Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (01-12-2022)

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

We’re back with more AEW action, albeit action that’s over a week old.  January’s been a rough month and the week-long power outage coupled with the bonus Battle of the Belts show that AEW threw at us, it’s been hard to find time to get up to date, but that’s a problem for another day as we’re here to focus on this one show!  Let’s get started!!

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The show starts with Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, and Kyle O’Reilly coming out to talk about how awesome last year was and how great 2022 will be; Cole in particular bragging about not being pinned or submitted yet which means he’s undefeated as a singles wrestler.  The party gets cut short however as the Young Bucks come out with Brandon Cutler to confront Red Dragon (Fish and O’Reilly) as both teams are going to be chasing after the Tag Team Titles.  Cole is stuck between the two groups to try and make them all play nice when Best Friends come out with Orange Cassidy to throw a match at this powder keg that’s already primed to go off.  Naturally, a brawl ensues and Cole hits a low blow on Orange Cassidy which causes Kris Statlander to jump in, but then Britt Baker runs down to the ring and Curb Stomps Statlander.  With her out of the way, she holds down Cassidy while Cole gives him a few kicks and the Boom Knee Strike before sharing a kiss in the middle of the ring.  The fact that Cole and Baker are a couple has been brought up before on the show, but this is the first time they’ve been in the ring together since his arrival.  They announce later in the show that they will have a Mixed Tag Match with Cassidy and Statlander, and frankly, I’m excited to see it!

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CM Punk Vs. Wardlow

Wardlow is accompanied to the ring by MJF

I’m a little surprised that Wardlow didn’t come down with Shawn Spears considering how integral he’s been to Wardlow’s matches up to this point, but I guess MJF wants to get a view of the carnage and didn’t want to share floor space with one of his cronies.  Carnage, by the way, is exactly what we get here as Wardlow is twice Punk’s size and probably half his age.  Punk manages a few shots in the corner and goes for a GTS, but Wardlow shrugs it all off and easily overpowers his opponent.  He tosses Punk around for a bit and throughout the commercial break until he’s ready to set him up for a Powerbomb, but Punk escapes and hits a Roundhouse kick to the head.  He gets a few more kicks and a bunch of clotheslines which do little more than stumble Wardlow, but then he hits a Springboard Clothesline that finally knocks the big guy to the mat.  I hope that minor victory was sweet because Wardlow is upset now and finally hits the Powerbomb after a distraction from MJF.  He hits him with another, and another, and a fourth, and a FIFTH!  Wardlow is finally ready to pin him, but MJF has to rear his ugly head and demands that Wardlow hit him with even more Powerbombs despite CM Punk being a pile of putty on the mat.  Wardlow rolls his eyes and hits him with a few more Powerbombs, including one Powerbomb through the timekeeper’s table, but that’s still not enough and MJF demands a ninth one.  Wardlow reluctantly picks him up to do it again, but Punk quickly rolls him over into an Inside Cradle and keeps Wardlow down just long enough for the three count to win the match out of nowhere!  Punk rolls immediately to avoid the wrath of Wardlow, but the one who is really wrathful is MJF who gets in the ring and gives Wardlow a serious tongue lashing; complete with shoves and finger jabs to the chest!  Wardlow has had enough of this and grabs MJF’s arm whose eyes start to grow huge, but Shawn Spears finally makes his appearance and runs in to quickly act as peacemaker between the two.  Wardlow walks out without taking another shot at MJF, but he’s definitely ticked off as he storms up the ramp.  I can’t say that this was the match I was expecting to get, especially given how many Powerbombs Punk was able to sell for Wardlow, but I enjoyed it quite a bit!  Sometimes you can get away with an unconventional style and pace if it serves an interesting story, and I think the impending breakup between MJF and Wardlow is one of the stronger ongoing storylines they have at the moment.

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (01-12-2022)”

Super Wrestling: AEW – Battle of the Belts

Battle of the Belts is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT

AEW is not giving me a break, are they?  I had a power outage for almost a week and am trying to catch up on all the shows, so why not put out one of their special episodes now!?  Clearly, they were thinking of me when they made this decision (presumably they were unhappy with my less than favorable coverage of New Year’s Smash), but I will not succumb to their attempts at psychological warfare!  I will do my darnedest to enjoy this special event!  As long as the matches are good, of course!  Is this an excellent start to the era of TNT special episodes, or are we trying to cram too much too quickly?  Let’s find out!!

