Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (07-21-2021) – Fyter Fest Night 2

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

We’re back for night two of AEW’S Fyter Fest special event which comes right after their Road Rager event and will most assuredly be followed by like five other events.  Well you can hardly blame them for trying to make every episode feel like something monumental will happen since they’re still establishing themselves on the road, and to their credit they have been stacking these shows with a lot of great matches!  Will that trend continue for this episode, or are they about to run out of gas?  Let’s find out!!

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Chris Jericho Vs. Shawn Spears – First Labor of Jericho

Shawn Spears can use a chair but Chris Jericho cannot

MJF is on commentary

The idea of Jericho having to face four opponents in wacky stipulation matches before getting a crack at the biggest snot nosed heel at the company is the kind of booking I like to see and is also exactly what you want to do if you’re looking for something other than a title chase to get fans invested.  We’re certainly starting things off well with MJF’s obnoxious commentary and Shawn Spears coming out with a personalized chair that he uses to menace Jericho with, but it’s not long before he gets it away from them and gets a strong lead in the match.  It’s not until Jericho tries for a Springboard Forearm that Spears surprises him with a chair to the face and from there the match is a lot more even between them.  Jericho would get some momentum, but then Spears would stop him in his tracks with either a big move or another chair shot which kept the crowd on edge and they popped big time whenever Jericho gets control again.  At some point, Spears wedges a chair into one of the corners with the intent of throwing Jericho into it, but Jericho manages to fight back and puts Spears in the Walls of Jericho.  Just a moment before Spears starts tapping out in the middle of the ring, Tully gets on the apron and distracts Ref Aubrey so that she doesn’t see the submission.  Sammy comes out to yank him off the apron, but it’s too late as Spears has crawled his way to a chair and manages to bash it over Jericho’s head to break the submission.  Seeing a chance at victory, Spears gets Jericho up on his shoulders for a C4 along with a chair to make it more painful, but Jericho escapes and shoves Spears into the chair that was wedged in the corner.  As Spears bounces back he eats a Judas Effect from Jericho and stays down for the three count; giving Jericho the win and passing the first of his Labors.  It was certainly a solid match to start the show with, and the gimmick added a lot to it; especially for the crowd who reacted to every chair shot with a chorus of boos and exploded with every comeback from Jericho with thunderous applause!

As soon as the match is over, MJF comes to the ramp to congratulate Jericho on his victory but to also admonish him for letting Sammy come to his rescue.  Because of such blatant interference (ignoring of course Tully’s involvement), he has declared that Jericho cannot have ANYONE ELSE come out during any more of his labors or else the deal is off.  I’m not sure if he can make changes like that since they already signed the contract, but in any case MJF also announces the NEXT challenge that Jericho will face.  It will be a No DQ match against none other than Nick Gage!  For those of you who don’t know (like me), he is a top star in the independent wrestling scene, and is perhaps most known for his hardcore style which on at least one occasion nearly killed him in the middle of a match.  I doubt Jericho, AEW, or TNT are gonna be okay with THAT kind of DQ match, but it should be interesting all the same!

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (07-07-2021) – Road Rager

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

AEW is back on the road and to celebrate they have a rather sizable show for their first stop in Miami!  Now this isn’t the first show in front of a full crowd as Daily’s Place was starting to fill up at the end there, but we’re in a whole new market with fans who have been starving for live wrestling action, and AEW plans to deliver!  Is this a worthy show to kick off the start of a new era, or will it take a bit of time before things settle into place?  Let’s find out!!

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Cody Rhodes Vs. QT Marshall – South Beach Strap Patch

Both competitors are tied together with a strap.  To win, one must touch all four corners of the ring consecutively.

