Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (04-28-2021)

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

Blood and Guts is only one week away, and while it REALLY feels like it should be at least a month down the road, AEW has done their darnedest to try and make it as big a spectacle as they can.  Will this final week of hype be enough to make it a huge success, or will the rushed build in this show mean that few will care to tune in next week?  Let’s find out!!

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Hangman Adam Page Vs. Brian Cage

Before the match can properly start, Cage and Team Taz bum rush him and stomp him into the ground before The Dark Order rushes out to make the save.  They at least manage to chase off Hook, Hobbs, and Starks, but Page is still alone with THE MACHINE who gives him a Powerbomb on the ramp before tossing him into the ring and continuing his assault.  Page tries to fight back and gets a very brief hope towards the end, but it’s ultimately a losing proposition a Cage lands the Drillclaw and wins the match in about five minutes.  It may not have been the most EXCITING match as it was essentially an extended squash, but there are several things about this that made it FANTASTIC!  Team Taz has been on a losing streak for a while and Page has been on a winning streak, so this kind of shake up is perfect for setting up a feud with some real stakes to it as Cage so effortlessly destroyed Hangman and it’s unclear if he can beat him even without getting Powerbombed at the start.  On top of that, you have Taz on commentary selling not just this one match but the story of Team Taz up to this point and how Adam Page ultimately fits into it which only adds to the tension as to what’s going to happen next.  In less than ten minutes, AEW managed to set up a new feud and give it some real weight which is impressive for any show to pull off, and even as a squash match it was fun to watch.  Not a bad start to the show if you ask me!

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (04-21-2021)

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

Another week, another episode of AEW action, though things have definitely changed now that WWE NXT is on a new night and AEW is going unopposed.  So far it has meant a pretty sizable bump in the ratings (no doubt helped by Mike Tyson’s recent appearances), but with a growing audience to satiate, can AEW put on a show that will keep the new fans coming back without losing the audience that got them here in the first place?  Let’s find out!!

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Hangman Adam Page Vs. Ricky Starks

Ricky Starks has NOT had a good go of it lately.  He came in strong with a show stealing match against Cody, but since then he’s been become kind of a joke by virtue of being the smallest guy in Taz’s stable.  Here he manages to show some great moves and hold his own against Hangman, but even then he’s fighting from underneath for most of the match.  Page is bigger, he’s faster, and even ends up fighting smarter as Starks can never seem to keep an advantage for more than a moment before Page stops his momentum in its tracks; at one point even hurting his ankle which only makes things that much more difficult for Starks.  Still, he gets in some good moves towards the end; especially a Sitout Powerbomb where he pretty much deadlifts The Hangman which was an impressive feat of core strength, before dropping him back down.  Sadly it only gets him a two count and Hangman manages to fight him back to the corner where he lands an Avalanche Fallaway Slam followed by a Lariat which gest him a two count in return.  Of course, there’s only one way to end this and so Hangman goes for his Buckshot Lariat, but Spears dodges the move and lands a hellacious looking Spear on the Hangman that gets him a VERY close two count!  Rethinking his strategy, Hangman doesn’t go for another Buckshot and instead gets Starks into a submission hold that focuses on the bad ankle which Starks is forced to tap out to; giving Hangman the win.  Starks looks good in almost every match he has and this is perhaps the best he’s looked in a while, but I’m left wondering what his role is at AEW and if Team Taz is ever going to get a significant win on this show.

Taz, seemingly just as frustrated, starts yelling at Page which allows Hook to run in and Chop Block him which gives him, Starks, and a fast arriving Brian Cage, to stomp a mud hole into the Hangman.  Before any serious damage can be done, The Dark Order rush out to chase Team Taz away; once again proving their loyalty to The Hangman who, as far as I can tell, STILL isn’t a member of the group and probably won’t be for some time.  It was a good opening match to be sure that gave Starks a bit of shine even in defeat, and if nothing else it was a MUCH better showing from The Hangman than his match against Max Caster two weeks ago.

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (04-07-2021)

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

AEW has been knocking it out of the park in recent weeks with last week’s show being one of the best episodes they’ve done in some time!  Still, it’s going to be a rough week for AEW to win the night as NXT’s final show, which is ALSO one of their Takeover events, is stacked from top to bottom with PPV caliber matches.  Can AEW put on something to compete with NXT in their final head to head week before NXT moves to Tuesday nights, or are they gonna call this one a loss from the get go?  Let’s find out!!

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Hangman Adam Page Vs. Max Caster

