After a weekend where I watched my first non-WWE Pay Per View in over twenty years, I’m Scott Hammond and this is what’s hot, and what’s not in the world of pro wrestling this week from the armchair.
Now you need to understand that most of the AEW roster, I’m only familiar with through hear say. MJF instantly struck me as a star. I watched the Over the Budget Battle Royale, and he looked great in that and played a smarmy old school heel (who took serious heat throwing a man with no legs out), but after hearing him on the mic on the main show opposite Bret Hart, this kid is money. That line to Bret about a fan coming at him was absolute gold. They just need to be careful not to make him too cool a heel, we have enough of those already (cough, Adam Cole, cough, Elias, cough, Sami Zayn). A really great way to introduce someone like me to a character like this. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen this character a thousand times, but it’s how you pull it off, and this guy for a first attempt has my attention. Good work sir.
Dustin Bloody Rhodes
Jesus that was hard to watch at times. But I’m a sucker for a great story in the ring. It’s my favourite part of wrestling. After an unprovoked attack on Triple H’s throne, I feared we were going down the ‘bashing the competition’ route early, but thankfully, the match over delivered. Dustin Rhode’s, at 50 years old played the veteran superbly, with Cody playing a quasi-heel. I thought after going head first into the middle turnbuckle that Dustin might blade, but I wasn’t expecting that. He looked like Tommy Dreamer after getting his head grated by Bubba Ray Dudley at ECW One Night Stand 2005. Gruesome stuff, but it really helped the story along. The Austin-esque shot of his face whilst in a submission was a nice touch, and both men had me on the edge of my seat the whole match, with zero, count it, zero flips. The nearest they got to high risk was a top rope suplex. Hat’s off to Dustin, and I’m sure he’s got a lot left in the tank after that outing. And the post-match promo and hug caught me right in the feels.
Well, he used his get out of jail free card. This surprise was timed to perfection. The pop from the crowd when they realised he was walking through them was deafening, and I liked the touch of beating up the referee too, gives him the Pillman style gimmick that he should have had in the WWE, but of course you have to clear it with their 42 writers before it would be ultimately nixed by Vince. After a show full of surprises, the biggest was actually the fact that they have started the build for Moxley’s first match to be against Kenny Omega. If wins and loses truly matter, Moxley beating Omega at their next show (All Out), will put Omega 0-2 in AEW. But that’s another conversation for another time, this was expertly done, and got the wrestling world talking, the best way to end a great show.
‘Awesome’ Women’s Spotlight
So I’ll be the first to admit I thought there may be shenanigans with regards to another participant in the triple threat match, but I was pleasantly surprise with Awesome Kong. They positioned Nyla Rose as the monster, and Britt Baker looked like the star. I’m still not sold on Kylie ‘Bayley’ Rae, but I’ll reserve judgement for now. I absolutely loved the backstage video before the match with the Librarian. That gimmick is already over with me. Finally, I thought the trios match was decent, but there was no real investment from my end. The match was fine, but aside from Aja Kong, I didn’t know anyone in the match. Great action, but I guess we’ll have to see where it goes.
On the way down…
Not So Elite Announcing
First the good, I really like Excalibur. The guy sounds like he’s be doing it for years and is very much in touch with everything and more importantly everyone in AEW. Alex Marvez on the other hand…man the dude was not good. When the camera was on the action, he seemed a few steps behind and seemed bereft of emotion during big moments. Now I have to be fair, from what I’ve heard, he’s come from an NFL background so this would probably quite a new thing for him. Here’s hoping he gets more confident as time goes by. Also, just a side note, JR sounded good, but I guess maybe it’s a sign of the times that he seemed a bit behind too. Although his passion shone through when Moxley came through the crowd and at that moment I thought ‘that’s the JR we need’.
My enthusiasm lasted until RAW started. Apparently Brock playing an 80’s white boy in a ‘hood’ film is considered good television. So you see a hugely positive response to a rival/alternative new wrestling company and this is your instant response? There was about as much effort put on on the Monday and Tuesday TV shows than Orange Cassidy put into those kicks (shout out to Cassidy, that was the first time I’ve seen that gimmick and it was hilarious). The only notable thing to come out of RAW and Smackdown Live this week is that Sami Zayn said the letters ‘AEW’ in a promo. The crowd were audibly chanting for them as well, although that seems a tad contradictory given that people had already paid WWE money to attend to do it, so egg on their face right? Regardless, after hearing Jon Moxley on Talk is Jericho discussing the horrendous state of the creative process in the WWE, it’s no secret that they are in the creative hole that they are in. I’m a lover of pro wrestling. All of it, not just parts and like so many people I want everyone to prosper. This micromanaged, out of touch process needs to change in order for the WWE to regain any of the traction that they have lost with fans. I guess that starts and ends with Vince. Good luck on that.
That’s it for another week, we carry on for another week, and oh yeah, isn’t there an NXT Takeover this weekend? I completely forgot. That’s a first.
MJF video courtesy of Mr Quantum on YouTube, photos courtesy of allelitewrestling.com and WWE.com