Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (09-29-2021)

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

We’re back with another episode of AEW action, though this is something of a special episode.  Not in the USUAL AEW sense of adding a subtitle and a few marquee matches, but because this show takes place in Rochester where Brodie Lee is from and where he was supposed to debut before the Pandemic put everything on hold.  Because of this, AEW has put together a stacked card to not only continue their ongoing storylines but to celebrate and the people he affected during his time at the company.  Is it a proper celebration for the Exalted One who was taken from us far too soon?  Let’s find out!!

CM Punk comes out at the start of the show and he once again joins the commentary team on this episode.  I’m starting to wonder if he’ll actually do all that much wrestling as he seems perfectly content to sit in the booth and talk about everyone else.  I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to it as I think he’s got a lot of potential for that kind of role, but I’m guessing the checks Tony Khan had to write to get him aren’t about to go to someone who stays OUT of the ring.

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Jungle Boy Vs. Adam Cole

Something we’ll run into a few times in this episode (which was also a bit of an issue on the last episode) is crowd reactions as the place goes unglued for Adam Cole despite being the heel in this conflict.  I gut that everyone is happy he’s here instead of at the other place, but it always feels off when someone is going above and beyond to be a heel and just gets the opposite reaction for it.  Then again, if you could argue one thing in favor of Paragon Cole, he does seem to have the experience advantage in this match and most of the time when he gets the lead it’s from outsmarting Jungle Boy which means that the young guy has to learn on the fly to outmaneuver the veteran.  Cole tries to keep Jungle Boy grounded with headlocks and mat work while keeping him off his game with feints and misdirection; particularly when he puts on the brakes on a charge Jungle Boy had scouted and had started flipping over; only to find Adam Cole behind him and is dragged to the mat for a one count.  Still, you can’t count the Jungle Boy out as he uses the same trick on a Cole a minute later and ends up knocking him out of the ring with a Springboard Arm Drag followed by a Drop Kick.  Cole needs to slow him down, so he baits him to go outside the ring with him before rushing back in and attacking Jungle Boy when he tries to get into the ring behind him.  Jungle Boy manages to escape the beating and goes to the turnbuckle, but Cole pushes him off and he tumbles to the floor in a bump that looked PRETTY bad but doesn’t seem to have caused an actual injury.  In any case, Jungle Boy is hurting and so Cole gets the heat during the commercial.  Jungle Boy eventually manages to fight back and tries to even the odds by landing a Basement Drop Kick on Cole followed by a BIG Lariat that sends him flipping in the air before landing on the mat.  The gamble pays off as the match gets VERY even at that point with them trading blows and pulling off big moves to try and wear the other one down.  Jungle Boy gets a German Suplex into a bridge for a two count and puts Cole in the Tree of Woe to land a Drop Kick, but then Cole follows up with a Backstabber and the Last Shot for a two count as well.  Cole goes for the Panama Sunrise from the apron to the floor, but Jungle Boy rolls away, runs into the rings, hits the ropes, and goes to dive… only to eat a Step Up Enziguri to the face.  Not to be outdone, he lands a Hurricanrana from the apron to the floor and tosses Cole back into the ring.  However, his follow-up of a Springboard Cutter fails to hit its mark as he eats a Superkick instead, and Cole uses this to land the Panama Sunrise… ONLY TO GET A TWO COUNT!  Shock and awe fill the arena as Cole’s finisher didn’t do the job and he tries to follow-up with THE BOOM, but Jungle Boy ducks and locks him in the Snare Trap.  Cole crawls to the ropes so Jungle Boy breaks the hold to drag him back to the center which gives Cole an opening to kick him in the face.  Cole gets up with Jungle Boy right behind him and it looks like Cole is grabbing the ropes with Ref Aubrey sandwiched between them, and while she’s unable to see what’s going on Cole lands a kick to the groin.  Seeing as neither one of their finishers ended the match, he took the path of least resistance and cheated with a move that knocked  Jungle Boy down which allows Cole to land THE BOOM, and gets the pin to win the match.  This was yet another fantastic showing from Adam Cole who is clearly proving himself to be a valuable addition to AEW.  I think the crowd is making things a bit awkward though because they LOVE this guy despite being a clear Heel, but aside from that I definitely want to see more matches with him!

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Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (09-24-2021) – Grand Slam

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

We’re back with more (and more, and more, and more) Rampage action as AEW’s attempt to fill every waking moment of my life with wrestling is moving forward unabated!  Hopefully things can slow down a bit and we can get back to our standard three hours of TV a week, but the Dynamite episode of Grand Slam was pretty excellent and they’ve got a solid card lined up for this EXTRA LONG episode of Rampage, so perhaps a little fatigue is worth it if it means a few more fantastic matches!  Is this a satisfying conclusion to the Grand Slam event that started on Wednesday, or will I be far from the only one wanting to go back to a one hour Rampage by the time this episode is done?  Let’s find out!!

