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, Peter [@PeterEdge7] 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. Sting, Darby Allin, Jeff Hardy & Matt Hardy vs Butcher, Blade, Isaiah Kassidy & Marq Quen.
I will state my bias up front: Sting and Jeff Hardy are childhood favourites of mine that are my Mount Rushmore of wrestling, and The Hardy Boyz are my favourite tag team. So, I was always going to adore this match.
With the goodwill they have earned over the years and the fan following they have amassed, they could easily phone it in just doing mostly taunts and finishers, but they didn’t.
Sting did a dive off the top rope to the floor & a Stinger splash into the guardrails on Kassidy, Matt Hardy taking the side effect bump from his proteges Private Party that flashed back to his feud with Edge, and Jeff Hardy with a Swanton dive from above the ladder and off the building onto Butcher and The Blade harkening back to his feud with Abyss from TNA.
It wasn’t just legends proving they were still willing to put it all on the line, you had Darby who is still carving out his legacy kicking off the match with his trademark suicide dive (the best one in the business) and taking a nasty bump down the stairwell from The Butcher.
In between all these big moments, and this match was a moment-making machine, the sprawling brawling through various locations gave the show a nice variety feel, and the energy it elicited from the crowd was reminiscent of the Monday Night Wars.
The ending sequence was very creative and exciting, even with it seemingly not going according to plan on Sting’s end. That struggle into the Scorpion Death Drop still worked for me, firing in sync with the Twist of Fate at the end.
Promo of the Week: Sergei. Jon Moxley’s Blackpool Combat Club Mission Statement.
With Max Friedman’s mic time devoted to relatively pedestrian forwarding of storyline elements, and Thunder Rosa’s moment to set the tone for her brand-new reign as World Champion utterly botched, the bar for the best speaking segment this week was perhaps not as high as some weeks.
But what Jon Moxley’s mission statement for his new faction wasn’t—one of Mox’s most memorable speeches, or a segment that would have been tops in a stronger week—shouldn't be allowed to take away from what it was: a fiery declaration of raison d'être which answered lingering questions about the nature and goals of this new alliance and which made a tangible impact on the balance of power throughout the promotion, seen most explicitly in an intriguing and fraught little exchange soon after between Trent Berretta and Wheeler Yuta. Every alliance in the promotion is now on notice that their rookie members may be looking toward Blackpool and considering if the grass is greener.
Speaking of Lord Regal’s hardscrabble hometown, it’s very nice to now have a name to put to this supergroup: The Blackpool Combat Club sounds like a pretty badass name for a band of badasses. I look forward to seeing how much Regal’s “badge of honor” comes to mean to the young talent of All Elite Wrestling.
Story Beat of the Week: Gareth.
CM Punk Sends Hangman a Message.
After a truly fantastic match with fellow Bret Hart stan Dax Harwood, CM Punk made a gesture that perked my attention. He signalled for a title around his waist.
This aligns with Punk's goal from the beginning of the MJF feud. Way back then Punk said he was here to be world champion. But now, with MJF out the way and nothing set up for Punk, it seems like the AEW World Champion has a new challenger on the horizon.
The question is; how do we get there?
Punk isn't currently ranked in the top 5, so is it as simple as Punk having a few fun matches, such as he's just had with Dax Harwood, until he's ranked number one? Could he have a number one contender's TV feud with Adam Cole? Or perhaps another roadblock that derails his quest for the AEW World Championship?
I don't know. But I do know that Punk doesn't do anything for the sake of it. He's coming for that title and my suspicion is that, with Punk signalling that right now, Hangman vs. CM Punk will be the Double or Nothing main event.
Moment of the Week: Peter. Danielson & Moxley Stereo Stomps and Elbow Strikes.
First off, some honourable mentions for William Regal calling Excalibur “man with a mask” (this is going to pop me every time it happens) and Daddy Magic being Daddy Magic whenever Chris Jericho spoke. But the moment which I will take on board the most will be the end of the newly named Blackpool Combat Club vs Varsity Blondes match.
In all the talk about what to expect from Moxley and Danielson in their team, Wednesday Night became the clearest picture of what the BCC will be. Their violent assault on Pillman. Jr and Garrison in stereo with Moxley’s bulldog choke inducing the tap-out was the most brutal end of their three victories so far and as someone who has been very eager to see what Jon Moxley and Bryan Danielson would do post-Revolution, Dynamite had my approval.
Move of the Week: Dan. Jeff Hardy Swanton from a High Place.
Firstly a couple of honourable mentions. Dax Harwood hit one of the most picture perfect Superplexes you are ever going to see in his brilliant encounter with CM Punk. Credit to both of them in fact on this one as a great top-rope extravaganza always takes two to tango. Bret Hart would have been proud.
Also worthy of a shout out was the supremely brutal moment in the Moxley and Danielson tag-match where they simultaneously stomped (Danielson) and elbow-clubbed (MOX) the Varsity Blondes into smithereens. Visceral, terrifying and also brutally effective.
But Jeff Hardy did a Swanton Dive off a building. What more do you really want me to say? Okay I’ll elaborate…
We’ve all seen Jeff do this sort of thing for years, but it’s still a thing of wonder every time he shows such reckless abandon for his own body. With this particular bit of lunacy it looked like we were getting the classic ‘Jeff-off-a-ladder’ version of the Swanton, but taking that step onto the available ledge (who on earth did the due-diligence on that?!) somehow elevated this move to even greater levels of exhilaration.
Huge props to Butcher and Blade for taking this like champs, and to Sting for holding them in position to promote some semblance of realism amongst the madness, but in truth this was all about Jeff Hardy and how wonderful it is to see him flying/plummeting through the air once more.
MVP of the Week: Trish. The Butcher.
Dynamite and Rampage this past week featured some very good TV wrestling and a number of promos which helped to move storylines along but was perhaps without that one outstanding segment which would make this choice a foregone conclusion. This has led me to look at both shows as a cumulative, and with that in mind, I'd like to give this week's MVP nod to "The Butcher".
The power-fuelled display he put in on Friday's Rampage against Darby Allin was a perfect example of storytelling within the bigger man/ smaller man dynamic (which at one point saw him swinging Darby around in circles by his neck) and in coming up with the right finish so that it hurt neither man. This was followed up by him playing a key role in Wednesday's 8 man, where he was a major part of some of the matches most memorable moments, including throwing Allin down a flight of stairs and then setting up and taking Jeff Hardy's "Swanton".
Alongside partner "The Blade", "The Butcher" has delivered regularly in this type of format, with previous matches against the Natural Nightmares (Bunkhouse Brawl) and the Young Bucks coming through in much the same fashion. If he can stay injury free there is no question that he can play an invaluable role for AEW within the tag division but also in singles matches when called upon as well.