Red's Pro-Wrestling Digest #44: TV Week of October 23rd-29th (AAA, AEW, WWE, STARDOM, IMPACT, CMLL, DG)

Matches Reviewed

  1. AAA Mega Title: Vikingo(c) vs Fenix ****1/2
  2. Apuesta: Penta vs Villano IV ****1/2
  3. Balor vs Anderson **1/4
  4. Mustafa vs Theory **3/4
  5. Belair vs Bayley NR
  6. Riho vs Jungle ***
  7. NXT Tag Titles: Pretty Deadly(c) vs Enofe, Blade NR
  8. McDonagh vs Dragunov NR
  9. Giulia vs Saya ***1/2
  10. High Speed Title: AZM(c) vs Fukigen Death vs HZK ***1/4
  11. Starlight Kid vs Suzu ***3/4
  12. Blackpool Combat Club vs Jericho Appreciation Society ***1/2
  13. FTR vs Swerve in our Glory ***3/4
  14. Danielson vs Guevara ****
  15. Hayter vs Riho ***1/4
  16. AEW World Title: Moxley(c) vs Penta Oscuro ***1/2
  17. Black Taurus vs Laredo Kid ***1/2
  18. Angels vs Miguel ***3/4
  19. Dreamer vs Bey **1/4
  20. Cardona vs Shelley ***1/4
  21. James, Grace, Wilde vs Shaw, VXT ***1/4
  22. Shinsuke, Hit Row vs Legado del Fantasma NR
  23. Bloodline vs Brawling Brutes **1/2
  24. TNT Title: Wardlow(c) vs Taven ***
  25. Amazonas Grand Prix: Team Mexico vs Team World ***1/2
  26. HIGH END vs GOLD CLASS ***3/4


I should preclude this by mentioning that I still have a handful of content that I need to watch from this year. I also had the urge to watch current stuff with the intention of still catching up on the backend. Shit has sucked lately. I hope this one is enjoyable to y'all. It's an overstuffed one to celebrate the format return I guess.

We start with two from the review period's AAA Worldwide episode. A head's up, but they both fucking rocked.

El Hijo del Vikingo continues to be a thrill to watch and it's been exciting to watch his rise over the years. The intros felt like a nice addition, selling this as a big match on a big stage. TripleMania felt huge because of the vibes they brought to the ring.

In many ways, this was the perfect representation of what modern lucha libre is. It had the rising athleticism partnered with the short-sell big spot combo that polarizes so many and stood as a definitive encounter between two aces of the genre. Physics be damned, this was a MOTYC level battle. Nothing else needs to be known and I urge anyone that doesn't throw around "flippy" with a shit stain grim to check it out ASAP.

Vikingo is about to be an even bigger star very soon, people. Look forward to seeing him flying all over the fucking place.

The main event of this week's installment featured Pentagon Jr taking Villano IV's mask. 4's last ride here was a symphony of violence and I am thankful I got to witness it. Penta winning felt like the biggest moment the dude has had and, as a big fan, I loved getting to see that, too.

They started hot, with a brawl on the ramp. They amped up the hardcore shit nicely, keeping a strong level of intensity as they went. Walking fights with big spots sprinkled are entertaining when the right dudes are involved and these two sick fucks ran with this shit. Penta bled gallons and sold the old man's offense before taking control. There were ladies in the crowd in tears watching on. I watched in awe.

Two excellent contests. Both MOTYC's.

Lucha libre is a treat, people. You should be watching it.

Raw time.

Judgement Day is apparently rivaling The OC, with Anderson and Gallows returning recently to WWE. Mysterio's kid equated himself to Eddie. Finn reminded AJ that he was the first leader of BizCliz. This led to Finn versus Karl in a singles match.

A serviceable enough TV throwaway to add a block to the ongoing angle that saw everyone get a bit of a spotlight. Rhea in particular got a lot of attention, likely setting up The OC to add some girl power soon.

Mustafa Ali and Theory had a pretty decent encounter this week, with Seth at ringside. Ali getting some work again on television is a great sight and he showed off here for sure, carrying this along. Austin played his role well enough, but was certainly outclassed. I'll call it good, despite the shit finish that saw Seth help Theory get the W.

After, Rollins tossed Mustafa around and started to walk off. Ali jumped out of nowhere to start the brawl back up to end the segment. Good stuff.

The last pull from the episode saw Belair and Bayley in the episode's main event.

With the latter's unit getting involved, and the video starting with clear signs of chaos preceding it, it wasn't long before the ref told the heel seconds to leave. Cross returned with an exclamation mark with a dive before she set up Bayley for the victory. After, Nikki targeted the victor making it clear that she's just there to fuck things up.

Not enough aired here on YouTube for a rating, but it was entertaining circus act stuff and we got Cross back on TV so I'm happy for that, at least.

This episode was fine but dwarfed by AAA content preceding it.

Jungle Kyona made her AEW debut next with a match with Riho! I love seeing Jungle here and am very hopeful that we'll get more of her. Because this aired on Dark, I am not adding the entire episode to the YT playlist. Click the image above and it should take you directly to the match. They have had a few multi matches but this was their first singles encounter.

