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SBNation.com – All Posts: AEW Blood & Guts was violent fun and missed potential


Wrestling: AEW Dynamite
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

A young and an old review “Blood & Guts.”

After weeks of hype and excitement, plus the arrival of Kota Ibushi, AEW’s Blood and Guts match came with over an hour of violence and unhinged wrestling.

Like, VERY unhinged.

Yes, that is a bed of nails, no I don’t know where they got it or how they built it and I don’t want to find out. Despite the fireworks and general insanity of the match, there were some things that fell somewhat flat towards the end of the show.

That’s right, we’re back with an old (James) and a young (JP) to break down the finale of AEW Dynamite from Jul. 19, the Blood and Guts match between the Golden Elite and the Blackpool Combat Club.

A Young (JP)

Yeah, that match was absolutely insane. From the presentation of the match to the combatants literally raining thumbtacks on each other from the top of the cage, everything that happened for the next hour was batshit crazy. The debut of Kota Ibushi in AEW passed with flying colors (I know it probably wouldn’t have happened, but I wanted to hear his “Golden Star” theme from NJPW), as the crowd went CRAZY for him. It felt like this match really turned up the violence from the previous Blood and Guts matches, thanks to one Jon Moxley.

I don’t know how Mox does it, man. He was out here stabbing people with forks, getting moonsault pressed onto a BED OF NAILS and driven into thumbtacks. The amount of blood he’s lost during this feud with The Elite would probably set records, but he really kept the intensity of the match-up from the get-go. I thought he, PAC (we’ll get to him later), Hangman Adam Page and Ibushi starred here.

Despite the fun and downright nuts parts of the match that made me wince (Kenny Omega got his hand stomped into the bed of nails—again, not a dollar amount in the world could get me to do that), I did think the ending fell kinda flat.

It began when PAC and the BCC’s Claudio Castagnoli got into a shoving match after Claudio accidentally hit PAC, letting Omega get free. PAC blows off the BCC and just straight-up leaves. At first, I laughed because it was PAC’s first match back! He saw all the crazy shit going down and decided “screw this, I’m outta here.” Then, Konosuke Takeshita leaves, but it just feels weird now. Don Callis pulls him out of the match, but I’m not sure what the reason is behind that. Even if it was to protect him from a loss, it’ll still reflect as a loss because he began the match with the BCC.

Too many people left, which made this entire thing feel really odd. In the end, the Golden Elite won by choking out Wheeler Yuta with a chain, and apparently, Mox threw in the towel, but we couldn’t see or hear him throw in the towel, which initially made me think that Yuta just passed out.

The ending could’ve been done better, but it was still a crazy match, regardless.

An old (James)

I don’t know the last time I’ve been so disappointed by a wrestling match that I had so much excitement for leading up to it. There’s this guilt I have saying that, especially after a match like Blood & Guts, because the wrestlers basically killed themselves for our entertainment.

In terms of the spots themselves, full kudos to everyone in the ring. I think JP summed up the wildest moments really well — but as a whole package, the entire match just left me feeling profoundly sad.

The biggest reason was Kota Ibushi. He’s one of my favorite wrestlers on the planet, but something seemed totally off about his debut in AEW. I don’t know if he was carrying an injury, or a little more weight, or some ring rust, but something was wrong. Outside of his punch-filled arrival in the ring, he moved sluggishly around the match, didn’t really look like he knew what to do and this caused him to kind of meander from place to place, delivering a sad kick here or there and that’s it.

I wanted this grand, epic chapter in The Golden Lovers’ story, and didn’t get any of it. There was no magic or chemistry that made Omega and Ibushi’s run in NJPW so incredible.

Then there was the spotty camera work, which somehow managed to consistently miss the biggest spots in the match like AEW did when they first debuted on TV. This was the most amateur hour match I’ve seen from them in years production-wise, and it came at the worst time.

My biggest problem though was how this match was booked and the unsatisfying ending.

I know it’s really difficult to bring home a hardcore match of that caliber, but when you have to explain the ending to the audience because it’s unclear what happened, well, you messed up. There was no way of knowing that Mox surrendered until we were told on commentary. It makes sense from a story perspective, and it’s poignant to have the violence-loving Mox draw the line when it comes to his young protégé Wheeler Yuta being brutally assaulted — but it still fell flat.

Beyond that, it made The Golden Elite look incredibly weak.

This was supposed to be the big blow-off to this feud where The Elite were willing to get as violent as BCC and dig into their deepest, darkest elements to pull out the win. Ultimately they needed a two-man advantage AND a handcuffed Moxley to win. It made them come off as not being on the same level, and requiring complete team implosion by their opponents to get over.

Having PAC quit on his team and THEN Don Callis coming to pull Takeshita out of the match reeked of overbooking. They tried to tell three stories at once to close out the show and none of them landed:

  1. PAC starting a feud with Claudio
  2. Callis throwing BCC under the bus
  3. Mox looking out for Yuta

Perhaps there’s a make-good to all this. Maybe this is the prelude to another blowoff at All In. Still, I prepared myself to be blown away, to watch and re-watch Blood & Guts all day. Instead, I’m just sad.

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