Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (12-17-2021)

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

It’s another night of AEW action during a week that pretty much all people dread.  Sure, the Holidays can be fun and all that, but this is a stressful time for a lot of people, including me, so fitting in my usual output has been a challenge.  I’m still going to do it, but I think Rampage is going to go by a lot faster than usual if you catch my drift.  Is this a fun boost to get us ready for the final week of rushing and shopping, or is it less a reprieve and more of a grim specter of things to come?  Let’s find out!!

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The Young Bucks, Adam Cole, and Bobby Fish Vs. Best Friends, Orange Cassidy, and Rocky Romero – Eight-Man Tag Match

The Young Bucks are accompanied to the ring by Brandon Cutler while Best Friends are accompanied by Wheeler Yuta

The Young Bucks and Best Friends feud continues unabated, and while it does feel like we’re spinning our wheels, it’s never a bad idea to get these two groups in the ring as often as possible.  The matchups certainly haven’t gotten stale yet, and it even manages to make an Eight-Man Tag Match not feel overly excessive or drawn out.  The Best Friends get a lot of offense in early on as Cassidy and Cole stare at each other from opposite corners, but when the opportunity arises for them to meet in the ring, Cole keeps to himself and lets the Bucks deal with Cassidy.  The Heels eventually take control of the match with some sly beatings outside the ring, but The Best Friends didn’t call themselves that for nothing and take several opportunists to save Cassidy from being pinned.  Cassidy eventually fights back and gets the hot tag to Trent who runs wild over everyone; fighting the Bucks and Cole by himself, giving Bobby Fish a spear on the outside, and even hitting Brandon Cutler with a Backdrop.  It’s good to see Trent back in action again and he looks pretty good, but it doesn’t last forever as the Heels isolate him in the ring and take turns utterly destroying him!  He’s yanked off the turnbuckle by Nick and lands neck first on the top rope, he eats Brain Busters and Superkicks from the Super Clique, and he even gets hit by a Diving Headbutt from Fish!  Even with all that, Trent manages to kick out at two, so the only logical thing is to take the guy coming back from spinal surgery and give him an AVALANCHE FALCON ARROW!  This should have been the end of the match, if not the death of Mr. Trent, had Cassidy not run in to break up the pin, and that’s when the match devolves into the usual Eight-Man shtick where everyone runs in to hit a big move until it’s just the legal men alone in the ring.  After a spectacular flurry of moves that ends with Cassidy hitting a Springboard Flip to everyone on the floor below, Trent manages to land the Crunchy on Bobby Fish to get the pin and win the match!  It was a pretty fun opening bout!  Perhaps there was a bit too much chaos in the second half as no one is even trying to follow the rules, but even with that, it managed to stay comprehensible and kept everyone looking strong!  The feud will surely continue from here, but with matches like this, it’s clear they haven’t run out of things to do just yet!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (12-17-2021)”

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 Rampage (12-03-2021)

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

Whenever I start to get into a less than enthusiastic mood about wrestling, I still like to see Rampage because it’s a small enough dose that I can still enjoy it even when the burnout is starting to creep in.  I’m probably not at that point yet, but Wednesday’s Dynamite was kind of a disappointment for me.  Despite it clearly being a show they put a lot into, I just didn’t connect with the storylines involved and a flaming table spot is not going to automatically add an extra star to the match.  That’s why we have Rampage though; to be the fun desert after the big Dynamite meal!  Is there enough self-contained and exciting action to clear the way for a hopefully better episode of Dynamite next week, or are we gonna need something a little bit stronger to cleanse the palate?  Let’s find out!!

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Sammy Guevara Vs. Tony Nese – TNT Title Match

The TNT title continues its long tradition of giving wrestlers their first big shot at AEW via the open challenge, and while Nese has been around for a few weeks now in Dark matches, this is going to be his first TV match for AEW.  Sammy starts off strong with some impressive acrobatics and a Suicide Dive that leaves Nese almost defenseless against an assault outside the ring, but fortune starts to turn in his favor once they’re both back in the ring.  Sammy goes to the turnbuckle to show off even more of his impressive athleticism, but Nese manages to get up and knocks him off so that he’s lying across the ropes; his body parallel with the mat.  Nese then kicks him SO HARD that Sammy flies through the air and lands on Nese’s shoulders which is something I’ve never seen in a wrestling match before, and he follows it up with a Gut Buster for a two count.  Now this is particularly bad as Sammy’s ribs are still taped up from… actually I don’t remember why they’re taped up, but he’s been nursing this injury for a few weeks now and Nese is well aware of this which is why he focuses on them during the heat segment that follows the pin attempt.  Sammy eventually gets a bit of a breather when he breaks out of a submission with a Backdrop, but it isn’t long before Nese is back in control with a Single Leg Boston Crab. Sammy does his best to fight through the pain and even manages to escape to land a Springboard Cutter, but his ribs are proving a detriment and he can’t make a proper cover in time.  Sammy goes for the GTH, but Nese escapes with ease and once again puts him in a Single Leg Crab, and Sammy only manages to escape it this time by twisting over and rolling Nese into a quick pin attempt.  Nese tries to run the ropes to shake up his offense, but he ends up eating Spanish Fly for a two count and then a Springboard Moonsault.  Sammy tries for another Springboard move to finish this match, but Nese is able to get up and knock him of the apron to the floor below which gives him an opening to land a Suicide Dive and a 450 Splash; showing off his athletic skills which are comparable to that of Sammy’s.  This only gets him a two count though, and the two start slugging it out in the ring until Nese lands a Buckle Bomb and Guevara lands a Pump Kick.  The Pump Kick is somehow the more effective of the two moves, and it allows Sammy to get Nese up on his shoulder for the GTH!  He hits the move which is more than enough for him to get the pin and wins the match to retain the TNT title!  This was a really good match and a great way to start the show!  The TNT title has a great track record as far as these open challenge matches, and Sammy is proving to be as effective with the belt as his predecessors like Cody, Brodie, and Miro.  The only thing is that I hope they drop the rib angle soon because I’m never a fan of wrestlers fighting through injuries; Kayfabe or otherwise.  Maybe once or twice, but at some point you’ve got to let the guy just wrestle at a hundred percent and trust that he can still generate drama in the match.

