Saturday, March 28, 2020

The Young Bucks - The Wrestling Observer Tag Team of the Decade & My Favorite Tag Team Of All Time

Just yesterday, The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) were awarded the prestigious honor of being named the Tag Team of the Decade by Dave Meltzer's Wrestling Observer Newsletter. As someone who's been a fan of them for the better part of the past decade, I was ecstatic to hear this news. I can't think of any team who has been more consistent or made equal or close to the impact of Matt and Nick.

With that in mind, I felt super compelled to share a few words about The Young Bucks and what they've meant to me as a wrestling fan.

Around 2008-2010, I got completely uninvested in wrestling. I was in that weird spot of being a kid/pre-teen that still "believed" and being a teen/young adult that understood but still appreciated what I was watching. Around 2011, CM Punk came along and shocked the wrestling world and effectively re-peaked my interest into wrestling and this time, I dove deep.

After researching where Punk came from, I learned about the Independent Wrestling scene and soon discovered a company called Pro Wrestling Guerrilla in/around 2012. And through discovering Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, I discovered the Young Bucks and I was hooked.

Through every canal on the internet, The Bucks were praised so when I finally got to see them, expectations were there, but I can firmly say that they were met and exceeded. I had never seen such fluidity, creativity, and such a unique showcase of charisma. I was mesmerized. I soon began keeping up with PWG and the Young Bucks regularly through the years 2013-2015 along with backtracking and watching all that I had missed from my new favorite tag team.

This also was a time in my life where I was very lost and depressed, having just graduated high school and had no real direction in life. It was also around the time I started reviewing stuff on this blog and all related outlets. And needless to say, having wrestling and The Young Bucks/PWG in particular is what kept my head afloat because every month or so, I had the joy of awaiting the next PWG announcement, result, and ultimately the DVD of the show I had just spent weeks trying to find more and more info on. This is where The Young Bucks impacted me on a personal level because on every one of those shows, they were a focal point and blew me away/made me mark out all over again.

To top it all off, I began watching shoot interviews they did with friend and fellow wrestler Kevin Steen (Owens) and soon came to discover how cool & genuine of people they seemed to be. This made the admiration I had for them grow further and watching Bullet Club blow up and them eventually become the biggest thing in pro wrestling and making it into Hot Topic, etc - felt like watching two people I knew personally despite never meeting them or speaking to them in my life. And to me, I feel like that's part of what makes wrestling so special.

None the less, fast forward to March of 2019, with rumors of The Bucks helping front a new wrestling company to go live on national television, they were also embroiled in a feud in NJPW with two of my other top favorites - Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi. And with this already being a dream match, I had for many years, all the backstory that went along with it just topped it off completely. I'll go into more details later, but this match was perfect in my eyes. And although I'm no acclaimed wrestling critic, this was the first match I went the full five on since Cena/Punk at MITB 2011. It was that freaking good and it was then where I thought to myself after looking back at their prior body of work and where they are now, that The Young Bucks truly are my favorite tag team of all time and possibly the greatest tag team of all time.

And the fact that even after that moment they've went on to form All Elite Wrestling with Tony Khan and Cody Rhodes which has been a definite success and continues to grow, I don't think anyone can take an argument like that lightly. AEW is the first company to rival WWE on national television with this much prominence since WCW and to think that The Young Bucks own a share and had a massive part in that tops off their already illustrious catalog of great matches and accomplishments.

The Young Bucks changed wrestling and deserve all the recognition that they are getting.

With all that in mind, I tried to keep the first part of this pretty short & to the point because the crux of this column is naming down my Top 10 Favorite Young Bucks matches. Ten that I love and will re-watch forever and hopefully show my kids one day and ten that I feel like solidify them as the best tag team of the past 10 years.

This list was very hard to make. It is completely personal so I'm sure some people will have objections and that's totally cool. That's what makes wrestling and things fun! But I tried to pick half based on my personal preference and also tried to do a list that would showcase all their different aspects/roles over the years that make them so versatile and GREAT. And no, I didn't organize this list solely by my star ratings, so there will be some that are higher with lower ratings than the one before it and vice versa.

