1.Hayter vs Riho ***1/2
3.Danielson vs Silver NR
4.Young Bucks vs CHAOS NR
5.AEW Tag Titles: Lucha Bros(c) vs FTR ***1/2
7.Cole vs Yuta **3/4
8.Fish, SuperKliq vs CHAOS ***1/2
9.Cole vs Orange NR
11.Hook vs Bear ES
12.TNT Title: Guevara(c) vs Cody ***1/4
13.No DQ: Kiss vs Janela ***1/2
15.CHAOS vs Undisputed ERA NR
16.Street Fight: TayJay vs Ford, Bunny ***1/2
17.TNT Title: Cody(c) vs Ethan ***
18.Suzuki vs Alexander ***3/4
19.Sabin vs Ace ***
20.IMPACT World Title, Full Metal Mayhem: Moose(c) vs Edwards ***1/2
21.Bey vs Laredo Kid ***3/4
22.HARASHIMA vs Okabayashi ****
23.Hardcore: Shunma vs Hyper Misao ****
24.GHC National Title: Mochizuki(c) vs Kenou ***1/2
25.GHC National Title, GHC Heavyweight Title: Nakajima(H) vs Kenou(N) ****1/2
26.Kongo vs Go, Kaito ***3/4
27.Kongo vs Go, Kaito ***3/4
I started this one with a lot of AEW content from their YouTube channel as I catch up on the product.
Let me first note that TK fucked up big. The dude has done a great job, but is still seems to be a rich little kid that gets overly defensive because he's not used to being challenged. The wrestling media, which is even more laughable than standard mainstream media, botched and used clickbait headlines to twist an interview. Khan then reacted and made himself look awful as a response. I've seen some fans claim they wont watch AEW now and that they were the only wrestling company they had been watching. It's a bad look, for sure. Regardless of your take on the subject, Tony really needs to work on his reactionary crap because his remarks were fucked up beyond all measure. I'll still be watching because everyone sucks and I already knew there was no such thing as a moral billionaire, but narrative matters and AEW has leaned into an audience that does seem to care while promoting an image that isn't matched by his words.
First, Punk came out to MJF's music and dropped some shit on his rival, and his hometown. Watch it HERE. Solid stuff to add to the ongoing angle.
Next, Riho took down Hayter in a very good match. The number one contender was attacked by Baker after. Good shit and everyone involved came off looking good.
MJF was well received ahead of the battle royal. The match itself was okay. I've never been huge on these types of matches though, so you might enjoy it more than I did. MJF eliminating Wardlow and Dante eliminating Starks were the biggest developments, other than the fact that those two were the last two standing.
After, Starks beat down Martin as Taz cheered him on. MJF teased a face save moment but just attacked Martin, too.
Danielson beat Silver next in a match that came off well, like the entire angle. Page made the save as Dragon was kicking Meatman's head in.
The Bucks took on CHAOS' Rocky and Taylor next. What ran was too short to rate, but the video was chaotic entertainment for sure. The post-match was definitively chaotic entertainment, in fact. Trent? returned and cleared house. Good stuff.
Cody was set up as the next challenger for Sammy.
The World Tag Team Championship match from Rampage was overbooked but enjoyable. The rivalry hasn't landed as well as I would've liked, but has worked well enough for what it is. They actually mentioned AAA on commentary, which was funny considering they did nothing to promote the gig. In all, this was pretty good, arguably borderline great, though rough around the edges.
Hook time. The dude has had some spark behind him online which has been funny to watch playout. It paid off well because his debut came off well. They dropped nice shades of Taz throughout and...yeah, this kid is going to be fun to watch.
Wheeler is actually a very good worker but I admittedly don't think he's really shown much of that in AEW thus far. This was arguably his best match for the brand and, while good, it still didn't show his full talents. Maybe that's harsh? Still, this felt more building block than anything else.
