Red's Pro-Wrestling Digest #28: Catchup up on AEW pt. 4 (Quake by the Lake & the Road to All Out)

This one gets me caught up with AEW, outside of All Out. That's kind of cool. I am behind on basically everything else still.

Up first, as I dig through the AEW YouTube channel uploads, I pulled Jericho/Mox for the Interim strap. It was pretty good, but unnecessarily overbooked nonetheless. The graphic final moments of this helped elevate it into memorable territory.

After, a huge brawl broke out and out came CM Punk when the JAS heels had taken control. The champ and the interim champ had a moment to end the segment. Great shit!

Coffin match time! This one started with the lights out and the commentary making their predictions. Remember that episode of Sealab...? House of Black stood ringside with King when they came back up. A handicap match followed. Sting waited in a coffin while his little buddy was beat down so that he could make a cool entrance. Circus act car crash entertainment, but very well done for what it was.

The finish was cartoony in a good way.

I dig the way they've been booking Black and crew, for the most part. Same for Darby and Sting.

In the three spot, LFI's Andrade and Rush worked a tag team contest against Fenix and Pentagon. Note, for those seeking drama on Twitter, Andrade is from the lucha scene. Obviously, right? Yeah, those workers will usually like anything they are mentioned in. Keep that in mind. Anyway, this was a good televised, Americanized lucha tag team match with some fun spots and a nice pace. Rough around the edges in a way that worked.

"Not the double knot!" - Good Ole JR

Lethal and his goons cut a promo, calling out Wardlow and demanding a rematch for the TNT Championship. The champ came out, granting the request while promising to kick some ass. FTR joined his side to run off the heel unit.

The dino won a squash and was still wearing black. Christian appeared on screen, Jungle left the table to come at the captain. Security tried to hold JB back. Lucha destroyed them and PB. This cut away.

Matt and Nick Jackson came back, with Cutler filming, and entered Dark Order's locker room to chat with Page and to apologize. BTE on Dynamite, basically. Page denied their request to relaunch The Hung Bucks so that he could make room for Dark Order instead. He'll be out and seconding.

Bryan is in the ring with Big Tony S. for our next segment. He references Dragon Slayer Garcia and The American Dragon made it clear that he would need to be put into forced retirement at some point. Red Death says Dragon had hurt his fee-fees and that he was going to hurt him for it and give him his wish.

The greatest technical sports entertainer of all time? Danielson praised his work and made it clear that he was on the wrong track in his role as a Jericho stooge.

Parker Boudreaux and Slim fucking J squashed Sonny Kiss next. The Concrete Rose was eaten up. I'm still a bit surprised that Parker was cut by Vince. It didn't last long and Boudreaux looked decent in the process, at the expense of Rose.

Ari and Orange had a decent contest, though one that I was surprised to see as the main event of Rampage. The heels tried to assist their ally but Cassidy stood on top to close it. The Trustbusters and Best Friends engaged in some chaos. Kiss ran out to make the save but turned heel to join Parker and crew instead. I'm cool with Kiss getting something to do.

Punk came out and called out Page, off-script, and dropped bombs.

Punk and Mox traded a few words and blows. Security held them back pretty well allowing for a good kayfabe bit of drama. Jon stepped up big during the lockdown era as champ, putting in for entertaining content. He stepped up in this role too, as Punk was hurt at a terrible time. Shit happens, Mox steps up.

The two would have one more encounter this night, with Mox attacking Nese and setting up for another held-back-standoff. Good shit. Simple but fun.

The same episode featured a MOTYC as Garcia and Bryan worked a technical war with best two-out-of-three rules in place. Amazing content and an awesome showcase, with both using the stipulation to tell one hell of a story. I absolutely adored this and strongly recommend it, if you can't tell.

Jericho attacked after as The American Dragon and Dragon Slayer were about to shake hands. Red Death stopped the assault and turned against the JAS in the post, adding a nice bit of soap opera drama to the package. Consider it a cherry on top, perhaps?

The "you're a wrestler" chants were excellent, by the way, as was the "yet a wizard, Jericho" sign. Perhaps those are the nuts?

Jungle Boy, in the ring, bitches because he has failed to successfully hit Christian. It felt a bit like a Green Eggs and Ham situation. He demands that Captain Charisma steps up and faces him at All Out. a House of the Dragon ad airs behind CC as he walks out. Fun cheap heel content flowed from his mouth as well as a bad faith attempt at putting aside the ongoing drama. JB and Ellen then traded blows, after Jack started the physical side of things.

Jungle stood tall as he and Lucha continue to get dragged down the rabbit hole.

