Saturday, September 24, 2022

WoW (Women of Wrestling) Season 8 Episode 1 Review

 By Mark Rodriguez

Women of Wrestling has been around for several years but now thanks to AJ Lee it came back with all new episodes in 2022. Let's check out the first episode of their epic comeback as heroes face villains. 

Match 1- Chantilly Chella & Randi Rah Rah vs The Tonga Twins

Randi starts the first round of the tag team tournament match grappling with one of the twins and is slammed to the mat. Randi leaps onto the back of her opponent but is easily pulled off with a snapmare. The Tonga Twin grabs Randy for a hip toss but she lands on her feet. The Cheerleader sends her to the mat with a flying headscissors. 

The Twin tags her sister in (the commentary really isn't a good job helping us tell Kaoz and Kona apart) and Randi trips her down. The Tonga Twin tries to pick her up but Randi flips back to her feet. Randi takes this chance to tag in Chantilly. Chantilly throws some kicks and the follows up with a dropkick that barely moves her larger opponent back. Chantilly does a second dropkick that plants the Twin up against the ropes. Chantilly finally gets the Twin off her feet with an armdrag, which makes her roll out of the ring. She then jumps out of the ring after her but the Tonga Twin catches her and slams her into the ring apron. 

The Tonga Twin tags her sister in and they both whip Chantilly against the ringpost and then double-clothesline her as she bounces forward. The Twin goes for the pin but Chantilly kicks out. The Twin grabs her and tosses her over to their corner where she tags her sister back in. Her sister gets into the ring and starts stomping on Chantilly. Both Tonga Twins takes turns doing running body splashes on Chantilly and she drops like a rock. One of the Twins tries for a pin but Chantilly kicks out. 

Chantilly manages to get to the ropes and do a flying bodysplash on her opponent just gets shoved off before she can pin her. Chantilly is hanging off the ropes and her opponent kicks at her and presses her boot up against the back of her neck. With the ref distracted, the other sister lands a cheap shot on Chantilly. 

Somehow Chantilly manages to leap out to tag in Randi who lands an inzuigiri on the Tonga Twin. She then gets her in a snapmare and follows up with a blockbuster. Randi goes for the pin but can't keep her down. Randi goes for the ropes and does a moonsault but only eats the mat as her opponent got out of the way. The other Twin comes in and kicks Randi around. Chantilly runs in to help but the Twin throws her up against the ringpost. With both Chantilly and Randi sitting up against the ringposts on opposite sides, the Tonga Twins runs at both of them with hip attacks. They then switch places and do 2 more hip attacks against their smaller opponents. One of the sisters throws Chantilly out of the ring. The other picks up Randi in a fireman's carry. The Twins both drop Randin a combination Samoan Drop/NeckBreaker. The twin goes for the pin and wins the match. The Tonga Twins win the first match of the tag team tournament. 

Match 2- Coach Campanelli vs Kandi Krush

The match opens with The Coach dodging Kandi's attempts to grapple with her. Kandi finally grabs her for a headlock takedown. Campanelli managed to get Kandi's neck in a leglock. Kandi gets out of it and grabs her in another headlock. Campanelli bounces her opponent against the ropes but the boxer knocks her down with a shoulder tackle. Kandi goes for a quick roll up but can't keep The Coach down. Kandi grabs The Coach into the arm drag twice, getting her into an arm bar the second time. 

Campanelli stomps on Kandi's foot to break free and runs for the ropes. Kandi knocks her down with a short arm clothesline. The Coach rolls out of the ring to regroup. She gets back in the ring and takes a swing at her. As Kandi ducks, Campanelli grabs her and slams her back onto the mat. Campanelli runs into Kandi, who dodges her, and she eats the turnbuckle. Kandi runs after her and The Coach trips her into the turnbuckle as well. 

The Coach picks up Kandi and bodyslams her. She then stomps on Kandi's fingers and starts slamming her hand into the mat several times. The Coach gets Kandi in an arm bad, wrenching back the fingers she just stomped on and even bites her hand. She then grabs Kandi and slams her face first into the turnbuckle and gets her fingers into the ropes. 

Kandi angrily smacks Campanelli in the face. As she lunges at her, The Coach grabs her and slams her in a neckbreaker. The Coach goes for the pin but Kandi shoves her off. Campanelli then gets behind her and pulls both of her arms back while driving her knee into her spine. The crowd roots for Kandi as she tries to get back to her feet and power out of it.

Kandi hits Campanelli with several elbows to the midsection, finally freeing herself from her grip. The boxer runs for the ropes and knocks her opponent down with a clothesline. Kandi then picks her up and slams her with a Death Valley Driver and goes for the pin. The Coach has her foot on the ropes so that breaks the pin. As Campanelli gets up, Kandi hits her with a jumping right hook to the jaw (Supergirl punch?) which lays her out. Kandi goes for the pin and wins the match!

