Red's Pro-Wrestling Digest #76: Some TV content from the first week of 2023! (AEW, WWE, Impact, CMLL), PWG BOLA results, & Marvel Lucha Libre news!
- Raw Women's Title: Belair(c) vs Bliss NR
- Music City Street Fight: Elias vs Solo NR
- Bloodline vs KO, Street Profits NR
- Damage CTRL vs Lynch, Mia NR
- WWE US Title: Theory(c) vs Rollins ***3/4
- Crews vs Hayes ***1/4
- Axiom vs Trick NR
- Extreme Resolution: Dawn vs Fyre ***
- TNT Title: Joe(c) vs Darby ***3/4
- Starks vs Jericho ***3/4
- AEW Tag Titles: Acclaimed(c) vs Jarrett, Lethal ***
- Danielson vs Nese ***
- Strickland vs Fox ***1/2
- Cardona vs Sabin ***
- Kofi vs Fantasma ***
- WWE Undisputed Tag Titles: Usos(c) vs McIntyre, Sheamus ***1/2
- TNT Title: Darby(c) vs Bennett ***1/4
- Top Flight vs BCC ***3/4
- Sonico vs Vance NR
- Best 2/3 Falls: Templario vs Soberano Jr ****1/4
Hey, we're continuing our transition to 2023 coverage, with just a few more 2022 entries to come, with a look at some of last week's best TV offerings. I'm mainly using YT but will watch full versions elsewhere as needed if I'm interested enough. If you want to watch the playlist companion to this edition of the PWD, it's HERE on YouTube.
Before we get started on the main meat, I wanted to look at a few things.
Night One results are as follows:
Masha Slamovich defeats Alex Shelley.
Bryan Keith defeats SB KENTo.
Komander defeats Latigo.
Jordynne Grace defeats Jonathan Gresham.
Shun Skywalker defeats Aramis.
Konosuke Takeshita defeats Michael Oku.
Titus Alexander defeats Daniel Garcia by DQ.
Bandido defeats Black Taurus and El Hijo del Vikingo.
Night Two results are as follows:
Mike Bailey defeats Jordynne Grace
Konosuke Takeshita defeats Titus Alexander
Bryan Keith defeats Masha Slamovich
Komander defeats Bandido
Mike Bailey defeats Shun Skywalker
Latigo & Taurus defeated Aramis & Rey Horus
Konosuke Takeshita defeats Komander
Mike Bailey defeats Bryan Keith
Jericho Appreciation Society (Chris Jericho, Daniel Garcia, Sammy Guevara, Matt Menard & Angelo Parker) (with Tay Melo, Jake Hager & Anna Jay A.S.) defeated Player Uno (Evil Uno), Kevin Blackwood, SB KENTo, Jonathan Gresham, and Michael Oku
Battle Of Los Angeles 2023 Finals: Mike Bailey defeats Konosuke Takeshita
Speedball picking up the win is excellent and feels like a nice follow up to last year's finals. The JAS being involved in the traditional clusterfuck match on the last night of the tournament was actually a fun choice, too. I am both excited to see these two shows and annoyed again at the big delay that always occurs after before I can actually do so.
Next, Marvel Lucha Libre! Last year, Marvel and AAA would announced that their relationship would be expanding and a new series would be coming soon. Talents booked on shows would work special matches while wearing super hero themed outfits and some of the content was entertaining. Now, we know when we can actually watch the damn thing...
January 18th on Disney+ Latinoamerica. Get your VPN's ready, readers outside of that territory, as it doesn't currently look like they're running it anywhere else.
If you've already checked out the trailed from a few months ago, you'll have seen that the series feels a lot like a more family friendly Lucha Underground. I really want it to be good as I am still dealing with a damn black hole from when LU fucking died a shitty ass death.
This edition of Raw had a few things that caught my eye to kick us off.
The Bloodline attacked the brand. Fun shit.
Bliss went dark side and beat the fuck out of Bianca, ending the title match in a DQ. Story progression over in-ring quality but enjoyable.
Elias and Solo's hardcore match was actually fun. I appreciated the stipulation usage as it worked well for the Bloodline enforcer and also helped hid Elias' many flaws. The piano spot was pretty fun, too.
More stuff with the unit next as Sami and the Usos went against KO and the Street Profits. While a bit rough around the edges, I honestly had a lot of fun with this one, too. I'm sorry, but basically everything with Roman and crew has been gold for a while now and that continues to be true.
