Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (12-31-2021) – New Year’s Smash

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

Yes, we are still WOEFULLY behind here, but I’ll catch up on everything soon enough!  Where the last Dynamite (at least the one I saw) was the final one on TNT, Rampage isn’t going anywhere is just gonna keep trucking along on that network to give us quick and easy wrestling action to balance out the more plot-heavy shenanigans on Dynamite!  Is this another week of Rampage picking up the slack from Dynamite, or will we start to see the cracks in their formula, and perhaps they should try to shake things up as well?  Let’s find out!!

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Darby Allin Vs. Anthony Bowens

Allin is accompanied to the ring by Sting while Bowens is accompanied by Max Caster

Caster I can take or leave, but I really like Anthony Bowens and I kind of wish they’d give him a bigger push.  Now obviously AEW is pretty tightly packed so not everyone gets a real shot at the spotlight, but Bowens has got something special and I’d like to see him become a powerhouse; not unlike Wardlow, Hobbs, and Brian Cage.  Tonight is not his night to win since he’s up against Darby, but he does put on a decent performance here.  Darby gets an early lead that leaves Bowens frustrated and anxious, but that’s why Heels have guys on the outside to run distractions as Max Caster eats a punch from Darby which gives Bowens JUST enough time to land a punch of his own and toss Darby into the ring post.  This starts the heat segment which comes to an end when Darby escapes a Vertical Suplex, but the fight is much more even as Bowens lands a few moves on Darby that are mostly there to show off how much damage Darby is willing to inflict on himself.  Caster tries to run a few more distractions, but Sting finally gets up off his butt and takes care of him which allows Darby to land a Code Red followed by a Suicide Dive.  He throws Bowens back into the ring, hits the Coffin Drop, and gets the pin to win the match.  It would have been a fine match on its own, but then they do a post-match angle which kind of sours it a bit for me.  Andrade El Idolo’s music hits and he starts walking out.  He does nothing at all, but this is enough for Darby and Sting to gob at him for several seconds, so OF COURSE The Acclaimed sucker punch them and gang up on Darby!  It’s not like AEW doesn’t know how to book Baby Faces as the feud between Hangman Adam Page and Daniel Bryan has been pretty solid, but too often they rely on old tropes about foolish Baby Faces and it gets old pretty quickly.

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (12-31-2021) – New Year’s Smash”

Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (12-25-2021) – Holiday Bash

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

If I had a rough time trying to catch up with a show happening on Wednesday, I was for darn sure gonna take my time getting around to the episode that literally aired on Christmas Day.  By their own choice, by the way!  They moved the show to air on that day instead of their usual timeslot; perhaps so that the subtitle is that much more accurate.  Still, while Rampage may have the harder to catch time slot this week, the shorter length and the snappier matches make it a bit more ideal to fit into a tough schedule where Dynamite feels like something you have to schedule around.  Is this another fun way to spend a Saturday night, even if it’s perhaps the worst night of the year for it?  Let’s find out!!

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Jungle Boy Vs. Isiah Kassidy

Jungle Boy is accompanied to the ring by Luchasaurus and Christian Cage while Kassidy is accompanied to the ring by Hardy Family Office

