With Cinco de Mayo falling early in the week next week and every party canceled anyway, this weekend might be a good time to sip some tequila. The blue agave spirit from Mexico’s Jalisco Highlands had a harsh reputation in the United States for decades but that’s softened as the US market fell head over heels for tequila’s premier offerings. While mezcal is the buzzed-about Mexican spirit of the moment, tequila endures.
Before we dive in, there are only two things you really need to know about tequila. One, it needs to be 100 percent blue agave-based. Two, it needs to come from the state of Jalisco (except in a few very rare exceptions). Mezcal, on the other hand, can be made from a variety of agave plants and can be made pretty much anywhere in Mexico. The location-specific and slightly more refined aspects mean that tequila is to mezcal what Tennessee whiskey is to bourbon.
The ten bottles below are all bottles of tequila worth getting delivered if you’re into switching up your cocktail game this weekend. These are by no means meant to represent the best of the best. Instead, we’re picking affordable bottles that are still perfectly fine to mix, shoot, or, in some cases, sip.
Familia Camarena Silver
Distillery: Casa Camarena, Arandas
Average Price: $21.99
This is tequila with heritage. The name is derived from a family, the Camarenas, who have been growing and harvesting blue agave and turning it into tequila for generations, reaching back centuries. This expression takes its time. The agave pinas are allowed to grow. They’re then hand-harvested and slow-roasted for days before being crushed for their juice. It’s a worthwhile endeavor that’s revealed in the quality of the end product.
This one opens up with a nice balance of vegetal depth of rich roasted agave. There’s an herbaceous underbelly that pins the sweet and slight bitter roasted agave to the thin feel of the sip. All of that adds up to a slightly tart and abrupt finish.
Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver
Distillery: Fábrica La Rojeña, Tequila
Average Price: $22.99
A quick note on styles: “Gold” tequilas have coloring and often sweeteners in them. So this expression is a technical step up from Cuervo Gold. It’s also a great standard to have on hand if you’re mixing any tequila-based cocktail (though we’d recommend their reposado or añejo for a tequila soda). Overall, it’s a decent workhorse tequila.
Beneath the alcohol, there are slight notes of spring flowers and a hint of pepper. Minor notes of citrus peek in, leaning towards grapefruit and lime as the pepper carries through, with a clear agave essence. The citrus is the lasting impression you’re left with on the short-but-not-too-rough finish.
Olmeca Altos Plata
Distillery: Casa Pedro Domecq, Arandas (Pernod Ricard)
Average Price: $24.99
Altos is another tequila that takes its time. Master distiller Jesús Hernandez brought in a team from Kentucky to dial in their highland blue agave crops and entire, old-school tequila production from field-to-glass. They operate sustainably and create a tequila that has no business being as good as it is at this price point.
Roasted agave is front-and-center with hints of bright citrus, sharp pepper, and a note of salinity. The vegetal nature leans grassy with the agave remaining the star of the show with clear hints of citrus, pepper, and fresh herbs. The earthiness leads towards an almost sweet, fruity nature on the finish.
Olmeca Altos Reposado
Distillery: Casa Pedro Domecq, Arandas (Pernod Ricard)
Average Price: $24.99
This is the same, well-made tequila as above. The difference is that this tequila spent eight to ten months mellowing in ex-bourbon barrels. The craftsmanship combined with highland aging adds up to a very big sip of tequila.
Fruit and agave mingle with citrus as flourishes of oak, vanilla, and red dirt sail in. There’s a creamy Christmas spiced pudding in the middle of the sip that mingles with roasted agave, grassiness, bourbon caramel, and a whisper of smoke. The spice, agave, cream, and a note of orange zest linger on the senses as this one slowly fades.
Distillery: Destiladora San Nicolas, Arandas (Campari America)
Average Price: $25.99
This tequila is the brainchild of master distiller Cirilo Oropeza, who captures the feel of the Jalisco Highlands in each bottle made at Destiladora San Nicolas. This expression goes into new American oak barrels for a short aging process of around three to five months. It’s just enough time for the juice to take on a new form in both taste and texture.
