SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Typically, when you hear me on the PWTorch family of programs, or chat with me on Twitter, I’m a pretty laid back dude. When Wade, Todd, and I did the VIP Roundtable for AEW’s 2021 All Out PPV, Todd noted that he was doubtful I would call Wade to task for Wade’s star rating of the Lucha Bros. vs. Young Bucks AEW Tag Team Championship cage match. Outside of Travis and me bickering on the East Coast Cast VIP, I rarely feel there’s a point made that I need to fight for that hadn’t been covered.
However, that was not the case Sunday night. You see, what Todd (and perhaps you all listening) didn’t realize was there’s one hill I’ll die on with wrestling – and it’s a simple one: a match, a promotion, a show that is there to showcase pro wrestling authentically. Main line. The pure stuff. And that’s what that tag match, which is one of the best matches I’ve seen, did. From the authenticity of the Lucha Bros. entrance, which didn’t coddle the listener with anglicized versions of their lyrics, to the pageantry of the Lucha choir and dancers, to Mikey Ruckus & Muellas de Gallo, AEW’s musical maven, rapping them to the ring, to Alex Abrahantes’s red and black suit – I was in from the moment I saw it all.
MEET US IN THE RING
WE THA MEXI-KINGS
IT’S THE FIGHT WE BRING
HANGING BY A STRING
ZEROES UP- M’s DOWN
AND WE SAY IT PROUD
-Zero Miedo (Lucha Bros Theme)
What an entrance by the challengers, the #LuchaBros
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) September 6, 2021
Penta El Zero Miedo & Rey Fenix, two men I’ve seen across the country – and particularly in Chicago, where they’ve held singles and tag team gold throughout the indy scene – epitomized guys ready for war, but doing it, as they’ve done it their whole careers, their own way. Fighting legal issues with AAA and Lucha Underground was nothing compared to getting over in the United States cutting promos in Spanish, getting over to the point NFL All Pros like George Kittle use the “zero miedo” hand signal for every first down. AEW’s fans have clamored for these guys to get into the tag title picture – and I’ve pushed hard for both men to be given more purchase in the singles scene, along with black performers, to remove the remaining stigma that AEW’s main event scene is an entirely white affair.
Then you move to the match, where both teams of brothers not only set out to destroy one another, but when Fenix was in danger, elder brother Penta time and time again sacrificed his body to preserve Fenix’s. The Lucha Bros match up quite well with the Young Bucks, who sometimes aren’t everyone’s cup of coffee in matches because their brand of Lucha Libre is so violent that the coordinated spots the pairs of brothers utilize in their matches meld in a way that allows both to be seen as fighting, as opposed to waiting for another spot.
The drama that was created in this chemistry, as every shortcut attempted by the Bucks opened the gate for valiant, violent comebacks. By the end of the match, a bloodied pair of new tag team champions celebrated with their families and added the icing to a perfect cake. And that match was the crown jewel of what was an almost flawless show top to bottom – whether it was the return to wrestling of C.M. Punk, the spotlighting of Ruby Soho, the glorious appearance of Minoru Suzuki (which might be 1a to the 1b of this tag team match for me), as well as the AEW debuts of Bryan Danielson and Adam Cole.
(The aforementioned lack of black male wrestlers after 2.5 years in main event positions as a standing issue, coupled with the usage, albeit only for a 3 minute jaunt, of Q.T. Marshall on a show that was a worker’s paradise was issue two.)
And this all came from a working ethos of show love to pro wrestling and let your talent shine. Any promotion, any match, any show that starts from there has my attention. I’m long past the days of “hate watching” stuff I don’t like, or doesn’t like me paying attention. That’s why I’ll skip Raw and watch anything Smackdown related with Roman Reigns, because his stuff is rife with little pieces you can pick up. I don’t have to pull out an “I hate WWE” sign, or publicly brag I’m not watching Raw every week. I can watch Stardom, I can watch AAW, I can watch Enjoy Wrestling, I can watch GCW or Beyond or IWC. Because wrestling doesn’t have a wall or limits to how you enjoy it. You shouldn’t have to speak in code to be happy for ex-coworkers getting to ply their trade and lean into their joy.
So, in true Rich Fann fashion, that’s a long way to get to this: If there’s wrestling that’s authentic, values my time and my intelligence, and wants everyone truly to see themselves in that ring, I’m watching. And if they’re good, I’m going to challenge them to be better via good faith critique. AEW, via that tag match did it, so if I gotta ask my boss “why 4.5 stars?” I’m gonna do it.
FREE MATCH TUESDAY…
Since it’s been a while since my last submission on PWTorch.com, I wanted to deliver two matches featuring folks in last night’s show:
Keith Lee vs. Minoru Suzuki (OTT)
I thought this was a pretty fun showcase for both men, got really crazy outside of the ring and the finish was pretty slick:
Satoshi Kojima vs. Johnny Smith (MLW)
Good match from back in the day – Kojima, the MLW champion, versus the world-traveled Johnny Smith. I really liked this match’s ability to illustrate how much Smith was underrated when he wrestled, much like Kojima’s career at times as well:
That’s it for now. If you enjoyed this, or have things you’ve agreed or disagreed with, hit me up on Twitter www.twitter.com/rich_fann or feel free to email email@example.com.