Match 3- BK Rhythm vs Vivian Rivera

BK opens up with a diss rap on Vivian before dropping the mic. As the two lock up, Vivian tries to flip BK but she lands on her feet. Vivian doesn't let go of her arm and send her flying with an armdrag. Both women run at each other, avoiding each other with quick moves and leaping over one another. Vivian grabs BK's arm and goes for a pin but can't keep her down. BK kicks her but Vivian grabs her for a second pin attempt but she kicks out. 

BK gets Vivian in a Sleeper Hold but she manages to get back up to her feet and get out of it. BK hammer punches Vivian across the back and whips her up against the turnbuckle. She hit her with a running shoulder tackle and then lays her out with a kick. BK goes for the pin but Vivian kicks out.

BK gets Vivian in an abdominal stretch and rubs her elbow under her arm. Vivian tries to punch her way out of this painful hold. Vivian picks her up and slams BK down with a sidewalk slam. She goes for the pin but the rapper kicks out. Vivian grabs BK with the snapmare and then grabs her in the armbar. BK tries to change positions so she can pin her, but Vivian breaks the hold. Vivian grabs BK in a Swinging Neckbreaker and goes for another pin, still unable to keep her down. Both women struggle to get back to their feet, and Vivian manages to get BK in a suplex. Vivian Riveria gets her in a pin and gets the win. 

Match 4- Adriana Gambino vs The Beast (Current WoW Champ)

As the Main Event begins, The Beast does a lunging swing that Adriana manages to duck over. Adriana taunts the champ and dodges another attack, grabbing her in a rear waist lock. The champ moves back, slamming Adriana up against the ringpost. With the challenger dazed, The Beast grabs her and flings her clear across the ring. As Adriana tries to recover, The Beast grabs her and throws her across the ring a second time. The Beast charges towards her and hits the ringpost as Adriana gets out of the way. Adriana takes this chance to pin her but can't keep her down.

Adriana grabs the champ and tries to slam her face into the turnbuckle. The Beast slams the brakes on this and slams her opponent's face into the turnbuckle instead. The Beast picks her up but Adriana manages to slip out of it and hits her behind the knee. Adriana tries to wrench the champ's leg against the ropes but she gets pushed back. The Beast now has a bad leg but she is able to grab Adriana and power slam her to the mat. Rather than pin her, The Beast grabs her by the hair and picks her up for a Power Bomb. Adriana rakes her across the eyes and tries to grab her for a slam. The Beast reverses it and slams Adriana with a suplex. 

The Beast sprained her back a bit during that move and also still tends to her bad leg. As she heads over to grab Adriana, she's taken by surprise by a jawbreaker from the challenger. As the champ tries to recover, Adriana hits her with a running body splash. Adriana goes for a punch but the champ catches her arm. The Beast angrily glares into Adriana's face as she holds tightly to her wrist and then flings her hard against the ringpost. She then runs and violently crashes into the challenger with a body splash. 

With Adriana rattled, The Beast kicks her in the midsection, then picks her up and slams her down with the Power Bomb. The Beast pins Adriana Gambino and retains the WoW Championship.

My thoughts- 

To begin, I haven't been able to catch the episode itself (I think it's on Pluto TV?) but the WoW  Youtube channel has all 4 of the matches that took place. That being said, I missed if there were any interviews or pre match/post match shenanigans. I did notice that AJ Mendez (AJ Lee) was on commentary, which she might be in every episode from here on out.

The first match was pretty good, the Tonga Twins showed off their power and I liked the resolve in both Randi and Chantilly. It was just tough to call because it was impossible to tell the twins apart and at some point the commentary flat out admitted they couldn't tell them apart. C'mon guys, if you can't tell who's Kaoz and Kona, how is the audience supposed to know? There was a bizzare edit where one of the twins landed a cheap shot on Chantilly's face, knocking her down and then suddenly she's jumping out to tag in Randi. Then AJ mentioned and inzuigiri moments before Randi would do one on her opponent. That was odd. Either way I liked the match.

The second match though was pretty basic. It did get more interesting once Campanelli started inflicting damage on Kandi's arm and fingers and how Kandi still managed to get the win. I guess the match was a bit slower paced and a bit more technical but it felt so-so to me.

The third match was fast paced and exciting with both BK and Vivian were running circles around each other, leaping over each other and reversing each other's moves. Vivian also had these impressive armlock holds that she would turn into pins. It was a fun match and both women were impressive.

The main event was fun. The Beast showed her power, everything she does has impact behind it. You almost feel the pain, and she really rocks the ring with every bodyslam. To her credit, Adriana actually put her through her paces, especially when she started working on the leg. There were times when both women were down, which is impressive giving how dominant the champ presents herself. That Power Bomb was just awesome and the crowd was really loving it. The match had an odd edit or something where after Adriana ran into her, The Beast did.. something to knock her back but the camera was either too zoomed in or too panned down to clearly show what happened. Other than that, it was an awesome match to close the show. 

So far WoW is pretty good. I like the flashy intros everyone gets and the roster is full of very entertaining and colorful characters like Kandi Krush, BK Rythym and The Beast full of personality. I can't wait to watch more episodes and see of these lethal ladies in action.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

AEW Dark Episode 162 (Women's Matches)

 By Mark Rodriguez

We got a couple of interesting matches in this episode of Dark. Kilynn King and Madison Rayne back in action and La Rosa Negra also shows up. I'll probably be doing reviews of Dark and Dark Elevation on and off from now on. 

