Jon Moxley & Wheeler Yuta vs. Best Friends (Chuck Taylor & Trent Beretta) - AEW Dynamite - July 20th, 2022
This probably comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me, but I loved this match. I don’t think I loved it solely because of bias, though. I think I tend to be pretty fair in my analysis of most things and when I am being biased, I can call myself out for it and own it.
Sure, I love Chuck Taylor more than most. Yes, Jon Moxley is my undoubted Wrestler of the Year so far and has me glued to the screen any time he’s on. And yes, Wheeler Yuta has been a consistent favorite of mine this year as well.
Take all of that away, though, and I think you still have one of the best TV matches of the year. In all honesty, I think it may go down as one of the most underrated ones considering some of the takes I’ve seen on it.
However, wrestling is subjective, of course. So, who am I to make that call? Despite that, in my humble opinion, it is BONKERS to give this ***1/4 and give a match like YB/Lucha Bros from Rampage the other week a ****1/4-1/2. That match definitely had more moves, but this was a fucking STORY, pal.
Around 4 or 5 months ago, Wheeler Yuta began to show signs of an eagerness to leave his fun loving buddies, Orange Cassidy, Chuck Taylor, & Trent Beretta behind to pursue a more gritty approach to pro wrestling. This began when he locked up with Jon Moxley and Bryan Danielson a few times in tag and singles competition. It sounds reasonable, but it began a litany of issues and a feeling of betrayal and ungratefulness in the minds of the Best Friends.
Chuck Taylor and Orange Cassidy were huge figures in the formative years of Yuta as a pro wrestler. They taught him a lot and even further, no pun attended, were two of his best friends in the business. Personally and professionally, Chuck & Orange gave a lot to Wheeler out of love and friendship. For that reason, the feelings they have are super understandable and at the forefront of this entire saga, however Trent Beretta’s feelings are quite different, but just as much out in the open.
Trent never liked Yuta. Yuta joined the Best Friends while Trent was injured and when he returned, Trent immediately sought issue with Yuta. Turns out, Trent sniffed Yuta out and once Yuta left the Best Friends to join up with William Regal’s Blackpool Combat Club, this dislike turned into hatred.
We all remember the match that turned the tide for Wheeler. Moxley beat him to a bloody pulp and pinned him to the mat on an April edition of Rampage. Post match, William Regal & Bryan Danielson came down and christened Yuta as the newest member of the BCC, strapping the ROH Pure Title around his waist. This match and moment propelled Yuta to superstardom whilst the Best Friends were left behind.
While Yuta traveled the roads and ran the ropes with Moxley, Danielson, Regal, Claudio, and even Eddie Kingston, Chuck Taylor didn’t see TV time almost at all. Trent Beretta had an unsuccessful challenge for the IWGP Tag Titles with Rocky Romero. Orange Cassidy returned from injury and had a great match with Will Ospreay, but ultimately lost.
The Best Friends end up fine come early July as they reunite on television and Orange picks up some victories, but they still haven’t gotten closure or even revenge. Which do they want? We don’t know. AEW sort of dropped the angle for a few months. Am I commending that or saying that was supposed to be an intentional part of the story? No, I equate it to laziness and a disinterest in letting it play out. BUT, it adds to the charm of this for me.
We didn’t get a video package for this.. or even a promo leading in. They could’ve definitely made one and hyped this to be a big deal, but if they don’t see the worth or value in taking time to do that, I understand. I doubt we see much more from this angle than this match, but regardless.. these circumstances left these four guys to tell the entire story in the ring. They could’ve not put that much effort in and just ran a simple tag with some fire. Instead, from my observation, they decide to take this sub 15 minute match and display every bit of emotion from each individual and each perspective of this story.
Yuta and Chuck begin. Chuck taught Yuta many things so their early exchanges leave Chuck coming out on top and almost smirking because of it. Chuck isn’t the better all around wrestler here, we all know that. But Chuck knows Yuta’s shit. Chuck may smirk when he comes out atop of an exchange with his former trainee, but that smirk turns to a glare when he meets eyes with Moxley who is on the apron fuming that Chuck is taking a newly violent Yuta so lightly.
Chuck is a nice guy, though, he doesn’t want to hurt his former friend. So, we don’t see many vicious or heel tendencies from Chuck outside of some smirking and playful exchanges to remind Yuta where he came from. Trent, however, unloads like a house of fire when Yuta lays a stinging disrespectful slap on the face of Taylor as he makes a tag to Beretta. Beretta takes Yuta down with strikes and lays them all in, but Yuta reverses and lays in even more and the crowd goes bananas.
It’s little stuff like this that make this match more than just a fun tag match. To top off all this, Orange Cassidy and Excalibur on commentary do a phenomenal job explaining how much OC & Chuck did for Yuta early in his career. William Regal is a guest at the table and he rebuttals all of it staking he & Mox’s claim for making Yuta the wrestler he is. It’s just an all around brilliant execution of this story.
Then you have Jon Moxley. Pacing the apron like a mad man. Losing his shit when the jokey loser dork tag team outsmarts his boy Yuta and cuts off his tag attempts. Yelling and shoving Yuta to motivate him to shut up his former mentors. Mox is phenomenal in this aggressive mentor role. He did it with Umino a few years ago and now he’s done it to even further perfection with Wheeler Yuta.
When Moxley finally gets the tag, it’s the perfect explosion as Trent is tagged in as well and Mox CLOBBERS him to the mat with a stiff ass lariat. It’s from this point on that things break down. Mox largely has the upper hand, but the truth is, Chuck & Trent have been a team for almost a decade. Mox and Yuta are in their first tag team contest as a duo together. Sure, they’re the tough guys and the better wrestlers, but Best Friends are the smoother and smarter unit together at this point of time. They know what the game plan is and know what each other are going to do next.
This allows them to have a couple of glimmers of hope where Chuck nails Mox with the awful waffle and Trent nails Yuta with the crunchy for some awesome nearfalls. The crowd started the famed “this is awesome” chant and for an actually good reason for once.
Then you have the finish, Yuta gets the best of his former mentor, not by using the new and improved ways of Moxley and Danielson, but by using a move that Chuck Taylor himself taught him. What a fucking finish to this superb 12 minutes. Orange Cassidy’s delivery of the line “Chuck taught him that move..” before storming up from the desk was the icing on the cake.
So, yeah.. all these guys are phenomenal. Little TV bangers like this are what makes Mox an even stronger candidate for wrestler of the year. Not only does he have awesome big matches and bloody wars, he has the consistently best sub 15 and sub 10 minute TV matches.
I’ve probably written too much about this already so I’m stopping now.
Match rating - ****
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