Caster is accompanied to the ring by Anthony Bowens

A few days ago, Dave Meltzer made a very good examination of AEW’s booking and the flaws that have crept up the last year; mostly due to the inflating roster leading to stories that are much more thinly spread.  It was a good point and Dave made it well, but for me the bigger problem is Dark and Elevation and how they affect the ranking system.  As Max Castor entered the ring, a guy we haven’t seen in weeks and rarely if ever wins matches on Dynamite, is announced as the NUMBER THREE CONTENDER.  I checked the website after the show, and he is right below Jon Moxley and two spots above Cody Rhodes; something that simply DID NOT translate in this match as even the commentators kept referring to him as a rookie.  Dark and Elevation are GREAT for getting some of these new guys ring time and for putting on some fun matches that may not have worked on Wednesdays, but using matches on there for the TV rankings ends up being jarring for us who only keep up with Dynamite.  Perhaps wins and losses should only count if they’re on Dynamite, or maybe should book people on Dynamite BEFORE they’re in the top five.  In any case, Caster ends up proving the flaws in this system as he gets systematically destroyed by The Hangman with his only moments of dominance due to Anthony Bowens’ interference.  The match is fine I suppose as a one sided beat down, but I’m just not sold on Caster as a particularly interesting heel; either when he’s getting beat up or when he’s cheating his way to the top.  That said, it could be that the match itself is kind of booked blandly and even Hangman seems kind of boring in this.  There’s this overly convoluted spot where he puts Caster crotch first on the guard rail before SLOWLY getting up on the guard rail himself to do a jumping clothesline, and yet it’s PROBABLY the most interesting spot in the whole match?  I mean what else is there?  Caster working over Hangman’s arm?  Using a chain to get a cheap shot that only gets a two count?  It just never had much of a spark for me and by the time Hangman got the Buckshot Lariat I was ready for it to be over.  AEW almost always delivers on the opening match and while this wasn’t TERRIBLE, it just wasn’t up to their usual standards.

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (01-20-2021)

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

Yes, this one is a tad on the late side which by now shouldn’t be a surprise for any of you, but it was a busy week for the rest of the site which, if you haven’t been perusing lately, is full of delightful articles and reviews for you all to enjoy!  In any case, we’re in a bit of an odd situation where we’re just coming off of their New Year’s Bash even and we’re already closing in another special in just a few weeks with their similarly titled Beach Bash.  The episode is certainly not in the most envious position as the very deliberate nadir between two big shows, but can AEW make even their slower and less explosive episodes pop like a PPV main event?  Let’s find out!!

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The Dark Order (Silver, Reynolds, and Colt Cabana) & Hangman Adam Page Vs. Chaos Project & The Hybrid2 – Eight Man Tag Match

This match was set up in celebration of Negative One’s birthday (Brodie Jr) and the best part is that they brought a cake out and tried to light it; only to realize that Daily’s Place is an OUTSIDE venue and so Grayson and Angels had to cover the candles while Anna Jay tried to light them.  Silver then leads the crowd in a rendition of Happy Birthday which is as endearing as it is out of tune.  Then Chaos Project come out so that Dr. Luther can heckle the birthday boy, and I didn’t know what I was expecting his voice to sound like but he kinda sounds like an off brand Chris Jericho which is perhaps why they get along so well.  Luther gets all up in this kid’s face and tells him that he’s going to RUIN his birthday which sets The Dark Order off as they start hammering this Mr. Burns wannabe, but then TH2 come out from the back to even the odds and the brawling makes its way to the outside of the ring.  Then Adam Page’s music hits and he has perhaps the BEST entrance of his entire AEW career!  He runs out and jumps from the stage onto the crowd below which is pretty standard, but the camera man was SO on point here that Page should send him a fruit basket.  Dude was right there below the stage so that he was pointing his camera UP at Page and followed him as he sailed through the air; making it look like he was straight up flying before crashing down like a meteorite!  As for the match itself, it’s pretty good and more or less a chaotic mess of dudes jumping around and taking bumps, but it definitely goes with super hero themed birthday party atmosphere of it all; right down to Dr Luther taking a bump into a cake.  Well he KINDA took the bump.  He instinctively put his arm between him and the table which is a good thing, but it also left his face about an inch over the cake so he had to mash himself into it to get the spot right.  With Luther out of the way and TH2 indisposed, Serpentico is alone in the ring which leaves Reynolds, Silver, and Hangman to do that awesome combination move that I love so much!  Forearm, Step Up, Stunner, Buckshot Lariat, and a bridged German Suplex for the pin!  Oh, but they aren’t done with him yet!  Negative One, the presumptive new leader of The Dark Order, has Stu Grayson hold up Serpentico so that he can wail on him with a Kendo Stick and then follows up with a stack of papers to the face that Serpentico sells like a face full of hydrochloric acid!  The match itself was probably shorter than all the shenanigans going on around it and I’m sure that’ll annoy a lot of people.  I certainly do hope that the Dark order retains at least some of its menace even if they are going in this lighthearted direction, but as a way to start off the show, it’s fun, it’s lighthearted, and how you can be mad about a kid getting to celebrate his birthday with a bunch of wrestlers?  So now that the match is over with Negative One getting his revenge and The Dark Order stand tall once again; it’s time for the big question and Jon Silver gets down on one knee to ask it!  Will Adam Page join The Dark Order!?  Well, the answer is… no.  Clearly The Dark Order wasn’t expecting that because before he can even get the full answer out they prematurely set off a pre-planned celebration; complete with confetti, titantron graphics, and cheesy fanfare to make the moment all the more tragic!  They even got a bunch of shirtless creepers in jeans and hats to boot scoot out from the back before being chased off by Stu Grayson!  Look it’s not them, it’s him!  He’s done the group thing before and he’s just not in a place in his life where he wants to do that again.  They can still be friends, right?  Well everyone looks utterly crushed about this and Page sheepishly heads to the back so maybe its choppy waters going forward as Page managed to tick off yet another faction in AEW.  Gotta feel sorry for the guy as he keeps getting himself stuck in these situations he’s just not equipped for.  A month ago I would have said this was a great time for the Dark Order to reassert themselves as bad guys and start feuding with Page, but it doesn’t look like we’re heading in that direction any time soon so we’ll have to wait and see what the plan is going forward.

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