Red's Pro-Wrestling Digest #23

Digest:

A reminder, but I am living on the edge of town for a bit and, while I love the vibe, I also have shit internet. As a result, these are going to be a bit less frequent in quantity.

I am also, as always, fucking around with the format a bit for these. A warning, perhaps?

Whatever.

Anyway, up first I took a stroll through the AEW YouTube channel to see what was being offered up.

This, depressing bit of misfortune, was my first taste from the menu. It was raw as expected from the master of the mic, with CM Punk letting us all know that he was jacked up and off to the glue factory. I was beyond hopeful that we were about to get a spectacular Summer of Punk III. Instead, we're getting Mr. Pipebomb walking away to recover.

Seeing a bunch of men that you can tell were taught to never show emotion holding back tears is always glorious.

Holy shit, this was legit! Bucks/Lucha Bros VIII was just a random match on a Friday night that just happened to be a banger. These four continued their long run of awesome catalog hits and gave us a MOTYC with a strong pace and loads of excitement and drama. 

I strongly recommend this one!


It feels, at times, that many names that come to AEW start with matches that go more evenly than some are used to, instead being disappointed that their visions of a squash weren't solidified into reality. It almost feels like a statement of equality or something and a true, wrestlers ran backstage tone echoing from the company.

I've heard this is a decent take on the true situation. 

Anyway, I say all of this because Athena and Hogan had a good one. Hogan, in fact, looked like she found that spark again here and I am hopeful that she has that perceived potential back for her moving forward.

That sentence felt sloppy, but I think you get what I meant.

Anyway, this was good if not just a bit below recommendation levels.

I've really got to update my 2022 recommendations.

Did you want a squash? Well, HERE you go. Team Taz won such a match and an interview with Starks and Hobbs played while it happened via PIP.

They're not done, people.

Next, Dante and Sky had a TNT Title match that belonged in the Attitude Era. I swear that this belt is becoming a DeLorean. Good athleticism in a match that just didn't work well enough.

I don't want to ruin THIS. Just watch it if you enjoy Tony "The Ant" and his style of commentary. Afterwards, 

This Road to upload was pretty well done. The title picture was a major focus, with Punk elaborating on his emotional speech. We also looked at Hangman, the future of the belt, and NJPW's role as well as the Jericho apuesta.

Dynamite time, folks. This one is episode 140.

#1 Moment of the Week

A Casino Battle Royale is up first. I am left wishing that TK would have, instead, ran this as a cibernetico or as an Aztec Warfare style match.

Oh well.

It was balls to the wall chaos and delivered better on the gimmick than most are usually capable of. Yuta returned, back from his New Japan tour. Takeshita got some spotlighting. Betrayals. Rivalries. Kyle won! I mean, it was a good storytelling clusterfuck, people.

Props.

It could've been better, read my suggestions above, but I enjoyed it more than expected and thought it was pretty good shit overall.

Oh, and CMLL management really should go and eat a bag of shit.

The level of pettiness. They cut ROH out. Now they're fucking with this because they can't handle the existence of AAA.


#2 Moment of the Week

The new belt should be a touring belt. Otherwise, no thanks. It just doesn't feel needed. Also, including some of these makes the name of the strap meaningless.

The good news?

PAC and Buddy finally had a singles match. It's a 205Live match with title ramifications. Or something like that. I've considered this a dream match for a while and it was certainly a very good match. Borderline great even.

#3 Moment of the Week

This one starts with Trent on the mic, saying he and Rocky deserve another shot at FTR. The Ring of Honor, and AAA, Tag Team Champions came out to chat. United Empire interrupted, with Ospreay making his debut at the same time.

Weirdly enough, the ratings for NJPW related content has been down a bit but the upcoming cobranded show sold out quick.

But yeah, Will and crew dominated. It was good television.

#4 Moment of the Week

Page, having just beaten New Japan's Finlay, said he wanted a shot at the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship and Okada. Cole arrived, with his Owen strap over his right shoulder, and mocked Adam making the challenge. He claimed he should be facing the champ instead and said Okada wouldn't be champ after Dominion.

Spoiler alert, folks.