Mia would run in late and join in with Becky against Damage CTRL. Nonsensical, but I appreciated the intensity and effort here. The Raw women's division is pretty fucking good and on par with AEW's division. Only STARDOM has a better crew.
The Women's Tag Champs would win this nontitle match when Becky lost ctrl.
Lastly from Raw, an episode with a lot of good shit, we'd have Seth challenging for the United States Championship. They're trying hard to elevate this belt back to relevance and are even pushing for it to be seen as a top brand prize while Roman keeps a stranglehold on the real top prizes. I don't mind, but I don't see it working completely and I know they're considering adding a new belt at some point.
But whatever, back to the match. This rocked and was a very good representation of what WWE TV looks like done right. Theory would retain in a finish that featured ref bumps and low blows. It was great, still.
Moving on to NXT, we start with Crews and Hayes. A tad rough around the edges, this was still a fairly good athletic battle with a decent outcome. Simple and sweet.
Axiom would beat Trick next in a short one. Hayes and Trick would try to attack A-Kid after but Crews would make the save. I could get behind this duo easily.
Third, something called an extreme resolution match. A hardcore match with a fancy name and a stubborn table. A good intensity and the storytelling here worked nicely enough. One of the better NXT women's matches I've seen in a while.
The last thing I saw from this episode was the Grayson Waller Effect segment with Bron and...Waller. The champ put down the dude with a viral disease to end this...I think that's his thing, right!?
Better content than I've seen from NXT in a while, collectively.
On AEW's flagship looked like a fun one on paper.
The first thing, watching in order of YT upload time, saw Darby and Joe start hot as the challenger would try his best to murder the King of Television and himself. I've really enjoyed the ride Samoa Joe is on of late as it really seems like a time travel trip to the past for the dude. Here, he did it again and looked like a damn monster against Darby. Big spots, nice storytelling, and a big finish as Allin would eventually piece enough together to take the strap.
Sting would come out, as would the confetti, to celebrate.
Danielson was home and feeling it. He'd call out MJF who'd predictably come out and have some fun himself. The champ would, of course, decline to fight but would drop some fire on the mic. Danielson would then reveal that everyone in attendance had fucked MJF's mother. The entire thing was pretty fun trash TV but I guarantee it ran a bit longer than originally planned.
Bryan's quest to become #1 contender should be fun and apparently requires him winning every week for a month. I'm in for it and all the drama that'll be attached. Danielson demands an ironman match if he accomplishes the goal.
Just keep the dude off of the mic or tell him to trim the fat. Tad is one of my favorites ever but really has too long of a leash.
Starks and Jericho worked a singles match next and it was a great, chaotic battle that eventually saw Ricky take the W after overcoming the numbers game. JAS would attack after. Action would momentarily make a save but the heels stood tall in the end.
Next, Adam Page joined Schiavone in the ring to talk about his status. He claimed he could possibly get cleared in time for next week. Even if he wasn't cleared, he promised to get his dick dirty. Mox came out quick at the sound of that. They stared intensely at each other for a bit, then Mox had trouble once again when he held a black stick in his hands. Jon having trouble like that keeps happening.
Anyway, Adam Page told Jon he wasn't mad that he had hurt him physically. He was mad because Deany had hurt his feelings.
Shit takes aside, I actually enjoyed this segment. I've enjoyed their program in general. The roughness has added nicely to it and the blowoff is sure to be fire.
The World Tag Team Championships were on the line as The Acclaimed faced off against Team TNA in my next pull. I've been rather critical of Double J and his run in AEW thus far. The Acclaimed made the best of this match and Lethal was okay, but you could have easily replaced Jeff with just about anyone else on the roster and have gotten the same match or better.
An okay contest, but not one that really exceeded my rather low expectations. They had a false finish and a restart that would eventually see the champs retaining. It was good but not much more. I guarantee this one will be very mileage will vary in nature.
Next in my stroll through the AEW YouTube channel, I most back a bit to see Bryan Danielson against Tony Nese. The latter would get some shit in and a nearfall or two, but Tad quickly turned it around and got the W in front of his fire hometown crowd.
Killshot and Dante reunited an old flame and ran with it in a Lucha Underground callback. I really appreciated it because I really loved that old show and miss the fuck out of it. I still love and miss WSX, though, because I'm crazy or something.
