Hey, kids! It’s the Botching One with another entry into our Elite Journal. The preview for the show looked very intriguing. Let’s see if it lives up to what we’re already seeing.
“Hangman” Adam Page vs. John Silver (w/ Dark Order)
Love that the show immediately begins with a match rather than the multi-person soliloquy we typically get from WWE. It really does make them different and ratchets up the urgency nicely. The Dark Order barely feels like a thing anymore. They’ve been completely defanged and now it’s just a bunch of people who are together because…reasons. John is DRIPPING in charisma and he’s a lot of fun. He’s far more interesting to me than Page is. He really knows how to tell a story and wring humor and fun out of situations in really interesting ways. He’s destined to break away from Dark Order and become a star on his own. He’s the most interesting member of the “stable” by far. The exchanges he had with Page tonight were a riot. Like…he spanked Page on the butt! Like…why? LOL!!
Of course, we also got some solid ring work. Both are QUITE capable in there and this didn’t disappoint. Not even five minutes into the match and their chests were both sufficiently crimson. The back and forth here between them was just fantastic. They sold each other’s work extremely well here. Hangman took this (of course) but I wouldn’t have been upset at all if Silver had. Silver got next. Mark my words.
In-ring segment – Dark Order & Adam Page
Didn’t see Dark Order trying to recruit Adam Page…and I’m not mad at it. Brodie is out with injury so I think it could be fun. Uno did all the talking and he did a great job here.
Backstage segment – Kenny Omega
They know Omega isn’t over like he should be and they’re trying to fix it now. Unfortunately, I remain uninterested. This promo wasn’t amazing. It was jerky and formless. There’s going to be some of that with unscripted promos but it was just odd. It wasn’t amazing and for someone who’s been around this long, it really should have been.
Cinéma de Crash Test Dummy – Darby Allin
I always enjoy his vignettes. He does the unhinged and dangerous yet likable guy really well. It was short but really effective.
Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Lee Johnson
So he’s out in team colors now. Interesting. I’ve been a fan of Hobbs for years so it’s cool to see him really being moved on. Watching him work is just devastating. He has no mercy. Love the way he kept saying “just business”. Nice menacing touch. Poor Lee. Hobbs really threw him around and he took it well. This was a total jobber match with Lee not getting in a moment’s worth of offense.
In-ring segment – Taz, Hook, & Cody Rhodes
There’s literally nothing worse than Taz on a mic in the ring. He mumbled and stumbled his way through the first part of this and wasn’t convincing in the least bit. Cody came out and made this more fun that it might have been otherwise. Cody went for family and I absolutely loved it. It brought some a combination of hurt and fire out of Taz. The talent vs. management thing is old as the hills but this was done fairly well. Cody gets the “W” here for making this work.
Backstage segment – Eddie Kingston & Jon Moxley
Quick but fun segment. So much was said with only their eyes. Gotta love it when talent can do that and do it effectively. Kingston is having the run of his life and Mox added a lot here too. Well done.
Top Flight (Darius & Dante Martin) vs. Hybrid2 (Jack Evans & Angelico)
Top Flight became stars last week with the Young Bucks. I’m totally sold on them. Hard to believe they’re as young as they are. They just “get it”. Angelico & Jack Evans do nearly nothing for me. They’ve both been in AEW since it began a little over a year ago but I still don’t really care about them. More than anything, they tend to be a stop on the journey of other tag teams that AEW is really moving on.
As for the match, it was, of course, quite good. I may not care much about Angelico or Evans but they absolutely can work. Dante takes damage well and Darius does a really nice “hot tag”. I don’t exactly love how Evans basically just stood a few feet from the top rope and had lunch while Darius prepared to jump on him. Others do that too and it’s completely unbelievable. There appeared to be some other timing issues like that but nothing that really got in the way. Top Flight dives pretty well too…as tired as I am of it.
Very interesting to see Hybrid2 take the win here. I sense a “we won’t be ignored anymore” thing preparing to happen and I like it. Everyone did really well here and the story between them continues.
Backstage segment – Vicki Guerrero & Nyla Rose
Vicki has the best evil laugh of anyone ever. She did pretty well here. She told the story of Brandi and nepotism and it was beyond truthful. Were Brandi not married to Cody, she wouldn’t be in the position she is. That’s just facts. I like that they’re going to this to tell a story. Maybe we’ll get some real fire from Brandi now instead of watching her phone it in week after week. Nyla was sufficiently menacing standing behind Vicki too.
Cinéma de Regret – FTR & Tully Blanchard
Dax & Cash did this really well. Tully was great on support here too. Short but punchy and effective.
