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Dynamite TV report for 01/03/2024

Venue: Prudential Center, Newark, NJ

Happy NY y’all!

*****

Things started with a promo from the new champ post-match.

Joe said he’d told us the future.  He’s not a man who makes predictions; he’s a guy who keeps promises.  In September, Max used every shortcut to steal Joe’s ‘rightful championship’ yet believed he’d just accept it.

‘What you do to me, I revisit upon you a thousand-fold.  You embarrassed me, you cheated…’

So Joe turned everyone Max loved against him and beat him in his own ‘neighborhood’, in front of his friends and family.  Max may be a scumbag; Joe’s ‘a heartless son of a bitch’.  Who will ‘always, ALWAYS! Take what is mine’.

He’s the AEW champion and he’ll take everything from anyone who tries to take his title.

Very serious in putting across what the title means.  And Joe’s reasoning fit perfectly as to why he turned on Max.  Might have fit too well: I don’t see him as a heel at all after that explanation – it totally justified his actions.

*****

They showed Joe defeating Max – ‘not just defeated; embarrassed, put him to sleep in his hometown’ to quote Excalibur.  Then showed Cole being revealed as the Devil and all the goons etc.  The ‘swerve…worked to perfection’ per Schiavone (I mean yeah if Cole didn’t want the title himself.  Why he wouldn’t I have no idea.  That’s what I’m most looking for an explanation over).

Cole’s music hit with a massive pyro display.  Not exactly nuclear heat.  After a few bars a different theme played with ‘Undisputed’ as the graphic.  Cole came to the ring on crutches (Meltzer’s said he doesn’t even expect him to be ready for Revolution) with all the goons and held up the mask.  They were all in black.

They got Cole a chair and he sat mid-ring surrounded by them.  Strong told fans to shutup and listen to his ‘best friend… ADAAAAM’ (why do this company not understand the line between comedy and money-drawing?).  Of course the crowd yelled along.

Cole said he was surprised how many people were ‘disgusted’ and ‘shocked’ by what happened at Worlds End.  If fans were, they’re stupid and don’t know right from wrong.  If people think they’re the bad guys, those people are wrong.  He talked about what a scumbag Max is, so if going against him ‘makes me the Devil, then buy me a first-class ticket straight to hell.’

(Nice line.)

A weak ‘asshole’ chant played and picked up a little steam.  Cole called Max a narcissist who only cares about himself.  It’s time for a change.  Most of the locker room will eventually thank him.  So will the fans.  Even Tony Khan.  ‘MJF is gone and he’s never coming back’.

The fans were chanting ‘he’s our scumbag’ during this.

Cole said he had a lot of reasons for doing what he did.  Foremostly, once MJF didn’t need him anymore, he’d have done the same thing, so Cole struck first.  He did everything for Max, including ruining his ankle.  MJF needed him; he didn’t need MJF.  No-one would be cheering for Max if it wasn’t for him.  He saved MJF’s title reign and also ended it.

Because at the start it was all about the title but eventually became ‘so much more, this is about destroying a man to his core… MJF is dead’.  A ‘STFU’ chant played.

The new group is called the Undisputed Kingdom.  They have one goal outside of hurting MJF – they want to win championship gold.  He introduced the ROH tag champs the Kingdom then his ‘real best friend’ Roderick Strong who’s going after the International Title (oh joy).  And Wardlow who’s ‘finally with a group of people who actually respect him’.  He’s going after the AEW Title until Cole’s healthy at which point he’ll ‘do the right thing’ and forfeit it to Cole.

The others clapped, Wardlow smiled and nodded in a way that suggested none of this shocked him but that he’d do no such thing.

Cole congratulated Joe, it was a pleasure doing business.  They were glad to take out Hangman for him but ‘sincerely hope’ that by the time Wardlow moves up the rankings, Joe isn’t the champ anymore, ‘cause it would really, really suck to hurt a friend’.

He summed up by saying they took action.  They were sick of waiting.  ‘AEW needed change, and we gave it to ya’.  They’re starting a new chapter and ‘the Devil’s here to stay… bay bay.’

