Tag Archives: Leva Bates

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (12-04-19)

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

So apparently last week’s show had some frighteningly low ratings which kind of surprised me. No, not that the ratings were low but that anyone besides me DID watch it last Wednesday as I myself, watching the show for this recap series as much as for its own sake, couldn’t dedicate the full two hours to just watching it as I had about a dozen other things to do that night before Thanksgiving. Look, I’m a millennial and TV as a thing you had to make time for on a fixed schedule is about as outdated to me as landline phones, so I’m surprised the ratings have been as good as they are; especially with TNT initially projecting about half a million viewers per episode which last week’s show still managed to clear easily despite being such a big dip. To me, that’s not as important as the quality of the show itself which has been pretty solid the last few weeks even if the last one felt like they were phoning it in a bit considering they were basically working on a holiday. Now that we’re back on a regular schedule with nothing else to get in the way, does AEW come back stronger than ever? Let’s find out!!

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The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) & Dustin Rhodes Vs. Proud and Powerful (Santana & Ortiz) & Sammy Guevara

The show begins with a six man tag match which had a bunch of wrestlers we haven’t seen in the ring for quite some time. The Young Bucks as well as Dustin Rhodes have been showing up here and there for brawls and what not, but it’s been close to a month since they’ve actually had a match and maybe even longer for Dustin. Yeah, maybe getting your arm slammed in the door by the muscle bound mo-fo in a polo known as Jake Hager was NOT the best idea since the dude still has a cast on now, but regardless of that how was the match? Actually pretty good! Despite being more or less the “old man” of the promotion (even though he’s only a year older than Jericho) Dustin is still a superstar who the crowd will put over at the drop of a hat. He manages to land a tandem Super Kick on Sammy with The Young Bucks, he does that worn out gimmick he’s been trying out that’s actually pretty endearing, and he is still fast, tough, and agile with some impressive snap suplexes and some sort of front flip dive from the apron. The other standout however is Sammy who takes SO much abuse in this match but makes it all look easy. He may not have the mic skills of MJF, but he may be the second most talented “new guy” in the promotion after him; especially after landing some very impressive moves. Dude does this AMAZING 630 splash from the top ropes, looking like Sonic the Hedgehog doing a Spin Dash, which was amazing to see but still not enough to put Dustin away who only gets more and more love from the crowd because of it. Now this isn’t to say that The Bucks and Proud and Powerful didn’t hold their own as Dustin and Sammy wouldn’t have looked quite as good with them, and they certainly do have the more refined tag team repertoire to fill in the gaps of the match. The finishing move was utterly ridiculous where Dustin and Nick were holding Santana and Ortiz upside down with Sammy on the mat. Matt then jumps from the top rope, kicks Proud N Powerful on his way down, and then lands on Sammy. Excessive to be sure since they didn’t NEED to damage Santana and Ortiz to get the win, but if you CAN show off you might as well do it. I really did enjoy this match quite a bit and everyone in it looked REALLY good, but I always prefer the opening matches to be a bit shorter and this one could have ended during the comeback following Dustin kicking out of the 630 instead of going on for another five to ten minutes or so. It also advances the storyline a bit as THE ELITE Vs. THE INNER CIRCLE is definitely an angle they’re building up steam towards, but I was really hoping Dustin would grab the mic after the match and challenge Jake Hager (the guy who fractured his arm) right then and there like when Darby Allin accepted Jon Moxley’s challenge. A few tweaks here and there might have improved it, but still a good way to start the show.

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (11-20-19)

AEWDYNAMITE

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

With the last episode doing a lot differently and doing it well in my opinion, I’m pumped to see how AEW follows up on it and hope they continue to try new things going forward, because if I’m being honest here there’s been a lot of great stuff but it’s been a lot of the SAME great stuff for weeks now; all of it still good, but a little variety never hurt anyone (unless you have a hereto unknown allergy) and even if they go back to some of the same stuff in this episode they at least have the ideas set up last week to make it all feel fresh again!  Let’s get started!!

