I’m going to try and keep this rather condensed, just because I don’t want to kiss your ass for longer than I need to, considering my last post was much of the same. Starting with the opening video package though, written PERFECTLY. Absolutely nothing to complain about, not only have you got everybody involved, but you’ve set the scene perfectly. Good start.
Before I get to the actual matches, quite often in BTB it’s the little things that matter, and that’s no different here. The extra detail for the arena playing on the fact it’s in Pittsburgh, whilst still having that AOW feel to it was just smart stuff. Basic, simple, but only the top bookers actually do it.
No better way than to open the show with the ladder match. A perfect way to get the crowd pumped up, with what’s sure to be a SPOTFEST~! One thing I didn’t like was Aero Star dressing up like a comic book character. It’s a Rey Mysterio WWE move, and AOW, as indy company, shouldn’t be ripping that sort of stuff off, imo. Also, just because the way yanks are, heel or no heel, I couldn’t really see Shelton getting heat whilst representing the country. Anyway, onto the match now...
Considering the way the match has been built it made perfect sense for Tyler Black to be cocky, only to get ganged up on by everybody. I enjoyed reading the immediate change in styles as well. On one side, you had Kingston unleashing these exciting manoeuvres, and on the other side, Regal is just slogging Aero Star. LADDERS coming into things really early, just shows how spotty this match is going to be, but that’s fine, because it’s exactly what it’s supposed to be. The Dragon Whip spot into the letter was a nice sequence of events... and OH THE SPOTS. High risk after high risk, and good to have Black outdo everybody else.
As the match goes on, not much to say except that Half Nelson Suplex on the ladder would have been FUCKING BRUTAL. Made sense for Regal to be the guy to bring in the steel chair as well. I understand Regal isn’t a high risk kind of guy, but I feel him being afraid of heights made him seem like to much of a joke. He had the bad ass thing going before that, and I feel like this took away from that too much for my liking. Note: Black continues to look BEASTLY when he gets a chance as well, awesome.
The Exploder Suplex was a fun spot, but the SUPER SUNSET FLIP POWERBOMB was fucking MENTAL. Great creativity, which has always been one of your strong suits. The spot with Kingston going from the ladder inside the ring to outside would have been fun to see. If I’m honest though, I felt you could have set up the ladder on the outside better. Just having Kingston set it up, slide in the ring, and almost immediately need to use it just seemed way to scripted if that makes sense. I felt it would have been much better if we were made to almost forget that the big ladder was still outside the ring.
The ending was done pretty well again, even if I still severely dislike Regal being afraid of heights. Black was always getting the win here, and whilst he probably wasn’t involved in as much action as I would have liked, he looked incredibly strong throughout though. Fun match that REALLY put over Black, whilst not doing damage to anybody else, which I feel may have been the plan all along.
RVD’s stretch > anything Christian can do.
The impending arrival of Chris Hero should be interesting, especially considering CM Punk’s escapades as of late... Actually as of pretty much since their match. I wonder what sort of impact all of this will have on Punk more than anything. Plus, Hero OWNS.
I don’t think I’ve ever really complimented you on the creation of the trios match before. Simple in formula, but you’ve made it into a big deal, having a whole tournament on it. Terrific booking, and good to see an AOW original concept get a look in on the biggest show of the year.
at The Miz having a thanks list for getting to be a part of the match, what an epic start. It would have been hilarious if he actually lost the match right there, but a unique and enjoyable way to start the match nonetheless.
Masters and Doane beat down Kidman for a moment or two early, but besides that, the match has been at break neck speed. The spot with Masters tagging in Done, whilst still holding Kidman was nice, as was TEAM AIR’S sudden rush of dominance, leading to Kidman getting the near fall.
I dug the use of the POLISH HAMMER from Master’s to. I can’t remember exactly who but I’m pretty sure that broke somebody’s nose one time. You could have maybe played on that a little more I thought, as I don’t think Kidman really had any lasting effects from the move. The Kidman not giving up and teaching Sydal one final lesson was somewhat poetic... writing and booking at its finest.
FINALLY Sydal is in. You’ve built this up to be Sydal’s moment so well, and he comes in with all guns blazing, but that reversal into a Spine buster from Masters was terrific. Legitimately unexpected to, which is always good. The ending was all written pretty well, and for a minute Masters interrupting Sydal really made it seem like maybe he wouldn’t get that feel good moment. Great stuff, and a nice ending with the triple Shooting Star Press as well. An undercard match, but so much more. The Sydal angle has been brilliant for awhile, and you’ve done it justice here. Also,:LMAO at just about anything that Miz did in this match.
