Tony Schiavone was “amazed” that this was the first-ever singles match between these two. Why? They’ve barely ever been in the same company.
The announcers constantly talk about Orange Cassidy’s “mind games,” but I just don’t understand why anyone would be thrown off by his stupid sh*t, and especially now that his schtick is common knowledge.
Lethal crawled all the way up the ramp with Orange Cassidy following him with big goofy steps. Based on the way the crowd reacted to this, it seems some new stupid OC schtick I was blissfully unaware of. Of course, while this was happening, the referee just stood there and the ring and did nothing instead of doing his job and counting them out.
Satnam Singh met OC at the top of the ramp. OC was distracted, allowing Lethal to throw him down the ramp. Meanwhile, I was distracted by a brightly-colored thing against the black curtain of entrance tunnel that you could see. It was someone in tie-dye pants, looking goofily tall, and you could see another pair of hands tying something in place, then retreat through the curtain.
YUP! The idiots got caught with a production person helping them set up for their spot on camera. Oops.
Said “spot” saw Best Friends coming out with one on the other’s shoulders… but with a big overcoat on the guy on top so you couldn’t see the face of the guy on the bottom and it looked like they were one big person. You know, the sort of thing you see in cartoons for small children. And they came out to confront Satnam Singh like that. So in a situation where violence could break out at any moment, they thought the best way to enter the situation would be for both of them to have reduced mobility (the guy on top can’t move around on his own, and the guy on the bottom is weighed down by the guy on top), and for one of them to have reduced visibility, because there is a coat over his face.
If you are a booker or promoter, and one of the wrestlers comes up to you and says that they want to do a spot like this, the only correct response is “you’re fired.”
Satnam Singh came over to them, and I’m really not sure why he didn’t just attack them. It’s not like it would be a DQ or anything. Even stupider was Sonjay Dutt coming out and backing Singh off. Sonjay seems to have lost 90% of his IQ over the past few weeks.
Lethal and OC got back into the ring, but then Lethal hit a Dragon Screw and OC rolled to the floor. Lethal followed him out and began stomping his ankle into the steps, and the ref just yells at them to get back inside. Hey, Bryce! If you want them to get back into the ring, why don’t you start counting them out, so that there will be some actual consequences if they don’t? Can you imagine if in a hockey game, one player hooked another, and instead of calling a penalty, the referee just chased them around and kept shouting “HEY! STOP HOOKING!” as the offending player rode the other down the ice?
After that point, the match got pretty good, with Lethal working the knee… which really makes it like most Orange Cassidy matches: When Orange Cassidy is being Orange Cassidy, it sucks; when Orange Cassidy is being maskless Fire Ant, it’s good.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- bad
Sonjay Dutt and Satnam Singh came out. Sonjay was an annoying cartoon character again. This time at least some of it was by design, though, as he eventually started to play the role of a caricature of an interviewer. Lethal challenged Wardlow to come out and stop him from breaking Orange Cassidy’s leg.
Best Friends came out first (I was actually worried they wouldn’t, so the score in the past seven days is AEW 1 Logic 8), followed by Wardlow. The heels bailed… but, unfortunately, Sonjay kept ranting like a clown. Tony Khan needs to do some drug testing, but I’m pretty sure that Sonjay, John Silver, and Jericho are all on coke.
Anyway, Sonjay notes that Lethal is sweating and breathing hard because he just wrestled a match, but he challenges Wardlow to defend his AEW TNT Title against Jay Lethal on Saturday at Battle of the Belts. Wardlow responds to this in maybe the worst way he possibly could have without using a racial slur.
First, despite being asked a direct question, he pandered to the crowd by naming the city, then said his dumb catchphrase. I wasn’t sure if he was going to keep talking, but he did… and it might have been better if he hadn’t, because he said he’d accept the challenge anytime… but not before calling Lethal a coward for not wanting to do a match right now, when Wardlow is fresh and Lethal isn’t. Has Wardlow had a single promo since turning babyface where he hasn’t somehow put his foot in his mouth?
Anyway, so after losing cleanly in a title shot to Samoa Joe less than two weeks ago, Lethal will be getting another title shot, and off of just one win. At the very least you could have had his team get the win in the tag match on Friday!
I was also about to go on a rant about this title defense is only happening because Wardlow decided to run out and make a save on Rampage rather than being set up by management with one of their Top Five ranked wrestlers, but I want to check to make sure… and lo and behold, not only is Jay Lethal in the Top Five, but he has been there for THREE STRAIGHT MONTHS. How many times of Sonjay and Lethal cut promos putting Lethal over in that time span? Have they mentioned this at all? (And, by the way, the criticism that management isn’t setting up title matches for the guy who said he wanted to be a fighting champion still stands).