Admittedly it wasn't as good as I had hoped but that's because I had high expectations.

Still, this was a good joshi match and likely enough to get both on Dynamite or Rampage soon. Riho needs more TV time, after all, and Jungle deserves big spots.

Over to NXT, we start with the brand's tag belts on the line.

Pretty Deadly retained but Enofe and Blade looked really fun in defeat and stole the show. Admittedly I don't think Pretty Deadly should really be holding these belts right now at all, but I get not running a change here, at least. The video was too short to rate, but I applaud the challengers for being a handful of fire.

Ava Raine, The Rock's kid, joined Schism as their 4th. I hope she develops nicely but I don't envy the weight she has on her shoulders right now. Gacy and GYV will be fun partners along the way.

A European main event featuring Ilja and Devlin closes the episode and they started hot this time. They worked 13-minutes and the action and storytelling efforts here worked very nicely. The intensity level was perfect, Ilja's injury selling worked nicely, and the finish was a cherry.

While both NXT offerings that I pulled this week were aired in a way that didn't provide enough content to rate, I still found plenty to enjoy. It's nice seeing NXT getting back to being a strong show again and I applaud the tag match for keeping the developmental aspect in mind, too.

I watched all of We are STARDOM!! #147. This one featured two from the 09/24 5STAR Grand Prix event.

After some clips of other 5STAR matches, the first match aired was a tournament outing that saw Giulia and Saya end by decision when Saya got choked out. Good energy stuff kicking us off with a pretty good one.

The three-way High-Speed sprint was enjoyable as well. AZM retained.

We closed the installment with a great SLK/Suzu singles bout that delivered nicely enough.

A strong episode this week from the joshi all-star fed and an easy half-hour watch like usual.

Overall Episode Rating: 75/100%


Yet another strong episode of AEW's flagship aired during the time window and we started with Claudio and Yuta getting a victory over Jericho and Garcia. It was a very good contest featuring a nice Wheeler hot-tag and some fire in the endstretch from the former Cesaro.

Friendly fire continues to occur during Swerve and Lee matches, clearly putting down the slow growing seeds for future plots. Simple, but I dig it. It's the small things, people! Anyway, this was a great tag contest that did well as a follow up to our opener of the episode.

Tag team wrestling is alive and well!

Swerve in our Glory and The Acclaimed III is set up here, serving as a nice cherry.

Danielson and Sammy had the MOTN in a fantastic throwaway. The American Dragon doesn't expect to just walk all over talent that are capable in the ring. Nah, he wants to fuck shit up and I'm all for the revival of his true self.

Hayter bested Riho in the sole women's match of the night. They worked well together and I am always happy to see more of both on TV.

Storm came out to stare at the victor (and crew) after.

Mox's defense against Penta was random yet very entertaining chaos. I wish TK would keep the Lucha Underground concept of the arm breaker, but no one outside of that show has the balls to run that gimmick it seems. Anyway, this was pretty good overall despite the outcome being beyond predicatble.

Earlier in the evening, MJF and Renee had a segment that went down well. Excellent mic work, once again. This set up the post-match angle of our main which saw The Firm destroy shit and MJF further push face.

It feels a bit off from what I personally expected and had hoped for, but I'm willing to see how it plays out.

Fun fact, but did you know that the Elite video that ran aired on Punk's birthday? It was intentional.

I wanted to use this as a way to jump back into the product with the intention of watching missed content asap. This BTI worked perfectly.

We started with a look at Honor No More's The Kingdom dropping the Impact World Tag Team Championships to Heath and Rhino. I really enjoyed the circus act shit here, to be honest. I can get behind this reign being a thing for now.

Eddie called out PCO and questioned his loyalty. The monster was unleashed and he destroyed HNM. Jesus, Impact is going full ECW right now and I absolutely loved this shit. I'm sorry, but this company is so good lately.

Juice joined Bey next backstage. Where's Ace? He was fucked up backstage.

Bully Ray is apparently back. The dude is a dick. I also am betting his run is going to be legit as fuck. Most people suck. He's not great in the right, but he can tell a good story and is an old-school kind of heat that I can respect in a weird sort of way.

I'm gonna dog on his ass a lot, either way.

Bully and Dreamer bested Bullet Club in a tag with a strong intensity. Ray promised it wasn't him behind the attack.

Wilde and Yim's finish looked good. James came out after to challenge the former and then a division brawl with heels standing tall occurred. Grace, current champ, ended that quick. She is fucking jacked right now.

Hendry bested Hotch in short order. It was delightfully arrogant.

Swann defeated EY, Sami made a save.

They ran a well done segment that counted down major twitter news. A good way of including social media into the programming.

Iceman Intel added some seeds for the HNM/PCO angle. Why the fuck not?

Crazy Steve introduced Black Taurus with some fire. BT and Laredo Kid had a BTI exclusive next and it was a nice, American TV version of lucha libre. Laredo put in some good offense before the bigger man took the W. With that intro, I'd be fine seeing Black Taurus with a world title run or an unleashed X-Division reign at the very least.

The latter is very possible right now, at least.