LOVE the video for World Ablaze, cleverly playing on the CM Punk character development, which has quickly become right up there with the likes of Christian, Jericho and Van Dam, imo.
Nice moment to have the handshake between Noble and Danielson, really putting over the whole idea of this match. The spirit of competition, which is what this thread was supposed to be built on, even if it may have been forgotten a little. Again, the lock up competition suited the angle perfectly, and eventually Noble sort of lost his temper, hitting that knee to the gut. I thought maybe it was a little early in the match for the slow clap to help Danielson fight back from the submission. Surely at this point he still would have been able to fight out rather quickly? I honestly wasn’t sure about that. A rest hold this early on.
The Suplex to the outside of the ring was a clever, entertaining way to really give somebody a distinct advantage in the match for the first time. Some rather brutal submissions from Danielson which I don’t mind, as you just HAVE to play on the whole Noble won’t give up thing. A bit nitpicky perhaps but the use of the Jacknife pin TWICE so early from Noble didn’t really make sense to me. I just really couldn’t see it happening.
Awesome stuff to pull out The Cannonball Senton, Noble clearly pulling out all the stops to attempt to get the win. It just makes the whole match seem like such a BIGGER deal. Some great counter exchanges between the two men here, which is the sort of stuff I was really looking forward to reading in this one. The Roundhouse, Trailer Hitch, Suicide Dive counters all in quick succession was brilliant.
The epic counters continues... until LEBELL LOCK. Probably a moment everybody reading was waiting for in this match, at least I was. Noble stays true to his word and doesn’t tap, and I might as well note, that Danielson holding onto the hold a little was not subtle at all haha. Good stuff. Fuck from here, this match picked up big time. The false finishes were brilliant, and man, I really thought Noble had it won with the Guillotine. The writing of the tenacity of Noble, as well as the prowess of Danielson to not give up was superb.
The surge from Danielson was written well, ESPECIALLY with all those kicks, but the Noble Trailer Hitch out of nowhere was just as good. The ending was written pretty well to, and THE SUPER BRAINBUSTER was a crazy spot. I couldn’t help but root for Noble, but in the end, Danielson was just that little bit too good. I thought maybe perhaps the ending would have been better if circa Austin/Hart, Noble passed out in the submission, proving he wouldn’t give up. Still, the pass out/knock out finish was always happening here. Match of the night so far, by a LONG way. I thought this match was fantastic. The little bit of attitude from Danielson was a nice touch as well, clearly showing that his SLOW burn heel turn is still in process.
A nice enough segment from The American duo and Wilde. Honestly, the way this relationship between her and Nemeth has built out of seemingly nowhere is another one of your master strokes. On a side note, I didn’t think Wilde would turn on this duo as somebody above predicted, but after this segment, I just have that feeling too...
As expected, Nemeth is just trying to beat the shit out of Albright in the beginning. Burchill starting the match made sense, however I was shocked that Nemeth tagged out so quick. I assumed he would stay in and try and get more of a shot at Albright... So I guess not really sure I agreed with that.
At first, I thought this was just going to be a solid tag match with a basic formula as the tag champions started to dominate, but nothings that straight forward with you. The targeting of Hagar’s face is just a rather brutal target... and I guess really sums up the characters of The Mercenaries nicely. Also,
at the fake slap from Albright to Nemeth... One of my favourite moments all night without a doubt. Cuntiness at its finest.
The hot tag was an exciting moment considering the Taylor Wilde incident in the build up... but I probably expected a little more brawling from Nemeth. The anger, just wanting to throw hands that you caught earlier in the match is completely gone, as within less than a minute in the ring with Albright, he’s going for a School Boy? I just don’t buy it.
Still, some nice dominance from Nemeth, until finally Albright lands the three Germans. A nice change up, and when the fresh tags were made, wow. That Running Enzeguiri from nowhere from Burchill was a great move. Shocking. The rest of the match was really, except for a slight run from Nemeth, an example of the champions just being a better team. The double team ending was SICK, and The Mercenaries come out of this looking like a million buck. Solid match, the right team went over though.
