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A Mixed Bag? | AEWeekly Review #76

Welcome to the #AEWeekly review discussion where PWM contributors reflect on the highlights of the last week in AEW. The week runs Monday through Sunday covering the most recent Dynamite, Rampage, and Collision. This week the overall story is there is no one story that stood out: lots was good, nothing stood out enough to dominate multiple categories.

This week’s contributors are Gareth [@Gareth_EW] covering match of the week, Sergei [@SergeiAlderman] covering promos, Saul [@SaulKiloh] exploring a key story beat, Peter [@PeterEdge7] with the moment of the week, and Joe [@GoodVsBadGuys] giving us the MVP of the week.

Match of the Week: Gareth.

Bang Bang Gang vs. FTR

With so much quality wrestling and variety on AEW TV this week, it’s really difficult to decide ‘match of the week’. But I’ve gone for FTR vs. Jay White and Juice Robinson.

The reason for this is largely just Dax Harwood. Some people have criticised this match for being too long, and there may be truth to that. But one positive for that is it allowed Dax to really sell his desperation and struggle late in the fight.

This really was one of Harwood’s best ever performances, for me. Even though I don’t particularly love FTR, and I do love Jay White, I actually found myself being won over by FTR and Dax in particular.

The others in the match were great too. Cash Wheeler has shone more in recent weeks than Dax, who has taken some flak. Cash sold really well in the early stages for a beatdown, whilst Jay and Juice were exceptional in their heel work. But I cannot emphasise enough how good I thought Harwood was here.

The match overall was very much a classic babyface vs. heel dynamic, old school in its style in the early stages before progressing to a more modern closing stretch. You really didn’t know where the finish was going to come from and so when Juice did finally pin Dax, it really registered.

One final thing I loved from this match was Cash not quite getting to break up the pin. Really, I think Jay was supposed to block him and as it was Wheeler just fell short. But in the moment that actually worked better as it sold the exhaustion of everyone involved.

Not a match of the year contender, but a great match for this week and some exceptional performances and in-ring storytelling is enough to get me super excited for a 2-out-of-3 falls match next week.

Promo of the Week: Sergei.

Miro: Battle for Redemption Soon?

When Miro switched from the poorly-received "gamer" gimmick to the Redeemer, at first it seemed like a pretty typical Fundamentalist firebreather kind of gimmick. But as time passed, his promos got weirder, and it became clear that Miro's relationship with his "God" was not so straightforward as one might have assumed. Over time it seemed like he was feuding with his God more than any earthly rival.

In many ways Saturday night's Miro pretape was a typical "Redeemer" promo, with the spotlight from above representing Miro's God, and callbacks like "hot, double-jointed wife". But there were also new and interesting ideas, like that disillusionment in his God had him beyond being hurt, that he now considers "shiny belts" to be distractions from his true path, and most importantly that there was a big battle coming, claiming, "it's the one we've all been waiting for." I'm very interested to see who could be that big of a threat to someone who's already had a "showdown with his God".

Story Beat of the Week: Saul.

QTV is Great TV?

With the recent addition of the man with infinite surnames, it seemed like QT Marshall and friends would be receiving a bit more spotlight on TV. To the delight of the millions (and millions) of QTV fans around the world, this proved to be true.

After an easy trio’s victory for The Acclaimed on Dynamite, Harley Cameron delivered a promo where she made another unwelcome advance on Anthony Bowens and teased a music video for next week.

Now, does this whole rivalry seem like a filler feud for The Acclaimed? Absolutely. Should this have been on Rampage instead of Dynamite? Probably. Was this segment worthy of the thorough, insightful and incredibly witty analysis I usually deliver in my story-beat of the week segments? Certainly not. However, I must be true to myself. For whatever reason, this worked for me.

This reminded me of an attitude era feud (you could take this in a negative or positive slant) that gives the characters that are lower on the card entertaining stuff to do (this is what I have inferred from general fan sentiment, I was but an embryo when the Monday night wars were being waged). I must admit that I'm exceedingly intrigued by this music video. Is Harley going to produce a diss track, or will it be a love ballad for Bowens? I can only hope they don't squander this massive potential.

COLLIDERS were also treated to some QTV goodness. Powerhouse Hobbs fell one step short of the Owen final, losing to former tag-team partner Ricky Starks. He seemed to blame QT Marshall for his defeat as they got into a heated confrontation after the match (Hobbs should write a new chapter in his book called 'Personal Accountability'). He decked QT and walked down the ramp without his associates.

The pairing of QTV and Powerhouse Hobbs was always a bit weird. They never seemed to properly gel, leading to an act that was less than the sum of its parts. Whether this angle was Powerhouse Hobbs fully severing ties or if it's just the first step in the break-up, I think there is more potential in him as a solo destroyer.

