Revolution and all the images you see I this recap are owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, and Shahid Khan
The big day is FINALLY upon us, and while it may be missing a Shaq match, it’s not lacking in quality fights as this card is stacked from top to bottom with grudges, title bouts, and even a few novelty matches just to keep things interesting! With the somewhat wonky build up to this show and some tediously overdone storylines, does this PPV manage to put it all together into one excellent evening of wrestling action, or are you better off saving your money and watching the highlights on Twitter? Let’s find out!!
Riho & Thunder Rosa Vs. Britt Baker & Maki Itoh – Buy In Match
Now originally this was supposed to be Baker and Rebel (Not Reba) teaming together, but the latter supposedly got “hurt” and comes out on a crutch, so Baker signed a Doctor’s note and Tony Kahn allowed her to choose someone else to be her partner and frankly she couldn’t have gone with anyone better! As much fun as Rebel (Not Reba) can be as an instigator, having Maki Itoh show up as a surprise on this show is an AMAZING way to kick the show off! She got some attention when she was announced for the women’s tournament, but it was her very fun social media made that made her a fan favorite right off the bat. She was knocked out in the first round unfortunately, but now she’s here proves without a doubt that AEW needs to signer her yesterday! Why is she so great? Well first, she comes out here and singes her ENTIRE entrance theme which is definitely a good start, and as soon as she gets in the ring with Thunder Rosa she flips her The Bird with both barrels. Yeah, I think she’s going to be my favorite wrestler of all time! Now admittedly she looks a LITTLE bit stiff at first as the initial minutes against Rosa feel a bit stop and start, but as soon as they get a flow going Itoh proves to be an absolutely BRILLIANT professional wrestler! She’s got by far the most expressive face in the women’s division here at AEW, and she reminds me a little bit of Eddie Kingston of all people. It’s just an overall presence of nastiness and a flair for the comedic as she puts on a CUTIE POP IDOL image but she fights like a total heel and takes cheap shot whenever she can; going so far as to fake cry so her opponent lets their guard down. And yet, despite being such a craven and obvious bad guy, I don’t know WHO could possibly boo her!
And look, she’s not going to be a Daniel Bryan style technical worker or fly around the ring with the grace of Rey Fénix, but she commands your attention with everything she does and you could hardly ask for a better debut! And that’s only ONE part of this as everyone else is great in this match as well! Riho is just as fantastic as ever and maintains a strong advantage throughout most of the match, but Baker is definitely a despicable heel and she runs interference to try and keep Itoh from getting pin. At one point Baker pulls Riho out of the ring and tosses her around a bit before throwing her back in for Itoh to finish at which point she tries a… I don’t even know WHAT that was to be honest. Is that what the kids call Planking?
Eventually the match just devolves into violence as everyone starts hitting everyone and Rosa manages to land a Death Valley driver on Baker which leaves her quite dazed, but she only gets a two count as Itoh runs in to make the save. Things continue to go badly for Baker who has to fend off both Riho AND Rosa, but she eventually manages to land a Thrust Kick on Rosa which sends her stumbling towards the ropes, and Rebel (Not Reba) uses that oh-so necessary crutch of hers to whack Rosa across the back. Britt Baker goes for the pin and manages to get the three count on Rosa; winning the match against two of her biggest rivals. A VERY strong opening for the show and I can only hope that the PPV proper will be able to live up to it!
The Young Bucks Vs. Jericho & MJF – AEW World Tag Team Championship Match
MJF is accompanied to the ring by Wardlow
Credit where it’s due, I wasn’t into the buildup of this match as I found it clichéd and rushed, but The Bucks fight this match like there’s genuine pride at stake. They run in with a full head of steam, but Jericho and MJF take advantage of their agitated state and gain an early lead. Fortunately The Bucks allow cooler heads to prevail and they regain the advantage with a series of stereo maneuvers; ending with a dual Sharp Shooters that Jericho and MJF refuse to tape out to. This initial flurry eventually cools down and the match starts properly with Nick and Jericho locking up, though The Bucks are still fighting rather dirty as Matt comes out of his corner to give Jericho a hellacious spear and they double team MJF on the apron for good measure. This is how you want the Baby Faces in a feud like this to act; still fighting smart and with some flair, but with genuine malice towards their opponent to fuel their actions and get the crowd going. Still, when it comes to cheating there is no faction better than The Inner Circle as Wardlow takes several opportunities to tweak things in his team’s favor. He pulls on the ropes which causes Matt Jackson to tumble out of the ring and take a few shots from Jericho which MJF takes advantage of by stomping on him in between struts and crowd taunts.
