Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (02-02-2022)

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

We’re back with another week of Dynamite action that you probably forgot about already given that I’m still about two weeks behind! Then again, this DOES have the confrontation between MJF and CM Punk that we were waiting months to see, so perhaps the memories are still a bit fresh in your minds! Was this a fantastic blowoff to a fantastic feud, or were we all just setting ourselves up for disappointment? Let’s find out!!

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Jon Moxley Vs. Wheeler Yuta

Yuta is accompanied to the ring by Orange Cassidy and Danhausen

I still have no idea who this Danhausen guy is, but it hardly matters as he’s not much of a factor here. For the most part, it stays focused on Moxley and Yuta with only the occasional interaction with Orange Cassidy to foreshadow a future match between him and Moxley. As I’ve said before, AEW doesn’t typically do squashes with their named talent, and so Wheeler Yuta gets plenty of offense here with a Manhattan Drop, Step Up Enziguri, and Corner Splash combo giving him a decent hope spot in the middle of the match, and this forces Moxley to roll to the apron. The two start fighting on there, but it’s clear that whatever Yuta throws at him, Moxley can not only take it but dish it back with twice as much force and so he manages to hit a DDT on the apron that sends Yuta to the floor. This is when he spends time to confront Orange Cassidy while Danhausen does some sort of finger magic thing, and it gives Yuta enough time to land a Top Rope Splash onto Moxley, and this leads to a German Suplex into a bridge that gets Yuta a two count. The two go back and forth for a bit with Yuta managing to turn a Paradigm Shift into a slam on Moxley, but Moxley once again brute forces his way to having the upper hand. He locks in a Rear Naked Choke to stop Yuta’s momentum and knocks him to the floor with a King Kong Lariat. A Paradigm Shift soon follows and that’s all she wrote as Yuta stays down for the three count which gives Moxley the win. It wasn’t a bad opener, but it wasn’t anything special either. Moxley seems to be easing back into his role here at AEW with basic matches, but it looks like we’ll be moving towards something bigger soon enough because…

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

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

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

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

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

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (12-22-2021) – Holiday Bash

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

As much as I love wrestling, the Holidays are a tough time to find the three hours it takes to watch these shows what with a million other things to worry about this time of year.  Still, you can’t say AEW doesn’t put in the effort, and not taking a week away from the show even with everyone being busy is laudable I suppose; especially since they film Rampage on the same night as Dynamite which hopefully meant that everyone got to go home as soon as it was over.  Is this a great present for AEW to give us despite the poor timing of it, or will it get lost in the Holiday shuffle like everything else we don’t have time to think about because we’ve got so many other things to do right now!?  Okay, maybe not everyone is stressed out like that, but that’s beside the point!  Is this a good show or not!?  Let’s find out!!

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Orange Cassidy Vs. Adam Cole

Cole and Cassidy are two of the biggest stars who aren’t currently in the title picture, so putting them together in an opening match is as good a way as any to try and tear people away from their packed Holiday schedules to tune in.  It’s a solid match with a lot of back and for the action between the two, but things don’t really pick up until Cassidy gets a two count from a Diving Cross Body and a Swinging DDT.  This forces the Bucks and Brandon Cutler to come out just as Cassidy is going up top for a big splash, and instead of hitting Cole, Cassidy jumps down on Cutler.  It’s at this point that the Best Friends run down to make the save, but not before Cassidy hits a Suicide Dive on the Bucks which allows the Best Friends to fight them back up the ramp and to the back.  Despite his buddies getting overwhelmed, it does create an opening for Cole who throws Cassidy shoulder-first into the steps; hoping to neutralize his Orange Punch finisher.  Cassidy is left limp against the steps so Cole tries to follow up with a Boom Knee Strike, but Cassidy moves and Cole’s knee hits the steel instead of Cassidy’s squishy body.  With both suffering injuries, the two continue to brawl throughout the commercial break and start to kick things into high gear once we return.  Lousy Kicks, Brain Busters, Stundog Millionaires and Diving DDTs, All of which hit their mark, but the damage they’ve incurred end up blunting their effectiveness, so neither manage to get the pin.  Cole tries to set up Cassidy for the Panama Sunrise by dragging him to the corner, but Cassidy merely rolls away to overcome his scheme.  Frustrated by this, Colle tries to go after him but Cassidy hits a Michinoku Driver!  Now it’s his turn to set up a move as he puts on his shades and gets to the top rope, and once he’s up there he puts his hands in his pockets and tries to dive on Cole.  He’s WAY short on his dive however and ends up eating a Super Kick which allows Cole to get the Panama Sunrise and goes for a lackadaisical cover on Cassidy.  He might have won if he tried to do a serious pin, but Cassidy kicks out. Cassidy takes this unforced error from Cole and ducks and hits a Beach Break for a two count before setting up for the Orange Punch.  Seeing what’s about to happen, Cole rolls out of the ring right as Bobby Fish runs down to start yelling at the ref.  He’s doing it for a long time and Cassidy is just standing there looking perturbed, and right when I was wondering what the heck was going on here, NONE OTHER THAN KYLE O’REILLY RUNS IN TO ATTACK CASSIDY!  As soon as Cassidy is on the ground, Cole hits the Boom Knee Strike and gets the pin on Cassidy, but that’s almost immaterial because the big news here is that the original Undisputed Era (Roderick Strong was added later) has officially moved to AEW after WWE cast them aside like yesterday’s news!  There seems to be some tension as the Bucks run down and seem a bit hesitant about the Undisputed Era reforming right in front of them, but it was a solid match with a really cool surprise ending that is sure to get AEW even more clout with the fans!  I don’t know if we’ll hit the point where it becomes passé for great wrestlers from the other company to show up here and prove how great they are, but it certainly hasn’t happened yet!