Match 1- Emi Sakura w/ Baliyan Akki vs Avery Breaux

Avery goes for a handshake but Emi slaps her hand away and then claps her hands against her face three times, knocking her back. Avery fires back with a standing dropkick, knocking her opponent down. Avery poses for the crowd but Emi grabs her by the hair and tosses her across the ring. Emi gets Avery's leg tangled on the rope and sits on her, having some 'tea' with Baliyan. 

Avery angrily gets up and socks Emi in the face twice, that barely phases her. Emi sends her reeling back with a harsh chop across the chest. Emi lets Avery hit her two more times, laughing them off. Emi then fakes her out with an incoming chop but rakes her eyes instead. Emi then grabs her arm and bites into Avery's wrist. Avery hits her again, this time making Emi reel back and goes for a second punch. Emi sends her back with a chop and then flings her towards the ropes. As she bounces back Avery gets her with the flying headscissors and sends Emi flying to the mat. 

With Emi up against the ropes, Avery runs at her and hits her with the cannonball. Avery drags Emi to the middle of the ring and goes for the pin but she kicks out. Avery grabs onto Emi but her opponent ends up overpowering her and slamming her instead. With Avery up against the turnbuckle, Emi starts the 'We Will Rock You' chants and hits her with a flying crossbody. Emi grabs Avery and slams her down with the Butterfly Suplex. Emi takes to the ropes and lands on Avery with a Moonsault Press. She pins her and gets the win.

Match 2- La Rosa Negra vs "The Problem" Marina Shafir 

Both women run in for the grapple but Marina overpowers her opponent with an over the shoulder throw, still holding onto her arm. As Rosa Negra gets back up she is able to pin Marina's arm against her back. Marina gets La Rosa Negra up against the ropes, but she manages to avoid her attempted running knee strike. La Rosa Negra takes this chance to hit Marina with a kick to the midsection. She hits The Problem with some punches and a chop across the chest. Marina whips her against the ropes but Rosa Negra jumps out of the way as she runs towards her. Marina manages to grab her and circle the ring with her in a Firemans's Carry before just dropping her.

As Marina leans over to grab her opponent, La Rosa Negra pulls her in for a quick pin. Marina manages to break out of it in time. La Rosa Negra kicks and hits Marina a few times and then leaps off the ropes in a Trust Fall, knocking her down. She goes for the pin but Marina kicks out. La Rosa Negra tries to grab Marina but she shoves her off.

Both women study each other, trying to see the best way to attack. Marina quickly grabs her and knocks her down with an overhead chop. Marina kicks her around until Rosa Negra angrily chops her across the chest. Marina grabs her and knees her in the midsection. She knees her in the stomach again and flips her with a hip toss. Marina kicks her hard across the spine. As she goes for another kick, Rosa Negra dodges it and grabs onto her leg, trying to get her in some sort of hold. Marina stomps her down and then grabs her leg. She gets her in the Greedy submission hold and makes her tap. Marina Shafir scores the win.

Match 3- Madison Rayne vs Viva Van

Both women start with a grapple and Madison manages to get Viva in the headlock takedown first. As they get to their feet, Viva hits her to get out of the headlock and shoves her towards the ropes. Madison bounces back and knocks her down with a shoulder tackle. Viva tries to trip Madison but she just drops and grabs her into another headlock. 

Viva powers her way up and shoves Madison into the turnbuckle. The Queen Bee goes on the apron to avoid Viva's running attack and hits her in the face. Madison tries for lunging elbow through the ropes but Viva backs up to avoid it and knees her in the face. Madison tumbles out of the ring. Viva gets out of the ring and follows her. Madison hits her but Viva grabs her for another knee strike and then rams her back against the ring apron. Viva grabs Madison and shoves her back into the ring.

With Madison being out of it, Viva goes for the pin but she kicks out. Viva grabs her and shoves her face-first into the top turnbuckle. Viva smacks her around and then tries to whip her against the other side of the ring, but Madison reverses it and whips her there instead. Madison runs at her but Viva gets out of the way and sits on her opponent's back. Viva grabs onto Madison from the ropes as she hangs upside down getting her in the Tarantula.

Madison drops to the mat and Viva runs at her with a sliding clothesline, going for the pin. The former 3 time Impact Knockouts Tag Champ kicks out. Viva gets Madison up on her shoulders but The Queen Bee gets her in a roll up pin. Viva narrowly escapes. As Viva gets up, Madison knocks her down with a step up enzuigiri. With Viva dazed, Madison hits her until she falls on her back. Madison grabs Viva in the Northern Lights Suplex but she can't keep her down. 

Viva goes for a punch but Madison grabs her arm and slams her facefirst into the mat. Madison gets the pin and wins the match. 

Tony Shiavone gives her a quick interview on being both a competitor but also the new AEW Women's backstage coach. She is excited to do both and will turn the women's division upside down. 