The heat continues for a while as Jericho and MJF take turns attacking Matt Jackson, but he manages to break the chain of torment with a Double DDT which allows him to make the hot tag to Nick. Nick then cleans house with a series of fast and furious kicks followed by a Bulldog Clothesline combination that leaves both MJF and Jericho writhing on the mat. A Face Breaker to MJF, Moonsault onto Jericho, and then a Canadian Destroyer which SHOULD have gotten him the win (NO ONE survives the Canadian Destroyer!) but MJF somehow manages to kick out at two. It’s at this point that things really kick into overdrive as everyone starts throwing out big moves left and right. Superkicks to the balls, a Tombstone Pile Driver from Jericho, a series of Lion Tamers that nearly get the Bucks to tap out, it’s everything and the kitchen sink to ratchet up the tension as each near fall gest closer and closer to ending the match. It perhaps goes on a bit too long though as the momentum stops for a bit so that MJF can start throwing DX Crotch Chops at bruised and beaten Matt Jackson instead of finishing the match, but MJF is known to count his chickens before they hatch and it did get a pop from the crowd.
MJF’s hubris gets the better of him as Matt Jackson springs up and holds in position for the Meltzer Driver, but Jericho stops Nick from finishing the move with a Code Breaker and MJF rolls up Matt for a two count. Getting frustrated by their tenacity, Jericho cracks Matt over the back with his bat and MJF lands a Heat Seeker… which STILL only gets a two count! MJF then gives the best face of the night and tags in Jericho who eats a BTE Trigger form The Bucks. MJF manages to break up the pin so The Bucks sends him packing with a Super Kick Party complete with ROPES of drool coming out of MJF’s dazed mouth! With his buddy out of the way, Jericho is helpless and eats a Meltzer Driver from The Bucks; finally staying down for the three count and giving The Bucks the win to retain their titles. It definitely took a minute to heat up as it felt like just another Dynamite match for the first five or so minutes, but things REALLY kicked into high gear by the halfway point and the absurd number of finishers that it took to finally put one away definitely made it feel like something special. Perhaps it went on a bit TOO long, but you can’t deny that they’ve got some serious great moves to show off!
Casino Tag Team Battle Royale
AEW has done VERY well with Battle Royales in the past as they started off their very first PPV with a quite memorable one, and their roster has only gotten more talented and more refined in the two years since. Do they pull it off again with this one where the winner gets a shot at the Tag Team Titles? Let’s find out!!
Natural Nightmares along with Five The Creeper & Ten The Creeper are the first two teams
Starts off very cordial as they shake hands and then go straight to work, but so far no eliminations.
Proud N Powerful enter the ring
The most notable spot here is a Diamond Cutter from QT Marshall that softens Five up enough for him to get tossed over the ropes as the first elimination of the night.
Matt & Mike Sydal enter the ring
I’m pretty sure neither of these two have won a match on Dynamite or on a PPV. For all I know they’ve had some success on Dark, but considering the guy HAS a name in the wrestling world, you’d think they’d give Matt a FEW wins here and there on the big stage! The two certainly look good as they take Ten apart with a series of kicks that he just can’t block, but they don’t toss him out and there are no eliminations.
Stu Grayson & Evil Uno enter the ring
Silver and Reynolds are getting all the attention recently, but I still have a soft spot for these two. Uno’s got a very unique charm to him that few other wrestlers can really match, and I think that Stu Grayson could be a SERIOUS contender if given the chance! They get some solid offense on the Sydall brothers, but Santana and Ortiz break it up and toss Mike Sydall out of the ring themselves. The three Dark Order members land some strong moves on Ortiz, but Santana knocks them all down before they can eliminate him.
The Gunn Club (Austin & Colten) enter the ring
I haven’t seen ANY of Colten, but the few times I’ve seen Austin he came off pretty charming! He’s overly enthusiastic and kind of a dork, but it’s endearing to see someone who’s so into being a wrestler and not just coast on his daddy’s fame. Like Uno and Grayson, they run wild for a bit but don’t manage to take anyone out of the match. Santana and Ortiz however manage to knock Matt Sydall off the apron and the Sydals are the first team to be eliminated.
