My third, and final, Running Diary of the weekend. It has been a wild and crazy wrestling weekend, but I’ve loved it thus far. The WWE main roster had their chance to show off, and then the NXT and NXT UK rosters had their chance this afternoon. Now, it is AEW’s turn. The bar has been set pretty high. We’ll see how well they do.
Are you ready?
Because I’m ready.
If I’m ready… and if you’re ready… then there’s only one thing left to do. I need all of you to say it with me…
LESS DEW EET!!!
(0:00) We’re getting things started with the Casino Ladder Match. Claudio Castagnoli, Wheeler Yuta, Penta El Zero Miedo, Rey Fenix, Rush, Andrade El Idolo, Dante Martin, and a mystery “Joker” entrant all compete to earn a future shot at the AEW World Title. Might as well kick things off with a bang.
(0:04) Yuta and Fenix are the two that will start the match off. For those unaware, the Casino Ladder Match isn’t like the Ladder Matches that you’re used to seeing, where everybody is in the ring to start. This one sees two competitors start, with another competitor entering the match Royal Rumble style.
(0:06) Rush is the next entrant, looking like a complete fucking moron as he stands at the top of the ramp while Yuta tried climbing the ladder. Yes, you can win the match before all of the competitors have entered the match.
(0:07) Every time I see Rush, his bacne is worse and worse.
(0:07) Andrade El Idolo is the next to enter the match.
(0:10) Sunset Flip Powerbomb from the top of the ladder, on top of another ladder that was bridged from the ring ropes! Andrade damn near killed Yuta. Ouch.
(0:10) Claudio Castagnoli is the next entrant.
(0:11) I’m not 100% sure what Claudio was trying to do, but he got to show off some power for a moment, so… yay?
(0:12) Dante Martin is the next person in.
(0:13) Penta El Zero Miedo is the next man in, leaving only the Joker remaining. Penta with a Canadian (?) Destroyer to Dante Martin on the ramp. Not sure why Dante would even try to go out there, but okie dokie. At least the spot looked cool.
(0:15) Penta with another Destroyer, slamming Andrade onto a bridged ladder. A second later, Rey Fenix sends Rush through a table with a Frog Splash from the top rope. Tons of action here.
(0:16) A bunch of masked men in hoodies have hit the ring, and they’re destroying everyone. One of them climbs the ladder, grabs the poker chip, and reveals himself to be… Stokely Hathaway? The rest of the masked men reveal themselves to be all of Stokely’s associates. Umm… I don’t even know what the hell is going on.
(0:17) Stokely is not the Joker, apparently. The Joker is now making his way to the ring, but he is also masked. He gets into the ring and is handed the chip by Stokely. The Joker is announced as the winner. What the fuck? He goes to reveal his identity, but then decides not to. The Joker wins the Casino Ladder Match, but we still have no idea who The Joker is. I don’t grade those types of AEW matches to begin with because of how weird the rules are. However, it was your usual entertaining train wreck of a ladder match for a while before it was completely derailed by the finish.
(0:19) Time to crown AEW’s very first Trios Champions. “Hangman” Adam Page teams with The Dark Order’s John Silver and Alex Reynolds to face Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks.
(0:24) For the first time since his return, Omega is going to wrestle without a compression shirt and kinesiology tape all over himself. Hopefully, that’s a sign that he’s finally back to being as close to 100% as he can possibly be.
(0:28) Silver and Reynolds double team Matt Jackson behind the Referee’s back, but Page pulls them off. Oh, my… interesting. This comes moments after Page gave a fist bump to Nick Jackson.
(0:30) When the brackets came out for this tournament, did anyone have The Dark Order competing in the final match tonight? I sure didn’t.
(0:31) On commentary, Excalibur talks about how this is the biggest night in Silver and Reynolds’ careers, with their families in attendance, and then Taz says Page is squandering their opportunity. Interesting story being told here.
(0:35) John Silver finally gets the crowd going with a flurry of offense taking everybody out, and then proceeds to immediately get kicked in the face by Nick Jackson. Welp.
(0:37) Snapdragon after Snapdragon after Snapdragon. Omega definitely looks better here than he did in his previous two matches since returning.
(0:40) You can tell that Matt Jackson’s back is really killing him, and that he isn’t just selling. If you have, or have had, a bad back in any way, you can see all the telltale signs that his back is destroying him right now.
