Red's Pro-Wrestling Digest no.123: Royal Blood (Blood & Guts, Royal Rampage, more on AEW Spark)

Blood & Guts, Royal Rampage, and Collision 6 are up for this one as well as two Spark playlists. It bugs me a bit that they didn't give Saturday night's installment a subtitle. Oh well. It just bugs me, badly. I also am writing this while I'm pretty sick for whatever that's worth.

Spark: Blood & Guts

Jack Perry decided he wanted to look like Ross. Then, match for the FTW Championship, which isn't sanctioned by AEW officially and therefore continues to be confusingly booked in the way they do so, was an overbooked mess. No thanks. AEW is a pro-wrestling variety show, where not everything lands super well for everyone. Did anyone legit like this, though? Average content!

Baker won a quick one, to bounce back from the L she ate to Ruby in the Hart Cup. This was her first televised, non-house show win in about two months for those that are keeping track. Sparks was green still. She mainly gets reps in New York I believe, which isn't great for her trajectory. I love NY but their scene is iffy.

Next, MJF and Cole won the Blind Eliminator Tournament, beating Double G. This could've been booked stronger, but oh well. MJF got a huge pop for a tope and we got a double clothesline right after for the finish. Good TV with the right winner.

Jericho came out after but his unit-mates ignored him. Cole then pulled a Batista, staring at MJF's magnificent strap, and tensions were had. FTR would come out to confront the winners after, with a lot of circling taking place. Decent stuff.

Blood & Guts was an hour of chaos. Fantastic stuff, they all kept a solid pace and the violence delivered big on expectations. WarGames stuff has a formula and they followed it well, folks. PAC increasingly having tensions with his team, then him crawling like a hamster to get bolt cutters and split was entertaining. Takeshita would split too once Don realized momentum had switched too much. Quality kayfabe.

In all, this one rocked! A rather entertaining Dynamite, warts and all.

Match Ratings

FTW Title: Hook(c) vs Perry **1/4

Baker vs Sparks NR

Blind Eliminator Finals: MJF, Cole vs JAS ***1/4

Blood & Guts: Golden Elite vs BCC, Takeshita, PAC ****1/4

Dynamite Blood & Guts 75%

Spark: Royal, then not

Without the YouTube shows, used by diehards in the past to excuse randomly tossed together matches and title defenses on major TV due to "random worker A" getting a few random wins or whatever, the thrown together nature of AEW is more on display than ever. TK is capable of long programs, sometimes too long, with twists and turns. 

Some of these have been masterfully executed, at least.

The battle royal for a shot at the TNT belt made it momentarily seem as if the title actually mattered. It really is a shame that AEW have done so poorly with the division, especially considering the ties to Harper that will live forever. It almost feels at time like TK is thinking he needs to spend the least amount of effort possible on it to distract from those ties. Oh well.

I've never been big on this type of match and two rings being involved doesn't do much for me, but the pool of 20 did decent with it and the dudes you'd expect to standout a bit did exactly that. Clearly they are also trying to bump Nick Wayne more, by the way. I just wonder if it'll have some weight and lasting power or if this is just Action etc. all over again. Swerve would eliminate the kid to keep their saga moving. Prince would then smack Darby with a skateboard and Strickland would follow up with a backbreaking spot onto it shortly after.


Darby and Swerve's stretch at the end was honestly pretty good. Allin hit a tope on Strickland through the ropes after the latter had went over and was standing on the hardest part of the ring to finish it.

Starks came out to start Collision coverage. Lots of pyro. That looked expensive! What was in his bag? Nothing. It was just expensive, too. Punk would eventually come out to a wall of boos and told Ricky he was proud of him. He then mocked the Devils for some cheap heat. I'm a diehard Devils fan. Just a reminder. Punk talked shit, saying Ricky couldn't beat him fairly, and then called himself the real champ again.

Captain Charisma and his champion dino made their way out, next. Talked some shit. Darby marched down past 'em, then mocked the "pillars" moniker. He established himself as good pals with Punk then told the TNT champion(s) he was going to win the strap.

A lot happening in that segment. It was a bit clunky but was largely fine I guess. All this was to set up a tag match main event.

Hey look, it's Action teaming with one of the injury prone brothers. I'm sick right now and also apparently a bit of a douche? Punk and I have that in common, I guess. This was really about giving White and Juice a bounce after their classic versus FTR. Simple, but decent enough and it did what it was supposed to.

FTR joined Tony to talk about the division and their future matches. It was fine. Basically, they told Cole not to trust the champ.

The Trios belts were on the line next as Black and his crew took on The Acclaimed. Short, simple stuff. The big news here was Gunn's retirement after, though. I'm not sure what's next for The Acclaimed, but note that apparently it was a surprise to many that he left his boots in the ring. Daddy Ass has never been an amazing worker, but he's a solid promo and entertaining enough. He spent a big chunk getting a place dude to his friends but ran with it more often than not. I mean, who doesn't remember DX being must-see when we were kids. I wish him the best of his new focus(es).

I may or may not have cried watching that moment...

Polarizing Punk teamed with Darby to face Cage and Starks in our final pull. A good way of mixing angles, this was action heavy and had a nice amount of drama added in. An avalanche deathdrop, a ringside GTS to Cage, and a heel flashpin victory after some dino interference closed this one. A good match with some baggage for no reason.

Tony is getting too comfortable with iffy finishes.

In other news, I think I might return to the program focused Spark layout soon. I also need to watch this soon...

I bet I missed some stuff that will be covered better on this upload.

The first half of this was far better but nothing in the set was truly bad. Watch stuff you missed that catches you eye, thanks for reading, and be kind to yourself and others.

Match Ratings

Royal Rampage Contender Battle Royal ***

BCG vs Darius, Action ***

Trios Titles: House of Black vs Acclaimed, Gunn **1/2

Punk, Darby vs Starks, Christian ***1/4

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