#5 Moment of the Week

Wardlow time. JR made a Goldberg reference. The rising star chose not to be in the battle royale because he wants to beat Punk to win the gold and doesn't wanna be an interim champ. Basically. He does want the TNT belt, though.

Having the big man win would be a decent choice right now, to be fair.

A Sterling lawsuit angle ran after to set up a Wardlow in a gangbang or something.

Moving along, I then found that Page versus Finlay upload. I thought they had a good throwaway to pad Adam back up. More than serviceable.

Workhorse Kyle lost against Mox next, predictably, in a fantastic battle of wills. How this wasn't considered a top 5 moment of the week I am unsure, but it was well worth your time either way.

I wish AEW ran their YouTube shows differently. Imagine if Dark was ran more like a must-see show and Elevation was largely filler, angle testing, squashes, and tryouts. Have matches announced on Dynamite as being must-see for Dark. Have a major main event each week and a match or two that serve their own purposes behind it. 

Just a side note.

Moving on, I skipped a title defense from Thunder because I wasn't interested in seeing a record pad of the sort. I did see that Toni seems to have come out at some point to make intentions clear, though. I'm for that. Also, like a lot of the clickbait sites that surround me are prone to, it appears talk of an unhappy TR were overinflated.

A video promoting a three-way ladder match that wouldn't be happening was next. I moved on with my day instead.

Moving on, we have Rampage 45 up next.

I was going to skip the next one, but I pulled the trigger instead for a duo of reasons.

    1. It was the debut of Satnam and, while I've not enjoyed this angle in the slightest, I still think the dude is doing his best and I wanna be a fair guy.

    2. Vega is the brother of a good friend of mine and I have enjoyed watching the dude's career. Getting a spot of TV for AEW is something, even if it is in a squash during an angle I wish wasn't occurring.

Props to the big dude for seeming more athletic than expected. I don't know if he can ever get to Morrissey levels, but the dude perhaps does have a shot. I kind of expect him to jump ship, though.

Props, also and once more, to Grindhouse and, especially, Vega. I hope you continue getting the looks that you're deservingly getting.

United Empire took on FTR and Trent in a six-man next. It was pretty good overall, though it felt a bit funny seeing the invading unit fall so quickly. It came off as AEW trying to show that they weren't going to do what ROH did, which saw the promotion bend over frequently to the point of tragic dependency. Instead, we had Aussie Open and Ospreay eating an L and dropping momentum while simultaneously ensuring what result we'd be seeing at Forbidden Door.

Road Rager had a lot of great content and moments.

The first video in upload order from the shows saw Matt and Nick reclaim the AEW World Tag Team Championships following a fantastic spotfest ladder match with Jurassic Express. They didn't reshape the field in any substantial way, but I appreciate the hard work, pain, and drama on display enough to recommend it rather strongly to fans interested in such things.

A few video uploads later and we have Christian finally fulfilling the teased turn as he attacked Jungle Boy with the help of his old, cold friends.

I'm talking about chairs, for those that missed that.

No one missed that. I'll move on now.

A big match build, with Mox and Tanahashi sharing a moment. A rider was attached, too, with JAS getting some Suzuki-gun assistance and a big multiman being announced.

Adam Page came out, once again calling out Okada and referencing his desire to face the man with the strap on the line. He also mentioned the big title change, making half of his desire irrelevant. Cole came out again to shoot his own shot and to plug White before the latter would sneak up on the cowboy and hit his finisher.

Jay mocked the downed former champion, mic and strap in hand, before he told Cole that he wasn't getting the shot, either.

The next video uploaded saw Dax and Ospreay work a fantastic match, United Empire hit the ring to act like dicks, and Orange walking out to confront Will. This was high shelf quality TV, people.

Hey, time for a side note...since Vince is once again in the news for being a creep I think it's time to share this video. Honestly, there are many other videos and articles I could have shared. The dude has a long list of shit attached to his name, including shady coverups, racist acts, sexism, and more. But, because people can't bring themselves to recognize that this dirty grandpa is problematic he has been largely untouchable throughout and has required only the most basic of defenses each time to move on.

The way they have handled following the story breaking has been as fucked as expected, too.

Why run the old shriveled dick out to ramble for a moment while he's in the middle of an investigation? Do we, as a culture, need to keep putting old folks on platforms to stroke their egos and ruin our ears? Isn't it bad enough that our politicians act this way?

