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Amazing Race Route Concept #2
Warning: massive amount of text ahead. I created a mostly functional race route around the world (all loactions like buildings, businesses, landmarks, etc. are REAL locations and could theoretically actually work in the race). I tried to have a good variety in locations and types of challenges, but it's really hard! I find it a lot harder to complain about challenge design after making this. Even though this could technically happen there are probably some safety concerns in going to South Africa and Lesotho and it's probably not possible for the American Amazing Race to film in Cuba, but I decided to do it anyway. If you have any questions or feedback please let me know! RACE #2 Leg 1 (USA - Japan) Leg 2 (Japan - South Korea) Leg 3 (South Korea - India) Leg 4 (India - Oman) Leg 5 (Oman) Leg 6 (Oman - South Africa) Leg 7 (South Africa - Lesotho) Leg 8 (Lesotho - Greece) Leg 9 (Greece) Leg 10 (Greece - North Macedonia) Leg 11 (North Macedonia - Cuba) Leg 12 (Cuba - USA) LEG 1 USA - Japan Start at Cloud Gate, Chicago, Illinois Run to clue at Millenium Monument Clue #1 Make your way to the Gunma region of Japan, and travel to Sarugakyu Onsen. However, to get your tickets to Japan, you must make your way on foot through the busy streets of Chicago to Navy Pier, where flights will be given out according to the order of your arrival. Flights go to Tokyo, and you must make your own travel arrangements from there. Flight 1 (5 teams): Chicago - Los Angeles - Tokyo, arrives 8:00 AM Flight 2 (4 teams): Chicago - Tokyo, arrives 9:30 AM Flight 3 (2 teams): Chicago - San Francisco - Tokyo, arrives 9:45 AM Clue #2 Both team members must go into the hot springs and search it for the partly submerged cluebox to get your next clue. Clue #3 Travel to Sarugakyo Bungy for your next clue. Clue #4 Roadblock: Who’s ready to take a jump? Bungy jump at the largest bungy jump in all of Japan at 62 meters, or over 200 feet! Once you’ve taken your leap of faith, you’ll receive your next clue. Clue #5 Travel to Uenokunirokunomiya Haruna Shrine, Takasaki, for your next clue. Clue #6 Create one string of paper cranes in Senbazuru. Senbazuru is the crafting of 1000 paper cranes for good luck. Following the demonstration, learn how to craft paper cranes. Once you have created forty of them and strung them together, deliver them to a Shinto priest at Akiba Shrine. He will give you your next clue. Clue #7 Travel by train to Akihabara, Tokyo, and go to the top of the Tokyo Skytree to receive your next clue. Clue #8 Roadblock: Who can ‘go’ kart? The teammate who did the first roadblock cannot do this one. Travel to Akihabari Street Kart 1 and dress up in one of the many ridiculous costumes the company has to offer. Then, join a fifteen minute go-karting tour around the streets of this bustling region and look for three enormous signs in race colors with three different Japanese characters on them. If you can spot and write all three characters down correctly during the rush of Tokyo, you’ll receive your next clue. If you can’t get it right, you’ll have to join the next available tour. Clue #9 Travel to Horin Park on foot to find the first pit stop! The last team to check in here may be eliminated. Pit Stop, Leg 1 trip to Canada last: eliminated LEG 2 Japan - South Korea Clue #1 Fly to Busan, South Korea! Upon arrival, make your way to Beomeo-sa for your next clue. Fast Forward, Leg 2 Go to Songdo Beach and swim out into the ocean, locating the five whale statues in the water. At each statue, pick up marked letter tiles. Once you have all seven (two statues have two tiles), you can go back to the beach and unscramble the letters that spell out the name of a traditional South Korean delicacy that the other contestants eat at their first challenge. If you get the right word, you’ll be given a clue that takes you straight to the end of the leg. Clue #2 Master the art of Korean meditation. If you can master all of the moves correctly, then your instructor will give over your next clue. Clue #3 Head to Taejongdae for your next clue. Clue #4 Roadblock: Who’s desperate to eat? Take the marked path over one mile uphill to the marked food stand, and finish one serving of Soondae, a traditional South Korean delicacy that is made of pig intestines and pork blood. Once you have finished the food, you can run down to your partner and get your next clue. Clue #5 Take the Songdo Marine Cable Car from Songnim Park to Amnam Park to receive your next clue. Clue #6 Detour: Fish Identity or Fish Delivery Fish Identity: Go to Jagalchi Fish Market and search for the marked stall. Once there, sort an enormous box of fish and organize them. Once the stall owner approves, put them up for stock in the stall to receive your next clue. Fish Delivery: Go to Jacky’s Seafood and take three orders and three addresses that need to be delivered. Once you have delivered all the fish to all the correct addresses throughout the Gamcheon Culture Village, you will receive your next clue. Clue #7 Make your way to the pit-stop at Haedong Yonggungsa. The last team to arrive may be eliminated. Pit-Stop, Leg 2 -first: trip to Belize -last: non-elimination LEG 3 South Korea - India Clue #1 Fly to Hyderabad, India, and go to the Charminar for your first clue. Clue #2 Travel to Ramoji Film City Main Entrance to receive your next clue. Speed Bump, Leg 3 Make your way to Saha’s Adventure Park and zorb down a steep hill. Once you’ve made it, you can continue racing. Clue #3 Detour: Birdy Woods or Bollywood Birdy Woods: Dressing up in clumsy bird costumes, search through Asia’s largest aviary for a cutout of the bird your partner is dressing up as. Once you’ve found the two cutouts, head to the Bonsai Garden. If you match the right bird, you’ll receive your next clue. Bollywood: Head to Ramoji Movie Magic. Dressing up in traditional Indian outfits, memorize a short dance to the tune of some Bollywood music and perform it to the live audience and judges. If you meet their standards, you’ll receive your next clue. Clue #4 Head to Nehru Zoological Park where your next clue will be waiting. Clue #5 Take an amazing elephant ride! With both teammates on the elephant’s back guide it through a short course. If you can reach the end in under two minutes, you’ll receive your next clue. Clue #6 Make your way to Bidar Fort by public transport for your next clue. Clue #7 Roadblock: Who’s itching to get etching? One team member must help in the process of the creation of bidriware. First, you must chisel one section in the piece of bidriware very precisely. Any error and you must restart. If given the clear, then you must then make their way inside Bidar Fort and collect a total of three baskets of soil for the artisans to use later in the process. Finally, you must use some of the soil you collected and coat a piece of bidriware in it. If every part of the challenge was done to the satisfaction of the artisans, you will receive your next clue. Clue #8 Make your way to the Bahmani Tombs and the pit-stop! The last team to arrive will be eliminated. Pit-Stop, Leg 3 -first: trip to Japan -last: eliminated LEG 4 India - Oman Clue #1 Fly to Muscat, Oman! Once you have arrived, make your way to Al Alam Palace, where you will find marked cars waiting outside. Your clue will be waiting on the car. Clue #2 Drive all the way to the Nizwa Souq in Nizwa, Oman, where you will find nine different tags, each releasing teams at different times the next morning, when you will be given your next clue. Tag 1: departure at 7:00 AM Tag 2: departure at 7:05 AM Tag 3: departure at 7:10 AM Tag 4: departure at 7:15 AM Tag 5: departure at 7:20 AM Tag 6: departure at 7:25 AM Tags 7-9: departure at 7:30 AM Clue #3 Detour: Selling Goats or Weighing Dates Selling Goats: Navigate through the souq to the weekly goat market. You must select a seller and help them sell their goats. First, thoroughly clean five goats so they are ready for selling. Then, parade five goats around the “walking circle,” where potential buyers will inspect which goats to buy. You must finally buy a goat yourself, haggling for a price under 100 riyals, or 260 US dollars. Once you can purchase a goat, you will receive your next clue. Keep the goat for the next challenge. Weighing Dates: Find the marked stall in the souq that is selling dates. Your goal is to weigh out 200 grams of Ajwa Dates, 175 grams of Barhi Dates, and 125 grams of Hayani Dates. To do this, you must travel across the market to a scale at a different date stall. If you can get the perfect amount of dates, you will receive your next clue. Keep the dates for the next challenge. Clue #4 Travel on foot to the Contemporary Mosque with either your goat or dates and trade them with the man waiting out front for your next clue. Clue #5 Make your way back to the souq, and head to Omani Craftsman's House where you will find your next clue. Clue #6 Roadblock: Who can work and weave? The teammate participating in this roadblock must help create a small basketwork bowl. After watching the example, you must use the provided materials to finish off the bowl. If it meets the requirement of the shop owner, you will receive your next clue. Clue #7 Make your way to the pit-stop for this leg of the race, Nizwa Fort! The last team to arrive may be eliminated. Pit-Stop, Leg 4 -first: continue racing -last: continue racing LEG 5 Oman Clue #1 Drive yourself to Bimmah Sinkhole in Muscat, Oman! You will receive your next clue after having a cup of delicious locally-made coffee. Caution! Double U-Turn ahead! Clue #2 Detour: Script Write or Shipwright Script Write: Drive to Bait al Zubair and go into the Manuscript Room. Using a provided paper and translation guide, figure out what the marked manuscript says in English. If anything is wrong when submitting it, though, you must start completely over. Shipwright: Drive to Oman Maritime Boatyard and find the marked boat. Oman Maritime has been reviving the craft of making the traditional wooden boats of Oman’s past, and you must help with the process. First, you must hand-sand a small section of the marked vessel. Then, you and your partner must work together to stitch coconut palm fiber through twenty holes, or eighty total stitches. Once you’re done, you’ll receive your next clue. Clue #3 Make your way to Mutrah Souk for your next clue and the U-Turn board! Clue #4 Search through the enormous market for one of three marked stalls. One you’ve found a stall, search through their wares for a trinket with a red/yellow flag on the bottom. Give the correct trinket to the shop owner, and they will hand you your next clue. Clue #5 Drive yourself to Qurum Beach, where you will receive your next clue. Clue #6 Roadblock: Who will pass the shells? For this challenge, one team member must watch the demonstration of two fishermen playing a traditional Omani game, Al Hawalees. You must first create a “board” in the sand and collect the required amount of shells to play. You must then challenge a local fisherman. If you can win while following all of the rules correctly, you will receive your next clue. Clue #7 Make your way to the pit-stop at Wadi Bani Khalid. The last team to check in will be eliminated. Pit-Stop, Leg 5 -first: trip to Tanzania -last: eliminated LEG 6 Oman - South Africa Clue #1 Fly out of Oman to Durban, South Africa, on one of two flights. Flight 1 (2 teams): Muscat - Durban, arrives 7:30 AM Flight 2 (6 teams): Muscat - Dar es Salaam - Durban, arrives 8:00 AM Upon touching down, make your way to Moses Mabhida Stadium, where you will find your next clue. Clue #2 Roadblock: Who will swing for the skies? One team member must strap in and complete the Big Rush Big Swing, the largest swing in the world! Dive 263 feet down. Once you have finished the swing, you will receive a section and seat number. You will search the stands for your next clue. Clue #3 Make your way to Umhlanga Lighthouse for your next clue. Clue #4 Shake it up! In this challenge, you must create Lighthouse Bar’s famous “Umhlanga Schling.” Use the provided recipe to create fifteen drinks to perfection, and you will receive your next clue. Clue #5 Head to Addington Beach and dig underneath one of the large sandcastles for your next clue. Clue #6 Detour: Tree or Sea Tree: For this detour, go to Durban Botanical Gardens. Use a provided golf cart to make your way to the famous Wood’s Cycad, a tree dating back to the age of dinosaurs. It has been cared for here since 1848. Once there, use one of the provided pieces to put together a large 3d puzzle of the tree. Once it has been approved, you will be handed your clue, and you can drive back to the front of the gardens and continue racing. Sea: Go to uShaka Marine World and help out with some chores! First, help the kitchen staff and prepare 5 pounds of specially made vegetables for some of the aquarium’s fish. Second, travel around the park and take water samples from each of the specified exhibits. Finally, record blood test results taken during routine health check-ups. If you’ve completed all of the steps correctly, you will receive your next clue. Clue #7 Head to the pit-stop at Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World! The last team to check in may be eliminated. Pit-Stop, Leg 6 -first: 5k each -last: eliminated LEG 7 South Africa - Lesotho Clue #1 Drive yourself through Qacha’s Nek and into Lesotho! Once in Lesotho, drive yourself to Maletsunyane Falls where you’ll find your next clue. Fast Forward, Leg 7 By completing this fast forward, you will skip an overnight rest point and will be able to head directly to the pit-stop. Head to Sehlabathebe National Park. Once there, using the provided map and compass, ride by horseback to the nomadic tribal people’s current village. At the village, help cook pap-pap, a type of porridge common in Lesotho. The first team to complete the challenge will be able to head directly to the pit-stop. Clue #2 Drive yourself to Seshoeshoe Decor and Fashion Designers in Maseru for your next clue. Clue #3 Who can cut up a pattern? One teammate will choose one of the complicated tribal Lesotho designs, and must find five pieces of fabric that match it perfectly. But be careful, the designs have miniscule differences between them. Once you’ve found all of your fabric, cut them at the directed places to receive your next clue. Clue #4 Make your way to the Subeng River Dinosaur Footprints, where you will find seven tags, each releasing you at a time in the morning when you will receive your next clue. Tags 1-2: departure at 7:00 AM Tag 3: departure at 7:20 AM Tag 4: departure at 7:40 AM Tags 5-7: departure at 8:00 AM Clue #5 Detour: Cave or Maze Cave: For this challenge, go to Liphofung Cave. You must memorize all of the rock paintings in a specified section (15 paintings), and then run approximately a quarter-mile away and select the correct paper cutouts and put them in the right order as they were shown in the cave. When you have everything selected and ordered correctly, you’ll receive your next clue. Maze: Make your way to the second largest dam in Africa, Katse Dam. Enter the first marked gallery and record the air temperature and the humidity. Use those observations to crack a complicated code, and enter the parallel gallery it directs you into. Be careful, it might be hard to find! If you enter the correct gallery, you will find a boat