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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 Rampage (11-26-2021) – Black Friday

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

I was pretty nonplussed by the Thanksgiving Show which is a shame since it had the potential to be a lot more interesting than it was, but I knew that Rampage had a match I was VERY much looking forward to its main event which would hopefully make up for whatever shortcomings were in the Dynamite show.  With Eddie Kingston and Daniel Garcia in the main event as well as two other very cool matches lined up, does this turn out to be the TRUE holiday episode of AEW; therefore proving once and for all that Black Friday is better than Thanksgiving!?  Let’s find out!!

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Wheeler Yuta & Orange Cassidy Vs. Adam Cole & Bobby Fish

I’m pretty sure Wheeler Yuta hasn’t won a match on AEW TV since joining the company, but then again Fish has had MAYBE two wins since he showed up, so perhaps this is a much more even match than I would first assume it to be.  Yuta does manage to put up a decent fight against fish and manages to tag in Cassidy while in control of his opponent, so hopefully he can pull off an upset here!  Cassidy goes for a very casual Lateral Press on Fish which only gets a one count, but it is enough for him to scamper to his corner and tag in Cole.  Now Cassidy is known for a lot of shtick, but the hands in the pockets has to be the one that he gets the most mileage of as a good minute or so of this match is dedicated to his efforts to do it and Cole’s desperation to stop him!  First, he just implores him to stop and then does his ADAM COLE BABY thing which got a pop from the crowd, but Cassidy is unimpressed and goes for the pockets once more.  Cole gets physical this time and tries to block him which allows Cassidy to flip him over.  He goes for the pockets again, but Cole grabs him with a waist lock!  Cassidy still goes the pockets, but this only makes things for as Cole transitions to a Full Nelson.  Undeterred, Cassidy keeps going for the pockets, and when he realizes that he can’t quite get it, he flips Cole over again and gives the half-hearted thumbs up.  Point having been made, Cassidy tags in Yuta and they have some fun tandem moves which end with Yuta landing a Standing Senton and getting a two count on Cole.  That was a lot of fun to see and it’s nice to see Yuta do well for himself, but Fish manages to be quite good at distractions and keeps Yuta busy long enough for Cole to rip him off the turnbuckle.  He drags Yuta to the corner and he and Fish get the heat on Yuta during the commercial, but by the time we come back, both Yuta and Fish are down and trying to get to their corners.  Fish makes it to his corner for the tag and he and Cole keep Yuta from tagging in Orange for a while longer, but eventually, Yuta escapes and lands a Double Drop Kick from the Middle rope which was enough to keep Cole and Fish down for Yuta to get the hot tag to Cassidy; and yes, he FINALLY gets his hands in his pockets.  Not only that, but he does the Lousy Kicks on both Fish and Cole before landing both a Double Drop Kick and a Double Hurricanrana!  The Baby Faces continue to dominate in this match and land a very cool combo where Cassidy hits the Stundog Millionaire that sends Cole into Yuta who hits a German Suplex, but when Cassidy goes for the Jack Knife pin it’s broken up by Fish who gains control of this match.  A lot of stuff happens from here, almost all of it very well executed and a lot of fun to see, but it eventually boils down to Yuta trying desperately to put Fish away and deciding that the best option is to land a splash from the top rope.  As soon as he’s up there though, Cole shakes the ropes and Yuta slumps forward, and while Cassidy does his best to take care of Cole afterward, the damage is done and Fish lands an Avalanche Falcon Arrow on the defenseless Yuta which is more than enough to get the pin and win the match.  This was a really good match between two teams that are always fun to watch!  Sure it k0ind of devolved into nonsense as people were running in and out of the ring with reckless abandon, but that’s all too common at AEW and we probably shouldn’t hold it against individual matches.  Yuta in particular looked GREAT here, and while I understand why he had to take the loss, I really hope he gets a few wins on TV soon.