Match 4- KiLynn King vs Sahara Seven 

Before KiLynn's music even finishes, Saraha goes from her intro pose to running over and blindsiding her opponent with forearms to the face. Kiylnn shoves her off but Sahara kicks her in the stomach. KiLynn hits Saraha with a harsh chop that gets the crowd's reaction. She asks if they want to see another and she delivers another loud chop. KiLynn then lets looses a series of chops, reels back and knocks Sahara down with a clothesline. 

KiLynn picks up Sahara in a fireman's carry but her opponent slips out of it and tries to grab her in a roll up pin. KiLynn manages to kick out. Sahara goes for another kick and KiLynn catches her foot. She picks her up but Sahara lands on her feet and KiLynn hits her with a high knee strike to the face. With Sahara dazed, KiLynn hits her with a kick to the face and then finishes her off with the Excali-Buster. KiLynn King pins Sahara for the win making short work of her opponent.

 My Thoughts- 

Decent set of matches, though I was very surprised that KiLynn King only got to do pretty much a two minute squash on her opponent. It's good to see her racking up wins. Emi Sakura is always entertaining to see in action. Serena Deeb is and cold and eager to bring the pain as always. Viva Van really did put Madison through her paces though and gave her a tough battle. Probably the most entertaining part was when Viva got her Madison in the Tarantula. 

There was a bit of a funny back and forth between the commentary where Taz joked that he called out the name of the Tarantula first, and that Excalibur didn't know the name of the move. Well they both lose on the last match and they weren't able to name KiLynn's Excali-Buster correctly. Julia Hart's been doing the same submission finisher for months and they still haven't called out the name of it. 

This week's AEW Dynamite Grand Slam was a big surprise for the women's division. There was a f-way match between Interim AEW Women's Champ Toni Storm and Britt Baker, Athena and Serena Deeb. Toni managed to retain the title but Britt and Deeb attacked both her and Athena. Jamie Hayter showed up and despite recent problems with Britt, they both teamed up against Toni anyways. This is when suddenly none other than Saraya showed up in AEW. 

It is not 100% clear if she will be here as an actual in ring competitor or a manager, but she has been cleared for several months now. I'm not sure if WWE just wanted to keep her out of the ring or just didn't have a place for her at the time, but she is here now. One thing for sure, if Saraya is here to actually return to the ring, KiLynn King sure is interested in facing her.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

IDW Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles New Animated Adventures #11

Originally by Paige with thoughts by Mark Rodriguez

This comic features 3 stories, sort of. And hey, Shredder is on the cover. Will the Turtles finally face the big bad? Let's find out.


Mikey is in his own little world and finds a comic he's been looking for in the trash. It's the origin story of his favorite superhero. He reenacts the hero's different moves, even renames one of the moves "turtle-nado". While he was messing around, he hits a Footbot knocking it against the wall. This knocks out the robot's processor. When it reboots it scans Mikey as a friend...

Mikey continues his "Sharknado", I mean turtle-nado, right in front of a oncoming truck. Oh noes! Mikey doesn't even notice the headlights or the blaring horn. Suddenly, the Footbot pulls him out of the way. He thanks the robot, but is stunned to why it saved him. Mikey wonders if he was considered part of the Foot. He tries to run, but the robot follows behind. The Footbot is "rebuilding" its ninja knowledge and mirrors Mikey.

The turtle eventually notices that there is something wrong with this Footbot.  The robot's eyes are now green and there are wires exposed on the top of its head. He tells the robot that he can't take it home. He's not "allowed to bring home pets" after how things when down the one time he brought Leatherhead home. Mikey realized that the robot is not a pet, but can be a partner!

Mikey hides the Footbot, who he named Sparky, in an empty water tower. The next day he returns with a box of comics. Mikey explains about the concept of superhero and sidekick. Sparky scans all the comics in no time. Now to the next step, having a ridiculous costume! They dress to become the hero duo Captain Karate and Sparky!  We're saved...

Therese heroes might not have waffles, but they have plenty of cheese....

At the lair, the three other turtles are waiting for Mikey and the pizza he was supposed to bring. And ironically when Mikey does return, the news comes on about the superheroes stepping out of the comics. The news anchor calls the cartoony hero Captain Kungfu. Suddenly, there's a news flash about a bus accident! Mikey decides its time to run out for more pizza. 

Later that night, Raph, Leo and Donnie are waiting for Mikey. They were about to leave when Captain Karate and Sparky show up. Obviously the brothers knew the secret. Mikey made it painfully obvious what he was up to. The guys notice that Mikey's partner is a Footbot. Mikey attempts to defend the robot, but Leo refused to listen. 

Karai and more Footbots appear on the rooftop. The two groups fight, while Sparky analyzes who is the enemy. It goes all "Captain America" and throws his shield at the enemies. Even Raph is impressed. Karai is not pleased about the Footbot's betrayal. She attacks Mikey, but Sparky takes the hit for him. 

Mikey avenges the death of his fallen partner. He catches Karai as she was jumping off the roof. He has the choice to drop her or save her. But a hero doesn't do bad deeds, so he decides to save her. Karai uses this chance to escape.

