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. AEW visited the “Land of Extreme” this week as both shows took place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The company was celebrating its two-year Dynamite anniversary, which is surreal to think about what they’ve been able to accomplish in just two years. Let’s discuss how I felt the week went for AEW.
With Dynamite celebrating it’s anniversary, there were no shortage of good matches to choose from. Our fearless leader John Canton gave his highest score of the week to the huge opening 8-man tag that took place between The Super Elite & Jurassic Express/Christian Cage/Bryan Danielson. It’s hard to argue that fact, and I 100% agree with some of his nitpicks for the Ladder Match, but I just think when you have seven of the top stars in the company, going all out like they did in this match, and it’s complete with one of the loudest pops in the company’s history when Hangman Page returned, it’s just a special match that transcends a normal star rating. Bumps like the Deadeye off the ladder onto Pac by Hangman is beyond scary, and yes could probably be argued unnecessary, but it just shows the lengths these guys wanted to go to, to show the crowd both at home and on TV just how much this means to them. Andrade had a gnarly bump off the top turnbuckle to a ladder outside that absolutely did not give. Matt Hardy at 47 years old, with God knows how many ladder matches under his belt, is still doing huge legdrop bumps off a ladder through a table. That kind of effort just resonates with me. It was the perfect ending with Hangman getting the title shot and finally coming face to face with his archrival AEW World Champion Kenny Omega. It’s a story that in itself has been two-plus years in the making and I will certainly be discussing that more in the weeks to come.
For what it’s worth, Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (available via subscription) gave the 8-man tag a massive ****3/4 rating (John Canton went ****1/4 for it) and **** to the Ladder Match.
There were quite a bit of good to great moments this week on AEW. As a sucker for cool fan interactions, I loved the moment of CM Punk giving his Jordans to the kid front row dressed as Orange Cassidy. I would’ve loved to know what Punk said to him in private as he handed off the shoes. Obviously, Hangman’s return was the biggest moment of the week. This week though, I’m going to spotlight what I think could lowkey become the best storyline behind Hangman/Omega moving towards Full Gear. I’m really intrigued by the Darby Allin and MJF feud that has kickstarted in the last couple of weeks. The basis that they are two of the pillars of AEW, in terms of the young homegrown talent that will carry the company for the next decade, is solid enough on its own. When you take MJF’s ability to simply not have a filter or a limit to how far he’ll go with his trash talk and Darby’s story of what’s made him become what he is today, well its a recipe for great pro wrestling.
I was really happy to see the sitdown interview with JR and Darby where they explain why Darby paints half his face. They told this story in more detail in a video for Fyter Fest 2019, which I highly recommend checking out, but of course nowadays there are far more eyes on the company and on Darby, so it’s a good idea to tell that story again. I also thought the beatdown The Pinnacle gave Darby later in the show was very effective and now we realize Darby is outmanned for sure, because even with Sting the odds are 6-2. Will Darby be able to find some support from others in the locker room to help him even the odds? Just one of the layers of this storyline that I’m excited to see play out.
Critique of the Week
While I think the concept of the TBS Title for the Women’s division is a win for the company and that division, which has worked beyond hard to improve over the last year or so, I can’t help but have my critique be the lack of attention shown for Britt Baker’s AEW Women’s Title. Since winning the title in May, Baker has only competed six times and two of those were tag matches with Rebel where she wasn’t involved much. It seemed like once she got past Kris Statlander and then Ruby Soho, they would finally start heading towards the huge rematch with Thunder Rosa that we’ve all waited for since their epic Lights Out match back in March. However, Thunder Rosa seems fully entrenched in this TBS Title picture and perhaps a feud with Jade Cargill in the meantime as well.
Where does that leave Dr. Britt Baker for Full Gear? A rematch with Ruby Soho doesn’t seem likely as she too is in the TBS Title picture. Baker is not just the face of the women’s division, she’s one of the most popular people on the AEW roster period and I think deserves more than just random backstage interviews with Tony Schiavone seemingly every week.
Two straight nights of mega matches NEXT WEEKEND with #AEWRampage LIVE on Friday at 10/9c and a special Saturday night #AEWDynamite LIVE at 8/7c on @tntdrama from MIAMI!
🎟 – https://t.co/UN1cNiJJrQpic.twitter.com/w9kmyPCpRY
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) October 9, 2021
Unfortunately, we do not have a live Dynamite on Wednesday this week due to the start of the NHL season, so that’s what TNT is airing on Wednesday night. Because of this, the Week in Review will be delayed by a day next week. Both shows this week will be back in Miami, Florida, which is where AEW started their return to fans with live shows back in July. Rampage will be live this week and headlined by CM Punk taking on Matt Sydal. Imagine being in 2011 and seeing CM Punk vs. Evan Bourne and then thinking that match would still be a big deal ten years later. Credit to both men for that, and it’s especially great to see Punk already working his fourth match.
There’s a big six-man tag between The Inner Circle and The Men of the Year with Junior Dos Santos. I do not know of what pro wrestling training JDS has had, but I do know he was a certified badass in the UFC Heavyweight division, so I’m definitely interested to see what he can do. Dynamite this week will have Malakai Black in action against Dante Martin, Andrade is bringing a “mystery masked team” to take on the Lucha Bros for the AAA Tag Titles. Bryan Danielson will also take on Bobby Fish in what should be an absolute clinic and one of those matches that even three months ago you didn’t think you’d see.
This Week in Vlogs
This week’s BTE covers the week that was in Rochester. The Young Bucks and Brandon Cutler had an unfortunate experience of someone breaking the back windshield of their rental car, seemingly trying to steal stuff, but there was nothing in the vehicle. Don’t be like that person, that’s a garbage thing to do. There was a funny bit of Reynolds and Silver trying to recruit Adam Cole to be their friend, and that definitely did not work out for them. Also a great bit of the Dark Order reuniting backstage after their great moment on TV and Anna Jay putting her foot down to make sure the group stays on the same page.
This week on Sammy’s vlog was all about Sammy’s huge victory over Miro & capturing the TNT Title. Some great footage of a post-show promo he cut for the crowd and giving Mr. Brodie Lee his props as the best TNT Champ of all time. -1, aka Brodie Jr was in the ring for that, which made it even cooler. Not many funny bits this week as there was so much about Sammy’s win, rightfully so, but this was still a great episode to watch.
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.