Sweet fruits and agave mingle with very slight hints of oak and vanilla. The vanilla builds with the sip as the fruit leans tropical with a note of banana and a clear sense of earthy roasted agave pinas. A hint of spice kicks in late as the fruit goes full sweet and sugary on the warm yet short end.
Distillery: Cazadores Distillery, Arandas (Bacardi Limited)
Average Price: $26.99
This tequila is named after hunters (cazadores). It’s made from highland blue agave and aged for a short spell. The hot juice goes into small-format new oak barrels for a short two months. The point of smaller barrels is that it takes less time to imbue the spirit with sugars from the barrel — an effect which is definitely noticeable here.
This might be one of the more accessible tastes on the list. Roasted agave, florals, fruit, spice, and oak are present upfront but all subdued. The taste has a minerality and brininess that leads to earthy agave, mild spice, sweet notes, and a slight hint of fresh herbs. For all of that, the sip ends quickly with a punch of citrus fruit and agave.
Tequila Corralejo Blanco
Distillery: Hacienda Corralejo, Pénjamo, Guanajuato
Average Price: $27.99
Corralejo is one of the few tequilas that’s allowed to call itself tequila, even though it’s not made in the right Mexican state. It’s made in Guanajuato, slightly to the east of Jalisco’s famed highlands. Even though it’s not made in Jalisco, it’s still a fine blue agave spirit that’s worth tracking down for its drinkability.
Hints of citrus zest and brine come forth. There’s a real sense of an agave field after a rainstorm when the minerals are coming up from the earth. The sip has a slight bitterness and spicy warmth that feels like it could have been much better if it had seen oak.
Distillery: Milagro Distillery, Los Altos (William Grant & Sons)
Average Price: $29.99
Milagro is all about refinement. The first step of that is in the triple distilling process with hand-selected blue agave. Then, the juice rests in ex-bourbon barrels for six months, basically taking it halfway to an añejo tequila.
Sweetened roasted agave greets you. Hints of bourbon vanilla lead towards butterscotch cut with a sharp spice before a briny nature slashes it all back towards an agave earthen base. A note of cacao bitterness comes in late and ushers in a short, warm finish.
Sauza 901 Anejo
Distillery: Sauza Tequila Import Company, Tequila (Beam Suntory)
Average Price: $29.99
Sauza usually would be a lot lower on this price list. But this expression has a little more nuance to it, thanks to the Justin Timberlake getting involved. This is JT’s baby. The Sauza 901 standard is a blanco that truly works well as a mixer. This expression is aged for 18 months and dialed up to be sipped on the rocks (or shot).
You’re greeted with spring flowers and nutty chocolate. The sip ebbs into Christmas spice territory with a throughline of vanilla, oak, banana, and a smidge of cayenne. The spice picks up at the end with a vegetal chili pepper edge accompanying the roasted agave towards a lingering, warm end.
Distillery: Destileria Teremana, Jalisco
Average Price: $31.57
Okay, okay — we know this one comes in at just over $30. Still, we’d argue it’s worth the extra $1.57, and not just because this is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s beloved brand. This tequila — named “spirit of the earth” — takes it’s time and is done right, making it the most sippable blanco on this list.
Big notes of slow-roasted agave, wet and mineral-heavy terroir, grasses, and citrus open this one up. The taste maintains the rich agave as an echo of vanilla arrives next to a hint of chili spice with fresh herbs balancing the sip. The finish is brief but reminds you of highland agave on a cool, humid morning.
Lil Baby’s deluxe version of My Turn drops in a matter of hours, but the Atlanta rapper is never one to pass up an opportunity for promotion. In this case, he’s shared the video for “Emotionally Scarred,” one of the fan-favorite songs from the original versions of the album. The video features Lil Baby rapping in an empty room with the topical message “Stay Home” projected on the bare walls behind him as he recounts the various tribulations that have left him… well… emotionally scarred.
