Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (01-26-2022) – Beach Break

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

I still don’t understand why they do Beach Break in January given it’s one of the worst months to do anything beach-related, but they’ve got a bunch of special episodes they want to do each year so I guess that’s just how the scheduling works out.  Despite the anachronistic title, is this an episode that brings the fun and excitement you expect from a special episode of Dynamite?  Let’s find out!!

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Cody Rhodes Vs. Sammy Guevara – TNT Title Ladder Match

Cody is accompanied to the ring by Arn Anderson

While title matches are becoming increasingly common as the openers for the show, it’s not often that you see one that’s also a ladder match.  Heck, it’s not that often you see a ladder match that’s one on one as the format almost demands I high level of chaos (and more bodies to share the pain), but they wanted something unique for their Beach Break show and we certainly got it here.  It starts off pretty simple as neither one wants to grab a ladder right away to the consternation of the crowd, but Sammy eventually gets tossed out of the ring and they brawl their way through the crowd which really gets things going.  Sammy eventually manages to hit a Cutter on Cody over the barricade, and this is the first chance someone has to try and climb a ladder.  One of the things that annoy me about Ladder matches is how slowly wrestlers will go up it (despite there being a title on the line, each step requires the wrestler to take a lunch break), but here they are actually going up it like they want to get the belt and win the match!  Cody manages to catch up to Sammy just in time which gives us our first ridiculous move of the match; a Superplex from the top of the ladder where both of them come CRASHING to the mat below!  Impressive to be sure, but I can definitely see why they immediately cut to commercial so that both of them can catch their breath after taking such a bump!  Of course, it’s not the only astoundingly dangerous thing they do in the match.  Cody throws a ladder at Sammy which gives him a chance to climb the ladder set up under the belt, but then Sammy climbs a ladder next to it and JUMPS OFF TO LAND A CUTTER ON CODY that once again sends them crashing to the mat.  Not to be outdone, Cody hits Sammy with a Cross Rhodes off a ladder only a few minutes later, and for the third time, they go crashing to the mat.  Both are worn out by this, but Cody gets up first and starts to climb, and it makes sense at this point for him to be slow as he’s been through a lot in the match.  Sammy manages to climb up behind him and both are on top fighting over the belt that’s hanging on a bar above the ring.  Now we’ve had a lot of fun with the absurd stunt’s they’ve pulled so far, but here’s where I think they reach a turning point and take it too far.  Both grab onto the bar and kick away the ladder so both are dangling very high in the air, and both eventually drop to the mat below.  It looks like Sammy got the worst of it, and sadly it’s only the beginning as they soon set up for something even worse.  Sammy manages to bridge a ladder between the apron and the barricade, and puts Cody on top of it.  He then sets up a HORRIFICALLY tall ladder next to him from which he jumps off to land on Cody!  To make it worse, the ladder Cody was on ends up holding and therefore doesn’t break Sammy’s fall, so it looks like his back was folded up like a wallet on impact.  Thankfully Sammy can still walk and he gets back in the ring to start climbing the ladder, but Cody manages to catch up to him.  The two trade blows on the top of it until Cody finally falls over; allowing Sammy Guevara to get the belt, win the TNT title, and hopefully see a doctor as soon as possible.  Ladder matches are particularly dangerous given just how much chaos the ladders introduce.  They create bad angles, unforgiving platforms, and hard weapons, so there’s simply nothing about them that are the least bit healthy for the wrestlers.  If you’re only going to do it every once in a while then I understand going all out, but you don’t want Sammy to break his spine over an opening match on Dynamite.

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (01-26-2022) – Beach Break”

Super Wrestling: AEW – Battle of the Belts

Battle of the Belts is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT

AEW is not giving me a break, are they?  I had a power outage for almost a week and am trying to catch up on all the shows, so why not put out one of their special episodes now!?  Clearly, they were thinking of me when they made this decision (presumably they were unhappy with my less than favorable coverage of New Year’s Smash), but I will not succumb to their attempts at psychological warfare!  I will do my darnedest to enjoy this special event!  As long as the matches are good, of course!  Is this an excellent start to the era of TNT special episodes, or are we trying to cram too much too quickly?  Let’s find out!!

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Dustin Rhodes Vs. Sammy Guevara – Interim TNT Title Match

