Now that the dust has cleared from AEW's latest pay-per-view, it's time to pick ourselves up and see what we can learn from the triumphs and the failures of Revolution 2021.
Overall, I think that AEW put on a good show this past weekend. Each match on the card had great moments, even the matches that seemed destined only to have one outcome delivered some excellent moments in the ring, and matches that had very little hype turned out to be bangers. The main event delivered from bell to bell even though the explosion at the end turned out to be a bit of a dud. If I had to give a grade to Revolution overall, I would say it gets a C+ to a B-.
Now that we know how I felt overall about the show let's look at my takeaways from Revolution 2021.
1. The Ladder Match
The build to this ladder match felt a bit rushed to begin with, but that doesn't necessarily mean it is bad. This match was a great showcase for guys like Penta El Zero M, Lance Archer, and Max Caster and served as an excellent place to debut one of AEW's latest signings, Ethan Page. I also thought the story told with Cody's injury and Scorpio Sky having to overcome the company's face at the end of the match was really good.
I have two takeaways from this match, and the first one is that dumb brass ring. I get it; Vince McMahon's arbitrary brass ring metaphor made a lot of guys very bitter. It also worked well for the story that Cody wanted to tell with himself and Scorpio Sky. That being said, the massive ring looked dumb. Tony Khan should've taken one look at that gold tire and quickly sent someone out to find a briefcase. The ring is so unimportant to the story, but AEW decided to keep it. The takeaway here is that AEW needs to stop being so caught up in getting every detail exactly how they want it and try to look at things from an outside perspective.
My second takeaway is the build following this ladder match. Having Scorpio Sky immediately face Darby Allin on the next episode of Dynamite feels way too rushed. AEW should've had Sky confront Allin this week and set the match for Dynamite's next special episode. Having this quick of a turnaround almost guarantees that Sky will not be taking the belt off of Darby, although we have been swerved in the TNT title scene before (Brodie Lee squashing Cody).
2. Commentary In Cinematic Matches
The cinematic street fight with Darby Allin and Sting taking on Team Taz was really well shot and told a great story. This match stands up to some of the best cinematic matches of this pandemic era, except for one thing. The entire match was being weighed down by unnecessary commentary. Dramatic moments fell flat because one of the four people on the commentary team would be mid-sentence. When commentary wasn't stepping on moments, it was wholly unnecessary. Tony Schiavone screaming "It's Hook! It's Hook!" felt out of place with the match's intended tone.
Cinematic matches are inherently different than a normal wrestling match. The best thing that can be done is to present it how it was intended to be. AEW had a top cinematic match on their hands, but they made the worst call they could've by having commentary stomp all over it.
3. It Is Time To Take The Belt Off Of Shida
I am a fan of having a dominant champion, but at this point, the bit has gotten stale. We don't see Shida enough on Dynamite to really root for her. She really only comes out for special episodes of Dynamite and pay-per-views, but every other week, she is either on the sidelines or isn't present at all.
This match against Ryo Mizunami proved to me once again that AEW has no idea what they are doing with their women's division. I get that they might not be able to get Ryo for a long-term contract, but having her beat Shida at Revolution and drop the belt in a few weeks to someone like Britt Baker or Thunder Rosa would've been a great way to put Shida back on the title chase and maybe on our screens more often.
AEW decided to go with Shida getting yet another win, but it really is setting AEW fans to wonder if anyone will ever be in the position to take the title off of Shida or if AEW has any idea of what to do with their women's division after she is no longer champion.
2. Excellent Signings
I know some fans online expected someone like CM Punk or Brock Lesnar to be AEW's big announced signing, but if we are honest, we always knew it would be someone the size of Christian Cage. Christian is an excellent addition to the roster as not only someone who is cleared to wrestle and seems to have quite a few more matches in him, but also as someone who can pass down what he has learned to the next generation of talent. We don't know what is next for Cage in AEW, but it certainly seems like he will have an interesting future there.
The other big signing was the addition of All Ego Ethan Page. Page debuted in the Face of The Revolution Ladder Match and had a pretty decent showing for himself there. AEW is the perfect home for a guy like Ethan Page, who is still relatively young and has a super high ceiling wherever he goes.
Both of these signings are really good for AEW on the whole, and I hope that we see both Christian Cage and Ethan Page getting utilized to the best of their abilities.
1. The Explosion
Ok, you know we have to talk about the explosion. Let me start off by saying that the Exploding Barbed Wire Death Match was actually very good and did a fantastic job of riding the line between mainstream wrestling and very niche hardcore styles. There were some brutal spots, but nothing seemed too far into the blood and guts for the typical wrestling fan.
But after the match was when things got messy, the timer counted down to 0, and the explosion was a dud. I will say I did not expect AEW actually to blow up the ring, but I did expect more than this. AEW could've easily fixed this with either a ring implosion (which is fairly common to do) or just changing the camera angle and helping the audience at home see it as a bigger explosion.
The lesson here isn't that AEW should stop overpromising or that they shouldn't do a match like this again, but instead, they need to own up when a mistake like this happens or at the very least stop trying to act like this was the plan all along. I think that AEW had some magic on their hands with this match, but they failed to stick the landing. It happens to every promotion at some point, and they just need to move on from it.
I don't think I can add much to the conversation around the exploding barbed wire deathmatch other than that. I thought it was good, and it sucks that the ending will take away from that.
Overall AEW Revolution had its ups and downs, but I would still say that the promotion did a good job with this PPV. What do you think? Let me know by tweeting at me @robbydeshazer!
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