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CM Punk Vs. Powerhouse Hobbs

Hobbs is accompanied to the ring by Hook

CM Punk more or less proved he could still have solid matches when he went up against Darby Allin, but now we’re gonna see if he can put some shine on the talent who aren’t already at the top of the pecking order.  Hobbs came on the scene in a BIG way and was signed almost immediately, but he’s not really lived up to his potential; mostly due to a lack of marquee matches if you ask me.  That’s probably why they went with him to go up against CM Punk as you can’t ask for a better match-up to get eyeballs on you, and for what it’s worth they both do a solid job here.  Punk hits Hobbs with a Drop Kick as soon as the bell rings and starts working over the left leg which proves that at least SOMEONE knows what you’ve got to do to take a big man down!  Still, even with Punk’s fancy tactics, it’s hard to overcome the sheer POWER of Hobbs who knocks him to his knees with ONE Headbutt from Hobbs sends Punk to his knees.  On top of that, Hobbs has Hook in his corner so even when Punk gets the advantage through better technique he can’t always capitalize on it like when he puts Hobbs on his shoulders for a GTS very early in the match only for Hook to get up on the apron.  You’d think Punk would be able to just finish the move despite a guy looking at him funny, but that’s one of those quirks about the wacky world of wrestling and sure enough, he puts Hobbs down to go after him only to eat a Running Cross Body from Hobbs that knocks him flat on his back.  Hobbs gets the heat for a while and milks the crowd for as many boos as they can give him, and despite a few hope spots from Punk like a quick roll up for a two count, Hobbs remains firmly in control up to and throughout the commercial break.  Punk finally escapes with a few elbows to the face, and a Spin Kick followed by a Swinging Neck Breaker gets him some momentum.  He lands a Top Rope Elbow Drop for a two count and gets Hobbs on his shoulders once again for the GTS.  Punk actually finishes the move this time but it doesn’t connect as Hobbs blocks the knee on his way down, and hits him with one of his HELLACIOUS Spine Busters!  Hobbs gets him up on his shoulder for his finisher Town Business, but Punk wriggles out and puts him in a choke which nearly knocks him out.  He fights back and breaks the hold with a Back Drop which he follows with a Stampede that only gets him a two count.  After Punk gets an Avalanche Hurricanrana for a two count of his own, he tries to put Hobbs in a Triangle Choke which is a HUGE mistake as the number one rule of Big Guys is don’t leave their legs free, and as you’d expect Hobbs lifts up Punk and lands a Sit Out Powerbomb.  Punk kicks out at two and so Hobbs just tries hammering Punk in the middle of the ring to wear him down, but this allows Punk to land a Roundhouse Kick that sends Hobbs Reeling.  Punk signals for the GTS when Hook jumps on the apron once again, and of course Punk goes to deal with him which allows Hobbs to charge from behind.  BUT WAIT!  This is all a misdirection as Punk sees this coming from a mile away and sidesteps the charge so that Hobbs knocks Hook into next week which is perhaps the biggest bump Hook has taken since he started showing up in Team Taz!  With Hobbs distracted, Punk gets him on his shoulders and FINALLY hits the GTS to get the pin and win the match to the utter delight of the fans!  It was a pretty good match for the most part and I think I liked it more than the Darby Allin match.  Hobbs just seems to be bringing a lot more out of Punk so that he’s less the Elder Statesman of Wrestling looking to play to impress the crowd and more of a down and dirty fighter that I find much more entertaining and I suspect is the kind of wrestling that CM Punk fans want to see from the guy.  This Team Taz feud is far from over and I can only hope that the rest of the matches Punk has with them will be just as good!

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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 (09-08-2021)

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

We’re back once again… for the fourth time in a week… with more AEW action.  Needless to say that after Dynamite, Dark, and All Out last week that I’m a little burned out on wrestling and had to drag myself to the computer to get this thing done.  Still!  The show must go on, and AEW is not about to slow down when they have this much momentum behind them!  Can they capitalize on the success of All Out with a fantastic episode of Dynamite?  Let’s find out!!

