Go wins N-1, will face Lee for belt

Go won the N-1 and we started this edition with the post-match drama between him and the GHC top dog, Jake Lee. If you'd like my thoughts on the finals match, you should check out the last Digest.

DDT stuff

Next, Irie got a big response on Brookes ahead of their title match. This follows a negative result for the challenger last week, and certainly helps set a tone for their match ahead. Our clip only showed the closing stretch, largely leaving out the tag partners, but made for a solid watch. After, Shigs made his intentions clear to Chris.

Clips from past Onita-goes-boom moments attached to DDT ran next to promote the next Onita-goes-boom moment attached to DDT. Watch if you like watching Onita-goes-boom moments.

Dynamite

Fans thanked Orange. He thanked them. He's not going anywhere and still doesn't have a catch-phrase.

AR Fox got a shot at the International Championship in our next one. The shit taste is still in my mouth for how they did my boy recently with that Swerve program, but I did appreciate him getting to showoff a bit before being fed to the champ. I also appreciate Jon seemingly keeping the fighting champ thing going that Orange ran wild with. A good match and a clean finish.

Christian had a chat with Wayne after.

The TBS Championship was on the line and damn I really wanted Emi to win it here. I knew it wasn't going to happen, but I really did want it. Oh well. This was short, because the women's roster can't even get ten fucking minutes on Dynamite, but was really good for what it was thanks to the hard work from both. One of my favorite short matches of the year. Rematch, please!

Moving along, we had Jericho and Sammy versus Aussie Open. This was honestly great. The action rocked, the pacing was sweet, and the nearfalls were near af. Minor miscommunications continued dropping seeds into the Sex Gods program and the two would push each other in post. 

The Judas Effect finish was visual sugar.

MJF is Indiana's daddy and is heading to Grand Slam. He invoked Joe and Joe cameth. Fat jokes and tiny dick chants rang out and words in general were exchanged. Eventually MJF said the TNA legend would need to win the tournament to get a shot at him but warned that he'd just get sent back to NXT if he did. It ended in a glorious brawl and Cole would make the save for his boy when it shifted south for the people's scumbag.

He's selling his neck perfectly in my opinion. The dude has been a TV ace of late.

Regal really did fuck up.

The crowd was fire during this segment and the champ felt like the most over dude in the game as a result. Solid gold television. If you missed it, watch it.

Note that Roderick whined after.

Speaking of, next we had Roderick versus Trent in tournament action because neck injuries are popular. Honestly, this was a good contest and a nice reminder that Strong is a capable wrestler and he's not as pathetic as his current character.

Adam Page talked about his charity donation with Tony S. Swerve came out looking big mad because he had been confined to a coffin since All In. Princey was vibing. Shit talking followed.  

Last, Darby called Wayne a child and told him to step up. He kicked his teeth in and then Christian came out with his championship dinosaur. They tried to put a bit too much into this, but the in-ring action was good enough that it made up for it. Good shit, either way.

A quick note on Grand Slam. Last I looked, they had reduced seating for this show down by over 8k from last year, from 20k to 12k. Even still, it was under 7k sold overall. Take note, folks. It's not gloom and doom, but ignoring it helps no one.

FREEDOMS

We'll mix in a little b&g now for good measure. This one is a six-man from the Heel don't think show. Honestly, it's hard to call something with such a thick crimson mask involved a throwaway match. It's the truth, but it's not an easy one to admit to, even with the names involved. Still, it was actually a pretty good one that most genre supporters will likely enjoy if they set expectations properly. 

Plus, if nothing else, it's never bad checking in on Takeda and Jun.

Back to DDT because DDT is awesome

A quick return to DDT saw Hirata with a mic in hand after winning the Iron Man Heavy Metal belt from Doi; pairing it nicely with his Extreme strap. The match footage skipped the finish so I didn't include it, though it does have Doi dancing. Or having a stroke, maybe. I did include this because it saw Hiromu appear and go for the 24/7 belt after Hirata tried to read a letter aloud to the junior ace. This was a fun segment and set up a match between the two that's currently set for this year's Ultimate Party.

Rejoice!