(0:41) For the THIRD TIME tonight, Tony Schiavone responds to Taz by calling him “Excalibur.” Not Tony’s greatest night.
(0:42) Omega SPIKES Page with a Tiger Driver ’98. The entire arena seemed to cringe at Page’s landing.
(0:42) A “this is awesome” chant. Makes sense.
(0:44) I say this at least once during every AEW pay-per-view, but I’m very thankful I don’t have to do play-by-play for this match. There is so much going on.
(0:45) Back-to-back 2.999999999 near falls that almost saw John Silver pin Kenny Omega. The crowd fully bought into those.
(0:45) Page goes to hit the Buckshot Lariat on Omega, who ducks, causing Page to hit Silver. This is enough for The Elite to get the win. Omega and the Bucks are the first AEW Trios Champions. That was an exhausting match. 4.5 stars. You can argue about whether or not AEW needed a new set of titles, but that was a helluva way to introduce them to the company.
(0:49) “Don’t you dare fucking back up. Boys in the back… try to follow that, bitch.” – Kenny Omega, talking into the camera.
(0:51) Next up is the TBS Title match. Jade Cargill defends against Athena. Can Athena be the one to finally end Jade’s undefeated streak?
(0:52) Jade Cargill with the green hair and the green body paint, looking like She-Hulk. Shit, she’s such a star that I should be saying She-Hulk looks like her.
(0:54) Athena hits the O-Face almost immediately and goes for the pin. Jade’s “Baddies” are late on breaking the pin up, making everyone look dumb for a moment.
(0:55) Do these two hate each other, too? They’re out here delivering some STIFF strikes.
(0:57) Well, that didn’t take long. Jade with the pin and the win. That was a weird match. It was 80% Jade and Athena beating the shit out of each other and 20% awkward timing. There were multiple spots where it looks like they had some miscommunication and one of them would have to bend over and clearly whisper the next spot to her opponent before they moved forward. I don’t know how to rate that because it was so short.
(0:59) Outside the arena, Alex Marvez sees CM Punk walking up to the arena and stops to interview him. He refers to Punk as “CM” and that sounds completely ridiculous.
(1:00) Next up, Wardlow teams up with FTR to take on Jay Lethal and The Motor City Machine Guns. Thank fuck that the Guns replaced Sonjay Dutt and Satnam Singh in this match. That would’ve been awful.
(1:01) On commentary, Taz and Excalibur mention the “CM” thing and make fun of Alex Marvez. For good reason.
(1:03) Dax Harwood’s daughter, the reason for the “Fight Like An Eight Year Old” tag, walk out with FTR. Adorably, she gives Wardlow a big hug, and he just engulfs her with a huge smile on his face.
(1:09) Such fun tag team work by Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley. They’re so much fun together.
(1:12) So far, this match has been a showcase of Wardlow’s power and the Guns’ speed and teamwork.
(1:16) Lethal locks Wheeler in a Figure Four, drawing the usual loud chorus of “WOOOOO” from the crowd. 500 years from now, fans will be yelling “WOOOOO” during wrestling matches when someone does a chop or a Figure Four. It’s incredible.
(1:21) Wardlow picks up the pin and the win after what I believe was 182 consecutive powerbombs on Jay Lethal. I could be off on that number, though, so don’t quote me. 3.25 stars. It was fun, but didn’t compare to the previous trios match on the card.
(1:22) After the match, Satnam Singh tries to get into the ring, but he is interrupted by a returning Samoa Joe, who comes out to a big reaction.
(1:23) Sonjay is tossed into the ring, and we get Dax’s daughter making her return. She gets into the ring and snaps Sonjay’s pencil in half. His actual pencil, although the alternative would’ve gotten a big pop, too. After Sonjay is laid out, she places her foot on him, and the crowd counts to three. Cute moment. Samoa Joe is shown busted open from the forehead somehow. *shrug*
(1:26) Next up, Ricky Starks takes on Powerhouse Hobbs.
(1:26) Watching AEW pay-per-views and having to do any sort of column at the same time is super difficult. The shows move at such a stupid pace that you damn near need an IV drip for one type of fluid and a catheter for another type. God help you if you need to take a shit. My office is literally right next door to a bathroom, and I didn’t make it back from my trip to pee in time for the end of the video package that aired before this match.
