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AEW Top 25 of 2023 – #9 & #8

  1. Precursor to the CC Final?

Bryan Danielson vs Swerve Strickland, Dynamite, 10/10/23 

Meltzer: 4.25*

On the night AEW faced NXT and lost (yes, extenuating circumstance etc etc), the opening half-hour ran ad-free.  Meaning we got to see this in its entirety.  A TNT Title shot on the line.  Since Christian Cage doesn’t do open challenges (for which – bless you Sir).

And during Danielson’s grappling phase.  After being accused by Sabre Jr. of betraying the spirit of their clash by winning with a strike.  So this started with mat gymnastics to a series of stalemates, Swerve too quick and agile to be locked-down as he took over: smooth, slick, athletic exchanges culminating in Strickland suplexing Danielson from the floor up into a tree of woe before Stomping him down against the apron.

The Dragon targeting the legs after rolling through a second Stomp attempt before finally giving in and bringing out the heavy artillery: stiff strikes, kick-your-head-in stomps, vicious knees, back to kicking heads in – a greedy crowd biting on killer near falls: Swerve struggling to rope-break a LeBell with his legs, arms pinned behind his back; Danielson out at 2.9 after a house call/Stomp combo.

Until finally Adam Page hit the scene to prevent shenanigans, allowing Danielson to roll through a JML Driver into a busaiku knee, resorting to winning the same way he had over Sabre, despite his best efforts.

And probably foreshadowing the Continental Classic final where Swerve finally overcomes the Dragon.  Having done the same to Mox in the semis.

  1. Young Bucks 101

Young Bucks vs Aussie Open, Rampage, 02/24/23 

Meltzer: 4.5*

There are people who love the Bucks because they have really good matches.  There are people who enjoy the matches but would like a little more outside of the ring.  And there are people who just despise them*.

They seem to be at a point where they’re going to do what they’re going to do.  Which means satisfying the first group above.  And this is Exhibit A.  Since on the C show with absolutely no build, they had a top-notch tag against another of the world’s best teams.

A blistering back-and-forth which got better as it went, slowing when the Aussies took over, speeding up when the Bucks did, crowd louder by the minute building to a brilliant everyone-takes-out-everyone sequence, Davis ending both it and Matt Jackson with a lariat after the latter skinned the cat.

Near falls and stereo moves leaving all four down, both teams continually mimicking/copying/one-upping the other, Nick just about saving the match after a Coreolis, making Davis piledrive Fletcher by superkicking the big man’s knees (always enjoy that spot).

Before a BTE Trigger to Fletcher secured the win after an excellent finishing sequence.  In about fifteen minutes.

Six-man action and a recent singles tomorrow for Day Ten.

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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