Super Wrestling: AEW – All Out 2020

All Out and all the images you see I this recap are owned by All Elite Wrestling and Shahid Khan

The last few weeks of television have been disappointing as AEW is stumbling their way towards not just to this PPV but having a live audience again and doing it in a way that’s safe while also enhancing the show.  It hasn’t been an easy journey and they’ve made some mistakes, but the buildup to this show has been solid if nothing else, and with so many marquee matches to watch… well, let’s just hope that they can pull it off better than they’ve been pulling off Dynamite; and CERTAINLY better than from what I heard went down in that women’s Tag Tournament.  Is this show a culmination of all the stumbling effort they’ve been putting in the last few weeks, or has all that bad luck spilled over to the PPV itself?  Let’s find out!!

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Joey Janela Vs. Serpentico – Buy In Match

Serpentico is accompanied to the ring by Luther while Janela is accompanied by Sonny Kiss

Serpentico is one of those dudes who I’ve seen A LOT standing on the outside of the ring these last few months, but this will be the first I’m seen him in a match.  According to the announcers, he and Luther have formed a tag team on Dark which is why he’s out here sticking his tongue out like he does, and Luther if you recall was the dude who was hanging out with Brandie Rhodes when she was doing her Nightmare Collective Shtick.  Well whoever these guys are, Joey comes out the gate with gusto as he’s still upset about having lost his match against Jericho as badly as he did (complete with giant bandage on his forehead in case you forgot what happened), and in his rage he manages to shake off whatever offense Serpentico can muster… at least until he gets pushed off the top rope and takes a real nasty looking tumble.  It doesn’t look like he got injured, but it was definitely not a fun ride down!  Serpentico takes over for most of the match after that and the guy seems like a decent wrestler with some solid gymnastics to his repertoire, but the story of this match is that Joey has more stamina and strength; so whatever ten moves Serpentico dishes out can’t seem to match the impact of one of Janela’s.  Now usually the one who has to fight from underneath is the babyface in a match like this, but Serpentico is also a dirty cheater as he’s constantly distracting the ref so that Luther can take cheap shots at Janela, and with this strategy Serpentico is able to stay in the game and even get a few near falls, but it’s just not enough to secure victory.  Janela’s building up speed for a big attack on Serpentico, but Luther grabs his legs from the outside while the ref is distracted.  Sonny Kiss, who’s been holding back this entire match, decks Luther in the face and Janela finishes him off with a Diving Drop Kick.  With Luther no longer a factor, Janela knocks Serpentico down with a running clothesline before landing a top rope elbow drop to get the pin.  It was a fine match though I think Janela is one of those guys who works WAY better when he’s got a story to build off of.  Even something simple as his feud with Shawn Spears led to that AMAZING Santa Claus match, so if this is the start of something with Serpentico then I’m all for it!

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Private Party Vs The Dark Order (Alex Reynolds & John Silver) – Buy In Match

The Dark Order is accompanied to the ring by Alan Angels and Ten The Creeper

Alex and Reynolds have been looking VERY impressive recently in their matches, though their role in The Dark Order has left them still feeling like jobbers; especially when their own leader treats them as such.  Sadly this means that they don’t have much of a chance here to win, but they can sure as heck put on a good show and help Private Party look even better than they usually do!  Silver in particular is an impressive dude to watch as he has a unique look and comes off as a legit powerhouse when the need arises; especially this one spot where he chops Quen right across the chest and the dude looks like he got hit with a truck!  The match stays pretty much even for the most part with Reynolds and Silver only getting the heat long enough for Kassidy to give Quen the hot tag.  As soon as that happens, things go into overdrive as both teams pull out their best moves including what looks like an F10 from Silver that got a two count on Quen!  If that wasn’t impressive enough, Reynolds and Silver pull of this PHENOMENAL combination that’s as good as anything I’ve seen from AEW in the last few weeks where Reynolds hits an elbow, Silver hits a Step Up Enziguri, Reynolds lands a Stunner, THEN Silver lands a German Suplex and finally Reynolds rolls over to get the pin!  If The Young Bucks had gotten this, they would have killed ANY tag team, but Quen manages to kick out just before the three count.

“How you doing there, Silver?”     “MMMHHHHFF!”     “Well that’s good!”

After that, The Dark Order is pretty much spent (they could probably use a cigarette and a sandwich too), so Quen just BARELY being able to get out of that gives them a chance to take the advantage once again, and they manage to get the pin with a Gin and Juice on Silver.  This was a REALLY great match as both teams worked together very well and these two Dark Order guys should really get more and more matches if they’re gonna put on a shows this good!

