There’s Something…Familiar (An AEW Review)

Hey, kids!  It’s the Botching one with another entry into our Elite Journal.  “Winter is Coming” was a lot of fun and we got Sting.  Let’s see where all this goes with this week’s show, shall we?


Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) vs. (The Hybrid2) Jack Evans & Angelico

My goodness!  Fun match.  AEW always goes right to work rather than spending time with opening promos (not a shot at WWE; just a statement of fact).  That Doomsday Device on the ramp was just evil!  Love that The Acclaimed became collateral damage at about the midpoint of the match.  They caused some trouble last week so it’s nice to see them subtly involved.  They even showed up at the end – trying to get a piece of the Bucks.  I also really like that they continued to tell the story of Matt’s ankle.  It’s been a problem for a minute and it was here too, which only make sense.  The Buck spent some time trying to get people to buy that his ankle is legitimately injured and people are largely buying it.  Of course, this only helps the story.


Backstage segment – MJF (w/ Wardlow)

This was very short but incredibly sweet.  It’s not often we get “angry man promo” from him but he gave it to us here and I loved it.


Cinéma de Darby – Darby Allin

Ehh…to be honest, this felt really scripted.  Not one of Darby’s finer moments.  He said all the right things but it just felt very orchestrated and scripted.  It did its job, I guess, but it wasn’t anything spectacular.


In-ring segment – Cody Rhodes (w/ Arn Anderson), Sting, & Tony Schiavone

Sting did his level best to make it okay here.  He came out, spoke a little, and ultimately told us absolutely nothing.  Seeing Schiavone do his high-pitched “STING!” again was kinda fun for nostalgia’s sake.  Fun fact:  Sting, Arn, & Tony are all within two years age difference of each other (Schiavone’s the oldest by about a year).


Backstage segment – Taz, Powerhouse Hobbs, Brian Cage, Ricky Starks, & Hook

They just aren’t getting it. Taz is not needed here.  Starks can handle all the talking just fine, thank you.  He adds nothing.  His best attribute is as a commentator.  I wish he’d just focus on that and leave the promos to Starks and the others.


Varsity Blondes (Griff Garrison & Brian Pillman, Jr.) vs. FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler) w/ Tully Blanchard

Decent match but Pillman could stand to do some work on his selling.  Dax stomped on his fingers and he barely reacted to it.  He must he doing time in the Brandi Rhodes School of Selling.  Selling helps tell the story and while he’s not as bad as Lex Luger was, he’s not great either.  He just kept getting these cartoonish looks on his face to sell pain that just looked weird.  Garrison looked pretty good here and this was a decent match in spite of all of that.

Nice to see Jurassic Express again at the end.  It’s been a minute…for some reason.


Backstage segment – Hangman Adam Page & Dark Order (Alex Reynolds & John Silver)

Simple little segment that builds on the Page & The Dark Order dalliance.  John Silver is amazing.  He’s so expressive and fun.  When he becomes his own thing, he’ll be even more fun.  Since Brodie’s injury, the Dark Order have gone back to meaning very little at this point.  It all just feels rather rudderless.  Maybe Page joining in and give them some direction again.


“10” vs. “The Natural” Dustin Rhodes (w/ Lee “Shotty” Johnson)

Ha!  Johnson’s in the Nightmare Family now.  How cool for him.  Let’s hope it turns into something.  The match itself was rather short with some odd biting on “10”‘s mask from Dustin.  Just weird.  They want Dustin as “7” in the Dark Order so they’re in active recruitment mode.  Could be interesting.


Backstage segment – Shaquille O’Neal & Brandi Rhodes

“All that butter on his toast”.  What?  Ugh.  This whole thing was just odd.  Shaq did fine and Brandi wasn’t really the problem here either, though she hardly killed it.  The segment itself was just incredibly poorly-written and conceived.  It escalated, then de-escalated, then escalated again for absolutely no reason.  No clue why any of this happened.  I mean I see where it’s going but this just wasn’t good.  In short, Brandi felt disrespected by Shaq and she’s mad now.  That’s all you need to know.