Dustin is accompanied to the ring by Arn Anderson

I’m not the biggest fan of seeing Sting get in the ring at this point in his career, but I do understand where people are coming from as I feel very much the same way whenever we get to see Dustin!  Thankfully he managed to deliver a great match here with Sammy Guevara that honestly puts into sharp relief a few of the issues I’ve had with AEW in the last few months.  The match isn’t without a few slow parts here and there, but it feels unique to the style we usually get in a typical AEW match and feeling fresh can sometimes pay far more dividends than overwhelming skill or bloodletting.  Things start off nice and easy with some good running spots as Dustin gets an Arm Drag and Sammy gets a Hip Toss, but both are still feeling each other out, and neither wants to make a mistake.  After a few minutes of this and a fun spot of Dustin getting winded while Sammy is relaxing on the turnbuckle, Sammy finally hits one of those Uppercuts that Dustin likes to do and follows up with a Drop Kick that sends Dustin outside the ring.  We then get some okay action as Sammy tosses Dustin around the outside while teasing Arn Anderson, but the turning point comes when Dustin manages to smash Sammy’s knee into the ring steps which he has to deal with for the rest of the fight.  This is where things start to slow down a bit and it feels like the crowd is turning on the match as Dustin rolls in and leaves Sammy to be counted out but then they do it again a few minutes later when Dustin is the one outside and Sammy is waiting for the count-out.  You can hear the crowd start to groan on the second one, but it ended up working for me as it set up the big spots that immediately followed it; bringing us from a low point to a high point which is an effective way to maximize tension and to get the crowd to pop.  Sammy might just have this in the bag but he gets impatient and hits a Double Springboard Dive onto Dustin which hits its mark, but it only causes more damage to Sammy’s knee.  He grits through the pain however and throws Dustin into the ring where he hits an Enziguri and goes for a Springboard Cutter.  EXCEPT DUSTIN CATCHES HIM AND HITS A CROSS RHODES FOR A TWO-COUNT!!  Things only get more ridiculous from here as Dustin gets a Code Red, and Sammy hits the GTH; both of which are kicked out of and the crowd cannot believe it!  Then we get Fuego Del Sol who comes out from under the ring (presumably sensing his best friend being in trouble) and sets up a table on the floor.  Arn isn’t happy about this, and while he doesn’t dismantle the table, he starts menacing Fuego and chases him up the ramp.  Still, with the table in place, Sammy drags Dustin to the apron and tries to hit a Spanish Fly that would send them both through the table and assuredly win him the match.  Dustin fights back however and he manages to hit a Canadian Destroyer through the table in what is one of the most impressive and safe-looking table spots I’ve probably ever seen.  Dustin hits the table flat on his butt and is protecting Sammy’s head as the table gently falls to pieces, essentially carrying them on their way to the floor, and MAYBE Sammy hit his knees a bit hard.  Still, the crowd is going wild and Sammy is in a bad state, so Dustin throws him in… AND STILL ONLY GETS A TWO COUNT!  With all that though, it’s clear that the end is near and so Sammy tries for a Sunset flit that Dustin reverses and they keep going back and forth on pin attempts.  Sammy manages to keep Dustin down for a split second over three, and wins the match as well as the interim TNT Title!  Oh, but it’s not over yet as Daniel Garcia runs in and IMMEDIATELY gets into Sammy’s face which causes the two to start brawling and the refs have to run down to break it up!  This was a very good match and I think the key to it, as well as Dustin’s overall success, is that he’s not overexposed and so the matchup feels fresh.  AEW has the roster for people to rotate in and out on a regular basis, so we shouldn’t see Danielson six times in eight weeks.  Punk is actually striking a better balance as he’s here almost every week but it’s more often for promos than matches.  I know that AEW wants to give the crowds the stars they want to see, and I’m thankful that so many of them came out when I went to see them live, but they could get a lot more mileage out of people if they expanded their TV roster more often.

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW – Battle of the Belts”

Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (12-10-2021)

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

We’re back with another week of Rampage action, though this one finds itself in a bit of an odd spot.  The next Dynamite is the big Winter is Coming show, and they wrapped up all the major storylines on the Wednesday show, so this is kind of just filling the gap between the two shows.  Sure, Rampage works best when it gets to do its own thing separate from Dynamite, but sandwiched between the Dynamite show and Winter is Coming, can it manage to find enough fun action and compelling narratives to keep from feeling entirely disposable?  Let’s find out!!

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The Lucha Bros Vs. FTR – AEW Tag Title Match

The Lucha Bros are accompanied to the ring by Alex Abrahantes while FTR are accompanied by Tully Blanchard