UNDISPUTED ELITE SEGMENT- great
They all come out and Adam Cole starts to talk about the Trios Title Tournament. To make a long story short, Cole told the Bucks that he and Kyle (and Kenny Omega) aren’t medically cleared, but that if the Bucks wouldn’t choose Bobby Fish, they wouldn’t be able to participate in the tournament.
This was very weird phrasing, as why would Cole be able to dictate that? Then Cole clarified and said “what I meant was, you won’t be physically capable of competing in the tournament, which was the signal for Bobby and Kyle to attack the Bucks.
At this point I had two thoughts. The first was that while the execution here was great, I thought the story would have been enhanced a little if they had actually shown us Cole trying to get the Bucks to agree to team with Fish and the Bucks refusing. The second was that this felt pretty abrupt, but that I could kind of understand it if they just got some big positive update on Kenny Omega’s return time that necessitated doing this angle right now.
Then Adam Page ran down to save the Bucks with a steel pipe. Excalibur said this was “a reunion fans have been clamoring for,” which was the same phrase he used to describe the tag titles last week, so I’m getting worried that “fans have been clamoring for” is going to become an AEW bullsh*t word.
Page works as a replacement for Kenny here, and it gives him something to do to occupy his time to explain why he isn’t trying to get the world title back.
JON MOXLEY PROMO- mostly good
He had some good lines, but some of the stuff he said is just too much for me. This man is not a babyface. To be fair, he has certainly wrestled like a heel… but that just makes the announcers acceptance of his philosophy and his bending of the rules (like when he bites people) a double-standard, and that’s very bad. Why am I supposed to get angry at the heels for cheating when this supposed babyface does the same thing and no one says a bad word about it?
EARLIER TODAY, TONY SCHIAVONE’S INTERVIEW WITH CHRSTIAN CAGE WAS INTERRUPTED WHEN JUNGLE BOY TRIED TO RUN CHRSTIAN OVER WITH HIS CAR- hated it
The Attitude Era is over and done with. So is Memphis wrestling. Can we please leave attempted vehicular homicide angles in the scrap-heap of history where they belong?
Also, security showed up and tackled Jungle Boy the moment he got out of his car. I should like this, except that security in AEW is missing so often than their presence here, in the parking lot before the show feels like a contrivance because how are they here right away, but they’re almost never able to get to the ring to try to put a stop to anything?
What this really was was an explanation for why Jungle Boy isn’t at the show tonight to try to attack Christian during or after his match with Matt Hardy. And I appreciate that. But the fact that you’re doing that doesn’t excuse the contrivance.
And then they killed it more by having Excalibur try to tell me that this rivalry was so heated that not only did Jungle Boy try to run Christian over with his car, but he did so on a night when “he wasn’t even supposed to be here.”
“Wasn’t supposed to be here?” Isn’t it his job? We see people hanging around the show all the time when they’re not booked, and never before has anyone pointed to one of those people committing some assault backstage and said “wow! This is so heated. That guy wasn’t even supposed to be here today.”
And then f*cking Tony Schiavone had to open his fat gob and say that trying to murder Christian was justified, but it wasn’t okay that Jungle Boy put those poor production people in harm’s way.
TONI STORM & THUNDER ROSA vs. BRITT BAKER & JAMIE HAYTER (w/Rebel)- 7/10
At 9-6 and not a single clean win over anyone of note, Jamie Hayter is ranked #4.
When talking about the history between Britt and Thunder Rosa, Tony Schiavone said “it all started with the Lights Out match that they had.” Yes, in Schiavone’s brain, it all started with them having a brutal violent gimmick match.
This was a fun match. The finish saw Dr. Baker pull Thunder Rosa into the way of one of Toni’s hip-attacks, then Hayter pinned Storm after a Rainmaker. This was a fine finish, but it seems to be leading to Thunder Rosa overreacting to something clearly unintentional just to create friction for their eventual match.
SAMMY GUEVARA & TAY CONTI VIDEO- passable annoying heel stuff
EDDIE KINGSTON INTERRUPTS SAMMY GUEVARA & TAY CONTI’S VIDEO- How did he do that? Why did management agree to play this video for Sammy & Tay and then cut away from it in the middle. Sammy & Tay will have every right to be annoyed.
