Welcome to the weekly AEW Roundtable, where Pro Wrestling Musings' contributors share their thoughts on the biggest talking points arising from Dynamite, Rampage and beyond in the world of All Elite Wrestling. Please note writer's views are their own.
This week's contributors are:
- Daisy: @boutmachines.
- Shreyas: @OneeWingedAngel.
- Joe: @ProWrestlingJoe.
1) What did you make of Adam Cole’s AEW debut and the announcement of the SuperKliq re-uniting to take on Jurassic Express and Christian Cage next week?
[Shreyas] After only one match, Adam Cole has established himself as one of the biggest stars in the company. On a night where CM Punk and Bryan Danielson also had entrances, he got by far the biggest pop of the night, which is mind-blowing when you consider the amount of takes there were about him getting overshadowed by the two bigger name signings.
This was pretty much one of the first times I have seen an Adam Cole match in its entirety, and boy is he impressive. His charisma and crowd control are traits of a generational babyface, but he is killing it as a cocky member of the Heelite. I am yet to see a bad match from Kazarian, truly the most underrated person on the roster. The trios match should be very fun considering the amount of talent in it.
[Joe] Shreyas covered most of my thoughts. I’ll say this, Frankie Kazarian did a great job of making Adam Cole look like a superstar in that match, but the crowd probably still outdid Kazarian, they really made Cole seem like a superstar. Maybe, because HE IS ONE.
The SuperKliq re-uniting is everything I wanted to hear, I am hopeful this will lead to more Jungle Boy and Adam Cole action in the future.
2) AEW World Champion Kenny Omega accepted Bryan Danielson’s challenge for a non-title match at Grand Slam next Wednesday. What did you make of the segment and announcement?
[Gareth] My favourite wrestler of all time in the ring with the greatest of all time and Kenny Omega was there too! No, in all seriousness, it was great to see Bryan go back-and-forth with Don Callis whilst Omega struggled with what Callis has made him, and what he knows he is deep down. The Best Bout Machine! There was so much subtlety to this segment that made it so masterful, but I’ll keep it simple. I AM GETTING MY DREAM MATCH!
[Daisy] I’m hyped! Call me close minded, but I don’t think you can truly be a modern wrestling fan and not be excited about this match. This is hardly an original thought, but I’d wager that Kenny Omega and Bryan Danielson are the two best in-ring performers on the planet. I’m not even worried about over-hyping myself for this match because I know it’s going to be incredible. I just know it.
The segment itself? Wow. I was a huge NJPW fan back when Kenny was on the run of his life, and it sent a chill up my spine to hear an AEW wrestler, Bryan Danielson at that, actually call out the ‘Best Bout Machine’. There’s a teeny tiny bit of hope in the back of my mind that Kenny will go all out in attempting to bring that character back for this match. The shades, the leather, perhaps Devil’s Sky? With the forbidden door anything is possible.
[Shreyas] Kenny Omega vs Bryan Danielson is actually happening... The two greatest wrestlers of their generation (and in my opinion, of all time) are going to lock up. What more can I add? This is THE dream match. I'm not even going to try and predict how this match goes, because I know whatever these two geniuses come up with will be much better than my wildest imagination. I'm yet to even process that this match is happening. But I am so ready for it. Wild.
3) AEW Women’s Champion Britt Baker and challenger Ruby Soho faced off ahead of their championship match at Grand Slam. How do you rate this exchange and the build for their match overall?
[Gareth] Watching this was just electric. They went back and forth like Tomohiro Ishii and [insert wrestler] chopping each other’s necks. One of AEW’s best face-offs ever – and think of the ground that covers. Both this, as well as Bryan and Omega's face-off, have a good argument for segment of the year, in my opinion. AEW know how to build a match.
I’ve enjoyed their build, maybe too much to the point where I really don’t want to see Ruby Soho lose. But that is exactly the opponent that Britt, a heel champion over like she’s a babyface, needs right now. In *that* arena, I have high hopes for this match. [Daisy] This was absolutely fantastic. Baker and Soho trading verbal blows in the centre of that ring got New Jersey - who were likely tired after sitting through a full Dynamite taping - up on their feet and cheering the loudest they had since Rampage began.
Soho is passionate, she’s the most excited she’s ever been to work in AEW, and that fact rings clear in her delivery. She came out to fight, to impress, and to prove that she’s better than the material she was given in WWE. A perfect showing for both Baker and Soho just five days before their scheduled title match is exactly what we needed. More of this, please!
