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. This week felt like a lot of set up for what is surely going to be their biggest week of television since the debut episode of Dynamite. Sometimes these weeks are necessary for the bigger picture, but we’ll get to that later in this blog. Let’s discuss how I felt the week went for AEW.
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) September 18, 2021
Tough week for good matches. The action of AEW is great, but on weeks like this, where we had 8 matches between Dynamite & Rampage, and all of them were predictable besides maybe Anna Jay vs The Bunny, it’s hard to get completely 100% invested in the matches. Of course in some of them like the Darby vs. Spears match, it led to a great post match angle, which was better than the match itself.
That all being said, I’m going to go with the AEW Tag Team Title match on Friday’s Rampage between The Lucha Bros and The Butcher & The Blade. This was the Lucha Bros’ first title defense after their epic encounter in the steel cage with the Young Bucks at All Out. I’m not quite sure how The Butcher & The Blade became the #1 contenders to the title so quickly, more on that later, but there was at least a story heading into this as these two teams used to be allies earlier in the year. I do like The Butcher & The Blade together as a team, I think they have a unique style and presentation that really jumps out on TV. I’m picking this match over Adam Cole & Frankie Kazarian, which our fearless leader John Canton had as his highest-rated match of the week, strictly for the finish. Penta’s mask was tied up in the ropes and knowing he had to save his brother and the titles, he removed his mask in desperation. One could argue they use the “take off/rip off his mask” story too much with the Lucha Bros, but here it really worked for me since it was voluntary by Penta.
“Shots fired.” – @OfficialTaz
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) September 18, 2021
While Dynamite might not have had great matches, it did have some great moments. I liked the promo that MJF cut on Brian Pillman Jr and the subsequent brawl they ended up happening after. Also, don’t sleep on the small, subtle hints they’re dropping in regards to the eventual Wardlow/MJF split.
The moment where Kenny Omega accepted Bryan Danielson’s challenge for a match was great as it received an incredible reaction from the crowd, and just that personal feeling of knowing we’re actually going to get to see this match. As I mentioned earlier, I loved the post match attack from FTR on Sting & Darby and removing Sting’s facepaint. I can’t remember that ever happening and the crowd reacted to it as such.
I’m going to give my vote to the women’s promo that took place on Rampage between Ruby Soho and Britt Baker. More so than anything else, because it just shows how much AEW has grown their women’s division. It was clearly their weak link heading into 2021, and I think in these nine months, they’ve worked incredibly hard to fix this division, with rousing success. The shots these ladies took at each other, albeit all true, got incredible responses from the crowd. And when you have 14,000 plus in New Jersey who are hooked on your every word and giving you great reactions, you’ve done something right. They made people want to see this title match on Wednesday.
Critique of the Week
I have two this week, one of which I’ve already discussed but will rehash for just a moment here. I understand they had to set up a lot of pieces for this week’s Grand Slam cards, but there’s got to be a better way to have a Dynamite without having five matches and all of them being predictable before you even watch the show. The only match that MAYBE had some intrigue was Darby vs. Spears, just because of the Tully/Sting dynamic we had seen the week before. Of course, that ended up playing out in the post match.
The biggest critique I have is the rankings for AEW. Granted, I’ve never put much thought into them because I didn’t really have to. Everything AEW presented to me in terms of challenges, made sense based on what I’ve seen on Dynamite. However, when they told me The Butcher & The Blade were the #1 contenders for the tag titles, alarms went off in my head. First off, The Butcher had just come back from injury and they hadn’t had a tag match on Dynamite yet. So I looked it up, and sure enough, he was out since April, and they’ve only had two matches on Dark since his return. That’s pretty silly to say they’re somehow #1 contenders over the major teams in AEW. Santana & Ortiz just defeated FTR, but they’re not even in the top 5. Hey, at least the undefeated Gunn Club finally made the rankings, though.
Well, unfortunately, it looks like a very ho-hum week for AEW. KIDDING! This week is going to be incredible! It’s all taking place at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City where the US Open tennis tournament takes place. We are getting a PPV level week of matches, and when it’s all said and done, these two episodes might be better than All Out was, which is insane to think about.
It all starts with the Dream Match we never thought we’d see: Kenny Omega vs. Bryan Danielson. Cody Rhodes vs. Malakai Black in a much-anticipated rematch. Brian Pillman Jr in the biggest match of his career, taking on MJF. The AEW Women’s title is on the line with Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. defending against Ruby Soho. As if that wasn’t enough, Sting is back on TNT wrestling with Darby Allin against the great FTR.
Then 48 hours later on Rampage, we’re right back at it with CM Punk’s first televised match in over 7 years against Powerhouse Hobbs. The SuperKliq, Adam Cole & The Young Bucks, take on Christian Cage & Jurassic Express. Chris Jericho & Jake Hager take on Men of the Year. Anna Jay takes on Penelope Ford, along with an 8-man tag of Santana & Ortiz with the Lucha Bros taking on HFO. To top it all off, a Lights Out match between Minoru Suzuki & Lance Archer against Jon Moxley & Eddie Kingston. Whew, I’m exhausted just writing all that! I can’t imagine how the crowd in NYC is going to deal with that much greatness. It’s going to be something special.
This Week in Vlogs
This week’s BTE opened with a very funny, and also intriguing, bit with The Elite explaining some things to Adam Cole who has missed the last four years. Since he was “dead” (in WWE NXT) of course. They explained how AEW came to be, and they’re not doing the Too Sweet anymore. The intriguing part was how Adam wanted to go talk to Hangman since he missed him, and the other three guys trying to be coy about how that’s not necessarily a good thing and he shouldn’t go looking for Hangman. Also, Omega was planting seeds for a babyface turn of Adam Cole because Omega’s ego couldn’t handle Cole being more popular than him. They love long-term storytelling, so this isn’t anything we should see play out in the next couple weeks, but maybe something they have planned for 2022 already. The other noteworthy item is that 2.0 is the new BTE Champion as they (well technically just Matt Lee) defeated Marko Stunt in a game of Blackjack.
This week on Sammy Guevara’s vlog, once again it was the superior vlog if for no other reason than it was the debut of STING! A very funny bit to open this week’s show with Charlie Ramone promising to deliver on Sting appearing on the show. There’s some fun footage backstage at the Universal Studios taping of Dark last week, along with some hijinx with Sammy Guevara and Darby Allin at the most recent Comic Con they were guests at. A very funny moment of Stephen Amell wanting Darby & Sammy to chop him, but quitting after just Darby’s chop because of how much it stung.
That’s it for this week! Next week’s review will be delayed as I’ll be on the road Saturday taking a trip with my wife. Not sure when I’ll be able to watch Rampage, and of course I made these plans well before AEW decided to make it the biggest week ever for them. 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.