I was excited to watch AEW last night. The show has not disappointed in a very long time. The product they put out is very good and makes me keep coming back for more. It was announced that Jericho would be on commentary and I couldn’t wait to hear the GOAT on the mic. During these tough times, wrestling has been helping me stay sane. AEW has been part of that. It’s a great outlet to put my opinion in writing, allowing me to express myself through wrestling.
I won’t sit here and act like I know all about Jake “The Snake” Roberts because I don’t. There is something about him that screams “Grumpy Old Man”. He has been the best hype man to Lance Archer since coming to AEW. The road seems to be set for a match between Cody and Archer at the end of the TNT tournament. Roberts continues to come after Cody and does it well. He uses great examples as to what is like to be in the ring with Archer. The old man can still cut a promo and make it so real. The Archer push is in full effect and Colt Cabana seems to be the next victim.
Another squash match and another victim for Archer. The match lasted about two minutes. It was so fast we didn’t even get a proper introduction of his opponent. I don’t think Archer broke a sweat. He tossed his opponent around the ring, and hit him with an over the head chokeslam suplex. The story telling for Archer is very clear. He is a wrecking ball and he is ready to take out anyone in his way. This time it was Allen Angels, next time it will be Colt Cabana.
We were finally able to see Britt Baker in action at AEW. The tension between Baker and Shida was settled last night in the ring. Shida has picked up great wins over the past couple of weeks. The match started off slow, with some back and forth shoving. Something I never liked is when a wrestler, a heel wrestler, spends the match running away from their opponent. I like when the heel wrestler uses dirty wrestling to take advantage and control the match. Baker ran from Shida a couple times allowing her to take control of the match. There was a couple of moments where Shida almost didn’t kick out of pins, and the ref had to hold a long two count. You can tell from time to time the chemistry between Shida and Baker wasn’t there. It might be because of how much time Baker has in between matches. She hasn’t consistently wrestled in AEW; unlike Shida who has been the workhorse for the women’s division in the past couple of weeks. I have been a big advocate for the women’s roster in AEW to get more time so the division can grow. Shida and Baker were giving plenty of time to have a great match. The match to me was okay, with very little big moments. You could see the chemistry wasn’t there and the flow of the match struggled. Plenty of spots were the moves wouldn’t flow. Shida hit Baker in the face with a kick and made her bleed from her nose. That to me is a sign that something didn’t click between the two. Jericho’s commentary for the match didn’t help ether. Baker didn’t complement Shida’s hard hitting style of wrestling. Shida picked up another great win in the end.
The Best Friends
I had a good laugh with this promo. Michael Nakazawa and Kenny Omega are in a trailer reminiscing of their time in DDT. Kenny tells Nakazawa that they need to come up with a tag team name. Nakazawa tells Kenny that he has the perfect name. He suggests the name of The Best friends and Kenny reminds him that there already is a team by that name. This is where AEW does so much better than other promotions. They story telling that leads to a match is done with intentions. Kenny and Nakazawa opponents last night were Best Friends. AEW gives us some storytelling, instead of putting people in the ring for no reason. They add a little comedy when Orange Cassidy comes out of a room and opens the door to the trailer. Best Friends come into the trailer and tell Kenny & Nakazawa they heard everything. The awkwardness and charisma of Orange Cassidy gave the promo a great comedic side. The promo is done with intention and it raises the stakes for the match. The team name of Best Friends will be up for grabs in the match. This is something I truly enjoy about AEW.
When AEW was announced, the narrative was that there will be an emphasis on wins and losses. Meaning that every win or loss would be accounted for in a ranking. This would allow AEW to be looked at like a major sport. Last night we got a taste of that, with a segment highlighting all the power rankings in AEW. This is another great thing AEW is doing. I am a big sports fan that spends time checking power rankings. Every major sport in the USA has Power rankings showing who is at the top of their league. AEW also uses this when it comes down to who challenges for the championships. You would want someone at the top of the ranking to challenge for the championship. For example, the AEW Championship, Hager is 4-0 in his single matches. This makes him a proper challenger to Moxley’s title. The small things are what makes AEW stand out and the proper use of power rankings adds to great story telling.
Not In The Business Of Smiles.
If you have watched MMA matches, then you know last night’s promo for the AEW Championship was straight from that. It was like a mini documentary and story built for the match. It reminded me of 30 for 30 documentaries on ESPN by the way it was narrated. This match feels real from top to bottom. The promos are more like a documentary than anything else. Hager’s character build is perfectly told, and everyone around him tells the same story. He is this cocky, greedy, and must always win. Moxley is portrayed like every champion would be in a title match. He went through it all to get to the top and it will take so much to take the title from him. The way they mix in the actual MMA and the wrestling is very good. It would have been very nice to have this built for a PPV. Later on, in the night the mini documentary building the match was revisited highlighting more of Moxley and Hager. They use some of Hager’s old MMA highlights in the video adding the big match feel aspect to it. With that said, I’m actually very excited for the match and the approach to the match. Great story telling AEW.
Too Many Promos
I’m usually not the one to complain about AEW promos, but in the first hour we had five promos. There were two matches and one of them was 2 min long. I get that there needs to be a build to the match. We had four promos back to back, and that lost me for the night. There needs to be wrestling mixed in to the promos so it’s not over whelming. Our fourth consecutive promo was for the Cody and Spears match in the TNT Tournament. In my opinion the promo was unnecessary as many fans know the history between Cody and Spears.
Who’s The Best Friends?