10) The Young Bucks vs. The Hardys - Ladder War - ROH: Supercard of Honor - April 1st, 2017

Starting things off with this dream match. The Bucks and The Hardys had several matches around this time period, but this was my favorite and the highest of stakes. WrestleMania weekend. ROH Tag Title Match. The Jackson's and The Hardy's. It's glorious. Jeff & Matt had long endorsed The Bucks as the leaders of the next generation of tag team wrestling so to see them go at it was epic every time and is something that every fan should go out of their way to see if they haven't already.

My rating - ****

9) The Young Bucks (c) vs. Kevin Steen & El Generico - PWG World Tag Team Title Match - PWG: DDT4 2013 - January 12th, 2013

Now, this one was tough. The Bucks had many awesome matches with Steen & Generico over the years, but my favorite took place in 2009 at the Battle of Los Angeles so I felt it would be unfair to the point of this article to put it on here. So, I "settled" for a match that is totally different from the BOLA 2009 match that I love so much. That match was balls to the wall hatred. This was deeper. This had hatred and was balls to the wall on several occassions, but this meant something more. El Generico was on his way out the door of PWG. For years, his biggest rivals (besides Big Kev) were The Young Bucks. They bullied him and took every chance they could to embarrass him. So on this final night, Generico found the common ground with former partner and more recently, rival, Kevin Steen to go after The Bucks and their tag team titles in PWG's DDT4 Tag Team Tournament. In the final round, destiny fell as it ended up being Steen & Generico somehow co-existing to challenge The Bucks in heart-wrenching battle for the good guy to go out on top. The Bucks were the perfect cocky, cheap heels that made you want to see them get their ass kicked. Generico was beloved and to see him go out losing was absolute heartbreak. This match ruled and showcased yet another facet to what makes The Bucks so great. The emotion in the building from the fans to referee Rick Knox to Excalibur on commentary complimented the story told in the ring perfectly.

My rating - ****1/4

8) The Young Bucks (c) vs. Ricochet & Matt Sydal vs. Lucha Bros (Pentagon Jr & Rey Fenix) - PWG World Tag Team Title Match - PWG: Nice Boys Don't Play Rock N Roll - March 18th, 2017

I think this pick may get the most questions or flack. The Bucks have had matches with these two teams, especially the Lucha Bros, that were on a higher scale and got more rave reviews, but this to me is the perfect example of good ol' Young Bucks tag team PWG fun. I remember first watching this and brought me back to the 2009-2013 prime days of PWG except with some new faces to freshen things up a bit. Non stop action, a hot ass crowd, and The Young Bucks being The Young Bucks. I think this one deserves it's spot on this list and deserves a watch (or re-watch) if you've never seen it.

My rating - ****1/4

7) The Young Bucks vs. Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley vs. Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian (c) - Ladder War for the ROH World Tag Team Titles - ROH: All Star Extravaganza 6 - September 30th, 2016

Back to the character work brilliance of the Young Bucks here. Much like in the previously covered Bucks/Steenerico match, The Bucks are the shit eating grin heels going against the tag team that influenced them tremendously and pioneered the style they perfected (MCMG) and the defending champions whom stated how important this match was to them in pre-match promos. Chris Daniels in particular knocked the entire build and match itself out of the park. He was the veteran that was scraping and clawing to keep his titles and relevance. The Bucks are the perfect, cocky young gun counterparts for that. This was absolutely fucking nuts and filled with crazy action and emotion. Everything a quality tag team wrestling ladder match should be and then some. This also belongs here because like I said, MCMG were the predecessors to the Bucks on the Indies and much like The Hardy's match, this is a dream match of sorts where past meets present. And although Bucks/MCMG have had other two on two matches that highlight their feud/chemistry better, the whole story told here I felt superseded all of that. Classic that I feel is often overlooked.

