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NJPW Strong lineup announced for this weekend, Dickinson vs. Suzuki headlines, Jay White in action


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NJPW has announced the lineup for NJPW Strong: NJPW Showdown this weekend.

The main event will feature Chris Dickinson vs. Minoru Suzuki in singles action. Jay White will also be in singles action, as he takes on Fred Yehi.

The entire lineup for the show is as follows:

Chris Dickinson vs. Minoru Suzuki

NEVER Openweight Champion Jay White vs. Fred Yehi – non-title match

Team Filthy (Tom Lawlor & Danny Limelight) vs. Rocky Romero & Fred Rosser

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Impact Wrestling announces a first ever match for Hard to Kill in January


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Impact Wrestling announced at their Turning Point that the first ever Knockouts Ultimate X match would take place at their Hard to Kill PPV event in January.

Stakes for the match have yet to be announced and no other matches have been revealed either. Hard to Kill takes place on January 8 from Dallas, Texas.


CATCH-UP: Former NXT North American Champion makes Impact Wrestling debut

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Kenta set for Pro Wrestling NOAH return


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Kenta will make his return to Pro Wrestling NOAH on January 1, 2022.

Kenta is a former NOAH GHC Heavyweight Champion. He left the company in 2014 to join NXT in the United States. Since leaving NXT, Kenta has wrestled in New Japan Pro Wrestling with notable matches against Hiroshi Tanahashi, Jon Moxley, and others. Kenta’s opponent for the January 1 show has not been revealed.


CATCH-UP: Best of Super Juniors 28 and World Tag League 2021 standings through three nights, lineups for next events

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AEW Double or Nothing live results: Four Pillars World title match, Anarchy in the Arena

AEW returns to the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, for Double or Nothing.

AEW World Champion MJF defends against Sammy Guevara, Darby Allin and "Jungle Boy" Jack Perry in the first-ever meeting between all "Four Pillars."

The reformed Elite (Kenny Omega, Young Bucks & Hangman Page) face the Blackpool Combat Club (Jon Moxley, Bryan Danielson, Wheeler Yuta & Claudio Castagnoli) in an Anarchy in the Arena match.

Injured AEW Women's Champion Jamie Hayter defends against former champion Toni Storm while TBS Champion Jade Cargill defends against Taya Valkyrie in a rematch.

AEW Tag Team Champions FTR defend against Jeff Jarrett & Jay Lethal with Mark Briscoe as the conflicted special guest referee.

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Adam Cole and Chris Jericho will battle in an unsanctioned match as TNT Champion Wardlow defends against Christian Cage in a ladder match.

The card also features title defenses by AEW International Champion Orange Cassidy and AEW Trios Tag Team Champions the House of Black.

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Buy In

Renee Paquette, Kazeem Famuyide, Paul Wight & Stokely Hathaway welcome us to the Buy In and they throw it right to the back to RJ City talking about upcoming events for AEW. Paquette and company then run down the entire Double or Nothing card this evening, leading to a video package highlighting Anarchy in the Arena.

Footage of Jim Ross sitting down with Don Callis is shown, who said he did the hardest thing a parent or family member could do. It was a cancer eating away at Callis, so he cut it out, but tells Omega that he hasn’t even started cutting yet.

Video packages for the AEW Women’s Title, Non Sanctioned Match and Tag Team Title Match are shown before Jim Ross makes his way to ringside where Excalibur & Taz are seated, which is where the commentary team will be this evening.

The Hardys (Matt & Jeff) & FTW Champion HOOK (w/Brother Zay) defeated Ethan Page & The Gunns (Austin & Colten)

(A fun opening party match that went much longer than I thought it would. As a result, Matt Hardy now owns the contract of Ethan Page.)

This is Jeff Hardy’s first official match in about 11 months. HOOK & Austin start us off with Austin getting a shoulder block, but posed too long with HOOK locking in a leg lock. Matt & Jeff took turns tagging in and going after the arm before HOOK his overhead throws on everyone in sight. The Gunns & Page were triple clotheslined to the floor where the regrouped and in doing so Austin tripped up HOOK and followed with a bulldog. HOOK remained isolated until Page was dropped with the El Camino and Matt made the hot tag.

The Gunns & Page were all planted with Side Effects before a second rope elbow to Colten got a near fall. Austin & Page attacked Brother Zay on the floor, ripping his neck brace off, as that was enough distraction for Colten to pop Matt with a dropkick. It was Matt’s turn to be isolated with Page mocking delete chants, until both Gunns were launched outside. Jeff & HOOK reached for the hot tag, but were both pulled away by Colten & Page before Matt could get there. Finally, Matt hit a DDT on Page to allow Jeff to make the hot tag and run wild with his greatest hits offense.

A stalling splash off the second by Jeff led to a Twist of Fate attempt, but Jeff’s knee twisted up and as he went for Whisper in the Wind, the legs went out. Taz talked about ring rust playing a part, as Jeff hit a corkscrew kick on Page and HOOK tagged in with a fisherman’s suplex. HOOK & Page had a nice back and forth before sank in a cross arm breaker, but Colten made the save. Matt made a blind tag, as The Hardys hit an assisted splash in the corner, but as Jeff went up top, Austin crotched him. 3:10 to Yuma connected on Matt, but Jeff broke up the pin with a Swanton Bomb on both Gunns. Page clobbered HOOK with a big boot, but HOOK avoided Ego’s Edge, as the match broke down with the Hardys hitting double Twist of Fates on the Gunns. Page was left alone, as he ate two Twist of Fates and the REDRUM for the submission.

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Owen Hart Cup Opening Ceremonies

Renee Paquette welcomes Dr. Martha Hart to the stage where both trophies and titles for the Owen Hart Cup are set up. Paquette talks about the tournament kicking off at Forbidden Door as Hart said it’s great to be back in Vegas and AEW. Tony Khan walks out wearing a fedora with the Owen Hart Foundation logo on it as Hart talks about the schedule of the Owen Hart Cup and it’s wrapping up at the Calgary Stampede.

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The entrants for the Blackjack Battle Royal for the International Title are taking place, which will kick off the show this evening.

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AEW Double or Nothing

Orange Cassidy won the Blackjack Battle Royal to retain the AEW International Title

(I thought this was one of the better battle royals that AEW has put on, as we got some fun interactions, continuations of current feuds, some surprise eliminations and a really great finish. Lots of matches could come out of this one, as the amazing title reign of Cassidy continues.)

(Participants included Chuck Taylor, Trent Beretta, Bandido, Ari Daivari, Tony Nese, Lee Moriarty, Big Bill, Komander, The Butcher, The Blade, Kip Sabian, Jay White, Juice Robinson, Dustin Rhodes, Keith Lee, Ricky Starks, Penta el Zero Miedo, Rey Fenix, Swerve Strickland, Brian Cage & Orange Cassidy)

Sabian immediately tried to toss Cassidy as we barely caught Beretta doing a moonsault to the floor as there are still people brawling around ringside. Komander did his breathtaking rope walk dive onto Bill & Moriarty as Strickland & Cage are shown watching on the ramp. Excalibur said they’re waiting for the field to thin and I’m not sure how that’s even legal. Bandido, Komander & The Lucha Bros all teamed up as Bandido hit a stalling suplex on Nese, who was eliminated. Daivari was brought to the apron and punted in the face by Fenix, who did a rope walk to get rid of both Varsity Athletes. Cage started laying out all he luchadores before Bandido nearly pressed Cage over his head. Cage ate multiple thrust kicks as the Lucha Bros and Bullet Club Gold went at it before Komander tried another rope walk, but White shoved him to the floor.

