Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (01-12-2022)

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

We’re back with more AEW action, albeit action that’s over a week old.  January’s been a rough month and the week-long power outage coupled with the bonus Battle of the Belts show that AEW threw at us, it’s been hard to find time to get up to date, but that’s a problem for another day as we’re here to focus on this one show!  Let’s get started!!

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The show starts with Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, and Kyle O’Reilly coming out to talk about how awesome last year was and how great 2022 will be; Cole in particular bragging about not being pinned or submitted yet which means he’s undefeated as a singles wrestler.  The party gets cut short however as the Young Bucks come out with Brandon Cutler to confront Red Dragon (Fish and O’Reilly) as both teams are going to be chasing after the Tag Team Titles.  Cole is stuck between the two groups to try and make them all play nice when Best Friends come out with Orange Cassidy to throw a match at this powder keg that’s already primed to go off.  Naturally, a brawl ensues and Cole hits a low blow on Orange Cassidy which causes Kris Statlander to jump in, but then Britt Baker runs down to the ring and Curb Stomps Statlander.  With her out of the way, she holds down Cassidy while Cole gives him a few kicks and the Boom Knee Strike before sharing a kiss in the middle of the ring.  The fact that Cole and Baker are a couple has been brought up before on the show, but this is the first time they’ve been in the ring together since his arrival.  They announce later in the show that they will have a Mixed Tag Match with Cassidy and Statlander, and frankly, I’m excited to see it!

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CM Punk Vs. Wardlow

Wardlow is accompanied to the ring by MJF

I’m a little surprised that Wardlow didn’t come down with Shawn Spears considering how integral he’s been to Wardlow’s matches up to this point, but I guess MJF wants to get a view of the carnage and didn’t want to share floor space with one of his cronies.  Carnage, by the way, is exactly what we get here as Wardlow is twice Punk’s size and probably half his age.  Punk manages a few shots in the corner and goes for a GTS, but Wardlow shrugs it all off and easily overpowers his opponent.  He tosses Punk around for a bit and throughout the commercial break until he’s ready to set him up for a Powerbomb, but Punk escapes and hits a Roundhouse kick to the head.  He gets a few more kicks and a bunch of clotheslines which do little more than stumble Wardlow, but then he hits a Springboard Clothesline that finally knocks the big guy to the mat.  I hope that minor victory was sweet because Wardlow is upset now and finally hits the Powerbomb after a distraction from MJF.  He hits him with another, and another, and a fourth, and a FIFTH!  Wardlow is finally ready to pin him, but MJF has to rear his ugly head and demands that Wardlow hit him with even more Powerbombs despite CM Punk being a pile of putty on the mat.  Wardlow rolls his eyes and hits him with a few more Powerbombs, including one Powerbomb through the timekeeper’s table, but that’s still not enough and MJF demands a ninth one.  Wardlow reluctantly picks him up to do it again, but Punk quickly rolls him over into an Inside Cradle and keeps Wardlow down just long enough for the three count to win the match out of nowhere!  Punk rolls immediately to avoid the wrath of Wardlow, but the one who is really wrathful is MJF who gets in the ring and gives Wardlow a serious tongue lashing; complete with shoves and finger jabs to the chest!  Wardlow has had enough of this and grabs MJF’s arm whose eyes start to grow huge, but Shawn Spears finally makes his appearance and runs in to quickly act as peacemaker between the two.  Wardlow walks out without taking another shot at MJF, but he’s definitely ticked off as he storms up the ramp.  I can’t say that this was the match I was expecting to get, especially given how many Powerbombs Punk was able to sell for Wardlow, but I enjoyed it quite a bit!  Sometimes you can get away with an unconventional style and pace if it serves an interesting story, and I think the impending breakup between MJF and Wardlow is one of the stronger ongoing storylines they have at the moment.

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

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (01-05-2022)

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

It’s a New Year for everyone and a new channel for AEW!  None too soon, if you ask me!  The show has never dipped so low as to compare it to WWE, but there were some rough patches in the latter half of 2021 that had me hoping that a fresh start will kick things back into gear and give us the kind of wrestling show that we want to see from AEW!  Does the move to TBS reinvigorate the show, or is it just more of the same no matter where you find it?  Let’s find out!!

