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Grand Slam - 9/22/2021


The Natural
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I didn't get home until 2am.  I have a slight hangover. My students will have a free day today. 

AEW has filled my live wrestling yearly fix with these past 2 shows. Seeing Bryan Danielson live again was great! My first time seeing him in a bingo hall in 2002 I had no idea who he was and he lost a submission match to Low Ki. He got me into ROH and I saw his last match there in 2009 against Nigel McGuinness. I've seen him live in WWE most recently against Kofi at mania. And now seeing him again post WWE, in NYC against Kenny Omega feels like I've seen his career come full circle live. The American Dragon is back is I'm looking forward to this run in AEW more than anything else!

Thank you AEW.

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58 minutes ago, RandomAct said:

I am NOT happy about the fact that I have thoroughly enjoyed two consecutive Kenny Omega matches.  When he is reserved, and actually leans into being a real heel, he is very watchable. He has been among my least favorite people to watch for several years, but he also just worked two of my literal all time favorite workers back to back. Fantastic match that left a lot more for them to do next time.

I don't love nor hate Omega, he has qualities I like and qualities I dislike, but AEW Omega is infinitely more watchable than New Japan Omega ever was. Almost feels like working for a televised US mainstream company has forced him to reign in some of his worst tendencies, or maybe those tendencies were always more a 'New Japan thing' that he leaned into with their house style, but whatever way you dice it he's been much more enjoyable in this run than ever before. Working guys like Christian and Bryan obviously helps, mind.

 

 

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1 hour ago, RandomAct said:

I am NOT happy about the fact that I have thoroughly enjoyed two consecutive Kenny Omega matches.  When he is reserved, and actually leans into being a real heel, he is very watchable. He has been among my least favorite people to watch for several years, but he also just worked two of my literal all time favorite workers back to back. Fantastic match that left a lot more for them to do next time.

My usual description of Omega is he is fully capable of being this guy from the Christian and Danielson matches all the time, but chooses not to a lot of the time, and that’s more frustrating and annoying then not being able to do it at all. He can be absolutely awesome, but dumbs down his work to a certain formula most of the time, and I have zero interest in watching that. It’s something him and the Bucks share (and, honestly, Adam Cole too). 
 

Danielson/Omega was obviously great, and there are no real arguments against it being so. I don’t know how to place it on the Danielson “best matches” tier but that’s because Danielson best matches tier is like 25-30 deep for me. But it’s on the list. And credit had to go to Omega who clearly has made really smart decisions in working matches with Danielson and Christian, two all time greats recently.

 

MJF/Pillman Jr. made Pillman Jr. look like a dork. Which is fine, because Pillman Jr. isn’t very good. His movement in the ring for that match was really not good. Sting is 62 and he actually looked much more fluid in his match then Pillman Jr. did here. I didn’t like this mini feud much, but not everything can hit well.

 

Cody/Black was… interesting. AEW has kind of evolved to the point we’re Cody Rhodes has became passé, and I have no idea where he can sit on the depth chart. He’s clearly well below top faces like Danielson, Punk, Darby, Hangman, Moxley, and, imo, Kingston at this point in terms of fan reaction and feel. I’d say turn him heel but I have no clue where he’d be on the heel depth chart either at this point. With all the new talent coming in there was always going to be a problem of who will not feel like a vital talent at this point, and Cody feels like the biggest potential victim. But he’s so well connected into the company I’m not sure if they would be cool just being another mid match show.

 

FTR/Sting and Darby was fun, but the match I think most hurt by the split screen. I love watching heel control, FTR tend to be great at it, but when the entire heel control can’t be hears and is only on part of the screen, it will drag stuff down. But overall I still enjoyed this, and Darby’s dive onto Dash was madness. Sting at his age still feels like he can work pretty well, and you can tell FTR loved bumping around for him.

 

Main Event was hit or miss. They’d mix in some really fun moments with awkward. The finish was kind of just there for me, but Brit was the better worker in the match.

 

Overall, super fun show I was engaged in the entire way through. Still am excited for Rampage.