Peter Avalon & Cezar Bononi enter the ring
I think at some point it came to light that Bononi was the one who messed up Cody’s shoulder ahead of the Shaq match, so perhaps I need to pay a bit more attention to the guy and see if he’s safe in the ring, but I still think he has a GREAT presence. Him and Peter have a fun Big Guy Little Guy deal going on. I’d actually be PRETTY stoked if Peter went back to the Librarian gimmick and we got to see Bononi in reading glasses and a sweater! Sadly there are no eliminations here ad the ring is getting PRETTY crowded!
Varsity Blondes enter the ring
These two are serious underdogs at AEW, and frankly they should be starting a feud with The Gunn Club sooner rather than later! I also LOVE Garrison’s diving splashes which I mean, Sting does a good Stinger Splash, but THIS guy can fly into a corner! There’s a Fameasser from Austin Gunn onto Avalon and he immediately tosses him out afterwards for another elimination. Austin and Coltin work on Bononi to toss him out and are holding him over the ropes, but then QT runs up from behind and eliminates the Gunn Club but not Bononi. Dustin is upset (I’m a little out of the loop here but apparently The Gunn Club are part of the Nightmare Family?), so QT takes his ball and goes home; by which I mean he jumps out of the ring and just leaves.
With him getting his heart broken by Allie and getting snubbed by Lee Johnson after his big win, we might be seeing a heel turn from QT Marshall, but frankly the guy is just not around enough for it to feel like it’ll mean anything.
Bear Country (Bear Bronson & Bear Boulder) enter the ring
I don’t’ think they’ve had a match on Dynamite before, but I have at least seen them as lumberjacks in some match. They’re big guys in something of a Heavy Machinery mold, but I didn’t really get much of a feel for them in this match beyond that. Stu Grayson tries to show off by lifting Boulder, but all he ends up doing is opening himself up for Bronson to attack and for the two to then eliminate him.
Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus) enter the ring
NOW things start to ramp up as Luchasaurus runs roughshod over the crowd in this ring! He eliminates Bononi, he eliminates Griff Garrison, and he even manages to eliminate Evil Uno with the help of Marko Stunt! That last spot though did NOT look good though as Uno is on the apron and Stunt gives him a Hurricanrana but the momentum is all wrong. The way Stunt moves, it should be pulling Uno OFF of the apron, but instead Uno runs ALONG the apron and smashes into the post before falling down. I think SCU had a similarly weird spot with The Dark Order on a PPV LONG ago, but in any case this means that only Ten is left representing The Dark Order. Jungle Boy is no slouch either has he eliminates Proud N Powerful on his own; first by punching Ortiz over the ropes and then flipping Santana over when he tries to get his revenge!
The Butcher & The Blade enter the ring
There’s a strange spot here that took me a few times to figure out what was going on. Jack Evans, despite his team NOT being in the match, runs in to hold Ten The Creeper in place so that The Blade can take him out more easily. Presumably he’s being paid by Matt hardy to give The Dark Order a hard time, but that just came and went so fast that you could easily blink and miss it. Butcher ends up eliminating Pillman Jr which takes The Varsity Blondes out of the competition, and The Bunny (taking a cue from Jack Evans) grabs Dustin to hold him in place which allows Butcher and Blade to eliminate him and The Natural Nightmares; though with the tiff those two are having I didn’t expect them to come out on top anyway.
Private Party enter the ring
There’s not much going on here as their entrance seems like an excuse to let everyone rest for a bit while they throw a few kicks at Jungle Boy, and there are no eliminations.
SCU enter the ring
Okay, is it just me or is Christopher Daniels RIPPED? I guess he’s taking that whole NEXT TIME WE LOSE WE BREAK UP thing seriously, but whatever the reason is the guy is in his best shape since coming to AEW! Kazarian and Daniels attack Private Party for a bit, but they don’t get any eliminations here. Instead, Bear Country manages to eliminate Luchasaurus by double teaming him and tossing him over the ropes, but THEN The Balde comes out of nowhere and somehow manages to eliminate BOTH members of Bear Country at the same time! That’s gotta be one of the biggest spots The Butcher has ever had, right?
