Fleet Files #2: The Domino Effect

One of the biggest stars in wrestling history is on his way but first, Chris Jericho has a date with death. Elsewhere, Eddie Kingston is now the industry’s premier colour commentator and a promotion-long arc nears its apparent conclusion. Juvi be damned, no new signing can take my eyes off this week. Fleet Files folks, let’s get to it.

Match of the Week

This speaks for itself, the week’s five best matches. 1 point for the five spot, 2 for the fourth and upward from there.

  1. The Super Elite vs. The Dark Order – Dynamite: Fight for the Fallen

For me, this was bliss. Though I find so few of them truly fulfilling, I simply love the idea of Survivor Series matches. This was exactly that, but armed with a powerful narrative and stakes too, a morality play of the highest order. For all the moves, for all the sequences, this was a matter of drama and emotion. Don’t believe me? Know that the result alone broke people’s hearts enough that they’ll probably never revisit this match. That’s pro wrestling at its best, what a ride.

2. No Rules: Chris Jericho vs. Nick Gage – Dynamite: Fight for the Fallen

For about five minutes, this wasn’t the horror movie I expected. Instead, it was the very scary thought that had been lingering in the back of my mind since last week. As just a mere brawl, this was pretty bad, plodding along until the match found its home: Nick Gage’s world. Bless his heart, Jericho lived in that land willingly, allowing Gage to guide things with his (almost) typical violence, producing an absolute spectacle in this week’s Dynamite main event.

3. Jungle Boy vs. Marq Quen – Dark Elevation #20

On an edition of Dark Elevation that bell to bell, produced better results than the norm, this stole the show. Opening the programme up, Jungle Boy did his thing, having an engaging C-Show bout but I must say, Quen amazed me here. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him look so genuinely comfortable, let alone in a singles setting, he really struck a balance here though. It’s something I’ll try to look for moving forward but either way, Jungle Boy certainly brought the best out of Quen in this one.

4. Lucha Bros vs. Alan Angels & 10 – Dark Elevation #20

No need to overcomplicate things here, as simply put, I must’ve forgot. Rey Fenix is just different folks, he moves unlike any other wrestler on earth and wow, was that evident even here. It may be just another C-Show for everyone else but for Fenix, it was a chance to be back where he belongs, flying around in his latest thriller. To their credit, the Dark Order duo were worthy adversaries also, making this an exciting showcase of moves, which is all it needed to be.

5. FTR vs. Santana & Ortiz – Dynamite: Fight for the Fallen

This was a real shame. Following the 10-man tag as well as an appearance from Hiroshi Tanahashi, this one already felt as though it was fighting uphill but just as they found their way, an untimely injury stopped them in their tracks. I’d love to see this thing’s natural conclusion and think we’ll get that before long also, as thankfully, Cash Wheeler appears to be okay, relatively speaking of course. Either way, what we got here was good, I just want more.

C-Show Stealer

With only three places as a lesser category, this is a nod to AEW’s more subdued C-Show titans. They missed out on match of the week, but entertained regardless.

  1. Kris Statlander & Tay Conti vs. Madi Wrenkowski & The Bunny – Dark Elevation #20

To be totally honest, I didn’t really expect anything much here, but it steadily emerged as a strong little tag match. The dynamic with Kris and Tay was wonderful, with the latter’s sheer energy being a constant delight on these shows. Honestly, this is the kind of match that I’d like to see on the eventual Rampage, just with some storyline depth of course.

2. Dante Martin & The Varsity Blondes vs. Ryan Nemeth & The Acclaimed – Dark Elevation #20

I’ll be honest, I don’t really want to list this here. The category’s description tells me that Scorpio Sky’s sprint with Fuego Del Sol actually belongs, but this match has Dante Martin. Listen, it’s a steady six-man tag but in the closing seconds of this match, Martin exploded into an onslaught of offence that left even Taz speechless. He’s outrageous, give it a look.

3. Angelico vs. Marko Stunt – Dark Elevation #20

Listen, I’ll defend Marko Stunt’s role in AEW forever, I’ll die on that hill. He’s peak C-Show wrestling, allowing for such wacky dynamics as he unlocks almost everyone as an 80s WWF big man. Sometimes at least, Angelico was no different, sparking the hilarity that you’d expect. Basically, Angelico just kicked ass though, stretching Stunt for a much-needed win. Loved it, don’t care that it wasn’t ‘good.’

The Promo Pack

The second of our three A-categories, this award also quite literally speaks for itself, the promotion’s five best verbal offerings.

  1. Jon Moxley – Dynamite: Fight for the Fallen

Almost introduced as an analyst before Chris Jericho vs. Nick Gage, Jon Moxley had different plans. Dismissing Hiroshi Tanahashi, Moxley pushed the forbidden door even further open, remaining as charismatic as ever after last week’s rare loss against Lance Archer. Moxley only needs a minute or two to stay over, that’s the beauty of him here.