 

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Last word on Omega from me for now unless anyone wants to scrap: the sense I'm getting is that most people are inoculated towards Omega's mannerisms, way of carrying himself, and self-awareness by his worst performances so that they can more thoroughly enjoy his best and focus much more on his positives (of which I can clearly see he has some that I would be otherwise interested in like earned spots and match layouts, though less so his speed and execution). I haven't had the Omega vax yet so I spent half an hour reeling over what would affect most people a lot less. Granted, I'm also particularly susceptible to it given that the most important aspect of pro wrestling to me right now is a wrestler being fully committed to being in the moment and while his self-awareness might create brilliant and imaginative layouts and callbacks, you can see the strings all the time. If I was starving for wrestling, I could build up tolerance maybe, but I've got a ton of the most immersed wrestler ever in 1990s Tenryu to watch and am totally happy watching two hours of AEW webshows every week and seeing the kids develop, so...

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There were a few small details I really liked. When the crowd are going mental, Bryan can’t hide his delight. Omega tries to, and says “I don’t give a shit” but immediately smirks as the camera cuts away. 
 

when Callis goes to give Omega tactics in his ear, Omega casually tells him to go away without even looking at him, and Callis meekly complies. 
 

Arn falling off the apron, planned or botch, worked perfectly into the whole angle for me. Cody has to go and check on this bumbling old man, and the embarrassed Arn tells him to get on with it, which in turn has to piss Cody off cuz if you hadn’t slipped, old man, we wouldn’t be having this dumbass conversation!

I loved Cody’s selling of the mist. It was a real panicked “am I blind, guys? I’m fuckin blind, man. He blinded me!”

“It’s just some mist, man, you’ll me ok in a sec.”

“I’m A BLIND MAN”

“calm down”

”I’ll never see my baby daughter again!”

anyway, can’t wait for Rampage now. 

 

 

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FTR are the biggest wrestling geeks ever.  I love them.  I wouldn't have jobbed them.  If they can't beat the odd paring of Sting and Darby Allin, they shouldn't be killing Santana / Ortiz or Jurassic Express anytime soon.  FTR needed a strong win against a strong opponent and they should've won that match.  I call bullshit.

Omega vs. Danielson was a nice build to the inevitable 60 minute ironman match or falls count anywhere spotfest that they will have at a later time.  The time limit draw was a perfectly fine way to end the match and protect both workers.  At least there wasn't any numbers game chicanery from the rest of the Elite and maybe we'll get some future Trios or 8 Mans out of the fracas.

MJF vs. Pillman was good for what it was.  MJF calls out someone he knows he can beat.  MJF doing heel things like menacing Julia Hart is totally great but only because Julia is like everyone's kid that you would yell at if she were not home by 10 on a school night because you DON'T TRUST THE OTHER BOYS~! and she may be one of the greatest babyfaces in peril since Ricky Morton.

Cody jobbed again.  I would be happy, but this will probably only lead to a Cody win on some PPV.  Cody probably won't turn heel, so my fantasy booking of the boos making Cody actually join the House of Black because he can't beat it most likely won't happen.

Ruby needs to work on that gas tank.   The restraint from the Omega / Danielson match caused the win via numbers game booking in the Baker / Soho match to leave a bad taste in my mouth.  Too bad that Ruby is going by Soho and not Riott anymore, because this might be a good opportunity for Ruby to put together the Riott Squad 2.0 and get a couple of the languishing members of the AEW women's roster some ring time.  Soho's Soldiers?  Ruby's Rancid Raiders?  Hmm.

Edited by J.T.
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6 minutes ago, cubbymark said:

I really feel Hangman is the odd man out in all this hullabaloo.

Hangman is still out on maternity (?) leave like any decent father would be.  Let the man enjoy some private time with his wife and kid.  And by enjoy I mean survive on four hours sleep a night because he's constantly changing diapers at three in the morning.

Edited by J.T.
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1 minute ago, J.T. said:

Hangman is still out on paternal leave like any decent father would be. 

Understood. And Tony has given Hangman more time off than most employers would allow, which is awesome. To me, it feels like with all the new additions to the AEW roster, Tony might forget about Hangman. That’s all.

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Its a bummer because he's a second gen guy that should have been born with it, but I can't ignore the mounting evidence supporting the fact that Pillman Jr. simply doesn't "get" pro wrestling. Between standing on the stage mugging two weeks straight instead of beating MJF's ass, to his clunky movements in the ring. I really want to like the guy so bad, but it's not there I don't think.