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Nick Jackson Vs. Rey Fénix

Following the brawl from last week, it seems that Matt Jackson (in storyline at least) has been injured and so Nick is fighting in his first singles match since AEW began against Rey Fénix who ALSO hasn’t had a singles match since AEW began!  Sure, it’s Young Bucks vs The Lucha Bros yet again, but at least they’re mixing it up again by making it one on one which, if nothing else, means they won’t even have a CHANCE to fail to tag correctly!  I actually did manage to get into this match a lot easier than I had with other Young Buck Lucha Bros matches even though they’re both still doing basically the same thing.  There are a billion moves pulled off between the two of them, but the fact that they don’t have someone to tag with makes each move feel like it has more impact because they can’t switch out once they get tired to recuperate.  They clearly start to get tired after a while and the moves become more simplistic while the flashier ones come fewer and further between.  Contrast that with some of their tag team matches where that sense of progression and (degradation?) just never came across even when it was time to come to an end.   Speaking of endings, Rey Fénix eventually gets the pin when he does this terrifying looking pile driver thing where he carries Nick on his shoulders, drops his head down and drives it right into the mat.  They don’t REALLY set anything up at the end of this as Rey Fénix refuses to shake Nick’s hand in a show of good sportsmanship, but The Lucha Bros being cocky heels is about as surprising as the sun rise.  The match went on maybe a bit TOO long and maybe a bit TOO hard for an opening match (I’m also starting to get annoyed with just how often they use hard hits on the apron), but it’s still a lot of fun and certainly got the crowd going!

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (11-13-19)

AEWDYNAMITE

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

With the fallout of Full Gear fresh in our minds, this week’s episode of Dynamite has a lot to live up to as well as a lot of storylines to start building back up.  Will Cody live up to his word and not challenge for the AEW title again?  Will MJF be able to explain himself for his betrayal of Cody?  Will Jericho continue to be a smarmy jerk that we all love to hate?  Hopefully the answer to all three is a HECK YES, but let’s find out!!

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Before our first match, we get an update on Kenny Omega who (in storyline; I’m pretty sure it’s just a work) is not cleared for tonight’s show due to the injuries he sustained in the Light’s Out match he had with Jon Moxley at Full Gear. We also learn that Michael Nakazawa is a friend of his which is relevant because…

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Jon Moxley Vs. Michael Nakazawa

You know a Nakazawa match is serious business when he foregoes the baby oil!  Right off the bat he just tosses it away and starts coming after Moxley with everything he’s got to avenge his bleeding buddy, but to no avail as Moxley makes short work of him in a match that barely goes on longer than a minute.  I didn’t mind it though!  I like being showed that Nakazawa can have a serious side to him and it’s important to make Moxely look as strong as possible if he’s going to continue being a top guy in the company; neither of which requires a whole lot of time and is a refreshing change of pace for a promotion known for REALLY long matches.  Besides, the real point of all this is to give Moxley the mic afterwards who proceeds to gloat as hard as he can and promise to destroy EVERYONE at AEW until the company itself is destroyed and he is the only one left remaining.  He issues an open challenge to the locker room for anyone to take a shot at him which at this point may be just as prestigious a challenge as going for the title itself.  Jon Moxley is THAT good at being pissed off, aggressive, and in complete control of his surrounds.  Surprisingly the crowd is pretty mixed on the guy which is great because it shows that the audience is willing to play their part in the story because of how invested they are in the product.  What’s even MORE surprising though is that no one from the locker room takes him up on the offer which either means that everyone backstage is scared or that they want to drag this story out a bit more so we that fans can speculate on who would be the best person in the company to try and take Moxley down a peg.  I prefer it if a show like this doesn’t drag things out early on and this was a great start right off the bat!

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Super Wrestling: AEW – All Out

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

Well here it is!  After months of trial and error, big announcements, and no real response from WWE, it’s the last show before the AEW experiment goes to prime time television!  Starting in October we will be getting a weekly show from them on TBS and while I doubt they could IMMEDIATELY crash and burn considering how much money there is behind them, it’s still something of a risky venture to go into Vince’s backyard and try to claim a piece for yourself.  WCW failed, TNA failed, and the other guys just kept off of TV altogether.  It’s kind of a big deal, but we’re not really here to talk about all that!  We’re here to find out if this show had any good wrestling on it and if it’s worth your time and money to see it!  Can AEW end their PPV run on a high note as they head to the big leagues, or will this end up as a foreboding vision of things to come?  Let’s find out, and we’ll start with the pre-show!!