The turtles return to the lair. Mikey is talking to Splinter about "some turtle I turned out to be".  Splinter does agree with the statement, he explains that Mikey did help change the heart of a Footbot. This gives Mikey the wrong idea and he assumes that he can teach the others. Raph, of course, doesn't go along with it and grabs him in a chokehold.

Kraang Training Video

Well Kraang is making a training video for his fellow Kraang. The training video is about the mutagen and how to mutate things. Now you can learn how to mutate your enemies! The Kraang explains the mutating process and turning it into an army. He decides to mutate a poor innocent bunny! The mutated bunny scares even the Kraang.

The turtles come into the room and fight the bunny monster. While this is going on in the background, Kraang is still continuing the video. He tells the Kraang who are watching the video to ignore the turtles. Kraang gets knocked out. Donnie finds a way to open a portal to Dimension X and the bunny monster is thrown in. The turtles leave and Kraang finished the video.

The LEGO comic is only an introduction to the turtles, which is the Lego version of Mirage comics TMNT # 1... the comic that started it all. . They are poised to fight the Purple Dragons. And that's it. It's only one page. Supposedly this story will continue in the next issue. So let's see what happens.  Will it be one page or multiple pages?

Paige's Thoughts- 

Here's another comic that revolves around Mikey. It's not "fair". The other turtles don't get as much "comic time" as Mikey does. Have a solo adventure for Leo or give another quick story for Donnie. Make a solid story!

Between the two stories. I would pick the Kraang story as my favorite. I love the training video the one Kraang made for the other Kraang. Minus the part of the mutated bunny. I love the lack of expressions that the robot has. He "expresses" his moods more verbally than anything. He has the "I dont care" face. Leatherhead looks cheesy. He doesn't look too hardcore like in the actual TV series.

Now there is also a Lego TMNT story in the comic, which is of course based on the first issue of the original Mirage comics, but in Lego form. Supposedly, it will continue on in the next issue. The writers of this comic crams as much stuff as they can in one issue. Finally I have to ask... why was Shredder on the cover? He wasn't anywhere in this issue!

Mark's Thoughts-

Not much I can say that Paige didn't already bring up. No idea why Shredder was on the cover, not even a panel of him sending the Foot out on a mission or something. The comic references one of the TV episodes 'It Came From The Depths', that introduced Leatherhead and his habit of grabbing Donnie by the face whenever he loses his temper. And yeah... he wasn't that well in this cameo.

The Kraang training video was fun, and it's always cool to see whatever the bad guys are up to from their point of view. As for the Lego tie-in, they did a re-creation of Mirage's first issue of TMNT, which would introduce the world to the turtles in the first place. This was spread out over 2 more parts I believe, which is weird to only have a page or 2 for this issue, but I guess they ran out of pages. It's cute, and while they use the Lego versions of Shredder and the Foot with their 2012 shoe designs, I don't remember Lego ever selling Mirage versions of the Turtles. This'll be fun to check out, especially to see how Lego will tone down some of the darker elements of this story. 

Sunday, September 11, 2022

IDW TMNT The Armageddon Game- Opening Moves # 2

 By Mark Rodriguez

Shredder and Kitsune embark on a psychic quest to search for weakness within their enemies in Rat King's upcoming Armageddon Game. After finding weaknesses within Krang, they now go after Baxter Stockman. 

Shredder and Kitsune, in spirit form, arrive in front of Baxter Stockman, the current New York City Mayor. He calls for his secretary and tells her to bring him information on the private company Agent Bishop had in contract under the Earth Defense Force. Shredder and Kitsune venture into his mind.

Months ago in TCRI Stockman and Flood are checking over their specimens and expected delivery. Ms. Flood reminds Stockman that she has holiday vacation coming up which he already approved. She asks if he has any holiday plans, and he says nothing beside his usual Mayoral duties. He tells her to use her time wisely and be ready to work when she returns from vacation. Baxter mutters to himself about people wasting their time on the holidays while people like him still keep working to keep the world turning. Suddenly a voice taunts him for being alone over the holidays. Baxter turns and is surprised to see who it is. 

Old Hob shows up and says he was waiting for the secretary to leave before they can conduct business. He pulls out a knife and Baxter whips out a gun and asks him how he got past security. Hob reminds Stockman that was his favorite guinea pig back in the day so he remembers the lay out of the building. Baxter fires a shot and hides after Hob dodges it. Baxter fires off some more shots but Hob is behind him and grabs him. Baxter says he'll tell him what he knows. He tells him he's a pariah, getting pursued, beaten and imprisoned by his fellow mutants. 

Hob angrily stabs the wall right next to Baxter and then flings him over to a vat of chemicals. As Baxter gets up, Hob picks up his gun and aims it at him. Hob tells Baxter he's dead and Baxter tells him he might be but a far worse fate is waiting for him and his fellow mutants. Hob tells Stockman he is alone and he wants the same thing to happen to Baxter but worse. He'll tear down Baxter's business, politics and overall reputation and make him wish he pulled the trigger. 