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Hangman Adam Page Vs. Bryan Danielson – AEW World Title Match

The last match felt a bit padded with the commercial breaks interrupting the ebb and flow of the action, but in the end, I think we got everything we needed to out of that match, so watching this one felt a little bit redundant.  There really isn’t much of a status quo change or some new issue that they have to work through; it’s just a shorter version of what we saw last time.  Now that’s not to say that the action isn’t great or that Danielson isn’t one of the best in-ring storytellers working today, but I didn’t find myself enjoying the sequel as much as I would have hoped.  There still feels like there’s a bit of padding here as Danielson starts the fight by intentionally stalling to try and get Hangman frustrated.  This goes on for a few minutes and is certainly a great way to start a match, but almost as soon as Hangman starts to fight back, he’s stymied by Danielson who tosses him arm first into the post, and so Danielson slows things down once again as he starts to work the arm over.  Hangman gets a break from this after hitting Danielson with a Fall Away Slam, but Danielson regains control almost immediately when he drops Hangman into the ring steps, which is the point where the blood starts flowing and is another thing I’m ambivalent of.  There’s a lot of blood in this match (Danielson gets opened ups as well) and there are a lot of head butts to make the most of it, and while I can appreciate blood and violence in certain contexts (the Street Fight on Rampage being a good example), it just felt really excessive here.  I’ve been wary about Danielson wrestling for a while now, and seeing him with a crimson mask doing running Headbutts over and over again feels like taunting at this point.  Aside from some slowness here and there and the worrisome violence, the action is as good as you’d expect.  Danielson is keeping up a good fight and Hangman looks to be in trouble throughout, but every once in a while he’ll hit a big move that sets up a Buckshot Lariat.  The first one is when Hangman catches Danielson mid-dive to hit a Deadeye on the floor.  He tosses Danielson in and sets up on the apron when Danielson comes up with the most BRILLIANT strategy imaginable to avoid the Buckshot!  He drops to the mat!  I mean yeah, it sounds simple when you say it out loud, but very few people (including Kenny Omega) seem to realize that standing is the only way the move can work.  Truly, Danielson is a master tactician in the ring!  Hangman’s second attempt happens after a Moonsault to the floor, and while Danielson stays standing for this attempt, he manages to dodge it and hits his Running Knee Strike and gets a very close two count!  Danielson remains firmly in control for a while here and even does that face stomp thing that he did to the Dark Order.  Hangman fights his way out of it and lands a rather scary-looking Back Drop Driver that leaves Danielson dazed.  Hangman goes to the apron, lines up his shot, and FINALLY hits the Buckshot Lariat which is enough to get the pin and win the match!  Hangman retains his title, and in doing so delivers Bryan Danielson his first loss at AEW!  I understand the reason behind having the last match be the longest match in AEW history, and I guess you need SOMETHING for the show’s big move to TBS, but it felt like a lot of the same stuff we saw last time, and the things they did add (i.e. the blood) didn’t make it feel any more important.  Still, not a bad way to start the show and to start the TBS era of Dynamite!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (01-05-2022)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (12-22-2021) – Holiday Bash

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

As much as I love wrestling, the Holidays are a tough time to find the three hours it takes to watch these shows what with a million other things to worry about this time of year.  Still, you can’t say AEW doesn’t put in the effort, and not taking a week away from the show even with everyone being busy is laudable I suppose; especially since they film Rampage on the same night as Dynamite which hopefully meant that everyone got to go home as soon as it was over.  Is this a great present for AEW to give us despite the poor timing of it, or will it get lost in the Holiday shuffle like everything else we don’t have time to think about because we’ve got so many other things to do right now!?  Okay, maybe not everyone is stressed out like that, but that’s beside the point!  Is this a good show or not!?  Let’s find out!!

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Orange Cassidy Vs. Adam Cole

