Any WWE fans in the audience?

Day 1 was a flop, IMO. Nothing much of consequence happened except that Roman tested positive for covid and missed his title match against Brock, so they inserted him into the Raw championship match and had him pin Big E clean because FUCK YOU THAT’S WHY. I’m predicting that they now do Brock vs. Roman for a title unification match at 'Mania so they can put all the gold on Roman and end Brand Split 2.0 once and for all.

In more exciting news, Wrestle Kingdom is coming up this week, with Shingo Takagi defending the world title against Kazuchika Okada on Night One, with the winner going on to defend against Will Ospreay the following night, which should be a fun show. There’s a Night Three this year that won’t be streaming live (but will be available for viewing later) and will be featuring New Japan stars facing off against Pro Wrestling NOAH talents, and I can’t say I’m too familiar with NOAH’s roster, but the headline bout is a tag team match pitting Hiroshi Tanahashi and Okada against The Great Muta and Kaito Kiyomiya, which ought to be a hell of a fight.

The only NOAH match I’ve seen had a guy considered to be the heir apparent to Mr. Saito against another burly Japanese wrestler with a mohawk. They bellowed war cries and chest slapped the fuck out of each other. It was simply amazing.

AEW Dark Elevation had a couple of nifty things this week. Jake Atlas, formerly of NXT, pulled off a jaw-dropping move vs Serpentico. He cartwheeled on the top rope into a DDT. Whut Whut???

Jay Lethal is semi-reverting to the Macho Man angle he used in TNA. His entrance music uses the intro to Pomp & Circumstance, then changes to rap. He’s announced to be from Elizabeth New Jersey, and they dubbed in Randy Savage’s voice for the “Elizabeth” part. Lethal is obviously set up to win, but his opponent Jake Hollywood turns out to be really good and it’s not a squash.

I’m worried that AEW is going to suffer from talent glut like WWE did, but they keep putting out these incredible moments, even in their enhancement matches.

Happy 2022! Time for a new year of

AEW Dark Taz/Excalibur moment of the day

Chandler Hopkins vs Dante Martin

Dante makes his entrance.

Taz: Got a problem with this guy, Excalibur.
Ex: Could that have anything to do with how he was able to play Team Taz in that Dynamite Diamond Battle Royal?
Taz: Well, yeah! I mean, he swerved me and Team Taz by getting out of his contract somehow, definitely. I alluded to this recently on Rampage while Ricky Starks was there. I’m trying to find out my legal team in Brooklyn, OK, and I don’t have the best lawyers. I’ll be honest, I don’t, and some of these guys, some of these guys I grew up with, know what I mean, so they went to community colleges, and I’m not knocking anybody who went to community college, but I digress. I’m just sayin’, something didn’t go right, and I’m trying to get to the bottom of it.
Ex: Taz, would you say your lawyers passed the bar not in a legal sense, but in a taxi?
Taz: Yeah yeah, passed Al’s Stereo Bar in the corner.

Within the last 24 hours, NXT has retired the Cruiserweight championship, had Bron Breaker destroy the old NXT logo before pinning Tommaso for the title, and fired William Regal and Road Dogg.

Just in case you were wondering whether Vince has stopped being petty and vindictive.

Scott Armstrong is gone too - not sure if he was let go or walked.

I’m really surprised more don’t go the Toni Storm route (although it is probably because if they did, WWE might not release the contracts). Work your ass off to get to the top of the mountain, then find out it’s crap. And you are not an independent contractor, nor an employee to the King of Crap Mountain, you are an indentured servant. But as long as they can fill the advertising minutes…

Is Vince pissed at Triple H or something?

Rumor is that Vince is pissed that Triple H’s NXT lost to AEW. That, coupled with Triple H pushing smaller indie talent instead of filling up on the big, beefy guys that Vince loves (or loves to squash anyway - see Keith Lee, Karrion Kross, T-Bar, Mace), AND with overall WWE ratings in the crapper, Vince has to blame somebody not named Vince McMahon.

Add to that that all these big changes to NXT started happening [i]right[/] after Hunter’s heart attack last year, when Vince and Bruce Prichard took over booking.

Samoa Joe and Gabe Sapolsky have now been released as well - two more of Hunter’s hires.

By this time next year NXT is going to be nothing but bodybuilders, NFL washouts, and bikini models, none of whom will know a clothesline from a pile driver, but will be able to read from a script and not complain when they get repackaged as a comedy gimmick.

Karrion Kross and Scarlett were on Oral Sessions. Renee asked them about what they thought about NXT 2.0, and it was obvious the two didn’t want to burn any bridges. They talked about how they formed such great friendships with the current talent and kept praising them for doing their best with what they’re given.

