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The Man in Blak

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    St. Louis, MO

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  1. The Man in Blak

    AEW Dynamite - Grand Slam - September 22, 2021

    The thing about Cody's Capital Neoliberal persona is that I'm not even sure it can draw the desired heat by working a simple red-vs-blue divide. There's a tendency to see this as a 1997 Bret Hart "divisive" crowd dynamic because that's the most immediate precedent for this sort of nationalism, but I actually think he's treading on go-away heat for both conservatives and progressives. He's tiresome in a way that doesn't really offer a lot of catharsis for hating him, at least not without Cody actually leaning into more deliberately irritating elements of his persona. He's not working on the same wavelength as 1997 Bret or even Dutch Mantel Zeb Colter and the Real Americans - he's basically a paladin for American exceptionalism. Frankly, there's probably a case to be made that Cody has been meandering toward go-away heat ever since Eddie Kingston completely torched him on the mic in his AEW debut -- another match/feud that Cody should have lost, I would point out -- but the differences between 2019 AEW Cody and 2020 AEW Cody are probably better suited for a separate discussion.
  2. The Man in Blak

    Dark Side of the Ring: Viceland docu-series

    Flair's trending nationally on Twitter right now as people are reacting to this, so I think making a comparison to the other DSOTR storyline actually undersells it, if anything. Fans who have been entrenched in the industry for years know about Flair's reputation, but this could end up being the most publicized incident of this stripe in Flair's entire career, period. On top of that, Flair would be coming in to manage a character in Andrade that really hasn't connected with the AEW fanbase yet (though, in all fairness, a lot of that has to do with his booking) and appeared to be making an almost-face turn (or at least an "honorable heel" turn), so there's a real risk of torpedoing Andrade if they move forward with Flair as his second. The smart play is to go in another direction and, if Andrade balks at that, then I'd say show him the door as well.
  3. The Man in Blak

    AEW Rampage - Sep 10 2021

    Andrade/Pac was decent, but that finish and post-match angle were an absolute mess. Wherever they were trying to go, I don’t think they got there.
  4. The Man in Blak

    La Sombra/Andrade

    I think it's almost impossible to have a bad TV match with Rey, so I don't know how much those will land for me with respect to Andrade's specific contributions, but I will definitely check these out - thank you for the recommendations. Fingers crossed.
  5. The Man in Blak

    La Sombra/Andrade

    Am I alone in feeling like his post-NXT career has almost been disastrously bad? His big Triplemania match with Omega this year was a disjointed mess and, arguably, the most notable moment of his WWE run is getting tagged with a wellness violation. What hidden gems am I missing?
  6. The Man in Blak

    AEW All Out 2021 - September 5, 2021

    I can definitely understand the Bret comparisons with Punk, if only because Punk and Darby lifted three or four signature moments from the Bret/1-2-3 Raw match, almost note for note. And yeah, I wouldn't say it was a great match, though that is definitely an impression colored by their decision to have Darby put over Punk clean as a sheet. Having said that, I also don't think there's anything I saw in that match that would make me want to write off Punk any time soon. In a way, there was no perfect opponent for Punk because the expectations were astronomical; they got a "holy shit" chant before the bell even rang when Punk sat down in the middle of the ring. We're not going to get seven years back in one night.
  7. The Man in Blak

    AEW Rampage - 20th August 2021

    I think both iterations on the Wyatt character had potential, but neither one had a chance in the world of succeeding with 50/50 booking and (especially in the case of The Fiend) no restraint whatsoever. I feel like he could still be effective in AEW, if only because they’ve shown they can be patient - good booking can go a long way towards turning things around.
  8. The Man in Blak

    Summerslam 2021

    Okay, if they were really obsessed with doing a shitty WM9 finish somewhere on this card, why not have Lashley win by injury, kill Goldberg’s kid and have Big E come down for the save and the cash-in to win?
  9. The Man in Blak

    Summerslam 2021

    I hope that Goldberg is saving everything for the match because he literally looked like he might not make it to the ring.
  10. The Man in Blak

    Summerslam 2021

    The cosmos apparently wasn’t a big fan of the Becky/Belair angle either:
  11. The Man in Blak

    Summerslam 2021

    “It worked for Daniel Bryan when he lost to Sheamus!” They just cannot get out of their own way. I’m not a huge Bianca fan by any means, but she deserved way better than this.
  12. The Man in Blak

    Current New Japan

    EVIL sucks and the execution of the angle after the main event was awful, but I can see the idea that Takagi needs a tomato can to buy some time for Ibushi to come back and/or get some space between the Okada/Takagi rematch. As it ended up for this card, I think New Japan actually stumbled their way into a great main event story and match with the substitution. Tanahashi's homage to Ibushi late in the match, in particular, was a nice little note that got a rise out of the crowd.
  13. The Man in Blak

    Current New Japan

    I'm still making my way through Dominion, but I liked Ibushi/Cobb quite a bit! https://twitter.com/JJWilliamsWON/status/1401856926753902595?s=20
  14. The Man in Blak

    Serena Deeb

    Her return match with Riho on the Buy In pre-show for Double or Nothing (5/30/2021) was arguably better than any of the matches on the actual PPV: The "mean streak" that she adopts in this match to break up the face-vs-face dynamic is nice, especially with all the legwork serving as a sort of retribution for her knee injury from their previous match.
  15. The Man in Blak

    AEW Double or Nothing 2021

    I felt like at least Kingston had a built-in excuse with his knee taking so much punishment earlier on in the match - it’s hard to dive across the ring to break up pins on a bad wheel. I do agree 1000% on the double teaming, though. If there was actually a crooked ref story being worked, it needed to actually be sold by, well, anybody. It wasn’t in the hype package for the match that they ran twice during the countdown/buy-in, it wasn’t mentioned by commentary (except by JR calling attention to it because it was ridiculous), and it didn’t really get any play in the post-match. There are ways to try to sell this as a non-crooked ref story - just say the ref didn’t want this title match to end in a DQ unless it was absolutely necessary - but the structure of the match didn’t really support that either. They started with a walk and brawl through the crowd (complete with a Sandman homage), they had a blink-and-miss-it interference cutoff with Kazarian and the Good Brothers, and the end of the match ended up being a non-stop series of double team spots from both teams without any semblance of pushback from the ref. Why not just make the match a no DQ tornado tag in the first place?
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