Shredder is surprised to see how Hob scares Baxter, which is not easy to do. Kitsune agrees that Old Hob can be an asset but he's currently at odds with the other mutants. Shredder says to leave that part to him. As they leave, Baxter's secretary tells him that Bishop's group was named Darkwater and asks if she wants to arrange a meeting. Baxter says he would like that.

Shredder and Kitsune travel to see Madame Null, who Shredder admits he knows little about. Kistune says that's what makes her the most dangerous, she is the wild card in the Rat King's game. At Null Industries, Zodi and Krisa assure Null that the building is secure and they leave for the night. Null gets to bed as Shredder and Kitsune enter her mind.

Null's memories take them the planet Hirobyl in Dimension Z as both she and her cousin Noi Tai Dar are surprised their captive has escaped with the Turnstone. Null says she some clients from Dimension Z that are very interested in their latest experiment. Noi Tai Dare releases a creature they call Verminator Z and sends it after Cherubae.

Cherubae is hiding in an underground cave and says she had fallen for a trap and is too injured to flee. She says she is running out of town as she begs for something or someone to return to her. Verminator Z has locked onto Cherubae's scent and runs towards it as Null's forces follow. It breaks into the cave she was hiding in and is confused to find nothing. Cherubae jumps out of her hiding place and hits the monster with an energy blast. She flies off as Nulls gives chase and Noi Tai Dar tries to get Verminator Z back to its feet. 

Cherubae is too worn out and collapses on the sand, dropping the Turnstone. Verminator finds her and leaps out at her, which makes Cherubae blast it back. Null tells Noi Tai Dar to control the beast, they want Cherubae captured alive. No Tai Dar shoots an energy net over Cherubae and captures her. Null tells her that they have her, and her friends The Four Winds. If she wants them to remain alive, she tells Cherubae to cooperate and go back to her prison with them. Just then something comes to grabs Cherubae and they get away as Verminator tries to attack them.

Null angrily shoots Verminator Z dead and tells her cousin to clean up that failed prototype and make sure The Four Winds are still in captivity. She tells him to make sure they are still alive to ensure that Cherubae will return so they can capture her this time. Shredder and Kitsune leave her mind and Shredder is confused by the Four Winds and the Turnstone. Kistune says it seems the answers will lie with Cherubae.

Shredder and Kitsune head back to their bodies, though Kitsune will need time to heal after using her power to accomplish this. She says he knows what he must do with the information they learned today and gives him a scroll that will help him with the fight against her brother the Rat King.

Saki wakes up in his body and Kistune is gone, leaving her mask behind. Saki sets the mask in its place and then goes to put on his classic armor. 

Rat King shows up where Leatherhead and Krang lay dying. He detects Kistune's scent and realizes she's gotten herself involved. He shoves a rat into Leatherhead's mouth so that Krang can finally get some sustenance. Rat King eats one as well and tells Leatherhead and Krang that they'll need their strength since they have a more determined competitor than expected. 

My Thoughts- 

I love the story and especially dug the art and the bright colors. The set up and we got to know at least a little more about Madame Null, while still keeping her a mystery. It seems she's now an alien that is posing as an Earth woman (or Earth mutant) as she runs her business with her own mutant henchmen. Of course we got to see a bit on Baxter and Old Hob and both of their current situations but the highlight was seeing into Madame Null's past.

The comic also brings in a lot of classic and obscure Archie comics characters, similar to how last issue brought in the Nova Posse. This issue brings in the demon Noi Tai Dar as Null's cousin, which much like herself was another demon turned into an alien. In the Archie comics Noi Tai Dar was an actual demon summoned out from the underworld to wreak havoc in Japan which led to the Turtles meeting Ninjara, the Warrior Dragon and Oyuki in that particular story. As far as I knew, he had no relation to the Archie version of Null either, so his appearance here caught me by surprise.

Then Noi Tai Dar released a prototype wildcat type creature called Verminator Z. This was another clever callback to another Archie character, Verminator Z, a mutant cat cyborg from the future. Seeing how they kept referring to it as a failed prototype, and seeing that we already have a mutant cat that's missing an eye, I wonder if we're getting close to Null turning Hob into the IDW rendition of Verminator X? Even random pics of the character from the Archie comics almost look like Old Hob turning into the guy. It would be a bold change for a long-running character, pretty much the first villain the IDW turtles ever faces and being over 100 issues in. 

Of course, he would look slightly different since Old Hob is missing the other eye.

Then of course the big deal here is the return of Cherubae and the Turnstone. To my surprise, Cherubae looks exactly as she looks in the Archie comics without any major, if any, update to her overall look. This time Null is the one chasing after her and the Turnstone. The comic seems to imply that only Cherubae can use it this time around. Null says that Cherubae will be using its powers for her and is adamant that they need her alive when they could easily just kill her and take the Turnstone for themselves. The Turnstone also seems to have been nerfed, which works for the story since in the Archie comics it was pretty much all-powerful and Cherubae could have easily warp herself out of the situation or even wished Null and her forces out of existence. 

