Well, this is different! Here I am covering AEW for Mitch this week as Mitch deals with life. I’ve never done this before but let’s have some fun, shall we? There was some minor trouble with the sound and LDB, Mat, and Eleazar all fell victim to it. I’m hearing it now as I watch the program again (didn’t know I was blogging it while watching it for the first time so taking it in again as to make sure I didn’t miss anything). It sounds like a minor phasing issue but it plagued most of the first match. Not sure why I didn’t hear it during the initial showing.
The Young Bucks & Dustin Rhodes vs. Sammy Guevara & Proud & Powerful (Santana & Ortiz)
I hate to get all wardrobe-y as I don’t usually care about that stuff one bit but Dustin and the tassels. Tony mentioned it so I have to too. Nice touch. Loved the never-ending suplexes from Matt onto everyone but Santana. LOL! Dustin catching his breath was an absolute riot. The crowd absolutely loved seeing him work. At fifty years old, you figured he’d have some trepidation about flying. Well, he doesn’t. He still works at a very high level and he really was fun to watch. The Bucks are just dazzling. They are so fluid and their chemistry is amazing. Santana flies through the air very well which is easy to forget given how much of a brawler he is. Sammy killed me with the selfie dive. While it doesn’t erase his horrible diving botch, it was really fun. The senton/piledriver combination that ended the match was just amazing with the Bucks & Rhodes emerging the victors. Excellent match that just kept building and building.
Trent (w/Chuck Taylor & Orange Cassidy) vs. Rey Fenix
Quite a bit of this match happened during the commercial break but it was still viewable. Still, it wasn’t focused on and when it’s not on the main screen, it loses people. It just does. I get that they’re trying to maximize TV time but I don’t love it no matter which promotion does it. Fenix’s rope walking is just sickeningly god. His stomp onto Trent was sickening too. The man is fearless. Fenix took this as expected. Trent went to shake hands and Fenix was having none of it. They nearly brawled and had to be pulled apart. Not sure why any of the that happened but okay. This was, by the way, the second match where we’ve seen a piledriver – a move that’s banned in the WWE. JR came out the Spoiler reference and I’m the only one around here who has any clue who the Spoiler is. Anybody got any prune juice?
My only disappointment? Orange wasn’t involved in any way. Sad face…
In-ring segment – Cody w/ Tony Schiavone
Not much to say here. Cody was simply brilliant. He was confident, he was poised, he was fluid, and he told a great story. Mat and I both loved that Cody shouted out Beyond Wrestling. Denver and the talented workers there work extremely hard and it was nice to hear them get some props for it. I died when Cody called MJF “hood rich”. “At least they’re botching it on two channels” was more corny WWE bashing that AEW should have long since decided to avoid in favor of focusing on themselves. Still, this entire promo was exceptional and it told its story beautifully. Slipping the kid “a hundo” was a nice touch too.
Backstage segment – Joey Janela
The story he told here made perfect sense. He was one of the first signed and hasn’t really meant that much since then. He went for it and it was good. Moxley’s “kids” destroyed me….again.
Cinéma de Darkness – Dark Order
Interesting vignette. This was like adult hazing. It was a little clumsy but it was still really good. My issue it that this is all backwards. They put them on TV in matches before telling us anything about who they were. Only now are we getting vignettes that explain what the whole Dark Order thing is. Still, I can’t hate because they seem to know where they’re going with this particular dark angle. Wish I could say the same for the other two.
Nyla Rose vs. Leva Bates (w/ Peter Avalon)
This was nothing but a quick squash match. Shame, too, as Leva can really go. I get why it happened, though, as Nyla is a total botch fest and long matches aren’t exactly Nyla’s strong suit these days. The double choke slams on Peter & Leva was fun but beyond that, this was pretty forgettable. Shanna, the women who was destroyed last week, came out for her pound of flesh and ended up getting merked again. Poor thing. She then put the ref through a table and slammed Shanna on top of him. Turns out Nyla’s been suspended for the rest of the year (so…a few weeks) for her assault last week.
In-ring segment – Chris Jericho, Jungle Boy, Luchasaurus, & Marko Stunt
Another excellent talking segment. Really, this was really good. He even shilled his wine. “The Lexicon of Le Champion”. Excalibur killed me with “I don’t think it means what he thinks it means”. Jericho is a master at things like this and he completely nailed.