You’d think this would be a match to save for the big show on Wednesday instead of throwing out on the B-Show; especially since these two teams had a match at Triple-Mania less than a week ago.  Why not let them rest until the Wednesday show and try to put on a barn burner instead of filling a slot that could literally go to anyone else?  Rampage is a good place for random matchups, and it’d be nice if we got some highlights from Triple-Mania or even just a promo to set up this title match!  Well, we’ve got the match that we’ve got, and I guess it was their way of making this Rampage not seem insignificant; so let’s see how it plays out.  It starts off well with the Lucha Bros getting a solid lead on FTR, but the No Flips All Fist guys are hard to keep down no matter what you throw at them!  Penta decides to go for psychological warfare and theatrically takes off his glove which he tosses to Cash who dutifully catches… and then IMMEDIATELY eats a kick to the face!  Rey then tags in and jumps really high in the air for a Cross Body on Cash, but after landing he’s grabbed by Dax and is dropped spine first onto the apron; giving FTR some heat as we head into the commercial.  Rey eventually makes his way to the corner to tag in Penta who hits Sling Blades on both guys before landing the Backstabber on Dax.  Things go back and forth for a bit between Penta and Cash with some very cool reversals thrown in, and soon enough Rey tags back into the match.  He punches Tully Blanchard in the face who thought it was a good idea to get up on the apron and taunt him, and starts to face off both members of FTR just like Penta did because I guess the Heels are allowed to do whatever they want; isn’t that right Ref?  In any case, Dax catches Rey in a Springboard move and drops him with a Slingshot Liger bomb for a two count, and Dax tosses him into the ropes where Cash is waiting to bash him with the belt much like he did in their first meet up.  Rey manages to stop himself and avoid the belt shot just as the ref sees what’s going on, and the two of them yank the belt out of Cash’s hands… which then goes right into Dax’s face!  Oh well!  Guess Rey’s gonna hit him with the Frog Splash and win!  NO WAIT!  Dax is still holding the belt and just lifts it up as Rey comes down; conking him in the face and going for the pin.  Despite seeing little flying birds circle his head after that shot, Rey manages to kick out at two and things just go into overdrive from there!  Rey tries to fight off FTR and goes up top for some sort of move, but he gets caught by both of them and they smash him to the mat with a Big Rig.  They go for the pin but it’s broken up by Penta who comes flying in from the top turnbuckle; wiping everyone out taking a little breather on the floor while the crowd is going wild!  It’s down to a battle of chops as both teams are in the ring and trading blows back and forth until Fenix lands a Cutter on Dax, only to eat a Gory Bomb from Cash.  Penta is back in the ring and Cash does his best to fight him off, but in the end he winds up eating a Fear Factor and the Lucha Bros get the pin to win the match.  I’m still a bit baffled that they gave away a title match (especially one this good) on Rampage, but if you are gonna give it away then why not make it fantastic?  If nothing else, it was WAY better than the one on the PPV!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (12-10-2021)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (09-29-2021)

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

We’re back with another episode of AEW action, though this is something of a special episode.  Not in the USUAL AEW sense of adding a subtitle and a few marquee matches, but because this show takes place in Rochester where Brodie Lee is from and where he was supposed to debut before the Pandemic put everything on hold.  Because of this, AEW has put together a stacked card to not only continue their ongoing storylines but to celebrate and the people he affected during his time at the company.  Is it a proper celebration for the Exalted One who was taken from us far too soon?  Let’s find out!!

CM Punk comes out at the start of the show and he once again joins the commentary team on this episode.  I’m starting to wonder if he’ll actually do all that much wrestling as he seems perfectly content to sit in the booth and talk about everyone else.  I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to it as I think he’s got a lot of potential for that kind of role, but I’m guessing the checks Tony Khan had to write to get him aren’t about to go to someone who stays OUT of the ring.

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Jungle Boy Vs. Adam Cole

Something we’ll run into a few times in this episode (which was also a bit of an issue on the last episode) is crowd reactions as the place goes unglued for Adam Cole despite being the heel in this conflict.  I gut that everyone is happy he’s here instead of at the other place, but it always feels off when someone is going above and beyond to be a heel and just gets the opposite reaction for it.  Then again, if you could argue one thing in favor of Paragon Cole, he does seem to have the experience advantage in this match and most of the time when he gets the lead it’s from outsmarting Jungle Boy which means that the young guy has to learn on the fly to outmaneuver the veteran.  Cole tries to keep Jungle Boy grounded with headlocks and mat work while keeping him off his game with feints and misdirection; particularly when he puts on the brakes on a charge Jungle Boy had scouted and had started flipping over; only to find Adam Cole behind him and is dragged to the mat for a one count.  Still, you can’t count the Jungle Boy out as he uses the same trick on a Cole a minute later and ends up knocking him out of the ring with a Springboard Arm Drag followed by a Drop Kick.  Cole needs to slow him down, so he baits him to go outside the ring with him before rushing back in and attacking Jungle Boy when he tries to get into the ring behind him.  Jungle Boy manages to escape the beating and goes to the turnbuckle, but Cole pushes him off and he tumbles to the floor in a bump that looked PRETTY bad but doesn’t seem to have caused an actual injury.  In any case, Jungle Boy is hurting and so Cole gets the heat during the commercial.  Jungle Boy eventually manages to fight back and tries to even the odds by landing a Basement Drop Kick on Cole followed by a BIG Lariat that sends him flipping in the air before landing on the mat.  The gamble pays off as the match gets VERY even at that point with them trading blows and pulling off big moves to try and wear the other one down.  Jungle Boy gets a German Suplex into a bridge for a two count and puts Cole in the Tree of Woe to land a Drop Kick, but then Cole follows up with a Backstabber and the Last Shot for a two count as well.  Cole goes for the Panama Sunrise from the apron to the floor, but Jungle Boy rolls away, runs into the rings, hits the ropes, and goes to dive… only to eat a Step Up Enziguri to the face.  Not to be outdone, he lands a Hurricanrana from the apron to the floor and tosses Cole back into the ring.  However, his follow-up of a Springboard Cutter fails to hit its mark as he eats a Superkick instead, and Cole uses this to land the Panama Sunrise… ONLY TO GET A TWO COUNT!  Shock and awe fill the arena as Cole’s finisher didn’t do the job and he tries to follow-up with THE BOOM, but Jungle Boy ducks and locks him in the Snare Trap.  Cole crawls to the ropes so Jungle Boy breaks the hold to drag him back to the center which gives Cole an opening to kick him in the face.  Cole gets up with Jungle Boy right behind him and it looks like Cole is grabbing the ropes with Ref Aubrey sandwiched between them, and while she’s unable to see what’s going on Cole lands a kick to the groin.  Seeing as neither one of their finishers ended the match, he took the path of least resistance and cheated with a move that knocked  Jungle Boy down which allows Cole to land THE BOOM, and gets the pin to win the match.  This was yet another fantastic showing from Adam Cole who is clearly proving himself to be a valuable addition to AEW.  I think the crowd is making things a bit awkward though because they LOVE this guy despite being a clear Heel, but aside from that I definitely want to see more matches with him!