The current blast Onita match saw his side, with Toi and Yoshi Tatsu beat Jun, Yusuke Okada, and Sanshiro. If you like things going boom and mindless brawling, and who doesn't like things going boom and mindless brawling from time to time, than you should watch this clipped down match of things going boom alongside some mindless brawling.

The thing in question was a bat wrapped in barbed wire.

The finish is missing, but just have a blast anyway and know that it's not the point in this one.

Note that DAMNATION T.A.'s KANON and Fujita beat OMEGA for the brand tag belts on the card, too.

It was time to see if Irie was going to prove Brookes to be a short stop transitional champ or not. The simple but entertaining road to this one and the fact that I'm a fan of both made me pretty excited to see how it'd turn out. Luckily, I feel like I was rewarded. The big dude got to look like a real threat here in his attempt to become a 4x KO-D Openweight Champ, which was a nice sight. Brookes got to showcase fighting spirit in abundance as a result in his eventual retaining of the title. While the pin count itself was cut from the video in the playlist, and while I do recommend watching the whole match like I did if you can, this is still worth watching in either format. 

After, Chris made it clear that he wants Saki to be his next challenger. I love that choice, especially seeing as she's set to retire at the end of the year. Their match is booked for later this month and will absolutely be covered in a future edition of the digest.

Impact!

Santino...sigh...brought out Trinity to join Eddie and Alisha. It was just a cheap, basic ass trash segment in general. One of the weaker contract signing skits I've seen in a while and that's fucking saying something. I've been catching up on the product lately and honestly this made it feel like the Knockouts division takes a big dip from where I am at a few months back.

That's never fun, knowing it goes downhill like a damn New Found Glory track.

It ended with the champ getting tossed through a table by Edwards.

Lio Rush, currently the X-Division Champ, came out next to face Kevin Knight ahead of his title defense against KUSHIDA set for the next day. This was taped, to be clear. Perhaps a good thing, as Lio likely was sore after this one. I bet he considered retiring once again. Knight was legit in defeat but the champ got a nice showcase in to remind people that we should be excited every time he decides he's not done.

After, Rush beat down on Knight to be a dick. KUSHIDA ran him off and pointed at a giant red X. Good stuff in all.

Subculture is out next to take on Swann and Callihan. I like Sami, but he's been attached to programs that I have no interest in for a while so I've missed the dude. Note that this match aired before the Rush one, but I preferred this positioning personally. Feel free to switch 'em back when you watch if you want.

Now, I have no idea why the CZW World Heavyweight Champion is teaming with Sami in this one, but I don't really care. That's because this was just pure, tag team entertainment and sometimes that's enough. While I stated earlier that I feel the Knockouts division appears to be meh right now, I must add that this really helped make a statement in the opposite direction for the tag teams.

Do the GYV duo head here or AEW? Either way, a 450 finish saw Subculture take the L and served as a statement victory.

Ospreay is announced for a future appearance. Sweet.

Next, PCO and Josh Alexander faced Bully Ray and Maclin. Steve and Josh were scheduled for their first singles match at Victory Road and PCO was to face Bully. I'll cover that special event in a different edition. Man, I'm glad Josh is back. For a go home, building block showcase meant to sell two big matches set for a show airing the next day, this worked well enough. Not must-see, but good for what it was. 

I'm sold on the Maclin/Alexander match, at least. The other one can suck eggs.

Rampage

I'm sorry, but did they run a Rampage episode in a way that made it feel like it actually mattered? I sure as hell pulled a lot more from this one than usual.

Lethal and Penta are up first. Jay pulled the mask at one point, leading to Jay grabbing a guitar in a spot that made no sense. The contest was fine, but not as good as I had hoped in general. At least the right dude won.

Sammy Guevara came out to talk with Chris. They wanted to punch each other. Hard. Right then, right there. The Painmaker said they needed to get their issues out of the way via a singles match, that way they could move forward and win the tag belts. Sammy's "where you wanna do it?" line felt camp af, but this being booked at Grand Slam made sense. I guess. Honestly, this feels like a lesser, altered version of the MJF/Cole plot.

Matt and Nick Jackson faced 2point0 next and Hager played the dick manager role next. Jericho, on commentary, sounded like he was in a tunnel. Honestly, this was just a throwaway TV tag but like a lot of the throwaways in this collection it was ultimately good. Skip or watch. No big deal either way.

