Tag Archives: Jake Hager

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (04-01-20)

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

Welcome back to another episode of CHRIS Jericho!  See what I did there?  Jericho is a post-apocalyptic TV show, and… you know what, never mind.  Now if you haven’t heard, due to the current circumstances AEW has finally caved and is basically suspending their story lines to do a TNT Tournament that’ll start next week.  That’s right, AEW officially has a fighting tournament filler arc and I’m sure Kenny Omega is just tickled pink at the idea if it wasn’t for… well everything else around it.  Before we get to that however, we still have this week’s show to get through, though I doubt we’ll be advancing storylines too much since we still have no idea when things can get up and running again.  Let’s see what they came up with!

The first thing they announce right at the start is the brackets for the opening round of the TNT tournament which are as follows.

Shawn Spears Vs Cody

Sammy Guevara Vs. Darby Allin

Kip Sabian Vs. Dustin Rhodes

Lance Archer Vs. Colt Cabana

Not a bad lineup I guess, and the finals will be held at Double or Nothing (assuming that show is still on) which certainly gives us something to look forward to and makes this feel a bit more than just a time killer.  Now the big question each week is what they’ve had to change to compensate for whatever regulations and best practices are in place to minimize the COVID-19 risk.  This is perhaps the most radical change yet and frankly I’m not sure how much I liked it as they’ve decided that instead of having the ENTIRE arena on display that they’d basically cut it down to a space barely larger than a school gym.  The entrance is VERY close to the ring, they put up big screens on the sides that say AEW only a few feet from the barricade, and they even have a roof above them!  The space may be smaller BUT the tradeoff is that they got a FEW more people to fill out the area between the barricade and the giant screens.  It’s not as crowded as it was on the first one of these (I’d estimate no more than twenty people total including those in the ring and the necessary crew) but we’ve got people cheering again which is definitely an improvement.  However, there is one BIG drawback this time around which is the noise of the ring itself as we are hearing a lot of rumbling and crashing throughout the matches.  I’m guessing it’s the acoustics of the new space and they’re working with what they have, but the audible rumble is pretty distracting and drowns out a decent amount of the shouting from those in the stands.  I’m still all for the initial setup if that’s feasible and frankly I’m not sure why it WOULDN’T be considering they have a decent amount of people here tonight, but I think we’ll be sticking with this format for a while as I’m pretty sure all of this is pre-recorded (no matter what that LIVE tag says in the top left corner) and they recorded a heck of a lot more than just this episode.  Anyway, on to the first match!

.

Kenny Omega Vs. Trent

Trent is accompanied to the ring by Chuck Taylor and Orange Cassidy

Kenny Omega is definitely the superstar here so I wouldn’t get your hopes up about Trent getting a surprise win, but it doesn’t exactly feel like a one sided bout either as Trent is DEFINITELY the workhorse of the group.  They have a decently competitive match to start with, and Kenny even comes close to getting a hug from Orange Cassidy before Chuck drags him away, but it isn’t all THAT interesting until about halfway through when Trent decides to start playing a bit dirty.  He starts to work over Omega’s recently injured hand for all its worth which actually ends up backfiring on him as Kenny doesn’t get hurt as much as he gets PISSED, and turnabout is fair play in these situations so Kenny starts smashing him into as many things as possible outside the ring.  He shoves him into the barricades, he throws him into a pole, he even lands a German Suplex on the guy out on the ramp which looked absolutely devastating and must have SUCKED for Trent.  Eventually it comes down to both of them trying to beat the clock as they only have five minutes left to pull off their most devastating moves to get the pin.  Counters after counters!  V-Triggers!  Whatever that rope running flip that that Trent does!  They keep throwing whatever they can at each other and yet with just two minutes left to go neither of them are ready to give up the ghost!  There was a brief botch at this point when Kenny goes to the top rope and Trent is SUPPOSED to climb up there to meet him.  He slips on his way up there and so Kenny has to wait a beat longer than he was supposed to, but Trent makes it up a moment later and things go just fine from there.  Well… not for Kenny who has to eat this devastating throw across the ring, but at least things flow smoothly from there!  One minute to go and Kenny is still dazed from Trent throwing him off the top rope, but at the last second he manages to land a One Winged Angel for the pin with mere seconds left on the clock!  It was a solid enough match if a bit too long; not just for an opening match but for one in this kind of environment.

.