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Casino Battle Royale

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We start the night off with another Casino Battle Royale, but unlike the one in Double or Nothing this one is with the women’s division.  What IS like last time however are the overly complicated rules for how the groups are populated and ordered which amount to absolutely nothing because we don’t end up seeing the process; just the result.  With WWE’s Royal Rumble, they don’t make a big deal out of it and just make it a simple lottery system which is easy enough to get across to an audience but also allows for a bit of drama and tension as well; especially if someone tries to cheat it.  The wrestlers here have to draw from a “special deck” but we don’t see the drawing which determines their group, and apparently the don’t determine the group order prior to the match; they shuffle the deck right when the timer goes off and whatever suit is selected goes next.  Again, we don’t actually SEE anyone draw a card to determine the next group, but I like to imagine Cody’s in the back after having called 2 suits and has to pick the third one, but he keeps getting the first two suits over and over and over again until half the deck is on the floor before a new one comes up.  See, THAT might have justified this nonsense!  Anyway, that’s all rather immaterial as it basically boils down to a staggered Battle Royale match, so how is it?  Well I think the problem here is that it’s a Battle Royale that FEELS like it should be paced like a Royal Rumble because of those staggered entrances which are the defining feature of a Royal Rumble.  Sure a Royal Rumble can go on for a rather long time which is whole PPVs are built around them, but the benefit is that the pacing allows for multiple storylines to play out in the ring.  Contrast that with a Battle Royale which are MUCH better for pre-shows where everyone is in the ring at the start and it usually devolves into chaos until the last five or so competitors are left.  The latter is basically what happens here; it’s not until everyone has made it to the ring that it stops being about random spots and constant eliminations to play out into something more substantive; all of which is fine, but the fact they stagger the entrances makes it feel like more should be happening throughout.  It also isn’t helped by the camera work which missed a few eliminations, and while I would normally cut them some slack considering how chaotic this was (some of the more prominent wrestlers got thrown out with little fanfare during other team’s entrances), this is a problem that ended up persisting throughout the entire show and I’ll make sure to point it out when it happened during other matches.

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Look!  They brought in ODB!  See in the corner there?  Yeah, she’s already eliminated, but she still showed up!

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Super Wrestling: AEW – Fight for the Fallen

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

We’re back for Part 3 of the AEW saga which will hopefully be better than Alien 3, but probably not as good as Back to the Future Part 3.  Will it be better than the last PPV Fyter Fest?  Well we’ll find out soon enough, but can I point out that twice in a row now they’ve given these shows out away FOR FREE which, even with the TNT deal approaching fast, STILL feels like it’s riding the line between confidence and foolishness.  All I’m saying is that I came to peace with having to pay money for these things, and it’s feeling kind of weird that the moment I do they decide to give them away!  I’m usually not that lucky with these kinds of things, but I guess I’ll ride this no charge train until it derails!

So before we get started, let’s talk about the setup of the show itself.  There’s a slight change to the ring here in that there’s a ramp leading directly to it rather than a ramp to the outside where they have to then climb in.  At first I wasn’t sure if I liked the idea of a raised platform on the outside of the ring, but I never noticed it hindering anyone and they managed to sue it effectively a few times throughout.  The open air theater is fine even if I’m usually not a big fan of it as natural lighting feels a bit dull, but they do it late in the day so most of the matches are at night under controlled lighting anyway so it works out fine and it ends up feeling like a casual affair rather than a full on Double or Nothing production.  It’s good that they kept things on a much lighter note here because I’ll tell you right now, this is the worst show they’ve done so far even if it’s still a solid wrestling program.  We’ll get to why soon enough, but if it has an edge over Fyter Fest they at least set the tone right with this almost picnic vibe to keep it all feeling more casual.  That also extends to the announce table though as our three announcers feel like they’ve regressed back to Double or Nothing; struggling to find things to talk about; especially in the lower key matches that really could have used the boost.  Matches like, just for example… the first one on the preshow!

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Peter Avalon “The Librarian” vs Sonny Kiss

AEWFFTF1“The Librarian” is accompanied to the ring by Leva Bates “The Librarian”

First things first!  The last time we saw Sunny Kiss was when he was shoving her butt into Tommy Dreamers face back in the Double or Nothing Battle Royale and on top of that, I referred to him as a woman.  I did in fact assume their gender and it turns out that I was wrong.  According to a tweet from Sonny Kiss, he uses He/Him pronouns so I will use those going forward.  ANYWAY!  The Librarians have gotten quite a bit of flak in the short amount of time and while I DO appreciate what they’re going for and just how much heat they’re willing to take from the audience, I honestly I don’t think this match is doing them much favors.  First major problem is that Peter Avalon shouldn’t take off his librarian costume.  Wearing traditional wrestling trunks as he does in this match, he looks like a dork and not in the good way.  Certain heel gimmicks need to carry into the ring for them to work; particularly ones where the gimmick is that they are not in fact wrestlers.  Just look at Baron Corbin who is a pretty effective heel and never takes off his “manger” outfit when he’s in the ring, at least as far I’ve seen, and it helps convey his status as a sniveling authority figure.  Sonny Kiss on the other hand projects style, grace, and attitude through every costume choice, every move he makes in the ring, and every appeal to the audience whenever Peter’s on the ground.  I think the gimmick can work, but there’s certainly room left to tweak it.