We also have a reference to The Four Winds which is also something from the Archie comics, though I don't recall actually seeing them in the comics. And finally, well..... anyone that read the Archie comics run knows that is Cudley the Cowlick that rescued Cherubae. They angled it the panels and the shots in a way to make it a surprise or a mystery reveal for later, but yeah... it's Cudley the Cowlick, the giant sized interdimensional traveling cow head. 

And yeah, Cudley pretty much gobble you up, travels through dimensions and then spits you out in the next dimension. 

Overall this is a cool lead up to the main Armageddon War and I can't wait to see how all of this will play out, especially with all these interesting characters that have been placed on the board. 

Monday, September 5, 2022

AEW Dark Elevation Episode 79 (Women's Matches)

 By Mark Rodriguez

We got four matches this week as Madison Rayne enters the mix and we also get to see Skye face off against Diamante.

Match 1- House of Black's Julia Hart vs Alice Crowley

This match kicks things off as Julia Hart comes in with a slightly new look and her own theme music now (rather than the shared theme for the House of Black members). Julia gives Alice the cold dark stare, freaking her out a little. Both women lock up and Alice grabs Julia's arm. Julia grabs her opponent by the hair and gets her up against the turnbuckle. Julie goes for a swing but misses, and Alice gets her up against the ropes and gets in several hits. 

Alice goes to Julia and tries to grab her but Julia grabs her by the hair again and throws her onto her back. Julia hits her with the standing moonsault but then gets up to break her own pin, getting Alice in a headlock. Julia gets Alice back to her feet but her opponent socks her in the face. Alice goes for the ropes but as she bounces back, Julia kicks her in the face, laying her out. 

Julia grabs and shoves Alice face first into the top turnbuckle and starts hitting her. The ref breaks it up and Julia smacks her opponent across the face, before planting her boot up against her throat. The ref tries to stop this and Julia scares him off. Julia grabs Alice but her opponent tries to get her in a back suplex. Alice didn't notice that Julia landed on her feet behind her and turns around to get a kick to the face. Julia runs and knocks her down with an elbow to the back of the head. She then grabs her and locks her in a submission move, making her tap. Julia Hart wins one for the House of Black.

Match 2- Nikki Victory vs "The Professor" Serena Deeb 

The match starts with Deeb refusing to take her robe off despite both Nikki and the ref complaining about it. Deeb tries to blindside Nikki during the distraction, but she gets out of the way and Deeb hits the turnbuckle instead. Nikki takes this chance to get a few forearms shots on her. Nikki hits her with a running crossbody, then climbs the robes and knocks her down with a crossbody splash. Deeb rolls out of the ring to regroup and Nikki runs and slides under the ropes, kicking her against the barricade.

Nikki grabs Deeb and rolls her back into the ring. As Nikki tries to climb back in, Deeb grabs her legs and hits her with a Dragon Screw while she's still tangled with the ropes. Deeb gets her with the Dragon Screw two more times as Nikki falls and rolls into the ring. Deeb, still wearing her robe, hits Nikki with the Swinging Neckbreaker and goes for the pin. Nikki kicks out.

Deeb hits Nikki with two chops across the chest and then knocks her down with an uppercut. Deeb finally takes her robe off as Nikki struggles to get back to her feet. Deeb kicks her around a bit and then gets her in a headlock takedown. She then wraps her opponent's legs like a pretzel, planting her foot between them. She then bends her legs back as she plants her other knee onto her spine and flexes for the crowd. To make things even worse for Nikki, Deeb gets her hand in her mouth and starts pulling back. 

Deeb lets her go and poses for the crowd. She then smacks Nikki around until she gets mad and tries to take a swing at her. Deeb grabs her and knocks her down with a lariat. Deeb grabs her arm and motions to the the crowd that it's time for the Serenity Lock, but Nikki gets up and hits her in the face. Nikki whips Deeb towards the ropes but The Professor gets out of the way before she could run into her. Nikki goes after Deeb but Deeb slips under the ropes and grabs her, pretty much folding her in half and sitting on her back, wrenching her arms back. Nikki gives up and Deeb wins the match. 

Match 3- Skye Blue VS Diamante

Both women to lock up but Diamante slips behind her for a rear waist lock. Skye reverses this with her own rear waist lock and tries to get her in a crucifix pin. Skye holds onto her wrist and Diamante slaps her wrist free and socks her in the face. Diamante runs towards Skye but she gets out of the way and tries to pin her with a back bridge pin. Diamante kicks out. Diamante grabs her and socks her in the face. She whips Skye towards the ropes and runs after her but Skye hops onto the apron and socks her in the face. Diamante rams her shoulder into Skye, making her hang off the ropes. Diamante then runs does a sliding dropkick that knocks Skye off the apron and onto the floor.

Diamante taunts the crowd that was cheering for Skye, and rolls her opponent back into the ring. Diamante hits Skye with an elbow drop right across the back. She then starts driving her knees into Skye and grabs her in a headlock. Skye powers herself back to her feet and tries to sock Diamante off her. Diamanate slams her face first into the mat and goes for the pin. Skye kicks out.

