Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (05-28-2021) – Friday Night Dynamite

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

This is going to be a rough weekend.  This episode was aired on a FRIDAY which gave me less than forty-eight hours to watch it, digest it, and recap it, before moving right on to the PPV.  Sadly this is probably going to become the norm as AEW plans on expanding in the next year with AEW Rampage as a one hour Friday show that should be premiering in August, and 2022 will see them move to TBS with regular SPECIAL SHOWS on TNT popping up every now and then.  I guess the fact that there’s going to be MORE good wrestling can hardly be considered a bad thing, and this week is good practice for me to try and streamline my process to get these out at a better pace.  Aside from the backend logistics this is a pretty significant episode as the Go Home show is the last chance for the company to convince the TV crowd to spend fifty bucks on a PPV and they always try to give you something special to make that deal sound even better.  Do they put on a fantastic preview of what we should expect at Double or Nothing, or will we be going into the big show with lowered expectations?  Let’s find out!!

Things kick off right away with a match, but before we even get to the match we’ve got a few things to talk about with the new setup.  First, I had no idea that the Friday night show was going to be the first one at full capacity as I thought they were saving it for the PPV on Sunday, but sure enough the place is packed to the gills with people (at least the parts the camera shows us) and I’d kind of forgotten what that kind of atmosphere felt like.  It kind of loses a bit of the personal touch that the smaller crowds engendered, but the energy is through the roof and makes this feel like a big event despite being more or less a pre-show for the PPV.  Second, they’ve move the hard camera ninety degrees counter-clockwise and they’ve also put a stadium box on the stage when I think one of those two choice would have been better.  Personally I would have just kept the camera facing the stage as there’s really no other point to putting fans there if we’re not going to be able to see them, and instead of seeing the big screen we get to forever stare at the Daily’s Place sign; burning into my eyes like a watermark on a bootleg video.  They’re going on the road soon so this won’t be a thing for long, but it definitely feels like they took one step forward and then took another step back.

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Darby Allin Vs. Cezar Bononi

Darby is accompanied to the ring by Sting while Bononi is accompanied by The Wingmen

Bononi gets the jobber entrance, and when the camera is on him with his title card displayed, he gets hit in the face with Darby’s jacket that was haphazardly thrown in his general direction.  I start with that because there’s just something about that level of goofiness that endears me so much to this giant awkward jobber as well as his crew which are called The Wingmen; Peter Avalon, JD Drake, and also Ryan Nemeth who is holding a replica Oscar statue for absolutely no reason.  Seriously, if I ever have a mid-life crisis and start trying to become a wrestler, THIS is the kind of team I would want to be a part of!  As for the match itself, Cezar is trying his best to use his size to his advantage, but Darby proves to be an elusive target.  Still, he manages to land a solid kick to Darby’s stomach and gets the heat on the guy with some fun big moves.  Darby is just thrown all over the place with reckless abandon as he sails through the air trying his best to land correctly, and he even gest dropped on the top turnbuckle which couldn’t have been fun.  Darby does eventually get a sleeper hold which nearly puts Bononi out, but he makes it to the ropes to break up the hold.  With Bononi winded, Darby lands a very impressive Stunner and follows with a Shotgun Drop Kick as well as a Coffin Drop to get the pin and win the match.  Darby then calls out Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky to settle this tonight instead of on Sunday and The duo come out to mock the guy for his challenge.  I mean they DO have a point here!  Why would they give up their PPV spot to indulge this guy?  In any case, it turns out to be a distraction as The Wingmen jump Sting and Darby from behind and are followed by Sky and Page.  Sky is about to break Sting’s ankle, but The Dark Order run out to chase them off and make the save which won’t be the last time they meet I the ring this evening!  That was a FANTASTIC squash match which had Darby selling for quite a bit, but none of it genuinely fazed him and his offense is so strong that he can basically knock down a giant with three moves.  Also, while I wouldn’t say Page and Sky are growing on me, this is probably my favorite moment from the two of them so far and I am definitely looking forward to their match at Double or Nothing.

