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Cook’s 2021 AEW Dynamite Awards Preview

Steve Cook is here to preview the 2021 AEW Dynamite Awards?!?! Check it out, you won’t be disappointed.

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Steve Cook is here to preview the 2021 AEW Dynamite Awards?!?! Check it out, you won’t be disappointed.

It’s Awards Season! Maybe it’s just me, but it feels like pro wrestling has more awards with each passing year. In addition to the Wrestling Observer, 411mania & countless other media outlets presenting awards, promotions do their own as well. WWE has the Slammys & the NXT Year-End Awards. Impact Wrestling has had their own awards since around the start of their company.

It only makes sense for AEW to add themselves to the mix. I’m a little confused by the Dynamite Awards, only because some of the moments nominated didn’t take place in 2020. Some of the late 2019 stuff was included here, which I suppose was in the interest of fairness because early 2020 would have been too soon to do awards. Still kinda off, but this will take care of itself in 2022. Probably.

Let’s take a look at this year’s AEW Dynamite Awards! I’m going to tell you who should win and who will win, so you can win your AEW Dynamite Award pool. I don’t know if people will be betting on these things, but just in case they are, here’s some help!

Best Moment on the Mic:
MJF Campaign Speech “We Deserve Better”
Cody Rhodes Accepts Mr. Brodie Lee’s Dog Collar Match Challenge
Jon Moxley “Accepts” The Inner Circle Invitation From Jericho
Brandi Rhodes Confronts Jade Cargill
Orange Cassidy Debates With Chris Jericho

Who Should Win: Orange Cassidy Debates With Chris Jericho

Honestly, one of the biggest travesties committed by the selection committee is the lack of Eddie Kingston in this category. Completely ridiculous. That being said, there aren’t any duds listed here. Brandi’s inclusion probably gets some heat from people, but her going off on Jade was tremendous. Orange’s performance against Jericho in the debate was some pretty good stuff & showed a different side of Mr. Cassidy than we’re accustomed to seeing. I’d give the award to him.

Who Will Win: Orange Cassidy Debates With Chris Jericho

We’re talking about Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s Most Popular Wrestler of the Year here, along with the Demo God. Their star power carries them to the top of the polling.

Biggest Surprise:
Matt Hardy’s Debut
Jake “The Snake” Roberts Confronts Cody Rhodes
Brodie Lee Arrives As The Exalted One
Sting’s AEW Debut
Miro Revealed As The Best Man

Who Should Win: Jake “The Snake” Roberts Confronts Cody Rhodes

Your vote here will largely depend on your fandom of the wrestler involved. Matt Hardy fans will vote for Matt Hardy. Fans of underutilized WWE talent may go for Brodie or Miro. Sting’s popularity speaks for itself. For me, it goes back to Jake The Snake being my first favorite professional wrestler. Seeing him again, especially seeing him over the issues that had plagued him for decades, was a tremendous moment.

Who Will Win: Sting’s AEW Debut

“IT’S STING!” is all that needs to be said here.

Biggest Beatdown:
The Inner Circle Jumps Orange Cassidy
The Dark Order Attacks the Nightmare Family
Nyla Rose Puts Riho & Shida Through Tables
Brian Cage Sneak Attack On Jon Moxley
The Nightmare Family And Inner Circle Brawl

Who Should Win: The Dark Order Attacks The Nightmare Family

Brodie Lee’s destruction of Cody to win the TNT Championship really put Dark Order on the map as a force to be reckoned with. My favorite part of the beatdown: we didn’t see all of it. Dustin Rhodes & QT Marshall were drug out from the back, explaining why they didn’t come out to help Cody earlier. Arn Anderson took some shots like a champ, and Brandi got choked out by Anna Jay. By the time the old TNT belt had been deposited on Cody’s carcass, the message had been sent loud & clear.

Who Will Win: The Nightmare Family And Inner Circle Brawl

This fight had a little bit of everything. MJF as a good guy. Cody smashing a window. Diamond Dallas Page looking like he could make one more run. Dippin’ Dots. Chris Jericho screaming about how he had a ticket. A hot crowd. What’s not to like?

