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    Sunday, March 13, 2022

    Reviewing The Elite (3/9/22): Brother Nero, We Knew You'd Come

    Jeff Hardy is now on AEW, but why am I underwhelmed?

    Is it because the man himself spoiled his return weeks prior? Not really. It's not like he has anywhere else to go. Whether he spoiled it or not, everyone would be expecting him to go to AEW and reunite with Matt Hardy for one last Hardy Boyz run. In a promotion that values its tag team division more than anything else, it's a no-brainer to acquire one of the most influential tag teams in wrestling history. If anything, I should feel more psyched to see one of my favorite wrestlers join a superior promotion.

    Is it because it was the payoff to a storyline no one cares about? Probably. I'm not saying the power struggle between Matt Hardy and Andrade El Idolo is bad, I'm just saying it's really hard to care when they're fighting over the control of a bunch of jobbers. That's basically why I don't care about most stables in AEW. Best Friends, Dark Order, The Factory, the one with Dolph Ziggler's brother in it—if they're not a top tag team or The Elite, they're basically just fodder for wrestlers looking to pad their win-loss record. At least The House of Black looks cool and menacing. 

    Was it because they placed the segment in the middle of the show that already had a prior betrayal segment? Yeah, that's it. C'mon, Tony! You can't keep screwing up your shows by arranging them wrong! Jeff Hardy arriving at AEW should've opened the show, don't you think? That's a bigger deal than Chris Jericho forming a new faction with Baby American Dragon and two South Park Canadians brought to life. I'm pretty sure Jeff would have received a bigger ovation when the crowd's energy was still relatively fresh. I wasn't expecting a WrestleMania 33 return-levels of pop, but it should've been close. Just sayin'.  

    Some segments felt downright unearned. Take Wardlow's promo for example. After months of building up the tension between boss and employee, after months of carefully endearing him to the crowd, after months of hitting all the story beats perfectly, they rushed through the climax by letting Wardlow cut a hero's promo as if he'd already reached the resolution of the story. Nope! Watching this promo felt like waking up in the middle of watching a movie and wondering how there's suddenly monsters and aliens when you were watching a family drama just minutes before you dozed off. 

    Where's the Batista thumbs down moment we've all been waiting for? I mean I guess they already reserved the thumbs down spot for the AHFO segment, but I can't be the only one expecting an explosive moment to fully launch this rivalry to the stratosphere. Where's Wardlow powerbombing MJF through a table? That should at least be part of his Batista-esque babyface turn. Why not have Wardlow turn on MJF the moment he wins the TNT Championship next week and MJF orders him to hand over the title? Suddenly, the slow burn we forced to suffer through feels like a waste of time now. 

    The main event was probably the only satisfying thing about this week episode. In a show that already saw two successful title defenses, you would think Sammy Guevara will also breeze through Scorpio Sky unscathed. Nope! I also love how this wasn't just a fluke victory at all. Sammy got needlessly reckless and Sky simply took advantage. Commentary actually tried to tie his unstable actions to the fact that the Inner Circle has officially disbanded because I was also confused why Sammy brought out a table in a championship match. Didn't see him do that in his many title defenses. Good job, Excalibur!

    Paige VanZant also got involved after taking out Tay Conti and while it was hilarious to see her sign her AEW contract on Tay's ass, I still find can't find a reason to care about this signing. It's not like she has the same notoriety as Ronda Rousey or Cris Cyborg, so I'm really curious about what Paige will bring to the table. She'll be managed by Dan Lambert so I can already guess she'll generate annoyingly large amounts of heat, but that's about it. Here's hoping that she can match the amount of hype AEW is trying to associate with her name.

    William Regal is also All Elite! The man cut an awesome promo and felt the need to apologize for going overtime or something, but I feel like he didn't talk enough. Give the man more time, dammit! It's so refreshing to not hear him talk like an exasperated British grandpa. This was the menacing William Regal we all loved and he'll probably become even more threatening now that he has fewer restrictions. As if the team-up of Bryan Danielson and Jon Moxley wasn't dangerous enough, William Regal might just be the unnecessary welcome missing piece this new super tag team needs. 

    Show Grade: B-

    Dynamite Debris That Also Defended Their Titles at This Week's Dynamite

    • Say what you will about the randomness of "Hangman" Adam Page vs. Dante Martin and how AEW should've advertised it, but at least we got to see the AEW Champion in action. Isn't it weird how Adam wrestled less the moment he became champion? If he claims to be a fighting champion, he should prove that by wrestling every week or something. He can run down the list of top-ranking wrestlers while keeping his rivalry with Adam Cole active. Now that's killing two birds with one stone.

    • So Thunder Rosa is winning the AEW Women's World Championship next week, right? Are we all in agreement? Because they keep highlighting how important St. Patrick's Day Slam was to both Thunder and Britt Baker's career and all. They can't keep propping Thunder Rosa up only to fail again. And at the expense of Leyla Hirsch? Uh-uh. Thunder better win next week.


    Ricky Publico (@nyamnyamgarbage) is Smark Henry's seasoned veteran and resident Dynamite reviewer. He's a sucker for well-written promos and fast-paced matches. While he enjoys nitpicking shows, he now prefers enjoying wrestling for what it is instead of stressing himself over things he can't control. He's anxious about the future, now more than ever. His potential haunts him.

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    Item Reviewed: Reviewing The Elite (3/9/22): Brother Nero, We Knew You'd Come Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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