Death Triangle(Pac & Rey Fénix) enter the ring
Pac and Fenix EXPLODE in the ring and IMMEDIATELY eliminate Blade and Marq Quen! Not many more guys to go, so no more eliminations until the final team comes in, which is…
Silver and Reynolds enter the ring
And BOY do they get a big pop form the crowd! They get to business right away by landing a Dark Destroyer on Kassidy and tossing him out, and then SCU tosses out the Butcher leaving only four teams left; Silver & Reynolds, SCU, Death Triangle, and Jungle Boy all on his own for Jurassic Express. It doesn’t take long for things to start whittling down to the final few as Rey Fénix eliminates Daniels (in a way that looked ROUGH on the dude) and Reynolds is thrown out by Jungle Boy soon after. Pac gives a German Suplex to Frankie Kazarian right over the top ropes, and Death Triangle ALMOST take out Silver but he manages to hold on and crawl his way back into the ring. Silver manages to hold his own against Pac for a bit in a VERY impressive looking slug fest (Silver is seen as a small guy, but Pac is honestly not much bigger than him), but with Fénix running interference it’s just a matter of time until he’s eliminated. It’s now just Jungle Boy against both members of Death Traingle. Jungle Boy manages to stay in this contest as Pac gets too ahead of himself and ends up tumbling over the ropes, which leaves only him and Fénix as they start trading chops. Like in his match with Dax Harwood, Jungle Boy has an opponent that can bring the absolute best out of him and they have a FANTASTIC bout right at the end here! Jungle Boy lands a Super Kick on Fénix as he’s coming down from the top rope which looked VERY painful, and a Poisonrana from Jungle Boy makes Fénix see stars.
Fénix however manages to stay in this with some deft grabbing of the ropes, and he slingshots his way back into the ring to hit Jungle Boy with enough force that he goes over the ropes! Death Triangle win the match and have earned a title match against The Bucks! Like a lot of Battle Royals it’s just kind of THERE for the first half, but I liked a lot of the spots throughout and the ending was AMAZING. Jungle Boy and Fénix need to have a match as soon as possible!
Hikaru Shida Vs. Ryo Mizunami – AEW Women’s World Championship Match
Maki Itoh may be the breakout star of this PPV, but Mizunami made quite a name for herself in the match last week and instantly proved her credibility as a main event star, so the pieces are definitely in place for this to be a fantastic match! Mizunami starts of strong with all the showboating which is what I love about her, but Shida is no slouch on the showmanship and it genuinely feels like this match means something to her. A lot of her recent matches have felt a bit stale even against good opponents, but Ryo’s endless enthusiasm and bravado is very infectious and is giving this title bout some genuine weight. Shida manages to take the advantage amidst Ryo’s cavorting and goes for the running Knee strike (complete with chair), but Ryo catches her in mid-air and tosses her over the barricade; proving to Shida and the audience watching that she is not to be taken lightly. Mizunami uses this advantage to keep Shida grounded for a bit which brings up something of an elephant in the room. I GUESS Ryo’s supposed to be the heel? The crowd is certainly cheering for Shida to escape (though it mostly seems to be the wrestlers doing so) and Ryo mostly stays ahead but cutting Shida off; not by pulling off big moves of her own. I don’t begrudge them for siding with Shida on this, but honestly I’m still rooting for Ryo throughout! Ryo ends up eating a PIledriver from Shida onto the stage followed by a middle rope Superplex which only gets her a two count but definitely seems to have halted Ryo’s advantage in its tracks and so the match ramps up into an exchange of big moves back and forth. Lots of punches, plenty of Clotheslines, and a few Piledrivers soften the two up significantly until they’re basically passed out on the mat and struggling to beat the ten count.
Eventually they get up but are beyond the point of caring that they just holding hands and using their free one to bash the other in the face; back and forth for like a minute until Shida eventually falls down. Ryo’s victory in this little exchange allows her to do a suplex and a spear, and she then goes to the top rope for the leg drop which she manages to land and goes for the pin, but Shida kicks out at two. A similar exchange from Shida follows soon after with lots of Running Knees and Falcon Arrows, and yet Mizunmai won’t stay down. Shida in her desperation pokes Ryo in the eye and hits another Running Knee, but Mizunami reverses the pin attempt on her into a pin of her own and gets a close two count. Things are definitely hitting a fever pitch between these two which and you are no doubt expecting an exciting conclusion to the match, but I must be the bearer of bad news here and say that the match ending is kind of a squib. Shida couldn’t put Ryo away with all those running knees and all her Falcon Arrows, so it makes sense for her to use a DIFFERENT move to finish of Ryo, but what wins her the match is a not especially great looking Corkscrew Knee Strike. It’s not a BAD move and it certainly connects, but it looks so much lighter than the dozen or so running knees she already gave, so for Ryo to stay down for it was pretty unexpected and a bit of a disappointment. Still, the match was a darn good bout between these two women. It’s perhaps not the most EXCITING match on the card, but definitely one that was well executed despite a slightly underwhelming ending. Fortunately the post-match angle makes up for it as Nyla Rose (accompanied by Vickie Guerrero) rushes the ring and starts attacking the both of them. But she’s not out here alone, however! Britt Baker, Rebel (Not Reba), and even Maki Itoh run out to sow even more chaos on stage!