For the first time in AEW we were able to see Omega and Nakazawa team up. I felt that this match would lead to more because Kenny is Tag Champs with Adam Page. As much as you are friends with someone, why wouldn’t you team with the person you won the titles with? Last week we were witness to what Kenny and Trent can do in the ring together. This week I was hopeful that will carry into the tag team match. Chucky T showed some great combos to start the match. I have not watched much of Nakazawa, and I was very interesting to see what he will bring to the match. I had no idea he brought baby oil to the ring and what it was for. A little comedy in the match when the baby oil was used to slip the chops from Trent off Nakazawa’s chest. There was plenty of weird moments with the oil as well. I was with Spears on this one, “What’s with the baby oil?”. Le Champion had plenty of great things to say about Kenny Omega. Kenny can wrestle with anything and make it look good. If you have followed Omega’s career then you know that is true. I have to take a second to give props to the best wrestler in the world, Freshly Squeezed Orange Cassidy. He brings plenty of laughter to a match and has allowed Best Friends to grow on me as a team. He was in full sloth mode last night. He was involved in the match more than once. He had a great tope onto to Kenny on the outside of the ring. Orange Cassidy can really do it all. After all those promos this match is what I needed. It was very entertaining with a mix of great wrestling. Omega’s great wrestling ability was on full display. He displays his full arsenal throughout the match. His partner Nakazawa was a little different to say the least. He took his underwear during the match and try to use it as a weapon. I have seen plenty of weird things in a wrestling match, but I had never seen that. In the end Best Friends picked up a great win in a very good match.
The Exalted One
Anyone wants to guess what comes after a great match? Well if you guessed a promo, you’re correct. This one came to us by The Dark Order and Brodie Lee. I would have never predicted this character would fit Lee. He has developed his persona very well. I’m excited to see what comes out of all of this.
I Didn’t Know A Dentist Could Fix Their Own Teeth
A night full of promos, with this one being the shortest. Baker is backstage with a bloody nose she received from her match. Baker trashes Shida’s character and says she doesn’t think Shida is a leader. The rivalry between Shida and Baker is not over yet.
I understand the circumstance that we face at the moment. Not every wrestler can be at the AEW taping. Not every wrestler can compete in a match every night because of the traveling regulations that have been place. I was very frustrated with the number of promos we received last night. Three matches to seven promos on a two-hour show was a little bit much for me. Broken Hardy can cut promos with the best of them, but at this point in the show I was done with the promos. The promo was very good don’t get me wrong. He dissects the Inner Circle and perfectly comments on every single one of them. I love the way Hardy interacts with Vanguard 1. It’s all very well done with so much intention and detail. The story build for the match between Hardy and The Elite versus the Inner circle is very well done. It seems we will get another Hardy compound match here soon.
My first-time seeing Johnson wrestle in AEW. The sad part about it was, it came in a match against Brodie Lee. Johnson came out taking the fight to Brodie Lee. Let’s say that wasn’t a very good idea. Brodie Lee punished Johnson with no remorse. Another short squash match from Brodie Lee. I think it’s time for Lee to wrestle competitors that match up to him. The vison has come across for Lee. He is a dominant wrestler that will take out anyone in his way. He’s not here to make friends, instead he’s here to prove a point and take anyone out that gets in his way. I’m counting the days we see SCU vs The Dark Order.
The Main Event
We had a great video before the start of the main event highlighting the rivalry between Shawn Spears and Cody. Going back to earlier in the night the promo that was used to build the match was so unnecessary. The history between Spears and Cody is there and all you need is a simple reminder of what that was. It’s always great to see Brandi out there supporting Cody. You have to love Jericho for not breaking kayfabe during his commentary of the match also. The match started with a show of strength between the two. The match picked up pace with Cody taking control. Spears was able to take control of the match with a mistake by Cody on a missed moonsault from the top rope. Spears then went on to punish Cody on the outside of the ring with a suplex on the guard rail. Spears surprised me with some moves I had not seen in his arsenal. Jericho’s commentary on the match was his best of the night. I had a good laugh when he called out Cody’s mom. Only Jericho can get away with stuff like that. Probably the best match of the night. It was fast paced and plenty of big spots throughout. We were spoiled with a broken table on behalf of Cody’s back. The way the talent at ringside was engaged in the match also helped the match move along. At one point I really thought there was a crowd out there. I needed this match to reel me back in, or we would have had a bashing of AEW for the first time ever. Spears was able to kick out from two Cross Rhodes, adding some drama to the match. If I had to critique one thing from this match, that would be the ending. Cody puts Spears in a figure four, with Spears’ shoulders down on the mat the ref counts to 3 for the win. That to me seems lazy, you didn’t want to bury Spears with the tap. If you have a submission on your opponent he must tap to win. Jericho tries to sell us the win, and I don’t buy it. A great match to finish the night.
A night full of promos that made it very hard for me to watch. AEW was on a role with the content they were putting on every week. Last night they slowed down and for the first time in a long time it was hard to watch. On previous weeks the show flows by so fast with the great matches and content they put out. Last night was full of storytelling with so many promos. They had five matches with two of them being under two minutes. I also expected more of the commentary by Jericho. He made it up to me by how good he was in the main event. The main event was the best part of the night and it made up for all the promos. Everyone is allowed to have an off night and maybe this was their off night. Don’t get me wrong the night wasn’t bad but the promos overpowered the wrestling we saw. The main event was great and masked everything else. Let’s hope they get back on track to the great product they have produced. I hate to compare them to WWE, but this seemed like an episode of Raw. It was full of talking with little wrestling here and there, with the best part of the night coming at the end.