Tag Archives: Yuka Sakazaki

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (02-26-20)

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

It’s finally here!  AEW Revolution is this Saturday and we are on the last episode of Dynamite before that momentous event!  They’ve done a great job of setting up the various matches that will be on the card for that show with some great character work in regards to Cody, MJF, The other members of The Elite, and even the more recent stuff like Dustin Rhodes Vs. Jake Hagar and Darby Allin Vs. Sammy Guevara.  Is this the perfect Go Home show for something they’ve worked so hard to get to, or are they about to trip at the one yard line?  Let’s find out!!

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Kenny Omega Vs. Pac – 30-Minute Iron Man Match

Kenny Omega is accompanied to the ring by The Young Bucks

See, I thought this was going to be the main event of the show, but we’re starting right off the bat with it!  Now this match is a good example of AEW being pragmatic with their embarrassment of riches because Kenny Vs. Pac in a specialty match like this could have easily been on the PPV, but when everything started to shake out it was clear that there was just not enough room for that AND his tag team match, so we’re instead getting it here on TV which is great because if you want to sell an audience on your PPV, you want to give them a REALLY good match to let them know just how good the paid version is going to be!  Now if you didn’t know (I didn’t hear the announcers explain the rules at the start of the match), it’s basically a Time Versus Match in Super Smash Bros; you have a limited amount of time for you and your opponent to kill each other and whoever has the most points at the end wins!  Now they don’t ACTUALLY kill each other here (though I wouldn’t be surprised if that was Pac’s intent) and instead you get a point from a pin fall or a submission of your opponent.  Now the issue you need to contend with when it comes to an Iron Man match is keeping the momentum up for the full thirty minutes, and often these matches are rather routine and don’t get a lot of heat until the very end when it gets down to the wire.  These two guys are absolutely game to try and fix that by going at full speed RIGHT off the bat and never really stopping!  There may not have been a pin in the first five minute, but I’ll be damned if these two weren’t getting the crowd cheering with a serious flurry of super moves and adept athleticism!  The First near fall occurs just over eight minutes in as Pac does a DEVISTATING drop kick from the top rope and tries to pin Kenny who kicks out at two.  The match is then grounded for a bit as Pac continues to work over Kenny on the floor, which is fine as any good match needs peaks and valleys, and I’m sure both guys could use a moment to get their energy back.  When Kenny DOES get his momentum back at around the thirteen minute mark, he starts landing super moves on Pac but he’s still not able to land a pin on the guy as we’re still at zero-zero.  At the sixteen minute mark, with only fourteen minutes to go, Pac says SCREW IT and grabs a chair from under the ring and bashes Kenny right in the head with it!  The ref calls for the bell which isn’t QUITE a disqualification (if it was, it’d be the first one in AEW history) but instead gives Kenny a point.  I’m sure he’ll be happy about that when he WAKES THE HECK BACK UP, but until then he’s Pac’s play thing and lands a pin on the guy after a Black Arrow; bringing the total to one-one.  Then we go to commercial and then nothing happens. You’d think Pac would have gotten a FEW more pins while Kenny was still recovering from the chair shot, but I guess they didn’t want to give too much away while the cameras were off and Pac makes sure to give us something HORRIFIC as soon as we get back.  I don’t know what this move is called, but the best I can describe it is that Pac lifts up Kenny while both are on the apron, and then PILE DRIVES HIM into the floor!  THAT somehow looked worse than the chair shot and Kenny will no doubt be hurting during his tag team match on Saturday!  But that’s not enough!  Pac grabs a table from under the ring, puts Kenny on it, and then jumps from the top rope and smashes Kenny’s crumpled body through the table!  We’ve still got six minutes to go!  The ref starts counting for the Ten Count as both of them are outside the ring and Pac crawls his way back to the ring at the count of seven or eight.  Kenny (with a bit of help from The Young Bucks) gets back into the ring a nanosecond before he gets to ten.  Pac is getting annoyed here and goes up to the top rope for another Black Arrow, but Kenny is ready for it this time and gets his knees up right before impact.  With not much energy left, Kenny goes for back to back V-Triggers and then slams Pac to the mat.  He goes for the pin, and NO!  Pac kicks out at two!!  With less than three minutes left, Pac finally gets Kenny in The Brutalizer; the move that knocked him out and cost him the win in their first match, and now he has to survive it after taking THAT much abuse!  Kenny inches and crawls his way to the ropes and just barely breaks the hold, and yet undeterred Pac kicks him back to the middle of the ring and reapplies The Brutalizer.  We’ve only got about a minute left and Kenny manages to make it until the bell rings, and the match ends in a draw; one to one.  Pac is so pissed off that he attacks the ref and leaves Kenny on the ground which turns out to have been a mistake as it’s announced that the match will CONTINUE under Sudden Death rules; meaning the next pin fall wins.  Kenny immediately hits a V-Trigger and then a One Winged Angel on Pac to get the pin and win the match.  This whole saga was all VERY GOOD and left things a bit ambiguous at the end there without feeling unsatisfying.  Kenny flying in under the wire of that Ten Count could be seen as too lenient on the ref’s part, but then Pac DID use a chair on him and then also wasted time hitting the ref which gave Kenny an opportunity to get the win.  Everything just fired on all cylinders from the pacing to the drama to even the placement of the commercial break which in previous episodes would normally be a huge problem with the show, but here they got it to work just right along with everything else for one heck of an opening bout!

