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MoS

AEW Dynamite - February 2, 2022

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In retrospect, it's like MJF realized he would have to do the heavy lifting to get the heat since Jr is just not getting it and went overboard.

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I think the perfect time to do a rematch between these two is at All Out when MJF has the belt. That’s what I would book anyway. I know it’s a while away but they can make it work.

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I can't be the only one thinking about Regal as the mentor when Danielson made his pitch to Mox. Quite the interesting turn of events. Much more interesting than just "Let's have a match".

Danhauser is already over. Ah ! 

I don't care what anyone says, I love heel Brandi on the mic and Lambert is gold. Even if this has car-crash appeal because of bizarre dynamics. Of course PVZ. Glad she's back, she's a natural pro-wrestling character. Can't be much worse than Rousey's stuff last week on RAW anyway.

Yeah, Ruby Soho just isn't it, sorry. She lacks so much ooomph in her work. Glad Nyla won. Match was ok.

Knights of the Dark Throne really are a cool tag team, although I liked Black's solo music better. PAC is low-key one of the greatest worker in AEW and has been since the start, always a pleasure to watch. Those mexican fans doing the homophobic lucha chants "culero" and "puto" on the first row during this match on the other hand... That really should not be encouraged. I know it's a staple in Mexico still, sadly, but come on now, it's still homophobic bullshit. 

Main event certainly was something else. I understand why some would think it went too long, and maybe it did, but CM Punk was super compelling and MJF too, really, the guy has improved a lot in the last few years. Gotta love the fake "fuck finish" at first to actually end with another fuck finish, but in the grand scheme of things it's actually really smart. They are building new stars here. And Punk is still protected as MJF cheated. And it's another important step in the Wardlow/MJF storyline. Since they never had someone lose in their hometown before, it's actually more shocking and notable that this happened in this match, to CM Punk of all people. It was the right time with the right guys. At this point MJF really feels like a guy who's totally ready for the AEW title. Took them three years, as the guy was an indie name and was working MLW then. Now he's a legit main-eventer with credibility to boot. Job well done.

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After Punk-MJF, if anyone wantsa to say that Punk's AEW run > Danielson's AEW run, I won't argue too much 

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First of all, it really bothers me how Schiavone is disgusted by how loathsome MJF is while being friends with Britt Baker, who is just as loathsome. Some consistency, please.

Anyway, for those keeping score, this week's Bret Hart tribute comes from Bret's match with Owen at WM10. As in that match, Punk injured his leg while diving to the outside during his comeback. MJF kicking Punk's leg out of his leg with Punk hobbling toward him in the corner and MJF's low blow while grabbing the ropes were both spots lifted from that match as well. The main event was a MOTYC that could have been a MOTDC if it had been about ten minutes shorter. And yes, Punk in AEW > Danielson in AEW. For that matter, Punk in WWE > Bryan in WWE.

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16 minutes ago, NintendoLogic said:

MJF kicking Punk's leg out of his leg with Punk hobbling toward him in the corner and MJF's low blow while grabbing the ropes were both spots lifted from that match as well.

Almost 30 years old reference and still funny. The Bret Hart tribute spots have been a fascinating part of Punk's AEW run, thanks for keeping up with it.

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4 hours ago, MoS said:

After Punk-MJF, if anyone wantsa to say that Punk's AEW run > Danielson's AEW run, I won't argue too much 

Not to sound reductive, but Bryan is being Bryan. He's doing exactly what I expected him to do and it's great. 

Punk, however, is doing something I didn't expect. The way he's working is such a breath of fresh air. He's getting bodyslams over, working the Harley Race seesaw spot, and that 20 count punch in the corner spot had the crowd going apeshit. All that in a promotion that is chock full of workrate/modern/PWG style wrestling. It's not just that he's working Bret tribute spots. He's working a lot like Bret would in general. His matches are very logical and he's getting optimum mileage out of every spot and move. 
 

The only real misstep was the Lee Moriarty match. Frankly, outside of that, I think he's having the run of his career right now. 

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Well, that was more on his opponent than him on the Moriarty match…

Happy to hear folks feeling the same way I am about Punk’s run. My qualms about the AEW house style being what it is, Punk doing what he is shows there’s other ways to get it done out there. Now just wonder who’s paying attention. 