The main saw Jeff Hardy take on Samoa Joe in another spot from the Grand Slam tournament. Joe worked control for large portions of this clipped contest, allowing for Hardy to try to spark the crowd when he'd attempt a comeback. The obvious choice was the result, though, and Joe moved on and scheduled himself a date with Penta along the way.

The move aside spot this time was meme-worthy. The finish saw Jeff go to sleep and then Joe staring into our souls, licking his lips, and then saying that he wanted to come for us. Grab a towel.

I'm a sucker for tournaments. Their use this week did make the episode feel more important, even if the quality overall wasn't in the required viewing realm at all.

Shit, I really need to update my MOTYC list. Sorry. And I just gave cubs shit for not updating the lucha blog's list. I suck. Not a lot of Rampage will be on the list. If anything from the show at all, actually.

Mexico City

Zeuxis and Vaquer were on opposite sides and were awesome, as expected. Their partners were solid enough in their roles, but I honestly just had a blast either way. The rudo/tecnico dynamic was the central story here and things returned to normal by the end.

Relampago action next with Volador beating Cavernario in one hell of a sprint. They made every damn second of this feel like you couldn't blink, and delivered shot and spot after shot and spot. This kicked ass!

The second semi-final cibernetico for the Copa Independencia is up next. This one featured Rugido beating Star Black, Capitan Suicida, Stigma, Dark Panther, Hombre Bala Jr (remember him?), Akuma, Coyote, Crixus, Hijo del Villano III, and Max Star. I don't think I missed anyone, but I honestly don't expect most of you to know most of these guys. I barely remember a portion of 'em, and I watch a decent amount of this company.

Note that I am an absolute sucked for this match type and tend to have a good time watching them. I indeed had a good time watching this one, too. The flow worked decently, the eliminations were all decent enough, and even the crowd was pretty solid. Thumbs up content.

Last, from this show, we saw an NFL tie-in main event with mascots and themed masks. Sadly, the Jets were not represented. Instead, we had Dallas, Denver, LA, Kansas City, Vegas, and Arizona for those keeping track. That this was the final Friday show ahead of their biggest event of the year didn't matter as much as the NFL season starting, and admittedly the jerseys and football pageantry did come off a little comedic in consideration of the timing. The match was still very fun either way, so it doesn't matter.

Catch this if you're a fan of one of those teams or if you just want a good main event in front of an appreciative crowd.

Collision

Action and Mox kicked us off, with Jon proving that he's game to continue Orange's fighting champion spirit. Andretti did feel like he had grown a tad, but still doesn't feel like a truly relevant roster member. The finish itself was pretty good and the contest preceding it was decent, at least.

Just like the PWI 500, our next pull saw a random collection of luchadores. Here, the former Drago teamed with Aero and a dude that's only there because he's the brother of Bandido to take on Bullet Club Gold's Juice and the guys that are only there because they are Gunn's kids. If this helps the real Drago and Aerostar get some more cash, I'm happy with it. In a vacuum though, this was perhaps the weakest throwaway of the set.

Fenix took on a dude that most forget works for AEW next. Yup, the dude that used to jump from shit in Lucha Underground. Serpentico got kicked in the face and Rey would pick up a win, but this wasn't nearly as good as it should've been.

It's Strong and Darby in tournament action time. Allin's injuries were the difference maker and Roderick, a man known to send folks to the spine cracker's office, capitalized. The outcome wasn't really in question, as the finals were set before the tournament began, but this contest provided for a fun ride on the way. The shit with Fox and Wayne was unneeded baggage, though.


Danielson is almost done as a professional wrestler, because he made a promise to his kid. I respect that shit. He's reminded everyone that he's the best wrestler from the United States of all time with his AEW run and I'm all for him finishing on a strong note.

Seattle, Washington. We're finally getting the dream match! I need a towel, folks.

Ricky, with Big Bill, came out to chat with The American Dragon. Danielson plugged him and offered Starks a role in the BCC. Bill cut him off and laid in the shots. Ricky stopped him but then took over. Jon went to make the save but was laid out by the best big dude ever and Ricky tried to get fired by Vince by choking out Danielson.

Wait.

Yes chants are back...kind of.