I have a ton of reservations about this group.  Primarily the fact three of them – and two in particular – are just absolute no-marks.  But Cole was excellent here, he spoke really well, with conviction.  And explained everything, even that they hated MJF so much things had gone beyond the title, even setting up a longer-term feud between he and Wardlow.  Which hopefully they can get right this time when the latter tires of being a subordinate.

And established Hangman as either the first guy to target them or Joe’s title.  They had to open with this after a six-month angle and did the best job possible moving stories forward.

Jay White interrupts

The UK’s music was still playing when White’s interrupted to a huge pop.  He came solo, asking for his music to be cut.  He said he was ‘impressed’ that Cole hasn’t lost his edge.  He’s actually a fan of what they did to MJF (this got minimal boos) but doesn’t like ‘being collateral’, jumped by a gang when he was by himself.

‘But now… I’m not alone…’

The Gunns came out, Cole started to bail with with Wardlow, leaving the other three to scrap with BCG (also like them making it clear Wardlow’s the #2 guy and above the other scrubs).  Wardlow then slipped back in, giving the heels the 4-on-3 edge.  The Acclaimed then legged it down and the Undisputed Kingdom bailed through the crowd.

The doctor stepped in front of Cole and insisted he wasn’t cleared.  Schiavone thought this was BS.  The Acclaimed trio and BCG faced off, BCG bailed because young guys must cower before Big Buff Billy.

So bored of the Acclaimed.  Plus they were basically heels last time they wrestled and talked.  They also seemed one act too many.  It’s a trait AEW need to rid themselves of.  Decide who the focus is and leave it at that.

Again, this story was never going to cover every base because there are too many.  But they hit the main ones here.  White should’ve been pissed after being laid out by the group.  As should the former tag champs.

*****

Package recapping Kingston winning the CC – ‘It gave me this weird thing I didn’t know I had, which is confidence,’ he laughed (so easy to route for man).  He talked up his opponents and said he now has so much confidence after beating the likes of Mox and Danielson that he doesn’t see himself losing his titles anytime soon.

This was the second thing they needed to address after it dominated six weeks of tv.  Also nice to see some character development – Kingston should feel proud and confident after winning something like that.  He’s told a fantastic story throughout here.

He’ll ‘fight’ – that’s the word they used in the graphic – the winner of tonight’s four-way on Collision.  For the title.  Really don’t like that – one guy fights through a tournament; the other wins once match?  Guess this is going to be Collision’s version of the International Title to fill tv time.

On the plus side, they seem to be going with ‘Continental Title’ r/t the mouthful they were calling it before.

*****

‘I don’t know if it’s just me but this feels like a little bit of a mission statement for AEW, putting the two youngest, hottest stars against each other,’ said Daniel Garcia in a package promoting his match with Swerve.

It is just you Daniel.  You are not hot.  You never win.  You’ve turned and nearly turned a million times.  Your entire personality is wiggling your hips.

Garcia said Swerve’s music is about pressure.  But what happens when he applies pressure to someone who won’t fold no matter what?  ‘I will not fold and you will not beat me because tonight Daniel Garcia fights through the pressure and beats Swerve Strickland’.

He put his fists up.  No hint of a dance to follow.  And now I feel like a dick cause that was killer.  Fair play young man.

Orange Cassidy vs Dante Martin (International Title)

Backstory: Martin dominated a six-man against Cassidy’s team Friday and got the pin over Romero

Cassidy has a nasty shiner after the Friday match.

They started on the mat, Cassidy looking to slow the youngster.  Martin slipped free, acrobatically flinging the champ to the opposite corner.  Cassidy tried again, they slipped in and out of crucifixes for one counts, Cassidy briefly got a bow and arrow, Dante again slipped free to bag another one count.

Cassidy right to a headlock, Dante to his feet, working the arm, crowd quiet now after earlier chanting for Cassidy.

Cassidy tried the pockets, Dante blocked, they kept arms locked, Dante monkey flipped free into a kick to the champ, flipped over Cassidy and again blocked the pockets.  Fans booing that.  He then somersaulted over the champ, backslide for two, deep cradle for another, Cassidy bailed for a breather.

Luring Dante outside to hit a weak tope, hurling him into the barrier where a fan was dressed as polka dot Dusty.  Fans chanted ‘Dusty!’ and Schiavone snuck an ‘if you weeeel’ in there.  Cassidy hit a deliberately weak strike after very slowly ‘running’ around the ring.