Cole and Cassidy are two of the biggest stars who aren’t currently in the title picture, so putting them together in an opening match is as good a way as any to try and tear people away from their packed Holiday schedules to tune in.  It’s a solid match with a lot of back and for the action between the two, but things don’t really pick up until Cassidy gets a two count from a Diving Cross Body and a Swinging DDT.  This forces the Bucks and Brandon Cutler to come out just as Cassidy is going up top for a big splash, and instead of hitting Cole, Cassidy jumps down on Cutler.  It’s at this point that the Best Friends run down to make the save, but not before Cassidy hits a Suicide Dive on the Bucks which allows the Best Friends to fight them back up the ramp and to the back.  Despite his buddies getting overwhelmed, it does create an opening for Cole who throws Cassidy shoulder-first into the steps; hoping to neutralize his Orange Punch finisher.  Cassidy is left limp against the steps so Cole tries to follow up with a Boom Knee Strike, but Cassidy moves and Cole’s knee hits the steel instead of Cassidy’s squishy body.  With both suffering injuries, the two continue to brawl throughout the commercial break and start to kick things into high gear once we return.  Lousy Kicks, Brain Busters, Stundog Millionaires and Diving DDTs, All of which hit their mark, but the damage they’ve incurred end up blunting their effectiveness, so neither manage to get the pin.  Cole tries to set up Cassidy for the Panama Sunrise by dragging him to the corner, but Cassidy merely rolls away to overcome his scheme.  Frustrated by this, Colle tries to go after him but Cassidy hits a Michinoku Driver!  Now it’s his turn to set up a move as he puts on his shades and gets to the top rope, and once he’s up there he puts his hands in his pockets and tries to dive on Cole.  He’s WAY short on his dive however and ends up eating a Super Kick which allows Cole to get the Panama Sunrise and goes for a lackadaisical cover on Cassidy.  He might have won if he tried to do a serious pin, but Cassidy kicks out. Cassidy takes this unforced error from Cole and ducks and hits a Beach Break for a two count before setting up for the Orange Punch.  Seeing what’s about to happen, Cole rolls out of the ring right as Bobby Fish runs down to start yelling at the ref.  He’s doing it for a long time and Cassidy is just standing there looking perturbed, and right when I was wondering what the heck was going on here, NONE OTHER THAN KYLE O’REILLY RUNS IN TO ATTACK CASSIDY!  As soon as Cassidy is on the ground, Cole hits the Boom Knee Strike and gets the pin on Cassidy, but that’s almost immaterial because the big news here is that the original Undisputed Era (Roderick Strong was added later) has officially moved to AEW after WWE cast them aside like yesterday’s news!  There seems to be some tension as the Bucks run down and seem a bit hesitant about the Undisputed Era reforming right in front of them, but it was a solid match with a really cool surprise ending that is sure to get AEW even more clout with the fans!  I don’t know if we’ll hit the point where it becomes passé for great wrestlers from the other company to show up here and prove how great they are, but it certainly hasn’t happened yet!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (12-22-2021) – Holiday Bash”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (12-15-2021) – Winter Is Coming

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

We’re back with AEW, and there’s certainly a chill in the air as Winter has officially come!  We’ve still got a few more weeks of shows this year, but this is the big one that they try to build up as a game-changer to start the New Year on a high note; especially with the AEW World Title on the line in a genuinely competitive match!  Will this be as exciting as when Moxley lost the title to Kenny Omega on last year’s show, or will my enthusiasm drop faster than the temperature outside?  Let’s find out!!

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Hangman Adam Page Vs. Bryan Danielson – AEW World Title Match