Eddie said that Tony Khan has sent Sammy Guevara the contract for a match against him at the PPV, and Sammy had better sign it. This is the sort of thing that is best left unsaid because- unless you’re going to be perfectly consistent- it opens up a big can of worms about how much consent management needs to get from a wrestler to book individual matches.
TAZ EXPLAINS TO US THAT TEAM TAZ IS NO MORE- good
In a very Taz way, he acknowledged that he hadn’t been in the loop about anything, and that at that point he might as well just not manage, so he wishes everyone well. He’s not taking size.
I really liked this. As a manager, Taz had served his purpose, and this wrote him out of that role in a way that felt authentic, both in terms of Taz’s character, and in terms of essentially acknowledging the criticism that some have made that he really isn’t doing much to manage them anymore, and using that as a reason for him deciding to just give up his managerial role.
Taz the manager is dead. Long live Taz the announcer. May he win many, well-deserved awards.
WILL HOBBS vs. REN JONES- good squash
Hobbs has inherited Cody’s entrance gimmick.
RICKY STARKS ATTACKS WILL HOBBS- fine
Hobbs laid him out with a spinebuster again. I think it’s really clever that they’re using the whiplash from the spinebuster to call attention to Starks’ injured neck, but it also seems like if you’re going to play that damage up, then if Hobbs hits him with a DDT or something like that, Starks is going to have to sell it REALLY big, or else it will look stupid.
MIRO PROMO- awesome!
Miro’s promos are such a wonderful contrast to those of people like Malakai Black or Bray Wyatt. He knows how to talk in a manner that feels mystical while still having the things he says either make obvious sense or at least feel like they will eventually.
DARBY ALLIN PROMO- okay
The atmosphere was good, but I don’t think Darby came off very well here. He seemed kind of arrogant, which he usually doesn’t. I also didn’t like the “I’m the one who told Tony Khan to hire you” part, as I would hope Tony Khan knew who Brody King was without Darby Allin.
CHRSTIAN CAGE vs. MATT HARDY- 6.5/10
Matt’s graphic told us that he was seeking to avenge a loss to Christian last year, but that’s not really what he’s here to do. He’s here to stand up for his pal Jungle Boy. All of the build has been about that, not about Matt wanting to even the score from a match twelve months ago.
I popped huge when Taz found a way to tell us that the apron is the hardest part of the ring without saying “hardest part of the ring.”
Matt has apparently been “trying to make amends with the former members of the Hardy Family Office. That sounds like the sort of thing that could be a really effective storyline if you did it ON-CAMERA!
Jim Ross apparently doesn’t understand how a superplex works. The other guy gets hurt more because he’s falling from a higher distance and with more force due to you whipping him over. It’s not that hard to understand, Jim. Thank G-d for Taz, who explained that to the old codger.
This was very good for the time it got.
Christian tried to give Matt a Con-Chair-To, but Luchasaurus came out to make the save. If this was all that happened, I would have loved it, as it gave Luchasaurus a nice way to atone for what he had to do to earn Christian’s trust to make his ruse with Jungle Boy work.
Unfortunately, it didn’t end there, as Luchasaurus’ presence was a distraction so that Jungle Boy could jump the barricade and make the save. He got a chair away from Christian and swung it at him, but Christian avoided it and ran away… and Jungle Boy didn’t chase after him. Earlier today he tried to run this man over with his car, but now he can’t even be bothered to chase after him? Are you kidding me?
And, of course, there is security all around the ring, and none of them made any effort to get Jungle Boy out of it, even though he had been ejected from the building earlier today.
Excalibur, of course, immediately knows that Jungle Boy “bought a ticket,” as if that gives him the right to hop the barricade.
TONY SCHIAVONE INTERVIEWS DANIEL GARCIA- a great promo by Garcia about beating Bryan Danielson, but I really don’t like that the announcers are just ignoring the fact that Jake Hager interfered.
PAC RECAP- There is some angle going on in RevPro where a dude with a box over his head is showing up in the crowd to bother Pac. This is dumb. Kip Sabian’s name was mentioned, but I have no idea what kayfabe connection there is between him and Pac. It was Miro who injured Sabian.
ETHAN PAGE PROMO-
He thinks he should be getting more attention. He somehow didn’t realize that Stokely Hathaway got into the ring with him. Stokely gave him his business card. So Stokely is building a faction of midcarders. Look… I love Stokely and I love Ethan Page, and I think Lee Moriarty is great, but this faction feels like a group of midcarders, and there doesn’t seem to be any room in AEW for them to grow because the roster is so bloated.
