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AEW Top 25 of 2023 – #21 & #20

Wilkommen im Day Three.

  1. Casa de Cassidy

Swerve Strickland vs Orange Cassidy, Dynamite, 06/07/23 

Meltzer: 4.25*

On the night Tony Khan announced the first Collision main event and at a time when it seemed Cassidy might lose his International Title every week, many fans figured this might be it.  The uber-talented Strickland needed a boost and if the belt was going to change hands it needed a champion who could have good defences every Wednesday.

All of which was only reinforced by the announcers highlighting the champ’s myriad injuries and busy schedule.  And Strickland beginning the contest by outfoxing him at every turn: countering all of his shenanigans and even using his own pockets to bait the usually docile Cassidy outside before twice smashing his Punch hand against the ringpost.

A clash which’d started well enough really picking up after the break – pace shifting as they traded moves back-and-forth, highlighted by DVD’s onto – and tornado DDTs off – the apron.

The crowd into every well-crafted near fall: brainbusters outside into Stomps in, a hurracanrana coming short when the champ’s injured hand failed him on the cover, ditto an Orange Punch, until finally the weakened champion had to fight fire with fire, countering a JML Driver by hooking the tights after Swerve had tried the same.

Good action, good story which played into the finish and the crowd were rabid by the end.

And Strickland, thankfully, is currently positioned better than ever and emerging as a star.

  1. Title Matches > Friendship

Adam Cole & MJF talk All In, Dynamite, 08/16/23 

Meltzer: N/A

In between a Crocodile Dundee skit, MJF taking a dump and Aussie Open coming out to talk kangaroo kicks, was an excellent segment highlighting what the AEW title meant to each man.  A pretty good snapshot of the act as a whole.

Cole was good in talking about going from crying while not knowing if he’d ever wrestle again to headlining the ‘biggest show in history’ and how he’d been a champion everywhere he went.

But MJF was the star of the show.

Much like the clash with FTR was the ideal blueprint for their tag act, if Max wants to truly ‘find’ his best babyface self, he need look no further.  There was no pandering, no corny jokes, no veering into heel territory.

Instead he talked about how at the outset of his career he wrote two names on a piece of paper, two ‘dream’ opponents:  the first being Cody Rhodes.  And Cody had helped him become part of the original All In after working his ass off, putting 90,000 miles on his car in a year.

The second was Adam Cole.  And now at the second All In he was facing his best friend in front of the biggest audience in company history.  He didn’t shout or talk trends, just told an honest story about his journey, tying everything together beautifully across both All Ins and both dream opponents.

Before each let the other know that they were serious about taking the title.  Though without lurching violently from best friends to assholes.

Paul Hemming
Paul Hemminghttps://h00kedon.weebly.com/
Paul Hemming got into AEW during the pandemic, lives in Liverpool, England, and is a huge Liverpool fan, Playstation player and history lover.

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