Of course, he’s got plenty of reason to look up these days, even with the world on lockdown to combat the spread of COVID-19. My Turn turned into the Quality Control artist’s first Billboard No. 1, debuting at the top of the chart in its release week behind an indisputably flawless rollout that featured videos for nearly half of the albums songs, including “Forever” with Lil Wayne, “Heatin Up” with Gunna, and “Sum 2 Prove.”
Besides his own run of singles, he’s also been invited as a guest rapper on Stunna 4 Vegas’ “Do Dat,” Fivio Foreign’s “Big Drip” remix with Quavo, and even Drake’s “Toosie Slide” — although he forgot to send his verse on that last one. Even so, with Lil Wayne calling Lil Baby his favorite rapper and his label paying out by the truckload, Lil Baby may very well be one of the few people not left “emotionally scarred” by his 2020.
Watch Lil Baby’s “Emotionally Scarred” video above.
We are in the throes of a pandemic. Everyone (and everything) has been forced to adapt. Work meetings, the WNBA draft, the NFL draft, and drinks with friends are Zoom-enabled at best. We’ve even resorted to watching professional athletes play video games and virtual HORSE.
Nobody knows if “normal” will return, let alone when. And yet, the more things change, the more some stay the same.
The NCAA continues to refuse to take any sort of substantive action to support its athletes. The NCAA was able to capture headlines this week with some classic verbal gymnastics PR that leads many to believe that they are loosening their restrictions on the athlete’s ability to earn money off of their name, image, and likeness (NIL).
Don’t be fooled. The NCAA is no stranger to words equating to inaction.
The NCAA’s alleged landmark announcement only stated that its Board of Governors supports potential changes to its NIL rules. That said, nothing has actually changed. The Board took these recommendations from its NIL Working Group, which is largely composed of NCAA institution administrators.
It will still be months before the NCAA votes on any rule changes; those changes likely wouldn’t even be implemented until the 2021-2022 academic year at the absolute earliest, making it useless for athletes trying to survive through our current pandemic. This is the anti-Paycheck Protection Program. But that timeline gives the NCAA more runway to lobby D.C. in hopes of leveraging this faux movement on NIL reform into their long-desired federal antitrust exemption.
Meanwhile, the recommendations the NCAA published make it abundantly clear that the NCAA views these potential moves as a privilege for the athletes, not a fundamental right. Their guidelines are already riddled with red tape, and this is the most progressive version advanced by the NCAA. Still, you better believe the proposal is going to be neutered before any vote occurs.
— Inside the NCAA (@InsidetheNCAA) April 29, 2020
The world is changing at a rate with which the NCAA simply cannot keep up. And frankly, its key stakeholders have billions of reasons to lag behind.
Recently, high school superstar Jalen Green elected to jump straight from high school to the NBA G League’s new Select Team. Goodbye four months of pretending to be a college student, hello $500,000 (and access to an evergreen college scholarship, and the ability to secure endorsements, something he has already done). Shortly after Green’s announcement, former Michigan commit Isaiah Todd decided to join him rather than heading to school. UCLA signee Daishen Nix did the same simple math and joined Green and Todd.
While these announcements signaled an alarm in terms of the potential disruption of the NCAA model, many skeptics have been quick to point out that these are only three top-shelf players. This is a reasonable assessment, but the news cycles generated by these players’ choices further exposed the charade of the NCAA and have elevated an emerging trend: Elite players need not subject themselves to NCAA exploitation to make it to the NBA.
Still, for the foreseeable future, the NCAA will continue to serve as an important springboard for athletes in the broader talent pool. College ball will likely remain the best opportunity to climb from anonymity to draftability for those not projected as lottery picks in middle school for the time being.
As we begin to move past COVID-19 and grapple with the post-coronavirus world, though, the NCAA grows more vulnerable than ever, and the NBA is not the only competitor to the status quo.
Australia’s top pro league (the NBL) has already proven itself a viable training ground for emerging U.S.-born future NBA players looking to earn a living and develop their game straight out of high school — Oklahoma City Thunder wing Terrence Ferguson and 2020 draft hopefuls LaMelo Ball and R.J. Hampton have opted for its route. Stateside, the new Professional Collegiate League (PCL) will find its footing; the PCL will be the first professional college basketball league in the world providing players with salaries and college scholarships while also allowing them the opportunity to ball in the United States. (Full disclosure, I have lent my name to the PCL advisory board and strongly believe in their model.)