Reminded me of A Fistful of Yen:

Game Show Host : How about you, #3? The same question.
Guard #3 :We are building a fighting force of extraordinary magnitude. We forge our spirits in the same tradition as our ancestors. Dr. Klahn is a magnificent leader. He has our gratitude. Let’s all give Dr. Klahn a great big hand!
[Dr. Klahn looks at his right hand, and realizes it’s wooden, much to his disgust.]
Dr. Klahn : Bulkus!
[Bulkus wraps an iron bar around Guard #3]

Just got my ticket for AEW here in Raleigh this Wednesday. I had read that a good way to get cheap tix is to wait until the day of the event and search for singles. I got nervous and looked 2 days early. I found one on the floor for less than $100, including Ticketmaster markup!

I’ll wear the Wyatt Family T-shirt I designed before WWE ruined them. It has Luke Harper on it, so it counts as a Brodie Lee homage. Hopefully, my phone won’t take crappy pictures this time and I can figure out how to transfer them to Discourse.

If anybody else is going, send me a PM and we can say hi to each other somewhere.

AEW Dark Taz/Excalibur moment of the day

Dante Martin vs Aaron Solo

Ex: Who in AEW has a better vertical leap than Dante?
Taz: You know, who can say? I don’t have the names in front of me at the moment, the roster, I don’t have it in front of me.
Ex reads a promo
Taz: I would have to say, as far as leaping ability, maybe Peter Avalon? When he wants to, can be a high flyer. Young Bucks?
Ex: So while I was reading that promo, you went to All Elite Wrestling dot com, went to the roster page, and you named the first person that you saw.
Taz: OK.
Ex: laughs
Taz: Well the Young Bucks, they have a better vertical leaping ability than Dante. They really do.
Ex: mumbles
Taz: Well yes, they do.
Ex calls more action
Taz: Well, just because you see someone that’s showing their vertical leaping ability in wrestling maneuvers, doesn’t mean there aren’t other men OR WOMEN on our roster that have good vertical leaping ability, just because they’re not showing you in their wrestle-ling. See how I did “wrestling?” The inflection?

Just got back from PNC arena. Photos haven’t synced yet, so I’ll post them later, maybe.

After I entered, I went looking for the way to my seat, when I see a guy coming toward me, dressed in black and wearing a box over his head, lettered “Under Rated Over It” Wait, is that Shia LeBouf? Nah, can’t be. I find my seat, about 20 rows away from the ring on the floor, then I start yelling “Hey! I just realized I saw Kip Sabian in the hallway!” to the people nearby.

Dark Elevation taping - Spoilers ahead

Lee Moriarity and Matt Sydal vs. J.D. Miller and Markus Kross

Miller has a mullet, so I yell “The Eighties called. They want their mullet back.” Moriarity makes Kross submit ftw.

Tay Conti vs. Amira

Tay’s pretty over with the crowd and wins with the Spinning GTH.

Gunn Club vs JD Bull and DIM(?)

One thing ring announcer Justin Roberts does is that he’ll announce the star with enthusiasm, but kind of mumble when introducing the enhancement talent, like they’re not worth getting excited about. That’s mainly why I couldn’t get their names right. Aubrey Edwards is the ref and gets a big pop when she comes out. So does Billy Gunn, even though his sons are heeling it up. “Let’s Go Ass Boys” chant gets the Young Guns upset. Colton is wearing a head band. I yell “Karate Kid called. He wants his headband back.” Colton gets thepin with the Sideways Death Valley Driver.

Frankie Kazarian vs Levar Posey?

The dude had dreadlocks and a KC on his butt, so I’m not sure of the connection. Match is pretty quiet until somebody yells “Pull his hair” and that gets a pop. Kaz wins with submission.

Ruby Soho vs Blonde chick with red and black streaks in her hair

Ruby gets a respectable amount of babyface heat and wins with a Spinning Heel Kick.

Private Party (w/o Matt hardy) vs. vs bald bearded guy and pudgy Kurt Angle wannabe

PP actually get a few cheers as they win the Hurricarana Cutter.

Jay Lethal vs Moss?

A lot of people are quoting Randy Savage during this match. I yell "Snap Into a Slim Jim!’ It looks like Moss is about to kibosh Jay, but he turns into the Lethal Injection ftw.

During Intermission, they show the Fan Code of Conduct on the overhead screen. I talk with the fellow in front of me. He sounds like Mr. Haney from Green Acres. His wife is clearly not interested in the show, as she’s reading a paperback.

Some Dynamite notes

CM Punk got the hugest pop of the night of course. Wardlow just looks so damn impressive. He’s not freakishly steroid monster big, but he looks like Atlas. From the side, his chest looked about 3 feet thick. They really amped up the volume under the ring, so every time Wardlow Powerbombed Punk, it was a LOUD boom. Punk ragdolled like a champ. Wardlow got some supportive chants from the fans as well.

During commercial break, Justin Roberts asks the crowd if they’re from various US states, then how asks how many are from NORTH CAROLINA like he does when he announces Kenny Omega.

