Red's Pro-Wrestling Digest no.125: Before UK 1/2 Super Stuffed Edition (AEW Spark)

RIP Funk. RIP Wyatt.

Don helped Jericho get the W in a tag match that saw Chris and Takeshita face the JAS duo of Sammy G. and Danny G. thanks to a well placed bat. Decent content with a building block shit finish. Is the dude that just recently teased a face turn going heel? Of course.

Lynn brought out RVD, using Pantera's Walk because Tony Khan is rich, to kayfabe fuck with Perry. Jack was a total geek here, unable to scare a little girl and running off twice in the face of the whole f'n show. Good shit!

Moxley, Pentagon Jr, and Trent worked an anything goes match next. I'd be lying if I said I didn't love the outcome and the ride there was worth a watch for sure. I love that this type of thing is airing on a major TV channel in America. Usually the people of Mexico are the only folks that would see this level of violence on a weekly wrestling program. Everyone looked good here and Trent's victory felt like a nice choice considering the circumstances.

I'm always for Best Friends getting nods.

Mogul are a fun unit, folks. Swerve and Fox showed up to fuck things up in one hell of an entertaining segment. More of this! This entire thing was just awesome. Also, that ring setup looks a lot like one I worked a bit back in the day.

MJF gave a speech to the devil worshipers, getting an ADD chant early on and got pretty personal. The Tampa fans responded pretty well for something like this. He's ready to be our scumbag, god bless him and I am honestly all for it. They teased a face turn a while back with him and refused to lean into it. Now, with this Cole program they have him in, was a perfect time to drop it instead, though. Speaking of, Adam joined halfway for some more sappy shit. Showing this type of emotion on a wrestling program on a major TV network is an interesting choice that really shows an interesting contrast to the older wrestling days.

MJF versus Cole, at All In. I can't help but to notice that this show, with the legit historic crowd, has not been referenced nearly as much as you would think before now.

This is my favorite current program in wrestling.

Whatever direction they go with this, I am...all in. Sorry, I had to.

Cole turning heel would be epic.

Strong was in a neckbrace backstage and he came off looking like the world's biggest bitch. The Kingdom made a play for Strong despite that.

The Young Bucks and Kenny took on Jay, Double J, and the dude with a giant head in our next one. Omega trying to hit an angel on Singh was a fun sight. This was The Elite working a Jeff Jarrett match and it was very cartoony. I am not big on this stuff but it was certainly one of the most entertaining circus act, sports entertainment things I've seen in a while, at least.

What's the ratio of people that care about Jeff's contributions to AEW thus far versus those that prefer he go away? Is Mutter the only one that truly gets excited about the dude in 2023?

Kenny and The Elite announced their new contracts and teased Collision appearances.

The AAA Mega Champion and Komander teamed up to challenge Aussie Open for the Ring of Honor Tag Team Championships next. This sounded excellent on paper and in execution I'd argue it was MOTN. Certainly the most athletic of the bunch if not. The weak link, Komander, was very good and everyone else was even better. The pace and drama worked well and they landed the finish stretch, which saw the champs retain in one of the best sub-10 minute matches of the year.

Last, Shida faced Storm in the main event for the Women's World belt.

Hikaru Shida's reign was important and she helped the company through a tough time. Her being champ when she was made the division look like it was finally moving forward and that the show was worth seeing. Since, she has felt a bit aimless at times. AEW is bad about that when folks drop belts and the effort level behind the women's division admittedly guarantees that you'll become almost irrelevant for a while after you drop the strap. They were teasing a build though, after she won gold in Ice Ribbon, and went in with it here, giving her the nod over Storm in a statement move. It really felt like a thank you to her for her contributions as they celebrated 200 episodes of Dynamite. Am I being that teacher that reads far too much into words on a page, when the author really just thought it was a pretty dog or something?

A rollup reverse got the win in a semi-protected manner for Shida.

This episode felt like one of the best top to bottom installments they've ran in a while and I loved it.

The confetti falling as Hikaru held the belt up, tears in her eyes, was perfect television!