Beyond steady paychecks, these NCAA alternatives allow players to truly retain the rights to an invaluable asset: themselves. The ability to monetize one’s NIL is the crux of non-contact financial success, not just for superstars, but for the rank and file. A playing career is finite. Even as a professional athlete, you can only stay on the court collecting team contracts for so long.
Being an athlete (or doing anything of note) unlocks a variety of doors. Today, empowered players at the professional level routinely leverage their cultural relevance into long-term financial opportunity. Activating your strategic network while you’re still playing ball may be enough to keep a player’s finances on point long after his or her playing career is over.
While the NCAA’s announcement this week was underwhelming once you truly dig into the rhetoric, we are moving into uncharted territory for college athletics. Having alternative paths, whether they be in the United States or abroad, is going to further empower the player.
It may not be a do-or-die moment for the NCAA yet, but rest assured with every misstep along the way, they are emboldening new challengers to become legitimate threats to their precious and exploitative system. Continuing to act in its own self-interest is going to lead the NCAA further down a path of irreparable harm and competition may be just the thing to push them to the brink of irrelevance.
You’d think the lack of other sports might lead people to wrestling in this strange time of the pandemic, but I suppose the problem with that is that wrestling’s just not quite the same without a live crowd, and a lot of viewers just aren’t into the Empty Arena Experience. So viewership numbers have been down across the board in recent weeks, not just for the Wednesday Night shows, but for Monday Night Raw as well.
Last week did see AEW Dynamite gain a bit, reaching 731,000 viewers compared to NXT’s 665,000, following two weeks in a row where NXT had more viewers than Dynamite. Last night AEW was in the lead once again, although everybody’s total numbers were down.
According to Showbuzz Daily, last night’s AEW Dynamite had 693,000 viewers, compared to NXT‘s 637,000 viewers. The only number for either show that went up instead of down was Dynamite’s rating in the 18-49 demographic, which went up to 0.27 after sitting at 0.25 for the previous couple of weeks. NXT lost a bit in that same demo, going down to 0.16, compared to last week’s 0.18.
AEW came in 16th in the Cable Top 150, which is 8 places higher than last week. Meanwhile NXT dropped one spot from 50th to 51st in those rankings this week, taking it out of the Top 50.
The rumor since WrestleMania has been that Charlotte Flair was given the NXT Women’s Championship in the hope that she could bring more viewers to WWE’s Wednesday night show. Considering last night was her first match on NXT since becoming Champion, it’s safe to say that if that was indeed the plan, it’s not panning out.
Next week, AEW will be live for the first time in weeks, while NXT will be pre-taped. It will be interesting to see if that affects viewership, but since both shows will still lack live audiences, things will probably stay pretty close to where they’ve been.
With so much streaming content coming to services like YouTube and Instagram during The Great Lockdown Of 2020, it was only a matter of time until the artists and entertainers creating the content would start to stretch the definitions and limits of the form. Superproducer Mark Ronson will be making a go of it tomorrow, as he presents his “video mixtape” Love Lockdown with a plethora of special guests on YouTube. Ronson promoted his stream with a visually arresting trailer on Instagram.
While the video doesn’t make clear exactly what a “video mixtape” is, it certainly looks to be either a concert or a full-length musical project with a visual component. A number of high-profile artists make appearances in the video (and presumably on the “mixtape”), including DJs A-Trak, Afro B, D-Nice, Disclosure, Jax Jones, Lil Jon, and Peggy Gou. Singers from across the pop spectrum will appear as well, from Black Madonna to Troye Sivan, including Christine And The Queens, Lykke Li, Mabel, Miley Cyrus, and Robyn. Even Darryl Hall(!) is listed as a guest, as well as Jeff Bhasker, Miike Snow, and Tame Impala. Whether it’s a concert, a project or something new, there’s one sure thing about Love Lockdown: It’s completely stacked.