Continue reading

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (03-25-20)

AEWDYNAMITE

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

We back with week two of AEW Aftermath: The Post-Apocalyptic series where the whole world is gone except for these brave heroes putting on shows in an empty arena for all the zombies and mutants still roaming the wastelands!  I mean good on them for putting out another episode, but I’m not sure how much longer they’re gonna get away with doing this live every week as things seem to only be getting worse in this country.  Still, as long as we have Dynamite I’ll be here to let you know about it!

The episode begins with Cody, Kenny, and Tony in the announcer’s booth.  Apparently JR and Excalibur couldn’t make it for whatever reason; though we are assured that they everyone is fine.  In addition to the lack of announcers, we also don’t have a crowd of wrestlers outside the ring like we did last time.  Instead we have like five dudes in some sort of back room watching the show that we occasionally cut back to.  I don’t want to dock the show for things it can’t control as they clearly had trouble getting as many people as they did, but the people outside the ring cheering and jeering as the matches went on was such a big part of what made last week’s episode work as well as it did.  Thankfully Tony and our rotating cast of announcers try talking AS MUCH as possible during the matches so that it never gets too quiet.

.

Cody Vs. Jimmy Havoc

I haven’t been keeping up with Dark, so maybe Jimmy’s been showing up there a few times, but damn has it been a long time!  I remember he was getting a decent enough storyline with Tony Kahn, but I get the feeling that his drunken scuffle with Excalibur halted that right in its tracks.  Still, desperate times call for desperate measures, so I guess Jimmy’s back in good graces for now.  The story of the match is that Cody isn’t really taking Jimmy seriously, and frankly neither is Kenny who’s calling this match with Tony.  They see him as nothing more than a sparring partner to keep Cody in shape between now and the eventual Blood and Guts match which is not a bad idea for a story, but I still don’t feel like Jimmy is proving Cody wrong ENOUGH for him to really start taking him seriously.  Still, Jimmy is a good worker and is willing to get rough and dirty with the biggest Face at the company which is not nothing, and I think a less flashy style works better in an empty arena when there isn’t a crowd to play to.  Cody didn’t get that message however as he does that thing where he runs to the back and then runs back at full speed to do a lariat on his opponent.  It’s a good move, but without a crowd it doesn’t hit as hard.  What DOES hit hard though is when Jimmy takes something called a Reverse Suplex from the top rope which to ME looks an attempt to MURDER the guy by dropping him on his head that he just barely escapes from.  Cody follows that up with two Cross Rhodes which feel rather muted since there was no applause when he hit it, and then he gets the pin to similarly muted effect.  Not a bad match given the circumstances, but just didn’t have the same oomph to it like the matches from last week.

Continue reading

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (03-18-20)

AEWDYNAMITE

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

Welcome back to another week of AEW which will more than likely be the LAST one we get for a while!  I mean we’ll probably still have SOMETHING on Wednesday nights to fill that timeslot, but unlike WWE who’s got a performance center to keep the ship going with empty arena shows, AEW has no such facility to get them through this COVID19 outbreak and I doubt any arenas will be keen to letting them host another show; nor will the talent be all that jazzed about going to new states week after week in the middle of all this.  Personally I’d suggest TNT to just put on a mix of Dark and PPV matches for the new few weeks, but before we contemplate what the future holds for this company, let’s see what they’re putting on right now!

We begin the show in the middle of an empty arena with Cody under a spotlight in the middle of the ring.  He doesn’t dance around the obvious and gets right to the elephant in the room which is this virus that is affecting everyone and how we need to be aware of what we need to do to protect ourselves and others.  This segues from a pep talk to the audience at home to a direct message to both Adam Page and Matt Jackson; both of which have been bickering for the last few weeks and need to resolve their differences in light of these trying times and in the face of the upcoming Blood and Guts match between The Elite and The Inner Circle.  Matt, Page, and even Kenny Omega eventually come out and TRY to work on their difference with Matt Jackson going so far as to swallow his pride and asks Adam Page to stand with them, but Adam’s got some serious drinking to do, so he doesn’t give them an answer just yet.  Not exactly a surprise considering his behavior the last few weeks, and Kenny tries his best to lighten the mood by telling the crew to hit the lights, start the music, and fire off all that pyro they’ve got saved up to kick this show off right!  It was certainly an interesting segment and the empty arena did lend a lot of eerie gravitas to it all that made the realities of the day as well as the schism in The Elite all the more apparent.  Let’s hope that the matches find a way to work with the circumstances as well as this segment did.

