Tag Archives: Dustin Rhodes

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

AEWDYNAMITE

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 Look, I’m a millennial and TV as a thing you had to make time for on a fixed schedule is about as outdated to me as landline phones, so I’m surprised the ratings have been as good as they are; especially with TNT initially projecting about half a million viewers per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 (11-20-19)

AEWDYNAMITE

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

With the last episode doing a lot differently and doing it well in my opinion, I’m pumped to see how AEW follows up on it and hope they continue to try new things going forward, because if I’m being honest here there’s been a lot of great stuff but it’s been a lot of the SAME great stuff for weeks now; all of it still good, but a little variety never hurt anyone (unless you have a hereto unknown allergy) and even if they go back to some of the same stuff in this episode they at least have the ideas set up last week to make it all feel fresh again!  Let’s get started!!

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Nick Jackson Vs. Rey Fénix

Following the brawl from last week, it seems that Matt Jackson (in storyline at least) has been injured and so Nick is fighting in his first singles match since AEW began against Rey Fénix who ALSO hasn’t had a singles match since AEW began!  Sure, it’s Young Bucks vs The Lucha Bros yet again, but at least they’re mixing it up again by making it one on one which, if nothing else, means they won’t even have a CHANCE to fail to tag correctly!  I actually did manage to get into this match a lot easier than I had with other Young Buck Lucha Bros matches even though they’re both still doing basically the same thing.  There are a billion moves pulled off between the two of them, but the fact that they don’t have someone to tag with makes each move feel like it has more impact because they can’t switch out once they get tired to recuperate.  They clearly start to get tired after a while and the moves become more simplistic while the flashier ones come fewer and further between.  Contrast that with some of their tag team matches where that sense of progression and (degradation?) just never came across even when it was time to come to an end.   Speaking of endings, Rey Fénix eventually gets the pin when he does this terrifying looking pile driver thing where he carries Nick on his shoulders, drops his head down and drives it right into the mat.  They don’t REALLY set anything up at the end of this as Rey Fénix refuses to shake Nick’s hand in a show of good sportsmanship, but The Lucha Bros being cocky heels is about as surprising as the sun rise.  The match went on maybe a bit TOO long and maybe a bit TOO hard for an opening match (I’m also starting to get annoyed with just how often they use hard hits on the apron), but it’s still a lot of fun and certainly got the crowd going!

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (10-30-19)

AEWDYNAMITE

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

We’re back with another week of AEW action, and with the Tag Team Tournament coming to a close as well as the ever closer PPV on the horizon, they’ve got more than enough momentum to put on a dazzling display of wrestling glory!  Will they continue to capitalize on their runaway successes, or will this be the week that everything starts to derail?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with SO much stuff before we even get to the opening credits!  Essentially they’re trying to build up the PPV Full Gear which will be on 11/9 with a couple of scripted promos, which is basically the opposite of last week which started out with a match that didn’t even get proper ring entrances, and I personally really liked this approach.  I’m all about the storylines when it comes to wrestling and while this might not be THE MOST AMAZING PROMOS OF ALL TIME, it’s just another example of AEW showing off that they are on top of EVERYTHING when it comes to the wrestling business.  Last week they started us with amazing tag team action and now they’re giving us a reason to care about the upcoming show.  So what exactly DID they show us?  Well there’s a scene with Cody Rhodes and Tony Schiavone chatting at the airport about his upcoming match against Jericho at the PPV where he will try to strip the heel champion and leader of the Inner Circle of his title.  Last week Jim Valley gave an interesting argument as to why Cody is the best wrestling at this period of time and I kind of see it.  He comes off like a genuine superstar; one who’s larger than life but not quite a cartoon.  He has a great balance of innate charisma and strong showman sensibilities that makes even the obviously staged action of this show come off as something much more real.  After that we get reminded that Pac and Hangman have a match as well with a montage of their interactions.  No new footage here, but it’s a solid enough package.  The BIG promo though comes with Jon Moxley who we see go into a room and we hear a conversation between him and Tony Khan where we learn that the match between him and Kenny Omega has been changed to a Lights Out match; i.e. an unsanctioned match which means that the results will not go on either person’s record and Moxley is VERY upset about this.  I think this is a good SETUP, but they definitely need to give Moxley and Omega more time to talk about it for it to really be something special.

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Sammy Guevara Vs. Hangman Adam Page

I liked this one right off the bat because it was telling a story other than the one about how awesomely two dudes can beat the crap out of each other.  Adam Page is the frustrated face going up against the cocky heel that’s getting a too big for his britches since joining up with the other bad guys.  They just let Adam Page go to TOWN on Sammy and it’s EXACTLY what the dude needs to be taken seriously at this point.  The reason I initially had a problem with Jericho winning the title is that it made Adam Page (and to an extent the newer guys on the roster) seem lesser than the old school legend they were elevating to the top which is a trap many bad wrestling promotions can fall into.  Since then Adam Page really hasn’t done much to impress me, but here it feels like they finally get it and are giving him a real chance to stake his claim.  He fights clean but aggressively while Sammy can only get an edge in with underhanded tactics.  It makes Adam Page look like an absolute BEAST (especially after two AMAZING spots where he lifts up Sammy like he’s a loaf of bread) but it also continues to show how smart Sammy is who has GREAT ring awareness on top of his already impressive athleticism.  Hangman eventually wins with a buckshot lariat (that is SUCH a devastating looking move!) and he gives a brief promo where he acknowledges his slump but vows to show us what he’s REALLY made of at Full Gear!  THAT’S how you sell a PPV, THAT’S how you tell a story in a match, and THAT’S how you turn a face into a superstar!  I still think they mishandled Page a bit leading up to this moment, but this has turned me around quite a bit on the Hangman!

