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THE BEST LADDER MATCH EVER? | AEWeekly Roundtable #8

Updated: Jan 31, 2022

Hello and welcome to the #AEWeekly Roundtable Discussion where ProWrestlingMusings contributors share their thoughts on the major talking points arising from the last week of AEW programming.

This weeks writers are Andy (@AndyDCollier), Joe M (@GoodVsBadGuys) and Joe 2 (@ProWrestlingJoe).

1) CM Punk vs. MJF is set for the coming week’s Dynamite. What did you make of this promo to set it up and the build of this feud thus far?

[Joe M] I was very invested in this segment because I will be attending Dynamite live this Wednesday, and this match was my main motivation for buying tickets.

I really enjoy when the crowd was chanting “Shut the F--- Up!” at MJF, but unfortunately in this case It wasn’t only warranted because MJF is a bad guy saying bad things. This was a weak promo from MJF. It was inefficient, taking too many long pauses that weren’t warranted and took too long to get to the point.

This feud seems to be pivoting to prioritize the eventual MJF vs Wardlow feud. However, the way the segment played out, with the commentary saying that CM Punk will probably bring back up, made me hopeful for a very unlikely long shot. If I get to see Colt Cabana making the save for CM Punk, it would be a heart-warming moment reminiscent of Macho Man and Miss Elizabeth reuniting at WrestleMania 7. [Joe 2] I had a good time with this promo, wasn’t their strongest but it did its job for me. I’m surprised Colt Cabana was brought up here, though not by name, I was under the assumption that was off limits. I really hope this means we’ll eventually see Punk and Cabana in a place where they can be seen together again, in storylines.

The feud itself, has been a bit up and down. Wardlow’s momentum has not helped Punk and MJF but when someone gets hot, and it happens so organically, you really do need to go with it while you have it. I’ve enjoyed most of their work however, and I hope the match on Wednesday will deliver on all bases.

[Andy] I have very much enjoyed this feud, especially the promo exchanges. The fact this has been going on for 2 months and the match is coming now is a testament to both men – especially when we are used to matches either the week or month after an initial interaction. This wasn’t their strongest promo, but we are 2 months into the feud – as Mark Henry would say, there has been enough talk...

2) Sammy Guevara defeated Cody Rhodes to become the undisputed TNT Champion. What did you make of the result and was this the correct winner?

[Joe M] Was this the correct winner? Maybe too early to say. Was this the correct result? Yes. First, it continues Cody’s commitment to putting over fresh talent, that many fans tend to ignore. Three of the AEW “Pillars” are in the position they are with the help of Cody.

As for the match. This was the best free-TV ladder match I can remember since Jeff Hardy vs Undertaker in 2002. I thought it was excellent and, other than a slow beginning and first commercial break, this match was perfectly paced.

Cody’s superplex to Sammy over the top of the hanging belts was the best superplex I have ever seen. Sammy’s cutter was the best one I have ever seen. Cody’s Cross Rhodes would’ve probably been the top spot in the famous HBK vs Razor ladder match in 94. Sammy’s Swanton was an anxiety and adrenaline-inducing daredevil spot worthy of any famous Jeff Hardy ladder match. Cody lying there for so long waiting for it was also made believable by the nasty GTH that Sammy connected with to Cody’s temple right beforehand. All 4 of those big spots could be added to AEW’s show-opening video packages and be worthy of staying there for years to come. This match was a memorable-moment-making-machine.

[Joe 2] Is it too early to say? Yes perhaps, but as of this moment I am living under the belief that Cody Rhodes absolutely made Sammy Guevara on this night. Sammy gets a good reception from AEW crowds, but so do a lot of talent. I feel like this match will end up elevating Sammy to that next level, if and that is if, they really focus on him and him alone in this title reign. No more Jericho nonsense, enough of that. Sammy’s cutter will go down in AEW history, as will this performance, here’s hoping that he does as well with this title reign.

The audience will let Sammy know how much they appreciate what he risks for their entertainment the next time we see him, believe me on that one.

[Andy] I was very surprised they went with Sammy but I’m glad they did. His first run with the title was uninspiring – I’d argue his matches with Dustin, Garcia and this ladder match are better than anything he did in that run. Sammy needs to show his quality this time around. I don’t need to see him in matches against glorified jobbers or Dark specialists – he needs to have competitive matches where there is real jeopardy. That is where he shines brightest.