Before that though, we HAVE to check on Tony Schiavone who’s interviewing MJF to find out what he’s even doing here.  It turns out that he’s not here to wrestle but is instead here to watch the undercard losers duke it out… as well as place some bets with Shawn Spears, but that’s on the hush hush!  Speaking of which, the setup is definitely unique and kind of ingenious given the circumstances.  I haven’t seen the WWE shows yet so I don’t know how they set things up in their empty arena, but here they had a very small audience mingling on the barricades made up of AEW talent like Sonny Kiss, Joey Janela, and even Jake the Snake Roberts with his new protégé Lance Archer; all hooting and hollering as much as possible to bring a bit of life to the show.  They also filmed the show at a very different angle as the primary camera is typically placed perpendicular to the ramp but they decided to move it to so that it’s facing both the ring AND the ramp.  I think it works for the most part as it covers up the fact that there is next to NOBODY there, and it’s certainly different from anything I’ve seen before on a wrestling show.  Anyway, onto the first match!

Continue reading

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (03-11-20)

AEWDYNAMITE

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

We’re back with even more of the Wednesday Night Wars and AEW’s weekly shot across the bow!  With Revolution behind us and the Blood and Guts special mere weeks away, do they succeed at building up the feuds and alliances that will define the next few months of their promotion?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with an Adam Page interview as Tony Schiavone asks him who his MYSTERY tag team partner will be.  Yeah, so as it turns out, putting on ONE OF THE GREATEST TAG TEAM MATCHES OF ALL TIME has left its mark on at least one of the competitors as Kenny Omega is out of action for a few weeks from a hand injury which means that Page has to team up with someone for this match and for some reason he felt the need to keep it a secret.  A mystery partner angle isn’t exactly hyping me up for the match, but then I’m watching this show every week come hell or high water, so maybe the gimmick works for someone else who was on the fence about seeing this week’s episode.  Perhaps one of the reasons the mystery isn’t doing much for me is that everyone kind of assumed that it would be Matt Jackson and sure enough The Young Bucks are on hand to stand awkwardly to the side while this interview is going on, but in a shocking twist of fate Page assures us that there is no way in HECK he’ll be teaming with Matt Jackson and that he’d rather go with Nick if he had to choose between them.  His beef with Matt Jackson has been clear for some time now, so it actually makes sense that he wouldn’t CHOOSE to work with him (Page’s current character is far from a “I don’t like you but I respect you” mindset) and he’s still keeping it a secret as to who he will be teaming up with later in the show.  It was a fun little segment that managed at least turn me around somewhat on the angle.  While I was skeptical at first, this at least made the whole thing kinda funny and I’m interested in seeing where this ultimately goes. Continue reading

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (03-04-20)

AEWDYNAMITE

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

With the events of Revolution fresh in our minds, this Dynamite has a lot to live up to and a lot to unfold. Does this wrap up the stories of the PPV while also forging a bold path forward for the company and its stars?  Let’s find out!!

We begin with Jon Moxley taking a particularly long walk through the crowd to the ring; his belt over his shoulder and a determined look on his face as he grabs the mic to tell the crowd what’s what.  The thing is though, I’m not sure I’m all for the message that he’s delivering here which is that YOU THE FANS are what makes AEW great!  YOU THE FANS are the best thing about this company, and this belt belongs to YOU!!  Yeah… I don’t know.  That kind of fan appreciation just comes off as cloying and even if you could classify Moxley as a Babyface, he’s not THAT much of a Babyface.  Like, I hear about what Drew McIntyre’s been saying lately as he tries to make his big face turn in anticipation for his match against Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania, and it’s just not what I want from that guy; it’s certainly not what I want from Jon Moxley here!  That’s just me though and it’s not the entirety of the promo.  He makes sure to call out The Inner Circle as well and dares them to come after him whenever and wherever.  See, THAT’S what I want from Jon Moxley, and apparently that’s what Jericho wants as well as he comes out as soon as Moxley offers the challenge.  Now Jericho’s big gambit to save face here is to call Moxley a cheater because he could see out of both eyes in that match while pretending to only see out of one.  I mean… it KIND of makes sense which makes it a great troll excuse because he DID come in under false pretenses to a title match.  I mean if he went into the match with a cast or only one arm and then out of nowhere he’s fighting with more limbs, then that’s SOMETHING, but it’s paper thin at best; especially considering how much interference The Inner Circle had in the match.  Jericho then promises that because Moxley won the belt in such a dishonest way that he has UNLEASHED HELL UPON THE WORLD and that all the wrestlers at AEW are on notice for a beat down from The Inner Circle.  If they have a problem with that, talk to Moxley.  In fact, Jericho is SO convinced of the efficacy of his Reign of Terror that he promises Jon Moxley, if he can walk out of the arena tonight, he will take a leave of absence for SIXTY DAY from AEW!  Now I don’t know if this is just an angle or if Jericho has some time off scheduled, but it certainly raises the stakes for the main event!  Jon Moxley is not impressed with this AT ALL and welcomes the challenge that Jericho has brought before him which we’ll see later tonight.  This was a REALLY great opening segment that managed to give us something worth staying tuned to the end of the show for, and certainly helped to put Moxley over as a star while also showing The Inner Circle as a still dominate force even without the belt.

