This could very well be the most eagerly anticipated AEW pay-per-view yet. It’s a tremendous card, stacked with big matches, CM Punk’s huge return to a wrestling ring, and some major surprises that may or may not be happening. Let’s get things underway, shall we?
Are you ready?
Since we’re all ready, you know what to do… say it with me, folks…
LESS DEW EET!!!
(0:02) We’re getting the show started with something that could be special when all is said and done. Miro defends the TNT Title against Eddie Kingston. Kingston is already rocking his brand new “Redeem Deez Nuts” shirt. It’s a beautiful thing. His shirt, not his testicles. I mean, I’ve never seen his balls or anything. Maybe they’re beautiful, too. I shouldn’t judge. You know what? Let me move on.
(0:06) To the surprise of nobody, this is already a very lively sell-out crowd at the Now Arena in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.
(0:08) After such a shitty start to his AEW career, Miro is playing the perfect character for him, and he’s doing a superb job of it. His promos are short-and-sweet, and his matches are the brutal affairs they should be.
(0:10) As tough and as crazy as Eddie Kingston is, he does a really good job of playing a sympathetic face. He has spent most of the match getting his ass kicked, but he keeps fighting back. Even his facial expressions allow the viewers to feel for him and root for his comeback.
(0:13) Miro’s upper chest is starting to look like hamburger meat after numerous stiff chops by Kingston. This has been every bit as physical as we all thought it would be.
(0:16) Miro locks Kingston in his Game Over finisher, but Kingston makes the ropes to a big pop.
(0:18) Referee Bryce Remsburg is not a crowd favorite right now. First, he misses a Kingston pin attempt because he’s trying to fix the turnbuckle, and then he steps in front of the turnbuckle to stop Kingston from using the exposed steel as a weapon. The crowd is all over him.
(0:19) Miro gets the win. Good stuff. Let’s call it 3.25 stars.
(0:20) From one physical match to what should be another. It’s time for Jon Moxley vs Satoshi Kojima.
(0:20) I can’t see or hear Kojima’s name without thinking of the classic shoot interview with CM Punk and Samoa Joe, with Punk doing a spot-on impression of Homicide. “Kojiiiiimaaaaa… lariat… lariat…”
(0:27) The chop budget on this show is already insanely high.
(0:28) As cool as it is to see Kojima, one of the most decorated wrestlers in the history of Japanese puroresu, I am a little disappointed after Moxley vs Hiroshi Tanahashi was teased. There’s still plenty of time to make that happen, and if we’re being honest, maybe that would’ve overloaded this card. I’m still holding out hope that we’re going to get Kazuchika Okada on AEW pay-per-view one day.
(0:32) Kojima turns 51 in a little over a week, but he looks good out there. This hasn’t been a classic match or anything, but he’s had chances to shine.
(0:36) Two Paradigm Shifts put Kojima away. Moxley picks up the win. I might be being generous here, but I’ll say that was 3 stars.
(0:37) As Mox celebrates, MINORU FUCKING SUZUKI arrives to a big pop. Mox throws his hands up on his head and says “oh, fuck” in what was a great touch. Holy shit.
(0:39) Mox and Suzuki trade some insanely stiff forearm shots, and they’re both laughing as they do it. These two fuckers are crazy. The fight ends after Suzuki spikes Mox with a Gotch Style Piledriver.
(0:43) Next up, Dr. Britt Baker… D… M… D… defends the AEW Women’s Title against Kris Statlander, who might be the strongest woman in all of wrestling today. This could be a lot of fun.
(0:44) It was reported that Britt Baker’s dental practice has seen a huge spike in new patients signing up to have her as their dentist. Can you just imagine the creeps that are going to be making their way to Orlando to do some of the lamest shit possible?
(0:48) The crowd has been hot from the start of the night, but they appear to be pacing themselves. They’re loud for the ring entrances and things like that, and they pop for the big moves in a match, but it just seems like they’re saving things for CM Punk and a possible surprise debut or two. Might be a good idea.
(0:56) Britt hits the Panama Sunrise! On commentary, Excalibur calls it the Pittsburgh Sunrise. Either way, the crowd went nuts for it. Problem is… it got a two-count.
(0:56) It was just a set up for the Lockjaw, which eventually does pick up the win for the champion. I’m going to go with 3.25 stars. Nothing to complain about.
(0:59) Oh, boy. Our next match is The Young Bucks defending the AEW Tag Team Titles against Lucha Brothers inside of a Steel Cage. This is going to be very, very good.
