Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (03-03-2021) – Crossroads

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

It’s the Go Home show for AEW’s first PPV of the year, and it’s been an interesting journey; the least of which because of Shaq of all people entering the ring on this episode of Dynamite!  Still, AEW is nothing if not flexible and they’ve turned bad situations into pure gold in the past!  Will they manage to wrangle all their disparate pieces and wonky storylines into a cohesive final sendoff to get us all hyped for the PPV?  Let’s find out!!

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Cody Rhodes & Red Velvet Vs. Shaq & Jade Cargill

Starting things of with the feud that would not die, no matter how many things went wrong!  First Brandi had to be replaced by Red Velvet due to her and Cody getting pregnant which isn’t a BAD thing, but then Cody got hurt recently in one of his matches, the NBA All Star game happening on Sunday which meant the match had to be moved off the PPV, and more than anything else it feels like Shaq is barely even involved in this feud.  He’s not made a single live appearance on television and the few taped moments we got were rather underwhelming.  It just feels like something that AEW has to do; trading off Shaq’s popularity and the eyeballs this match will get versus what a mess it could easily turn into.  So after ALL that build up and after all the missteps, the match itself… is just fine.  It’s decent enough given the fact that they’ve got one (arguably two) untrained competitors in there and it helps that both Shaq and Jade have enough personality to not seem COMPLETELY lost in the ring while Cody and Red Velvet do a fine job selling for them. Cody knocks Shaq off the apron at which point Austin Gunn tries smashing him in the back with a chair which Shaq no sells and proceeds to suplex both him and his brother which was perhaps the biggest pop of the match.  Red Velvet then does a darn good Moonsault from the top rope to the floor, but it WAS a bit strange is just how much collateral damage there was as she took out not just Jade but Cody and QT Marshall as well.  Frankly the best aspects of this match are like that; all spots no smarts.  The moments that do feel more like a real wrestling match such as when Jade tries a Figure Four Leg Lock don’t look great, but then they start pulling out tables for absolutely no reason and you know that SOMEONE is going through them at some point which keeps the excitement and the momentum up; even though this isn’t a No-DQ match and there shouldn’t even BE tables.  In any case, they’re holding off on that for now as Shaq and Cody jump back in with the former landing a decent Power Bomb on the latter, but Cody follows up with His Kitty Cat Uppercut and he actually manages to just barely slam Shaq onto the mat which was pretty impressive, but the sloppiness kind of undercut the impact.  He goes for a pin but is tossed off with great force which looked a lot better than the slam, and he realizes it’s time to get Red Velvet back in there before he injures himself further.  There’s a Spine Buster from Jade that looked good (not as good as Will Hobbs’s, but still decent) which forces Cody to break up the pin and he finally decides it’s go big or go home as he dives at Shaq and they both tumble through the two tables from earlier.  It’s a huge pop from the crowd that forces Jade and Red Velvet to kind of stand around while waiting for everyone to calm down, and when they do Red Velvet gives Jade a Spear that the camera almost missed.  They start trading Suplex attempts as neither one can hold onto the other long enough to execute am over, but finally Jade hits Red Velvet with a move that I’m assuming is her finisher and gets the three count.  I’m not sure what it is exactly, but it kind of looks like a Sit-Out Powerbomb only with the opponent facing the other way so their face hits the mat instead of their back.  In any case, Jade and Shaq won which I’m sure the latter is going to be quite please about once he wakes up in the hospital.  Yes, apparently two particle board tables aren’t enough to break Shaq’s fall and so he’s wheeled out on a stretcher to an ambulance where, and I’m not making this up, the dude just DISAPPEARS!  Like a freaking wizard, or perhaps like Bray Wyatt, he’s apparently brushed up on his magic and just poofed out of existence as soon as he was in the ambulance!  I don’t know what the heck any of that means or frankly what this match was supposed to accomplish, but I had a decent time with it which is SO much more than I had expected.  I was prepared to write this match off completely as nothing more than a publicity stunt, and while the focus on big spots and flashy moves still kind of makes it one of those, everyone ended up looking good in it and no one embarrassed themselves.  Red Velvet is a fine worker, Jade Cargill is someone who can be darn good with some seasoning, and even Shaq managed to pull this off despite his clear lack of experience!  I don’t want to see another one of these anytime soon, but it was a better payoff to this boring story than it had any right to be.

