After last week's great outing, this was a crash to mediocrity from AEW. The matches, while all fine to good, severely lacked in quality compared to last week, which exposed the lack of new and engaging storytelling this week. Everything felt copy paste and we had such little advancement, especially when we have ‘Forbidden Door’ on the horizon. There was also the lack of a truly standout 4+ star match to make the show a must see. The highlight of the night was the Adam Cole/MJF Segment, which furthered my interest and showed clear direction for the future, but everything else was just exactly as it was. The Gunn surprise was a bit underwhelming, particularly at the end of an already underwhelming match. The opening match was strong, though not as strong as their interaction two weeks ago at the PPV. You could completely skip this episode and miss almost nothing outside of MJF’s promo, which is frustrating given the promise this card showed. It wasn’t an awful show, it just left me feeling quite cold, although I will confess the Colorado Crowd felt more into the show than I was. The lack of advancement for Forbidden Door was extremely frustrating with nothing advanced or added, and the AEW storylines are treading water right now, afraid to venture too far out because of the obstacle of the supershow in a few weeks. Honestly a completely missable, though not entirely meritless episode of television.
Off the back of two blockbuster announcements for AEW and New Japan Pro Wrestling’s ‘Forbidden Door’ supercard this week, AEW Dynamite rolls into Colorado as we continue to progress towards the show. In the ring, we will see the feud between Ricky Starks and Jay White come to a head, with the two competing in singles action with their allies barred from ringside. We will also see two title defences, with both the International and TBS Titles on the line as Orange Cassidy takes on Swerve Strickland and Kris Statlander battles Anna Jay. Elsewhere on the card, The Blackpool Combat Club battle Chaos, JungleHook take on Dralistico and Preston Vance and we will hear from the AEW World Champion MJF live. Let’s get at it…
GREAT Orange Cassidy vs Swerve Strickland- AEW International Championship
This is Orange Cassidy’s 24th title defence, a true testament to the man’s incredible workrate over the past few months. Cassidy’s back becomes more and more taped each week, with him truly looking like a video game character this week with all his weak spots. They immediately set up the style contrast of Swerve being fresh and hungry while Cassidy is wary and weary. A lot of technical mat wrestling early on, with Cassidy using his sloth style to get advantages. Eventually the pace picks up, although Cassidy’s injuries begin to take a toll, allowing Swerve openings to punish Cassidy. Prince Nana gets involved during the picture in picture break to swing the tide firmly Swerve’s way. We get some fun back and forth sequences with some excellent selling from Cassidy in particular. The two men fight to the apron, ending with a tremendous tornado DDT by Cassidy from the apron to the floor, before hitting another in the ring for a really strong near fall. The two men trade near falls back and forth, kicking out of each other’s big moves, which I must say sold me on a finish multiple times. However, Cassidy went to the well of the roll up finish once more to get the win, getting the final pinfall in a sequence of roll through pin attempts.
I was shocked by that result as the match layout really made me believe Swerve would take that. A very good match by these two guys which got especially good by the end despite a slightly slow start. I really thought Swerve was the guy to beat Cassidy, so it remains to be seen if it was the right choice to have Cassidy go over here, or if things could start to get a little stale. I’ll admit the roll up finish is a little played out for Cassidy now though and I could begin to use something a little bit different.
Results: Orange Cassidy by Pinfall Via Rollup
David Sheldon WR Star Rating – 3.75 Stars
Post Match, The Embassy attack Orange Cassidy, but are saved by Sting and Darby Allin. I expected nothing less.
We get two strong hype packages for Okada vs Danielson at Forbidden Door, and Jay White vs Ricky Starks later in the show. Nice to see Okada get a spotlight, and I am unbelievably excited to see both these matches.
GOOD Blackpool Combat Club (Moxley, Yuta and Castagnoli) vs Chaos (Rocky Romero and Best Friends)
Danielson joins commentary for this match, putting himself over against Okada. The BCC are ambushed by Chaos in their entrance with a chair, getting the upper hand. This is a fast and frenetic start with Chaos prioritising speed and the BCC trying to slow the match down to their pace.When the BCC gain control, they feel dominant as they work over Chuck Taylor. Taylor is eventually able to get a strong hot tag to Trent Barreta, who looks really great against Moxley in a short sequence. The pace quickly picks back up with Chaos on top, who get a ton of offence on the BCC and Moxley in particular, but the BCC gain back control after an unbelievable uppercut by Castagnoli out of a Trent moonsault, before Moxley submits Rocky Romero with a bulldog choke. A good enough match here with some strong offence and a wicked uppercut, though I feel the BCC should’ve been a little more dominant than they were here given their opposition.
