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Monday, September 05, 2022

AEW Five Fingers of Death: 8/29 - 9/4 Part 1

AEW Dynamite 8/31

Bryan Danielson vs. Jake Hager

MD: There were a couple of things I really liked about this one. First, after Danielson's early advantage, it was all Hager, and despite there being some things we'd rightfully call "big spots," like a slam throuh a table and hard shots into the guardrail, there was nothing elaborate or complicated about any of it. It wasn't three counters in a row. It was just a big monster leaning on his smaller opponent and giving him no space to breathe. It was Hager, competent, confident, picking up Danielson and putting him back down again and again with some bells but no whistles. That would contrast both the upcoming main event which was all bells and whistles but also the finishing stretch.

As for that stretch, after Danielson's comeback, I liked the clear rules and boundaries put down. Danielson and Hager were each other's match on the mat. Hager had a power advantage. Danielson maybe had a bit of an advantage when it came to finesse. These things cancelled each other out. They portrayed a sense that the two could grapple for an hour and neither would be able to score a true advantage except for on a fluke. So they tried escalating holds and counters, fairly seamlessly shifting from one to the next until Danielson, realizing that it would be an endless battle of attrition, shifted gears, gained space, and hit the knee to pick up the win. It didn't wear out its welcome and it had its moments of drama, just enough to establish the reality of the situation and provide Danielson with the realization needed to put grappling ego aside and overcome. Overall, I might have liked the Kingston/Hager match from earlier in the year better, but this one had a lot going for it.

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