AEW WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: Adam Page & Kenny Omega(c) vs. SCU (Frankie Kazarian & Scorpio Sky) (w/Christopher Daniels)- 6.75/10
Before the match the Dark Order took over the KhanTron and the TV screen and told us that they were “preparing for the arrival of the Exalted One,” and also warned their enemies that some members of the Dark Order “might be closer than you think.” I’ve never understood why villains do that last part. Bragging about having a secret agent only serves to put your enemies on the lookout for an agent they didn’t previously know about.
Daniels volunteers to “go investigate.” So is he going to find out which staircase to a section the Dark Order were broadcasting from, or is he going to go interrogate people at ringside to figure out if they might be members of the Dark Order? Either way, Daniels’ behavior here feels so purposely suspicious that he now feels like an obvious red herring as opposed to real potential secret Dark Order member.
As for the match itself, they did stuff. The twists and turns were good, but there wasn’t much of a dedicated story. Kazarian grabbed the rope just after the pin, which I really hope doesn’t lead to a rematch, simply because I’d like the tag titles away from this Dark Order storyline so that there is no Swords of Damocles of a DQ waiting to happen.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- bad
After the champs left, the Dark Order marched down to the ring. Before they attacked anyone, Best Friends showed up to even the odds, leaving us with the babyfaces in the ring and heels standing on the apron on the far side from the stage. Then Butcher, Blade, & Bunny came out, as did Jack Evans & Angelico. I was wondering what was going on, but Tony Schiavone hopefully told me that this was “a preview of what we’re going to see next week,” at which point it finally hit me: AEW has gone full WWE, and this is the stupid, lazy segment where all of the teams in the battle royale come out for no f*cking reason other than so that we can have a segment to build to next week’s match.
The Bucks then came out as well, so I guess they’re also in the match. One Dark Order guy randomly ran at one of the Bucks so he could eat a superkick, which was the cue to start off this painfully forced schmoz. The Young Bucks won the go-home segment by tossing all of the other teams out of the ring, even though this is a fight and not a battle royale so there is no reason they couldn’t have just come back in. Then
This is one of those types of segments that if I were AEW, I would have made every effort possible not to book, simply because it is page one in the battle royale chapter of the WWE’s lazy booking playbook.
THEY PLUG MOXLEY VS. SANTANA FOR LATER TONIGHT- and in the graphic, both men are wearing eye patches because they were both recently stabbed in the eye by the other or his friends.
So Kenny and Moxley attacking each other a few times is enough that Tony Khan is so afraid of the possible violence that might occur is he puts them in the ring together that he cannot sanction the match… but these guys can f*cking STAB PEOPLE IN THE EYE and Tony has no problem sanctioning it?
This is exactly the sort of thing I was talking about back when they did that segment with Tony Khan telling Moxley that his match with Omega had to be unsanctioned. Unless you’re planning on keeping to the policy that that level of violence must be unsanctioned (and they clearly haven’t; not with this, not with Bucks vs. LAX, or several other examples I can point from between now and then), then it makes it feel like the actions of your characters are being driven by the needs of the plot rather than by the events of the plot.
And while I’m on the subject… does everyone remember Moxley’s big promo about how angry he was about that match being unsanctioned because then if he beat Omega, the match wouldn’t count? I guess that went absolutely nowhere, so what was the purpose of doing that whole bit where Moxley got angry because the match was unsanctioned?
J.R. INTERVIEWS SANTANA EARLIER TODAY- didn’t like it
The thing about Santana’s father didn’t do it for me. It made me feel sorry for the heel, while also not really being relevant. Yes, there is a commonality of not being able to see, but it didn’t seem to be his father’s blindness that was driving Santana so much as his father’s death.
That last line at the end about why this was Moxley’s fault and not Jericho’s for stabbing Moxley first was good, though.
DARBY ALLIN VIDEO- GREAT!
Darby had cue-cards (but written on ripped-up cardboard) to mock Guevara and challenged him to a match at Revolution. The only bad things here were Darby Allin’s poor punctuation skills, and Tony Schiavone’s intro, which described this video as “cryptic.” The only way anyone could possibly find this video to be cryptic is if that person has a single-digit IQ.
DUSTIN RHODES vs. SAMMY GUEVARA (w/Jake Hager)- 4/10
I’m sorry… I like Dustin Rhodes as much as the next guy, but he should not be beating Sammy Guevara, and certainly not the way they did it here, where the story was that Sammy needed Hager’s help, and once Dustin was able to not be distracted by Hager, he went back to kicking Sammy’s ass and pinned him with relative ease. Sammy looking like a stooge is fine, but looking like a loser is not. Sammy Guevara is the guy who is going to be the future of you company, not Dustin Rhodes. This is the win you give Sammy so that when Darby Allin beats Sammy at Revolution it makes him look impressive.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- good, but…
Dustin cut a great promo on Swagger, demanding a match with him at Revolution so he can get revenge for breaking his arm. He also called Swagger “Jericho’s bitch” (which the fans chanted), made fun of Swagger’s MMA career, and called Swagger a coward for not wrestling.
As good as Dustin’s promo was, I have some real nits to pick with the angle as a whole.
1. This feud has been going on so long and yet at such an un-emphasized level that I had totally forgotten about the arm-breaking. Dustin has been back for OVER TWO MONTHS at this point. Why has he not demanded this match before?
2. If we’re trying to sell Swagger as dangerous, maybe Dustin (the babyface) shouldn’t have said that Swagger’s MMA career was “failing.”
3. While I agree that Swagger absolutely should have to wrestle, the fact that he hasn’t wrestled yet isn’t his fault; it’s AEW management’s fault. They’ve had this guy on their roster for FOUR MONTHS and haven’t booked him in a single match yet? Then why did they even hire him? (And ditto for Wardlow, by the way.)