And with that, we are done with the Buy In show, so it’s time for the Pay Per View itself!

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Britt Baker Vs.  Big Swole – Tooth and Nail Match

Okay, so AEW had that AMAZING Stadium Stampede match which everyone liked and found a perfect balance between goofy fun and genuinely impressive athletic skills.  They try to recreate that magic here with a similarly cinematic presentation (Big Swole and Britt Baker are fighting in a dentist office with Reba running interference), but it honestly feels more like the recent WWE attempts, like that really terrible Money in the Bank match or even that atrociously long Last Man Standing match between Edge and Randy Orton.  This isn’t nearly that long and I think the action is solid, but there’s a DEARTH of atmosphere here as there are no crowd noises, no music to accompany the action, and the audio within the match is extremely echoey.  That leaves us with just the commentators who themselves seem to be unsure of what to even say during this match, but I can hardly blame them as I wouldn’t really know what to say if I saw Britt Baker try to drill a hole in Big Swole’s skull and then accidentally shoot herself up with Novocain.

It wasn’t bad enough when Shawn Spears was making this face!?

Baker has pretty much no chance after the needle spot, and after eating a Dirty Dancing from Swole, she’s shoved onto the dentist chair and given a face full of Nitrous oxide until she passes out.  Big Swole is the winner which doesn’t mean a whole lot considering her opponent had TWO DIFFERENT DRUGS IN HER, but hopefully Baker is now ready to get back into the ring and they can start having legitimate matches instead of these wacky shenanigans.  I’m usually all for wackiness in wrestling, but I feel like their feud jumped the shark weeks ago and it all culminating in this just feels like a lot of effort for not much payoff.

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The Young Bucks Vs. Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus)

Jurassic Express is accompanied to the ring by Marko Stunt

Last week, The Bucks deal was that they’re angry about Adam Page (people being upset by the way is going to be a HUGE running theme here) and are taking it out on everyone in the ring; including Jurassic Express who were their tag team partners in the eight man last week.  Where I felt that it was a bit overdone in that match, they find a much better balance here and The Young Bucks are in full PPV mode as they and the Jurassic Express have a drag down, pull apart, super flippy match that was a heck of a lot of fun to watch.  Luchasaurus when given the right match to be in can be one of the most AMAZING people to watch in the ring, and The Bucks flying around and running into his giant powerful moves is an absolute joy to see!  Jungle Boy as well gets plenty of time to show off as he goes toe to toe with Matt Jackson whenever he gets the chance, though it’s clear that he’s going to be the one taking the heat while Luchasaurus is there to get the explosive hot tags.

I don’t care how much AEW would have to pay Toei; they need the Godzilla theme to play whenever he has a comeback!

I don’t believe this is a number one contender’s match, so as far as story there’s not much to sink your teeth into as The Bucks don’t have teammates to be jerks to and Jurassic Express aren’t out here looking for revenge, but this is definitely a match where the action in the ring is compelling enough to compensate for that.  Probably the most underhanded thing they do is when Nick Jackson Superkick’s Luchasaurus right before the tag is made and then mocks Jungle Boy for it, but Marko Stunt knocks him off the apron as payback and Luchasaurus gets the hot tag soon after.  Dude runs wild like a raging dinosaur and the crowd is into this more than anything else on the show so far, and even when Nick tries to trip up Luchasaurus, Jungle Boy comes out of nowhere and flies over the ropes to take him out which the crowd popped for as well!  The Young Bucks are not to be counted out just yet however as Nick Jackson lands a Powerbomb on Jungle Boy out on the apron and then lands a Canadian Destroyer on Luchasaurus.  Matt Jackson then goes out of his way to Superkick Marko, and with Luchasarus still reeling from the Destroyer, The Bucks land a draping top rope splash on Jungle Boy and… NOT get the pin!  Pro tip for Young Bucks match.  When you get to the move that looks like it SHOULD be the finish, THAT’S when things go into complete overdrive as all four of them start going wild with finishers, Superkicks, and big splashes!  It’s all great stuff but I do feel that it throws the pacing off.  Jungle Boy eats a Superkick in mid-air? No pin.  Jungle Boy eats a Super Kick Party?  No pin.  Jungle Boy eats a BTE Trigger?  Okay, NOW it’s the pin.  I can see that working TWICE but going for that third fake out kinda threw the pacing off for me.  Other than that though, this was a FANTASTIC match and I just love seeing Jurassic Express when they are at the top of their game like this!  Presumably this is the start of The Bucks going for the Tag Team titles again, but hopefully AEW finds SOMETHING for Jurassic Express to do as well.