The finish might have hurt the overall quality a tad, but I'm hopeful it'll hook us up with more between the two. Fuck it, lets see both dudes and their units in a six-man to test diet Brock and the tattoo baseball guy.
I skipped the rest. A strong episode of Dynamite for sure with a few recommendation level matches airing, a hot crowd, and even some decent story block work. The new look changes even worked fine.
First, I watched the final moments of Wilde and Masha in singles action as Deonna watched with the commentary crew. Taylor would get a flash pin and Masha would snap, attacking "security".
Bully Ray would come out, act like a dick, and eventually toss D'Amore through a table after hitting him with a piledriver. The segment ran way too long and I really don't care for Bully in this position as I see it as more damaging than helpful. I'd love to look at numbers that suggest I'm wrong.
It does happen, after all. Often, it seems and according to some.
I tuned out during parts of that trading of words and don't blame any of you that would want to just skip it. I should have.
I just hope they don't dethrone Alexander in the asshat's favor.
Anyway, Hard to Kill is their next special event. There's a few matches on the card that do look good and I'll likely watch those, at least.
Last up, getting the shit taste out of my mouth, we had Chris Sabin taking on Cardona in the episode's main event. This is apparently the first time they've met in one on one action. Sabin, of course, was pretty good here. Cardona was fine. A good, though admittedly forgettable outing to be honest, but it did indeed do okay at getting that shit taste out of my mouth a bit so...yay.
Hold up, I almost missed something...
The package promoting James and her career was pretty awesome and I'd urge anyone that considers themselves to be a fan of her work to check it out. It's on the playlist that I linked at the top, obviously. Basically, a minidocumentary similar to the larger ones you'd see on a DVD set.
Roman was a dick to Sami, mad about the two falling against Cena and Owens the week prior.
Santos and Kofi had a good Royal Rumble teaser singles match.
Sami was sad backstage. Abusive husband Reigns welcomed Zayn in but basically said he had to destroy KO next week or else the mental terrorism acts would resume. They'd watch the next one with popcorn.
Drew and Sheamus challenged Jey and Jimmy for the tag straps. Borderline great shit, folks. These four continue to be workhorses and I've enjoyed most of what they've been involved in for a while. They always try to make the best of it and their efforts are appreciated.
Rowe and Hanson and their capitol invading, gimmick stealing associate would attack the faces after the show went off.
Two tag team victories on YouTube and one L from a Ring of Honor preshow earned Bennett a title shot on Rampage. Darby would retain. It was honestly a fairly good outing at least even with it being a touch overbooked. They really should've ran the Honor No More thing in AEW or something because, as it stands, The Kingdom are just random jobbers.
Top Flight took on BCC's Danielson and Moxley in a great one. The violence of Bryan and Jon and the athleticism of the Martins really gelled well here and made for one of those matches where no one really lost anything, even in defeat. Good shit, though the way Top Flight gets booked can be strange at times.
Then, the artist formerly known as Ten squashed Sonico in seconds and then tore up his mask.
A far better collection of content from AEW's other TV show this time around. Maybe they really are trying to make the show better now.
I'll be covering this one in a solo review digest entry. It should be up very soon.
Last up, we move to CMLL Super Viernes for our final pull! This, as well as the episode that airs on the 13th, are themed installments with them kind of running back matches that rocked last year.
There are a few substitutions and the circumstances are less in most cases, with no titles, masks, tournaments, etc. on the line.
Still, I did really want to see Templario and Soberano Jr. go at it again. They don't really need random lucha libre belts of almost no real value nor random almost as unimportant tournaments. Apuestas, of course, would always elevate, but given the situation here I still knew to expect a lot because these dudes typically don't have a first or second gear at all, always starting in third.
That was true here, folks, and it resulted in one hell of a spotfest battle. If CMLL was ran by truly intelligent people instead of dipshits that lessen the positions of truly intelligent people, they would run wild with these two. 2022 CMLL's product might have been better than it's been in a while but it could be one of the best sources of professional wrestling in general with a few changes.
Actually understanding what they have with dudes like these, and a lot of other greats that call CMLL home, would go a long way.
Go out of your way to watch this one as it was my TV Match of the Week!
Wrestling TV Series of the Week: AEW Dynamite
Wrestling TV Match of the Week: Soberano Jr vs Templario
Best TV Storyline of the Week: Anything with The Bloodline