Coming on the heels of All Out, an almost instantly historic show reported to have done well over 200,000 pay-per-view buys, AEW was tasked with capitalizing on that momentum with last week’s Dynamite and Rampage shows. With intrigue in the company at an all-time high, the 9/8 Dynamite was watched by over 1.3 million viewers on average, scoring a 0.53 in the coveted 18-49 demographic, narrowly beating WWE’s cable flagship Raw for the first time ever in the same week.
So we know people watched last week, but were they rewarded? Who or what got over with the crowd? Who is getting pushed to the moon? Who is getting lost in the shuffle? Most importantly, where are we going from here? Those are the questions I’ll seek to answer each and every week here at “Getting Over,” brought to you by The Tailgate Society.
- Andrade El Idolo
In his Rampage opening match with PAC, Andrade had far and away his best match since his NXT days. Before heaping praise upon Andrade, though, let’s take a second and acknowledge just how incredible PAC is. He can work babyface or heel, tag or singles, in nearly any style the match calls for. Unfortunately, he’ll have to settle for being an incredible worker because he’s just simply not in line for a main event title run anytime soon.
Andrade, on the other hand, has been a mixed bag thus far in AEW. That’s probably putting it kindly. When he arrived in AEW, I was beyond excited, with nostalgic images of his Gargano match floating in my brain. However, since his signing, he’s underwhelmed. After starting out with Vicki Guerrero as his manager, he moved to Chavo Guerrero, Jr. Then, after beating PAC on Friday, he turned on Chavo, laying him out with a stiff forearm shot, presumably for providing Andrade assistance that I guess he didn’t think he needed.
Now, where do we go from here? I don’t think it takes a genius to recognize that Ric Flair is next in line to manage Andrade. Flair is Andrade’s father-in-law and has already operated as his manager once, giving him an assist in his AAA title match against Kenny Omega last month. Flair has been teased and shown on Being The Elite, so it’s no surprise that he’s going to be joining AEW and pairing him Andrade seems like the least offensive role he can take. We’ll see if it works. I’ve never seen a guy change managers this many times in such a short period of time as Andrade has in AEW. That tells me that Tony Khan knows this ain’t working as is. I’m skeptical, but this week was a step in the right direction.
So, while I’m not crazy about how Andrade El Idolo has been handled, why is he #1 in this week’s stock report? Because when he wants to turn it on, he can go with anyone in the company.
That was the case on Friday night against PAC.
This wasn’t a 5 star all-timer, but it was damn entertaining and a glimpse into what a motivated Andrade can look like. I’m counting on seeing more of this Andrade once Flair is by his side.
2. Brian Pillman Jr.
One thing that AEW does so well is giving its wrestlers the opportunity to shine in their hometowns. Brian Pillman Jr. in Cincinnati was the perfect example of this last week. While MJF was cutting one of his most ruthless promos yet and providing a master class in “How to Do Cheap Heat 101,” he made Pillman Jr’s mom, Melanie, one of his targets. Vice’s excellent series Dark Side of the Ring brought Melanie’s story to the masses earlier this year, detailing her relationship with BPJ’s father and subsequent struggles after Brian Pillman’s death. AEW smartly capitalized on this last week in Cincinnati, allowing Pillman Jr. to run in and intervene during MJF’s promo.
Unfortunately for Pillman Jr., he and tag partner Griff Garrison got destroyed by MJF and Wardlow.
However (and here’s where this ranking comes from), Pillman Jr. was rewarded with two huge opportunities: Main eventing Friday’s Rampage (taped right after Dynamite in Cincinnati) and having a match scheduled almost immediately against MJF at AEW’s huge Arthur Ashe show next week.
In the Rampage main event, Pillman took out Max Caster and drank beers with megastar and fellow Cincy native Jon Moxley, sending the crowd home happy and giving Pillman an incredible rub.
My only hesitation with Pillman is this: I don’t really doubt that he’s over enough to be in this match with MJF, but I do wonder if he’s good enough. It’s easy to underestimate just how good MJF is because he makes things look so easy and natural, but when I watch Pillman, I can’t say that he has everything clicking at the same level. In other words, does his push outweigh his ability? Time will tell, but they did a really great job of building him up last week.
3. Ruby Soho
Is Britt Baker a heel? A babyface? Over as hell? Yes, yes, and yes. But what Baker has really needed since winning the AEW Women’s Championship is a worthy adversary, preferably a strong babyface contender that would allow Baker to shine in the heel role that she works so magically. That’s what Ruby Soho provides.
Let’s start with the entrance music.
