As the first PPV event of the new year for AEW beckons on the horizon we have a few more stops to make on the way. On Wednesday we exit stage left to Atlanta, GA which will play host to All Elite Wrestling for the fist time. Last week we saw another title change as Riho suffered a rare loss in a big moment which saw Nyla Rose take the Women's Championship. In my opinion, Nyla should've won the title back in October instead of Riho this way the plucky underdog could've went on the chase, but that didn't happen. Now we can see if AEW can build the Women's division to the point where we could see a variety of credible challengers for the new Women's Champion. The Women's division has been a very weak point for AEW since the very beginning now that we are in the new year we can hope that more continuity and long term planning for a weak division.
Shifting gears to a very strong suit for AEW recently and it is the build up of the feud between Cody and MJF. It is far to say at this point that this feud is one of the best built up rivalries in recent memory. The expectations keep rising for AEW as we draw closer to Revolution in two weeks and so far it seems like it could go either way, but I firmly believe we won't be disappointed. This week Wardlow will be making his highly anticipated debut against Cody in a Steel Cage and with Jeff Cobb's anticipated debut against Jon Moxley this promises to be a massive episode of Dynamite. The war rages on and NXT will need to pull out all the stops this week to attempt to keep pace.
Things got a little bit more interesting this week on Dynamite when a major announcement came down that Chris Jericho had a bounty hunter. Drawing comparisons to Dr. Death Steve Williams is former 2004 Olympian Jeff Cobb. I honestly don't know a lot about Jeff Cobb other than his run in Ring of Honor and winning the Television Championship and team in New Japan with Michael Elgin. Cobb would have his first opportunity on a national level even though he was under a mask it was still his first shot on television. In 2016, Cobb would join Pro-Wrestling Guerrilla and saw his stock in wrestling rise much like it has for so many others once they arrive in PWG.
In my opinion, Cobb was presented in his debut as a destroyer and the fact that he has joined the Inner Circle gives him immediate credibility in AEW and on a national level for the first time in his career. Think about this if they brought him in as Jericho's chosen bounty hunter it's not just going to be a match where Moxley can barrel over him next week. They need to make Cobb look like a million bucks or at least good enough to not lose credibility next week against Moxley. I applaud AEW for the continuity and Moxley continuing to play up his eye injury it's nice to see at least one wrestling care about the small stuff. Moxley vs Cobb promises to be a slug fest next week on Dynamite and will be a major final test for Jon ahead of Revolution on February 29 when he will finally meet Chris Jericho for the World Title.
In all honesty it is hard to put into words what happened last week on Dynamite when MJF and Cody stood in that ring and told a simple story. The emotion and sympathy they were able to bring out of the fans and those watching last week was amazing it has been a long time since a segment took on that type of ride. Reality is WWE took me on a ride when Edge returned and Randy Orton proceeded to end that feel good story. Shifting gears Cody and MJF did exactly the same thing last week getting more emotion out of me then I thought they would especially when Brandi appeared for emotional support. The story of Cody and MJF will be the feud of the year or at least extremely hard to beat.
Since the start of AEW last year there have been some people that have struggled to find their footing in All Elite and one of those men is Jimmy Havoc. In my opinion, they need to keep letting Havoc tease a return as oppose to just having him return to television unless they have a bigger idea planned for the British star. As far as the other matches I'm unsure of Riho vs Nyla Rose, because I guessed wrong the first time around and would think it's time for a change, but is AEW ready for another title switch with the PPV right around the corner.
This past week on Dynamite is seeing MJF give Cody his 10 lashes which was a stipulation that MJF put in the way of Cody as a way for Cody to get his match with his former protege. In twenty years of watching wrestling I've only seen this type of segment once when The Sandman cained Tommy Dreamer 10x's which gave birth to Tommy becoming the ECW Legend he was destined to be. Seeing Cody in the ring getting stuck by the belt he made you feel bad for him.
In my opinion, the only reason why this segment worked is because of who was a part of it and not the type of segment it was. Prior to this segment most if not everyone who watches AEW hates MJF, because it is very difficult not to and we love Cody as he is willing to give his heart and soul every time he's in the ring. Cody would get knocked down and you could see the pain on his face and hearing MJF run his mouth or tell him to stay down, but every time Cody would get back up made Cody's stock rise more and more and allowed him to earn both respect as well as sympathy from the audience. A weaker man wouldn't have taken those lashes, a weaker man wouldn't have been able to stop himself from punching MJF in the face, but in one segment Cody showed resolve, perseverance, and heart so much so that he will use those lashes as fuel for his match with Wardlow and MJF.
I have both critiqued and criticized AEW's booking, for example I would've had Wardlow fight Cody on PPV and held off his match with MJF for later in the year. Either way the intensity level has risen again and this match promises to be a war. They showed us that even though this match could've happened later it needs to happen now otherwise the tension will boil over before long and they won't be able to wait until May at Double or Nothing. Cody vs MJF is needed for Revolution to move the feud to it's next phase and allow it to take a step forward.