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  • Connor Ewens

Let's Review: TNA Rebellion and AEW Dynasty 2024

Sorry it's late! Been a busy bee this week. I finally found some free time to check out Rebellion and Dynasty since the feedback has been mostly positive about both shows. TNA's last show Hard to Kill was a banger of a show, AEW's last show Revolution was also very good. Will Nic Nemeth finally finish his redemption story? Will Swerve finally prove that it is indeed Swerve's house? Let's dive right in. Let's review.

TNA Rebellion, April 20th 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada

The pre-show saw Laredo Kid defeat Crazzy Steve for the Digital Media championship and Spitfire defeat Decay to retain the Knockouts Tag Championships. I don't want the pre-shows anymore, but both matches seemed to be fine. Hopefully Laredo will do more with the TNA DM title than Steve has done. No offence to the guy.

The show began with DJ Ashba playing the National Anthem on a guitar. Neat.

Mustafa Ali (c) defeats Jake Something, X-Division Championship- ****

What a great way to kick off the main card. This was a simple story of small guy vs big guy, brains vs braun. Ali was able to use his speed and intelligence to outsmart Something to remain in control as much as possible. Something might be TNA's most underrated performer. He is fantastic. His reversal of a headscissors into a powerbomb was so clean, I had never seen that done before. Ali uses his Secret Service goons to hit his 450 for a great near fall. Something looks like he might be able to do it, but Ali rakes the eyes and uses a leverage pin with the ropes to retain. This was great, another occasion of TNA kicking off the night in the strongest way.

Rich Swann w/AJ Francis defeats Joe Hendry- **

Huge support for Hendry here. His entrance video had CGI versions of Swann and Francis dancing to his song. That was the best part of this whole thing. This was heavy on Swann heel antics, who kept cheating to stay in control. When Hendry finally took control, it cut to Francis getting into it with his "friend" in the crowd, former NFL star Shawn Merriman. However, it was all a ruse as Merriman struck Hendry as Francis distracted the referee. This was weak, a TV match with booking I didn't like. Hendry is a star that TNA need to really get behind, he is over with a great character and good wrestling ability. He should have went over, I imagine this leads to a rematch which Hendry will win, then hopefully he will win the third and final match too. This was very basic and probably the weakest thing on the show.

Frankie Kazarian defeats Eric Young, Full Metal Mayhem- ***1/4

A feud a lot of people want to end as it hasn't generated many good matches. I'm on board with Kaz as a heel and I hope he does get at least one reign as the world champion. This match featured a cameo from Janice, a wooden board filled with nails introduced by TNA legend Abyss, not related to Spike which is Adam Copeland's copycat weapon. This was a good hardcore match to pay off a rather intense rivalry, the spear through the ropes into the table was the coolest spot of the match. Unfortunately, the match ended with a botch as Kaz goes for a Flux Capacitor from the top rope through a table, but they don't get enough distance and Young under-rotates. He cuts his head on the table as well as landing on it, losing but immediately is given medical attention after the bell. I hope he is okay, that finish was gnarly. Hopefully this is the end of this now, Kaz can move on to another top face.

Steve Maclin comes out and discusses his contract, he is happy with everything except he has one final demand. He wants a match tonight. The boss Santino Marella comes out and says he just signed another wrestler who is happy to accept the challenge. It is Mike Santana! His first appearance in this company for 5 years. He got a good pop. TNA is the perfect place for Santana to return. We have an impromptu match.

Mike Santana defeats Steve Maclin- ***

This was exactly what it needed to be. A short and sweet battle to showcase Santana, remind us of who he is and how good he is. Santana gets the win with a lariat finish he calls Spin the Block. I look forward to what Santana does in TNA, I see him doing great things if he is booked right.

The System cut a promo ahead of their matches tonight, earlier on the pre-show we saw Alisha Edwards stand alongside Masha Slamovich but the faction claim she is not part of the group. Moose says he wil have NFL legend John Abraham in his corner. Who??? Sorry, I don't follow football.

The System (c) defeat Speedball Mountain, Tag Championships- ***1/2

Having Brian Myers and Eddie Edwards retain here was the right call, the faction have built up good momentum over the past few months and I see them reigning over the division for a little while now. This was a very good match, good psychology as the heels targeted the knee of Trent Seven and worked over it throughout. Seven sold it well and it played a big part in their team's failure to win as Seven struggled through big moves. There was a spot I disliked, when Seven was trapped in a single-leg Boston crab but instead of trying to break it as quickly as possible, Mike Bailey is happy to show off his kicking ability to try break it. You would have looked like an utter twat if Seven was forced to tap out then. Seven did a nice shout out to both Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne, friends and former tag partners, using their signature offence and even attempting a Bitter End. System win with the Roster Cut/Boston Knee Party combo. Bailey continues to slide into that "great performer but too much unnecessary flashy bollocks" category that prevents me from love watching him wrestle.