Last, we have Joe and Penta in the other semi-final. Slowed down and very much a TV contest, this was a lesser match than the two are capable of while also serving as a decent bout either way. I do think they could've done better with it trimmed down to ten, but ultimately I think this was a nice note to close things on.

The move-out-the-way spot in this one was a diving table spot, so that was fun.

Collision had some good shit, but felt weaker than some of the episodes just a few weeks back if I'm being honest.

Maybe we can admit that the way AEW is right now just isn't doing it for enough people. They don't have many with real energy behind 'em right now and in general they seem to have lost a lot of their steam. Dynamite remains a good show each week, but feels formulaic at times, features too many flash pins, and leans their variety show outside of their sweet zone a bit too often. Rampage is one of the least important feeling shows ever. Collision was fun, but has lost direction and feels increasingly like Second Dynamite. The women's division is 2D, as well. Hell, a lot of talent feel 2D. They need to light the burners, but Tony is stretched thin and is taking bad advice.

This company is arguably the best in America from a quality stance, but it's not a super high bar people. There's no excuse not to be better, either. In fact, any chance at maintaining a 1mil+ regular ratings line feels impossible with current trajectory. They just sold more tickets to a wrestling show ever and these words somehow still feel true.

We need to admit there's a problem so things can move forward. I know I'm just a dumbass with a site, rambling about something I love. I know Tony has only read a tiny fraction of my work and likely won't be adding this to that list. I still am hopeful that at the very least, me typing this all will put energy out into the damn universe and make this shit a reality.

AEW could be so damn amazing. Instead, they're skirting the bar.

The good news is that WWE is taking a dip starting this week and that'll help swing a touch of attention back. If Tony plays things right, at least. I also do not know who's getting future endeavored soon, but it's not no one. A lot of office staff, most likely. By the time I finish this set, many of those will likely be gone already.

Jade leaving doesn't matter, by the way. She was a green worker with a few sparks here and there showing some potential, but she always came off most as a less charismatic Goldberg experiment that took TV time from far better workers. Let her waste time in Vince's playground so I can stop skipping her content in AEW.

Victory Road will be covered a future digest. Most likely the next one.

A quick note on the new PWI 500. These yearly lists are a joke. They've included dead people and retired workers, they never know what the hell they're doing when it comes to lucha libre or smaller puro feds. Most of it feels as if they just grabbed names from a list, pinned them to a wall, and started throwing darts to determine where they'd place 'em. Smaller names get a pop from them because it's publicity and it's fun to see yourself in a magazine with such nostalgia attached. It's still a joke, though. 

Don't take it too seriously.

Thanks to anyone reading these words. I appreciate you. Be kind to yourself and others and have a badass day!


Match Ratings Roundup

  1. Soma, Irie vs Brookes, Higuchi NR
  2. International Title: Moxley(c) vs Fox ***1/4
  3. TBS Title: Kris(c) vs Emi ***1/4
  4. Le Sex Gods vs Aussie Open ***3/4
  5. Strong vs Trent ***1/4
  6. Darby vs Wayne ***1/4
  7. LightTube Death: Tori, Masaoka, Ito vs Takeda, UNCHAIN ***1/2
  8. Time Difference Scramble Bunkhouse Current Blast Six-man Death NR
  9. KO-D Openweight Title: Brookes(c) vs Irie ****
  10. Lio vs Knight ***1/4
  11. Subculture vs Swann, Callihan ***1/2
  12. Bully, Maclin vs PCO, Alexander ***
  13. Pentagon vs Lethal ***
  14. Young Bucks vs Parker, Menard ***
  15. Joe vs Jeff **3/4
  16. Zeuxis, Jarochita vs Vaquer, Lluvia ***1/4
  17. Lightning: Cavernario vs Volador Jr. ***3/4
  18. Copa Independencia Semi-final B Cibernetico ***1/2
  19. Atlantis Jr, Mascara Dorada, Mistico vs Guerrero Maya Jr, Titan, Templario ***1/2
  20. International Title: Mox(c) vs Action ***
  21. Bullet Club Gold vs Super Friends (and Gravity) **3/4
  22. Fenix vs Angelico **3/4
  23. Strong vs Darby ***1/2
  24. Joe vs Pentagon ***1/4