AEW FEUD TRACKER: Assessing and grading Joe vs. Swerve vs. Hangman, Sting & Darby vs. Young Bucks, Storm vs. Purazzo, Kingston vs. Danielson, more

By Zach Barber, PWTorch contributor


This week Dynamite is back in my home state, deep in the heart of Texas. The show isn’t as loaded as it was last week but there is a huge opportunity for Tony Khan to make a bold and brave booking decision. There’s also a movie premiere on the docket. This should be a fun show. Hopefully Texas does me as proud as they normally do me. With that being said, in the words of Olmec from my favorite ’90s Nickelodeon game show Legends of the Hidden Temple, “Let’s rock”!

Samoa Joe vs. Hangman Page vs. Swerve Strickland

“Hangman” Page and Swerve Strickland had another excellent match. I don’t think it’s actually possible for them to have a bad match. Swerve got a fantastic near fall on Hangman following a Buckshot Lariat and Swerve Stomp. In the end, the match ended in a time limit draw just as Swerve had Hangman pinned after a JML Driver. I didn’t mind the draw conceptually. I just wish that AEW was consistent with reminding us of the time in every other match so that a draw isn’t telegraphed by time reminders.

While I would’ve preferred a straight up Swerve vs. Joe one-on-one, it did feel like a triple threat was in the works.

As far as the rankings go, I don’t think this outcome invalidates them. Swerve and Hangman were ranked no. 1 and no. 2 and they were put in the match to determine who would face Joe. Hangman, therefore, was correct when he said that Swerve had to beat him to get the shot at Joe.

Not only did the match accomplish setting up the triple threat, it also accomplished the double turn of Swerve and Hangman. Now the stage is set. Hangman is the embittered, slightly crazed heel. Swerve is the edgy, effortlessly cool babyface. Joe is the unflappable, badass veteran champion. It’s just a matter of how efficiently TV is used between now and then to enhance that dynamic.

Grade: A-

Sting & Darby Allin vs. The Young Bucks

Rejoice! Sting and Darby are the new AEW World Tag Team Champions. The match was physical and featured Sting doing a Batman dive off of the balcony and Darby eating a massive Boss Man Slam from Big Bill on the floor. In the end, Sting pinned Ricky Starks after a Scorpion Death Drop. Sting invited his sons into the ring to celebrate with him and Darby. The celebration was short-lived, however, when the Young Bucks hit the ring and attacked everyone with aluminum baseball bats.

Darby was busted open, his blood staining the white suits of Mathew and Nicholas Jackson. The Bucks had a squash match on Rampage after which they cut a promo that painted them as disingenuous jerks which to me is their sweet spot. They vowed to climb the rankings and earn a tag title shot. That starts this week with a match against Top Flight. If the Bucks stick to their word, this climb should produce some interesting, quality matchups. They certainly have heat on themselves now for the eventual match against Darby & Sting.

Grade: A+

Toni Storm vs. Deonna Purazzo

Over the course of the last week Toni Storm set out to prove that she has the same technical prowess as her challenger. Between the match with Red Velvet and the much better match with Queen Aminata she showed that despite her whackadoodle persona she is still a very good wrestler. Deonna Purazzo’s rollout continues to be the best rollout Tony Khan’s done for a newly arrived women’s star. She’s being presented as a star and getting to show off her technical skills. This week Toni Storm will release her newest silent film entitled Wet Ink which I’m guessing has to do with tattoos. It’s been a minute since we’ve seen one of these and they’re always funny. I can’t wait to see Deonna’s reaction to it because so far, she’s been nonplussed by Toni’s antics.

Grade: A


What a difference a week makes. The Blackpool Combat Club were feuding with luchadors from CMLL as of a week ago. While Mox and Claudio defeated Star Jr and Esfinge on Collision, The CMLL guys invited the BCC to come visit them at Arena Mexico. That would seem to indicate this feud is only on pause and that it will restart when the BCC decides to invade the sacred Mexico City venue. Meanwhile Mox laid out a challenge to the locker room to step up and get stepped on. FTR immediately answered the call and within seconds a pull-apart brawl broke out. The idea of a pick’em feud between FTR and BCC for pride and proving who the better team is sounds very intriguing to me. It’s not about good vs bad, it’s just about two fighting for the sheer joy of fighting and to determine who’s better. Sounds sports-like to me.