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Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (09-24-2021) – Grand Slam

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

We’re back with more (and more, and more, and more) Rampage action as AEW’s attempt to fill every waking moment of my life with wrestling is moving forward unabated!  Hopefully things can slow down a bit and we can get back to our standard three hours of TV a week, but the Dynamite episode of Grand Slam was pretty excellent and they’ve got a solid card lined up for this EXTRA LONG episode of Rampage, so perhaps a little fatigue is worth it if it means a few more fantastic matches!  Is this a satisfying conclusion to the Grand Slam event that started on Wednesday, or will I be far from the only one wanting to go back to a one hour Rampage by the time this episode is done?  Let’s find out!!

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CM Punk Vs. Powerhouse Hobbs

Hobbs is accompanied to the ring by Hook

CM Punk more or less proved he could still have solid matches when he went up against Darby Allin, but now we’re gonna see if he can put some shine on the talent who aren’t already at the top of the pecking order.  Hobbs came on the scene in a BIG way and was signed almost immediately, but he’s not really lived up to his potential; mostly due to a lack of marquee matches if you ask me.  That’s probably why they went with him to go up against CM Punk as you can’t ask for a better match-up to get eyeballs on you, and for what it’s worth they both do a solid job here.  Punk hits Hobbs with a Drop Kick as soon as the bell rings and starts working over the left leg which proves that at least SOMEONE knows what you’ve got to do to take a big man down!  Still, even with Punk’s fancy tactics, it’s hard to overcome the sheer POWER of Hobbs who knocks him to his knees with ONE Headbutt from Hobbs sends Punk to his knees.  On top of that, Hobbs has Hook in his corner so even when Punk gets the advantage through better technique he can’t always capitalize on it like when he puts Hobbs on his shoulders for a GTS very early in the match only for Hook to get up on the apron.  You’d think Punk would be able to just finish the move despite a guy looking at him funny, but that’s one of those quirks about the wacky world of wrestling and sure enough, he puts Hobbs down to go after him only to eat a Running Cross Body from Hobbs that knocks him flat on his back.  Hobbs gets the heat for a while and milks the crowd for as many boos as they can give him, and despite a few hope spots from Punk like a quick roll up for a two count, Hobbs remains firmly in control up to and throughout the commercial break.  Punk finally escapes with a few elbows to the face, and a Spin Kick followed by a Swinging Neck Breaker gets him some momentum.  He lands a Top Rope Elbow Drop for a two count and gets Hobbs on his shoulders once again for the GTS.  Punk actually finishes the move this time but it doesn’t connect as Hobbs blocks the knee on his way down, and hits him with one of his HELLACIOUS Spine Busters!  Hobbs gets him up on his shoulder for his finisher Town Business, but Punk wriggles out and puts him in a choke which nearly knocks him out.  He fights back and breaks the hold with a Back Drop which he follows with a Stampede that only gets him a two count.  After Punk gets an Avalanche Hurricanrana for a two count of his own, he tries to put Hobbs in a Triangle Choke which is a HUGE mistake as the number one rule of Big Guys is don’t leave their legs free, and as you’d expect Hobbs lifts up Punk and lands a Sit Out Powerbomb.  Punk kicks out at two and so Hobbs just tries hammering Punk in the middle of the ring to wear him down, but this allows Punk to land a Roundhouse Kick that sends Hobbs Reeling.  Punk signals for the GTS when Hook jumps on the apron once again, and of course Punk goes to deal with him which allows Hobbs to charge from behind.  BUT WAIT!  This is all a misdirection as Punk sees this coming from a mile away and sidesteps the charge so that Hobbs knocks Hook into next week which is perhaps the biggest bump Hook has taken since he started showing up in Team Taz!  With Hobbs distracted, Punk gets him on his shoulders and FINALLY hits the GTS to get the pin and win the match to the utter delight of the fans!  It was a pretty good match for the most part and I think I liked it more than the Darby Allin match.  Hobbs just seems to be bringing a lot more out of Punk so that he’s less the Elder Statesman of Wrestling looking to play to impress the crowd and more of a down and dirty fighter that I find much more entertaining and I suspect is the kind of wrestling that CM Punk fans want to see from the guy.  This Team Taz feud is far from over and I can only hope that the rest of the matches Punk has with them will be just as good!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (09-24-2021) – Grand Slam”

Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (09-17-2021)

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

We’re back with another episode of Rampage; or as I like to call it, the quiet before the storm!  The next Dynamite is one of those shows with a subtitle to it which means it’ll be stuffed with big matches and important storylines, and the Rampage after that is going to be TWO hours long instead of the usual one!  As if All Out didn’t exhaust me enough already!  Well in any case, we’ve got this nice one hour show to get through between now and then, so is another action packed fun-sized wrestling show, or did they move everything worth watching to the Arthur Ashe Stadium shows?  Let’s find out!!

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The Lucha Bros Vs. The Butcher and The Blade

The Lucha Bros are accompanied to the ring by Alex Abrahantes while The Butcher and The Blade are accompanied by HFO

I wouldn’t say that The Butcher and The Blade are a BAD tag team, but they do need the right opponents to make them shine which is why their most memorable match was against The Young Bucks; one of the best teams out there when it comes to carrying a match.  The Lucha Bros easily prove themselves to not just be great workers but great champs as well as they put on a darn good show with The Butcher and The Blade here who give them a decent run for their money; mostly through cheap tricks and overwhelming force.  Actually facing them in a fair fight is pretty much a non-starter as The Blade starts things off by trying to keep up with Fenix, but just can’t get a hold of him and tags in The Butcher.  His strength makes him a bit tougher to overcome, but Penta and Fenix’s teamwork cuts him down to size, so it’s time for the Heels to get dirty.  Penta has a hold of The Butcher and Fenix goes up for a top rope move, but The Blade knocks him off the ropes; giving The Butcher a chance to get some offense on Penta.  Fenix tags himself in to cut The Butcher’s momentum, but then he ends up on Butcher’s shoulders for an assisted Knee Strike with The Blade.  So far so good for The Butcher and The Blade, but once things settle to a more civilized tag match, The Lucha Bros get the advantage again with some good strikes from Fenix, Sling Blades from Penta, and dives from both of them to The Butcher and The Blade who had rolled outside the ring.  It’s not until a MASSIVE Cross Body from The Butcher that their momentum is halted and the Heels can finally get some heat.  Penta eventually gets the hot tag to Fenix and both teams start trading some big moves.  A Fear Factor from The Lucha Bros, some sort of Backdrop move from The Butcher and The Blade (looked kind of like FTR’s Big Rig), and eventually Penta is trying to get to the corner for a tag when The Butcher and The Blade make their most dastardly move yet!  Fenix DOES get the tag, but The Butcher is there immediately to knock him out the ring while The Blade TIES PENTA’S MASK TO THE RING POST!  Penta is forced to sit there and watch as The Butcher and The Blade start to overwhelm his brother and he is ultimately forced to remove his mask and land a Super Kick while covering his face!  The kick lands squarely on Butcher’s jaw, and Fenix gets the pin to win the match!  It’s not over yet however as Private Party run in and attack Penta and Fenix, the former still without a mask and covering his face, when Proud N Powerful run in to make the save.  The masks are always a soft spot for me and a quick way to get me to boo someone, so having this work into the finish of the match was a pretty solid way to cap it off.  It’s not even in the same LEAGUE as the Bucks match at the PPV, but for a title defense on the B Show it was pretty good!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (09-17-2021)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (09-15-2021)

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

It feels like we JUST got done with the PPV, and already we’re building up to ANOTHER big show; in this case the Arthur Ashe Stadium show on the next episode which has been a huge feather in AEW’s cap since they started selling tickets for it, and everyone originally assumed that Danielson would premiere there.  Instead, it looks like we’re gonna get a match which is much more exciting, and it looks like a pretty stacked card all things considered!  Does this episode bring enough energy to get us pumped for yet another AEW event, or are we still all too exhausted from All Out for this to get us all that excited?  Let’s find out!!

The show begins with CM Punk coming out for his entrance and to hang out with the crowd before eventually finding his way to the broadcast booth and he joins the announce team for most of the episode.  I’m not sure if he has a lot of experience in that role, but he came off pretty well!  A little green perhaps, but he’s got a lot of the strengths that Jericho brings to the table by having that in-ring experience that he can articulate well during matches.