I am a longtime fan of the band Rancid, so when I heard that the former Ruby Riott would be using the moniker of Ruby Soho (with the blessing of Rancid guitarist and vocalist Lars Fredericksen), I was excited and hopeful that the song would be her entrance music. Luckily, Tony Khan is a man who has no problem licensing music, and the song has become a huge hit with fans, with the crowd continuing the song long after the music has stopped playing in the arena.
In the ring, Soho has been inserted directly into a program with Baker, already defeating Baker ally Jamie Hayter on Dynamite and then doing the six-woman-tag match on Rampage with Baker, Hayter, and Rebel vs. Soho, Statlander, and Riho, with the babyfaces picking up the win.
Listen, I know we all want that Thunder Rosa/Britt Baker blowoff to their feud. And we’ll get it. In the meantime, though, let’s enjoy this newest addition to an AEW Women’s division that badly needed some added juice. With just about two months until the next pay-per-view, it’s hard to imagine AEW holding off this feud all the way until that Full Gear show in November. The ball is rolling. And fast. Maybe they pull the trigger real quick like on this match-up for the Arthur Ashe show in New York? Regardless, all the building blocks are in place for the women to gain a higher profile in AEW. Between Baker, Statlander, a very over Riho, Rosa, Tay Conti, Anna Jay, and now Ruby Soho, we have a division that could very well become a strength instead of the afterthought that it sometimes seems as though it’s booked like. Here’s hoping.
- AEW Time Management
OK, we get it. There’s a lot to get to coming off of the biggest PPV in company history. But eight minutes for Jon Moxley and Minoru Suzuki, with only five minutes not interrupted by picture-in-picture? That’s booking malpractice. This was a dream match for a good number of fans, and AEW bungled nearly every step of this Dynamite main event, starting with Suzuki’s entrance. One of the biggest pops of the All Out ppv show came when Suzuki’s “Kaze Ni Nare” music hit, with fans singing along and relishing the moment. Then, on Wednesday, AEW cut Suzuki’s entrance short, depriving fans of their chance to shout “Kaze Ni Nare” as Suzuki steps between the ropes. This would perhaps be excusable if Suzuki and Moxley were given 20 minutes to tear the house down, but obviously that’s not what happened. This egregious oversight took on a life of its own, becoming a meme known across the internet as “The Suzuki Incident.”
AEW likes to squeeze a lot into their shows. And, yes, sometimes it is too much. Last Wednesday felt like one of those “two much” shows. They had to do something with all the new arrivals (Bryan Danielson, Adam Cole, Ruby), and then shoot new angles on top of those Dynamite debuts. Unfortunately, we were left with a severely underwhelming main event and Moxley and Suzuki deserved better. I can only imagine how pissed Moxley was backstage after this one.
Luckily, it seems as though Suzuki and fellow Suzuki-gun member Lance Archer are issuing a new challenge to Moxley on this week’s Dynamite.
Perhaps we’ll get some retribution for the unfortunate Suzuki Incident.
2. The Dark Order Civil War
Remember when the Dark Order was one of the hottest factions in wrestling? That effectively ended on July 28, 2021, when, led by Adam Page, the Dark Order lost a 10-man tag team elimination match against The Elite, meaning The Hangman couldn’t challenge Kenny Omega for the AEW World Heavyweight Championship. Since then, Hangman Page has disappeared and the Dark Order suffers from infighting that threatens to split the group apart. On one side, we have John Silver, Alex Reynolds, 10, and Alan “5” Angels. On the other, Evil Uno, Stu Grayson, and maybe Colt Cabana, although he, Anna Jay, and Tay Conti have largely been trying to play the role of peacemakers.
The problem with this is that no one wants it. Even fans at one of the recent Dark tapings were chanting “Please Don’t Fight,” which I can’t recall ever seeing in the midst of a faction split. I’m sure, like most things Dark Order, this will work out in the end, but right now it’s not great. When or if Hangman returns and puts the group back together, there will be a well deserved huge pop. If Windham Rotunda (Bray Wyatt) shows up and takes over one or both of the factions, becoming the new leader of the Dark Order, then I’ll be more than a little disappointed.
3. Brian Cage
When Brian Cage debuted in AEW at Double or Nothing 2020, I thought for sure he was going to be a main event player. Cage got his championship match a couple of months later against Jon Moxley at Fight for the Fallen, losing when Taz through in the towel to save his FTW champ. After losing that match, Cage spent the better part of the next year teasing a babyface turn away from Team Taz and finally lost the FTW belt to Ricky Starks on this year’s Fyter Fest show.