Luchasaurus talks! He was really fun here. I love how over Marko is. Jungle Boy is too. The entire Jurassic Express is so foolish on the surface but they’re so cool that I don’t care in the least bit.
Favorite part of this? Jericho is there to do what he’s been doing for years – help to make stars. He made Scorpio last week and now, he’s going to make Jungle Boy. His whole title run exists to make AEW as a whole really matter. Tremendous respect for Jericho.
Kris Statlander vs. Hikaru Shida
AEW’s women’s division is barely built at all but what’s there is different from NXT and it bears its own stamp. Statlander was a very highly-sought-after prospect that WWE wanted but AEW ended up with. As for this match, much of it was picture-in-picture and while I watched through the commercials, I doubt many others did. I love a good superplex and Shida throws a really nice one. They were also very hard-hitting. Nice finisher by Statlander too. Major upset and fun match.
In-ring segment – Brandi Rhodes & Awesome Kong
I get what Brandi was trying to do but she simply wasn’t dark enough to get it done. She’s BROKEN-ish…I guess. The Nightmare Collective is apparently a subsidiary and licensee of the Nightmare Family. Good to know. The crowd kinda didn’t care and I didn’t either. This premise is thus far pretty vanilla and just not well thought out. Why should Statlander pledge herself to the Nightmare Collective? What is it? What does it have to offer? Why did Brandi need her to do so “right now”? None of these questions were answered. Brandi let fly with some rather bland generalizations to explain the whole thing that meant nothing. They even had a plant come to the ring to get her head completely shaved. The plant gave far more to this segment than the story did. I won’t kill it completely yet but so far, meh.
Christopher Daniels vs. Pentagon, Jr.
This got hot really quickly. Daniels completely botched the Arabian Moonsault and it looked really ugly. It does play into the story so no it wasn’t as bad as Sammy Gueverra’s was. This was a really solid match. The ending was really fun. Daniels turned down the opportunity to use his mic half-stand to attack Pentagon which allowed Pentagon to…ahem…aim low.
Backstage segment – The Butcher, the Blade, & the Bunny
Another dark angle. That’s three of them going at once and they’re not much different from each other – at least not from what I can gather of whatever the heck Brandi is doing. This is another thing that’s kind of backwards. The came out to surprise attack Cody last week and now, they’re telling us who they are. The issue, as was the case with Brandi, is that Allie didn’t really pull it off, though she did better than Brandi did. She just didn’t have any tangible edge. Here’s hoping she finds it. The segment was quick so I’ll give it that. Again, I won’t kill it but so far, another meh.
“Bad Boy” Joey Janela vs. Jon Moxley
Word is that Joey Janela has attempted to file a trademark on “Bad Boy” to get the jump on WWE referring to Rusev as “Bad Boy”. Do I think it’ll fly? Not at all. That term is too common and was used in many other circumstances before Joey was even born. He’s fun in the ring and that’s what matters. This version of Jon shows the previously uninitiated how he was before he was Dean Ambrose and most of it is amazing. I’m not much for barbed wire so I didn’t watch that match but I do like the off-the-rails thing. He really needed to break free of WWE’s constraints. It just wasn’t the best fit. AEW has been thus far and I’m enjoying him here. Okay, the match.
Mox was just vicious here. He’s utterly tween and I like it. Janela kind of is too so this made for a good match in terms of style. There’s no way that DDT on the ramp felt good for Janela. He likely felt it more than Mox did. Putting Mox through the timekeeper’s table really popped the crowd too and it looked great. I literally lost track of how many Paradigm Shifts Janela avoided. He finally hit one off the second rope that slammed Janela’s head into the top turnbuckle. He then got a proper one off and took the victory. Mox has yet to lose. so he’ll be facing El Champión for the AEW Championship.
Overall, this was a fairly solid showing. There are a few too many dark things going on at the same time so creatively, things need a little work. Further, Brandi just wasn’t good tonight. What she’s trying to do may very well be outstripping her acting capabilities. It’s a little early to kill it entirely so we’ll see how it plays out. Anyway, it was fun journalling for you! See you next week back on my usual side of things with NXT!