Moving along, we head to Rampage for a bloody brawl featuring Claudio and Mox taking on Trent and Taylor. This was excellent! A damn spectacle! The best thing I think I've seen on Rampage in a while. This took the violence of the Dynamite three-way and it elevated it, feeling like a strong sequel.

I love that the last thing a lot of people saw before they feel asleep on a Friday night would've been this.

My favorite match of the set so far.

FTR would beat Big Bill and Brian Cage next. This was far below other recent FTR matches, but a fun throwaway defense nonetheless. I hope that didn't kill all momentum of the failing challengers, though.

After, FTR challenged the Bucks for UK.

Kris defended the TBS strap against Mercedes next. I haven't paid much attention to the TBS division, to be honest, because I rarely care about the division and feel they don't give me much of a reason too, either.

This was fun, though. A good match and the attack after started a program I'll actually watch. Diamante joined in on the attack, then Willow made the save. Yes to this. In fact, add them to the Stampede match.

Joe killed Serpentico. It was less than 20-seconds. The King of Television wants Punk.

A very random Trios defense next. Literally just a way to get them on TV. For a showcase of the champs, this was fine, though. You'll forget about it within a week.

Jay White and Gran Metalik should have been excellent. Instead, it was five minutes that felt flat. Oh well.

Punk put the Real World Championship on the line against Ricky Starks in the closing match from this Collision. Very old school stuff. Steamboat would help in the finish, "fucking" Starks a bit as the challenger tried to cheat. I enjoyed this honestly. Smart booking in a match like this, in fact. A bit rough at times, but in a way that kind of added instead of subtracting much.

After, it was Ricky on Ricky violence.

Collision has a perfect attitude.

FTR and Punk, post-show, promoted Midnight Express alongside Dennis, taken from the crowd. Good stuff. Worth watching if you are an old head.

Moving back to Dynamite, the Jericho Appreciation Society were in the ring to have a moment. Remember when Red Death had a lot of steam and almost broke out, but then just stagnated? Here, he quits the team and walked off. That's what we were waiting for? Misstep!

Hager liked his hat. Doesn't appreciate Jericho. Everyone would quit, one by one. Other than my displeasure of knowing they fucked up Garcia, this was well done. Like, super well done. A great way to kill a unit that was in need of a death.

It's Matt and Jeff versus Matt and Nick, folks! Sure, the older vets are largely in their autopilot days. I still love 'em. I also love this match, even if there was no chance it was ever going to be a MOTYC or anything. That's okay, too. It was a good, slightly rough, contest of some significance and a fun treat for a select portion of the fanbase.

After, all it took was the letters F, T, and R to bring out the champs. It's on!

Jack Perry and RVD was far better than it had any right to be. The spirit of ECW is alive and well and this is perhaps the healthiest display of that in some time. Overbooked? Yes. Fun as hell? Yes.

Cole and MJF talked some shit. This was good TV! That Hogan line in particular was golden as well as the pervert one. This established the duo would both face off for the top prize of AEW on the show, but that they'd also work the buy in to challenge for the Ring of Honor Tag Team Championships in UK. Good shit top to bottom.

MJF, Cole versus Aussie Open is going to be fire. There are many ways they can take this angle, and I am all for it! Strong was a little weirdo in this, too. MJF buried his ass. God damn this is a soap opera. The Kingdom comforted Roderick, then Cole got mad and had a moment with MJF.

They'd hug it out to end the segment.

Claudio and Jon, with Yuta as a second, took on the Lucha Bros next. Just a casual dream match meant to further establish where the scene is right now. Mox pulled the mask and rolled Penta up for the finish. Good television as BCC continue to be excellent dicks.

Mogul had a moment next. Darby came out, tried to say some shit to Fox, then Sting appeared while Tony creamed. A match was set and the heels ran off.

My kidney stones are back and I am still dealing with what might be COVID. Today is rough. This moment on in the set marks a different day, the one I just referred to as rough, playing host to the words so don't be too shocked if I'm very short. Maybe that's a good thing, though?

Next, Darby beat Cage guessed it, a flashpin. Good stuff, at least. Cage continues to wear facepaint again thanks to some nudging from fans. Also, that was a damn F20.