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (05-12-2021)

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

Last week may have been the big TV show, but we’re only weeks away from Double or Nothing so this episode has to work double duty in giving us the fallout from the Blood & Guts event as well as setting up whatever is going to happen for the PPV.  Not only that, but this is also something of a big show in its own right as we’ve got three title defenses with some big implications behind them!  Can this episode of Dynamite carry all that weight and spin all those plates without collapsing, or will the most interesting thing about this be the giant mess that they make?  Let’s find out!!

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Jon Moxley Vs. Yuji Nagata – IWGP United States Title Match

Moxley is accompanied to the ring by Eddie Kingston while Nagata is accompanied by Ren Narita

Before we can get to my utter lack of knowledge of New Japan, before we can get to my utter lack of knowledge of Yuji Nagata, before we can get to ANYTHING else, we have to talk about one thing.  Wild Thing by The Troggs!?  Look, Where Is My Mind for Orange Cassidy is starting to grow on me, but I’m thinking that Tony Khan is getting a bit TOO pop happy with his music because this is a VERY jarring change of pace!  Moxley’s music may not have been a recognizable song, but it definitely fit him and his energy where Wild Things is just… not that.  I don’t know, maybe I’ll find a way to get used to it or maybe it’s just a one off.  In either case, let’s talk about the match itself, shall we?  Now as I’ve said I don’t follow New Japan and don’t know who most of the guys on that show are, so having Yuji Nagata show up here doesn’t mean a lot to me, but I still like the concept of having matches outside of AEW’s world take place on the show.  Wrestling is a BIG world and trying to close yourself off from everything else the way WWE does is what’s help make it feel like a weird little isolated planet of a thing, so I’m happy to see New Japan, NWA, or even Impact show up every once in a while to spice things up!  Then again, I can’t say this was THE BEST match to debut the IWGP title for the Dynamite audience because… well I don’t think the match was particularly exciting.  Look, I’ll fully admit that I can’t speak for all wrestlers and I know there are a few old timers that I still like to see even if they aren’t at their peak, but Nagata is just kinda slow here and Moxley has to slow himself down to make the match look competitive.  Then again, I tend to prefer a quicker high flying style to something more methodical, and there ARE moments where Nagata shows what he can do; particularly as we get to the end when he gives Moxley an Avalanche Exploder before kneeing him in the face to get a two count.  Moxley kicks out of it and manages to put Nagata into the Rear Naked Choke which can usually take out anyone, but Nagata wriggles out of it and puts him in an arm breaker that Excalibur is completely marking out for so it must be one of his signature moves, but Moxley makes it to the bottom rope to break the hold and the two start slugging it out once again.  Moxley starts bleeding at one point which I think happened from one of Nagata’s elbows smashing him right in the cheek, and it makes for a very compelling image as he goes back for the choke to finish Nagata off.  He fights out once again, but after a minute of back and forth Moxley manages to land the Paradigm Shift and gets the pin; winning the match and retaining his IWGP United States title.  There was a lot about this match that didn’t click for me, from the fact that this is the first time I’ve ever seen Yuji Nagata wrestle to Moxley’s new theme music, so while it didn’t do a lot for me specifically I can still acknowledge that both guys put a lot into this match and that it will definitely work for those who know what to expect going in.

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (04-14-2021)

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

So last week’s show was a real disappointment, especially coming hot on the heels of a FANTASTIC episode, but I’ve never expected AEW to knock it out of the park each and every week and they always find a way to get back on track.  Heck, remember how bad things got immediately after the disappointing fireworks show at the end of the Exploding Barb Wire Death match?  They managed to turn that around in three days, so I’m more than confident they can turn around last week’s show when given seven.  Let’s find out!!