A rather bold choice for AEW to start with the big match instead of saving it for the main event!  Then again, given what’s about to happen it was probably the only choice they could go with as this match goes on for over an hour!  That’s right, more than half the show is dedicated to this one match, and we’ll talk about what this meant for the rest of the show once we get there, but for now, we need to talk about what happened here.  First and foremost, Danielson proves once again that he’s not just a great technical wrestler but a fantastic storyteller between the ropes as he’s very good at projecting the entirety of his thoughts through his movements and facial expressions.  It’s clear at the outset that Danielson does not consider Hangman to be an insurmountable challenge.  He’s certainly bigger and strong than him, but Danielson has faced those kinds of odds before and he has a plan for it.  For several minutes of the match, he refuses to engage with Hangman to any degree by keeping his distance, avoiding any real contact, and using the ropes to keep Hangman at bay; all the while grinning from ear to ear as the frustration mounts in Hangman.  He’s waiting for Hangman to get ahead of himself and to do something brash which Danielson can easily overcome, but Hangman is no fool and is keeping his cool just as much as Danielson is.  After a while of this, Hangman gets a quick boot to the chest that catches Danielson off guard and there’s a moment of uncertainty before he collects himself and gets back on track.  Still, Hangman has found his inch and he manages to force this into a proper match.  Danielson has to start engaging with Hangman, but he’s also staying smart about it by going for submissions and trying to damage the limbs while avoiding big moves from Hangman.  The strategy seems to be working, but Hangman manages to force Danielson into more direct confrontations and so Danielson starts using his chops and kicks that eventually send Hangman out of the ring.  This is when things start to get more violent as Danielson and Hangman start to slug it out in a war of brutal attrition, and this is what we get for a good chunk of the match.  Sometimes Danielson is in control, sometimes it’s Hangman, and they stick to their initial strategies as much as they can.  Hangman is hitting a lot of big and flashy moves like the Moonsault from the top rope to the floor, but Danielson stays on track and keeps picking at Hangman’s limbs to neutralize their power.  He also is keeping a sharp eye out for Hangman’s finishers, and so attempts at the Deadeye or the Buckshot Lariat are constantly avoided throughout the match despite the crowd desperately wanting to see it.  The only thing about the match that doesn’t work very well, and is probably why they should have saved this for a PPV, is that they simply can’t run the show for a full hour without commercial breaks and so the pacing of the match feels a bit wonky.  The worst of this is when Hangman goes for a Moonsault but is shoved off the turnbuckle by Danielson.  He hits the apron on his way to the floor and Danielson bashes Hangman’s shoulder into the post; continuing his strategy of neutralizing Hangman’s offense.  However, this also causes Hangman to bleed and so for an entire commercial break he’s being looked at by the doctors as Danielson poses in the ring.  We saw this same spot used in the Guevara/Lethal match and I just don’t think it’s helpful to a match.  If you need to fill a commercial break, then sure; have the doc look at the wrestler so that the TV audience doesn’t miss anything significant.  However, this still creates the problem as to why the ref doesn’t call for the bell as soon as the doctor is out there, or why he stops the ten count while the doctors attend to him.  It highlights the advantage that the champ has in title defense (titles can only change hands on pinfalls or submissions) which is great when you have a Heel champ, but it’s also not the kind of thing you want to advertise when it’s a Babyface with the title.  In any case, Hangman finally starts to stumble his way to the ring once the commercial break is over and they keep going from there.  We’re only at about the halfway point so the injury is kind of a moot point, but they do at least keep track of Hangman’s shoulder which is being brutalized by Danielson and is going to make it nearly impossible for Hangman to hit the Buckshot Lariat.  Turnabout is fair play however and Hangman starts targeting Danielson’s leg after he misses a Yes Kick that sends his shin right into the post.  This ends up playing into the rest of the match as we get closer and close to the time limit, and once we’re down to the final five minutes they have to leave everything they can in that ring to see who is still standing by the end of it!  Danielson has Hangman on the match and grabs his arms to start stomping on his face, the same way he did to all the members of the Dark Order, but with the bad leg, it’s not hard for Hangman to escape.  Danielson charges and Hangman catches him to at last land the Deadeye, but it’s only a two count.  Undeterred however, Hangman is now the one to grab his opponent’s arms and stomp on their face; a taste of Danielson’s own medicine if you will!  With Danielson sufficiently dazed, Hangman goes for the Buckshot Lariat with whatever strength he has left in the arm… BUT DANIELSON DODGES IT AND PUTS HANGMAN IN THE LABELLE LOCK!   With just over a minute left in the match, this is Danielson’s last chance to come away the champion, but perhaps that eagerness left him open for Hangman to escape and Slingshot him into the ropes.  Hangman hits a big lariat on Danielson which leaves him nearly dead on the floor, and Hangman goes to the apron one last time.  He waits for Danielson to stumble back to his feet, and he FINALLY hits the Buckshot Lariat just as the time expired!  Whether or not Hangman had enough in the tank for that hit to keep Danielson down for good is something we will never know, but it was about as satisfying an ending as you could get for a match that ends in a time limit draw!  This was a good match and I thought that both guys put in an exceptional amount of effort here, but I don’t think it needed a full hour to tell this story; especially with the commercial breaks wreaking havoc with the pacing.  Where we’ve seen PPV quality matches on TV before, this felt like a PPV match shunted into the TV format, but there’s very little doubt that the ending of this match is to set us up for a PPV main event, so as far as that goes it did its job brilliantly!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (12-15-2021) – Winter Is Coming”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (12-08-2021)

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

We’re back with another week of AEW action and drama as the Winter is Coming special is only one week away!  Last year we saw the title change hands on the Winter is Coming show, and this year we have Danielson and Hangman in the main event!  Could there be another upset in the making?  Well, we’ll have to wait until next week to find out, but we’ve got a lot more in store for that show that this episode needs to set up!  Is this the perfect Dynamite to get everyone invested in the big show next week?  Let’s find out!!

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The episode starts on a rather odd note that somewhat encapsulates the entire show.  MJF’s music hits and the hometown crowd is excited to see him… but then CM Punk comes out.  I mean hey, CM Punk is great and all, and I’m sure the crowd wanted to see him, but he tricked them into thinking MJF was coming out, and this also means they don’t get to see him come out to Cult of Personality!  For probably the first time since he got to AEW, CM Punk is getting booed by the Long Island crowd, and while he seems to be fine with it, going so far as to antagonize them and begging them to boo louder, it’s not a great start to a promo that is kind of all over the place.  I still don’t know what this whole Britt Baker thing is and I don’t think the crowd gets it either, and then he starts talking about nineties basketball which is starting to wear on the crowds’ patience.  Eventually, he throws down the gauntlet and even says he’s willing to face MJF tonight, but the guy never comes out and Punk goes to the back as Cult of Personality FINALLY plays.  Not a great start to the show as we didn’t even get a brawl between Punk and one of MJF’s stooges, but I guess we were saving the guy for what comes next which is…