After, SuperKliq stood tall over CHAOS and the Best Friends to get a visual one up back on the face unit.
HERE is my review of AEW Winter is Coming.
From Rampage, Fish took the fall to the returning Trent?, costing his team the W. The action reminded me a bit of those old SD clusterfuck matches from back in the day. This was fun and the story continues.
Moving on to the Holiday Bash episodes now.
Up first, Cole beat Orange thanks to help from Fish and a debuting Kyle O'Reilly. The match aired in the video was too short to rate, but this will be remembered more for the arrival of Kyle than anything else either way. Good shit and I am excited to see where they take the angle. I'd love Undisputed ERA versus The ELITE in a Blood & Guts match. I'm likely going to really like watching this one play out, either way.
I watched Baker's little Christmas themed segment. Fun. Watch it HERE.
Next, a six-man with Punk joining Sting and Allin to take on FTR and MJF. I dug the facepaint work. I present this match as file #432 into the case that FTR can't fucking base. Why do they keep getting put in the position to base? MJF somehow survived, at least. This was a crowd pleaser either way and a fun way to keep the story moving.
Hook's second match showed more proof that the dude is going to be a big fucking deal. More please.
Cody beat Sammy, ending a reign earlier than expected, on the Rampage that followed. While surprised they pulled this trigger to end the run here, I am also not shocked and almost agree considering the current trajectory of Cody. The new champ has a fun story working right now, his last runs were fun, and I think the belt actually helps fuel this forward. The match was good, too.
On the Dark, we seemingly had the last chapter in the Kiss/Janela rivalry. I've enjoyed this one and thought this hardcore match was pretty good stuff. Your mileage may vary, but I have a feeling this might fly under the radar and should be considered for sure.
New Year's Smash time in Daily's.
From Dynamite, we start with a ten-man clusterfuck. Good shit. The faces lost thanks to some drama bits. This flowed nicely.
Should I list Cole, Fish, and Kyle as Undisputed ERA? No, probably not. Am I doing it anyway because I don't care about WWE owning the name, am not bound by that restriction that AEW is, and am waiting for a different official name before changing it? Yes.
This was too short to rate, as it was uploaded, but I enjoyed it. Cole was hit in the face by Kyle, the Bucks helped swing momentum in favor of Undisputed, and CHAOS lost. Some drama after occurred with Cole looking like a hurt little puppy.
I went ahead and watched Punk's Daily's debut. JR is back after beating cancer into submission. This was a crowd pleasing promo for sure, but it's Punk on a mic so of course it's worth seeing. The Tebow shot alone made it worthwhile.
The women's street fight wasn't pretty in the slightest, but damn if it wasn't some ugly fucking fun. This feud arguably got far more TV time than it should have, but at least it ended on a high note. Also, props to AEW for being the only company that has dared to air this kind of violence on US TV, outside of Lucha Underground, in the past decade.
Cody successfully defended against Ethan Page in my last match from AEW's 2021 set. It was good for what it was for sure and chugged along nicely enough. I think the street fight felt more like a main event, though.
With that, I am caught up on AEW. I will see if I can watch Dynamite live tonight and tomorrow I will dig into other content that I am working through.
HERE is my review of this week's Dynamite, which was their debut of the TBS era.
Next, I dug around and found the Suzuki versus Alexander match. IMPACT had been really good about uploading content to their YT channel, but decided not to do so for one of their best matches of 2021. Great stuff, regardless, with Josh taking down Minoru. Alexander had one of the best runs last year and I am interested to see what's next for the dude, even if the last few months were downers.
I'll work through my pulls from the company real quick.
Turning Point saw Sabin beat Ace in a good match that never hit that next level. A solid opener.
Later in the night, Alexander had the mic in a segment that ended with an Invader style attack scene featuring the debuting Jonah. Good shit, even if I am not huge on the booking choices Alexander has been given the last part of the year.
It's okay to have face champs, people.