3) Chris Jericho helped Santana & Ortiz defeat Daniel Garcia and 2point0 on Dynamite, despite Jericho’s Inner Circle stablemates making it clear they feel they don’t need or want his help. What did you make of this development?

[Joe M] Santana and Ortiz are both acting like boyfriends/girlfriends who are not in love anymore, but they are too afraid to pull the trigger and be responsible for the breakup, so instead they passive aggressively sabotage the relationship hoping to get broken up with, which is heel behaviour.

That’s not how I would have booked this breakup, with them being bitter and resentful. Considering their name is Proud and Powerful, I would have just had them assertively but respectfully saying they deserve their chance to chase their own dreams. Santana and Ortiz have the potential for a fun and important tag title run. I also see Santana having the potential to be a major singles star for the company.

The match itself was a major comedown. Opposite of what came before it, hardly any memorable moments, and devoid of high spots. I preferred it when Santana and Ortiz only busted out the face paint for special occasions and big matches.

[Joe 2] I am not sure what to make of this to be honest with you, I’m biased as in, pretty done with anything Chris Jericho as of late, but I do think the ending of this match was at least somewhat successful in making me want to see what’s next here. All I ask for is that whatever it is, make it extremely beneficial for Proud & Powerful. Can you do that for me Jericho?

[Andy] Whilst I think they are probably stalling for Kingston’s return; the tension is mounting. This feels like a very low interest story now, but hopefully it sparks into life. I get the feeling most are sadly burned out on Jericho and that seems to be hurting anything he touches currently.

4) Jurassic Express defeated Private Party to retain their AEW World Tag Team Championships as Andrade el Idolo watched on. What did you think of the match? Also, where do you think this Andrade and Hardy Family Office angle is heading?

[Joe 2] Fun match, fun fun fun. It was nice to see some of the Private Party that I fell in love with back in 2019 again, a very good match for Rampage.

The AHFO angle is hopefully leading to the demise of the whole thing, at the very least it’ll lead to a new direction with Andrade as the new man in charge, I think it’s obvious that Matt is just waiting around for his brother and that face turn. I’m not very interested in this story, or the stable. Andrade investigating the little kid incident is some of my favorite skits on television however, more of that. And my goodness, what a match that’ll be in the end, woof!

[Andy] I echo everything Joe the Second said. I’d almost forgotten that Private Party are so talented. Jurassic Express are perfect champions. They can put on classics with any team. I expect Andrade to take over the HFO just in time for Jeff to pop up. The Hardys v Private Party could be phenomenal.

5) How did you feel about AEW overall this week? Is there anything in else you would like to spotlight?

[Joe M] Red Velvet is underrated. The way she moves is unique and I enjoy the creativity of her offence. From a representation standpoint, it’s cool to see an Afro-Latina getting some positive visibility. My daughter is half-Colombian, so it’s cool to have positive female role models who share her heritage to point to.

Orange Cassidy vs Adam Cole was fun. Cassidy executed the Panama Sunrise and the Superkick as well as Cole does. The ending was smart, I just wish Cassidy and Cole didn’t stay in that hug for so long before the plunge. I enjoy that Schiavone hates on Cole and MJF. It feels like it helps add continuity and a moral standard to the AEW universe.

It is odd that he makes an exception for the heel Britt Baker, who seems to be losing focus and steam lately. I’m thinking that Schiavone dynamic will be vital to an eventual reinvigorating babyface turn.

Outside of Conan O’Brien’s podcast, I’m unfamiliar with Danhausen. As someone who has experienced a lot of joy from Eric Young in TNA, Orange Cassidy in AEW, Dan Barry, Session Moth Martina, Angel Cruz, and the world’s most under-appreciated wrestler, B Cool, I am open-minded and excited to see what he does.

[Joe 2] I really enjoyed both Dynamite and Rampage this week, I liked the matches more than previous weeks, I enjoyed the segments and promos more than the previous weeks and the crowd was hot throughout most of the three hours.

Danhausen is going to end up being a good addition to AEW I feel, just let him do his thing, something AEW is generally very good at, and we’ll be golden. I welcome the Hausen to AEW.

[Andy] I know people are giving the Cole and Cassidy match a bad rep but any plunder match would struggle to follow that ladder match. On another show, people would have enjoyed that more. Perhaps an element of booking that Khan is still perfecting.


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