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

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

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

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Jungle Boy Vs. Isiah Kassidy

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

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

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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!

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (08-04-2021) – Homecoming

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

We’re back with another episode of AEW Dynamite and things are definitely looking up for the company!  The last episode was definitely a mixed bag of highs and lows, but the ratings the last few weeks have been consistently excellent and there’s no sign of it slowing down; especially with the talent that should be arriving in the next few weeks!  Does this episode keep the momentum going as we head towards the debut of Rampage and the big PPV show to follow not long after?  Let’s find out!!

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Chris Jericho Vs. Juventud Guerrera – The Third Labor of Jericho

For Jericho to win, he must land a move from the top rope

Not everyone has enjoyed the whole Labors of Jericho thing, and for me this MIGHT be the match that pushed things a little bit too far.  It’s by no means the fault of the two guys in the ring as they are GREAT here (and I have to find out what Juvy does to still look so young!) but the stipulation doesn’t make a lot of sense and is not very well explained.  I honestly thought that all he had to do was land one move from the top rope to win and the rules weren’t clear until we saw it play out in the match.  Apparently he has to land a move from the top rope AND THEN either pin or submit him; the latter of which by the way being a pretty goofy looking spot where Jericho drops from the top rope onto Juvy and just puts him in the Walls of Jericho.  Juvy eventually gets out of it and they go back and forth for a bit with Juvy getting a close nearfall after landing a Juvy Driver, but then Jericho hits the Judas Effect and Juvy is down.  HOWEVER!  He landed it while on the ground and can’t cover him to which Jericho looks right into the camera with a dumbfounded expression on his face before going up top and landing a Flying Judas Effect to finally get the pin and win the match.  I’d honestly have much preferred a simple match between these two or perhaps a more straightforward stipulation as the top rope stuff kinda dragged things down throughout, but it was nice to see Juvy again and the Jericho storyline is still one of the most enjoyable things that AEW has going on right now!

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (06-11-2021) – Friday Night Dynamite

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

We’re back with another episode of Dynamite and frankly I’m ready for these Friday shows to end.  Not because of anything to do with the show itself (though last week was PRETTY bad) but because it throws off my entire schedule!  I would have wrestling during the week and then the weekend for other stuff, but NOW everything is all crammed into two days!  We only have a few more weeks of this strange timeslot so I’ll grin and bear it, but they’re gonna have to put on a GREAT show to make up for last week’s and for making my weekends that much more stressful!  Let’s take a look!

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Christian Cage Vs. Angélico

So apparently Matt Hardy has a bug up his butt about Christian Cage tossing him out at the Casino Battle Royale, and so he’s hired Angélico from TH2 to have a match with him.  I mean I’m sure he was going to have a match with SOMEONE this week so I’m not sure why this particular matchup is so dastardly, but Angélico is one of those people on the roster like Joey Janela, The Varsity Blondes, and Penelope Ford who are around every once in a while and probably have had a bunch of matches on Dark or Elevation but REALLY should be getting more of a spotlight on Dynamite.  The guy definitely has a unique physique looking like the handsome brother of Slenderman (dude has some SERIOUSLY long limbs!) and he’s so good at giving us a kind of match we don’t see enough of at AEW which focuses on submissions instead of high spots or big guy brawling.  Every time Cage gets an advantage with a flashy strike or some sort of throw, Angélico is ready to cut him off and start working over his arm again until finally he has him in some sort of Arm Bar right in the middle of the ring!  Cage is desperately trying to fight back against Angélico’s move as the crowd chants PLEASE DON’T TAP, and he finally makes it to the ropes to break the hold but is far from out of the woods.  He makes a comeback with a reverse DDT, a Missile Drop Kick, and a Flying Headbutt, but none of it is able to keep Angélico down for a three count who himself is starting to lose steam after all these near falls.  He makes a big mistake by trying to match Cage’s style and goes for a spot on the ropes only to get kicked out of midair and eating another two count.  From there it’s mostly desperate flailing from the two of them which Christian proves to be the better one of the two and manages to finish off Angélico with the Kill Switch.  As soon as the bell rings, Angélico’s partner Jack Evans runs in to attack Cage which goes rather poorly all things considered as he’s tossed ut of the ring with little effort.  However, this does distract Cage long enough for Matt Hardy to sneak in from behind and land a Twist of Fate on him that leaves Cage dead in the middle of the ring.  Angélico and Hardy are about to kick him some more when Jungle Boy runs out from the back and chases off Hardy and his two flunkies; leaving Cage and Jungle Boy to celebrate this victory in the middle of the ring.  It was certainly a nice change of pace to start out with a match like this and I certainly hope it’s a sign that things are going to be MUCH better this week!

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (02-10-2021)

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

We’re back with another week for Dynamite action!  Beach Break was a PRETTY big disappointment all things considered, but it did end on a particularly high note with a great main event and a HUGE surprise for anyone who’s a fan of New Japan.  Will they capitalize on this buzz and give us an episode worthy of this new union, or will we have to wait for the Revolution PPV for something interesting?  Let’s find out!!