My rating - ****3/4

6) The Young Bucks (c) vs. El Generico & Paul London vs. Dustin & Brandon Cutler - Ladder Match for the PWG World Tag Team Titles - PWG: SEVEN - July 30th, 2010

Speaking of forgotten matches, here we have a GEM. 2010 Pro Wrestling Guerrilla was some shit. Bucks were nose deep in their schtick at this point with the PWG fans recently turning on them thus forcing them to embrace the character traits that made them who they are. Generico & London are the biggest babyfaces in the promotion and The Cutlers trained with the Bucks but have now become their rivals. I'll never forget watching this and seeing Generico do his signature flying DDT over the fucking bar and into the crowd. This was just absolute bonkers & fun and I feel like one of the most important matches in early prime PWG. I first saw this on the PWG Sells Out 3 DVD comp when I began backtrack binging PWG so it holds a special place in my heart like everything on that compilation.

Match rating - ****1/2

5) The Young Bucks vs. Adam Cole & Kyle O'Reilly vs. Super Smash Bros (c) - PWG Tag Team Title Ladder Match - PWG: Threemendous III - July 21st, 2012

This is the classic. If you hear about PWG or The Bucks, you've heard about this one. To me, it's the match that put both parties on the map big time and over delivered on being a successor to the Bucks/Generico & London/Cutlers Ladder Match buzz from 2010. SSB (now known as Dark Order) were on a super hot run fresh from Canada wowing American audiences for the first time. Southern California/PWG in particular is where they wowed people the most though and matches like this are why. And then you had Cole & O'Reilly who were super young and loved by the fans (Cole... loved by the fans... baby face... imagine that so savor this one). And of course, The Bucks were the only despised ones in the bunch, but the audience couldn't help but cheer in moments like Nick turning a ladder tipping over to the outside spot into a fucking springboard plancha to the floor.

Match rating - ****3/4

4) The Young Bucks & Adam Cole vs. Candice LeRae, Rich Swann, & AR Fox - PWG: BOLA 2013 Night Two - August 31st, 2013

This is another one that holds a special place in my heart. But I also feel like it is a classic standing on it's own regardless. In this match, they solidified a partnership between The Bucks & Cole that would come forth later in the night with the formation of the Mount Rushmore stable. Something that was foreshadowed phenomenally here. Plus, this is the match that took Candice LeRae from "that one woman that wrestles on PWG shows sometimes" to the literal most popular wrestler in the entire promotion who would dominate the storylines for nearly the next entire calendar year. Not to mention, how much it boosted Cole's stock and depth by partnering with the Bucks. It made the audience fully invest in hating the Panama City Playboy. I will never ever get tired of re-watching this match and what would take place at the end of this show.

Match rating - ****3/4

3) The Young Bucks (c) vs. Adam Cole & Kyle O'Reilly - PWG Tag Team Title Match - PWG: Steen Wolf - October 23rd, 2011

My oh my. This was the first PWG match that blew me away. The first show I ever bought was Steen Wolf and this was the co-main event. It was my first time seeing The Bucks and also my introduction to Cole & O'Reilly. I was mind blown on every front. With The Bucks move-set and in-ring presence and with Cole & O'Reilly insane hybrid style of offense. All of these things combined with the super hot crowd that was super eager for something new outside of the Young Bucks popping hard for Cole & O'Reilly made this an easy must-see match that I think holds up to this day and will always be high on any match list of my own.

Match rating - ****1/2

2) The Young Bucks vs. Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi - NJPW/ROH: Strong Style Evolved - March 25th, 2019

For years and years, I dreamed of seeing The Young Bucks vs. The Golden Lovers. And when Omega joined Bullet Club, I almost gave up hope on seeing that. Especially when he partnered with The Bucks to form The Elite. Then they pulled one of their magical cards like always and proceeded to develop the most intriguing storyline in wrestling arguably since Punk/Cena. The dissension of the Bullet Club and the Elite had it's ups and downs, but this was a definite high point that was knocked out of the park. All the layers and call backs and build from Omega costing Ibushi the belt in 2015, to Ibushi being injured and Omega making his rise while he was gone only to fall at the 2017 G1 Finals and find his old lover and friend backstage waiting for him only to brush him off. And from that moment, every segment that built more and more towards Omega knowing where his home was.. with Ibushi. Cody manipulating the Bucks into turning on Omega and making this personal and almost a traitor like issues. The jealousy and battle for supremacy. This was epic in every sense of the word. Omega hoisting up Matt mid-match for the one winged angel and hesitating with sadness in his eyes only for Matt to put Kenny's hand in place and yell "just give it to me, Kenny" - that is a moment that I will remember forever. This is a match that will live on for years and years to come and I believe anyone could be shown this and get emotionally invested. A true work of art and The Young Buck's finest offering to date.