key, which you must give to the boatmaster. He will then give you a small ride around the reservoir and you’ll receive your next clue. Clue #6 Drive yourself to Sani Stone Lodge for your next clue. Clue #7 Help a local Basotho Shephard and their dogs move their sheep to a new grazing location. Don’t let the sheep get away! Once they’ve all been successfully moved, you’ll receive your next clue. Clue #8 Make your way on foot to the pit-stop at Sani Top Chalet! The last team to check in may be eliminated! Pit-Stop, Leg 7 -first: trip to Egypt -last: non-elimination LEG 8 Lesotho - Greece Clue #1 Via Maseru International Airport, make your way to Athens, Greece, known to be the home of the first democracy! From there, make your way to the Theatre of Dionysus on The Acropolis, where you will take part in a U-Turn vote. The two teams with the most votes will be sentenced to an automatic U-Turn when they arrive at the detour. After the vote, teams will be given their next clue. Clue #2 Fly to Chania, Greece on the island of Crete! Upon touching down, use the provided cars to make your way to the Agora and search for the marked stall. Speed Bump, Leg 8 Together, team members must eat through a total of twelve Greek figs. Once all of the fruits have been stomached, that team can continue racing. Clue #3 Detour: Traverse or Immerse Traverse: Make your way to the Maritime Museum of Crete, and find the small yacht model outside the museum. Your goal is to remember as much as you can without writing it down, then make a half mile walk through the streets of Crete to the yacht harbor, where you must find a marked yacht and rearrange the items until it is just like it was in the model. Once the actual yacht matches the model, you’ll receive your next clue. Immerse: Travel to Minoan’s World 3D Museum, and get treated to a five minute long “9D movie” on Cretan History which engages all of your senses. If you can answer all five questions correctly, you’ll receive your next clue. However, only two teams can participate in the show at once. Clue #4 Drive to the Palace of Knossos for your next clue. Clue #5 Use the provided map to navigate through the ruins, collecting puzzle pieces at each of the marked rooms. Once you have all ten bundles of pieces, head outside and recreate the large painting using the pieces you collected. Once it has been finished, you’ll receive your next clue. Clue #6 Drive to Cretan Olive Oil Farm for your next clue. Clue #7 Roadblock: Who is feeling oily? In this challenge, one teammate will help in the process of creating olive oil. First, set up special tree-shaking equipment and a net, used to efficiently get olives out of the tree without bruising them. You will then sort the olives between bruised and fair. Finally, crush both bruised and fair olives with a traditional granite olive press. Once they have been successfully grinded into a paste, you’ll receive your next clue. Clue #8 Find the pit-stop along the coast of the small village of Loutro back on the west side of Crete. You will soon discover, however, that the village is completely blocked off from the mainland by mountains, so you will have to find alternate transportation. Hurry, because the last team to arrive will be eliminated. Pit-Stop, Leg 8 -first: trip to Austria -last: eliminated LEG 9 Greece Clue #1 Fly back to the mainland in Thessaloniki! When you’ve arrived, search Aristotelous Square for your next clue. Clue #2 Detour: Serve or Observe Serve: For this detour head on foot to Bougatsa Giannis, a renowned restaurant in the Ladadika area. You must take the orders of twelve total people and retrieve the correct dishes for them from the kitchen. Each person also has a dessert, which must be retrieved from nearby pastry shop Trigona Elinidi. You may take notes, but if you mess up someone’s order, you must start it over again. Observe: Go by taxi to the Thessaloniki Science Centre Technology Museum and make your way to the main planetarium. The night sky will be projected above, and will be moving around you at one hour of regular movement per second. Using the provided key, identify five Greek constellations first identified by Claudius Ptolemy- Orion, Ursa Major, Cassiopeia, Centaurus, and Perseus. Be careful, it might be dizzying! Once you’ve found all of the constellations, you’ll be rewarded with your next clue. Clue #3 Find the Arch of Galerius for your next clue. Clue #4 Use one of the marked cars to drive yourself for the rest of the leg. Go to the Thessaloniki Concert Hall for your next clue. Clue #5 Roadblock: Who can blow a note and hold a tune? Macedonian brass bands are extremely popular in the Macedonia region of Greece, so for this roadblock, learn how to play the trumpet, a popular instrument played in these bands. If you can play a few notes of the folk song with the band, you’ll get your next clue. Clue #6 Drive to Dalamara Winery. Once there, follow the guide to the directed area, where you must load two empty kegs onto a horse drawn cart. Direct the horse approximately half a mile through the vineyard and return back to the kegs. You will continue to load and deliver a total of eight kegs to receive your next clue. Clue #7 Drive to Ski Center Voras and take the lift to the top where Kajmakcalan, a chapel right on the border between Greece and North Macedonia is situated. The last team to arrive at this pit-stop may be eliminated. Pit-Stop, Leg 9 -first: trip to Colombia -last: eliminated LEG 10 Greece - North Macedonia Clue #1 Drive yourself across the border into North Macedonia to Popova Kula Winery! Once there, pull a tag that departs you at a certain time the next morning. Tag 1: departure at 8:00 AM Tag 2: departure at 8:10 AM Tag 3: departure at 8:20 AM Tags 4-5: departure at 8:30 AM Clue #2 Roadblock: Who is a master chef? The teammate doing this roadblock will use the provided recipe to cook the national dish of North Macedonia, Tavche Gravche, a special type of baked beans. If it is cooked to perfection, you’ll receive your next clue. Clue #3 Drive yourself to the Millenium Cross in Skopje for your next clue. Clue #4 Detour: Art Block or Charity Walk Art Block: Drive to the Art Bridge, which is home to 29 statues of important Macedonian artists and musicians. Wandering on and around the bridge are 29 people dressed up as those artists and musicians. You must match nine total people to their statues. A maximum of three teams can complete this challenge. Charity Walk: Drive to the Mother Teresa Memorial House and load a trolley cart with a marked group of items that will almost completely fill the trolley. On foot, travel to the SOS Children’s Village National Office where you are to deliver the items. If you do not choose this option, your items will still be donated after the leg. Clue #5 Drive to the city of Struga, where the North Macedonian national anthem was created. Make your way to the Saint Archangel Michael Cave Church for your next clue. Clue #6 Teammates must work together to memorize four total stanzas of the Macedonian national anthem- in Macedonian. If you can perform it with the orchestra without forgetting the lyrics, you’ll receive your clue to the next pit-stop. Clue #7 Drive to the Monastery of St. Naum and the pit-stop! The last team to check in may be eliminated. Pit-Stop, Leg 10 -first: trip to Indonesia -last: eliminated LEG 11 North Macedonia - Cuba Clue #1 Make your way back to Skopje, then fly to Havana, Cuba, on two predetermined flights. Once there, go by taxi to Taller Calle 8, a car repair shop, where you will receive your next clue. Flight 1 (2 teams): Skopje - Paris - Havana, arrives 6:30 AM Flight 2 (2 teams): Skopje - London - Miami - Havana, arrives 7:10 AM Clue #2 Roadblock: Who can fix it up? The teammate doing this roadblock must follow the example to repair one of the classic Cuban cars. If it makes it past inspection, you’ll receive your next clue. Clue #3 For the remainder of the leg, you’ll have to drive the car you just fixed. Head to Fusterlandia, where you’ll find your next clue. Clue #4 Find where the attached image is in person throughout the folk neighborhood of Fusterlandia. If you can find where the image actually is and show the judge, you’ll receive your next clue. Clue #5 Sell the Box or Find the Band Sell the Box: Drive to Santa Maria del Mar Beach and sell the provided boxes of boxed rum, the “juice box for bug kids.” While never selling any box for under 25 Cuban Pesos, make 375 Cuban Pesos (around fifteen US dollars). Once you’ve made your sales, you’ll receive your next clue. Find the Band: For this detour, drive to the Cuban Art Factory and observe the large, marked piece of sheet music in the first room. Going from room to room in the factory, try to find the band who is playing the music that was in the first room. You must make your guesses ten minutes apart, so be confident in your answers! Once you have chosen the right band, you’ll be rewarded with your next clue. Clue #6 Drive to Vinales Valley Tobacco Field and search the marked area for your next clue. Clue #7 Perfectly roll ten Cuban cigars, five per contestant. Watch the example closely, as any small mistake in rolling the tobacco leaf will cause the cigar to fail. Once all of the cigars have been perfectly rolled, you’ll receive your next clue. Clue #8 Take a long drive to the eastern side of Cuba and the pit-stop at Ignacio Agramonte Park in Camaguey! The last team to check into the pit-stop will be eliminated. Pit-Stop, Leg 11 -first: trip to Botswana -last: eliminated LEG 12 Cuba - USA Clue #1 For the first part of this leg, you’ll be staying in Cuba! Drive yourself using the car you used in the last leg down Neptuno street in Havana, where you will find a guarapo stall with a flag. Clue #2 Using the hand-press to crush sugarcane, make forty glasses of guarapo. Once all of the glasses have been successfully made, you’ll be handed your next clue. Clue #3 Drive to the Tropicana Night Club for your next clue. Clue #4 Roadblock: Who can make it and shake it? For this challenge, one team member must follow the instructions of the costume designer to create a costume for one of the showgirls. If the costume is made correctly and given a pass, teams will be given their next clue. Clue #5 Teams must drive to Aeropuerto de La Habana Ciudad Libertad, where you will embark on a charter flight to Key West, Florida, back in the United States. Once in Key West, teams must go to the southernmost point in the continental United States for their next clue. Clue #6 Make your way to the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, where you’ll find your next clue. Clue #7 Roadblock: Who is a reader, a writer, and a decipherer? Ernest Hemingway, known for books like The Old Man and the Sea, had a notoriously bad handwriting, with little regards to punctuation or accuracy. One team member must copy one of Hemingway’s notes perfectly, letter for letter, on the provided typewriter. If it was typed perfectly, you will be handed a decoder key which you can use to find the hidden message, which will reveal the location of your final challenge. Answer: Smathers Beach Clue #8 Now that you’ve made it to Smathers Beach, you’ll partake in a final challenge. Out in between the marked buoys are bundles of letter tiles. You must dive down to retrieve them and bring them back up to shore. Figure out what you’re supposed to spell out with them, and once you think you have the answer, hang the tiles in order on your clothesline. If you have the correct answer, you’ll be given the final clue. Answer: United States, Japan, South Korea, India, Oman, South Africa, Lesotho, Greece, North Macedonia, Cuba, United States (teams must figure out that they have to spell out all of the countries they visited in order on the race) Clue #9 Congratulations! Make your way to the final pit-stop at Fort Zachary Cruise Pier! Go, go, go, the first team to reach the pit-stop will win 1 MILLION dollars! Pit-Stop, Leg 12 10 countries 4 continents over 27,000 miles first: 1 million dollars
I held up my boarding pass and walked through the gate. My wife, Harper, was right ahead of me, and we both were so loaded with bags and suitcases that we could barely fit between the doorways. Our 10th anniversary was in a couple of days. We both had come into agreement that there was no better way to celebrate than to go on an all-expense-paid cruise to Hawaii. As we made it up to the deck, we marveled at all the entertainment. There was a band playing to greet us. Pools, water slides, mini-golf, a drive-in sized screen that was displaying boarding information, bars, and restaurants, and that was just what we could see while walking in! This was definitely the right choice for our anniversary vacation. I couldn’t wait to get these bags unloaded and start to enjoy ourselves. We went into the doors that led to the cabins. There was another beautiful bar down below us. There was a sports bar to the left showing the games on different screens and a small library to our right. Before we made it to the cabins, there was a coffee bar that served specialty coffees and desserts. If religion has it right, I hope that heaven is something like this. You couldn’t walk through a door anywhere without finding something exciting. Once we made it to our cabin, we dropped all our bags and looked at each other with stars in our eyes. I pulled my wife close for a kiss and then kept my arms around her. I asked eagerly about how we should begin. “Well, what should we do first? The casino? The arcade?” She smirked before replying. “Such a man, don’t forget about the fine dining at 6, followed by the show at the Theatre.” I drew back and acted faux offended. “Are you insinuating that I have no culture? I made our reservations before we even boarded, don’t worry. Dinner isn’t for a long time though, how about we go get some of those tacos and a coffee to get ourselves going.” “Now you’re speaking my language.” She replied with a grin. “Let’s unpack later. I am starving, and I think that coffee bar right there makes caramel macchiatos.” Her eyes lit up yet again as I grabbed her hand, and we rushed towards the door. The coffee bar did have macchiatos, which I got with an extra shot of espresso. She ordered a frozen drink that was more sweetness than coffee, and we made our way back onto the deck where the tacos awaited. The weather was beautiful. It was Fall time, and the sun was just warm enough to be inviting, accompanied by the blissful breeze that blew along the top of the deck. As we drew near to Tito’s Taco Shop, we heard the captain coming through the loudspeakers announcing takeoff. He reminded us about the mandatory safety meeting in a couple of hours and then wished us to have a great time aboard the ship. It was still strange to be in large groups of people without wearing a mask. The pandemic was finally eradicated once the vaccines were distributed. The cruise and tourism industries were hit hard, as were many others. It seemed that people were at last willing to come back out again, and there was no shortage of cruise-goers ready for a trip to the islands. I had my phone out and was looking up things to do in Honolulu for the days that we were in port. Scuba diving was a must. I had heard that sometimes you could see sharks or even hold an octopus on your hand if you got lucky enough. I wanted to do some hiking near the volcanoes if we had time. All the spam was going