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Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (12-10-2021)

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

We’re back with another week of Rampage action, though this one finds itself in a bit of an odd spot.  The next Dynamite is the big Winter is Coming show, and they wrapped up all the major storylines on the Wednesday show, so this is kind of just filling the gap between the two shows.  Sure, Rampage works best when it gets to do its own thing separate from Dynamite, but sandwiched between the Dynamite show and Winter is Coming, can it manage to find enough fun action and compelling narratives to keep from feeling entirely disposable?  Let’s find out!!

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The Lucha Bros Vs. FTR – AEW Tag Title Match

The Lucha Bros are accompanied to the ring by Alex Abrahantes while FTR are accompanied by Tully Blanchard

You’d think this would be a match to save for the big show on Wednesday instead of throwing out on the B-Show; especially since these two teams had a match at Triple-Mania less than a week ago.  Why not let them rest until the Wednesday show and try to put on a barn burner instead of filling a slot that could literally go to anyone else?  Rampage is a good place for random matchups, and it’d be nice if we got some highlights from Triple-Mania or even just a promo to set up this title match!  Well, we’ve got the match that we’ve got, and I guess it was their way of making this Rampage not seem insignificant; so let’s see how it plays out.  It starts off well with the Lucha Bros getting a solid lead on FTR, but the No Flips All Fist guys are hard to keep down no matter what you throw at them!  Penta decides to go for psychological warfare and theatrically takes off his glove which he tosses to Cash who dutifully catches… and then IMMEDIATELY eats a kick to the face!  Rey then tags in and jumps really high in the air for a Cross Body on Cash, but after landing he’s grabbed by Dax and is dropped spine first onto the apron; giving FTR some heat as we head into the commercial.  Rey eventually makes his way to the corner to tag in Penta who hits Sling Blades on both guys before landing the Backstabber on Dax.  Things go back and forth for a bit between Penta and Cash with some very cool reversals thrown in, and soon enough Rey tags back into the match.  He punches Tully Blanchard in the face who thought it was a good idea to get up on the apron and taunt him, and starts to face off both members of FTR just like Penta did because I guess the Heels are allowed to do whatever they want; isn’t that right Ref?  In any case, Dax catches Rey in a Springboard move and drops him with a Slingshot Liger bomb for a two count, and Dax tosses him into the ropes where Cash is waiting to bash him with the belt much like he did in their first meet up.  Rey manages to stop himself and avoid the belt shot just as the ref sees what’s going on, and the two of them yank the belt out of Cash’s hands… which then goes right into Dax’s face!  Oh well!  Guess Rey’s gonna hit him with the Frog Splash and win!  NO WAIT!  Dax is still holding the belt and just lifts it up as Rey comes down; conking him in the face and going for the pin.  Despite seeing little flying birds circle his head after that shot, Rey manages to kick out at two and things just go into overdrive from there!  Rey tries to fight off FTR and goes up top for some sort of move, but he gets caught by both of them and they smash him to the mat with a Big Rig.  They go for the pin but it’s broken up by Penta who comes flying in from the top turnbuckle; wiping everyone out taking a little breather on the floor while the crowd is going wild!  It’s down to a battle of chops as both teams are in the ring and trading blows back and forth until Fenix lands a Cutter on Dax, only to eat a Gory Bomb from Cash.  Penta is back in the ring and Cash does his best to fight him off, but in the end he winds up eating a Fear Factor and the Lucha Bros get the pin to win the match.  I’m still a bit baffled that they gave away a title match (especially one this good) on Rampage, but if you are gonna give it away then why not make it fantastic?  If nothing else, it was WAY better than the one on the PPV!