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Dustin Rhodes Vs. Sammy Guevara – Interim TNT Title Match

Dustin is accompanied to the ring by Arn Anderson

I’m not the biggest fan of seeing Sting get in the ring at this point in his career, but I do understand where people are coming from as I feel very much the same way whenever we get to see Dustin!  Thankfully he managed to deliver a great match here with Sammy Guevara that honestly puts into sharp relief a few of the issues I’ve had with AEW in the last few months.  The match isn’t without a few slow parts here and there, but it feels unique to the style we usually get in a typical AEW match and feeling fresh can sometimes pay far more dividends than overwhelming skill or bloodletting.  Things start off nice and easy with some good running spots as Dustin gets an Arm Drag and Sammy gets a Hip Toss, but both are still feeling each other out, and neither wants to make a mistake.  After a few minutes of this and a fun spot of Dustin getting winded while Sammy is relaxing on the turnbuckle, Sammy finally hits one of those Uppercuts that Dustin likes to do and follows up with a Drop Kick that sends Dustin outside the ring.  We then get some okay action as Sammy tosses Dustin around the outside while teasing Arn Anderson, but the turning point comes when Dustin manages to smash Sammy’s knee into the ring steps which he has to deal with for the rest of the fight.  This is where things start to slow down a bit and it feels like the crowd is turning on the match as Dustin rolls in and leaves Sammy to be counted out but then they do it again a few minutes later when Dustin is the one outside and Sammy is waiting for the count-out.  You can hear the crowd start to groan on the second one, but it ended up working for me as it set up the big spots that immediately followed it; bringing us from a low point to a high point which is an effective way to maximize tension and to get the crowd to pop.  Sammy might just have this in the bag but he gets impatient and hits a Double Springboard Dive onto Dustin which hits its mark, but it only causes more damage to Sammy’s knee.  He grits through the pain however and throws Dustin into the ring where he hits an Enziguri and goes for a Springboard Cutter.  EXCEPT DUSTIN CATCHES HIM AND HITS A CROSS RHODES FOR A TWO-COUNT!!  Things only get more ridiculous from here as Dustin gets a Code Red, and Sammy hits the GTH; both of which are kicked out of and the crowd cannot believe it!  Then we get Fuego Del Sol who comes out from under the ring (presumably sensing his best friend being in trouble) and sets up a table on the floor.  Arn isn’t happy about this, and while he doesn’t dismantle the table, he starts menacing Fuego and chases him up the ramp.  Still, with the table in place, Sammy drags Dustin to the apron and tries to hit a Spanish Fly that would send them both through the table and assuredly win him the match.  Dustin fights back however and he manages to hit a Canadian Destroyer through the table in what is one of the most impressive and safe-looking table spots I’ve probably ever seen.  Dustin hits the table flat on his butt and is protecting Sammy’s head as the table gently falls to pieces, essentially carrying them on their way to the floor, and MAYBE Sammy hit his knees a bit hard.  Still, the crowd is going wild and Sammy is in a bad state, so Dustin throws him in… AND STILL ONLY GETS A TWO COUNT!  With all that though, it’s clear that the end is near and so Sammy tries for a Sunset flit that Dustin reverses and they keep going back and forth on pin attempts.  Sammy manages to keep Dustin down for a split second over three, and wins the match as well as the interim TNT Title!  Oh, but it’s not over yet as Daniel Garcia runs in and IMMEDIATELY gets into Sammy’s face which causes the two to start brawling and the refs have to run down to break it up!  This was a very good match and I think the key to it, as well as Dustin’s overall success, is that he’s not overexposed and so the matchup feels fresh.  AEW has the roster for people to rotate in and out on a regular basis, so we shouldn’t see Danielson six times in eight weeks.  Punk is actually striking a better balance as he’s here almost every week but it’s more often for promos than matches.  I know that AEW wants to give the crowds the stars they want to see, and I’m thankful that so many of them came out when I went to see them live, but they could get a lot more mileage out of people if they expanded their TV roster more often.