I suppose you could say this is Swagger’s doing if he’s actually a Jericho employee, but then that story needs to be told. Situations like this are why I wish they actually gave us info (i.e. actually thought through) the contract situations of guys like Jericho and Butcher & Blade. Not only because both of these people seem to have been brought into the promotion by someone with no power to hire and fire people, but also because it creates the opportunity for a story when you need to come up with a reason why they are allowed to stay (which can be as simple as their efforts have proved to management that they are worthy parts of the division and thus they have been offered contracts).
TONY SCHIAVONE INTERVIEWS DR. BRITT BAKER, DMD- bad
Why do all of Britt’s interviews take place on the ramp/in the ring and with one of the commentators instead of backstage with an interviewer like everyone else’s?
Britt is claiming that Yuka Sakazaki’s tooth was damaged and thus she was doing Yuka a favor by “extracting” it. This crossed the line into Britt becoming a clown.
She was also asked about tonight’s title match and put over both women but said that she was still better than them. She got lots of heat, but a lot of it was cheap. This is going to sound like a harsh comparison, but Britt is very much coming across to me as the Carmella of this division. Obviously she’s a much better wrestler, but her heat is coming more from these unentertaining mostly-clownish talking segments than from things she does to her opponents.
AEW WOMEN’S WORLD TITLE MATCH: Riho(c) vs. Nyla Rose- 8/10
This was an EXCELLENT big vs. small match with a lot of drama towards the end. Nyla got the win here, which really had to happen, both for Nyla’s own continued relevance, and also because it really feels like there are no challengers left for Riho (other than the suddenly-missing Kris Statlander), and having Nyla as the champ with Riho having a rematch at least buys us some time to build up a new challenger.
During the commercial after this match, something happened where Riho walked by a Kenny Omega and a bunch of the women… but I don’t actually know what happened because there was no sound. I’d rather just not see this sort of thing than see it and not have any idea what happened.
LEXI INTERVIEWS CHRIS JERICHO (& THE INNER CIRCLE)- very good… and newsworthy
Just in case Moxley beats Santana tonight, Jericho has gone out and found a “bounty hunter” to take him out in a match next week… JEFF COBB. This would be the same Jeff Cobb who ;ast I heard was still under contract to ROH.
MJF vs. JUNGLE BOY- 6.75/10
Brandi is on commentary and is a total babyface now. Her leaving/being kicked out of the Nightmare Collective has still not been mentioned to those of us who only watch Dynamite (which is exactly what Cody told us was the only thing we needed to watch to keep up with the product).
They mentioned that Cody isn’t here tonight, presumably selling last week’s ten lashes. If the idea was to make Cody look tough, then having him miss this week undoes that because both guys in the main event didn’t miss a week of TV even after getting STABBED IN THE EYE.
None of the seconds being at ringside was a little weird, and doubly so when Wardlow wandered out later to help with the finish. Said finish was MJF winning via punch with the Dynamite Diamond ring. This is another situation where I think it would have been better to give the heel the clean win. Jungle Boy is exactly the kind of wrestler who can get over with a clean loss like this.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- meh
MJF attacked Jungle Boy and Wardlow joined in but Luchashaurus and Marko Stunt ran out to chase them off. Doing this after their unexplained lack of presence at ringside made this feel forced, and if this isn’t being done to directly set up Luchasaurus vs. Wardlow at some point in the next few weeks then it quite frankly served no purpose. At this point no extra cheap heat is going to make MJF any hotter.
The commercial for Revolution keeps calling it “AEW’s first pay-per-view of the decade,” which is exactly the kind of stupid, irrelevant thing that WWE or TNA would say about a PPV to try to trick you into thinking it’s important when it really isn’t. This is another one of those WWE-esque things that AEW should be making every possible effort to stay away from.
PAC VIDEO PACKAGE/PROMO- This was a good promo, but the pointless monochrome combined with the randomness of him cutting these promos from an alley made this all come across as someone trying really hard to be artistic rather than someone who actually is artistic.
Next week we’re getting Page & Omega defending the tag titles against Lucha Bros. as well as the aforementioned tag team battle royale, which is apparently for a tag title shot at Revolution. I find it a little weird that the tag belts are defended with such great frequency while the singles belts aren’t.
Also, while you’d think that Omega vs. Pac would be at Revolution, it’s apparently going to be on TV before then. Also, it’s randomly a 30minute Ironman match. Hager vs. Dustin will be on the PPV, though.
JON MOXLEY vs. SANTANA (w/Ortiz)- 6.5/10
They showed us Jericho, Swagger, & Guevara watching from a skybox, which is fine, but they really shouldn’t have given them an entrance because AEW has to know that fans are going to go nuts for Jericho’s entrance and treat him like a babyface.
This was an okay match that ended in yet another beat-down of Moxley by the Inner Circle. It feels like this happens WAY too often. This time they brought Cobb out to beat Moxley up. I don’t understand why they didn’t save Cobb’s debut for next week.
This was a decent show from AEW. The wrestling was mostly good, even with a disappointing main event, but I’m just not into the stories. Moxley vs. Jericho feels like they have run out of steam creatively, and I wasn’t a fan of most of the other things that happened other than the women’s title switch. I think AEW would definitely benefit from going two months between PPVs instead of three (or, in this case, three and a half).
STUPID ANNOUNCER QUOTES:
1. Jim Ross called Sammy Guevara getting backdropped off the top by saying “Sammy Guevara elevated in suspended animation.”
I don’t think JR knows what suspended animation means, because there was not one moment there when Sammy wasn’t moving, either up or down.