Red's Pro-Wrestling Digest #38: AEW on the road to Grand Slam

  1. GS Tournament Quarter: Danielson vs Page ****
  2. AEW Trios Titles: Best Friends vs Death Triangle ****
  3. ROH Pure Title: Yuta(c) vs Garcia ****
  4. TNT Title: Wardlow(c) vs Nese NR
  5. GS Tournament Quarter: Guevara vs Darby ***
  6. Deeb vs Rayne **1/2
  7. ROH World Title: Claudio(c) vs Dax ****
  8. GS Tournament Semi: Mox vs Guevara ***1/2
  9. GS Tournament Semi: Jericho vs Danielson ****
  10. AEW Tag Titles: Swerve in our Glory(c) vs Lucha Bros ***1/2
  11. Hardy vs Darby **3/4
  12. ROH TV Title: Joe(c) vs Woods **1/2


Not to be a downer, but I've had a lot of loss in my life recently and I think it's important that I start on this note. You, whomever you might be, are not immortal. Perhaps you know this but you might not think about it often. Perhaps you know it but don't really understand it. Just know that you need to take care of yourself and never second guess how easily it is to just be nothing true at all to anyone ever again. Take care of yourself and others. We're all in this together after all.

MJF's return kicks us off this time and I'm thankful for his return. Tony, you made the right call! He ran out as a face, dropping cheap lines for a buzz (dripped in salt), announced a tournament to fill the vacated belt that he would be skipping, told everyone that he was in fact better that Moses.

Good shit, folks.

Mox came out to interrupt, calling out MJF for being a fake ass shit stain. The Devil was happy to prove him right instantly and made his intentions clear. This was solid TV in general and I'm hopeful that they lean as heavily into this as possible. Mox told the fucker to get out or step up and, of course, he fucked right off.

"Hey, your theme music sucks by the way."

Jon put over the AEW World Championship with a sweet promo. I really have to praise this dude because he has been an absolute workhorse since coming in, battling his demons recently just to come back and once again prove he's an absolutely essential part of AEW's magic. I love a wrestler with passion and this dude's been putting in for a shit load of top shelf content for a while now.

Nothing but respect and I hope CM Punk fucks off and never touches the mat ever again.

Note that I'm using the AEW YouTube channel for this series of the Pro-Wrestling Digest. Follow along if you'd like and note that you can find a playlist I made of the best matches and moments from this collection right HERE. Some things that I watched but that didn't add is certainly going to be a thing so it wont be a completely straight experience to read along. It just made more sense to focus on the best of the best when making a playlist so that it'd remain recommendation level content only.

Also, check the poll I posted as a screenshot in the last digest near the end. I agree with the sentiment, for the record. More on that, with an opinion by my buddy and retired pro-wrestler, Steve Stone, on the debut of our new podcast which is set to debut pretty fucking soon.


Next, TK made the official announcement to vacate the World and Trios straps as well he revealed the Grand Slam Tournament of Champions and a match featuring the 3rd and 4th place teams of the recent Trios tournament in a six-man battle to crown new division champs. Making the best of a shit situation.

Our first match of this installment saw Adam Page fall to The American Dragon in a stellar TV match with a protected flash pin finish. I love Bryan moving ahead here and appreciate Page taking this L here, too.

The trios match between Death Triangle and Best Friends was really enjoyable, too. Hard work and a nice pace? What's not to like!? I also love seeing PAC, Penta, and Fenix with straps in AEW (though would've loved seeing Orange and crew with 'em too if I'm being honest). 

Two fantastic battles back to back!

Westside Gunn brought out Buffalo's Daniel Garcia to challenge Wheeler Yuta next for his Ring of Honor Pure Championship. I loved having Sylverhawk with the silver strap but Daniel winning just felt right for numerous reasons. Their encounter really matched the tone I'd hope for when tuning in for a Pure defense and the way this belt has been utilized thus far under Tony's watch has been pretty sweet!

A Battlebots promotion ran during that one, by the way. They deserved a special countout here, too. Who doesn't like watching robots fighting? They are fucked up, awful people! I cannot trust those people.

Yuta shook the hand of Garcia after and Danielson put the belt around his waist before raising his arm. An outstretched hand was received in kind as a troubled-faced Jericho watched on with expressions similar to my own, a fatass, when I see that the store is out of those pumpkin soft-baked cookies that they sell around this time of the year. 

Three fantastic matches, back to back to back!

See, AEW has raised the bar for US wrestling so much but only they tend to have to live up to those expectations. They're a flawed product for sure, but the quality of in-ring work and consistency of the weekly product is phenomenal more often than not.

Stokely walked out with his unit and they did cheap heel shit. They killed a production assistant.