The Powerhouse Hobbs vs Dante Martin was a bit of a letdown, because it followed Warlow & Punk, and used pretty much the same formula of big vs little. Plus, Hobbs doesn’t have “it” like Wardlow does. The crowd is yawning until Dante makes his comeback. I didn’t catch who came to Dante’s aid at the end.

Serena Deeb pretty much choked Hikaru Shida’s heat when she ambushed her entrance, and the contest was too one-sided to get a reaction from the crowd. I guess a future rematch will ensue.

I’m not into Dan Lambert so much. His promos are decent, but he comes off as a late arrival trying to justify his existence. Good to see Lance Archer back though, and looking forward to he and Adam Page colliding.

Matt Hardy got some huge hometown pops during his match with Penta. I marked out for Penta when he was in LU. His AEW personna isn’t nearly as dark, but he knows how to pop the crowd.

Brody King got a respectable pop when he came to Malakai Black’s aid vs the Varsity Blondes.

Chris Jericho is hugely over, and everybody sang his song. Sammy Guevara didn’t get that big a response during his entrance, but once he got off the high flying attacks, the crowd popped for him more. I liked Daniel Garcia’s performance. Whenever he foiled Guevara’s comebacks, he’d stretch his jaws open like he’s a snake about to strike.

MLW is suing WWE for antitrust violations, alleging that they used their status as a near-monopoly to bully Vice, FITE Network, and a streaming service owned by Fox into cancelling their contracts with them, including specifically accusing Steph of threatening to pull Smackdown off of Fox unless the MLW deal was cancelled.

You can read the text of the lawsuit here.

Prevailing over Vince’s lawyers is no small feat, but it sounds to me like it’s a sound complaint, and it’s about damn time WWE got called on the carpet for their misbehavior.

Rampage Results - Spoilers ahead

Tony Kahn introduces Hook to the audience and tells them “You said ‘Send Hook,’ so I did.” Hook gets a decent pop.

Adam Cole vs Trent

Cole comes out with Brandon Cutler, Britt Baker DMD, and the Bucks that are Young. Trent’s best friends Orange Cassidy, Chuck Taylor, Wheeler “3:10 to” Yuta, and Kris Statlander accompany him. Cole is massively over. Brandon does the Hair Spray charge at Trent and gets faceplanted. The crowd loves it and chants “Let’s Go Brandon” in a non-political manner. Trent gets a pop for countering the Panama Sunrise, but Cole wins with the Shining Wizard.

Shawn Spears w/Wardlow vs Andrew Evert

Evert is from Burlington, about 45 miles from Raleigh, so he gets a little hometown pop. He pulls off a good top rope attack on Spears, but Spears immediately faceplants him for the win. Match lasts less than a minute. Spears cuts a promo on CM Punk, and Wardlow gets some supportive chanting.

Nyla Rose, Penelope Ford and The Bunny w/Vicki Guerrero vs Kris Statlander, Red Velvet and Layla Hirsch

Vicki can be heard squealing all through the match, so we yell “Excuse Me” and “I said Excuse Me!” Velvet takes most of the beating from the heels. Penelope (who looks effing hot) gets off a loud kick on Velvet’s face. She then drapes Velvet over the ropes and Nyla does a knee drop from the top rope for a big pop. I sing Derrick and the Dominos’ Layla whenever Hirsch is in the ring. A mishap between Statlander and Hirsch leads to Bunny rolling up Hirsch for the win. They tease more animosity between Hirsch and Statlander.

During the break, Jay Lethal comes out and confronts Ricky Starks, who’s on commentary. Lethal calls the FTW belt basically worthless since it’s not recognized by AEW, and drags Starks for hardly defending it. Lethal challenges Starks for the belt and adds “Clear it with your daddy, I mean Taz, first.” Crowd starts chanting “Who’s Your Daddy” at Starks. This is an interesting development!

Main event: Jurassik Express (w/Christian Cage) vs Alex Reynolds and John Silver (w/Evil Uno)

Luchasaurus is over BIG! Lots of chants for the dinosaur. Reynolds and Silver are a master tag team with their continuous double teams. Jungle Boy is of course the baby faciest of baby faces. Silver gets some “Johnny Hungee” chants. This is the best match of the night by far, and the only time the crowd chants “This is awesome.” Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy get off a combo on Reynolds for the win. Tony Kahn comes out, congratulates the Jurassik Express, and thanks the crowd for coming.

WWE has announced that Elimination Chamber will be in Saudi Arabia this year, which seems a bit odd, as I assumed that in KSA the Elimination Chamber is where you wind up if you criticize the monarchy in public.

No, that’s Thailand. You end up there in KSA if you are female and dare to have an opinion.

Just wait until you hear about the plans for Hell in a Cell. :smiley: