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    Saturday, February 26, 2022

    Reviewing The Elite (2/23/22): MJF is a Good Guy????!!!!


    Okay, let's dissect this promo real quick.

    I kinda have to eat my words after I said last week that MJF and CM Punk shouldn't do promos anymore after the latter's pipebomb segment. That was pretty dumb of me because, of course, MJF should explain what that damn photo meant to him. I got that it added emotional stakes to their upcoming match, but it would've been criminal to not give everyone context to the rivalry's emotional core. So I'm thrilled they had this segment two weeks removed from Revolution. Was it a great promo? You bet your ass it was! Was it the best MJF promo? Close, but not quite there yet. 

    But first, the positives. The promo was great! MJF successfully built a brand as AEW's go-to asshole—both in-ring and in real life—that it was unnerving to see him cut a promo this earnest. The writing definitely sent us through an emotional and vulnerable journey inside the mind of a wrestling villain. It's a cautionary tale about how we're all just one bad day away from becoming the bad guy in our own story. This promo definitely added more depth to MJF's already solid character that you'll seriously reconsider how you'll see the man moving forward. It's a classic story executed on a fresh new canvas.

    CM Punk coming out to confirm MJF's story helped sell this promo even further. I was totally expecting this whole spiel to be a trap to lure Punk in for yet another beatdown, but when MJF just walked away with tears in his eyes, I was sold. If you were in that situation, would you apologize? Will you take back all the mean things you said? What a lovely wrinkle! It also helped that after the episode, his old Facebook posts resurfaced on Twitter, confirming everything he said in his promo was true. So this was technically a shoot promo, catapulting this storyline from compelling to captivating real quick.

    This could've been easily the promo of the year if not for one flaw: the fact that MJF doesn't know how to modulate his voice to match the intensity of his monologue. Why did he cut this honest promo the same way he cuts his usual phony ones? It took me a while to get the gravity of what he was saying because he was just shouting every sentence. Dolph Ziggler would be totally proud of this promo. It would've been ten times better if he started his speech with the softest, most sincere tone and let his emotions build up as his volume increases into an explosive diatribe. C'mon, MJF, this is Acting 101.  

    Imagine if he cut this brutally honest promo despite getting drowned in the loudest of boos. That would've made this segment even more of a shoot. The crowd would be like, "Yo, why is he talking like that? I should really listen. Should I boo? But he's the bad guy!" While the promo confused some fans into cheering for MJF, it would've been better if everyone understood what he was trying to say right off the bat. But despite this criticism, I'm not going to deny that this is, in a way, MJF's pipebomb moment. It doesn't hurt to sympathize with the bad guy every now and then, you know?

    Aside from this amazing MJF promo, this week's episode of Dynamite was once again filled to the brim with wrestling goodness. How would you like to see Bryan Danielson battle his younger self? Because that's pretty much what we got in this week's main event. I get that this was supposed to be just a quick match leading up to a Bryan/Moxley confrontation, but those short minutes gave us a taste of what we can expect in the future. When Bryan Danielson finally passes the torch to Daniel Garcia, it would definitely be at the end of a barn-burner technical classic. NitPickRichter Scale: Magnitude 8! 

    But for now, we have Bryan Danielson accepting the challenge Jon Moxley laid out next week. And now we got a new must-see dream match added to the Revolution card. I get that this would be a bloody and painful encounter, but do you think this would really lead to a Bryan/Moxley partnership? I wonder how this super tag team will exist in an already stacked tag team division. They could even anchor the trios division of AEW if they want to go that route—they just need one more megastar to join this super faction. The possibilities are just endless with this one, and that's why I love this storyline.

    Show Grade: A

    Dynamite Debris That Are Secret Members of the House of Black

    • The Good: Buddy Matthews is now All Elite! Yeeey! The Bad: He's once again a lackey for someone else. Boooo. The Ugly: He doesn't even fit the House of Black aesthetically. This was just too random of an acquisition for Malakai Black, and I really hope they make it work in the coming weeks. In other news, Penta Oscuro looks incredible!  

    • I had to rewatch the Chris Jericho/Eddie Kingston segment because their conversation didn't really make any sense. I was expecting a more personal angle to develop here on how Jericho is a selfish asshole who puts himself above everyone else and how he keeps getting involved in Eddie's business, which was the root of this rivalry, to begin with. They didn't even mention Santana and Ortiz. Why are we treating Eddie Kingston as AEW's doormat to big-name wrestlers? First, it was CM Punk, and now it's Jericho's turn to punch the dummy bag? How often do we have to hear him get trashed for looking the way he looks? 

    • Adam Cole juggling all these storyline elements continues to be a weekly highlight, at least for me. Under his leadership, we're getting a fun rivalry between reDRagon and the Young Bucks, we're getting two Adams at Revolution, and we still have Jay White lurking in the background. And don't get me started on what could possibly happen the moment Kenny Omega returns. Adam Cole basically exists in a storyline landmine, and I'm here for it. 

    • Wow, no one cared that Tay Conti made her return, huh? That seems weird to me. Are people still pissed about her and Sammy Guevara lying about their relationship? Yikes. Things are not looking good for the TBS Championship scene. They need someone credible fast because after Jade Cargill takes care of Tay, who else is there to beat? I guess there's still Mercedes Martinez. Now that's a match I'm hyped to see. 

    • Am I the only one who wanted Dark Order's 10 to win the qualifying match so we can have the beefiest ladder match in wrestling history? Not hating on Ricky Starks or anything, but Team Taz already has a representative in the match. Let the big men have their fun, too, no? 

    *****

    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 (2/23/22): MJF is a Good Guy????!!!! Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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