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (10-09-19)

AEWDYNAMITE

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

We’re back with even more AEW!  After Jericho revealed his heel faction last week, will Cody and the rest of THE ELITE band together to face this latest threat?  More importantly though, WILL LUCHASAURUS SHOW UP THIS TIME!?  Seriously, he wasn’t on LAST week and that’s one too many weeks without Luchasaurus!  Let’s hope for the best and take a look at the second episode of AEW Dynamite!

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The Young Bucks (Nick Jackson and Matt Jackson) Vs. Private Party (Marq Quen and Isaiah Kassidy) – Tag Team Tournament

Now THIS is a great way to start the show!  I’m a bit cooler on the Young Bucks than a lot of people but there’s no doubt that they are IMMENSELY popular, and I really like what I’ve seen of Private Party so far as they already look poised to be the fan favorites of the company.  Hopefully AEW (unlike what WWE does with a lot of their more talented tag teams) won’t let these two sit on the sidelines for half of their career with this match is a good indication that they won’t.  The match itself was pretty great as both teams are so absolutely fantastic as tag team wrestlers, and Private Party being a lot more straightforward in their style helped to minimize some of the issues I tend to have with The Young Bucks when they’re up against teams like The Lucha Bros.  In fact, what I found particularly interesting is that The Bucks fought like heels for the most part as Private Party were the ones fighting earnestly with big moves and lots of effort while The Bucks come off as much more cocky and taking their time to show off.  Heck, they even use a few underhanded moves like when Nick does a blind tag and another instance where Matt drops Kassidy on the steel ramp.  When they were doing the PPVs, it was a bit hard to tell where they would fall with their endless feud against the Lucha Bros (pretty much being baby faces by default), but I’m all for it if they real are planning on being heels.  They don’t have to be the nastiest players in this (I’m pretty Jericho and his crew have that covered), but being part of THE ELITE has always felt more like a heel position and it’s what has made Cody’s status as a face always feel a bit questionable.  Surprising absolutely everyone (myself included), Private Party actually won against The Young Bucks which puts them in a VERY good position in the tournament taking down the odds on favorite so early.  Like I said, AEW seems to know what to do with young talent like this and I’m glad that The Bucks are willing to step aside to give them such a huge push right now.  It’s probably my favorite thing they’ve done since I’ve started watching AEW!

After the match, Jericho comes out with his merry men of bad guys (Sammy Guevara, Jake Hager, and LAX) and takes a good ten minutes to jabber on the mic and make sweet audible love to the teeming masses.  A lot of it is exposition to make sure everyone is up to speed on the title picture, but he can make reading a thesaurus look good and I’m glad that AEW hasn’t COMPLETELY abandoned larger than life characters who are allowed to just talk in the ring.  What we learn from all this is that Jericho’s faction is called THE INNER CIRCLE (so far it’s reminding me of Ric Flair’s faction in TNA known as Four-tune) and that Jake Hager’s collared shirt from the last episode was not a one off; apparently that’s his look going forward which is a shame because it makes him look like a TOTAL dork.  Look, maybe this is yet another unbridled talent that will finally have a chance to shine in a promotion that knows what the heck to do with him, but I don’t know who Jack Swagger or Jake Hager is, and him just staring blankly into the camera with a silly shirt on doesn’t scream AMAZING WRESTLING TALENT as it does I FORGOT ALL MY LINES.  Aside from that though, it was a great way to solidify them as the big heel faction of the company which will certainly keep things interesting in the weeks leading up to the next PPV.

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (10-02-19)

AEWDYNAMITE

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

Last night AEW finally made the leap to weekly television with DYNAMITE; a name that conveys a clear purpose of intent to blow away everything we know about wrestling and rebuild it for the modern age! That or they just wanted a word that was catchy and sounded cool. In any case, let’s take a look at the inaugural episode!

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Cody Rhodes Vs. Sammy Guevara

The very first match on AEW’s new show (and the first wrestling match on TNT since 2001 as the announcers helpfully point out) is a pretty straightforward affair. The deal is that if Cody loses this match he loses his chance against the current AEW champ Chris Jericho at the next PPV, but really it’s just an exhibition match between two talented wrestlers. Now this isn’t a problem since you don’t really need any buildup for matches on regular TV the same way you expect for PPVs, but the problem I just keep having whenever Cody shows up is that I have no idea what his place is in all of this. Sammy Guevara is simply a young wrestler looking for his big break, but Cody? He’s the Executive Vice President of the company, he’s friends with the most heelish of heels MJF, and Brandi ends up interfering in the match. It sounds like he’s tailor made to be a bad guy, and yet it never feels like we’re supposed to boo him. Perhaps it’s the fact that he still comes off as an underdog when compared to Vince and the WWE, but within AEW it feels like his character is a bit muddled. He eventually wins the match which gets a respectable pop from the crowd, but then Chris Jericho jumps in to beat the crap out of Cody and assert his dominance in the AEW hierarchy. I was actually pretty down on Jericho being the AEW champion considering how much great new talent they have which is being overshadowed by a guy THIS deep into his career, but he actually looks a lot better than he has in a while and this is the kind of jerk move that a heel champ should be pulling, so kudos to that guy for turning it around so quickly for me!

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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 – Double or Nothing

AEWDON0

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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