(1:02) Rey Fenix and Penta El Zero Miedo are accompanied to the ring by a live musical performance. It was a cool spectacle.
(1:06) As the opening bell rings to start the match, there’s a very loud “Zero Miedo” chant from the crowd.
(1:07) This cage looks huge. Massive. Somebody (more than just somebody?) is going to be some wild shit from the top before this is over.
(1:10) After a fast start by the challengers, the Bucks have taken control and have slowed things down. Good heel work. Don’t give the fans what they want.
(1:13) Even with the Bucks going at a “slower” pace, this is still wild. There’s so much going on.
(1:16) Needless to say, with two sets of brothers here, there’s a metric fuckton of in-ring chemistry in this match.
(1:18) A loud “Fuck The Young Bucks” chant from the crowd.
(1:19) Matt Jackson pulls a Travis Scott Jordan 1 shoe out of a doctor bag, and there are thumbtacks all over the bottom of the shoe. Jesus.
(1:20) Penta was already bleeding, but after eating the bottom of Matt’s shoe a couple times, he is an absolute mess under his mask.
(1:22) Fenix has the shoe! He hits both Jackson brothers with it and gets a believable near fall. The crowd is super hot for everything that is going on.
(1:24) Avalanche Canadian Destroyer from the top rope! Penta SPIKES Matt Jackson into the mat. That looked nasty.
(1:25) A “fight forever” chant breaks out.
(1:27) I can’t even keep track of everything that is happening. As soon as I type out an entry, two more moves have happened, and I have to scramble to keep up.
(1:27) Fenix is going to the top of the cage. Lord have mercy.
(1:28) Fenix with a huuuuuge crossbody from the top, taking the Bucks out!
(1:28) New champions! What a fucking match. Penta and Fenix are both in tears. The arena came unglued when the three count was made. I don’t know about you and your rating, but I think that was 5 stars. Fantastic stuff.
(1:35) Well, we went from one match that was impossible to follow to another one that will be. Time for the Casino Battle Royale.
(1:35) The first suit in the match is Clubs. In the Clubs group is Hikaru Shida, Skye Blue, Emi Sakura, The Bunny, and Abadon.
(1:39) Skye Blue is eliminated, followed by Abadon. Okay then.
(1:39) I think The Bunny is one of only eight women left on the planet with a tongue piercing.
(1:40) The next suit is Diamonds. In the Diamonds group is Anna Jay, Kiera Hogan, KiLynn King, Diamante, and Nyla Rose. As is always the case with these matches in AEW, there is way too much going on at once. I don’t even know if anybody has been eliminated since Abadon was tossed out.
(1:42) Emi Sakura is eliminated.
(1:43) Kiera Hogan is eliminated. So is KiLynn King.
(1:43) Hikaru Shida is eliminated, and the crowd finally reacts to something. They’ve been pretty quiet since the hometown girl, Skye Blue, was thrown out.
(1:44) The next suit is Hearts. In the Hearts group is Thunder Rosa, Penelope Ford, Riho, Jamie Hayter, and Big Swole.
(1:46) Riho is eliminated, although the commentators are disagreeing on whether or not she really was. Diamante is eliminated, and then Big Swole is tossed out. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it for every one of these Casino Battle Royales, but I hate these matches. The pacing and the rapid fire eliminations are stupid.
(1:48) The final suit is Spades. In the Spades group is Tay Conti, Red Velvet, Leyla Hirsch, Jade Cargill, and Rebel.
(1:50) Rebel is eliminated. There’s so much pointlessness going on.
(1:50) The Bunny and Anna Jay are both eliminated.
(1:51) Leyla Hirsch is eliminated.
(1:51) A “Ruby Soho” chant breaks out. We know who the fans want to be the Joker here.
(1:52) The fans get their wish! Ruby Soho is the Joker and the final entrant in this match. She looks to be fighting back some emotion as she stands on the stage and soaks in the crowd pop.
(1:54) Jamie Hayter is eliminated. So is Red Velvet.
(1:54) Jade Cargill is eliminated, tossed out by Nyla Rose. The crowd was not a fan of that.
(1:55) Penelope Ford is eliminated, and so is Tay Conti. I really hate these matches. This has been way too formulaic. No eliminations… no eliminations… two to four eliminations within seconds… no eliminations… no eliminations… two to four eliminations within seconds.
(1:56) Nyla Rose is eliminated. This comes down to Thunder Rosa and Ruby Soho. Dueling chants for both women.