to be strange, but as much as they cook with it, I bet they were able to make it taste like a delicacy. They were in the process of building a new aquarium. It looked like it was going to be a huge one. Sadly, it did not look like it would be done in time for us to check it out. The black sands beach looked incredible, though. Instead of sand, it said that the whole beach was covered in smooth black lava rocks. We would definitely have to make a stop there. “Ethan! Do you want salsa on your tacos? Chicken or steak?” I put my phone away and looked at the meats before responding and did so to the guy who was making them as he finished up my wife’s two glorious looking tacos. “I’ll take one of both with some of that green salsa. Thank you!” All the free tacos that you could eat, why couldn’t life always be like that? “Let’s sit over there by the side, so we can watch the takeoff,” Harper said, before taking a big sip of her frozen coffee. We took a seat and took in the last sight of land that we would see for about 4 days. Once we arrived, we would tour the different islands, stopping at each port and having a day to explore. There were some people on land waving towards the ship. We joined many others who were near the side waving back. I couldn’t help but feel bad for all of those poor people stuck on the land. “Bon Voyage to us, I guess.” I held up my coffee for a cheers, and Harper returned the gesture. Her face was glowing. I couldn’t remember seeing her so happy since the day of our wedding. “This is really going to be a nice break from reality.” She said as she picked up her taco to take her first bite. “Yeah, it will. Nothing like this in the world.” We took our time, enjoying each bite as our view of the coastline became a thing of the past. When we were finished, we looked into each other’s eyes. I reached across the table to hold her hand. She sounded a bit anxious as she spoke. “It is a lot to take in, isn’t it? There is so much to do that I’m afraid of missing out on something. Where should we go first?” I squeezed her hand and spoke in a reassuring tone. “We have plenty of time to take it all in. Let’s just make sure to relax and do whatever makes us happy. It will all work itself out.” Once we had our fill of gazing into the ocean, we decided that we would head back to the room and get unpacked, while we waited for the safety orientation. The time flew by, and before we knew it, they were calling our section over the loudspeaker. We arrived with all the other passengers and waited for a moment until the crew member made it so we could begin. They gave us the spiel about the life jackets. They explained how the evacuation process works in case of a problem and let us hear a sample of the siren that would be played if there was an emergency. I was zoning out and staring out of the window. We were near the bottom of the ship, and you could see the water moving beside us. It put me in a bit of a trance, and I kind of lost myself in it for a moment. I was snapped out of it when I saw something I couldn’t quite comprehend. It happened pretty fast, and most of the people were looking at the crew member as he spoke. I could have been mistaking, but It looked like a giant tentacle had moved by the window and curled out of sight. I looked around to see if anyone else had seen what I thought I just saw. There was a teenaged boy who looked excited and shocked. He was tugging at his father’s sleeve and explaining something to him. He seemed to brush him off and looked frustrated at the interruption. Everyone else was paying attention to the speech and had apparently not seen a thing. Harper noticed how shaken I was and asked me quietly if everything was alright. I shook it off and said I would tell her about it later. We sat through the rest of the orientation. Nothing else went by the window, other than the waves being made by the ship. As we arrived back on the deck, we were grabbing a drink from the tiki-themed bar. Harper chose one of those blue drinks with the little umbrella on top. After what I had seen, I opted for a straight glass of their best scotch. I had explained my story to her, and she was busy trying to figure out what it could have been that I saw. “So, you’re sure it was all the way up by the window? Even at that lower level, that must be pretty high up from the water. Maybe it was something that crawled up the side, and it just seemed like it was larger because of forced-perspective?” I took a big sip of my scotch and shook my head in confusion. “Yeah, I mean, maybe. I really don’t know.” She looked as if a light bulb went off in her head, and she shot back a smart remark. “You’ve been reading a bunch of that H. P. Lovecraft stuff again, haven’t you? I’m sure it wasn’t Cthulhu if that’s what you are thinking.” I laughed and felt my tension release. “No, it’s not that. I just thought it was weird, that’s all. Enough about that, let’s figure out what we’re going to do until the formal dinner and play tonight.” She responded with a grin. “I seem to remember someone mentioning the arcade and the casino.” I must have looked like a kid on Christmas morning because she burst out laughing. We finished our drinks and made our way past the large screen that was now cycling through reminders of all the different events that you could attend. Night club, comedy club, it seemed like there was no end to the number of things you could do on this ship. We walked through the casino that was already bustling with cruise-goers. It looked like a good time. They even had versions of those toy cranes that were set up to pick up huge wads of cash. That might be the next stop, but I had my eyes set on the zombie shooter game with two green guns. The arcade was right past the casino and was full of all kinds of games to keep us entertained. Not as many people were eager to jump straight for the arcade apparently. Harper and I had the whole place to ourselves. I went to the coin machine to get out some tokens. There was a door that read “Staff Only” right by the machine. I heard a loud slamming noise that caught my attention, even over the music that was playing in the arcade. I leaned in a little and heard a heated conversation on the other side. “This is so fucked up. I can’t believe that they got loose. They need to tell all of the people!” “Can you imagine the chaos that would cause? I get where you are coming from, trust me. It’s better this way, though.” “Yeah, I guess you’re right… People would be going crazy.” The door opened, and I jumped as I was still leaning in to eavesdrop. This must have been apparent to the two kids who walked out because they looked a bit frightened and then hurried right past me. I grabbed the tokens out of the machine and walked over to the machine where my wife was waiting. “You look like you just saw a ghost or something. Don’t tell me some fish people are walking around on board now.” I couldn’t even fake a laugh or smile. I explained what I had just heard as I put the coins into the machine and started up the game. She did not seem concerned about the new development. “They could have been talking about a mechanical issue or something. Try not to worry too much. We deserve to have the time of our lives on this trip. I don’t want you to start to obsess on this and lose sight of why we are here.” I shrugged at this and answered in a resigned tone. “Yeah, I guess you’re right. Worrying isn’t going to fix anything anyway. Could you please start taking out some of these zombies, though? I’m carrying the whole game over here. You have a power-up to use, hit the red button.” She smacked me with the gun for talking trash, but the mood felt much lighter after that. Before long, we grew tired of the arcade and decided to play a few games at the casino. I have never been the best card player, and she was no better than me. This being the case, we opted for the giant money claw machine. I swear that both of us grabbed a stack a handful of times each. The claw would never hold its grip, though. Feeling more than a little bit scammed, we decided to blow a bit of time at the slots until we had to go get ready for dinner. As soon as we sat down, the person who went on the money claw right behind us exclaimed loudly as the machine lit up and started to make a loud ringing noise. I looked over to Harper and gestured towards him. “That seems about right, huh? We pump fifty dollars into that thing, and he walks away with a jackpot after one.” “Such is life.” She responded as she pumped some tokens into the slot machine. I couldn’t help but hear two guys on some machines behind us, as they were beginning to get a bit rowdy with each other. “You tryin’ to say I don’t know what I saw man?” His friend responded quickly. “No, no, no, man. I’m not trying to say you’re seeing things or whatever else. I’m just saying that it’s crazy. There is no way it can be right!” After this, the first man shot up out of his seat, knocking over his stool as he did. This caused quite the scene, and many people were starting to gaze in the direction now. “Yeah, that’s alright. You think whatever the hell you want. I’m gonna go find someone to talk to about it right now!” He stormed off, leaving his friend looking a bit shell-shocked and embarrassed. Harper looked toward me, and as if reading her mind, I pushed my seat back away from the machine. “Yeah, let’s get out of here. We need to get ready for dinner.” She raised her eyebrows in surprise at what we had just witnessed and responded. “Sounds good to me. I haven’t won anything anyway. Let’s go.” I looked back towards the guy’s friend, who he left standing there. After considering it for a moment, I leaned in towards my wife. “You go ahead, I’ll catch up with you in just a second.” She looked a bit frustrated but did not fight it. “Hurry up, I want to make sure we get a good seat. It’s going to take us a while to get ready.” She kissed me on the cheek and took off towards the deck, which led over towards the cabins. I walked up towards the man who was about to walk off before I caught his attention. “Excuse me, sir? I overheard you and your friend. What was it that he thinks he saw?” He looked at me warily. It was clear that he really didn’t want to discuss the matter. “Look, he’s usually not like that, you know? I don’t know what’s gotten into him, honestly.” I shook my head. He obviously didn’t understand why I was asking. “No, I saw something strange as well. I’m not trying to say your friend is going crazy at all. I was just wondering what it is that he was saying he saw.” This seemed to unnerve him more than help calm his nerves. He looked around to make sure nobody was listening in. “Man, he was saying that he saw a giant fucking octopus, bro. Like, 30 feet long or so is how he was describing it. It’s ridiculous, there is no way they would allow something like that on one of these ships.” My heart dropped all the way to my feet. I covered my mouth, and I think he could tell by my reaction that what he said had rocked me to the core. I stammered and managed a weak reply as horror rushed through my body. “I..I… On the boat??” He nodded and looked at me with the same type of concern he had been showing to his friend. My face must have been as white as a sheet at this point. “Thanks.” I took off out of the door, in a huge rush to catch up with Harper. I was looking around in a panic, my heart racing and ready to beat right out of my chest. I was about to just take off to the room when I heard Harper’s voice. “Ethan! Over here, I grabbed some hot tea.” I saw her over by the edge of the deck, waving me over. I ran up to her and could hardly focus. “I thought you needed something to help you relax, and it looks like I was right. What are you freaking out about right now?” I tried to collect my thoughts and was going to respond when she pointed behind me and cut me off. “Hey, isn’t that the guy that was just going nuts in the casino?” I turned around, and the man was being dragged towards a door that was marked “Employees Only”. Two larger deckhands were pulling him that way, each with a tight grip on one of his arms. He was fighting hard to try and break their hold and calling out for help. As they made it through the door with the man, I grabbed Harper by the shoulders and looked into her eyes. “We have to go. Let’s get to the room, I don’t want to explain out here.” She nodded, and we made our way towards the cabins. Once we were in our own cabin, she put down the hot teas on our dresser and walked right up to me with an exasperated look on her face. “Babe, what in the heck is going on right now? This isn’t about the freaking tentacle that you saw out the window, is it?” I looked shiftily around the room and towards our view of the ocean. “Yes… I mean, no… Well, not really, anyway.” “You have got to calm down. Just take a deep breath and explain.” I did as she suggested and took a long deep breath to collect my thoughts. I told her about what the guy’s friend had said back at the casino. She made the connection between this and the man being dragged off the deck against his will. I also explained what I heard from the crew members when we were at the arcade. I could tell she was beginning to take what I was saying seriously. I looked off into a corner as I made a connection. It seemed like a bit of a stretch to me, but it was the only thing I could think of. I know that she wouldn’t judge me at this point if it sounded a bit outlandish. After thinking it over for a moment, I decided to tell her what I was thinking. “When I was looking for things to do in Honolulu earlier, there was an advertisement for a new aquarium that was coming soon. One of the main attractions was that they were going to have a bunch of Giant Pacific Octopi. I didn’t think about it until now, but what if that is what is on this ship? Let me google it really quick, I had never heard of that type of octopus, so I didn’t think much of it.” I got the search pulled up and nodded in a cold understanding before continuing. “This is exactly what that guy was describing. I don’t know why they would use a cruise ship to deliver something like that. It’s the only thing that makes any sense right now, though.” Harper was looking at the google search thoughtfully and responded. “I mean, I guess that these were two of the hardest-hit economies during the pandemic, tourism, and cruise ships. It makes some kind of twisted sense that they would come together to try and help each other out. Octopi are known to be very mischievous, even when they aren’t the size of a freaking semi-trailer.” She made a good point. Nothing had really made sense for a few years now with how crazy the world had been. This made as much sense as anything else when it was put into perspective. I just shook my head in amazement and looked towards her. “Well, what do we do from here?” “I know this is crazy, but I’m sure they will have a handle on those things. They would not have arranged to have them on board and not prepared for the possibility that they could escape. I say we get ready and go to dinner as we had planned. We don’t want to spend our whole 10th-anniversary cruise holed-up in the cabin. Even if all this crazy guesswork is correct, and that is what the guy from the casino saw, I’m sure that they have everything under control.” I pressed my fingers against my eyes and tried to wrap my mind around everything. I may have been scared