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Dustin Rhodes Vs. Malakai Black

I’m a little disappointed that they didn’t hold this off for one more week to do a face to face interaction prior to the match as I’d love to hear what Dustin has to say about Blacks’ gimmick to his face, but this was still a pretty fun match.  Dustin gets a strong lead early on and lands a GREAT German Suplex in the corner, but eventually the fight goes outside the ring and Dustin is cut off with a Back Suplex through the time keeper’s table.  Black drags Dustin back in the ring and removes the turnbuckle pad before getting the heat for a while and a knee to the guy flips Dustin over for a two count.  At some point (it looks to have been the Back Suplex spot), Dustin’s knee got injured and during the heat segment he falls over from the pain which Black found HIGHLY amusing, but Dustin grits his teeth and gets back up for some back and forth action before Dustin gets his momentum and again and hits some impressive moves.  There was one weird spot during this segment though where Dustin throws Black into the ropes and expects him to bounce off.  He doesn’t though as Black gripped the ropes but Dustin can’t seem to figure that out and straight-up does an invisible Power Slam in front of everyone.  I can’t tell if that’s a botch and that Black was SUPPOSED to take it or if that’s what you should expect to happen if someone unexpectedly cuts on the breaks, but seeing him MIME the move kind of felt like one of those EXPOSING THE BUSINESS moments and it took me out of the match for a moment.  Black tries to follow up this spot with a kick to the head, but Dustin dodges and THEN gets a proper Power Slam for a two count.  Things go back in Black’s favor however when Dustin gets on the middle rope to bash him over the head in the corner only for Black to slip away and land a kick to the back of Dustin’s legs that sends him crashing to the mat.  Instead of finishing Dustin off though, Black goes to the effort of pulling Cody’s boot out from under the ring in an attempt to anger Dustin… and I GUESS he got what he wanted because Dustin is SUPER heated now and starts to kick his butt; even landing a Canadian Destroyer for a two count!  Not sure what the point of that was other than I guess to show us that Black underestimates his opponents, but regardless it’s time for him to finish this match once and for all.  He’s in the corner with the exposed turnbuckle and Dustin goes for a Bulldog but Black fights him off and then trips him into the corner when he tries to come back for him.  Dustin is dazed after taking that direct hit to the turnbuckle and he eats a Spinning Heel Kick as soon as he turns around which gets Black the pin and wins him the match.  There were a few spots in here that felt a LITTLE bit sloppy and didn’t exactly make sense to me, but both of these guys are good workers and provide an interesting contrast to each other.  I’d have liked to see this particular match on a bigger stage with a bigger build, but what we got here was still pretty fun!

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Super Wrestling: AEW – All Out 2021

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

After weeks of buildup, the start of a new Friday night show, and the arrival of one of wrestling’s biggest names, this could be the most anticipated PPV that wrestling has seen for quite some time; certainly as far as AEW who already have a high bar for these shows but those expectations have been shot into the stratosphere after everything they’ve promised and the stuff they’ve heavily hinted at!  Is this a show for the ages that will be a turning point for AEW, especially given their recent boost in popularity, or will the house of cards finally come down after all those unrealistic expectations give way to reality?  Let’s find out!!

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Orange Cassidy, Chuck Taylor, Wheeler Yuta and Jurassic Express Vs. Hardy Family Office – The Buy In Ten Man Tag Match

So in case you hadn’t heard, there was a last-minute complication that forced AEW to drop the Pac and Andrade match and move the original Buy In match to the main card; leaving a spot in the Buy In that needed to be SWIFTLY filled in.  I couldn’t tell you exactly which match was pushed to the main card (if I were to guess, MAYBE the TNT Title match) but for a match that had to come about at the eleventh hour, they managed to put on a VERY good show!  With this many guys in the ring it mostly devolves into a spot fest where all the Baby Faces get to show off while the Heels dampen their momentum, but there are some fun thru-lines throughout.  The most obvious one is between Matt Hardy and Orange Cassidy where Matt is INSISTENT on getting him in the ring to face him!  The match starts with Chuck Taylor, and he just kicks him back to the corner!  Nope!  Orange Cassidy!  Wheeler Yuta comes out and Hardy just grabs him by the head and shoves him back to his side!  NO!  ORANGE CASSIDY!  NOW!!  Then Luchasaurus comes in… and Hardy suddenly feels the urge to tag in Jack Evans who’s not happy about this but gives it his all… before getting crushed.  Things get a bit more straightforward from there with a few different lock ups that are more evenly matched until Luchasaurus gets swarmed and does the Big Man RAARRRGHHH spot to send them all flying.  It’s not until Hardy distracts Luchasaurus that Private Party are FINALLY able to cut him down, and it’s now time for Cassidy to make his move as he gives Lousy Kicks to all three of them before throwing Hardy out of the ring.  There are spots all over the place and chaos has completely taken over as I don’t think anyone GENUINELY knows who’s the legal competitor, but eventually everyone is effectively killed which leaves just Jungle Boy and Angelico in the ring.  Jack Evans jumps in and is on Angelico’s shoulders so Jungle Boy gets on Luchasaurus and they play a game of chicken that ends in Jurassic Express’s favor.  Private Party tries to take advantage of this goofiness by jumping at the precariously balanced Jungle Boy, but his flexibility allows him to dodge a Cross Body from Quen and SOMEHOW catches Kassidy then flips over backwards and lands so that Kassidy takes the brunt of the fall!

You had ONE job, Kassidy!
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