Sitting down to watch TERMINUS. Two minutes in, so far my favorite thing about the show is that Zicky Dice’s mic doesn’t work. The audio on TERMINUS is bad enough it would make early AEW embarrassed.

The countdown clock on the Terminus pre-show is amazing. It counts down to 00:03:16 then flips to 00:18:12. Then when it gets to 00:13:45 it jumps to 00:28:42. I’m now 56 minutes into this PPV and just discovered I have another half hour of countdown clock, after teasing me that I was to 3 minutes left.

Match 1: Lee Moriarty vs. Josh Woods

The opening graphic said Lee Moriarty was going to face Jay Lethal, but then like 2 minutes later it says Lee Moriarty is facing Josh Woods? I get that card is subject to change, but they literally promoted the Moriarty-Lethal matchup a few minutes earlier.

Appears to be an awful turnout in the building for TERMINUS but hopefully they’re getting decent PPV buys. It’s a strong lineup, and I know the weather in Atlanta is especially crummy tonight.

I like how the announcers are finding organic ways to work in the nuanced rules of TERMINUS, and the emphasis of wanting to see who is the best competitor in the ring.

Josh Woods reminds me of someone I know, and I can’t place who it is, but I think that I don’t like whoever it is. It’s never like a “Hey I’m glad to see Josh Woods!” type of reaction.

Kind of a surprise finish in Moriarty-Woods that unfortunately came right after the the announcers made the interesting comment about the shorter time limit in TERMINUS matches most likely requiring compound finishing sequences. I was like “Oh that’s a fascinating point!” followed by a quick reversal into a pin.

Match 2: JDX vs. Daniel Garcia vs. Invictus Khash vs. Adam Priest

Garcia comes to the ring first. I’ve become a big fan of this guy on AEW. I love his cold-blooded killer persona.

I do not understand JDX’s entrance pose in which he appeared to fling baby powder or something?

This venue for TERMINUS looks like it could have been a lot of fun had they sold like 300 more than the 20 tickets they sold. You can imagine the vibe if that upper loft had been filled.

Fun multi-man match. JDX has a great connection with the crowd. I like Priest’s Benoit-esque style. Khash did a good job carrying a lot of that match for being the biggest, bulkiest guy in the ring.

I didn’t understand what happened with JDX’s elimination and it appeared the announcers didn’t either.

With the way that match ended, the whole series seemed to be booked with the purpose of getting over the spectrum of possible match finishes. We had some kind of weird self-racking, a regular pin and a knockout.

Match 3: Moose vs. Mike Bennett

Matt Taven joins on commentary for this match. Taven has never really clicked for me, but at ROH Final Battle last month, I just had this sad feeling that Taven deserved a better career than he’s had. He’s a talented guy, pretty charismatic, but I think he really suffered from being the guy who won at the disastrous ROH-NJPW Supercard of Honor. That was a stink that anyone would struggle to wash off.

No Maria with Mike Bennett! 🙁

It’s fun seeing how they’re illustrating all of the unique rules in TERMINUS. So far, each of these demonstrations has felt pretty organic and incidental.

Moose sells a cutter like a champ.

I don’t care to see matches end on disqualifications, but I do like that TERMINUS uses this to establish their rules. Also Taven wasn’t very good on commentary so it was nice that he was bailed out relatively quickly.

Match 4: Diamante vs. Janai Kai

Ouch, dig at AEW even though they’ve got a lot of talent on loan here from AEW. Nonetheless, the announce team drops the mention that while some companies only put one women’s match on their show, they have two. AEW is guilty enough that the shot lands.

I wish Kai had been given an opportunity to do more on Rampage a few weeks ago. She’s talented.

There was definitely some sloppiness in that match but a lot of fun exchanges, too. And yet another unique finish.

Match 5: Jordynne Grace vs. Kiera Hogan

The graphic said this match is for the Impact Digital Media Championship but the announcer said it was for the Ring of Honor World Championship?

Ok then after a few seconds of silence, he corrected the record.

I love Kiera Hogan’s presence. She’s another who I wish got more attention in AEW.