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Adam Cole Vs. Frankie Kazarian

Not wasting any time in getting this guy in front of the crowd, we start off with Adam Cole’s first match since joining AEW; helped along by none other than Frankie Kazarian who once again is the most underrated guy in the whole industry!  A very good choice as you couldn’t ask for a better sparring partner for what is easily the best chance he’ll ever have at a first impression with a new audience!  It starts with a good back and forth with Frankie getting a slight edge, but things start to go a bit sideways when Cole tosses him over the ropes to the floor and it looks like he slipped when he landed.  It looks like he broke his fall with both his elbows and possibly his face, but he managed to get through the rest of the match just fine and I haven’t heard anything about an injury so it seems that he’s okay.  That was the only rough spot in the match though and everything else looked REALLY solid with a lot of cool moves from both of them.  Kazarian fends off Cole with a Leg Drop through the ropes before going for a Springboard Sunset Flip, but Cole rolls out and kicks him in the face before Grounding Kazarian with a headlock on the mat.  Kazarian gets to do the Baby Face spot of slowly fighting out of the headlock before getting a surprise roll up on Cole that he transitions into a submission that Cole has to kick his way out of.  From there it’s just great moves back and forth, a Neckbreaker from Cole, a German Suplex into a bridge from Kazarian, there’s even this one great spot where Kazarian is trying to put him in the Cross Face Chick Wing, but they are close to the post so Cole runs up and kicks off of it to knock Kazarian on his back and roll into a two count!  It’s not as flashy as a true high flying match, but it finds a great balance between athleticism, technique, and strength that makes it feel really old school but with enough sizzle to not feel outdated.  My favorite spot was probably when Cole lands a Super Kick and goes for a Panama Sunrise only for Kazarian to reverse it into an Alabama Slam which looked cool and made Kazarian look like the strongest dude on the planet for one shining moment there!  Kazarian follows it up with a Springboard Leg Drop for a two count and they start trading blows back and forth.  Kazarian gets the better of the exchange and goes for a Suplex, but Cole reverses it into an Ushigoroshi and gets a VERY close two count.  Undeterred, Cole charges at Kazarian who tosses him onto the apron; throwing blows back and forth but neither one can land a hit until Kazarian goes for another Leg Drop through the ropes but Cole is ready for it this time and dodges it which leaves Frankie flat on his butt and he’s forced to roll away from the ropes.  In doing so however, he gives Cole time to get to the top turnbuckle and he finally lands the Panama Sunrise followed by a Running Knee to get the pin and win the match!  Cole proved himself in this to be a darn good wrestler which I’m sure most of the AEW audience didn’t need to be convinced of, but there are those in out there who needed something like this to really understand why everyone else is so excited for him, and honestly just as much credit goes to Kazarian who is always fantastic and will hopefully one day be TRULY recognized for it!

Cole gets the mic after the match and calls out Christian Cage, Luchasaurus, and Jungle Boy before confirming that at the Grand Slam episode of Rampage, he and the Young Bucks will face them in a Six Man Tag match!  If it’s even half as good as the match here then I’m all for it, but with so much talent I’m sure it’ll be much better than that!  Maybe even four fifths as good!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (09-15-2021)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (08-27-2021)

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

We’re back with another episode of Rampage Against The Machine as The Elite are up facing some stiff competition at the PPV and this week and this episode is here to prove that to them as well as the viewing audience!  Is this the perfect tee up for the big title matches at the PPV, or are we gonna need the next two shows to really get the hype machine going for All Out in September?  Let’s find out!!

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Jurassic Express Vs. The Lucha Bros

Jurassic Express is accompanied to the ring by Marko Stunt while Lucha Bros are accompanied by Alex Abrahantes