Dante countered a suplex outside.  This was all so cute between the match slowing and the announcers amusing themselves that I wondered if we’d gone to break and I’d missed it.

I hadn’t.  Cause break time’s now.

Orange hit stundog as we came back, the youngster avoided Cassidy, apron enziguri, Cassidy bailed outside and took a tope suicida, springboard cross body inside for two.  Things slowed again, crowd very quiet.  Dante hit Cassidy with deliberately weak offense, including the kicks, Cassidy nailed him with a thrust kick then stomped the crap out of him in the corner with the new kicks.  Didn’t make the kid look great.  In fact the opposite.

He leapfrogged Cassidy but took a tornado ddt for two.  Orange caught upstairs, twice fighting off the youngster to nail a diving ddt for another two slaps.  Elbow pad down, Punch coming, missed, beach break countered, Cassidy tried to counter a powerbomb into a rana but was flung off into a knee strike for a near fall.

Dante upstairs, Cassidy rolled away.  The youngster climbed the opposite ropes, it looked stupid since Cassidy didn’t roll quickly enough and Dante just had to wait.  Then hit a splash across 2/3 of the ring, series of near falls via rollup, Dante missed a leg lariat and took the Punch to lose.

They were telling the story that Cassidy learnt from their match Friday where Dante used that dropkick/leg lariat to block the Punch.

Darius, Andretti, Hook and Danhausen came out.  Cassidy helped Dante up.  Here’s my weekly reminder Cassidy beat Moxley then did nothing.  And there are but so many times you can cast Dante in the ‘took Star X to the limit’ role before he’s just a guy who loses when he’s not facing jobbers.

They started playing Top Flight’s music for some weird reason.  It even threw Tazz off.  They were clearly supposed to play Private Party’s music.  Since they came out next.  The worst rope-runner in the company is back as Marc Quen returned.

Quen said the tag division’s been lacking.  He got a ‘welcome back’ chant.  They said the division’s been missing several things, including them.  They’re putting all tag teams on notice.  Mentioning the teams in the ring, the Bucks and the Hardys.

Don’t want the gold then?

Not the smoothest promo work and crowd didn’t seem to care.  Isiah’s talented but that Brother Zay character is the quickest go-away heat in wrestling and Quen is among the best athletes but worst wrestlers in the company.  Nothing he does looks real.

It was also weird that neither of the groups they challenged, who were right there, did or said anything to suggest a match.  Didn’t get in their face etc.

Winner: Orange Cassidy

Renee was with Toni Storm and Luther backstage.  Storm said she was excited to come here till she realized it was NJ and not NY.  She referenced a bunch of old places and people she was going to see as she prepared to leave for the City.  Renee brought up Mariah May’s upcoming match.  Storm said May needed to pay her dues so was leaving her to it.

Then said ‘Luther… scoop!’ and he picked her up and carried her off.

I am baffled as to who I’m supposed to like among Storm and May.  They’re both total heels.  So how am I supposed to feel sympathetic when Storm ignores her?

*****

‘Spooky’ HOB promo challenging FTR for Saturday.  Usual corner-cutting/cheap heat about family and such since the story is dead otherwise.  Could not care less about this despite the fact it could be fantastic.  Beyond ready for the HOB to split/change/become in any way refreshing or interesting.

*****

Renee brought in Swerve and Nana.  She asked about facing Garcia.  Nana answered, to ask if he knew who he was getting into the ring with.  Swerve said the reason he’s giving Garcia the match tonight is cause he sees a drive to achieve the same things he wants to.  But as for the pressure Garcia referenced, his pressure doesn’t make diamonds it creates pain.

In 2024, he wants to achieve championship gold.  And he thought that meant MJF but now it means Joe – ‘I will be coming for championship gold, so be ready’.

Swerve left, Nana wandered back in to ask ‘Whose house?’, the crowd responded in the affirmative.  They were total babyfaces here.

Was fine, nothing more.  Made clear Strickland’s intentions.  Will he and Hangman go at it again to be #1 contender?