Sabian ate a triple choke slam by Best Friends & Cassidy, who tossed him and gave the people what they wanted. Taylor was dumped by Bill, as Cassidy low bridged in the process unintentionally to eliminate his buddy. The Blade was eliminated by Lee, who was attacked from behind by Strickland, finally getting into the match. Butcher ate double Lucha Bros thrust kicks to be eliminated. Moriarty was able to get rid of Bandido, as Moriarty & Beretta battled to the apron where Beretta hit a half and half suplex to eliminate Moriarty. Cassidy was about to be eliminated by Big Bill, but Beretta took the bullet and ate a kick to get eliminated. Lee was so preoccupied on getting rid of Strickland; Cage snuck up from behind and dumped Lee to loud boos. Rhodes laid out Cage with Cross Rhodes, but Strickland made the save.

Robinson & White sent Penta into Fenix to eliminate him, as Starks dumped Robinson in the process. White laid out Starks which led to a faceoff with White & Penta ending in a Blade Runner from White, who turned around and ate a Starks Spear. White was eliminated by Starks, as Robinson pulled Starks to the outside and laid out by White. Starks went under the bottom rope, so it’s down to him, Bill, Strickland, Cage, Penta, Rhodes & Cassidy. A surprising elimination came when Bill clocked Starks with a big boot and got loud boos from the crowd. Cage was dumped by Rhodes, who was immediately caught with a kick by Strickland to eliminate him.

The remaining four men had a sprint with high impact offense until Penta tried chopping down Bill, who hit another big boot to eliminated Penta. Bill is eliminating some huge fan favorites tonight, as he laid out Cassidy with a Boss Man Slam. Bill went to press slam Cassidy over the top, but Strickland dumped him out. Cassidy & Strickland took turns trying to dump each other until a countered DDT into Stundog Millionaire led to a Strickland no sell into the Kill Shot for the double down. Prince Nana tripped up Cassidy to allow Strickland to hit a Swerve Stomp. Cassidy battled back with multiple DDTs and Orange Punch that send Strickland to the apron. Strickland blocked another one, brought Cassidy to the apron, as Nana ran distraction again enough for Strickland to try one more double stomp. Cassidy got the feet up and just lightly kicked Strickland’s hand from the ropes to win the match.

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Adam Cole (w/Roderick Strong) defeated Chris Jericho (w/the Jericho Appreciation Society) in an Unsanctioned Match with Sabu as the Special Enforcer

(I enjoyed almost everything about this match but the finish. I know what they were going for with Cole wanting to bash Jericho’s head in for his actions, but it felt flat and the crowd didn’t really know what to make of it. They were happy Cole won, it was just an unexpected way to finish it. This does technically give Jericho an out, as he never quit or was pinned, he can blame Aubrey for the loss.)

Sabu & Strong chucked chairs at Matt Menard & Angelo Parker immediately, as Sabu & Jericho had a face off in the ring with chairs, swinging them at one another. Sabu won that battle, as Cole set up a table ringside and Sabu jumped off the top to put Menard & Parker through it. Strong & Hager and Garcia & Sabu battled to the back to leave Cole & Jericho in the ring one on one. That was it for the guys not actually involved in this match. Jericho was sent outside and landed really awkwardly in the process. Cole wanted a Panama Sunrise on the apron, but Jericho countered into a suplex to the floor. Jericho controlled the action, cutting off Cole whenever he attempted to battle back. With a chair set up in the corner, Jericho charged, but ran head first into it. Jericho recovered long enough to try a Lionsault, but Cole hit a superkick mid move. Cole again missed Panama Sunrise, this time countered into a Walls of Jericho. Excalibur said since it’s an Unsanctioned Match that there are no rope breaks.

Cole reached down under the ropes and grabbed a fire extinguisher, where he sprayed Jericho to release the hold. Cole decked Jericho with the extinguisher, but only got a two count. Cole went to drop The Boom, but ran right into a Code Breaker for two, as Jericho returned the favor by spraying Cole with the extinguisher. Jericho got a kendo stick, but took way too long as Dr. Britt Baker ran to the ring with a stick of her own and lit up Jericho with strikes. Saraya hit the ring and was clobbered as well as both ladies ran backstage. Cole chokes Jericho with the kendo stick and got a backstabber for two.

Cole climbed to the top, but took too long, as Jericho chucked a chair at his face and Cole fell through a table outside, right on cue with fans chanting they wanted tables. Jericho pulled out a chain and handcuffs, which Jericho locked on Cole’s hand, but in return, Cole got the advantage and cuffed Jericho as well, so a Chain Match this has turned into. Cole hit a Panama Sunrise, but missed The Boom, as Jericho started whipping away with the chain. Jericho tried to choke Cole out, but Cole scaled the ropes and hit a superkick. Cole finally lowered The Boom, then wrapped the chain around his knee to hit another Boom before mounting Jericho and punched away to the point referee Aubrey stopped the match. The crowd was quiet for this finish.

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FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler) defeated Jay Lethal & Jeff Jarrett (w/Sonjay Dutt, Satnam Singh & Karen Jarrett) to retain the AEW Tag Team Titles with Mark Briscoe as Guest Referee

(I’ve loved everything about this over the top feud. So many bells and whistles, which, by all accounts, should take away from the match, but it only added to it. Everyone played their role great in this feud, job well done to all involved.)

Lethal & Harwood started things off with a nice opening sequence of mat wrestling which led to a chop battle. FTR hit double dropkicks and atomic drops ending in attempted double Sharpshooters, but Lethal & Jarrett bailed to regroup. Lethal tried to have Jarrett jump in without making a legal tag, but Briscoe caught them and shoved Jarrett down. Lethal was backdropped over the top to the floor onto his partner. Back inside, Briscoe’s attention was turned as Wheeler was low bridged by Jarrett, who at first was going to use a chair, was scolded, so he opted to just ram Wheeler into the barricade repeatedly. I love how Jim Ross compared Sonjay Dutt’s screeching ringside to a rooster. Jarrett took Briscoe to allow Karen to choke Wheeler briefly, as Jarrett did a Garvin Stomp and Fargo Strut. Jarrett locked on a Figure Four, as Harwood had seen enough and did a diving headbutt to break it up.

Wheeler finally leapfrogged Lethal to make the hot tag to Harwood, who turned Lethal inside out with a short arm lariat. Really nice rolling Germans by Harwood until a series of switches led to a Harwood brainbsuter for two. Lethal battled back with Lethal Combination as the match broke down with Dutt grabbing Wheeler’s foot on the apron long enough for Jarrett to post him. Lethal & Harwood fought in the ropes where Lethal took way too long for his elbow, as Harwood crotched him. A superplex led to a Doomsday Powerbomb by FTR as Wheeler hit a dive on Jarrett, but Dutt pulled Harwood to the floor to break the count. Briscoe saw enough and ejected Dutt & Singh, but Jarrett snuck in from behind with a guitar. Harwood moved and Briscoe ate the guitar shot.

