Tiffany has some bonus Takes for AEW as she gives her side of ALL OUT! What did Tiffany think? Do you agree?
I actually swore I wasn’t going to do this. AEW was going to be something for me to enjoy without writing about it until October when I would be covering it for The Chairshot. However, the writing bug bit me and here we are, so let’s light this candle.
Women’s Casino Battle Royal – Winner is #1 Contender for AEW Women’s Championship
I didn’t watch All In or Double or Nothing, so I had no idea what went on in a Casino Battle Royal and when I heard the rules, I thought it sounded WAY too complicated: Every woman drew a playing card and whichever suit she pulled was her group. The match started with the first suit group and once all of them were eliminated but one, the next suit came out until everyone had been in. One lady had drawn the Joker Card, which meant she entered last and the last woman standing was the winner.
The execution of this match, was really cool and it looks like AEW has a solid Women’s Division on their hands. The biggest shock was that neither Brandi Rhodes or Awesome Kong were the winners, which is what I thought would happen. The big surprises were ODB of TNA fame being entered and Mercedes Martinez, who had a star making run in the 2018 Mae Young Classic. I’m a little bummed that Dr. Brit Baker didn’t win since she seemed poised to, but Nyla Rose winning and being the first AEW Women’s Champion would definitely get a lot of people’s attention.
Private Party vs – Angelico and Jack Evans Winner Gets Buy In AEW Tag Team Championship Tournament
Private Party reminds me of Street Profits, oddly enough. It’s a very similar gimmick. Angelico and Evans look like generic white guys in ugly gear (I’m NOT a big fan of Day Glow). I have to say that, after the Women’s match, this match didn’t start off great on the Angelico/Evans front, but they seemed to get their heads together and actually put on a really great match with Private Party. I should point out that one of the Day Glows’ shoulder was up at the three, right in front of the ref, but the end wasn’t a question, Private Party got a buy in the Tag Tournament. I’m also pleased that AEW is already building feuds for October by having Angelico and Evans turn and attack Private Party.
Best Friends vs Dark Order
I really don’t get the Dark Order. They dress like extras from a leather club, which is fine if that knocks your rocks, but it looks weird in wrestling. The match was okay, but it was definitely the clunker of the night. No one really cared about the Dark Order and the Best Friends losing just hurt the crowd.
Escalara de Muerte for the AAA Tag Team Championship – Young Bucks vs Lucha Brothers
This was the one match I really didn’t feel much for going in. I’m not familiar with the Young Bucks or Lucha Brothers, so I didn’t have any skin in this match.
I missed part of this match due to having to pick my mother up from work, but what I saw was pretty amazing. I’m not a Bucks fan for the most part, but they really impressed me. The match was a ladder match, though I’m not sure why they needed to add the ‘de muerte’ part, ladder matches are scary enough. Lucha Brothers were great. Lucha Brothers retaining wasn’t a surprise, the big surprise was the debut of the Latin-American Exchange, aka, LAX, who cost Young Bucks the win. Great match, with some hella scary spots.
Kenny Omega vs PAC
This is the match that I went from super psyched about to totally bummed out. This match was SUPPOSED to be Omega vs Jon Moxley, but due to Moxley having to pull out due a re-occurrence of the MRSA that nearly killed him last year and needing surgery to, hopefully, end the problem once and for all, the match was changed to PAC vs Omega.
I have to say that, after his comments after Mox had to pull out of the match, I was definitely pulling for PAC in this match. The match was really good, Pac is still very impressive, despite not being on PPV for two years after leaving WWE. I’m not sure I like the ‘Bastard’ gimmick, but whatever, at least he’s honest.
The match was REALLY good. PAC and Omega just tore the place down, which makes it hard for the rest of the matches, but since PAC was a last minute addition, I’m guessing they didn’t want to waste time. I still wish it was Mox vs Omega. I was actually surprised that PAC won due to a match stoppage. I do like the irony of Omega mocking Moxley for having to pull out and then losing a match to the ref stopping it for Omega’s safety.
Cody Rhodes vs Shawn Spears (w/Tully Blanchard)
This was another big match that I was excited for. I’ve never really been a fan of Cody or Shawn Spears but that unprotected headshot got my attention, as did the inclusion of Tully Blanchard, who was a long-time foe of Dusty Rhodes back in the 80s. Spears’ entrance was odd. It was like he was trying to be the Undertaker, only in bright blue and it wasn’t working. Blanchard didn’t get a big pop, but that was understandable since he’s been out of the wrestling mainstream since he left WWF in the late 80s after failing a drug test.
Cody took Spears’ weird entrance and gave us his own, Star Trek themed, including Diamond Dallas Page. Ultimately, MJF would be chosen to back Cody, which is disappointing since I would’ve loved to have seen DDP vs Tully Blanchard.