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“Can I join your team?”     “Only if you can look half as good as I do.”     “Dang it…”

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Super Wrestling: AEW – Fyter Fest

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

We’re back with another PPV brought to you by the throne smashers themselves, AEW!  Things have certainly changed since Double or Nothing, haven’t they?  For one, WWE has completely lost the plot from what I’ve heard and responded to AEW with nonsense, bad story lines, and an overabundance of Shane McMahon.  With their primary rival of sorts doing such a poor job of responding to the new challenger, which is surprising in its own right, it only got stranger when AEW announced that THIS PPV would be completely free; a move that still baffles me considering how successful they’ve been up to this point.  Sure, Double or Nothing MIGHT have been a bit pricey at fifty bucks, but they could have at least charged twenty or even ten for it which would have gotten them a heck of a lot more money than ZERO!  I guess TBS and the Khan family have the money to throw around, and I’m not about to complain TOO much about not having to pay for a show like this.  The bigger question is what’s different in this show and have they improved since Double or Nothing?  Eh… sort of.  As far as commentary, Excalibur has improved but JR still sounds a bit rusty and out of touch; especially when he referred to Cima as “an Oriental.”  I mean look, we can argue about how much of a slur that is or whether JR has any genuine ill feelings about Asian wrestlers (and I can think of WAY worse people they could have gotten as an announcer where the answer to those questions wouldn’t even be debatable), but it really does make him seem like an awkward fit for what is supposed to be a very modern and forward thinking wrestling company.  While the announcing has improved, sadly the camera work still has a few rough patches that will hopefully get ironed out before they go to TV.  I only mentioned this very briefly in my last recap, but the editing sometimes misses spots or more often will miss whenever there’s drama at the end of a match.  Someone does a low blow, someone else enters the ring, stuff like that will almost go by unnoticed because whoever is running the cameras is focusing on something else an nearly misses the action.  Again, this is the kind of thing that can be easily fixed with experience and I’m not gonna begrudge them this learning curve, but it is even more noticeable here than it was last time. In fact, I’d say that’s the overall vibe I’m getting from Fyter Fest.  It’s still really good stuff, but I think the high from Double or Nothing has started to wear off and so it’s easier to see and evaluate its flaws.  The big one that MOSTLY stayed in the pre-show but kept coming back to annoy me was the show’s theme where they didn’t JUST name it after something topical but had to do little skits to make sure we ALL KNOW that they saw the documentaries too.  Kenny Omega is trying to find instruments for bands that don’t exist, The Young Bucks lost their luggage and need to find new costumes, and they even brought models out before swiftly replacing them with mannequins.  It all just felt so corny and unnecessary when they could have used that time to put up a few promos for the matches which frankly were desperately needed as many of them seemed to have a story but one that we weren’t informed of ahead of time.   Let’s put all that aside though and just focus on the matches!  So how did the pre-show kick things off?

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Six-man Tag Team Match

AEWFF1Private Party: Isiah Kassidy and Marq Quen
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SoCal Uncensored: Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky (Schuyler Andrews)
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Best Friends: Chuck Taylor and Trent Beretta

There’s a lot going on in this first match which is good because you want to get the crowd on board right away so they can carry that energy for the rest of the show.  We’ve got Private Party as the newcomers who I think AEW is trying to push as future superstars of the company considering they got a whole episode of Road to Fyter Fest dedicated to them.  We’ve got two thirds of SCU who had one of the best matches in all of Double or Nothing, and while I wasn’t really impressed with The Best Friends last time (definitely a victim of the last show running long), they get a pretty good pop from the crowd so I was willing to give them another chance.  The only thing that I didn’t like right off the bat was the fact that this was a Triple Threat tag match and they always use this weird rule where only two compeitors can be in the ring at a time; leaving one team to just sit on the sidelines while the other two actually fight.  I don’t understand why they don’t have one member of each team in the ring like say… an ACTUAL Triple Threat, but we’ll get back to this later on in the match.  For now, I just want to point out that everyone in this looks great and does some very impressive acrobatics!  SCU continues to be the best tag team as far as I’m concerned as they can take already impressive wrestlers like Private Party and Best Friends and make them look even better than they already are!  There’s this really impressive spot where Isiah Kassidy and Marq Quen go back to back on Kassiran in beautiful and brutal fashion!  If I could say one thing about the match it’s that it FEELS a bit too much like an exhibition; like everyone is here to help the other team show off their moves instead of win the fight, but frankly that’s a rather minor complaint when the moves are THIS impressive!

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He should change his name to Mark QUAIL!!  …  Because he’s flying through the air?  …  Really, nothing?  Is this thing on?

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