Welcome to yet another edition of the Pro-Wrestling Digest. This time around we'll be looking at the two Grand Slam events. If you'd like to watch my YouTube playlist and follow along with the best of the best from the set, CLICK HERE.
As always, thank you for reading. Short and sweet!
- ROH World Title: Claudio(c) vs Jericho ***3/4
- AEW Tag Titles: Swerve in our Glory(c) vs The Acclaimed ***3/4
- AEW All-Atlantic Title: PAC(c) vs Orange ***
- AEW Interim Women's Title: Storm(c) vs Deeb vs Athena vs Baker ***1/2
- AEW World Title, GS Tournament Finals: Moxley vs Danielson ****1/4
We start with Claudio putting the Ring of Honor World Championship on the line against Chris Jericho. The former CHIKARA standout had a very short reign as champ sadly and I am admittedly not sure how I feel about Chris holding this belt. Mixed feelings.
I am a few weeks behind and there's always a chance Chris is just further modernizing Lionheart but that seems strange considering the JAS unit backing him and everything that has gone with it (including this finish). I don't want sports entertainment aspects in Ring of Honor. I'm torn in general on the way ROH has been handled as a brand since TK purchased it, especially with the TV strap. I'm likely in the minority on this.
Anyway, Claudio and Chris worked well together and put in for a great contest either way. I just really didn't like the way this ended. I bet Khan is thinking they'll run something where Claudio (or someone else) wins it back later and it's a very big moment of reclaiming "honor" but...
Swerve in our Glory and The Acclaimed ran it back for a rematch of their epic All Out title match and landed a bigger pop than before (especially due to the outcome). The match itself was admittedly not as good as their previous encounter, though. Of course, that one did overdeliver by miles so maybe that's okay. It's just that the flow was not as fluid.
They protected the (now) former champs here which likely lessened the blow and ensured the job.
PAC and Orange ran it back again, too. Their rematch also was a step down from past editions. I'd actually argue it was their weakest since that one from last year's Summer. Anti-climatic and cheap finish but athletic enough for a throwaway and it had a charm thanks to the familiarity. Good TV level content, but skippable if you're in a rush.
PAC should return to Dragongate for a bit and take this belt with him. Air it on Dark.
A women's division four-way for the interim strap ran as the semi-main. The way TK books can be so random sometimes and the news that the ranking system is now basically, officially dead is tragic. He runs through dream matches and sets up title defenses very sporadically at times.
Anyway, the good news is that they used one of the three winning formula that these matches has to decent success here. The four all got some spotlight and Storm got a nice win. Good teases despite the outcome never truly being in question and strong enough action. Worth a look.
After, Baker and Hayter aligned once more to beat down on Storm. Deeb joined in, mainly targeting Athena. Britt's nose was fucked here. Saraya (Paige) debuted to break it up, running the heels off instantly just due to her stepping into the ring. Great expressions alongside a sweet pop.
I absolutely love that she's in AEW, people! I commented previously on rumors of her coming in and...yeah, this is going to be fun.
Before we move to the main event, lets look at the other segment of the episode that I caught.
In it I watched Yuta and Tony Man S get interrupted by The Devil, MJF. The dude should've called out CHIKARA here for housing a some scumbags. That would've been fun. MJF ran down the Combat Club with some heat. Wheels tried to cut one back but it was pretty uneven, to be fair. That's coming from a fan of the former 'Hawk.
MJF pushing T.S. made for a hot moment that helped Yuta's attack get a nice pop. W. Morrissey stopped that quick, though.
This got better as it went and was pretty good TV.
We closed with Moxley versus Danielson. In winning this, Jon has now held the belt more than anyone else and earned himself a bigger role and a fatter check, too. He fucking deserves it. These two killed it last March and killed it here once again. I also remember a pretty sweet DGUSA match back in 2010 that I'd suggest fans go and check out.
Bryan would've been cool as champ but the timing doesn't feel right.
Mox is a workhorse team player and a cog TK has realized he can use any time he needs someone to step up when AEW is having trouble.
AEW is having a bit of trouble.
