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  1. Didn’t Bayley’s star ascend during the pandemic period? From the clips I saw she grew more and more comfortable in her own skin and being fully in character in front of zero fans. Another type of performer to add to @LoneWolf&Subs list: those who can fill minutes with talking segments and make it work (as far as anyone can).
  2. So many other people said it but the Hangman and Dark Order entrance through from the video package to them in the ring set a perfect tone between cheesy and hype. It might be one of my favourites they’ve done. It sounds uncharitable, but it’s impressive how totally committed Jericho is when it comes to glomming onto the next new buzz-worthy thing, from Omega/NJPW, to Talk’n Shop with the Good Brothers on his podcast ,to BTE, to AEW at large, to LAX fresh off their indie/Impact buzz, to Orange Cassidy, and now to Nick Gage. I was with Craig on this one, not usually a bloodthirsty fan and maybe it was the spectacle of Jericho doing it but I ate all of it up and enjoyed the ride to the very end. AEW has got better at layering in the stuff for the nerdy/hardcore fans with a general fun, spectacle and flow of a show. So rather than an exclusive club, it’s like GoT where you can either simply marvel at the action/violence/ sex/dragons and get caught up in the story in the moment, or recognise the call-backs to a story thread 18 months back, or a deliberate choice of words calling back to 10 years ago somewhere else entirely (‘Chris, as you lay there in the ring in as much pain as possible…’). Its weird, the matches mostly fell short of my expectations but it does such a good job as a weekly show with enough different things going on (Haku sighting - but wasn’t he Meng when he was on Turner TV though?) and questions being asked and answered as Matt said, that you’re begging for next week to come around no matter what. Random observation - was Kenny Omega reeling off all the wrestlers whose spinning heel kick was inferior to Nick Jackson’s? You could hear him saying ‘Savio Vega…Owen Hart…Kaz Hayashi’. Rosa’s gear was a step down in quality from usual this week, and no idea why Julia Hart is on Dynamite yet, but always happy to see Thunder Rosa on the main show. Cody’s eight words into a ‘state of the nation’ promo (already with that inflection of pomp and self-importance) before getting cut off was too hilarious. And another order of no-name luchadors getting their head kicked off by Malakai Black please!
  3. By All Out we’ll be in Hackenschmidt territory at this rate. Or maybe Abe Lincoln…
  4. There’s been lots of talk about ship-jumping needle-movers on the men’s side. What about the women’s? Would they all be reluctant (even if they could contract-wise) with Becky’s return about to ‘lift all ships’ (to keep the naval metaphors going) for the women across the company? Does Bayley pull a fast one and have a return match from her injury in another promotion?
  5. I really do appreciate the ‘devils advocate’ posts by @Goodear (not meant as a slight and I don’t doubt your sincerity), it’s worthwhile looking at what could be done better and where they’re dropping the ball or building logical inconsistencies. But when it comes to the heart rather than the head, the emotional investment with virtually all their biggest stars, building on the ‘upstart’ goodwill in a gradual but exciting way, the respect and reverence for the broader lineage of pro wrestling, the party atmosphere, the Nitro-esque pace of the show, the deliberate ‘no arseholes’ locker room policy, the lack of dogma towards a particular physique/style, the unbound enthusiasm of the booker…it all just adds up to an absolute pleasure of a ride every (for me) Thursday and a sense of real optimism for where they’re going next. I think that’s why these threads are always buzzing - I remember the post-show thread here from the NXT invasion and that sense of true unpredictability and a genuine happening, it’s a bit of that same vibe every week. On the show, the main delivered hard without turning away this more squeamish viewer, and one of my faves Archer finally gets to win a big one (for now!) And the prospect of ZSJ in AEW gets ever closer… Jerichos fat-boy Frankensteiner was great but I don’t think his knees would thank him after that hard landing. At least he gets to go light on the workrate (presumably) next week. No matches with Bucks, Cody, Black, Kenny, PAC, Sting, Jungle Boy, Christian etc etc and they still pulled in over a million, must be doing something right.