Claudio Castagnoli is slowly becoming the new BTB golden boy, so I’m really hoping you can do something different with him, compared to what everybody else does. The ‘Swiss Superhuman’ tag is ABSOLUTE GOLD. Props on the video to, made me think back to Drago in Rocky 4, terrific read.
I dislike the booking of the match, with the much more interesting at this point Finlay dropping out, but I feel like Punk/Low Ki might just have been a match you’ve always wanted to write... and thought you’d get it out of the way. Either way, even if I don’t like the way it has come about, it should be a good match.
Awesome start to the match, with the trading of the Roundhouse kicks, and another start that almost seems to be based on competition. The match was plodding along really, as it’s hard to get into this sort of match as there’s no emotional investment in it.
Until Ki accidentally hit Punk as he got the shoulder up. I LOVED the change of demeanour in Punk’s character, as he immediately becomes more aggressive, hitting two Suplexes. This is part of Punk’c character development that I’ve been enjoying... I wanted more, but Ki quickly regains the advantage.
I was really surprised at just how much offense you gave Ki in the middle portion of this match. It really felt like he was dominating. Still, that Falcon Arrow spot would have KILLED. Great spot to get Punk back the advantage.
The switch of submission moves at the end was a nice switch... but I didn’t like the ending. Low Ki is really just a glorified jobber, a guy who will put on a decent match, but never beats anybody important in this thread. I HATE the fact that he didn’t just crumble from the GTS, as the GTS has been basically unstoppable in this thread so far. I just didn’t feel the extra drama at the end of the match necessary here. Still, a decent contest, but probably my least favourite of the night as there just wasn’t a real reason for me to want to read with no Finlay involved.
Finlay attack afterward was completely unexpected... Not sure why he’d make an appearance. Glad to see their feud will continue... but really did feel like it took a step back tonight. I’d be interested to know if this was the plan all along, or if you’ve done a change of booking as you go.
Can’t wait to see what you do with Eric Escobar. Another nice video, surprised to see how you bring in guys without having everything seem a little too crowded on the roster.
Interesting interview from Danielson, a little arrogant. Not much to say really, I guess it’s just a continuation of his heel turn.
EPIC video package between Shawn Michaels and Samoa Joe. I really enjoyed the whole man against machine concept, classic stuff.
I’ve been waiting for this one, this should be an insane read. As a few others have mentioned, this is probably going to pip the other main events, and the cruiserweight title match for match of the night. I thought the start was written very well, paying a large amount of attention to the audience. It HAD to be done, much like Rock/Hogan at Mania 18, the crowd adds so much in these type of situations. Almost, the typical, defiant HBK starting with the slap, which I liked considering the space his character is in at the moment. Smart to have Joe show early that he wasn’t going to take any of HBK’s crap to. Those dual chants would have been epic, by the way.
Michaels using his experience, grounding Joe early, trying to frustrate Joe, suits the angle of this match perfectly. I love the idea of the veteran Michaels to irritate the young, powerful, machine like Joe. The chop contest was a nice little spot as well, just fun to read, and putting over Joe as one tough man.
The match finally really starts to flow, and really, is entertaining right from the get go. The Clutch attempt earlier on, plus Michaels’ epic counter... which was probably overshadowed again by the Ole Kick on the outside. High impact, brilliant stuff early.
Typical resilience from Michaels really, allowing Joe to just boss out on him for awhile. I liked the stomp on the foot, showing HBK will do whatever it takes. I’m not completely sold on the whole submission game plan of Michaels though. He’s a big time player, just let him do his thing. He WON’T beat Joe at his own game, especially when realistically Joe is too big and powerful for Michaels to hold down for a long term submission. In terms of what’s written, it’s all great stuff. Just not sure I agree with the philosophy of Michaels early on, however I’m sure the offense will pick up later on.
I’m surprised at this stage just how much this match seems to be about Joe doing his thing in the early stages. It’s damn near domination, and just not something I completely expected. Again though, it also puts over HBK’s whole won’t lay down for nobody personality. I thought Michaels using the ropes for leverage on the pin was done well, just reminding us that he’ll do whatever it takes to win. Good to see it spaced out from the foot stomp though, HBK taking short cuts all match would just be unrealistic. I think you’ve played that aspect well so far.
I won’t harp on the constant submissions from Michaels again with the Figure Four here, but it was about time HBK hit a big time move. Flying Crossbody to keep things interesting I guess.
