Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (02-09-2022)

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

We’re back with another week of AEW action, and we are creeping slowly but steadily back to relevance here on the site! We’re still a little bit behind, but the gap is growing closer just as we start to build towards the next AEW PPV. Will this be another solid episode full of great matches and interesting storylines as we head to the big event, or will my quest to catch up on the slow be an unending slog of tedium? Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with MJF and his cronies in The Pinnacle coming to the ring to celebrate his win last week against CM Punk. To say MJF is good at being a Heel is overwhelmingly redundant at this point, but he can still surprise you with how clever he can be in being a hateable tool. While everyone else comes down wearing suits and clutching drinks, he is carried out on a throne to an unimpressed and vocal crowd. After several minutes of milking his entrance, he finally starts talking about how he’s better than the best in the world and how the next step is obviously to crown him as AEW World Champion. Now I would have expected Adam Cole to come out since he made his intentions for the title clear on Rampage, but instead, it’s CM Punk who answers MJF’s tirade. Tony Schiavone is more than happy to meet him with a microphone, and Punk calls into question the win he had last week. More importantly though, he learned the lesson that no man is an island, and he brought some friends along to back him up this time; namely, Darby Allin and Sting who come out with baseball bats. Now this is where Punk gets clever, and this segment goes from good to great because he starts demanding a rematch… but NOT against MJF! Plot twist! He wants it against the person who was ACTUALLY responsible for his loss last week, namely Wardlow. This is brilliant because it’s an unexpected turn that puts The Pinnacle on their back foot while also hitting MJF right in his overinflated ego. In fact, it works so well that MJF proposes a different match and puts himself up as the prize; if Punk and a partner of his choosing can beat FTR tonight, then Punk can get a rematch against him. The catch is that Punk cannot choose Sting or Darby Allin as his partner; assuming of course that everyone in the back hates Punk as much as he does. Punk naturally accepts and leaves us in suspense as to who he will choose to be his partner. This was not just a solid Heel promo for MJF, but a great example of a Baby Face trying to get a rematch without looking desperate. Punk looks genuinely smart in the way that he’s manipulated MJF into giving him exactly what he wants, but MJF also doesn’t look like a total irrational fool because he managed to get the stipulation he wanted into the tag match, so both walk away with something which makes the feud that much more interesting!

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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 (01-26-2022) – Beach Break

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

I still don’t understand why they do Beach Break in January given it’s one of the worst months to do anything beach-related, but they’ve got a bunch of special episodes they want to do each year so I guess that’s just how the scheduling works out.  Despite the anachronistic title, is this an episode that brings the fun and excitement you expect from a special episode of Dynamite?  Let’s find out!!

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Cody Rhodes Vs. Sammy Guevara – TNT Title Ladder Match

Cody is accompanied to the ring by Arn Anderson

While title matches are becoming increasingly common as the openers for the show, it’s not often that you see one that’s also a ladder match.  Heck, it’s not that often you see a ladder match that’s one on one as the format almost demands I high level of chaos (and more bodies to share the pain), but they wanted something unique for their Beach Break show and we certainly got it here.  It starts off pretty simple as neither one wants to grab a ladder right away to the consternation of the crowd, but Sammy eventually gets tossed out of the ring and they brawl their way through the crowd which really gets things going.  Sammy eventually manages to hit a Cutter on Cody over the barricade, and this is the first chance someone has to try and climb a ladder.  One of the things that annoy me about Ladder matches is how slowly wrestlers will go up it (despite there being a title on the line, each step requires the wrestler to take a lunch break), but here they are actually going up it like they want to get the belt and win the match!  Cody manages to catch up to Sammy just in time which gives us our first ridiculous move of the match; a Superplex from the top of the ladder where both of them come CRASHING to the mat below!  Impressive to be sure, but I can definitely see why they immediately cut to commercial so that both of them can catch their breath after taking such a bump!  Of course, it’s not the only astoundingly dangerous thing they do in the match.  Cody throws a ladder at Sammy which gives him a chance to climb the ladder set up under the belt, but then Sammy climbs a ladder next to it and JUMPS OFF TO LAND A CUTTER ON CODY that once again sends them crashing to the mat.  Not to be outdone, Cody hits Sammy with a Cross Rhodes off a ladder only a few minutes later, and for the third time, they go crashing to the mat.  Both are worn out by this, but Cody gets up first and starts to climb, and it makes sense at this point for him to be slow as he’s been through a lot in the match.  Sammy manages to climb up behind him and both are on top fighting over the belt that’s hanging on a bar above the ring.  Now we’ve had a lot of fun with the absurd stunt’s they’ve pulled so far, but here’s where I think they reach a turning point and take it too far.  Both grab onto the bar and kick away the ladder so both are dangling very high in the air, and both eventually drop to the mat below.  It looks like Sammy got the worst of it, and sadly it’s only the beginning as they soon set up for something even worse.  Sammy manages to bridge a ladder between the apron and the barricade, and puts Cody on top of it.  He then sets up a HORRIFICALLY tall ladder next to him from which he jumps off to land on Cody!  To make it worse, the ladder Cody was on ends up holding and therefore doesn’t break Sammy’s fall, so it looks like his back was folded up like a wallet on impact.  Thankfully Sammy can still walk and he gets back in the ring to start climbing the ladder, but Cody manages to catch up to him.  The two trade blows on the top of it until Cody finally falls over; allowing Sammy Guevara to get the belt, win the TNT title, and hopefully see a doctor as soon as possible.  Ladder matches are particularly dangerous given just how much chaos the ladders introduce.  They create bad angles, unforgiving platforms, and hard weapons, so there’s simply nothing about them that are the least bit healthy for the wrestlers.  If you’re only going to do it every once in a while then I understand going all out, but you don’t want Sammy to break his spine over an opening match on Dynamite.

