I think this week’s title nicely sums up the week of news we’ve had from AEW. AEW have signed Paul Wight! The news was released Wednesday afternoon that Paul Wight, aka Big Show will be commentating on AEW’s new developmental show, AEW Dark: Elevation, along-side the one and only Tony Schiavone. The show is set to debut on AEW’s YouTube Channel at 7pm EST on Monday 15th March. Never in my life did I expect to be this happy to see Big Show back on our screens, but I am extremely excited to see this – the full press release going into the details of his signing can be found here. With Tony Khan saying that both old and new faces will be coming to AEW over the coming months, I’m seriously looking forward to seeing who becomes All Elite next – CM Punk anyone? (I’m kidding, maybe, I don’t even know anymore). It’s also been confirmed that the 3rd hour on TNT will be coming this year!
We also got the release of the first of the AEW Mobile Games, AEW Casino: Double or Nothing, which is now available in your chosen app store, as well as some awesome game updates for Elite GM and their upcoming console game on the second episode of the AEW2.Show. With Brandon Cutler as guest host, it was absolutely hilarious, going through who they’re going to build with Create a Wrestler, why they’re not giving us a proposed release date for the console game (blame Cyberpunk 2077) and much more!
This weeks BTE: ‘Nepotism’, was absolutely brilliant, though even less family friendly than usual with Dark Order and Hangman Adam Page up to their usual shenanigans, Big Money Matt paid off Isiah Kassidy for his attack on Page with a chain and some stupidly expensive trainers and Sammy told us, while posing naked with his unmentionables covered with the “Sammy’s Vlog” title, that he will be defending the title against Mumma Guevara on Sammy’s Vlog. I’m not quite sure why he was naked, but.. Why not?
Sammy’s Vlog itself was a little different this week with Sammy not being able to get to the Dynamite tapings because of the weather in Texas so he left the vlog in the capable (maybe?) hands of Marko Stunt. For the same reason, we didn’t actually get the BTE title defense against his mum this week, but that has been rescheduled for next week’s episode, weather permitting. Glacier denied the QT vs Fuego match at the nightmare factory, (which QT will be addressing on next week’s vlog), we learned that it was Brandi who got the bears to kidnap Fuego – why, you may ask? In order to get him to ‘deal with’ the PR nightmare that is Sammy Guevara as it’s just stressing Brandi out. Both shows this week were absolutely hilarious. And Finally, before we get to the amazing week of wrestling we’ve been lucky enough to get this week, we got Red Velvet on AEW Unrestricted in an awesome interview preparing for her match with Cody next week against Shaq and Jade Cargill.
Highlights of the Week
Dark this week was a colossal episode, coming in at 2 hours 13 minutes long with a 17 match card and a staggering 56 different competitors! It was really difficult to narrow this one down, so many of my favourites were wrestling!
5) Ryan Nemeth vs Aaron Solow
This match itself wasn’t one of the best matches of the night, but given Nemeth’s subsequent match on Dynamite wednesday night, this is worth mentioning. As disappointed as I am that Solow didn’t walk away with the win, this was a fairly good and enjoyable match which set Nemeth up great for his match against Mox. Solow is continuing to improve week on week, and now he’s joined the Nightmare Family, I can only imagine that improvement is just going to continue. Nemeth’s good, as he showed in this match, and I do understand why he got the win… I just wish it hadn’t been at Solow’s expense.
4) Kip Sabian vs Fuego Del Sol
Kip Sabian vs Fuego Del Sol, on the other hand, was one of my favourite matches of the night – Did we get to finally see Fuego win a match? Aah, no. Did we finally get to see Fuego hit the Tornado DDT? It’s a no to that one too. BUT! We did get to see Kip back in the ring and he looked amazing! It seems like a lifetime since one of my fav’ british bad boys actually wrestled and it was so good to see him back, no ring rust, no hesitation, and he and Fuego worked really well together – I kinda wanna see another match between them down the time, preferably once we have proven the existence of the legendary Tornado DDT
3) Brooke Havok vs Leyla Hirsch
This, as many of you may have seen on social media, was the only reason I managed to stay up and watch Dark live this week – Leyla Hirsch is one of my favourite female wrestlers out there at the moment and I’m going to be following Brooke’s career very closely. The match itself was short and sweet: it was a fantastic bounce-back for Leyla after her loss in the Women’s Tournament, and Brooke put on a fantastic showing. What I didn’t realise until a day or two ago though, was that Brooke tore her ACL half way through this match and KEPT GOING!! I’ve torn my ACL, it hurts, like holy hell. The more I watch this kid, the more impressed I am. Wishing Brooke the speediest of recoveries and I hope to see her back in the ring soon!
