I don’t know about all of you, but I’m thinking this pay-per-view has all the potential in the world to be one of AEW’s best yet. Wrestling events are difficult to figure out, though. Look no further than WWE for proof of that. You’ll see a WWE event that looks tremendous on paper, but it will underperform when it comes down to it. Other times, you’ll see a WWE event that looks “meh” on paper, but it will end up featuring a handful of matches that end up being very good and very entertaining. I was eagerly anticipating AEW’s last pay-per-view, All Out, and ended up being very disappointed for multiple reasons. Will things be better this time around? I’m hoping so.
LESS DEW EET!!!
(0:05) We’re getting things started with Kenny Omega vs “Hangman” Adam Page. This one could be great. Hell, it SHOULD be great.
(0:05) Don Callis, Executive Vice President of Impact Wrestling, is on commentary for this one. Wow. They even mentioned him as such. Wow.
(0:07) Omega’s ring entrances are so corny and over-the-top that they actually work out well.
(0:10) Omega offers a handshake to kick things off, but an intensely focused Page declines. Here we go.
(0:12) The match has had a pretty fast-paced start. I’m expecting this to go at least 20 minutes, so I’m assuming it won’t go this fast the entire time.
(0:14) Excalibur and Tony Schiavone are a very good commentary duo. Adding Don Callis to that pairing makes the group even better. Jim Ross is also someone that exists.
(0:15) Omega’s chest is already red all over from numerous chops from Hangman.
(0:16) I’ll tell you someone that has been a very important part of AEW during this COVID era… Austin Gunn. Billy’s son is ALWAYS on his feet in the front row, from the first match to the main event, and he is cheering and yelling his ass off. He is busting his ass to do whatever he can to help the matches have noise. I love his enthusiasm. Love, love, love it. He should be getting a bonus for his work.
(0:19) So far, I’m wrong about them keeping up the fast pace.
(0:20) Huge powerbomb onto the ramp by Hangman Page. Huge THUD when Omega landed.
(0:23) Sick Tiger Driver ’98 by Omega. These two are going nuts.
(0:24) …now a sick Deadeye from Page, with Omega selling it like a million bucks. Lots of near-falls here.
(0:26) One Winged Angel gets the win for Omega. My goodness. The match went a lot shorter than I was expecting it to go, but at the pace they worked, that’s fine. What a war. Both men have bruises and welts on their bodies. Page even has some on his face. At bare minimum, that was 3.5 stars, but I’ll give it 4. Helluva start to tonight’s festivities.
(0:29) Next up, Orange Cassidy vs John Silver. Originally, this was supposed to be a pre-show match, but has obviously been bumped up. I’m hoping for some good humor in this one, but both of these men can deliver a good match, too. Should be fun, either way.
(0:32) Starting off with humor already, as Silver wants Cassidy to stop his antics, but isn’t exactly doing anything to try and stop him. Just something funny about watching him slowly watch Cassidy’s hands as he puts them into his pockets.
(0:34) I really and truly believe that if John Silver was half-a-foot taller than he is, he’d be competing for titles in AEW. He’s really good.
(0:38) Silver just lifted Cassidy off of the turnbuckles and walked around with him in a one-handed Gorilla Press. Good Lord. That was impressive.
(0:41) Beach Break gets the win for Orange Cassidy. Shout-out to Genki Horiguchi, who I always immediately think of when I think about the Beach Break move. He always made the move look like it would put his opponent in the hospital. Good match. Less humor than I was expecting, but that’s not really a bad thing. Not a super long bout, so I don’t know if I can go any higher than 3 stars and feel comfortable about it. Still something work checking out, though.
(0:43) Video package for Cody and Darby Allin, so I’m assuming that’s the next match we’re getting.
(0:45) Sure enough, that’s what we’re getting. Cody defending the TNT Title against Darby Allin. This could be another war. Cody just won the title back, so he certainly wants to do whatever he can to keep it. Darby, on the other hand, doesn’t lose matches unless he’s damn near on the verge of death. Something’s got to give!
(0:50) Justin Roberts announces him as “Cody Rhodes” to a huge pop from the crowd. Cody has a huge smile on his face as a “Co-dy Rhodes” chant breaks out.
(0:53) Cody… Rhodes… just looks like a star in AEW. Whether you think he’s great in the ring or not, he just looks like a superstar. He carries himself as one. He dresses like one. He does the little things correctly. That goes a long way with making his matches better.
(0:57) Cody is really working on the arm of Darby so far in the match. It’s making the match slower than the previous two have been, but he’s working smartly to this point.