It’s a new Heel faction in the women’s division and frankly they could use something like this. The division has been in a big upswing since the start of the tournament, and with this show giving us Maki Itoh as well as a new Heel faction, it looks like things are only going to get better from here! Thunder Rosa’s music hits and she rushes out the back to chase them off, and presumably this means we’ll be getting a Six Person tag match in the near future which is sure to be amazing with all these talented wrestlers involved!.
Alex Marvez is in the back with Chuck and Orange to ask a few questions about their upcoming match, but Miro and Kip crash the interview and utterly WRECK those two. Miro then DEMANDS that his music be played and we cut to the ring where he just walks out of the tunnel dragging Chuck Taylor behind him, so I guess that means we’re starting…
Miro & Kip Sabian Vs Chuck Taylor & Orange Cassidy
Kip Sabian is accompanied to the ring by Penelope Ford
Chuck’s already in bad shape and is bleeding like a sieve from the attack, but before the bell even rings Miro grabs the mic and starts SCREAMING at Chuck and continually beating him over the head. He gives Chuck a chance to get back in his good graces, but when given the chance to speak on the mic he just tells the ref to ring the bell and the match is on. Orange is still in the back so Chuck is all alone to take this beating from Miro, but once again Chuck proves his utterly foolish fearlessness as he refuses to give Miro an inch and is willing to take whatever punishment it affords him. Cassidy eventually makes his way out to the ring and drops Miro with an Orange Punch before heading to his corner.
Chuck slams Sabian to the ground and then tags in Orange who runs wild in the ring. A Suicide Dive and Diving DDT gets Orange a two count but when he goes for the Beach Break, Kip manages to kick out and goes on the offensive. He lands a few good moves, but Cassidy gets in a Swinging DDT and him and Chuck land a Beach Break with a Stomp for added damage. An Awful Waffle from Chuck looks to be enough to put Kip away, but Miro runs in to break up the pin and starts squaring off with Cassidy. Cassidy does his silly kicks and lands a Stundog Millionaire followed by an Orange Punch, but before Orange can set up another one he’s distracted by Penelope on the apron. Miro, show some truly awful colors here, shoves Orange into Ford which knocks her of the apron and he goes to work on both Chuck and Orange. However, he was never legally tagged in, so he goes to fetch Kip who’s looking after Penelope and drags him into the ring so that he can make the tag. With him being the legal man, he goes to finish off Chuck, and he taps out to the Game Over submission. Wait, Chuck taps out!? After getting his butt kicked and bleeding all over the place, he just gives up on this submission? I guess they want to put the submission over as a powerful move, but this is just not the ending I would have gone with. What I get from Chuck in this feud is that he’s truly tenacious and is willing to go any distance or face any humiliation to stay on Miro’s bad side, and yet here he is tapping out. I would have had it be a straight pin, or if they REALLY wanted to sell the submission than have him pass out, but aside from yet another underwhelming finish, it was a solid and quick match. I’m interested to see where the chips fall with Miro, Kip, and Penelope after this stunt, and fingers crossed that we’re not going to keep this feud going until Trent comes back. They can do the big match then, but this Miro/Chuck thing feels like its run its course and I would rather all parties involved move to something else.
Marvez is interviewing the rather disgruntled Jericho and MJF in the back about their failed title shot, but Jericho is a trained professional and has an excuse ready to go! See, The Inner Circle is off their game; that’s all! There have been some changes, they’ve had some hurt feelings, and they just weren’t at a hundred percent, so The Inner Circle going to have a war council on Wednesday’s show to discuss their future! Perhaps it’s time for another run at the AEW World Title, though we’ll see if there even IS one at the end of this “death match” in the main event.