Diamante gets Skye back to her feet and they trade blows. Diamante whips Skye against the turnbuckle and hits her with a running elbow, making her fall to the mat. Diamante runs towards Skye for a shotgun dropkick but Skye gets out of the way, making her hit the bottom turnbuckle instead. As both women approach each other they start trading blows once again. Diamante gets Skye against the ropes and Skye knocks her down with a flying headscissors. With Diamante up against the ropes, Skye hits her face with a rising knee strike. Skye then knocks her down with a running dropkick to the face. 

Skye goes for the pin and Diamante shoves her off. Skye gets into position to hit her with a thrust kick as Diamante gets back to her feet, but instead she catches her and hits with her a German Suplex. Diamante hangs on and goes for a second German Suplex. As she tries to go for a third, Skye manages to get behind her and grab her. Diamante still gets behind her and slams her with a third German Suplex, going for the pin but Skye kicks out. 

Skye manages to hit Diamante with a thrust kick to the face, but Diamante throws a punch back at her. Diamante goes for The Cazadora, but Skye catches her and reverses into the Flatliner. Skye pins her and scores the win in her hometown Chicago.

Match 4- Marina Shafir & Nyla Rose W/ Vickie Guerrero vs Madison Rayne & Queen Aminata

We start off the Main Event with Madison and Marina locking up, Marina being the first to knock her down. Madison grabs her in a rear waist lock but Marina flips her to her back, still keeping a hold of her wrist. Madison gets back up but Marina kicks out her leg, making her fall again as she still holding on to her arm. Madison gets up and hits her in the face. Marina tries to get at her, but Madison kicks her back long enough for her to take to the ropes. Madison knocks her down with an off the rope dropkick. 

Vickie starts yelling at Madison, drawing her attention. As Madison gets into her face, Marina tries to get behind her. Madison socks Marina across the face and turns her attention back to Vickie. This time though, Marina manages to knock her down with a kick to the face. Marina tags in Nyla who hits Madison with an elbow drop.

Marina and Nyla grabs Madison and whip her back against the turnbuckle. Marina then kicks her leg to make her fall and Nyla lands on her with a body splash. Nyla goes for the pin but Aminata runs in to shove her off. Nyla goes after Aminata and Madison tries to tag her in. Nyla grabs her to try to prevent this, but Madison hits her with a jawbreaker and tags Aminata in. 

Aminata hits Nyla with a headbutt. Nyla tries to go for the choke slam but Aminata slaps her hand away and hits her in the face. Nyla hits her back and picks her up for a body slam. Nyla then lands on Aminata with a legdrop. Nyla whips Aminata against the ropes and then shoves Madison back. As the ref tries to keep Madison from coming into the ring and Nyla taunts her, Marina takes the chance to choke Aminata. Aminata drops to the mat and Nyla presses her boot across her face as she tags Marina back in. 

Marina throws some elbow shots and then flips Aminata with a snapmare and kicks her across the back. Marina grabs her and hits with several hip attacks but Aminata gains control and hits her with the Flatliner. Both women are down but Marina manages to crawl over and tag Nyla in first. Nyla goes for a body splash but Aminata had her knees up. Aminata runs in to tag Madison back in.

Madison starts landing elbows and forearm shots to Nyla and then tries to knock her down with a shoulder block. The Native Beast is still standing and Madison hits her with the enzuiguri. Madison tries to get Nyla in some kind of slam but The Native Beast picks her up instead and tosses her back. Madison tries to go for a crucifix hold but Nyla picks her up again and socks her in the face. Nyla tags in Marina and they both pick her up and plant her with a DDT. Nyla goes over to shove Aminata out of the way as Marina pins Madison for the win. 

My Thoughts- 

It was a fun set of matches. I always enjoy seeing Julia psyche her opponents out with the dark glare. This time she came in with a new outfit that actually says 'House of Black' across her chest and she got a sweet new theme song too. However, after the events of AEW All Out where it seemed that Malakai Black will be bowing out for a while, I do wonder what will happen to the House of Black and Julia Hart, especially since she got all this new stuff going for her.

The match between Deeb and Nikki was cool. Deeb came in with the mind games, refusing to take off her robe, even though she didn't use it to cheat with in any way. I honestly thought she was going to keep it on for the whole match. Nikki did take the fight to her though. As usual, Deeb showed off new and different ways to hurt people and make them bend in ways they really shouldn't. Good showcase for both.

Skye and Diamante had a good showing too. Both of the have some good wrestling moves and aren't afraid to throw hard strikes. Very good win for Skye.

The main event was also alright, though it almost felt like a squash. Madison barely got much offense in and Queen Aminata barely got any ring time at all. I thought it was a good combination to pair up Madison Rayne with one of the lesser known wrestlers and give Aminata a chance to elevate herself, but she didn't get to do all that much. We got to see Nyla Rose throw people around, Marina Shafir bring the pain and Vickie with her heel manager shenanigans. 

Hopefully Queen Aminata will get more chances to shine because mixing up some of these newcomers like with bigger names like Madison Rayne is a great way to do it. 

Overall a decent show, though I feel the Main Event should have showcased everyone a bit better. I'm mostly curious about what awaits Julia Hart as the future of the House of Black is kind of uncertain.