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

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

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

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Cody Rhodes & Red Velvet Vs. Shaq & Jade Cargill

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

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (02-17-2021)

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

With the Revolution PPV only a few weeks away, it’s time for AEW to kick things into gear and get us excited to pay for one of their shows instead of watching it for free on TNT or on YouTube!  There are definitely a few plates that AEW have dutifully been spinning for the last few weeks, but the card still feels a bit underweight especially without an announced Main Event, so will this week prove to be the jumping off point for THE ROAD TO REVOLUTION, or will we be getting more of the same old same old?  Let’s find out!!

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Hangman Adam Page & Matt Hardy Vs. The Hybrid2

So this was supposed to be an eight man tag match with Hardy Party and Page going up against TH2 and Chaos Project, right?  I haven’t found any word on WHY this was changed (AEW is usually good about letting people know about COVID cancellations) but I guess that Private Party is busy with their Impact storyline which is  a bit disappointing as I’d like to see how Page works with the duo, but we’re still in for a good match regardless.  TH2 have certainly come into their own in the last month or so becoming regulars on the program where before they were stuck on Dark, and while I don’t like Hardy’s gimmick right now (I guess I should stop calling him Huckster Matt and use his proper name Big Money Matt) he’s definitely gotten back into the groove of things after his disastrous feud with Sammy Guevara.  TH2 prove to be worthier foes than Chaos Project so Matt Hardy spends most of the time taking moves from Evans and Angélico while Page is on the sidelines waiting for the hot tag.  Angélico once again is a standout for some of his inventive mat work, and while Jack Evans is no slouch and definitely shows off his acrobatics here, he’s the one who eventually screws up and allows Page to get the hot tag and runs wild over both of them.  Elbows, suplexes, Powerbombs, the only reason I didn’t expect this onslaught to actually end the match is that we’re barely five minutes into it!  Now I said Jack Evans was no slouch and I DO mean that, but the one thing that people will remember about this match is his botched Phoenix Splash.  He has Matt Hardy on the mat and jumps up to do his twisty thing, but he doesn’t get enough distance and just lands on the mat; having to fall over to pretend that he actually HIT Matt Hardy with the movie.  I can’t imagine this would have been the ending of the match in any case, but thankfully Hardy gets his shoulder up and a minute later Hangman lands a Buckshot Lariat on BOTH of TH2 at the same time.  With both men down and Page keeping an eye on Jack Evans, Hardy gets the pin on Angélico to get the win.  After the match, Matt Hardy is ecstatic about his thirty percent contact with Page because apparently Matt Hardy doesn’t watch the show, and Page has to give him the heartbreaking news that the contact is not what he seemed.  The revised contact is brought by the Jaguar’s mascot Jaxson de Ville for some reason and we learn that it was NOT for a management contract but for a match at Revolution between Page and Hardy which, after a bit of negotiation (and baby face teasing), has their first quarter earnings on the line.  Hardy is not happy that he’s literally going to have fight for his pay and promises that Page is going to regret this at which point Jaxson de Ville starts attacking him!  Oh no!  It was Isaiah Kassidy the whole time!  Well not to be outdone by Hardy Party, The Dark Order along with Negative One run out to fend off Page’s attackers and show that they are still on his side even if he ditched them a few weeks ago!  I guess they don’t give homework these days considering how often Negative One is on national television, but in any case this was a fun segment.  The match was okay but ultimately perfunctory as it was all about the post-match angle which was a pretty excellent build up for a Revolution match.  The PPV has been a bit anemic as far as booked matches (especially with the Shaq match getting moved to Dynamite), so it’s impressive that they managed to do so much in this one angle.  Heck, I was VERY down on this whole storyline for weeks now, and this is one of the more interesting matches on the PPV card!