Mariah May vs Queen Aminata

Backstory: May’s debut

May’s music at least seems a little less generic than last time.  Has some haunting vocals behind the intense dance music.  Excalibur said she made her Stardom debut a year ago today.  They still have not explained what the hell Stardom is.

Aminata was already in the ring.

May battered her with a slap, kick to the gut, stiff forearm, slam down, pose.  Aminata tried to fight back but was pelted with chops in the ropes, nice tejeiras, shotgun dropkick too.

Crisp.

Another to the back.  Before posing in the ropes.

Ads.

Aminata blocked a handspring rana attempt, avoided a right, hit a stiff slap, a second, a third, polish hammer, snapmare, kick to the spine, running knee strike, crowd behind her, running forearm smash in the corner, a second, May countered a third with a nice slingblade.

Then hit Mayday – a sitout DVD – to win.

Very strange booking – who was supposed to get over here?  Because May sure as hell didn’t.  The crowd were really with Aminata during that comeback and in terms of tv time, each was on top for about 50% of a match that only went a few minutes.

Renee joined May in the ring to congratulate her.  May acted all happy at winning her debut.  She’s wanted to be a wrestler since she was a little kid, it’s all surreal, she hopes Toni’s watching and proud.  ‘And it’s all about Mariah’ (promo is all over the place too – equal parts heel and babyface).

Her only regret is she had to debut in New Jersey (she had a tremendous shit-eating cackle here).  Deonna Purazzo’s music interrupted.  Renee introduced her, she got a big pop and chant since she’s from there.  Which she mentioned.  And said if Toni Storm doesn’t want to be here, they don’t want her here either.

She has a message May can pass along though.  ‘I will find her’ because Purazzo’s ‘All Elite’.  May told Purazzo to ‘Tell her yourself bitch’ then tried to slap her.  Purazzo sent her packing and posed.

I ask again, who was this designed to establish/get over?  As with the opener and the end of the title match, too many acts in a single segment.  Especially when both are new.  You can get over someone or no-one.  May has been botched from day one thus far.

Winner: Mariah May

Christian Cage’s music played to a pop.  He came out posse’d up as they showed the godawful crap which led to him losing then immediately regaining the TNT Title (Copeland beat him, Luchasaurus had won a shot earlier on the show so he ‘gave it’ to Cage who won back the title).

Schiavone tried to talk, Shayna Wayne snatched the mic and did her one line which seems to be her entire character.  ‘You boo a mother?  How dare you!’… blah blah blah.  The crowd cheered as Cage took the mic.  But booed when he heeled on them.

He’s now claiming a 200-day reign going back to when he ‘won it’ on the first Collision.  Schiavone tried to call BS; Cage warned him.  Cage thanked some people – firstly Shayna, then his ‘pride and joy, the apple of my eye,’ Nick.  He castigated Copeland for putting Wayne through a flaming table.

Cage told Nick he loved him and kissed him on the head.

Lastly he wanted to thank ‘the man that sealed the victory at Worlds End’, the man who ended Copeland, ‘I would like to thank… myself’ (he was acting the whole time as if he was going to thank Saurus/Killswitch).  The crowd chanted for ‘Luchasaurus’.  Loudly.

Cage addressed Copeland for what he hoped would be the final time.  He’s 2-0 and Copeland needs to hit the back of the line.  Cage made remarks about both Copeland’s parents being dead since it’s a Wednesday.  And now Copeland needs to face the fact that Cage is superior.  He said Copeland doesn’t have a soul, he does, and that’s why he’s still the champ.

He warned anyone who wanted his title that what happened Saturday is just a taste of what he’s willing to do to retain.  The crowd chanted ‘Luchasaurus’ again, Cage got annoyed and said he was Killswitch.  And that he plans to hold the title till handing it to Wayne when he retires.

Be interesting to see if crowds are behind Saurus as much as they were here.  Methinks not.  But they’ll have a hot feud if they are.  They’ve done a nice slow build for that one.

*****

Renee backstage with Saraya, Harley Cameron and Ruby Soho.  To congratulate the latter on beating Marina Shafir Friday with help from Cameron.  Saraya said she’d told Ruby that Harley would help.  ‘I’m committed to this role,’ said Cameron, weirdly.