(0:58) After Cody does push-ups in the ring, Arn Anderson goes ballistic, trying to get Cody to focus on winning the match. Good touch. Arn is the “Head Coach” and he should be upset if his “star player” isn’t as focused as he should be against a dangerous and hungry opponent.
(1:03) AVALANCHE CROSS RHODES FROM THE TOP ROPE!!! Good God. Darby rolled to the ring apron, though, so he was able to have his hand under the bottom rope to break up the ring count. That’s the type of thing that probably could’ve/should’ve been the end of the match. I can already picture a bunch of people complaining that it didn’t get the three-count for Cody.
(1:05) Cody is doing a good job of almost working as a cocky heel in this match. He clearly isn’t taking Darby seriously, and it has almost backfired two or three times.
(1:07) Coffin Drop… gets a two! There have been a lot of VERY close near falls tonight.
(1:08) Cody and Darby roll around and trade near falls, but Darby shocks the world by picking up the victory with a roll-up. Holy shit. Cody’s arrogance came back to haunt him. After the match, Cody grabs the title belt and demands that Darby’s music be turned off. Cody drops to a knee and presents the title to Darby as the crowd chants “you deserve it” to the new TNT Champion. Wow. I’m still surprised at the title change. As Darby celebrates, Taz interrupts and causes a distraction, allowing Brian Cage and Ricky Starks to enter the ring and attack Allin and Rhodes. Starks is wearing a see-through silk shirt that looks more like a blouse. If he had a bottle of champagne, I would think he’s trying to fuck one of the men here.
(1:13) Cage and Starks go to snap Allin’s arm in a car door, but Will Hobbs makes the last-minute save. As for the match itself, I’ll give it 2.75 stars. A little too slow in places for my liking, but it wasn’t bad or anything.
(1:16) We’re getting the AEW Women’s Title match next, as Hikaru Shida defends against the former champ, Nyla Rose.
(1:21) I just looked at Shida’s boots. I had no idea she was half-Japanese and half-Ninja Turtle. That explains a lot, actually.
(1:24) This just isn’t working for me so far. I think Nyla Rose is a pretty decent “monster” in this division, but right now, this match just hasn’t captured my attention yet.
(1:29) There have been multiple instances of strikes and offense clearly not connecting in this match. Not a lot of chemistry between these two. I say that as someone who enjoyed their work against each other in the past.
(1:32) Avalanche Falcon Arrow by Shida! Okay, that was impressive. I dug it.
(1:33) Welp, there goes that. Shida runs the ropes, and Vickie Guerrero reaches up and touches Shida’s leg with the force of a housefly buzzing by, and it’s enough to stop Shida’s momentum. Make it stop.
(1:35) Shida picks up the victory. I’m thankful that it’s all over. Let’s have Shida move on to a Britt Baker feud already. Let’s say 1.5 stars to be nice and move on.
(1:37) After the match, Vickie screams at Nyla, berating her for ruining the “plan” that Vickie came up with. Nyla gets back in Vickie’s face, and then CLEAR AS FUCKING DAY, says “slap me” to Vickie… who then slaps her. Shit like that can be covered up with an arena full of people making noise. With this light crowd, everything said in the ring is easier to pick up. Nyla might as well have said “slap me” into the mic.
(1:39) AEW Tag Team Titles are on the line next, as FTR defends against The Young Bucks. This is as close to a “dream match” in tag team wrestling as we’ve seen in a while. Fans have been clamoring for this match for years, and it is finally happening. I am a little worried at how much Matt Jackson’s leg injury could affect things here, but otherwise, this could be a tag clinic. This is a very big deal.
(1:45) It was mentioned on commentary, but damn, it can’t be a coincidence that the Bucks are wearing Los Angeles Lakers colors while FTR is wearing Boston Celtics colors. Lakers vs Celtics is, arguably, the best rivalry in North American sports history. Kind of a wink, wink, nudge, nudge acknowledgement to the Bucks vs FTR feud that has been happening on social media.
(1:52) Multiple instances of Matt’s leg giving out on him as he tries different offensive moves. I guess it’s smart to have that be the focus here.
(1:55) Dax Harwood has what could be an injured hand now. Does that even the odds a bit? It’s going to slow things down here. That’s going to be a strike against the match in the eyes of some people. Some people think that a Young Bucks match is nothing but fast-paced move after move after move, and when it doesn’t happen, something is wrong.
(1:58) Such an old-school tag match, building to a huge hot tag, which just happened. Nick Jackson is the proverbial house on fire. It would be pretty weird if he were a literal house on fire, I suppose.