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Casino Battle Royal

The last two weeks of shows have done an EXCELLENT job of setting up this Battle Royale,  and considering how much AEW talent is in this match it sure as heck better live up to those expectations!  Just like the other Casino Battle Royals, its top rope eliminations with four groups of five that stagger in every three minutes.  Three minutes after all the groups are in, the final entrant comes in and whoever’s the last one in the ring gets an AEW title shot.  Let’s get started!

First Group – Trent, Christopher Daniels, Jake Hager, The Blade, and Rey Fénix

Things start off nice and easy as no one is going at it at a hundred miles an hour, but they also do a great job of making sure everyone gets at least one big move in this opening bout.  No eliminations so far.

Second Group – Kazairian, Will Hobbs, Chuck Taylor, Santana, and Ortiz

Oh hey!  Will Hobbs is back and he’s kicking butt!  I thought he looked very impressive in his Darby Allin fight, and he actually manages to make the first elimination in this match as he toss The Blade over the ropes.  It’s so impressive that the announcers fail to mention that Hager eliminated Christopher Daniels at about the same time.  Hopefully they actually DO something with this guy instead of just giving him fifteen minutes of fame like they did with Pineapple Pete.  Other than that, Proud N Powerful bully the heck out of The Best Friends but don’t get an elimination, and Kazarian is looking very good here as he’s going blow for blow with Jake Hager.

Third Group – Billy Gunn, Pentagón Jr, Ricky Starks, Brian Cage, and Darby Allin

Brian Cage wastes no time eliminating Billy Gunn and surprisingly Darby Allin takes out Fénix.  The Best friends manage to fight off Proud N Powerful long enough to do their hug, but are punished IMMEDIATELY with Santana tossing Chuck over the ropes.  It’s not looking good for Trent, but with so many bodies in the ring it’s hard for any one pairing to stay focused for too long; especially when you’ve got factions trying to protect each other like The Inner Circle.

Final Group – Shawn Spears, Eddie Kingston, The Butcher, Sonny Kiss, and Lance Archer

Shawn like an utter Jabroni just walks past the ring and joins the announce team which I’m PRETTY sure Vince McMahon did at one of the Royal Rumbles and it’s one of those unspoken rules of the match that you should only try to pull off on rare occasions.  It’s the same kind of honor code that prevents bad guys from just taking a sword or something to a no DQ match, but if anyone was going to go to the douchebag level with it, it’d be Shawn Spears.  Sonny Kiss got a HUGE spotlight here as he eliminated Jake Hager, but sadly they were immediately eliminated by Brian Cage right afterwards.  Still, it was worth it to see the face of utter astonishment on Jake Hager, though Hager got a cheap shot on Sonny once he was outside the ring to.  Trent is still hanging in there and even manages to eliminate Santana, but while he was just about to eliminate Ortiz who was on the apron, Archer comes from behind and just tosses him over the ropes.  Ortiz gives a dopey look of relief at the camera, but then is immediately punched out by Archer.  That was a fun little spot!

Last Entrant – Matt Sydal

I had no idea who this guy was when he came out, but apparently he was a mid-card guy at WWE a long time ago, so I’m starting to get worried that the roster is getting a tad overstuffed with not only former WWE talent, but former WWE talent named MATT.  Matt Hardy, Matt Cardona, and now Matt Sydal; all of which are on this one PPV!?  TOO MANY MATTS!  Anyway, he comes out, knees Spears in the face who was hanging around the ring at this point, and the match kicks into high gear as we speed towards the ending.  Surprisingly, Kazarian manages to eliminate Pentagón Jr and I’m kind of rooting for him at this point to pull off an upset victory… which is why I shouldn’t gamble because he gets eliminated a minute later by The Butcher.  Brian Cage then takes over the match as he smashes seven or so dudes right in the middle of the ring; no eliminations, but the point is clear that he’s in it to win it!  However, the one man he couldn’t take down is Darby Allin who was swift enough to dodge his move and gets Ricky to take the blow in the process.  He quickly follows up with a stunner on Cage and takes the opportunity to eliminate the dazed Starks.  Everyone is basically working the corners now to give Cage and Allin room to do the ridiculous nonsense they have in store which involves Allin going into a body bag FILLED with thumb tacks, and then Cage throwing it over the ropes.  Darby’s eliminated and Starks yells at him for a bit before being chased off by the refs.  I don’t know if I want this feud to be escalating hardcore shenanigans, but it was a very good payoff to the weeks of bad blood between these three.  Matt Sydal manages to knock down Cage who takes a minute to catch his breath which gives Sydal and Spears a chance to fight for a bit before Spears is eliminated.  Then Will Hobbs gets his moment to shine as he gives Sydal an AMAZING Spine Buster onto the remaining thumbtacks!