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The use of "workrate" has been so bastardized in the last few years it's not even funny. Bret Hart was 100% a workrate guy in his era. The fact Punk is pretty much the only one who works this kind of "old-school workrate" (yes, absolutely) match is what makes him stand out. If everybody would do it in 2022, it wouldn't be so compelling anymore. 

Gotta say this though, as a huge Bret Hart fan, I'm glad his influence is palpable in today's wrestling, as at one point he seemed to be forgotten/underrated quite a bit.

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6 hours ago, MoS said:

After Punk-MJF, if anyone wantsa to say that Punk's AEW run > Danielson's AEW run, I won't argue too much 

Kinda, yeah. I've seen arguments that Danielson is forcing people to wrestle the Danielson way. Great, for sure, but we have seen that stuff for quite some time now.

Punk is just sitting at home, watching Bret Hart compilations and taking notes. Every match feels like there is something different, which is very damn welcome in AEW and elsewhere. For sure I wasn't expecting what we are getting. 

 

Now I just need a big beefy man to start watching Hashimoto matches.

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Punk/MJF felt weirdly low energy, both from talent and crowd to me. I get they were pacing for a long match but the energy wasn't where it should be for a feud that's been so personal. Compare it to the intensity of Kingston vs Punk. This should not have been a 40 minute match of limb work, it should have been a heated fight. I also felt like Punk was telegraphing all of his spots and selling ahead of time that nothing was a surprise at all from start to finish. 

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16 hours ago, PeteF3 said:

That was way, way, way better than the Cody-Guevara match that got "5 stars."

Will that be what people point to when they say Dave has finally lost it?

I was flabbergasted when I heard it got five stars. Really?!

5 hours ago, NintendoLogic said:

First of all, it really bothers me how Schiavone is disgusted by how loathsome MJF is while being friends with Britt Baker, who is just as loathsome. Some consistency, please.

People want to see the best in their friends and blindly ignore their faults. News at 11.

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Online discourse will be so much better when we just let go of star ratings to show our appreciation for wrestling matches.

Even more so when PWI/Meltzer is the one (and only?) major voice doing that. Some take his word for gospel, others automatically reject it.  Who gives a fuck if one dude thinks Guevara and Cody had a better match than any given Hashimoto match? Or that they are on par with many Misawa/Kobashi/Kawada matches?

Let him have his asinine takes. Let me think Baron Corbin vs Chad Gable had a series of matches a while back that smoke 90% of what came since then. Let bubba C.S. think Christian is a bigger star than The Rock!

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I love the approach for the Mox/Danielson storyline. Much better than expected.

I don't think Punk/MJF was a classic or even "just" great, but definitely worth watching. It was too long, but their dozens of interactions were super fun to watch, and yeah the pacing is a bit over the place, when they did "regular wrestling" with no character work It didn't look as good, and the crowd wasn't engaged throughout the whole thing, but overall I'd say it was pretty good for their first match. I specially loved the false finish and reset spot, it was beautifully done, and Punk's comeback right afterwards felt huge. Cool moment with the Pepsi Plunge as well. The finish with Wardlow was interesting, It might look like a step back at first, but Wardlow can now say MJF defeated Punk only because of him, adding tension to the storyline, while also setting up the possibility for a MJF/Punk rematch that I hope will be shorter and more violent.

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I thought Punk wrestled perfectly last night. Disagree with his selling, that shit was beautiful to watch. It did puzzle me Chicago wasn't as into his comeback as I thought. Granted, they were loud in a lot of parts of the match but I saw Punk's performance as something that deserved a crazy hot building. Maybe it was because fans thought there wasn't a lot was on the line for this MJF match? Sure, it's been a marquee feud but it's not like the stakes were high (kinda puts in perspective how W/L records aren't enough by themselves).

I also think a lot of his past performance have been good but never in line with what a lot of folks here perceived them at. I've never seen a wrestler get so much love for cosplaying another, but considering it's Bret I guess I shouldn't be that surprised.

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Doing tribute moves or spots is one thing, lifting entire sequences is really pretty weird and makes no logical sense in a wrestling match. Especially when they're not doing nearly as well.