Saraya asked what Soho thought.  Ruby accepted Cameron had been useful.  The Aussie said she was excited to be part of the Outcasts (the crowd were loudly chanting something here, amusing themselves since the segment wasn’t).  And would do ‘anything’ to help.  ‘Anything… right Saraya?’.  They seem to be suggesting sexual favors after Saraya last week said Cameron was ‘good with her hands’.

Saraya looked awkward, Ruby started to leave, the Brit strongly warned Cameron to ‘Stop it, keep it cool, you’re making it obvious’.  Renee asked what was going on, Saraya cut her off and led Cameron away by the hand.

So they are indeed suggesting a relationship.  It’s actually about time we got some same-sex relationship stories.  At least it’s different.  As long as they don’t go HLA with it.

Darby Allin vs Konosuke Takeshita (Continental Classic Rules)

Backstory: NONE

Most of me thinks hell yeah!  Part of me worries Takeshita’s going to lose here.  They announced the Japanese as ‘the Alpha’ but didn’t have it in his graphic.

Callis joined on comms since he’s not allowed at ringside.  He said he was glad of that since Allin is ‘insane’.

Right to a grapple, Allin slipped behind, Takeshita lifted him up and smashed him down like a feather.  So easily Darby almost over-rotated, landing on his hip, limping a little.  Back to the grapple, Allin took him down, magistral for two, Takeshita avoided a charge in the corner, Allin avoided the same, slipped behind, rollup attempt, Takeshita held the ropes to block, rolling back through to headscissor Allin into a wheelbarrow German attempt out of which Allin landed on his feet.

That was a fucking cool sequence.  Crowd loved it.  Very fast start.

Start again, both eyeing the other, Takeshita landed a knee to the gut then sent Allin to the rafters via back body drop.  Now slowing things via headlock on the mat, maintaining it via takeover when Allin tried to climb to his feet.  Allin whipped him off, Takeshita tried to hip toss Allin outside, the latter countered via springboard armdrag, Take sent outside where he blasted Allin with a knee mid-tope.

Crowd oohed at that.  Though otherwise don’t seem to care about the Japanese.  Dude’s lost a ton of steam.

He used Allin to break the count by shoving his limp body under the ropes then snatching him back out by the leg to smash him back down to ringside.  Then carried him up the ramp by the waist into a rolling German, maintaining grip through a couple rotations before just dumping him onto the ramp.

That had to suck.

Ads.  This is fun.

Allin countered a top rope slam into his cutter – that landing had to suck too – this time nailing his bullet tope, both down outside.  Code red blocked into a leaping tombstone with the arms hooked, Allin just kicked out.

TiA from the crowd.  Can these two wrestle every week please?

Allin tried to drag himself up in the corner, Takeshita sized him up for the knee strike and could be heard yelling ‘Darbyyy!’.  Allin moved, slipping outside, avoiding a second knee strike, Takeshita smashing against the barricade, Allin followed-up via coffin splash, both down again outside.

Allin back in, ref’s count at nine, Takeshita just in, right into a code red for 2.9.  Coffin Drop blocked, knees up, Takeshita limping on that knee, thinking German, Allin flung all the way over onto his front.  Dude’s a damn ragdoll.

Another coming, hit, Darby all but done until countering a suplex into a cradle for two, same again via crucifix bomb, popping up only to be blasted via lariat.  Callis signalled Takeshita to finish him, big boot in the corner, Allin set atop the buckle, avalanche German, Allin calling for more, Takeshita obliged by nailing the knee strike to win.

If this isn’t on this year’s top 25, it’ll have been a hell of a 2024.

As noted, Takeshita’s lost a ton of steam.  Yet as shown here, all that’s really needed to heat him back up is to put the dude in the ring.  And this was a big win, exactly the sort of message AEW need to make more – that certain guys are priorities.

Winner: Konosuke Takeshita

Backstage, the rest of the Family were applauding Takeshita as Callis gave him a pep talk.  Renee rolled up to congratulate him.  Takeshita answered in Japanese.  Callis challenged Darby and Sting to face Takeshita and Hobbs next week.

Nice to see they seem to have plans to feature the Family again.  They’re surely not going to undo either of the guys’ wins over big stars by having them lose to a guy who’s retiring in a month right?  That’d seem at least one step back.

