Friday, May 7, 2021

AEW Dynamite (May 5th, 2021): Blood & Guts... & Commercials... & MOAR Commercials

It's the Blood & Guts musings... and this time, I've seen the whole show and have had more time to reflect on the match... also, I noticed Jericho's been cut off... oops.

Jon Moxley & Eddie Kingston defeated AEW World Champion Kenny Omega and Michael Nakazawa in a perfectly acceptable nothing happening tag-team match. And then the Young Bucks show up to provide ample distraction for the Good Jobbers to ambush the duo from behind and allow Kenny to deliver the OWA on Eddie. Seems prime for a big time PPV main event, I think... but then... well, later.

Cody Rhodes defeated QT Marshall in a perfectly acceptable wrestling match with some color added in, and then that Ogogo fellow punches Cody in the gut to kill him. I can get behind this guy punching people and killing them. Why not?

Darby Allin attack Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky in the cheap seats and they toss down some steps. That turned out badly for the poor fella.

Britt Baker beat some job girl in about a minute, which is quite shocking for an AEW show to produce a quick squash match. And then Taz talks about Christian's (lack of) technique. Hey, I liked that segment. Taz should do more of these.

SCU wins a Number One Contender match to certify their claim as No. 1 Contenders to the tag titles. You knew they had to win this one because they have that stip where if they lost, they break up. That's something you pay off in a big match and not some throwaway thing like this.

Jon Moxley taunted New Japan mainstay Yuji Nagata to hype up their IWGP US title match on Dynamite next week. This looks pre-taped, but Mox is on fire with his promos.

The Pinnacle (MJF, FTR, Wardlow, and Shawn Spears) defeated the Inner Circle (Chris Jericho, Sammy Guevara, Santana, Ortiz, Jake Hager) in the inaugural Wargames Blood & Guts match. For anyone wondering, it's the traditional old-school Wargames set-up; two rings, one giant-ass cage that looks mighty intimidating, and unlike the one in NXT, this one has a roof, so it's a very traditional set-up. The rules are the usual two men start (Sammy and one of the FTR guys) and every five minutes, a new guy runs in until all ten are in, at which point the Match Beyond begins where the only way to win is submission or surrender. And for the first half of this match when you have all the entries coming in, this was primo-Wargames goodness.

Once everyone is in the match, however, things start to tumble. The commercial breaks are constant here and it's during these commercial breaks where two key events happen; the Pinnacle guys tear up one of the rings to reveal the wood paneling - the hardest part of the ring that isn't the apron, apparently - and the other part is when Tully manages to unlock a door to allow MJF to escape to the top of the cage. Anyway, Jericho has Max in the walls on the roof, but then Max goes for the Jeri-balls and nails le Champion with Teh Ring. He then threatens to toss the dude off the cage unless the Inner Circle dudes surrender, which Sammy does. But MJF, being the piece of shit that he is according to Tony Schiavone, tosses Jericho anyway, and we have an unfortunate angle that not only exposes the very obvious crash pad below, but also the very obvious cardboard that makes up the paneling.

So let me get this out of the way; the ending does not negate the body of the work that preceded the match. Yes, there are issues with timing in regards to commercials and big spots. Yes, the third quarter of the match felt a bit draggy. But setting aside those issues aside, I thought the match was tremendous, everyone got their chance to shine, there was copious amounts of blood - I'd wish I could say more than I'd expected, but after the Britt-Rosa match from a while back, I'm no longer surprised - it was, for all intents and purposes in all but name - a Wargames match for the modern age.

And perhaps most of all, the crowd was into it. They cheered the good guys, they booed the bad guys, they didn't "go into business for themselves" or "entertain themselves" or whatever the case may be because the match was compelling enough that they were into it. Imagine that; a crowd that's into your main event. What a concept. So yeah. goofy ending aside, I enjoyed this match immensely and I would rank it a success.

Now, as far as the ending goes, the theory behind it makes sense and even the execution was fine. Jericho ultimately taking the plunge made sense since this whole thing began with him and MJF and this was all about MJF claiming Jericho's spot. However, the presentation of the execution of the theory was what killed it. A different camera angle or perspective to hide the obvious crash pad underneath as well as not give away the illusion that this is merely a gigantic cardboard box that Jericho is falling into would've gone a long way in making this look less goofy on television, at least. I'd imagine from the audience point of view, the fall was a little more spectacular because it's farther away from their point of vision.

To sort of clarify what was mentioned on the DTM-Cast impromptu recording yesterday, I've no issues with the crashpad; you want to try and protect the guy as much as possible, especially in light of the Sammy/Matt Hardy fall from months ago that caused quite a ruckus. My issue was that they made it so obvious that it was a crashpad underneath and it just looked hokey. Now, to be fair, there were instances where WWE would do similar stunts and you'd see a wrestler or two fall onto a cushioned surface underneath whatever tall object. This is noticeable during Cell matches where someone would fall through a table and there's a very obvious crashpad underneath, which kills the illusion.

I'm not saying don't do it; if it's merely a matter of "if you can't do it, don't do it", then by that logic, a good chunk of the WWE roster or some of the AEW roster or beyond that, even, shouldn't be wrestling because they simply aren't good at it. I'm just saying that you should do a better job of hiding these bits that kills the illusion or expose the business or whatever. Do a big fall, protect the guy, film it in a way that doesn't make it look like shit, and you're in the clear. Whatever it takes to place focus on the story of MJF getting the upper hand and being this dastardly piece of shit heel who did this heinous thing... and not on the poorly perceived ending that will be mocked and ridiculed until the next stupid WWE thing involving the Fiend.

But that was Dynamite; a clearly one-match show and botched filming of the ending aside, I thought the one match delivered. Great fun, good stuff... and now I'm itching for some Wargames.


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