We’ll all get a chance to watch and listen Friday, May 1 at 3pm PST / 11pm BST on YouTube.
If there is a bright spot to the COVID-19 epidemic, it’s the positive environmental impact that social distancing has had on the planet. There has been a steep drop in worldwide pollution and wildlife is returning to places that were once dominated by human activity.
The pandemic has also inspired many world leaders to champion a green recovery.
Pakistan has found a great way to help its laborers who’ve lost their jobs due to the health crisis by hiring them to plant saplings as part of the country’s 10 Billion Trees program. The five-year project was launched by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan to counter the droughts, flooding, and rise in temperatures in the country caused by climate change.
Pakistan ranks fifth on a list of countries most affected by planetary heating over the past two decades by the Global Climate Risk Index 2020.
The country has been on lockdown since March 23, but the prime minster granted an exception for the 63,000 laborers it has hired for the program. The workers will be paid between 500 to 8000 rupees a day — about half of what a laborer would usually make —but it’s enough to get by.
The work is a lifeline for the unemployed laborers but it will only put a small dent in Pakistan’s unemployment rate. A recent assessment by the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics found that up to 19 million people could be laid off due to COVID-19.
Even though the work takes place in isolated areas, laborers still have to abide by social distancing rules. They must remain six feet apart from one another and wear masks.
Much of the planting is being done on 15,000 acres near the state capital of Islamabad as well as other pieces of state-owned forest land throughout the country.
“This tragic crisis provided an opportunity and we grabbed it,” Malik Amin Aslam, climate change advisor to the prime minister, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The United States should look into similar programs to help its unemployed citizens as well as the planet. During the Great Depression, president President Franklin Roosevelt mobilized the U.S. Forest Service, the Works Progress Administration, and the Civilian Conservation Corps to create a shelterbelt of trees that ran in a 100-mile-wide zone from North Dakota to the Texas panhandle.
The goal was to provide a natural barrier against the dust storms that ravaged the middle of the country during the Dust Bowl
Over seven years, 30,233 shelter belts were planted, stretching over 18,600 square miles, and containing over 220 million trees. It also provided much needed employment for thousands of workers who’s livelihoods had been destroyed by the Dust Bowl and stock market crash.
In every great tragedy holds the seed of opportunity. The U.S. should follow Pakistan’s lead and use that seed to plant a better future.
LeBron James used his platform on Thursday to reject apparent calls for the NBA to cancel the 2019-20 campaign, which a report indicates is gaining popularity among some executives and agents. Several hours later, James decided to do something a little more fun than comment on the future of the league: Reveal a major bit of information about his upcoming Space Jam remake.
James and his production company, SpringHill Entertainment, are behind the latest version of the beloved 1996 film that starred Michael Jordan and the Looney Tunes. Details have trickled out over the last year or so, including rumblings on some of the other NBA and WNBA stars who will have roles.
It is unclear whether or not the film will follow a similar plot to the original, but what we do know is that the logo will look a little different. James posted an image of himself to his Twitter account of a hat that features the logo and the apparent title of the movie — Space Jam: A New Legacy.
There’s also a new Twitter account for the movie, which has a header featuring a new poster.
there it is.
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) April 30, 2020
The film’s release date has long been July 16, 2021, although it is unclear whether or not that will have to change due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the disruption to the NBA calendar. Regardless, when the apparel blitz comes for the movie, at least we now know what logo is going to be plastered on everything.
Previously on the Ins and Outs of AEW Dynamite: The Inner Circle, who are extremely bored, organized a fake TikTok dance challenge for a tiny bottle of Walgreens hand sanitizer. Plus Matt Hardy revealed he can morph between “essences,” and MJF reported in about his career-threatening hangnail injury.
And now, the Ins and Outs of All Elite Wrestling Dynamite for April 29, 2020.