*****

Eddie Kingston out to a nice pop in a Knicks hoodie.  He’s on comms for the next match.  Schiavone talked about it being impressive Allin was able to leave the ring under his own power.  Nice touch to put over a brutal beating.

Trent Beretta vs Brian Cage vs Bryan Keith vs Vikingo

Backstory: Winner faces Kingston Saturday for his new title

Trent eliminated Danhausen during Saturday’s battle royal.  They teased tension.  Always baffled when trying to win a match using the specific rules is supposed to turn someone heel.

Keith didn’t get an entrance.  Vikingo out last.

Kingston brushed off talk of his winning Saturday to focus on the match at hand.

Cage took the others down quickly, Vikingo hit a tope to the big fella.  Trent and Keith slugged it out inside until the latter sent Trent packing via big boot.  Vikingo in to hit quick kicks, acrobatically avoid a trip, springboard armdrag into a spinning tejeiras, he and Cage now went at it:

Cage grabbed the Mexican up from the mat by his neck and dumped him via overhead throw, Trent in, blocking a military press, knee strike, half-nelson suplex, vaulting press onto Cage at ringside, all four now outside.

Danhausen was in the front row.  Cage hit a brainbuster at ringside, Trent held his surgically repaired neck.

Your standard multi-man so far: guys get booted, two go at it, rinse and repeat.

Vikingo smacked Cage with a spin kick, slipped through the ropes to avoid a corner attack, springboard dropkick, crowd totally behind him here, clapping support, running knees in the corner, Vikingo upstairs, Keith in to cut him off, seeking a suplex, Vikingo just spilled to ringside.

Allowing Cage to hit a kick to Keith, seeking a superplex, Trent slipped in to German Cage from the middle buckle, running knee strike, crowd almost silent whenever Vikingo’s not in.  He broke the cover off the top but was nailed via Keith lariat, all four down.

Keith sought a slam; Cage countered into an F5, Keith rolled outside, Cage caught Trent into a double powerbomb for a near fall.  Cage said the end was coming, Danhausen ran right into the center of the ring, shoving the ref out of the way, to ‘Curse’ Cage.  Cage tried to snap the little shit in half, the only appropriate response.

Keith saved him, Vikingo too, with thrust kicks to Cage.  Vikingo moonsaulted onto Cage outside, leaving Keith to hit a gamengiri, saito suplex, running headbutt, Trent just out.  This had gone far too long now.  It’s good action but only one of these guys matters.

As if hearing me, Trent hit Strong Zero to win.  He immediately defines that belt down about as far as it can go.

He and Eddie talked a little trash.

Winner: Trent

Renee unto the breach once more, this time with Matt Menard who’s joining the main event on comms.  A pissed, ragged Hangman Page flew in – getting a big pop – to say that a few weeks ago Joe had a bunch of goons put him through a windshield ‘so I am here tonight to beat somebody’s ass!’ (another big pop).  And if he can’t find Joe, it’ll be Cole, if it can’t be Cole, it’ll be somebody else, ‘it might be you’ he said to Menard, ‘I dare somebody to give me a reason!’.

Menard and Renee looked shook.

Yes!!!  He passed the Stone Cold test.  Pissed, serious, wanting to beat somebody’s ass.  Page was great here.  More please.  Also adds a little extra intrigue to what’s left of a show which only has a pretty unintriguing main event.

Swerve Strickland vs Daniel Garcia

Backstory: NONE

The fans left absolutely no doubt whose house this was.  That was loud.  Funnily enough, between Swerve and Page, it seems we have ourselves some over top-babyfaces.  The crowd were into the Nana dance, which I don’t have a single problem with now Swerve’s not a heel.

Unfortunately, Garcia is still dancing.  He was pretty over too tbf.

Lockup, Swerve smashed Garcia down via shoulder, Garcia popped up, Swerve grabbed a headlock, dropdown/step over, both hooked pinfall attempts for low counts, Swerve left Garcia on his ass via tejeiras.

Garcia tried to beckon him down onto the mat, Swerve obliged, Garcia looked for a crossface, Swerve got the ropes, Garcia spanked him.  Swerve wasn’t happy: pie-faces exchanged, Swerve hit a punt but took a kitchen sink, Nana keeps leading the crowd in ‘Swerve’s House’ chants.  As Garcia knocked Strickland off the apron.

