AEW INTERNATIONAL TITLE MATCH: Orange Cassidy(c) vs. Shane Strickland (w/Prince Nana)- 7.75/10
This storyline of “Orange Cassidy’s crazy schedule of title defenses is taking a toll on him” would work a lot better for me if most of his challengers had done anything to earn title shots. Defending your title is admirable, sure, but when you are constantly offering title shots to anyone who walks by you backstage, then the wounds you suffer from wear-and-tear and self-inflicted, and it’s hard for me to feel any sympathy for you.
This was the rare title defense where I thought a title change was possible, so this match was quite exciting. OC won with a handful of tights. Yes, it mitigates it somewhat that Swerve pulled the tights first, but I still don’t like a babyface winning that way. The announcers told us that it was OC once again doing something “desperate” to retain his title, but they “told” that story six months ago with Death Triangle and the Trios Titles, and then the next time we saw them, they were just babyfaces again, so why should I care it this time?
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- dumb
The rest of Swerve’s group came out and attacked Orange Cassidy. Then the lights went off for a long time, and when they came back on, Darby Allin and Sting were in the ring, I guess having transported there via magical powers and also magically transporting the heels away. I find this sh*t to be exceedingly dumb. Why not just run down the ramp and make the save like normal?
RICKY STARKS VS. JAY WHITE VIDEO PACKAGE- good
BRYAN DANIELSON VS. KAZUCHIKA OKADA VIDEO PACKAGE- great
CHAOS (Best Friends & Rocky Romero) vs. BLACKPOOL COMBAT CLUB (Claudio Castagnoli, Wheeler YUTA, & Jon Moxley)- 6.5/10
Bryan Danielson was on commentary for this match to build up his match with Okada. At the beginning of the match, Excalibur gave us two reasons why this should feel like a big match, and they were both very good reasons (YUTA left Best Friends to join the BCC, and it’s Danielson’s stable vs. Okada’s stable), but the match just didn’t feel big. And the reason for that is quite simply that Best Friends and Rocky Romero have not been treated like the kind of people who are capable of having matches that feel big and important.
ADAM PAGE & YOUNG BUCKS PROMO- meh
Page came off kind of douchy with his comment that he didn’t see the BCC’s match, but it “sounded great.” They challenged Claudio, YUTA, and Moxley to a six-man tag next week. Danielson responded with a good promo.
KENNY OMEGA VS. WILL OSPREAY VIDEO PACKAGE- This was very good, but it doesn’t feel like what Omega should be doing right now in AEW. He should be feuding with the BCC, Takeshita, and Don Callis. Making this work will require a juggling act that I highly doubt Tony Khan is capable of.
MJF’S IN-RING PROMO IS INTERRUPTED BY ADAM COLE- didn’t like it
This was WAY too non-kayfabe for my liking. Yes, they didn’t outright break kayfabe, but there was way too much stuff about people being respected for having great matches and great interviews, and about companies seeing “top guy potential” in someone or what the company is doing to make someone look cool. The end was very good, but that doesn’t make up for the rest of it.
HARDY PARTY & ETHAN PAGE BACKSTAGE- bad
Matt is going to try to make Ethan Page a better person.
NO DISQUALIFICATIONS TEXAS TORNADO TAG TEAM MATCH: Jungle Boy & Hook vs. La Faccion Ingobernable (“Perro Peligroso” Preston Vance & Dralistico) (w/Jose the Assistant)- 7/10
This was a great weapons brawl. Vance did his best Jon Moxley impression, bleeding all over the place. The babyfaces beat both heels with their submissions at the same time.
TONY KHAN MAKES A BIG ANNOUNCEMENT- snore
Tony announced that the main event of the first episode of Collision will see the team of FTR and CM Punk defeat the team of Samoa Joe and Bullet Club Gold when CM Punk pins Juice Robinson. Well… he didn’t say the part about the result, but that’s what we all know is going to happen if you tell us this match, and that’s not what you want for the big first main event of your important new show. This feels like the semi-main event of a New Japan “Road to…” show.
Tony Schiavone referred to those six wrestlers as “six of the greatest athletes ever and in the world.” Really.
DAMON ACE vs. KONOSUKE TAKESHITA (w/Don Callis)- squash
Takeshita had no music to make sure there is nothing to cheer. During the match, the KhanTron played the video of Callis stabbing Kenny Omega on loop. Why is that happening during a match?
DON CALLIS PROMO- meh
He said the stuff you’d expect. Kenny Omega has everything because of him, he’ll get rid of Kenny and the Elite, etc.
ALEX MARVEZ INTERVIEWS CHRISTIAN CAGE- decent
There were a lot of weird noises coming from his locker room. Like, Matanza Cueto noises. It turns out it was just Luchasaurus beating up Brock Anderson because Christian thinks Arn Anderson cost him the TNT Title.
Somebody should tell Excalibur not to call Justin Roberts “the Dapper Yapper” right after what is supposed to be a big heated angle.
AEW TBS TITLE MATCH: Kris Statlander(c) vs. Anna Jay (w/Matt Menard)- 6/10
So Statlander has picked up right where Jade Cargill left off, defending this title against people who haven’t done sh*t to earn a title shot.
Taya Valkyrie was shown watching backstage, and were told that she was “very angry with how things went down ten days ago.” How about if instead of you telling us and also awkwardly showing us watching backstage when there is no reason for there to be a camera on her, let her cut a promo where she tells us how she feels?
Menard was too much of a factor here, because we all knew the belt wasn’t changing hands, so his interference just felt like it was prolonging the inevitable (while also being extremely grating).
Matt Hardy is still letting Ethan Page team with his heel buddies. That’s nice of him.
Also on Rampage will be a four-way AEW Women’s World Title #1 contendership match featuring Britt Baker, Skye Blue (a jobber who always loses, and recently lost an ROH Women’s Title match), Nyla Rose (whose only recent appearance on TV was losing a TBS Title match last week that she did nothing to earn) and Mercedes Martinez, who hasn’t been on TV in forever.
TONI STORM & RUBY RIOTT PROMO- boring
They tried to built up the title shot that will result from the aforementioned four-way. They failed at doing so.
JUICE ROBINSON & FTR ARE BARRED FROM RINGSIDE: Jay White vs. Ricky Starks- 7/10
They were on the outside for about a million years without getting counted out. They tried really hard and had a really good minute or two towards the end, but then we got a ref bump and Gunn Club interfering to help Jay White win. Feuding with Gunn Club will only make Starks colder, and winning like this doesn’t make Jay White feel any more important, either.
Yes, there was some good wrestling on this show, but once again, the show was painfully uninspiring. AEW is just plain not interesting.
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