The match was really good, but I’m not totally into AEW rehashing a 30 year old storyline, however, Arn Anderson turning his back on Tully Blanchard was the wildest thing I’d ever seen. I seriously jumped out of my seat. Everyone, including me, was expecting MJF to turn on Cody or cost him the match, and I’m glad I was wrong. That was great. Spears looked like a legit badass and the use of Anderson and Blanchard was good.
Riho vs Hikaru Shida – Winner Faces Nyla Rose on October 2
This match of Joshi wrestlers was definitely the match I was looking forward to after Mox vs Omega. I’m not totally familiar with Joshi, but what I’ve been seeing has really impressed me.
The match ended up being really good, Shida and Riho were amazing together and made a great statement about the state of Women’s Wrestling and AEW’s Women’s Division. I’m not surprised that Riho won and considering that Riho has PINNED Rose in the past, it makes their clash in October very interesting. I should note, however that Riho got the pin in a Triple Threat match, so it’ll be interesting to see if she’ll have that success one on one.
Cracker Barrel Clash – Joey Janela vs Jimmy Havok vs Darby Allin
I have no idea what a Cracker Barrel Clash is, but since Cracker Barrel is sponsoring a match for this, I guess they had to include the name somewhere. I find it funny that Janela and Allin made sure to take Havok out before fighting. Also, duct tape.
This match was just fucking insane, but it was very good. Jimmy Havok got the win but there was some wild shit going on like that damn coffin drop of Allin’s and a skateboard with thumbtacks on it. Craziest part was it was still a really good match.
Luchasaurus, Jungle Boy, and Marko Stunt vs SoCal Uncensored
Lively Christopher Daniels is the weirdest thing, I remember the solemn Fallen Angel from TNA. I’m still not quite sure how a Luchasaurus survived the end of the dinosaurs or how he met Jungle Boy and didn’t eat him for dinner unless Luchasauruses are plant eaters. Marko Stunt looks like some random kid they picked up at a meet and greet.
All that said, this was a really good match. Luchasaurus is incredibly agile for a critter his size. Daniels did a hell of a job of selling for Jurassic Express and making them look like viable threats instead of a dumb kid act. I’m not surprised SoCal won this, but I’m impressed with how good they made Jurassic Express look and and how Daniels made sure Stunt and Jungle Boy were okay afterwards. Also, good sportsmanship is always nice to see.
AEW World Heavyweight Championship Match – Hangman Adam Page vs Chris Jericho
It’s time to decide who will be The Man of AEW heading into TV: The legendary and incomparable Chris Jericho or the young upstart, Adam ‘Hangman’ Page. Page got my vote for riding in half naked on a horse, but Jericho’s nature defying six pack paunch is something to behold. Also, this main event is being officiated by a woman, which I LOVED. This is the first time a female has officiated a World Heavyweight Championship match. Best part is: No one’s making it into a big deal and she was treated with the same respect as any of the male refs.
This match was really good, but it was clear that Jericho, though still performing at a high level, is not quite as good as he was ten years ago. Page’s selling was fantastic. Jericho bleeding wigged me out a little, not going to lie, but it wasn’t the bloodbath that happened at Fyter Fest or Double or Nothing, it felt more natural. That said, the match wasn’t all it could’ve been, but it also went on pretty late and the crowd was tired. However, Chris Jericho is the inaugural AEW World Champion and the emotion he showed makes it hard to be mad, even though I expected it.
Final Thoughts: I LOVED this show. I know a lot of people are going to say that it wasn’t as good as TakeOver: Cardiff, but I STRONGLY disagree. I watched both shows and I loved All Out. TakeOver didn’t feel like anything special, it was a three hour long NXT UK episode, just like what I watch on Wednesday afternoons. Nothing was all that surprising and the main event went on way too long. I was surprised by how much All Out excited me. There were a lot of good or great matches and even the results that weren’t surprising, had surprising elements in it: Arn Anderson seeming to turn on Blanchard, LAX debuting, Nyla Rose winning the Casino Royal, Chris Jericho, with everything he’s accomplished, being emotional over winning the AEW World Championship.
Were there questionable spots? Yeah, there were. Omega losing, even if it was by ref stoppage was odd. Page losing clean was odd. Arn Anderson turning on Tully Blanchard and helping the son of the man they spent the better part of a decade feuding with was WEIRD, but the weird spots leave the door open for storytelling down the road and builds for October when AEW is on TNT.
The one BAD match was Dark Order vs Best Friends. I have no idea what that was about, or who the hell Orange Cassidy is. I’m also not happy at the Rhodes bringing a clearly spooked Pharoh out. However, I was super excited and intrigued by most of the finishes and am really excited by what will be in store for AEW on October 2.