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35 minutes ago, cubbymark said:

Understood. And Tony has given Hangman more time off than most employers would allow, which is awesome. To me, it feels like with all the new additions to the AEW roster, Tony might forget about Hangman. That’s all.

Eh, I feel that giving Hangman some time off to be with his family is evidence that Tony hasn't forgotten about Page, but I am a glass half full painful optimist.

38 minutes ago, Niners Fan in CT said:

i really like Ruby, she's got a great look, she's been killing it on the mic and she's a good wrestler but all that said i don't believe she's someone you can build a division around.  i felt the right woman went over and when it's time for Dr. Britt to drop the title,  i would still have Thunder Rosa be that person. 

Yeah,  The vision for the women's belt probably has them putting it around Jade Cargill's waist when she is not so green, so let's thank our lucky stars that Britt is still over and is working heel.  If we still believe in kayfabe rankings, Jade is undefeated and should be the #1 contender.  Ugh.

I prayed to God that Leyla Hirsch would pull off the upset, but Satan prevailed.  I don't know how long you can continue to have Jade be unbeaten when she keeps taking one step forward and five backwards.  Kilynn King should've dusted her off and Kris Stadlander or Shida should definitely kill her.

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Yeah Pillman Jr did not deserve this spot. He is slow in the ring to a degree that makes the whole thing look like a dance. 

All I was thinking during that match was these guys are taking time away from the three big matches left.

Worst wrestler on the show by quite a wide margin. Tough spot for MJF (who I have liked in my brief time watching). After this and the Jericho feud, dude needs a break from guys who can’t move.

Edited by Jrag
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1 minute ago, Jrag said:

Tough spot for MJF (who I have liked in my brief time watching). After this and the Jericho feud, dude needs a break from guys who can’t move.

Sammy's paired with Miro so maybe pair MJF with Darby or Jungle Boy.  He needs a hot feud.   Pillman sorry to say is a Dark Elevation worker right now and should maybe stick exclusively to tags.  

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I haven’t watched the Pillman episode of DSOTR.  So my understanding of this Pillman push isn’t readily apparent.  But DSOTR is so into the wrestling cultural zeitgeist that to ignore PJr would seem like a missed opportunity.   Maybe a cut off would be appropriate until he develops further.

OR…
 

Maybe PJr. could be the one to talk Wardlow into turning face and crushing MJF as a pair?

Edited by Brandon Bones
Nitpicky edits.
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52 minutes ago, Mr Harms said:

There were a few small details I really liked. When the crowd are going mental, Bryan can’t hide his delight. Omega tries to, and says “I don’t give a shit” but immediately smirks as the camera cuts away. 
 

when Callis goes to give Omega tactics in his ear, Omega casually tells him to go away without even looking at him, and Callis meekly complies. 
 

Arn falling off the apron, planned or botch, worked perfectly into the whole angle for me. Cody has to go and check on this bumbling old man, and the embarrassed Arn tells him to get on with it, which in turn has to piss Cody off cuz if you hadn’t slipped, old man, we wouldn’t be having this dumbass conversation!

I loved Cody’s selling of the mist. It was a real panicked “am I blind, guys? I’m fuckin blind, man. He blinded me!”

“It’s just some mist, man, you’ll me ok in a sec.”

“I’m A BLIND MAN”

“calm down”

”I’ll never see my baby daughter again!”

anyway, can’t wait for Rampage now. 

 

 

It was black mist.  He's going to be breastfeeding the baby soon if past incidents showed accurate black mist effects.

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51 minutes ago, cubbymark said:

Understood. And Tony has given Hangman more time off than most employers would allow, which is awesome. To me, it feels like with all the new additions to the AEW roster, Tony might forget about Hangman. That’s all.

I don’t think Tony has forgotten about Hangman. I’m sure he’ll get a strong push whenever he gets back. But I do think there’s reason to be concerned re: how that’s going to go.  Hangman has only been gone, like, a month and a half, but he already feels like a relic from a bygone era of AEW, pre-Punk/Dragon/Cole, to me. It’s going to be tough to get that momentum back.

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