(1:31) Perhaps they’re saving themselves for some of the bigger matches, but this crowd hasn’t been as loud as I thought they would be. They were excited for the Trios Title match, but they’ve been hot-and-cold for just about everything else.
(1:33) Hobbs picks up the pin and the win already after a spinebuster. Wow. That was quick. The crowd doesn’t even know how to respond to that. Like the Jade vs Athena match, that was too short for me to give any sort of rating to. It didn’t even have enough time to get into second gear.
(1:35) Time for the AEW Tag Team Title match. Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland defend the titles against the newly face Acclaimed. Not a lot of build to this one, so I’m not sure if anyone really expects a title change, but we’ll see.
(1:37) I’m telling you, folks… all this “scissor me, Daddy Ass” shit is a social experiment by AEW to see how many grown adults they can get to say the dumbest shit possible in public. If you wear that shirt to anywhere in public that isn’t an AEW show, you deserve every single thing that comes your way.
(1:39) The crowd starts a “Ohhhhh, bask in his glory” chant, which quickly turns into an “Ohhhhh, scissor me, daddy” chant. The latter chant was considerably louder than the former one, for what it’s worth.
(1:41) A lot of people say that it looks like Keith Lee has put on weight since his WWE days. Even if that was true, the level of speed and athletic ability he possesses with that frame of his is completely unfair.
(1:43) The crowd gives one of their biggest reactions of the night so far to Bowens and Caster building up to scissor each other. Their hand gesture, not… you know… actually scissoring each other.
(1:45) Swerve mocks the scissoring gesture and draws big-time boos from the crowd. Chicago REALLY loves The Acclaimed.
(1:46) A “we want scissors” chant breaks out. I don’t want to use this word, but it fits here… the crowd is damn near hijacking the match with scissor chant after scissor chant.
(1:48) The Referee in this match is DRIPPING sweat from all areas of his face and bald head. He looks like he’s in the final stretches of wrestling an Ironman Match. Somebody help dude out before he has a heat stroke.
(1:50) Swerve In Our Glory are getting lots of heel heat for working on Anthony Bowens’ injured knee. The crowd has clearly chosen a side here.
(1:52) Lee accidentally nails Swerve with a shoulder tackle. DRAAAAAMAAAAA.
(1:55) Bowens and Caster with a double-team superplex from the top on Keith Lee. They barely got him over all the way, too.
(1:56) A “this is awesome” chant. The crowd loves every bit of this.
(1:58) The crowd erupts as Caster actually got Keith Lee lifted above his head to drop him with an Attitude Adjustment. That was impressive.
(2:00) More miscommunication between the champs, this time with Swerve accidentally kicking Lee in the head.
(2:00) Lee pins Bowens, and the crowd is not happy. That was pretty good. I’m going to give them 4 stars. It very well could’ve gotten higher than that, but the focus was more on telling the story of Anthony Bowens’ knee instead of trying to become an all-time classic. That’s not a knock on the match, or to anyone involved in the match. You have to tell a story, and they did it very well here. The Acclaimed have shown they deserve to be in the title picture, even in a loss here. I’m sure people are going to complain about the rating not being higher, but I stand by it. We’re going to get a rematch at some point sooner than later, and that one could be special.
(2:03) It is now time to crown an interim AEW Women’s Champion. Britt Baker, Jamie Hayter, Hikaru Shida, and Toni Storm are stepping into the ring to see who will eventually face Thunder Rosa whenever Rosa is ready to go in the ring again. As much as I like Storm and Shida, I kind of want to see Baker or Hayter win here for… reasons.
(2:09) Loud “Jamie Hayter” chant from the crowd in the early going.
(2:13) Shida stumbles a bit on an attempt to kip up. It’s amazing that you don’t see that more often, especially when wrestlers try it late in a grueling match.
(2:15) The crowd seems to be saving themselves again. They’ve gone pretty quiet for this after that initial chant for Hayter.
(2:15) Very light boos as Shida is escorted to the back by AEW’s medical staff after taking a stomp at the top of the ramp by Britt Baker.
(2:15) On commentary, Jim Ross makes a comment about Baker and Hayter being aggressive like people in line for a sale at a department store. I’m sure that line is going to go over well on social media.
(2:17) Shida is already back, this time with kendo sticks in her hand. That was pretty pointless.