Orange finally won a match for the first time without needing a flashpin. It was okay.

Saraya beat Skye with a little help from her friends. Meh. The division continues to be very 2D more often than not. I really wanna like The Outcasts but this show is not making it easy.

Over to Collision, after more Rampage pulls than usual, we saw Ricky announce he'd be working manager for a while and act full-dick.

The Acclaimed were out next, did their thing, then won a squash. After, they, and the fans, gave Gunn some love. The Iron Savages were awful.

Diamante and Mercedes teamed up to face Kris and Willow in pull 20. This program might be the only one involving the women's division with any real meat to it right now, and it's still rather basic. Heel takes an L, attacks, other heel joins in and a face makes the save. That's as elementary as shit gets. They got about ten-minutes of TV time to work with and at least did their best with it. A good match if nothing else.

The heels picked up the win with a bit of illegal partner assistance.

Andrew Everett is on TV! And then he was murdered. Joe continues to destroy on Collision. He grabbed a mic after and again called out Punk. He called him a coward and a bitch and demanded he was going to get what he wanted. I'm not usually huge on squashes, and it sucks a bit that it was at the expense of Andrew, but this was fun television for sure.

Ever have a kidney stone? I deserve a damn award for even putting out as much content as I have during this shit. I've been giving birth on and off again for weeks.

Christian Cage and Luchasaurus are in the ring as we move along. The Captain is annoyed with Darby. Arn and his kiddo came out. This was rough. The match wasn't much of anything, either. Lucha won easy. The heels went to be dicks but Darby ran in with his skateboard to fuck shit up. At least it ended with a bit of steam. Once the mics came out, this was pretty funny.

Hobbs then joined Tony in the ring for a chat. All In took forever for booking to begin, and All Out is taking even longer. Miro came out for a moment, but was cut off by QT's goons. Spinebuster, and Miro was down. The Book of Hobbs is the latest attempt at trying to get this dude over. I hope it finally works.

Joe choked out Punk on the outside and House of Black retained following a pretty good title defense main event that we close this set with. This was a bit below expectations, but was still a fine contest with a finish meant as a building block. This admittedly reminded me again that they are increasingly running iffy finishes and it's not cool, though.

Weakest Collision so far? I think so, but it was still fine.

That's it on this one. I'll try to cap it all off before All In if I can, but no promises given what I am dealing with. I'll try hard to get SNSM and BOUT BLITZ back on track next week.

I'm not okay. I hope you are.

Spark d20(0)

Spark road to Fight for the Fallen

Match Ratings

  1. Jericho, Takeshita vs Guevara, Garcia ***
  2. Anything Goes: Moxley vs Pentagon vs Trent ***1/2
  3. The Elite vs Triple J, Singh ***
  4. ROH Tag Titles: Aussie Open(c) vs Vikingo, Komander ***3/4
  5. AEW Women's World Title: Storm(c) vs Shida ***1/2
    Dynamite Rating: 80%
  6. Parking Lot Brawl: BCC vs Best Friends ****
  7. AEW World Tag Titles: FTR(c) vs Bill, Cage ***1/4
  8. TBS Title: Kris(c) vs Mercedes ***
  9. Joe vs Serpentico NR
  10. AEW World Trios Titles, Open House: House of Black(c) vs Martin, Action, Lee ***
  11. White vs Metalik **1/2
  12. The Real World Title: Punk(c) vs Starks ***1/2
  13. The Hardys vs Young Bucks ***
  14. FTW Title: Perry(c) vs RVD ***1/4
  15. BCC vs Lucha Bros ***1/4
  16. Darby vs Cage ***
  17. International Title: Orange(c) vs TV **3/4
  18. Saraya vs Skye **1/4
  19. The Acclaimed vs Iron Savages NR
  20. Kris, Willow vs Martinez, Diamante ***
  21. Joe vs Everett NR
  22. TNT Title: Luchasaurus(c) vs Anderson NR
  23. Trios Titles: House of Black(c) vs Punk, FTR ***1/4
    Collision Rating: 65%

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