Segunda Caida

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Monday, December 05, 2022

AEW Five Fingers of Death 11/28 - 12/4

AEW Dynamite 11/30

Bryan Danielson vs Dax Harwood

MD: Top line AEW house style, wrestling-for-the-sake-of-wrestling face vs face stuff here. There was no underlying story, which isn't the same as the match itself having no story or having no purpose. Danielson is seemingly about to be in a main event program with MJF over the Regal assault and having a big win over a storied tag champion in a huge workrate match that goes against most things MJF represents is useful.  For Dax, it gives him another seminal singles match against a top guy and top wrestler and further gets over the idea that he's at the top of his game. Even in defeat, it heats him up a bit heading into the tag title match with the Acclaimed and to whatever they'll be doing at the ROH PPV.

Like I said, the match itself was peak AEW house style stuff. I liked how earned every move had to be. Most of these were set up in smaller chapters. Dax would go for the pile driver, be unable to hit it the first time out, would have to come up with some sort of clever counter (in this case the Arn fake punch which I've never seen used for a pile driver before) to do so. Likewise, the slingshot Power Bomb, which Danielson rolled through with a Rana the first time. And there were layers into layers, sunset flip counters that were rolled through the first time and nailed the second, all of it leading to Danielson finally hitting his kick, which Dax was able to block multiple times (leading into some of these counters upon counters previously). While it was cute at times, it never felt forced, never felt overly choreographed, and never felt telegraphed. It all made sense, but it made sense after the fact not before. That level of being smart yet still feeling organic was symbolized in the suplex outside the ring. Dax moved down the rampway to get to exactly the spot he needed to be to make the spot work, but as Danielson went flying over on the suplex, fans still had to dart out of the way. It was poised and placed but still felt natural. In some ways, it's a shame this was a one off dream match along those lines and that we're not seeing Danielson and a partner go after FTR, because I think they could build on this from match to match to make something really impressive. 

And of course, as it was a cold match coming in, it was on the characters and there respective intensity to drive it. That's why I loved the bit early on where Danielson went for the LeBell lock and Dax for the Sharpshooter, with Dax not releasing in the ropes even on the count. Danielson, instead of just laying there and waiting for the ref to get control, threw up a foot right into Dax's jaw. That set the tone even more than the submission attempts themself. No measure, no hesitation, nothing given. It was Dax's match as much as it was Danielson's, but 2022 Danielson is going to push you to the absolute limit of your physical prowess. Dax met him halfway and they ended up with chops and with kicks, yes, but clothesline each other again and again instead. It was something old, something new, something borrowed, and something absolutely covered in red welts. If it's not up there with the very best matches of the year for both guys, it's just because the stakes in so many of their other matches were so high. That's part of the joy of AEW though, that they can just set this up on a Friday and run it on a Wednesday and we'll have it to watch back whenever we want in the years to come.

AEW Rampage 12/2

Darby Allin vs Cole Karter

MD: Sub ten-minutes considering Darby's intro and the smashing of Comoroto with the bat, but it felt a little longer and probably needed to be a minute or two shorter. Pretty good showing for Karter given his relative inexperience though. I went and looked it up and he really wasn't in the WWE system for all that long. His connective tissue between spots was pretty good for that level of experience though. Between that, his look, and his athleticism, there's probably something there moving forward. It's good he's still working at least some indies on the side though. I do get the impression that with things like taking Comoroto out with the bat or the hulking up/sitting up he's been doing a little more of, they're prepping Darby for something more. 

With that in mind, even if it was good for Karter's development, Darby probably gave a bit too much. At the least, it was warranted by that early offense. Darby absolutely crushed him with his dive and then started on the hand, which would pay off later. Then, though, Karter was able to horrifically crotch him on the top and even more horrifically power bomb him into the apron. Within the ring, he hit a buckle bomb too. Other than that, it was a lot of knees to the ribs and shots to the back and I liked how it wasn't all moves and spots. So long as he stayed focused, Darby couldn't fight from underneath, but he couldn't put him away with knees to the ribs alone so he went broader and Darby came back. I probably would have ended this thing with Darby's hulk up, but they had Karter catch him one more time and miss his 450 before Darby finished him off. It's going to be tough for Karter to get the singles matches he needs in the Factory, since Johnson and Ogogo (who we haven't seen for a bit, even on Dark, so I wonder if he might be injured?) need them too and yet QT has the most overall value as a mid-card heel that can put guys over. But Karter's only 22 and Johnson's only 24, so there's still time for both of them.  I'm hoping that in a year or two we're talking about Karter and Johnson like we talk about 2022 Yuta and Garcia now. It's possible at least.

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