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Dynamite Diamond Battle Royale

The last two in the ring will have a match on next week’s show for the Dynamite Diamond Ring

Since MJF is the hometown boy, he’s the only one who gets an entrance while everyone else is already in the ring like jobbers.  He also gets a full entrance video with a narration done by a guy who sounds a lot like Barry Scott who used to do TNA promos.  The guy starts listing off all of MJF’s high school accomplishments as he’s walking on a high school football field, which is funny because that’s what you expect sad losers in their forties to do.  In any case, here’s who we’ve got for this match! 

MJF, Wardlow, Lio Rush, Dante Martin, Ricky Starks, Will Hobbs, Matt Hardy, Frankie Kazarian, Jay Lethal, Matt Sydal, Lee Johnson, and Lee Moriarty.  Also, Shawn Spears is outside the ring with an MJF branded folding chair.

Now the best way to do a Battle Royal is to not just focus on who’s going to come out on top but to seed future matches and expand on existing feuds.  Sure, you can throw a few guys in there just to get tossed out like Lee Moriarty who felt the wrath of a rampaging Wardlow, but then you’ve got Team Taz in there with their newly added member Dante Martin.  They’re working together to try and ensure that someone in Team Taz gets into the match (much like how Wardlow is protecting MJF), and they have to go through all people that Dante has burned along the way.  The first one out is Matt Sydal who gets tossed by Will Hobbs, and while I THINK that one was unintentional (it looked like he was trying to grip the middle rope to hold on, and the announcers don’t even acknowledge his elimination), it was bound to happen at some point and it’s always good to make Hobbs look strong!  We’ve got Matt Hardy who gets some brass knuckles from The Bunny that he uses to bash Jay Lethal and toss him out, but then he gets eliminated by Dante Martin right after; thinning the herd further of non-Team Taz members.  Wardlow is not liking this and so he goes to confront Will Hobbs where they trade shoulder tackles for a bit until Wardlow gets the upper hand and sends Hobbs to the apron.  Wardlow can’t finish him off, but then Lio Rush comes in with a Running Senton looking thing and eliminates Hobbs.  Things settle down for a bit as we go to commercial with the only thing of note being MJF who takes cheap shots on Dante before running back to the corner protected by Wardlow.  I bring this up because it’s another example of the show not quite gelling with the crowd as THEY are popping for it but the announcers spend half the match chiding MJF like a bunch of pearl-clutching moralizers.  I guess you can’t let the storylines and tone be entirely dictated by how one specific crowd is reacting, but the commentary just had me rolling my eyes throughout.  Things start to pick back up when Lio goes after MJF but faces the wrath of Wardlow instead.  With a well-timed Drop Kick from Dante Martin, Wardlow is on the ropes and Lio along with Lee Johnson try to throw him over.  Seeing an opportunity, MJF lifts ALL THREE of them over the ropes; eliminating Rush and Johnson but also taking out his bodyguard.  Oh, and Kazarian charges after MJF only to go sailing over the ropes.  Thanks for coming, buddy!  MJF’s feeling pretty good about himself having just eliminated four guys… but then he realizes he’s all alone in the ring with Ricky Starks and Dante Martin.  The two members of Team Taz approach MJF with the utmost of menace… AND THEN DANTE DUMPS RICKY STARKS!  That’s right!  Dante has betrayed Team Taz in some sort of long con to get this match against MJF at next week’s show; something that MJF finds quite amusing as he raises Dante’s hand before walking out.  That’s when Ricky starts to beat up on Dante and MJF takes a moment to consider helping the little punk.  He hems and haws before finally rushing to the ring to confront Ricky… and then starts to beat up Dante because MJF is a jerk and you better not forget it!  The only one to come down and make the save for Dante is CM Punk who chases off MJF and confronts Ricky.  Dante gets up and lands a Drop Kick that sends Ricky right into CM Punk for a GTS which knocks Ricky out cold and surely sends a chill down MJF’s spine!  I want to be a little bit annoyed by the commentary team and guys like Kazarian and Jay Lethal were brought in to do absolutely nothing, but the good parts of the Battle Royale were REALLY good, and the ending was a fantastic swerve that was perhaps the best ending for this!  I would have liked to see Dante have at least one match under the Team Taz banner, but this will no doubt lead to some serious fallout in the next few weeks and I can’t wait to see it!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (12-08-2021)”

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

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

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

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Jungle Boy Vs. Bobby Fish

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

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (11-12-2021)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (10-27-2021)

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

We’re back with another week of AEW action; only this week is different, isn’t it?  It’s not just ANY episode, but the SPOOOOKY episodes as this is the last one before the best holiday of the year!  Does AEW put on a Halloween show to remember, or will we this all remind us of Halloween Havoc 98?  Let’s find out!!