It’d almost be redundant to say that both of these teams had a FANTASTIC match here, but DANG was this match awesome!  Jungle Boy and Rey start things off with some great athleticism between the two with this one Cazadora into an Arm Drag from Jungle Boy that looked like wizardry and this great spot from Rey which was ADMITTEDLY a bit convoluted, but still very cool to see!  For whatever reason he’s walking the ropes in Jurassic Express’s corner which I’d think would be the LAST place you’d want to be, and sure enough Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus try to shove him off.  Of course Rey Fenix, being a wizard himself, bounces off the ropes instead of tumbles over and is right side up again to land a kick and a flipping arm drag.  Showing off a bit?  Sure.  Still awesome anyway?  ABSOLUTELY!  Jungle Boy tries to go for the Snare Trap to end things quickly but Fenix rolls out of it and both guys tag in their respective partners which gives us Luchasaurus Vs. Penta for a bit, and I don’t know how to phrase this exactly but Penta’s got a STRONG presence to him that’s both very hammy and EXTREMELY menacing.  His slow walk followed by taking off his glove is over the top, but ALSO belies a confidence that his opponent can’t do anything to stop him, and even when they try they regret it immediately!  Luchasaurus learns this first hand when he grabs his hand mid-ZERO MIEDO, and Penta just DESTROY his left leg with a series of kicks!  Luchasaurus doesn’t take it for long though and goes for the throat which prompts Fenix to come in with a top rope kick that looks like something from a Jackie Chan movie and the whole thing descends into chaos as we go to commercial!  Now I can’t go over everything here move by move so we’ll speed things up a bit, but that was only like four minutes of action and the rest of the match is at that level!  We get a few big moves and some swift tags back and forth (including a Frog Splash from Fenix onto Luchasaurus, but the next big spot was a Jungle Boy tag that led to a BIG Lariat followed by a Poisonrana for a two count.  Fenix kicks out but Jungle Boy then finally locks in the Snare Trap right in the middle of the ring which is bad news for Fenix.  Penta runs in to break up the hold, but instead of just kinda jumping on them like wrestlers usually do, Penta hauls back and gives Jungle Boy a freaking GOALIE KICK right into the skull!  Now I watched it again and Penta DOES slap the leg so that terrifying CRUNCHING sound was NOT due to direct contact, but I still couldn’t tell you if he ACTUALLY kicked him or not and I wouldn’t think a swift kick to the temple is in Jungle Boy’s best interest.  In any case, Fenix tags in Penta who starts tearing Jungle Boy apart, and the Bros go for Fear Factor but Jungle Boy escapes and tosses Penta out of the ring.  Jungle Boy is now on the top turnbuckle with Luchasaurus holding Penta on the floor below… but in comes Fenix who rope walks his way to the corner and gives Jungle Boy a Top Rope Hurricanrana THAT SENDS HIM TO THE FLOOR!  Thankfully, Luchasaurus, Penta, and even Marko Stunt were there to save him from landing right on his head, and Penta drags him to the ring and gets a two count.  After all that we’re finally heading into the finish as Luchasaurus tags in but immediately eats a Hurricanrana which is enough to keep him down for quite a bit while which gives Lucha Bros time to finish off Jungle Boy with a Canadian Destroyer on the apron.  Luchasaurus is all alone now and eats a bunch of Superkicks from both guys and do some sort of… I guess half a Canadian Destroyer which led to a pin where BOTH guys were on Luchasaurus.  Not sure why the ref even bothered counting because there is NO way that was a legal pin!  Luchasaurus kicks out, but The Lucha Bros follows up with an Assisted Pile Driver and that’s finally enough to keep him down for the three count.  Lucha Bros win the match and will face The Young Bucks at the PPV!  Speaking of whom, the Bucks run in to try and beat on the Lucha Bros, but Jurassic Express chase them off; showing mutual respect for their opponents who they just had a PHENOMENAL match with!  I had my concerns about a spot here and there, but there’s no doubt that this was a show stopping match that made everyone look like super stars and is exactly what AEW needed to sell us on the title match at the PPV!  Remember, this tournament was announced TWO WEEKS AGO which back then felt like WAY too little time to try and start building a story, but in three matches these four teams have done a fantastic job of making the PPV match feel important and like a genuine highlight to look forward to!  I doubt the Lucha Bros are gonna win as they have that thing with Andrade to focus on while The Elite should probably stay as the top heel faction for a while, but whatever happens at the PPV there’s no doubt that it’s got more momentum behind it than anyone could have hoped for!

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Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (08-13-2021)

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

This is TECHNICALLY this is the start of a new series, isn’t it?  So I guess I shouldn’t say WELCOME BACK as we’ve technically never been here before, but honestly the name change doesn’t do much to change the fact that this is the third hour of Dynamite; an extra show to give the wrestlers more time to get in front of the crowd and to make my life slightly harder as now I have to fit TWO wrestling shows into my weekly schedule!  Will AEW justify their new hour long timeslot on Friday Nights with an AMAZING first show, or is this just another Dark show with the added bonus of commercial breaks?  Let’s find out!!

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Kenny Omega Vs. Christian Cage – Impact World Title Match