Cage is a uniquely talented dude. He’s yoked to the gills yet can still perform incredible lucha-style moves. He should be a monster and one of the most over guys in the company, but there’s just something missing. In his most recent program with Ricky Starks, he came off as an afterthought next to Starks, getting thoroughly worked on the mic, if not in the ring.
Now, his wife is taking up for Cage on Twitter, which is admirable if not intelligent:
The time was going to come when the AEW locker room was not all Kumbaya and hugs and rainbows. To this point, rumors of dissatisfaction were fairly nonexistent. That Cage was the first to hint at this is not all that surprising. There’s only so many slots, let alone main event slots. You can blame booking or whatever, but you’ve still got to get over on your own and, quite frankly, I don’t think Cage has done that. Now, he can either grumble or he can step his game up during the opportunities he’s given.
I’ve made reference to AEW’s huge forthcoming show at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York. We’re one week away and we have the first semblances of a card. The aforementioned Brian Pillman Jr. vs. MJF match has been announced. As has the return of Cody Rhodes against the foe that vanquished him in Malakai Black. So far, that’s all that’s confirmed. So let’s fill out the rest of this show, shall we?
MJF vs. Brian Pillman Jr. (MJF wins)
Coming off of a loss to Chris Jericho, there’s simply no way that MJF, one of AEW’s most protected stars, loses this one. The goal here will be making Pillman a star through a loss.
Cody Rhodes vs. Malakai Black (Cody wins)
I’d love nothing more than for Malakai to kick Cody’s head off in the first three minutes of this match and stand victorious over his corpse. Judging from how they handled Cody’s last return from filming the Go-Big Show (against the late Brodie Lee), Cody will come out on top.
But really what I’d like to see here is a double turn. At this point, people are practically begging to cheer Black. However, there’s no chance in hell Rhodes turns heel, given his Rhodes to the Top show premieres in two weeks. A guy can wish, though.
Darby Allin & Sting vs. Shawn Spears & Tully Blanchard
I’m not going to lie and say that I want to see this match or that I’m excited Darby is suddenly chasing his CM Punk feud with a Shawn Spears program. That seems to be direction we’re heading, though. We’re already getting Darby vs. Spears this week on Dynamite, so maybe that shelves this program before it gets off the ground. Based on Tully taunting Sting the way he has, I gotta think that more is upcoming.
To this point, Sting has nailed every match he’s been in, so I have faith. And who doesn’t want to watch Tully get put in the Scorpion Death Lock? Now, I’m just trying to find a way to insert Flair into this match in a way that makes sense. Hmm…..
Miro vs. Eddie Kingston for the TNT Championship(Eddie wins the title)
I don’t know that the time is right for Miro to lose. Personally, I’d take a couple more months of him tossing around light weights and breaking their back with the “Game Over.” That said, if there’s ever been a time to beat him and get a huge reaction, this match would be it. These two had a really good match at All Out, and Eddie couldn’t be more over with the crowd. Give him the title in New York and Arthur Ashe Stadium will erupt.
Britt Baker vs. Ruby Soho for the AEW Women’s Championship (Britt Baker retains)
Based on the pacing of the build for this match, it almost has to happen next week. To me, that seems a bit quick for Soho to lose, so they have to do it in a way that makes sense, preferably without outside interference.
CM Punk vs. Ricky Starks
Last week, CM Punk had a verbal altercation with Taz, during which Punk said he’d take out any member of Team Taz. Based on the rest of the action last week, during which Hobbs had a match, I’d lean towards Hobbs being the guy to wrestle Punk. However, Starks is more likely. First of all, he’s roughly Punk’s size, certainly closer than Hobbs. Can you imagine Punk trying to get Hobbs up for the GTS? Me neither. Now, as much as everyone wants to see Hook in the ring, I don’t think we’re getting that on the Arthur Ashe show. Starks and Punk can have a banger, so that’s my pick.
Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks, and Adam Cole vs. Bryan Danielson, Christian Cage, and Jurassic Express
This is the presumed main event based on what AEW has given us post-All Out. To be honest, I’m kind of bummed there’s not going to be a world title match, but this match soothes that disappointment quite a bit. The huge crowd at Arthur Ashe is going to go bananas for Bryan Danielson (and probably Adam Cole too, tbh) here, and it puts Danielson in the ring with Kenny Omega without giving away a singles match away for free on television. I’m operating under the assumption that it’s Omega vs. Danielson at Full Gear in November, so this is another stepping stone in the build for that match.