Welcome to the #AEWeekly review discussion where PWM contributors reflect on the highlights of the last week in AEW. The week we are predominantly focusing on AEW Revolution, as well as the week leading up to it.
This week’s contributors are Sergei [@SergeiAlderman] covering the best promo, Gareth [@Gareth_EW] covering move and match of the week, Peter [@PeterEdge7] with the moment of the week and Trish [@TrishSpeirs48] giving us the weekly MVP as well as the key story beat.
Match of the Week: Gareth. Triple Trios Tussle
The decision to book The Elite vs. JAS vs. House of Black in Winnipeg was criticised by many online. Now, whilst it was obvious that it was booked to get the two hometown icons Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho to face-off.
But a stroke of genius that not many called was that Jericho and Omega had to work together at times. Which was great not only because it got the people going. But it really put over Brody King who feels truly monstrous in AEW.
I won't break down the match in its entirety. There was simply so much to this match, but a lot of that isn't actually what made this feel special. There is a sense of story in there and the moves did matter. But this match was largely about moments.
Not just with Jericho and Omega but throughout. The move-train where everyone got in a big move. The Young Bucks' superkick party. Brody's being a monster. House of Black actually feeling like the most well-oiled unit, which justifies their place at the top of this division.
Ultimately, this is what the trios division needed. It felt bigger than ever during and after this match. And if that doesn't justify the booking of this match, then the moments certainly did.
But arguably the most talked about moment came in the post-match. It was truly special for long-term AEW audiences. But Trish and Peter both touch on that later in this article, so I'll leave it to them.
Promo of the Week: Sergei.
Pillars face off.
This Wednesday, the Champion Max Friedman renewed his Bar Mitzvah, (not sacrilegious as Schiavone claimed, although the 70th anniversary is the most common time to do it, there is no set age for a 2nd Mitzvah,) or tried to, as he kept getting interrupted by three Ghosts from his past. Three men he had defeated in the past, and whom, at his best, he is significantly more skilled than on the microphone. One might expect a quick rout and for his wannabe challengers to retreat in shame. But as the Preacher reminds us, the race goes not always to the swift!
At his best, MJF is a man so loathsome and yet relatable, he makes us all say, "am I like that?" At his…. I won't say "worst" because Friedman is never really less than "pretty good" on the mic… but rather at his least-great, he is basically a bargain-basement Don Rickles: cheap, low insults without a lot of substance.
Jack Perry, on the other hand, is an absolute force of blandness. The good guy whose only attribute is that he is good, and who's only role is to keep the villain busy till a more interesting protagonist can show up.
Sammy Guevara, in his own way, is every bit as despicable as Friedman, but forced into a temporary-protagonist role by the situation, he chose to contrast how he had struggled to get there, unlike MJF. What Sammy forgets is that almost everybody struggles, most of us do it just to earn the right to live at all, not to get to live our dreams.
Darby Allin is my promo of the week, but it's not because he is great at cutting promos, or cut a great promo. A dazzlingly great promo starts with a great instrument played dynamically: Eddie Kingston at his best, going from whisper to growl to shout! Darby doesn't have a lot of variation in his voice and when he tries, it doesn't necessarily work: the squeaky whine he used to mock talent complaining on Twitter is hopefully not a device he goes back to.
But Darby starts the race far ahead of his fellow-challengers Sammy and Jack, and that comes down to having a character who is interesting enough to get people engaged, and knowing exactly who that character is, in order to know just what he'd say about any situation. As Trevor Dame pointed out on Twitter:
Darby Allin has "Relentless" indelibly written on his skin on the back of his neck, but it could as easily have been "genuine" or "conviction". Those are the traits that make people excited to hear what he has to say, especially in a high-profile moment like this, even if he isn't the smoothest delivery or the most sonorous voice.
Moment of the Week: Peter.
Does Hangman have extra backup?
Where to start?