  6. Not a new take but doing the maths, 75 years old + <50% of normal sleep + 500% of normal energy drink intake + cosmetic surgeries + steak wrap diet + running a promotion for 40 years = not looking too bad all things considered. You can only cheat Father Time for so long before the debt comes due with interest.
  7. I forgot to mention, having not seen WWE for a while, seeing that uncanny valley Roman AR monstrosity on his entrance was a bit of a surprise. Also, is there a canonical reason for Riddle’s flip flops to magically birth birds?
  8. First time watching WWE since the pandemic outside of the odd GIF and Reigns promo. I was thoroughly entertained through pretty much the whole show. Pat McAfee and Cole are a solid team together, maybe Coles best partner since JBL or Tazz? Charlotte and Rhea won the crowd back from the Becky stuff and the serious business competitive attitude was a nice contrast to the Nikki and Alexa stuff. AJ working his magic keeping everything together with a green Omos and the crowd were way into him. Reigns really is the man right now, every gesture and expression is hitting right (talk about another contrast with Cena with his goofy frivolity later). I couldn’t believe the shape that Edge was in and he pulled his weight. Went long, I know it was probably deliberate considering the composition of the show but still didn’t need over 30 minutes. My favourite match was the men’s MITB, watching Riddle in his goofy glory again was a blast, and the ridonkulous spots and the feel-good moment at the end which I really wasn’t expecting. Low point was Boogs making two appearances when zero would have sufficed.
  9. She must be on the list of current wrestlers with the most cool and varied gear. She always seems to have something different and has already created some iconic looks like the ‘Mexican flag’ with the blood over the skull white and emerald green in the unsanctioned match.
  10. Apparently Darby headlining is the common factor in 3 of the 4 >1m viewed Dynamites in 2021 to date, so the evidence is there. They must be as happy about the quarter-to-quarter trend ticking up the way it did too. I know, ratings chat, damn lies and statistics. But doesn’t confirmation bias feel so darn great
  11. Good couple of points there. What was great about the last few weeks was the judicious use of rotation on/off the bench. From memory, Miro/Darby/Jungle Boy/Sting being held off from action shows just what the depth of talent is, and that there is some solid booking discipline, considering the pent-up buzz TK must feel on finally being a touring show in front of rabid fans again (although one-week build to a Texas Deathmatch is borderline hotshot blow-your-load stuff). On the second point, one downer I have with Ricky is the use of the spear, particularly now with his neck problems, and the choice of the move for him in general.
  12. Remember Manu? I doubt Manu remembers Manu being part of Legacy and…? What an awful time to make it to ‘the big time’. So much bland and forgettable stuff through that period.
  13. I love it, cheers mate. Naito as the cheeky pre-schooler rubber-necking while he’s facing the wall in the naughty corner. I fell out from NJPW pretty much since last G1, I need to get caught back up. Nice to see Naito in a programme which won’t wear him down as quickly as getting dropped on his neck in singles with Ibushi.
  14. Saw posted on reddit - Black’s calling back to Cody’s own words directed towards his brother, around 3:00. Loved the show, loved the shark vomiting rainbows mounted by a cowboy kitten, loved the Starks reaction, Cody’s hair and tie coordination, pretty much everything. Only boo is no live Miro for two weeks in a row now. Also adding, did you hear that fucking crowd when Starks countered into the sit out powerbomb, taking each step slowly out of the corner and the intensity all over his face on the pin? That was some good shit.
  15. All of that show was a joy to watch, felt quite promo heavy and they all hit without exception. Jericho was on his A game, Britt with the 'oh no she didn't' line and Rebels great miming alongside. But I think the most pleasantly surprising one was the Anderson promo for the NJPW title challenge, just letting everyone know there's a wider wrestling world and he's a big deal in it. Two other random observations - Blade is the reddest man in wrestling today, and Wheeler's spill out of the ring on the Hager clothesline was a work of art
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