High Flyer:
Rey Fenix
Marq Quen
Nick Jackson
Pac

Who Should Win: Rey Fenix

All four of these guys are insane, but nobody brings the insanity like Fenix. That guy just doesn’t care as long as he does as many flips as humanly possible. He & Penta were deserving winners of most web sites’ Most Underrated award, maybe he’ll get some recognition here.

Who Will Win: Nick Jackson

Fenix & Pac split the vote of Death Triangle fans, enabling Nick to ride the support of Elite fans to the crown.

Hardest Moment To Clean Up After:
Orange Cassidy Drops OJ on Inner Circle
Parking Lot Brawl
Bunkhouse Match
Big Swole Dumps Garbage On Dr. Britt Baker

Who Should Win: Orange Cassidy Drops OJ On Inner Circle

The Parking Lot Brawl is my favorite moment on the list, but the damage was largely contained to the parking lot. Big Swole’s garbage ended up in Dr. Baker’s Popemobile, not scattered all over the place. The Bunkhouse Match went everywhere and definitely deserves consideration, but the OJ incident resulted in a ruined suit & ring canvas. Definitely tough to get that stuff out.

Who Will Win: Parking Lot Brawl

People get a chance to vote for this, they probably will. Orange is represented in this one too, so it’s all good.

Biggest WTF Moment:
Cody Moonsaulting Off The Steel Cage
Sammy Guevara Is Hit By The Golf Cart
The Young Bucks Frog Splash Off The Stadium Railing
MJF Lashes Cody Rhodes
Bloody Dr. Britt Baker vs. Hikaru Shida
Kenny Omega Wins AEW World Championship and Walks out of AEW

Who Should Win: Sammy Guevara Is Hit By The Golf Cart

All these moments definitely had an element of craziness, but they all pale in comparison to Sammy getting hit by the golf cart. Like, who willingly does that? Definitely something people shouted “WTF?” at.

Who Will Win: Kenny Omega Wins AEW World Championship and Walks out of AEW

We certainly saw some funny business coming when Don Callis started appearing to call big Kenny matches. Nothing quite like what we’ve gotten, where AEW is regularly making their presence felt on Impact Wrestling’s AXS TV show while Omega & Callis have joined forces with the Good Brothers to re-live their New Japan glory days. Recency bias & the general craziness of AEW & Impact crossing over make this a solid pick.

LOL Moment:
Jericho & MJF: Le Dinner Debonair
Dr. Britt Baker Waxes Tony Schiavone
Young Bucks Super Kick MJF Into Cruise Ship Pool
The Inner Circle Las Vegas Trip

Who Should Win: The Young Bucks Super Kick MJF Into Cruise Ship Pool

I’m a simple man. Anytime somebody gets thrown into a pool on a wrestling show, I laugh and cheer. As creative as Jericho & MJF’s musical number was, and as crazy as that Vegas trip was, and as much as I love Britt & Tony’s chemistry together, give me the classics every time. Man gets thrown into pool. Simple, yet effective.

Who Will Win: Jericho & MJF: Le Dinner Debonair

MJF needs another plaque honoring his musical performance to carry around. As Owen Hart & Scorpio Sky could tell you, one trophy is always better than two.

Best Twitter Follow:
MJF
Orange Cassidy
Dr. Britt Baker
Nyla Rose

Who Should Win: MJF

Dude just talks shit about everybody under the sun. Even Negative One, for heaven’s sake!

Who Will Win: Orange Cassidy

Twitter was made for people like Orange, who have no problem keeping their thoughts under 140 characters. I’m also good at it!

Breakout Male Star:
Orange Cassidy
Darby Allin
Eddie Kingston
John Silver

Who Should Win: Eddie Kingston

I can make a really good argument for every single nominee. We’ve already seen Orange’s name pop up a few times here, it’s no secret that he had an outstanding year. Darby is the current TNT Champion and has proven his worth every time we’ve seen him in the ring. The Brian Cage match took place after voting started, but it was evidence of why Allin deserves to win an award like this, and deserves his spot as TNT Champion and the man that Sting has chosen to carry on his legacy. Don’t get me started on Johnny Hungiee, once he started showing his personality on Being The Elite, everybody fell in love with the guy.

Eddie Kingston only went from needing to sell his wrestling boots to pay the rent to being one of AEW’s brightest stars. Those of us who were familiar with his work in the indies or in Impact wrestling knew about it. All Eddie needed was a chance, and he’d take care of business. That’s exactly what he did, and he’ll be in AEW as long as he wants to be.

Who Will Win: Darby Allin

It’ll be well-deserved, too. Nobody can deny that Darby brings it every time he’s out there. The man might be 170 pounds fully clothed with some chains, but his toughness and inability to quit can’t be denied.

Breakout Female Star:
Anna Jay
Tay Conti
Big Swole
Penelope Ford
Hikaru Shida

Who Should Win: Anna Jay

Anna had less than ten matches before getting on AEW television, and she immediately proved that she belongs. She can only get better in the ring, and she already performs at an acceptable level. Her only weakness? She always corpses when John Silver is being peak John Silver. I can’t really blame her for it.

Who Will Win: Hikaru Shida

I mean, she is the AEW Women’s Champion. Which is at least the second most important championship in the women’s division. It’s no fault of Shida’s, she does good work, but I don’t really see that connection between her and the audience.

Bleacher Report PPV Moment of the Year:
Stadium Stampede
Jon Moxley Wins AEW World Championship
Shida Wins AEW Women’s World Championship
Kenny Omega & Adam “Hangman” Page Defeat The Young Bucks
Darby Allin Defeats Cody Rhodes For TNT Title
Young Bucks Win AEW World Tag Title

Who Should Win: Jon Moxley Wins AEW World Championship

Tons of good contenders here, but it’s tough to argue against Mox knocking off Le Champion at Revolution. He was the right man to take the title from Chris Jericho at the right time, and few champions could have carried AEW through this weird year like Moxley did.

Who Will Win: Stadium Stampede

I think the multi-man clustermess has the best chance of garnering the most votes. It was certainly one of the most unique offerings from AEW in 2020.

Will the AEW Dynamite Awards be a unique offering? Tough to say, but you can find out by streaming the show on BR Live next Wednesday! You can also find out how right I was on every single award. It’s a gift.


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Steve Cook’s Fave Five: March 2021

Cook gives us his quick snapshot of early storylines that might be the important things through the month of March!

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It’s March! You know what that means.

It’s time for me to channel my inner Booker T and list my Fave Five in the world of wrestling! This list could very well change tomorrow, or whenever this ends up getting posted, but I only type it out once each calendar month. Consider it a snapshot in time.

5. Cameron Grimes

People have been telling me about Grimes for years, going back to his stint with Impact Wrestling. I never really saw it. Decent enough competitor, sure, but he always seemed like Just A Guy to me. Now that he hit it rich on the stock market, he’s the most entertaining part of NXT.

Get rid of Finn Balor & Adam Cole and put the strap on Grimes! TO THE MOON!

4. Shane Taylor

One of my criticisms of ROH television over the past several months has been a lack of defined characters. As fun as Pure Wrestling is, everybody involved in the tournament & the division tend to sound the same. Then, with a lot of the main guys, it’s tough to tell whether they’re good guys, bad guys, or shades of grey. There’s a place for shades of grey, but it’s tough to be interested in a TV show where you don’t know who to root for.

Shane Taylor’s presentation suffered from this for me for awhile. I wasn’t too familiar with his work pre-pandemic, so I’ve been getting to know him along with the rest of the ROH talent. From what I can gather, he was working one of those deals where the promotion didn’t really want to promote him, which can either make one very popular or largely ignored. The promotion tended to treat him like a heel. Either way, Shane looked pretty darn good in his matches, working a physical style that appeals to fans like me. Apparently it appeals to other people as well, since Taylor was the #1 choice of the fans to get a shot at Rush. Taylor was screwed this time around, but now has a story to sink his teeth into. Nothing wrong with that.