Lethal tried Lethal Injection, but FTR countered into Shatter Machine for the visible pin, but no referee. Referee Aubrey sprinted to the ring, but Dutt stepped in front of her. Karen Jarrett wiped Aubrey out with a guitar shot to a huge reaction, as Lethal hit a double Lethal Injection on FTR with everyone down. Karen threw a title belt to Lethal, as Jarrett held Harwood, who fought free and laid out Lethal with a piledriver. Jarrett caught Harwood with a belt shot and The Stroke, as Dutt woke up Briscoe to make a close two count. A furious Jarrett started pie facing Briscoe, slapping him until Briscoe slapped Jarrett, who turned around into Shatter Machine for the victory.

-Alex Marvez is backstage with Ricky Starks, who was asked about Bullet Club Gold and right on cue, they pounced on Starks. FTR came running into the shot, as Starks might’ve finally found backup for his feud with Jay White & Juice Robinson.

-Chris Jericho & Saraya are furious backstage, demanding Tony Khan give them a mix tag team match against Britt Baker & Adam Cole this Wednesday. One random security guard showed up to tell them to calm down and suffered a fireball to the face by the Wizard as a result.

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Wardlow (w/Arn Anderson) defeated Christian Cage (w/Luchasaurus) in a Ladder Match to retain the TNT Title

(This was a pretty wild ladder match with some pretty big spots, most notably Wardlow channeling Jeff Hardy from Wrestlemania 2000 with an unreal Swanton through tables. I thought this stipulation was pretty rushed, but Wardlow definitely got a huge reaction as a result, so mission accomplished.)

Cage told Luchasaurus to go to the back during his entrance, as Anderson did the same for Wardlow. It was a game of power vs. speed early, as Wardlow ran through Cage with a shoulder tackle and powered out of a Killswitch attempt. Wardlow tried bringing in a ladder, but Cage hit a baseball slide, tried a slingshot dive, only to eat a ladder shot by Wardlow. With Cage down, Wardlow set up multiple tables and was going to try for a massive Swanton through them, but Cage bailed. With a ladder bridge set up and both men standing on it, Cage was able to crotch Wardlow and slingshot him into a ladder back in the ring. Cage started to climb the ladder, but Wardlow shoved him off to the mat. Wardlow wanted a powerbomb, Cage wiggled free, climbed the ladder, but was caught into a slam. Wardlow delivered a pretty great looking spinning gorilla press slam as Cage rolled to the floor.

Wardlow went to climb, but Luchasaurus hit ringside, shoving Cage back in the ring who delivered a reverse DDT off the ladder. Cage tried a charge, but Wardlow caught him into a slam on the ladder. Wardlow placed Cage on the ladder, went for a Swanton Bomb, but crashed and burned. Cage climbed the ladder as Arn Anderson helped Wardlow up, who leapt off the top onto the ladder and it collapsed. Wardlow is limping badly, as he tried to climb the broken ladder and it collapsed again. A better ladder is brought in the ring, but Luchasaurus chokeslammed Wardlow twice. Anderson made the save, nearly got chokeslammed himself, but bit the thumb of Luchasaurus to draw blood. Wardlow took out Luchasaurus with a chair and set him up on the tables. Wardlow climbed to the top of a super tall ladder and hit an incredible Swanton Bomb off it putting Luchasaurus through the tables.

Cage slowly climbed the ladder, but Anderson & Wardlow got in the ring, as Anderson swung Cage’s legs off the ladder and Wardlow caught him with a super powerbomb. Wardlow climbed and grabbed the title to retain. Wardlow held the title high with Anderson, whose mouth was covered in blood from biting Luchasaurus' thumb.

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Toni Storm defeated Jamie Hayter to win the AEW Women’s Title

(Well, I guess there really was truth to the story of Hayter legitimately being injured, as this was very quick and while Hayter did get off a little offense, this was nothing like their other battles. There was a lot of interference and this is unfortunately what they had to do if Hayter is going to be out a little bit. Credit to Hayter for toughing it out, but congratulations goes to Toni Storm, who really has been crushing it lately on her win streak. She deserved another run with the title in my opinion.)

Hayter didn’t come out when her music first hit, but the second time Saraya & Ruby Soho tossed a beaten up Hayter down the ramp. Storm repeatedly slammed Hayter into the ring steps, the same way she injured Hayter’s arm last month. Both ladies are in the ring, as referee Paul Turner asks if Hayter can go, as she says yes and the match begins. Saraya immediately untied a corner turnbuckle pad and the referee just watched her do it. Britt Baker ran out to brawl with Saraya as Hayter tossed Storm into the corner where Turner was with Soho. Hayter got a near fall on Storm, who took the ref to allow Soho to spray paint Hayter in the eyes and Storm hit Sweet Cheek Music for two. Hikaru Shida hit the ring with her kendo stick as she & Soho brawled ringside.

Hayter sent Storm into the exposed buckle and hit Hayter-ade, but it was with the bad arm, so Hayter couldn’t follow up immediately, thus getting a two count. Hayter tried another one, but was sent super awkwardly into the exposed buckle herself and Storm hit Storm Zero to win the title.

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House of Black (Malakai Black, Brody King & Buddy Matthews w/Julia Hart) defeated The Acclaimed (Anthony Bowens & Max Caster) & Daddy Ass to retain the AEW Trios Titles in an Open House Match

(This was another strong title defense by the House of Black, who really kept Bowens isolated for a long stretch of this match. The Acclaimed & Daddy Ass put up a good fight, but the House of Black is on a whole other level right now.)

Caster’s rap compared King to someone on RuPaul’s Drag Race and also said Matthews was being cucked by a kid named Dominick, which was a great line. Caster said they didn’t need a Dealer’s Choice option for this match, so I guess that stip is out the window. An evenly matched opening sequence led to Bowens & Black both sitting criss cross until Matthews made the tag and went after the arm. Caster was able to get the tag and hit a back suplex on the side of the apron for two. Caster & Black collided as King made the tag and leveled Caster with a lariat. The Acclaimed were able to fight off Black in their corner and tried Scissor Me Timbers, which Black countered into a leg lock.

Caster & Gunn were beaten up on the floor, as King hit a charging cross body against the barricade on Gunn. Bowens tried fighting back with a fireman’s carry into a neckbreaker on the knee, but it was the bad wheel and Bowens collapsed. With Caster & Gunn down, there was no one to tag, as Black locked in another leg lock, tagged Matthews, who hit a Meteora. King connected with a senton and Taz said it was like a bathtub falling on you in a perfect description. Bowens was isolated for quite a long time until he fought off Dante’s Inferno, low bridged King, sent Matthews & Black outside, finally hitting Matthews with a thrust kick to make the Gunn hot tag.