out of my mind, but she was right. Our best bet was to hope that it was all under control and at least try to enjoy our time on the ship. This was not going to happen again anytime soon, if ever. “Yeah. Let’s do that, I agree. Let’s just get dressed and try to have a good time. I’m sure if it was too bad, everyone would be on lockdown or something.” She brightened up a bit with my saying this. We both went into our luggage and began to start the process of getting changed into our formal dining attire. Before long, I was tying the knot in my tie, and she was putting the final touches on her hair. I walked up behind her in the mirror and held her by the shoulders. “You look incredible. Let’s go and have the time of our lives.” She gave me a big smile, and I pulled her in for a kiss. I backed up and held out my arm towards her. As she grabbed onto it, we made our way for the door. The formal dining room was the most luxurious area on the ship by far. Chandeliers hung from the ceiling. There were large wine racks along many of the walls, and the entire dining room was walled in by the most beautiful windows that I had ever seen. There was an ornate window on the ceiling as well. It was just beginning to get dark, and I was sure that soon we would be able to see the stars all across the sky. The waiter walked up and asked what we would like to drink. He was dressed in a black vest with a bow tie and a white shirt. I told him that we would take a bottle of wine that he recommended. I also asked him to give me a recommendation for my meal. Once Harper heard his suggestion of parmesan encrusted lamb with asparagus, she decided that she would follow suit. He brought out some bread with olive oil as a complimentary appetizer to go with our wine. As he poured our first glasses and set the bottle down, I grabbed my glass of wine and held it up toward my beautiful wife. She looked every bit as lovely as the day of our wedding, and I was flooded with a flurry of emotions as I said my toast. “Here is to 10 amazing years. Every one of them has been an adventure, and I look forward to every year that I’ll be lucky enough to spend with you as we continue that adventure.” She smiled and blushed ever so slightly as she reached her glass to clink off of mine. We both took a sip, and she responded in a relieved manner. “That’s the spirit, it is starting to actually feel like a relaxing vacation.” “Hey, that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? It’s so nice to have a break from work, housework, and all the monotony of the day-to-day. We make a pretty good team through all of that drudgery, though. Don’t you think?” Suddenly, I saw the smile get wiped from her face. The look that crept onto her face was one of sheer terror. Her glass of wine had been in her hand. When her face went from delight to horror, she tossed it on the ground with a crash. A scream came from deep within her, which was blood-curdling and intimated that absolute ruin was imminent. I turned toward the spot that she was staring at. I understood all at once the doom that awaited all of us in the dining room. A giant octopus came crashing through the windows near the entrance where we all had arrived, knocking over the many racks of wine as it came and turning the floor as red as blood. Seemingly at the same time, another came from the side closest to the ocean and blocked the only other way out of the dining room into the kitchen. I grabbed Harper’s arm, and we ran toward the corner as far from the beasts as we could manage. It was pandemonium as the whole dining room erupted into turmoil. I flipped a circle table up against the corner so that Harper and I could try to hide behind it for protection. I saw one man who ran as fast as he could towards a small opening next to the octopus, who was blocking the main entrance. The creature reached a giant tentacle out for him and pulled him into his beak. There were shrieking howls of pain, unlike anything I have ever heard as blood sprayed out from underneath. A couple of people were able to dart around as the octopus was distracted. Another unfortunate lady was grabbed by one of the spare tentacles, though. He squeezed her around the throat, and we had to watch as her face turned purple. Eventually, the life was squeezed right from her body. I held Harper tight as she was sobbing like mad and unable to stop her body from shaking. We saw an opening. The one by the front entrance went toward a group of people on the opposite side of the room. As soon as it did, we bolted for the door. As we drew near, another octopus came crashing through the window on the ceiling, crushing a few unfortunate souls as it joined in the massacre. We kept running until we were well onto the deck. The chaos did not stop in the dining room. People were running like mad all over the deck. I didn’t know where we would be safe, but I thought that maybe we could lock ourselves in our cabin until we could be rescued from this madness. It was a nice thought, but as we went for the doors, another one of those damn things came down to block our way. We ran for the area in front of the drive-in style screen where Re-Animator was playing. A man was gibbering to himself in a wild manner and hiding behind a chair. As we drew near, I noticed a tear in the screen as another one came through and snatched the man up as he yelled out for help. Our options for safety were becoming extremely limited. We ran for the bar where we jumped over the top and hid with a large group of people, peaking over to watch it all unfold. That was when we saw what I knew would be the end of us all. There was an army of them descending upon us. I held Harper tight as we waited on the inevitable. I watched as a family of three were huddling together in the middle of the deck. They were almost surrounded, but the father pushed the mother and child toward an opening so that they could make it to safety with the rest of us. He let out a guttural cry as they ripped him to shreds. His little girl cried in a high-pitched squeal reaching for him until the mother grabbed her and ran towards us. The mother was getting close when one of the monstrous creatures came hurtling behind her. As she noticed, she reached out with her daughter. I leaned out over the bar and grabbed onto her as the octopus reached the mother and held her tightly. I was pulling my hardest as the mother was holding on tight, and I hoped that they both might be saved. I was punching and pulling at the tentacles and doing my best to cause him to let the mother go. She released her daughter, and the others brought her down behind the bar. I wouldn’t let go of her mother’s arms as she cried out in distress. That was when I heard it. It was the deepest and most powerful sound that I have ever heard. It shook the ship violently. The bottles of liquor and glasses were falling all around us. It was hard to describe the immense strength and power that the sound exhibited all around us. When the sound came, though, something strange began to happen. The octopus that held the child’s mother released her, and we pulled her behind the bar with us quickly. She fell to her daughter and clutched her tightly as they wept in each other’s arms. All of the creatures began to release the people that they were attacking. They were moving in unison towards the edges of the ship. They crawled over the side, and one by one, they made their way into the ocean. Once all the monsters had left the ship, the people made their way slowly to the side to see what was happening. For some reason, they were all leaving. As quickly as they had descended upon us, they left us. It appeared to be almost in a synchronized manner. They all were swimming in the same direction, and we watched in disbelief. Nobody aboard this ship would ever be the same if they made it out alive, but many of us were saved by what could only be described as a call. A call that came from something massive, much larger than the creatures that had plagued us. It was a call that came from deep within the ocean and was more monstrous than anything that we could have ever imagined.
The best laid PLANs of mice and men often go awry. Welcome back to another effortpost by me generally on the developing arms race in East Asia, this time covering the People's Liberation Army Navy, hereafter referred to as the "PLAN", and its massive growth... and... mostly, well, its massive growth. What that means is mostly covered in other posts about how other countries are responding to it. The why is a bit difficult because, well, China is not well known for open debate, or open anything, really, which will turn up repeatedly.
First And Last Stand Of The Tin Can Navies [ASEAN + Australia and the smaller adversaries China may contend with]
Boned: Problems in the US Air [and space!] Force
--Unnamed-- effortpost on Japanese military matters, mostly about how weird the JSDF status is
--Unnamed--effortpost on Indian military matters, and why they can't focus on China or buy anything that works
--Unnamed--effortpost on the rest of the PLA, mostly the air force though
--Unnamed--effortpost on the rest of the US Armed Forces, mostly talking about how the marines are changing and the Army's new love affair with INF-busting weapons
Glossary: PLA = People's Liberation Army = the armed forces of the People's Republic of China, or China PLAN = People's Liberation Army Navy = the naval forces of the PLA PLANAF = People's Liberation Army Navy Air Force = the air force of the navy of the PLA Ashm = Anti-ship missile, cruise missile unless specifically described as otherwise--there's only one anti-ship ballistic missile in existence and its efficacy and whether or not it functions is questionable CIWS = close-in weapons system, like the Phalanx gun or Goalkeeper VLS = vertical launch system for missiles AEGIS = Aegis Combat System if described specifically in that context, a US naval warfare system, but we'll usually be talking about "Chinese AEGIS", which is a nomiker used by the Chinese media in particular comparing the Type 346 radar to the AN-SPY family, with which it shares numerous technical characteristics--but how comparable the "Chinese AEGIS" system is to what the US uses is a complete unknown. SAM = Surface-to-air missile, in this case usually a S-300 derivative First Island Chain = The islands, stretching from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Japan, which keep China inside its littoral seas much as the GIUK [Greenland-Iceland-UK] gap has kept various continental powers out of the Atlantic. Some PLAN equipment you might see described--the nomenclature is confusing and a relic of the cultural revolution, and as a result China now has more Types than the British. Type 003 = China's new conventionally powered supercarriers, currently under construction Type 002 = China's first truly "operational" carrier Type 001 = China's first carrier, built on a Soviet hull purchased from Ukraine ostensibly to make a floating casino Type 055 = Guided-missile cruiser, though generally called a destroyer it's probably more descriptively labeled a cruiser Type 052D = Guided-missile destroyer using "Chinese AEGIS" Type 052/051B/052B/052C = the gradual progression of evolving Chinese naval tech, largely built as practice/demo ships like the Type 001. Some of the earlier ones are steam-powered but by the Type 052C you have something almost as advanced as the Type 052D, albeit with turbine problems Type 054A = the standard modern frigate of the PLAN Type 053[anything] = old PLAN frigates Type 096 = China's newest SSBN class, under construction Type 094 = China's first functional SSBN class, very noisy Type 092 = China's first "SSBN", believed to have never left port with an actual nuke on board Type 095 = China's newest SSN class, under construction Type 093 = China's current SSN class, noisy Type 091 = China's first SSN class, dumb dumb dumb and is at a 1950s tech level Type 039[A] = China's new SSK class Kilo = China's older SSK class, imported from Russia Sovremenny = China's first capable anti-air destroyers, imported from Russia
1. The Last Time A Rising Navy Challenged A Dominant Foe
The last time we've seen something like this was in the late 19th century. After the First World War shipbuilding was restricted by the landmark Washington Naval Treaty, one of the first great arms control treaties, and during the Cold War the Soviet Union never really had any hopes of surpassing American naval power. China, however, seems intent on replacing the US as the world's dominant naval power, or at least building a force that can stop the US Navy, even combined with the forces of Japan and other regional allies. The nations in question, of course, in the last naval arms race, were the United Kingdom and a newly-unified Germany. Germany never reached the level of the UK, but seriously threatened it. Previously the UK had maintained a policy of having more ships than the next two largest fleets combined, but this was no longer possible, and the UK legitimately was fearful for its naval supremacy. It didn't last too long in the end--under a decade--and a resumption was foiled by first a world war and then the Washington Naval Treaty. The impact of the arms race, though, was massive. It set Germany and the UK at odds with each other, it resulted in a general buildup of warships pretty much everywhere [South America was, believe it or not, one of the biggest offenders there], established Germany for a time as the world's second naval power, having eclipsed both France and Russia and turning a small coastal defense navy into something that was able to defeat the Royal Navy itself, though never comprehensively enough to change the course of the first world war. China dwells in a much different situation than Germany did at the turn of the last century, so we can only extend the analogy so far--substituting in Japan for the UK, India for Russia, and so on is possible but not, in my view, educational. However, we can see many of the same elements playing in here. China seems intent on replacing the US as a dominant power, or at least as regional hegemon--the ancient tributary system seems to lie fairly heavily on Chinese minds--and in order to do that, it must be able to have some degree of power projection and the capability to deny the US Navy access to areas within the first island chain. It remains to be seen, however, how successful that quest will be. Much as with the dreadnought battleships, I wouldn't be surprised if we never actually do find out if most of the shiny naval toys people have built actually work. But their mere existence shows the mutual hostility developing in the region and demonstrates the size of the Chinese threat. Another lesson learned here is that China, like Germany, may not develop a naval force capable of defeating the US comprehensively, but only partially, and that one of the powers--in this case, China--might be pressured to strike first before the US Navy can close the gap. That ~2030 gap I talked about in my last post is, I think, an especially vulnerable point, because China may look at a degraded, but rejuvenating US Navy, then at their own capable forces, and decide to strike then in Taiwan and the South China Sea, only to back down when the US Navy again eclipses them. Whether or not that will happen, we will see--but I find it a very dangerous and perhaps likely possibility.