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Bobby Fish Vs. CM Punk

So just in case the angle from last week didn’t make it clear, Fish has gone full heel and fights this match like one.  It starts out pretty even at first with neither side giving up too much ground or going too flashy with it, but things start to pick up when Punk lands two Scoop Slams back to back for a two count.  He then goes for the GTS, but this is way too early to go for the finisher and he’s REALLY close to the ropes, so naturally Bobby escapes by yanking on them for leverage and this gives him enough of an opening to land some well-placed strikes that severally damage Punk’s knee.  The knee will end up being a huge factor for the rest of the match as every chance he has to fight off Fish and retake the advantage is hampered by his injury, but Fish is not having much better luck putting Punk away since he’s the tenacious Baby Face with a fighting spirit!  Fish makes his mistake when he puts Punk on the turnbuckle who finally starts to fight back with a bunch of Elbow Strikes until Fish falls to the mat.  Punk lands a Top Rope Elbow Drop but doesn’t go for the pin and instead uses this time to recover and he puts up a better fight when they start brawling again.  Punk seems to be getting the advantage until Fish lands another kick to the knee and starts running the ropes for some momentum.  Out of NOWHERE, Punk lands a Jump Kick and follows with a Swinging Neck Breaker which stops Fish’s momentum in its tracks, and a Knee Strike in the corner followed by a Short Arm Clothesline gets Punk a two count.  Distressed by this outcome but feeling confident about his chances, Punk puts Fish on his shoulders to try the GTS again.  Fish escapes however and lands a Dragon Screw followed by a Sliding Clotheslines which actually made me think for a second that Punk was going to lose which would be a HUGE boon for Fish if they want to give him a serious heel run!  It was not meant to be however as Punk manages to sweep his legs out and flips over into a Jackknife pin that Fish bridges out of which was VERY impressive to see, but the Punk gets him on his shoulders and lands the GTS which is finally enough to get him the pin and win the match!  This was a lot like the Danielson/Dustin match from the last episode, but I think they pulled it off MUCH better here!  Dustin didn’t quite reach the depths of desperation that Punk is showing here, and Fish’s offense is much more brutal than Danielson’s was, so there was a lot more drama and energy which made this a great opener!  Perhaps not the BEST outcome for Bobby Fish who effectively lost to a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest, but he’ll have his day soon enough!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (10-27-2021)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (10-16-2021)

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

Having the week away from wrestling certainly helped me relax and refocus, but then having three hours of shows back to back is perhaps balancing out the calm I gained from being away for a bit.  Still, this is AEW and even if their schedule can be a bit intense, especially when I’m working on so many other things recently, their shows do tend to be some of the more entertaining things I see all week.  Is this yet another fun show from AEW to lift my spirits, or can I already feel the burnout creeping back in?  Let’s find out!!

CM Punk starts the show with his entrance as he’s joining the commentary team once again.  The crowd isn’t sick of it yet, so why fix what isn’t broken?  It’s not like he’s resting on his laurels as he IS having matches pretty regularly, but coming out for the entrance is definitely gonna help his longevity and the crowd is more than happy to see it!

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Dante Martin Vs. Malaki Black