That’s it for Tiffany’s Surprise All In Takes! Tune in Monday for RAW!
NXT Minus 6: A Tale of Two Champions
Bradley Jay is here with the WWE NXT Minus 6, and we have new champions. Two very, very different new champions.
Bradley Jay is here with the WWE NXT Minus 6, and we have new champions. Two very, very different new champions.
Our two new champions could not be more different…
6. Doomsday Saito comes to the ring and gives a painful, cliched promo. Any wrestler in the back could have said those exact words. Train harder and beat people up. He’s angry. We get it. The only thing Saito could do that would interest me is move to RawDown. On the other hand…
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Not gonna lie, that promo was wasn’t even hot garbage. It was cold garbage.]
5. Raquel Gonzalez delivers a genuine, heartfelt promo that only she could give. Tears of joy. It told her story, and it’s exactly why she got the pop and the chant she deserved. The addition of Rhea Ripley and Bianca Belair, complete with throwback pic, was icing on the cake. I’m excited for whatever Gonzalez does next. Speaking of…
4. Fantasy booking alert!!! Two weeks ago, Raquel Gonzelez told the world I was the one who believed in her. I was the one who made her a champion. Then Rhea Ripley shows up, and Bianca Belair shows up, and I’m the one sent to the back. How quickly you forget who your real friends are. I was the one who took you to the top, and chicka, I am the one who is going to drag you to the bottom. I used you to get to the top and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I am Dakota Kai.
3. No more Santa Claus Ice Cream Bar. Santos Escobar has earned his name back. His match with KUSHIDA is everything great about NXT. Say it with me. Good things happen when you let wrestlers wrestle! Fast paced. Great action. Surprise ending. I’m going 4.5 stars. Give me a match that good every Tuesday and I’m a happy camper.
2. Right now, I don’t know if any two wrestlers have better chemistry than Swerve Scott and Leon Ruff. Every time they get together, it’s electric, and this week was no different. This is quickly climbing into Rivalry of the Year territory. I thought I was happy to see Swerve pick up the victory and move on. Then Ruff goes insane in the membrane and now I’m excited to watch them fight forever.
1. This week’s That’s Why I Love Wrestling goes to…Roderick Strong. Kayfabe. Work. Shoot. I don’t care. Strong deserved a better goodbye than what he got. He is the Perfection of Performance (shout out to the Hitman). He and Kyle O’Reilly were the best version of the Undisputed Era tag team champions. I always got excited for a Strong match because I knew he’d deliver. Roderick Strong is exactly the kind of wrestler that makes me love wrestling. Until he returns, he will be sorely missed.
Steve Cook’s Fave Five: April 2021
It’s a little more than halfway through April! You know what that means…
It’s a little more than halfway through April! You know what that means.
It’s time to talk about my current five favorite wrestlers like I’m Booker T. Let’s break down the Fave Five!
5. Samoa Joe
A gentle reminder that Samoa Joe is one of the greatest talkers in the game pic.twitter.com/p4TZeZIAV7
— Kenny Majid – A Kenny For Your Thoughts Podcast (@akfytwrestling) April 15, 2021
I figure what happened between Samoa Joe & WWE was the following: WWE offered Joe an announcing contract since either they didn’t want to use him in the ring or their doctors wouldn’t clear him to wrestle. Joe looked at the contract, noticed the financial discrepancy, realized he could probably get NJPW to let him train young boys in California for that kind of money and said “thanks but no thanks”. Nothing else really makes sense to me.
Unfortunately, those who thought that WWE wouldn’t utilize Joe to their fullest potential were right. It wasn’t all WWE’s fault though. Joe had a lot of miles on his tires when he got there. Injuries are always more of a concern with larger wrestlers the older they get. And when Joe was healthy, he did get to do some good stuff and show people a glimpse of the Samoa Joe that people like me raved about back in the mid to late 2000s.
In any event, Joe got his WWE run. It was a thing that happened. I’d be shocked if he doesn’t wind up in AEW because he seems like the kind of guy Tony Khan would throw all the money at. Should be fun!
4. Kris Statlander
— All Elite Wrestling on TNT (@AEWonTNT) April 15, 2021
AEW does have a pretty insane number of factions right now. It risks the possibility of all of the groups blending together, with none of them really capturing the attention of fans. However, there are positive things about AEW’s faction warfare that shouldn’t be overlooked. It makes booking fresh matches to fill cards pretty easy. You can have groups facing off each week, but in different combinations that keep it fresh.