This show continues to evolve into whatever it wants to be at that current time. The roster is stacked and the angles are raw and I am all in on this shit. I gave this episode an overall rating of 80/100%. 

Now, time for this week's main series Impact episode.

Miguel and Angels kicked us off. Trey is so fucking extra, people. This X-Division tournament kicking off seems like a nice way to return to the product. They mentioned Alan has been gone since the Summer and put his return over nicely.

Starting the show off with quality X-Division action is exactly how I want most episodes of this show starting. This is such the case here. Great shit!

They should bring back the world cup tournament. Just air some matches put on in other companies that you're partnered with alongside some of your own content, a few matches featuring someone that isn't a regular. It'd be golden television and the FIFA World Cup is on the horizon.

Dreamer, with short dick Bully Ray, faced Bey in singles action.

How often do we still get first time matches these days? Not long ago they would've had to promote Orton/Cena as a first in that specific city of the night to make it still feel special. Looking back, there was some gold there, though. They made the best of lazy booking.

Has it gotten better?

I do not have the answer you seek should you now seek it, wolfpack.

Anyway, the match was basic, trash TV. Moose came out for a shit finish set up, even. I am neutral but my inner child was pleased.

Cardona and Shelley's singles slice of cheese was good enough. Myers got involved. We got some MCMG tag team work on the dude, which was a nice touch. Attitude era, modernized. I've seen TK try a few things like this but this company, and AAA, do it best in my opinion.

The Kingdom were apparently fired earlier in the evening, according to the commentary table during this one. I'm watching pulls from YouTube. They skipped that part. Oh well. They're in AEW now which is fine. I approve especially due to Ring of Honor reasons.

The division champs run off the heels in post.

Shaw and VXT met James, Grace, and Wilde in the main event. They did a good job spotlighting the division right now and I appreciate that it features some solid, respectable vets alongside some of the better workers in the states of the next generation.

This ran a bit longer than expected, dwarfing the rest of the matches on the episode. They could have trimmer a touch of fat, I'm sure, but the work was solid and it built up nicely enough in a classy sort of way. The tease that it could be Mickie's final match, as unlikely as it was (and that's being generous), was a decent additive, too.

Not the strongest episode, but what I saw was more than serviceable, largely good, and nothing really bombed. Nothing this week with the world title and nothing last week, seemingly, either. That's weird.

On SmackDown! I pulled Shinsuke and Hit Row's defeat of Fantasma and crew. Naka was mainly the only dude with real buzz, but a big top rope spot did add an extra highlight. Nothing special, to be honest, feeling more like a house show contest than anything else. Having the lucha trio fall after debut like this is full Vince mode level shit, too.

Paul Heyman showed Roman a video, warning him to take Logan Paul seriously ahead of their latest Saudi show. Cheap yet entertaining.

Bray cut a promo next. Uncle Howdy interrupted via an aired recording. Do not take edibles before watching this shit that Bray clearly had taken edibles before making.

Bloodline's Solo and Sami lost to Ridge and Butch. Decent, but simple, tag match. Sami took the pin from Dunne and there was some in-fighting that set it up.

I then watched a killer segment with Roman and crew. I haven't watched all of the buildup to this, as I am still catching up, but this was honestly just really good soap opera shit. The cracked laughs were perfect additions, honestly.

Sami Uso has a ring to it.

That's all I watched from this one. Watch the Bloodline content and skip the rest, though (unless you dig Bray's stuff right now).

I focused my CMLL attention here on this Grand Prix cibernetico match featuring the women's division facing some imports. They went a bit longer than expected, to be honest, but there were some good stretches mixed in here. It wasn't as good as I had hoped, but I had huge expectations. I still enjoyed it a lot. It is worth noting that the choice to give Dalys yet another nod feels annoyingly predicable.

WarJoe ran off The Kingdom, Hobbs then walked out and joined The Embassy. I approve. Starks and Hobbs have felt like watching two Rocks develop into greatness at the same time. Having both episodes end in chaotic, post-match attacks felt a bit like when Raw and SD basically would run mirror versions of the same show with different talent in the past. Just an observation.

I end with one from the latest Cutting Edge Battle!! from Dragongate (via GAORA). Ben-K, Kota Minoura, and Naruki Doi defeated YAMATO, Kagetora, and Dragon Kid in a match full of history. For ten and change, they delivered the trademark style that the company specializes in and spotlighted the newer stars along the way. I ended on a high note, is what I am trying to say. A great, six-man sprint.

Fans, why the fuck are you always complaining? I get that not everything is perfect and, sometimes, shit actually deserves ridicule. Sometimes you need to just shut the fuck up, though. The game is so fucking good right now. Skip around, because I just watched a lot of fire TV from last week and had a blast. I'm positive there's something you'll like mixed in here somewhere. If not, you're a fucking pain in my ass and I request that you remove that stick from your brown factory.

I'd argue that AAA Worldwide was the best episode during the week based off of what I saw of it. We are STARDOM!! and Dynamite came close behind. Impact was fun, CMLL had a good cibernetico, Bloodline is giving us entertaining TV on the blue brand, and DG had a fun main event.

In short, it was a week of quality television. The world is burning, had fun. Watch something.

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