Dante Martin is accompanied to the ring by Lio Rush

Malaki Black has been quite an interesting person to watch these past few weeks as he’s run through the Baby Faces of the company with obviously heelish intent, but the crowd refuses to boo for him and instead seem to WANT him to destroy everyone in his path.  AEW has at least reacted to this by adding shades of gray to Cody’s character in response to the crowd turning on him, but they seem to be staying with the course as Dante is yet another Baby Face for this guy to trounce.  Then again, he’s got Lio Rush in his corner who is serving up some serious Heel vibes, so perhaps they were already anticipating the crowd turning on Dante and are giving him a manager to ease the transition.  What matters most however is the match which is another solid showing from both Martin and Black.  Martin continues to show off his high flying skills, but his lack of power leaves him VERY vulnerable to Black’s devastating offense.  He manages to hold his own in so far as keeping at arms-length of Black, but there’s no path to winning if he can’t get any moves in and so every time he tries to land a hit it’s either countered or shaken off by Black who favors grounding him with submission moves for most of this match.   Dante does eventually find his groove and gets a few good moves in against Black, starting with a Reverse Hurricanrana that’s followed by a Springboard Senton.  He then tries to follow up with a Double Jump Moonsault, but Black dodges and starts slugging away at him.  To everyone’s surprise, Dante manages to land an Enziguri during this strike exchange and it manages to stagger Black.  Not to be underestimated however, Black quickly recovers and lands a Middle Rope Meteora that’s followed by a Roundhouse Kick and a German Suplex combo that was EASILY the highlight of the match, but Dante somehow managed to kick out of it!  To teach this kid a lesson about staying down when beaten, he drags Dante up to the corner for a Superplex, but Dante fights back and lands Top Rope Hurricanrana which SHOULD be the start of his comeback but Dante’s knee has taken A LOT of abuse this match between the submission from Black and his own wrestling style that it’s finally giving out and he’s not able to capitalize on his spectacular moves.  Black manages to kick out of a slow cover from Dante after finally landing that Double Jump Moonsault and quickly reverses it into a Single Leg Boston Crab.  However, this is where things get kinda weird as Black lets go of Dante to start clutching his stomach.  Excalibur thinks it’s rib problems, CM Punk thinks the DARKNESS WITHIN HIM is melting his insides, but either way, it allows Dante to try a Springboard Stomp to finish the match.  Black, whose stomach problems aren’t so bad that he doesn’t see what’s happening, dodges the move and hits Dante with a Roundhouse Kick which is finally enough to get the pin and win the match.  I can’t say that I liked the ending as Malaki being nearly undone by an unforeseen bout of indigestion was not how I would have built to the climax, but it was still a solid match between two great workers at the company!  I don’t get the sense that the crowd is turning on Dante the way they did Cody so perhaps Black hasn’t gone FULL Fiend yet, but I’m still curious what Lio Rush’s role in all of this is going to be as he didn’t even try to interfere in the match.  Maybe he saw what happened to Chavo and decided against being that kind of manager; at least for the time being!

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

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (10-06-2021)

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

I think I might be feeling Wrestling Burnout again as I haven’t been too excited about the last few weeks of Dynamite despite the reception being quite strong from everyone else.  I mean I COULD just have the most accurate opinion out of anyone else who covers these shows, but chances are I just need to give it a bit of time and to see the right matches for me to get back into the groove of things.  Will this episode manage to jumpstart my enthusiasm for AEW, or will I remain a sourpuss for a while longer?  Let’s find out!!

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Luchasaurus, Jungle Boy, Christian Cage, and Bryan Danielson Vs. Adam Cole, The Young Bucks, and Kenny Omega – 8 Man Tag match

As much of a marquee match as this is, I’m always skeptical of throwing THIS many people in the ring as it’s either gonna have a lot of people doing nothing on the corners or descend into utter chaos.  In this match they manage to do both, but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.  For most of this match, it’s the Jungle Boy show as he spends most of the time in the ring and does a fair job fending off The Bucks and Cole.  Even when he tags someone in its usually to do a tandem move before the new guy tags out and puts Jungle Boy back in.  This works for a bit as Jungle Boy and Christian Cage bury Adam Cole under a flurry of offense, but Jungle Boy perhaps overstays his welcome once Nick Jackson tries the distraction on the apron which allows Cole to land a big kick and start the heat.  This is also the only time we see Kenny Omega in the ring during the first three-quarters of the match as he tags in to pick at the bones of Jungle Boy, before tagging back out a moment later while the Baby Faces can do nothing but watch him strut.  Jungle Boy eventually manages to fight off both Bucks and gets the tag to Danielson who goes after the legal man Matt Jackson with his Chops and Yes Kicks, and as soon as he simply LOOKS towards the Heels’ corner, Omega runs off like a scared chicken.  Danielson’s run is brief however as he tags in Luchasaurus who gets a HUGE pop from the crowd and keeps the pressure on Matt Jackson.  It’s not long before he tags in Jungle Boy, but in flagrant disregard of the rules they ALL hit the ring and knock the Heels off the apron so that all four can land corner splashes on Matt Jackson; ending with a Tail Whip/Face Buster combo from Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus that would have gotten the pin if the Heels didn’t break it up.  Now that all eight guys are in the ring, they just start hammering each other until Christian takes a Melzer Driver outside the ring.  With Cage out of the match and Jungle Boy taking a lot of damage from all four of them, it’s time for Danielson to get the Hot Tag and Jungle Boy is struggling to get to the corner.  The Bucks go for an Assisted Suplex on Jungle Boy, but this proves to be just the opportunity he’s looking for as he fights against the move and turns it into Stereo DDTs.  Omega tags in to try and stop him but is too late to stop Jungle Boy from tagging in Danielson and both are alone in the ring for the first time since their match at Grand Slam.  The crowd pops for it and they only get louder as the two start exchanging strikes!  Omega gets the best of it with a kick, but Danielson quickly recovers and starts landing his big moves on him.  Corner Splashes, Chop/Kicks, a top rope Hurricanrana, and even a Diving Headbutt all hit their target, but Danielson only gets a two count because the Bucks run in and break up the pin.  More chaos as everyone runs in until the ring is cleared and Danielson goes for the Tiger Driver followed by the Cattle Mutilation which also ends up getting broken up by The Bucks; this time from a Senton by Matt Jackson.  Danielson tags in Luchasaurus who cleans house in a VERY impressive and over the top manner; so much so that he gets ALL four of The Elite into the corners of the ring and starts doing splashes on each of them.  The one who escapes is Adam Cole who gets a kick and goes for a Panama Sunrise, but he is caught by Luchasaurus in one hand while Kenny gets caught in the other.   He tosses them both down which cues even MORE chaos as all seven remaining guys hit a bunch of moves, but it all leads to Luchasaurus eating a Low Blow and rolling out the ring while Jungle Boy eats a Panama Sunrise.  Danielson is up next and tries to fend off all four (which he REALLY shouldn’t NEED to do if the ref is paying attention), but is eventually overwhelmed and eats a Triple Super Kick.  He rolls out and Jungle Boy is the legal man who ends up eating a FOUR person Superkick Party and it’s finally enough to keep him down for the three count.  It was definitely a good match considering just how many moves they managed to fit in there, but for me, it was too chaotic.  I think the magic number for a tag team match is three, and once you get higher than that things start to get too long and the story gets lost in the shuffle of bodies; like the wrestling equivalent of too many cooks in the kitchen.  I’m sure everyone here will continue to have great matches with each other in the coming weeks, but I’d rather they be smaller matches spread over a longer period of time instead of trying to get everyone in the ring as soon and as often as possible.

