Red's Pro-Wrestling Digest #96: Checking in with recent AEW, CMLL, STARDOM, & Impact via Watch Now! Wrestling Playlist Collection episodes

Hey, I'm back again and found time to watch some of the latest Watch Now! Wrestling Playlist Collection shows. These make catching up a lot faster for me so hopefully the same is true for someone else out there.

AEW Spark Episode 2

  1. Dark Order vs Blackpool Combat Club ***1/2
  2. Red Death vs Brody King **1/2
  3. TNT Title: Hobbs(c) vs Fenix ***
  4. AEW Trios Titles: House of Black(c) vs The Elite vs Jericho Appreciation Society ***3/4

I'm enjoying the BCC heel turn, though think the switch could've been done better. Still, it's a nice sight and will especially help Yuta moving forward. Here, they took on Dark Order's Page and the Super Smash Bros. Yes, Adam is a member in my eyes even if unofficially. Good story work, tight action, no complaints.

The nW♀ segment this week was decent, with decent promos and physical statements being made. I dig it.

Next, Garcia bested King in a good match with a deflating shit finish.

Jade hates Canada or something. Taya took it personally and made her debut. I am a fan of Valkyrie but even I don't care for this program.

Fenix can have a decent match with a plastic bag so it was smart to put him in with Hobbs here. Fans, including myself, don't seem to care for the way the Wardlow/Hobbs match played out and are especially dissatisfied with QT being involved. A shitty TMZ knockoff thing also aired that I spared viewers of Spark with that solidified my stance on this angle.

If you must bring in Goldberg, put him in with Wardlow as a team so that the dude can maybe get some momentum back.

Back to the title defense.

Hobbs got to look like a beast, Rey got some good sparks in to further sell the underdog plot, and the entire thing played out as an attempt to shut people like me up. The rope running punt spot had a rocky setup and the champ was certainly the weak link, requiring Fen to work below his norm. I will say that I appreciated them not going too sports entertainment here in the actual match because it helps wash down this flavor a bit. A good match, but as I said before...

Maybe I'm being too hard.

MJF had a segment that featured a look at the complete "four pillars of AEW" all talking some shit. It made for good TV, honestly. Sammy played heel but had some decent shit to put in. JB seemed like he was having fun, and Darby had some good lines, too. MJF went into a cake at the end. Sports entertainment done right.

A three-way trios match for the division straps closed us out and ended us on a high note with a great clusterfuck. Jericho and Omega had some fun moments in particular in front of the Canadian crowd but honestly everyone looked pretty well by the time that this one ended. Dark Order and BCC would brwal backstage during this one. The MOTW from AEW and the post-match drama added as a nice cherry.

A decent week of content here, folks. Worth considering. Just click the link attached to the episode info above to watch this one.

rating: 75%

Impact! nonstop action Episode 2

  1. Gresham, Speedball vs Decay ***1/4
  2. Knockouts Tag Titles: Death Dolls(c) vs The Coven **1/4
  3. Bullet Club vs Alexander, Swann, Kazarian ***1/2

An octopus takes a speedball to the face and then faces some cult members in physical combat. Short and basic and enjoyable enough with Bailey getting a nice win to cap it off. I dig the new team especially and want more.

Edwards spoke of his post-HNM path and how he needed to focus on himself and his future as he whined about PCO. They ran a clip from last week's cinematic desert brawl that saw the monster getting the Rikishi spot. The dude would appear right after of course but King would help Eddie out as they double teamed the no sell beast until he finally stopped getting up.

Predictable cheese but it made for fun television.

The Coven would win the Knockouts tag straps in our semi, with King and Wilde sending Taya off to go job to Jade. Highschool flashbacks with all of this goth shit. I don't care a lot about this program and commentary running me through it didn't really spike my interest much, either. I really only include it here because a title change occurred, a member just joined AEW, and because I thought some might enjoy it more than I did. I found it to be pretty simplistic and hardly anything other than average defined. You can guess for sure who ate the pin.

Remember when Kaz said he was going to take out the BC, created a little nickname and shit, then really didn't do that much other than randomly appear to do largely minimal damage?

The main event featured a makeshift face team, including Kaz, facing Bullet Club's ABC and KENTA. Smart layout, tight work, nice building blocks. Quality stuff; a six-man main event that delivered nicely. This is exactly the kind of shit that keeps me returning to the show and this nonstop action summed up modern Impact! in a nice package in general.

