Hi there. The art form known as sports entertainment is really picking up and I am finding myself more and more interested in all things wrestling whilst simultaneously feeling exhausted and turned off to it all. I have been following and even watching Raw again, while I’ve found that SmackDown has completely disappeared from my radar. That is a bummer because D-Bry and Bray are two of my faves, but they are in a no man’s land for me because I do sh*t on Friday nights that doesn’t include watching WWE on FOX.
However, I did watch BTE again and, I will say, had I been on it sooner, I would probably have any appreciation for Brandon Cutler as, now that I have seen him, he is getting over with me. There is some line between what BTE is as far as exposing the characters (in a good way) and Dynamite which is all matches for the most part and then 3-5 people building themselves with promos or segments but none of the lesser guys. I’m not saying it’s the wrong thing, but I am finding myself taking in more and more of AEW/BTE content than before, something I know I have complained about in the past.
I also am conflicted on the recent news about Brandi Rhodes just killing kayfabe. She appears to have dropped the Nightmare Collective because they (higher ups) are listening to the fans and agree that there was no direction for the whole thing…so she is leaving it? I get that the point was to have Brandi manage Awesome Kong and for whatever reason (GLOW/not feeling it) Kong hasn’t worked out and she has been written off of AEW TV for the foreseeable future. But now, Brandi is a face again just because she came out for her husband’s final three lashes last week? I am instinctually critical of this sh*t because I am trying to go along with it but I can only make my brain process so much bullsh*t with no reward. OK, its 8:15 and I’ve built up some fast forward time on TNT, so let’s boogie.
Dynamite kicks off with everyone in the ring and Justin Roberts immediately mentions how this match is a 60 minute time limit! SCU gets absolutely NO reaction from the crowd and and when Roberts says Page’s name the crowd goes wild. Before the match even starts the crowd is chanting “COWBOY SH*T.” The match gets interrupted by the Dark Order on the tron, making a reference to someone within SCU’s ranks (i.e. Chris Daniels) and also waiting on the Exalted One (hopefully Broken Matt Hardy) to which Daniels very clearly says “I’m gonna go and see whats going on” and he leaves ringside.
Kaz and Ken start out and Scorp kicks Kenny in the back as he bounces off the ropes and that one move basically turns SCU into the heels for the match (as if Page wasn’t the most OVER guy in AEW). I’ve been wondering if maybe The Elite were correct to see Page as a top guy, even if he is vanilla as f*ck. He is certainly a grower not a show-er but I found myself almost unironically f*cking HATING “Hangman” Adam Page at the start of AEW and even slightly before, sh*tting on him as an “I don’t see the hype” kind of thing. And even for a while, I didn’t like him. I f*cking hated the tobacco farming background. I don’t give a sh*t about that anymore. I love this dude. I wanna know if the Dark Order is gonna get him, and if so, how do they NOT f*ck that up? On paper that sounds like a bad idea and a waste of story to put Adam Page with the Dark Order, but prove me wrong. I sincerely expect that they will, too.
Back to the match, which has been great. Kenny is taking all the beating and I don’t know what I would like to see with Kenny but this match is not it. I do not want SCU to be 2 time tag champs just yet, but Kenny and Adam don’t need it. JR and Tony make a reference to how Page must be hurt because he was off the apron for so much of the match and, as he hops up, gets the hot tag and then just starts throwing fists and boots at Kaz and Sky. At one point Page goes for a Buckshot on Scorpio Sky who ducks and Kaz hits Page with an equally devastating clothesline. Thats the type of sh*t that makes me really dig SCU, but it just doesn’t seem to sustain even for an entire match with, as with everything, the more familiar I become with things and people the more I like them. Ken and Adam hit their combo V Trigger/Buckshot on Kaz who takes the pin but curiously grabs the rope at what I viewed as 2.99999999999999999996, yet the ref called for the bell and Page and Omega retain their titles.
After the match, the Dark Order storm the ring and are met by Best Friends, then followed by BBB, followed again by Angelico and Jack Evans as the heels surround the ring. Out come the Young Bucks (Or the “Bucks of Youth” according to JR…Broken Matt seed planting???) and they pretty much lay waste to everyone in the ring, especially the Dark Order. The sh*t goes to commercial as the Bucks got all pumped up and then Stu and Uno threaten to head down to the ring for battle, to which Orange Cassidy appears behind them, does the hands-in-the-pocket spot to perfection to distract them into turning around into SUPERKICK PARTY. I need to see an Orange Cassidy singles match but I do think they have done a pretty good job for such a weird, sloth speed character such as OC. He really looks so much like Ryan Gosling it’s ridiculous. Cassidy and the Young Bucks do his superkick spot and they put a tie dye neon bandana on him and he gives his half a thumb up.