All In: This Week In Rhodes Boys Pathos
As you can probably tell if you’ve ever read anything I’ve ever written, my favorite version of pro wrestling is the ’70s and ’80s southern American version built around stories of fired-up underdogs, violent and ugly hosses, consequential match-to-match storytelling, and emotional, bloody payoffs. Not everyone digs this. Our own Emily Pratt writes regularly about not enjoying this type of product, and I get it. I really do. There’s next to no place for it in the modern professional wrestling landscape. But AEW does it sometimes, almost exclusively with the Rhodes family, and it is my forever jam.
This week’s show uses the semi-finals round of the TNT Championship tournament to press all those buttons. Up first is Cody (Rhodes) vs. Darby Allin in the third match of their unofficial series. I’ve read some criticism of Cody going over again, because clearly Darby is one of the hottest young acts in the company and deserves a huge spotlight, but I like how they’re building it. The first match was built around Cody being a little overconfident and underestimating Darby, then getting too deep into the match to actually finish him off. It was Darby “going the distance,” a la Rocky. In the second match, Cody was forced to take Darby seriously, and respected him enough as a performer to wrestle him on the level and win with mostly counter-wrestling. In the third match — this one — Darby does better than ever, but makes … well, I won’t call it a “rookie” mistake, necessarily, but he starts rushing and gets ahead of himself. He could’ve tied Cody up in the Last Supper, which is how he’s been winning a lot of his matches lately, but he needs to prove to himself that he can beat Cody clean, and goes for the Coffin Drop. He hits it, too, but Cody uses his veteran know-how to roll over onto his side, slide Darby back onto his own shoulders, and pin him.
On paper I probably would’ve had Allin go over here too, but obviously the finale of the tournament is destined to be Cody vs. Lance Archer. That’s the primary story going into it, and it’ll be the primary coming out. So I think the callback to the Allin and Rhodes rivalry here was a good one, and gives Darby another thing to obsess about and plan over as he figures out how to make the transition from promising young star to Main Event Talent. It’s sports, y’all. Sports tropes and stories can be just as fulfilling on the wrestling show as soap opera plots, and, at least to me, are almost always more rewarding in the long run. Sports stories get endings, even if they’re just temporary. Soap opera plots just keep going, and there’s almost never a point, because there’s almost never an end.
On the other side of the tournament, we have Lance Archer versus Dustin Rhodes. I don’t think you need to be a Wrestling Journalist to know where this one is going.
The only thing Archer wants is a match with Cody Rhodes. Cody’s ducked him, kind of, claiming Archer can’t just waltz into the company without much of a North American resume to speak of and demand a match with an EVP. Then Cody’s on Dark wrestling Joe Alonzo for some reason, and there’s enough of a shade of grey that you start thinking maybe Cody is ducking him. Because why wouldn’t you duck him?
Archer ends up in a semi-finals match against Cody’s older, more seasoned, but more emotionally tumultuous older brother. In 100 out of 100 scenarios, this ends with Archer making Dustin bleed a whole bucket’s worth of blood and clawing him in the face while Cody gets increasingly worried and/or terrified at ringside. What I love the most about the match is that it fridges Dustin a little, yeah — he’s mostly here as a plot device for somebody else’s more important match — but it makes him look GREAT in the process. It goes over 20 minutes, and Dustin shows that he’s still good enough to go toe-to-toe with even the toughest and angriest guys in wrestling. And seriously, if you want Archer vs. Cody to be anything but a squash, you’ve got to show that Archer’s able to keep it up and win long matches against top-level opponents. If Cody and Dustin was a war, and you want Cody and Archer to be one, it only make sense that Archer and Dustin would at least be in the same ballpark. Plus, is there anybody as good at bleeding and making you feel badly about it than Dustin by God Rhodes?
So yeah, there’s some match ending drama revolving around QT Marshall, who should not face Lance Archer ever under any circumstances, wanting to throw in the towel. Cody arrives to stop him, and then Lance is like, “I’m gonna take the towel away and throw it at YOU, and then squeeze your brother’s face until he’s a bloodless husk.” Cody cradling his apparently dying brother in his arms while Archer stands there staring at him and saying mean shit and smiling is A++++ professional wrestling.