There were so many great moments on Dynamite this week from Willow and Skye standing up to the Outcasts to the debut of Taya Valkyrie and the debut of QTV (yes, I liked it) but at 12:20am UK time (the two week gap from the US changing their clocks to the UK doing so is a godsend) I was bracing to write a thousand words of Tazz's 10 second tour de force in the re-bar mitzvah from his "let's lay out guys'' calling something religiously beautiful, singing along to the tune playing out to "he's Ironman! " which got the biggest out of control laugh in a long time from yours truly. But then the end of the show happened.
There have been teases on BTE and one moment of joy when Hangman saved the Bucks from an attack from the Undisputed Era or whatever their AEW name was but the events of the final minute of Dynamite was the clearest body of evidence that the makeup is about to happen. All three members of The Elite had Hangman's back..... or did they.
Matt and Nick's pining to get back with Hangman has been more obvious than my looks of admiration at my crush (or that's, what my friend tells me) so it wasn't a shock that when the odds were stacked against Page and with no members of the Dark Order to make the save the Bucks were there to make sure Hangman wasn't on his own after all. Kenny Omega though?
While Matt and Nick were two steps forward, Kenny Omega was one step back. Maybe the ultra-competitive, hates losing part of Kenny, still borne of the scars of losing the AEW Tag belts with a partner he wasn't entirely in love with and that partner being the man to end his AEW World title reign and maybe being a better champ than he was is reluctant to bring Hangman back to the Elite fold but when locking eyes with Jon Moxley, his first rival in AEW, a man who committed acts on violence on him (and vice versa) that had not been seen in a Tier 1 wrestling promotion in the US, the ultra-competitive side came out, he just happened to be in the same ring as his friends and former friends.
While Trish will expand further in her story beat section, I would like to point out the perhaps fortunate slice of luck that came to AEW in this segment. In the true spirit of the company's predecessor on Turner Networks WCW, there has been an element of "We've got to go!" about the end of episodes of Dynamite which can be attributed to the tendency of the performers to go over their allotted time and the shelter skelter nature to the flow of the programme and while we're yet to know and we may never do know whether it was intentional, the end of show watermark that appeared just as Hangman turned around to see his friends from dusty pictures was perfect. In a business where suspense is essential in storytelling, we got a cliff-hanger. The fans would have paid more than a penny for the thoughts of Adam Page and what his reactions were at that time but AEW had "to go" and we're going to have to wait til next week to find out what Hanger was thinking.
That's storytelling folks.
Story Beat of the Week: Trish
Putting the 'E' in AEW
The final moment of this week's Dynamite, as Peter so eloquently explored in the section above, has been a long time coming and also one full of possibilities. It feels somewhat like a multiverse; a collection of stories weaved within AEW's existence and even in the years before as well as an exploration of complicated relationships between characters on both sides as well as between those who were standing opposite.
For most, eyes are immediately drawn to the relationship between members of the Elite and Adam Page. Page, who has been recently embroiled in a bloody feud with Omega's original rival- Jon Moxley, has indicated on occasions throughout it all that the Elite were still in his thoughts. They were brought up in his heart wrenching promo in Toronto and again after his victory in LA, when he talked to Renee of "mending fences". With no gold in play and his word upheld it isn't hard to see why he would attempt to try again.
For the Elite it is much more murky. The Bucks, who received their apology before Page's Full Gear title win, have made several attempts to approach the Hangman which have either been scuppered or ultimately unsuccessful. They have stood to one side and watched whilst he became "Elite", unable to express their emotions or communicate their pride. It might be easy for them to fix things if it wasn't for the part played by Kenny Omega.
Omega knew on his return that he wasn't the Bucks first choice for the Trios Tournament and that plays into the long standing fears he has around their relationship? Two years ago to the week The Cleaner had declared to his long time friends "I chose you and you never chose me back." Would a fear that Matt and Nick could this time choose his former tag team partner over him and will this direct his future actions? Is he aware of the circumstances around his title loss? Will there be any jealousy over the victories Page has been able to achieve cleanly which have eluded him so far?