“This is going to hurt you a lot more than it’s going to hurt me!”     “Well thank you for being honest.  AAAAHHHHHHH!!”

THAT was probably my favorite moment in the entire match, and it only escalates from there as Archer knocks him to the ground and he and Cage finally have their face off.  It’s clear that, Cage is not just a big dude but a GREAT athlete as he is downright AGILE when facing off against Archer; flipping his way out of choke slam and even landing a Hurricanrana on the guy!  These two need to have a proper match as soon as possible, but for now the fight comes to an end when Will Hobbs tries to interfere and gets himself and Cage both eliminated by Archer.  We’re down to the final four as Kingston and The Butcher have just been hanging out in the corner this whole time and Sydal is just getting back up from that thumb tack spot.  Butcher manages to get a decent cross body on Archer, but is eliminated soon after; as is Sydal after eating a Blackout Slam and getting kicked by Kingston.  It’s down to Kingston and Archer who are fighting on the apron.  Jake Roberts has a bag with a snake in it and is trying to intimidate Kingston (which Kingston sells by the way) while The Butcher and The Blade try to pull Archer off the apron.  Eventually though, the Murderhawk grabs Kingston and throws him off the turnbuckle right onto Butcher and Blade; winning the Battle Royal and earning himself a shot at the AEW Champion.  Kingston’s faction felt a bit underutilized considering how big his promos were in building this up, but other than that I thought this was a fantastic Battle Royal!  Pretty much everyone got a chance to shine here and they told some very compelling stories throughout which kept the action up and certainly gave everyone else some time to rest and get ready for more.  I’m hoping to see more of Hobbs who had a fantastic showing here and I think Kazarian deserves credit for being such a great worker wherever he was needed here.  Everyone else did their jobs well and I’m really excited to see what the future holds for pretty much everyone in here.

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Matt Hardy Vs. Sammy Guevara – Broken Rules Match

Stipulation: The fight continues until someone cannot get up for ten counts.  If Matt Hardy loses, he leaves AEW.

As it turns out, Broken Rules means a Stadium Stampede with a Last Man Standing stipulation.  The two of them are fighting all around Jaguars Stadium and the one who can’t get back up after a count of ten will be the loser, so I guess I should have saved my Orton/Edge comparison for this; especially since this was perhaps a worse match.  Not because it was boring and drawn out, but because it became a total DISASTER and everyone acted so irresponsibly in it.  Sammy, who hasn’t had a good day since his comeback, either on his own or due to something Matt did completely botched an early move where He Spears Hardy from a scissor lift onto a table below.  Hardy hit the table, but his head did not and came crashing into the concrete.  They barely went a minute longer before Ref Aubrey threw up the X (when a ref crosses their arms, it means there’s a genuine problem) and the match was called off.  However, because this was a Loser Leaves AEW match, I guess Hardy felt the need to continue and no one in a position to do so stopped him, so after a minute or so of Matt getting walked out and Sammy following some distance behind, Matt comes back for Sammy and the continue the match.  They rushed right to the finish, but there’s no reason Hardy should have come back out here.  The moment someone gets hurt is the moment I stop caring about Kayfabe, and the ref X should be treated as sacred.  Turn up the lights, get everything taken care of, and don’t pretend it’s part of the show.  They do a very light bit of brawling as they head back to the ring,  Sammy and Matt climb a scaffold, and with a small punch from Hardy Sammy just falls from it and stays down. 

Someone please get him down from there…

This was a disaster, Sammy and Hardy has been a disaster, and I don’t’ think these two should be in a ring again for a while.  As I’m writing this, Hardy has been released from the hospital and has been cleared of having a concussion which is VERY good news, but I hope AEW doesn’t just brush this off just because they got lucky.

