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    Sunday, February 13, 2022

    Reviewing the Elite (2/9/22): All E-Leeeeee-t!


    Bask in his glory, because Keith Lee has finally arrived in AEW.

    Last week was no doubt a pretty hectic episode of Dynamite, but the highlight for me was the debut of "Limitless" Keith Lee. After seeing him get horribly misused in WWE, I've been craving to see how Tony Khan can make him look exciting again. And as we've already seen a few days ago, he pretty much nailed the presentation of the former Bearcat. Seriously, this has been the coolest Keith Lee has been since he donned that stupid singlet with claw marks on it. First off, his entrance music is a banger! It was even better than his first theme back in NXT. So that alone already made this debut for me.

    And second, AEW couldn't have found a better opponent for the recently married Mr. Yim than the light-as-a-feather Isiah Kassidy. That opening spot where Keith just threw him straight to heaven was already legendary! Whether you thought he was gassed or not, it was still an impressive reminder to everyone that Keith Lee is definitely back and ready to throw some bodies around. I would've preferred to see him hit a Spirit Bomb to end the match, but I'm sure we'll see a hapless soul get sent straight to hell one of these days. For now, I could settle with him powerbombing a person to another person.

    I really enjoyed last Wednesday's episode of Dynamite because aside from the delightful debut of a former NXT double champion, we also had great segments and matches to sink our teeth into. First off, can we talk about that amazing opening segment? I think I'm slowly becoming a fan of MJF, thanks largely to the consistently awesome promos featuring him, his faction The Pinnacle, and CM Punk. Last week's opening segment started perfectly with Wardlow's silent entrance. And then the rest of his Pinnacle mates got glowing introductions from an unenthusiastic Justin Roberts. Grade-A opening minutes.

    Then came MJF in a ridiculously cheesy entrance and I was so amazed at how pissed I was watching these dorks celebrate a tainted win. It also made me appreciate the fact that there are no heel commentators praising the bad guy for his deeds. I always enjoy hearing Tony Schiavone's disdain for MJF so when you couple that with Jim Ross' sassy remarks, you get an entertaining banter to compliment that generates more heat for the heel. Also, it's just refreshing to not hear a moral debate between a dorky face commentator and an edgy heel commentator "playing a character." 

    And while I wasn't too excited when the tag team challenge was laid out, it did give us a dream team we didn't know we needed: CM Punk and Jon Moxley. I already know we're going to get a good tag match out of FTR, but what I didn't expect was for Punk and Moxley to jive well together as a formidable team. Seriously, this match had no right to be this nail-biting, but it did it anyway and more. I felt every near fall, I booed every heel tactic, I cheered at every kickout, and I popped at the last sequence where Punk and Moxley hit their finishers at the same time. Lovely. NitPickRichter Scale: Magnitude 8!

    Fine, I admit: I freaking loved last week's main event. Sure, it wasn't built properly and it had barely any heat going in. Sure, it involved the least compelling challenger in history—a big dude who brings his dad and uncle to every fight doesn't really scream champion to me. But if there's something AEW does well, it's booking stipulation matches. This isn't like in WWE where they hype it up as dangerous and end up with a bloodless affair. AEW loves their blood, and last week's AEW World Championship main event spilled more than they needed to. Really wish it had less Dan Lambert, though, but I digress. 

    Where do I even start with this match? It quickly began with an all-out brawl so that was fun. Even Dan Lambert served a purpose by removing the top rope to try and disable Adam Page's Buckshot Lariat. And when's the last time you've seen Jake "The Snake" Roberts nail a short-arm clothesline? That got major pops from the crowd. What about the crazy bumps they took? It's a miracle the champ didn't break his back when he took yet another bump on the side of the steel steps. Now if we can all forget about that disgusting fork spot, that would be great. NitPickRichter Scale: Magnitude 8.5!

    Show Grade: A

    Dynamite Debris that Also Couldn't Last Five Minutes in the Ring with Serena Deeb

    • Oh, Jay White also debuted last week? Damn, I must have missed it. Kidding aside, I'm pretty sure this didn't need to be part of an already stacked episode. He could've just debuted on Rampage and gotten more eyes on their secondary show instead. It's clear that there were enough people who care about the guy, so why not give him a more exciting debut, preferably when there's no one else debuting. But hey, I guess AEW got another star to enter the forbidden door. The more, the merrier! Now go get more women talent through that door. 
    • If there's someone in AEW who's making the undefeated gimmick work, it's Jade Cargill. I love that there's a graphic now immortalizing her ongoing winning streak. It's like the modern-day version of Undertaker's streak but far more impressive. I really hope she stays undefeated for another year to see how ridiculous her undefeated graphic can get. Also, isn't rare for the heel champion to issue an open challenge and beat everyone through sheer strength? Refreshing.
    • While I don't really care about the Inner Circle drama, if this means they'll start treating Santana and Ortiz as a bigger deal again, I'm all for it. Also, I love how Jake Hager is a non-factor in all of the in-fighting. It just feels right, you know?

    Header image taken 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 (2/9/22): All E-Leeeeee-t! Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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