LUCHA BROS. vs. KENNY OMEGA & ADAM PAGE- 8/10
It’d probably be a good idea to put up not just the singles’ wrestlers’ overall tag team records but also the record of the specific pairing we’re seeing.
Omega and Fenix started off with a good sequence. Fenix barely escaped the One-Winged Angel and tagged Pentagon Jr. in… and then we went a solid minute and a half without anyone touching each other because they were too busy doing catchphrases and posing. Finally Pentagon Jr. pie-faced Page at the end of his catchphrase, at which point we went another twenty seconds before another pie-face because Adam Page had to pretend to take a glove off first. More playing to the crowd followed, and all together we went two minutes and nine seconds without anyone trying any sort of serious attempt to hurt the opponent.
Other than that snooze-inducing crap, this was a nice, long, exciting opener. Lucha Bros. won when Page accidentally hit Kenny with the Buckshot Lariat, allowing the Lucha Bros. to hit Kenny with their double-team finisher for the win.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- okay
I didn’t like how quickly Page and Omega were ready to come to blows after just one screw-up during the match. The announcers were great during this, though.
Once they started shoving each other, we immediately cut backstage to where Pac has a mic. He cuts a promo on Omega, saying that he is angry that Kenny didn’t answer his question from last week (if I remember correctly, he has demanded a rematch against Kenny), so he is now going to remind Kenny just how dangerous he is. Pac demanded that the camera follow-him, and it did. He came to the male locker room, where Excalibur was able to recognize a man sitting in a chair facing away from us with a hat and headphones on as Michael Nakazawa. Pac made a “shh” motion to the camera, then went into the locker room and closed the door behind him so that we couldn’t see anything. We cut back to the ring to see Kenny charge backstage to save his friend instead of standing there like an idiot, which is what happens way too often in these situations, so that was good. I understand that the idea here was to give Kenny something that will cut off the argument between him and Page to put them eventually going at it off for another week, but I didn’t really like this because I was a lot more interested in Page and Omega than I was in Omega and Pac.
It took Kenny a total of twenty-four seconds to get backstage, by which time Pac and Nakazawa had apparently vanished. Please don’t tell me Pac is the new Bray Wyatt. Kenny went to look elsewhere and was ambusehd by the Lucha Bros. What beef to do they have with Kenny Omega? Adam Page showed up to make the save for Kenny, and the Lucha Bros. just left, despite outnumbering Page and having just beaten him in a tag match.
Page helped Kenny up and took him in another direction, and now we’re switching to “pretend the cameras are invisible” mode as we had cameras facing Kenny when he turned down the next hallway. Then we just abandoned Kenny’s desperate search for his apparently abducted best friend to watch Darby Allin walk down a hallway.
If you’re going to be a “pretend the cameras aren’t here” promotion then that’s fine, but then you have to actually have the cameras in place to show us what we need to see, and that includes whatever Pac did to Nakazawa. Off-screen violence always come off as lame in pro wrestling simply because we see so much of it on-screen.
CODY RHODES & DARBY ALLIN vs. THE BUTCHER & THE BLADE (w/The Bunny)-
So the story now is that MJF has “bankrolled The Butcher & The Blade” coming to AEW exclusively to torment Cody. This implies that they’re not really members of the roster but are rather outsiders that the powers that be are letting stay around for now so that Cody can beat them and thus earn a match with MJF (which is also apparently the story now). If so, I’d like to see them no longer be booked once Cody beats them, or if they are booked afterwards then have it acknowledged that they earned the respect of the powers that be enough to at least get some looks and then maybe a contract.
Ross says that he has heard that MJF is using Cody’s watch as collateral to get the money he needs to pay The Butcher & The Blade. If that’s the case then Ross’ sources are terrible because we never even saw MJF take the watch (doing so would be tantamount to accepting Cody’s offer for a match, which MJF has refused so far) and The Butcher & The Blade showed up to attack Cody in the very segment where Cody offered the watch to MJF in exchange for a match, so MJF clearly had them in place because he could have had the watch. In short, JR f*cked up, and all in a pointless attempt to… what? Make MJF seem more evil or something because he’s using Cody’s watch against him? Who cares where he got the money from? And having MJF use resources against Cody that Cody gave him just makes Cody seem dumb.
Or maybe Ross was supposed to talk about the Dynamite Diamond Ring (or whatever they call it) and said watch by accident because he’s going senile, because when Ross finished speaking, Excalibur said “yes, that one of a kind diamond ring” as if Ross had been talking about the ring instead of the watch. Or maybe Ross is right, the story has holes in it, and Excalibur doesn’t listen to his broadcast partners. No matter which way you slice it, it’s not good.
Schiavone spelled it out for us that having Brandi/Kong cut your hair makes you evil. Oh great. More magical bullsh*t.
They had a very good match. The Bunny’s interference was the story of the match. Cody pinned The Blade with his new finisher, the Cody Cutter, which is a Springboard Cutter. Now we’re going to get Cody vs. Darby, as per their deal, and, eventually Cody vs. MJF. Or am I confused and the announcers were talking about Cody vs. Darby happening only if the babyfaces won this match and they just phrased it weirdly.
JUNGLE BOY VS. JERICHO VIDEO PACKAGE- very good
BRANDI RHODES PROMO- She thinks Kris Statlander will join them tonight. We also get a tease of her mysterious bald friend.
MIRANDA AILZE vs. AWESOME KONG (w/the Nightmare Collective)- squash
The Nightmare Collective here is Brandi and that random fan who wanted to join the group. Her name is Melanie Cruise. They take hair from the jobber.
