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    Sunday, January 16, 2022

    Reviewing The Elite (1/12/22): The (Interim) Champ is Here!


    So this is what a standard episode of Dynamite looks like. Good to know.

    Compared to last week's top-tier episode, this week was pretty tame. It's not like it's bad and I honestly can't blame them. How exactly can you follow a show that already had an MOTY candidate in it? Nevertheless, Dynamite was still a fun watch. In fact, it's a well-booked episode that had a fun start, a competitive main event, and a heated ending. Aren't you glad we didn't kick things off with yet another earth-shattering match? I think TK's getting the hang of this weekly wrestling show business.

    Let's just go straight to the main event then, shall we? I didn't think I'd enjoy Sammy Guevarra vs. Daniel Garcia as much as I did, mainly because I don't have a dog in this fight. I'm not really interested in anything Sammy does and I find Daniel and his 2.0 cohorts annoying as hell. But then they delivered on a great Dynamite main event so I was forced to care a little. For instance, I didn't realize Sammy had a sick-looking finisher and that Daniel will probably gain the same notoriety the young Bryan Danielson had after a few more high-profile matches in AEW. I really should pay attention more.

    And as for the fact that they were fighting for an interim title, I honestly don't mind that much. Interim championships are a great workaround for the exact situations like the one they had at Battle of the Belts. If a champion can't compete for whatever reason, it's pointless to book a heatless match as replacement. The contender and the substitute might as well fight for an interim title just to give everyone a reason to care for a sudden change in the card. It certainly helped me to care about Sammy Guevara vs. Dustin Rhodes, because why else would they get a PPV match?

    Plus, Cody Rhodes returning to Dynamite after a short time will just add fuel to his eventual heel turn. They can definitely take a page from CM Punk's playbook when he returned to WWE after threatening to take the WWE Championship to the indies back in 2011—only this time, the crowd will shit on it. Imagine the boos Cody will receive when he just comes back and tells Sammy how he's just a paper champion and that he's the real champion. They can still angle it as heroically as possible, which will just result into louder boos. I can't wait to see this confrontation next week. 

    And while all this chaos was unfolding, there's a brewing rivalry that I'm actually more excited about than anything involving Sammy Guevara or Daniel Garcia. When exactly are we getting the explosive promos between Eddie Kingston and Chris Jericho? I don't really mind getting teased every goddamn week, but they better make up for it with a promo that will exceed the one Eddie and CM Punk had last year. After this week's events, they should just pull the trigger on these two and just have them go at it. 

    See, TK? Was that too hard to start the show with a proper opening segment? We might as well call Dynamite The Adam Cole Show because he's pretty much the most influential person in AEW right now. Who else in the roster has an entire army at his disposal? He has two top-tier tag teams itching to kill each other just to prove their loyalty to him, and just this week, he has now covered all his bases by adding the AEW Women's World Champion Britt Baker to his growing network of badasses. Even Kenny Omega never had a connection with anyone in the women's division. (He actually had a big role in forming the early AEW women's division, personally vouching for Riho and Hikaru Shida. —Ed.)

    This week's opening segment perfectly set up the dynamics of the new Super (Duper?) Elite. Adam Cole may have The Bucks and reDragon in his faction, but they made it clear that it's not all hunky-dory between them. And while we were initially teased a possible intergender confrontation between Kris Statlander and Adam Cole somewhere down the line, it's about time they make Adam and Britt's marriage canon. I do hope AEW explores having intergender matches in the future. If that staredown was enough to send the crowd howling, imagine if they just start throwing down hands.

    Ladies and gentlemen, the dumbest match in Dynamite history.

    I finally got the chance to talk about CM Punk in the main paragraph, but for all the wrong reasons. I get that Punk's first loss in AEW should be a huge deal, but his match this week with Wardlow didn't have to look this dumb. After hyping up Wardlow for weeks—giving him a string of dominant victories over nameless jobbers, airing vignettes highlighting his unsurmountable strength, and framing him as the next big thing opposite one of AEW's pillars—are you seriously telling me he couldn't kick out of a mere rollup from a battered opponent? Great job making Wardlow look like a fool. 

    CM Punk took eight powerbombs—one of them through a table—and somehow managed to get the win via the weakest rollup pin I've ever seen. I'm pretty sure even I could kick out of that, let alone AEW's Batista stand-in. It wasn't even a clever pin like Orange Cassidy's Mouse Trap Cradle. It was just a regular rollup. How do we even explain this kayfabe-wise? He was distracted? Is losing concentration really that devastating that you suddenly don't have the strength to kick out? Adrenaline? Yeah, I'm sure old ladies who can suddenly lift a car to save kids trapped underneath got beaten up first to get the adrenaline running. Dumb. 

    And as I step back to look at the bigger picture of this rivalry, I'm just not that hyped to see MJF rehash the storyline beats from his feud with Chris Jericho. I guess it makes sense since he is the definition of chicken shit, but is this how every MJF storylines will run from here on out? Him dodging the babyface legend until he gets the win over said legend? Pass. Just wake me up when the scathing promos start pouring down. But otherwise, I'm not that excited to see Punk eat his first loss against MJF. 

    Show Grade: B+

    Dynamite Debris That Also Want a Shot of the AEW Tag Team Championships

    • So that's why Malakai Black kept picking fights with tag teams for weeks. He was just waiting for his buddy Brody King to arrive! I'm not familiar with his work in the indies, but I'm glad Brody didn't receive the Butcher and Blade treatment where they just appeared out of nowhere and no one cared. He seems pretty well-known and the crowd even chanted his name so that's good. Yet another tag team to watch out for. AEW: where tag team wrestling is alive and well. 

    • "Hangman" Adam Page vs. Lance Archer? Not bad, not bad at all. I'm pretty sure we're getting a new trilogy of just violence and meat-slapping goodness from these two and I'm already pumped. Also, I love how tiny the AEW Champion looks compared to the Murderhawk Monster. God, I hate that moniker. Overkill much? Why not just Murderhawk?

    • I love how minutes after the dumb Punk vs. Wardlow finish happened, Dante Martin and Powerhouse Hobbs showed everyone what a sensible rollup victory should look like. At least Dante actually did some damage before rolling Hobbs up for the win. Take notes, Punk. 

    • It's so rare to see babyfaces jump their rivals so when Sting and Darby Allin did exactly that this week against The Acclaimed, I couldn't be happier. I guess this father-and-son duo are now venturing into the tag team division, adding yet another team to an already stacked division. You gotta love it. 
    • This is my weekly reminder to AEW to feature more women's matches on Dynamite. Seriously, all we got this week was a Serena Deeb and Hikaru Shida segment? Not saying I hate it—I actually enjoy how needlessly dark Serena's tan has become—but I'm pretty sure we could've had two or three women's matches this week as well. C'mon, TK, do better.
    Header image taken from @AEW

    *****

    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 (1/12/22): The (Interim) Champ is Here! Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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