Remember when Private Party were wearing slacks and collared shirts?  Thankfully Kassidy is back in his original ring gear and it didn’t do anything to diminish the integrity of Hardy Family Office!  Now if they could start winning some tag matches again, maybe we’ll have the Private Party that was one of the highlights of early AEW!  Remember MJF talking about the pillars of this company?  Yeah, Private Party used to be one of them but they’ve been stuck with HFO for so long that it feels like we’ve all kind of forgotten that.  Thankfully this match does quite a bit to remind us of how good Kassidy is as he puts up a pretty good fight against Jungle Boy.  With a little help from Quen and Hardy on the outside, Kassidy is able to maintain a solid lead for the first half and through the commercial break, but he’s far from idle in the match as he hits a Springboard Cutter on Jungle Boy that drops him from the apron to the floor and follows up with a spinning dive over the ropes.  He also manages to reverse a Sunset Flip from Jungle Boy into a Drop Kick to his face which is the start of the heat during the commercial, but once we return it’s time for Jungle Boy to make his comeback.  A series of Elbow Strikes give him some space so he can finally knock Kassidy to the ground with a big lariat, and he follows up with a Falcon Arrow for a two count.  Kassidy gets a two count as well with a Poisonrana, but Jungle Boy turns things around quickly with a German into a bridge for another two count of his own.  He makes sure to hold onto the waist lock and tries to go for another German, but Kassidy grabs the ropes to try and break the hold which turns out to be a bad idea as Jungle Boy instead dumps him over to the floor below before following up with a Suicide Dive.  In a last-ditch effort to save his partner, Quen tries to grab Jungle Boy on his way back to the ring so Cage starts to beat his butt all the way to the back while Luchasaurus Choke Slams Jora Joel.  Not sure why since he wasn’t actually doing anything, but I guess it was a diversionary tactic on HFO’s part as Hardy immediately grabs Luchasaurus and goes for the Twist of Fate.  Luchasaurus is too strong however and shoves Matt Hardy into the charging Christian Cage who knocks the wind out of him with a spear!  With the kerfuffle outside brought to an end, Jungle Boy goes for another Sunset Flip and Kassidy once again escapes.  When he goes for another kick, however, Jungle Boy dodges and grabs the leg.  Kassidy tries to scramble to the ropes, but it’s too late and Jungle Boy locks in the Snare Trap which forces Kassidy to tap.  This was a pretty good opener!  I like seeing Private Party as at least somewhat effective again, and honestly, I’d love to see them go up against The Lucha Bros for the title at some point!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (12-25-2021) – 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 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 (12-08-2021)

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

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

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

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Dynamite Diamond Battle Royale

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

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

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

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

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

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (12-01-2021)

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

We’re back for another week of AEW action, but we start this recap on a somber note as JR isn’t here for this show because he’s fighting skin cancer.  We all hope the best for him and his family, and expect to see him back shortly as he’s one tough dude and is already rearing to come back!  This also means that for this week (and any other weeks he’s not available), we will be getting a lot of guest commentators to try and fill his absence.  Get well soon, JR, and let’s get started with the show!!

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Bryan Danielson Vs. Alan Angels

Hangman Adam Page joins the announce team for this match.

The big problem with Danielson’s quest to kick the head off of every Dark Order member on his way to facing Hangman is that it’s entirely unnecessary as Hangman is more than willing to fight Danielson, so it’s not like with MJF where he forces someone to go through all his Heel buddies before taking him on.  They even have a date in place with the Winter is Coming show in a few weeks, so there are no real stakes to this and Danielson is just doing it to do it while the Dark Order are playing into his hand.  It worked the first time with Evil Uno and perhaps twice with Colt Cabana, but Alan Angels coming out here just seems like folly.  Still, Angels has kind of a shtick now of being a guy who never wins matches but always gives the big dogs a run for his money, though I’m sure that’ll be cold comfort for him if Danielson kicks one of his teeth out.  It starts off strong for Danielson who remains in full control of the match despite a few decent hits from Angels here and there.  He gets a surprise Backslide for a two count and tries to capitalize on it, but Danielson quickly regains control with a Butterfly Suplex into an Arm Bar.  Angels makes it toe the ropes and comes back with a Drop Kick that sends Danielson out of the ring; following up with a Suicide Dive and a Moonsault from the middle rope.  This advantage is short-lived as Danielson hits him with a Spanish Fly as soon as they are back in the ring, and even when he does get a chance to climb the turnbuckle, he misses the Moonsault and eats a Running Knee from Danielson.  He doesn’t go for the pin, however!  Instead, he starts stomping on Angels’ face as he did to Colt Cabana; thankfully with no lost teeth, at least as far as I could tell, and Danielson transitions into the Knee Bar which he Angels immediately taps out of.  Oh, but the tap is no good in this match as Danielson refuses to let go of the move for almost a minute after the bell rings and starts to claim that he tore Angels’ MCL which is probably NOT true, but I guess they have to keep up this destruction of the Dark Order story.  Hangman Adam Page is about to run down to attack Danielson, but John Silver comes out and tells him not to go after him as Tony Khan has scheduled a match for Winter is Coming and therefore has decreed that if Hangman and Danielson fight each other now, they will get suspended.  That’s a pretty good reason not to go after Danielson, though it’s not the only reason because… SILVER’S GONNA TAKE HIM DOWN HIMSELF!  He runs down but Danielson runs out, claiming the Silver is beneath him, but they will be facing off next week before Danielson followed by Hangman at Winter is Coming the week after.  It was a good opener as Angels put on a good show for himself while keeping Danielson looking strong, and they didn’t spend too much time on it.  It still seems like a weird choice for the Dark Order to keep throwing themselves at Danielson, but if they lead to good matches like this then I guess I’m fine with it.