(2:22) Britt breaks up a pin attempt by Jamie Hayter. Jamie, of course, is pissed, even though the point of the match is to win it, not stand there and watch someone else win it.
(2:22) Toni Storm pins Jamie Hayter to win the match and become the interim AEW Women’s Champion. When Thunder Rosa returns, that means THUNDERSTORM EXPLODES. Meh. The match was really clunky in a lot of spots, and the crowd reacted as such. Let’s say 2.5 stars.
(2:23) A commercial airs that announces AEW’s next pay-per-view. Full Gear takes place on Saturday, November 19th from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
(2:25) Next up, Jungle Boy takes on Christian Cage. This is a big spot for Jungle Boy and what his future could be like in AEW. Christian is a multiple-time World Champion, so beating him in a singles match on pay-per-view still carries a lot of weight with it.
(2:28) During Jungle Boy’s entrance, he looks to the “face tunnel” for Luchasaurus, who comes up behind him from the “heel tunnel” and turns heel on him. He hits a vicious chokeslam onto a metal grating and then carries Jungle Boy to the ring. JB’s back is a bloody mess from landing on the pyro grate.
(2:30) Before the match has even gotten underway, Luchasaurus puts JB through a table at ringside. Right in front of his family, no less.
(2:31) A Spear gets a two-count for Christian, but a Killswitch picks up the win for him. The match lasted less than 30 seconds. Okay then. No rating, but hey, more heat for Christian Cage, so there’s that.
(2:34) Next up, Bryan Danielson vs Chris Jericho. This will be their first singles match against each other in over nine-and-a-half years.
(2:35) The crowd will not get the chance to sing Jericho to the ring, as he has different music for the “Lionheart” persona. Sorry, Chicago. Good luck trying to sing along to White Zombie.
(2:37) Someone named Elliott Taylor comes out to autotune his way into “singing” Bryan Danielson’s entrance theme. He looks like if the Machine Gun Kelly of several years ago had a baby with a generic boy band member. That sucked.
(2:39) As the match starts, Daniel Garcia is shown watching it on a television backstage. Poor guy, having to watch his parents fight.
(2:41) The early story is Jericho delivering hard chops to Danielson’s chest, which he promptly brushes off as if they were dirt on Jay-Z’s shoulders in 2003.
(2:44) Damn, the crowd is even quiet for this. Really surprising when you consider who is involved here.
(2:45) “You want entertainment?!?” – Bryan Danielson, who then proceeded to put his hands up and swivel his hips like “Ravishing” Rick Rude, much to the absolute shock of Referee Aubrey Edwards.
(2:50) Taz referring to testicles as a “yam bag” makes William Regal break on commentary. Regal says he has no comment because he’ll get fired if he says anything.
(2:52) Jericho seems exhausted right now. He’s breathing a lot heavier than Danielson is so far.
(2:53) “He’s… gonna get… his FUCKING HEAD KICKED IN!” – Bryan Danielson, who then proceeds to kick Jericho’s head. While Jericho’s head remains fully intact, it was still a good line.
(2:57) Jericho with a Liontamer locked in really tight. It looks so painful when he really puts his all into it.
(3:01) “I HAVE ‘TIL FIVE!” – Bryan Danielson to Aubrey Edwards when she tries to break him away from attacking Jericho. God, I missed that.
(3:02) Jericho gets the win after kicking Danielson in the little Bryans. That’s it? Really? All things considered, that was a bit of a disappointment. The crowd didn’t seem to get into it at all. 3.25 stars.
(3:03) Time for another trios match. This time, we’ll see Sting, Darby Allin, and Miro team up to face the House Of Black. It’s weird that we’re getting two trios matches on the show after the Trios Title match, but it’s also weird to have 219 matches on a single card.
(3:07) I get the desire to have Sting on the pay-per-view, but you’re telling me you couldn’t just have this match take place on Dynamite or Rampage? You could say the same about half the matches we’ve seen tonight. These poor bastards in the crowd have already been sitting there for nearly five hours, and they still have the rest of this match and a main event to go.
(3:12) Sure enough, the crowd is quiet for this one, too. Not seeing The Acclaimed win the Tag Team Titles killed them dead. I’m sure CM Punk will revive them in the main event, but the fact remains that they’ve been nearly non-existent for the last three-plus matches.
