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: by Joe.
AEW World Championship: Texas Death Match: Adam Cole vs Hangman Adam Page (C)
I’ve seen & heard mixed reactions to Adam vs Adam II, with some saying it didn’t feel big or important because AEW didn’t act like it was big or important. However, there were many moments within this match that were either big, important, or both. Page showed off his courage & confidence by getting right into the face of Cole, who is a bully, and showing him that he was not intimidated. Page showed off his intelligence by faking out Cole before showing off his creativity with a moonsault chair shot. Cole tried to punish Page with some chairs, but Page turned the tables (or chairs?) on Cole with a DVD / AA slamming Cole’s spine onto the steel sillas.
That led us to another moment receiving mixed reactions, when Page requested a beer, smashed it into Cole’s head, and then chugged it to the cheers of the fans. I’ve seen some not happy about Page returning to alcohol, but I think the ultimate happiest ending for someone is not always rehab and tea-totalling sobriety, it could be a non-problematic enjoyment of one of life’s pleasures. I would not say anyone was wrong for not feeling happy about it, but I was happy for Hangman, and I would feel judgmental and intolerant if I were to say that he shouldn’t.
After that character beat, we had more exciting action. Page went for his moonsault and Cole caught him with a perfectly timed and targeted superkick that drew blood. Page got up at the count of 6, wounded but not defeated, and Cole hit him with a Panama Sunrise Flip Piledriver. Hangman still wouldn’t quit, and rose up again. Page retaliated with a super fallaway slam off of the top rope chucking Cole onto a bed of steel chairs like it was an event in a strongman competition.
This bought more time for Page to fully recover, and pushed Cole to desperation. Cole started talking trash to Page, telling him that he would never be Kenny Omega, which anyone who has been a fan of AEW for half a year would realise is going to be a very emotionally triggering topic for Cole to poke and prod into. Page fired up and levelled Cole with his finisher, the Buckshot Lariat, but that isn’t when it finished. After Cole made things even more personal, Page wanted to punish Cole. He tied him up with his Cowboy belt, and got ready to smash him and lash him with a steel chair covered in barbed wire.
However, attacking a defenceless man, whether or not it would be Cowboy Sh!t, it certainly is not Hero Sh!t, and Hangman Page is a hero in the world of wrestling. That is something Adam Cole did to Adam Page, but Adam Page is a better man than Adam Cole. That is why Page couldn’t pull the trigger. Cole took advantage of Page’s hesitation and tried to exploit his kindness as weakness, but Page quickly regained control, then the man sitting on AEW’s golden throne placed a Barbed Wire Crown around high school bully Adam Cole’s head, and drove him through a table with a Deadeye inverted leaping piledriver to win the match, and continued his reign.
I normally don’t cover matches in pure story form like this, but this one seemed to do it on its own. That layout, those spots, and this closure is why if I can only revisit one Cole vs Page World Title match a year from now, it will be this one.
Promo of the Week: by Sergei.
Dalton’s First Impression
“I am Sully Sulleberg, and you are a goose in my engine! But I’m gonna land this bitch in the river! And you are gonna wind up STUFFED in a DUVET!”
That was it. 15 seconds of oddly-almost-logical absurdity that served as Dalton Castle’s very first introduction both to myself and to a mass audience. That’s one hell of a first impression!
Thinking about the quotability, the odd nasal timbre, and the absurdity and over-the-top stereotypical villainy, Castle comes across as the Doctor Doofenshmirtz of pro wrestling, and I can’t wait to go bo-at-ing with him again.
Honourable mention to the cement mixer of gravel and cigarette butts that is Jake Roberts’s throat.
Story Beat of the Week: by Gareth.
Thank God I Am No Longer Asked to Cheer Sammy Guevara!
This was a week where I felt generally quite satisfied by the directions stories took. However, the one I was happiest about took place in a feud I am so ready to move on from and that came as Sammy Guevara officially turned heel.