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW – Battle of the Belts”

Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (12-31-2021) – New Year’s Smash

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

Yes, we are still WOEFULLY behind here, but I’ll catch up on everything soon enough!  Where the last Dynamite (at least the one I saw) was the final one on TNT, Rampage isn’t going anywhere is just gonna keep trucking along on that network to give us quick and easy wrestling action to balance out the more plot-heavy shenanigans on Dynamite!  Is this another week of Rampage picking up the slack from Dynamite, or will we start to see the cracks in their formula, and perhaps they should try to shake things up as well?  Let’s find out!!

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Darby Allin Vs. Anthony Bowens

Allin is accompanied to the ring by Sting while Bowens is accompanied by Max Caster

Caster I can take or leave, but I really like Anthony Bowens and I kind of wish they’d give him a bigger push.  Now obviously AEW is pretty tightly packed so not everyone gets a real shot at the spotlight, but Bowens has got something special and I’d like to see him become a powerhouse; not unlike Wardlow, Hobbs, and Brian Cage.  Tonight is not his night to win since he’s up against Darby, but he does put on a decent performance here.  Darby gets an early lead that leaves Bowens frustrated and anxious, but that’s why Heels have guys on the outside to run distractions as Max Caster eats a punch from Darby which gives Bowens JUST enough time to land a punch of his own and toss Darby into the ring post.  This starts the heat segment which comes to an end when Darby escapes a Vertical Suplex, but the fight is much more even as Bowens lands a few moves on Darby that are mostly there to show off how much damage Darby is willing to inflict on himself.  Caster tries to run a few more distractions, but Sting finally gets up off his butt and takes care of him which allows Darby to land a Code Red followed by a Suicide Dive.  He throws Bowens back into the ring, hits the Coffin Drop, and gets the pin to win the match.  It would have been a fine match on its own, but then they do a post-match angle which kind of sours it a bit for me.  Andrade El Idolo’s music hits and he starts walking out.  He does nothing at all, but this is enough for Darby and Sting to gob at him for several seconds, so OF COURSE The Acclaimed sucker punch them and gang up on Darby!  It’s not like AEW doesn’t know how to book Baby Faces as the feud between Hangman Adam Page and Daniel Bryan has been pretty solid, but too often they rely on old tropes about foolish Baby Faces and it gets old pretty quickly.

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (12-31-2021) – New Year’s Smash”

Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (12-25-2021) – Holiday Bash

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

If I had a rough time trying to catch up with a show happening on Wednesday, I was for darn sure gonna take my time getting around to the episode that literally aired on Christmas Day.  By their own choice, by the way!  They moved the show to air on that day instead of their usual timeslot; perhaps so that the subtitle is that much more accurate.  Still, while Rampage may have the harder to catch time slot this week, the shorter length and the snappier matches make it a bit more ideal to fit into a tough schedule where Dynamite feels like something you have to schedule around.  Is this another fun way to spend a Saturday night, even if it’s perhaps the worst night of the year for it?  Let’s find out!!

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Jungle Boy Vs. Isiah Kassidy

Jungle Boy is accompanied to the ring by Luchasaurus and Christian Cage while Kassidy is accompanied to the ring by Hardy Family Office

Remember when Private Party were wearing slacks and collared shirts?  Thankfully Kassidy is back in his original ring gear and it didn’t do anything to diminish the integrity of Hardy Family Office!  Now if they could start winning some tag matches again, maybe we’ll have the Private Party that was one of the highlights of early AEW!  Remember MJF talking about the pillars of this company?  Yeah, Private Party used to be one of them but they’ve been stuck with HFO for so long that it feels like we’ve all kind of forgotten that.  Thankfully this match does quite a bit to remind us of how good Kassidy is as he puts up a pretty good fight against Jungle Boy.  With a little help from Quen and Hardy on the outside, Kassidy is able to maintain a solid lead for the first half and through the commercial break, but he’s far from idle in the match as he hits a Springboard Cutter on Jungle Boy that drops him from the apron to the floor and follows up with a spinning dive over the ropes.  He also manages to reverse a Sunset Flip from Jungle Boy into a Drop Kick to his face which is the start of the heat during the commercial, but once we return it’s time for Jungle Boy to make his comeback.  A series of Elbow Strikes give him some space so he can finally knock Kassidy to the ground with a big lariat, and he follows up with a Falcon Arrow for a two count.  Kassidy gets a two count as well with a Poisonrana, but Jungle Boy turns things around quickly with a German into a bridge for another two count of his own.  He makes sure to hold onto the waist lock and tries to go for another German, but Kassidy grabs the ropes to try and break the hold which turns out to be a bad idea as Jungle Boy instead dumps him over to the floor below before following up with a Suicide Dive.  In a last-ditch effort to save his partner, Quen tries to grab Jungle Boy on his way back to the ring so Cage starts to beat his butt all the way to the back while Luchasaurus Choke Slams Jora Joel.  Not sure why since he wasn’t actually doing anything, but I guess it was a diversionary tactic on HFO’s part as Hardy immediately grabs Luchasaurus and goes for the Twist of Fate.  Luchasaurus is too strong however and shoves Matt Hardy into the charging Christian Cage who knocks the wind out of him with a spear!  With the kerfuffle outside brought to an end, Jungle Boy goes for another Sunset Flip and Kassidy once again escapes.  When he goes for another kick, however, Jungle Boy dodges and grabs the leg.  Kassidy tries to scramble to the ropes, but it’s too late and Jungle Boy locks in the Snare Trap which forces Kassidy to tap.  This was a pretty good opener!  I like seeing Private Party as at least somewhat effective again, and honestly, I’d love to see them go up against The Lucha Bros for the title at some point!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (12-25-2021) – Holiday Bash”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (12-15-2021) – Winter Is Coming

