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Teflon Turtle

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  1. I watched it back: when Matt was in midair he had his hands over his chest and not in the Punk "go to sleep" position by the side of his head (which...I don't know I'd want any part of my body off-center when backflipping off a tall object either). When he landed, he sat down cross-legged (that's when I started thinking Punk) and closed his eyes as if in prayer. I jokingly had the same thought as The Green Meanie: "the moonsault itself is technically not a Punk reference; they're booing the nice Michinoku Pro-loving Christian boys!" But, maybe a prod at Punk's "Second City Saints?" Right after, Nick was aping some Randy Savage mannerisms, which I assumed was poking fun at Punk's top rope elbow. That, or the crowd was booing everything the Elite were doing at that point without even stopping to analyze if it made sense to do so and Nick was just clowning around.
  2. Boy, those Chicago fans are going to feel like assholes when they find out the only thing Matt Jackson was trying to do with that praying moonsault was pay homage to Jinsei Shinzaki. Buncha quick-to-judge ingrates. Kidding aside, I have no idea what The Elite was trying to do with all of those CM Punk and fight references. Are they building towards something, just being jerks, taking heat where they can get it/making the most of the fact that they will likely never be cheered in Chicago again and therefore don't have to be on their best behavior...? No matter what it was, I was entertained. Speaking of entertainment: I am totally fine with analyzing pro-wrestling to the extent that we do here. It's possible to enjoy this artform on a lot of different levels. But - if we accept that pro-wrestling is supposed to be a form of entertainment and are OK with consuming it on that simple level sometimes, then I don't know if anyone has entertained me more this year than Orange Cassidy has. Building a match based around playing keep away with a dumb hat is something I can't recall seeing in thirty years of fandom, and if I have seen it, it wasn't done in a more humorous and enjoyable way than it was done by OC, Hager, and the rest of the wrestlers at ringside in this match. One man's opinion on some of the postmodern wrestlers like Cassidy we've seen in recent times: in order to subvert the tropes of pro-wrestling, one must first understand those tropes. Orange Cassidy has a character, wrestles to it, and sells the beating he's taking quite well. These are all more traditional aspects of pro-wrestling; he simultaneously sticks by them and creatively bends some of the "rules" to make entertaining matches. He's not just screwing around in there. It's a joy to watch. To refer back to my post about Full Gear: I am glad that Toni Storm and Jamie Hayter's reigns are both going to be recognized as official title runs. They both earned it. While the tweet about Thunder Rosa above is a bit much, I do think it's a shame that this couldn't have been ironed out before the PPV. Making that announcement at Full Gear itself would've added more stakes to the match, when instead Jamie Hayter was announced as a new interim champion and then had that retconned mere days later. I admit to some curiosity as to why this agreement between AEW and Rosa couldn't have been reached even a week sooner.
  3. Most of my wrestling love comes from puroresu. So, when I saw Kingston/Akiyama and the aftermath, there was pretty much nothing that was going to top that for me. Eddie showing genuine emotion from the pre-match promo all the way through the moment he left the ring afterwards was something to witness. I'm happy he got to have that experience. I did not follow Kingston on the indies but I can see why he generates passionate reactions among some of the posters here. I'm all for a Kingston world-title run after this match. That said, there were some other nice little puroresu tributes I'll combine and ramble about for a second. I really liked Orange Cassidy using the PK after his match with Shibata. OC's growth as a wrestler and character in AEW is one of my favorite long-term things the promotion has done so far, and OC himself has been note-perfect in a lot of big matches this year. Since Shibata requested that match specifically, having OC take that move as a tribute makes sense to me. I also liked Mox throwing up Muto's "pro-wres love" hand gestures when he used the figure 4. I have mixed emotions about the women's interim title match. By the time Hayter and Storm were in the ring, there was a significant "big match feel" going, but I'd say that none of that was thanks to AEW. 100% of that credit goes to the wrestlers themselves. I do not have a dog in the fight with respect to some of the controversies that have followed Thunder Rosa around. So, nothing against her by writing this, but: Storm/Hayter should absolutely have been a decision match for the "real" championship. Both Hayter and Storm have been tearing it up lately, and both have earned the right to a legitimate championship run. The "interim" tag coming or going is meaningless; the story upon Rosa's return is the exact same regardless. She never lost the championship in the ring - it doesn't matter if she's facing an "interim" champion or the person who won the belt after Rosa was stripped of it. My next statement is no doubt influenced by the fact that I think this should've been a match for the "real" championship: the match didn't need the interference. Storm and Hayter were having a killer match until then, and Hayter winning via interference only takes away from the organic reactions she has been getting lately. It has been mentioned (by Tony Khan himself, I think) that the stance is that AEW fans can and should cheer for who they want. Yet sometimes, it still seems like AEW tries to swim against that tide a bit.