TONY SCHIAVONE INTERIVEWS 2.0 & ANNA JAY- terrible
2.0 are clowns, as usual, and it appears to be contagious, because Anna Jay has turned into one, too. Her promo came off like something out of the mind of some executive who thinks they understand the appeal of pro wrestling, but hasn’t actually seen decent pro wrestling before. She literally said “I’m the sexiest and the toughest.” Then she went and assaulted a random passer-by. This group isn’t even six months old, and this is already the second time they have assaulted an AEW staff-member just because.
They cut back to the announcers after this. Taz was laughing, Excalibur looked like he was trying hard not to laugh, and G-d bless Jim Ross for actually looking mortified that this poor person was assaulted by a trained combat athlete.
DUMPSTER MATCH: The Acclaimed vs. Gunn Club (w/Billy Gunn)- 5.5/10
The dumpsters have been specially decorated, like WWE would, and we’ve also given the wrestlers props like wooden pallets and some trash bags outside of the dumpsters to hit each other with. This is one of those things that WWE does that I absolutely hate, and I’m very disappointed to see AEW doing it as well.
The Acclaimed took Billy Gunn out on the ramp before the match. Then his kids acted like dumb AI in a video game, attacking one at a time. Then, after taking their hated enemies out, Max Caster called for his music and began to rap instead of the Acclaimed trying to win the match.
Bowens got the mic and got right in one of the Gunns’ faces to get the crowd to insult him… so said Gunn just punched him in the face. I laughed my ass off. That’s not what I should be doing when a heel punches a babyface in the face.
Without that and the cartoonishness of the ending with Max Caster and Austin Gunn (and the packing peanuts designed to break Austin’s fall being visible), this would have been very good.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- terrible
The Acclaimed pushed the dumpster they had thrown the Gunns into off the stage. You know… because that’s what happened at the end of a famous dumpster match WWE had twenty-four years ago that the Gunn’s father was involved in. Except that the guys who pushed the dumpster off the stage in that match were the heels, and the Acclaimed are supposed to be babyfaces.
And, of course, no security came out to stop them from doing this, either. But don’t worry. I’m sure Aubrey Edwards telling them not to do it a fourth time will make them stop, even though the first three didn’t.
Madison Rayne makes her AEW debut on Rampage. Does anyone really care about Madison Rayne in 2022? Does anyone even remember the last time Madison Rayne had a great match? Was she still in SHIMMER at the time?
Tony Nese and Josh Woods face Swerve in Our Glory in a “Friday Night Street Fight,” because G-d forbid we just call it a Street Fight.
CLAUDIO VS. TAKESHITA VIDEO PACKAGE- bad
Claudio, quite correctly, noted that Takeshita is “still waiting” for his “first big singles win” in America. Takeshita himself said that if won this, he would “win my first big match in AEW.” So how the f*ck did he wind up with a title shot?
Also, Jamie Hayter is getting a title shot. Toni Storm has been the #1 contender for a while and hasn’t gotten a title shot, but now Hayter pins Storm in a tag match and gets a title shot booked in less than an hour.
Speaking of that match, #3-ranked Britt Baker was on the winning side of that match. Jade Cargill is defending her TBS Title at next week’s Quake By the Lake. Is it against Dr. Baker? NOPE. How about the higher-ranked Toni Storm or Kris Statlander? NOPE. Is it against #5-ranked Athena, who she has been feuding with for over two months now? NOPE! It’s another open challenge, just like her last two title defenses were.
IF WHEELER YUTA WINS, HE GETS CHRIS JERICHO’S INTERIM ARE WORLD TITLE SHOT NEXT WEEK: Wheeler YUTA (w/Claudio Castagnoli) vs. Chris Jericho (w/Matt Menard & Angelo Parker)- 7/10
Yeah, that’s a good idea, Aubrey. Just leave that baseball bat in the corner of the ring. Good refereeing there.
2.0 were quickly ejected from ringside.
The match was passable for a main event. Jericho won dirty. If the point is to give Jericho momentum going into his title shot, why not just have him win clean?
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- snore
Jericho kept the Liontamer locked on after the bell because
Moxley came out to make the save Just Moxley alone, as Claudio seems to have disappeared. On his way up the ramp, Jericho cut a promo telling Moxley he would be “Lionhart” next week. Whatever. Why wouldn’t Jericho just be the undefeated “Painmaker.” Surely he cares more about winning the title than about appeasing Moxley, right?
This was another frustrating episode of Dynamite. It can’t possibly be that hard to book wrestling show where things actually make sense. It just can’t be.