- Alexander vs Big Kon NR
- Team IMPACT! (Rhino, Swann) vs Honor No More (OGK) **
- Arez, Dinamico, Skalibur vs Myzteziz Jr, Aramis, Black Destiny ***
- Apocalypto Hardcore: Hammerstone, Pagano vs Black Taurus, King Muertes ***
- MLW National Openweight Title: Kane(c) vs Aerostar ES
- MLW World Tag Titles: 5150(c) vs Drago, Aerostar ***1/4
- Hijo del Vikingo, Laredo Kid, Octagon Jr vs Kane, Rey Horus, Villano III Jr ***1/2
- Caribbean Title: King Muertes(c) vs Holliday **
- MLW World Heavyweight Title, Falls Count Anywhere: Hammerstone(c) vs Pagano ***
- Gauntlet: Belair vs Doudrop vs Morgan vs Rhea vs ASH ***1/4
- Rollins vs Orton ***
- GHC Junior Heavyweight Title: Harada(c) vs Tadasuke ***3/4
- Go vs Tanaka ****1/4
- Tadasuke vs Hao ***1/4
Check out the following full episode/event reviews I wrote up this week!
- MLW Azteca Episode 4
- Dragongate Cutting Edge Battle!! Episode 129
- We are STARDOM!! Episode 110
- NXT Vengeance Day
- AEW Dynamite Episode 124
So, WWE wants Austin back for one more go. I sincerely hope they don't do it, but weirder shit has happened and Vince wants something big for Mania. Since they aren't capable of building enough stars that resonate with fans and can bring in eyes on their own right now, they need folks that have been retired for over a decade. I give it a 10% chance of happening.
They're doing 2-for-1 priced tickets for their biggest show of the year, by the way.
One name that they never used super well is Cody Rhodes. A dude that left as soon as he saw greener pastures and helped start a "revolution". Props to everything he did in AEW, especially that amazing match he had with Dusty. Now, with WWE having major pressure to deliver, it looks like Cody is running back to his old stomping grounds.
Props to him for what must be a huge payday. I know he also had a bit of heat backstage and his ego wasn't being stroked enough for his liking, but I think we all knew that. Not everyone works well with everyone. I am very unsure this works out well for him in the long term, but shit happens and I respect his choice. He is an above average worker which is about all I care about and I always support folks that are taking a payday (as long as it's not doing something immoral obviously) and doing what they think is best, even if I personally disagree.
Hikaru Shida replied to a tweet and a copyrighted Japanese magazine article were the subject of a huge firestorm of drama this week, as the tabloids ran with it. Remember when Swole said a lot of good stuff about her time in AEW but these "journalists" picked out one part and screamed it loudly, everywhere? They were bailed out, in part, because TK decided to act like a trust fund kid and took the bait. This time, someone told him to hold his emotions in check or something, clearly.
Fans have been trained to think of catering as a bad thing, because WWE shoves workers there for basically years and only allows them out the squash them or have them appear in a segment with fart jokes. She replied rather quickly that the tweet wasn't meant negative. The comments of her interview do resonate with me, though.
I think there's a middle line here that far too many are ignoring.
Some were happy to jump on the idea that AEW isn't perfect, which of course it isn't, because they're too much of a mark for some other specific company. WWE, NWA, etc. This reminds me a lot of that the MAGA crowd as well as the sect of Blue MAGA liberals that refuse to ever accept accountability but will quickly jump on any story about the "other side" of their culture war, even refusing to drop it when it's disproven.
AEW diehards are guilty here, too. I know many that also refuse to accept a single bad thing being said without making excuse after excuse after excuse.
Lets break down what Shida said in that interview.
- She claimed joshi was a big part of the women's division in the start, but that it has now become just a section of the growing division.
- She claimed COVID has made things harder due to travel and visas.
- She claimed the language barrier has become an issue.
- She claimed she is struggling to survive in the current AEW.
Tell me which part of this is a lie?
AEW has been growing like a west coast blaze and is taking in anyone that they can that they deem worthy. They have three hours of television time a week, not including their YouTube shows and special events. In combination, I think it's been fair for a while to say they're bloated. I know it'd be a shame to NOT sign some of these people when they pop up on the market, but there are consequences and sometimes folks do get left in the dust. Sometimes they're just unhappy with not being pushed enough even which I get, too.
It's not a perfect place to work, but if you get along with the crew it can be the best spot for wrestlers.
During that same interview, she had positive things to say as well. As I mentioned a bit above, those things aren't getting covered by most of the clickbait crap sites that plague the internet.
Anyway, lets shut up and get to the action. I checked out the most recent episode of the former TNA first.
1. Alexander came out to start the latest episode of IMPACT! and cut a strong promo. He was interrupted by Konnor of The Ascension, setting up a very quick singles match between the two. After, some drama took place ending with Josh shoving Scott D'Amore down. It ended with Alexander being suspended. The entire thing came off pretty well, to be honest. I haven't loved how they've booked Josh the past few months, but I had hoped there was a badass endgame set up. This was the end of his contract though and his work visa has reportedly expired, too. Unless we're being worked, that's a thud of an ending. Sure, this 16 minutes of soap opera drama was awesome, but considering the situation as it seemingly stands...
2. The next chapter in the IMPACT versus ROH invaders was more angle than match. The in-ring work was fine, but the interference and drama was meant to take center stage for sure. OGK picked up a shit finish in the end and the fans got a crowd pleasing GORE from Rhino to top things off. While the tag match itself is far from a must-see, I have personally enjoyed this storyline so far and if you are in the same boat I'd say it's worth at least considering, especially because it was kept short.The last thing from the episode I checked out saw Bullet Club's GOD come out with Bey and White. They were interrupted by VBD, with Young and White trading words. The Good Brothers joined in after a while so that more words could be thrown around. I am excited to see more BizCliz on the program and the match could be fun, but this really did feel like it ran far too long. Tama's line about them being fired from everywhere was decent, but that's about it.
The rest of the episode had some decent looking stuff, but I didn't feel like I'd miss too much by moving on. You might be interested though, so go to their YouTube and take a look. The Ring of Honor Women's strap was defended and W Morrissey faced Myers in a no dq match.
Next, I checked out some of MLW's Azteca content. I considered a big write up on this stuff, but honestly MLW just didn't deserve it. Like almost everything they've touched, there is a feeling of underwhelming disappointment attached to this off-brand Lucha Underground revival.
The first episode started with Dari...Cesar, welcoming us before we launched into a trios match.
3. I was excited for this one because I dig most of the workers involved. The commentary was iffy, but watching Americans try to talk about lucha libre tends to be rough. They did arguably better than many. The workers went for a fun sprint spotfest and delivered decently. It was honestly a good one if you're into those kinds of things. I am into those kinds of things.
Catrina, now Karlee Perez, and Cesar chat backstage and are joined by Muertes. It felt like a watered down, off-brand version of what we used to get on El Rey. They showed clips of Hammerstone's shit with Cesar after which was at least a well done recap reel.
4. Next, we had a tag main event with Taurus and Muertes taking on the brand's champ and Pagano. I walked in expecting a rough as fuck brawl. A fucking spectacle. Circus shit. Basically, something similar to what AAA used to air as a main event almost every week on TV not that long ago. That's basically what it was. AAA would do it without using a gimmick name, but Court wanted to continue making Azteca feel like a b-level revival and no one was going to stop him. Whatever, I personally enjoyed this one for what it was but I know it'll be super polarizing because it's not just a hardcore match, but a lucha hardcore match. If that's your scene, consider it. It's not a must-see even if that's you, but it's closer to being worthwhile. The rest of y'all can move along.
5. Seeing a giant mute symbol on the screen here was rather funny. This one was just an extended squash. Aero got a tiny bit of offense, but that's it and it featured a shit finish for good measure. Move along.
I checked out the video they aired at the end of episode 2, teasing Killshot and featuring Salina' s name on a door. Holliday saved Hammerstone from being in a hallway.
6. Aero got another title shot the very next week, for some reason. Maybe it was explained. He at least got a lot more offense in this time. This was honestly a rather decent throwaway defense and a fairly good match overall.
On episode five of the miniseries, Richards had a decent promo package to build up himself versus Hammerstone and 5150 bragged about winning more gold down South. Later, Los Parks are shown challenging following news that the Von Erichs have COVID.
7. This was the main event of the last episode of MLW Azteca. Everything with Kane here was a chore and I found it to be laughable. The other five stepped up and kept this entertaining. It's tragic that the last match of the set saw one of MLW's main roster members mocking lucha libre, largely dominating, and then leaving. Your mileage will vary, but this was still very good despite the crap angle tacked on.
I am hopeful that if Azteca content returns, it'll be given a bit more thought. Episode four was very good and there were bits here and there that I enjoyed, but Court just can't help himself it seems.
Fusion returned and I found two of note.
8. Mil defeated Holliday in an average match with a storyline based finish.
9. Hammerstone bested Pagano in a hardcore brawl. I likely enjoyed it more than many will, but I like shit like this. Even so, it's still below recommendation levels to be clear. The Pagano dive was sick as fuck.
After, Holliday and Alicia attacked the champ to end the episode.
That was a lot of MLW content to take in. I'll check back in on occasion but I still don't feel motivated to make regular viewing a more common experience.
On Raw, Bliss was declared cured and entered into the Chamber.
I also saw Brock take down Theory after a hard to watch segment to promote the special this weekend. If you must torture yourself, HERE.
10. The gauntlet match was good shit, with Rhea working her way nicely through the ranks until Belair finally put her down. Nothing too special, but enjoyable in a basic way.
11. Seth and Orton have perfected stuff like this. It was good stuff. Some angle drop stuff in the end stretch set up a shit finish. No real complaints nor brags here to be given out, but a fine TV main event nonetheless.
I'll close with NOAH content.
12. This was one of the best junior matches in a while from the emerald fed and a great title defense. Good action, good drama, and a nice runtime.
13. Go, one of the top three workers in the world today, had yet another awesome match here. He's been absolutely ace level for a while now and it was once again on display. The road ahead continues too with him failing once again to pick up a victory. Fantastic content.
14. I'll closing with this one that saw Kongo's Tadasuke taking down his former unit-mate in a fairly good contest. You can skip it if you're not attached to the angle.
Thanks for reading this week's Pro-Wrestling Digest. I'll be back with the beginning of #14 either tomorrow or Monday.