that everyone’s fighting in empty arenas (and QT Marshall’s back yard), and I’ll be darned if Joey doesn’t look GREAT here so maybe I was a bit too harsh on the guy!  Joey tends to come off as a jokey guy where funny expressions and painful spots take precedence over… big moves and physicality, but he takes this match seriously and pulls off a lot of decent offense with quite a bit of speed.  Still, it looks like a bit of a mix up when Joey takes the advantage and Cody’s stuck on the floor.  That feels a bit unbelievable where something more competitive throughout would have probably come off a bit better.  The Colt Cabana Vs. Lance Archer match is a good example of someone looking AMAZING all the way through a match despite never truly having the advantage, and I think it would have served both men if Cody stayed in control for more of this.  Things eventually even out in the match after he dodges a run from Joey and follows it up with a Disaster Kick to the face, and after some decent moves from both sides, Cody eventually snags the win with a surprise Cross Rhodes out of nowhere.  It dragged a TINY bit due to Cody overselling for Joey, but this was a solid match to start off with and I’m glad that they reestablished the Cross Rhodes as such a devastating move.

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (04-29-20)

AEWDYNAMITE

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

We’re back with another week of AEW Thunderdome where the wanders of the empty world battle it out for supremacy, at least that’s I how I figure Lance Archer sees it whenever he steps into the ring!  The last few weeks have been quite solid with Jericho’s commentary bringing a lot of life to the show and the TNT Tournament giving us something to grab onto while all the other storylines are put on hold, but with the announcement that AEW will be going live next week (despite PLENTY of reasons not to), this is perhaps the end of an era for this show.  Do they go out on a high note or will we be begging for the changes that next week will bring?  Let’s find out!!

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Cody Vs. Darby Allin – TNT Tournament Semi-Final

Cody is accompanied to the ring by Cody Rhodes

The TNT tournament by all accounts has been a success.  The matches have been solid, they’ve worked hard to sell the belt as something worth chasing, and having Lance Archer in the background as an unstoppable monster like Toguro has certainly raised the stakes in every one of these matches.  The only real problem is that the one that no one can control; namely that the matches feel undercut being in such a small arena with such a small crowd.  Then again, it MIGHT help the rest of us not notice if they didn’t try to recreate PPV matches like the Darby/Sammy match from last week or even this match right here, but they have to work with what they’ve got and if nothing else the show starts with a REALLY solid promo for the match.  It’s not Darby Allin’s usual black and white shtick, but there is some genuine artistry on display here with some serious mood lighting as the two talk portentously about how much they want to win the belt.  It puts us in the best possible mindset for the upcoming match

The match starts off with a band as both of them want to end it as soon as possible; trading blows and zero count pins faster than Jericho can throw out wiseacre jabs.  There’s a spot early on where Darby charges at Cody who dodges it easily, but Brandi what RIGHT in front of him when he did and so Darby smashes right into her.  Come on dude, what did you THINK was gonna happen?  Even Jericho calls Cody out for putting his wife in the path of destruction like that!  However, it does seem to get Cody all fired up and he maintains control of the match for a good bit which allows Darby to do the one thing he’s best at; namely take an obscene amount of damage and look darn good doing it!  There is a weird spot later in the match where it LOOKS like Darby is distracting ref Aubrey while Cody is outside the ring and he gets bashed over the head by Britt Baker wielding a sandal.  I’m not sure what that’s about as Darby may not be exactly a GOOD guy, but I’ve never known him to be a straight up cheater, nor a particular friend of Britt Baker.  Maybe she just felt like hitting someone and Darby JUST SO HAPPENED to have something important to say to the ref, but in any case it manages to even things out between them as we head into the final stretch of the match.  They start trading finishers, Cody teases the weight belt but doesn’t use it, and Darby even nails Cody with the Cross-Rhodes which got a nearfall so close that I genuinely thought for a minute there that they were gonna swerve us!  T’was not to be however as Cody kicks out of it, and after a few more moves from both men including a Cross-Rhodes from Cody himself, the match does come to a close in an… interesting fashion.  Cody goes for a Moonsault off the top rope but Darby gets his knees up and follows it up IMMEDIATELY with the Coffin Drop.  From the angle they showed it, looked like Darby actually got the pin off of this, but it turns out that Cody was able to grab him and twist him slightly backwards so that HIS shoulders were on the mat and Cody did indeed just barely get the pin!  Admittedly the ending looked a BIT silly, but this match was GREAT because despite the ending feeling rather pre-determined it did manage to feel competitive.  Letting Darby get THAT close to victory and having him do Cody’s own move against him created genuine drama that Cody MIGHT just lose the match which made it one of the better matches we’ve gotten in the last few weeks!