So in case there was ANY confusion over the end of the last episode (honestly, that includes me), the Bucks start things off by saying point blank that they are now Heels and will be throwing their weight behind Kenny Omega and Don Callis, and for good measure the whole group has a segment towards the end of the show to declare their commitment to one another and their utter dominance of AEW.  Also, in case you were wondering about this as well, we get a brief video of Mike Tyson and MJF to confirm that Tyson is all in on the Baby Face Jericho and there’s a segment later where Jericho and Tyson shake on their truce in preparation for the Jericho/Dax Harwood match which will have Tyson as a Special Enforcer.  I’m actually kind of glad that they just get this all up front because The Bucks being wishy-washy tweeners has been an issue on the show before, and Tyson has been gone for so long after such a brief appearance that seeing him again this week and interacting with people gives me hope that this run is not going to be as perfunctory.  Now last week started with a match that didn’t make a lot of sense as Max Caster was apparently the third ranking guy in AEW, but thankfully this isn’t an issue with this opening match which is…

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The Young Bucks Vs. Death Triangle (Pac & Rey Fénix) – AEW Tag Team Title Match

I can’t say that I love the idea of The Bucks being more or less brow beaten into joining up with Professional Gas lighter Don Callis, but however they got here they are truly relishing in their Heel status.  They’re wearing white suits to the ring to the raucous booing of the crowd, they start playing around and showboating in the ring, and Matt Jackson even runs away in terror of getting in the ring with Rey.  Those two getting in the ring is what REALLY starts the match as both are evenly skilled and can’t seem to land a move on the other.  They throw a lot of flashy kicks and flips at one another (the best was probably when Jackson back flipped of the apron to avoid a 619), and yet despite Nick Jackson ultimately getting the upper hand in this exchange it’s not long before Matt Jackson ends up alone with him and he and Pac take their sweet time destroying this guy!  Chops to the chest, suplexes to the mat, and Death Triangle’s own variation on The BTE Trigger which consists of simultaneous kicks followed by stereo Drop Kicks which should leave Matt with a MASSIVE headache but was sadly not enough to keep him down for a three count.  Matt takes a bit more abuse from Pac, but after The Bucks manage to land simultaneous Powerbombs onto the apron, Pac is left to take the heat for quite a while.  Perhaps too long as Matt gets WAY too much time to show off his drama skills, but Pac eventually turns him inside out with a clothesline and brings in Rey to save the day.  He has a freaking AMAZING comeback with more of his phenomenal rope walking skills, but it’s not enough to put Nick Jackson away; not even when he brings in Pac to slam him a few times for good measure!  Things only get more ridiculous from there as both teams show off some amazing skills and it does genuinely come down to the wire as to who is going to come out on top.  Pac manages to land a Black Arrow on Matt Jackson which should be the end of the match, but even with Rey running interference on Nick he still manages to slip through and break up the pin at the last possible moment, and sadly that is more or less the last chance that Pac and Fénix had as The Bucks go straight to cheating after that; first with a low blow to Pac and then removing Rey’s mask.  Sure enough, as soon as the mask is off and Rey’s covering his face, The Bucks land a Superkick and get the pin.  It was such a fantastic match up to that point that I’m really disappointed at the mask ending being used once again.  At this point, the might as well follow Mexico rules and make it a DQ; not JUST because it is such a scumbag thing to do that someone who does it shouldn’t be rewarded, but because it’s always a GET OUT OF MATCH FREE car whenever Rey is in there kicking butt.  All I’m saying is that if they want Rey Fénix to lose than they need to come up with a better reason than that.

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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 (03-31-2021)

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

We’re back with another week of Dynamite action and frankly I’m excited to see what they do!  They’ve been on something of a hot streak lately with great matches from top to bottom with this week looking to be no different!  Can they keep up the momentum they’ve worked hard to build, or are they running out of steam sooner rather than later?  Let’s find out!!