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Is Punk really lifting entire sequences? It seems like he's more lifting the basic beats--plus he does it so organically that I tend not to notice until after the fact or if someone points it out to me. The Punk-Darby match aping specific parts of Bret vs. 1-2-3 Kid was a little more blatant, but that match is also a deeper cut that fewer people outside of our circle are all that familiar with.

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I made the point months back that the entirety of the AEW house style is based on the reaction of tape hawks who remember sequences step-by-step and I’d rather it be from someone who takes that and applied it to a wrestler who tried to actually put thought into their matches than aping a Japanese highspot because “DANGEROUSSSSS” like the majority of matches over the last 20 years. 

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I again recommend watching the international fite feed of the match for those North American people who are cool with it. There's an amusing explanation for why the crowd was a bit quiet coming off the final break. MJF and Punk tried the old Bret Hart ringside figure four spot on Punk's knee but MJF couldn't do it, and the crowd started chanting you fucked up at him. As the segment started, MJF had just got done throwing Punk back in the ring and the crowd had just got done chanting that at him, so they were a bit flat, luckily for the wrestlers, it happened during commercial. They quickly got the crowd back though. 

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I think one of the divides is that Dave doesn't rate matches based on his personal tastes, as much as people think he does. That doesn't mean his personal tastes aren't a factor, that means he's not saying, "This match is ****3/4 and this match is ****1/2, which means I personally liked the ****3/4 match more." Dave is attempting an objective review of the match where he tries to set aside (or at least contain) what he thinks of the match personally and evaluate how well it worked with its intended audience. His personal tastes will still creep into that because he's not a robot, but he doesn't intend his ratings to be a measuring stick of what he personally enjoys, even if they in part turn out that way sometimes. I think most people here and elsewhere are using star ratings to say how much they personally liked a match and what it meant to them as a viewer. Yes, Dave's ratings are ostensibly that, but he's striving for them not to be that, and the final rating is meant to reflect that combination of attempted objectivity (which is impossible but what he's striving for) and his own personal tastes (which he's attempting to downplay in the hopes that he can be fair). That said, if the wrestling quality offends his sensibility so much that he can't get past how well it worked live (think Hogan-Andre at WM3), he's going to crap on it regardless.

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I'm on the same boat, well except I don't do star ratings and no one gives a fuck what I think, as in for instance when I was doing my Taker @ Mania reviews last year (or the year before ?), I rated both Shawn vs Taker matches higher than Taker vs Edge and Taker vs Batista. But I enjoyed those two better than both Shawn's matches. I'l also trying to look at things from the perspective of what the guys are trying to do, and not what I think they should do because reason X or Y (which is why  I'm often rambling about "any prescriptive vision of pro-wrestling doesn't interest me anymore"). And really, looking at this from this perspective, I learned a whole lot more than thinking "Oh, I know how it is supposed to be done" (which honestly, is quite a ridiculous statement, despite me having watched pro-wrestling for 30 years).

That doesn't mean I won't also project my own tastes about form in them, as form (execution, creativity, pacing and dynamics shift taken in a non-narrative way) is way more important than it's given its due (well, around some places). Narratives and psychological (not "psychology", which should mean more than "character work") approaches are totally overstated, which deprives a large chunk of pro-wrestling of what it is and why it's so unique and great (and the talent it takes to, for instance, execute a complex sequence of moves, which not only is not valued but has been often derided de facto if not clearly ingrained in a clear narrative, although in many cases too, people just don't get it, hence "Young Bucks lack psychology and just do moves for the sake of moves" and the likes).

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7 minutes ago, El-P said:

(well, around some places).

Literally only here. You just happen to be here.

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18 minutes ago, Matt D said:

Literally only here. You just happen to be here.

You want me to leave ? :P

And no, the whole "Bouh ! Moves" lazy-ass criticism is not just here. And a real criticism approach on pro-wrestling more based on the study of forms really hasn't been seriously done anywhere. Ditto one that would take in account some sociology concepts in relations to what "over" means in term of how it's been confused with "psychology" or "talent". I won't go into this at this point as it's a pretty huge Pandora's box, really.

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