Write Forever: Adam Elite Wrestling presents WrestleDream
As I continue to find how I most enjoy writing about wrestling, I'm going to try something different with this. I don't necessarily find the most joy out of splitting my attention between the TV screen and the laptop screen, so let's instead talk about some high-level goods and bads from the show. Maybe I'll write in between matches if there's time, or make some quick notes to come back to at the end of the show. We'll see what works!
Let's get the bad stuff out of the way first – and thankfully, AEW did just that by putting the worst thing in the opener!
I will NOT snap my fingers, I will NOT chant "Kangaroo Kick"
I seriously could not care less about The Righteous. I know I said I thought I might be coming around on them after their vignette last night, but it doesn't translate to in-ring or anything else for me. There are a lot of people who are sounding the "Wyatt Family ripoff" bells which I think is dumb and insincere.
They're not a swamp cult and they're not dark and spooky; the only way they're like the Wyatt family is that they have some somewhat cult-like vibes and the main guy has terrible white guy dread locks.
And this MJF/Adam Cole tag team has run its course for me, at least in this form. I enjoyed the ride up to MJF defending the title against Adam Cole and I even appreciate that the blowoff was just "we're still friends" and not the regular wrestling thing one guy turning on the other (which we may still get, I don't know). I think I'm simply over the plucky babyface MJF shtick.
I don't need to see the AEW World Champion throwing one guy's head into another guy's ass or doing kangaroo kicks. It's also a little annoying that the ROH Titles, aside from the Women's Title which Athena has done wonders with, have become titles that get defended on AEW TV and PPV so much.
Obviously AEW and ROH are owned by the same guy, but I hoped they'd operate more on their own rather than having so much ROH influence on AEW programming. With Eddie Kingston, MJF & Cole, and The Elite as current ROH Champions it seems like we're just destined to have ROH all over AEW for the foreseeable future.
Anyway, MJF vs The Righteous really kind of stunk. The crowd was into it and this MJF shtick works for most people but it's wearing thin on me. I like the ease with which MJF can make one spot important in a match, like building to the bodyslam of Dutch, and I still think he's an absolutely insanely talented wrestler. I'm just over the whole thing.
Please, AEW, think about your fonts a little bit more
We need to talk about the font on the chyron. It's so bad. It looks like nothing. It has no style, no substance, no nothing.
The font on the Collision chyron has the same problem. It looks like an afterthought; or, better yet, something that wasn't thought about at all.
So, please AEW – put some effort into your font selections. Or pay me to think about your fonts. I think about fonts constantly anyway.
Tag Team Multiman Madness
The four-way tag team match was pretty solid stuff. It wasn't anything too wild, just solid work from everybody involved, which is why it lands in this section instead of The Good. It was also marred a bit by what seemed like a potential injury to Fenix, possibly tweaking his shoulder on what looked like a simple movement in the ring with Nick Jackson. It's always the simple stuff!
The Gunns shined here, in my opinion. Those wonderful Ass Boys have felt like such a big deal ever since Collision started; they rocketed up toward the main event, picked up some pretty big wins, and joined Bullet Club Gold. They're hitting their stride.
I had picked The Bucks winning this match and, subsequently, Aussie Open defeating FTR for the AEW Tag Team Titles. I don't see getting another Bucks/FTR match so soon after All In and, honestly, we don't need one. I think Aussie Open cementing themselves as a top team by beating FTR here and then the Bucks at Full Gear is the way to go. Let's see if I'm right as the show goes on!
Editor's note: It looks like the Fenix situation was planned and not a real injury, thankfully!
Editor's Editor's note: There is no editor, there is only me.
Editor's Editor's Editor's note: Turns out I was wrong twice, because FTR retained against Aussie Open. Oops!
An all-star breather match
It seems insane to think of the come-down match from Danielson/ZSJ involving Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi, Chris Jericho, Will Ospreay, Konosuke Takeshita, and Sammy Guevera - but this is the wild world in which we live.
Don't get me wrong – this match kicked a lot of ass! Ibushi looked way better here than he's looked in his previous AEW appearances which have been disappointing, to say the least. There was a bit of clunkiness here and there, but overall the highs far outweighed any lows.
There were a lot of stories to be told in this match with each and every person involved pulling out all of the stops. It was chaotic and violent in a much different way than Danielson/ZSJ but was rife with similar levels of personal baggage and a few games of one-upsmanship. We even saw Murder Ibushi!
Takeshita looked like an absolute star in this match. If he's not a singles champion in AEW at least once in the next year or two, then something is seriously wrong. I don't know if it's in the stars for him to hold the World Heavyweight Title in that time frame, but I wouldn't be opposed to it if the right story was there.
Interference led to the finish here as well, similar to Swerve/Hangman, though the interference to victory pipeline was a much straighter shot here. With a single bat shot from Don Callis, Sammy Guevara picked up the pin on former ally Chris Jericho. Here's hoping everyone involved doesn't get sucked into the Jericho Orbit that seems to pull people into feuds for way longer than is necessary in AEW.
