Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (01-05-2022)

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

It’s a New Year for everyone and a new channel for AEW!  None too soon, if you ask me!  The show has never dipped so low as to compare it to WWE, but there were some rough patches in the latter half of 2021 that had me hoping that a fresh start will kick things back into gear and give us the kind of wrestling show that we want to see from AEW!  Does the move to TBS reinvigorate the show, or is it just more of the same no matter where you find it?  Let’s find out!!

.

Hangman Adam Page Vs. Bryan Danielson – AEW World Title Match

The last match felt a bit padded with the commercial breaks interrupting the ebb and flow of the action, but in the end, I think we got everything we needed to out of that match, so watching this one felt a little bit redundant.  There really isn’t much of a status quo change or some new issue that they have to work through; it’s just a shorter version of what we saw last time.  Now that’s not to say that the action isn’t great or that Danielson isn’t one of the best in-ring storytellers working today, but I didn’t find myself enjoying the sequel as much as I would have hoped.  There still feels like there’s a bit of padding here as Danielson starts the fight by intentionally stalling to try and get Hangman frustrated.  This goes on for a few minutes and is certainly a great way to start a match, but almost as soon as Hangman starts to fight back, he’s stymied by Danielson who tosses him arm first into the post, and so Danielson slows things down once again as he starts to work the arm over.  Hangman gets a break from this after hitting Danielson with a Fall Away Slam, but Danielson regains control almost immediately when he drops Hangman into the ring steps, which is the point where the blood starts flowing and is another thing I’m ambivalent of.  There’s a lot of blood in this match (Danielson gets opened ups as well) and there are a lot of head butts to make the most of it, and while I can appreciate blood and violence in certain contexts (the Street Fight on Rampage being a good example), it just felt really excessive here.  I’ve been wary about Danielson wrestling for a while now, and seeing him with a crimson mask doing running Headbutts over and over again feels like taunting at this point.  Aside from some slowness here and there and the worrisome violence, the action is as good as you’d expect.  Danielson is keeping up a good fight and Hangman looks to be in trouble throughout, but every once in a while he’ll hit a big move that sets up a Buckshot Lariat.  The first one is when Hangman catches Danielson mid-dive to hit a Deadeye on the floor.  He tosses Danielson in and sets up on the apron when Danielson comes up with the most BRILLIANT strategy imaginable to avoid the Buckshot!  He drops to the mat!  I mean yeah, it sounds simple when you say it out loud, but very few people (including Kenny Omega) seem to realize that standing is the only way the move can work.  Truly, Danielson is a master tactician in the ring!  Hangman’s second attempt happens after a Moonsault to the floor, and while Danielson stays standing for this attempt, he manages to dodge it and hits his Running Knee Strike and gets a very close two count!  Danielson remains firmly in control for a while here and even does that face stomp thing that he did to the Dark Order.  Hangman fights his way out of it and lands a rather scary-looking Back Drop Driver that leaves Danielson dazed.  Hangman goes to the apron, lines up his shot, and FINALLY hits the Buckshot Lariat which is enough to get the pin and win the match!  Hangman retains his title, and in doing so delivers Bryan Danielson his first loss at AEW!  I understand the reason behind having the last match be the longest match in AEW history, and I guess you need SOMETHING for the show’s big move to TBS, but it felt like a lot of the same stuff we saw last time, and the things they did add (i.e. the blood) didn’t make it feel any more important.  Still, not a bad way to start the show and to start the TBS era of Dynamite!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (01-05-2022)”

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!!

.

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!!

.

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…

.

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 – Full Gear 2021

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

The big show is finally here (no, not that one; he showed up months ago) and everyone is PUMPED!  Not only do we have a darn good slate of matches, including Bryan Danielson’s first PPV match at AEW, but we’ve got a possible title change on our hands as reigning champion Kenny Omega might just drop the belt to the upstart Hangman Adam Page!  It promises to be a night of great action, satisfying payoffs, and even a few tributes to legends (it’s the anniversary of Eddie Guerrero’s death so expect A LOT of Frog Splashes throughout) to make this a show to remember!  Does it live up to the hype and deliver on all its promises, or has the AEW train finally run out of steam!?  Let’s find out!!

.