[Shreyas] Absolutely amazing. Ruby Soho and Britt Baker are stars. The last few weeks have been my first exposure to Ruby, and I can safely say that she might be one of the most important signings ever for the division. She is just so likeable, even though I am a huge fan of Baker, and want her to keep the belt for several months, after this segment I would have no problem with Ruby winning the title, she has impressed me that much.
The back-and-forth between the two was excellent, probably my favourite promo duel in AEW since Mox and Kingston from last year, and that is a HUGE compliment for anyone. Very hyped for this match.
4) Who was your AEW stand-out performer of the week?
[Gareth] Who to choose? So many had such strong performances this week. But when I look back on this week, besides Baker and Soho’s exchange, Penta sacrificing his mask to save his brother, and the tag titles, just a couple of weeks after he sacrificed himself for Fenix against the Bucks, is what will stand out in my mind. Phenomenal storytelling between two brothers who were almost torn apart by Eddie Kingston, who is now my favourite person in the world, under a year ago. This company is truly unbelievable at times.
[Daisy] Miro. He’s just pure gold. Miro hasn’t spent his TNT title reign in particularly high-profile feuds, but that hasn’t mattered. His matches with younger talent have likely been my personal favourites of his run – bar the All Out match with Eddie. He just makes these guys look like a million bucks out there. Lee Johnson and tonight, Fuego del Sol, come off as pure babyface underdogs that you desperately want to root for even if you don’t know much about their characters. I have a feeling that Miro’s reign will be coming to an end very soon, but my God did he take that already prestigious belt and elevate it.
[Joe] I’ll give my vote to Ruby Soho, if there was any doubt what she could bring to the women’s division in AEW and whether she could be someone to really elevate things for her division, erase it all after these last couple weeks. I had many friends in the Prudential Center who reached out to me telling me about this segment on Rampage, so even though I was very excited to see it for myself, it still exceeded my expectations. Ruby Soho is not here simply to have fun; she’s planning on taking this opportunity and run with it as far as she can.
5) What was your AEW match of the week?
[Gareth] I have to go with Shawn Spears vs Darby Allin. A few weeks ago, Spears had a total banger with Sammy Guevara, and it dawned on me that Spears as this despicable heel against smaller babyfaces is just the best. He is a heat magnet in matches, and he allows for super-hot babyface comebacks. Of course, you need an over babyface to make this work, you generally need two to tango. But Shawn Spears is super underrated, and these two matches prove it.
[Shreyas] Dynamite and Rampage both had a bunch of worthy candidates, but I am going to pick Daniel Garcia vs Lee Moriarty from Dark Elevation this week. I seriously can’t stress this enough, even if you normally don’t watch Dark or Elevation, please go out of your way to give this a watch. Two young, highly skilled wrestlers doing some of the best technical wrestling I have seen. Very good 7-minute banger. The future is extremely bright for these two. [Joe] Damn, Shreyas got here before me. Please take a few minutes to watch Lee Moriarty vs Daniel Garcia from Elevation, Episode 28. I’ll give my match of the week to Adam Cole vs Frankie Kazarian, I don’t think Cole could have asked for a better dance partner, that match did its purpose brilliantly, making Adam Cole look like the big-time player that he is, here in AEW.
6) Is there anything else you’d like to mention from AEW this week?
[Gareth] I’ve been too positive in this roundtable. Dan Lambert on AEW sucks. He has good delivery but everything he’s done has stunk the show out. This week was the low point. Back to positivity, POWERHOUSE HOBBS IS THE GREATEST WRESTLER OF ALL TIME! Also, great to see Anna Jay back. She is way too good for her level of experience.
[Joe] Another week where I feel like there’s been a good use of both TV shows to further several women’s storylines. Good to see Penelope, Bunny, Tay and Jay continue their rivalry, I can’t help but root for these people after watching them on Allie’s vlog, which I recommend highly by the way. Jade and Leyla had some good promo material leading up to their match, Britt and Ruby’s segment killed it.
I still think there should be more promos and video packages to keep us up to date with what more of the division are up to and what direction they’re headed in, even if it’s just to set up a match or rivalry on Elevation.
[Shreyas] Shout out to Christian Cage for having two of the most brutal lines of the week. Really makes me want to see him as a rude heel prick again, maybe someday down the line, because that’s the role in which he excels the most.