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, Collision and, of course, WrestleDream.
Various struggles and issues led to last week getting skipped. A couple of contributors mention who they would have picked if there had been a #AEWeekly last week, but most of us couldn't tell you what we had for breakfast this morning. Sorry, we won't let it happen again!
This week’s contributors are the whole team on match of the week, Sergei [@SergeiAlderman] covering promos, Saul [@SaulKiloh] exploring a key story beat, Peter [@PeterEdge7] with the moment of the week, and Gareth [@Gareth_EW] giving us the MVP of the week.
Match of the Week: #AEWeekly Staff Consensus.
The "Dream" in WrestleDream: Dragon vs ZSJ
(That's it. That's the whole review)
Promo of the Week: Sergei.
Hangman Versus a Vengeful God
Hangman, at his best as a talker and as a storyteller, does an amazing job of taking really relatable real-world problems such as anxiety or imposter syndrome and self-loathing and really making them work in the context of a wrestling story. In his latest talking-segment he took a hoary wrestling trope, the contract signing, and turned it into a gripping portrait of depression and the disorientation of feeling a black mood that you can't explain because it doesn't fit with the brightness of your circumstances.
Hangman has a new son at home, and beat Jon Moxley in a Texas Death, and finally reunited with the Bucks, and yet he seems adrift. He compared this inexplicable mood to a personal rain cloud raining specifically on him, a cartoon shorthand for a gloomy and/or jinxed character dating back at least to Andy Capp's sad-sack Joe Btsfpk in 1940. But then he throws out a line that makes the metaphor less "Truman Show" and more "Book of Job"...
Paraphrased: "While God rains on me, I don't dare open my umbrella."
He goes on to claim that that's all over now, and that he's weathered the storm. But he also says that this rain washed something out of him, something important like "Hope" or "Passion", not the sorts of thing you can get back just by deciding to! He claims that from now on the fans are going to get the best of Hangman, but while he proclaims it very passionately and convincingly, doubts remain…
But while we may doubt, and Swerve certainly doesn't buy it, and even though Hangman thanked Swerve for pointing out the truth to him, actions speak louder than words and maybe Hangman didn't really want to hear those truths, because he closes this main-event segment with a shockingly brutal bit of business with the signing-pen through Swerve's hand!
Story Beat of the Week: Saul.
“Who’s that Masked Man?”
This week's Dynamite ended with a cliffhanger, with a group of masked goons taking out Jay White. Cliffhangers are an underrated storytelling device in pro wrestling, especially due to its long-running nature. It’s simple and effective, as if done right, they make people want to tune it for the next episode. This was very similar to a “Doof Doof” moment at the end of an Eastenders episode.
So which wrestler in Albert Square is behind the mask? Let’s speculate!
RETRIBUTION (Or disgruntled ex-wwe stars)?
I mean….. it does fit their MO.
In all seriousness, many WWE wrestlers were just unfortunately let go from the company, leading to the inevitable speculation about where they might appear next. One of these was the leader of the ill-fated faction, Mustafa Ali. So are we to believe that this is a coincidence, this group of masked goons showing up on AEW so soon after these releases?!? Yes, I think so.
I also don’t like the idea of this being a faction of the WWE wrestler, mostly because we would have to wait for the non-compete clauses to end before revealing the masked man, and I don’t think it should go that long.
MJF AND FRIENDS?
Who have we seen wearing this mask in the past? Who just had a heated confrontation with the ‘Switchblade’?? Who has used tactics like this many times in the past???
Maybe MJF saw the former Wrestle Kingdom main eventer as a true threat and wanted to take him out, but didn’t want to lose the crowd's adderation, so hid his actions behind his devil mask and lied about having lost it?
Yeah, it seems bad and convoluted to me too. I also really don’t need to see a reunion of ‘The Pinnacle’ or ‘The Firm’ thank you.
ADAM COLE AND FRIENDS?
Adam Cole. ‘Neck Strong’ Roderick Strong. The Kingdom. Kyle O’Reilly? The numbers match.
It also matches the story being told between the ROH Tag Champions. Cole’s desperation for World Title gold and harboring severe heel tendencies deep down.
I also like this option cause I would love to see O’Reilly return, however this is just pure speculation and there is no word on whether or not this is close to happening.
THE 1989 DENVER BRONCOS??
I truly can’t rule anything out at this moment.
SOME OTHER 5TH OPTION???
This is the section where I throw out random names to cover my bases and give myself the best chances of being able to say that I predicted who the masked attacker was:
Wardlow - He’s not really doing much, could be a repackage for the big boy.