Consider at least the main event, or just doing the right thing and watching the full episode, if you have a moment.

A live edition as well as the big Impact x New Japan show runs next week!

rating: 75%

CMLL Lightning Episode 2

  1. Copa Irma Gonzalez ***
  2. Elimination Apuesta ***1/2
Homenaje a Dos Leyendas edition of Lightning.

A large tournament kicked us off, after some pageantry, showcasing the women's division off nicely enough. Not the smoothest of ciberneticos at all, but servicable enough and far better than I would have expected from this divison a year ago.

The big deal this week was the four-way elimination apuesta, though. An interesting choice, for sure, they largely used this to continue the Vol/Romero program and the final stretch indeed focused specificaly on that. Rocky would get shaved in post.

rating: 70%

We DREAM of STARDOM Episode 2

  1. Donna del Mondo vs Cosmic Venus NR
  2. △ Derby Semi-Final: God's Eye vs Cosmic Angels ***1/4
  3. △ Derby Semi-Final: Neo STARDOM Army vs Prominence NR
  4. Himeka vs Chihiro ***1/2
  5. Wonder of STARDOM Title: Saya(c) vs Hazuki ****1/2
  6. High Speed Title: AZM(c) vs Starlight Kid ****
  7. World of STARDOM Title: Giulia(c) vs Maya ****3/4
  8. △ Derby Final, Artist of STARDOM Titles: Prominence(c) vs God's Eye ***3/4

This bloated episode features the best of the best from the Triangle Derby Championship Battle gig. Know that this playlist style show is basically We are STARDOM!! but a bit more up to date and with longer episodes since I am using more recent stuff that they've added. I still strongly recommend We are.

Waka ate another L to start us off. Fans are really hungry for her to get a W instead. I'm kinda vibing the plot myself.

God's Eye move ahead in their semi outing in a fairly good trios battle and Prominence move ahead on their side. Both of the set really did well to sell the finals, doing their jobs very well. The latter in particular really had a strong energy.

Seeing Chihiro in STARDOM is a nice sight. She's a fucking beast that I don't get to see nearly enough of and my second favorite Sendai star. This did well to build off of that buzz that I have for that fact (her presence in the company) and to further establish her as a true main event star in this promotion.

A good performance from both.

Hashimoto talked some shit after. Syuri told her to eat shit. Fuck yes!

Saya was pushed to her limits, working from underneath as Hazuki started hot and kept punishing the champ over and over again. Eventually, they'd start to trade momentum until Kamitani eventually found enough to retain, putting out the fire in the process. I didn't want this one to end because it was really that fucking good. Watch that one for sure if you're trimming this down even more than I did.

Mina was offered a shot after.

AZM and Starlight did it again, providing us with yet another top shelf High Speed battle. It's perhaps fitting then considering the trajectory both are on and I can see this being ran back for yet another chapter with the Wonder strap being defended sooner than later. If you've enjoyed their past work together, know this delivers nicely on that promise. The finish rocked, by the way.

Giulia put the red belt on the line in our next match. The champ started with a cheap shot with the strap and went all in, setting up a nice intensity right off the bat for this one. Moments later, the challenger would get thrown around into empty seats. It didn't come close to peaking there. In the end, this reminded me a bit of that classic Steen/Super Dragon match a bit and I'd actually love a rematch. 

I am hoping STARDOM is smart enough to book it. 

A double countout finish following a northern lights bomb on the outside closed this one out.

The two would exchange a few blows and words after before Tam made her way out to have a few words of her own. That made for a nice cherry moment on this sundae, folks.

Main event time. The titles were added on as an extra prize here. A fitting finals match, a quality title defense, and a more than serviceable main event to close off a superb event. The titles stayed were they best belonged and the side even picked up another accomplishment as they continue to be stars of the division. If you can't tell, I enjoyed this one and this you will, too.

If you have the time, I strongly encourage you check out this installment of We DREAM of STARDOM!! today or, at the very least, skip around a bit with it. The entire thing was well worth the time, though. Damn, that rocked!

rating: 90%

There was a lot of awesome content to check out on this edition of the Pro-Wrestling Digest and I am hoping you'll find something you like here, too. Thanks for reading and remember to be kind to yourself and others!

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