2. Ricky Starks – Dynamite: Fight for the Fallen

It wasn’t an especially AEW segment, but Ricky Starks made the most of his Dynamite talking time. Further distancing himself from Brian Cage, Starks showed the charm and wit that’s catapulted him to the top of so many big boards. In another format on a different show, with a more memorable conclusion, this promo would’ve truly stuck but even as is, Starks’ delivery can’t be doubted.

3. Darby Allin – Dynamite: Fight for the Fallen

I know, I know, this obviously wasn’t a great promo in truth. It didn’t intend to be though, it was thirty seconds for the sake of a hint and after two crazy hours, this still commanded a headline or two. Allin’s delivery was fine, the content as basic as could be but the audience’s reaction, both live and at home ensures that this belongs in The Promo Pack.

4. Nick Gage – Dynamite: Fight for the Fallen

Credit to AEW, this whole presentation just worked. It was simple and direct, establishing Nick Gage with ease. Gage himself deserves the plaudits though, both for fitting the bill once the bell rung but also for maintaining that famed authenticity. In his pre-tape promo here, Gage set the tone perfectly, the outlaw assassin, a mercenary there to murder.

5. Miro – Dark Elevation #20/Dynamite: Fight for the Fallen

Definitely cheating here, but don’t want to feature King again just for his efforts on commentary. Instead, I’ll avoid the allegations of bias, opting for Miro’s double dip, offering two promos this week. In both cases, it was just standard Miro content really, but that’s more than enough for me, earning him the final spot in this edition’s Promo Pack. Lee Johnson is next for Miro, but I’m desperate to find out his eventual PPV programme.

Squashes to See

Good television wrestling needs many ingredients, but it never forgets the squash matches. Here are the week’s three funniest showcase bouts.

  1. Luchasaurus vs. Jora Johl – Dark Elevation #20

It was a quiet week in terms of hilarious squash matches, so this was a no-brainer. While not as incredibly blunt as a Wardlow special, this had its own appeal, as I didn’t actually expect a complete squash match. Johl is like, an actual roster guy seemingly, so this caught me off guard and as a result, locked up an uncompetitive 1-seed.

2. Eddie Kingston vs. Serpentico – Dark Elevation #20

Spending most of the night on commentary, Eddie Kingston was a real highlight of Dark Elevation. This match was no different, including a wonderful chop sell from Serpentico. It’s Kingston though, so it strayed from a straight squash slightly, costing it the top spot but remaining funny enough to remain ranked.

3. Thunder Rosa vs. Myka Madrid/Julia Hart – Dark Elevation #20/Dynamite: Fight for the Fallen

Yes, I’ve done it again, more cheating unfortunately. Look folks, I’ve already conceded that in terms of squashes, it wasn’t a week loaded with grins so let’s just take the Rosa combo, especially considering that she’s now officially All Elite. In terms of the actual matches, the first one was a cleaner effort, but she kicked ass either way.

The Fleet Five

Our third and final A-category, The Fleet Five is simple, the promotion’s five best performers of that particular week. All the above decides this, so it’s a big one.

  1. Nick Gage

I don’t even care man, this was Nick Gage’s week. He may never reappear in this series but in many ways, that proves my point. What Gage did this week will live forever, a feat befitting his already legendary status in the death match domain. On Wednesday, Gage brought that to the wider wrestling world, sharing the ring with a hall of famer along the way. MDK.

2. John Silver

Months removed from his last outing, John Silver was back and better than ever on Wednesday. What a hidden gem Silver has proved to be, now not only one of the promotion’s most dynamic workers, but also a beloved character. Great to have him back, and his performance here was immense.

3. Kenny Omega

Even in a 10-man tag, Kenny Omega’s continued brilliance is impossible to ignore. The more he was involved, the better this thing got, bringing that familiar combination of high octane action and rich, palpable drama. He’s a special performer in special form, a pleasure to watch.

4. Chris Jericho

This wasn’t a great Chris Jericho performance, it was a great showcase of what’s made him so special. Even after three decades, Jericho remains selfless as ever, still accepting the industry’s never-ending evolution. He didn’t need to give Gage so much, but he did, because that’s the Chris Jericho way.

5. Hangman Page

Mostly hidden until the final portion, Hangman Page could only climb so high here. With that being said, he was the match of the week’s heart and soul, utilizing that emotional investment for an enthralling closing stretch. Page is immense, over as ever and this week, even receiving the star presentation that his popularity demands.

League Leaders

Updated weekly, this is the result of our above categories. Below is your current top 10, the All Elite Fleet’s league leaders thus far. Tiebreaker is my preference, grow up.

  1. Jon Moxley – 19 Points
  2. Lance Archer – 12 Points
  3. Nick Gage – 11 Points
  4. Orange Cassidy – 10 Points
  5. John Silver – 9 Points
  6. Chris Jericho – 8 Points
  7. Kenny Omega – 8 Points
  8. Eddie Kingston – 6 Points
  9. Hangman Page – 6 Points  
  10. Marq Quen – 6 Points

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