They’re really having audio production troubles here. Reminds me of early ROH DVDs, where I’d have no idea what anyone in the ring was saying, because at best you were getting muffled, echoing noise. Yet somehow people were able to follow the promos. I was not one of these people.

I love random stats like Grace and Hogan facing off 31 times before. Owning it, and owning the feud, makes 31 matches not seem as tiresome as WWE’s repeated—yet not acknowledged—matchups.

It’s been an effective production decision to make the countdown clock a central part of each match. Without it, you could easily imagine a viewer feeling like relatively short matches are a ripoff. But with it, it adds to the sportlike feeling of working against the clock.

The audio quality is terrible. The resolution seems almost SDTV. But in terms of angles, timing of cuts and storytelling, the video production of this event has been really good.

Dang, the Fall from Grace is such a brutal looking finisher.

Match 6: Baron Black vs. Bandido

My god the audio production on this show is horrible. They cut to a pre-recorded Baron Black promo with no audio. Even when they finally pot the audio up, it’s muffled and virtually inaudible.

I was able to hear enough to tell this one of those “put some respect on my name” promos. That has to be one of the worst cliches in the modern tough guy genre. If you’re having to tell someone to “put some respect” on your name, you’ve already lost, my friend.

Baron Black has convinced me to go to bed and resume tomorrow.

I kind of wish I had gone ahead and watched that match at 2 a.m. That was a clunky mess, and at least then I would’ve been put to sleep at night instead of when I had previously been wide awake. And Bandido’s 21 Plex just takes so long to set up, while poor Baron Black has to just stand there bent over forever.

I don’t know why, but I’m a sucker for the good-sportsmanship handshake at the end of a match.

Match 7: Dante Caballero & Joe Keys vs. Tracy Williams & Fred Yehi

They managed to get about two dozen fans in the building for this show, and all of them shout “one fall.” It’s like the one thing these microphones can pick up well.

“Dante Caballero with the ponytail, Joe Keys … with the blonde ponytail.”

Some of it is unavoidable, considering Terminus has no history, but I really like how the announce team is so open and thorough about wrestlers’ histories in other promotions. It’s another thing that adds to the sportlike feel of this show. I’m all for trivia like Williams once holding the Evolve tag team championships with his one-time and now current partner Fred Yehi.

I know it is a Cornettian point-of-view, but I love seeing a referee take control of a tag team match that’s being disrupted by partner interference. If you allow interference throughout the match, a hot tag means nothing. Protect the important spots!

This of course goes out the window for the false finish shortly before the 12 minute point.

The TERMINUS referee is much better at his job than every AEW referee. This guy is very good at backpedaling whenever there is interference so as not to be suckered literally every time by a distraction.

Match 8: Jonathan Gresham vs. Josh Alexander

Gresham’s kind of a stiff promo but I really like the way he’s laid out this journey that he’s on. And I can actually hear both of these guys in their pre-match promos — good for TERMINUS for finally figuring out their audio issues, even if it’s a little late.

I love Gresham’s freaky octopus mask.

I saw that Alexander’s flight was canceled, so he hopped into his truck and drove 14 hours to Atlanta. That’s awesome.

Another instance of the graphics team being unable to get the time limit clock right. 20-minute countdown for a 60-minute time limit.

I’m digging the use of the pure rules — specifically the rope-break limits — to build up the underdog / come-from-behind narrative for Gresham. It’s too easy and too common to try to build that tension just by having the babyface get beaten down for a long time, but when you overdo that, it just makes the babyface seem kind of weak and lame, and you can end up building admiration for the dominant heel. Here, you can have a more balanced give-and-take where you can build up heat and structure the story in a way that puts Gresham at a disadvantage without just making him a punching bag.

Oh wow, that was an awful finish.

The match is a draw because both men pinned each other simultaneously, so of course the crowd chants “Overtime.”

Can’t understand Santana’s promo at all. This audio is awful.

That lousy finish plus Alexander apparently just not even caring and the immediate pivot to whatever comes next (allegedly) sold by two inaudible promos was just an encapsulation of all the things that didn’t work on this show. It was the worst bad taste to end on.

Hopefully the weather is better on February 24.