(3:16) Sting finally tags into the match and he gets polite applause from the crowd. Jesus.
(3:17) Sting busted Malakai open with a punch to the eye. Black has blood trickling down his face.
(3:19) Scorpion Death Drop to Brody King, followed by a Coffin Drop by Darby… gets two.
(3:21) Malakai goes for the knockout blow on Sting, but Sting spits mist in Malakai’s face, allowing Darby to capitalize with the pin. The timing was off, though, as Malakai spun around for the kick, then stopped for seemingly no reason before getting misted. The match did what it needed to do, but it seemed like even the wrestlers are tired at this point. Let’s go with 3 stars.
(3:23) In a backstage interview, Chris Jericho says that Daniel Garcia will be facing Wheeler Yuta for the Ring Of Honor Pure Title, but he’ll be doing it without the Jericho Appreciation Society by his side. Poor Daniel. He has no idea which of his parents will be hosting Christmas this year.
(3:25) Main event time. Jon Moxley defends the AEW World Title against CM Punk.
(3:26) Punk comes out… to a decent crowd reaction. Oh, these folks are TIRED tired. Cameras cut to different shots of the crowd, and you clearly see more people are standing still than cheering and yelling.
(3:27) To their credit, they did wake up a bit, delivering a loud “CM Punk” chant before the end of Punk’s entrance music.
(3:29) Moxley gets a mixed reaction. He’s getting flipped off by a lot of people as he walks to the ring, but there are also a ton of people singing “Wild Thing” as he walks.
(3:31) During the pre-match introductions, there is a very clear chorus of boos during Punk’s portion. They were quickly drowned out by a Punk chant, but this isn’t the reaction I was expecting to hear.
(3:33) This is more like it. The crowd absolutely drowns Moxley with boos as he responds to a flurry of offense by Punk with a flurry of his own.
(3:34) Mox kicks out of a GTS at 2.99 to a stunned reaction. He almost ended this one just as quickly as their previous match ended.
(3:37) Dueling “Let’s go, Moxley” and “CM Punk” chants, although Punk’s chants are way louder. Needless to say, though, the crowd is back.
(3:37) Punk is bleeding from the forehead after being thrown into the squared-off ring post.
(3:38) Punk is a bloody mess now. Moxley gets some blood on his hand and then dramatically licks it off. I’m sure Renee Paquette is THRILLED about that.
(3:41) Mox is just systematically picking Punk apart right now, alternating between working on his bloody head and working on his injured foot.
(3:41) LOL @ “Fuck Ohio” chants.
(3:45) Outside of that initial burst leading up to the GTS, this match has been almost all Moxley.
(3:46) As I say that, Punk locks Mox in an Anaconda Vice, but Mox breaks out by gnawing on Punk’s bloody head. Poor Renee.
(3:49) Punk delivers a high kick to the side of Moxley’s head, only to eat a lariat for his troubles.
(3:50) Punk kicks out of Death Rider at 2.99999!
(3:51) A second GTS lands, but Moxley collapses onto Punk’s back as Punk dropped to his knees.
(3:52) A third GTS picks up the win for CM Punk, who is the new AEW World Champion! Wow. I don’t think I saw very many predictions that had Punk winning unless some sort of heel shenaniganery was involved, but that was as clean as clean can be. 3.75 stars.
(3:53) The lights went out. Uh-oh.
(3:54) A voicemail is played where someone is made an offer to return at All Out and be placed in the Casino Ladder Match. On the screen, The Joker from earlier is shown, and he unmasks himself with his back to the camera, revealing a Burberry scarf. Sure enough, MJF’s music hits, and the man is back. MJF is the owner of the poker chip, and he has a shot at the AEW World Title.
(3:56) A LOUD “MJF” chant. In Chicago. While MJF is staring down CM Punk. MJF has to do something, so he flips the crowd off.
(3:57) We go off the air with Punk standing in the ring and staring at MJF, who begins walking to the back. I hope you folks weren’t tired of the Punk vs MJF feud.
A pretty newsworthy show overall. New Trios Champions were crowned. An interim Women’s Champion was crowned. A new World Champion was crowned. Luchasaurus turned heel for some reason. MJF made his surprising, but not surprising, return to the company. I’m exhausted after my third column of the weekend, so I need to get out of here. I’ll be back here on Wednesday in my usual spot. Until then, be good to each other.