Gunn ran wild with splashes; tilt a whirl slam and the old One and Only finisher on Black before dropping King on his head with a Fame Asser. Matthews ate a Fame Asser through the ropes, but as Gunn turned around, Black hit his Black Mass spin kick to win it.

**********

Jade Cargill (w/Leila Grey & Mark Sterling) defeated Taya Valkyrie to retain the TBS Title

(The champ remains undefeated for the time being and I thought this match blew their first one out of the water, mainly because there wasn’t a silly stipulation added to it.)

Cargill danced to the ring with members of Alpha Kappa Alpha, her sorority as we saw Jade’s partner Brandon Phillips ringside, who got mentioned by commentary. Valkyrie and Cargill had an early face off with Valkyrie getting the upper hand with a sliding lariat. Cargill tried to regroup with Mark Sterling, but he was flattened by a diving Valkyrie off the top. That allowed Cargill to clock Valkyrie with a pump kick to gain control. Valkyrie battled back momentarily with a sliding German suplex through the ropes, but Cargill responded with a suplex on the floor. Back inside, Cargill planted Valkyrie with a nice spinebuster for a near fall and draped Valkyrie throat first over the barricade outside.

Valkyrie battled back with a series of lariats in the ring, but Cargill did the same with short arm lariats of her own. Cargill went for a sleeper, but Valkyrie quickly countered into a Blue Thunder Bomb. Cargill attempted a springboard attack, but Valkyrie hit a double knee right to the sternum, almost a lungblower variation. Valkyrie tied up Cargill’s legs and hit a nasty Curb Stomp for two as Grey jumped on the apron and immediately kicked to the floor. Valkyrie connected with a Spear and Road to Valhalla, but Cargill managed a kick out, which really shocked the fans. Valkyrie went for another attack, but Cargill kicked her in the face and hit Jaded to get the win and go 60-0.

Post match, Mark Sterling said Cargill will defend the title anytime, anywhere, but there is no one left. Kris Statlander made her return to a huge reaction, as this is apparently an official match.

Kris Statlander defeated Jade Cargill to win the TBS Title

Cargill missed a pump kick, as Statlander hit a roundhouse kick, corner charge with a knee lift and attempted a stalling vertical suplex, which Cargill escaped. Cargill hit a pump kick, tried Jaded, but Statlander reversed into Night Fever to win the title, as the crowd is going insane as confetti pours down. Statlander signed that mama is home as this was quite the return for Statlander, who has battled so many injuries to finally get to this moment.

**********

The AEW Title 4 Way is next and during Sammy Guevara’s entrance, he brought out cue cards along with Tay Melo and we learn Tay is pregnant, so congratulations to the Guevara’s as Tay kissed her husband before he went to the ring.

Darby Allin’s entrance was Allin interrupting a wedding ceremony put on by an Elvis impersonator. Allin beat up someone with a MJF mask on as Allin & The King taped up the guy, as Allin rode into the arena wearing an Elvis jumpsuit, which is half skeleton painted. This is quite the visual and I certainly wasn’t expecting to type that line tonight, even in Vegas.

MJF was lowered on a throne and welcomed by harem of women lined up down the ramp. This repulsed Tony Schiavone.

Meanwhile, Jungle Boy Jack got his standard entrance first and I feel bad there wasn’t any crazy over the top stuff for him.

MJF defeated Jungle Boy Jack Perry, Darby Allin & Sammy Guevara to retain the AEW World Title

(I’m fully aware I wrote a lot about this match, that’s because a whole hell of a lot went into this four way. Many of us correctly assumed who would win, but the false finishes and huge moments in this match were fantastic. All four of these men knocked it out of the park and the crowd was really into it. I thought this was phenomenal.)

MJF took an early powder saying this was on his time, but was quickly beaten up to the floor as Guevara, Perry & Allin all went at it, kipping up at the same time. Perry did a double springboard arm drag to send Allin & Guevara to the outside, but MJF turned Perry inside out with a lariat. MJF teased a dive, but opted for a Fargo Strut and Rick Rude hip swivel. Allin hit a dive on MJF on the floor, as Perry followed up with three dives in succession of his own. This left Guevara, who hit his wild Shooting Star Press to the floor. Tower of Doom spot led to everyone just mowing down MJF. Perry got a two count off a Poison Rana on Guevara, while Allin hit full steam corner charges on Perry & MJF, who hit a float over stunner and side headlock on MJF for two to follow up that story.

Guevara flipped off the apron to the floor, landed on his feet, caught Perry with a thrust kick and laid out Allin with a cutter mid dive. Guevara laid out MJF with a standing Spanish Fly and top rope Frog Splash, but MJF kicked out to chants for Sammy from the crowd. MJF stacked Guevara with a powerbomb and nearly got a side headlock on Allin, followed by dropping Allin right on his head with a driver for two. MJF spat on Allin as all four men started hitting high impact moves leading to a quadruple down. Allin, Guevara & Perry all hit moves by their mentors, a Scorpion Death Drop, Code Breaker & Killswitch leading to MJF hitting Cross Rhodes for a two count on Perry.

MJF took the microphone and said he saw the cue cards, Guevara needs the money. Guevara said he’ll lie down and take the money, as he laid down, only to roll up MJF for two. MJF blocked the GTH, tried Salt of the Earth, but Guevara countered into Walls of Jericho. Perry went to break it up, but Allin sank in a Scorpion Death Drop. MJF was going to tap, but Perry stopped him. All four pillars had submissions applied at the same time before MJF broke things up first. This led to three Destroyers in a row, as Perry used Guevara & Allin’s backs as launch pads to hit a perfect Destroyer on MJF for two. Perry hit a Tiger Driver on Guevara, but Allin launched Perry into the barricade, got a head start and tackled both Perry & MJF into the crowd.

Guevara cut off Allin climbing the ropes and hit a Spanish Fly onto MJF & Perry on the floor to loud Holy Sh*t chants. With everyone back inside, all four men slugged it out with chops and forearms until MJF eye poked all three. Guevara answered with his springboard cutter, Allin with a Code Red and Perry charging forearm on MJF as all three took turns trying to get the pin. A crazy series of innovative near falls brought the fans to their feet until Guevara spiked Perry with an Implant DDT, Allin hit another Code Red, went for a Coffin Drop, but MJF crotched him. MJF hit a perfect Blonde Bombshell powerbomb off the top as tribute to Chris Candido, but Allin kicked out.

Guevara connected with a Cutter off the ropes on Perry, who rolled to the floor, as MJF hit a low blow on Guevara and pulled out the Diamond Ring. Allin smacked MJF in the back with a skateboard and demolished him with a Coffin Drop, applied a side headlock, but Perry broke up the pin. Perry & Allin collided in the middle, as MJF tried to hit Perry with the AEW Title, as Guevara tackled MJF to the outside. Perry was left holding the title, debated hitting Allin with it and threw it away to boos from the crowd and nearly got rolled up as a result. Guevara hit GTH on Perry, but was launched outside by Allin, who hit a Coffin Drop, only for MJF to put the title on Perry prior to it happening. MJF rolled up Allin with a side headlock to get the win.