Before we even get into our Buy-In match, Tony Schiavone calls Dante Martin to the ring to discuss the offer Team Taz made to him on Friday’s Rampage.  Before he can answer though, The Acclaimed come down to the ring and Caster raps his own offer to Dante to join them instead!  Now this is starting to get interesting, not just because I think he’d be a very good addition to The Acclaimed (he absolutely would), but I’m starting to like this idea of every group at AEW wanting Dante Martin on their side and having to fight through each other to get him!  I can just picture Dante Martin sitting on a throne or on that Judy Bagwell forklift thing as he looks upon the wrestlers and managers fighting in the ring for his contract!  The Acclaimed though are trying to play it a bit cool and not look so desperate, as Anthony Bowens reiterates the offer while throwing in an implicit threat on top of it.  As enticing as the offer may be, Dante knocks them out of the ring and lands a Springboard Dive from the top rope to the floor which I think got the message across quite well and was a fun start to the Buy-In!

.

Nyla Rose & Jamie Hayter Vs. Thunder Rosa & Hikaru Shida

Nyla is accompanied to the ring by Vickie Guerrero

All four of the women in this match are part of the TBS Tournament which begs the question as to why they don’t just DO another match of the tournament here, but I guess they want to draw it out as long as they can so they have these four try and show how awesome they are so that you get more invested in it, which… I mean I GUESS it works because everyone looks really good here!  Even Jamie Hayter, who hasn’t really had a killer match since she’s returned to AEW, manages to pull off some impressive moves like when she stops Shida from making it back to her corner with a German Suplex!

“So close, AND YET SO FAR!” “DARN YOU, BITTERSWEET IDIOMS!” *SMASH*
Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW – Full Gear 2021”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (11-10-2021)

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

It’s the last Dynamite before Full Gear and AEW’s last chance to sell to us on their main show!  We of course have Rampage the night before, but with two hours of TV time, this is the show that will get the most done and tie up the most loose-ends!  Is it a satisfying Go Home show to give Full Gear the hype it needs, or are we just fumbling our way through this until we get to the other side and can start fresh?  Let’s find out!!

.

Bryan Danielson Vs. Rocky Romero

Romero is accompanied to the ring by Best Friends and Orange Cassidy

Before we get into any of this, I want it to be clear that I’ve never seen a Rocky Romero fight and I have no idea what Chaos is; nor do I fully understand what Orange Cassidy’s role in it is.  I’m glad that AEW is working well with a bunch of companies and that we get Forbidden Door matches like this every once in a while, but I’m a guy who covers this show pretty consistently and even I felt a bit out of the loop on this.  Perhaps I’m overstating the case, but AEW already has a problem with their YouTube shows intermingling with Dynamite and Rampage, and adding New Japan stuff to that mix isn’t the best idea unless they REALLY take the time to go into it.  In any case, this is pretty much just a warm-up match for Danielson to get ready for his fight against Miro at the PPV, and unlike the Omega match that opened on the last Dynamite, I think this did a solid job of building him up and getting fans excited to see what happens on the big show.  For the most part, it’s a submission battle as both go back and forth trying to get some leverage with Romero focusing almost exclusively on the arm.  He proves to be a wily competitor as Danielson has some big moves to show off and gets some serious damage in, but there’s always the threat that Romero will grab the arm out of nowhere and try to break it such as when Danielson lands an Elbow Drop on the dude’s leg and ends up having to scramble his way to the ropes as Rocky locks in the Cross Arm Breaker.  At one point Danielson is tossed through the ropes and ends up face to face with Cassidy who puts his hands in his pockets; effectively distracting Danielson as Romero charges from the ring and lands a Suicide Dive.  This gives Rocky an opening for a few good moves and to crush Danielson’s arm some more, but they both end up pretty worn down by German Suplexes, Hurricanrana, and a whole lot of punches and kicks in the middle of the ring.  Eventually, the two start trading submissions and Romero gets the full extension of the Cross Arm Breaker, but he doesn’t get him to tap as Danielson forces Romero to break up his hold by pinning his shoulders and getting a two-count.  Danielson is still in this manages to stop a Sliced Bread attempt in its tracks which leaves Rocky on the ground, and he eats a bunch of stomps from Danielson who goes in for the LaBelle Lock.  He can’t quite get the move on as Romero is fighting back, but he swiftly switches tactics and locks in the Tequila Sunrise which is finally enough to get Romero to tap out.  It was an old-school bout between two guys who know how to work that kind of match, and while it was perhaps a BIT too competitive for Danielson who’s going into a big match on the PPV; it still worked better than the Omega match.  Romero is a guest of the show and guests are usually portrayed to be VERY tough, and the stakes in Danielson’s match aren’t as high as in Omega’s.  Frankly, I’m about as interested in seeing Danielson go up against Cassidy as I would Omega or Hangman Adam Page, so I think I might be pulling just a LITTLE bit more for Miro to win the tournament at Full Gear!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (11-10-2021)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (11-03-2021)