That's enough of the questions. In short, fuck the old dude. Even if this story was to turn out false he's way past due to be sent off and into the shadows.

A german, a piledriver, a three-count. Toni bested Baker in a good one with a statement finish. I appreciate this division, even if it's far from perfect.

Coheed fan sighting! Hey, dude. Hit me up if you see this!

The apuesa kept the energy going that this program has largely featured, equaling an entertaining circus act vibe. It was overdone, but in a good way. We even go Fuego del Sammy and The Wizard of Fozz. Attitude Era stuff for those with that specific itch.

Simple, but in a fun way, Miro and Page had a great battle that I'm sure some liked a lot less. It very much is something I'd like more of in AEW and I hope they do exactly that.

Wardlow killed 20 people. The angle is unintentional comedy right now, but I don't think it's ultimately hurting the big dude as his organic and natural growth continues to...grow!

This man has seen some shit, people. Darby and Fish was borderline great stuff and Sting returned as a nice cherry. The dude hadn't been gone long enough to warrant the lights out return, I'm sure some would say, but I am always happy to see the dude so I refuse to complain.

Moxley and Dante had a good one, too. Perhaps underdelivering a hair, I still considered this a rather well done contest between two professionals.

The Bucks took on Vikingo and Fenix in my next pull, starting the AAA half of this entry. It was pretty good, perhaps almost great even, but I disagreed with too much of this one to rate it higher than a 3.5. The pacing could have been better, the storytelling was a bit much, and the finish was a botch.

Matt played it off, making Tirantes repeated count the three, but this meant the AAA Mega Champion lost clean and was then made to look even weaker to cover it.

A five-way for two of AAA's lesser straps saw balls to the wall action in a way few promotions could even hope to attempt. It was a spectacle of athleticism and a definitive addition to the top shelfers of the art of lucha libre. Nearly perfect in execution and a car crash in the best way possible. Make time for this one as soon as possible!

Blue Demon versus Penta was a fantastic brawl and both came off very well due to the some hard work. They leaned into the style and utilized their time well. Props to both over overdelivering!

I saw bits of the women's apuesta. It came off like a car crash circus act in a far worse way, sadly.

Psycho and the revived Villano IV put in for something familiar to those that saw the recent Park/IV war. This little tournament has provided for far great content than I had expected and one of the sneakiest best programs of the year. This was an excellent exercise in brutality and a MOTYC level hardcore leaning walk-and-brawl! 

I'm all for the finals!

What an excellent digest this one was, full of quality content from two of North America's best! Thanks, as always, for reading!

Ratings:

  1. Young Bucks vs Lucha Bros ****3/4
  2. Athena vs Hogan ***
  3. Team Taz vs Dizz, Cruz NR
  4. TNT Title: Sky(c) vs Dante **3/4
  5. Casino Battle Royale (Interim #2 Contender) ***1/2
  6. PAC vs Buddy ***1/2
  7. Page vs Finlay ***
  8. Interim #1 Contender: Moxley vs O'Reilly ****
  9. Satnam, Lethal vs Kobra Kai Grindhouse NR
  10. FTR, Trent vs United Empire ***1/2
  11. AEW Tag Titles, Ladder: Jurassic Express(c) vs Young Bucks ****
  12. Dax vs Ospreay ****1/4
  13. Storm vs Baker ***1/4 
  14. Apuesta: Jericho vs Ortiz ***1/4
  15. Miro vs Page ***3/4
  16. Wardlow vs Plaintiffs ES
  17. Darby vs Fish ***1/2
  18. Moxley vs Dante ***1/4
  19. Young Bucks vs Vikingo, Fenix ***1/2
  20. AAA Cruiserweight, Latin America Titles: Taurus(la) vs Laredo Kid(cw) vs Fenix vs Hijo del Vikingo vs Bandido ****3/4
  21. Ruleta de la Muerte Semifinal: Blue Demon Jr vs Pentagon Jr ****
  22. Ruleta de la Muerte Semifinal: Psycho Clown vs Villano IV ****1/2
If not linked here, match was linked in digest proper. If I somehow missed one, please let me know