Result- Jon Moxley by Submission via Bulldog Choke
David Sheldon WR Star Rating – 3.25 Stars
The Young Bucks and Hangman Page appear on the screen to put out a challenge for a trios match against Moxley, Yuta and Castagnoli for next week, which Danielson accepts on their behalf. Good promo work from all four guys, and I am excited for that match next week, but it does feel like another trios match for the sake of extending this feud for a bit longer.
AMAZING MJF/Adam Cole Promo- Watch The Segment Here
MJF Immediately insults the crowd, calling them drug addicts and their city boring, as the crowd vociferously boo. MJF continues to call his competition boring, taking some time to combat a ‘You Suck’ chant with his typical brand of derogatory humour. He is interrupted by Adam Cole in a fun surprise, though I expected a Forbidden Door interruption here. MJF prevents Cole from doing his in-ring taunt, cutting off his music. He puts over Adam Cole, calling him competition for the champ, despite the crowd continuing to heavily boo. Some Undisputed Era references as MJF really does a tremendous job of making Cole look amazing, right until he tears him down, calling him out for being a shadow of his former self. There’s a tremendous call-back from MJF to Cole’s promo on Karrion Kross in NXT, using his own words against him. MJF puts over Vince McMahon to a ‘f**k that guy’ chant, as MJF says Vince was right for not seeing potential in Cole.
Cole gets a chance to respond, saying MJF sounds like a toxic media troll. He takes some shots at MJF’s relationship status and accuses Max of taking steroids. He also plays on Max’s fragile ego, saying no one respects him and that he is a coward. Cole says he is better than MJF and the fans know it. This enrages Max and he accepts a world title match at some point in the future. This was a very very strong promo from both guys, and really sold me on a match between the two. If I was to nitpick I’d say some of the shots taken were a bit easy and predictable but that’s fine when they’re delivered so very well and Cole felt like a match for MJF on the microphone, which prevented MJF from upstaging him.
David Sheldon WR Star Rating – 4 Stars
The Hardy’s force Ethan Page to apologise to Isaiah Kassidy, and promises to turn Ethan Page into a good man. Keep this on Rampage pretty please.
GOOD JungleHook vs Dralistico and Preston Vance- Texas Tornado Tag Match
The heels blindside the faces before the match, but it doesn’t have a ton of impact. Chains and wires feature early on in this match as the four guys brutalise each other. There are plenty of weapons used throughout the match, and the fight spills up into the crowd. Vance bleeds quite heavily from his eye, as the action does begin to pick up. Vance eats a chair to the head by Jungle Boy into a T-Bone Suplex by Hook through a table in the matches best spot. Jose The Assistant gets choked out by Hook and Dralistico taps to the Snare Trap. This was a decent tornado tag with some good brutality, occasional fun spots and a very satisfying ending, but the feud didn’t feel nearly hot enough to me to really invest in this level of blood and violence and much of the match I felt was a little dull, with a lot of walk and brawl.
Result- Jungle Boy by Submission via Snare Trap
David Sheldon WR Star Rating- 3 Stars
Tony Khan sounds even more robotic than usual this week as he announces the main event of the first Collision to be FTR and CM Punk vs Bullet Club Gold and Samoa Joe. That match should be terrific.
SQUASH Konosuke Takeshita vs Damon Ace
Takeshita gets no entrance music, allowing him to soak up the boos. Takeshita beats the jobber about a bit before ending it quickly with a jumping knee strike. I love Takeshita, and I love his presentation, but that was a fairly boring squash
Result- Konosuke Takeshita by Pinfall via Jumping Knee Strike
Post match, Callis takes the mic to tremendous boos and says he will be heard. Takeshita once again calls out Omega in Japanese. Callis essentially cuts exactly the same promo from last week. Once again well delivered and the crowd loved to boo Callis, but I don’t really know why this was here or what purpose it solved, because it was literally the exact same thing as last week with no development or addition. I therefore won’t rate it as it seems redundant to do so.
Backstage we see Christian Cage and Luchasaurus have attacked Brock Anderson in Cage’s dressing room, as they look to seek revenge on Wardlow and Arn Anderson. Great intensity from Cage here, but someone needed to give Alex Marvez some coffee before this segment, because he really was half asleep.