SCU (Kazarian & Christopher Daniels) vs. Chris Jericho & Jake Hagar (w/ Inner Circle)
Say what you want about Jericho but his theme is so much money. The crowd just loves it and so do I. It’s beyond perfect. It’s basically become a roster member that gets its own reactions. Gotta love that. Fun to see Daniels and Jericho facing off. That’s never happened before. This was everything you think it’d be. The Inner Circle attacked and there was plenty of shenanigans through this match. It ended with pure shenanigans. Love that they snuck the Dynamite Diamond into it. Admit it, you forgot it was a thing, didn’t you. Fun interaction after the match too.
Miro & Kip Sabian (w/ Penelope Ford) – Videogame Extravaganza!!!
This, of course, denigrated fast. Best Friends with Orange attacked Miro & Kip and…LUCHA LIBRE! The feud has continued, though I can’t really care just yet.
In-ring segment – Kenny Omega & Jon Moxley
I love that AEW doesn’t do contract signings the way others do them. This was attack from the get-go. Moxley was amazing here. He told this story perfectly and really made it matter in one fell swoop. It’s simple, really. I care now. It’s mostly about Moxley…but I do care now. Maybe the match itself will make me care about Omega. So far…
Backstage segment – The Inner Circle (Chris Jericho, MJF, Santana, Ortiz, Jake Hagar, Sammy Guevara, Wardlow
Fun and quick. We get Jericho vs. Kazarian out of what happened earlier. Could be fun.
Backstage segment – Anna Jay, Tay Conti, & Hikaru Shida
Hikaru was utterly scripted and this was stilted and uninteresting otherwise. Next…
Hikaru Shida vs. Anna Jay (w/ Tay Conti)
I’m still looking for a reason to care about Anna Jay. I’m told I should and other writers here do but I simply haven’t yet found a reason to care myself. Hikaru’s championship run has been utterly boring. It’s not really hear fault either; the women are just badly booked and the title means next to nothing. It also looks like an absolute toy.
As for the match, what strikes here is how not impactful it was. Little felt real. When Anna “rammed” Hikaru into the ring apron, she did it so gently that it just didn’t feel like anything. Business did pick up a bit but it remained your average TV match, not the blood battle it should have been. Anna wanted a chair from Tay and the way Tay sorta kind of maybe a little didn’t want to give it to her was silly and poorly done. Before you think that Tay was just acting, she continued to do it even after John handed her the Singapore cane. Shida retained and the most boring championship run in wrestling history continues. The Abadon tease was something. I don’t have a reason to care about her yet either but I’m sure she’ll be in a championship match sooner than later because…reasons.
Backstage segment – Matt Hardy
He’s been teasing a character tweak on social media – given himself credit for Private Party’s ascension through the ranks and we get more more of that here. He’s into himself now so we’re getting that. Survive, thrive, win. Yeah, okay. This doesn’t really interest me. The money is in his Broken self and he just won’t really let us have it. He’ll kinda go there and then pull it back. This iteration is of no interest to me.
Backstage segment – Ricky Starks, Brian Cage, & Powerhouse Hobbs
They. Do. Not. Need. Taz. Starks can handle talking all by himself. He did this incredibly well. He was one of the few bright spots in NWA and I’m so glad he’s on a bigger stage to really show himself off. Brian Cage talked for a second and he’s not as good but whatever. This was a very solid segment and further proof that Taz simply isn’t needed.
Butcher & The Blade (w/ Bunny) vs. Rey Fenix & Pac (w/ Penta El Zero Miedo) [Eddie Kingston on commentary]
Again with Butcher just kind of hanging out near the top rope until Pac can land on him. Why do people do that? LOL! It’s just so corny. Still, a really good match. It’s nice to see Pac back in there killing it like he always does. Butcher’s chops are just life-ending. Fenix’s cutter is a thing of beauty too. Shenanigans ended the match with Kingston getting involved at the end while Bunny distracted. They continued to attack Pac until Lance Archer came out. No clue why that happened. It made little sense and the commentators couldn’t make sense of it either. They hearkened back to the Casino Battle Royale but it’s a pretty flimsy premise. Still, the match itself could be fun.
All in all, a solid episode of “Dynamite”. Matt’s character tweak is of little interest to me at this point and the women, yet again, bring up the rear. Miro and Kip don’t do anything for me either yet. Kingston is just fabulous and while Top Flight came out on the losing end this week, I’m still looking for great things from them. Hobbs is quite simply on a nice little roll. Next week should be a lot of fun based on the matches we already know we’ll get. See you next week for another entry into our Elite Journal!