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

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (11-18-2020)

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

Another week means another two hours of AEW wrestling goodness!  Well actually it’s THREE hours, but I’m still not caught up on Dark which is proving to be more and more of a problem as angles and storylines that affect Dynamite play out on that show.  Look, I’m a busy man!  I can’t be watching more wrestling AND keep up my absurdly tight schedule of a wrestling recap and a Sonic comic every week!  In any case, Does AEW have a fantastic night of Dynamite action in store for us or are they still finding their path after the big blow offs from the PPV?  Let’s find out!!

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Young Bucks Vs. Top Flight (Darius Martin & Duante Martin) – AEW Tag Team Title Match

They aren’t exactly taking my advice of vacating the titles while Matt Jackson heals his leg, but at least they took a week off to give them a bit of rest before jumping right into a match mere days after their thirty or so minute bout with FTR.  Now it seems like they might be going the Cody route and use the title as a chance to bring up some new talent with Top Flight getting not just a chance at the titles but also an extended video package explaining their backstory and why they want to wrestle in AEW.  Now it sounds like they have in fact signed with AEW which is a good thing for all involved; not just because it means a return on investment on all this TV time they’re giving them, but Top Flight seem to be a PHENOMENAL team!  A little green to be sure, but they put on a heck of a performance here against The Bucks.  Back when The Bucks were facing off with The Lucha Bros during those early PPVs, I was of the opinion that they were too spot heavy and didn’t tell a story or had any weight to it.  I don’t know if I’d feel the same way watching them again, but I definitely got that feeling watching this match with Top Flight.  They have spot on physicality and their gymnastic skills rival that of The Bucks, but you can tell which team is following a script and which one’s leading the show.  After an early flurry of flips and spins from Top Flight, The Bucks work to ground Top Flight with big moves and submissions, but the fresh young go getters prove to be more resilient than they expected and make a valiant rally to even things.  This is where they show a bit more of their technical side instead of just their flips and kicks which is solid but still could use some fine tuning, though perhaps the most impressive and devastating spot being a Hurricanrana onto Matt Jackson that takes him from the turnbuckle to flat on the mat for a two count.  What they do have down though (Duante in particular) is selling as the Bucks regain control and just tear these two apart.  Darius keeps getting swatted off the apron over and over again which leaves Duante in the middle against both Bucks who basically turn him into a crash test dummy.  A spear from Matt, an Assisted Sliced Bread off the top rope, and finally he eats a BTE trigger before getting pinned by Nick Jackson.  The Hybrid 2 for whatever reason start attacking Top Flight as soon as the match is over, but they get chased off by The Bucks rather quickly.  I guess I don’t mind that they’re building up a feud here so that Top Flight doesn’t get lost in the shuffle, but it does kind of come out of nowhere and Top Flight are not the ones who look good by the end of it.  Still, it was a really fun and really impressive match from Top Flight with a good amount of help from The Bucks.  It definitely feels like there’s room for Top Flight to grow and I’m very interested to see where they go from here.

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (11-18-2020)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (11-11-2020)

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

We’re just a few days out from Full Gear which means it’s been a VERY busy week here what with three shows in a seven day period of time.  The time after a PPV is usually a good time to cleanse the pallet and begin things anew as the major storylines up to this point had gotten definitive payoffs on Saturday.  With a clean slate to work from, what new stories will AEW start to tell and will they be as good as the ones we have just closed the book on?  Let’s find out!!

 Team Taz comes out to announce that Brian Cage will be wrestling RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW, but before we can get on with the carnage, Taz calls out to Darby Allin (the new TNT champion) up in the cheap seats and advises him to not interfere or else he’ll be turned into a bloody smear on the ground.  He then starts talking smack to the visibly nonplussed Darby Allin about how he’s a TRUE wrestler and has no respect for the legends that came before.  Cage’s opponent on the other hand, is a WONDERFUL athlete and a genuine challenger for Brian Cage, and that challenger is…