Both men looked great, as expected, and I am certain The American Dragon will hold the belt sooner than later.
MJF watched on which felt like a nice building block piece being added on top of a sweet custom.
This special edition felt very random, with some of the content seeming to exist solely because this was a big event, and very safe in nature (if you get my meaning). It also feels a bit funny complaining about a show that was this entertaining. Everything was good, though most was far better than simply "good" and it did feel like an important event regardless of questionable booking calls during chunks.
Remember, AEW alone has to hold themselves to the high bar they've set.
Check out the show if you missed it or, at the very least, check out anything that sounds interesting. I, as always, specifically suggest all rated above 3.5 stars at the top of this installment.
Overall Rating: 80/100%
- No DQ: House of Black vs Sting, Darby ***1/2
- Action, Hook vs JAS' 2point0 **1/2
- Joe, Wardlow vs Nese, Woods NR
- Jungle Boy vs Fenix ***1/2
- Guevara vs Kingston **1/2
- TBS Title: Jade(c) vs Diamante NR
- Grand Slam Golden Ticket Battle Royal **1/2
- Lights Out: Starks vs Hobbs ***1/2
We start with House of Black's Buddy and King in a chaotic spectacle against Darby and Sting. The Crow's biggest fan (with me being #2) was handcuffed while Allin tried to survive. Hart happened to be there. For a split second, I thought TK was bringing us Joker Sting.
Instead, we got Muta running in for a save.
I say that he ran, but you know he can barely walk let alone run these days.
With the legend set to retire soon, this felt like a nice moment.
A dragonscrew, mist, a table spot, and a scorpion deathdrop set up an old fashioned 1, 2, 3.
This one is hard to rate, but there was a lot of hard work and the finish was pretty cool (especially if you'd an old fan like myself) so I'm calling it a clean 3.5. Mileage will vary, for sure.
2point0 lost to Hook and Action next. It was a crowd pleaser for sure, with Hook doing Hook shit and Action doing pretty well in general. Seeing the JAS duo fall here was a bit funny, though. Entertaining without being must-see.
WarJoe bested Sterling's boys. It didn't last long. Wardlow was hurt a bit. An attack after saw Nese and Wood's manager get powerbombed in three movements.
Moving along, Jungle Boy and Rey Fenix in their first singles match. Loads of respect was shown and they worked hard to give us a borderline great battle of juniors.
Jericho wants more honor in AEW.
Instead, Christian came out after as Luchasaurus "snuck" up behind Perry. The big dude destroyed his former partner and put his boot on his skull as the former IMPACT World Heavyweight Champion cut a promo. The program isn't as good as I hoped it would be but it has been entertaining in a soap opera kind of way.
Sammy talked shit. Eddie got mad. Interference occurred. Too sports entertainment for me but I did love that lariat and the corner chops. Guevara got the W. Eddie nearly made this worth watching. He didn't, but he sure tried to save it. Eddie tried to murder Sammy after getting the win initially. Staff ran out to break it up. Kingston was said to be facing possible fines etc. I never cared much for stuff like this.
Diamante stepped up to the occasion, getting a decent bit of shit in before Jade inevitably tore down the latest cannon fodder. She's now 38-0. Trina took her side. Meh.
The big battle royal was fine and had a few callbacks. The biggest story is Rush putting over Page. Too bad Tony doesn't have the balls to run Park/Rush.
Lastly, Hobbs and Starks. Lights out style. They delivered big. AEW didn't make it seem as "lights out" in delivery, though. A small nitpick. Ricky got the bounceback win and the entire thing was a fun hardcore match.
Seven thousand fewer fans attended this set of shows versus the first edition. TV ratings have once again shown basically no growth. Rampage basically doesn't feel important at all, either. Outside of Muta's appearance, this felt like a bloated version of what the series already is and that's not super impressive.
The good news is that there were three worthwhile matches. The rest was pretty skippable for most fans and it largely felt entertaining yet unnecessary. I'll end it on that note as I appear to be very gloomy today or something.
Thanks for reading.
Overall Rating: 70/100%