**********

The Blackpool Combat Club (Jon Moxley, Bryan Danielson, Claudio Castagnoli & Wheeler Yuta) defeated The Elite (Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks & Hangman Adam Page) in Anarchy in the Arena

(This was wild, chaotic, insane, quite fittingly, pure anarchy. With the way the finish was set up and the turn that happened, it’s no surprise this went on last. It looks like The Elite are outnumbered once again and I don’t know if this is who will help them, but it certainly would be great if Omega turned to a Golden Lover to help even the odds. No matter who they get to help them, a lot of matches are still left to be had in this feud.)

Violent Idols sang Wild Thing on the stage as The Elite met the BCC in stands while the band kept playing. Nick & Yuta, Matt & Castagnoli, Page & Danielson and Omega & Moxley are all paired off as Don Callis has joined the broadcast table. Referee Rick Knox was clobbered ringside and is the first person to bleed in this match. Page laid out Danielson with a Buckshot Lariat and took off the eye patch, throwing it to Danielson and stalked him down with a screwdriver before Yuta chop blocked him. Page was beaten down 4 on 1 until The Bucks & Omega made the save and The Elite poured down punches in all four corners followed by superkicks. Quadruple Tope Suicidas by The Elite as Moxley is bleeding now, which, of course he is, it’d be weird if he didn’t.

The match spilled up the ramp, as The Bucks laid out the lead singer of Violent Idols to stop the music. The Bucks both dove off the ramp onto Castagnoli & Yuta while back in the ring Omega & Moxley beat each other up with parts of the announce table. Matt Jackson hit rolling Northern Lights suplexes on Yuta down the ramp before Nick leapt both of them onto Castagnoli. Yuta was powerbombed on the edge of the ring while Moxley was beaten up by Omega & Page until Page accidentally booted Omega. Castanoli & Matt fought into the stands, as Moxley launched Omega into a giant poker chip, which was a cool call back to the first Double or Nothing. There’s a poker chip covered in barbed wire, and Moxley hit a snap suplex on Omega into it.

On one side of the screen Moxley was stabbing Omega with a fork, while the other side Castagnoli was doing a Giant Swing in the concessions area on Matt. Moxley had a sleeper on Omega, who fell back onto the barbed wire. Nick Jackson & Page are also bleeding now as The BCC are taking turns picking apart Page while Castagnoli & Matt fought outside of the building. Moxley hit a brainbuster on a chair on Nick, while Danielson somehow found a leaf blower to bring in the ring. Page was able to hit Dead Eye on Moxley on the apron, as Omega, wearing Captain America trunks, started wielding a trash can lid like a shield before Castagnoli stopped him.

Nick made a comeback until Moxley hit a King Kong lariat and piledriver for two. Nick was locked in a Boston Crab and Crossface by Moxley & Yuta until Matt limped to the ring after being piledrove in a bed of a pickup truck. Matt hit an exploding superkick on Moxley, you read that right, as Page hit a Buckshot on Yuta. Matt had his shoe taken off, as Moxley brought in thumbtacks and dropped Matt barefoot onto them before hitting a Death Rider. Nick tried to save his brother, but was hit with a Cutter into the tacks. Castagnoli tried a Ricola Bomb on Omega, who floated through with a V-Trigger. Danielson charged in with Busiaku Knees on both Omega and Page before The BCC hit stereo anvil elbows on The Elite.

Matt had tacks placed in his mouth and Castagnoli uppercut them right out, as Yuta hit a German suplex for two. Omega & Page rose up, realized they are outnumbered, but fought off the challengers until Page hit Danielson with Dead Eye and Omega with One Winged Angel, but Yuta made the save. Omega & Page hit rolling offense on Yuta, as Page & Omega wanted double Buckshots, but Callis handed Yuta a screwdriver and Page was hit. Callis was about to be laid out by Omega when a masked man laid him out with a flying knee. It was revealed to be Konosuke Takeshita as Yuta got the seatbelt pin on Omega to win it.

Post match, Callis took his belt off and choked out Omega with The BCC & Takeshita standing tall as Castagnoli raised Yuta on his shoulders with Moxley & Danielson posing in the corners to end the show. Excalibur questions if Takeshita & Callis are members of the BCC and Taz said it certainly looks like it.

Book Review: Hi-Fi: The History of High-End Audio Design

Hi-Fi: The History of High-End Audio Design, by Gideon Schwartz, Phaidon Press, 2019. 272pp. $84.97, hard cover.


The ongoing evolution of hi-fi can be measured in any number of ways. Most obviously, we see that evolution in the technologies associated with our industry: in big breakthroughs—mono to stereo, tubes to transistors, analog to digital—as well as incremental improvements in materials and manufacturing techniques. Those and other refinements bring with them changes in sound quality—hopefully, but not always, improvements—but no less important to the industry are changes in form and design, which mirror developments in art, aesthetics, and fashion.


Audio’s changing forms is the subject of Hi-Fi, written by Gideon Schwartz—proprietor of New York City–based audio salon/distribution company Audio Arts—and published by art-book specialists Phaidon, with photos collected from a wide variety of sources. Hi-Fi tells the story—or at least a story—of its titular industry, in mostly well-chosen words and stunning photos.


Hi-Fi offers well-known stories and conventional wisdom, especially in depictions of companies and industry figures, but there are some surprising insights. Did you know that the first music-streaming service started in Paris—during the 1880s? Schwartz introduces us to Clément Ader, a self-trained French inventor who filed a patent in 1881 for what he called the “Théâtrophone,” which broadcast music and other performances out to listening stations and homes over phone lines. The technology was exhibited at the first International Exposition of Electricity, which was held in Paris. It was heard there by Victor Hugo. Schwartz writes that Marcel Proust heard it and signed up. The Théâtrophone was a success in Paris and got a foothold in some other European cities. Coming as early as it did, the Théâtrophone was not only the first music-streaming service: It was also, Schwartz writes, the source of “the first domestic audio replay.” It wasn’t a flash in the pan, either. Théâtrophone hung on for decades, fading only when the first form of wi-fi—radio—rendered it obsolete.


By the way, in the very same 1881 patent application, Ader invented stereo. You can read all about it in Schwartz’s book. Schwartz’s understanding of the culture of high-end audio first becomes apparent on p.13, where he writes, “Edison’s phonograph was a purist’s dream. Recording and playback could not have been more closely intertwined.” Vibrations were recorded on Edison cylinders via a simple mechanical device and read the same way, inverted. Among audiophiles, that kind of immediacy has meaning. Those today who seek high-efficiency single-driver speakers, simple tube amps, and low parts counts would understand.


However, the simple Edison cylinder was soon superseded by another simple technology: the gramophone. And in Switzerland, music-box maker Thorens soon launched its own version of both machines. “Unquestionably Swiss in its micro-precision, sophistication, and elegant functionalism, the company forged the philosophical substrata for all of the country’s future audio firms, as well as paving the way for companies worldwide,” Schwartz writes. Schwartz understands us.


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By p.18, Schwartz is already up to the 1930s and the creation of the first Zellaton loudspeaker, with its cones made from foil-covered lightweight foam, a construction technique that became an industry standard. (The German company Zellaton is still around—in fact, Schwartz is a Zellaton dealer. Two of the company’s recent loudspeakers are pictured on p.248 of Hi-Fi.)