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Brian Cage Vs. Matt Sydal

Kind of a random note here, but I have never seen Sydal wrestle anywhere else but here, and do you know who he reminds me of?  Dolph Ziggler.  They KIND of have similar faces and they both seem to have a retro cornball thing going on, but while I GENUINELY love Ziggler and think he’s a fine wrestler, Sydal is pretty amazing and I’m a little bit surprised at just how good this match is!  I figured it would just be another squash match to give Brian Cage an edge in wherever his story goes next, but was a fun competitive match between two guys with vastly different skill sets while still managing to work together seamlessly.  Sydal’s Achilles heel seems to be his ego as he takes every opportunity to mug to the crowd, and against another opponent that would probably be fine… but he’s up against THE MACHINE Brian Cage who is not easy to take down and is VERY quick to get back up.  After an initial flurry from Sydal, Cage takes firm control of this match and tosses Cage around the ring which under normal circumstances would be the end of Sydal, but he manages to tough out of it and gives Cage a run for his money.  Cage goes for some sort of move off the ropes but Sydal manages to reverse it into a Powerbomb and follows up with a Meteora.  Instead of pressing the advantage with a few moves on the ground though, Sydal goes back to the top rope which gives Cage enough time to roll out of the way.  Fortunately Sydal manages to avoid a Powerbomb from Cage and keeps up the offensive but just can’t put Cage away no matter how many kicks and flips he does.  Perhaps the most impressive moment is when Cage goes for a Powerbomb and Sydal somehow flips it into a Hurricanrana into a pin, and yet it’s STILL not enough to put Cage away!  Despite putting up a valiant fight, it’s not Sydal’s night to win as he once again goes for a move from the top rope but Cage grabs him out of mid-air and drops him into a Drillclaw; pinning Sydal and winning the match.  As soon as the match is over, Ricky Starks grabs the mic to proclaim his intentions of challenging Darby Allin for the TNT title because he is now finally ranked and he and his team will DESTROY anyone who dares to get in the way of his path to glory!  Considering the promo that came before it and how much Taz is pumping up his two boys for greatness it would have been the perfect time to have a squash match to make Cage look as strong as possible, but instead he had a great match with Sydal and still looked great by the end of it.  Team Taz’s story got derailed a bit by Lance Archer getting COVID, but it looks like things are back on track and I can only hope they have big plans for not just these three but for Will Hobbs as well!  He’s still owed that six man tag match, right?

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (11-04-2020)

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

I don’t know about you, but I’ve barely gotten ANY sleep this week and this whole “wrestling” thing feels a bit small and inconsequential given what’s going on in the US right now.  Hopefully by the time we get to the PPV on Saturday the votes will be tallied and we can all focus on fun things again, but there’s no doubt that AEW has a big uphill battle here with this Go Home show leading into Full Gear.  Do they manage to put on something memorable despite the world being laser focused on politics this week, or will it get lost in the shuffle like everything else?  Let’s find out!!

We begin the episode with Dasha interviewing Jericho (flanked by Jake Hager and Santana) who spends a good few minutes praising Jake Hager for his win at Bellator last week which hey, good for him!  It was certainly better than in his last match where he punched a dude in the groin and it got called a No Contest, but before Jericho can finish singing his praises, MJF comes in and interrupts them to tell him how much he appreciates the opportunity he’s been given.  Jericho, not too happy about being interrupted, doesn’t share this enthusiasm and in fact claims that MJF lacks something vital to be part of The Inner Circle; a Killer Instinct.  The same Killer Instinct that got Jake fifteen stiches in a fight he ended up winning and earned Santana his reputation as a ruthless fighter in the world of wrestling.  MJF?  Well until he proves otherwise, Jericho believes he’s just soft, and that’s just not going to work for them.  MJF doesn’t like any of these accusations and storms off; leaving Jericho to head to the announcers desk as he’ll be calling matches all night.  I kind of wish they’d also let Santana and Hager get sit at the desk too, but too many heels running the show and with Eric Bischoff having JUST shown up last week, people might start getting flashbacks to Souled Out and nobody wants that.

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Sammy Guevara & Ortiz Vs. MJF & Wardlow

Okay, quick question.  Perhaps I’m just hearing things, but they played the Inner Circle’s theme song here for Ortiz and Sammy’s entrance… and doesn’t it kind of sound like a knock off NWO theme?  I don’t recall ever hearing it before as they always used Jericho’s song Judas, and it just reminded me of that; especially when it starts with a deep voiced dude saying THE INNER CIRCLE which is not unlike how the NWO’s theme starts.  In any case (before I go on any OTHER weird tangents), let’s talk about the match itself.  More than any other story line for this upcoming PPV, including the Moxley match, the tag titles, and ESPECIALLY Sammy’s feud with Matt Hardy, the unrest within The Inner Circle brought about by MJF’s attempts to join them has been rather compelling so far and this match being the first flare up of this tension means it will certainly have consequences for the story on Saturday and going forward.  Now this might be a tag match, but for the most part it’s really all about Sammy and MJF with Wardlow and Ortiz being there to give the other two an opportunity to strut their stuff.  Sammy in particular looks VERY good here with an early hot tag that has him overcoming both Wardlow and MJF with relative ease.  The guy has had a ROUGH time of it the last few months with controversies, botches, and injuries overshadowing everything else, but his performance here is a strong first step for him to regain his clout as one of wrestling’s rising young stars.  MJF looks good here as well, but for most of the match he’s fighting with the upper hand and isn’t really pushing himself.  He’s has had his share of rough matches, but by design he’s never really excelled at that as he gets desperate way to quickly and resorts to cheap tricks at the slightest hint of a disadvantage, which goes towards Jericho’s assessment of him being soft.  He’s not to be discounted however even if he starts to waiver under pressure, and once it’s Sammy and MJF alone in the ring, the both of them start to work out their frustrations on each other in an excellent display of acrobatic violence.  Sammy ends up proving himself here as he actually manages to get the advantage and nearly gets a pin on MJF, and even though Wardlow breaks it up its clear that Sammy might just be the better fighter.  Ortiz gets back in the ring after dealing with Wardlow on the outside and him and Sammy get MJF on the turnbuckle.  They are setting up a tandem Superplex, but Wardlow comes in and suplexes all three of them with his mighty muscles, and the best part of this is MJF’s over the top selling as he seems to have taken the brunt of the damage while Wardlow poses for the audience.  All of this is fun and it does a good job of setting up the important dynamics between these wrestlers, but sadly things start to go off the rails at the end.  Sammy seems poised to win this if he can just get back himself and MJF back into the ring, but then Matt Hardy attacks him with a chair and not even a minute later MJF gets Ortiz into his Salt of the Earth arm bar where he taps out almost immediately.  MJF and Wardlow win the match and start heading for the back, but then MJF breaks off and sprints towards Jericho at the announce table; spearing him in his seat and having to be dragged away by Wardlow as Jericho gingerly gets up and smiles at his assailant.  Perhaps this man DOES have a Killer Instinct and Jericho will be surprised at what happens on Saturday!  The ending drags the match down considerably for me, but I liked the performances of everyone involved and MJF proves once again just how good he is at playing a character while also putting on a great wrestling match.  Presumably he’s going to win on Saturday or some other shenanigans will ensue as I doubt they’re going to drop this storyline with a clean Jericho victory, and I can only hope a long convoluted character drama already set up for all five (soon to be six!) members of the Inner Circle; like Shakespeare but with more chair shots!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (11-04-2020)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (05-20-20)

AEWDYNAMITE

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

It seems like yesterday and also a million years ago that we were watching Jon Moxley win the title at Revolution; belt raised, the crowd cheering, and all was right with the world.  Now we’re just days away from Double or Nothing and things have certainly changed since then, but AEW has been doing their absolute best to put on good shows and get us pumped for the card this weekend.  Is this go-home show the capstone to weeks of goodwill and excellent content that will make Double or Nothing a big hit for the company?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with The Inner Circle arriving at the stadium in a limo which SOUNDS extravagant, but I’m guessing there aren’t a lot of people chopping at the bit right now to rent one of those (you know, what with the WORLDWIDE PANDEMIC and everything), so they probably got a good deal on it.  Still; there’s nothing quite like watching Jericho in sunglasses and a branded bandana climb out of one of those with a bat named Floyd in his right hand.  This is also probably a good time to correct something I said last week.  I thought that when Jericho announced the Stadium Stampede match that it was going to be the main event of this episode and not a part of Double or Nothing.  They’ve since made it VERY clear that that is not the case, but if the Inner Circle isn’t fighting The Elite tonight, then what do they have up their sleeves instead!?  ANYWAY!  On to the first match!

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Jon Moxley Vs. Ten The Creeper

Before the match begins, Brodie Lee comes out with Ten The Creeper along with Alex Reynold and John Silver who we haven’t seen in quite a while and are carrying the title belt that Lee stole from Moxley as well as a few other Creepers for good measure.  It’s clear that despite Ten being the one who’s actually going to fight, this is still all about Brodie Lee and John Moxley so the fight itself is almost immaterial to what happens before and after it.  Brodie gives a pep talk to Ten The Creeper and the AEW locker room, and despite a few hiccups in his delivery (he seems to stumble a bit here and there on his word choice), he does a lot of great work here to build up The Dark Order and his match at Double or Nothing.  My favorite part was when Brodie Lee admits that he HAS to win his match at the PPV, not for his own sake but for the sake of his followers; to prove to them that The Dark Order isn’t a joke and that they shouldn’t regret their decision to join.  I’m glad that he’s getting to the point where he’s talking about more than just himself as it’s a bit difficult to understand why ANYONE would become a Creeper if it didn’t benefit them at all and if the leader was a one-dimensional jerk bag.  Sufficiently pepped for the task at hand, Ten The Creeper is left in the ring while the rest of The Dark Order leaves him to his task of softening up Jon Moxley for the match on Saturday.  Still seems a bit optimistic considering that Moxley makes short work of the guy as soon as he gets in the ring!  Oh sure, Ten gets a couple of moves in including a decent looking Rip Cord, but it doesn’t take long for Moxley to land a Paradigm Shift which leaves Ten The Creeper more winded than if he’d been blasted in the stomach with a bowling ball.  Moxley easily picks up another win but he’s not done yet!  In perhaps his biggest heel move since he became champion, Moxley puts Ten The Creeper’s arm in a chair and gives Brodie Lee ten seconds to come out and give the belt back or else his precious follower is going to pay the consequences.  Now unfortunately this doesn’t go where I had hoped it would.  What happens is that Brodie Lee gest on the big screen, calls Moxley a jerk, and then leaves the building with the belt; leaving Moxley to do exactly what he promised to in the middle of the ring without even the slightest bit of resistance from The Exalted One.  To me, this would have been a really good opportunity for Brodie Lee to show that he ACTUALLY cares about his men by having his Creepers try to stop Moxley, or even for him to outsmart Moxley in some way by threatening to destroy the belt which might have made Moxley decide NOT to break Ten The Creeper’s arm.  Instead, he’s still being written as rather one-note and is yet another sign that The Dark Order needs a guy like Evil Uno who can thread the role a bit better and would certainly be a huge asset to Brodie Lee’s development of this character.  I’m sure the match will be fine on the PPV and it’s clear they’re working with what they have since MJF was taken out of the picture for so long (I’m guessing that he was in line for a title shot next), but there are still ways to make this even better than it already is.

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (03-11-20)

AEWDYNAMITE

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

We’re back with even more of the Wednesday Night Wars and AEW’s weekly shot across the bow!  With Revolution behind us and the Blood and Guts special mere weeks away, do they succeed at building up the feuds and alliances that will define the next few months of their promotion?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with an Adam Page interview as Tony Schiavone asks him who his MYSTERY tag team partner will be.  Yeah, so as it turns out, putting on ONE OF THE GREATEST TAG TEAM MATCHES OF ALL TIME has left its mark on at least one of the competitors as Kenny Omega is out of action for a few weeks from a hand injury which means that Page has to team up with someone for this match and for some reason he felt the need to keep it a secret.  A mystery partner angle isn’t exactly hyping me up for the match, but then I’m watching this show every week come hell or high water, so maybe the gimmick works for someone else who was on the fence about seeing this week’s episode.  Perhaps one of the reasons the mystery isn’t doing much for me is that everyone kind of assumed that it would be Matt Jackson and sure enough The Young Bucks are on hand to stand awkwardly to the side while this interview is going on, but in a shocking twist of fate Page assures us that there is no way in HECK he’ll be teaming with Matt Jackson and that he’d rather go with Nick if he had to choose between them.  His beef with Matt Jackson has been clear for some time now, so it actually makes sense that he wouldn’t CHOOSE to work with him (Page’s current character is far from a “I don’t like you but I respect you” mindset) and he’s still keeping it a secret as to who he will be teaming up with later in the show.  It was a fun little segment that managed at least turn me around somewhat on the angle.  While I was skeptical at first, this at least made the whole thing kinda funny and I’m interested in seeing where this ultimately goes. Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (03-11-20)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (03-04-20)

AEWDYNAMITE

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

With the events of Revolution fresh in our minds, this Dynamite has a lot to live up to and a lot to unfold. Does this wrap up the stories of the PPV while also forging a bold path forward for the company and its stars?  Let’s find out!!

