CM Punk is on commentary tonight.
MALAKAI BLACK vs. DANTE MARTIN (w/Lio Rush)- 7/10
Blak worked the knee while Dante worked the ribs. Black won clean, like he should have, while Dante once again looks good in defeat. I don’t know when Darius Martin will be healed up and ready to return, but I really hope they have some sort of singles endgame in mind for Dante before that happens.
TONY SCHIAVONE’S INTERVIEW WITH LUCHASAURUS & JUNGLE BOY IS INTERRUPTED BY THE ELITE AMBUSHING THEM- good angle, but…
Christian is at home with some neck issues. This was a good, dastardly attack by the Elite, but Jungle Boy sounded a little lame and whiny with his “thank G-d Luchasaurus can still walk after that powerbomb,” bit. I don’t know what it was, but this just came across as whiny to me.
Cole made Jungle Boy watch was the others powerbombed Luchasaurs through a table. Omega was little too much of a good afterwards.
One other thing that bugged me here was that they insisted on having Bradon Cutler take the camera from the cameraperson. It’s not that this hurts the segment in any way, but things like this are always kind of a red flag to me when it comes to how a promotion thinks about details.
I think it’s fair to assume that the point of this was to ensure that the camera saw everything. The problem with that is that when was the last time you saw a wrestling promotion cut away from a backstage attack when there is nothing else going on? It just doesn’t happen anymore (if it ever did back in the olden days). And even if Tony Khan or whoever did decide that he was so disgusted by this heinous attack that he wasn’t going to show it on TV, having Cutler grab the camera wouldn’t do anything for the Elite because Tony would just have the truck cut away to something else, not order the cameraperson to run away and air that. It’s not that AEW isn’t asking good questions so much as that they are missing the obvious answers.
INNER CIRCLE/AMERICAN TOP TEAM & MEN OF THE YEAR SEGMENT- bad
The announcers made such a big deal about how last night the Inner Circle had been “reunited,” bit it feels completely hollow because we never got an explanation for why they were apart. When Jericho and Hager got beaten down, there was no reason given for why Sammy and LAX didn’t come out to help them. Then Sammy finally did come out to help them, but they got beaten down some more and there was no explanation for why LAX didn’t come out to help them. And then, last night, LAX finally did come out to save them, and I’m supposed to feel like this is some big moment, but it feels completely fake and orchestrated. It feels like if you asked anyone involved why LAX didn’t come out to make the save any of the first three times, the answer would be “because we were telling story where we were building up to the whole group being back together,” and anytime you answer a question of logic with “because that would interfere with the story we wanted to tell,” you need to go back and put more thought into your story.
Santana gave us the lame explanation that he and Ortiz have been “handling business the past couple of weeks.” F*ck off. What could you have been doing that was so important that you weren’t at a job that you only have to show up to for a few hours a week… and in the evening, when most offices are closed?
American Top Team came out and Jericho cut a promo on them. 99% of his material was jokes about Paige VanZant wanting to have sex with him, him calling her ugly, a bimbo, or a bitch. WWE’s treatment of their women (and especially those not named Becky, Bianca, Sasha, Bayley, Alexa, Charlotte, or Nia) has its issues, but at least they’ve moved past doing this. And this sort of thing really doesn’t bother me, either. I’m just saying that it’s past time for people to stop pretending that AEW is some paragon of virtue.
Lambert saying that Ortiz and Santana have the “longest rap sheet” in AEW wasn’t ideal, either. AEW been quite careful to say that they have never done anything illegal. I did laugh my ass off at him making fun of the size of Jake Hager’s head, though.
Lambert said out terms for a tag match, but not before saying that Sammy Guevara being the only member of the Inner Circle with a title meant that only Sammy had the “stroke” to get a match between the teams booked. Can’t Tony Khan just book people in matches? Especially if everyone involved agrees to the terms?
Lambert says that he will reveal the terms next week. Scorpio Sky reminds everyone that he has two pinfall victories over Chris Jericho. Sammy Guevara said he would kick all of Lambert’s Crew’s asses.
I greatly disliked the segment. The promos were mostly not good, especially Jericho’s. It wasn’t just the PVZ stuff (which, as I said above, doesn’t really bother me so much as I think it’s fair to point out double-standards). He didn’t really even say anything. He came off like someone who was talking because he’s the leader and he likes to hear the crowd cheer in response to things he says. At least Lambert, Scorpio, and Sammy all had a point.
But that wasn’t even the real problem. The real problem here was that this felt like a segment that was booked out by someone for the purpose of trying to hook viewers into next week’s show rather than something happening organically. Any time someone says “I have this big thing I want to say… but I’m going to make you wait a week to find out what it is,” I roll my eyes. You might as well have the booked run out afterwards, pic up the mic and say “If you want to find out what the big deal is, you need to tune in next week!”