Hangman Adam Page Vs. Matt Hardy – Big Money Match
In what has to be the biggest turnaround for me in the last few weeks, I was not into the Hardy/Page angle at all for most of the time they told it, but when they Big Money match was announced for Revolution it really started to click and it became one of my most anticipated matches on the show. Now Hardy isn’t exactly as strong or as spry as the strapping young Hangman, and he’s not about to throw a quarter’s worth of earnings down the drain in a fair fight, so his big Hail Mary at the start of the match is to work over Hangman’s hand. He’s knocked to the outside but manages to throw Page’s right hand into the post and then follows it up by crushing it between the ring steps and the stage which neutralizes not just his Buckshot Lariat but a big chunk of his offense. Because of that, most of the match works at Hardy’s speed which isn’t slow or anything, but Page having to grab his arm after every big move definitely drags things out a little bit while Hardy catches his breath. Still, they manage to land some very impressive big moves, such as a Death Valley Driver from Page, a Twist of Fate on the floor from Hardy, and we even get a Moonsault from the post to the floor which in this ONE instance is the one of the LEAST risky moves go for as it doesn’t involve using Page’s hand!
The two go back and forth for a while longer and Hardy goes for the Twist of Fate, but Page somehow reverses it into a Deadeye which seems to have sapped whatever strength was left in Hardy and is ready to stay down for the three count. Just as Page goes to make the cover though, Private Party start causing distractions on the apron which prevented Ref Knox from counting the pin. With Hardy getting a second wind he tries to attack Page, but despite landing a Side Effect AND a Twist of Fate he only gets a two count. Hardy directs Private Party to start attacking Page which probably SHOULD lead to a DQ, but The Dark Order runs out to sweep them away and Page is given the opportunity he needed to get the Buckshot Lariat which gets him the pin and he wins the match. Hardy is celebrating in the ring when The Dark order comes in for a group hug and they give him a few beers for good measure. It’s not the most memorable or important match on the card, but it was a good time and it gave The Dark Order something to do after losing that Battle Royale. What kind of hurt it for me is that the gimmick never felt dire as I don’t have much attachment to how much money either of them make (Hardy has a freaking compound so I’m sure he’s going to be fine), but hopefully they follow this up on the next Dynamite.
Face of the Revolution Ladder Match
So the big question going into this match is who will be the mystery opponent joining Cody, Caster, Sky, Penta, and Archer? The answer to that question is… Ethan Page? I have absolutely no idea who that is so I don’t know what to expect, but I like his entrance video and the crowd definitely seems to be into him. Now a ladder match like this with so many people means that A LOT happens so I won’t go point by point as we’ll be here all night, but I will try to hit the highlights. Basically any time one person gets an advantage and cleans house, someone else comes in with a big move to stop them, and the first example of this is Archer who uses his ladder to knock everyone down, but then Penta lands a Sling Blade while Archer is trying to set up the ladder. You know, everyone’s been talking about Fenix for VERY good reasons, but Penta is darn good as well; probably second only to his brother as far as high flying spectacular moves! He does some pretty amazing stuff here including a Canadian Destroyer on a ladder, but he along with Caster and Archer are kind of the third wheels here as it’s almost all focused on Page, Cody, and Sky. Cody and Page have a history which plays out a bit in the match, and Sky is the one who’s been built up the most leading up to the match so he has the most spots to try and grab the giant golden donut hanging above the ring.
The most that Caster seems to do in the match is get a boom box from an interfering Jack Evans which is momentarily stymied by Ten The Creeper running in and flattening out Evans, but Caster gets it anyway so I don’t know why they bothered with Ten, nor do I know why they bothered with the boom box as it doesn’t play into the match any more than anyone else who runs wild for a moment. Cody gets hurt by the aforementioned Canadian Destroyer and is dragged out to the back for most of the match before running back in towards the end whipping people with his weight bell which I guess is TECHNICALLY legal as ladder matches are No DQ, but it doesn’t really play into the finish either. Mostly, it’s a showcase of big moves and scary bumps which are certainly both impressive and terrifying. Cody takes a Superplex and a Top Rope Elbow Drop during his return which probably isn’t helping much with his shoulder, and Max Caster takes a Blackout from Archer RIGHT onto a ladder! That takes them out for a bit, but then we’ve got Penta hitting Jake Roberts with a Super Kick for interfering, we’ve got a VERY impressive Top Rope Cutter from Cody that he lands on Penta while he’s hallway up the ladder, and Cody of course takes even more damage with a few chair shots from Penta. He REALLY should have tossed the chair out of the ring or kept using it for himself because Sky runs in and picks up the ladder to attack him as he’s halfway up the ladder, and Cody tries one last desperate climb up the ladder to try and beat Sky, but Sky yanks the bad arm and pushes him off the ladder. With no one else nearby, Sky is finally able to grab the ring; winning a shot at the TNT title. It was pretty much everything you’d expect from a ladder match; both good and bad. You’ve got fantastic workers here so nothing looked too sloppy, but ladder’s a terrifying variable to throw into a match and it’s hard to brace yourself or take a bump safely with those things in play. I haven’t heard anything about someone getting hurt but Cody’s shoulder problems ARE real and this is the last kind of match he should be doing while he’s still healing. Sky winning was probably the best option as he could definitely use the push, and a match against Darby Allin will certainly be an amazing (and slightly safer) sight to behold!
