Segunda Caida

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

Monday, January 23, 2023

AEW Five Fingers of Death 1/16 - 1/22

AEW Dynamite 1/18

Bryan Danielson vs Bandido

MD: Danielson's tour of guys with a ton of raw physical talent continues (and will continue to continue with Brian Cage ahead of him). This was the most complete Danielson match we've had in a couple of months, probably since the Dax match, and he worked de facto heel here considering how into Bandido the crowd was, which made it all the better. It was a taste of a world that never was, the one where Danielson got to visit Arena Mexico and work Hechicero fourth from the top since CMLL didn't have any idea who he was, and maybe even the one where he got to work Blue Panther or Negro Navarro for the FLLM title in front of a few hundred people. While there was a feeling out process and while the finishing stretch was pretty even, with a lot of payoff and counters, there was a bit after that feeling out and before the commercial break and the quasi-heat where Danielson let Bandido shine with technique followed by power followed by speed and he looked like a mindblowing star. For that minute or so, it was hard to even process the way he was shifting gears.

After that things calmed down and Danielson was able to really stretch. There are pros and cons to the AEW commercial breaks but with a guy like Danielson in there who can hit hard, who can make every impact matter, who can engage the crowd, who just breathes pro wrestling, it works more often than not. It certainly worked here and even allowed for some time for the leg to recover after the nudo. Bandido has so many tools in the belt to come back with (here it was power), and the stretch had some bits I liked, especially Bandido getting lost in the moment and not capitalizing and Danielson seemingly wanting to win with a lucha-styled move like the Casita instead of playing fully to his strength that let Bandido get a nearfall or two n him. I'm not going to say everything was smooth, but the instincts were there, the constant struggle, the constant reaching for a limb, that even when something didn't hit smooth, the roughness only helped the visceral attempt at what they were trying to accomplish. The actual finish, to me, felt like a superior batter having to see a pitcher a few times to learn how to hit him. Danielson came in having never wrestled Bandido and having not wrestled someone of his style for a while and as the match went on, he adapted to him more and more, until he was able to catch him with the knee perfectly. Maybe that was just in my head, but it's something I like having in my head, so we're going to go with it.

Darby Allin vs KUSHIDA

MD: This was very good and I'm finding myself with very little to say about it. It's great right now that they are maximizing the roster/openness and having both Darby and Danielson up against different and varied opponents each week. And now that Negro Casas is over to AAA I want both match-ups yesterday. We all want Danielson vs Casas but Darby vs Casas with Darby creating all the motion would maybe even be better. This was all about the armwork, of course. KUSHIDA was excellent in creating opportunities for himself to open that up. Darby, more so than almost any wrestler I can think of, earns his victories through sheer endurance alone. He had to survive long enough for an opening to appear. That was basically it. In the meantime, they were able to manage spots like the flip off the top which were cooperative but still believable, as KUSHIDA made Darby go over and basically bump himself off the top huge so as not to dislocate his arm further.

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