We begin with Jon Moxley taking a particularly long walk through the crowd to the ring; his belt over his shoulder and a determined look on his face as he grabs the mic to tell the crowd what’s what.  The thing is though, I’m not sure I’m all for the message that he’s delivering here which is that YOU THE FANS are what makes AEW great!  YOU THE FANS are the best thing about this company, and this belt belongs to YOU!!  Yeah… I don’t know.  That kind of fan appreciation just comes off as cloying and even if you could classify Moxley as a Babyface, he’s not THAT much of a Babyface.  Like, I hear about what Drew McIntyre’s been saying lately as he tries to make his big face turn in anticipation for his match against Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania, and it’s just not what I want from that guy; it’s certainly not what I want from Jon Moxley here!  That’s just me though and it’s not the entirety of the promo.  He makes sure to call out The Inner Circle as well and dares them to come after him whenever and wherever.  See, THAT’S what I want from Jon Moxley, and apparently that’s what Jericho wants as well as he comes out as soon as Moxley offers the challenge.  Now Jericho’s big gambit to save face here is to call Moxley a cheater because he could see out of both eyes in that match while pretending to only see out of one.  I mean… it KIND of makes sense which makes it a great troll excuse because he DID come in under false pretenses to a title match.  I mean if he went into the match with a cast or only one arm and then out of nowhere he’s fighting with more limbs, then that’s SOMETHING, but it’s paper thin at best; especially considering how much interference The Inner Circle had in the match.  Jericho then promises that because Moxley won the belt in such a dishonest way that he has UNLEASHED HELL UPON THE WORLD and that all the wrestlers at AEW are on notice for a beat down from The Inner Circle.  If they have a problem with that, talk to Moxley.  In fact, Jericho is SO convinced of the efficacy of his Reign of Terror that he promises Jon Moxley, if he can walk out of the arena tonight, he will take a leave of absence for SIXTY DAY from AEW!  Now I don’t know if this is just an angle or if Jericho has some time off scheduled, but it certainly raises the stakes for the main event!  Jon Moxley is not impressed with this AT ALL and welcomes the challenge that Jericho has brought before him which we’ll see later tonight.  This was a REALLY great opening segment that managed to give us something worth staying tuned to the end of the show for, and certainly helped to put Moxley over as a star while also showing The Inner Circle as a still dominate force even without the belt.

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (02-26-20)

AEWDYNAMITE

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

It’s finally here!  AEW Revolution is this Saturday and we are on the last episode of Dynamite before that momentous event!  They’ve done a great job of setting up the various matches that will be on the card for that show with some great character work in regards to Cody, MJF, The other members of The Elite, and even the more recent stuff like Dustin Rhodes Vs. Jake Hagar and Darby Allin Vs. Sammy Guevara.  Is this the perfect Go Home show for something they’ve worked so hard to get to, or are they about to trip at the one yard line?  Let’s find out!!

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Kenny Omega Vs. Pac – 30-Minute Iron Man Match

