It’s Saturday 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 back to our regularly scheduled broadcasts as Dynamite returned to its home on Wednesday nights, followed by Rampage last night. Both shows took place in Boston, Mass., and it was certainly a loud and lively crowd. We’re getting closer to AEW’s next PPV, Full Gear in two weeks on November 13, and a lot of matches are starting to come into picture. Let’s discuss how I felt the week went for AEW.
As predicted last week, this week was not short on options for this category. I actually thought this was a tremendous week of action, with all matches on TV this week (minus the two squash matches on Dynamite, more on that later) being well over the 3-star mark in my opinion. I thought Rampage was possibly the best edition ever of that show with three fantastic matches, and if they could’ve found a better finish for Baker vs. Abadon, it would’ve cemented this being the best episode to date. Our fearless leader John Canton happened to agree as well, giving the show a strong 8 of 10.
Out of all the action this week, one match stood head and shoulders over the rest, or maybe chops & kicks above the rest, as Bryan Danielson and Eddie Kingston had an absolute clinic on Rampage. I loved everything about this match and would be very tempted to give it five stars. There were little nuances throughout the match that really added to the story. Almost immediately, Kingston sold a shot from Danielson to the knee that looked like he was injured and would be fighting uphill the entire match. Kingston just has this aura about him that makes him beloved in any city, especially impressive this week being a NY guy in Boston. The chops that Kingston delivered to Danielson’s chest felt brutal and looked even worse when you saw the damage to Danielson’s chest. I know Danielson was the strong favorite in this match, but I did have some doubt based on Moxley’s attitude as of late and I thought they might go back to him vs. Kingston to further tell that story. This match did a great job making it feel like either man could win. I loved the finish from both men’s perspectives. Kingston, fighting literally to his last breath, and Danielson being so exhausted that he passed out after winning and couldn’t immediately celebrate the win. Just all-around greatness that everyone should check out.
Another no doubt choice this week for this category. I know I sound like a broken record at this point, but “The Ballad of Hangman Page” is my favorite story in modern wrestling, and by the time it’s all over, will probably be my favorite story in pro wrestling history. Every last detail has been looked at and covered and through it all, he became the most over babyface in the company. He even said it himself, he did the most Cowboy Shit ever and left for a few weeks at the height of his popularity, the likes of Danielson, Punk, & Cole show up, and when he returns he’s still the most over person in the company. It’s simply incredible.
This week at the conclusion of a fun Halloween-themed 8-man tag on Dynamite, it was all set up for The Elite to pull one over on The Dark Order again. They’d dismissed all four members in the match and stood tall with what they thought was Brandon Cutler in the Stay-Puft Marshmellow outfit. Of course, they were just too cocky to realize what was truly happening. The crowd reaction to kinda “meh” as they’re alone in the ring, to the buzz as they start to put the pieces together, and then when it’s revealed Cutler was under the horse head, it’s a moment I’ve watched more than once because of how well it was pulled off. I also loved the detail in the fact that Hangman specifically took out Matt Jackson, as Matt is the one that kicked him out of The Elite. Then, he made sure John Silver got the pin, because throughout the entire time Hangman has been associated with The Dark Order, Silver has been the one closest to Hangman and wanting to be his friend the most. Just perfectly done all the way around.
Critique of the Week
We are three for three on obvious choices. I’ve talked about it the last two weeks – the fact that I think the World Title Eliminator Tournament had a lot of flaws. Yes, it’s given us two superb Bryan Danielson matches, but that’s about it. And then this week, just a terrible use of Preston “10” Vance in a squash match vs. Jon Moxley.
I hated this on multiple levels. One, if Vance is that inferior to Moxley, then he clearly had no business being in the tournament. Plus, where can he realistically go from here? He’s booked to look dominant on Dark, but that goes out the window when he’s gotten his ass kicked as badly as he was by Mox. I know Mox is at the top of the ladder in the company and has a character that is violent and can go to a different headspace than others, but Vance should’ve been able to hold his own even a little bit based on size and presentation. If this is what you wanted for Moxley, you have a massive roster that literally anyone else would’ve been better. Joey Janela, Sonny Kiss, Marko Stunt, and Kazarian are just a few names I can think of at the top of my head that would’ve fit in this role. Two, in a booking sense, there shouldn’t be any squash matches in a World Title level tournament. Ideally, every match should be as competitive as Kingston vs. Danielson. The best of the best going against each other. Three, on a smaller level, it took Vance out of the finish of the show, which he should’ve been there with The Dark Order as it was truly a group moment to savor and enjoy. This was just a complete miss by AEW.
THIS WEDNESDAY, #AEWDynamite is LIVE NATIONWIDE at 8ET/5PT on TNT from Kansas City:
–@CodyRhodes v @AndradeElIdolo
–#AEW World Title Eliminator Semifinals: @JonMoxley v @orangecassidy
-TBS Women’s Championship Tournament: @annajay___ v @jmehytr
🎟 – https://t.co/UN1cNj1kQqpic.twitter.com/DpkhNSB7sJ
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) October 30, 2021
#AEWRampage is LIVE on TNT next Friday (11/5) at 10/9c from St. Louis:
-TBS Women’s Championship Tournament: #TheBunny (@AllieWrestling) v @Thee_Red_Velvet
–@AdamColePro v @SilverNumber1
🎟 – https://t.co/UN1cNj1kQqpic.twitter.com/SKxcyRpuYn
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) October 30, 2021
This week we have live episodes of both Dynamite & Rampage, as Dynamite takes place from Kansas City, and Rampage takes place from St. Louis. The reason for this is that Full Gear was originally scheduled for this weekend and was supposed to be in STL, but AEW moved the show when UFC announced a big PPV for the same night. Wednesday brings us the second semifinal match between Jon Moxley & Orange Cassidy. Here’s hoping Orange is allowed to be move competitive with Moxley or else I’ll have even bigger issues next week. Also, what should be a fantastic match between Cody Rhodes & Andrade El Idolo.
The TBS Title Tournament continues with two matches this week, and your Rampage main event will be the greatness of Adam Cole taking on the greatness of John Silver. It should be another fun week.
This week in Vlogs
BTE took the week off again with a very short 11-minute vlog. An opening bit with The Elite, followed by another very funny bit with Adam Cole & Silver and Reynolds. A fun bit with The Young Bucks and -1 follows that. The Ryan Nemeth bit that never ends, and then the vlog ends with a BTE Title #1 Contender’s Tournament matchup. Watch the Cole/Silver/Reynolds bit and that’s about it.
There was not much to this week’s Sammy vlog either, as even at 24 minutes it was mainly two bits. One was to determine the new Sammy Vlogs champion as Dustin Rhodes and Charlie have a trash can basketball matchup. Then there’s some footage of the dark segment after Dynamite last week with Cody, the Vlog Crew, and a very special appearance by CM Punk. This was fun to watch at least. It sucks when there’s not much to recap on these Vlogs, but I do find it important to post and discuss as AEW has proven that these vlogs are used for stories on their TV shows.
That’s it for this week! Hopefully everyone enjoyed this week of AEW as much as I did. 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.