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

We’re back with another week of AEW action and I think I’m finally getting back into the swing of things with the very relaxing week away from wrestling followed by the lurch of three episodes of the darn thing back to back to back!  We’re only a few weeks away from Full Gear and the card is starting to get stacked, but can they put this PPV over the finish line with only a few episodes left to go?  Let’s find out!!

.

Kenny Omega Vs. Alan Angels

Omega is accompanied to the ring by Michael Nakazawa

I mean hey, Omega and Angels DID have a great match back before the Heel turn, so starting the show with a rematch sounds like a good idea to me; especially since Full Gear is less than two full weeks away and Omega is fighting in the main event!  Angels hits a Dropkick the moment the bell rings and tries to overwhelm Omega as quickly as possible, but he only gets a few shots in the corner before Kenny kicks him away and is in control of the match.  Omega gets the heat for a bit as Angels is putty in his hands, but instead of this being a quick squash match Angels proves to be competitive as he fights off a lot of Omega’s big moves like the Snap Dragon, and he even dodges a V-Trigger which causes Kenny to bounce off the ropes like a cartoon character and leads to a rollup two count for Angels.  The comeback from Angels doesn’t stop there as he moves to the apron and dodges another charge from Kenny who goes tumbling to the outside, and he follows up with a Suicide Dive.  He gets some solid offense in on the outside, throws Omega back in, and lands a Diving Cross Body for yet another near fall.  Angels makes his biggest mistake here as he goes back up top to land a Frog Splash which Kenny gest the knees up for, and Kenny is back in control of this match.  He doesn’t lose the advantage again for the rest of the match, but he does have a surprisingly hard time finishing off Angels.  A Buckle Bomb and Sit Out Powerbomb combo only gets a two count, a One Winged Angel attempt is reversed into a rollup, and even when he lands the V-Trigger, he doesn’t get the win because he did a half-hearted pin attempt.  It’s not until he follows up with two more V-Triggers and gives him a SERIOUS pin that he finally keeps him down for the three count and wins the match.  Omega is upset about this and has Nakazawa get him a chair so he can put Angels through it with a One Winged Angel.  Since The Dark Order didn’t accompany him to the ring and since the ref CAN’T DO ANYTHING TO STOP THIS, Hangman Adam Page comes to the rescue and takes out Nakazawa on his way down to the ring.  Omega threatens Hangman with the chair, but Alan Angels wrestles it out of his grasp and Hangman goes for the Buckshot Lariat.  Omega dodges and scampers up the ring while Hangman cuts a promo about how he’s gonna win at Full Gear.  When Omega first faced Alan Angels, there was some backlash because it was this guy out of nowhere hanging with a superstar like Kenny, and some felt it was dragging Omega down.  I didn’t agree in the slightest back then but PERHAPS there’s a tiny bit of merit to it here as I don’t think this is the time to give Kenny a tough match.  He’s weeks away from a PPV match against Hangman which is the blow-off to a years’ long feud, and to me that should feel as BIG and EPIC as possible.  Instead, Kenny has felt like a bit of a joke the last few weeks as the new guys like Danielson are already putting into question his status as the best wrestler at AEW.  I mean look, MJF also has a match on the PPV and HE didn’t have a drag-out match with whatever his name was a week ago!  Perhaps AEW has some plans for Angels or they just feel that you can’t open the show with a squash match, and while I will concede that the action itself was VERY good for both guys, I still don’t think this is exactly what Kenny needed at this specific moment in time.

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (11-03-2021)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (10-27-2021)

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

We’re back with another week of AEW action; only this week is different, isn’t it?  It’s not just ANY episode, but the SPOOOOKY episodes as this is the last one before the best holiday of the year!  Does AEW put on a Halloween show to remember, or will we this all remind us of Halloween Havoc 98?  Let’s find out!!

.