Honorable mention here goes to The Gunns for being the first team I can remember in a four-way match to make both members of the same team legal and then proceed to try and pin one another. These guys have been on a rise since joining Bullet Club Gold. I didn't enjoy their brief run as Tag Team Champions, but at this point I'd be more than willing to see them get another reign.
More than a spooky little bitch
In the run-up to Julia Hart challenging Kris Statlander for the TBS Championship, Stat told Hart that she was a spooky little bitch who didn't stand a chance against her. Hart showed that she was more than formidable in one of the best TBS Title matches we've seen since the belt has been in existence.
Stat successfully defended the belt against Julia, but the crowd was rightfully split due to just how good both women are. Stat has been great for a long, long time – before she stepped foot in an AEW ring (for one reference of many, go watch Statlander vs Ashley Vox in a Last Creature Standing Match from Limitless Wrestling back in 2019).
Julia has had a bit of a rocky run in AEW. It was smart to put her with the Varsity Blonds, but she fell to the background quite a bit despite being the factor that made the team feel whole. It may also have been the possible over-reliance on Dark and Dark Elevation to feature wrestlers who didn't necessarily have any direction; Julia featured there but not many other places for a long time.
The turn of Julia to the House of Black also felt like it took ages. If I remember correctly, I think there was a speed bump of a Rey Fenix injury causing the storyline to sputter out and stall for a bit. However, once Julia was fully embraced into the House of Black and began developing a new character, everything started coming together for her in a whole new way.
In House of Black, Julia has often fallen to the background yet again while the trio took focus. Now, with Malakai and Brody out with injuries, focus shifted to Julia who began racking up victories on various AEW TV programs.
This match was honestly a toss-up for me; I love Stat and would love for her to have a good, long run with the championship especially considering the quality of matches she's been having as champion. For Julia, this would have been a breakout moment and established her as the star of the House of Black, even temporarily. I don't think there was a bad decision to be made as far as a winner goes.
In the end, Stat retained the title but we thankfully got to see what is maybe the best moonsault in all of professional wrestling from Julia Hart. I could see it a thousand times and still be blown away by it every single time. The height she gets is out of this world and the ability to hit it with her opponent so close to the corner is equally bewildering.
I don't think anyone is worse-off for the outcome of the match. Stat continues a dominant reign and Julia proves that she's a contender who can hold her own against any woman on the AEW roster.
This is and always will be a Swerve Strickland Appreciation Blog. I first saw Swerve in person at Wrestle Circus in Austin, Texas where he not only delighted in the ring but also with his Chaka Khan "Ain't Nobody" entrance. It's a shame that he no longer uses that entrance, but it's understandable that he wanted to move on from it in his post-WWE career.
One thing I love about AEW is that they allow heels to be treated like babyfaces in their hometown without altering their character at all. Swerve has been a heel through this entire feud but in Seattle, he gets a hero's welcome. At the height of his scumbaggery, MJF was treated like a God when AEW went to Long Island and he didn't have to get cheap heat to get booed. He was simply allowed to be cheered.
In this match, Swerve had the crowd in the palm of his hands and "Heelman" Adam Page was the one leaning into the crowd reaction. He did a little bit of crowd taunting and a little bit of cheating, but not so much that it would undermidne the Hangman character completely.
This was just a sensational match. Up to its placement on the card, it was easily the best thing on the show. The best part? The right man won. I don't necessarily think we needed to have the cheating from Swerve at the end; I think he would have looked much stronger winning without it, and I think Hangman would have looked just fine losing in a clean match.
The final several moments of the match held some nail-biting moments with Hangman looking like he was going to eke out a win prior to some Prince Nana interference. With a couple of House Call kicks and a JML Driver, Swerve took his place as a main event guy in AEW.
I don't know the status of Rey Fenix at the time of writing this, but putting the International Title on Swerve is an no-brainer in my book. I don't think it makes sense to push him into a World Title feud when it's clear there's still more juice in the MJF/Cole/Roddy fruit, so let's do some more work to establish Swerve as what he very obviously is – one of the top guys in AEW.
Also, Prince Nana is a delight and an international treasure so any chance to see him dance on TV will be taken gladly.
A technical wrestling masterpiece
Was there ever any doubt? Well, maybe a little – if only because Danielson/Okada didn't live up to its expectations at Forbidden Door. That match was just fine when everyone expected it be other-worldly. Danielson/ZSJ, though? Professional wrestling perfection.
Zack Sabre, Jr. has such an intense style that I wasn't always on board with. It used to annoy me how quickly he would transition from submission to submission. It felt like no single move was getting time to breathe and no single move felt like it had meaning.
Somewhere along the way I realized that it wasn't about any single move. It was about the totality of ZSJ's art of grapplefuckery. The ability to wear down every single body part from second to second rather than spending an entire match working on one leg or one arm.
In this match, the grapplefuckery was on display from both men but we had one clear story point – Bryan Danielson's recovering right arm. Sabre focused a lot of his offense and submissions on the arm, all of which made me wince from the comfort of my couch.