This was an INTERESTING match if nothing else.  I’ve heard of this kind of strap match before, but it always seemed overly convoluted and I’m not sure WHAT they are supposed to prove.  After watching it, there is some strategy to be had (do you try to stop someone in the middle of a run of posts, or do you fortify your position on the last one) but ultimately its closest to a Last Man Standing match where the goal is to keep an opponent down for an arbitrary amount of time; in one case for a ten count and in the other for as long as it takes someone to walk to the four corners of the ring.  What ended up standing out more for me was the strap which is both a blessing and a curse here.  There are some fun things they do like when Cody yanks on the strap so that QT bounces off the ropes, but the strap is so long and unwieldy that it made a lot of this match seem EXTRAORDINARILY dangerous.  At one point it looks like Cody got caught up in the strap during a suplex and it threw his balance off which wrecked his shoulder which I don’t BELIEVE was a legit injury, but I never like to wonder if someone is actually hurt while watching a wrestling match.  For the most part Cody maintains control as he cuts off QT’s moves pretty easily and uses the strap as a whip to turn his flesh pink, but there’s always something there to stop Cody from getting all four corners to end the match.  The big moment is pretty early when Aaron Solow goes after Cody but he’s soon chased off by Dustin Rhodes who fights him through the crowd.  The next is that VERY scary suplex that Cody sells for most of the match and hinders him in his attempts to finish this off quickly; especially after eating an Avalanche Powerbomb which somehow looked LESS scary than the suplex from earlier.  His closest chance at victory is a Draping Diamond Cutter that gets him as far as three corners, but Cody starts yanking on the ropes which forces QT to start attacking him again.  Cody however is fully energized by this point and runs WILD on QT with a series of big punches and big moves.  He lands a Cody Cutter which is soon followed by three Cross Rhodes, and QT stays down long enough for Cody to get all four corners to win the match.  If I didn’t worry that Cody and QT were going to DIE at some point in this match I would have called it a great opener, but the fact is that they didn’t and they put a lot into it to make it work, so it gets credit for that at least.

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (06-30-2021)

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

The Pandemic is not over yet despite what many will have you believe, but as far the Wrestling business and other live events, it’s at a point where enough people are vaccinated that they can fill arenas without worrying about super spreader events; at least not to the degree of risk there was even a few months ago.  Because of that, AEW will be returning to the road with next week being their first show out of Daily’s Place in Jacksonville Florida since more or less the start of the pandemic.  Do they give us a fantastic sendoff to the city of Jacksonville for all it’s done to keep AEW afloat, or are they already half-way out the door and just threw something together?  Let’s find out!!

Before we start the opening match, Jericho comes out to a raucous rendition of Judas as he is joining the announce team for this show; mostly to call the Sammy/MJF match in the main event, but he’s always a fun presence whenever he shows up in the booth!

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Young Bucks Vs. Eddie Kingston & Penta El Zero M – AEW Tag Title Qualifier Match

Penta is accompanied to the ring by Alex Abrahantes

AEW will rarely resemble WWE, and the few times it does it’s usually the GOOD parts like getting wrestlers from the past that people like and the occasional goofy celebrity spot.  This feud between The Bucks, Kingston, and Penta though resembles some of their worst tendencies which are its incessant 50/50 booking and running matchups into the ground as these two teams have been fighting back and forth since the PPV; longer if you count the fact that Kingston and Moxley were fighting with them before that!  To their credit though, the matches have been improving and The Bucks are only getting more fun in their utter contempt for good taste; case in point, the diseased rats they’ve glued to their face that they are calling facial hair with Nick in particular is sporting a very bushy Hogan-stache that seems to be drawing heat from the crowd all by itself.  Aside from that, it’s a pretty straightforward match with the Heels getting the heat and the Baby Faces breaking free to run wild.  Its good wrestling to be sure, but they aren’t doing anything I didn’t see the last few times they locked up; even the really cook stuff like Penta’s roll up into a DDT or when Kingston starts no selling a bunch of kicks feels like diminishing returns.  The best moment was probably the nearfall where Kingston throws Nick up onto the turnbuckle, Penta follows up with a kick, Kingston then lands a German Suplex, and Penta catches him into a Backbreaker.  The Bucks get a similar nearfall when they land The Lucha Bros own finisher (Fear Factor) onto Penta which Kingston breaks up at the last second, and this leads to The Good Brothers coming out to heckle Kingston and Penta as well as distract the ref while Cutler runs out for the cold spray spot.  Matt Jackson has Penta in position, but Penta comes up with the BRILLIANT tactic of… ducking, and instead Matt eats a bunch of cold spray to the face!  Frankie Kazarian runs out to take out Cutler which leaves Penta and Kingston to finish off matt Jackson with a Pile Driver and a back fist to get the pin and win the match; earning their chance to challenge for the Tag Team title!  If I hadn’t seen The Bucks versus Kingston and Penta for the last few weeks this would have hit a lot harder as the moves work was solid and the ending had a lot of fun spots to it; especially with Kazarian living up to his name as the Elite Hunter to just spoil The Bucks endless attempts to cheat.  This does set us up for yet another match between the two teams, but with the title being on the line it will hopefully bring enough gravitas to make it feel not as much like every other match we’ve seen so far from them.