And other than that, this segment was just these guys yelling at each other. Yes, they planted seed for a Jericho vs. Sky match, but the whole “Lambert has terms that he wants agreed to before there is another match” thing gets in the way of that, and ending the segment with Sammy responding to that by saying that he will kick the whole group’s ass instead of having Jericho respond to Scorpio pulls the emphasis away from the thing you’re trying to put the spotlight on.
AAA WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: Lucha Bros.(c) (w/Alex Abrahantes) vs. “Las Super Ranas”- 3.5/10
Los Super Ranas are a mystery team, looking and acting vaguely like green Conquistadors. Their graphic just referred to them as “friend of Andrade el Idolo.” Out of nowhere, CM Punk just says “that’s clearly FTR.” Maybe I’m missing something, but I wouldn’t have made that assumption, and have no idea why how Punk can be so certain. And if you’re just going to have Punk spoil it, why go through the trouble of having them disguise themselves?
The announcers speculated that this was their way of “disrespecting” Lucha Libre, but I didn’t see that here at all, and if you’re going to make that accusation, then you have to throw it at Andrade as well (as he is clearly in on this).
The one who I have dunned Super Rana Dos ripped at Fenix’s mask. The announcers concluded that this match was under AAA rules and thus doing that would be a DQ, so why do it? And no, that doesn’t count as “disrespecting Lucha Libre” anymore because every lazy heel has done that in every match involving a masked babyface in America, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, and Japan for the past five years- including other luchadores, and the announcers almost never crow on about it being disrespecting Lucha Libre. Disrespecting the babyface? Sometimes. But they get up in arms about it being a disrespect to all of Lucha Libre.
The Lucha Bros went to unmask Los Super Ranas, at which point the announcers decided that this match was actually under AEW rules, so there would be no DQ for an unmasking. Can you imagine watching a combat spot and the announcers were not sure which rules a bout was being held under?
The masks were ripped off soon after, and hey, it’s FTR. And then the match just continued, with the unmasking having absolutely no consequences whatsoever. They clotheslined the babyfaces down and we went to a commercial. The babyfaces were in control again moments after we returned form the commercial. They then did a spot where Penta went to the top rope. Aubrey Edwards ordered him not to do something. He then did exactly that, right in front of her. Shouldn’t that be a DQ? Especially when the move in question looks like a shot to the groin? Obviously the groin shot should have been a DQ, but I also have to put blame on Aubrey. Why was she waving Penta off? Is doing a move off the top rope illegal or something?
Then BOTH Lucha Bros. made covered and Aubrey counted both pins at once. I just don’t understand how ANYONE could do a spot like that. The fact that you have TWO PINFALLS GOING AT THE SAME TIME should be a big, flashing neon sign that there is a problem.
We got some spots where the heels tried to use illegal leverage and tried to hit the babyfaces with the belts, but it was really hard for me to be angry at them when the babyfaces were the ones who cheated with those nut-shots off the top rope. Tully Blanchard ran to help them… after watching a low blow and not calling for a DQ, counting two pins at once, and taking no action to try to stop Cash Wheeler from hitting Fenix with a weapon, Aubrey Edwards decided that she had to stop Tully Blanchard from interfering, because otherwise the match would be tainted because a rule had been broken. F*ck off.
But of course it’s worse than that. While Aubrey was busy dealing with Tully, Dax hit Fenix with a title belt to set up the finish. You know… because it’s fine to have the referee just watch a low blow and do nothing about it and make no effort to stop people from using weapons, but if it’s the finish, then we’ve got to make sure that the referee can’t see it. What sort of Vince Russo bullsh*t is this? It’s like the people running this company and putting this match together think that the heat comes from distracting the referee rather than from breaking the rules! That’s such a fundamental misunderstanding of pro wrestling that the only thing I can compare it to is that time TNA stared a team X-Division tournament where the gimmick was that the rules of a normal wrestling match would be strictly enforced (Team X Gold, or something like that).
And, of course, none of the announcers are at all upset about the heels cheating to steal the titles. “By hook or by crook, I guess,” Ross shrugged. Remember when these assholes were so up in arms because Kenny Omega got help retaining a title? I guess the rules of morality are different when you want to get something over as a big heel turn.
I’ve buried this match all I can… but that’s not enough, so AEW themselves decided to lend a helping hand by revealing that in the middle of this big championship match, they had sent one of their announcers backstage to set up for an interview. Yes, really. And what makes it even better is that it’s not like they were approaching a time-limit, either. They just sent him backstage at some point. If the match had ended five minutes earlier, I guess we’d have had to mull around for a few minutes while Tony got into position.
