It’s Saturday…no wait, it’s Sunday and you know what that means! Welcome one and all to the latest installment of the AEW Week in Review here at TJRWrestling.
We are a day later than normal with this week’s review as Dynamite was pushed to Saturday night. Both shows took place in Miami, Florida, which is where their return to fans started back in July. They were struggling with ticket sales, probably because they had just been there recently and now doing two shows, but you cannot deny that the crowd that showed up was LOUD. Honestly one of the best sounding crowds since their return to the road three months ago. Let’s discuss how I felt the week went for AEW.
There was absolutely no shortage of good to great matches this week. That definitely helped keep the crowd as loud as they were both nights because both nights were loaded with 3+ star matches. Out of the 12 matches between Rampage and Dynamite this week, our fearless leader John Canton gave eight of them a rating of 3+ stars. (I’m giving Fish/Moriarty a round-up to 3 since it was 2.75.)
I loved Black vs. Martin and The Superkliq vs Dark Order especially, but there is one match that certainly stood out from the rest and it is Bryan Danielson vs. Minoru Suzuki from the Rampage Buy-In. If you weren’t aware of this hour of AEW programming before Rampage, or just didn’t have a chance to check it out, do yourself a favor and click play on the YouTube video above and watch Danielson & Suzuki have a 20-minute masterpiece. Danielson has said many times how much he wants to work in Japan, and this was 100% a New Japan style match, and it was beautiful to watch. I’m not gonna lie, I cringed when Danielson took some of Suzuki’s famed forearms to the face, but we just have to trust Danielson knows what he’s doing and he’s no different than Christian Cage, so he’s gotta be able to go full throttle. In a matter of two years when I first started truly diving in deep to New Japan Pro Wrestling, I’ve gone from hating/not understanding Suzuki, to now he’s easily in my top five Japanese wrestlers. I love the guy. I really hope Danielson gets a chance to do what he wants in Japan, because matches like these are a lot of fun to watch.
As I said last week, I have a feeling the story I’m going to be talking about the most is the Hangman vs. Omega story going into Full Gear on November 13. “The Ballad of Hangman Page” as it’s known online is the best story going in wrestling right now, and honestly already one of my all-time favorite story arcs of all time. It’s a story two years in the making, beautifully weaving in and out multiple characters along with it, and also with the day and age we’re in, doing a great job using social media and digital platforms like YouTube/BTE to further the story along.
On Dynamite this week, Hangman took all of five minutes to perfectly encapsulate how that story has gone for him in these two years, and how no matter what, the fans stood by him. The one thing Hangman hasn’t had is confidence. Now he has that, which makes him very dangerous to Omega, because Omega clearly felt superior to Hangman. He knew he was in Hangman’s head and when push comes to shove, Hangman would probably cower away. That’s no longer the case. Omega vs. Page is the most anticipated match to me personally, since the inception of AEW. I’m truly looking forward to it that much.
Critique of the Week
The #AEW World Title Eliminator Tournament bracket:@Pres10Vance v @JonMoxley@orangecassidy v @TrueWillieHobbs@bryandanielson v @dustinrhodes@LanceHoyt v @MadKing1981#AEWDynamitepic.twitter.com/6HM7ASIOqJ
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) October 17, 2021
This was a really easy decision this week. It’s the bracket for the AEW World Title Eliminator Tournament. Think of top AEW wrestlers like Adam Cole, CM Punk, Darby Allin, MJF, Pac, Andrade, Miro and Ricky Starks. Those are the just the obvious names off the top of my head that you don’t see in these brackets. However, Powerhouse Hobbs is in the tournament even though he just lost to CM Punk the last time we saw him on Dynamite. Preston “10” Vance of the Dark Order has only been on Dynamite once SINCE MAY, and that was in a 16 man tag match, but somehow he’s one of the top eight that made the tournament. Dustin Rhodes has been on Dynamite once SINCE JUNE, lost that match, and somehow is a top 8 contender that made the bracket.
The AEW Title has been made to be one of the most prestigious in all of wrestling already. Long title reigns on proven superstars that carry themselves like champions. It’s one of the best-booked titles in wrestling, especially in an era where titles sometimes don’t mean much at all. However, it does the title no justice at all when you have a tournament to crown a #1 contender, and there are people in the bracket that clearly don’t belong in the picture. Not just that, but AEW prides itself on not being predictable, but you can see Moxley vs. Danielson in the finals coming a mile away. The only alternative MIGHT be Mox vs. Kingston if they want to go back down that route, now that that story has more layers, but I can’t see Danielson losing a match already.
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) October 17, 2021
Dynamite this week will again take place on Saturday, so look for the week in review on Sunday again. They will be making their debut in Orlando, Florida, so I wonder how many shots/jokes on NXT will be made. Rampage was actually taped after Dynamite last night, so that show is in the can. They had to do that as The Jericho Cruise sets sail next week, so there is quite a few talent members of AEW that will not be available for Dynamite on Saturday. I’m sure due to the fluidity these days of doing a cruise post-pandemic, it wasn’t feasible to do a live broadcast from the ship like they did in 2019. We’re getting Britt Baker in action again, which as you remember from last week is something I said needs to happen more often.
The World Title Eliminator tournament kicks off with three matches this week, and we’re getting Cody vs. Black III. Very interested to see how the crowd reacts to Cody this time.
This week in Vlogs
This week’s BTE was one of the longest in quite some time, coming in at over 35 minutes. It was also one of the funniest in quite a few weeks. I loved this week’s episode. It was titled “Powerbomb” and opens with a hilarious bit about the super powerbomb that went wrong last week. There’s some footage of The BTE crew roaming around the city of Philadelphia, and then a HILARIOUS bit from Hangman Page where he receives a letter from AEW HR about how he’s used up all his PTO and needs to return to work. This was Hangman at his best. We get a lot of recaps from the action in Philly for both Dynamite & Rampage. There are two very funny Dark Order bits, including Silver & Reynolds trying to get Adam Cole to be their friend still. I definitely recommend this week’s episode for once.
This week on Sammy Guevara’s vlog, the Vlog Crew feels like they’ve run out of ideas considering everything that has happened to the group over the last couple of months. There was a lot of random stuff in this week’s episode like Sammy getting new gear, a recap of his match with Bobby Fish, a quick bit with Marko Stunt & Wardlow, among other things. This was probably the first week since I’ve done the Week in Review that I would say BTE had the better vlog of the week. Also, if you’re a Blue Meanie fan, this was the week for you. Cameos on both shows!
That’s it for this week! Hope everyone enjoyed this week of AEW as much as I did. As a reminder, this will be a Sunday posting next week because it’s Friday Rampage and Saturday Dynamite next week. Be sure to hit me up on Twitter, @KTankZamora, and let me know what you think and what you want to see discussed in these weekly recaps. Thanks for checking out the column once again. As always, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do… but if you do, name it after me.