The 1950s were, to Schwartz, a decade of “Industrial Stereo Utopia.” “This industrial emphasis on quality was unique,” Schwartz writes, “since it was unencumbered by later influences such as cheaper manufacturing, Asian imports, planned obsolescence, and creative marketing. It is fair to say that the seeds of high-end audio were firmly planted in the 1950s, and these would yield the cottage high-end audio industry that occurred during the 1970s.”


Hi-Fi is mainly about audio components as physical objects, and the 1950s “introduced the world to bold simplicity and uncluttered virtuosity in industrial design,” taking cues from Modernism, Schwartz writes. New technology was paired with “austere functionalism,” starting a design trend that continues today. Illustrating this trend are photos of Braun products from Dieter Rams and Hans Gugelot, familiar-looking turntables from EMT, Garrard, and Thorens, components from Fischer, Leak, and Marantz, and loudspeakers from Quad and Acoustic Research.


As he browses the decades, Schwartz injects quasi-technical discussions on the nature of sound and philosophical disquisitions on “The Truth About ‘Faithful Reproduction,'” which lay out the debate between those who want accuracy and those who want beautiful sound.


The 1960s, for Schwartz, were the years when stereos got sexy. Hi-fi was accepted into the mainstream. New, less techy approaches proliferated. “The hi-fi became an aspirational product as portrayed in films and literature of the time—particularly among younger and more affluent single men.” Hi-fi coverage escaped from audio-geek journals. Playboy perpetuated the idea that every man needs a stereo system and included reviews of new audio components.


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But in the 1960s, the industry’s economics were also changing. Even as America’s collective wealth grew, and more people entered the hi-fi marketplace, price became more of a consideration, not less. Marantz found it couldn’t make a profit on perfectionist products like its 10 B stereo tuner, undoubtedly the best of its day. Manufacturing shifted from an industrial aesthetic toward mass production. Newer, cheaper materials were used, not only plastic but also silicon. “Many of the early manufacturers that embraced solid state in the 1960s were not compelled by sound quality, as tube designs of the day actually offered superior fidelity,” Schwartz writes.


Still, gorgeous audio objects were created then, including stereo consoles from Clairtone—I want one!—the aforementioned Marantz 10 B tuner, components from McIntosh, and loudspeakers from Bose, Klipsch, and Tannoy, plus the astonishing JBL Paragon loudspeaker by Arnold Wolf (p.83).


Schwartz describes the 1970s as the decade of “The Birth of High-End Audio,” commenting that it “would not be entirely inaccurate” to “label the 1970s as an analog elysian fields.” That may be, but this is where the text starts to lag: It seems that there’s both more to say—more companies to write about—and also less: fewer compelling story lines. After spending several pages on tape—reel-to-reel and cassette—Schwartz moves on to discuss Mark Levinson, Audio Research, Threshold, Linn, Naim, B&W, and the first Magnepans and Infinitys, briefly telling each company’s story and showing some of their products from that era.


For Schwartz, the 1980s was the decade of “High-End Audio in Full Bloom.” Electrostatics and ribbon speakers come into their own. There’s even a company I didn’t know about: Swiss Physics. Founded by Mauro del Nobile, Swiss Physics housed its components “in piano-finish lacquered wooden cabinets, and to match the exterior’s execution, the interior technical layout was pure Swiss beau idéal.”


And then it’s on to the compact disc player in its various guises, and then to the earliest DACs.


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The theme of the 1990s for Schwartz was the “Return of the Vacuum Tube,” featuring amplifiers from Kondo, Audio Note, Jadis, Lamm, Conrad-Johnson, and Fi; horns from Avantgarde and Acapella; and dynamic loudspeakers from Wilson, Sonus Faber, and Celestion. By the time we reach the final chapter, dubbed the “Post-Digital Analog Renaissance,” the text is little more than a series of capsule profiles of the various audio companies—but the photos here document some of the most visually compelling designs in the book. There’s turntable porn from Artisan Fidelity—their modified version of the Garrard 301—and Clearaudio: the Statement and its TT-2 Linear Tracking tonearm. There’s a stunning shot from above of a Brinkmann Balance ‘table, and a head-on shot of the magnificently odd R-evolution Meteor Stealth from Serge Schmidlin and Audio Consulting. Several pages cover cartridges, with photos of pick-ups from Koetsu, Miyajima, and Ortofon.


The book ends with half a dozen pages of tasty designs from our era, from Soulution, Magico, Zellaton, Thîress, and others.


Hi-Fi is a quick, easy, read—especially engaging in the earlier part, from eras when the industry was less crowded and with more room for longer, more engaging stories—with photos you’ll want to linger over. It’s true that, with patience, you could probably discover most of these images and more on the World Wide Web—but who wants to do that? Recommended, for solid writing, much of it interesting, and circa 300 well-reproduced, mostly color images.

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Two wrestlers qualify for men’s WWE Money in the Bank ladder match

Two wrestlers qualified for the men's Money in the Bank ladder match on Monday's episode of WWE Raw. 

Ricochet defeated The Miz, and Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Bronson Reed in qualifying matches to punch their ticket to the men's Money in the Bank ladder match set for the Money in the Bank pay-per-view on Saturday, July 1 from London. 

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Qualifying matches will continue on Friday's SmackDown, with one men's bout and one women's bout. In addition, two women's qualifiers have been announced for next week's Raw. 

On the men's side, LA Knight will face Montez Ford of The Street Profits on SmackDown in a qualifying bout. 

The first women's Money in the Bank qualifier takes place on SmackDown, with Zelina Vega facing Lacey Evans. 

Women's qualifying matches will continue on next week's Raw, with Becky Lynch vs. Sonya Deville, plus Zoey Stark vs. Natalya announced for that show. 

In addition, it was notable on Raw in a backstage promo segment with Gunther and Matt Riddle that Gunther suggested that Riddle could cash in for a shot at his Intercontinental Championship. While the Money in the Bank ladder match winner has traditionally challenged for a World title, the precedent was established last year that the contract could be cashed in on a secondary title, as Austin Theory unsuccessfully cashed in his Money in the Bank contract for a shot at the United States title.

Stenheim Alumine 3 Loudspeakers; VAC Master Line Stage and Signature 200iQ Stereo Amplifier; Acoustic Signature XX Turntable, TA-2000 Tonearm, and TANGO Reference Phonostage; Dynavector XX2 MC Phono Cartridge; Critical Mass Systems Sotto Voce Rack; Cablin

When I heard the Stenheim Alumine 3 at AXPONA last year, I frankly wasn’t impressed. The tweeter seemed a little hot, the character a little buzzy. I learned just this morning that Jean-Pascal Panchard, Stenheim’s CEO and designer, wasn’t happy with them, either. He didn’t think they were ready, but they had committed to presenting them at AXPONA, so he kept his commitment. They only produced three pair in that configuration. After that show, changes were made.

The version being demoed here at the Florida Audio Expo—by Panchard, one of many designers and company chiefs at this small show—are the final production versions.