2. What the PLAN looked like 20 years ago
The PLAN has undergone an absolutely stunning evolution in the past two decades. In the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis the US could intimidate China with a pair of aircraft carrier strike groups and China could do pretty much nothing about it. Now the US is afraid of sending anything more than a destroyer through the strait. Twenty years ago, the PLAN was a bit of a joke. Even Taiwan figured it could hold the seas against the PLAN. It consisted of a few tens of outdated coastal-defense frigates, some Soviet-era diesel-electric subs, and a large number of unsophisticated missile craft. The pride of the Chinese fleet were a handful of destroyers assembled using cobbled-together Western technology--copied French missiles, American gas turbines, the lot. According to American accounts at the time, the instructions for the equipment hadn't even been translated. The most advanced ship in the fleet used steampower. There were nuclear submarines, but of 1950s quality. Of particular note was the fact that the Chinese fleet had no area air defense capabilities--their premier surface-to-air-missile was an unlicensed knockoff of the French Crotale, and couldn't shoot anything outside of visual range, at high altitudes, or really doing anything more sophisticated than trying to kill their ships with low-altitude dumb bombing runs. In the past twenty years, however, the PLAN has, much like the German Navy towards the end of the 19th century, gone from an afterthought to the world's second most powerful force. It began, as modern China's military capabilities almost all began, with the looting of the former Soviet Union for naval technology. While Soviet naval tech was generally lacking, it was much better than anything else China could get its hands on after the arms embargo placed on it in the 1990s by the US and Europe in response to Tienanmen and the end of the Cold War. China bought Soviet diesel submarines, Soviet air-defense destroyers, and Soviet aircraft carriers, which it promptly left lying around [and turned one of them into a theme park]. This was combined with copies of various pieces of Western, mostly European, technology for everything from sonars to surface-to-air missiles. China then began developing its first modern indigenous surface combatants, the Type 052C, but there were still problems. The engines were Ukrainian and had reliability trouble, the gun jammed, there was no VLS. It is really in the last ten years that things have begun to move extremely quickly, and even only in the latter portion of the decade. In 2012 the Type 001 Liaoning entered service, and although it remains more of a training ship than an operational vessel, and is held back by a poor carrier aircraft, the mere fact that China "built" a carrier was a surprise to many. In 2014 the first Type 052D destroyer came online. It had learned the lessons from the Type 052C, and in just the last six years at least ten have entered service, with a class size of about 23 expected. This rapid expansion is what has frightened competing navies the most--in a little over a decade, the PLAN is constructing more destroyers than the British, French, and Australian navies have in service combined. It is also building the Type 055, which has generally been called a "destroyer" despite being more aptly described as a cruiser in line with the Ticonderoga-class. China has also built 30 modern frigates in the past decade, which has also swelled its numbers, along with numerous smaller corvettes, submarines, and so on. This is why the PLAN has become such an object of concern. While it cannot challenge the US Navy yet, at least outside its littoral zones, the decline of the USN and rapid expansion of the PLAN means that it is a serious threat. And the speed at which it has developed has made many fearful. As recently as 2010, the idea of China operating an aircraft carrier or modern destroyers seemed distant, possibly preposterous. Now China speaks openly of having a six-carrier fleet in the 2030s, although, as with many of China's plans to operate full US-replicated tech and doctrine, these may have somewhat caved to realism. China is mighty, but it has already done the easy part--the last part is much harder, in economics and in military matters. Building the software, the institutional knowledge, the hardware to compete with the US Navy will prove difficult.
3. What the PLAN looks like now--submarines
Submarines are one of the PLAN's weak spots, particularly nuclear submarines. China is, however, making some fairly rapid advances in this area. Their nuclear submarine program has been considered a bit of a joke for some time. In the late 1950s when all the cool kids great powers were getting nuclear submarines, China decided [or at least Mao did] that China needed nuclear submarines too. About 16 years later, the product of this effort finally emerged as the Type 091 submarine. Based on 1950s technology, with poor radiation shielding and basically nothing done in the name of noise reduction, and not even a teardrop hull, the Type 091 was probably more of a threat to the sailors who were on it than anyone else, except maybe the two Tench-class submarines that Taiwan operates, which use 1940s technology and are the world's longest-serving submarines, though they're mostly used for training nowadays. Even then, my money would be on the Tench despite the upgrades the PLAN has made to the Type 091. There's only so much you can do to put lipstick on a pig. China also produced an SSBN, the Type 092, which was probably the only submarine more useless than the Type 091. About the only useful thing it did for the PLAN was that it served as a test platform for SLBM launches. Reports suggest that the Type 092 is the noisiest SSBN ever made, and is thought to have only ever undertaken a single patrol. It stayed at port for so long that it was thought to have sunk in an accident. And the experience turned the PLAN off from building SSBNs for over twenty years, until the Type 094 came online in 2007. More recent submarines are growing in capability, though. The Type 094 is not the noisiest SSBN ever made, and may not even be the noisiest in current service--that honor going to the Delta III operated by the Russian Navy, which uses 1970s technology, and, which, according to the US Office of Naval Intelligence, is about as noisy as the Type 094. The Type 093 is also moderately capable--it actually functions and can fire anti-ship missiles. However, the Type 093 is still considered only comparable to the Soviet Victor III class, again using 1970s technology. Future submarines have not yet been seen, but expectations are that China will make another step forward to late 1980s or early 1990s tech levels, producing something on par with the Los Angeles or Akula for the first time. China also operates a fairly capable fleet of coastal diesel-electric submarines. While some are quite old--the Type 035--most are pretty average for the global submarine force, a mix of Kilos and domestic AIP designs. The large number of boats in operation and their anti-ship missile capability means that these should be considered a real threat, at least in the littoral waters near to China, but they aren't decisive by any means, especially since China is facing off against such threats as Japan's Soryu class, probably the most advanced diesel-electric sub in existence. In conclusion, the PLAN is still pretty weak on the submarine front--weaker here than on anything but its carrier force, but its capabilities are advancing rapidly and should not be underestimated.
4. What the PLAN looks like now--surface combatants
The surface fleet is definitely the most impressive and capable portion of the PLAN, no questions about it. China once had a fleet consisting mostly of coastal frigates and missile boats. As recently as 2000, its fleet had no real area-air-defense destroyers, and no SAMs that could operate outside visual range. Now, though, the PLAN operates tens of advanced guided-missile destroyers, advanced frigates, and still retains a large number of small, stealthy missile boats. The major focus of Chinese warships appears to be on anti-air, with anti-surface being a somewhat secondary concern for all but the smallest vessels. This makes sense when you realize that the primary focus is, at least for the moment, on using land-based aircraft to strike against hostile fleet formations using long-range anti-ship missiles, in a very Soviet sort of way--"Backfire raids" using long-range land-based aircraft with anti-ship missiles were one of the US Navy's major concerns during the Cold War, and the very reason for the F-14's existence along with the AIM-54 Phoenix it carried. However, China has been developing anti-surface capabilities as well using ashms and land-attack cruise missiles [generally the same thing, actually]. Since China has finally developed a VLS system that allows it to use the same launcher for multiple missiles, its most recent ships have become more versatile in that role. How effective these ships are at that task is, however, a relatively open question. Their radars at least seem to quite sophisticated, using flat-panel AESA, and have been dubbed "Chinese AEGIS" by the highly reliable Chinese domestic media. The basic platform their surface-to-air missiles are based on also seems to be fairly capable--the HQ-9 is an S-300 derivative, a respectable SAM system though, again, how capable it is against opponents in an active electronic warfare environment is questionable, and it has basically no capabilities against stealth aircraft like the F-35 as far as anyone knows. The efficacy of their CIWS, again, is open to question. Really this is true of everything about the modern PLAN, and PLA in general. The PLA is secretive, has not exported most of its hardware, and has developed largely independently of foreign militaries, though it is definitely influenced by them. Now that the PLAN has moved away from simply copying foreign hardware and patching it together, its capabilities are much harder to discern. However, they should be taken as a very real threat, and not written off. My guess would be that their warships are about as capable as most of their non-American counterparts, save those equipped with AEGIS, but that's all my guess is---a guess.
5. What the PLAN looks like now--carriers
The PLAN currently has two carriers in service, and two more known to be under construction, and most suspect that it will build several more. However, at the moment, the PLAN's carrier force is largely a paper tiger, designed around training. The first carrier, the Type 001, basically was a "how do you build a carrier" kit bought from Russia, possibly by accident--the "fully functional" Minsk ended up as a theme park, believe it or not. The hull was purchased from Ukraine and then completed in China years later. It is also believed that the PLAN may have learned some things about aircraft carriers from the HMAS Melbourne, which was sold to a Chinese firm for scrapping--rumor has it the PLAN had no clue this had happened and then had a field day looking at all the stuff that hadn't been taken out. This was back in the old days when nobody could imagine that China would have an aircraft carrier. The Type 002, however, is built from scratch, but isn't particularly capable especially as it's a ski-jump carrier, leaving the Type 003 the first carrier which will prove actually useful. The main thing holding China's carrier fleet back, though, is a lack of a suitable aircraft. Originally China was considering purchasing Su-33s from Russia, hardly a good carrier-based aircraft but functional, but after Russia discovered that China had been mucking about building a Su-27 derivative without asking the deal fell through [China tells a different story, saying that Russia demanded exorbitant amounts to reopen production which it was unwilling to pay for a nearly obsolete aircraft]. As a result China operates the J-15 as its naval fighter, with... less than stellar results. It's extremely heavy, and, if it takes off from the carrier, has minimal range if carrying anything at all--it can't take more than two short range air to air missiles into the sky to fight enemy aircraft. However, the J-15 isn't really intended for combat service--it's intended to teach China how to run carriers, and it seems to work well enough for that task, aside from the multiple fatal crashes. There is, however, thought to be a new carrier fighter in the pipeline--most say the J-31/FC-31, which has reduced RCS and a number of carrier-unique features, is being pitched as a carrier-based aircraft and will serve as China's carrier fighter in the future. China also lacks any fixed wing carrier-based airborne early warning, which could prove troublesome--a lack of AEW means that its view is limited by the horizon--and has no resupply aircraft like the C-2 Greyhound. As a result, for the moment at least, China lacks an effective carrier force, but it is likely to continue developing rapidly in the next decade and become a fairly substantial threat. Remember that as recently as 2010, a Chinese aircraft carrier seemed preposterous to many people, and now they have two.
6. Some attention to land-based aircraft
Land-based aircraft as a naval weapon are not generally used by the US, which has never had a reason to develop them as a doctrinal focus. Sure, you could potentially envision them as being used, and there even were situations where they were utilized, but it just wasn't generally a priority or how things were done. For China, though, taking influence from the Soviets, and lying on littoral seas with hostile powers in the First Island Chain, land-based aircraft and missiles are a key part of doctrine. Although this is often viewed as a new thing, called A2/AD [anti access/area denial], it's really the result of a long historical evolution of naval power, probably most refined by the Soviet Union. As a result, land-based naval aviation plays an important role, firing anti-ship missiles at standoff distances at enemy vessels, and shore-based launchers of anti-ship missiles are also an important weapon. The combination of these systems means that venturing within China's littoral seas is a dangerous proposition during war, and some waters, like those of the Taiwan Strait, are effectively considered closed at this point in the event of hostilities breaking out. For this reason air superiority is also important in this sort of naval warfare, as if either side gains air superiority it can pummel its opponents with air-launched anti-ship missiles. China's capabilities in this area are sophisticated and should not be underestimated, but they are unlikely to go through a rapid period of growth like the PLAN's fleet. And a brief note dedicated entirely to the DF-21D "Carrier killer" that the PLA likes to show off. It's a pretty impressive capability, on paper, using a ballistic missile to hit a carrier. The CEP [circular error probable] means that it could even happen, presuming that an aircraft carrier was good enough to sit in one place, not moving, long enough to be detected by China. Aircraft carriers look big, but the seas are huge, and they're surprisingly hard to find. They also move quite fast, in excess of of 35mph/55kph, and thus by the time the ballistic missile has launched it might well be out of range given the fact that ballistic missiles are not particularly known for their maneuverability in terminal stages, at least not in the realm of miles. The DF-21D is not a particular threat to the modern aircraft carrier. It could potentially be one if it evolves into a hypersonic boost-glide vehicle, but that's a whole additional can of worms, that I might address a different day.
7. The PLAN's plans for the future--what will it look like in 2030?
Unfortunately the PLAN is not exactly the most open of navies, as I've repeatedly mentioned. There are no public debates over acquisitions programs, no big fleet shape plans, relatively little detail. However, a few things are fairly sure bets or publicly announced. China has repeatedly announced plans to build a six-carrier force, including the Type 001 and Type 002, but also a pair of Type 003 [already under construction] conventionally powered supercarriers and a pair of Type 004 nuclear powered supercarriers. However, it seems that the Type 004 is currently on hold. Why, exactly, is unclear, but it seems to be technical difficulties, which are not particularly surprising given that China's experience with nuclear maritime propulsion seem to be rather limited and have had poor results in their submarine fleet. The costs were also expected to be too high--China does not have an unlimited quantity of money, despite what it may flaunt, and nuclear carriers are expensive to develop especially given that China has not built a nuclear-powered surface ship before. A new carrier-based fighter is almost certainly in the cards because the J-15 is pretty much useless. The FC-31 seems by far the most likely candidate but it could be another aircraft we haven't seen yet. The addition of this aircraft will greatly improve the PLAN's capabilities. China also has two Type 075 amphibious assault ships/LHDs under construction, and I would expect this class to be much more prolific. These ships are much more affordable than the full carriers, and focus on areas in which China is particularly concerned--amphibious assaults, say, on islands in the South China Sea or on Taiwan, and anti-submarine warfare, which is of particular importance given that submarines cannot be easily halted with land-based anti-ship missiles and air-launched cruise missiles provided for in their area denial doctrine--submarines are one of the few things that can slip through that net. The surface combatant fleet is likely to continue growing, but I am not sure if it will swell much beyond the ~23 Type 052D ships planned and the 8 Type 055s. We're likely to see the retirement of the classes preceding the Type 052C destroyer and the Type 054 frigate, and they may be offloaded to Bangladesh, Myanmar, or Pakistan--there is substantial precedent here, and it seems that China is interested in expanding the naval capabilities of its partners around India. The submarine fleet is likely to see rapid expansion if the PLAN is satisfied with the Type 095 and Type 096 classes, and we're likely to see more diesel-electric subs built as well. Submarines are generally quite good at fighting submarines and conducting area-denial missions, and the large and capable subsurface forces of Japan, Korea, and the United States means that this has to be an area the PLAN invests more in--and the fact that several Southeast Asian nations are also looking at acquiring submarines makes the issue more pressing.