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Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (02-05-20)

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

We’re back with another episode of Wednesday Night Modern Warfare with a particularly spicy bout between NXT and AEW!  For the most part, AEW has been leading NXT in the rating EXCEPT when a SmackDown or RAW superstar graces the Full Sail arena, and with Charlotte Flair’s victory at The Royal Rumble she might just be challenging Rhea Ripley for the NXT title.  Sounds like a pretty hard act to compete against, but AEW has put on some amazing shows in the past and from the look of the announced card they may just have a shot here as well!  Let’s find out!!

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Jon Moxley Vs. Ortiz

AEW has found a winning formula and by god they are going to stick to it!  Jon Moxley once again kicks off the show by working his way through the crowd to his music while wearing an eyepatch, though instead of getting on the mic and talking smack towards Jericho, he instead is here to face Ortiz in a one on one bout.  Well… about as one on one as you can get with Santana skulking outside the ring AND the rest of The Inner Circle butting in on commentary!  This was a great match with a lot of great moves and smart storytelling which is what you want from the biggest angle they have going right now.  They play up the eye, they play up Ortiz’s ego, and they even play up how much of an asset Santana is being outside the ring and covering Ortiz’s back.  Moxley is still flying solo on his quest here and I hope they find a way to work that into a genuine fault for the guy rather than just a self-imposed restriction to make him look more badass which frankly seems to be what they’re going for.  If I could say one thing about Moxley that’s negative, it’s that he’s just SO unflappable that he becomes a BIT hard to take seriously; especially when it comes to selling other people’s moves which he struggles with just a LITTLE bit.  Sure he can stumble and look a bit groggy, but he never screams, flails, or holds body parts in pain despite the amount of damage his opponents lay on him.  I was paying attention to the pin falls in particular and he looks like he’s WAITING to kick out rather than nearly incapacitated, so that’s one place where things could be a BIT better here, but like I said it was a great match overall and one heck of a way to start off the show!  It comes to an end when Jon Moxley avoids a running strike from Ortiz who then accidently hits Santana off of the ropes (this will be something of a running theme by the way) and so  Ortiz tries to rush Moxley again, but Moxley is prepared for it and lands a Paradigm Shift for the pin.  After the match Santanta tries to rush Moxley as retribution for the defeat of his tag team partner but ends up eating a Paradigm shift just like Ortiz, and then Moxley pulls out the car keys to the Ford GT that Jericho “gave him” as a gift for joining The Inner Circle which he ultimately didn’t do, and Jericho is great here as he freaks the heck out on commentary yelling about how it’s his car and that Moxley is a THIEF!  A THIEF I SAY!!  If that wasn’t bad enough, Moxley sticks the key between the fingers of his hand as he makes a fist, he picks up Santana who is still dazed from the Paradigm Shift, and then jabs the poor sucker in the eye; taking his revenge for what The Inner Circle had done to him a few weeks ago.  The Inner Circle rushes the ring at this point but Jon Moxley is long gone; having made his escape in the crowd.  Moxley is second only to Cody as far as people over with the crowd, and while this definitely feels more like a heel move than anything a face would do, the crowd was into it and cheered him endlessly for his Eye For An Eye stunt here.

