Darby Allin vs Minoru Suzuki
There’s a school of thought that advertising > surprises. But it’s equally possible surprises, used correctly and sparingly could mean extra viewers tuning in more frequently.
Anyway, doing away with all the numbers, this was great fun. A wild fight swinging back-and-forth until Allin just about escaped doom to snatch victory. Making both guys look strong in the process – a clash of equals which one just about shaded.
I’m going to hammer the booking of the opener later. But this segment was everything AEW should be doing. A title contender got a strong win over a credible opponent before the champion goaded him with their clash still a month away. Proper build!
Squashes are nice and all but…
Samoa Joe vs Gravity
Should be kept to one per-show. Max. And done exactly like this. A convincing, impactful win by a guy with a violent move-set. Though it would be nice for Joe to be involved in a program that isn’t him closing-in on Jay Lethal’s ROH TV title record.
FTR vs Better than You Bay Bay
At the outset, the challengers promised three things: To ‘bash Harwood’s nuts in’, hit the Double Clothesline and win the titles. So they spent the whole match building to spots where MJF did indeed try to blast Dax’s babymakers or hit the Clothesline.
It’s a little sillier than FTR would probably prefer but even they’d have to admit the clean psychology. Which they interspersed expertly with classic tag wrestling.
Yes, attempting to bash someone’s nuts in is a little out there. But it was very entertaining.
And the way things ended was excellent. The champs got a clean win over strong contenders, pinning the world champion no less. While Max saving Cole from doom added a layer to their relationship. It’s the first time he’s ever sacrificed for someone else and it cost him. Will this further convince him relationships aren’t worth it? Or will Cole’s acceptance of him despite losing do the opposite?
Still not ruling out Cole and Strong actually being the heels here. And still have reservations they can get Cole out of this cleanly but the ride’s enjoyable.
There’s not much to add that wasn’t said in the review but it’s worth taking time to acknowledge Storm hitting her stride in AEW. She wrestles well, she talks well and she looks good. The kind of performer a division can be built around. It’s just a shame the company haven’t noticed.
I‘m still laughing at the memory of him pratfalling out of the ring over-celebrating. Heels are not supposed to be cool.
CM Punk/Ricky Starks
‘World’s Champion’ is annoying. It just sounds wrong. Obviously Punk’s aping Ric Flair but if he did that all day he’d spend half his time arrested for indecent exposure.
More seriously, he and MJF going belt vs belt isn’t a bad idea. If it’s done well and built properly. Not crazy about Punk actually defending that title but as has been pointed out, they’re competing with Summerslam next weekend.
It’s also possible that plans have changed due to the popularity of Max & Cole so they’re pivoting a little earlier. Punk strongly hinted that what was in the bag and the aftermath would play a role in what he was doing at All In. Though it remains more likely this was always the plan for All Out.
And him adding the ‘X’ is a nice way to easily differentiate his title.
The man himself played both the I do everything for the fans babyface and told us ‘I’m better than you’. Clearly a means to take a shot at Max but muddying already dirty waters.
Shown when Ricky received none but adulation in Albany. Though his getting mic time and matches against the show’s top star has to be seen as solely positive. And he had some good lines after a slightly shaky start.
Being granted a title shot was also totally believable after getting under Punk’s skin and defeating him twice.
Is someone leaving the company? Because they went from trying – poorly – to establish the importance of Andrade’s mask to him winning it back on one week’s notice. Presumably this means the newly re-signed Rush is coming to Collision (it’s been rumored Punk’s a fan) for some sort of tag/trios.
But that’s not where the problems ended. Handcuffing not one but two people to a ringpost only for them to immediately escape, simply to create a false finish, is very more is more. Very TNA in fact.
And reduces the impact of such things when they’re actually needed. For instance, on big shows to provide an ‘out’ in a match between top stars. Since Buddy’s the only House of Black member they’ll actually let him beat, Andrade should’ve won cleanly.
Oh and then they raced away from El Idolo recovering his precious property to…
Aaron Solo. Attacking Miro.
WWE used to take a lot of flack for booking like this: Miro’s the most popular babyface on the show, but management don’t seem to like him so they won’t push him. While most fans detest QTV, yet management are behind them so the gang will get tv time.
Booking of the Women
Noticing a pattern in the Down section?
Mercedes Martinez and Kiera Hogan did well considering the time given. The wrestling was not the problem.
Part of the promotion for Dynamite 200 was Hikaru Shida vs Toni Storm. Neither have been seen for weeks. Both would have benefitted from a televised win, particularly Shida, to at least try to justify their clash.
While AEW’s other female champion Kris Statlander was made to look really dumb. If bookers can’t think of a better way to start a conflict than a babyface champion being totally naïve, they need to find people who can.