Jim Ross has a pre-taped in-ring interview with Santana discussing his match with Moxley. Santana tells Ross a story about living in a “sh*thole” in the Bronx, ten years ago, and how his father had lost his own sight starting at 14 years old, going on to make a reference to how his father passed away even showing a picture of his old man in an LAX shirt. Pretty real sh*t. It’s cool because it adds a layer to Santana.
Darby Allin vignette f*cking rules again. It looks like a cellphone video of him holding poster board signs a la Sammy G during the picture-in-picture breaks: “Smashing my throat with the skateboard; you made a mistake; sooner or later I’ll find ya; but in the meantime; Sammy, you busy at Revolution?; Hit me up,” followed by a drawing of Sammy’s face saying “Kissing Jericho’s ass gave me herpes!”). All the while, Darby is coughing and it sounds gross and it’s awesome.
Sammy comes to the ring followed by Big Hurt and his theme song has grown on me a bit. It even says his name at some point in it which is even better. Good god, out comes “The Natural” Dustin Rhodes to a huge local Austin pop. It’s always worth remarking how terrible Dustin’s theme song is. Jake Hager tried to distract Dustin to start the match for Sammy to get the upper hand off the top and Dustin punches him in the face and turns him upside down and inside out. Dustin gets right in Hager’s face and damn they are a couple of big dudes. Sammy hits some high spots and knocks Dustin outside of the ring and then Sammy almost starts hitting on Ref Aubrey. Sammy really is so good that he doesn’t need the distraction that Hager provides. Dustin hits a Canadian Destroyer and then lays the Final Reckoning onto Sammy and its over. Dustin gets a mic as Sammy and Jake head up the ramp and then calls Hager “Jericho’s b*tch”, asking him if he is gonna do a match or is the just gone keep collecting a check, then calling him out for a match at Revolution and hot damn, I’m IN.
Man, what the f*ck are these guys doing? Tony is gonna interview Britt at the top of the ramp AGAIN?? Baker comes out dressed like a hot ’80s chick which rules. Tony tries to call her out on her savage attack on Yuka Okazaki and her tooth gimmick last week and she goes on this long technical response, framing it that she did her ethical duty by removing a decaying tooth from a woman who “probably doesn’t even have health care.” People are mad a Britt and sh*tting on her poor mic skills but I think that this is basically Kurt Angle but as a woman and a dentist, not a gold medalist. I’m in. She is pure gold. The crowd just turned so hard on her and it was pretty masterful. They cut to a full real commercial following that segment.
Women’s Championship match is now and I guess I never really accepted that Nyla goes by “The Native Beast.” Native to what? I don’t know. I want to root for/like Nyla. I hate her being a heel. She could be the sort of tweener in an Asuka sort of way, but they just have her as a beast. Jim Ross makes it a point to call Nyla “a 200 pounder…and I mean that respectfully” and then “all 98 lbs of Riho”. The women’s title belt looks like MJF’s Dynamite Diamond ring. It looks tiny on Riho. Riho starts off like a ball of fury but is quickly shut the f*ck down by Nyla. While dismantling Riho on the outside of the ring, Nyla grabs a table from under the ring to which JR says “She’s not even from Dudleyville!” Just as Nyla finishes setting up the table Riho comes running across the top of it and kicks Nyla HARD.
The match goes to picture-in-picture and nothing of note happens but as soon as they are back JR gets back to talking about how Nyla must weigh more than 200 lb and then making reference to “our 98 lb champion” as if no one can see this or has a clue. Nyla hung Riho on the top rope and then jumped from the top rope to kick Riho in the head and holy sh*t!! Then Nyla hits her with a Death Valley Driver off the top rope and Riho kicks out again! Nyla tries to hit a One Winged Angel on Riho who reverses and then hits Nyla with consecutive snap suplexes a la Kenny Omega (which was f*cking phenomenal on both women’s part how good they looked) but no luck. Riho has a whole second wind and she is kicking the sh*t out of Nyla suddenly, hitting Nyla with three consecutive Coup De Gras, the final one right on Nyla’s face!
Well, while I was typing all that, Nyla hit her sit-out powerbomb on Riho for the pin and the win and, well, that f*cking belt looks like a bracelet on Nyla so that’s something. During the picture-in-picture I start fast forwarding because it’s just Nyla going up the ramp and into the back but when she comes face to face I just rewound, even though I can’t hear anything but the commercial, but it looks like Nyla is cutting a promo on Kenny and some other women in the division who are also in the back! Ha! I gotta say, I wish I could hear what she is saying because everyone looks annoyed, including Kenny. Britt, Kris Statlander, Bunny, Leva Bates and Big Swole. What a collective of women to be hanging out backstage together.
We go backstage with Chris Jericho — excuse me, Mr. Jericho — and the Inner Circle, and Jericho tells Moxley if he survives the match this week that he will meet his personal assassin, Jeff Cobb, next week.