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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 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Dante Martin Vs. Malaki Black

Dante Martin is accompanied to the ring by Lio Rush

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

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

Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (10-15-2021)

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

My week-long vacation from all things wrestling has come to an end, and I can’t wait to get back into the swing of things!  Fortunately, they’re starting us off easy with a straightforward episode of Rampage followed by a Saturday Night Dynamite which should be a lot of fun!  Is this the perfect appetizer before digging back into AEW wrestling goodness, or are they just filling us up with bread?  Let’s find out!!

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CM Punk Vs. Matt Sydal

The only story we got leading up to this is that Lio Rush SOMEHOW got Tony Khan to approve this match as I guess some sort of test or perhaps as a power play on Matt Sydal, but none of that plays into this and the whole thing comes off as more of an exhibition more than anything else; especially after the mutual respect they have for each other is established by the handshake that starts the match.  It’s a pretty straightforward technical wrestling match since there aren’t that many high spots or flashy moves, but between the holds, tests of strengths, and submissions, they do throw in a few flips, twists, and impressive feats of coordination to spice things up.  Sydal gets the upper hand with some creative submissions and leaping strikes, but Punk has the strength advantage and manages to land a few Body Slams to knock the wind out of him.  The crowd then starts demanding a third one and Punk goes for it, but Sydal reverses into an Arm Drag followed by a Sliding Kick to turn things in his favor.  He flips over Punk and transitions from a Cross Face into some sort of Superman Pin that gets him a two count and he presses the advantage further with a bunch of leg kicks and a Back Arch on Punk’s knee which he continues to work over throughout the match.  All this damage they are doing to each other is not enough to put either away and it’s clear that someone’s either gonna have to land a finisher or a REALLY painful move to bring this to an end.  Punk does manage to land that third Body Slam on Sydal which he does on the apron and he throws Sydal back into the ring to land a Slingshot Senton, but even this isn’t enough and only gets a two count for Punk.  Intent on getting the GTS but not sure that Sydal is properly softened up for it, he instead hangs him in the Tree of Woe to land a few kicks.  However, the big Drop Kick (which is pretty much the only thing you can do with a Tree of Woe) is avoided by Sydal and his AMAZING ab muscles, and he manages to pull himself up onto the turnbuckle.  The two of them trade blows up there for a bit before landing simultaneous punches that send them both tumbling off the apron and to the floor.  If that wasn’t enough to make Punk start questioning his choices in life, Sydal continuing to work the knee over with a few more submissions might seal the deal, but he manages to escape with an Anaconda Vice that is broken up when Sydal makes it to the ropes.  Punk wants to put this thing away before Sydal can cause any more damage so he goes for the Pepsi Twist AND the GTS only for Sydal to dodge both of them and land a big kick to the head.  With Punk reeling from that, Sydal finally manages to land his finisher the Lightening Spiral and goes for the pin… BUT PUNK KICKS OUT!  The one thing both guys were going for was not enough to put Punk away and Sydal now has to get desperate if he wants to win the match.  He goes to the top rope but Punk rolls away, so instead he jumps at him to pull him down for the Crucifix pin.  Probably not the best move to go for however as Punk manages to catch him and he’s in JUST the right position for the GTS which Punk lands and gets the pin to win the match.  It was pretty good for what it was.  Perhaps a little bit plain by AEW standards, but a perfectly fine way to open the show and I’m glad that Punk isn’t trying to put on five star matches week in and week out.  They’re already gonna have enough trouble keeping Danielson from doing that and risk burning himself out, so they don’t need Punk doing it too!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Rampage (10-15-2021)”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (09-22-2021) – Grand Slam

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

AEW is on a huge hot streak right now so I don’t begrudge them trying to ride it out for as long as they can, but having another BIG EVENT SHOW so soon after All Out and adding an extra hour to Rampage is starting to feel a bit excessive even if they are still putting on fantastic matches.  I guess I shouldn’t complain that AEW is giving us stuff we’ve always wanted to see just because we’re getting those things back to back, but can AEW keep up this momentum without burning out their audience; specifically ME?  Let’s find out!!