Continue reading

Super Wrestling: AEW – Revolution

AEWREVOLUTION0

Revolution and all the images you see I this recap are owned by All Elite Wrestling and Shahid Khan

Welcome one and all to the most exciting event of the year (at least if you’re an AEW fan) as it’s finally time for their biggest PPV to date!  A stacked card full of memorable bouts between bitter rivals, hated enemies, and whatever you’d call Orange Cassidy!  Will it be a glorious event worthy of its lofty title, or will this be an uninspired slog of a show?  Let’s find out!!

So first off, I had no idea what was going on with the pre-show. I didn’t see anything on BR Live other than the Countdown show which was on TNT Wednesday, and for the life of me I couldn’t find confirmation online that they were starting any earlier than 8pm.  Sure enough though, they had a match BEFORE the Revolution PPV, and so I had to catch up on it AFTER the fact when they posted it to YouTube.  Let’s hope they don’t make it THIS hard to find their matches in the future, but could it be because they knew the match was going to be bad and were trying to hide it from us!?

.

The Dark Order (Evil Uno & Stu Grayson) Vs. SCU (Frankie Kazarian & Scorpio Sky)

AEWREVOLUTION1

The Dark Order is accompanied to the ring by The Creepers

Before the match begins we get an interview with Christopher Daniels promo-ing his heart out about The Dark Order’s empty promises and SCU’s in-ring superiority, which makes it all the more heartbreaking that Kazarian and Scorpio Sky ask Daniels to stay in the back and not be with them ringside.  The implication seems to be that they think Daniels might be a wolf in sheep’s clothing and really IS the Exalted One, but I’m not sure what sending him to the back is gonna do.  Frankly if he IS going to betray them it’d hardly matter if he was outside the ring already or had to run out from the back, but in any case Daniels agrees and looks very sad as the rest of SCU goes out for their match.  See, this is why I can’t understand why people think The Dark Order is hopeless.  I was SO negative about them in those initial PPVs, but they’ve done such a good job at playing mind games on the other wrestlers that even if they aren’t the MOST successful heel group out there, they’re still genuinely contributing to the drama of these matches.  This by the way is also the first Dark Order match that Evil Uno and Stu Grayson themselves are participating in in I don’t even know how long, so now that we’ve got our BIG NAME members out there, I do feel like they REALLY need to win here because the one thing I will definitely agree with people on is that The Dark Order come off like losers in the ring and they could use a few victories to make their menace that much more legitimate as well as their offers to other wrestlers more enticing.

AEWREVOLUTION2

“Hey, Creeper Number Two; does any of this seem silly to you?”     “Why do you say that, Creeper Number One?”     “I don’t know, just the whole CLAW thing seems a bit silly is all.”

Continue reading

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (02-26-20)

AEWDYNAMITE

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

It’s finally here!  AEW Revolution is this Saturday and we are on the last episode of Dynamite before that momentous event!  They’ve done a great job of setting up the various matches that will be on the card for that show with some great character work in regards to Cody, MJF, The other members of The Elite, and even the more recent stuff like Dustin Rhodes Vs. Jake Hagar and Darby Allin Vs. Sammy Guevara.  Is this the perfect Go Home show for something they’ve worked so hard to get to, or are they about to trip at the one yard line?  Let’s find out!!

.