Inner Circle (Chris Jericho, MJF, Jake Hagar, Sammy Guevara, Ortiz, & Wardlow)

You have to love Chris Jericho’s theme.  You just have to.  It’s basically another roster member.  I still remember seeing Chris smile when the crowd first started singing along to his theme.  He didn’t know it was coming and he had the widest grin on his face.  He still smiles – each time.

MJF is a fantastic storyteller and he gave it to us here.  He allowed the others to kind of orbit around him.  The interaction between Wardlow & Hagar was weirder but it was kinda fun.


Backstage segment- FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler( w/ Tully Blanchard)

Another short but relatively sweet segment.  Nothing earth shattering it did its job.


Eddie Kingston, Butcher & Blade (w/ Bunny) vs. Lance Archer, Rey Fenix & Penta El Zero Miedo

The injury bug hit this match awfully quickly.  Penta went down after rate table spot and didn’t come back.  Here’s hoping he’ll recover quickly and that it’s nothing serious.  Otherwise, a decent match.  Interesting seeing Archer take damage as he did.  Fenix just dances incredibly well in there and Butcher and Kingston were there for it.  The Bunny got involved too though not in a meaningful way.  Really, she’s done nothing meaningful since she showed up in AEW.  Kingston, Butcher & Blade took this and that’s not a big surprise.  Poor Blade.  Butcher managed to save him at the last second from a worse fate but he still took some damage at the end.  Archer appears to have become a bigger part of this story.


Backstage segment – Red Velvet, Jade Cargill, Nyla Rose, Vicki Guerrero, Ivelisse, Big Swole, Diamante, & Serena Deeb

So Jade is aligned with Nyla & Vicki.  That’s likely the last thing she needs as neither have mattered since they came to AEW.  This was okay, I guess.  Whether this was worth doing or not will have to be revealed with time.


Abadon vs. Tesha Price

Tesha jobbed.  The end.  Abadon has taken an understandable interest in Shida and the AEW women’s title.  Shida even came out to do a light-duty save for Tesha at the end.  Another feud developing that’s poorly laid out so I have no reason to care.  I don’t care about Abadon and I don’t care about Hikaru.  Let that sink in.  I don’t care about the AEW WOMEN’S CHAMPION.  UGH!


Backstage segment – Inner Circle (Chris Jericho, Sammy Guevara, Jake Hagar, & Ortiz)

Short promo segment but it did its job.  They’ll be out there with MJF as he faces Orange later.


Kenny Omega & Don Callis

“The champ is here…you can watch it like everybody else”.  Justin’s announcement was just terminal and it helps build up Omega’s heel-ness.  Turns out Omega/Mox from last week was AEW’s highest-rated segment on a show that pulled in quite the rating.  Honestly, Omega could use a really hate-able partner-in-mic and Callis does a nice job there.  This is a decent story, though I’m not quite into it just yet.  This is going to be one of those times where the title will help build fire for the character.  I’m in for seeing where this goes next.


MJF [w/ Inner Circle] vs. Orange Cassidy [w/ Best Friends] (Dynamite Diamond match)

Dag.  Even Orange’s sunglasses weren’t safe.  MJF placing Orange hand in the back of his jeans and then slamming into Cassidy into the ring apron was just evil.  Of course, Inner Circle got involved.  Big shocker there, I know, but they kinda have to.  The constant working on Orange’s fingers was fun because Orange made sure it was fun.  ‘Course, MJF was the perpetrator and he inflicts damage incredibly well.  I love MJF’s Heat Seeker.  The spot with the bat was high-larious.  Some nice near-finishes and the inevitable breakdown outside the ring.  Miro got involved to take the match away from Orange.  The issue is that I don’t yet car about Miro enough for it to have mattered.  They’re going the “monster heel” route to try to change that so we’ll see what happens.


We ended up with a decent show.  There were misses here.  Darby didn’t hit for me and the Shaq/Brandi segment was just ridiculously bad.  The Dynamite Diamond match was definitely fun as is anything MJF is in.  See you all next week for another entry into our Elite Journal!