Doing the old "nut-shot to win the title" trick is not original in the slightest. And this isn't a story development, as such. It's more something they've been forced into. But I am just so happy they've actually done it because I was so finished with Sammy as a babyface.
Don't get me wrong, I'm hardly excited to see one of the most overdone heel tropes (a heel with a hot girlfriend shoving his life down your throat). But I'm just relieved I'm not being asked to cheer for that character anymore.
Moment of the Week: by Peter.
TK Opens the Forbidden Door!
While TK’s “big announcements” are occurring as often as a humiliating Manchester United defeats in 2021, the one this Wednesday just gone lived up to the hype yet again.
While the foundations of the AEW x NJPW show at the United Center were set in the past year with cameos from Minoru Suzuki and Tomohiro Ishii and the news of AEW being aired on NJPW World in Japan, seeing Tony Khan and NJPW President Takami Obhari shake hands and announce the Forbidden Door show was a moment that brought warmth to this wrestling nerd’s heart consider how far we were from such a moment when AEW was launched 3 years ago.
Speculation will be rife on the match-up possibilities in the months before the event, something we will tap into in a roundtable on this site in the next few weeks, but with the endless dream matches on offer, June 26 cannot come fast enough for me.
Now, all I ask is that EVIL stays behind in Japan for the weekend.
Move of the Week: by Dan.
It definitely wasn't the strongest week for in-ring action in AEW this week despite there being three shows attempting to raise the pulses. As a result there wasn't a stand out move of the week for me, meaning I have instead placed the responsibility on the live crowds…so if you don't agree it's all their fault.
In doing so, move of the week has to go to the most over manoeuvre in AEW right now…and that is Wardlow's Powerbomb Symphony.
Its deployment to the carcass of The Butcher this week felt particularly pointed, and was beautifully woven into the whole presentation of the War Dog throughout the show.
Butch (no not that one) felt like a big step up in opponent for the world's most handsome man, and indeed just before this week's Symphony, Wardlow had been on the end of his own brutal looking powerbomb. But Wardlow kicked out at 1…because of course he did.
Then he dropped the straps, stopped our hearts, and put The Butcher to the slaughter with a 4-part Powerbomb Symphony. For my money, movement no.3 was the best this week but they all looked impressively devastating on such a monstrous opponent. And the crowd popped for each one because Wardlow…Is…Over.
Quick mention for *checks notes* 63 year old Sting leaping off a balcony during the divisive Darby v Andrade coffin match. He remains one of the highlights on any show he's on and is able to perfectly measure what his body is able to do against what looks fantastic.
I just hope he never has to face Wardlow.
MVP of the Week: by Trish.
How 'Bout Those Cowboys?
Being the first homemade AEW Men's World Champion was always going to put a massive target on 'Hangman' Adam Page's back. Combined with this, Page has also faced a series of other challenges;- with an influx of other titles, the addition of Rampage and a much more crowded main event roster adding additional pressure to a man who has also had to battle with receiving less screen time and (arguably less) promotion then his more experienced peers.
Thankfully for Page though, he hasn't shrunk under such pressure like so many others have before him in first reigns, instead finding himself growing in confidence and that being mirrored on screen by his character.
Whilst the decision to continue his feud with Adam Cole post Revolution did feel strange, it has only served to indicate just how far the Cowboy has come. Between his promo's on the previous week's Dynamite and the Road To and the performance in the Texas Deathmatch, Page looked on a different level to his once mentor. This was an utter destruction of a man who was once massively ahead of him in the wrestling world.
Five months into his title reign and Page still holds the live crowds on side. It is a testament to him and the connection with the fanbase he has built that on Wednesday night the crowd chose to chant "Cowboy Shit" for his first face to face with CM Punk when most would perhaps predicted that the opposite would occur
The next month is perhaps Hangman's greatest test in his career so far; all indications at this point are that he is ready for it.