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Hikaru Shida Vs. Thunder Rosa – AEW Women’s Title Match

Following up that match was not going to be an easy task, but even with that I just wasn’t feeling this too much.  They trade blows, they scowl at each other, and the baby face sells for the heel, but I wish there was more buildup to make this feel like it really mattered.  Shida eventually makes her comeback and it gets pretty good there, especially when she goes for her knee strikes, but I think that Shida is just not doing it for me as champ.  She needs to cut promos and needs to be striving for something because wrestling isn’t just about in ring skill; it’s about the story being told.  Compare Shida’s string of opponents to Cody’s title run.  In both cases they were essentially facing whoever whenever, but Cody had a story to tell with each match.  He was defending it each and every week and each match took a little bit out of him until he finally couldn’t stand up to Brodie Lee.  Here, it’s just another opponent for Shida to face; one that’s very talented to be sure, but I have no investment in Shida winning or in Thunder Rosa losing. 

“I hate you!”    “I hate you more!”     “I hate you to a significant degree higher than that!”     “YOU TAKE THAT BACK!!”

Stuff happens with them going back and forth for a while, but the turning point is when Shida takes a Death Valley Driver from Rosa on the apron.  Rosa goes for the pin put only gets a two count so she goes right into a right arm submission to try and tap Shida out if she’s not going to be pinned.  Shida manages to get the rope however so Rosa climbs to the top rope to try and big move there, but Shida runs up the rope and gives her a Superplex.  If that wasn’t enough, Shida sends Rosa to the ram and lands a middle rope Meteora to the outside which was definitely the highlight of the match.  Both of them are bruised and exhausted, but most of all their enraged so they start trading big moves back and forth like nobody’s business, and Thunder Rosa even manages to kick out at one after receiving a Falcon Arrow.  Rosa lands a Backstabber and Shida and Shida lands a Backbreaker on her, but their spines remain strong and neither one of them are able to get the pin.  What finally brings the match to an end is a running knee from Shida who finally gets the pin on Thunder Rosa and retains the title.  It was fine, but I was mostly nonplussed watching it.  If they want me to care about these matches, we really need more promos from Shida and in ring angles to build off of; not just one off opponents whenever AEW can find one.

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Kip Sabian and Penelope Ford have a BIG announcement that Alex Marves is just DYING to find out!  It turns out that Sabian and Ford are getting married and they’re going to have a big wedding which I can only assume will be on an episode of Dynamite in the future, and if that wasn’t enough Sabian is going to announce who his best man is going to be on Wednesday’s show!  I mean the Lana/Lashley wedding did solid numbers for WWE, but considering the aftermath of that with Rusev being fired and Lana all but disappearing from the show, I’m a bit skeptical if this is going to work out for everyone involved.  Still, I’m sure the cake will be good!

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The Dark Order Vs. The Natural Nightmares, Matt Cardona, and Scorpio Sky – Eight Man Tag Match

The Natural Nightmares are accompanied to the ring by The Nightmare Sisters

Now THIS is more like it!  After a serious dip for two matches, this show is back on track with eight borderline wacky dudes mixing it up in the ring!  The Dark Order still prove to be a formidable force when they work together, and the faces, while practically the definition of a motley crew, manage to hold their own whenever The Dark Order are forced to make it a fair fight.  There’s also GENUINE EMOTION in here as the brutality, the cheating, and ESPECIALLY the screaming are not without context.  Brodie Lee in particular has embraced his despicable persona and he gets into his opponents’ faces to scream “WHERE’S CODY?” whenever he gets the chance.  Colt Cabana on the other hand still seems to be in COMPLETE denial of what The Dark Order is, and there’s some very clear tension between him and Grayson/Uno who want to use cheap moves but Colt doesn’t feel so comfortable with it.  I mean I guess I see his point, but if you’re going to call yourself THE DARK ORDER, you might as well embrace it!

See, THAT’S a guy who knows what he’s about, and how punchable his face is!