Kenny Omega is accompanied to the ring by The Young Bucks

See, I thought this was going to be the main event of the show, but we’re starting right off the bat with it!  Now this match is a good example of AEW being pragmatic with their embarrassment of riches because Kenny Vs. Pac in a specialty match like this could have easily been on the PPV, but when everything started to shake out it was clear that there was just not enough room for that AND his tag team match, so we’re instead getting it here on TV which is great because if you want to sell an audience on your PPV, you want to give them a REALLY good match to let them know just how good the paid version is going to be!  Now if you didn’t know (I didn’t hear the announcers explain the rules at the start of the match), it’s basically a Time Versus Match in Super Smash Bros; you have a limited amount of time for you and your opponent to kill each other and whoever has the most points at the end wins!  Now they don’t ACTUALLY kill each other here (though I wouldn’t be surprised if that was Pac’s intent) and instead you get a point from a pin fall or a submission of your opponent.  Now the issue you need to contend with when it comes to an Iron Man match is keeping the momentum up for the full thirty minutes, and often these matches are rather routine and don’t get a lot of heat until the very end when it gets down to the wire.  These two guys are absolutely game to try and fix that by going at full speed RIGHT off the bat and never really stopping!  There may not have been a pin in the first five minute, but I’ll be damned if these two weren’t getting the crowd cheering with a serious flurry of super moves and adept athleticism!  The First near fall occurs just over eight minutes in as Pac does a DEVISTATING drop kick from the top rope and tries to pin Kenny who kicks out at two.  The match is then grounded for a bit as Pac continues to work over Kenny on the floor, which is fine as any good match needs peaks and valleys, and I’m sure both guys could use a moment to get their energy back.  When Kenny DOES get his momentum back at around the thirteen minute mark, he starts landing super moves on Pac but he’s still not able to land a pin on the guy as we’re still at zero-zero.  At the sixteen minute mark, with only fourteen minutes to go, Pac says SCREW IT and grabs a chair from under the ring and bashes Kenny right in the head with it!  The ref calls for the bell which isn’t QUITE a disqualification (if it was, it’d be the first one in AEW history) but instead gives Kenny a point.  I’m sure he’ll be happy about that when he WAKES THE HECK BACK UP, but until then he’s Pac’s play thing and lands a pin on the guy after a Black Arrow; bringing the total to one-one.  Then we go to commercial and then nothing happens. You’d think Pac would have gotten a FEW more pins while Kenny was still recovering from the chair shot, but I guess they didn’t want to give too much away while the cameras were off and Pac makes sure to give us something HORRIFIC as soon as we get back.  I don’t know what this move is called, but the best I can describe it is that Pac lifts up Kenny while both are on the apron, and then PILE DRIVES HIM into the floor!  THAT somehow looked worse than the chair shot and Kenny will no doubt be hurting during his tag team match on Saturday!  But that’s not enough!  Pac grabs a table from under the ring, puts Kenny on it, and then jumps from the top rope and smashes Kenny’s crumpled body through the table!  We’ve still got six minutes to go!  The ref starts counting for the Ten Count as both of them are outside the ring and Pac crawls his way back to the ring at the count of seven or eight.  Kenny (with a bit of help from The Young Bucks) gets back into the ring a nanosecond before he gets to ten.  Pac is getting annoyed here and goes up to the top rope for another Black Arrow, but Kenny is ready for it this time and gets his knees up right before impact.  With not much energy left, Kenny goes for back to back V-Triggers and then slams Pac to the mat.  He goes for the pin, and NO!  Pac kicks out at two!!  With less than three minutes left, Pac finally gets Kenny in The Brutalizer; the move that knocked him out and cost him the win in their first match, and now he has to survive it after taking THAT much abuse!  Kenny inches and crawls his way to the ropes and just barely breaks the hold, and yet undeterred Pac kicks him back to the middle of the ring and reapplies The Brutalizer.  We’ve only got about a minute left and Kenny manages to make it until the bell rings, and the match ends in a draw; one to one.  Pac is so pissed off that he attacks the ref and leaves Kenny on the ground which turns out to have been a mistake as it’s announced that the match will CONTINUE under Sudden Death rules; meaning the next pin fall wins.  Kenny immediately hits a V-Trigger and then a One Winged Angel on Pac to get the pin and win the match.  This whole saga was all VERY GOOD and left things a bit ambiguous at the end there without feeling unsatisfying.  Kenny flying in under the wire of that Ten Count could be seen as too lenient on the ref’s part, but then Pac DID use a chair on him and then also wasted time hitting the ref which gave Kenny an opportunity to get the win.  Everything just fired on all cylinders from the pacing to the drama to even the placement of the commercial break which in previous episodes would normally be a huge problem with the show, but here they got it to work just right along with everything else for one heck of an opening bout!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (02-26-20)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (01-22-20)

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

We’re back with another episode of Spring Neck-Breakers as the second week of Bash at the Beach hits the high seas with this episode taking place on Jericho’s Rock ‘N’ Wrestling Cruise!  With last week doing such a great job of setting up some explosive confrontations, can they manage to pay it off here while ALSO making sure the guests have enough fresh towels!?  Let’s find out!!

First, let’s take a moment to talk about the ring.  They are in fact on a boat and fighting outdoors at night which looks pretty good all things considered!  It certainly doesn’t look like a typical stadium that these episodes usually take place in which gives things a nice bit of variety, and while the lighting is a bit harsh considering they can really only use a bunch of giant spotlights it does give it a very naturalistic feel while the shadows the wrestlers cast as they fight do look rather dynamic; giving it a hint of a noir feel to it.  Needless to say that they have a solid stage set for the first match of the show which is…

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Hangman Adam Page & Kenny Omega Vs. SCU (Kazarian & Scorpio Sky) – Tag Team Championship