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Kenny Omega Vs. Bryan Danielson

Yeah, we’re not wasting any time here and are STARTING with what should be the main event of the show; a match that people have been waiting YEARS to see!  Now that’s not to say that they don’t have ANY sense of restraint as the first few minutes of this match are about milking this for all its worth as both guys won’t even touch each other, but it’s clear that AEW wants this to be the biggest show in Dynamite history and their strategy is to pack every minute with something that will make the fans go wild!  The two circle each other for a bit with swipes but no contact and even some sassy shenanigans with rope breaks, but they eventually start to hit each other and Danielson gets an early lead after twisting Omega’s arm in a Knuckle Lock.  With that, he starts to land a bunch of chops and kicks in the corner, tosses Omega over the ropes to then follows up with a Suicide Dive, and he even lands a Top Rope Knee Strike to Omega’s arm; all to soften him up and get him to the mat for a submission from Danielson, but he makes the mistake of NOT putting him in the LeBell Lock which Omega tapped to pretty quickly the last time they had a scrape in the ring.  Because of this, Kenny manages to fight back and gets a fair bit of offense in as the match goes back and forth between the two, and I’ve gotta say that Danielson has GOT to have the most sensitive skin in the entire business because Kenny turns his chest BEET RED with these chops and it only gets more pronounced as the match goes on.  Speaking of “going on” this is a LONG match and clearly done with the intent to give the people a PPV quality bout, so we won’t be going over EVERY move and will just hit some of the highlights in this VERY excellent match!  A Lot of big and risky moves throughout which made me nervous considering BOTH of their medical problems in the past (and present) with Omega going for a dive over the ropes to the floor where Danielson may NOT have completely caught him as Omega seems to have landed pretty hard on the floor.  If that wasn’t bad enough, Danielson eats a Snap Dragon Suplex on the ramp and takes a Buckle Bomb that was a bit off-center so he ended up tumbling through the ropes instead of landing his back on the buckle.  Thank goodness he only tumbled to the ramp and not to the floor, but these guys REALLY don’t need to be taking these kinds of risks.  The two men go back and forth, Moonsaults, V-Triggers, Yes Kicks, just nonstop violence being inflicted upon each other to the delight and horror of the crowd!  Both men are starting to show their weariness as they start getting near falls on one another, but it’s clear that Omega’s got a slight edge here and his cockiness rears its ugly head when he breaks up a ten count that would have won him the match but instead he wants to inflict more pain on Danielson.  He gets Danielson on the top turnbuckle for an Avalanche Dragon Suplex, but Danielson drops down and escapes only to get up behind Kenny on the turnbuckle and lands an Avalanche Back Drop!  Despite hitting such a devastating move, Danielson is not able to capitalize, but it’s clear that he’s far from done as they start trading blows once again.  Omega gets the advantage once again and manages to land that Avalanche Dragon Suplex he was denied moments earlier, but even that wasn’t enough to put Danielson away as he only gets a two count!  Omega tries to go for the One Winged Angel, but even in his current state Danielson is not about to take it and pulls Omega back into a Hurricanrana.  It’s clear that he’s not gonna win with that so he goes for a Phoenix Splash only for Danielson to roll away, and now Danielson has him!  They start trading blows and Danielson gets the better of the exchange and goes for the LeBell Lock… only for Omega to get the ropes!  It’s a desperate melee to see who comes out on top with the two of them trading big moves until…

*DING* *DING* *DING*

Time’s up.  The thirty minute time limit has been reached, Danielson appeared to be mere moments away from locking the LeBell lock back in, but it’s too late and the match is a draw!  Danielson keeps fighting and The Elite have to run down to break it up before The Bucks and Adam Cole give Danielson a Superkick Party at which point Christian Cage and the Jurassic Express run down to make the save.  This was probably the BEST way for AEW to end it given their long term plans, but I don’t think the crowd was too appreciative.  There was definitely a sense of being robbed as the crowd started to boo when the bell had rung, but I think the Pros of this kind of ending outweigh it’s rather glaring Con.  Yes, you don’t get a proper finish and yes the first match between Omega and Danielson ended in boos, but this definitely means we’re getting another match between these two and now that Danielson has done the one match he needed to do, he can have other matches with whoever else he wants to face in the lead up to the Omega rematch.  I think that’s ultimately the better option than just holding off Danielson for several months until the next PPV, and it’s not like the Time Limit rule shouldn’t be exercised every once in  a while just so you know it is a legitimate factor in a match.  It’ll probably get some pushback in some circles, but I thought it was a good ending to an already fantastic match!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (09-22-2021) – Grand Slam”