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (06-18-2021) – Friday Night Dynamite

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

We’re back with the final episode of Friday Night Dynamite as they have one more show on Saturday before returning to their usual Wednesday night timeslot.  It’s been an interesting few weeks to say the least with some great action but also one of the worst episodes they’ve had in some time.  Can they finish their time in this new timeslot with a bang, or are they just not gonna be able to get their groove back until they return to their familiar night?  Let’s find out!!

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Jake Hager Vs. Wardlow – Mixed Martial Arts Match

Considering that they have to set up the octagon and that I HIGHLY doubt a match like this would work as a main event, it makes sense that they’d do the MMA match right off the bat.  Personally, I’m not much of a fan of this kind of fighting.  Sure there are some good matches out there if you search YouTube for a bit, but I am not going to be able to judge this based on any legitimate mixed martial arts merits and only on whether I found it entertaining in some way.  That said, even someone as inexperienced as me can tell this is nowhere close to a shoot match considering they don’t have judges which means it has to end with one person beating the other.  Also they didn’t bother hiring an MMA ref and just have Aubrey out there.  I mean I GUESS she could be trained as an MMA ref, but I’ve certainly never heard of her doing that and the lack of known MMA professionals involved in this outside of Hager just makes it seem like a big game which I’m sure will annoy the MMA fans before the match even starts.  Once it DOES start… I don’t know; I guess it was alright.  If nothing else, I think they managed to find a decent balance between an actual fight and WRESTLING THEATER as it doesn’t feel TOO absurd as an MMA match, but it also feels like a highlight reel.  It starts off small with the two being extremely defensive and throwing out the occasional jab, but eventually Hager manages to take Wardlow down for a few shots which he doesn’t sell all that much.  In fact, by the end of the round Wardlow’s power completely overtakes Hager and spends the last two minutes punching him on the ground or against the wall.  Second match continues where the first left off with Wardlow maintaining an advantage, but Hager gets into the groove of things and his MMA training proves to be more than Wardlow can overcome and he eventually passes out from a Triangle Choke.  Of course there’s some brawling afterwards as Shawn Spears goes after Hager and MJF comes out of nowhere to attack Dean Malenko who ALSO came out of nowhere, but then Sammy comes out to chase everyone away and to ensure that this feud will be continuing for the indefinite future.  I couldn’t possibly tell you if this was a GOOD MMA match, but it was at least brisk enough that I never got bored in it.  Hopefully this does whatever it needed to for AEW, though I wouldn’t be too heartbroken if they don’t do this kind of match again.

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (06-11-2021) – Friday Night Dynamite

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

We’re back with another episode of Dynamite and frankly I’m ready for these Friday shows to end.  Not because of anything to do with the show itself (though last week was PRETTY bad) but because it throws off my entire schedule!  I would have wrestling during the week and then the weekend for other stuff, but NOW everything is all crammed into two days!  We only have a few more weeks of this strange timeslot so I’ll grin and bear it, but they’re gonna have to put on a GREAT show to make up for last week’s and for making my weekends that much more stressful!  Let’s take a look!

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Christian Cage Vs. Angélico

So apparently Matt Hardy has a bug up his butt about Christian Cage tossing him out at the Casino Battle Royale, and so he’s hired Angélico from TH2 to have a match with him.  I mean I’m sure he was going to have a match with SOMEONE this week so I’m not sure why this particular matchup is so dastardly, but Angélico is one of those people on the roster like Joey Janela, The Varsity Blondes, and Penelope Ford who are around every once in a while and probably have had a bunch of matches on Dark or Elevation but REALLY should be getting more of a spotlight on Dynamite.  The guy definitely has a unique physique looking like the handsome brother of Slenderman (dude has some SERIOUSLY long limbs!) and he’s so good at giving us a kind of match we don’t see enough of at AEW which focuses on submissions instead of high spots or big guy brawling.  Every time Cage gets an advantage with a flashy strike or some sort of throw, Angélico is ready to cut him off and start working over his arm again until finally he has him in some sort of Arm Bar right in the middle of the ring!  Cage is desperately trying to fight back against Angélico’s move as the crowd chants PLEASE DON’T TAP, and he finally makes it to the ropes to break the hold but is far from out of the woods.  He makes a comeback with a reverse DDT, a Missile Drop Kick, and a Flying Headbutt, but none of it is able to keep Angélico down for a three count who himself is starting to lose steam after all these near falls.  He makes a big mistake by trying to match Cage’s style and goes for a spot on the ropes only to get kicked out of midair and eating another two count.  From there it’s mostly desperate flailing from the two of them which Christian proves to be the better one of the two and manages to finish off Angélico with the Kill Switch.  As soon as the bell rings, Angélico’s partner Jack Evans runs in to attack Cage which goes rather poorly all things considered as he’s tossed ut of the ring with little effort.  However, this does distract Cage long enough for Matt Hardy to sneak in from behind and land a Twist of Fate on him that leaves Cage dead in the middle of the ring.  Angélico and Hardy are about to kick him some more when Jungle Boy runs out from the back and chases off Hardy and his two flunkies; leaving Cage and Jungle Boy to celebrate this victory in the middle of the ring.  It was certainly a nice change of pace to start out with a match like this and I certainly hope it’s a sign that things are going to be MUCH better this week!