SCU is accompanied to the ring by Christopher Daniels

I can’t even remember; has SCU had a title defense since they got the belt?  I’m SURE they had to have, but for the life of me I can’t recall what it was.  In fact, SCU’s reign as tag team champions has felt a bit underwhelming as they haven’t really have their own story line since their big win against The Lucha Brothers.  Sure Christopher Daniels got a little something with that whole botched move thing and Scorpio Sky had his match against Jericho, but as a tag team they feel more like McGuffins for the other tag teams’ stories rather than an integral and interesting part like how Jericho has been with the AEW Championship.  Speaking of being McGuffins for other peoples’ story, in case you didn’t know (JR spells it out just in case you weren’t paying attention) the big angle of this match is that Page and Omega have a shot at winning the title but only if they work together which is becoming less and less likely as Page sinks further into his heel persona and his straight up alcoholism.  The match itself was fine but I really couldn’t get into it and I’m not sure why.  Both teams were solid and they told a decent story in the ring where the singles wrestlers have a bit of an advantage when going one on one but SCU takes full control when they get even a small amount of momentum.  I guess it just goes on a bit too long as it feels like we’re warming up for close to ten minutes, and it’s not exactly the BEST showcase of either team even if they are doing a solid job.  The big standout was probably Adam Page who is actually putting a real CHARACTER behind his in ring performance as you can see him grimacing every time he has to involve Kenny Omega and how he’d rather just take the beating along than work with him.  It’s a good character for the guy, but it feels like we should have really paid it off here instead of kicking the can down the road once again, which is as good an excuse as any to talk about the ending.  Page has an impressive rally where he’s throwing Buckshot Lariats at anything that will move, and he eventually pins someone for the win.  That’s right, SCU has lost the belts and now they’re in the hands of Page and Omega.  I don’t know, I’d have rather SCU had a BETTER run instead of dropping it almost unceremoniously here, and I’m getting antsy to see Page truly betray Omega which if we keep postponing comes off as more and more inevitable and will surely make Omega look bad for not seeing it coming as well.  Maybe they have different plans and I’ll be glad to see how they play out in the coming weeks, but not my favorite opening match that they’ve done.

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (01-22-20)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (01-15-20)

AEWDYNAMITE

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

Welcome back to another episode of AEW Dynamite where we’re partying like its 1997!!  Despite WWE basically owning everything wrestling related in the US prior to 2000, they let their trademark for Bash at the Beach expire which allowed Cody Rhodes to get it for AEW; a fitting change of hands considering his father Dusty Rhodes was the one who created the concept in the first place!  Does this revival of an old school wrestling tradition still hold up twenty years later, even with a BEACH show taking place in the middle of winter!?  Let’s find out!!

The big thing to note about this show is that the major angles are put on the back burner a bit to focus on a new round of tournaments for the belts; presumably as a way to make this BASH AT THE BEACH thing feel like something other than another episode of Dynamite shot in a slightly different way.  To that end, the Tag Match is a Number One Contender match, and there’s a two bracket tournament tonight (Jon Moxley Vs. Sammy Guevara & Pac Vs. Darby Allin) with the two winners of this week’s matches facing off next week for a shot at Jericho.  Fair enough I suppose as there could certainly be a bit more excitement around the belts themselves which haven’t changed hands once since AEW started, and we start things off with that GINORMOUS tag match!

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Hangman Adam Page & Kenny Omega Vs. Proud N Powerful Vs. Best Friends Vs. The Young Bucks – Four Way Tag Team Match for Number One Contender

Best Friends is accompanied to the ring by Orange Cassidy

The best way that I can describe this match is that it has as much in common with an actual sporting contest as It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World has with actual racing.  For twenty minutes these eight dudes did their best to recreate the mad cap of Buster Keaton, and Charlie Chaplin in that the physicality of their bits are just as impressive to watch as it is hilarious.  No, you don’t really buy it as a REAL wrestling match, but the timing and the spectacle were out of this world and I enjoyed every minute of it once it kicked into high gear!  It actually took me a minute to get what they were going for, especially when JR just blurted out that it was a non-DQ match two minutes after the bell ring which calls into question why anyone is even bothering to tag in and out, but honestly that’s always going to be a thing in wrestling where if the goal is to knock someone into submission then why are they doing high flying moves and whatnot instead of MMA beat downs.  I can understand that going THIS far into wackiness will be past some people’s suspension of disbelief and that’s a fair criticism as it really does descend into chaos multiple times here, but if you can groove on that understand that it’s all one elaboarately planned out showcase of moves, spots, and well timed interference, then there’s a lot of wacky fun to be had in this opening match.  The match does eventually have to come to an end though with Kenny and Page landing that combo V-Trigger and Buckshot Lariat on Chuck Taylor which knocks him out cold and leads to the three count.  They’re definitely playing the long game here with Page’s heel turn as they’ve made it ALL the way to the number one contender slot, so hopefully next week in their match against SCU they’ll finally pull the trigger on it.  I’m guessing they’re going to lose relatively cleanly against SCU and that’s when Page finally turns heel on Kenny which will set up a feud for those and possibly a match at Revolution; possibly a Triple Threat if they wanted to get Pac in there as well.

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (01-15-20)”