He and Nana teased a dance-off.  So if you told an AEW fan in October 2019 that in four years the Kingdom would be part of the top heel group and the main event would feature a dance off…

They each got two go’s.  Until Swerve attacked from behind, Garcia was quickly back on top though until Nana grabbed his leg and Swerve hit a DVD on the apron.

Ads.  Not a bloody clue whether Strickland’s good or bad now.

Swerve blasted Garcia with a running boot then mocked his dance and hit a forearm.  Garcia followed him out of the corner, into a fistfight, Garcia stomped him down in the corner, hit a running knee, shotgun dropkick, stalling saito, for two.

Swerve blocked a Dragon Tamer, hit a capture backbreaker, Garcia paintbrushed him, Swerve hit back with an elevated reverse ddt.  Garcia out at two.  Swerve flung Garcia into the barricade then went to talk trash to Menard.  Allowing Garcia to fling him into the barricade then apply the Dragontamer atop the announce desk.

Or try.

They fell off.  That was bad.  ‘You f’d up’ chant.

Crowd quiet otherwise.  Garcia seeking a superplex, hitting, Swerve pivoted his hips on the mat to hit a regular ol’ suplex.  Garcia nailed a ripcord knee strike.  And after an ‘ooh’ you could hear a pin drop.  It was so quiet.  Strickland hit back via rolling flatliner, house call, Garcia out at 2.9.

Swerve went upstairs to end things with the Stomp.  Or not.  Garcia kicked out.  Hooked a crucifix pin for a near fall before being polished off via a second house call and JML Driver.

This continues AEW’s nasty habit of a ‘good match’ coming before getting somebody over.  Similar to May/Purazzo, neither guy here is firmly enough established as a main eventer to help raise the other up.  One needs to get there first.  Jon Moxley can have a close one with Garcia; Swerve should beat him convincingly.

Especially after it took ten minutes to polish off Dustin Rhodes Saturday even after breaking a cinder block over his foot before the match.  It should be crystal clear Swerve’s a guy on the rise.  Neither of these matches sent that message.  Natural momentum’s hard to gain and oh-so-easy to lose.

Post-match, Nana gave Garcia a low blow after it appeared Swerve was going to shake his hand.  Swerve laughed.  Matt Menard hit the ring and wailed away on Swerve till taking a low blow too.

Nana said we were looking at our next AEW champ.  Or was about to when Hangman hit the scene.  They went eye to eye, Swerve smirked, Page fired away, they brawled until separated by a ton of refs and security.

Well thank god they ended with Swerve scrapping with a top guy instead of Matt Menard.

Winner: Swerve Strickland

A lot to like; a lot to frustrate.

 ________________________________________________________________

Next Collision:

  • FTR vs Malakai Black & Buddy Matthews
  • Eddie Kingston vs Trent (Continental Title)

Next Dynamite:

  • Sting & Darby vs Takeshita & Hobbs

Thumbs Up/Down

  • They had to open with the new champ and fallout from the big angle and did. And they did it well – this story was never going to be perfect, I have qualms about the guys they chose – but I also believe they did the best job they could moving forward with what they have here
  • I’m looking forward to Page coming for both them and Samoa Joe as a result
  • They covered everything truly important coming out of Worlds End early in the show
  • Garcia package hyping the Swerve match
  • A ton of young talent featured – show actually felt fresh without MJF and Jericho
  • Allin/Take and the clear attempt to get the latter over
  • A serious, whoop-ass Hangman Page
  • Wrestling was good all night

 *****

  • Is Joe as champ a big deal? He opened the show but didn’t appear live though was mentioned by two potential challengers
  • Too many acts in individual segments and a general failure to make it clear who we’re supposed to truly get behind – they need to choose who they want fans to see as big deals and the answer can’t be ‘everyone’
  • Storm/May is being very badly done – ill-defined roles and characters
  • Which also applies to Swerve and Nana – they veered wildly from total babyfaces to dick heels
  • You shouldn’t be able to win a single match to earn what took an entire tournament previously – at least not three days afterward

Appreciate you reading.  Have a good week.

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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