(2:00) After a bit of a lengthy battle on the ring apron, Ruby gets the win! She is the next challenger for Britt Baker. That’s going to be good. I don’t rate the Casino Battle Royales, but if you like them, you’ll like this one. If you don’t like them, this will do nothing to change your mind. It was really good to see Ruby again, though.
(2:01) Chris Jericho vs MJF is up next. Per the stipulation, Jericho will never wrestle in AEW again. They really are making sure to point out the “in AEW” part of that stipulation. It’s causing a lot of speculation on social media, ranging from an eventual WWE return for the guy to him going back to Japan at some point.
(2:04) MJF, perhaps the least intimidating wrestler alive today, argues with some fans in the front row during his entrance. One of the fans backs off as if MJF was Mike Tyson in his prime. Mmmmmkay.
(2:06) Jericho gets Fozzy’s guitarist to play “Judas” for his entrance, and it completely drowns out the sound of the crowd singing along. Brilliant move, AEW.
(2:09) Look, folks… Chris Jericho is one of the greatest performers in the history of wrestling. There is zero argument from me on that fact. At this point, in September 2021, I have no desire to see him wrestle anymore. The problem with that is I have even less of a desire to hear Jericho SCREAM EVERY FUCKING THING HE FUCKING SAYS ON COMMENTARY, YELLING OVER ANYONE ELSE WHO TRIES TO SPEAK. If Jericho wins this match, I lose, and if Jericho loses this match, I lose. Fun. Him wrestling is the lesser of two evils for me, so… go Jericho go!
(2:14) I give MJF a lot of shit, but the guy is a heat magnet. If he so much as breathes, he gets thousands of people booing him. He’s the type of heel that gets those reactions outside of the ring, too. When he goes to the grocery store, people probably call him eight different types of bitch.
(2:20) Jericho lands a Lionsault, but only after MJF wiggled his way into the path of the move. Then the crowd chants that Jericho’s still got it. Yikes.
(2:23) Wardlow walks to the ring, but he is intercepted by Jake Hager. Of course, continuing AEW’s streak of super duper production work, they completely missed Hager coming out and the start of his brawl with Wardlow.
(2:25) Referee Aubrey Edwards counts to three for MJF, but she missed Jericho’s leg being on the bottom rope. Referee Paul Turner comes out to inform her that she missed the leg, and she reverses her decision. This doesn’t make any sense! That was dumb. The match continues.
(2:27) Jericho picks up the submission victory with the Walls Of Jericho. He tried to turn it into the Liontamer, but he either couldn’t get it or he hurt himself, because he quickly switched it back to the Walls. The match wasn’t bad at all. Better than I was expecting, to be honest. I’ll say 3.25 stars.
(2:29) Here we go. CM Punk vs Darby Allin is up next. This is what the wrestling world will be talking about tomorrow, no matter what happens.
(2:32) Darby comes out to a good response. It doesn’t even come close to matching the pop that Punk gets. No shock there, I know.
(2:35) It’s weird to see Punk wearing long tights. He got a good pop for taking his hoodie off. The answer to the question that a lot of people had coming into this is visible now… Punk looks to be in good shape. At the very least, the same shape he was in when we last saw him wrestle. Let’s see how his cardio is.
(2:38) The crowd is insane for this, cheering and chanting for everything. Match has been a bit slow to start, but that makes perfect sense. Nobody was expecting Punk to flip, flop, and fly all over the place.
(2:41) Punk nearly catches Darby in the Go To Sleep, but Darby slips out. Nice tease.
(2:47) I know what he meant, but Excalibur says, after a Stunner from Darby, that Punk hasn’t felt anything that jarring in a while. Sounds weird when the man fought MMA for a while after leaving WWE.
(2:49) Punk hits the GTS, landing his knee SMOOTH across Darby’s jaw, but the force of the move knocks Darby out of the ring. Darby waits until the count of nine to get back into the ring.
(2:51) Darby breaks out of another GTS attempt with a barrage of elbows to Punk’s head, and there is a pretty audible portion of the crowd that boos him for it. It’s crazy to hear any crowd booing Darby Allin.
(2:53) As Darby goes for the Coffin Drop, he does the “go to sleep” taunt to a huge round of boos from the crowd. He jumps off the top rope, but Punk merely sits up and Darby goes splat.