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (01-19-2022)

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

We’re back with another week of AEW action that everyone else saw a while ago, and while I’ve said I will catch up for a while now, I can feel it this time!  This weekend I will be nice and caught up, but for now let’s take a look at this episode of Dynamite, starting with…

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The Return of Jon Moxley – Ready to Kick Butt and Drink Blood!

Jon Moxley has been out for several months now to deal with some serious issues, and in that time he missed a lot of big moments at AEW.  Hangman Adam Page winning the title, Bryan Danielson’s turn to the dark side, even his buddy, Eddie Kingston, facing off against CM Punk!  Thankfully he seems to be in a much better place now and is more than ready to make up for lost time, though even this happy occasion is not without its sourpusses as some dude starts heckling Moxley from the crowd.  Not missing a beat, Moxley tells him to go F**k himself and has the dude ejected which the crowd went wild for.  He’s still one of the top draws at this company and is an expert at being an unscripted force of nature (he even threatens to drink his opponents’ blood) and I’m curious to see what he does next!

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

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

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

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

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CM Punk Vs. Wardlow

Wardlow is accompanied to the ring by MJF

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

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Super Wrestling: AEW – All Out

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

Well here it is!  After months of trial and error, big announcements, and no real response from WWE, it’s the last show before the AEW experiment goes to prime time television!  Starting in October we will be getting a weekly show from them on TBS and while I doubt they could IMMEDIATELY crash and burn considering how much money there is behind them, it’s still something of a risky venture to go into Vince’s backyard and try to claim a piece for yourself.  WCW failed, TNA failed, and the other guys just kept off of TV altogether.  It’s kind of a big deal, but we’re not really here to talk about all that!  We’re here to find out if this show had any good wrestling on it and if it’s worth your time and money to see it!  Can AEW end their PPV run on a high note as they head to the big leagues, or will this end up as a foreboding vision of things to come?  Let’s find out, and we’ll start with the pre-show!!

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Casino Battle Royale

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We start the night off with another Casino Battle Royale, but unlike the one in Double or Nothing this one is with the women’s division.  What IS like last time however are the overly complicated rules for how the groups are populated and ordered which amount to absolutely nothing because we don’t end up seeing the process; just the result.  With WWE’s Royal Rumble, they don’t make a big deal out of it and just make it a simple lottery system which is easy enough to get across to an audience but also allows for a bit of drama and tension as well; especially if someone tries to cheat it.  The wrestlers here have to draw from a “special deck” but we don’t see the drawing which determines their group, and apparently the don’t determine the group order prior to the match; they shuffle the deck right when the timer goes off and whatever suit is selected goes next.  Again, we don’t actually SEE anyone draw a card to determine the next group, but I like to imagine Cody’s in the back after having called 2 suits and has to pick the third one, but he keeps getting the first two suits over and over and over again until half the deck is on the floor before a new one comes up.  See, THAT might have justified this nonsense!  Anyway, that’s all rather immaterial as it basically boils down to a staggered Battle Royale match, so how is it?  Well I think the problem here is that it’s a Battle Royale that FEELS like it should be paced like a Royal Rumble because of those staggered entrances which are the defining feature of a Royal Rumble.  Sure a Royal Rumble can go on for a rather long time which is whole PPVs are built around them, but the benefit is that the pacing allows for multiple storylines to play out in the ring.  Contrast that with a Battle Royale which are MUCH better for pre-shows where everyone is in the ring at the start and it usually devolves into chaos until the last five or so competitors are left.  The latter is basically what happens here; it’s not until everyone has made it to the ring that it stops being about random spots and constant eliminations to play out into something more substantive; all of which is fine, but the fact they stagger the entrances makes it feel like more should be happening throughout.  It also isn’t helped by the camera work which missed a few eliminations, and while I would normally cut them some slack considering how chaotic this was (some of the more prominent wrestlers got thrown out with little fanfare during other team’s entrances), this is a problem that ended up persisting throughout the entire show and I’ll make sure to point it out when it happened during other matches.