China has in the past decade gone from a third-rate navy to perhaps the greatest threat the US Navy has faced since the Second World War. This has significant geopolitical implications, and has resulted in neighbors scrambling to overhaul their naval forces. The growth of the PLAN means that the US can no longer easily defend Taiwan or the South China Sea, or any of China's littoral waters. This, more than anything else, is what has everyone scrambling in the US talking about "great-power competition" because denying access to the US Navy and working on power projection, an inherently naval thing, is essentially a clear sign that China is looking to directly compete with the United States. Underestimate the PLAN at your own peril. I hope to have more detail and citations in future posts, but unfortunately the PLAN is very secretive [yes, I've said that fifty times already] and this is a pretty big topic to discuss without going into details about all sorts of naval tidbits. Thanks for reading the fourth post in what I hope will be a fairly substantial series, probably around ~12 posts.
Book Jon Moxley’s AEW World Championship Reign - Part 1: Welcome to the New World
Jon Moxley is a name many associate with AEW - after all he is their current reigning and defending Undisputed Champion of the World. However his reign has fallen flat. He has felt empty and like he’s missing something this whole time. I put it down to COVID. His champions coronation promo saw him say that the real champions were the fans, and he would fight for them. But when they were gone he felt empty. So as per the prompt, we will remove COVID-19 from the situation. So in a perfect world, this is how I would... Book Jon Moxley’s AEW World Championship Reign - Part 1: Welcome to the New World The events leading up to and including Revolution stay indictable. It was a good build with the Moxley joining The Inner Circle fake out and the mini-tournament that spanned across Bash at the Beach and the Jericho Cruise ship. The Dynamite after he makes the same promo about how the real champions are the fans and he will defend it for them. The week after he then has his list confrontation with Chris Jericho. Jericho and The Inner Circle stand in their private box above the fans, cutting a promo while Jon is in the ring. Jericho says it’s was a fluke and he wants a rematch. “We ain’t in the fed anymore Chris, I ain’t handing out rematches like candy”. Jon storms up and beats down on all of The Inner Circle, hitting Jericho with a Paradigm Shift through the table covered in popcorn and bubbly to the crowds roar. He then celebrates with the title among them. Then at Blood and Guts, it’s The Elite vs. The Inner Circle. Once we’ve just entered The Match Beyond, with Cody finally leaving his cage to join the match, The Bucks lock him out. They call The Inner Circle to a truce as they beat the ever loving fuck out of Kenny Omega and Adam Page. They mug the two men, as Cody is forced to watch his best friends and the foundation of his company destroyed. The Bucks leave the structure and double team Cody on the outside. They then leave. The rest of The Elite put up a good fight but since it’s 5-3, they obviously lose to The Inner Circle. Next week The Young Bucks come out to cut a promo stating what they did what they did. Simply, they don’t need The Elite. Well not they don’t need The Elite, because they are the elite, they don’t need the human Dusty Memorial, video game nerd and alcoholic. Since they’re EVP’s, they insert themselves into a match against Omega and Page for the tag titles next week. It’s just as good as Revolution, maybe even better as they both have even more passion within them to beat the others. In the end The Bucks hit More Bang for Your Buck and pin Hangman for the win. They are your new AEW Tag Team Champions. After losing Blood and Guts to The Inner Circle, after his best friends Matt and Nick Jackson turning on him and Cody and Adam Page, after losing his AEW Tag Team Championships to Matt and Nick, Kenny Omega is at rock bottom. The week after losing the tag titles, he wrestles Darby Allin in that weeks main event in a TNT Championship tournament match. Kenny comes out to a lukewarm reaction while his opponent Darby Allin gets a huge pop as he rolls down the ramp on his skateboard. He jumps off the skateboard, through the middle ropes and rolls into the ring. Ringside member throws the skateboard back towards Darby and he kicks the match off hot with a skateboard assisted Dropkick! Allin takes Kenny to the corner and hits a Hesitation Dropkick. He then hits a Snapmare and Springboard Meteora! Kenny is already dazed and the match has only gone a few seconds. Kenny goes for a lariat but Darby ducks and hits a Pele Kick followed by Rolling Youshi Tonic! 1......2.....Kenny barely kicks out. Darby then recovers in the corner while Kenny is flushed. Kenny regains his composure and begins to fight back. He hits a V-Trigger and starts to go back and forth with Darby. Darby however counters out of a One Winged Angel and hits a Backstabber followed by Coffin Drop. 1.........2.......3. Darby Allin advances. Jon Moxley is interviewed by Tony Schiavone about his accolades thus far and his ultimate goal. Jon tells Tony that so far he’s done all he needs to do, and that’s kick ass. And by being the quintessential ass kicker, he got the AEW World Championship. Darby Allin, Chris Jericho, Pac, Kenny Omega - all have succumb to him. Tony asks if he sees himself as being morally correct. Jon responds with “I used to know a guy who often said: I’m not a bad guy, but I’m not a good guy. You know what he was? He was THE guy.” Moxley says how he is that guy in terms of accolades, being the king of the AEW mountain. Lastly he’s asked on who he thinks will be the first to step up to him. “I don’t know who they are, but they can kiss being able to walk for the week following goodbye is all I know.” On the final episode of Being The Elite now that The Bucks are gone - we see Adam Page and Kenny drinking at a bar, the fall of The Elite never being so present. The episode ends when Kenny leaves the bar and heads to their car, and in the rain finds a pair of aviator shades resting on the seat of his car. He puts them on and we see a man we haven’t seen in a long time - The Cleaner. This clip is replayed on Dynamite with some higher quality. That same Dynamite the Casino Battle Royale is announced to take place on Dynamite to determine who will challenge Jon Moxley for the AEW Championship at Double or Nothing. New rules are input - all 21 entrants will draw a card. The suit of their card will determine when they come out. Each suit come out in one batch at time intervals. For the first 5 entrants - all those entrants are of the Spades deck. Then entrants 6-10 will be of the Clubs deck, 11-15 the Diamonds and 16-20 the hearts. Everyone enters at 90 second time intervals with the Joker coming out last as the 21st entrant. The winner faces Jon Moxley for the AEW Championship at Double or Nothing. Jon Moxley cuts a promo the week before the Casino Battle Royale and roasts everyone of the possible people to win the match and face him. He comes at Jericho, MJF, Pac, but mainly Kenny Omega. Spades: 1- The Butcher 2- The Blade 3- “Broken” Matt Hardy 4- MJF 5- Dustin Rhodes Butcher and Blade start the match off. A tag team being 1 and 2 in these type of matches always draws a pop and the two go at it before the crowd explode for Broken Matt Hardy! We hear his old Impact theme and he walks down, finally broken, finally free. MJF follows suit and the boos rain down because as soon as he locks eyes with Hardy, he starts imitating he’s got a broken back and the crowd want him dead. Dustin Rhodes come out next and has a nice moment with Matt before they start fighting. Butcher and Blade then begin to team up and try and eliminate some people. Hearts: 6- Jake Hager 7- Diamond Dallas Page 8- Billy Gunn 9- Tommy Dreamer 10- Sonny Kiss Jake Hager comes out and tries to dump Dustin out immediately. They go back and forth before they eliminate each other brawling over the ropes. DDP then comes out to a big pop, followed by a big pop when Billy Gunn comes out, followed by another big pop when Tommy Dreamer comes out! Tour of the dads! DDP gives everyone a Diamond Cutter, and Gunn gives a Famouser to MJF. Sonny Kiss comes out and has a face off with Dreamer. Kiss then bashes Dreamer’s face into his ass like last year. Clubs: 11- Shawn Spears 12- Joey Janela 13- Wardlow 14- Masato Tanaka 15- Jimmy Havoc Break from the comedy as Shawn Spears comes out and we’re getting serious. Spears takes out Billy Gunn as soon as he walks in, takes out DDP, goes to eliminate Dreamer but Dreamer gets out and fights back. Joey Janela and Dreamer have a hardcore brawl, Wardlow comes out to help MJF and they fight with Butcher and The Blade. Throwback spot, as Masato Tanaka comes out! Jimmy Havoc comes out, and joins the Dreamer and Janela fight. They use a couple weapons, before Havoc knocks a kendo stick over the head of Janela, before hitting an Acid Rainmaker to Dreamer and he falls through a table as he falls out! Diamonds: 16- Brodie Lee 17- Jeff Cobb 18- Michael Nakazawa 19- Lance Archer 20- Kenny Omega Brodie Lee gets a huge pop when he enters, making his AEW debut tonight. He comes in and Discus Clothesline’s everyone, before dumping out Sonny Kiss. Butcher and The Blade go to eliminate Brodie Lee, but Lee gets out. Butcher and Blade turn around and are tossed out by Wardlow and MJF. Jeff Cobb comes out and has a monsters brawl with Brodie Lee. Cobb and Lee take down everyone in the ring, and then - Michael Nakazawa. He comes out and looks at Cobb and Lee, side to side, oh boy he’s made a mistake. He undoes his thong and does his general antics before Lance Archer comes out making his AEW debut! Archer, Cobb and Lee all surround Nakazawa. Oh Jesus he chose the wrong day to be a human. Wardlow then walks in and to every direction he looks, a monster surrounds him. He then walks through a gap and simply dumps himself out to avoid harm. Then all the monsters have a huge fight. Final entrant before Joker and it’s who we’ve all been waiting for, it’s Kenny Omega. Joker: 21- Chris Jericho Jericho walks out with the Joker card in hand, as Pyro shoots off around him. Jericho nails a Judas Effect to Masato Tanaka who collapses to the outside. Jimmy Havoc and Joey Janela bring a ladder into the ring and take down everyone. Janela climbs to the top of the ladder and goes for a Diving Elbow to a pile of people below him, but Jimmy Havoc from behind climbs up and locks in a barbed wire bat assisted choke hold! Then everyone below team up to push them to the outside! Broken Matt Hardy and Chris Jericho have a fight, and Jericho wins, tossing out Hardy. Eight remaining in the ring and finally after everyone hit their finishers, Wardlow is tossed out, followed by Lance Archer eliminating MJF with a Razor’s Edge to the outside, into Wardlow. Kenny Omega eliminates Shawn Spears with a mighty V-Trigger and he starts to have a great contest with Jeff Cobb. However now it’s Jericho teaming with Jeff Cobb as they’re Inner Circle buddies. They both team up to eliminate Lance Archer. Jericho then thinks “right, Cobb’ll just throw himself out won’t he?” Jericho then berates Cobb to get out, let him win - TOUR OF THE ISLANDS FROM COBB!! Kenny Omega picks Jericho up and it’s Double or Nothing 2019 all over again. Omega and Jericho start to go at it. Jericho throws a Judas Effect but Omega ducks and throws him out. Omega then looks down at Jericho and gets his win back from him. Jeff Cobb and Kenny Omega are the final two left standing and they go at it. Cobb uses his amazing strength to nearly eliminate Kenny so many times but he fails each time. Omega then manages to get Cobb up on his shoulders, One Winged Angel! Huge pop at this as Omega v-triggers Cobb out to win the match. After the match Jon Moxley walks out. He walks up to Omega and holds his title high. On the go home show, Omega then comes out with Michael Nakazawa, Riho and Adam Page behind him. Omega is in a white t-shirt and his tights. The foursome stare down Moxley and he tells Moxley that this isn’t the old him - this is the best him. “I have got this group of guys by my side and my lover back in Japan standing with me. I got rid of those punk ass bitches Matt and Nick, I got rid of everything from my recession era - all I need now is your AEW Championship.” The two close the show with a gigantic stare down before Double or Nothing. Double or Nothing 2020: Jon Moxley (c) vs. Kenny Omega - AEW World Championship Kenny enters first. It starts with a video playing on the titantron of a montage of Kenny’s road to being led here as a version of Devil’s Sky plays. It features his friendship with Kota Ibushi, Michael Nakazawa, Riho, Adam Page and finally leading him to this moment. It finishes with a quick recap of their beef over the past few months. Jon won the first time - but that wasn’t an official match in the record books. Kenny has everything to lose going in here. It’s Double...or Nothing. We hear an angelic voice singing the same “hoooohhhhhooohhh” on repeat as Kenny slowly rises on an elevator. During this the angelic voice is mixed with the pounding beat of the Terminator 2 soundtrack. Finally all sound stops, and Kenny walks forward. LittleVMills is on the side of the stage singing Battle Cry live from the opening piano notes to him roaring “The Best...BOUT...MACHINE” and we’re finally able to see Kenny. He steps forwards as pyro shoots through the sky, as he awaits his biggest match in AEW. Jon Moxley makes a big entrance too as we see his entire journey from the limo to ringside with the title slung over his shoulder. He rolls into the ring and leans back like he did at Double or Nothing 1, and the match is on. Straight away Kenny hits a V-Trigger and the two start throwing punches at each other. It’s hog wild to begin with. Kenny hits a tight rope knee drop to Mox. Mox ducks a lariat and hits a Neckbreaker to Omega! Omega runs into the corner with a Corner Back Elbow! Omega then vault jumps to the top turnbuckle, Moonsault by Omega!!! Omega runs the ropes but Mox ducks his attack and catches him with a TKO! Moxley hits an Inverted Atomic Drop and goes for a Neckbreaker but Omega gets out and connects a Superkick! He hits a Rope Run Diving Knee Strike! 