Grade: A

Adam Copeland & Daniel Garcia vs. Christian Cage

Suddenly this story took an unexpected and interesting turn. Adam Copeland has been holding the Cope Open for weeks now to build up wins and earn another shot against Christian Cage. At the same time, Daniel Garcia has been building up some quality wins of his own to the tune of five straight victories, four against competitive opponents. In particular he got the winning pinfall in a trios match against the Patriarchy. This past Saturday he decided to shoot his shot and challenge Copeland for the right to face Christian Cage. While he built in a nice out for himself, it feels like this is a rare opportunity to flip the script and go in a different direction. Copeland shouldn’t defeat Christian for the title so he’d only lose again anyway. Putting Daniel Garcia over would be a great use of Copeland’s cache and help along Garcia’s rebuilding process. It would also create a match with an unpredictable outcome which sounds more interesting than a Copeland/Christian redux with an obvious winner.

Grade: B+

Julia Hart & Skye Blue vs. Kris Statlander & Willow Nightingale

Following Stat and Willow’s win over Ruby Soho and Saraya, Skye Blue and Julia Hart appeared out the darkness. The next night Stokely cut a hilarious promo about Julia and Skye shopping at Hot Topic and listening to Evanescence. Willow then challenged her former friend to a match. Julia Hart and Skye Blue confronting Stat and Willow was a weird choice. I don’t know why we’re revisiting this feud when there are several other options for challengers for Julia’s TBS title. I was hoping that Serena Deeb or Thunder Rosa would get in the mix. Nonetheless we’ll see where this goes.

Grade: B-

Eddie Kingston vs. Bryan Danielson

Kingston challenged Danielson to a match at Revolution. Danielson was in Osaka, Japan putting on a technical masterpiece with Zack Sabre Jr. Nonetheless Tony Khan made the match official. I’m sure we’ll here from both men at some point this week.

Grade: N/A

Ruby Soho vs. Saraya

I’m marking this as an official feud now because we had some big movement in this story. When Ruby and Saraya came out for their match against Statlander and Willow, Ruby was reading a note. At the end of the match, Ruby walked out on Saraya just as Saraya reached for a tag. She then punched Harley Cameron in the face. The Outcasts are done. Ruby is a face again. Now we just need to know what was in the note and who wrote it. I can certainly see a Zero Hour match coming out of this situation. I’m just glad Ruby doesn’t have to look clueless anymore.

Grade: B+

House of Black vs. Mark Briscoe

Mark Briscoe engaged in a very physical match with Brody King. Unfortunately, the redneck kung fu was no match for Brody’s power and he emerged victorious. He was satisfied with victory though. He held Briscoe in place while Julia Hart drove a railroad spike into his head. It was a gruesome scene that left Briscoe a bloody mess. I’m sure the Sussex County chicken will want some revenge. I just hope he brings some backup this time.

Grade: A

Orange Cassidy vs. Roderick Strong:

Well, the Undisputed Kingdom took some baby steps towards being a decent faction. They attacked Chuck Taylor ahead of trios match against OC and the Best Friends which the Undisputed Kingdom won. Following Cassidy’s grueling but successful title defense against Tomohiro Ishii on Collision, the UK attacked, hitting OC with a spiked piledriver. Again, these are baby steps but at least the Undisputed Kingdom is being presented as a violent, dangerous group. There’s still a long way to go.

Grade: B-

Don Callis Family vs. Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara

After a messy match Takeshita forced Jericho to tap out to his own Lion Tamer submission. That’s quite the statement. Hopefully that wraps up Jericho’s portion of this feud. Hobbs and Guevara brawled away from ringside during the match. That should set up their match. Hobbs should win that and then everyone can move on to something new, please. Pretty please.

Grade: B- (Purely on the strength of Takeshita submitting Jericho to his own finisher)

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