Who Won The Weekend? Submitted by LoneLee on 07/15/2019 at 11:55 AM
It was a very wrestling heavy weekend, my goodness. The business is most definitely thriving no matter where the independent contractor hangs their hat. Itís almost becoming life consuming to follow more than 1 or 2 promotions at a time...because my time is scarcely limited as it is...ok anyways, a unique occurrence presented itself this past Saturday as AEW went head-to-head with the Evolve 10th Anniversary show on the WWE Network. Never before had WWE streamed an independent promotion on their network, so why now? We can assume the obvious. We can also state in terms of star quality and notoriety alone AEW wins that match. But thatís not the victory they want. Shall we compare it to the following days Extreme Rules PPV? Letís look at some similarities between the two shows and weigh out who was the overall victor.
Kickoff, Buy-In, whatever the title may be, its purpose has the very same goal: Get people to watch or buy the main show. This is a key component that AEW has made questionable calls and Fight for The Fallen was no different. I understand that theyíre trying to reach a broader audience and it might not be everyoneís cup of tea, an issue even JR has stated himself not being a fan of the cringe-worthy comedy gimmicks that are subject to the Buy In. Above all else, it hasnít presented itself as a lead in for the rest of the night being must-see. Instead,it serves as a way to get this out of the way before the good stuff comes in. I would say put The Librarians on the main show at All Out and see the reaction ofthe paying crowd. Not unlike WWE has been accused of broadcasting a Kickoff show by forever imprisoning the cruiserweight division to it. The difference on this day was Shinsuke Nakamura vs Finn Balor for the IC title. Two globally revered wrestlers that for some reason have not had enough TV time *cough* Shane McMahon. A surprising title change set the tone for a night that would see many more title changes.
Iíd give this one to WWE
Before I start, I am heavily JR biased. It is wonderful to hear him at the call again. He may have his snafus but this wasnít unusual even in his prime. I canít say enough good things about Excalibur. Heís a fresh voice to those that might be unfamiliar with his work on the indies and provides that high energy coupled with extensive knowledge to the talent. Alex MarvezÖ.ugh. Just ugh. The polar opposite of the other two. The best part about this team is we arenít over exposed to them as we are with Corey Graves and Michael Cole with his ďvintageĒ lines. The only difference is the WWE team is conditioned for a 4+ hour show, whereas JR and Marvez began to sound a little waned as did the crowd towards theend of the show.Iíd call it a tie. Excalibur can pick up the slack of the other two and Iím just exhausted of hearing Cole phone it in.
Surprisingly for the first time in his PPV career, The Undertaker was given the honors of curtain jerker. Plenty of ďold man has a bedtimeĒ jokes made their way on Twitter but the Dead man did not disappoint, mostly due to the fact it was a
tag team match. Of course one has to ask why wrestlers would bother standing on the apron in a NODQ tag match and watch their partner get brutalized? AEW opened with another multi-man match, the easiest way to get a lot of these guys on the card at once. It can prove difficult for one man to stand out in these matches but Shawn Spears did just that. A complete 180 from his silly 10 gimmick to a feared and dangerous brute in such a short time. This was a good example of showcasing the future instead of the past, a great way to open a show whose purpose is just that.
Iíd give this one to the young guys.
This is a tough one. WWE continues to rely on the Horsewomen and Alexa Bliss in top spots, along with thankfully the final confrontation between Becky and Lacey. Unfortunately, had to share her spotlight but more on that later. Um, remember there are womenís tag titles? Because I donít! AEW doesnít seem to have one female standout above all else, which is a great thing. Room to grow. The Buy In tag match was better than expected despite Britt Baker going for the hot tag on the wrong partner. But ultra respect to her competing and finishing the match with a concussion. Not sure if it was a case of not working well together but Brandi and Allie never seemed to click. The match felt like it only served for a Kong/Kong face-off. A battle of the bulls I canít wait to see.
This one goes to AEW. The future of their womenís division keeps adding faces while WWE is stuck on repeat.
Both shows had triple threat tag matches, how about that? Remember when I said WWE was stuck on repeat? (it wonít be the last time fyi) I think they really missed the boat here by not giving the titles to Heavy Machinery. They are one of the only teams in WWE that function like an actual team. They have a unique look and an array of double-team maneuvers that have managed to capture the imagination of the crowd so quickly. Maybe itís too soon for them? AEW showcased 3 very different tag teams that each presented an unshared dynamic. Neither teamwas the same! Iíve seen all of these teams work in the past but am thrilled to pieces they are collectively in one place. Iím not even counting Lucha Bros and Young Bucks. The bread and butter of AEW without a doubt is their tag division.
AEW easy win
Both felt like exceedingly long shows because they were. Extreme Rules with a 12 match card and FTFF giving all of their matches 12 minutes or more a nice example of quality vs quantity. Even though Hangman Page and Kenny Omega picked up predictable wins as they head into All Out, it didnít come with any shortage of excitement. Styles and Ricochet continue their program with a title change and plenty of room for more chapters. Very nice to see some fresh faces in singles competition in the form of Aleister Black and Cesaro. The dynamic was a hard-hitting European style ending with the Swiss Superman nearly getting his jaw kicked into the 3rd row. Itís too bad WWE didnít give us enough time to determine who we should be cheering for in this match as they both come off very heelish.
Iíll give it to WWE here. Every match on the show was made to feel important on the show and not the usual predictable buffer.
WWE, book the same thing, repeat. Not only did we get a combination of two matches that weíve seen on three consecutive events now, but Brock Lesnar once again shows up at the end to spoil the party! Hereís the thing though, Iím not even mad. While it proved to be a far more entertaining match than expected, itís also promised to be the end of both feuds. For whatever reason, Seth Rollins reign as Universal champion never felt like it got off the ground. Curious to see what Paul Heyman might have up his sleeve now that RAW can start anew this Monday. FFTF also ended their show with a tag team main event. While the match didnít disappoint, I felt like it suffered from a fatigued quiet crowd and what would follow after. Look, the event was for charity and that is a wonderful thing. I commend them for it. But Cody left a bad taste with his ďcounter programĒ comment seconds before the cheque presentation. Itís one thing to promote your own brand and your cause but to continually acknowledge and take shots at another business, specifically at this time, came off very unnecessary. Imagine the Pepsi CEO presenting a cheque to gunshot victims but quickly beforehand stating ďThereís nothing in a red can that can touch us!Ē Kenny had made a similar remark weeks ago on Twitter but quickly retracted it once he had seen the reaction it incited. Kenny was very classy here, changing his signature catchphrase before going off the air.Iíll give it to AEW for the noble cause. A special moment saved by Kenny Omega.