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

We’re back with AEW, and there’s certainly a chill in the air as Winter has officially come!  We’ve still got a few more weeks of shows this year, but this is the big one that they try to build up as a game-changer to start the New Year on a high note; especially with the AEW World Title on the line in a genuinely competitive match!  Will this be as exciting as when Moxley lost the title to Kenny Omega on last year’s show, or will my enthusiasm drop faster than the temperature outside?  Let’s find out!!

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

A rather bold choice for AEW to start with the big match instead of saving it for the main event!  Then again, given what’s about to happen it was probably the only choice they could go with as this match goes on for over an hour!  That’s right, more than half the show is dedicated to this one match, and we’ll talk about what this meant for the rest of the show once we get there, but for now, we need to talk about what happened here.  First and foremost, Danielson proves once again that he’s not just a great technical wrestler but a fantastic storyteller between the ropes as he’s very good at projecting the entirety of his thoughts through his movements and facial expressions.  It’s clear at the outset that Danielson does not consider Hangman to be an insurmountable challenge.  He’s certainly bigger and strong than him, but Danielson has faced those kinds of odds before and he has a plan for it.  For several minutes of the match, he refuses to engage with Hangman to any degree by keeping his distance, avoiding any real contact, and using the ropes to keep Hangman at bay; all the while grinning from ear to ear as the frustration mounts in Hangman.  He’s waiting for Hangman to get ahead of himself and to do something brash which Danielson can easily overcome, but Hangman is no fool and is keeping his cool just as much as Danielson is.  After a while of this, Hangman gets a quick boot to the chest that catches Danielson off guard and there’s a moment of uncertainty before he collects himself and gets back on track.  Still, Hangman has found his inch and he manages to force this into a proper match.  Danielson has to start engaging with Hangman, but he’s also staying smart about it by going for submissions and trying to damage the limbs while avoiding big moves from Hangman.  The strategy seems to be working, but Hangman manages to force Danielson into more direct confrontations and so Danielson starts using his chops and kicks that eventually send Hangman out of the ring.  This is when things start to get more violent as Danielson and Hangman start to slug it out in a war of brutal attrition, and this is what we get for a good chunk of the match.  Sometimes Danielson is in control, sometimes it’s Hangman, and they stick to their initial strategies as much as they can.  Hangman is hitting a lot of big and flashy moves like the Moonsault from the top rope to the floor, but Danielson stays on track and keeps picking at Hangman’s limbs to neutralize their power.  He also is keeping a sharp eye out for Hangman’s finishers, and so attempts at the Deadeye or the Buckshot Lariat are constantly avoided throughout the match despite the crowd desperately wanting to see it.  The only thing about the match that doesn’t work very well, and is probably why they should have saved this for a PPV, is that they simply can’t run the show for a full hour without commercial breaks and so the pacing of the match feels a bit wonky.  The worst of this is when Hangman goes for a Moonsault but is shoved off the turnbuckle by Danielson.  He hits the apron on his way to the floor and Danielson bashes Hangman’s shoulder into the post; continuing his strategy of neutralizing Hangman’s offense.  However, this also causes Hangman to bleed and so for an entire commercial break he’s being looked at by the doctors as Danielson poses in the ring.  We saw this same spot used in the Guevara/Lethal match and I just don’t think it’s helpful to a match.  If you need to fill a commercial break, then sure; have the doc look at the wrestler so that the TV audience doesn’t miss anything significant.  However, this still creates the problem as to why the ref doesn’t call for the bell as soon as the doctor is out there, or why he stops the ten count while the doctors attend to him.  It highlights the advantage that the champ has in title defense (titles can only change hands on pinfalls or submissions) which is great when you have a Heel champ, but it’s also not the kind of thing you want to advertise when it’s a Babyface with the title.  In any case, Hangman finally starts to stumble his way to the ring once the commercial break is over and they keep going from there.  We’re only at about the halfway point so the injury is kind of a moot point, but they do at least keep track of Hangman’s shoulder which is being brutalized by Danielson and is going to make it nearly impossible for Hangman to hit the Buckshot Lariat.  Turnabout is fair play however and Hangman starts targeting Danielson’s leg after he misses a Yes Kick that sends his shin right into the post.  This ends up playing into the rest of the match as we get closer and close to the time limit, and once we’re down to the final five minutes they have to leave everything they can in that ring to see who is still standing by the end of it!  Danielson has Hangman on the match and grabs his arms to start stomping on his face, the same way he did to all the members of the Dark Order, but with the bad leg, it’s not hard for Hangman to escape.  Danielson charges and Hangman catches him to at last land the Deadeye, but it’s only a two count.  Undeterred however, Hangman is now the one to grab his opponent’s arms and stomp on their face; a taste of Danielson’s own medicine if you will!  With Danielson sufficiently dazed, Hangman goes for the Buckshot Lariat with whatever strength he has left in the arm… BUT DANIELSON DODGES IT AND PUTS HANGMAN IN THE LABELLE LOCK!   With just over a minute left in the match, this is Danielson’s last chance to come away the champion, but perhaps that eagerness left him open for Hangman to escape and Slingshot him into the ropes.  Hangman hits a big lariat on Danielson which leaves him nearly dead on the floor, and Hangman goes to the apron one last time.  He waits for Danielson to stumble back to his feet, and he FINALLY hits the Buckshot Lariat just as the time expired!  Whether or not Hangman had enough in the tank for that hit to keep Danielson down for good is something we will never know, but it was about as satisfying an ending as you could get for a match that ends in a time limit draw!  This was a good match and I thought that both guys put in an exceptional amount of effort here, but I don’t think it needed a full hour to tell this story; especially with the commercial breaks wreaking havoc with the pacing.  Where we’ve seen PPV quality matches on TV before, this felt like a PPV match shunted into the TV format, but there’s very little doubt that the ending of this match is to set us up for a PPV main event, so as far as that goes it did its job brilliantly!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (12-15-2021) – Winter Is Coming”

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!!

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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…

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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 Rampage (12-03-2021)

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

Whenever I start to get into a less than enthusiastic mood about wrestling, I still like to see Rampage because it’s a small enough dose that I can still enjoy it even when the burnout is starting to creep in.  I’m probably not at that point yet, but Wednesday’s Dynamite was kind of a disappointment for me.  Despite it clearly being a show they put a lot into, I just didn’t connect with the storylines involved and a flaming table spot is not going to automatically add an extra star to the match.  That’s why we have Rampage though; to be the fun desert after the big Dynamite meal!  Is there enough self-contained and exciting action to clear the way for a hopefully better episode of Dynamite next week, or are we gonna need something a little bit stronger to cleanse the palate?  Let’s find out!!

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Sammy Guevara Vs. Tony Nese – TNT Title Match

The TNT title continues its long tradition of giving wrestlers their first big shot at AEW via the open challenge, and while Nese has been around for a few weeks now in Dark matches, this is going to be his first TV match for AEW.  Sammy starts off strong with some impressive acrobatics and a Suicide Dive that leaves Nese almost defenseless against an assault outside the ring, but fortune starts to turn in his favor once they’re both back in the ring.  Sammy goes to the turnbuckle to show off even more of his impressive athleticism, but Nese manages to get up and knocks him off so that he’s lying across the ropes; his body parallel with the mat.  Nese then kicks him SO HARD that Sammy flies through the air and lands on Nese’s shoulders which is something I’ve never seen in a wrestling match before, and he follows it up with a Gut Buster for a two count.  Now this is particularly bad as Sammy’s ribs are still taped up from… actually I don’t remember why they’re taped up, but he’s been nursing this injury for a few weeks now and Nese is well aware of this which is why he focuses on them during the heat segment that follows the pin attempt.  Sammy eventually gets a bit of a breather when he breaks out of a submission with a Backdrop, but it isn’t long before Nese is back in control with a Single Leg Boston Crab. Sammy does his best to fight through the pain and even manages to escape to land a Springboard Cutter, but his ribs are proving a detriment and he can’t make a proper cover in time.  Sammy goes for the GTH, but Nese escapes with ease and once again puts him in a Single Leg Crab, and Sammy only manages to escape it this time by twisting over and rolling Nese into a quick pin attempt.  Nese tries to run the ropes to shake up his offense, but he ends up eating Spanish Fly for a two count and then a Springboard Moonsault.  Sammy tries for another Springboard move to finish this match, but Nese is able to get up and knock him of the apron to the floor below which gives him an opening to land a Suicide Dive and a 450 Splash; showing off his athletic skills which are comparable to that of Sammy’s.  This only gets him a two count though, and the two start slugging it out in the ring until Nese lands a Buckle Bomb and Guevara lands a Pump Kick.  The Pump Kick is somehow the more effective of the two moves, and it allows Sammy to get Nese up on his shoulder for the GTH!  He hits the move which is more than enough for him to get the pin and wins the match to retain the TNT title!  This was a really good match and a great way to start the show!  The TNT title has a great track record as far as these open challenge matches, and Sammy is proving to be as effective with the belt as his predecessors like Cody, Brodie, and Miro.  The only thing is that I hope they drop the rib angle soon because I’m never a fan of wrestlers fighting through injuries; Kayfabe or otherwise.  Maybe once or twice, but at some point you’ve got to let the guy just wrestle at a hundred percent and trust that he can still generate drama in the match.

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (12-03-2021)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (12-01-2021)

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

We’re back for another week of AEW action, but we start this recap on a somber note as JR isn’t here for this show because he’s fighting skin cancer.  We all hope the best for him and his family, and expect to see him back shortly as he’s one tough dude and is already rearing to come back!  This also means that for this week (and any other weeks he’s not available), we will be getting a lot of guest commentators to try and fill his absence.  Get well soon, JR, and let’s get started with the show!!

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Bryan Danielson Vs. Alan Angels

Hangman Adam Page joins the announce team for this match.

The big problem with Danielson’s quest to kick the head off of every Dark Order member on his way to facing Hangman is that it’s entirely unnecessary as Hangman is more than willing to fight Danielson, so it’s not like with MJF where he forces someone to go through all his Heel buddies before taking him on.  They even have a date in place with the Winter is Coming show in a few weeks, so there are no real stakes to this and Danielson is just doing it to do it while the Dark Order are playing into his hand.  It worked the first time with Evil Uno and perhaps twice with Colt Cabana, but Alan Angels coming out here just seems like folly.  Still, Angels has kind of a shtick now of being a guy who never wins matches but always gives the big dogs a run for his money, though I’m sure that’ll be cold comfort for him if Danielson kicks one of his teeth out.  It starts off strong for Danielson who remains in full control of the match despite a few decent hits from Angels here and there.  He gets a surprise Backslide for a two count and tries to capitalize on it, but Danielson quickly regains control with a Butterfly Suplex into an Arm Bar.  Angels makes it toe the ropes and comes back with a Drop Kick that sends Danielson out of the ring; following up with a Suicide Dive and a Moonsault from the middle rope.  This advantage is short-lived as Danielson hits him with a Spanish Fly as soon as they are back in the ring, and even when he does get a chance to climb the turnbuckle, he misses the Moonsault and eats a Running Knee from Danielson.  He doesn’t go for the pin, however!  Instead, he starts stomping on Angels’ face as he did to Colt Cabana; thankfully with no lost teeth, at least as far as I could tell, and Danielson transitions into the Knee Bar which he Angels immediately taps out of.  Oh, but the tap is no good in this match as Danielson refuses to let go of the move for almost a minute after the bell rings and starts to claim that he tore Angels’ MCL which is probably NOT true, but I guess they have to keep up this destruction of the Dark Order story.  Hangman Adam Page is about to run down to attack Danielson, but John Silver comes out and tells him not to go after him as Tony Khan has scheduled a match for Winter is Coming and therefore has decreed that if Hangman and Danielson fight each other now, they will get suspended.  That’s a pretty good reason not to go after Danielson, though it’s not the only reason because… SILVER’S GONNA TAKE HIM DOWN HIMSELF!  He runs down but Danielson runs out, claiming the Silver is beneath him, but they will be facing off next week before Danielson followed by Hangman at Winter is Coming the week after.  It was a good opener as Angels put on a good show for himself while keeping Danielson looking strong, and they didn’t spend too much time on it.  It still seems like a weird choice for the Dark Order to keep throwing themselves at Danielson, but if they lead to good matches like this then I guess I’m fine with it.

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (12-01-2021)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (11-26-2021) – Black Friday

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

I was pretty nonplussed by the Thanksgiving Show which is a shame since it had the potential to be a lot more interesting than it was, but I knew that Rampage had a match I was VERY much looking forward to its main event which would hopefully make up for whatever shortcomings were in the Dynamite show.  With Eddie Kingston and Daniel Garcia in the main event as well as two other very cool matches lined up, does this turn out to be the TRUE holiday episode of AEW; therefore proving once and for all that Black Friday is better than Thanksgiving!?  Let’s find out!!

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Wheeler Yuta & Orange Cassidy Vs. Adam Cole & Bobby Fish

I’m pretty sure Wheeler Yuta hasn’t won a match on AEW TV since joining the company, but then again Fish has had MAYBE two wins since he showed up, so perhaps this is a much more even match than I would first assume it to be.  Yuta does manage to put up a decent fight against fish and manages to tag in Cassidy while in control of his opponent, so hopefully he can pull off an upset here!  Cassidy goes for a very casual Lateral Press on Fish which only gets a one count, but it is enough for him to scamper to his corner and tag in Cole.  Now Cassidy is known for a lot of shtick, but the hands in the pockets has to be the one that he gets the most mileage of as a good minute or so of this match is dedicated to his efforts to do it and Cole’s desperation to stop him!  First, he just implores him to stop and then does his ADAM COLE BABY thing which got a pop from the crowd, but Cassidy is unimpressed and goes for the pockets once more.  Cole gets physical this time and tries to block him which allows Cassidy to flip him over.  He goes for the pockets again, but Cole grabs him with a waist lock!  Cassidy still goes the pockets, but this only makes things for as Cole transitions to a Full Nelson.  Undeterred, Cassidy keeps going for the pockets, and when he realizes that he can’t quite get it, he flips Cole over again and gives the half-hearted thumbs up.  Point having been made, Cassidy tags in Yuta and they have some fun tandem moves which end with Yuta landing a Standing Senton and getting a two count on Cole.  That was a lot of fun to see and it’s nice to see Yuta do well for himself, but Fish manages to be quite good at distractions and keeps Yuta busy long enough for Cole to rip him off the turnbuckle.  He drags Yuta to the corner and he and Fish get the heat on Yuta during the commercial, but by the time we come back, both Yuta and Fish are down and trying to get to their corners.  Fish makes it to his corner for the tag and he and Cole keep Yuta from tagging in Orange for a while longer, but eventually, Yuta escapes and lands a Double Drop Kick from the Middle rope which was enough to keep Cole and Fish down for Yuta to get the hot tag to Cassidy; and yes, he FINALLY gets his hands in his pockets.  Not only that, but he does the Lousy Kicks on both Fish and Cole before landing both a Double Drop Kick and a Double Hurricanrana!  The Baby Faces continue to dominate in this match and land a very cool combo where Cassidy hits the Stundog Millionaire that sends Cole into Yuta who hits a German Suplex, but when Cassidy goes for the Jack Knife pin it’s broken up by Fish who gains control of this match.  A lot of stuff happens from here, almost all of it very well executed and a lot of fun to see, but it eventually boils down to Yuta trying desperately to put Fish away and deciding that the best option is to land a splash from the top rope.  As soon as he’s up there though, Cole shakes the ropes and Yuta slumps forward, and while Cassidy does his best to take care of Cole afterward, the damage is done and Fish lands an Avalanche Falcon Arrow on the defenseless Yuta which is more than enough to get the pin and win the match.  This was a really good match between two teams that are always fun to watch!  Sure it k0ind of devolved into nonsense as people were running in and out of the ring with reckless abandon, but that’s all too common at AEW and we probably shouldn’t hold it against individual matches.  Yuta in particular looked GREAT here, and while I understand why he had to take the loss, I really hope he gets a few wins on TV soon.