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (10-06-2021)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (07-07-2021) – Road Rager

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

AEW is back on the road and to celebrate they have a rather sizable show for their first stop in Miami!  Now this isn’t the first show in front of a full crowd as Daily’s Place was starting to fill up at the end there, but we’re in a whole new market with fans who have been starving for live wrestling action, and AEW plans to deliver!  Is this a worthy show to kick off the start of a new era, or will it take a bit of time before things settle into place?  Let’s find out!!

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Cody Rhodes Vs. QT Marshall – South Beach Strap Patch

Both competitors are tied together with a strap.  To win, one must touch all four corners of the ring consecutively.

This was an INTERESTING match if nothing else.  I’ve heard of this kind of strap match before, but it always seemed overly convoluted and I’m not sure WHAT they are supposed to prove.  After watching it, there is some strategy to be had (do you try to stop someone in the middle of a run of posts, or do you fortify your position on the last one) but ultimately its closest to a Last Man Standing match where the goal is to keep an opponent down for an arbitrary amount of time; in one case for a ten count and in the other for as long as it takes someone to walk to the four corners of the ring.  What ended up standing out more for me was the strap which is both a blessing and a curse here.  There are some fun things they do like when Cody yanks on the strap so that QT bounces off the ropes, but the strap is so long and unwieldy that it made a lot of this match seem EXTRAORDINARILY dangerous.  At one point it looks like Cody got caught up in the strap during a suplex and it threw his balance off which wrecked his shoulder which I don’t BELIEVE was a legit injury, but I never like to wonder if someone is actually hurt while watching a wrestling match.  For the most part Cody maintains control as he cuts off QT’s moves pretty easily and uses the strap as a whip to turn his flesh pink, but there’s always something there to stop Cody from getting all four corners to end the match.  The big moment is pretty early when Aaron Solow goes after Cody but he’s soon chased off by Dustin Rhodes who fights him through the crowd.  The next is that VERY scary suplex that Cody sells for most of the match and hinders him in his attempts to finish this off quickly; especially after eating an Avalanche Powerbomb which somehow looked LESS scary than the suplex from earlier.  His closest chance at victory is a Draping Diamond Cutter that gets him as far as three corners, but Cody starts yanking on the ropes which forces QT to start attacking him again.  Cody however is fully energized by this point and runs WILD on QT with a series of big punches and big moves.  He lands a Cody Cutter which is soon followed by three Cross Rhodes, and QT stays down long enough for Cody to get all four corners to win the match.  If I didn’t worry that Cody and QT were going to DIE at some point in this match I would have called it a great opener, but the fact is that they didn’t and they put a lot into it to make it work, so it gets credit for that at least.

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (07-07-2021) – Road Rager”