My rating - *****

1) The Young Bucks vs. Kenny Omega & Hangman Adam Page (c) - AEW Tag Team Title Match - AEW: Revolution - February 29th, 2020

Okay, so this match just happened so it's a liittle weird reviewing it again without saying the same stuff that I already said. But to me, this is almost the perfect Young Bucks match? With that in mind, I initially had this at #2 bc of my love for Bucks/Golden Lovers, but after much thought and re-watch, this can't be anything less than #1. And I say that for a litany of reasons. The Bucks have become enough of an attraction where they aren't necessarily heel or face, which can sometimes be tough to pull off, but they kill it every time and in this case, they turned their heel side up more so than being tweeners and got the crowd to boo them from bell to bell because of how much Hangman Page is beloved right now. There were so many pieces of story told in this. Callbacks to the Golden Lovers, the teasing of a Page turn, and so much more. This was just a masterpiece of storytelling and the epitome of how versatile the Young Bucks have become. Almost like their final form, so to speak. To me all the matches on this list made this match so spectacular. All the roles and experiences and moments that made The Young Bucks into the best tag team in the world today and into what you saw in this match. And what you saw in this match was just that - the best tag team in professional wrestling in their prime. Five stars.

My rating - *****

Thank you to Matt & Nick for the past 10 years and beyond. It's been a rollercoaster ride of joy watching you grow into the best tag team that wrestling has possibly ever seen and I'm proud to call you my favorite tag team of all time.

Thanks for reading and be sure to follow me on twitter @ethvnlxwis and this blog @thepwtruth <3

Friday, March 27, 2020

WWE: Elimination Chamber 2020 Review

WWE Elimination Chamber
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
March 8th, 2020

Taking a break from my Ruthless Aggression Project 2002 reviewing to finish off the most recent WWE PPV offering. 

1) Daniel Bryan vs. Drew Gulak

This is a random match opening a throwaway PPV with very little build and dear god these two destroyed each other. Best WWE match this year next to Bryan/Wyatt from last month. The story is Gulak training Slater and Axel to take down Bryan, but failing despite getting to his head. Bryan challenged Gulak and Gulak accepted bc he knows Bryan's weaknesses because he has watched and studied his whole career pre-WWE and all. These two traded grappling holds and submissions and wrestled each other with a stiffness that isn't often seen in WWE. Bryan made Gulak look like a monster and super strong in defeat as he wrung his neck with the Yes Lock until he passed out. Very aggressive battle that left both men with scrapes, marks, and bloody bruises across their face and body. Bryan continues to be the GOAT.

Match rating - ****

Dolph Ziggler & Bobby Roode are backstage for an interview. That weird static thing popped on the screen during it. Ziggler & Roode hype up their chances in the tag title chamber match later.

2) Andrade (c) vs. Humberto Carrillo - United States Title match 

Ruthless Aggression Era Project: WWE Smackdown Review - July 11th, 2002

WWE Smackdown
July 11th, 2002
Atlantic City, New Jersey

TONIGHT: Kurt Angle & Chris Jericho vs. The Undertaker & John Cena

1) Edge & Hulk Hogan (c) vs. Billy Gunn & Chuck Palumbo (w/ Rico) - WWE Tag Team Title Match

Rematch from last week and it's virtually the same match. Crowd is hot as shit for Hogan. Best part of this for me was Edge spearing Rico off the apron. Hogan hits the legdrop for the win to retain the titles.