Bobby Fish Vs. CM Punk

So just in case the angle from last week didn’t make it clear, Fish has gone full heel and fights this match like one.  It starts out pretty even at first with neither side giving up too much ground or going too flashy with it, but things start to pick up when Punk lands two Scoop Slams back to back for a two count.  He then goes for the GTS, but this is way too early to go for the finisher and he’s REALLY close to the ropes, so naturally Bobby escapes by yanking on them for leverage and this gives him enough of an opening to land some well-placed strikes that severally damage Punk’s knee.  The knee will end up being a huge factor for the rest of the match as every chance he has to fight off Fish and retake the advantage is hampered by his injury, but Fish is not having much better luck putting Punk away since he’s the tenacious Baby Face with a fighting spirit!  Fish makes his mistake when he puts Punk on the turnbuckle who finally starts to fight back with a bunch of Elbow Strikes until Fish falls to the mat.  Punk lands a Top Rope Elbow Drop but doesn’t go for the pin and instead uses this time to recover and he puts up a better fight when they start brawling again.  Punk seems to be getting the advantage until Fish lands another kick to the knee and starts running the ropes for some momentum.  Out of NOWHERE, Punk lands a Jump Kick and follows with a Swinging Neck Breaker which stops Fish’s momentum in its tracks, and a Knee Strike in the corner followed by a Short Arm Clothesline gets Punk a two count.  Distressed by this outcome but feeling confident about his chances, Punk puts Fish on his shoulders to try the GTS again.  Fish escapes however and lands a Dragon Screw followed by a Sliding Clotheslines which actually made me think for a second that Punk was going to lose which would be a HUGE boon for Fish if they want to give him a serious heel run!  It was not meant to be however as Punk manages to sweep his legs out and flips over into a Jackknife pin that Fish bridges out of which was VERY impressive to see, but the Punk gets him on his shoulders and lands the GTS which is finally enough to get him the pin and win the match!  This was a lot like the Danielson/Dustin match from the last episode, but I think they pulled it off MUCH better here!  Dustin didn’t quite reach the depths of desperation that Punk is showing here, and Fish’s offense is much more brutal than Danielson’s was, so there was a lot more drama and energy which made this a great opener!  Perhaps not the BEST outcome for Bobby Fish who effectively lost to a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest, but he’ll have his day soon enough!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (10-27-2021)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (10-23-2021)

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

We’re back with more AEW Saturday Night Action that I didn’t get to until… well probably TUESDAY if we’re being honest which is especially rough since AEW is going back to Wednesdays and that show has already aired by the time I get this recap out!  Oh well, this is the life I chose and it involves weird wrestling schedules.  As long as the action is good, it’s not too bad of a tradeoff!  Does this episode pack a punch or did I procrastinate on a show that probably wasn’t worth sitting through in the first place?  Let’s find out!!

.

Bryan Danielson Vs. Dustin Rhodes – AEW World Title Tournament Match

I checked and this is another match that Danielson didn’t get to have when he was at WWE which makes me think that he came into AEW with his bucket list of matches as a rider on his contract.  The match starts out okay as Dustin is meeting him in terms of strength and is at least staying competitive in terms of technique, but it soon becomes clear that Dustin has a problem with stamina and has to take a break pretty early in the match just to catch his breath.  Danielson is magnanimous enough to give him a moment to do so, but as soon as Dustin comes back he shows no mercy and immediately takes Dustin to the ground to work over the legs.  It certainly isn’t Dustin’s night as he spends forever on the mat and can barely keep himself standing against Danielson’s offense when he does manage to stand back up.  Now I get what they were doing here as the frustration on Dustin’s face was pretty evident, but I still found a good chunk of this match to be slow and methodical in a way that I didn’t find very exciting.  It’s not until Dustin starts to mount a comeback that things pick up, but even then it comes in fits and spurts instead of a true comeback.  Dustin manages to fight off an attempted German Suplex before landing one of his own, but then Danielson takes him down again and starts working the arm.  There’s a good stretch where Dustin gets a Powerslam followed by a Hangman Neckbreaker for a two count that leads to this very cool Flying Clothesline, but as soon as that’s done Danielson locks in the LaBelle Lock, and Dustin has to scramble his way to the ropes.  Danielson starts laying in some kicks (at which point Dustin says the F word on NATIONAL TELEVISION) and they start trading blows back and forth.  Dustin goes for the Uppercut, but Danielson dodges it and transitions into a Crucifix pin for a two count; kicking him a few times for good measure.  Dustin is in the corner after this and so Danielson charges but ends up eating a MASSIVE Clothesline from Dustin that turns him inside out before landing the Pile Driver for a two count.  Dustin is starting to feel the momentum and so tries to follow up quickly with a Suplex, but Danielson breaks out of it and manages to lock in the Guillotine.  Dustin is fighting back with all his might, but the submission ends up being too much for him to overcome and he passes out in the middle of the ring; giving Danielson the win and advancing him in the tournament.  It wasn’t a long match but I still would have cut a few minutes out as it took a bit too long to get going and the comeback didn’t have enough of a punch to it.  A solid effort from two very talented guys but far from the best match we’ve seen AEW open with.