The match goes on for a while with The Dark Order maintaining a slight advantage and as soon as Scorpio Sky is facing down Brodie Lee, Anna Jay runs in to distract him eats a big boot from Brandi.  They definitely want to push Sky as a singles star as he cleans out against pretty much everyone there before tagging back out almost as soon as he got it, and Cardona runs wild for a bit as well.  The only one that seems to be coming up short in this match is Colt Cabana, but luckily Brodie Lee is there to keep their team in the lead and he eventually has Dustin flat on his back with everyone else occupied.  It’s at this point that he decides to give Colt Cabana the win here so he tags him in, but as Colt flies thru the air for the Moonsault, Dustin rolls out of the way and Dustin gives him a quick roll up.  Brodie Lee is held back by Matt Cardona and Grayson tries valiantly, but fails to keep Dustin from getting the pin on Cabana.  His teammates are PISSED, and they all start getting in Colt Cabana’s face.  The mask has slipped off and Cabana FINALLY seems to realize the darkness that is within the cult leader’s heart.  I mean seriously, he SHOULD have figured this out well before today and CERTAINLY no later than the beating that was given to Cody, but better late than never I suppose.  What was REALLY interesting though is that Evil Uno is the last one in the ring with Cabana, and he offers him a friendly hand and a pat on the back for his efforts.  I’ve been suspecting for a bit now if Uno plans on going rogue at some point to try and overthrow Brodie Lee, and perhaps this is the first hint that that is happening.  As for the match itself, I guess the faces don’t have AS MUCH to do in here as The Dark Order (especially Scorpio Sky who’s not in the ring all that much), but other that I thought this was a fun bout with a really great faction.  The action in the Bucks match was better technically, but I think with how much was going on here and the nice little flourishes throughout, it may be my favorite match on the show so far!

Dustin Rhodes then cuts a promo with Tony Schiavone in the back and WOW this dude cuts a great promo!  He should be talking WAY more often!  Heck, he should be a manager with these skills, or should at the very least be announcing Cody every time he enters the ring.  We also learn that Tony Khan has approved a TNT title match on Wednesday’s Dynamite and get Dustin’s live reaction to that which, as you’d expect, does not disappoint!

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Kenny Omega & Hangman Adam Page Vs. FTR – AEW Tag Team Title Match

This is by far the most story dense storyline on the whole show; even more so than the main event which is basically a Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny cartoon.  Page is coming into this match hopping mad and looking for a fight which is certainly helpful in short bursts, but over time it can leave you open to more crafty strategies.  Thankfully Omega is there to try and keep Hangman in check with frequent tag ins and quick saves; though it’s clear that Kenny himself is not at a hundred percent either.  Watching Hangman work his issues out in the ring is certainly satisfying to see, but eventually FTR live up to their reputation and start getting the heat on Hangman.  Things get a BIT rocky here for me as FTR for whatever reason does some ref shenanigans that back fire on them and then Hangman gets a VERY clear three count but the ref is out of position and doesn’t notice it for like five seconds.  I don’t know what FTR was trying to accomplish there, but in a match like this I’d rather the ref not be a variable in the outcome like this. 

“ANY DAY NOW, REF!!”     “Wait, did you hear that?  Did someone call me?  Nah, it was probably nothing.”

Hangman eventually manages to get back to his corner and Kenny gets the hot tag.  He runs wild for a bit and manages to get some amazing moves off on Cash Wheeler; particularly a Missile Drop Kick that he lands on Cash as Cash is doing a dive from the top rope.  He takes out both of them with a dive to the outside and even lands a second Missile Drop Kick on Cash, but it’s not enough to put him away and FTR tries to get the heat again.  That dude frankly is the MVP of the match as he takes SO much abuse here but doesn’t stay down.  Heck, not long after the second Missile Drop Kick, Hangman lands a Pop Up Powerbomb followed by a V-Trigger from Omega, and it’s STILL not enough to put the match away!  Sadly that turns out to be a bit of a problem as this match goes on FOREVER.  I get WHY it’s so long because they spent so much time building it up and AEW has done its best to make the Tag Team title as prestigious as possible, but it doesn’t quite have the staying power as their Bucks match from Revolution, and so I got pretty weary of it as it kept going and going and going.

Nap break!

After several rounds of back and forth action, Hangman and Kenny try to land their best moves on Cash Wheeler to no avail.  Hangman misses with the Buckshot Lariat and so Kenny tries to land a V-Trigger, but accidentally hits Page instead who is pretty much out at this point.  FTR, with the dazed Hangman still the legal man, land a Mind Breaker and get a VERY close two count, so I was expecting this to lead to another comeback but it isn’t meant to be as they just do a SECOND Mind Breaker to get the three count.  Despite his best efforts to redeem himself, Adam Page came up short and FTR are the new AEW Tag Team Champions.  The match went for about thirty five minutes, and while not a single moment of it was BAD I think they could have gotten their point across in twenty or even fifteen minutes. 

Hangman and Kenny are left in the ring after FTR saunter off with the belts, and Kenny is clearly ready to beat the crap out of Hangman for how this all went down.  He’s about to smash Hangman with a table but decides against it and leaves Hangman to lie on the mat in crumpled heap.  He heads to the back where The Bucks are waiting, and it seems that Hangman is done with Adam Page; meaning this tag team is over and Kenny’s heel turn is no doubt right around the corner.  This just leaves the question as to what happens to Adam Page now that he’s all alone.  He’s probably gonna have some sort of redemption arc, but will he find a new tag team partner to have a rematch against FTR, or will he build himself back up in the singles division?  Only time will tell, but aside from the length I thought this was a VERY good payoff to an interesting story line that AEW took their time to tell.