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Christian Cage Vs. Frankie Kazarian

We start things off with the self-proclaimed Work Horse of AEW finally lacing up his boots and getting in the ring with the ACTUAL workhorse of the company.  Frankly, that’s the big issue I had with this match; Christian Cage is good, but I just don’t buy the gimmick.  Now they DO seem to be playing with that a little bit as Kazarian is the heel who just keeps overwhelming the Baby Face, but it’s not exactly the first match I would have if my gimmick is that I’m the best worker around.  Still, Cage isn’t here to coast as he takes a NASTY bump early on from the top turnbuckle to the ground (managing to smash his side on the apron on his way down) and even though he looks COMPLETELY exhausted by the halfway point he manages to make his way to the end of the match without missing a step.  Well… maybe a LITTLE bit.  There’s an awkward looking escape from here where he rolls over Kazarian’s back at one point, and there are a couple of submission holds that look suspiciously like rest holds, but it’s still a solid match with a decent arc to it. Kazarian knows he’s running away with this as he gets in Cage’s face during his advantage, and even when Cage fires back Kazarian is always ready to reverse his fortunes.  To make matters worse, Kazarian starts choking out Cage and the guy nearly passes out which is not doing much for his stamina.  Cage EVENTUALLY manages to fight back to a standing position, but Kazarian knocks him back down to further cement his domination this early on in the match.  Eventually Cage mounts a comeback with a Swinging DDT from the middle rope that Kazarian bumps big for but still kicks out at two, but even with that he’s finally gets his second wind and starts fighting off Kazarian with a bunch of chops followed by a Diving European Uppercut which also gets a two count.  The rest of the match is not unlike Kenny Omega’s usual shtick where Cage keeps going for his finisher The Killswitch but Kazarian finds more and more ways to slip out of it and continue his offensive with moves like a Springboard Leg Drop, the Flux Capacitor, and a the dreaded Crossface Chicken Wing.  To Cage’s credit he manages to survive by fighting smart and using rules like rope breaks to his advantage, but Kazarian seems to barely be fazed after all this time while Cage is hanging on for dear life.  The tide finally turns when Cage manages to snap his neck on the top rope and lands a Frog Splash from the top turnbuckle.  With Kazarian nice and softened up and with the match’s time limit looming, Cage finally lands the Killswitch and gets the pin; winning his first match at AEW.  It was a solid match to be sure, but after watching it I think they need to rethink Christian Cage’s character.  I like what I saw of Cage, but not in terms of OUT WORKING EVERYONE.  Out SMARTING Everyone?  Maybe even Out WRESTLING Everyone?  Perhaps those would work better because WORK has a specific connotation in wrestling and I just didn’t see Cage as the best exemplar of it; especially when there’s no better example of someone who works harder than Kazarian who proved it here even in giving Cage the win. 

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (03-24-2021)

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

Last week’s episode wasn’t exactly a barn burner for the first half or so, but it definitely managed to come together by the end with one of the most spectacular women’s matches in quite some time as Thunder Rosa just barely won out against Britt Baker in a Lights Out match at the end of the show.  Fortunately they aren’t trying to recreate that magic this week (you throw in THAT many hardcore matches, you’re liable not to have a roster before long), but with so much hype following that match can AEW put on a fantastic show to keep everyone’s interest despite a more modest card?  Let’s find out!!

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Kenny Omega Vs. Matt Sydal – AEW World Title Match Qualifier

They do a good job of recapping the events that led up to this which were on AEW Dark Elevation, as Matt Sydal beat Micahel Nakazawa to get this match which is NOT for the title but if he wins this match he WILL get a title fight.  I guess when your win-loss record is as spotty as Sydal’s that having to win TWICE is a fair compromise for jumping over everyone else, and it means that Kenny gets to open the show which is certainly a good way to start things off!  Despite Sydal’s inability to win ANY match on Dynamite, the guy is an unbelievable talent and proves to be a good foil for Omega as Sydal proves to have him beat in agility and coordination while Omega has the power to stop him in his tracks.  It goes back and forth between Sydal doing fun flippy stuff that leaves Omega befuddled and Omega bashing Sydal so hard that it nearly knocks him out of his wrestling boots.  Sydal eventually starts to get some momentum and gives Kenny a run for his money; even getting a two count off a Hurricanrana that launched Kenny from the middle rope to the middle of the ring followed by a Brain Buster that left Kenny flat on his back.  This failed pin attempt leads to Kenny’s slow, methodical, and downright sadistic comeback where he starts playing the greatest hits for the crowd, but he fails to land the V-Trigger and Sdyal gets a VERY close two count out of it.  Kenny then throws Sydal in a way similar to a Buckle Bomb to soften Sydal up and lands a few V-Triggers for good measure.  However, he pushes his luck and tries to land a One Winged Angel which Sydal reverses out of; giving him a momentary retrieve and one last chance to win this.  Kenny goes for the One Winged Angel again and Sydal manages to once again escape to somehow get an even CLOSER two count!  Third time proves to be the charm however as Kenny gives him a V-Trigger as soon as he pops out of the pin and finally lands the One Winged Angel to get the win.  Sydal’s a guy who looks good even in defeat and there’s really no reason for him to have won this match considering he has nothing to do with the bigger title picture, but seeing him here only reinforces how great it’ll be once he FINALLY gets that big win on television; especially if the match is even half as good as this one!

