Yesterday, during rush hour, instead of trying to push my way onto the metro going out of DC with everyone else, I got on the metro going into DC for a nice comfortable ride to AEW.
When I got to the stadium the energy was already pretty high with people accidentally chanting ‘A E DUB’ when the lights seemed like they were dimming (then, embarrassed, sitting down again). Now I’m one of those who say “don’t take sides, just watch whichever promotion is putting out good stuff, there are flaws on both sides,” but the energy of the stadium did put me into a “hell yeah, AEW!” spirit.
First off we had Cody and Sammy. I’m not the biggest fan of mat work, so I was glad when they just kinda skipped past that for the most part and started moving around the ring. All around the match itself was good; the little bit with Brandi was fun and I thoroughly enjoyed it. My one problem was I was unsure how the match was booked. Sammy felt like he was supposed to be face leading into this but I guess I had missed something there because as I started to cheer Sammy everyone around me booed. It was a small thing, but the ‘Road to…’ promo sure made Sammy seem like the over looked underdog face.
Next we had MJF v Cutler. This was also a great match that established things fairly well, though I would have liked it to have been a bit longer. It seems from the YouTube episodes as well as the this squash of a match that Cutler is going to be a jobber who just gets destroyed all the time. Which is in theory okay, but also, I mean, I just like Cutler so far. They’ve done a good job making him more of the “everyman” type character. So I want to see him at least be a jobber who can put up a fight.
Also, I just love MJF and wanted to see more of him. We haven’t gotten to see him wrestle too much yet on AEW with him always being in tags so I would love to see more. However, despite the short match, overall the result of the match was what I wanted: MJF winning and telling us all we were poor. Perfect.
SCU coming out was fun — they’re a good comedy team and them feuding with the Lucha Bros will be a good way to give them credentials besides just being the funny heels.
Hangman Page and PAC…. this match was extremely just ‘meh’ for me. I don’t really care about Hangman yet and I haven’t followed PAC at all in the English indies so I didn’t care about either character. And I’m not the biggest fan of matches which lean toward or are just simply strong style. I have some exceptions to this but for the most part I am not a fan. This was more of a personal taste type situation though, so take this with a grain of salt if you’d like.
Next we had my match of the night with the woman’s championship. Now having looked around online opinions are divided. There seems to be this resentment against Nyla with opinions which always start “I don’t care she’s transgender and this isn’t about that, but…” (But I’ll leave that for another article) I feel like that may have gone into how some saw this match.
Yes, there were one or two botches from both parties, but I at least found them believable within kayfabe as they all were when Riho was trying to maneuver Nyla around. So even though it was obvious they were botches, they at least fell in line with the story of ‘big wrestler vs. tiny wrestler’.
And that second half. That second half was amazing. From Riho trying to fly and Nyla picking her out of the air multiple times, just shutting down that line of offense, to Nyla utterly destroying Riho. One move in particular when she strung Riho up on the rope and jumped on her was just devastating. And it continued like that with Riho only able to get in hits here and there before being shut down again and utterly destroyed.
I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. Finally Riho, in one of the short windows she had for offense was able to finally pin Nyla and, I don’t know if it came off on TV but the crowd was absolutely wild. That match had the most honest and genuine reaction and cheers from the crowd. It is also the perfect match if you want to show a nonwrestling fan a really good and solid lightweight vs. heavyweight match. Again, I can see why the two or three botches may have ruined it for some but for me, especially being there among the live crowd, it was by far the best match of the night.
After the match was interesting, particularly with Kenny running in to defend Riho. I’m sort of hoping something will start up with Kenny and Nyla and that this wasn’t just to establish that Kenny looks after Riho. And of course, post-match beatdowns by the loser are a good way to keep their cred up by making sure they still seem like a viable threat.
Then we had the main event (not including the run-ins) which was…. fine. It was enjoyable, but just fine. Young Bucks did fun stuff, there were flips, people were jumping around, it was fun. The real fun though of the main event, however, were the run-ins. Moxley being the first was great to see, I’m glad he’s better and I really want to see the Kenny/Moxley feud, especially after the promo Kenny cut when Moxley had to cancel. So having Moxley run in and fighting into the viewing suite was extremely fun.
Finally, we had the Jake Hager run-in. I am a somewhat new wrestling fan and don’t know much about Hager so it wasn’t a huge pop for me. So the rest of the big brawl just felt like it was there as a good way to wrap up a first show and establish a heel stable.
Being there in person was great as I’m sure you all can imagine. The energy of the crowd makes things 10 times more exciting and you really appreciate that actual story being told in each match more. Each bump looks more realistic and more hard hitting in person and the height the jumps off the top ropes are always made a lot more clear when you’re there as well.
Overall this was a great show and I enjoyed every second of it. One or two small issues didn’t take me out of it at all. I wasn’t a huge fan of Page vs. PAC, but that’s from a personal taste perspective. Nyla vs. Riho was amazing. I am extremely excited for next Wednesday.
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