Another good thing: It can help us decide how we feel about characters that we might be on the fence about. Kris Statlander’s character was a topic of discussion from the moment she entered AEW. A lot of people weren’t sure how to take her. Wrestling aliens, or wrestlers who think they’re aliens, aren’t exactly common. Its the kind of thing that gets over in the indies, because those feds attract fans that are more willing to buy into unique concepts. Mainstream is a tougher sell.
Aligning Kris with the Best Friends makes sense to those in the know, since she came up working shows with them. It also helps people that don’t know about her figure out more. The Best Friends are a happy go lucky group that are the whitest of white meat babyfaces you’ll find in AEW, and that’s a good thing. They’re welcoming to people with unique personalities, as Orange Cassidy’s presence establishes. A friendly alien couldn’t ask for a better group to surround herself with, and from their appearances so far she seems like a perfect fit.
Add in the fact that the time on the shelf helped her get into better shape and refine her look & presence, and the sky’s the limit for Statlander. As long as she can stay in the ring, I’m expecting big things from her in 2021.
3. Tay Conti
Sometimes, all one needs is a change of scenery to approach their true potential. Tay spent a few years at the WWE Performance Center learning how to be a professional wrestler. During her time there, Tay never showed much in the way of potential. Even though she had a combat sports background and had the type of physical appearance that gets attention, Conti’s TV time was very limited and uneventful. She seemed like one of those wrestlers that was bound to stay in developmental until WWE gave up on them, then drop off the face of the earth without most wrestling fans noticing.
Tay’s story took a different route. She ended up being one of the cuts that AEW took an interest in, and was brought in for the Deadly Draw Women’s Tag Team Tournament. Her teaming with Anna Jay worked well on & off-camera, and she pretty much fit right in with the group immediately. She started training with Dustin Rhodes, and pretty much immediately started looking better in the ring & figuring out what worked for her. Now, she’s one of the people helping AEW’s women’s division go to a higher level.
This isn’t meant to denigrate WWE’s Performance Center or its methods. There just isn’t a wrestling training center out there that’s going to work for everybody. Tay had to find what worked for her. The people that recently got cut will have to do the same. Hopefully, the people that recently got signed by WWE will thrive in that environment.
2. Bianca Belair
We’ve recently seen three new Women’s Champions under the WWE umbrella, all of whom are great in their own way. I’ve talked about Rhea Ripley before, she’s got unlimited potential and so far she’s done very well on the main roster. Raquel Gonzalez is doing very well on NXT and her push to the championship made perfect sense & got over. I do think the best of the title changes was Bianca’s defeat of Sasha Banks in the main event of WrestleMania Saturday. It was a special moment for Bianca, a very fun match to watch, and a great performance from both Bianca & Sasha Banks, who did everything she could to make Bianca in that match.
You see the video of the NXT segment up above, with the three current Women’s Champions under the WWE umbrella celebrating together. Apparently there was a picture taken in 2019, and there were pictures taken after this week’s NXT, with Triple H making sure to get in there as he likes to do with all new champions. I’ve never really been a fan of that sort of thing, even the “Horsewomen” celebrations on previous NXT shows didn’t do much for me.
Besides the usual complaints people have about things like that, the thing that I didn’t like was how Rhea & Raquel came off. They were all smiling & happy like they were Big Daddy Cool Diesel after beating Mr. Bob Backlund in 1994. Completely against what Raquel has been up to this point, and what Rhea has been when she’s been at her best. Hopefully this is just a one-time thing for Rhea for the portion of the NXT audience that likes their lady wrestlers crying & happy after their performances, and hopefully it’s leading to Raquel getting dismembered by Dakota Kai, who can’t be happy about her heater winning the championship and then turning into Smilin’ Diesel.
Fortunately for Bianca, it does nothing to affect her character or our opinion of her. That’s why I think her title run will go best. I’m also putting her here because I’m pretty well convinced there isn’t a wrestling move or spot she can’t do well. Insanely talented, and the more experience she gets the better she’ll be.
1. Darby Allin
Sometimes you just want to watch something that’s stupid fun. Something that doesn’t need too much thought in order to enjoy it. Just people doing crazy things to entertain an audience. Darby Allin matches are just what you need when you’re looking for something like this. There isn’t anybody crazier in pro wrestling today than Darby, which is probably for the best. I’m convinced this kid has a death wish.
The one thing that kinda gets me about Darby sometimes is how he kicks out of everything. Poor Matt Hardy wasn’t going to beat that kid unless he shot him with a gun, and apparently there’s a metal detector at Daily’s Place. (Shoutout to Matt by the way, hell of an effort in that match.) But then I remember that Darby Allin is a daredevil and constantly posting videos online where he’s jumping off high places and doing crazy things. Obviously, it’s going to take a little more to beat a daredevil than your average pro wrestler.
What’s it going to take to beat Darby Allin? That’s a good reason to keep watching.
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