Welcome to the #AEWeekly review discussion where PWM contributors reflect on the highlights of the last week in AEW. The week runs Friday to Friday covering Rampage and Dynamite.
This week’s contributors are Joe [@GoodVsBadGuys] exploring match of the week, Sergei [@SergeiAlderman] covering promos, Gareth [@Gareth_EW] covering story beats, Brian [@AEWMetrics] with the moment of the week, Dan [@WrestlingRhymes] reflecting on the best move and Trish [@TrishSpeirs48] giving us the MVP of the week.
Match of the Week: Joe.
Cash vs Dax: Owen Hart Qualifier.
The best way to get the maximum enjoyment out of this match is to watch AEW’s Road To series on YouTube that devoted 8 minutes to building the importance and dynamics of this match.
The story here was 2 best friends, basically chosen family members, who wanted to honour the legacy of the Hart family, and specifically Owen Hart, while still remaining loyal to their own team and bond.
This match accomplished those goals. Many of the spots here seemed inspired from matches between Bret & Owen, Bret & Razor Ramon, Bret & Mr. Perfect. From that aspect, this match was like a cover medley from a current band playing parts of their favourite songs rather than an original piece.
Covers & medleys have value, particularly in terms of paying respect. Now, for the goal of remaining loyal, here’s where the originality comes from in terms of the drama & story choices.
The eye poke from Dax is a textbook heel move. However, the fact that he sold it as an accident made the crowd start to turn on Cash for getting upset about it. This sequence planted seeds for tension and suspense, but ultimately the right choice was made in their bond being too strong to be broken. My favourite moves in this match were the hugs.
Promo of the Week: Sergei.
Dax Harwood Talks about Dream Match on Road To.
For weeks I’ve been waiting to give flowers to one of my mic faves like Eddie or Punk. They both had quite good promos this week. But they were outclassed this week by a promo that wasn’t my usual sort of thing at all! It wasn’t thrilling; it was soft spoken, sentimental, some might say schmaltzy.
But Dax Harwood made me believe he was telling me about something genuinely meaningful to him: in his relationship with his tag-team partner, his admiration for the Hart Family, his looking to Owen Hart as a role model both as a competitor and as a family man. Cash was good too, but Dax especially really set the table for their match to be something different and special.
Honourable mention goes to Trent and Joe. They gave a nice little back-and-forth pre-tape promo building up their scheduled match on Rampage, but it was aired on Dynamite absolutely gutted for time till it made no sense whatsoever! “Trent, you are rich in friendship, so I am going to destroy you!”
The version posted on social media with the important middle parts left in is actually quite good!
Story Beat of the Week: Gareth.
Deeb Beats Shida.
The Hikaru Shida vs. Serena Deeb feud has been brilliant, even if massively flawed from a booking perspective. The actual story beats have been that of a feud between top tier talents in a division. Sadly we just had to wait weeks between each beat, such is the way AEW books its women.
However, now that it’s ended we can reflect on a terrific series of five matches which Deeb won 3-2.
With ‘The Professor’ already ranked number one and the backstage presence of AEW Women’s Champion Thunder Rosa, it is safe to assume that this is our women’s championship match for Double or Nothing.
And what a match! Deeb vs Rosa. One I’ve wanted for a long time now since Serena defeated Thunder for the NWA Women’s Worlds Championship. It was nice to see the natural progression of that on this week’s Dynamite along with the announcement for Punk vs Hangman. It looks like we have a great show on our hands in a month’s time.
Moment of the Week: Brian.
FTR Enter Together.
My moment of the week came right up front in the first segment. The true novelty of watching Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood, opponents for the night, years-long partners across multiple companies and current World Tag Team Champions of two promotions, sharing an entrance as they made their way to the ring was simply awesome. Sure, Justin Roberts announced their names separately, they walked apart and came out of different tunnels but there was one entrance video, a single playing of their theme music and an on-screen graphic bearing both their names. The best part of all: the announcers drew exactly no attention toward it - as though it were the most normal thing in the world. This is where the maturity of AEW shines through, the ability to leave things unsaid and just exist.
Move of the Week: Dan.
Wardlow’s Good Lucha Thing.
It's time to be very open about this dear readers. I think…no I KNOW that I have a thing for Wardlow. Is it the muscles? Is it the hair? Is it him smashing people about with powerbombs? Yes…to all of it.
But this week we saw yet another string to Wardlow's impressive bow: Lucha Stuff!
Now we have seen the War-Dog leave his feet impressively before, but he's kept that side of himself in hiding in recent weeks, which made his Tijeras on Lance Archer on Dynamite this week feel even more super-special.
Not more than 20 seconds after he'd taken a leaping Murderhawk to the face, Wardlow had pounced into the ear, wrapped his legs around Archer's head and flung him across the ring. It all happened so quickly and fluidly that it was no surprise that everyone from Jake Roberts, to MJF to Archer himself were taken completely off-guard.
The beauty of Wardlow pulling this out of the bag, together with a gorgeous looking top-rope Senton Bomb, is that it further underlines his babyface credentials. It is not always easy to get behind a beast…but if that beast is a flying beast then that certainly ticks all my boxes.
No room for honourable mentions this week…it's all Wardlow baby!
MVP of the Week by Trish.
Coming into AEW with no wrestling experience would be hard for anyone–since its outset it has prided itself on delivering a higher standard of matches than its main competitor, meaning that anything not up to that level is often severely critiqued. Add to that carrying a Championship within a year of your debut and it could feel like insurmountable pressure; unless you are Jade Cargill.
Whilst by no means a finished in-ring product, Jade reached far beyond expectation this week, delivering a respectable title defence against somewhat-cold challenger Marina Shafir, an opponent who herself also did not have years of experience behind her. Moreso, she looked like a star whilst doing it.
Sometimes being "valuable" is more than having a great match or delivering a single great promo; it's about creating an aura and/or an interest which the audience finds engaging. Jade is now building her "brand" in this aspect rather than it being simply a slogan. If her development continues at the current rate, she may prove to be one of the most important finds the company has discovered so far.