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (10-23-2021)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (10-16-2021)

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

Having the week away from wrestling certainly helped me relax and refocus, but then having three hours of shows back to back is perhaps balancing out the calm I gained from being away for a bit.  Still, this is AEW and even if their schedule can be a bit intense, especially when I’m working on so many other things recently, their shows do tend to be some of the more entertaining things I see all week.  Is this yet another fun show from AEW to lift my spirits, or can I already feel the burnout creeping back in?  Let’s find out!!

CM Punk starts the show with his entrance as he’s joining the commentary team once again.  The crowd isn’t sick of it yet, so why fix what isn’t broken?  It’s not like he’s resting on his laurels as he IS having matches pretty regularly, but coming out for the entrance is definitely gonna help his longevity and the crowd is more than happy to see it!

.

Dante Martin Vs. Malaki Black

Dante Martin is accompanied to the ring by Lio Rush

Malaki Black has been quite an interesting person to watch these past few weeks as he’s run through the Baby Faces of the company with obviously heelish intent, but the crowd refuses to boo for him and instead seem to WANT him to destroy everyone in his path.  AEW has at least reacted to this by adding shades of gray to Cody’s character in response to the crowd turning on him, but they seem to be staying with the course as Dante is yet another Baby Face for this guy to trounce.  Then again, he’s got Lio Rush in his corner who is serving up some serious Heel vibes, so perhaps they were already anticipating the crowd turning on Dante and are giving him a manager to ease the transition.  What matters most however is the match which is another solid showing from both Martin and Black.  Martin continues to show off his high flying skills, but his lack of power leaves him VERY vulnerable to Black’s devastating offense.  He manages to hold his own in so far as keeping at arms-length of Black, but there’s no path to winning if he can’t get any moves in and so every time he tries to land a hit it’s either countered or shaken off by Black who favors grounding him with submission moves for most of this match.   Dante does eventually find his groove and gets a few good moves in against Black, starting with a Reverse Hurricanrana that’s followed by a Springboard Senton.  He then tries to follow up with a Double Jump Moonsault, but Black dodges and starts slugging away at him.  To everyone’s surprise, Dante manages to land an Enziguri during this strike exchange and it manages to stagger Black.  Not to be underestimated however, Black quickly recovers and lands a Middle Rope Meteora that’s followed by a Roundhouse Kick and a German Suplex combo that was EASILY the highlight of the match, but Dante somehow managed to kick out of it!  To teach this kid a lesson about staying down when beaten, he drags Dante up to the corner for a Superplex, but Dante fights back and lands Top Rope Hurricanrana which SHOULD be the start of his comeback but Dante’s knee has taken A LOT of abuse this match between the submission from Black and his own wrestling style that it’s finally giving out and he’s not able to capitalize on his spectacular moves.  Black manages to kick out of a slow cover from Dante after finally landing that Double Jump Moonsault and quickly reverses it into a Single Leg Boston Crab.  However, this is where things get kinda weird as Black lets go of Dante to start clutching his stomach.  Excalibur thinks it’s rib problems, CM Punk thinks the DARKNESS WITHIN HIM is melting his insides, but either way, it allows Dante to try a Springboard Stomp to finish the match.  Black, whose stomach problems aren’t so bad that he doesn’t see what’s happening, dodges the move and hits Dante with a Roundhouse Kick which is finally enough to get the pin and win the match.  I can’t say that I liked the ending as Malaki being nearly undone by an unforeseen bout of indigestion was not how I would have built to the climax, but it was still a solid match between two great workers at the company!  I don’t get the sense that the crowd is turning on Dante the way they did Cody so perhaps Black hasn’t gone FULL Fiend yet, but I’m still curious what Lio Rush’s role in all of this is going to be as he didn’t even try to interfere in the match.  Maybe he saw what happened to Chavo and decided against being that kind of manager; at least for the time being!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (10-16-2021)”

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!!

.

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!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (09-24-2021) – Grand Slam”