TONY SCHIAVONE INTERVIEWS LIO RUSH AND DANTE MARTIN- F*CKING GREAT!
Lio says that Dante failed tonight “because of his own doing,” but those are just growing pains, because if Dante begins to listen to him, he’ll start winning. Lio says that he is going to be Dante’s “new tag team partner.” Lio was absolutely tremendous here.
JON MOXLEY vs. WHEELER YUTA (w/Orange Cassidy)- DUD!
Not only was this a completely pointless squash that did nothing for Moxley and made YUTA- who they had tried to tell us was a top prospect- look like sh*t, but while doing this, Moxley came off like a complete and total heel, screaming at the referee and backing him into the corner when the referee is trying to tell him to stop throwing illegal closed-fist strikes. This sort of thing can be fine sometimes if the babyface has some reason to be super-pissed, but Moxley has no such reason. He was just being a bully.
YUTA was beaten so badly that the doctor had to some check on him afterwards.
TONY SCHIAVONE INTERVIEWS SERENA DEEB- meh
Don’t congratulate her on cheating in order to screw someone out of an accomplishment! Just ask her why she did it!
Deeb said some very generic heel things until Hikaru Shida attacked her and they began to brawl.
THE DARK ORDER (Evil Uno, Alex Reynolds, & John Silver) vs. SUPERKLIQ (Adam Cole & the Young Bucks) (w/Don Callis & Brandon Cutler)- 1/10
They fought on the outside forever without getting counted out. One of the Bucks had his shoe taken off and Evil Uno did a mandible claw with the sock. This was followed by a spot where the spot where the Bucks kiss Cole got intercepted without Cole realizing it, and instead of attacking Cole and freeing their friend from the painful submission Cole had him trapped in, they kissed Cole on the cheeks instead like the Bucks do. And AEW fans think WWE is an illogical clown-show.
This was eleven minutes MOVEZ occasionally interrupted by some dumb comedy match. When Reynolds got pinned, it felt like he was pinned because the wrestlers had run through all of the cool moves they wanted to do and arrived the planned finish rather than because the stuff that put him down was any more impactful than everything else we had seen.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- dumb
Jungle Boy came out and attacked the heels. They beat him up, but he got a chair. They still had him outnumbered five to one (four if you don’t want to count Callis) but instead of attacking him, the others ran away while Jungle Boy got to beat up Cutler the ineffectual clown… who sold the chairshot like a clown. Jungle Boy then put Cutler in the Snare Trap and sprayed the cold spray into his eyes… except that didn’t really do much because, for some goofy reason or another, Cutler has been wearing this plastic facemask a la Lucious Harris.
CODY RHODES & ARN ANDERSON VIDEO- bad
Either the people Arn hired to film this can’t hold the f*cking camera straight, or they purposely started this off with a Dutch angle to be artsy. I don’t know which one would be more annoying.
Dustin is there, too. Arn pulls up a garage door, and there are some other people, too. Lee Johnson chides Cody for being late. Red Velvet not only chides him for being late, but says that he has been acting like an “arrogant piece of sh*t” and slaps him in the face! I swear I didn’t do some sort of magical ritual and take possession of her body for this segment.
There are some other people there who I don’t recognize.
Arn has Cody stand in the ring and the others come at him one at a time, as someone shouts a move for Cody to hit them with. They started off with hip tosses and arm drags. Are they going down Jericho’s list?
And they called something to get Cody’s attention, but this was a set-up to allow someone else to sucker-punch him. Cody was doing fine up until that point, of course, but now he starts taking damage, and after an enzugiri, Arn’s video team was nice enough to add in an “ears ringing” sound effect so that we would know what Cody is going through… which doesn’t seem like it serves a purpose for Arn so much as just feeling like a thing someone thought would be cool to add into this video to make it more cinematic.
Arn started to show Cody a picture of Dusty making him (Arn, not Cody) bleed and gave him a speech about killer instinct. He seemed to be under the impression that Cody didn’t have killer instinct because he was trying to be a role-model for the children. I really hope there aren’t any children looking up to Cody. The world already has too many self-important douchebags.
Now that Cody has received Arn’s wisdom and been shown the inspirational picture of his father, he is able to counter the attack that comes when he is being distracted, blah, blah, blah, you get the picture. This felt like something that happens in a TV show.
Jim Ross responded to this video package by saying “the plot thickens,” so I guess the senile old coot was too dumb to figure out what happened in a segment so straightforward that Arn literally explained it all to us thirty seconds prior.