Match rating - **1/4

The Undertaker is waiting in the parking lot for The Rock. John Cena tries to thank him for teaming with him later on and Taker basically doesn't give a f*ck.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Ruthless Aggression Era Project: WWE Raw Review - July 8th, 2002

July 8th, 2002 
Philadelphia, PA 

Vince McMahon starts the broadcast and announces Taker/Angle/Rock for Vengeance. 

Booker T opens the show fired the hell up. He wants NWO to the ring right now. Eddie Guerrero interrupts and says he promised Chris Benoit to beat up the first person he saw tonight and that person is Booker. 

1) Booker T vs. Eddie Guerrero 

Booker strikes first and this is fiery for a few moments. Then Booker gets a weird quick pinning combo finish for the win. Eddie is flustered and Chris Benoit attacks Booker soon after. This brings out GOLDUST. This brings out BUBBA AND SPIKE DUDLEY. Big brawl. Benoit eats a nasty chair shot from Bubba. 

Backstage Booker T accidentally attacks a vending machine worker that looks like X PAC and then steals a pretzel from him. 

2) Chris Benoit vs. Bubba Ray Dudley 

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Ruthless Aggression Era Project: WWE Smackdown Review - July 4th, 2002

WWE Smackdown
July 4th, 2002
Boston, MA

Lillian Garcia opens the show with a rendition of the US National Anthem because it's July 4th and all. She's interrupted by fucking Christian, Lance Storm, & Test. The new Canadian coalition that hates America. This was brilliant. They lay it on thick and get booed out of the building before Rikishi rolls down.

1) Rikishi vs. Lance Storm

This was a quickie. Rikishi dominates and gets on the second rope for a splash. Test kicks him down and Storm gets the cheap win.

The Undisputed Champion The Undertaker is shown arriving at the arena after his star making abilities were put on display with Jeff Hardy on Raw a few nights earlier.

Backstage, Stacy Keibler tells John Cena that Vince wants to see him in his office. Aw hell.

2) Rev Devon Dudley & Batista vs. Randy Orton & Val Venis

Guess Randy traded in Farooq for Val after losing last week? Batista & Val are so randomly unnecessarily stiff here and it's pretty wild. Orton looks slick and great as normal. Batista, too. The focal point of this is both of them and Orton trying to get one back on him from last week, but he gets swatted down like a fly. Batista & Devon with the W.

John Cena finds Vince's office and unintentionally interrupts a convo between Chris Jericho and the boss. Jericho doesn't take kindly and asks John "what kind of Ruthless Aggression do you have, junior?" And Cena responds with the infamous slap that floors Y2J. 

Kurt Angle backstage and he shows his own highlight reel lmao. Dear lord. Angle says tonight on July 4th he will become the Undisputed Champion by defeating The Undertaker. 

Billy & Chuck are eating hot dogs backstage to celebrate the 4th, Rico tells them they need to get focused bc their tag title defense is NEXT

3) Billy Gunn & Chuck Palumbo (w/ Rico) (c) vs. Hulk Hogan & Edge - WWE Tag Team Title Match 

Crowd is hot as hell for Hulk. I could care less. But these two things are prob expected. Hogan starts to give the crowd what they want. Edge gets in and gets worked over for the eventual hot tag back to Hogan. Finishing run is good. Edge hits the spear then he & Hogan do a double boot and they both hit leg drops. Hogan & Edge are tag champs! 

Match rating - **1/2

4) Chris Jericho vs. John Cena 

Fun sprint with Cena seeming to have Jericho's number and with how last week went, the crowd really thought there was a chance Cena could get the upset so they bit on every pin attempt. Jericho wins but only with use of the ropes. He tries to cheap shot Cena after the match and it backfires bc Cena catches with him with what would become his signature spin out suplex. 

Match rating - **1/4

"Cruiserweight Champion Jamie Noble has been living .. 'high on the hog' so to speak" - from this statement I knew this next segment was going to be the best form of hell. Jamie Noble has bought Nidia a new trailer. He shows her around then they fuck in their first ever full size bed. 2002. 

5) Torrie Wilson vs. Stacy Keibler - Bra & Panties Match 

Torrie makes quick work of stripping Stacy down and gets the win. Torrie still shows off and strips down after the match though and shows off her American lingerie for a huge pop from all the horndogs! 