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (03-17-2021) – St. Patrick

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

So if you haven’t noticed, things have been pretty quiet on the website and I’m several days late on this recap.  It turns out moving from one place to another is REALLY DIFFICULT and REALLY TIRESOME, so I’ve gotten myself woefully behind on just about everything including my weekly wrestling schedule, but fear not for most of the boxes have been unpacked and I was able to squeeze a few hours into the wee hours of the evening to finally watch this episode of Dynamite!  Was it worth the effort after a week of strenuous box lifting and stair climbing, or was I better off calling this week a loss and sleeping for more than a few hours?  Let’s find out!!

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Cody Rhodes Vs. Penta El Zero M

Cody is accompanied to the ring by Arn Anderson

AEW likes to start their show strong and for a lot of storylines it’s all about setting up that opening match.  Last week’s confrontation between Cody and Penta was all it took for a grudge match to be set up between these two, and for what it’s worth they definitely wrestle like there’s something big at stake here.  For the most part, Penta is working Cody’s arm who manages to grit his teeth and fight through the pain to keep Penta from running away with this.  Cody early on lands a Top Rope Hurricanrana on Penta which is the last straw for him and he starts working Cody’s shoulder EXTRA hard with a lot of kicks and stomps that leave Cody writhing in pain, but Penta once again lets his ego get in his way and eats a kick from Cody while taunting Arn Anderson.  This cycle repeats a few times with Penta getting the lead only to lose it to Cody either from sheer hubris or an explosive comeback from Cody, and he even gets close to losing the match when he does his Zero Fear taunt which allowed Cody an opening to fight back and land a Canadian Destroyer which get a two count.   Cody is firmly in control now and even lands a Cross Rhodes on Penta, but he just won’t give up on this match; even after Cody gets dirty and smashes Penta’s knee into the post before putting him into a Figure Four Leg Lock.  In retaliation for this, Penta gets Cody to the ground and snaps his arm back, but while celebrating his dastardly deed Cody rolls him up and gets the pin.  Yeah, the match just kinda ends which was a bit odd considering how much each guy was kicking out of big moves, but Penta doesn’t let it end on a high note for Cody as he starts pounding on him after the bell rang and has to be chased out by the Gunn Club.  The setup last week was very basic and the match itself reflected that straightforward attitude with a classic Heel/Face dynamic, but while there aren’t really any surprises to be found the two guys fought with a lot of heart and pulled off some very impressive moves.  A fun way to start the show, even if not an incredibly memorable one, and I’d definitely like to see a much longer program between these two in the near future.

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Super Wrestling: AEW – Revolution 2021

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

The big day is FINALLY upon us, and while it may be missing a Shaq match, it’s not lacking in quality fights as this card is stacked from top to bottom with grudges, title bouts, and even a few novelty matches just to keep things interesting!  With the somewhat wonky build up to this show and some tediously overdone storylines, does this PPV manage to put it all together into one excellent evening of wrestling action, or are you better off saving your money and watching the highlights on Twitter?  Let’s find out!!