(Thank you for making my dorky, aging ass your target demographic sometimes, AEW.)
All In: The Spears Family Sharpshooter
Shawn Spears, confronted by the reality that the COVID-19 disaster has separated him from both Tully Blanchard and the quest to find a regular tag team partner, is slowly realizing he should cut the Librarians-level AEW Dark shit and start winning wrestling matches. This week he defeats Baron Black, not to be confused with Captain Britain villain the Black Baron, with the best looking “Hart Family” Sharpshooter we’ve seen on TV in ages. Possibly because every member of the Hart Family is either old, passed away, a complete nutcase, or Natalya.
Bonus commentary goodness from Chris Jericho and Skee-a-vone, who are slowly becoming the 2020 equivalent of Bobby Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon:
“Look at that, wow! Look at the control he’s got of his gluteus maximus there, Tony.”
“He was twerking! HE WAS TWERKING!”
“He wasn’t twerking, he was flexing! And looks who’s … Anna Jay in the background, he’s giving Anna Jay the best seat in the house, no pun intended!”
In Enough: Friends Vs. Roommates
It didn’t set the world on fire or anything, but Best Friends vs. Roommates For Some Reason in a no disqualification, no count-outs match with Penelope Ford and Orange Cassidy doing their things was a fun quarter-hour of plunder-based mostly-empty gym violence. It ended up playing a lot like a very low stakes TLC match with Orange (playing the role of Rhyno here) taking out SUPABAD and SUPABAD so Chuckie T could hit an Awful Waffle on Havoc.
This would’ve gone up a few levels with a crowd. That first AEW live crowd after quarantine is going to lose their goddamn minds about literally anything Orange Cassidy does, aren’t they? He’s going to turn his head slightly and they’re going to react to it like it’s Hogan vs. Rock at WrestleMania.
Additional Jobber Squashes Of The Week
Wardlow, who is already one part Goldberg and one part Brock Lesnar, adds some Batista to his moveset to defeat Musa. I guess it’s more Sami Callihan than Batista at this point, but Wardlow continues to be AEW’s best e-fed wrestler created by a 13-year old named “Wardlow” who just started watching wrestling. And that’s “Musa,” not to be confused with “Masa,” who is a fat ass.
In all seriousness, Wardlow’s got a tremendous upside, but at 6-2 260 he’s got an uphill battle to be the scariest monster in a company with Lance Archer, Brodie Lee, Jake Hager, and a number of other bigger, stronger, more threatening dudes that dwarf him. He’d already be a 3-time ECW Heavyweight Champion, though.
Speaking Of The Exalted One Mr. Brodie Lee …
Brodie’s full name with titles attached is larger than Marko Stunt. Join us next week when Marko tries a casadora on a full-sized grizzly bear.
All In: Making Wrestling Make Sense
Just wanted to take another moment to say how much I love these Technique by Taz segments. They exclusively make the product better. So much of professional wrestling is bullshit, so if you just take a second to explain some of the gestures, hand placements, and mannerisms, you can make even the most ridiculous wrestling things make some approximation of sense. You could just say “he picks them up and throws them at the ground,” but there’s real value in breaking it down further.
I always think about when Gordon Solie called a match between Tracy Smothers and a bear — not the one who will maul Marko Stunt next week, as this was from 30 years ago and bears only have a lifespan of 20 or so years — and turned what could be the dumbest and most carny wrestling idea into a compelling physical narrative.
“Bears of course are natural wrestlers, no question about this, they instinctively know a snapmare, a leg sweep, they don’t know some of the finer holds such as a Figure-Four, or what have you ,but all of the basic holds are natural with them. And this bear, although he’s very amiable by nature, once he gets competition, stand-up competition going, he just naturally wants to wrestle. And you can see there, he went for a leg sweep.”
NO HE DIDN’T. Haha, I love you, Gordon Solie.
Extracurricular Goofs Of The Week
Dr. Britt Baker DMD and the Inner Circle are neck and neck for me in the “most entertaining segment produced outside of QT Marshall’s plague-resistant gym.”