The Undertaker is backstage talking about what he is gonna do to The Rock next week and Kurt Angle tonight. 

6) The Undertaker (c) vs. Kurt Angle - WWE Undisputed Title Match 

Good main event here despite the non finish. Angle is at his A Game around this time so nothing is ever bad. And the tease of the ankle lock for three seconds during his attack on Taker last week sold me on this one completely. So when he locked that in here, the crowd popped super hard. They kinda just trade stuff but little things like that thrown in make it solid. Then there's a non finish but honestly not the annoying kind cause it just tells me there's more to come from this and they do a thing where Angle has Taker in a triangle choke so his shoulders are on the mat for a three count just as Taker taps. 

Match rating - **3/4

There's controversy on who wins and ultimately it's ruled a no contest so Taker retains. Angle attacks him after and has to be pulled off. The UNDISPUTED TITLE IS IN DISPUTE ~~~


Thursday, March 19, 2020

WWE: 205 Live Review - February 21st, 2020

205 Live
February 21st, 2020 

No clue what led me here but god damn let's get into it. Actually I do know what led me here, I heard the main event between Oney/Burch and Kendrick/Davari was very good and I love two of the parties involved so figured may as well review the whole show.

1) Joaquin Wilde vs. Raul Mendoza 

Wilde is the former Zema Ion. He still has the airhorn in his theme music which I love. This was a lot of fun. Amidst the lukewarm crowd, these two had a solid match modeling the style in great fashion. Simple simple stuff but I enjoyed it. Call back to their last match with Mendoza catching himself before getting hit with Wilde's finisher again and uses the opportunity to hit his own move for the win. 

Match rating - ***

2) Tyler Breeze vs. Samer Singh

The Singh brothers are the heels and Breeze is the babyface. This was.. here. Only lasted a few minutes so it's virtually harmless but it means nothing so why even talk about it. Breeze wins. WOO.

Match rating - *1/4

3) Brian Kendrick & Ariya Daivari vs. Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch - No Disqualification Match

Now this is what I came here for! Super solid main event that played off the story well. Kendrick hit a fucking death valley driver on Lorcan off the apron through a table - a spot that's worth a viewing of this match alone. The finish is creative and extends the story of Davari being guided by Kendrick and unable to get the job done without him as Lorcan & Burch tie Kendrick's leg to the post and finish off Daivari for the win.

Match rating - ***1/2

Monday, March 16, 2020

Ruthless Aggression Era Project: WWE Monday Night Raw Review - July 1st, 2002

WWE Monday Night Raw 
July 1st, 2002

Commentators - Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler

Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman start the show. He is doing the opposite of what Kurt Angle did on Smackdown and issuing an open challenge to any veteran in the locker room. Heyman is interrupted by a WOOOOOO~

1) Brock Lesnar (w/ Paul Heyman) vs. Ric Flair 

This was good! Flair takes the beat down from the young monster. Fights from under with chops and throws on the figure four for huge pop. Heyman on the apron to enhance the struggle. Flair pops Heyman in the face, Brock capitalizes with the F5 for the win.

Match rating - **3/4 

Jonathan Coachman is backstage with Jackie. Jackie blames her loss last week on her partner Molly Holly. Next thing you know they're brawling backstage and out to the ring. Trish Stratus comes out and pulls down Molly's pants to reveal "granny panties" this was so 2002 and not in a good way. Jesus Christ. 

2) Christopher Nowinski vs. Bradshaw 

Sunday, March 8, 2020

AEW Dynamite Review - March 4th, 2020

AEW Dynamite Live on TNT
Bromfield, Colorado 
March 4th, 2020 
New AEW World Champion Jon Moxley speaks
Awesome classic opening segment here from the new champ. Had a real big feel to it. Moxley says AEW brought pro wrestling back and gives a rally speech about what led him here and what's to come. I got chills. The crowd is going nuts. This rules. Jericho comes out and is the perfect counterpart to the ultra babyface Mox as always. Jericho promises that Moxley won't leave the show on his own two feet and if he does, he will take a 2 month leave of absence from AEW.

