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    Sunday, December 19, 2021

    Reviewing The Elite (12/15/21): Winter is Such a Tease

    I didn't really care for this week's SmackDown. Roman Reigns fired Paul Heyman, that's about it. So let's talk about "Hangman" Adam Page vs. Bryan Danielson.

    If I can only describe this match in two words, I'll use these exact phrase: almost perfect. I don't usually take Dave Meltzer's ratings as gospel, but for this one instance, the five stars these two men got were well deserved. AEW gave us an early Christmas present with this amazing world championship match—on free TV, no less. Let's see WWE do that. For one whole hour, everyone was at the edge of their seats as two of the best wrestlers out there gave every type of wrestling fan something to chew on.

    If you love violence in your wrestling but not the deathmatch kind, you'll love this match. I know it's tired to bring up his retirement back in 2016, but I can't help but still marvel at how Bryan Danielson is still out here kicking people's heads in, TV-MA style. You will never see Daniel Bryan break joints and draw blood the way Bryan Danielson does today and that makes me love him even more. For weeks, Bryan broke Adam's friends, and last week, Bryan destroyed Adam in more ways than one.

    If you love great in-ring storytelling, this match won't disappoint you, either. The first 10 minutes of this 60-minute instant classic was just Bryan Danielson fucking with Adam Page's mind. At this point, we're all in agreement that Bryan is a heel, right? Because it was really infuriating to see him dodge Adam and do jumping jacks like a jackass. C'mon, just fucking fight already! And once he was done playing, he took the champion and by the end of the match, he looked more like the winner.

    If you love flippy shit, this match didn't forget about you because Adam Page pretty much spammed the moonsault button. While it's always a sight to see, him focusing on flashy moves added another layer to the story they're trying to tell. After seeing his friends get beaten week after week, it was weird to see Adam treat Bryan like an opponent worthy of respect. But once he decided to forego the flash and just hit Bryan as hard as he can, the time limit has expired and he has officially failed to defend his AEW World Championship. He didn't lose the title, but it sure broke his fragile spirit.

    And if you love satisfying endings, this match will probably disappoint you. I'm not going to judge the people who didn't like the the finish. After all, if you spent an hour watching a straight-up battle, you'd be pissed to not see a decisive winner. But I also don't hate AEW for going this route. I mean, we did just see an hour of great wrestling. I'm more than willing to cut them some slack the way I cut Kenny Omega and Bryan Danielson some slack three months ago. So I suggest not hating it that much. This match is still an instant classic in mybook, regardless of the polarizing result.

    What baffles me was the fact that this world championship match didn't headline the show. For some reason, Tony Khan hates booking the most important match of the card at the end of the show. Does he think that we all have a short attention span and we won't stick around to see Adam Page and Bryan Danielson wreck each other to shreds? I think AEW is way past the point of worrying about that. Tony has been bragging about how high the ratings of Dynamite on a weekly basis. Our eyes are glued, man. Give us proper main events already, jeez.

    Because while the rest of the episode was far from being as boring as a regular WWE weekly show, the crowd was clearly exhausted from the explosive opening match. It's really hard to care for a stupid diamond ring when the top prize of the promotion was on the line a few matches ago. MJF vs. Dante Martin or Serena Deeb vs. Hikaru Shida could've opened the show and Dynamite Winter is Coming could've been a perfect episode of television. I guess we still can't have it all when it comes to wrestling, but to be fair, the wait has never been this exciting.

    Show Grade: A

    Dynamite Debris That Also Didn't Care About MJF's Ring

    • While this shouldn't be an excuse for Tony Khan to not focus on AEW's women's division, I can't help to point out that one women's match on Dynamite is way better than the pee break women's matches WWE has been booking lately. This is the third time I've seen Serena Deeb and Hikaru Shida go nuts on each other and it's still a thing of beauty. Unless it's not for a title, you wouldn't see a women's match as physical as this on RAW or SmackDown. But still, feature more women on your flagship show, Tony.
    • If it wasn't for Dante Martin and the surprisingly amazing debut of Hook, I wouldn't really care for Team Taz. Their rivalry with Brian Cage was dumb, they were barely featured on Dynamite and Rampage, and Ricky Starks can't even be bothered to step foot in a ring. He's supposed to be the centerpiece of the stable, right? Anyway, I hope Dante Martin won't stick around for a long time in this Team Taz bullshit. I want to see him fly higher up the ranks in AEW.


    Header image from All Elite Wrestling


    Ricky Publico (@nyamnyamgarbage) is Smark Henry's seasoned veteran and resident SmackDown free agent 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 (12/15/21): Winter is Such a Tease Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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