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (11-26-2021) – Black Friday”

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 (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 (09-15-2021)

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

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

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

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Adam Cole Vs. Frankie Kazarian

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

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

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

Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (09-03-2021)

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

It’s always fun trying to find time to watch everything on a PPV weekend, but I managed to do it and am eagerly anticipating how it all shakes out on the big show!  Does AEW’s last show before All Out prove to be the last burst of energy they need to finish the build and kick up the hype for the PPV, or do they stumble at the one-yard line?  Let’s find out!!

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Malakai Black Vs. Lee Johnson

Black has been an unstoppable and terrifying force for the last few weeks, but at some point he was gonna have to fight more than a minute or two and Lee Johnson gets the honor of being in his longest match by far.  Black starts off by mocking him and not taking Johnson seriously which is honestly a pretty fair assessment as Johnson looks ABSOLUTELY terrified, but Johnson’s got a lot of speed that Black isn’t expecting and this gives him SOMETHING of an opening to get a few shots in.  He even lands a fury of punches and a Dropkick that sends Black out of the ring and follows up with a Suicide Dive, so Black is not invulnerable and even eats a Frog Splash from Johnson after getting thrown back into the ring.  It’s all for naught however as Black just needs to land a few kicks to stop Johnson in his tracks and even gives Johnson a chair at one point to even the odds.  Johnson is barely in enough shape to hold the darn thing, let alone use it, and Black finishes him off with a Roundhouse Kick to the face; knocking him out and getting the pin.  It was fine as a match, but there was something missing in it to justify the length.  Johnson got some offense in and Black sold for him, but there was never anything that made you think that this guy had a chance and so adding extra minutes to the match just felt like diminishing returns.  Still, Black is great to watch with a theatricality to his performance that few can replicate, and Johnson got a bit of shine here as well so not a bad way to start the show.

Dustin comes out to attack Black, but Black once again ignores their next would be competitor and leaves them to stew in their own hatred.  Dustin then cuts a promo backstage where he confirms that they will have a match on the next Dynamite and that while Black may come from a place of darkness, he THRIVES in Darkness!  Has done so for five decades in fact, though I’d skip over the whole Seven thing, and honestly Black Reign can probably go as well.  I’m certainly excited to see it as Dustin is ALWAYS great whenever he shows up, and I’m willing to bet that he’s gonna bleed like a pig for Black to really push his Heel credibility to the moon if he’s not there already!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (09-03-2021)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (09-01-2021)

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

It’s the last Dynamite before the All Out PPV and AEW is frantically trying to put all the pieces in place!  Sure, they’ve got the in-ring return of CM Punk that’s gonna sell the show to a whole lot of people, but have they done a good enough job of building the card outside of their gigantic acquisition, or is this Go Home show just confirming that everything rests of CM Punk’s shoulders?  Let’s find out!!

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FTR Vs. Proud N Powerful

FTR is accompanied to the ring by Tully Blanchard

The last time these two teams met in the ring was kind of a disaster; not just because of the injury to Cash Wheeler’s arm that cut the match short, but even before that it was kind of a nothing match.  Not a BAD match but one that didn’t live up to the hype of seeing two of the best tag teams working today lock it up in the ring.  Thankfully they pull off a MUCH better match here with an engaging story being told throughout it.  At first it starts off a bit slow and cautious, but eventually things start to pick up with Proud N Powerful in firm control of the match; so much so that I started to wonder if we were supposed to be cheering for FTR.  I mean Dax Harwood IS pretty much fighting on his own as his recently injured partner stays on the apron, but eventually Cash DOES get the blind tag starts throwing the unaware Ortiz into the posts, and the team starts to get the heat.  If that wasn’t enough to reconfirm their Heel status, Cash rips a turnbuckle pad off while Dax is working over Ortiz and they seem to be trying to injure Ortiz’s arm as retribution for what happened to Cash.  It’s at this point that it hardly even feels like a wrestling match as no one is going for pins and are just trying to hurt one another, but eventually Ortiz gets the hot tag to Santana who hits the Three Amigos (three rolling Suplexes) and follows with a Frog Splash for a two count which was the first near fall of the night.  The story then shifts to one of both teams trying to land their tandem finishers but narrowly missing the window or getting it reversed by the other team.  Santana and Ortiz set up for something in the corner but Dax knocks Santana off the top turnbuckle and Cash lands a Gory Special for a two count.  FTR get the Big Rig on Ortiz but Santana jumps on them to break up the pin.  Back and forth the two teams go until Santana and Ortiz get a big combo and get the pin on Cash to win the match.  I liked the story in this and the match was genuinely growing on me as it went along, so good on them for bringing some closure to this storyline, and hopefully they will have SAFE matches like this in the future.  After all, there are three things you can always count on in life; death, taxes, and the unending nature of this feud between The Pinnacle and The Inner Circle!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (09-01-2021)”