(2:00) Again, a lot of old school influence here. The Rock-N-Roll Express, The Hart Foundation, and any team Arn Anderson has ever been in have already had little nods so far.
(2:01) Matt’s leg gives out on him yet again, allowing Jim Ross to deliver an angry rant on commentary about how Matt needs to figure something else out that isn’t going to cost himself the match.
(2:03) Hey, now we’re moving on to the next generation of old school wrestling, as the Bucks pay homage to The Hardyz and The Dudleyz. I like the story being told here.
(2:05) An homage to Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa, actually referred to as DIY on commentary. This match has been a generation-by-generation tribute to the tag team wrestling that these teams have watched in their lives.
(2:07) Matt had Harwood locked in a Sharpshooter, but… wait for it… his leg gave out again.
(2:10) FTR delivers a Spike Piledriver, but for some reason, Cash Wheeler takes Matt Jackson damn near to the ropes to make the pin. This allows Matt to get his foot on the rope to break up the count.
(2:13) A Springboard 450 from Wheeler (!!!) is unsuccessful, allowing the Bucks to pick up the victory. We have new AEW Tag Team Champions. Kenny Omega is out to celebrate with his friends, while Hangman Page stands in the entranceway and looks on. Very good match. Very, very good. As I said, it was a great tribute to tag team wrestling over the last 35-ish years. Well done by all four men involved. 4 stars.
(2:16) It’s time for The Elite Deletion. Sure enough, it’s cinematic, as we begin with Sammy Guevara driving a golf cart to The Hardy Compound. That sick son of a bitch used his golf cart to run over a toy truck in Matt’s driveway!
(2:20) I totally understand the need for pre-taped matches in the current era of wrestling, but after seeing a bunch of them over the last several months, I think I’m ready for the concept to go away for a while.
(2:22) Of course Excalibur knew about The Scepter Of Mephistopheles and where Matt Hardy keeps it on the compound. Of course he did.
(2:24) Santana and Ortiz come out of nowhere to break up a Hardy pin attempt, and they’re putting the boots to Matt. Hardy grabs a walkie-talkie and calls for Private Party to show up and even the odds. We’re basically having ourselves a Six-Man Tornado Tag Match right now.
(2:25) It wouldn’t be a match at the Hardy Compound without Matt busting out the fireworks. Guevara grabs some fireworks, as well, but he comes across as someone who has never used high-powered fireworks before.
(2:28) Sammy slips in random mud as he runs away from the projectiles.
(2:29) FUCKING GANGREL shows up and threatens to snap Hurricane Helms’ neck, distracting Matt, until Private Party makes the save. EL OH FUCKING EL at Helms and Hardy making callbacks to previous encounters, with Helms asking why it took Hardy two years to help him after House Hardy Halloween. Matt said it was “long-term storytelling” and that he had to go to AEW first.
(2:30) Guevara throws Hurricane into the Lake Of Reincarnation, only for mild-mannered reporter Gregory Helms to show up and start asking questions. Gregory Helms is then thrown into the Lake Of Reincarnation, only for Hurricane to return to action, dry as a bone. Well done.
(2:36) Matt hits a Twist Of Fate and Sammy sells it like he was spiked on his head.
(2:37) Hey, speaking of spikes and heads, both men go crashing from the ring to the floor, going through a table in the process. Guevara comes up “bleeding” from the back of his head. Matt then hits a one-man Con-chair-to on Sammy, who is face down on the concrete, for the win. Pretty violent looking. Jeez.
(2:39) After the match, Matt has Private Party help him dump Sammy into a trash bin. They load the bin into a truck, which is driven away by Señor Benjamin. Matt celebrates with Private Party, Hurricane Helms, and Reby Hardy. I… I don’t know how to give out stars to matches like that. It was entertaining. That’s what I’ll say. If you don’t hate the cinematic style of matches, you probably enjoyed that a lot. If you do hate the style, nothing happened there to change your mind.
(2:44) Chris Jericho vs MJF is up next. There are a few different directions this one can go in. I’m intrigued. I’m not expecting a tremendous in-ring classic here, but I am confident we’ll be seeing a good story get told in one way or another.
(2:47) The lights go out, and we see a light-up jacket at the top of the ramp. It’s Jericho, right? Oh, ho, ho, ho… not so fast, my friends. In a TOTAL SWERVE, it wasn’t Chris Jericho at all. In fact, it was his opponent for this match, MJF! Can you believe it?!? We thought it was someone, but it was someone else!!!
