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    Friday, August 20, 2021

    Reviewing the Elite (8/18/21): Hometown Winner

    It’s AEW Dynamite! You know what that means…

    A hometown hero…winning in his hometown? PREPOSTEROUS!

    How nice was it to see Sammy Guevara propose to his longtime girlfriend in front of his fellow Texans and vanquish his rival Shawn Spears in a thrilling match? Really nice. This, plus Britt Baker’s win on Rampage and Lance Archer beating Jon Moxley for the IWGP U.S. Championship a couple of weeks ago—which he recently lost, poor guy—shows that wrestlers should always win in their hometown.

               

    You’d think this would be the norm, but WWE has conditioned us to expect wrestlers to lose in their hometown. Hell, Mustafa Ali lost in his hometown of Chicago on last week’s episode of RAW, showing that this is still a sick “tradition” at this point. Apologies if I sound like an AEW shill right now, but I’m just glad that this company makes their wrestlers feel like stars in their hometown instead of having them lose in front of their friends and family for heaaaaaaat

    Sammy’s feel-good win over Shawn Spears was only one of the many highlights in this great stick of Dynamite. In fact, I’d argue that the first hour or so of this episode was perfect AEW content. 

               

    That first hour had 2.0 attacking Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston, Sting no-selling a double powerbomb through a table, Jurassic Express vs. The Young Bucks, and Paul Wight announcing his comeback match against QT Marshall at All Out. Everything about this first hour was well-timed, well-booked, and performed perfectly, with no complaints to be had.

               

    Unfortunately, everything after that was a little messy. Dynamite seemed to have a hard time filling the second hour until MJF vs. Chris Jericho, leading to a barrage of segments that made the show feel rushed. The worst of these include a bad match between Thunder Rosa and Penelope Ford, a dumb segment with Brian Cage and Team Taz that was so brief it had no right to exist, and the random announcement of a Tag Team Eliminator Tournament to determine who will face The Young Bucks at All Out.

    Don’t get me wrong, that tournament is going to be awesome, but it felt like this is only being done because they couldn’t build up another team to take on The Bucks. That’s incredibly disappointing since AEW made tag team wrestling cool again, and the whole division seemingly took a backseat when The Bucks turned heel so they could dick around with Kenny Omega. I love The Young Bucks as arrogant pricks, but that doesn't mean the entire tag team division should be cooled down.

             

    Still, the show ended on a high note, with Chris Jericho failing in his fifth and final labor against MJF. 

    Jericho’s not the same wrestler he was in the early 2000s, but he worked hard here and in all of his previous Labors for the past few weeks. Some spots in the middle could have been better, but the ending was booking perfection. Jericho almost forgot that he wasn’t allowed to use the Judas Effect, which led to MJF capitalizing with his own version of the move and his Salt of the Earth armbar for a mostly clean win!

    You can criticize Jericho for many things, but he's been working his ass off these past few weeks, and if this is the last time we see him as a regular performer, I would be okay with that. There will be zero complaints if Le Champion transitions into a special attraction who only wrestles once in a while.

    Final Grade: Despite a murky middle with too many rushed segments, this was a pretty good episode of Dynamite with some great wrestling and solid story progression. A-

    Bullet Point Party

    • Really liked the beatdown Kenny Omega and The Super Elite put on Christian Cage and Jurassic Express. Even with stooges like Brandon Cutler and Michael Nakazawa, the announcers put them over as an army, showing how dangerous the numbers game can be.
    • So they’re still trying to make The Men of The Year a thing by attacking Lance Archer, huh? How about we have Scorpio Sky join Kazarian as part of his Anti-Elite crusade and make Ethan Page a singles star instead?
    • The women’s division still deserves better, but it was nice to see AEW book two women’s matches ahead of time. Jamie Hayter vs. Red Velvet for next week should be good, and I hope to see more improvement from Jade Cargill on this week’s Rampage.
    • Speaking of the women’s division, they really couldn’t have anyone else, but Penelope Ford wrestle Thunder Rosa this week? No offense to the Superbad Girl, but she still looks green to me and we have better wrestlers like Hikaru Shida and Tay Conti stuck on Dark, which is unacceptable.
    • While most of the segments leading up to MJF vs. Jericho gave me mixed reactions, the Jon Moxley promo right before the main event was must-watch stuff. Seeing him taunt Hangman Page and Christian Cage gave him some of that edge back, which he’s been missing ever since he went full babyface.
    Images from AEW

    *****

    Nico Parungo is a freelance contributor for Geeky PH and previously wrote for Epicstream. He provides weekly recaps of AEW Dynamite for Smark Henry and has contributed several reviews for PWR and MWF shows. When he isn't frustrated about the WWE, he's playing video games at home and is bugging his friends with glorious puns. He's new to the world of Twitter drama but is quickly getting hooked.
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    Item Reviewed: Reviewing the Elite (8/18/21): Hometown Winner Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Nico Parungo
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