GOOD Kris Statlander vs Anna Jay- TBS Championship
We begin with some solid fundamental wrestling early on, although the crowd seem quite uninterested until Statlander does some moves to hype them up. Statlander scouts a Matt Menard distraction, but is eventually caught by a spin kick by Jay to take control. These two women have a solid and clean match, with Anna getting some nice offence on Statlander. Jay gets the Queenslayer on Statlander but Statlander fights out, eventually winning with a tombstone piledriver. Statlander celebrates as Taya Valkyrie looks on angry from backstage. This was pretty good with some good fundamental wrestling and Statlander is a good face champion. However it was a little heatless and as I continually say week after week, the women deserve more time on the show than just one segment. Please do better Tony.
Result: Kris Statlander by Pinfall via Tombstone Piledriver
David Sheldon WR Star Rating – 3 Stars
Toni Storm cuts a backstage promo saying she’ll beat the winner of a four way contenders match taking place on Rampage at next week’s Dynamite. This was fine.
AVERAGE Ricky Starks vs Jay White
In a seemingly consistent theme to this show, a pre match brawl erupts, as Starks takes out White pre match. We get good intensity from Starks as he pastes Jay White around ringside. The crowd is hot for Starks here but not as electric as they have been for others on the show. White tries to flee but Starks gives chase. Starks tries to throw White off the stage but to no avail. White tries to get back in the ring but Starks stops him to continue brawling. Starks gets a chair which is taken by the referee, but this gives White the distraction to take control. Our first big move comes with a top rope superplex by Jay White a fair way into the match. The match finally wakes up as Starks hits an explosive series of moves for a good near fall. Starks follows it up with a Urinagi for another two count, before White hits one of his own with the same result. We go back and forth with chops and kicks. Starks hits a spear and the Rochambeau, but White clips the referee on the way down.
While the referee is knocked out, The Gunn’s emerge and hit the 3:10 to Yuma on Starks, before White hits the Blade Runner for the win. If this is a way to get The Gunn’s in Bullet Club, I can’t say I’m interested, but I’m willing to see where it goes. The match itself picked up significantly in the last 5 minutes, with some terrific offence. Sadly the rest of the match was severely dull, plodding along with a boring brawl for ages and ages, which started okay but sapped the life from me by a certain point. A heated brawl to start a match like this is fine, but it just kept going and going and it began to frustrate me because of the talents of these guys, especially as it felt like the heat dissapated into just wandering and throwing for a good while. These are two of the best wrestlers on AEW’s roster, they should be doing better than this, especially with the main event slot. When they were allowed to wrestle in the ring it was very strong, but that was only a small portion and the rest of the match severely underwhelmed as a main event. Not completely terrible, just very disappointing for the slot it was given and the calibre involved.
Result- Jay White by Pinfall via Blade Runner
David Sheldon WR Star Rating – 2.75 Stars
After last week’s great outing, this was a crash to mediocrity from AEW. The matches, while all fine to good, lacked in quality compared to last week, which exposed the lack of new and engaging storytelling this week. Everything felt copy paste and we had such little advancement, especially when we have ‘Forbidden Door’ on the horizon. There was also the lack of a truly standout 4+ star match to make the show a must see. The highlight of the night was the Adam Cole/MJF Segment, which furthered my interest and showed clear direction for the future, but everything else was just exactly as it was. The Gunn surprise was a bit underwhelming, particularly at the end of an already underwhelming match. The opening match was strong, though not as strong as their interaction two weeks ago at the PPV. You could completely skip this episode and miss almost nothing outside of MJF’s promo, which is frustrating given the promise this card showed. It wasn’t an awful show, it just left me feeling quite cold, although I will confess the Colorado Crowd felt more into the show than I was. The lack of advancement for Forbidden Door was extremely frustrating with nothing advanced or added, and the AEW storylines are treading water right now, afraid to venture too far out because of the obstacle of the supershow in a few weeks. Honestly a completely missable, though not entirely meritless episode of television.
Matches: 0.5/1 Stars
Show Structure: 0.5/1 Stars
Atmosphere: 0.75/1 Stars
Storytelling: 0.5/1 Stars
Production/Theme: 0.5/1 Stars
Overall Rating. 2.75/5 Stars
Photo Credit: All Elite Wrestling – June 7th 2023
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