WWE & AEW Go Head To Head... Who Was Better?
This past weekend, the two major pro wrestling companies in the world, WWE and AEW, aired PPV events. Well, technically Super Showdown happened Thursday, which happened on Friday local time, so... you know what, close enough.
As I detailed in my last post, WWE Super Showdown was the latest in a series of special shows broadcast from Saudi Arabia. Even though we've had some substandard wrestling shows throughout this series of events, I was cautiously optimistic based on the advertised matches. Let's get to it.
WWE Super Showdown
Of all the advertised matches, the two world title bouts caught my eye. Some fans hate on Brock Lesnar and Goldberg, but I'm a big fan of both- especially Brock. With Lesnar's history of stepping it up against smaller opponents- CM Punk, AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan- I had high hopes he would produce something memorable in his WWE Championship defence against Ricochet. Ricochet has dazzling athletic ability, a unique athlete unlike any Brock has faced before. By no means did I buy Ricochet as a threat to beat Brock and become WWE Champion, not when we're set for a titanic clash of Brock Lesnar and Drew McIntyre at Wrestlemania, but I figured we might as well get a cool David vs. Goliath battle. WWE's resident Superhero could fly around, catch Brock off-guard, maybe even hit the 630 Splash... and then bump like a motherfucker as he went to Suplex City. Well... he went to Suplex City. Brock didn't allow even a single offensive move from The One And Only, simply clobbering him to the ground when he tried to rush with a dropkick, and adding to his frequent flyer miles, launching Ricochet into orbit with some devastating looking German suplexes. Total match time- 1:30. The trip to the toilet that Brock took during his private jet flight to Saudi Arabia lasted longer than that.
Okay, so we have Bill Goldberg. The 2018 WWE Hall of Famer returns to challenge the Universal Champion, "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt, in the main event. Okay, Goldberg isn't exactly known for his marathon matches. But, he had a hell of a fun five minute sprint in his Wrestlemania 33 match with Brock, and The Fiend seemed to be the perfect character to pull off another "two monsters hitting kill shots" kind of match. Besides, Goldberg had an abortion of a match last time out in Saudi Arabia against The Undertaker, so he probably wants to redeem himself. Total match time- 3:00. And most of that was Goldberg profusely sweating and catching his breath so he could hit another Spear on The Fiend, who got no offense besides a Mandible Claw attempt in.
I'm usually not the type of WWE fan to say, "fuck this company" but... fuck this company. Bray Wyatt did a masterful job reinventing his character as The Fiend, after shitty booking by the company ruined his first character. The Fiend came across as a legitimate threat... but was made to look like an absolute joke that couldn't hit a single move on a legend from the 1990s who was blown up by his damn entrance. He's now moving into a Wrestlemania match with John Cena, which may revive him or may bury him further- I'm having Wrestlemania 30 flashbacks and fearing the latter. But even if Cena does good business at Mania, it doesn't change what absolute fucking bullshit Goldberg vs. The Fiend was.
So where does Goldberg go from here? Well, he appeared on Smackdown- because being champion isn't a part time job according to Corey Graves. He asks, "Who's next?" and Roman Reigns comes out, because he won a deathly boring steel cage match against King Corbin at Super Showdown. Battle of the Spears. Yay. Wonder if Bill can go 5 minutes on the grand stage again?
So yeah, Super Showdown fucking sucked. The other match I was looking forward to, Miz & Morrison vs. New Day, was just okay. House show level action, with a title change boosting things up a little. The A-Lister and The Shaman of Sexy are tag champs for the first time in 11 years.
Alright, over to the Elite boys.
We start things off with Jake Hager (fka Jack Swagger) making his AEW in-ring debut against Dustin Rhodes. JR mistakenly refers to Hager as "Swagger". Old habits die hard, god bless you, Jim. Despite Dustin being 50 years old, it's the younger Hager struggling to keep up. You can tell he hasn't had a high level pro wrestling match in quite some time, having been focused on his MMA career over the last couple of years. Unimpressive debut for Hager, and not the best start to the show.
Next up, Darby Allin vs. Sammy Guevera. This is a grudge match and plays out with high intensity, with Darby launching himself at Sammy on the outside before Justin Roberts can even finish announcing his name. So we get a bunch of great action before the bell even rings to officially start the match, punctuated by Guevara hitting a 630 Splash on Allin off the top rope through a table on the outside. Awesome. The match starts and they fly around with more crazy shit until Darby comes through with the Coffin Drop for the win. Super fun and a little insane.
Then it's the Tag Team Championship match between members of the Elite. Defending champs Kenny Omega and Hangman Page take on their mates, one of the best tag teams in the world, the Young Bucks. Cracks have been forming in the friendship between these four, exacerbated by Hangman's increasingly prevalent alcohol issues, and all of it comes to a head here. People say the Bucks don't know psychology, but they were fucking brilliant here, playing into the emotion, the tension, being conflicted between friendship and the championships... and the end result was 30:05 of amazing tag team action. Early contender for tag team Match of the Year and the best match across both PPVs this weekend.
Other hyped matches on Revolution- Cody vs. MJF and Jericho vs. Moxley- fell short of my expectations. The story and feuds were so well built going in, I expected a couple of really intense, violent matches. And while both matches had blood, it seemed a little tacked on. Outside of the crimson flowing, they both felt like really standard, run-of-the-mill matches, with a deliberate pace (especially in Cody vs. MJF), no real sense of urgency, little sense of these guys hating each other. The main event was a little better, and newsworthy with crowning a new champ in Jon Moxley... but not the classic I anticipated coming in.
Funnily enough, outside of the tag title match, a match that damn near stole the show was one that got added virtually last minute on AEW Dynamite this past week- Pac vs. Orange Cassidy. After losing the Ironman Match to Kenny Omega on Dynamite (a must-see match in its own right), Pac was pissed off and looking to take his frustrations out on the sloth-like comedy character, Orange Cassidy. But Orange decided to try this time and put up the fight of his life against the Bastard, in a thrilling match that had the fans and even JR and Schiavone rocking!
AEW Revolution was the superior show, besting Super Showdown by a considerable amount. But I can't lie, I was a bit disappointed in Revolution. Maybe because I had to shell out over $30 to watch the Revolution PPV, that I expected more, or maybe it's just the quality of the AEW product to this point, but I thought Cody vs. MJF would be an emotional rollercoaster in a similar vein to Cody vs. Dustin at Double or Nothing last year, or that Jericho would bring his working boots to Revolution the same way he did at Wrestle Kingdom against Hiroshi Tanahashi. Figured we'd see aggression from Moxley the way he brought it to Minoru Suzuki at the start of the month. It was not to be. As consistently great as AEW have been with their episodes of Dynamite, I'd have to rate the Revolution PPV a 7... miiiiight get a 7.5 if it holds up better on a second watch.
But Super Showdown...wouldn't get a passing grade out of 10. It was trash. On the Road To Wrestlemania, we had a 42 car pile-up. Not loving the aftermath of this shit.
Until next time, take care,