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. Sorry for the one day delay in this column as I had a weekend trip with my wife already planned before AEW decided to make this their biggest week of television ever. Grand Slam was exactly that, a Grand Slam for the company over two nights, so let’s discuss how I felt the week went for AEW.
It’s truly unfair to the rest of the cards that these incredible two nights STARTED with the ultimate dream match between Bryan Danielson and Kenny Omega. I absolutely loved the Trios Match on Rampage between SuperKliq and Jurassic Express with Christian Cage. I thought Sting & Darby vs FTR was an incredibly fun tag match and the best Sting has looked in AEW arguably, which is saying a lot considering how much he’s surprised us to this point. Unfortunately, though, nothing touches the five star encounter Omega and Danielson had.
From the opening bell and the crowd coming unglued just to see the match start, and for 30 minutes taking us on this incredible ride, it was everything we could’ve hoped for except for the no clean finish. I’m a fan of the time limit draw. As if we wouldn’t have wanted more anyways, it still leaves us waiting for that rematch to happen as soon as possible. I don’t know if this will go all the way to Full Gear, as we still have the Hangman Page story to come back to relatively soon you would think, but this match was simply outstanding and may be the best TV match of the year in any promotion. I have to give props to the majority of the rest of the card though, because everyone did their damndest to try and follow this match. It would’ve been very easy for the crowd to sit on their hands after this match, but they refused to do so and that’s a credit to the roster who gave 110% to deliver on a big show.
I don’t know that I could pick one single moment from four incredible hours of action, so I’m just going to say the best moment was seeing 20,000 fans pack a beautiful venue in New York City and just the atmosphere that produced on television. According to multiple sources, it was the largest attended non-WWE show since 1999. I have a good friend Hank McAllen that used to write for TJR back in the day, and he attended this show & called it, “the loudest wrestling crowd I was ever in.” It certainly came across that way, and when you think about the main event of Rampage in the Lights Out tag match, it was almost Midnight NYC time, and they were just as loud for Minoru Suzuki’s entrance as they were for everything else that night. A true credit to passionate wrestling fans that knew they were attending something special. I think we all as wrestling fans wish to attend a show as special as this one, so kudos to the NYC crowd!
Critique of the Week
I was tempted to be nice this week and not have a critique on what was truly a special week for AEW. As I said at the top, this truly was a Grand Slam for the company. However, after going back and looking at the shows again, there was definitely one glaring negative and it was the Malakai Black vs. Cody Rhodes match on Dynamite. This was a highly anticipated rematch, and clearly Malakai’s biggest match in the company thus far. When the match was over, our fearless leader John Canton didn’t even give it 3 stars and I would agree completely with that assessment.
I didn’t have an issue with the fans cheering Black and booing Cody. Black is presented like a superstar and is what everyone wanted him to be in WWE, so I completely understand the fans being into him. Cody has this John Cena dynamic in AEW where some fans love to boo him, but then there are definitely towns that cheer him like a top babyface. He hasn’t made it easy to cheer for him with some of his “unique” promos, like the one he did for his Anthony Ogogo match at Double or Nothing. The match itself though, it just felt like neither man had chemistry with the other. Then there was the unfortunate miscue of Arn Anderson, who fell off the apron trying to set up the finish with Cody running into him, so that stalled the final moments a bit and made the finish clunky. I definitely expected more out of these guys and the wind was let out of the sail a bit for this storyline. We’ll see how they’re able to clean it up.
Major matchups THIS WEDNESDAY when #AEWDynamite is LIVE on TNT from Rochester:
-TNT Title: @ToBeMiro v @sammyguevara
–@AdamColePro v @boy_myth_legend
–@lucha_angel1/@MattSydal v @CodyRhodes/@BigShottyLee
–@ThePenelopeFord/#TheBunny v @annajay___/@TayConti_pic.twitter.com/VnJOaJVl9T
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) September 26, 2021
AEW is staying in the state of New York this week as they’ll be in Rochester for Dynamite and Rampage. This is a little bit of a melancholy show, as this show was originally supposed to take place last year right when the pandemic hit, and would’ve been the debut of Brodie Lee as the exalted one, since this was his hometown. Also, I believe “Broken” Matt Hardy would’ve debuted at this show as well. Brodie’s wife on Instagram mentioned that her and her children will be in attendance for this show, so that’s great to hear. I would expect SOMETHING to happen in the Dark Order storyline here with all of that surrounding them in regards to Brodie. Whether that’s Hangman finally returning to bring them all together again, I’m not sure. But with them continuing to be fractured, even though it appeared they might finally be coming together on Rampage, I think they need a big feel good moment here.
Jungle Boy vs. Adam Cole & Sammy Guevara vs Miro are two huge matches that I’m very much looking forward to. I would love to see Sammy pull out the win, but I expect this to be a step in an actual long term storyline for Miro. On Rampage this week, we’ll get a hair vs hair match between Orange Cassidy and Jack Evans, as “Big Money” Matt Hardy sacrificed Evans in the role, so I hope Evans is looking forward to having short hair.
This Week in Vlogs
This week’s BTE was a little shorter than normal. Not much to this one. There was some cool footage of the Young Bucks signing autographs and taking pictures at the company hotel, which AEW is incredibly gracious to their fans when it comes to doing those things. There was a long BTE Title defense as 2.0 were taking on Colt Cabana in a game that can be described as water bottle bowling. The show at least closed on a high with a very funny John Silver bit, who has basically taken on Hangman’s persona of always being drunk. Alex Reynolds returned to BTE to try and get Silver to sober up and get back to normal.
This week’s Sammy Guevara vlog was very funny again, with a good running bit of Sammy & Ricky Starks being in the car backstage that Fuego Del Sol had put up against Miro’s TNT Title. There were people like Jurassic Express & Christian Cage trying to do pre-tape interviews backstage and Sammy would keep honking the horn. There was some really funny dialogue between both guys as well. They even got Minoru Suzuki himself to make a cameo, and he may or may not have killed Alan “5” Angels, because as Lance Archer put it, Everybody Dies. This vlog continues to be the better of the two.
That’s it for this week! Hope 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.