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Darby Allin Vs. Joey Janela – TNT Title Match

So is it just me or is Joey’s role here to be a tune-up guy for champions?  Granted it’s better than being a jobber for mid-carders, but he really seems to LOSE a lot despite getting all these opportunities!  I guess I shouldn’t complain as long as it means Darby gets to spend five minutes focusing on something other than Team Taz, and frankly Janela does a darn good job making him look good!  Allin’s strength is not in his… well strength, but his endless tenacity so Joey gets to do a lot here and looks like a genuine competitor for Allin’s title; particularly an early flurry of offense including a drop onto the apron and a Suicide Dive.  Darby essentially has to outlast Janela as he’s one of the few people that Janela could physically intimidate, so he waits for his opportunities to strike and does what he can to survive devastating moves such as when he goes for a Coffin Drop but Janela catches him into a German Suplex followed by a Thrust Kick for a two count!  If there’s one thing that felt a bit disappointing about the match, it’s the ending which of course ends with a Coffin Drop.  Considering that the last few moves prior to that were a surprise Pile Driver from Janela and an Avalanche Code Red from Darby, neither of which were enough to finish the other guy off, it feels a bit anti-climactic that Joey stayed down because Darby dropped down on him.  It works as an ending in some matches, but in something this focused on endurance and devastating moves, it felt a bit underwhelming. Aside from that though, this was a GREAT match that did a darn good job of making both of them look like superstars!  Maybe you don’t want Darby having matches EVERY week because you know he’ll insist on destroying himself whenever he gets in the ring, but we definitely need more title defenses like this.

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (10-28-2020)

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

With just one more show before Full Gear and Dynamite has done a good job so far of building up the matches for the show.  If it wasn’t so simple you’d almost call it a stroke of brilliance that they came up with the World Title Tournament to drive the story between Adam Page and Kenny Omega, and with that as well as the Tag Title match, they’ve got the solid backbone needed to make a show feel important and the rest of the card has been built up with interesting feuds like Kingston and Moxley… as well as less interesting ones like Matt and Sammy.  In any case, does this show present a bunch of fun matches for us to enjoy while also building up to the big show that’s right around the corner!?  Let’s find out!!

Well actually before that, this will be the last thing I post before the election of 2020 is over and done with, so if ANYONE reading this the day I post it hasn’t done so yet, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS SACRED, VOTE FOR JOE BIDEN!  He won’t fix everything (no politician ever will on their own), but we need to do our part to fix the problems that this country is facing, and step one is getting the SCROTUS booted out of office; kicking and screaming if necessary.  Alright, NOW let’s find out!!

We begin the episode with Dasha in the back trying to interview Wardlow, but the big guy can’t get a word in edgewise as MJF talks for him and ASSURES Dasha that Wardlow winning the tournament would mean that MJF wins the tournament and that any title Wardlow wins will be MJF’s title by right of whatever weird contract they have.  Seems like Wardlow is consistently getting the short end of the stick here, but we ARE in the middle of a pandemic and a job is a job I suppose.  Sammy interrupts MJF and things get heated as Sammy makes it crystal clear how little he cares for the smarmy jerk, but MJF is not easily intimidated and the two agree to disagree; at least for the time being.  MJF doesn’t have time for this anyway!  He’s got a match to watch!

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Wardlow Vs. Hangman Adam Page – AEW World Title Tournament Semi-Final

Wardlow is accompanied to the ring by MJF

The big event of the last few weeks has been the tournament to determine the number one contender for the AEW World Title, and so we waste no time getting back to it.  Hangman is also not wasting any time because a half second before the bell rings, he runs towards Wardlow and lands a drop kick right as the match begins.  Wardlow then takes Adam Page apart for a bit, but he doesn’t have the size advantage here that he did against Jungle Boy which means he’s going to have to step up his game.  A spear outside of the ring to Page does the job pretty well which gives Wardlow a change to gain some heat, but there’s almost no mystery as to who’s going to win this match considering that Kenny Omega is on the other side of the bracket.  Then again, it’d be a good twist to have Wardlow win and somehow get the belt!  Heck, they just planted the seed with MJF’s interview that started the show, so why not give it a shot?  As for the match itself, it’s pretty good!  I wouldn’t say it’s significantly better than his match against Jungleboy, but that was already a solid show opener and the same is true here.  Wardlow goes for some sort of move while Page is on the top rope, but while he smugly tries to pander to the audience, Page grabs Wardlow’s arm, falls back behind the ropes, and starts cranking on it.  This is the turning point for the match as Wardlow is unable to get his momentum back and finally loses all of it with an attempted dive from the top rope that misses Page by a mile.  They start trading strikes and clotheslines to no avail so Wardlow lands a kick and transitions into a German Suplex which Page manages to flip out of and the two end up tumbling outside the ring.  After a few more spots including a Moonsault from the top rope to the ground, Page goes they start trading finishes to bring this match to a close.  Hangman goes for the Buckshot Lariat and misses which allows Wardlow to take him down with a lariat of his own.  Wardlow only gets a two count so he lands the F10, but before he can capitalize with another pin attempt, Page rolls out of the ring.  THEN things get scary as Wardlow is on the middle rope with Page on his shoulders, but Page fights out of it and they both fall back; landing hard on the mat below.  Thank goodness Wardlow wasn’t on the top rope or less there would have been a CRATER in the middle of the ring, but he’s now in no condition to fight back and so Page finally lands not one but TWO Buckshot Lariats to get the three count and advance to the finals of the tournament.  It wasn’t particularly memorable is perhaps the worst you can say about the match, but both guys did their job and it was a very good way to open the show!

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