(2:49) I don’t care what anyone says, I love Chris Jericho’s AEW entrances, especially now that we have live fans in attendance again. It just sounds so cool to have the fans singing Jericho’s theme music with every bit of passion they have in them. Jericho is easily the face here.
(2:53) MJF is someone that deserves the comparisons he gets to The Miz. Both of them are very good at getting people to hate them. Both men aren’t going to be confused for Ricky Steamboat in his prime as far as their in-ring abilities go, but they’re able to tell stories in the ring to make their matches entertaining.
(2:57) Jericho mounts MJF in the corner and delivers… some of the softest-looking punches you’ll see. Yikes.
(3:00) The match has been decent so far, but the crowd at Daily’s Place is into everything. They’re treating it like a big deal, so it comes across like one.
(3:05) MJF calls for Wardlow to deliver his diamond ring, but Girl Hebner tends to Wardlow on the ring apron. Jericho ducks a ring shot, then calls for Jake Hager to toss a bat into the ring. Before Jericho can use the bat, MJF channels Eddie Guerrero and drops to the mat, right as Girl Hebner turns around. As she argues with Jericho about whether or not he used the bat on MJF, MJF rolls Jericho up for the win. First of all, that was a piss-poor pin attempt. Jericho looked like a dumbass for not kicking out on something that had no momentum and leverage on it whatsoever. MJF is now a member of The Inner Circle. Oh. Okay. Well, it was every bit of the 2.5 star match that I expected it to be.
(3:09) Miro and Kip Sabian interrupt a backstage interview with Orange Cassidy, Chuck Taylor, and Trent. I don’t really care. AEW has botched Miro’s time with their company so badly. It really couldn’t be any worse so far. A huge disappointment.
(3:12) Main event time. Jon Moxley defends the AEW World Title against Eddie Kingston in an “I Quit” Match. There is a distinct possibility, based on their heated rivalry and their independent wrestling backgrounds, that this match is going to travel into Deathmatch territory. I’m expecting something brutal. Expecting both men to be a bloody mess when this is all said and done.
(3:18) Ugly start, but ugly in the best way. Nobody is expecting much technical wizardry here. There has been a chop battle and ear biting already. I’m waiting for the titty twisters, personally.
(3:24) Moxley is bleeding, and now he has a barbed wire baseball bat. Here comes the Deathmatch stuff I mentioned. Mox grinds the barbed wire against Kingston’s face, and of course, now both men are bleeding. Here we go.
(3:26) In another moment that shouldn’t be picked up on-camera, Referee Bryce Remsburg was clearly shown handing a blade to Eddie Kingston. Sigh. I don’t know how that stuff happens.
(3:29) Mox delivers a suplex onto a steel chair. Ouch.
(3:30) Kingston goes and fetches a black bag, and sure enough, there are thumbtacks in the bag. We might as well see some more blood.
(3:32) Mox is the first to feel the tacks, as he gets slammed onto them back first. It isn’t enough to make him quit, though.
(3:33) Kingston has brought a bottle of rubbing alcohol into the ring. Oh, no.
(3:34) After stomping his foot into Moxley’s little Ambroses, Kingston grinds said foot into the Dean and two veggies. Not enough to make Mox quit, though, so… Kingston pours the rubbing alcohol all over Moxley’s back. This is the type of match that is going to be hated by a lot of people. That’s the way it goes with matches of this style. Some people love the blood and guts. Others think it’s “garbage” and they hate it.
(3:36) Moxley wraps a strand of barbed wire around his arm and then locks a Bulldog Choke in. After fighting and fighting, Kingston had no other choice but to quit. This was one of those matches where the outcome really wasn’t in question, but it was still fun to watch nonetheless. Again, it won’t be for everyone. If you don’t mind violence, you were probably very entertained by that one. If violence isn’t for you, you probably wanted to skip that one. As it is, I enjoyed that. It was brutal. Not a Match Of The Year candidate, but it didn’t have to be. I’ll call it 3.25 stars and we’ll call it a day.
(3:39) Moxley tries to raise Kingston’s arm after the match, but Eddie refuses and leaves. As Mox celebrates, Kenny Omega makes his way to the ring for some trash-talking. We go off the air with Moxley continuing as celebration as Omega applauds him and leaves.
A much, much better show tonight than what we got at All Out. Not an elite (heh) show, but a very good one that is definitely worth checking out. Kudos to almost everyone involved tonight.
What say you, ReaderLand? As always, hit me up in the comments section below or on Twitter (@HustleTheSavage) and let me know what’s on your mind about tonight’s show. I’ll be right back here in my usual Wednesday slot. Until then… be good to each other.