3. Tully Blanchard

2021 is quickly becoming the year of the olds. WWE has seen Goldberg & Edge emerge as top championship contenders. Keiji Muto won the GHC Heavyweight Championship. Tommy Dreamer celebrated his birthday by challenging for the Impact Championship. Sting will be taking part in a street fight this weekend.

Age is only a number, and Tully’s number is a little higher than these other men. He also spent more time out of the ring. Nearly fourteen years since he had any kind of match, but he went into Wednesday night with all guns blazing. J.J. Dillion was in the corner. Tully was wearing his classic robe & the silver US Heavyweight Championship, while FTR donned the classic NWA World Tag Team Championships. All the old school feels were being had before the match, and after the match as well, when Arn Anderson looked on from the entrance and flashed that familiar hand signal.

Tully had plenty of talent around him to make the match work, but he hit his spots well. Marko Stunt’s good to have around so he can take a slingshot suplex. JJ got to give his shoe to somebody to use. It ended up being a fitting tribute on the night of Jim Crockett Jr.’s passing, and maybe a sign that Tully’s got a little more left in the tank. (Multi-man would probably be for the best though, I’m not as confident that he can hang with Kenny.)

2. Bobby Lashley

As expected, The Miz joined the likes of Ivan Koloff, Stan Stasiak, the Iron Sheik and other men whose world championship reigns merely existed to get the title from one person to the other without having them face off. In the case of Bobby Lashley, it’s because they didn’t want him to beat Drew McIntyre for the title, so their eventual match will be a first-time (in this particular WWE run) meeting. It makese sense, and Miz played his part well, as you’d expect.

Now is Lashley’s time, and one can wonder why it took so long. The guy looks like what’d you’d expect a WWE Champion to look like. Huge. Powerful. Dominant. He fits the prototype of what Vince McMahon would have seen as an appropriate champion back in the day. Is there anything there that Vince wouldn’t like?

Bob seems to be on a collision course with Drew at WrestleMania, and that should be a pretty solid piece of business.

1. Rey Fenix

I don’t know who the “best in the world” is, but Rey Fenix is the most exciting wrestler currently gracing televisions & other viewing devices. All he does is go out there and deliver every time he’s out there, if you see him listed on a card you know it’s going to be a good match.

AEW seemed a bit slow to capitalize on Fenix’s abilities, but since 2021 began we’ve seen the masked man getting bigger matches. His win-loss record hasn’t been the best, as he’s come up short against Kenny Omega & Lance Archer and eaten the pin in some multi-man matches. He’s still making people take notice, and I’d be surprised if Fenix doesn’t jump up to the next level sometime this year.

My favorite wrestler to watch right now, which is how one tops a list like this one.


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Bodeen’s Top 5 Moments: WWE NXT (3/3/21)

Bodeen breaks out his Top 5 moments of NXT this week. Did he miss anything that made your list?

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After Adam Cole put the nail in the coffin in the Undisputed Era last week, many eyes were on NXT this week to see what the reaction from Roderick Strong would be as well as the Tag title matches after the Dusty Rhodes Classic. With all these factors it’s no surprise that NXT put on another amazing night of action that was entertaining from start to finish. So without further ado, it’s time to look at the top 5 moments from NXT this week.

5. Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler beat Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez

It feels like so long ago we saw Shayna Baszler on NXT. Just a few years ago Baszler was dominating the NXT women’s division as she beats the likes of Kari Sane, Mia Yim, Bianca Belair and Io Shirai. After she lost the title to Rhea Ripley and moved to RAW, over time she lost credibility and she was slowly removed from the title picture. That’s why it was so great to see the submission magician back to her former self on NXT as she and Nia Jax beat Dakota Kai and Requel Gonzalas in a great match that ended in controversial circumstances

This was another great match for the team of Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez, with Raquel Gonzalez once again being the MVP of this match as she took a hot tag from Dakota Kai to dominate Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax. The match would end under controversial circumstances after Adam Pearce called for a referee to ring the bell after Kai was trapped in a submission despite the fact Gonzales was legal.