AEW’s Latest Signing! Who Is Paul Wight’s Plus One!?
So it looks like the new signee for AEW that the former Big Show was teasing is… Christian Cage, AKA Christian from the WWE. Horary I guess?
I’ll be honest, I don’t think I’ve actually seen a Christian match, and for me signing The Big Show was a much bigger coup. Also, the guy’s been retired for a few years now and I’m not sure he’s in any condition to wrestle again or at a level that would put him over the already stacked roster AEW has. No words from him either; He just walks in from the back, looks at the contract, signs it, and then leaves, so I hope that AEW got their money’s worth with that one.
Darby Allin & Sting Vs. Brian Cage & Ricky Starks – Street Fight
So with a guy like Sting, you don’t want to put him in a twenty minute live match in the ring. He can still go in short bursts, but going that long means there’s a higher chance that someone will make a mistake and Sting can’t take many more of those with his current medical conditions. Making it a cinematic match was probably the best option available, and while it is a very impressive display that’s certainly better than the LAST one they did at the Hardy Compound, it’s a bit… silly I guess? First and foremost, the match doesn’t start until we get through a full on music video of Darby and Sting arriving at whatever warehouse this match is taking place at, and the announcers are trying to talk over as they would in any match which ends up making it feel less like wrestling commentary and more like when Beavis and Butthead would talk over Metallica videos. Eventually the match does start in the dirtiest and most tetanus filed abandoned warehouse you’ve ever seen, but it also happens to have electricity and smoke machines to add extra ambiance. And that’s not even getting into the army of Fake Stings that are around the ring just to make noise!
The first half of the match splits up with Cage Vs. Darby and Sting Vs. Starks. Darby isn’t exactly doing great against Cage but is fighting with all his heart while Starks is getting an old school lesson from The Icon as he just tosses him all over the place. It’s all shot with interesting angles and harsh lighting to try and get across the grungy nature of the match, but it’s just not doing a whole lot for me. I appreciate the effort, but it has a certain fantastical element that dulls the obviously harsh tone they’re going for. With the Stadium Stampede and even with the Undertake/AJ match, they leaned much more into the silliness of it all which made it easier to forgive and go with the over the top presentation. Here, it feels like one of those low budget movies where they try a little TOO hard to nail a GRIM AND GRITTY aesthetic and the disconnect between that and the flashy wrestling moves doesn’t blend as well as they were clearly hoping it would. Even so, it’s hard not to enjoy this match on some level. The moves are still solid, and the work is well done with a few spots that did manage to make me cringe. There’s a glass spot with Darby that was pretty rough (I’m REALLY hoping that safety glass), and he only takes more and more damage once Will Hobbs and Hook jump into the fray.
Sting manages to grab a few weapons to fend off his attackers with and Darby does this RIDICULOUSLY high Elbow Drob that sends Cage, Hobbs, and Hook tumbling into… I don’t even know what that is, a swimming pool I guess? They were on some sort of flimsy plywood over a GIANT hole and, credit where it’s due, the cinematic style DOES make this look fantastic as all four of them being swallowed by the darkness once Darby smashes into them and breaks the wood was definitely a well shot scene. It’s down to Sting and Starks who go back to the ring and fight for a bit longer until Sting lands the Scorpion Death Drop and pins Starks; winning the match for him and Darby. It definitely had its moments, some of which were enhanced by the cinematic style, but it wasn’t my favorite of these kind of matches and wasn’t one of the better matches of the night. Like with the Miro match, I hope this is the end of this feud and everyone moves onto something else; especially Darby who REALLY needs to defend that title more than once in a blue moon!
Kenny Omega Vs. Jon Moxley – Exploding Barb Wire Death match for the AEW Title
Alright, so at NO point did I believe that this match was going to be DANGEROUS or that the explosions would be the least bit harmful, so the whole thing just came off as silly; especially when we see that Ref Remsberg is wearing a very cheap “blast suit” to “protect himself” from what’s about to happen. Ultimately it’s a fine and in some ways BRUTAL match between two superstars, but it’s just not possible to take this seriously. The fighting itself is skillful and intense, but when we FINALLY see the explosions they just did not fill me with dread. They’re just flashes with no force behind them; just a pop and some smoke! Now all that said, if we take a step back and stop pretending that the explosions are ACTUALLY C4, they actually do work, at least a little bit! I don’t believe that they will kill anyone, but they add a bit of flash to the match and they work as a distraction when they go off!