The man he challenged the Young Bucks to pick him over on that occasion was, ironically, Jon Moxley. Moxley has no love for the Elite having had his title stolen by Omega, been embarrassed by the Exploding Barbed Wire match non explosion and the Bucks breaking their word to him. He has no respect for them, not even in the begrudging way that he does for Page. Could he make a play to keep his recent rival away from those he has always despised?
The BCC isn't without its own drama either. The departure of William Regal and his involvement in Jon Moxley's World Title loss caused a major fracture in the relationship between the Cincinnati man and Bryan Danielson. Danielson is currently on hiatus after his devastating loss to MJF; what he thinks of the recent actions of his stablemates will be a huge subplot upon his return.
This story has a number of other affiliated parties which could become involved as things progress as well. Konosuke Takeshita has supported Danielson in recent months but has also caught the eye of the often devious Don Callis. The Dark Order are fighting to bring respect back to their name but also wouldn't appreciate being cast aside by Hangman either. Omega's wrestling soulmate, now released of his New Japan shackles, will find himself in the same building as Jon Moxley in just two weeks time.
In recent months many critics as well as a large part of the fan base have been crying out for a story they can get their teeth in to, a story with twists and turns that will captivate them emotionally. This is that story and the endless possibilities in regards of directions and potential matchups make it the most exciting thing to happen in the company for over a year. On this occasion "let it play out!" is no bad thing.
Move of the Week: Gareth.
Piledriver on Stu
Stu Grayson's return to AEW was a truly feel good moment. On a night where for many reasons AEW started to feel like AEW of old again, the return of a much loved figure was lovely to see. I will let Trish expand on Stu in MVP of the week, though.
Because I could have picked many of his excellent moves for the move of the week. But it was the piledriver from Claudio Castagnoli on Stu which stood out for me. Because in the midst of this heart-warming return in his home country, Blackpool Combat Club have JUST turned heel.
The decision to feed Stu to the BCC was inspired, and that piledriver on the outside being the move that killed Grayson's hot tag was so impactful for getting heat on this, until recently, much loved group.
MVP of the Week: Trish.
One year ago (to the week) Stu Grayson cut an impassioned promo on BTE built out of his frustrations. He was tired of spending his time in catering whilst others got to shine.
"I don't even get to wrestle!" Stu would exclaim, "the one thing I do best in the world is pro wrestling and that's the one thing I don't get to fucking do!" This would end up as somewhat of a final salve for Grayson's first AEW run; just over a month later he had parted ways with the company after failing to agree a new deal that would make the extensive travel required for Dynamite worth his while. It was a disappointing end to his tenure that hadn't seen him have one high profile singles match within its duration and the momentum his faction had in the summer of 2021 dissipating as they were downcycled.
Ten months later, Stu Grayson returned to All Elite Wrestling. In what might be a beautifully poetic coincidence, it was to team with Hangman Adam Page as well as long term partner Evil Uno, the exact scenario which didn't happen back in San Antonio that the promo was kayfabe'd around.
Many in the live crowd had no idea it was happening and were overjoyed at the sight of him. Chants of "Stuuuuuuuu!!!" broke out immediately and the energy of the match increased every time he was brought into the ring. His quick changes of pace, high octane offense and a string of double team manoeuvres with partner Uno were back as well in what was a tremendous trios bout.
Fans wondered if it was just a one and done, a burst of positivity just for the local audience. A day later though and that was cleared up. Stu Grayson was back with All Elite Wrestling on a permanent basis and by Friday night cutting a strong promo on the Dark Order's most recent nemesis in Jon Moxley, who he will face in singles competition this upcoming Wednesday.
Grayson could be an essential building block in the rehabilitation of the Dark Order and, in the slightly longer term, the Super Smash Brothers would be a great addition to a weakened tag division. It is hard not feel as though this is another course correct but it is one that is to the benefit of all parties. Welcome back Stu Grayson.