Updated: Mar 26
Welcome to the #AEWeekly review discussion where PWM contributors reflect on the highlights of the last week in AEW. The week we are focusing on the week which has followed AEW Revolution.
This week’s contributors are Sergei [@SergeiAlderman] covering the best promo, Peter [@PeterEdge7] with the moment of the week, and Trish [@TrishSpeirs48] giving us the weekly MVP and the key story beat.
In this regrouping week following the PPV there wasn't a lot people wanted to talk about, relatively: Match of the Week and Move of the Week both have no selection for the week.
Promo of the Week: Sergei.
Danielson: "Time to Go Home"
A classic type of villain, especially in professional wrestling, is the guy who genuinely believes what he's saying and that he's in the right. And the fans hate him as much as anything because they feel the authenticity and genuineness of his words, and worry a little: "maybe he's right?" One guy who's nothing like that is Maxwell Jacob Friedman: nobody for one second thinks he's genuine about almost anything. Even things he says that HAPPEN to be true, he's certainly not saying them BECAUSE they are true, but rather for any momentary advantage.
This is why it is disconcerting when Danielson says in his post-match interview that MJF had been right all along, that Danielson had been selfish and not thinking of his family. Friedman hadn't said that stuff about Danielson's health out of some sort of legitimate concern for Danielson's well-being or for his family, but rather as a desperate ploy for anything that might get under his intimidating challenger's skin or plant any doubt. The sort of ploy that MJF hardly even expected to work on a tough-minded, top-level veteran like Danielson, rather just playing the odds—it couldn't hurt to try!
But as we learn from Danielson's cracked-voice words, MJF's seeds of doubt made all the difference in the result of Sunday's Championship match—when Danielson woke up from the oxygen tank to the head in his own LeBell Lock hold, his first instinct was to fight, and it looked for all the world like he was going to fight his way out of the hold or to a rope break, until he just petered out, and now we hear that he was losing feeling in his limbs, and deeply concerned that Friedman's predictions that he would never be able to play with his kids again after this match were coming true.
And so he decided that his previous justifications, that he was setting a good example for his children that you have to fight for what you love, no longer outweighed the risk of not being able to be there for them at all going forward, and maybe never did, and so he tapped out, and now it was time for him to go home.
I doubt this was a genuine retirement speech. If he were actually saying goodbye, I feel he would almost certainly want to say those words directly to an audience, to stand in for all the fans everywhere he'd be saying goodbye to. But if it were a real farewell speech, it would be an amazing one. I don't know what's next for Danielson, but I feel safe in saying that whatever it might be won't happen for some time, and he sure did one stunning job of putting over his vanquisher on his way out.
Story Beat of the Week: Trish
Moxley: There will be (more) blood?
Halfway through Wednesday's Dynamite, Hangman Adam Page made it completely clear that he was done with Jon Moxley. He had made peace with the issues between them being over, but also with what he had to do to end it. It was a move forward for Page; he would not blame himself for his actions or beat himself up over them and he wouldn't let anyone else do so either.
Jon Moxley saw things differently. Moxley has played off months of frustration somewhat nonchalantly, making jokes out of the things bothering him such as William Regal's betrayal causing the loss of his World Championship and dismissing the challenge of those who he realised were a real threat to his place on top of the AEW ecosystem—like Page.
Sunday's defeat was enough to put an end to this bravado. Whilst he may have arrived for the BCC/Dark Order tag match attempting to show little effect to his first tap out loss in a decade, the match quickly revealed his mentality had changed. There was a new sense of brutality to Mox and it didn't end once the in-ring bout was over. He deliberately looked to destroy Page's friends in his hatred and was happy to launch a 3 on 1 attack on the Hangman once his beating on Reynolds had successfully lured him out.
There is no code of combat left for Jon Moxley on this occassion. He has been driven so insane by this conflict that cheap shots and numbers advantages are tools to be used in a way they never were before. Jon Moxley is hellbent on destroying Adam Page and his allies to recover from his embarrassment.
Moxley once said “I don’t stand side by side with nobody unless I bleed with them first.” Does his recent actions illustrate this as a somewhat false declaration? Will he only stand alongside others when he is the victor?
Moment of the Week: Peter.
Ruby Soho: "You people"
It's a trope we have heard from WWE superstars whenever they have to explain their actions after a heel turn. It's as common as "medical facility" and "in this very ring" in the WWE vocabulary and while I don't want to go into how "you people" shows how uncreative creative is in the New York Territory, the term has been a source of derision from fans and famous opinionators in wrestling media.
So when Bryan Alvarez and others, derided Ruby Soho using the famous WWE trope in her promo on Wednesday night it actually missed the point.
The group of Saraya, Ruby Soho and Toni Storm have spent a portion of their careers in the WWE Performance Center and unlike the NIL classes that are currently populating, the PC the three "freelancers" to quote Excalibur made their name on the independent circuit and in Toni's case, STARDOM just before it made the leap to a top tier promotion before they were signed to WWE.
Just like all the others that have passed though the Orlando branch of the WWE PC, the trio were educated in the WWE playbook implemented by its creator Triple H and that doesn't just include the style of wrestling and in her answer to "Why, Ruby, why?" Ruby channelled the likes of Bayley, Seth Rollins and Dolph Ziggler who in their heel turns, blamed it all on the fans for their change of heart.
Whether or not you agree with the point made, the usage of the cliche from Soho felt very meta and felt very on-brand for the Outsiders to use such language and now we have the difference between the sides in this feud has been established it could be the kick-start for what has been a very meh feud so far.
We just need Ruby to start doing an NXT shocked face to get the..... oh, wait
MVP of the Week: Trish.
Jack Perry: (Jungle) Man, not a boy.
The week after a PPV is often a reset week and so this week proved to be. With so many new angles and storyline movements it can be difficult to pinpoint outstanding individual performances within these episodes. In light of this I tend to look for someone who may have increased their value but has oerhaps gone unnoticed.
It is safe to say that Jungle Boy has recieved less focus than the rest of the four pillars in regards of individual achievements. Sammy Guevara and Darby Allin have been TNT Champion multiple times whilst MJF is the centerpiece of the show and the AEW World Champion. Critics have pointed to things such as his size and his lack of confidence in promos as well as his gimmick for this difference in progress over the four years since AEW's conception.
Jack Perry is catching up fast though. Revolution marks the second PPV in a row he has delivered in a singles capacity in the ring and with the added challenge of a gimmick match. He holds a much more confident aura and he has finally found his voice and his words to go with it.
His promos on this week's "Road To" and "Rampage" held something else as well;- an emotional depth which is missing from alot of his counterparts. He made it clear how his feud with Christian Cage had affected him and how it had helped him to develop a stronger resolve. Often the key to an audience successfully connecting with a babyface is being able to understand the toll these things have taken on each character and it is something which has been in short supply over the last year outside of characters such as Danielson and Page.
Jack Perry may be facing a bigger test in the coming weeks, a TV program with MJF could be on the horizon. There won't be anywhere to hide if this is the case but it would also be a fantastic opportunity to show just how much he has grown.