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (06-04-2021) – Friday Night Dynamite

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

So after a week of nonstop action with two shows more or less back to back, it’s time for things to return to normal as we move forward from the events of Double or Nothing to see what AEW has planned for the future!  Is this the start of a bold new direction for show, or did they use up all of their good ideas on the PPV?  Let’s find out!!

Before getting started, it’s worth noting that the hard cam is back to facing the Titantron and the small crowd of people sitting there on the stage which is the position it’s been in since the Pandemic except for last Friday’s show and the PPV.  With that new section of crowd it’s probably the best place for it, and it least it doesn’t have the DAILY’S PLACE sign shining brightly in the background.

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The Young Bucks Vs. Death Triangle (Pac & Penta El Zero M)

The Bucks are accompanied to the ring by Brandon Cutler

I was expecting this to be the main event of the show considering all four guys were in big matches at the PPV (three of whom in title matches), but The Bucks like to go on first and you really couldn’t ask for a better matchup to hook views in for the rest of the show.  During The Bucks’ entrance which is as obnoxious and heelish as you’d expect, Frankie Kazarian moves through the crowd and attacks Michael Nakazawa for seemingly no reason other than to terrorize The Bucks.  I’m not sure they’ll care all THAT much as no one seemed to care when he got his butt handed to him by an army of six year olds, but it’s clear that Kazarian is not done being The Bucks’ biggest pest!  It does accomplish one thing however as The Bucks are momentarily distracted by all the commotion which allows Pac and Penta to take a bunch of shots at The Bucks before the bell rings which is a trope I STILL don’t like, but whatever it takes to get this match started.  To their credit, Death Triangle does get an early advantage and it looks like they might run away with this, but it’s not long before The Bucks are in control and are doing their usual goofy heel shtick.  The best moment is when Nick has Pac held outside the ring, but instead of Matt doing a Suicide Dive he exits on the opposite side and does a Braun Strowman like run around the entire ring just to land a clothesline which they celebrate as if they had hit Pac with a freight train.  The Bucks continue to get the heat on Pac for a while, but he eventually escapes with a German Suplex and gets the hot tag to Penta who throws out Slingblades like they’re going out of style!  It’s as good run of offense to be sure, but for me they kind of overdid the tags as Penta’s barely in for a minute before he’s tagging Pac back in and then Pac does little more than a Pop Up Powerbomb before he tags out once again!  From there things descend into chaos as everyone is throwing out big moves and I lose track of who’s the legal man for each team.  Some highlights include a nut shot Pac delivers to Matt from the top rope, Penta landing a Canadian Destroy on Nick who then eats a Canadian destroyer from matt right after, and Matt Jackson ripping off Penta’s mask only to find… ANOTHER MASK!  The biggest move however was a Fear Factor from Penta followed by a Black Arrow from Pac that ALMOST gets them the win if Matt Jackson hadn’t broken it up.  This failed pin attempt was the last one that Penta and Pac would get as Pac goes up for another Black Arrow but Brandon Cutler comes from behind and bashes Pac in the leg which knocks him off the post and into the waiting arms of Nick Jackson who rolls him up to get the pin and win the match.  That’s not good enough for The Bucks however who try to take off Penta’s remaining mask and set him up for a Superkick party, but they are chased off by a very furious Eddie Kingston running to the ring.  No appearance from Jon Moxley tonight with the storyline reason being that he’s too injured from the PPV match, but what’s really going on is that his daughter is going to be born soon so he’s back home for the foreseeable future.  It was a pretty good match that maybe got a bit out of hand with everyone running in and out, but with The Bucks and Penta it’s kinda what you should’ve expected in the first place.