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (04-22-20)

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

We’re back with more AEW goodness for all of your post-apocalyptic entertainment needs, and with the TNT Tournament in full swing we have more than enough amazing story lines and matches to keep us going through this lean period, right?  Well truth be told the new normal has felt a bit lacking here and there and the TNT Tournament isn’t exactly the best substitute for their Blood and Guts match, but given how things are going they’ve been trucking along just fine.  Does that continue with this week’s episode, or are the wheels starting to look wobbly on this road trip thru the wastelands?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with yet another promo, but this time it’s NOT from Jake Roberts sitting in a lawn chair; rather it’s Cody sitting in a very NICE chair!  The setup is that e’s in some sort of control room watching multiple monitors of the wrestlers involved in the TNT Tournament and he does his absolute best to imbue it with gravitas and prestige since it’s what they’ll be focusing on after the big championship match blow off from last week.  From what I understand, Cody and crew have been a bit hesitant to introduce a new belt to the company because they didn’t want something that would just be a Midcard Belt; something that isn’t as good as the main championship, but gives the lower tier wrestlers to fight over.  I’m not sure I fully agree with that sentiment though because there are wrestlers who aren’t going to be big name stars but you still want them to have something to do, and having a “secondary” belt makes sense to me for those purposes, but I guess it’s all in the framing.  Instead of saying this belt is for the losers (like the 24/7 title at WWE or even arguably the Intercontinental and USA belts) you do what Cody is doing here and try to make into something that should be rightfully worn by a great competitor; not someone who couldn’t hack it in the big leagues.  Does he succeed?  Well, it’s hard to say because we’re still limited with a limited crew so it still feels a bit like something for “the other guys” in AEW to fight over, but once the world gets back on track and AEW is in full swing again, we’ll see what comes of it.  For what it’s worth Cody does a good job with the promo and the extra editing time they have for stuff like this is definitely paying off with some flashy visuals, but I’m not sure if it’s doing much more to convince me of the greatness of this belt than the matches themselves.  Speaking of which…

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Darby Allin Vs. Sammy Guevara – TNT Tournament Quarter Final

These two are easily the best up and coming stars of wrestling (not just AEW) which will make this a fantastic match, though I’m not sure they’re making the most of this as we’ve seen Allin and Guevara lock it up before and it feels like we need to have more of a reason for them to do it again.  Still, we are living in rough times and I guess we have to do the best we can with the resources we have, and they at least give the two of them VERY good video promos prior to the match.  The start of the match is very reminiscent of their match at Revolution where they utterly DESTROY each other before the bell even rings, and while I appreciate them wanting to put on a match as high caliber as that to make this tournament (and their feud) feel like a big deal, I’m not sure if Sammy and Darby should be doing freaking ladder spots in a nearly empty arena like this.  Even with the wrestlers on the outside doing their best to whoop and holler, it feels like a spot that only had a fraction of the impact it should have.  Things just kinda get worse from there.  Sammy tries to press the advantage he has by putting Darby on the top rope, but he reverses it and manages to get Sammy upside down which lets him then take off his boot to… I guess more effectively work the ankle?  I don’t know, trying to take your opponent’s clothes off comes off as pretty goofy to me and it has the opposite of the intended effect on me; the idea being that without his boot it’s even MORE brutal when Allin works the ankle, but the guy NOT having a boot on highlights the unreal nature of the sport.  This also has the effect of making Allin out to be the bigger heel with Sammy having to constantly fight from underneath which I don’t exactly mind as Sammy is a fantastic wrestler, but with all the goofy spots and Jericho doing such a great job announcing, I’m wondering if AEW wants to give The Inner Circle a softer image.  Sadly, this doesn’t mean we’ll be seeing Sammy Vs. Cody in the semi-finals as Darby gives the over the shoulder stunner and tries to follow it up with another move, but Sammy reverses it into another move which Darby THEN reverses again into a roll up for the win.  Overall I wasn’t the biggest fan of this match.  It felt kind of oddly paced to me as these two spent a lot more time recovering from big moves than trading fast and furious blows, and the best part was right at the end when they were trading counters which sadly didn’t go on long enough for my liking.  I also kind of wish Sammy won because I feel like a match between him and Cody would be a BIT more interesting right now, but I have no doubt that Cody and Allin have the potential to tear the house down!

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