Josh Alexander defeats Alex Hammerstone, Last Man Standing- ***3/4

It is another great match by these two and another that just didn't stick the landing quite like their first. Both men are incredible wrestlers, the match was fitting of the feud but I don't think it fit the strengths of either man. They had a hard hitting match with Alexander winning the feud. Interesting booking choice, I think they want to position Alexander for a world title challenge soon. Hammerstone can recover from this, the guy is a beast and debuted in TNA with their top guy. He is going to be fine. Whilst the thumbtack spot added to the intensity, it felt a little out of place somehow for this match up. Still, very good match. Alexander has quickly became one of my favourite wrestlers.

We had part 4 of Jonathan Gresham's therapy and I immediately had to go check out the other parts. I LOVED THIS. Gresham always stuck out to me as a great wrestler, but I didn't buy his character. I am invested in this though. That octopus looking mask was awesome. If this pays off, I see this being a huge character for TNA that could rival the 'Broken' Universe. More on that later...

Jordynne Grace (c) defeats Stephanie de Lander, Knockouts Championship- **

Okay, positives first. When it was a simple match, the action was solid as Lander really held her own against the champ. Also, with the Grace wins feeling more and more predictable, I appreciate TNA trying something a little different to make this an absolutely bonkers match where anything could have happened. In saying that, they overbooked this far too much and it really hurt. Within minutes Grace and Lander quickly became shadows to all of the run-ins. After a ref bump, we saw Lander use the title to knock Grace out. Jon Skylar from her faction the Good Hands put on the referee shirt (because that is how wrestling works) and he counts the 1-2-... lights go out. They return and PCO is in the ring. Okay? He helps Grace fight the odds. Then Lander tries to seduce PCO, he rejects her (silly man) and goes to attack her but he is stopped by his rival Kon, another run in. This feud is still going apparently. Kon knocks PCO out, so Grace attacks him but the Good Hands are back and Grace is at their mercy until again, the lights go out. Sami Callihan returns! He clears out the field, Grace hits the Juggernaut driver and retains. This was super messy, an overbooked Russo-esque match that felt like an excuse to shoe horn all of these appearances on to the card. Seeing Callihan back is cool, but it didn't need to be like this. Grace and Lander deserve a better, cleaner match. A 2.5 or higher downgraded for the bullshit.

Moose (c) defeats Nic Nemeth, TNA World Championship- ***1/2

As soon as Nemeth said his family were going to be here watching, I knew he was losing. TNA I believe are going for the Cody Rhodes route, where Nemeth has to overcome more obstacles to finally have his redemption of proving he deserves to be a world champion again. They went for an epic main event match, it was very good but I don't think it was quite as good as we expect from these 2. I don't think the chemistry was all there. This was still hard fought and both men put in a big effort, but the story was about how the night ended.

As Moose celebrates, the video screen glitches and the lights go out. Then we hear iconic laughter as Matt Hardy returns! A huge pop, he hits a twist of fate and chants delete whilst holding the TNA title. I never even considered him appearing for TNA again. I love this, a great place for Matt to wrapup his career and I imagine his brother will be shortly behind him. TNA might have the most stacked roster they have ever had, definitely hasn't been this loaded since the mid 2000s.

Overall, TNA delivered the goods once again with a mostly great show with only 2 weak matches. It wasn't on par with Hard to Kill, but there was a lot going on here and plenty of build to make me want to tune in to TNA the following week. A very good show indeed. Maybe TNA are going to be okay without Scott D'Amore? Time will certainly tell.

AEW Dynasty, April 21st 2024 in St. Louis, Missouri

The Zero-hour saw Trent Baretta defeat Matt Sydal, Orange Cassidy and Katsuyori Shibata defeat Shane Taylor Productions and Bullet Club Gold defeat The Acclaimed in a winner takes all match. The BCG are now the ROH and AEW Trios champions. Seemed like a bunch of TV quality matches. I'm happy the BCG won but the 6-man titles have zero momentum in both AEW and ROH, they feel like props to keep the Gold going strong until they have bigger and better plans for them. On with the main show!

Kazuchika Okada (c) defeats PAC, Continental Championship- ****3/4

Okada has transitioned from the puroresu style into the AEW hybrid very well, him joining the Young Bucks as heel EVP's has been perfect and I fully expect AEW to run Okada vs Omega once Kenny is healthy. Yeah, this match was a fucking banger. PAC is from my hometown so I have bias. These two had a physical 20 minute match simply to try and be the better wrestler. PAC selling of the barricade DDT was spectacular. Okada's shotgun dropkick was insane, it looked like it actually killed him. I also loved him teasing the Rainmaker pose, just to throw up the middle finger instead. He is great. Top heel work. Okada retaining with the Rainmaker was predictable, but still a great match.