  4. So in this promo, one of the things Hangman said is (paraphrasing) that being a champion is not just about what happens when the cameras are on, but what happens when the red light goes off. Whether Hangman "went in to business for himself" with the worker's rights comment, by responding the way he did (even if the press conference was a bit worked), Punk eventually proved Hangman right if you ask me. And maybe a bit more contentious, but Hangman wound up eventually being pretty much right about protecting AEW from Punk, too - in character or not, it wound up being prophetic.
  5. It pains me to say it as a big fan of his, but Tetsuya Naito is a good shout. It probably really depends upon how you rate his opponents, of course, but many of his big matches have come against Tanahashi and especially Okada. Kenny Omega in the G1 final too...though I would argue (perhaps controversially) that at the time Naito was ranked by many at a tier below Okada and Omega when he was in fact their in-ring equal. More recently, Naito has wrestled ZSJ quite a bit, and Sabre Jr. has been on a hot streak for the last year or two. Courting controversy again: Naito had a good match against Ospreay in this year's G1. I personally would put Naito ahead of Ospreay, but those who rate Will highly would beg to differ.
  6. I, for one, still like that this remains a thing. I think I've written about this before, but during the height of Elite-era Bullet Club, there was one guy (...at least I think it was the same guy...) who I kept bumping in to at local festivals or concerts when we both had BC/NJPW shirts on. Quite the coincidence, as this was over the span of a couple of years. Didn't get to know him at all, but we were always sure to compliment each other's shirt choice or exchange a quick "too sweet." That's yet another thing the pandemic has seemingly ended: I have not seen quite as much wrestling merch worn in the wild as I did during those years (never mind the logistics of Too Sweet-ing under social distancing recommendations). Maybe a bit more variety, though: I complimented someone's AEW hoodie at a comic book shop, and I saw a guy with an Okada shirt at the supermarket, but didn't want to walk over and say anything because it was during the height of things/pre-vaccines. If you want more evidence that everything in the 2020s is upside down and backwards: I have caught glimpses of what I thought were Marty Scurll shirts post-Speaking Out, and have seen a Michael Elgin shirt out there.
  7. I don't know if she's busted this out before, but Nyla Rose wearing "Freakazoid!"-inspired gear this week is my favorite thing I have ever seen on Elevation.
  8. Not undermining Regal's position, but I would actually submit Chris Jericho for consideration also. (Probably depends on how long you want to stretch the arc between comedy/serious, but I think he works.) Relatively straightforward young cruiserweight > Ralphus/Man of 1,004 Holds shenanigans > more "comedy" (...I guess your mileage will vary given some of the misogynistic stuff that got thrown Stephanie's way in the Attitude era) from Y2J > eventually getting back to serious, suit-wearing heel who punched HBK's wife in the face. Always in a featured role no matter what. Nowadays it's like he ping pongs every other week and is still one of the biggest names in the industry.
  9. I don't think I've ever commented on MJF too much in the past. However...man, the start of his promo was genuinely funny. Dude even got his Mona-Lisa Saperstein impression in there, which fits him for a whole bunch of reasons. Anyway...I'll say this. After the year he's had, and after that promo, Jon Moxley should be AEW world champion until the day he retires - and when he does retire, he should exchange that belt for ten dump trucks full of money. That guy had me wanting to tear down a skyscraper with my bare hands, and I wasn't having a great day up until now. Also, I can't resist going up to a slightly more "meta" level. Having the guy who professes to be the heart and soul of AEW address the circumstances in the fashion that Mox came up with borders on genius to me. He didn't explain one iota more than he had to, didn't mention any party involved in the brawl post-PPV, and imbued the title and his chase for it with some meaning again (at least in my eyes). Of course, what we're almost assuredly going to get is MJF as champ via shenanigans with either Mox, Danielson, or Hangman on the chase. (The fantasy-booking part of me who really wants a shakeup thinks MJF should hold the belt for a bit, and the person who takes it from him should be Ricky Starks.)