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (01-27-2021)

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

AEW’s schedule has been rather wonky these last few weeks, hasn’t it?  It’s not just that the New Year’s special had to be pushed back a week due to unfortunate circumstances, we’re already coming up on their next special episode which is called Beach Break (not Beach BASH as I’m pretty sure I called it last week) and they also moved their Revolution PPV back a week for reasons that are still not entirely clear.  Perhaps things getting moved around so much is why last week felt like a bit of a letdown and frankly it doesn’t bode well for this episode as they’ll probably save everything REALLY good for next week’s special, but is that the pessimism of an overly cynical jerk or the wisdom of a perfectly calibrated cynical jerk?  Let’s find out!!

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Eddie Kingston Vs. Lance Archer

I still have no idea where this story is going, but I’ll be darned if this isn’t the most fun I’ve had with one of these matches!  It’s basically that one Three Stooges short where Curly has to box against the champ Killer Kilduff with Kingston playing the part of the darn fool stuck in the ring with a monster and honestly it’s a pretty darn good comparison considering how he works in the ring.  Eddie Kingston is one of the best floppers in this business because he doesn’t just sell the hits; he makes his opponents look like the biggest bullies imaginable with over the top flailing, great facial expressions, and the nerve to take some seriously nasty bumps.  The most terrifying was when Archer lifts him up for a Chokeslam, but then drops him over the ropes and onto the apron which SHOULD have shattered his spine but luckily enough he was just fine.  Can’t imagine Jerry Howard going for something like that, but then he did take his fair share of abuse at a time where OSHA would have been considered Communist propaganda.  What the heck am I even on about?  In any case, Archer takes his sweet time knocking Kingston all over the place and it’s definitely his match to win… but then Butcher & Blade drag Jake Roberts out from the back which distracts him and the ref long enough for The Bunny to hand Kingston a pair of brass knuckles which he uses to clobber Archer across the temple and get the pin.  I’ve been waiting for weeks for this faction to figure out what it was going to be and this feels like they’ve finally figured it out.  Kingston is not a killer and frankly neither are The Butcher & The Blade.  What they are though are scheming jerk wads who can take advantage of a situation and come out on top, so as long as their opponents have someone they wish to protect, Kingston and company can take advantage of that and score a cheap win.  The match was a lot of fun even though I did worry about Kingston’s health throughout, and it definitely feels like they’ve got an angle to build off of instead of just bouncing between ideas and matches until something sticks.

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (01-13-2021) – New Year’s Smash Night 2

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

We’re back with night two of AEW’s New Year’s Spectacular; a good two weeks after the New Year came and went!  Yeah, look at me of all people pointing out that someone is late on something; glass houses and all that.  In any case, last week’s show didn’t really land for me, but I still found a lot of it to be quite entertaining.  Do things come together more smoothly this week, or will it somehow be an even bigger mess!?  Let’s find out!!

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Pac Vs. Eddie Kingston

Pac is accompanied to the ring by The Lucha Bros while Kingston is accompanied by The Butcher, The Blade, & The Bunny