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Riho & Thunder Rosa Vs. Britt Baker & Maki Itoh – Buy In Match

Now originally this was supposed to be Baker and Rebel (Not Reba) teaming together, but the latter supposedly got “hurt” and comes out on a crutch, so Baker signed a Doctor’s note and Tony Kahn allowed her to choose someone else to be her partner and frankly she couldn’t have gone with anyone better!  As much fun as Rebel (Not Reba) can be as an instigator, having Maki Itoh show up as a surprise on this show is an AMAZING way to kick the show off!  She got some attention when she was announced for the women’s tournament, but it was her very fun social media made that made her a fan favorite right off the bat.  She was knocked out in the first round unfortunately, but now she’s here proves without a doubt that AEW needs to signer her yesterday!  Why is she so great?  Well first, she comes out here and singes her ENTIRE entrance theme which is definitely a good start, and as soon as she gets in the ring with Thunder Rosa she flips her The Bird with both barrels.  Yeah, I think she’s going to be my favorite wrestler of all time!  Now admittedly she looks a LITTLE bit stiff at first as the initial minutes against Rosa feel a bit stop and start, but as soon as they get a flow going Itoh proves to be an absolutely BRILLIANT professional wrestler!  She’s got by far the most expressive face in the women’s division here at AEW, and she reminds me a little bit of Eddie Kingston of all people.  It’s just an overall presence of nastiness and a flair for the comedic as she puts on a CUTIE POP IDOL image but she fights like a total heel and takes cheap shot whenever she can; going so far as to fake cry so her opponent lets their guard down.   And yet, despite being such a craven and obvious bad guy, I don’t know WHO could possibly boo her!

“I CAN SEE THE LIGHT!  THIS MORTAL COIL IS BEING SHED, AND IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT!  Hold me as I go slowly into that good night.  WILL YOU DO THAT FOR ME!?”
Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW – Revolution 2021”

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 (02-24-2021)

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

Revolution is creeping up on us each and every week and the last episode was a particularly awkward attempt to jam in as much storyline as possible and to the expense of the otherwise great matches on the show.  Now that so much of the groundwork for the PPV has been set, does this episode find a better balance between the stories they wish to tell and the matches they want to put on?  Let’s find out!!

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Jon Moxley Vs. Hollywood Hunk Ryan Nemeth

Not even gonna save him for the main event?  Considering the GIANT news (nyuk-nyuk-nyuk) that broke before the show, I’m guessing AEW was anticipating a larger than usual audience at the start of the show and they wanted to give the people their money’s worth.  Now Ryan Nemeth gave Pac a darn good squash match last week and it’s basically the same thing here.  Moxley is so overpowered for this that he gives Nemeth a slap and the dude flops over like he got speared by a truck.  Nemeth is tenacious though and he gets a few knees in as well as a good looking Drop Kick, but Moxley just needs a few suplexes to put Nemeth away less than five minutes into the show.  I kind of wish they had done a bit more here as Nemeth could have DEFINITELY sold for longer and Moxley could have done a few more super moves, but the point here is less to put on a memorable match as it is to set the stage for Moxley’s post-match promo.  He needs to address Kenny Omega’s challenge to an EXPLODING BARB WIRE DEATH MATCH and frankly he just seems tired and exasperated.  He knows this is utterly ridiculous and that there are better ways to handle this, but he doesn’t have it in him to turn it down.  In his own words, he’s an addict and even if he knows this is a bad idea he can’t stop himself from diving headfirst into it.  In this way, Kenny may have an advantage as there are ample opportunities for chicanery in something as ludicrous as an EXPLODING BARB WIRE DEATH MATCH, but as he says to everyone who tries to step up to him, the most important thing is to not miss.  If Kenny bungles this and doesn’t finish Moxley off, he’s gonna regret it and may even lose his belt in the process.  Moxley’s character is exactly who he’s always been so even if the promo feels like a lot of his other promos, it’s still quite compelling to hear.  I’m very skeptical about something called an EXPLODING BARB WIRE DEATH MATCH which APPARENTLY includes land mines outside the ring (yeah, sure. Whatever you say), but Moxley and Omega are two of the best guys at this company and hopefully the gimmicks don’t get in the way too much of what will surely be a great match.

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (02-24-2021)”