I also think this'll allow QTV to reach its full potential. With Hobbs out of the picture, they can now fully slot into a lower-mid card position that they can truly thrive in. To help enhance other talent while also being entertaining is an important role that rarely gets the respect it deserves. I must admit that while I was dubious of the group when they debuted, I've really started to get a kick out of them.

Moment of the Week: Peter.

BTY, Baybay

When the announcement that MJF and Adam Cole were going to be 1 of 8 teams to compete in the Blind Eliminator, it had the feeling of filling in a couple of weeks until the eventual rematch of Maxwell and Cole at Wembley Stadium and also a way to dredge up a no.1 contender for habitants of Punk Island over on Saturday nights FTR and their tag belts. Then Wednesday night happened.

In the process of two segments, we got wrestling television which made the viewer want even more even though we know how this story will end. But in those two segments, we learnt more about MJF and Adam Cole and what makes them tick in three moments in particular.

First off, let's talk about how awesome the video package in the gym and the 1st round of the Blind eliminator was. From the wink and nod barking back at the Internet trolls body shaming Adam Cole, MJF "playing Ricky Morton" in the way that only MJF can and MJF singing Happy Birthday so over the top that Mariah Carey would go "take it easy, mate" but in between those lol moments we got some interesting moments in the arc of Friedman and Cole.

At the gym, when Maxwell went to punch low and body shame a fellow gym dweller, Adam scolded him. "You can't say stuff like that anymore" he said but he couldn't help but make a dig at Tony Schiavone but even then he checked himself. Had he come down to MJF's level to publicly mock someone he has had beef with?

When the match took place and MJF got on an abdominal stretch, he went for a shortcut as he normally does using a traditional shortcut seen in tag team wrestling, wanting to use his partner hand as support to cause further pain on his opponent and Cole reluctantly obliged thanks to some encouragement from the fans in Edmonton.

Adam Cole's most critically acclaimed years came while being the bad guy but given a second chance after his scary concussion, Cole is now playing to his popularity that was evident in his time in ROH, NXT and his first year in AEW but after spending time with the devil, Cole's inner bad guy has come out even if he doesn't like what is coming out.

But maybe the devil himself is the guy for turning. We all know where this MJF/Cole Parejas Increíbles story is going. After Dynamite, I want Cole and MJF to win the Blind Eliminator Tournament and then win the tag titles in Wembley Stadium but we know where this story is going but while MJF is playing the confidence game with Cole, you feel the MJF might just be playing himself.

The MJF that we saw imitating Cole's entrance, Roderick Strong's part of the Undisputed Era team entrance, his pandering to the crowd and the organisation of Cole's birthday treat cries of a man that wants to be loved. A man whose dive into team sports in school ended in heartbreak after anti-semetic abuse was hurled his way has gone it alone, only using people to further his rise his top of AEW but faced with having to work with somebody, on first watch MJF might be going feet first in this endeavor.

Is this the good in MJF wanting to come out, the angel in him finally outshouting the devil? In the end, the devil will win out but until that moment happens, Maxwell's yearning to be loved is on show for us all to see.

MVP of the Week: Joe.

Omega Man

The best match this week, by a margin according to CageMatch users, was FTR vs Jay White & Juice Robinson, but the credit for that is shared pretty evenly amongst those 4 men and those 2 teams. The one most valuable player for AEW this week is their former world champion, and EVP, Kenny Omega.

In Kenny’s first action since his match of the year contender against Will Ospreay at Forbidden Door, he narrowly defeated Wheeler Yuta, avenging his pin fall loss to the BCC’s young boy at Double Or Nothing. The fact that Yuta nearly had Kenny beat again made him look strong, but the fact that he needed help from Don Callis and Konosuke Takeshita to get him that close protected Kenny.

Kenny was in the best match at Forbidden Door, and while he wasn’t in the best AEW match this week, it was still a good match. Whereas Kenny was showing off his Elite athleticism and toughness during Forbidden Door, on Dynamite he was showing off some Elite selling skills, causing me to want to wince along with him every time he hit a move that impacted his neck, particularly the “You Can’t Escape”.

Whereas Kenny received some criticism for maybe doing too much during his match with Ospreay and jeopardizing his future career and life after wrestling, in this match against Yuta he showed he can wrestle an old school lower impact style as well. This further solidified Kenny Omega as one of the best all around wrestlers in the history of the game.

What does Kenny seem to enjoy almost as much as the wrestling? Those long term stories, Kenny was able to move the long-term story forward with Takeshita and Callis, while also moving the Elite feud with the BCC forward towards Blood & Guts, and then (off-air, but he knew it would circulate on social media) teasing a reunion with his Golden Lover teammate Kota Ibushi at Blood & Guts. It’s hard to deliver something of quality on TV while still saving some for later, but Kenny accomplished it this week.


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