1) The Dark Order vs. Colt Cabana, Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, & Scorpio Sky 

With all the teasing and suspicion surrounding who "The Exalted One" of the Dark Order will be, this is an interesting 8 man. Not to mention, the Daniels conspiracy also! AND this is Colt Cabanas debut! So much wrapped into one little eight man banger and it's a lot of fun. Everyone looked good and Colt had a fantastic debut getting the pin in very unique fashion. Uno gets on the mic after frustrated as soon as the bell rings and says this isn't how it was supposed to go and the exalted one will not be happy. 

Match rating - ***1/4 

2) Big Swole vs. Leva Bates

Britt Baker is back on commentary for more gold with Tony Schiavone. This is complete squash though. Swole gets the win and I'm assuming will be challenging Nyla soon. 

Cody speaks on his loss against MJF

3) PAC vs. Chuck Taylor (w/ Trent & Orange Cassidy)

Another good match from PAC in his epic week that began with the Ironman match with Omega then went to Revolution for the barnburner with Orange Cassidy. Now we're here. He teases going after Cassidy during the match which Chuck capitalizes on. They gave this more time than I expected but it's really fun. Chuck hits the awful waffle for a near fall and goes for a moonsault from the top turnbuckles. He misses and eats shit and gets tapped out by PAC.  

Match rating - ***1/4

Post match, PAC keeps messing with Chuck, Trent steps up only for Cassidy step in front of him and we get a staredown. Out of nowhere, Lucha Bros run down and double superkick Cassidy and we proceed to witness the formation of the "Death Triangle" as PAC calls it. This is pretty cool. Savage beatdown on Cassidy with Pentagon biting his ear as PAC holds his face like a trophy. "no one is safe" says PAC. 

4) Jake Hager (w/ LAX) vs. QT Marshall (w/ Brandi and Dustin Rhodes)

Honestly don't even remember what happened in the match because the post was so awesome. Hager & LAX start beating down Marshall. Dustin Rhodes hits the ring, he gets beat down. Cody runs down to save his brother. Cleans house until Ortiz nails him with a chair shot which brings down MATT JACKSON of the Young Bucks who gets taken out after a short hot run. Then out walks the star himself - HANGMAN PAGE. This was so perfectly done. Long slow walk and tease of whether he'd make the save or not. He eventually does and the crowd goes wild. Amazing Buckshot lariat spot. He comes face to face with Matt as the faces are celebrating and FLIPS HIM OFF. God. The heat is still there Jesus Christ. 

5) Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara vs. Darby Allin & Jon Moxley 

Moxley gets attacked on his way to the ring so Darby is left to fend for himself. The perfect spot for Darby Allin. The crowd is into him fighting from under and not backing down so this is hot through and through. Eventually the heels are too much for Darby and he gets pinned but the effort was valiant. 

Match rating - ***1/4

Post match, Moxley makes the big run in return to close the show. He gets outnumbered though and is powerbombed off the stage through a table by Jericho and the rest of Inner Circle who stand tall throwing middle fingers as Dynamite goes off air. 

Thursday, March 5, 2020

AEW Revolution Review - February 29th, 2020

AEW Revolution 
Live on PPV from Chicago, Illinois
February 29th, 2020

1) Jake Hager vs. Dustin Rhodes

In ring debut for Jake Hager. Dustin is sporting a "Jericho's bitch" shirt in reference to Hager. Nice pop and start as Hager mouths "you motherfucker" and charges Dustin at the bell. Unfortunately the fire from that opening exchange doesn't last all too long and fluctuates from dull to fiery during the entire match. Things get good again when Dustin kisses Hager's wife at ringside only for it to die down again. Dustin hits a cool code red for a two count. They trade moves and Hager debuts his standing sleeper hold to win. That came off weak and the crowd booed in kind. Match as a whole wasn't bad but didn't reach the level it could've. Just thankful it wasn't a dud. 