This finish made Kai and Gonzales look strong in defeat as they did not lose cleanly. It also sets up a storyline in the future, especially after NXT General Manager, William Regal stated he had an announcement to make that would change the NXT landscape.

4. The Way go to therapy 

The Christmas with the Gargano’s vignettes were one of my favorite moments from NXT in 2020. The jokes catered to everyone and ranged from inside jokes to die-hard wrestling fans to silly, cheesy jokes that you would see in a Monty Python or Adam Sandler movie. While the Way going to therapy wasn’t near the level of Christmas with the Gargano’s it was still a fun segment that continued to highlight how good Johnny Gargano is at being a goofy heel.

Gargano’s reactions were priceless to watch as he could not believe that Austin Theory enjoyed his time with Dexter Lumis. Indi Hartwell’s innuendoes were also hilarious to watch, as this series of segments did a great job in giving all members of The Way enough lines so that no member felt pointless being there.

With Dexter Lumis most likely the next in line for Johnny Gargano’s North American Championship, it will be interesting to see the involvement of Austin Theory in what is sure to be a highly entertaining feud to watch.

3. Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch beat Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher  

While it was originally meant to be Dusty Rhodes Classic winners, MSK facing Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch we instead got the makeshift team of Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher facing the NXT Tag Team champions in a brutal, hard-hitting match that was intense from start to finish, with Lorcan and Burch getting the win after Imperium distracted Thatcher and Ciampa.

This match did a good job at bringing together Thatcher and Ciampa as they smiled at each other, sharing their joy for inflicting pain on their opponents. Despite sharing a moment with each other, the relationship between the two men would be tense as Ciampa seemed annoyed at Thatcher’s history with Imperium costing them the match.

2. Roderick Strong faces off against Finn Balor  

After Adam Cole put the nail in the coffin of the Undisputed Era by superkicking Roderick Strong last week, Strong would open the show this week and would waste no time in calling Adam Cole out to the ring. Despite Strong calling Cole out, Finn Balor would come out, with Roderick blaming Balor for Cole’s actions. Balor would reply by saying that Roderick does not have the killer instinct that Balor has causing Roderick to attack the NXT Champion, leading to a match between the two men later in the night.

This was my favorite match of the night as Roderick Strong, pushed the NXT Champion to his limit, with Balor once again doing an amazing job of selling, as he sold the back which, Strong attacked throughout the match. The match would end after Balor hit the Coup De Grace and 1916 on Strong to win, with Adam Cole coming out to stare off at Balor ahead of their title match next week.

With Finn Balor and Adam Cole ready to face each other in a TakeOver worthy match, it will be interesting to see who will win, in what is sure to be an amazing match.

1. LA Knight makes his intentions known 

While his name change has led to disagreement between fans LA Knight’s short time in NXT has been entertaining to watch. His promo skills and style remind me of a 1980s movie star as he is always the center of attention when he is on the mic. This week would be no different as LA Knight cut his first in-ring promo on NXT TV as he called out the entire roster as well as sewing the seeds for a feud with Bronson Reed.

LA Knight’s promo this week was absolute gold, as he blended cockiness, arrogance, pride and emotion brilliantly, stating that he is not in NXT to do flips and dives, but rather win regardless of style. LA Knight would make his big move against Bronson Reed, as he cost Bronson Reed a match against Cameron Grimes.

Bronson Reed is a great first feud for LA Knight, as it can perfectly show off LA Knight’s style well against a bigger man like Bronson Reed.

These were my top 5 moments from NXT this week. What were your top 5 moments and who do you think will win the NXT Championship Title match next week? Let us know in the comments below.

 

 


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