Take this with a grain of salt: Even I don’t consider a comparison based on listening sessions 10 months apart in different rooms with different music and systems to be totally valid. And yet: As soon as I walked into the Stenheim room here at the Florida Audio Expo, I knew these Alumine 3s sounded different from the ones I’d heard at AXPONA. Different and better.

I think it was John DeVore who once told me: If you perceive a problem with the highs, look to the lows, and vice versa. The difference I perceived with the Alumine 3 was in the treble, but the post-AXPONA alterations are in the bass.

Panchard described the Alumine 3 as a 3.5-way: It’s a laminar-flow-ported aluminum box stuffed with a dome tweeter, a 5 1/4″ midrange driver, and two 8″ woofers. The lower of the two woofers, which is rolled off around 100Hz, has a rubber surround, while the upper woofer, which extends up into the midrange, now has a fabric surround; the absence of rubber’s restoring force makes the driver faster. (Below 100Hz, the output of the two woofers is the same.)

The Alumine 3 should be very easy to drive, with a claimed sensitivity of 93dB and a minimum impedance of 5 ohms. It presents an amplifier with a nominal 8 ohm load.

With this version of the Alumine Three, there was no edge to the highs. Highs, lows, and midrange were in balance, with perhaps a little more treble energy than I’m used to, but that may have come from elsewhere in the system (i.e., the phono cartridge), and anyway it’s not a complaint. Imaging was superb; on “Malletoba Spank” and “Red Garter”—the first two tracks on the reissue of Duke Ellington’s Jazz Party in Stereo, there was a good-sized stage in this small room (which limited speaker separation to just a few feet apart), and Jimmy Woode’s bass was out on the balcony, some 10′ back from the plane of the speakers. On the second track, the ride cymbal came from directly behind the right speaker—an odd sensation.

The system also encompassed a VAC Master Line Stage ($28,000) and Signature 200iQ Stereo Amplifier ($14,500); Acoustic Signature XX turntable ($5000), TA-2000 tonearm ($2995), and TANGO Reference phonostage ($5000); Dynavector XX2 MC phono cartridge ($2000); Critical Mass Systems Sotto Voce rack with three shelves; and cabling by Wireworld and Audioquest.

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Impact notes: Final Thursday card, Saturday TV taping lineup announced

The final card is set for Thursday's Under Siege go-home edition of Impact Wrestling on AXS TV.

The two new matches announced will see Chris Bey vs. John Skyler and Decay's Black Taurus & Crazy Steve against Kenny King & Sheldon Jean.

Bey & Ace Austin will defend the Impact Tag Team titles against the debuting Subculture (Flash Morgan Webster & Mark Andrews) at Friday's Under Siege streaming special. King will take on Nick Aldis in singles action.

The BTI pre-show match will see feature Sami Callihan vs. Shogun ahead of Callihan's trios match Friday against The Design.

Here's the full lineup:

Angels vs. Rich SwannMike Bailey vs. Chris SabinJordynne Grace vs. Alisha EdwardsTaylor Wilde vs. JessickaChris Bey vs. John SkylerDecay (Black Taurus & Crazy Steve) vs. Kenny King & Sheldon Jean

**********

Several matches have been announced for the post-Under Siege TV taping taking place in London, Ontario, Canada, on Saturday.

Here's what's been announced thus far:

Trinity will follow up on her match with Gisele Shaw Friday by taking on Savannah Evans.The aforementioned Subculture will compete in their second Impact match after challenging for the Tag Team titles Friday as they take on The Good Hands.Dani Luna of Subculture will have her first Impact match as she takes on Jody Threat.Killer Kelly & Deonna Purrazzo will team up against Masha Slamovich & Gisele Shaw. Purrazzo will defend the Knockouts title against Jordynne Grace Friday.Eddie Edwards will take on Yuya Uemura. This follows the six-way no. 1 contender's match for the World title taking place Friday.X-Division Champion Trey Miguel will face Bhupinder Gujjar. Miguel will defend the title against Chris Sabin Friday.Digital Media Champion Joe Hendry will go one-on-one with Sheldon Jean. Hendry defends against Dirty Dango Friday.Tara Rising takes on Seleziya Sparx and Heath faces Champagne Singh.

In the images released for the event, Hendry was not pictured with his title while Miguel was.

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Métronome Technologie AQWO SACD/CD transport and D/A processor

In an era when polar opposites compete as absolutes, it can be a challenge to acknowledge the different and equally valid ways in which audiophiles approach musical truth. But the reality is that our perceptions of how reproduced music should sound are determined, to a large extent, by how we approach the live experience. For live acoustic performances, some of us prefer a direct, up-close sound, where highs are most vibrant, the spatial nature of sounds is most distinct, swells in volume can sometimes seem assaultive, and detail is most easily perceived. Others would rather sit farther back or in the top balcony, where highs mellow out while lower octaves remain strong, and the resonance of the performing acoustic adds warmth and glow to the musical experience. The collective skill of the architects and acousticians who designed our favorite halls, as well as the background noise created by air circulation equipment, also play a large part in the formulation of our sonic expectations.


Amplified music, regardless of genre, can be an entirely different ballpark—hey, concerts often take place in stadiums and arenas where distance from speakers and stage, as well as the quality of amplification, are crucial to our expectations. Do the speakers distort or the woofers predominate when everyone starts playing at once? Is the sound system maximally colorful, or does it have a high noise floor that lends a gray patina to everything? What microphones are they using? Are the sound engineer’s ears intact, or have they been irreparably damaged from years of working with loud bands? Anyone who regularly attends live concerts has experienced what happens when the sound engineer sits under the balcony or at the very back of the performance space and calculates tonal balance (and volume!) on something very different than what those up front hear.


As someone who spent 10 years living in East Oakland, where my next-door neighbors on both sides spent hours ogling cars with the biggest bumper-shaking woofers in the hood, I know that some people consider heavily inflated, out-of-control bass the norm. To them, the mightiest audiophile speakers would seem ridiculously inadequate and far too tame.


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All these thoughts came into play as I approached Métronome Technologie’s unquestionably musical new AQWO SACD/CD-playing system, which combines their c|AQWO digital-to-analog converter ($26,000) and t|AQWO upsampling/resampling SACD/CD transport ($24,000). This is equipment in a price range attainable only, or mostly, by those who can afford to sit in any seat in the house. The c|AQWO is in the same price range as my two reference DACs, the dCS Rossini digital-to-analog converter ($24,000) and the (recently upgraded) EMM Labs DV2 integrated digital-to-analog converter ($30,000). Ditto the t|AQWO: Its US price is very close to that of my reference dCS Rossini upsampling CD/SACD transport ($23,500), which even uses the same Denon/Marantz CD/SACD mechanism. Typically, I pair both Rossini units with the Rossini Clock ($7500), which increases the price of the dCS system. Similarly, for file playback, I pair the EMM Labs DV2 with both the dCS Network Bridge ($4750) and the Rossini Clock, which increases that system’s price. And then there’s the price of all the cabling that powers and connects those units, which amounts to enough live-performance series subscriptions to last multiple lifetimes.