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After a video package for the Mimosa Mayhem match, Alex Marvez interviews Chris Jericho and takes FULL credit for Orange Cassidy being a main event draw at AEW!  Was he not just a mere mid-card fool before the mighty DEMO GOD came and plucked him out of obscurity!?  Now after building him up, Jericho’s going to tear him back down and show him who’s REALLY in control here at AEW!  I mean Cassidy DID win a Battle Royal match that earned over a million views on Dynamite, but when do I expect Jericho to be truthful about anything; let alone about the accomplishments of others?

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Chris Jericho Vs. Orange Cassidy – Mimosa Mayhem Match

Stipulation: No count outs, rope breaks, or DQs.  You can win by Pin fall, Submission, or if your opponent’s entire body is dunked into a vat of Mimosa

The Orange Cassidy/Chris Jericho feud has definitely been a highlight of the show, and this stipulation finale, while certainly wacky, looks to be a lot of fun.  Right out of the gate, the match feels thought out because Cassidy feigns going to put his hands in his pockets when really he tries to rush Jericho, but Jericho is ready for him this time and immediately hits him with a Code Breaker.  Whatever you can say about Jericho, he’s not a lazy or incompetent fighter and the guy has clearly learned how his opponent operates.  The way the gimmick works is that there are two giant vats of Mimosa on opposite sides of the rings; built inside platforms that are at ring level, so they won’t have to climb up to get in or anything like that.  A simple trip and fall could lose you the match, but you have to be COMPLETELY submerged in it for it to count.  Jericho maintains an early advantage and so we get a lot of Cassidy just BARELY missing or only SLIGHTLY getting submerged in the mimosa before fighting his way back from defeat, though Jericho is making it harder and harder for him to do so the longer this goes on.  It was a smart decision to allow pin falls and submissions to be ways to win as well as there can be tension in moments that aren’t around the giant tubs of bubbly juice, and so when Cassidy starts to make his comeback there’s some genuine excitement as he gets a two count on Jericho after landing an out of nowhere Michinoku Driver.  The match grounds itself for a bit after Cassidy’s comeback and returns to the middle of the ring which is still a lot of fun as Cassidy gets off a few more moves and Jericho nearly makes him tap with the Walls of Jericho.  Cassidy has to get creative here to break the hold as there are no rope breaks, so he finds a cup net to one of the vats and ends up splashing the juice right in his face!  The two continue to trade moves for a bit longer, but it’s soon time to bring this match to a close.  Jericho has Cassidy on the top rope and tries to throw him into the vat below, but manages to escape and lands a Superman Punch on Jericho while he’s on the top rope.  While Jericho does manage to hold on he is in a very vulnerable position, and before he can regain his balance, Cassidy lands a second Superman Punch which sends Jericho FLYING into the vat of Mimosa right behind him; ending the match and giving Cassidy the win in this zany match!

“MY EYES!!  THE GOGGLES DO NOTHING!!”

It wasn’t the most technically proficient, it didn’t have the most enthralling narrative, and it wasn’t the BEST overall match of the night, but it was still a heck of a lot of fun and both of these guys put on a great program with a fantastic payoff!  Jericho going into that vat of mimosa is not just a moment that will live on for years to come (along with him getting doused in orange juice a few weeks ago), but is the kind of wacky stuff that might just bring in a new and younger audience.  Wrestling can be a bit intimidating at points the same way comics are with how much insider knowledge and overbearing continuity there is, but if television has taught us anything, it’s that people falling into liquids is something people want to see!  Not only do you get that here, you get a solid wrestling match to boot, and while I think there should definitely be a cooling off period after this match, I can’t wait to see what wacky nonsense Jericho and Cassidy get into in the future!