It’s clear they wanted to start things off as BIG as possible, so why not put the AEW Champ in a title match to kick off the show? Now it’s not for the ACTUAL AEW title as these two will be fighting for that in a few weeks on PPV, but for the Impact title as Kenny managed to collect that along the way.  I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really into this match when it started as there was a lot of jaw-jacking between the two before going to a headlock and then finally a shoulder tackle from Cage.  I can’t say that’s the kind of EDGE OF YOUR SEAT ACTION I would want in a title match, but the wrestling eventually picks up and a storyline starts to form as it goes along.  Throughout the match Kenny is going for his One Winged Angel to try and put Cage away, but he seems to be his own worst enemy as he’s genuinely afraid of Cage and his Kill Switch so every time he gets close and Cage shows signs of reversing, he panics and runs away.  He still manages to stay in the lead, especially after knocking Cage off the top turnbuckle to the floor, but it’s a much more defensive Kenny Omega than we usually see.  The turnbuckle spot does give Kenny some momentum and he gets the heat for a while, but then he gets a bit too cocky and puts Cage on the turnbuckle for a Superplex; only for the guy to fight back and land this Spinning Powerbomb thing from the top rope that KINDA looks like a Canadian Destroyer and looked like it could have EASILY shattered Kenny’s spine!  THAT must have been a rough bump to take, but Cage is now in control and gets a few nearfalls.  Flying Elbow, Reverse DDT, even a Spear after Kenny misses a V-Trigger; all great moves but none are enough to finish off Omega.  At one point Cage snaps Omega’s neck on the top rope and follows up with a Frog Splash to get another two count, and this is enough for Don Callis gets on the apron to distract the ref so that Omega can get the low blow.  If that wasn’t enough, The Bucks come out to give Omega a chair and tries to put him up for the One Winged Angel.  Cage somehow escapes and drops Kenny Omega into the chair himself with the Kill Switch and shock of all shocks, HE GETS THE PIN!  Your Impact champion is Christian Cage who cuts a promo after the match about how much he’s already in Kenny’s head and what that’s going to mean for their AEW Title match on the PPV.  The ending more or less being a screw job at least solved one problem I had which is that I thought having them fight TWO title matches back to back would be pointless as it at least still leaves the question as to who would win in a FAIR fight, and while I wasn’t in love with the match I thought it was pretty good.  WAY too slow at the start, but it picked up by the end and Christian actually getting a pin on Kenny is a pretty big deal!  Kinda feel bad for Impact though who’s biggest belt is being treated as a glorified game piece in this battle for the REAL title, but I guess when one is on national television getting over a million views an episode and the other is… not, then you take what you can get.

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (06-04-2021) – Friday Night Dynamite

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

So after a week of nonstop action with two shows more or less back to back, it’s time for things to return to normal as we move forward from the events of Double or Nothing to see what AEW has planned for the future!  Is this the start of a bold new direction for show, or did they use up all of their good ideas on the PPV?  Let’s find out!!

Before getting started, it’s worth noting that the hard cam is back to facing the Titantron and the small crowd of people sitting there on the stage which is the position it’s been in since the Pandemic except for last Friday’s show and the PPV.  With that new section of crowd it’s probably the best place for it, and it least it doesn’t have the DAILY’S PLACE sign shining brightly in the background.

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The Young Bucks Vs. Death Triangle (Pac & Penta El Zero M)

The Bucks are accompanied to the ring by Brandon Cutler

I was expecting this to be the main event of the show considering all four guys were in big matches at the PPV (three of whom in title matches), but The Bucks like to go on first and you really couldn’t ask for a better matchup to hook views in for the rest of the show.  During The Bucks’ entrance which is as obnoxious and heelish as you’d expect, Frankie Kazarian moves through the crowd and attacks Michael Nakazawa for seemingly no reason other than to terrorize The Bucks.  I’m not sure they’ll care all THAT much as no one seemed to care when he got his butt handed to him by an army of six year olds, but it’s clear that Kazarian is not done being The Bucks’ biggest pest!  It does accomplish one thing however as The Bucks are momentarily distracted by all the commotion which allows Pac and Penta to take a bunch of shots at The Bucks before the bell rings which is a trope I STILL don’t like, but whatever it takes to get this match started.  To their credit, Death Triangle does get an early advantage and it looks like they might run away with this, but it’s not long before The Bucks are in control and are doing their usual goofy heel shtick.  The best moment is when Nick has Pac held outside the ring, but instead of Matt doing a Suicide Dive he exits on the opposite side and does a Braun Strowman like run around the entire ring just to land a clothesline which they celebrate as if they had hit Pac with a freight train.  The Bucks continue to get the heat on Pac for a while, but he eventually escapes with a German Suplex and gets the hot tag to Penta who throws out Slingblades like they’re going out of style!  It’s as good run of offense to be sure, but for me they kind of overdid the tags as Penta’s barely in for a minute before he’s tagging Pac back in and then Pac does little more than a Pop Up Powerbomb before he tags out once again!  From there things descend into chaos as everyone is throwing out big moves and I lose track of who’s the legal man for each team.  Some highlights include a nut shot Pac delivers to Matt from the top rope, Penta landing a Canadian Destroy on Nick who then eats a Canadian destroyer from matt right after, and Matt Jackson ripping off Penta’s mask only to find… ANOTHER MASK!  The biggest move however was a Fear Factor from Penta followed by a Black Arrow from Pac that ALMOST gets them the win if Matt Jackson hadn’t broken it up.  This failed pin attempt was the last one that Penta and Pac would get as Pac goes up for another Black Arrow but Brandon Cutler comes from behind and bashes Pac in the leg which knocks him off the post and into the waiting arms of Nick Jackson who rolls him up to get the pin and win the match.  That’s not good enough for The Bucks however who try to take off Penta’s remaining mask and set him up for a Superkick party, but they are chased off by a very furious Eddie Kingston running to the ring.  No appearance from Jon Moxley tonight with the storyline reason being that he’s too injured from the PPV match, but what’s really going on is that his daughter is going to be born soon so he’s back home for the foreseeable future.  It was a pretty good match that maybe got a bit out of hand with everyone running in and out, but with The Bucks and Penta it’s kinda what you should’ve expected in the first place.

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