Speaking of price: While the c|AQWO lacks a volume control and must be paired with either a line-level preamp or an integrated amplifier—I used the Audio Research Reference 6 preamp ($15,000)—the Rossini and DV2 DACs include excellent volume controls and can be used without a preamp. To level the playing field when comparing the three DACs, after setting the Rossini and DV2’s volume controls to 0dB and effectively removing them from the signal path, I used the Ref 6 to control volume.


Even as my head was spinning from trying to calculate the ultimate cost of each setup, I realized that, while switching between three DACs and two transports, consistency of methodology and setup was essential for a fair review. Equally important was ensuring that, as I moved cables back and forth, I took care to move the right set. Only once did I blithely connect the Rossini to my reference D’Agostino Progression monoblocks while the volume was turned all the way up. Happily, I reacted quickly enough to be able to laugh at my mistake and continue with this review.


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The Métronome story
Métronome Technologie was founded in 1987 by Dominique Giner, a woodcrafter and hi-fi lover who registered the company in 1992. The name derives from Giner’s first bookshelf loudspeaker, the 15.75″-high MT1, which was shaped like a metronome.


The company’s first “official” products were CD players, which Giner developed in partner-ship with French company Jadis. Métronome remained small until 2002, when the eye-catching looks of their first “Kalista by Métronome” CD transport brought them global notoriety. In 2013, Giner sold the company to Jean Marie Clauzel, who retained the company’s engineering team after Giner retired as product designer two years later.


“Because I was trained by him, I feel quite confident designing the new products,” Clauzel told me at the start of a Skype conversation that included Wynn Wong of North American distributor Wynn Audio. “I’m not an electrical engineer, but I love music, and have people with me in the design office. Before Métronome, I was mostly in agriculture—I’m an agronomist. It was quite a challenge to move into electronics, but it has enabled me to [be reborn]. It’s also a change to have clever people around me, because me alone, I’m not like the big people in the industry, like Dan D’Agostino and many others. I’m not able to do things by myself. It’s really teamwork.”


Since Clauzel came on board, every Métronome product has been “renewed.” First came the Kalista line, which was augmented with streaming and network products. Métronome’s AQWO, Classica, and Digital Sharing lines followed suit.


After trying in vain to figure out what the letters “AQWO” might stand for, I asked Clauzel. “I imagined the name AQWO when I was designing this new range of products,” he replied by email. “I definitely wanted to stop using names composed entirely of letters and figures (CD-something…). The idea came when I was thinking about what’s most important: listening to music. I liked the ancient Greek verb ἀκούω (akoúô), which sounded good in all languages. I just needed to write it differently, and ακουω became AQWO.”


When an online translation engine translated ἀκούω as “I hear,” I asked Clauzel if the definition was correct. “Absolutely,” he said. “But in these ancient languages, the verb has a larger meaning, as in the sense of listening, understanding, and being able to analyze what you hear.”


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I also queried Clauzel about his favorite music: After all, if a product cannot play its designer’s favorite tracks in a manner he deems acceptable, it is not a success. “I’m stuck in the ’70s. I listen to a lot of progressive rock, which a lot of people consider second-class music. One of my favorite bands is Queen, but I also listen to Genesis and Pink Floyd. I like music that people sometimes made when they were not in the real world.” Asked for favorite tracks and albums, he mentioned Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here, Genesis’s Foxtrot and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, and “everything by Queen.” He’s also a big fan of French singers “who are not well known in the West,” including Jacques Higelin, Étienne Daho, and -M-.


Whys and wherefores
Because it’s virtually impossible to discern the sound of a new component unless it’s the only thing you change in a familiar reference setup, Stereophile customarily evaluates only one product per review. But in the Métronomes’ case, the t|AQWO transport and c|AQWO DAC rightfully belong in the same review because the transport only outputs DSD and the highest resolutions of PCM via HDMI I2S (sometimes called IIS), and the c|AQWO has an I2S (footnote 1) over HDMI input. The t|AQWO also has AES/EBU, S/PDIF (RCA), and TosLink outputs, but they are limited to 24/192 PCM and do not carry DSD. If you want to play the hi-rez layer of an SACD, upsample/resample an SACD (DSD64) up to DSD 256 or PCM 24/384, or upsample/resample a Red Book CD (16/44.1 PCM) to either 24/384 PCM or DSD128, you must use the transport’s HDMI output.


Neither of my reference DACs—the dCS Rossini or the EMM Labs DV2—has an HDMI port. Nor do DACs from CH Precision, T+A, MSB, Esoteric, and, in very different price categories, Mytek and Benchmark. Some of these companies manufacture transports that can connect to their DACs via proprietary links, but Clauzel prefers a non-proprietary solution.


The AQWO components, then, can be thought of as a CD player/DAC combo that happens to be in two boxes instead of just one (or four including the power supplies). I—and Editor Jim Austin—believe that pairing the t|AQWO and c|AQWO in a single review makes sense.


Footnote 1: My sincere thanks to Nordost for the loan of a Valhalla 2 HDMI cable.


Footnote 2: dCS DACs and some Aurender servers use dual AES for high-resolution data transmission.

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COMPANY INFO

Metronome Technologie

US distributor: Wynn Audio

20 Wertheim Court, Unit 31

Richmond Hill, Ontario L4B 3A8, Canada

wynnaudio.com

ARTICLE CONTENTS

Page 1
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Specifications
Associated Equipment
Measurements

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New pre-show match announced for Impact Under Siege

Following Thursday's Impact Wrestling on AXS TV, the final card for Friday's Under Siege streaming special is set.

The lone new addition to the London, Ontario, Canada, event is Knockouts Tag Team Champions The Coven (Taylor Wilde & KiLynn King) against the Death Dollz (Jessicka & Courtney Rush) in a non-title match.

Wilde defeated Jessicka on Thursday's show and as Wilde and King attacked Jessicka after the match, Rush (the alter ego of Rosemary) ran out to make the save.

That match, and the Digital Media title match featuring champion Joe Hendry vs. Dirty Dango, will both be on the pre-show that starts at 7:30 PM Eastern with the main card kicking off at 8 PM Eastern.

Here's the final card that is available on Impact Ultimate Insiders streaming service:

Impact World Champion Steve Maclin defends against PCO in a no DQ matchKnockouts Champion Deonna Purrazzo defends against Jordynne Grace (if Grace loses, she can't challenge for the title again while Purrazzo is champion)X-Division Champion Trey Miguel defends against Chris SabinImpact Tag Team Champions Chris Bey & Ace Austin defend against Mark Andrews & Flash Morgan Webster (w/ Dani Luna)Impact World Championship number one contender's match: Eddie Edwards vs. Moose vs. Jonathan Gresham vs. Yuya Uemura vs. Frankie Kazarian vs. Alex ShelleyNick Aldis vs. Kenny KingThe Design (Deaner, Kon & Angels) vs. Sami Callihan, Rich Swann & a mystery partnerTrinity vs. Gisele ShawPre-show: Knockouts Tag Team Champions The Coven (KiLynn King & Taylor Wilde) vs. The Death Dollz (Jessicka & Courtney Rush) in a non-title matchPre-show: Digital Media Champion Joe Hendry defends against Dirty Dango

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