1.......2.....Kick Out by Mox! Mox rolls to the outside to recover. Omega goes for a Calf Kick through the bottom rope but Mox catches him with a European Uppercut! Mox rolls back into the ring and hits a Snake Eyes to Omega! Omega lays on the apron now as Mox stomps him viciously through the ropes. Omega gets back up and goes for a Slingshot Spear but Mox catches and hits a Draping DDT!!! 1.....2.....Omega gets his foot on the ropes!!! Mox pulls Omega up. He goes for a Vertical Suplex but Omega reverses into a DDT!! Omega hits a Shin Breaker followed by running the ropes and hitting a Bicycle Kick! Omega goes to do the the finger gun taunt but Mox having none of it, Running Brainbuster from Mox! He looks like he’s gonna cover but Omega spins around into an Armbar. Mox pulls Omega up and hits a Spinning Sit-out Powerbomb! 1.......2......Kick Out!!! Mox gets Omega up and plants him on the top rope with an Atomic Drop. He leaves him laying there as he dives from the middle rope with a Clothesline to Omega! Omega falls to the outside. Mox rolls out there and throws him into the steel steps. Mox goes for a Kitchen Sink but Omega dodges and Mox’s knee goes splat. Omega rolls back into the ring but immediately goes flying with a Tope Con Hilo! He goes for a Exploder Suplex into the barricade but Mox gets out, Spear into the barricade! Mox could easily win by Countout here but he wants to win properly and most of all hurt Kenny some more. He throws Kenny back into the ring but Kenny Superkick’s him off the apron. Kenny rolls to the outside and buries Mox under a pile of mats from the floor. He then hits a Springboard Double Foot Stomp onto Mox! Now he throws him back in. Omega hits a German Suplex and lines up a V-Trigger. He jumps for it but Mox dodges and hits a Piledriver! 1.........2......KICK OUT!!! Kenny gets up. Mox connects a Bicycle Kick and goes for a Butterfly Suplex but Kenny counters midair into a Frankensteiner! 1........2.....Kick Out!! Omega throws elbows at Mox before Irish whipping him into the corner. Mox gets his foot up before he hits the corner, then grabs Omega and hurls him into the corner. He connects a Kitchen Sink and goes for a Paradigm Shift but Omega gets out and hits a Butterfly Piledriver! 1........2......Mox Kicks Out!!! Mox goes for a Lariat but Kenny ducks and hits a Basement Dropkick. Kenny goes for an attack but Moxley catches with a Kneecap Brainbuster!!! Mox goes for a Piledriver but Omega slides out and hits a Rolling Fireman’s Carry Slam + Moonsault combo! 1..........2........MOX KICKS OUT!!! Mox gets back to his feet and dumps Kenny to the outside. Kenny goes for a Hanging Soccer Kick but Mox ducks and hits a Belly to Back Suplex from in the ring onto the apron to Omega! Omega looks like he’s not gonna get up for 10 but he manages to get on the apron and connect a Springboard Missile Dropkick while Mox was posing! Kenny hits a Cross-Legged Fisherman Neckbreaker! He goes for a Superkick but Mox twists him around and hits an Exploder German Suplex into the corner! Mox connects another Kitchen Sink! He goes for a Paradigm Shift with Kenny’s feet hanging off the top ropes, but Kenny gets out and sits on the top turnbuckle. He then jumps from the top ropes onto the actual rope and hits a Moonsault to Mox! Mox lays on the second rope which lines up a V-Trigger from Omega! Omega then hits Croyt’s Wrath!!!! 1..........2.......KICK OUT!!! Mox rolls to the outside and walks up the ramp. Kenny runs for him he’s caught by a Bicycle Knee and Paradigm Shift onto the steel! Both men can barely get up but they do so. Kenny then hits a Kotaro Krusher on the ramp! They both rush back to the ring. Mox scoops Kenny up and charges into the corner. Mox hits a Scoop Slam followed by a Death Valley Driver! He then hits a Dragon Suplex! He runs at Omega for another attack but Omega catches and hits a Pumphandle Dr. Wiley’s Bomb!! 1..........2.....Kick Out!!!! Mox gets up and throws elbows at Omega. Mox finally connects a Paradigm Shift! 1............2........KICK OUT!!!! Omega hits another Kotaro Krusher followed by a massive V-Trigger! He gets Mox up for the One Winged Angel but Mox gets out and hits a Neckbreaker as he comes down. Mox goes for a Running Knee - Omega catches - MOXLEY LIFTS HIM UP INTO A PARADIGM SHIFT!!!!!! 1.............2...........3!!!! Jon Moxley defeats Kenny Omega to retain the AEW World Championship (33:41) Brian Cage won the Casino Ladder Match, and so has a match with Jon Moxley for the AEW World Championship set in stone. It’s announced to take place at Fyter Fest. Taz cuts a promo hyping up Cage and how dominant he is. Jon Moxley interrupts saying to Cage - “the only reason you’re here is because everywhere else your piss would melt the cup.” The Machine then attacks him with a Lou Thesz Press, raining down closed fists. Moxley rolls him over and lays in some shots of his own. Taz pulls his client off and takes him away, meanwhile Cage shouts profanities at Jon. Jon raises his AEW World Championship in triumph. The next week we see a video package we would of seen when Cage was in Lucha Underground; of him throwing giant tires around, beating up gangs of thugs, and training like the machine he is. This can all be filmed at Cody’s wrestling school. At the end of the video he says the famous line “I’m Not a Man, I’m a Machine”. Meanwhile Taz is showing up on Dynamite, confronting and calling out Moxley. Moxley responds to Taz saying he’s got his own manager to help him in the fight against Cage. And similarly to Taz/Cage, this manager is fairly similar to Moxley. He is also a famous anti-hero, who chose to not go to the other company. Taz will learn very soon who he is, if he keeps bugging him. June 10th edition of Dynamite - Cage and Moxley have a sit down interview with Jim Ross. Both men are strapped in chairs under chains, meaning they are forced to stay apart from each other. Jim Ross firstly asks Moxley what he thinks of Brian Cage. Moxley puts Cage over first by saying he is probably the strongest and biggest guy in AEW, but that don’t mean two shits when he’s fighting Jon motherfuckin Moxley. Mox is the toughest son of a bitch in AEW, and the most crazy. “You may be a machine, but I have fought men similar to you (Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 32) and I didn’t fear em’ whatsoever because I’m fearless.” This births the tag line “Madman vs. Machine.” Moxley is then asked about who is manager is. Moxley responds it’s up to Taz if he wants to find out. Taz says Moxley’s manager is irrelevant, because he could have an entire army in his corner and they still couldn’t stop “The Machine” Brian Cage. The Exalted One begins to hold Dark Order meetings where they discuss Jon Moxley and Brian Cage. Mr. Brodie Lee says that he should be AEW World Champion right now, and that the title should be with The Dark Order. Evil Uno tells Mr. Brodie that he got some information on speculated candidates for who can be in Moxley’s corner. Brodie cuts him off by grabbing him by the tie, and pulling him in for a punch on the nose. “What a mark...” Lee says as he sits back down. Everyone else then murmur in agreement when Lee says that. “YOU WILL NOT MUMBLE AT MY SPEECH - I AM TO BE RESPECTED.” They all laugh in fright. “Better.” The meeting ends when the lights go out and we hear the sound of a crow squawking. Next week Moxley does his own training video package where he beats up a punching bag with a black baseball bat. Brian Cage then makes the challenge to Jon Moxley, Machine’s Rules Match. The rules are: for the entire week before Fyter Fest, Monday to Sunday, both Moxley and Cage have to do Cage’s training routine. As soon as the sun bursts out, you have to start training, and you only stop when nightfalls. And this being Florida in June, you’ll be training for a long time, in absolute heat. This is how Cage lives, and if Mox trains like this for a week, they’ll both be in peak physical condition for the match. Moxley accepts, and neither show up on the go home because they’re training. Fyter Fest 2020: Jon Moxley (c) (with ???) vs. Brian Cage (with Taz) - Machine’s Rules Match for the AEW World Championship Both guys enter out looking real jacked due to their recent training. Taz is the backing man of Cage of course, meanwhile Moxley comes out solo. The UK crowd at Wembley Arena are loving Jon as he walks out through their seats, stopping every once in a while to celebrate with the title with a nearby fan. Justin Roberts asks him where his manager is, and Moxley says he’ll come when he comes. Moxley then goes to take off his jacket, and once he turns around HE SPRINTS AT BRIAN CAGE WITH A LOU THESZ PRESS!!! THE BELL FRANTICALLY RINGS!!! The commentators jump out their seats at the sudden attack and begin to call the action. Moxley let’s rest when Aubrey demands so. He then looks at The Machine Lynn on the floor. CAGE KIPS UP!! Brian flexes, then hits a Scoop Slam to Moxley! Cage then takes Moxley down with a Lou Thesz Press! HE PULLS HIM OFF THE GROUND INTO A DEADLIFT SUPLEX!! Cage lands in a seating position and looks at a nearby camera, pointing to his biceps. Cage flexes his muscles while Taz looks for a mic. He grabs one but the fans immediately start booing. Moxley slides out and grabs it out of his hands. “Save everyone a headache.” HE BONKS TAZ ON THE HEAD WITH THE MIC!! Taz stumbles back into the announce desk. Mox rolls back in but he’s caught by Cage. CAGE HITS HIM WITH A POWERBOMB INTO THE TURNBUCKLES!! Cage lariats Mox head off and scales the ropes. FIVE STAR LARIAT - MISSES!! MOXLEY LOCKS IN A FUJIWARA ARMBAR!! Jim Ross screams about Cage’s formerly torn bicep and how much pain he must be in. The Machine displays this with his facials. “Any man would give up at this moment...(as Cage rises out) but he’s not a man, THIS IS A MACHINE!” shouts JR as Cage pulls himself out. CAGE HITS A F’N 5!! HE FLIES WITH THE FIVE STAR ELBOW DROP FROM THE TOP ROPES!!! 1.........2........KICK OUT!!! Cage pulls him up and goes for a TORNADO CLAW - BUT MOXLEY KICKS HIS BICEP WHILE HE’S SPINNING!! LARIAT BY MOX!! Jon then picks him up and hits A RUNNING BULLDOG, CAGE LANDING ON HIS ARM! They roll to the outside. Moxley goes for a Standing Kimura, but Cage with a HIP TOSS ON THE FLOOR!! BRIAN CAGE THEN HITS A GERMAN SUPLEX TO JON INTO THE GUARDRAIL!! The guardrail shakes at the hit and the fans feel a Moxley-covets guardrail on their laps. Taz meanwhile sets up a chair for Cage. CAGE THEN HITS ANOTHER GERMAN SUPLEX ON THE OUTSIDE ONTO THE UNFOLDED CHAIR!! Cage rolls back in to taunt while Moxley lays dead. He eventually crawls to the apron. Jon lumps his body onto the apron and grabs the second rope to get up. No time to waste though as CAGE BRINGS HIM IN WITH A DEADLIFT SUPLEX INTO THE RING!! CAGE COVERS - 1............2.......KICK OUT!! Cage pulls him up and hits a a CURB STOMP!! He then tries for the CHAINLINK - BUT MOXLEY GETS OUT!! JON HITS THE MACHINE WITH A MONEY CLIP!!! MOXLEY IS COMING BACK BABY. He starts to stomp on the arm so Cage can’t hit the Weapon X. Cage still tries for it though and fails, and IS THEN HIT BY A RUNNING BULLDOG!! MOXLEY GOES FOR THE DRILL CLAW!!! CAGE COUNTERS INTO HIS OWN DRILL CLAW!! 1..........2........KICK OUT!!!! Cage throws MOXLEY into the ropes and runs for a Tiger Feint Kick - BUT MOXLEY SPINS AND REBOUNDS WITH THE (wacky line...). MOXLEY LIFTS HIM UP WITH A OVERHEAD BELLY TO BELLY SUPLEX!! Cage rolls out, but MOXLEY THEN DIVES OUT AFTER CAGE WITH A SUICIDE DIVE!! PARADIGM SHIFT ON THE FLOOR!! They both lay dead. Cage gets up and crawls in, but Jon is still down. Taz screams for the ref to start counting and so they do. But it’s cut off...the arena is in darkness. “Could...this be Moxley’s mystery manager?” The fans start to get loud as a spotlight moves to the entranceway. Then...crow’s squawk... Jim Ross has a hernia on commentary with enthusiasm, “GOOD GAWD TONY, DO YOU SEE? DO YOU SEE HIM? ITS THE STINGER!” STING HAS ARRIVED! He makes his march down the ramp with a baseball bat in hand. He marches down and points the bat at Taz, who shakes his head in fear. Taz tries to console him - WHAM!! BAT SHOT TO THE MIDSECTION!! He throws Taz in the ring and LOCKS IN A SCORPION DEATH LOCK!!! MOXLEY SLITHERS UP BEHIND AND HITS A KICK TO THE MIDSECTION - PARADIGM SHIFT!!!! 