House of Black defeat Adam Copeland, Eddie Kingston and Mark Briscoe- ***3/4

The House have reliably been the best faction from an in-ring perspective in AEW, they have such unmatched cohesion. I'm glad they got the win, even at the expense of 3 singles champions. House of Black were the stand-outs here, but the faces held their own too. I'm getting Eddie Kingston fatigue, amazing talker but I'm getting a little sick of his in-ring work being the same each time. I also feel like he is more of a comedy character than they mean to be. The synchronised three spears was cool though. This was a great tag contest, they're setting up Black vs Copeland which I am more than happy with.

Willow Nightingale defeats Julia Hart (c), TBS Championship- **

Just fine, this was kept short I believe because Hart was nursing an injury, which also makes sense why she lost so quickly and without taking too much offence. Willow needed a big win, she is over as being very likeable but in wrestling that does eventually wear off. Look at Bayley's career. She needs results and she got one here. Now she can win for a few weeks in a row before losing to Mercedes Mone at Double or Nothing. Another predictable outcome. I understand they want Mone to debut on a grand scale, but she should have wrestled here. They're waiting too long, the iron is getting cool.

Roderick Strong (c) defeats Kyle O'Reilly, International Championship- ****1/2

I expected this to have a lot more emotion and storytelling going on, since these two have a close history since 2018 in WWE. Nonetheless, this match was awesome, a technical masterclass full of reversals since they are so familiar. Strong has been doing great work reminding us he is the King of the backbreaker. Kyle's selling here was insanely good, he is one of the best. Some great psychology and sequences, there is very little to complain about. The only thing being Wardlow's appearance being very dumb and useless, he did nothing! It made him look like a dork. Still, banging match.

Adam Cole is wheeled out, and he stands up! He even seems to be moving very well. I doubt he is fully ready, but hopefully he will be back sooner than later. He raises Strong's hand in victory.

Chris Jericho defeats Hook (c), FTW Championship- *3/4

What else is there to say other people haven't? Jericho winning seemed almost laughable as a result yet it still happened. Though his new "learning tree" gimmick shows he is at least aware of the criticism, that doesn't make it any better. He is no longer good enough to be wrestling like this, he needs the Sting treatment of being kept in tags or wrestling someone who can carry him. Hook ain't that guy. I know this will lead to Hook getting a win back, but he already beat Jericho! This was far too long, a boring No DQ match with a lot of sloppiness. That T-bone through a table looked like an awful bump as Jericho landed on Hook's head. Chants for Jericho to retire were loud. Hook was booked strong, but this was a bad result and a bad match.

Toni Storm (c) defeats Thunder Rosa, Women's Championship- ****

Hey look they finally gave the women more than 10 minutes for a PPV match! And guess what? It was awesome! We finally got a great match from the Toni Storm gimmick and I think props have to go to her dance partner. Thunder Rosa once again proving that she is one of the best women's wrestlers in the world today and definitely top 5 in AEW. They beat the hell out of each other. I liked how they used Purrazzo too, keeping her in and around the picture because she deserves to be.

Will Ospreay defeats Bryan Danielson- ***** There isn't much I can say that does this justice. A dream match between two of the best wrestlers on the planet and of all time? Yeah, it was fantastic. Just go watch it. The finish was interesting, assuming that it was booked that way and Bryan wasn't actually hurt. Casts the smallest taint on Will's big win.

Young Bucks defeat FTR, Ladder for vacant Tag Championships- ****

Look, I don't really like watching the Bucks anymore, I've soured on them a lot because I feel they have the same matches all of the time. On the other hand, FTR are my favourite tag team so what do I do here? I cannot deny that this was an entertaining spot fest, but that is what it was. Also, Harwood clearly takes a nasty bump into a ladder that bust him open badly and concusses him. I know it is hard to call it in the moment, but he looked pretty fucked and I think the doctors should have been a lot more involved in protecting him. The result was never in doubt and neither was the run in as Jack Perry returns to AEW to cost FTR the match. I still think the CM Punk footage airing was a terrible idea, but I think Perry is doing solid work.

Swerve Strickland defeats Samoa Joe (c), AEW World Championship- ***1/2

Far from the greatest match on the card, but still very good and the moment meant more. Strickland is the first black AEW World champion and he finally reaches the top of the mountain. This was simple but effective, though Joe has had a short reign he has brought a legitimacy that no one else could and has been great at the top. Swerve ends the night on a happy note, celebrating his first world championship.

Overall, AEW Dynasty is set to be AEW's lowest selling PPV to date and I think that shows that there is a serious problem with their business model because this was an awesome show. I'm unsure if it is because most of the matches were predictable, or if it is poor build or Tony Khan being an incompetent leader. It could be all of the above. What it is though is a shame, because these wrestlers tore it up tonight but all people talk about is Tony Khan and his behaviour on and off screen. This was a much needed great show by AEW, hopefully they can carry forward the momentum and start to turn things around business wise ahead of Double or Nothing. This show though is definitely a year-end award contender.

What did you think? Drop me a message on your thoughts about both shows. Thanks for reading, I'll see you in the next one.


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