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John Moxley Vs. MJF – AEW World Title Match

MJF is accompanied to the ring by Wardlow

Stipulation: Jon Moxley cannot use the Paradigm Shift.  Doing so would forfeit the match and the title to MJF

The feud between Moxley and MJF hasn’t always been a slam dunk as MJF’s election gimmick never really worked for me, but him and Jon trading barbs and cutting promos against each other has been some of the best moments in the last few weeks of Dynamite, and with so much at stake here (Moxley’s title and MJF’s winning streak) there’s almost no chance that this match will disappoint!  Now MJF is good, but it becomes clear early on that he seems to have no chance here as Moxley tears him apart whenever he can get his hands on him.  That wouldn’t be a particularly interesting match though, so after about five minutes of devastating (and humiliating) offense, Wardlow manages to distract Moxley just long enough for MJF to drop his left arm right onto the apron; potentially dislocating the shoulder and cutting his offensive capabilities in half.  One of the more frustrating things about MJF that makes him such a great heel is that luck seems to be on his side whenever he’s in the ring, so matches that SHOULD be a sure thing for his opponent somehow find themselves to be way more competitive due to some haphazard circumstance, and in this case he got lucky with that arm spot and works Moxley over for several minutes trying to make it worse.  What’s CATHARTIC about MJF though is that his Achilles heel is that he’s cocky which rears its ugly head at one point after throwing Moxley out of the ring.  He fools Moxley out to mock him and as he does, Moxley charges him and bashes his face into the ring post.  MJF is an absolutely bloody mess due to a wound on his head which has certainly shaken his resolve, but Moxley can’t exactly capitalize on it due to his bad left shoulder.  If it was me I wouldn’t have had MJF get so bloody so early in the match as his face is RIDICULOUSLY read but it stays that way for what, twenty more minutes?  It feels like something that should be a bit closer to the finish rather than the one of the many turning points in the match.

“How’s it look, Wardlow?”     “Oh, it’s just a flesh wound!  Quit being a baby!”

From here the match is more back and forth as both get some solid hits in on the other.  The best moment might be when Moxley sets him up for a pile driver, and in the two seconds before he drops down, MJF starts shouting NO over and over again.  I thought that was HILARIOUS!  Not AS hilarious was what happened a little after that as MJF is put on the top rope by Moxley and proceeds to bite his hand until he let go.  As Moxley stumbles away and grabs the ropes, MJF jumps from the middle rope and STOMPS onto the arm which looks like it could have broken it in HALF, though Moxley doesn’t exactly sell it as such considering he’s still able to out match MJF in strikes.  They get a few near falls including one on Moxley where he has to catch himself from doing the Paradigm Shift and gets rolled up by MJF, but it soon becomes clear to Wardlow that there’s only one way his best buddy is going to win the match.  He throws MJF the diamond ring and proceeds to distract the ref.  MJF looks at it like Indiana Jones looking at the Holy Grail, but as soon as he sees that Moxley sees it, it’s like a kid with his hand in the cookie jar. 

“What are you doing Maxwell?”     “NOTHING!”     “Max…”     “I SAID I WASN’T DOING ANYTHING!  LEAVE ME ALONE!”

Seeing the ref is still distracted, Moxley lands a quick Paradigm Shift behind the ref’s back who turns around right after that and counts the pin.  Moxley wins and retains the AEW World Title.  I’m guessing MJF isn’t going to be very happy about this once he wakes up, but considering how hard he sold that move it probably won’t be until Wednesday morning.  For now, Jon Moxley stands tall and holds up his title belt as the show comes to a close.

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This was a fantastic show for about two thirds of it, but that other third was either dull or outright terrible in an extremely terrifying way.  At this point we know that Hardy is okay and we’ve been told that he does not have a concussion, but that match was like watching a slow motion train wreck finally explode into a million pieces as this feud didn’t work at all leading up to it.  Perhaps it was just bad luck and trying to assign incompetence without evidence would be unfair, but it probably would have been a good idea if Sammy had at least ONE good match or brawl with Hardy before going for a spot like this which apparently went well in rehearsals but that certainly wasn’t the case on this night!  Other than that, the dentist match was an absolute eye-roll and the Women’s Title match didn’t have much heat behind it.  I don’t know what needs to happen with the women’s division, but it seems they can’t get their head on straight even with great talents like Shida and Thunder Rosa which is disappointing because in most cases, AEW has nails everything they tried to do with this show is a testament to that success considering how good even the most unwieldy of matches were like the Battle Royale and the Eight Man Tag.  The worst I can say about this match is that, aside from the VERY troubling Sammy/Hardy match, it was another AEW show.  Good matches for the most part and some great moments peppered throughout, but it’s frustrating that they can’t fix some of the problems that have been plaguing them for so long.  Hopefully this strong showing from them will be the reset button they need to get Dynamite back on track with new storylines and better feuds; ones that hopefully won’t end in serious injury.

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