The show's main event saw Edwards fail to dethrone Moose in a Full Metal Mayhem match. If you like American hardcore plunder stuff, you'll like this one. It very much was overbooked-ECW style. Pretty good stuff overall and the right dude won considering the current circumstances at the time that it took place. Consider it if you want a taste of the brand's modern main event scene.
My last pull from the company's 2021 catalog saw Bey best Laredo in a great, competitive outing. Sadly, I am pretty sure this one will go under the radar for most fans considering this show is largely ignored, but it's worth checking out if you're wanting something fun.
I finished the night with two from DDT.
Up first, a tournament outing that saw HARASHIMA and Okabayashi go to a 30 minute draw. Fantastic stuff. It takes workers like these to make the finish given work, but they indeed made it work.
Lastly, Shunma and Hyper killed it in a sweet hardcore battle. Your mileage will vary for sure, but I for sure recommend checking it out, especially if you love intergender content and/or hardcore matches.
I'll be back tomorrow. Thanks.
HERE is a review of NOAH's 10/30 gig digest video.
Next, Mochizuki dropped the belt sooner than expected after Kenou knocked him the fuck out. The N1 match was better a few months before, but this was still largely enjoyable stuff.
Fast forward and we had Kenou taking on Nakajima with both defending their straps. The outcome was predictable, but damn this rocked. I say often that time limit draws, especially 30 and 60 minute ones, require the right workers. That's a pretty non-controversial claim. These two were indeed the right workers for the situation. For an hour, they beat the fuck out of each other until that bell rang to close things. A must-see match, for sure.
Go returned after, which was also awesome.
Everything about that one rocked.
I followed that up with Go's in-ring return, which was a great tag match with strong action and nice story work. It set up Kaito versus Kenou and worked well as a building block to Shiozaki versus Nakajima, too. What's not to like!?
Next? A rematch!
It was a different match for sure and the finish was different, with Go besting Naka this time. It was just as good though and another great chapter in the angle. I have no idea why NOAH isn't more popular because I am constantly impressed by this company.
I must say again how excited I am that Go is back. The dude's reign before hiatus was amazing and one of the best I've ever seen. 2022 should be awesome.
With that, I am now done with NOAH's 2021.
Time to close out CMLL now.
Averno, having just returned to the company, forced Mistico to tap out in the third fall to give his team the win and set up a title match. The match itself was a balls-to-the-wall lucha move for move spotfest. Basically, exactly what I wanted from it. CMLL stuff can be legit still, when folks are motivated.
That, as suggested, set up the Christmas day title match that I watched next. It was borderline great, but didn't do enough for me to put it in that realm. Just a hair off. Still, I appreciated the story work here and I felt like it was a nice throwback match for sure. A solid way for me to cap off 2021's CMLL content.
You might have noticed but I have been doing award posts for specific promotions this week. So far, AEW and NOAH have been completed. I didn't watch enough CMLL to do one as they just didn't catch my eye enough this time around and what I did watch didn't hit my recommendation page enough. I really enjoy the company, and more importantly the roster, when they step up. I just wish CMLL was a place that actually was ran well enough to motivate their workers more often.
Shout out to Volador, who was great when he wanted to be, Cavernario, whom I fucking love, and Hechicero for being the best damn lucha wizard ever. Make time for Cavernario versus Hechicero, by the way.
Unless I find time over the weekend, this is the end of #7. Thanks as always for reading and check back next week for the next digest.
Check back for updates throughout the week and thanks for reading. Also, check out my list of 2021 content that I am finishing up below!
Pull List (2021)
- Dragon Lee, Dralistico/Laredo Kid, Mack
- #STRONGHEARTS/BULK Orchestra
- Cara Noir/WALTER
- BestBros, Shinnou, Chie/Brookes, Sakura, Pencil, Fujita
- ROH Final Battle
- NXT WarGames
- PWG's Threemendous VI & It's a Long Way to the Top