MJF PROMO- good
He said mean things about Darby and claimed that Darby was a coward for not showing up for their match tonight, when the real reason Darby isn’t here is that he was injured last week. He has Wardlow drag a referee out and demand that the referee count Darby out. When the referee got to nine, Sting showed up. MJF has been ranting and insulting Darby for about four straight minutes at this point, but better late than never, I guess.
MJF pushed Wardlow at Sting and ran away leading Wardlow to get hit with the bat. At this point, this sort of thing has no effect on me, because they’ve done it so much that don’t believe the Wardlow turn is coming at any point soon, so this doesn’t feel like something pushing it a step closer.
TONY SCHIAVONE’S INTERVIEW WITH ANNA JAY IS INTERRUPTED BY DR. BRITT BAKER, DMD- meh
Anna Jay came off SOOOO badly here. First off, she let Britt was just waltz in and steal the interview from her. She didn’t get in Britt’s face or do anything about it. She just shrunk into the background. Britt said that the SuperKliq beat Anna’s loser friends. Anna insisted that they were not losers, which is just plain factually incorrect, as Dr. Braker pointed out. Dr. Baker also correctly postulated that Anna, too, is a loser, due to the associative property of loserdom.
Anna responded to this by fore-arming Britt, and they started brawling. I would say that it was good to see Anna stand up for herself, but Britt had called her and her friends losers about six times at this point, and it’s not like she was getting more vicious each time or anything, so it felt more like Anna attacked Britt because this was the scheduled time to do so. A gaggle of referees quickly scooped in to break up the brawl. I guess it’s nice that Tony Khan finally figured out that he should have some referees stationed at the interview area because of how frequently brawls break out there.
KIERA HOGAN vs. PENELOPE FORD- 4/10
Ross said that Hogan “wasted time positioning” Penelope before a pin when she pulled her away from the ropes and that this was a sign of inexperience. That really pissed me off, because I know that if Hogan had just gone for the cover and Penelope got her foot on the ropes, Ross would have criticized her for not pulling Penelope away from the ropes and would have said that that was a sign of inexperience.
Penelope won cleanly.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- meh
The Bunny is usually at ringside for Penelope’s matches, but this time she came out with her, and then went right to the back… and the reason for that turned out to be so that she wouldn’t be at ringside to join in the fight when Ruby Soho came out and attacked Penelope. Stuff like that really bugs me. Either come up with a reason for why isn’t at ringside, or have Ruby get the best of both heels.
MIRO PROMO- AWESOME!
This is a scary, crazy man. He is so ashamed of losing his title that he won’t go home to his wife. He’s angry at G-d for forsaking him, and yet seems to say that if him not being champion is G-d’s will, then he will defy G-d’s will and hurt people until he becomes champion once again, thus redeeming himself and forcing G-d to forgive him.
TONY SCHIAVONE INTERVIEWS ADAM PAGE- great, but…
The graphic described Page as a “frequent question-dodger.” Not only is that stupid, pointless comedy, but it actually undermines the segment, as now I don’t think that Tony is going to be able to get any answers out of Page, so why should I waste my time?
Tony said that Page and Omega were “long-time tag team partners.” It wasn’t even a year. This was just Adam Page cutting a promo, with Tony serving no purpose, so why is he here? He adds nothing to the show, and occasionally detracts from it by screwing up.
Page cut an excellent babyface promo talking about his experiences over the past few years and the fans and the Dark Order and all of that stuff.
BRYAN DANIELSON vs. BOBBY FISH- 7.5/10
Excalibur said that Fish and Dragon had wrestled in ROH. It was actually EVOLVE. Shame on Excalibur for not doing his research.
Both guys worked the knee. Dragon won clean.
THEY REVEAL THE BRACKETS FOR THE WORLD TITLE ELIMINATOR TOURNAMENT-
It’s an eight-man tournament. The #5-ranked wrestler (Miro) isn’t in it, but f*cking 10 from the Dark Order is. Meanwhile, you’ve got CM Punk and Malakai Black both undefeated and with wins over credible talent, and neither of them is in the tournament, which is made even more ridiculous by the fact that two of the men in the tournament (Dustin Rhodes and Powerhouse Hobbs) both lost their last significant match to Black and Punk respectively.
Detail Guy Tony Khan strikes again.
This was a terrible episode of Dynamite, despite the great matches book-ending the show and the excellent promos by Page and Rush. It felt more like one of the pre-Danielson/Cole/Punk episodes, where dumb, illogical sh*t and goofy comedy were all over the shows.
The commentary tonight was terrible. The announcers didn’t care at all about heels cheating, Punk felt like he was out there to make fun of everyone other than Dragon and Fish, Ross kept dragging the matches down with his usual comments, and Tony did his usual oscillating between being pointless and being wrong. This show killed a lot of my recent excitement for what AEW finally seemed to be growing into.
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