  10. I didn't feel like posting any thoughts at 3 AM for a variety of reasons, so I'll just try to get everything out now. The tag title match and the trios titles matches were both a heck of a lot of fun to watch. Tag titles especially. I know many wrestling fans will inveigh against "video game style pro wrestling," but to me Swerve is like a character in a video game or old kung-fu film who has a fighting style that is entirely unique to himself. I don't know if we necessarily see that too often in wrestling any longer, at least not to the extent he's able to take it. Not related to his moveset, but it's also pretty effective when he lets his heel side come out. He's good at it. The "call an audible" thing is insane to me. I've never seen anything out of Swerve/Lee where they would deserve to get the rug pulled out from under them mid-match. No reason why AEW can't find a way to build up to a big rematch there. HOB vs. Miro/Sting/Allin was also fun pro-wrestling. I can only hope Malakai does what he needs to do to get right, whether it's mental/physical/emotional at this point. The main event was an excellent match. Moxley absolutely has a "wrestler of the year" argument. The fact that dude is doing this immediately after having a child, getting sober, and getting back in shape is...I don't know I have a better word than "commendable" at the moment but it doesn't feel like enough. As for the scrum stuff...I've reached the point where I tie seemingly everything in life back to "The story of the Chinese farmer." AEW has joined the list. All of this "is it a work? is it a shoot?" stuff just makes me say "We'll see." Tony's comments about having more money than Jim Crockett, to me, are telling. If all of these disagreements are real, the question to me is at what point will money be unable to make all of these problems go away? If the disagreements are worked, to what extent will this bring more money in? Will the promise of enough cash be enough to get all of these clashing personalities to work together? I guess we'll see. They have some potentially interesting storyline directions to go, if they can get everyone to cooperate. After what Punk has said - real or not - it would make sense to have someone like Hangman double down on his comments and insist he was right about needing to save AEW from Punk. It would be logical for his character to continue to feel that way after the events of the PPV and the scrum; it wouldn't be unreasonable in-story to state that Punk is close to burning AEW to the ground, and he's not even necessarily doing it intentionally. He's just being himself, damn the consequences.
  11. Well, my weekend plans have changed. "I must inquire about the actions you shall endeavor to take whilst the the most significantly proportioned upper extremities within the entirety of the celestial body upon which we inhabit are proceeding upon your person in an uncontrolled fashion. (Despite the fact that we share identical parentage.)"
  12. There's something I want to mention about the whole Thunder Rosa thing even if the "hiding in the bathroom" thing is (almost assuredly) nonsense. There are a whole lot of physical problems that can render one's skill level in legitimate fighting irrelevant. High-level combat sports fighters drop out of fights due to injury all the time. Why? Because they run the risk of getting injured more seriously, and more to the point, the injury renders them incapable of defending themselves to their fullest ability. You can have all of the knowledge in unarmed combat in the world, but if you so happen to have something like (just for example, I have no idea if this is Rosa's issue) recurring problems with bad back spasms, the last thing you want to do is try to fight somebody. Skill level doesn't matter if you can barely walk or rotate your midsection. There are a whole bunch of reasons, physical and otherwise, why Rosa could've come to the conclusion that fighting a very strong person in the prime of their life was not in her best interest that day.
  13. 100%. Fighters have to be so careful with how they move their head in both kickboxing and MMA. Ducking and weaving under punches is pretty much out because of knees and kicks. One can slip straight punches, but must keep the movement as small as possible to avoid ducking in to kicks. Usman bought that the straight left was coming and tried to both parry it and slip his head out of the way. Because Leon's kick followed it so closely/was timed just right, Usman didn't have enough time to get his arm back to where it needed to be (looking at the replays, it appeared he was trying to, but it was just too late. Could've just been reflex). Just incredible to watch. I mostly caught it on replays; live, I looked down to take a bite of food and Usman was already falling. Truly "blink and you'll miss it." Edwards, for his part, landed that kick and put his foot right back in his stance. Didn't come off balance for a moment throughout the whole movement. Really added to that "what happened" feeling as it barely registered that Leon had left his stance at all!
  14. If Leon Edwards wants to adopt "The Excellence of Execution" as another nickname, I'm here for it. That's as good and as precise as you will ever see that headkick setup done in MMA.
  15. All Rockhold needs to do from here is pick up some fireworks on the way home and jump off a vending machine or two to cement his status as MMA's Kota Ibushi. I write that with (mostly) all of the affection that status is due.
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