Was good to see Michaels get in some sustained offense, but you’ve still done it in a less physically imposing way to Joe which was good. At first, I thought Michaels letting the count out take place after Joe’s missed Elbow was great, showcasing the contrast of the two, as earlier Joe didn’t want the count out win... But then Michaels is rooting for Joe to get back into the ring? Why didn’t he just drag him in then if he didn’t win that way? I’d love to know what your thoughts were here as initially I thought it was a great contrast of characters... but then within a second... it wasn’t. It really just left me a little confused, although maybe that’s the plan, considering HBK’s tumultuous journey in this thread.
I see you referenced my concern above in the next sentence of the match, but I still don’t really think it covers it, to be honest. VINTAGE HBK~! That counter into the Island Driver was sick, and an epic false finish I must day. Awesome stuff.
The Sweet Chin Music coming straight after this was just as good, if not better. Exciting sequence of events here, man.
BANG. That counter into the second Island Driver was just as insane... although if I’m honest, it feels a little bit too much like the guys are just trading finishers. I get the idea of them going blow for blow... and the spectacle it would have... but realistically... the second Island Driver could have probably been spaced out by another minute or two at least. Still, ANOTHER crazy false finish, really putting over the guts of Michaels.
The idea of a top rope Island Driver had me wet... The counter into a Sweet Chin Music was almost a little too predictable, considerable the way you’d written the finishers occurring so far in the match. I won’t echo my sentiments from the paragraph above, yet despite the AWESOME spectacle, I still have some reservations.
CHIMERA PLEX was an epic spot though, you’ll get no reservations for that. Terrific big time move... and possibly the ONLY move that could beat the run of four finishers in a row. Smart to pull this one off at this point in the match, imo.
One last “hurrah” from Michaels with the Victory Roll, but realistically, it was a pretty emphatic victory from Joe. I was glad you enlightened us into the whole nature of HBK’s character which definitely answered my questions from earlier. A HUGE ending though, with the submission victory. Not only does Joe become one of only a few to make HBK submit... BUT the quitting nature of the loss could do wonders for HBK’s character. I can’t wait to see what happens in that regard.
Overall, I felt like there’s NO WAY you can top this. LOVED the ending, but the build up, with four finishers in a row without a gap seemed a little to forced for my liking. Still, a terrific matchperfect for a big time affair, and enough to make the show a standout alone. BRILLIANT.
For some reason I was under the impression that this thread would somehow end after this show. I’m glad to see that’s not the case though, and I look forward to The Outer Limits II. By the way, the idea of this show being in Mexico is INSANELY epic. Good stuff to show the company moving up, yet not really moving in on WWE’s territory.
Before Mick Foley began, I loved the way you set the scene. He’s not the Foley who’s funny and always happy, he’s old school Foley. Typical Foley promo which set the scene nicely, the only part I didn’t like was when he mentioned the positives about the fans before he ran down Heyman and Jericho. At his best, Foley doesn’t cater to the fans when he’s in this zone, he just lets it rip. Oh, and it’s steel cage not metal cage. So I felt that was a little off, but the interview was still a fun read. Set the scene terrifically well by mentioning the start, the big HIAC spot, and the possible end of his career to.
Video, much like Joe/HBK before it, was written BEAUTIFULLY.
A nice beginning, just for something different, with Foley making the surprise attack. As much as I don’t want to, I see that as a desperate move, as I feel Jericho is just going to be to good here. Still, a nice start, brutal already, with both men getting multiple trash can shots in. Jericho’s Bulldog spot as his first bit of offense in the match just already made me think he’s going to be a step away all the way through.
The next bit of offense with Jericho just teeing off with weapon after weapon shot was just sadistic. A good way to put over his character, whilst also show the vintage Foley resilience.
Good tease with the table spot early on, not allowing Foley to crash and burn this early on. It’s typical for Foley to always take the huge bump, so I’m intrigued to see if you’ll actually allow Jericho to take a real beating. The fact he missed the table on the fall makes me think maybe not. I hope I stand corrected later on.
Nearly EVERYTHING in this thread seems to be about character development, so it felt rather refreshing to have a huge part of this match just being dedicated to being as hardcore as possible. Both characters are already established, it’s simply about finding out who’s better. The missed Lionsault from Jericho, followed by the running dive off the apron from Foley ease my fears about Jericho not taking a huge bump earlier. Brilliant stuff to read... and it allows us to see a sign of Jericho we haven’t really had to... his resilience.