The Acclaimed and Daddy Ass were cut off by Swerve. The dude got some heat from the Bills fans. Gotta love a double-turn. Gotta also love seeing Billy Gunn this over right now. TK really should let the dude appear on Raw. I haven't heard that as being in the works, but I'd love to see it.

The latest TNT Championship defense saw Wardlow best Tony Nese in a quick one. Sterling wasn't able to save him here and this was a throwaway without basically any meat on the bones. Woods saved Sterling after from being destroyed, too. 

The champ grabbed a mic after to put himself over.

The next quarter featured Sammy and Allin from Rampage in what felt far too sports entertainment for my taste. They focused on story more than balls to the wall action and that was simply a mistake. Good for what it was but nothing more than that. A shit finish, though one with two sick moves, saw SG get the W.

Note that Sammy is a bit of a man-child, but I applaud how he handled the drama backstage on 10/05.

Deeb and Rayne had a short, admittedly pretty basic, singles match next. They're capable of more but it was a fine TV match and I at least always appreciate getting to see these two get booked.

The Ring of Honor Championship match was defended next against FTR's whiny ass Dax. I sometimes wish TK would be better about building some of these dream matches. Anyway, this got us back on track at least because it was a big, old school style battle of raw ability and certainly a treat in general. A 4th four star match of the set.

Rampage could be such a great show if they'd make the needed changes, but the show feels like such a question mark of late. It has some great content at times, but is such a disjointed, mixed bag more often than not.

AEW Dark: International would be a fun show, wouldn't it? Focus on talent from around the world, working in their home promotions. That would include people like Takeshita in DDT, Itoh in TJPW, and Pac defenses over in Europe. Then include dudes that you're bringing in. Air something from AAA featuring a match between Vikingo and someone of AEW's payroll.

Just a thought.

Joe was interrupted by Sterling and Woods made a challenge for his strap. I'm excited to see this one.

A lot of Ring of Honor content this week.

The following Dynamite, Mox bested Sammy in the first of two semi-final matches. Jon pinned the brightly colored Sammy G after the two traded spots for about 13-minutes. Jay and Conti eventually got involved, promising a shit finish that luckily didn't occur. Instead, Mox would overcome the bullshit and Regal would attempt to get canceled by dipshits along the way.

Sammy's heel shit really helped pop up Mox getting the win and got a decent pop as a result of the result.

Pretty good but destined to be polarizing for sure.

The other side of the tournament featured a big match semi-main and a rematch from All Out. The American Dragon and Chris Jericho featured hard work but pretty solid storytelling, too. Bryan's injury was told well and I loved seeing a cold, calculating Lionheart on display. This felt a lot like old school matches that I used to love watching and was far more fun than I expected, delivering decently on the promise previously left unfulfilled.

Five four star matches so far. I'm really having a blast with this set.

Garcia looked on in approval at the sight of Bryan winning. Mox and Bryan had a moment after.

MJF with the mic next and he called out Mox and his lack of fear. The Albany crowd did a good job of showing why more shows need to occur in the city.

I fucking love New York.

Max called out Mox's past problems and warned that he was more dangerous than any disease. He was the very demon that had plagued Jon. He also revealed that he had aligned with Stokely and crew.

Hathaway and The Firm were on retainer. A new, unit-sized APA? I dig it. This is gonna be a lot of fun, people.

Penta and Fenix got a shot at the tag belts, which felt very random, but were mainly used as cannon fodder to give the champs one more victory ahead of their defense against The Acclaimed. At least this made for a very entertaining title match. I think they could've added a few more minutes, though. Very good, almost borderline great.

The Acclaimed came out after, with Daddy Ass of course, to call out Swerve and Lee and fire up the rematch!

I skipped the Hobbs squash clip but did jump ahead a few seconds to see the two former Team Taz members have a moment to keep their angle going. Ricky busted the big dude's lip with a shot and ran him off here.

Moving back to Rampage, Darby and Matt Hardy had a respectable TV opener. Forgettable perhaps, but decent. I'd dig a rematch while they figure out what to do with Matt now. Hart and King attacked the elder Hardy after and called out Sting and Darby for a no disqualification match for the week ahead.

Another segment?

Yup, with Jericho getting the ROH World Champion to agree to a match. Claudio also told Yuta he'd win back the strap during this in a moment of unit awareness. Chris always recreates himself with new additions to the layers. I'm not sure how I feel about Jericho as ROH Champ but I dig "The Ocho" line.

We close with Joe defending the Ring of Honor Television title against Josh Woods. It was below expectations, sadly. They should've leaned into the mma style here instead. Oh well. Wardlow came out for the save after to align with Samoa Joe and to tease a future match.

This road to style digest was pretty damn good and featured numerous worthwhile matches and several title defenses along the way. I think the perfect way to close this one is with this...

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