1...........2...........3!!!! JON MOXLEY HAS RETAINED THE AEW WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP - BUT ALSO NOTABLE - STING IS ALL ELITE!!! Jon Moxley defeats Brian Cage (21:12) With Fyter Fest in the rear view mirror, a lot of questions are left unanswered about Jon Moxley - and also his new manager. Or even is it his manager? Are they just friends? Was it a one off? Is Sting going to show up again? All of these are answered on the next Dynamite, back in the States. Moxley firstly thanks the United Kingdom fans for being crazy sons of bitches, “I had a great time with y’all.” He addresses the appearance of Sting, and answers the questions I just proposed. “I needed a buddy heading into Fyter Fest, and Sting was my best choice.” - actually, I’ll let the man speak for himself.” Sting then enters out. However, he isn’t “Sting” - he’s Steve Borden. Literally, the make up has been washed off. Steve takes the mic, wearing his finest three-piece suit and shades, the other hand holding his bat. Sting says he’s not here out of vendetta for the fed, he’s not here to push himself to the moon - he’s 61 years old. But after being let go, he’s found a place to put that piece of his heart that belongs to wrestling. His real home is with his family, but his heart will always belong to pro wrestling from a professional standpoint. He’s got a lot of friends here, and he gets the hype. He wants to hang with his buds and watch the new generation unfold. The week after we get a #1 Contenders Match for the AEW World Championship between the #1 and #2 on the Power Rankings - Darby Allin and Lance Archer. Allin wins to become the number 1. Darby Allin is then confirmed to be Jon Moxley’s opponent for Fight for the Fallen next week. Allin had recently gone through most of the TNT tournament but was eliminated by Cody due to some Archer interference. How he got his win over Archer, who goes berserk after the match. Afterwards Moxley and Sting come out to shake hands with Allin. The show hands with the shot of Sting and Darby Allin shaking hands ahead of Fight for the Fallen. Fight for the Fallen opens with a Darby Allin promo. He films it in the style of his normal promos, but has a clear message. He starts by telling Mox the David Starr line: “going from one billionaire to another isn’t a paradigm shift, sounds like the same fucking thing to me.” He then tells Mox his days of making barely a buck off of nearly dying in the ring have been dead for 10 years, but Allin this time last year was living that life. Jon spent the decade in cozy McMahonLand getting a million dollar salary, before he somehow changed the landscape by collecting an even bigger salary. Mox knows the struggle Allin lives, but he’s forgotten it. He’s not an anti-hero rebellious badass, he’s a corporate shill. Later on, Mox then cuts a promo responding to Allin. Jon says he hasn’t gotten soft, he hasn’t forgotten the struggle. Mox says he worked his damn ass off to get to be World Champion. He fought off the entire Inner Circle. Darby Allin got a single win and had to steal David Starr’s line. When Mox says they aren’t in the same league, he means it. But now Allin wants to talk big. He wants Mox to get down and dirty, live that CZW life he lived, he’ll do so. “Darby, I didn’t forget it, I just grew past it. But I’m a sucker for nostalgia and wants new is old, so Darby - it’s No DQ.” Mox walks off from the camera and that’s the last we see of the world champ before the match later - which is now No DQ. Fight for the Fallen 2020: Jon Moxley (c) vs. Darby Allin - No Disqualification Match for the AEW World Championship Allin is challenging and has a Moxley cutoff mask with an eye cut out. He wears this and gets in Jon’s once he enters. Moxley gets in his face and gets slapped back, causing the beating to begin. The bell rings and the match has started. Jon continues with stomps at feeling disrespected. He throws Allin into the ring post and follows with a Back Body Drop. 1.......2....KICK OUT BY DARBY!! Moxley grabs a mic as he looks down at Darby. “I was once like you...never being able to stay down - always had to keep fighting and never listened to people’s cautionary advice. But now we’ve come full circle, and I want you to slow down and stop. But you won’t, and I know because I wouldn’t. ALLIN THEN PULLS HIM DOWN AND LAYS IN ELBOW SHOTS TO THE DOME!! Jon looks furious and rushes Allin but HE HITS A TILT-A-WHIRL DDT!!! ALLIN THEN LOCKS IN A FUJIWARA ARMBAR WITH PUNCHES TO THE HAND AND JOINT MANIPULATION!! Excalibur says he’s trying to take Jon Moxley back to his old self and that place through this level of violence. Moxley pulls him off BUT HE’S HIT BY A FRONT DROPKICK INTO THE TURNBUCKLES!! MOXLEY THEN CATCHES ALLIN WITH A CLOSED FIST TO THE JAW!! Allin falls like a ton of bricks and is bleeding from the mouth. Moxley then scales the ropes and hits a DIVING ELBOW DROP TO DARBY!!!! 1..........2.......KICK OUT!!! MOXLEY THEN HITS HIM WITH A KITCHEN SINK STRAIGHT AFTER!!! 1...........2..........KICK OUT!!! Moxley gets agitated at Allin not staying down. He shouts at him again, BUT ALLIN WITH A LOW BLOW!! HE THROWS JON OUT AND HITS A SUICIDE DIVE!! He lands on him with more punches and elbows. MOXLEY THEN THROWS HIM OFF RAMP INTO THE RING POST!!! Allin lays dead. After a bit of recovering, Moxley picks him up and throws him into the ring. He walks from the corner - stalking his prey. He toys with it before the kill - LOCKING IN AN STF!! Jon looks into Allin’s desperate eyes as he screams in pain. Allin places a middle finger in his face! MOXLEY BITES THAT FINGER!! ALLIN ESCAPES AND HITS A DOUBLE FOOT STOMP ONTO THE BACK!! He throws Moxley outside and STOMPS HIS FINGERS INTO THE RING POST!!! HE THEN DIVES FROM THE TOP WITH A SPRINGBOARD BACKSPLASH!! Allin and Moxley both lean against the guardrail, panting. Darby then gets up and checks under the ring - AND PULLS OUT THE CRACKER BARREL!! THE CROWD ERUPT!! Moxley kicks him in the gut before he can use it and throws him over the guardrail! MOXLEY THEN CROSSBODIES OVER IT!!! He throws him into the railing on the stairs. ALLIN THEN JUMPS OFF THE STAIRS WITH A SEATED SENTON!! HE THROWS MOXLEY INTO THE RAILINGS, AND THEN INTO A GROUP OF FANS CHAIRS!! Allin starts to climb up the railings, going for a Coffin Drop onto Moxley laid across the fans seats. Moxley gets out the way though and pulls him down. They then walk down the stairs into a more open area, WHERE MOXLEY HITS DARBY WITH A TRASH CAN ACROSS THE BACK!! He carries the lid with him as well as Darby back to ringside. Jon sets up a table for later use. Moxley goes to smash the lid over Allin’s head but he shoulder barges him in the midsection! ALLIN THEN PUSHES JON INTO THE APRON!! He throws him back in with the lid. He also pushes the Cracker Barrel inside. HE HITS A TRASH CAN LID ASSISTED COFFIN DROP!! BUT MOXLEY CATCHES WITH A REAR NAKED CHOKE!! His ribs hurt from the trash can lid though and so Allin easily gets out. DARBY THEN WITH A SUPERKICK TO THE HEAD! HE HITS THE FLIPPING STUNNER FROM THE CORNER!! HE THEN HITS MOXLEY WITH THE PARADIGM SHIFT, HIS OWN MOVE, ONTO THE CRACKER BARREL!!!! 1...................2.................KICK OUT!!!!! Moxley is so pissed at Allin stealing his move, he takes him to the apron. He goes for a Paradigm Shift onto the apron - but he rethinks it. HE INSTEAD HITS A PARADIGM SHIFT OFF THE APRON THROUGH THE TABLE!!! This is the second time they’re both laying in crumbled wood after a Paradigm Shift within about a minute. Moxley pulls himself up and GOES FOR A GOTCH-STYLE PILEDRIVER ON THE OUTSIDE!!! ALLIN GETS OUT AND THROWS HIM IN THE RING, AND HEADS FOR A COFFIN DROP!! MOXLEY HITS HIM MIDAIR WITH THE TRASH CAN LID!!! HE THEN ROLLS UP DARBY ALLIN!! 1........2........3!!!! MOXLEY WINS!!! Allin gets his shoulders off the mat just afterwards and tries to get up, but he falls to the mat in pain - the pain of defeat. Jon Moxley defeats Darby Allin (17:33) Jon Moxley has just competed his third defence against Darby Allin, and it hurt him even in victory. The Dynamite after he brings out Allin and Sting to the ring. He tells Darby at Fight for the Fallen he felt like he was wrestling the Jon Moxley from 10 years ago. A stupid kid jumping onto barbed wire or light tubes for a slice of pizza. He wasn’t able to say “no”, he kept going. He couldn’t listen to people telling him to slow down and take it easy - he had to give it 110% every time. That is now who Darby Allin is, and he is now the person telling him to stop. He just wants to put what they did to each other in the past and move forward. Hell, Jon think they could make a good team. Darby chuckles at the idea, but shrugs and says he’s down. Sting then complaints Allin, saying he sees a lot of himself in Darby too. The week after then it’s set to be a Tag Team Match - with Jon Moxley and Darby Allin teaming up for the first time. They will take on the trio that have recently took AEW by storm - Death Triangle. They would immediately make enemies out of Jurassic Express, with Pac being disgusted goofballs like them take the air time that should be his, and the fans support that should be his, and the rankings spots that should be his. They face at Double or Nothing - with Death Triangle coming out on top. At Fyter Fest they would win the inaugural AEW Trios Championships in a match with the Best Friends and Orange Cassidy, and since then have been dominating everyone they’ve passed. The match main events the show, with Fénix and Pac representing Death Triangle. Sting and Pentagon Jr. are in their teams corners, and during the entrance we see Sting and Pentagon stare down in the centre of the ring. Both famous for being black and white face painted anti-heroes, with voices of silence and an affinity for darkness and weapons. The match ends when while Moxley is on the top rope looking for an Avalanche Paradigm Shift - Fénix threatens to assault Sting on the outside, which distracts Jon. Pac then shoves him off the top turnbuckle to the mat, and HITS A BLACK ARROW!!! 1.............2...........3!!!! PAC PINS THE AEW WORLD CHAMPION JON MOXLEY!!! This means Pac is now in line for an AEW World Championship match. He cuts a promo on Jon Moxley the week after and is grinning maniacally. He reminds Moxley of their match from 10 months ago on the October 23rd and 4th ever edition of Dynamite. They went to a draw, but this time around we will have a victor. Pac then tells Jon he makes him furious - to watch him get all these scumbags (points to the fans) to like him. Why? Why would he stoop so low? Because he’s insecure. He hides his lack of wrestling skill with weapons and blood, and these bloodthirsty warthogs (points to the fans again) eat it up like the vile little leeches they are. On the week following’s episode of Dynamite, Darby Allin is teaming with his best frenemy Cody against Brian Cage and Ricky Starks. It ends when Allin rolls up Ricky to win. Brian Cage then decimates Allin. Moxley comes to his rescue however. Moxley and Cage stare down before getting into a tussle. Cody and Ricky Starks go at it, but Cage and Starks start to double team. Dustin Rhodes then makes the save. Death Triangle come out from the stage, but then the lights go down...ITS STING!! Not Steve Borden, he’s back in the makeup and wreaking all hell upon Death Triangle. The show ends with Cage and Starks retreating to the stage where they group up with Death Triangle, meanwhile Sting walks to the ring to stand beside Cody, Dustin Rhodes, Jon Moxley and Darby Allin. This all leads into possibly the biggest tag team match since Blood and Guts. A Ten-man Tag Team Match main events the August 22nd edition of Dynamite. It consists of Pac, Fénix, Pentagon Jr, Brian Cage and Ricky Starks teaming up to take on: Jon Moxley, Cody, Darby Allin, Dustin Rhodes...and Sting. In his first ever match in AEW, and his last ever match in wrestling. Retiring on that Rollins match is not a way to go out, and after 35 years in wrestling - this is a match to go out on. The only spot I’m having him do is: be tagged in, hit Fénix with a bat, lock in the Scorpion Death Lock, Fénix escapes, they both rush to their corners to get hot tags. The rest of it is mayhem between 9 other supremely talented men. The heels win after Fénix pins Moxley. This sets up a lot of things. Darby Allin vs. Brian Cage and Pac vs. Jon Moxley at All Out, as well as Fénix getting an AEW World Championship match in the future. The final week before All Out sees Jon Moxley and Pentagon Jr. face off in a non-title bout. If Pentagon wins, he’ll get a future championship match. All of his other teammates have pinned Jon, so if he doesn’t do it he’ll miss out on the biggest opportunity of his career as well as be considered the weakest angle of Death Triangle. They go to war in the main event, with Pentagon Jr. hitting a Mexican Destroyer onto the floor at one point. Pac and Fénix try to interfere, but Mox uses them against Penta. He docks an attack and Pentagon ends up diving into his partners. They end up costing him in the match, meaning he will miss out on an AEW World Championship match. Will Pentagon repay the favour to Pac at All Out in 3 days? Who knows. Moxley tells Pac however that since he think that Jon can’t wrestle, he’s making it a Pinfall and Submission Only Match. All Out 2020: Jon Moxley (c) vs. Pac - Pinfall and Submission Only Match for the AEW World Championship Continues in the comments...
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