Moving along, we next have a return. Nothing major, JUST KENNY FUCKING OMEGA! Yeah, the best active (once more) wrestler in the world is back. Note that I am writing this portion of the digest while sick with food poisoning. It is 5 in the morning and I literally just woke up and filled a toilet to the top with liquid death. Seeing Kenny's return helped a bit with that situation. I'm still feeling like I am ready to fill up another to-go bag with satan's favorite soft drink but any form of distraction, especially one so enjoyable, is much appreciated right now.

Justin "I use my tiny bit of notoriety to ask teens" Roberts gave a great rundown that had some fans shitting their pants in joy and out came The Cleaner! It's been nearly 300 days and I can only hope that KO is fully recovered. 

Kenny went through the fire and he, along with Dragon Lee, worked hard to give us a fantastic tournament main event. The two of them were the stars here, for sure, but everyone did pretty well. Strong pace, strong work, quality shit. Worth a watch, for sure. DL was attacked by LFI after, which I disagree with strongly.

Watch the above video for a fun, post-show promo from Kenny.

Slim Fucking J of all people was in a main event six-man tournament match and got to show off nicely. Best Friends pulled ahead, but the Trustbusters are going to be a very fun addition to the roster.

Matthews won a squash, Miro came out with Black's entrance mask, and Rusev then destroyed the former 205 standout. A weird booking choice though I kind of like this religious war angle.

Claudio and Dustin was also set up on the episode. Steamboat was at ringside.

Mox bested Punk quick. What a fucking booking choice! AEW has earned my trust enough to let me wait and see how this plays out but, for now, I give props for the shocking outcome if nothing else. A statement, perhaps? All Out is going to be BIG once again!

United Empire bested Death Triangle. Some interesting matches and calls being made in this tournament, but I certainly agree with the outcome here either way. Not enough ran to rate it, but it came off good enough though perhaps a bit overbooked simultaneously.

HERE is a promo by Kenny made post-show, throwing shade at Ospreay. Will replied with some shade of his own. The words went back and forth and it all came off very well. If you aren't expecting a MOTYC out of this six-man, you're not paying attention.

Oh, Kenny even remembered to send us off properly!

Jericho and Garcia had a moment in the ring. Bryan joined. Garcia pushed Jericho and then a dragon/lion match was set for All Out. Okay enough stuff and the matches we'll be getting out of this, especially the one officially established here, make it worth it.

Hardwood and Lethal was too short to rate and a bit overbooked, but largely okay. Lethal won like a cheap heel. The good news here was the announcement that MCMG would be coming in and teaming in with Jay, though.

Starks called out Hobbs in my next pull. He cried. He challenged.

On Rampage, Miro interrupted and set up an upset shit finish flash pin in favor of Dark Order. 

Miro was then gang banged. Darby and Sting made the save.

Claudio and Dustin had a respectable title match, though it was below expectations I had mentally set due to some of Goldust's matches from the past few years being so damn fun. You'll likely enjoy it for a fun novelty at the very least.

I skipped the Hobbs squash but did catch Starks being attacked backstage by AT and The Factory.

Here's a tease that Punk is fucked again.

A random joshi match for the WAVE strap? Why the fuck not!

HERE is the time stamp. Teacher versus student action and it was a pretty fun one, for sure. I still would prefer more structure and purpose established for Elevation and Dark, but the shows can be a source of good content either way. This is one such episode that falls into that category. Due to the fact that this aired on Elevation, I am actually worried that fans will overlook it. You don't need to prioritize it or anything, but I certainly think it is worth checking out. Borderline great Americanized joshi.

Take that however you'd like.

For now, I'd love to see the All-Atlantic and WAVE belts to be defended often on the two Dark shows.

Speaking of, Fox and Dante worked a rushed singles match (that should have been so much better) and Rush bested Blake Christian in a good throwaway from Dark proper.

Fox in AEW is pure funRush in AEW is pure fun, too. Too bad TK pulled a Court and underdelivered on the former. Did it take so long to bring AR in because of that non-issue porn thing and when is trip #4 occurring?

Have I mentioned before that I dig AEW Dark when it's a studio show? It's a good vibe! If that's what Dark is and D:E is just a random set of actual dark matches, I'm cool with it. I have other ideas that I think are better, but who the fuck am I?

With that, we are in the endstretch of this bloated set.

Should this have been split into two? Five parts in the series? That feels like a lot!

United Empire versus The Elite was indeed fun. It could've been a MOTYC, but it's hard to complain about something that was fantastic instead of amazing, or whatever. It's a TV match. AEW spoils us, making the bar rise over and over again yet always being held, by select sects of the IWC, to a standard far higher than that of WWE. It's fucking weird and nonsensical, like those that still claim AEW is just the home of Vince's old toys.