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Super Wrestling: AEW – Double or Nothing 2021

Double or Nothing and all the images you see I this recap are owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, and Shahid Khan

AEW deciding to put a Friday night show right before the PPV made things a LITTLE difficult this weekend and sure enough it ended up taking me much longer than I anticipated to finally get this recap out for you all to see.  Still, they were nice enough to move THIS weeks’ Dynamite to Friday as well which means I can get this thing out a LITTLE later than I anticipated and still not technically be behind on the show!  Hopefully things will ease back into a more familiar formula by next week, but for now we’re going to discuss the Double or Nothing PPV that aired on Sunday and everything that resulted from it!  Was it a show worthy of the Double or Nothing name, or is their first PPV back in front of a live audience a much bigger disappointment than any of us expected?  Let’s find out!!

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Serena Deeb Vs. Riho – NWA Women’s Title Match (Buy In)

As usual, AEW has at least one match on YouTube that you can watch before the PPV itself, but this time they do something a bit odd.  Last Friday I mentioned that they moved the hard camera 90 degrees counterclockwise so that it was no longer facing the stage.  The Hard Cam is back to facing the stage.  For this match AND ONLY THIS MATCH, they put the camera back where it was before.  Seems a bit odd as they would have had to SPECIFICALLY move it back there before returning it to the place it was already moved to, but that’s perhaps a bit too much minutia for this kind of recap so let’s get to the match itself!  For the most part it’s Deeb trying to grab Riho and overpower her while Riho is flying around the ring with Spectacular moves, and for the first half it looks to be Riho’s match to win.  However, Deeb’s strength looks to be too much for her cross body dives and running drop kicks to overcome, and Deeb grounds her with a Dragon Screw that leaves her vulnerable for most of the match.  It’s not until Deeb puts her on the top turnbuckle that she starts to fight back and lands a Diving Stomp from the top rope which is soon followed up by a 619 and leads to a two count.  For whatever reason they called the 619 a “Tiger Feint Kick” and I’m not sure why as it hasn’t been an issue before.

As long as she doesn’t shout BOOYAKA-BOOYAKA while doing it, I think AEW is in the clear.
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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (05-28-2021) – Friday Night Dynamite

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

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

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

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Darby Allin Vs. Cezar Bononi

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

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

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (05-19-2021)

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

Double or Nothing is only a week away!?  Didn’t I JUST pay for All Out like two weeks ago!?  Despite things slowly turning back to normal, things are still kinda blurring together week in and week out, but Double or Nothing promises to be a return to the old days of wrestling with big crowds and big events.  Whether this will prove to be a health disaster is yet to be seen (we’re still at less than fifty percent for full vaccination) but AEW has done a solid job in the last few weeks building up to it.  Will this prove to be even more hype for the big return show, or will it take a bit more than what they’ve been doing for the last year to get people excited enough to return to Daily’s Place?  Let’s find out!!

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Christian Cage Vs. Matt Sydal

Taz joins the commentary team for this match

AEW had a reputation about a year ago of being injury heavy as lots of guys would take bumps they shouldn’t have and got taken out of action for a while with perhaps no better example than the excruciating journey Matt Hardy had with his feud against Sammy Guevara.  That reputation might be returning as at least two big names had some SERIOUSLY rough matches recently with Orange Cassidy taking a bad Powerbomb on last week’s show that required AEW to quickly rebook the match on the spot, and Ricky Starks who got a neck injury in his match against Hangman Adam Page which is why Cage is fighting Sydal instead of him tonight.  Still, Sydal is no slouch and him being an understudy in a match like this is by no means a step down as they put down a pretty great match!  Cage is starting to come into his own and shake off that ring rust and is showing a lot more here than he had before.  Where the Kazarian match completely winded him and the Will Hobbs match was almost all about selling, this one shows off what he can really do at what seems like peak condition as his offense is strong and well-paced while his selling is just as good as ever!  Cage gets a strong advantage early on and keeps Sydal guessing, but Sydal eventually a few high flying moves and some close nearfalls; especially this one pretty amazing move where he jumps over a charging Christian Cage and turns it into a Canadian Destroyer which Cage kicks out of SO HARD that he comes FLYING off the mat entirely!  Despite not getting the pin here, Sydal does stay competitive and gets a few more close calls on Cage, but as soon as Cage gets his knees up for Sydal’s Moonsault, it gives him just enough room to land the Killswitch and get the win!  Despite Sydal’s harsh words for Cage last week, they do hug it out at the end to the consternation of Taz who doesn’t like either one of them.  He’s the only one down on this match however as this was a fun, explosive, and well-paced opener that did its job and didn’t overstay it’s welcome!  I’ve been a bit skeptical of Cage, but he’s proving himself more and more each week and I’m very interested to see what he does at the Casino Battle Royale at Double or Nothing which the commentary team was plugging throughout the match.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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