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (12-01-2021)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (11-24-2021) – Thanksgiving

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

We’re back with more Dynamite action, and I guess this would count as one of those special episodes they like to do?  It doesn’t have a cool name like Grand Slam or the upcoming Battle of the Belts, but they did put in the effort to add Thanksgiving as a subtitle and a nice fall background to the big screens!  Is this a fun collection of matches that we will all be thankful for, or will it put us to sleep faster than the tryptophan in turkey?  Let’s find out!!

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The show is supposed to begin with a CM Punk match, but they only get as far as his entrance before MJF throws everything off track.  Coming out before QT Marshall’s music can play, MJF not only taunts Punk with a promo, but the two of them proceed to take twenty minutes to talk and talk and talk!  Now to their credit, it’s all good stuff!  MJF starts by giving Punk a backhanded compliment about his Pipe Bomb promo being the highlight of his career (insinuating that he will never be that good again), and proceeds to dress him down for his run at AEW and whatever else he was up to before returning to wrestling.  He mentioned that CM Punk wrote some comic books which I HAD to look up as soon as I heard that, and while we sadly don’t have the Punk equivalent of those incomprehensible WARRIOR comics, he did in fact write a Drax the Destroyer series for Marvel.  Perhaps I’ll check that out someday, but regardless of that, Punk responds by saying that he’s disappointed in MJF and makes fun of his silly name; looking as if he’s unfazed by the barrage of hate from MJF, but I get the feeling it’s starting to get under his skin.  They go back and forth for a bit with Punk being compared to John Cena and MJF being compared to the Miz, but by the end of this, neither side has given up any ground.  Punk is willing to fight him at the moment, but MJF is willing to let this run out a bit longer and just walks away; much like how Punk walked away from him last week.  I think MJF just coming out and picking on a new Baby Face every few weeks is starting to get repetitive, but so far it’s at least more engaging for me than I found his feud with Darby Allin was.  Points for that at least, but we’ll still need to see where all this is going.  Anyway, what were we doing before we were so rudely interrupted?  Oh right!

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CM Punk Vs. QT Marshall

QT is accompanied to the ring by Nick Comoroto and Aaron Solow

Considering the guy got preempted for a full TWENTY MINUTES, he puts up a much better fight than I expected him to.  Punk starts the match in full control with a series of Power Slams that turn QT’s spine into jelly, and the dude’s own backup can’t even do their job effetely as Nick grabs Punk’s boot (which does absolutely nothing) which immediately gets them BOTH tossed out by the ref!  Solow didn’t even do anything, and yet he’s being pushed around by the refs who, I will remind you, are some of the most ineffectual refs in wrestling!  None of this points to QT having much of a chance here, and yet he gets a good knee shot and lands a few blows which don’t exactly turn the tide in his favor, but gives him enough momentum to start gloating to the crowd.  It goes back and forth for a bit as Punk fights back with a Back Body Drop and a Flying Clothesline from the apron only for QT to regain control with a Pop-Up Elbow Strike and a Liger Bomb for a two count.  It’s a turn of events so unexpected that JR comments on how Punk is not on the ball this match and I’m not sure that’s quite what the crowd came to see, but eventually Punk gives them what they want with a few big moves to get them going before landing a Flying Elbow from the top rope.  With QT dazed and confused, Punk signals for the GTS, scoops him up, hits the knee, and gets the pin to win the match.  I feel like this would have worked better for me if QT didn’t get as much offense in here and they kept it quite a bit shorter.  It’s nearly a fifteen-minute match that comes off the heels of a twenty-minute promo, and while I’m sure there are plenty of Punk fans who can’t get enough of the guy, having him on screen for a full uninterrupted half-hour felt a bit excessive. 

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (11-24-2021) – Thanksgiving”

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

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

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

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Jungle Boy Vs. Bobby Fish

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

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

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

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

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

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CM Punk Vs. Daniel Garcia

Garcia is accompanied to the ring by 2.0

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

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

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)”