JIM ROSS’ SIT-DOWN INTERVIEW WITH JUNGLE BOY- bad
Jungle Boy was too flat and academic for my tastes. They brought Jungle Boy’s father up for pretty much the first time. Even during this part of it, Jungle Boy was way too flat for my liking.
CHRIS JERICHO (w/Jake Hager) vs. JUNGLE BOY (w/Luchasaurus & Marko Stunt)- 6/10
This match had a special ten-minute time limit, which is much shorter than most AEW matches. The match was exactly what you’d expect it to be given the situation. Jericho demanding five more minutes and getting them without Jungle Boy consenting as well was horribly unfair. It would have been much better to have Jericho just leave the Walls o Jericho on after the bell rang and refuse to give it up instead of asking for extra time and then having Jericho get frustrated and walk off. That would protect everyone and give us a real angle to be followed up on instead of giving us what amounts to someone getting counted out because he got annoyed and walked out. After Jungle Boy left, Jericho came back and threw a very long temper tantrum at ringside.
TONY SCHIAVONE INTERVIEWS CHRIS JERICHO- good whiny heel stuff from Jericho re Jungle Boy, and a good promo on Moxley, too, assuming that Moxley would join the Inner Circle because who could possibly turn that offer down? Jericho tells Moxley they will have a big surprise for him on the New Year’s Day show if he says yes.
JENN DECKER INTERVIEWS SCU- They are quickly interrupted by the Lucha Bros to give us a face-off between Pentagon Jr. and Daniels but Daniels walks off. Then we cut to commercial because apparently their promo wasn’t very important.
#1 CONTENDERSHIP MATCH: Dr. Britt Baker, DMD vs. Kris Statlander- 6.75/10
Statlander won. She’ll get her title shot on January 1st. Riho was shown at ringside looking… somewhere between surprised, scared, and bored.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- meh
We’re supposed to believe that Kris Statlander is an alien who only communicates by booping people on the nose, right? That’s the story, isn’t it? So why the hell did they send Tony Schiavone out to interview her if she dones’t speak in any language that anyone is capable of translating?
Brandi and pals came out and also tried to speak to Statlander in a language she doesn’t understand. Statlander made a motion that on our planet usually means no, but for all we know on Statlander’s planet means “yes” or “give me some time to think about it” or “only if you sway back and forth like a tree in the wind.” If you want her to be an alien who doesn’t speak any Earth languages, you have to actually think about what that means for your stories.
Statlander turns to leave but gets blocked by Kong and Cruise. Then she turns around to go a different way and gets clinked in the head with a shoe by Brandi. Excalibur is trying to sell this vicious attack to us when Ross feels the need to ask “is that a Louis Viton?” WHO GIVES A SH*T WHAT BRAND OF SHOE IT IS?! The important point is that it hurt!
(Giggle giggle. Point. Because it’s a high heel.)
Excalibur is now telling us that it caught Statlander in the eye. If we’re going the “it got her in the eye!” route, I’d like Statlander to actually be out for a while or wearing an eye patch for several weeks. Basically, I want it to be different than any old shot in the head with a shoe would be.
SHAWN SPEARS & TULLY BLANCHARD PROMO- horrible
Last week Shawn Spears had to abandon his partner because his mentor Tully Blanchard was kidnapped by that bad boy Joe Janela, so as you can imagine, this week’s promo was a fiery vow of revenge.
LOL I’m just messing with you. They talked about trying to find a tag team partner for Spears to go after the tag titles with. It’s not like a kidnapping is technically a crime and needs to be responded to. Even as a promo about trying to find a tag team partner, this wasn’t particularly good.
YOUNG BUCKS VIDEO PACKAGE/PROMO- GREAT!
AEW WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: SCU (Scorpio Sky & Frankie Kazarian)(c) vs. the Young Bucks- 7.5/10
During this match, Excalibur clarified for us that the extra time between Jericho and Jungle Boy wasn’t official. Good. Now why did the senior referee act like it was official?
SCU won cleanly in a solid main event.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- fine, but with one major misstep
The Dark Order surrounded the ring and beat everyone up. They didn’t use their magical powers to gain the element of surprise this time. Omega came out to help but got taken out. The same thing happened when Dustin and Cody tried to help. As the internet has had much fun with, one of them was VERY bad at throwing punches. At least they cut away from that angle was quickly as they could.
There were three points to this segment. The first was to show us that John Silver & Alex Reynolds have joined the Dark Order. The second appears to be to kick off a feud between the Dark Order and SCU/the Elite.
The third one was to emphasize that Adam Page is no longer part of the Elite by having him not show up when Kenny and Cody (and even peripheral member Cody’s brother Dustin) did. The misstep here, however, is that someone else didn’t come out to help who should have: SCU’s third member Christopher Daniels. That should be just as much of a sign of dissension as Page not helping his former pals, but this went uncommented-on, and I doubt anyone will ever bring it up.
(EDIT: Per Vinny V, Daniels ddi try to make the save and I missed it, so I take back that criticism of the main event segment.)
A decent show from AEW to close out the year. The January 1st show looks pretty damn stacked. So stacked, in fact, that I’m shocked they didn’t try to give it a catchy name.
STUPID ANNOUNCER QUOTES:
1. Jim Ross- “The red-hot Rey Fenix. Nobody’s been better, in my opinion than Fenix in the last couple of months.”
Then why isn’t he a ranked singles competitor? Why doesn’t his record reflect this?
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