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (11-26-2021) – Black Friday”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (11-24-2021) – Thanksgiving

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

We’re back with more Dynamite action, and I guess this would count as one of those special episodes they like to do?  It doesn’t have a cool name like Grand Slam or the upcoming Battle of the Belts, but they did put in the effort to add Thanksgiving as a subtitle and a nice fall background to the big screens!  Is this a fun collection of matches that we will all be thankful for, or will it put us to sleep faster than the tryptophan in turkey?  Let’s find out!!

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The show is supposed to begin with a CM Punk match, but they only get as far as his entrance before MJF throws everything off track.  Coming out before QT Marshall’s music can play, MJF not only taunts Punk with a promo, but the two of them proceed to take twenty minutes to talk and talk and talk!  Now to their credit, it’s all good stuff!  MJF starts by giving Punk a backhanded compliment about his Pipe Bomb promo being the highlight of his career (insinuating that he will never be that good again), and proceeds to dress him down for his run at AEW and whatever else he was up to before returning to wrestling.  He mentioned that CM Punk wrote some comic books which I HAD to look up as soon as I heard that, and while we sadly don’t have the Punk equivalent of those incomprehensible WARRIOR comics, he did in fact write a Drax the Destroyer series for Marvel.  Perhaps I’ll check that out someday, but regardless of that, Punk responds by saying that he’s disappointed in MJF and makes fun of his silly name; looking as if he’s unfazed by the barrage of hate from MJF, but I get the feeling it’s starting to get under his skin.  They go back and forth for a bit with Punk being compared to John Cena and MJF being compared to the Miz, but by the end of this, neither side has given up any ground.  Punk is willing to fight him at the moment, but MJF is willing to let this run out a bit longer and just walks away; much like how Punk walked away from him last week.  I think MJF just coming out and picking on a new Baby Face every few weeks is starting to get repetitive, but so far it’s at least more engaging for me than I found his feud with Darby Allin was.  Points for that at least, but we’ll still need to see where all this is going.  Anyway, what were we doing before we were so rudely interrupted?  Oh right!

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CM Punk Vs. QT Marshall

QT is accompanied to the ring by Nick Comoroto and Aaron Solow

Considering the guy got preempted for a full TWENTY MINUTES, he puts up a much better fight than I expected him to.  Punk starts the match in full control with a series of Power Slams that turn QT’s spine into jelly, and the dude’s own backup can’t even do their job effetely as Nick grabs Punk’s boot (which does absolutely nothing) which immediately gets them BOTH tossed out by the ref!  Solow didn’t even do anything, and yet he’s being pushed around by the refs who, I will remind you, are some of the most ineffectual refs in wrestling!  None of this points to QT having much of a chance here, and yet he gets a good knee shot and lands a few blows which don’t exactly turn the tide in his favor, but gives him enough momentum to start gloating to the crowd.  It goes back and forth for a bit as Punk fights back with a Back Body Drop and a Flying Clothesline from the apron only for QT to regain control with a Pop-Up Elbow Strike and a Liger Bomb for a two count.  It’s a turn of events so unexpected that JR comments on how Punk is not on the ball this match and I’m not sure that’s quite what the crowd came to see, but eventually Punk gives them what they want with a few big moves to get them going before landing a Flying Elbow from the top rope.  With QT dazed and confused, Punk signals for the GTS, scoops him up, hits the knee, and gets the pin to win the match.  I feel like this would have worked better for me if QT didn’t get as much offense in here and they kept it quite a bit shorter.  It’s nearly a fifteen-minute match that comes off the heels of a twenty-minute promo, and while I’m sure there are plenty of Punk fans who can’t get enough of the guy, having him on screen for a full uninterrupted half-hour felt a bit excessive. 

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (11-24-2021) – Thanksgiving”