Jack Perry - Might be returning from suspension soon and Tony Khan seems to really like him, so might want his return to be big. (I’m crossing my fingers that it’s not this)
Kazuchika Okada - He doesn’t like Jay White right???
LFI - Their video packages have been going for a while, could be a statement reintroduction.
QT Marshall - Don’t laugh, it could happen. Main event QT.
Scorpio Sky - Another directionless wrestler who ‘Big Tony’ still seems keen on.
Daniel Garcia - The masked man didn’t fence, so we can safely rule this out.
Do any of those suggestions really make sense? Not on an initial glance. However, in wrestling and in soap operas, sometimes stuff just doesn’t make sense.
The important question is still lingering. Who is that masked man? My answer is……
Do you think I’m a soothsayer or something? I don’t have a scooby.
Moment of the Week: Peter.
Adam Copeland is All Elite
After last week's Moment of the Week when Christian held onto his TNT Title in the Collision Triple Threat (I still don't understand why Dasha announced Cage as the new champ when he's been title holder for 3 months now) Christian would main event the 21st AEW PPV against Washington state native Darby Allin. It was supposed to be the happy ending that AEW has specialized in like when Thunder Rosa and Saraya won the World Women's Title on home turf, when Darby won his second TNT Title in Seattle but on this day Seattle got a shock when Nick Wayne, the protege of Darby did the unthinkable and betrayed his friend.
The shock of the moment that unfolded led to the Climate Pledge Arena being more quiet than MetLife stadium when Aaron Rodgers went down with his achilles injury. With Sting in the position to take the full force of the con-chair-to, a hero was needed.
Once darkness fell, everyone in Seattle knew what was about to happen. The farewell from Edge to not just the patrons in Toronto in Mid-August but to the "WWE Universe" doubled with his removal from the companies" Then, Now, Forever" video at the start of their shows told you something was brewing.
Those who spotted the Rated R easter egg in the vignette had their suspicions vindicated but when you heard the famous words "You Think You Know Me" the words that have followed Adam Copeland throughout his time as Edge in WWE and now in his second life in AEW you knew what was happening.
As much as I love his Rob Zombie "Never Gonna Stop Me" entrance that accompanied him in the Smackdown Six days, Adam Copeland and Metalingus go together like cookie dough and ice cream but to hear it in a non-WWE arena felt surreal.
It was a moment that made you feel that the rivalry between WWE and AEW is on. Moments like this haven't happened since the Monday Night Wars Era. Bar Kurt Angle joining TNA in 2006 (and that was because WWE released him because of their fears for his well being) name another Hall of Fame caliber wrestler to make the jump from WWE to their closest rivals?
Since 2019 and the advent of AEW, we have seen Jon Moxley, Bryan Danielson and Adam Cole leaving the New York territory to get the .... Is All Elite banner yet they were stars on the indy circuit coming back to the guerilla lifestyle that AEW kinda is. Edge on the other hand has spent a generation in WWE. He could have spent his days in the comfort of his home yet he has bet on himself, just like those who started the AEW experience did.
The exhilaration of his entrance was evident. I swear at one moment, he actually tried to tell the smoke that filled the stage to move, maybe so he could see clearly. That moment when he and his brother from a different mother (or should it be father in the canon of Christian) deserved holy s*** chants.
Is it a start of a new era like Tony Khan said in the week before WrestleDream? That's a debate for another time as is whether Adam Copeland can fit into the working standard that makes AEW what it is but based one the 5 minute video you can see on YouTube and you would be one of multi-millions that have watched that video, Adam Copeland's another chance to chase a dream is going to be a fun watch.
MVP of the Week: Gareth.
A lot of the conversation coming out of AEW WrestleDream was obviously about the debut of Adam Copeland and a real dream match of Bryan Danielson vs. Zack Sabre Jr. delivering on its promise.
However, a lot of the talk was also about Swerve Strickland just as it was after a brilliant segment with ‘Hangman’ closed out Dynamite. In two different ways Swerve showed he’s ready for the next level.
Firstly on the mic where he rose to a real “main event”, important feud level with lines such as “what’s a Buckshot to a Killshot”. And secondly, he delivered on his words in the match where he secured the win in a fantastic match with the Hanger.
Whether AEW truly realise what they have with Swerve will be proven largely by his booking moving forward. Despite multiple high profile losses as of late he’s remained super over, so it feels about time Strickland won a match like this.
With the likes of Chris Jericho, Adam Copeland and Tony Khan all showering praise on Swerve it seems that, sooner or later, big things are in store for him.
We missed last week’s AEWeekly where the MVP would have been Eddie Kingston and shout out to him for delivering another banger also. This ROH World Championship reign is sure to be a highlight in the forthcoming weeks and months.