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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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Super Wrestling: AEW – Double or Nothing

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

Welcome to all you Marks, Smarks, and everything in between, to my very first recap of a wrestling show!!  Now I’ve been watching WWE pretty consistently for the past year as wrestling is something I’ve always been interested in but I always felt there were barriers to entry that kept me away from it.  Well thankfully WWE solved that problem right away with the amazing WWE Network that only costs ten bucks a month, had more or less up to date content (the shows there are a month behind the live broadcast) AND it had the ENTIRE BACKLOG OF CONTENT stretching back to its earliest broadcast days in case you wanted to catch up on anything that you didn’t know the full story of!  Even so, becoming a fan of this stuff has also let me in on some of the more pernicious things about the company that can sometime temper my enthusiasm.  Vince is still a MASSIVE jerk, the Saudi Arabia deal is a total disaster, healthcare for the talent is still a problem, and the company keeps scumbags like Hulk Hogan and Randy Orton on their payroll.  It’s almost like there should be a viable alternative brand out there or something, but where are we gonna get one of THOSE!?  Anyway, let’s take a serious look at what Cody Rhodes, The Young Bucks, and a couple of billionaires managed to put together in what is no doubt the most hyped and anticipated wrestling show of the year!!

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First Impressions

Before we get to any of the matches, I wanted to point out two key points that apply to the show as a whole.  First, the production is FANTASTIC!  I’ve seen a couple of TNA shows and a bout or two of Ring of Honor, and they always looked like the lesser version of what WWE can put together; what with their massive screens, multi-camera setup, and detailed set design to really give them a flashy and professional presentation.  Fortunately AEW has realized that this is gonna be a key thing to figure out right off the bat because if they LOOK like a second rate company then people will TREAT THEM like a second rate company, and after this show I don’t think anyone will be doing that!  Sure, it’s not WRESTLEMANIA or even some of the higher end PPVs as far as production, scope, and sizzle, but its right up there with what Raw and SmackDown pulls off each week.  Where it DOES lag behind WWE however, is the commentary; particularly that Excalibur guy who doesn’t have a particularly commanding voice and seems to fumble over his lines a fair bit.  It’s not just him though; the other guy (I don’t even remember his name) and even JR seemed a bit rusty here and they seriously need to work the kinks out of this before they get to their television deal.  Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s start with the Pre-show matches!!

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Casino Battle Royale

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The Clubs: Dustin Thomas, MJF (Maxwell Jacob Friedman), Sunnny Daze (James Dylan), Brandon Cutler, and Michael Nakazawa
The Diamonds: Brian Pillman Jr, Orange Cassidy, Jimmy Havoc (James Mcahren), Shawn Spears
The Hearts: Billy Gunn, Glacier (Raymond Lloyd), Jungle Boy (Jack Perry), Marq Quen, and Ace Romero
The Spades: Luchasaurus (Austin Matelson), Marko Stunt, Sonny Kiss, and Tommy Dreamer
The Joker: Adam “Hangman” Page

Now the thing about Battle Royale matches is that while they can be flashy and fun, they’re also kind of a mess to stage and so a lot of the time you have people hanging out in corners for a long time or someone getting a bit of momentum before being stopped in their tracks so someone ELSE can have the spotlight.  With the right timing and a lot of flexibility on the participants though, it CAN be great.  This one?  Eh… I wasn’t all too into it.  The first thing that felt odd was that they set up these rules about people going out in waves and how it was ALL random, but it still felt incredibly staged so why not just say that AEW management set up four groups themselves?  Why the elaborate explanation about a deck of cards; especially when we don’t SEE anyone draw from it?  I guess that’s the benefit of a weekly show where you can spend ten minutes having your wrestlers dramatic draw cards and set up the dynamics for each bracket, but on a PPV it felt needlessly complicated.  Ignoring that though, the Battle Royale itself felt like it moved at a snail’s until at least three of the brackets came in, but there were some highlights!  MJF cemented himself as the de-facto heel right off the bat by kicking Dustin Thomas in the face and calling him Lieutenant Dan.  In case you didn’t know, Dustin Thomas is a wrestler with no legs, which proves that MJF hasn’t seen a movie since the late nineties.  I bet at some point he’s gonna shout RUN FOREST, RUN at someone who’s running to the ring or maybe even do a SHOW ME THE MONEY gimmick.  The other great thing that happened very early in this match is Michael Nakazawa busting out a bottle of baby oil and just COVERING himself with the biggest smile you could ever imagine!  I mean it DID help him out of a jam at least, but you’d think someone would want to do that BEFORE they got into trouble!

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I wish I could enjoy ANYTHING in life as much as Michael Nakazawa loves being covered in baby oil…

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