Red's Pro-Wrestling Digest no.121: Reviving (AEW Spark-road to Battle of the Belts VII part three/final part)

This is our last stop before Battle of the Belts VII in our game of catch-up with AEW and the set will include reviews of Dynamite 197, a few from the week's Rampage, and Collision 5. For those that might be wondering, my kidney stones issue seems to be resolved. I'm thinking the damn thing broke up after all of the lemons I consumed. I am now sick, though. Life sucks sometimes. I'm still grateful. As a result of my condition, I was unable to produce episode two of Saturday Night Slam Masters. Instead, here's this. I'll try to resume regular activities next week.

Komander and Jericho had a fun match to start us off, with the former getting a lot of offense in and some near-fall drama for good measure. It's always nice seeing Chris pick dudes he wants to work with. He usually wins, which is fine, but the match itself is a pretty big deal. A lion tamer eventually ended this. Good TV to kick us off.

After, Don came out to remind Chris of his offer, plug himself, and to kiss a bit of ass along the way. Tape ran of Chris' old days alongside Don from the mid-90's. Will Chris keep his Bad News promise? "Maybe," once again was the basic result of the segment.

Orange teamed with Darby to take on The Sam & Dan Connection in Blind Eliminator action. The Prince arrived and gave Red Death a skateboard to use as a weapon at one point then Swerve attacked a distracted Allin. Moments later, Sammy would GTH Darby to hell and get the W. Good stuff, but a bit much in the finish perhaps.

MJF was Hogan and Bill was Andre and a body slam was destined as a result. Did the champ get it? Yeah, yeah he did! I dig both the teams and thought they both did pretty dang good in their roles. The inevitable team did get the W, but not before everyone got to have some fun first. At roughly 10-minutes, this wont blow you away but was good entertainment at the very least. Worth considering just to see the two duos if nothing else.

After, MJF and Cole were luckily given a mic and the result was gold TV.

Ruby would move past Skye next so that there'd be a heel in the finals. Her mini push, following a fall girl position of late, will hopefully translate to more use of Soho. That said, this one was admittedly a bit clunky in execution. Oh well.

Nick Wayne's debut went rather well, ending with Swerve picking up the W and resolidifying his heel status. It feels a bit weird to see a dude, even one with as much potential as Nick, main event in their debut on Dynamite. Feels more like a Rampage kind of thing. Still, I think this worked well to establish the guy on TV and to the fanbase that had otherwise slept on him so...success.

The last pull from Dynamite saw Kenny come to confront Donny C. His heely boys would attack, eventually leading to PAC joining in on the fun to be revealed as the 5th for the Blood & Guts match. Kota would eventually be revealed as the other 5th. Golden Elite! Sadly, this was a bit clunky, too. At least the news was good...

To Rampage...

Toni came out to confront Taya. Then I had a headache.

Speaking (recently) of Danny Boy, he let us know that Soup was about to turn one of Kenny's old pals into soup. Soup then turned him into soup, because Soup is no liar. 

At least the week's main event had some effort behind it and, of course, effort in it, too. Willow and Athena work very well together, but they needed a face victory here so we got the expected outcome as Nightingale moves ahead to face her former tag partner in the finals. Good stuff, for sure!

On Collision, we start with a near-perfect MOTYC tag team war between FTR and Bullet Club Gold's White and Juice! They went just under an hour and somehow kept a strong pace throughout. The ebb and flow was masterful and the work itself, along with the nearfall drama, added up amazingly in this one! White not being a main event dude, chasing world titles, rubbed many the wrong way when he entered AEW. Of course, he's already teased prior to this one that he wants Punk's fake belt, but there's not a single thing wrong with using the dude like this, either. Juice was elevated, even. The division feels healthier than it has and White is a big part of the reason why. If you missed this one, watch it ASAP! If you saw it, watch it again!

Sadly, the women's Hart Cup finals saw a major dip in quality in clean up. Ruby and Willow, as mentioned before as being former tag partners, should have very good chemistry. Instead, this was rough around the edges once again. The right person won, but they must have had audibles called that didn't gel well or something. 

Nightingale is this year's women's Hart Cup winner. Should the belt they get for winning be defended?

Black and King murdered Artemis Spencer and Randy Myers and Andrade was annoyed. Oh, and Hart was there because she's awesome. Spencer is a good worker, by the way. Check out his DEFY work and other stuff. Myers is 40. 40! A NR job serving as a minor tease for bigger content.

Last up, we have the men's side finals of the Hart Cup. In this one we had Ricky Starks and CM Punk going one on one. This was actually played pretty smart, but Punk clearly looked faded at times and Ricky still needs a bit of handwalking at times which wasn't always present. In all, this was truly a pretty good main event and the outcome, even with yet another protected finish getting us there, was noteworthy. It just could've been better. Shit happens and I'm probably whining about very little so I'll just move on.

Mileage will vary.

After, Ricky grabbed his plunder from a confused Liger to tease a turn.

Collision seems to be the A show now.

A mixed bag this week for sure, but the tag team war and some select pulls that catch your eye should be your target if you are coming in late and/or blind. Rewatch FTR/BCG otherwise.

Find this episode of Spark, HERE.

Match Ratings

  1. Jericho vs Komander ***
  2. Blind Eliminator Semifinal: Orange, Darby vs Guevara, Garcia ***
  3. Blind Eliminator Semifinal: Better Than You, Bay Bay vs Bill, Cage ***1/4
  4. Owen Hart Women's Semifinal: Ruby vs Blue **
  5. Wayne vs Strickland ***1/4
  6. Takeshita vs Mentallo NR
  7. Owen Hart Women's Semifinal: Willow vs Athena ***1/4
  8. AEW World Tag Titles, Best 2/3 Falls: FTR(c) vs BCG ****3/4
  9. Owen Hart Women's Final: Willow vs Ruby **3/4
  10. Kings of the Black Throne vs Myers, Spencer NR
  11. Owen Hart Men's Finals: Punk vs Starks ***1/2

Dynamite 197: 70%

Collision 5: 80%

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