For the rest of the match, which uses COPIOUS amounts of barb wire, the story is that Moxley’s here to hurt Omega and is less concerned about winning, so while he gets his licks in on Omega they come at the expense of his own health. Omega isn’t tearing up the barbwire to wrap around himself to make his punches hurt more, but Moxley can’t WAIT to do something like that! When Omega tosses Moxley into one of the explosion triggers he makes sure he’s far away from it, while Moxley will go head first into it as long as some of the splash damage hits Omega, and he certainly ends up paying the price for it in just how much blood this dude spills throughout the match. There is one bit of cleverness from Moxley however in case you thought he was just fighting with tunnel vision the whole way through. Kenny hits the One Winged Angel and has him in a pin which he surely can’t kick out of, but he’s close to the ropes so he puts his boot on the trigger and lets himself and Kenny eat the explosion which was enough for Kenny to break up his own pin. That was perhaps the most interesting use of the explosives in the match as every other time is just a fun little punctuation to a series of moves, and the match itself definitely works if you want yet another blood show from these two. I don’t remember if the Lights Out match they had at Full Gear 2019 was longer than this, but this definitely felt WAY shorter and gave us some solid moves in between the barbaric devastation. So does the gimmick ultimately work? I’m going to say that it does as long as you don’t take it too seriously and I think that if AEW wants to do something like this again they should leave the word DEATH out of the marketing as it’s far too serious for what they seem to be able to pull off. At some point towards the end of the match the two of them are bloody messes without much in the tank but it looks like Moxley MIGHT just have a bit more to work with and may just win this match. It’s at this point that The Good Brothers come in to try and cause havoc for Moxley who DOES manage to fend the two of them off, but not before they hand Omega an EXPLODING BARB WIRE BASEBALL BAT that he smashes Moxley across the chest with! You see what I mean about trying to take this seriously!? Omega would be up on murder charges right now if those explosions were anything more than fireworks!!
And somehow, Moxley manages to kick out at two! Still, Kenny’s got backup and so The Good Brothers help him lift Moxley into a One Winged Angel which Kenny lands on a chair; the move that’s FINALLY enough to keep Moxley down for a three count and for Omega to retain the title. The Good Brother and Kenny handcuff Moxley in the middle of the ring and the three start tearing him to pieces while running out the clock on the ring explosion. They leave with just under a minute left to go but then Eddie Kingston runs out to try and save Moxley. For whatever reason he couldn’t just CARRY Moxley out of there and instead futzes with the handcuffs for a while before it becomes too late and the man uses his own body to cover Moxley from the devastating explosion… that looks like twenty dollars with of fireworks you can get at Walmart.
Now watching this, I thought that the lackluster explosion was INTENTIONAL, and I thought it was a genius twist; that Kenny messed up on the explosives or something and that Kingston came out here to protect his best friend and biggest enemy for absolutely no reason. However, as the show goes on its clear that wasn’t the intent; that we were supposed to believe that this was a devastating blast that left Kingston injured as the show ends with him being treated by the doctors. I don’t know if anything went wrong with the explosives or if this is all they could safely do, but it was clearly not what they wanted it to be and frankly I kind of wish they had gone with my idea; that the explosion was a big bust and now Kingston has to sheepishly walk out with Moxley.
At the end of the day, the main event was definitely a unique spectacle that mostly lived up to the hype, but I’m unsure if it did so in the way they wanted it to. If they wanted it to look HARDCORE and DANGEROUS, well it only did so with the barb wire and blood spots and CERTAINLY didn’t manage it with the explosions. The rest of the card was mostly good as well with some darn good matches throughout and a breakout star in Maki Itoh. More than anything else though, they managed to give us conclusions to storylines that they have been holding onto for a while; not all of them were great, but it definitely cleans the slate and sets us up for future storylines. It’s been a bit of an odd few months for AEW and so the PPV built off of all that being similarly mixed is perhaps to be expected, but AEW knows how to put on some fun matches, and while I would have certainly done a few things differently if it was up to me, what they put on was certainly worth the asking price of the PPV. Hopefully the fallout on the next episode of Dynamite will smooth a few things over and we can move forward with confidence towards whatever they have planned next.