Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D, Sebastian, and other friends write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Wednesday, September 07, 2022

AEW Five Fingers of Death: 8/29 - 9/4 Part 2

All Out 9/4

Sting/Darby Allin/Miro vs. House of Black (Malakai Black/Brody King/Buddy Matthews)

MD: While this broke down at the end, it also felt very different from the last couple of far more chaotic Sting PPV matches. I loved the roles in the first half, with Miro taking the shine, Darby eating the heat, and Sting in there for the comeback. That was a different layout to the opening pairings in the FTR trios for instance. There was a sense throughout of real unity for the House of Black, something that, when combined with their size and presence, means even after their loss in the trios tournament and here, they'll be viable challengers for the trios belts or the tag titles without much effort. Miro sort of dropped out as the match went on as much more of the focus was on Sting or Darby but I liked his interactions in general, first refusing to tag in Darby and then telling Darby (who was trapped in a neutral corner) that he had to listen to him and make it over to make the tag. The bit at the end with Sting refusing to break the Scorpion even as he was getting battered and then with the mist (learned it from Muta) were both iconic. This probably could have played just as well on TV as PPV but it was still a lot of fun.

Bryan Danielson vs. Chris Jericho

MD: Full disclosure. Due to things like parental responsibility, I didn't get a chance to catch most of the PPV until Monday morning and then I jumped around a lot. This was probably the third match on the show I saw. That meant I wasn't experiencing it like the live crowd or a lot of you. I know there were criticisms of this maybe being placed wrong on the card or that it went too long, and while I agree with the latter to a degree and in a specific way I'll get into in a moment, I can't really speak for the former. Therefore, overall, this was a hit to me, not a miss. This might well be Jericho's career year and I thought the overarching story of the match was excellent, really. He had dusted off the Lionheart persona and style and had great success against Jon Moxley with it, as it played against very specific weaknesses of Mox. Now, with pride on the line, he came in expecting to repeat his success against Danielson, only to find he was brushing up against Danielson's strengths. You could see it early through his facial expressions. He came out posing and grinning through an immediate successful exchange or two, got immediately knocked on his ass, threw a chair, and came back finding the grin again. He had a couple of tricked out moves that had worked wonders against Moxley but when they failed him against Danielson, he had no recourse other than to go right back to them and fail again. That, as much as anything else was the story. He may have been able to escape a lot of what Danielson was putting him in, barely, but Danielson was easily escaping his holds and shifting back to being the aggressor. 

Whatever the Lionheart was, it was less of one thing than the whole of Bryan Danielson. Lionheart was a mask that Jericho put back on, an artificial guise, but as much as it freshened him up and gave him novel angles to attack from, he found himself too married to it and it limited him and forced him into stubborn mistakes (like the plancha to the outside which cost him). Danielson on the other hand, was the sum of everything he'd ever been, something that culminates with the seated zen position he's been using to absorb damage and throw his opponents off as of late. Where Jericho hid in his own past (and as the match went on, hid poorly, constantly adjusting pants that no longer fit correctly), Danielson wrestles like a man fully actualized. The story was so clear and clean that I wouldn't have cut any of the matwork from the beginning or middle of the match. It wasn't gratuitous. It was the point. That said, I do think the finishing stretch (everything from the first, countered Lionsault) probably went too long. There was escalation desperation in Jericho but they could have cut a few minutes and still gotten that across. In the end, they got to where they needed to be, delusion and cowardice and rationalization and a low blow to prop up a false, flimsy pride, as Daniel Garcia watched on shaking his head. Jericho, like all the greatest heels, came in expecting to win on his own merit and only succeeded to lie to himself once again.

Jon Moxley vs. CM Punk

MD: Going to stick straight to the match here. A couple of days ago, Phil wrote an explainer on the Ringer on where the backstage stuff stood and by the time this gets posted, Dynamite will have aired and things that are moving quickly will reach some other destination. I won't make this a retrospective or wax poetic on the last year. I did think this was very good though. It inverted the match from Cleveland, where Punk came in looking for a title match and Moxley rushed forward, unrelenting from the bell. There, that forced Punk off his balance and caused him to blow up his own leg. Here, he was ready both for Moxley's Hansenian onslaught, which he met head on and for his own kick, which hit picture perfect. That meant instead of early Death Riders, we got the early GTS. Things went to the outside after that, Moxley's domain, and maybe Punk hurt his arm on the dive or maybe he was selling that he did, but Mox was able to take over and open him up. The crowd, despite being in Chicago, couldn't deny Moxley at times and despite his attitude, despite (or because of?) his barbarism and dominance, they gravitated back towards him. For a while, he'd get heat by taking it so over the top. After Punk was opened up and after he made sure that the opening became a gusher, he licked the blood. Shortly thereafter, he jammed his own head against Punk's so that it'd be all over his face. When Punk started to come back from the woundwork, he went straight to the leg to cut him off. With Moxley, the malice is personal, but you shouldn't take it personally. It's universal. He carries disdain for each and every person he faces. He's a storm and it's up to his opponent to endure it and to cobble out a meaningful match from it. If you cut him (scrape him even), he will bleed. If you punch him, his head will rock. If you stretch him, he will know pain. But it's up to you to channel and redirect the forward motion, the potential energy of him, into something coherent. 

As Mox continued to dismantle and batter his opponent, Punk was able to endure however he could, was able to tough it out, was able to survive, even if sometimes that meant going for an eye. Moxley returned favor by biting the wound, by stubbornly, and unfairly (because fairness has nothing to do with pro wrestling) cutting him off by going after the leg. But eventually, Punk lasted long enough to get under Moxley, literally, and to drop him down into a GTS. In another world, that's the image that would stick with us of this night, the remnants of the match's second GTS and all the damage that had been inflicted on Punk since the first, a hobbled Moxley draped over a bloodied and exhausted Punk, and Punk's eyes opening as he saw what he needed to do. A talking point in our circle about Survivor Series 97 was that the main event between Bret and Shawn was actually shaping up to be their best match together. I might not go so far with this one, but it had a lot of merits on its own, and I can't help but wonder if in years to come, all of those will simply be a similar afterthought to everything that transpired after.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home