A perfect moment saw Danielson delivering European uppercuts with his left arm – his less dominant arm. Sabre challenged him to use his right arm and when he did, Sabre delivered a shoulder block into the uppercut to inflict damage on the damaged limb.
On commentary, Nigel McGuinness and Jon Moxley both made incredible points for both men – Nigel pulling for Sabre and Mox for Danielson. The insight from both of them with their unique histories with each man in the match helped the match have an even bigger feel than it otherwise would have.
It looked like, against all odds, Sabre was going to pull out a submission win toward the end of the match. It even looked like he might have caught a flash pin on a European Clutch or two. Those wouldn't come to fruition, though. In the end, it was Danielson connecting with back-to-back Busaiku Knees for the pinfall victory.
I'm no wrestling fortune teller, just a person who knows what he likes and what he wants to see. I want to see Danielson vs Nigel in Danielson's retirement match at All In next year, and along the way I want to see ZSJ/Nigel vs Danielson/Mox.
I used to take a Greyhound bus six hours to New York City to see Danielson wrestle in Ring of Honor. I put in my time. I slept in bus stations after missing the last bus at midnight when ROH shows would run long, waiting for the next bus the following morning. Please, Tony Khan – give me what I want.
Nick Wayne's new dad, the TNT Champion – plus, one more Adam
The main event of WrestleDream was the much-anticipated one-on-one showdown between TNT Champion Christian Cage and challenger Darby Allin in a two out of three falls match. If I'm being honest, it was a little bit of a mixed bag if only for the treacherous spots involving the steps during fall two. But, let's not get ahead of ourselves.
The pace of his one was great, horrifying death spots aside. Fall one saw each man try to out-wrestle the other and when that didn't work, Darby pulled Christian's turtleneck up over his face to blind the Father of the Year and roll him up for a flash pin. Smart!
Fall two saw Christian up not only the antagonizing of Nick Wayne's mom standing in the front row but also the viciousness against Darby. Christian rearranged the steel steps but didn't use them immediately. He eventually pulled Darby over the top rope onto the apron for a suplex and immediately looked like he was regretting his decision.
I guess they eventually delivered on what they wanted to do, but Christian seemed sheepish at first. He opted to slam Darby on the arena floor rather than the stairs which was, somehow, the safer option. Christian then leapt to the ground and slammed Ol Darbo at an angle on the steps.
But, that's not all!
I'd assume Darby told Christian that he wanted this spot to happen no matter what, because the two found themselves on the apron once more where Christian somewhat successfully slammed Darby from the apron onto the steps. It was disgusting to look at.
As always with these kinds of spots with Darby, it looked like he died a death. It wasn't clear at first if his head hit the steps but the replay showed that his head may have hit the floor, or at least it looked like it did through the art of professional wrestling magic.
With Darby laying motionless on the ground, Christian began breaking down the ring which was super helpful. It's nice to get some of that stuff out of the way before the show's even over so everyone can leave quicker! With the pine boards of the ring exposed, Christian picked up the count out win to tie things up 1-1.
After a huge frog splash from the top rope onto a prone Darby Allin on a stretcher, Christian relocated the match to the ring. After a bit of action with some gnarly bumps on the exposed wood, referee Bryce Remsburg caught a stray shot and was laid out.
This offered Christian the opportunity to grab the TNT Title, poised to knock Darby's block off. But, alas! It's Nick Wayne!
Nick grabbed the belt and stood side-by-side with Darby against Christian before spinning into a belt shot on his old friend. Nick briefly looked conflicted, but this faded as he opened the door for Christian to rouse Bryce and cover Darby for the victory.
Christian Cage did it - he beat Darby Allin and got a new son in the process.
I will be your father figure
Put your tiny hand in mine
(I'd love to)
I will be your preacher teacher
(Be your daddy)
Anything you have in mind
(It would make me)
I will be your father figure
I have had enough of crime
(Please let me)
I will be the one who loves you
'Til the end of time
Caveman Charisma (and son) laid a beating on Darby which drew out Sting, which drew out Luchasaurus, which drew out... the debuting Adam Copeland.
But not before a snappy video package and some posing on the ramp with pyro! The Jeff Hardy method of making a save.
AEW's newest Adam took the chair from the hands of Christian Cage, feigning a setup for a Conchairto on Sting only to wallop Nick and Luchasaurus with the chair before also driving both men to the pine boards with a pair of spears.
Adam, Darby, and Sting shook hands while Christian escaped via the ramp to end the show. I will be cautiously optimistic about Copeland in AEW. I was uncertain on both Sting and Christian when they showed up in AEW; not because I dislike either of them, but because I watched TNA and remember how every guy released from WWE became the big name of the moment. It was early enough in AEW's run that I wasn't sure if the same thing would happen.
Well, it didn't. And, as it turned out, both Sting and Christian revived their careers with all-timer runs that nobody expected to happen. So, maybe Copeland can do the same thing here. Only time will tell. They did get the very good "ON THIS DAY" theme song, so we're starting off with a bang.
When I wake up tomorrow, will this have all really happened? Or was it just a WrestleDream?