I think the problem with Kingston lately is that he needs a real ace in the hole; not mid carders like Butcher & Blade but a big unstoppable beast that will do anything he says, or better yet maybe a tag team that is truly unstoppable and respected!  TOO BAD HE LOST THE LUCHA BROS, but I guess with Pac returning, AEW thought they were better off with him.  As for the match itself, Pac takes a deceive lead off the bat and it’s not until interference from The Bunny that Kingston starts getting the heat.  Pac definitely looks stronger here than he has in a while; even during the heat where he’s practically egging Kingston on and it’s ultimately a short lived advantage as he soon regains control of the match.  However, Pac’s fatal flaw seems to be that he takes his time; not in a sportsmanlike baby face way where he makes sure his opponent is okay to continue, but to admire his own work and these are the spots where Kingston can get a few shots.  He’s quickly put back down by Pac, particularly one spot where Eddie eats a VERY crisp kip up while sitting on the top turnbuckle and looks directly in the camera with a face like a cartoon character (only missing the tweeting birds circling his head), but Pac could have finished this a lot sooner if he just went for it at full force and didn’t give Kingston a chance to breath.  Pac ends up getting a Superplex off of the cartoon spot and Kingston sells his arm and neck which means he’s on borrowed time.  He goes for a DDIT spot but fails to land it due to his injury,  and he eats a Black Arrow from Pac which leads to the pin.   Pac, living up to his bad guy bona-fides, immediately puts Kingston in the Brutalizer after the bell rings.  Before it can turn into an all-out brawl, Lance Archer and Jake Roberts hit the ring to break it up… for some reason.  There’s something about Pac needing to be on the same page, but I don’t know what he’s talking about.  After all is said and done, not a bad opener!  The Bucks didn’t start things off this this week as Nick is healing from a pretty bad bruise, but it was still fun and definitely showed the strength of these two men better than their other recent matches have.  Kingston’s got the mouth, and there are few with a better mouth than him, but he doesn’t have the muscle to back it up and I hope someone else notices this if they plan on continuing this feud.

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (12-09-2020)

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

So after the surprise ending of last week’s show that saw Kenny Omega winning the title under duplicitous circumstances, not to mention Sting showing up to blow all the wrestling nerds away, what can AEW possibly do to give us an episode as good as that!?  Probably nothing short of having John Cena show I imagine, but even if it’s not as good as last week’s blowout show, do they still manage to capitalize on all the good will they built up and give us something worth watching?  Let’s find out!!

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The Young Bucks Vs. The Hybrid2

TH2 has been on a hot streak recently with some solid promos and a great match two weeks ago, so now they’re here to get some shine from the Bucks, though perhaps this match is a bit TOO wacky for that to happen.  It’s not BAD, but it is a bit on the silly side with spot in particular standing out like a sore thumb.  TH2 Whip the two bucks towards each other, but instead of crashing they lock their right arms, spin around on the axis crated by their crossed biceps, and let go when facing the other direction; now RUNNING towards TH2 and landing spears.  I don’t think that’s how physics works, but PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING is probably not the place to bringing up concerns like that, and the match is pretty solid all the way through.  LOTS of flips (some of which don’t do anything other than show off) and plenty of kicks to give the match a lot of flair, and there’s one spot where Matt Jackson Powerbombs Jack Evans into The Acclaimed; the team that were taunting them last week and who JUST SO HAPPENED to be in the crowd this week.  There were actually quite a few big moves with TH2 managing to kick out of a bunch of The Bucks super moves and there’s one spot where Matt Jackson has Jack Evans in the Electric Chair (basically have the other guy sitting on your shoulders) so that Nick can give him a flying clothesline from the top rope to the ramp!  Evan manages to get up after that one, but taking a Spike Piledriver on the floor proved to be too much which left Angélico alone in the ring to eat a BTE trigger which was finally enough to end the match.  Perhaps it went on too long for the opener and I think they overdid it on the super moves early on which didn’t leave a lot of room to escalate for the ending, but it was still a fun match.  The Acclaimed try to rush the ring after the match ends, but Kazarian and Daniels (the latter STILL wearing his dad clothes) spring to the ring from the back and keep them at bay.  I hope we’re not dropping The Hybrid2 completely to make room for The Acclaimed, but it would be interesting to see if The Hybrid2 joined forces with them and cost the Bucks a match.  See, The Bucks are still kind of on their own and still acting like jerks, so where I would have them LOST against FTR and come to that revelation for the rematch, it could work here if they’re facing challengers who have back up and need to make amends with some team before the title match so they can get backup as well.  It looks like it’ll be SCU as they’ve made the save twice now, or maybe they’re just angling for their own title shot as well.  There are a few directions they can take this story, but I get the feeling they’re going to go with the most straightforward where they face Acclaimed and win yet again before moving on to something else.

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

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

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

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

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Brian Cage Vs. Matt Sydal

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

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