(2:54) Another GTS lands squarely, and this time, it’s enough to get the win. I don’t know what I was expecting out of the match, but I enjoyed it. It wasn’t designed to be a Match Of The Year, but it was designed to give people high hopes for Punk’s future with the company. I’ll go with 3.25 stars, but I have a feeling that’s going to be lower than a lot of people go for this.
(2:56) As Punk celebrates, Sting makes his way to the ring. He checks on Darby, then offers a handshake to Punk, who accepts. Darby makes his way to his feet, and Punk shakes his hand, as well.
(2:59) The commentary team keeps asking “Who’s next?” for Punk, so GOLDBERG TO AEW CONFIRMED!
(3:00) Saturday, November 13th… AEW’s next pay-per-view event, Full Gear. Be there or be square. Or something like that.
(3:00) Paul Wight vs QT Marshall is up next. I do not give a single, solitary fuck about this. It has no business being on the show. If it goes any longer than two minutes, AEW has failed every one of us.
(3:02) Wight’s legs look like >< as he walks to the ring. I feel like they’re going to snap in half at any moment.
(3:06) Jim Ross calls Wight “Big Show” AGAIN. Can we put him out to pasture already? JR is fucking awful these days.
(3:06) Wight wins. No rating. The match went over two minutes, so we have all been failed. Next.
(3:07) Jon Moxley vs Minoru Suzuki is announced for Dynamite this week. Oh, boy. Moxley is then shown in a backstage promo, talking about wrestling being the best drug, saying that he would know because he’s tried them all. Well, shit. Popped a molly, I’m sweatin’, wooooo.
(3:11) Main event time. Kenny Omega defends the AEW World Title against Christian Cage. I have a pretty good feeling that this match is going to continue the streak of goodness.
(3:16) I know a lot of people have been down on this match, feeling that it isn’t quite “worthy” of being an AEW pay-per-view main event, but I think that’s disrespectful to Christian. He’s more than capable of putting in the work here, and he has proven that time and time again. He proved that on Rampage a few weeks ago when he defeated Omega in a great match to become the Impact World Champion.
(3:20) Maybe it’s because they’re worn out after four-and-a-half hours (counting the pre-show) and CM Punk’s return, but the crowd isn’t as hot for this main event as they could/should be so far. Or… orrrrr… maybe they’re saving themselves for a post-match surprise that many people feel is coming.
(3:25) Whatever the reasoning for the lack of crowd noise, it’s really standing out here. This is probably as quiet as the crowd has been all night. I can already see the hot takes about Omega and especially Christian coming after this is over.
(3:30) There aren’t many moves in wrestling today that look better than Kenny Omega’s Snapdragon Suplex. It’s a work of art.
(3:33) Christian hits a Spear from the ring apron to the floor, and both men go crashing through a table. The challenger looks like he was cut by the table. He’s bleeding from the rib area.
(3:36) Omega lands a Ripcord V-Trigger that looks like it should’ve knocked Christian the fuck out. My goodness.
(3:37) Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson run to the ring after a distraction by Don Callis, but their interference doesn’t work. I don’t even know why they’re still around.
(3:38) Avalanche One Winged Angel from the middle rope picks up the win for Omega. That was a really good match, even if the crowd reaction and participation didn’t quite indicate that. I’ll go with 3.75 stars, but I won’t complain if you want to go a little higher.
(3:40) Omega and his goons attack Christian after the match, drawing Jurassic Express out to try and make the save. The heels have the numbers advantage, though, and they beat them down.
(3:42) As Omega is cutting a post-match promo, the lights go out in the arena. When they come on… Adam Cole (bay-bay) makes his AEW debut to a huge ovation. Cole faces off with Omega, only to turn and drop Jungle Boy with a Superkick. Ha!
(3:44) Cole gets on the mic and calls The Elite the most dominant faction in the history of the business.
(3:45) As Omega cuts yet another promo, he is interrupted by BRYAN DANIELSON, who blows the fucking roof off of the arena. Danielson, Christian, Luchasaurus, and Jungle Boy clear the heels from the ring and we get a loud “A-E-W” chant. Wow. Yet another seismic shift in the wrestling scene. We go off the air with the crowd chanting “yes” as Danielson soaks it all in. As happy as I am to see Bryan Danielson again, I am equally as sad that “The Final Countdown” wasn’t his entrance music. What a missed opportunity.
What a fun show. Nine matches on the main card, and seven of them were good or better. The other two matches weren’t expected to be anything special to begin with, so that’s fine. AEW continues to build on their momentum, and their roster gets more and more stacked as the weeks go by.