Match rating - **1/2

2) Darby Allin vs. Sammy Guevara 

Insane flying Darby as soon as he gets in the ring, before his music even stops playing. This outside plunder before the bell ends with Guevara hitting a 630 on Darby through a table. Darby makes it into the ring for the bell somehow and he & Sammy trade all the big movez. Darby hits an epic long distance coffin drop for the win. So much fun. Darby is HOT rn.

Match rating - ***1/2

3) Hangman Adam Page & Kenny Omega (c) vs. The Young Bucks - AEW World Tag Team Title Match 

Okay wow. Where do I start? When The Bucks won the battle royal to get this title shot I was like okay, that will be fun. Everyone has also been talking up Hangman's recent rise in popularity and while I agree, I hadn't got invested fully to the point of emotional investment. Then they did the sit down interview segment with Jim Ross on last week's Dynamite and I was like okay that was reallllly good and I got vibes from the epic Golden Lovers/Bucks clash that I gave ***** last year. And the video package heading into this match heightened that. So we get to this match and I am as invested as can be and these guys DELIVERED. This was everything I loved about Golden Lovers/Bucks. Just superb, epic tag team wrestling and without a doubt has to be a Top 10-20 tag match of all time. Big Dave said it's the best of all time and while that's a bold take - it's a valid take. You don't get wrestling like this much nowadays. Esp in tag team wrestling. The Bucks have now done it twice in the past two years and they're the only team to deliver something of this level in the past 10 years or so. But anyway, here, Hangman Page is so fucking good. He's so over and just like every other Babyface in AEW - not in the typical WWE learned way - in his own unique way. He could easily come off as bratty for his attitude towards his Elite brethren but people love his attitude and have attached themselves to him as chants of "Hangman" and "cowboy shit" rang through from the opening bell. The Young Bucks leaned into their heel side for this and did so amazingly. Omega was his usual tweener self. I've never seen four guys have such unique, ungeneric flexible roles that can work to the level they do here. People can say this was just a spotfest and overrated, but that would just show shortsightedness because there is SO much more to appreciate here. Not that the action wasn't top notch though, it was every bit as good as anything AEW has produced but with levels and levels of storytelling and character development to boot. This is my personal favorite MOTY and it will be hard to top this going forward. Hangman & Omega retain and god damn I hope their reign never ends. It's been phenomenal. This earns my first five star rating of 2020. 

Match rating - *****

4) Nyla Rose (c) vs. Kris Statlander - AEW Women's Title Match 

After that classic, the crowd is kinda worn out. So this having a little rough start didn't help. Once it got going, it picked up down the stretch but I don't think anyone ever got their teeth fully sunk into this. It was not bad by any means though, just not on the level of other AEW title defenses. A dominate showing for Nyla none the less and a solid first defense. 

Match rating - **3/4

5) Cody vs. MJF 

Some people say the neck tattoo and Downstait performance ruined this match & Cody for them but once the bell rang, all that went out of the window. This was classic pro wrestling, just like this whole story has been and just like almost everything Cody touches. Slow burn with a lot of emotion. Cody accidentally kicks Arm when Wardlow picked up Brandi. MJF bleeds and dubs the crimson mask. Lots of good stuff in here. Not the show stealer and a not a MOTY candidate, but great great wrestling. 

Match rating - **** 

6) PAC vs. Orange Cassidy (w/ Chuck Taylor & Trent) 

Orange Cassidy is so over it's insane. This was so different from everything else on the card and such a different role/type of match from PAC coming off such a pure wrestling match like the Ironman with Omega on Dynamite earlier this week. Comedy wrestling at it's finest worked perfectly and another W for PAC. 

Match rating - ***1/2 

7) Chris Jericho (c) vs. Jon Moxley - AEW World Title Match

Super hype entrance for both men and it feels like a big fight feel world title brawl. And that's just what it was. It's not match of the night, it's not match of the year, but it delivered. Mox and Jericho fought tooth and nail for the belt to end a story that was simple wrestling storytelling in it's best form. And that's something we don't get anymore. Huge pop for Mox ripping the eye patch off and even bigger one for what it led to as he becomes the new AEW World Champion. 

Match rating - ***3/4