AEWAO2
Look!  They brought in ODB!  See in the corner there?  Yeah, she’s already eliminated, but she still showed up!

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Super Wrestling: AEW – Fyter Fest

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Fyter Fest and all the images you see I this recap are owned by All Elite Wrestling and Shahid Khan

We’re back with another PPV brought to you by the throne smashers themselves, AEW!  Things have certainly changed since Double or Nothing, haven’t they?  For one, WWE has completely lost the plot from what I’ve heard and responded to AEW with nonsense, bad story lines, and an overabundance of Shane McMahon.  With their primary rival of sorts doing such a poor job of responding to the new challenger, which is surprising in its own right, it only got stranger when AEW announced that THIS PPV would be completely free; a move that still baffles me considering how successful they’ve been up to this point.  Sure, Double or Nothing MIGHT have been a bit pricey at fifty bucks, but they could have at least charged twenty or even ten for it which would have gotten them a heck of a lot more money than ZERO!  I guess TBS and the Khan family have the money to throw around, and I’m not about to complain TOO much about not having to pay for a show like this.  The bigger question is what’s different in this show and have they improved since Double or Nothing?  Eh… sort of.  As far as commentary, Excalibur has improved but JR still sounds a bit rusty and out of touch; especially when he referred to Cima as “an Oriental.”  I mean look, we can argue about how much of a slur that is or whether JR has any genuine ill feelings about Asian wrestlers (and I can think of WAY worse people they could have gotten as an announcer where the answer to those questions wouldn’t even be debatable), but it really does make him seem like an awkward fit for what is supposed to be a very modern and forward thinking wrestling company.  While the announcing has improved, sadly the camera work still has a few rough patches that will hopefully get ironed out before they go to TV.  I only mentioned this very briefly in my last recap, but the editing sometimes misses spots or more often will miss whenever there’s drama at the end of a match.  Someone does a low blow, someone else enters the ring, stuff like that will almost go by unnoticed because whoever is running the cameras is focusing on something else an nearly misses the action.  Again, this is the kind of thing that can be easily fixed with experience and I’m not gonna begrudge them this learning curve, but it is even more noticeable here than it was last time. In fact, I’d say that’s the overall vibe I’m getting from Fyter Fest.  It’s still really good stuff, but I think the high from Double or Nothing has started to wear off and so it’s easier to see and evaluate its flaws.  The big one that MOSTLY stayed in the pre-show but kept coming back to annoy me was the show’s theme where they didn’t JUST name it after something topical but had to do little skits to make sure we ALL KNOW that they saw the documentaries too.  Kenny Omega is trying to find instruments for bands that don’t exist, The Young Bucks lost their luggage and need to find new costumes, and they even brought models out before swiftly replacing them with mannequins.  It all just felt so corny and unnecessary when they could have used that time to put up a few promos for the matches which frankly were desperately needed as many of them seemed to have a story but one that we weren’t informed of ahead of time.   Let’s put all that aside though and just focus on the matches!  So how did the pre-show kick things off?

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Six-man Tag Team Match

AEWFF1Private Party: Isiah Kassidy and Marq Quen
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SoCal Uncensored: Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky (Schuyler Andrews)
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Best Friends: Chuck Taylor and Trent Beretta

There’s a lot going on in this first match which is good because you want to get the crowd on board right away so they can carry that energy for the rest of the show.  We’ve got Private Party as the newcomers who I think AEW is trying to push as future superstars of the company considering they got a whole episode of Road to Fyter Fest dedicated to them.  We’ve got two thirds of SCU who had one of the best matches in all of Double or Nothing, and while I wasn’t really impressed with The Best Friends last time (definitely a victim of the last show running long), they get a pretty good pop from the crowd so I was willing to give them another chance.  The only thing that I didn’t like right off the bat was the fact that this was a Triple Threat tag match and they always use this weird rule where only two compeitors can be in the ring at a time; leaving one team to just sit on the sidelines while the other two actually fight.  I don’t understand why they don’t have one member of each team in the ring like say… an ACTUAL Triple Threat, but we’ll get back to this later on in the match.  For now, I just want to point out that everyone in this looks great and does some very impressive acrobatics!  SCU continues to be the best tag team as far as I’m concerned as they can take already impressive wrestlers like Private Party and Best Friends and make them look even better than they already are!  There’s this really impressive spot where Isiah Kassidy and Marq Quen go back to back on Kassiran in beautiful and brutal fashion!  If I could say one thing about the match it’s that it FEELS a bit too much like an exhibition; like everyone is here to help the other team show off their moves instead of win the fight, but frankly that’s a rather minor complaint when the moves are THIS impressive!

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He should change his name to Mark QUAIL!!  …  Because he’s flying through the air?  …  Really, nothing?  Is this thing on?

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