2) Lee Johnson vs Serpentico
Lee Johnson got his first singles win!! Yes, you heard me right, that’s his second win!! It was somewhat of a novelty actually getting to see Serpentico wrestle rather than being used as Luther’s personal weapon, and it turns out, he’s actually really good! Now don’t get me wrong, Serpentico’s skill has been clear for a long time, but it’s not very often (if ever) we really get to see him stretch his technical skills and this opportunity against Big Shotty Lee gave him such a chance. Johnson looked brilliant and it’s clear that his Nightmare Factory training is working absolute wonders, not only to his in ring technique but his confidence and determination and it’s only the stars that are the limit from here.
1) Eddie Kingston vs JD Drake
This wasn’t Professional Wrestling, this was an all out brawl and it. was. glorious. What a debut match for JD Drake! These two absolutely tore it up and as the bell rang and they locked in that first collar and elbow tie-up, you just knew this was going to be war. And social media went absolutely crazy! I can only imagine from such a strong and fan praised first outing that we’re going to be seeing a lot more of Drake on Dark over the next few months, and I am absolutely dying for a full on Drake/Kingston feud!
How is every episode of Dynamite the best episode of Dynamite? (Sorry Andy, I had to do it again.)
Like seriously, Wednesday night was flawless. Don’t get me wrong, I could have done without the Shaq & Jade vs Cody & Red Velvet video package, but even I couldn’t find anything bad to say about it other than it could have been a little shorter. The show started at 11 and just kept getting better. Looking back over my notes there were a heck of a lot of recaps and backstage segments in this show, each of which were absolutely on point with production, timing, content, everything. We laughed and we cried, popped and booed. We got goosebumps and were on the edge of our seat.
And I’ll remind you, this wasn’t the Revolution Go Home Show.
1) Nyla Rose vs Britt Baker
It’s great to see that in a night full of outstanding matches, the Woman’s Tournament match still stood out. Nyla and Britt absolutely tore it up this week and showcased just how strong a women’s roster AEW are building. Things may not have been booked as we’d have liked over the first year and a half of AEW, but matches like this show just how much effort, time and training is being done behind the scenes to build the women’s roster we all know they’re capable of having. From bell to bell, this match absolutely rocked and both of them looked like absolute stars. I’ve not been a huge fan of Britt so far, but after that, I think I finally get it. It was also great to see Nyla get a match that she didn’t completely dominate, seeing her get a chance to showcase just how good she is. Nyla walked away with the win, but both women deserve all the praise they can get because it was fantastic.
1) Team Taz vs Varsity Blondes and everything else
After the literal squash matches Cage and Starks have been having on Dark the last few weeks, I wasn’t expecting half as much from this match as we got, despite how good Varsity Blondes have been and continue to be, but holy hell Varsity Blondes looked absolutely amazing!! It was about halfway through the match I actually found myself asking if they we’re going to have Team Taz walk in to Revolution with the loss, and I would have loved to see it. It was a hard fought fight but Team Taz did finally get the 3 count but despite the amazing match we had just been privileged to see, this was all about the post match. I can’t do this justice in the few words I have here, I could literally do a full article on this post match, just go watch it, even if it’s the only thing you watch from Dynamite this week. I will simply say three words:
Darby. Rafters. Zipline.
1) Isiah Kassidy vs ‘Hangman’ Adam Page
Kassidy and Page absolutely tore it up this week and it was great to see Isiah absolutely rocking the singles match. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting as the bell rang, but it certainly wasn’t the absolute fire match we got. Isiah looked like a singles star, Matt Hardy got Deleted from ringside, Alex Reynolds and John Silver came out to support Page and Adam Page looked like a million bucks. As Page hit a one armed Deadeye for the three count, Matt Hardy’s voice echoed throughout Daily’s Place – Page brought this on himself, and in payback for switching the contracts, for turning his back on Big Money Matt, he is going to hurt every member of Dark Order – 5 is then dragged through the tunnel by matt and thrown through Doc’s table.
1) Rey Fenix vs Lance Archer
This was a PPV level match and is one I would have happily seen at PPV – these two compliment each other so well – this match absolutely rocked and I’m so glad it was the main event because these two, in singles or tag competition are main eventers in every sense of the word. From start to finish, these two presented us with a beautiful piece of performance art that showcased everything I love about professional wrestling, storytelling, passion, dedication, commitment, and determination and I honestly couldn’t have asked for more. It’s extremely early in the year, but this could easily be a Match of the Year 2021 contender.
1) Jon Freaking Moxley
Jon Freaking Moxley. That Promo. That show opening. That is all.
I cheated this week, I just couldn’t pick a favourite part, it was difficult enough to stick to 5 and there’s still so much that deserved talking about that I just don’t have the word-count left to do: Brandon Cutler Vs Jake Hager and everything post match with the Young Bucks and Jericho and MJF; Backstage with Callis, Kenny and the Moxley-Exterminator-Chamber; Video Packages. It was all flawless.