Is there such a thing as too much AEW? Personally I love it, especially with All In at Wembley now on the horizon, but with Rampage, Collision, Forbidden Door and even the release of Fight Forever all taking place between the last episode of Dynamite I reviewed, it’s a lot. With this in mind, I’m going to attempt to keep this one a bit shorter so forgive me if I miss out any particular details you might have been looking forward to. For all this AEW content I’ve just mentioned, feel free to check out some recent reviews here:
Jon Moxley vs. Tomohiro Ishii
After their 5-star classic in the G1 a few years ago, expectations were high going into this one and thankfully these two did not disappoint! In what felt like an overflow from Forbidden Door, Moxley and Ishii worked a stiff and hard hitting match that would not have been out of place on a New Japan show.
For fans of strong style, this was nearly perfect. Eddie Kingston’s involvement is always welcome but I don’t think we needed his entrance music in what was the only part of this match that didn’t really work for me. The rest of this slugfest, however, was tremendous. More of this on Dynamite every week please!
After the match we get more jawjacking between Eddie and Moxley which would overflow into another segment later. There’s very few wrestlers in the world who can make a story feel as real as these two do.
We then get MJF and Adam Cole backstage doing the whole strange bedfellows schtick. It’s comical enough to be entertaining but I’m not sure how well it translates to a main event World Title fued. This is a classic wait and see how it plays out scenario.
We’re then shown this video package below and I can’t help but feel Ospreay’s line right and the end is hinting to Omega v Ospreay 3 at Wembley. Let’s hope that’s the case for all is Brits!
Orange Cassidy, Vikingo & Keith Lee vs. Garcia, Daddy Magic & Cool Hand Ange
This trios match was really fun but also a bit sloppy. Vikingo doing Vikingo things is always a great time, Cassidy is still one of the best parts of the show as I say every week, and Lee was booked as monster. Garcia is also great in his role. Sadly the match fell apart a little with a big botch with Lee and Vikingo messing up a tag team sequence.
The Elite vs. The Dark Order
This match was set up earlier in the night with Dark Order accepting the Elite’s open challenge due to the lack of respect they’ve felt from Hangman since he rejoined The Bucks and Omega. Hangman is super relatable as always as he portrays the guilt of leaving friends behind perfectly, something we’ve all probably done at one point in our lives.
The match itself was great because of course it was, it was The Elite and Dark Order. These six men go back years and can wrestle 4-star matches with each other in their sleep and this one was no different. The personal element with Hangman and his old buddies only added to this fantastic trios match.
After the match The BCC hit the ring to take out The Elite as well as Eddie Kingston who attempts to help. The Dark Order refuse to aid them despite Hangman’s pleads.. I’m not actually sure what to make of this. I like the Dark Order being brought in as the history with Hangman isn’t fully resolved, but the way the Bucks acted in the set up was a bit heelish and I just hope we’re not heading to another break up so soon after they all just made up. The worst kept secret was then announced as BCC challenged The Elite to a Blood and Guts match, all in all this post-match angle was not as strong as the match itself but did its job.
Jungle Boy Jack Perry is out next in his new heel persona and oh boy oh boy (no jungle puns intended) this wasn’t good. It felt too much like he’s playing a part and not once did his promo come off as believable for me. He tries to tick off all the heel clichés and in doing so comes off overly fake. The fans in the building seemed into it though so maybe I’m on an island here. Hook then chases Perry off backstage where his ride is waiting. I will say Perry jumping head first into the car was funny, maybe leaning into being a more comedic heel like his old mentor is the way forward.
This is followed by a Ruby Soho squash match as Britt Baker is sick. It’s never worth reviewing squashes but I will say Ruby looked great. The promo afterwards was also really strong, she seems to have really found herself which is pretty much what this promo was about. Once this segment was done, I found myself really looking forward to hopefully seeing her go far in this tournament.
We’re then backstage to see Johnny TV has joined QTV. Okay, next.
Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara vs. Sting & Darby Allin
The Painmaker gimmick is verging on so bad it’s good but right now it’s still just bad, and it’s hard to see who’s actually into Jericho’s ‘dark side’ other than Jericho himself. This match was a solid main event and was an improvement on the trios variation that included Suzuki and Naito this past Sunday. Now I don’t want to bang on about the safety of the wrestlers, we’ve had enough of that this week! But honestly, I couldn’t help but feel more concern than excitement for the majority of the spots involving Sting in this match.
The table dive was, of course, ridiculously impressive for a 64-year-old, but the magic feels like it may be beginning to make way for fear. Whereas those Sting spots once got me up out my seat, they now have me squinting and somewhat recoiling. Look, if Sting is okay after that and has come away healthy then maybe I could appreciate it more on a second watch. I hate safety police in wrestling, but I just couldn’t get away from the discomfort I felt here.
Jericho and Sting did manage to find some magic right at the end like the veterans they are and actually sent the match home in style so at least all of this ended on a positive note. It’s wasn’t to the level of old Sting & Darby matches but it was one of the better ones in a while.
Overall this week’s episode is a tough one to judge. I was really excited to see the announcement of the blind tag team eliminator tournament that was promised, but instead we only got one match announced involving Keith Lee and Swerve back as a team which felt overly contrived. I can’t understand why they don’t just announce the whole tournament already. Also I really hope they give us some random silly tag teams we’d never have dreamt of otherwise what’s the point?
Elsewhere it’s hard to criticise a weekly show that has two 4-star plus matches and nothing that even fell below 3.5. Weirdly though, the feel-good vibe just wasn’t there this week. Jack Perry’s bad promo and a few clunky moments dotted about probably didn’t help matters. Good but not great is probably fair.