They play a recap video of last week’s lashing for Cody and god damn these dudes are good at making video packages. When the video is over they cut to commentary and Brandi is already there with a headset on, pleasant as a peach, even exchanging pleasantries with Excalibur, making a reference to having had some tough times in the recent past to which Excalibur replies that it’s all water under the bridge. Pic-in-pic as MJF does his entrance and I just had to rewind and pause on the sign someone made that says “MJF has smaller hands than Trump” Hilarious. MJF sends Wardlow to the back, obviously not taking his match with Jungle Jack Perry seriously, leading me to believe that Jungle Jack will end up stealing an important win for himself tonight. MJF is such a dickhead to go around ripping everyone’s signs and knocking their beers down.
Jungle Express comes to the ring with Jungle Boy and they do the entrance but he sends them to the back and as he steps in the ring I find myself really excited about this match! Two minutes in and this match is as good as I had been hoping it would be. It’s also so nice to hear Brandi talking calmly and nicely, but, again, as I’m typing that Brandi starts ragging on MJF for grabbing a handful of Jungle Boy’s hair as if it was a hate crime. I don’t know if she is exactly good for being on a mic on screen? I really like Brandi and she is actually one of my favorite folks in the whole company just as she has such an authentic and almost neighborly (albeit a stunningly beautiful neighbor) vibe. She is mad at MJF for being a heel to her husband but she only seems to have BABYface or SUPER heel as her modes. Brandi is really trying to sell this Cody vs. MJF match, making reference to how Cody will have Wardlow’s first match next week in a steel cage.
Excalibur just said how MJF has never submitted or been pinned in AEW so that part seems to have made it clear that Jungle Boy should win. MJF takes a moment to yell to Brandi and grab his dick and say some stupid sh*t about how “I have what you’re looking for right here” to which Jim Ross starts yelling at MJF to cut it out and they all start apologizing to Brandi for it. As Wardlow comes to ringside, Brandi suggests the crotch grab was actually his signal for Warldow to hit the ring which is funny. Mr. Mayhem hands MJF his Dynamite Diamond ring, MJF punches Jack Perry in the face with it, picks his dead body up and forces his finisher, the Cross Rhodes, retitled “The Double Cross” for the win. I love that, by the way.
Back from commercial and it’s another black and white vignette from Pac where he basically sounds insane about Kenny Omega and how Pac is responsible for Kenny being the shell of himself that he currently is. It’s short and sweet but really dark and brooding. These two bastards are gonna have a 30 minute iron man match in 2 weeks.
Oh boy, main event time: Eye For An Eye! Before any of that though, Am I Evil? Jericho, Hager and Sammy come to through the back into a luxury box, These motherf*ckers in production keep hoping to get the crowd to finish singing Judas to Jericho but part of it is that this guy is a heel and they shouldn’t be singing his song but also they keep cutting it too soon and the crowd can’t keep it going for that long . Proud and Powerful come to the ring and then Mox descends from the crowd, making eyes at Jericho up in his lux box. As Mox makes his way to the ring he is met by Santana. They spill around outside the ring for a while with JR noting that the bell hadn’t yet rung so the match hasn’t started yet. Having Ortiz jumping around outside the ring yelling “WE’RE THE BEST” is an excellent touch.
The match eventually starts and it’s a fine match for two dudes without full use of their eyes but the fact that they are doing this all each with an eye patch on is that much more impressive. Jericho looking very dapper and almost fancy whilst drinking bubbly is probably my favorite part of this match thus far. I was just about to refer to this match as a slobberknocker right as JR beats me to the punch. Ortiz goes to hit Moxley with the sock filled with baseballs and he is seen by Ref Rick Knox who doesn’t eject him, but then Santa bumps into him and Mox gets a near fall. Instead of going for a Paradigm Shift, he heads for the top turnbuckle and is met by Ortiz who spits a mouthful of something from a flask into the good eye of Jon Moxley. As Mox takes some beating he sneaks a Paradigm Shift snd gets the pin on Santana, immediately met by Ortiz and the rest of the Inner Circle who really just pummel the f*cking hell out of Moxley. Jericho whips Mox with the belt, Ortiz hits him with the sock balls, and then Jeff Cobb comes down and does an almost reverse power slam where the momentum seems opposite but it looks cool. Sucks for that dude to lose his first match in AEW next week because Moxley is still career undefeated (as is Jericho) and I can only imagine the other one of them being the first loss for the other.
Well, that was a pretty great night of rasslin. I’m still totally on board for the Dark Order stuff, I’m into Hangman Page, I’m pretty much all around a fan of this product. I’ve had the thought of starting at the beginning of BTE and really getting some perspective, but also I am a father and a homeowner and a musician and I have other things I also need to dedicate my time to so maybe not. But I’m in from now on and I think I’ll probably start watching Sunday Night Heat, aka AEW Dark because apparently I am missing storyline development and all the undercard matches on there, something that I actually want to see on the main show. But anyway, this show ruled. I’ll reserve my harshest judgement for after this PPV as it will be the first real test of the company as a whole now that they will have been live for six actual months and we can see how it all works.
F*ck the world.
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