Kenny Omega Vs. Pac – 30-Minute Iron Man Match

Kenny Omega is accompanied to the ring by The Young Bucks

See, I thought this was going to be the main event of the show, but we’re starting right off the bat with it!  Now this match is a good example of AEW being pragmatic with their embarrassment of riches because Kenny Vs. Pac in a specialty match like this could have easily been on the PPV, but when everything started to shake out it was clear that there was just not enough room for that AND his tag team match, so we’re instead getting it here on TV which is great because if you want to sell an audience on your PPV, you want to give them a REALLY good match to let them know just how good the paid version is going to be!  Now if you didn’t know (I didn’t hear the announcers explain the rules at the start of the match), it’s basically a Time Versus Match in Super Smash Bros; you have a limited amount of time for you and your opponent to kill each other and whoever has the most points at the end wins!  Now they don’t ACTUALLY kill each other here (though I wouldn’t be surprised if that was Pac’s intent) and instead you get a point from a pin fall or a submission of your opponent.  Now the issue you need to contend with when it comes to an Iron Man match is keeping the momentum up for the full thirty minutes, and often these matches are rather routine and don’t get a lot of heat until the very end when it gets down to the wire.  These two guys are absolutely game to try and fix that by going at full speed RIGHT off the bat and never really stopping!  There may not have been a pin in the first five minute, but I’ll be damned if these two weren’t getting the crowd cheering with a serious flurry of super moves and adept athleticism!  The First near fall occurs just over eight minutes in as Pac does a DEVISTATING drop kick from the top rope and tries to pin Kenny who kicks out at two.  The match is then grounded for a bit as Pac continues to work over Kenny on the floor, which is fine as any good match needs peaks and valleys, and I’m sure both guys could use a moment to get their energy back.  When Kenny DOES get his momentum back at around the thirteen minute mark, he starts landing super moves on Pac but he’s still not able to land a pin on the guy as we’re still at zero-zero.  At the sixteen minute mark, with only fourteen minutes to go, Pac says SCREW IT and grabs a chair from under the ring and bashes Kenny right in the head with it!  The ref calls for the bell which isn’t QUITE a disqualification (if it was, it’d be the first one in AEW history) but instead gives Kenny a point.  I’m sure he’ll be happy about that when he WAKES THE HECK BACK UP, but until then he’s Pac’s play thing and lands a pin on the guy after a Black Arrow; bringing the total to one-one.  Then we go to commercial and then nothing happens. You’d think Pac would have gotten a FEW more pins while Kenny was still recovering from the chair shot, but I guess they didn’t want to give too much away while the cameras were off and Pac makes sure to give us something HORRIFIC as soon as we get back.  I don’t know what this move is called, but the best I can describe it is that Pac lifts up Kenny while both are on the apron, and then PILE DRIVES HIM into the floor!  THAT somehow looked worse than the chair shot and Kenny will no doubt be hurting during his tag team match on Saturday!  But that’s not enough!  Pac grabs a table from under the ring, puts Kenny on it, and then jumps from the top rope and smashes Kenny’s crumpled body through the table!  We’ve still got six minutes to go!  The ref starts counting for the Ten Count as both of them are outside the ring and Pac crawls his way back to the ring at the count of seven or eight.  Kenny (with a bit of help from The Young Bucks) gets back into the ring a nanosecond before he gets to ten.  Pac is getting annoyed here and goes up to the top rope for another Black Arrow, but Kenny is ready for it this time and gets his knees up right before impact.  With not much energy left, Kenny goes for back to back V-Triggers and then slams Pac to the mat.  He goes for the pin, and NO!  Pac kicks out at two!!  With less than three minutes left, Pac finally gets Kenny in The Brutalizer; the move that knocked him out and cost him the win in their first match, and now he has to survive it after taking THAT much abuse!  Kenny inches and crawls his way to the ropes and just barely breaks the hold, and yet undeterred Pac kicks him back to the middle of the ring and reapplies The Brutalizer.  We’ve only got about a minute left and Kenny manages to make it until the bell rings, and the match ends in a draw; one to one.  Pac is so pissed off that he attacks the ref and leaves Kenny on the ground which turns out to have been a mistake as it’s announced that the match will CONTINUE under Sudden Death rules; meaning the next pin fall wins.  Kenny immediately hits a V-Trigger and then a One Winged Angel on Pac to get the pin and win the match.  This whole saga was all VERY GOOD and left things a bit ambiguous at the end there without feeling unsatisfying.  Kenny flying in under the wire of that Ten Count could be seen as too lenient on the ref’s part, but then Pac DID use a chair on him and then also wasted time hitting the ref which gave Kenny an opportunity to get the win.  Everything just fired on all cylinders from the pacing to the drama to even the placement of the commercial break which in previous episodes would normally be a huge problem with the show, but here they got it to work just right along with everything else for one heck of an opening bout!

Continue reading