Surprised to see Foley get in so much offense at once, but the angle of Jericho finally being on the receiving end of all the pain he has caused is a clever one. EVERYTHING Jericho copped was just sadistic, and the little bits of dialogue from Foley really added heaps to the situation. The appearance of Alex Riley I guess was needed for Jericho to escape the ropes... and makes sense considering the build up. But I’m not sure I like it. If Jericho does go on to win, which I believe he will, I would have LOVED to see him FINALLY win a match on his own.
The spot Riley took was good, and whilst the ending shows Jericho doing shit on his own, I still felt like he would have lost if it wasn’t for Riley. Considering his past in the thread, I’m not sure that’s a good thing. It almost feels like he ALWAYS needs help to win. The ending with the thumbtacks and the Liontamer was done pretty well... although I feel either this match, or HBK/Joe both ending in submission kind of cancel out of each other. Definitely should have been only one submission finish out of the big matches to make it seem like such a bigger deal. Now instead, after barely doing it their whole careers, HBK and Foley have both tapped in the same night? I don’t like it.
Foley has his MILLIONTH send off after the match, good stuff. I REALLY enjoyed this match, it just felt simpler then a lot of the others, yet it still had psychology to it to. Probably my new MOTN to be honest.
Awesome interview with Heyman here. Him leaving because of Joe continues on Joe’s rampage, and just makes thing seem so much bigger. A nice wrench in the works to, having Heyman choose who will be in charge. I’d LOVE it if it was Jericho, but I doubt it. Either way, somebody else in charge for awhile, plus Heyman not coming back alone leads to all sorts of excitement. Awesome booking, man.
I must say, you’ve really hit GOLD with all of the video packages for this one. No difference here, with the whole coin toss, and the similarities of the two... and their journeys all coming to a head. I don’t think these match will be OH MY GODS WRESTLING epic as the last two, but the character progression is set to be amazing.
The opening of this match is exactly what makes your booking so great. The angle, the character progression, it all seems to have been done perfectly. The way Christian is almost trying to FORCE the best out of RVD to prove to himself is brilliant. Those slaps waking up Van Dam was perfect as well, just compelling story telling through in ring psychology at its finest.
RVD not allowing the fans to join in reminds me a lot of what The Rock used to do in early 1999. Such a great tool to use, imo.
The match went along pretty smoothly after this, nothing special but nothing bad. It’s a little bit of a shame that just about ANYTHING seems like a step down from the previous two matches. RVD looking worries when he was getting heat, to getting a mega pop was EPIC. The recreation of Air Van Dam at a time when he’s trying to identify with his whole career is just way to smart, good stuff.
I thought maybe the counter of the Rolling Thunder came a little too soon after the Air Van Dam. It could have maybe been sold a little better, but still, a nice counter. Intrigued to see Christian get a bit of heat as well, considering EVERYTHING he’s been through in this thread.
Some of the counter wrestling with both men being evenly matches was a fun read, especially the Discus Leg Drop... and the Powerbomb to Facebuster Spots.
I thought another nice touch of this match, was how, much like their journey so far in AOW, both men’s offense was almost a mirror image of each other. Christian hits a high risk move, followed by a submission, and Van Dam shockingly does the same thing. Terrific to play on the Original Shiek with the Camel Clutch. More great storytelling I thought though.
And the ending... Oh boy. Possibly and up in the air ending for the biggest show in AOW’s history isn’t a great thing... but I don’t know. It just seems to fit the journey of the thread. Either way, ending is brilliant simply for the character progression once again. A terrific main event, but realistically, it was a step below from the previous two contests.
The aftermath with Van Dam not shaking hands makes sense as well, and I have to commend you, because you’ve just got so many different ways you can go with the thread from here.
Overall though, from top to bottom, a pleasure to read. I TRIED to pick on things to make this some legitimate feedback, but you didn’t give me too much. And even with the small little things, the show was still enjoyable as hell. CHARACTER PROGRESSION superb as per usual, you’ve possibly got the best overall package of character progression I’ve ever seen in a thread. That’s the biggest compliment I can possibly give you... and you know what? You deserve it. Can’t wait to see what happens from here.