UE attacked after, while The Elite gave their little post-show speech. The entire thing was a YouTube exclusive, which feels like a weird choice. The attack, if this was WWE, would result in kayfabe injury angles. I know this isn't Triple H's playground, but still we saw Kenny and TYB get utterly destroyed here right before All Out and the tournament final.

How the fuck is WWE going to refuse to work with AEW? Yes, that's a sidenote.

Later, Punk came out, got emotional. Ace Steel, a legend of the indies and to diehard fans, came out once more and appeared on tbs. He had a mic this time, though. A good, personal style promo followed and he slapped some sense into Punk setting up a contract signing and Mox/Punk at All Out being made official. Punk's promo after was one of his best yet.

Mox appeared shortly after, accepting Punk's challenge to challenge.

The women's tag teaser for All Out was pretty good and I really appreciated the energy. Shida beating Baker clean was legit, too.

Say bye the Fish, by the way. Can I quickly burn some people, by the way? I was scheduled to attend the All Out media call but family business ended all possibility of that occurring. I looked over the notes and see that not a single one of these "journalists" asked about the Fish situation, despite his contract expiring.

These fuckers also missed TK saying he wouldn't talk about something regarding a talent coming to him. That is, unless he was asked about it. Did anyone ask?

That son of a bitch did it. Bryan got something good out of Hager. The post-match brawl between BCC and JAS was pure entertainment, too.

Next, I saw W. Morrissey, arguably the best BIG man in wrestling history from an in-ring output, destroy The Wingmen. Stokely would come out in awe, give the dude his card, and walk off with him. Rockstar Tony S. tried to ask about the situation but was told to essentially fuck off hard and long in response.

This episode of Dynamite also had a nice four-way, serving as a minor preview of the ladder match we're getting this weekend (presuming I post this fast enough for that sentence to make sense). Yuta took the W and it was a briskly paced spotfest. Enjoyable and worthwhile to anyone that is cool with such things.

On Rampage, Dark Order and Best Friends worked well to give us a recommendation level semi. Adam tried to break his ankles, Silver got to show off a bit, and we had a good rate-of-action considering all of the moving parts. This tournament really has been a treat.

FTR and Wardlow came out for some mic time. MCMG arrived, with Lethal's crew. I'm beyond excited to see the guns get a shot to do shit in AEW. Four-finger salute!

Fenix got a few minutes with Blake Christian. Again, MLW kind of shit because, on paper, this was a classic waiting to happen. In reality, it was shorter than many squashes and featured basically no meat on the bones, as a result. They did the best they could considering the time allotted.

TK said that he wants Rampage to be good again. That's good. I'm not sure why he stopped wanting that to begin with.

The last thing I watched was Starks besting QT in a match that was better than expected. Hobbs came out after to brawl with his opponent. Jericho and Bryan had a stare-off.

This stretch had a lot of interesting choices, but featured a few must-see encounters and a lot of people stepping up. I dig it for sure and am still not sure why people aren't connecting with the brand at the level and number that would expect. To each their own, but AEW Dynamite remains a great show. Rampage and the other shows occasionally provide big hits too and Ace Steel is on our TV's.

Thumbs up on the road to All Out! Note that this one was written in a few different waves so if I missed any typos, please let me know. Thanks, as always, for reading.

Match Ratings

  1. AEW Interim World Title: Mox(c) vs Jericho ***
  2. Coffin: Darby vs King ***1/2
  3. LFI vs Lucha Bros ***1/2
  4. Luchasaurus vs Henry NR
  5. Ari vs Orange ***
  6. Best 2/3 Falls: Danielson vs Garcia ****1/2
  7. Trios Tournament Quarter: The Elite vs LFI ****
  8. Trios Tournament Quarter: Trustbusters vs Best Friends ***
  9. Matthews vs Serpentico NR
  10. AEW World Title Unification: Punk(c) vs Mox(i) NR
  11. Trios Tournament Quarter: United Empire vs Death Triangle NR
  12. Lethal vs Harwood NR
  13. Trios Tournament Quarter: Dark Order vs House of Black **1/2
  14. ROH World Title: Claudio(c) vs Rhodes ***
  15. Regina Di WAVE Title: Shida(c) vs Emi ***1/2
  16. Dante vs Fox **3/4
  17. Blake vs Rush ***
  18. Trios Tournament Semi: Elite vs United Empire ****
  19. Hayter, Baker vs Storm, Shida ***1/2
  20. Danielson vs Hager ***
  21. Yuta vs Fenix vs Rush vs Martin ***1/2
  22. Trios Tournament Semi: Dark Order vs Best Friends ***1/2
  23. Fenix vs Blake NR
  24. Starks vs QT NR

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