Britt’s — sorry, Dr. Britt’s — builds on her previous “role model” segments by expanding the geography of her office, introducing her “make-up artist” “Reba” (actually Rebel, aka TNA’s Rebel), and having her not even be able to get through her own self-aggrandizing puff-pieces without going into control freak mode and dumping on everybody. I’m disappointed that she was just straight up insulting Tony Schiavone instead of lovingly condescending on him for his own benefit, as she’s been doing, but maybe her character was having a bad day. I think my very favorite part, besides maybe her walking through the background and stopping to micromanage Rebel’s interview while still completely out of focus, is this poster which I not only want, but hope she actually has hanging up at the office:
Then we’ve got the MANITOBA MELEE, the Inner Circle’s followup to the critically acclaimed FlimFlam dance challenge. Just watch it, it speaks for itself. Participants in the Melee, if you’re wondering, are:
- The Inner Circle, obviously
- Librarian Peter Avalon, tripping over his patio furniture
- Jungle Boy, swinging in and accidentally creating the first vine Vine
- Sonny Kiss, who HOORAY finally made it onto Dynamite again
- Dr. Luther, who kinda loses that ORIGINAL DEATH DEALER aesthetic when you see him filming TikTok memes in a suburban neighborhood
- WCW alumnus and Inner Circle paterfamilias Ted Irvine
- Lou Ferrigno, winner of the El Dandy lookalike contest, with a taser
- Corey Taylor from Slipknot
- Duff McKagan from Guns N’ Roses, accompanied by Hanna-Barbera noises (?)
- Jay’s hetero life-mate, Silent Bob
- Comedian Gabriel ‘Fluffy’ Iglesias
- Comedian Brad ‘Fluffy’ Williams
- Comedian Ryan ‘Fluffy’ Niemiller
- Living Legend Soultrain Jones
- James Garretson from Tiger King, sans jet ski
- a bunch of women in bikinis hanging out with James Garretson because he was on Tiger King
- Manitoba Melee winner Vickie Guerrero
I can’t wait to see how they keep topping these.
Finally, Jon Moxley gives the AEW Championship a great nickname (“Big Platinum”), puts over Renee Young, and reminds us that next week’s AEW Dynamite will be live. He doesn’t mention Jake Hager, thank Christ, says some threatening things about anyone who “steps to the champion” (guaranteeing that somebody jumps him next week), and reminds us to call our grandmothers. I wish I could, Mox! Look out for a random attack from Brodie Lee next week!
All In: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
The Assassination of Tony Schiavone by the Dentist Britt Baker
brb, updating Vickie Guerrero’s Wikipedia page to mark her as 2020 Manitoba Melee Le Champeon
Baron Von Raschke
Lou Ferigno….with a taser…in the backyard!
That is the most 70s game of CLUE ever!
MOX: CALL YOUR GRANDMA!
ME: They’ve both been dead for almost 15 years.
MOX: OUIJA BOARD!
I like to imagine that at some point backstage Marko hit on Brandi and Cody has never forgiven him.
“Hey, we got this new guy Killshot McMurder. Who should his first match be agai-”
“Marko Stunt. Stunt/McMurder. Now.”
This is like watching a Backyard wrestling Deathmatch on YouTube.
Two people literally throwing themselves into random objects for the enjoyment of like 15 people.
Brandi’s Dustin outfit is a lot better than her Cody outfit
“He punched him in the face! I like that!” Jericho continues to be amazing simply by calling the matches like they’re real, it hurts, and he enjoys it.
Jericho suggesting hitting the ref because there are no rules is a new peak for even him.
Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer
Okay, that rope walk moonsault was impressive
That does it for this week’s column. Thanks for reading about Dynamite! If you’re able to leave us a comment below, give the column a share on social media, and make sure you’re back here next week. Here’s what you’ll see:
- AEW World Champion Jon Moxley vs. Frankie Kazarian
- Kenny Omega and Matt Hardy vs. Le Sex Gods in a street fight
- MJF returns
- Marko Stunt wrestles a cinderblock tied to his ankles after being thrown into the ocean
See you then!