** The Buy In **
Casino Battle Royale, Winner Enters Women's World Title Match - 6.5/10
Entrants: Leva Bates, Faby Apache, Priscilla Kelly, Solandra Royale, Nyla Rose (W), Penelope Ford, Shazza McKenzie, Sadie Gibbs, Big Swole, Britt Baker, Tenille Dashwood, Bea Priestly, Brandi Rhodes, Awesome Kong, Ivelisse, Allie, Nicole Savoy, Teal Piper, ODB, Jazz, and the Joker's spot -- Mercedes Martinez.
This whole match had one big story of building Nyla Rose. She straight up eliminated the first two suits before the following one would come out. The third came with Brandi Rhodes who hid behind her bodyguard Kong. Nyla would continue to destroy and eventually win the battle royale, which some help of Bea's hate on Baker.
Talking about them, Baker and Bea continued their feud steaming from the match of Fyre Fest, and aside from that, there were no other stories going. We had some big ladies facing off and mostly everyone got a spot in.
The match was ok, there was no comedy that people will bitch about. The talent was up and down, some women like Shazza or Kong have really weak looking strikes, but when Bea, Baker, or Martinez are really good.
Private Party vs Los Gueros del Aire - 6.5/10
Good spotty match, Evans made Quen and Kassidy look great. It was mostly back and forward with both teams getting a chance to be on top for a while. Final minutes were good with some big spots. PP won with the Gin and Juice. Commentary built the fact that PP are on their way to face off with the Bucks, so they needed some building, and it helped that the fans are responding to them, they're getting to know their stuff, reacting to their spots, chanting gimmicky chants to them.
Post-match - Angelico and Evans shaked hands with PP, but they were visually annoyed, and then consolidated the turn by attacking them from behind. Let's be honest, heel Jack Evans is the best Jack Evans.
Wardlow Vignette - Wardlow is from the Pittsburgh are and i'm INCREDIBLY surprised that WWE didn't snatch him up first. Back in 2015, I reviewed ICW's Caged Fury 2015 and referenced that after seeing Wardlow, this was where Vince was getting all his big dudes (see Logan Shulo aka "The Drifter" Elias). Vignette showed him beating up a ton of dudes in a parking lot. Action and cinematography looked great.
MJF Promo - I don't blame this man. He had some comments about tonight's Cody vs Shawn match and explained that he's not wrestling tonight because he didn't want to.
A Boy And His Dinosaur & Marko Stunt vs. SCU - 7/10
SCU did a great job at making Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus look legit. Stunt was more of the spot monkey coming in only for high spots. Jungle Boy was the babyface in peril for most of the match, Luchasaurus had the big hot tag, and last minutes were mostly back and forward spots. SCU won with the BME on Jungle Boy. I really really want to see Luchasaurus go heel and become AEW's Kane.
AEW World Championship No. 1 Contendership Match
"Best Bout Machine" Kenny Omega vs. "The Bastard" PAC - 9/10
When it comes to a straight up singles match, this was the best match, but being put in the second spot was a killer, by the time the show ended, I couldn't remember half of this match. Story they're telling here is that Omega's head seems to be out of his game and he is making it up by acting all cocky, but if you're going to be cocky, for the love of God, don't do it against a freaking Bastard like PAC!
They mostly went back and forward and had some sick barrier looking spots, I was hurting for their ankles. Finish saw Omega go for the One Winged Angel, but PAC blocked it and transitioned into the Brutalizer and passing out Omega for the win.
Cracker Barrel Clash Three Way Match
Darby Allin vs. Jimmy Havoc vs. Joey Janela - 7/10
The usual weapons match these guys were going to have, I guess the only new thing here was Darby doing the trashcan coffin drop with a barrel this time around. It looked great because it exploded awesomely. Havoc looked awesome in my eyes, he looked far more deranged that the other two, he started the match stapling himself. Darby was the usual spot monkey, and Janela was the glue putting everything together. Havoc won over Janela with the Acid Rainmaker over another barrel. This was sadistic, but completely PG.
Winner Gets Bye In The AEW Tag Team Title Tournament Match
The Best Friends vs. The Dark Order w/Minions - 7/10
The wrestling here was perfectly fine, tons of cool looking moves, and Trent? as the babyface in peril was good. Aside from that, it was a normal tag match structure. DO won using Fatality on Chuck for the win. Best Friends theme may be my favorite AEW theme right now.
Post-match - The DO attack the Best Friends and are taking Trent away when the lights go out, Orange Cassidy appears, takes out the Minions with a dive. BF and Cassidy hug it out in the ring. In their backstage promo, they were pissed, but agreed that they had gained a friend, which has me wondering if we're going to start building trios considering the earlier post-match promo by SCU. Orange Cassidy's pop was huge.
Winner Enters Women's World Title Match
Hikaru Shida vs. Riho - 7.5/10
I LOVE Shida's look, she just looks awesome. Story of the match was that Shida had the upper hand thanks to her size and power advantage, but Riho worked slowly from underneath going after Shida's abdomen with foot stomps. As Riho managed to hurt Shida enough, she started chasing some kind of roll up win or any strike big enough to get a flash pin, which, after a couple of near falls, she finally got with a great looking head-scissors into a roll up pin.
I expect Riho vs Rose will be main eventing the first AEW episode? It be a good move.
Post-match - They showed a crying Shida right before Nyla Rose came out and had a stare down with Riho.
Cody (w/MJF) vs. Shawn Spears (w/Tully Blanchard) - 8/10
Blanchard was soo fucking good, this is how managers should be, everyone aspiring to be a manager needs to watch this match and study Blanchard. His positioning on spots, his comments, the tactics used.
Match was good, ok wrestling, but great storytelling all around. Story was that Spears had a great manager, while Cody had chosen his training friend MJF, who was going to back him up, but his lack of experience opened a lot of doors for Tully and Spears to take advantage. Eventually, the match led to Tully and MJF getting involved in the match and fighting, which distracted everyone, allowing for Arn Anderson to come down, Spinebuster Spears, causing Tully to be bewildered and followed after him, leaving Spears without the managerial eye and thus Cody now had an easier way for a comeback, hitting CrossRhodes for the win.
As a side point, I'm gonna start calling Cody as "Mr. Entrances". He just loves getting his special entrances. And on a related note, Fuck Cody for doing fireworks next to his dog, Farroh was freaking out.
AAA World Tag Team Title Escalera De La Muerte Ladder Match
The Lucha Brothers (c) vs. The Young Bucks - 9.5/10
This was fucking crazy, they did spots that I hadn't seen in ladder matches before. Stuff like Pentagon hitting a Slingblade from one side of the ladder to the other. There was a Canadian Destroyer from the ladder into a table. Fenix and Nick did dueling splashes from the top of ladders to tables in the floor. There was a Spike Fear Factor on to a ladder bridge, which led to the finish with Penta and Fenix claiming their titles.
There was a scary spot with Nick doing the big ladder tilt through a table outside spot, but as Nick went flying, his legs got caught on the ropes, making him go head-first into the tables and almost missing them altogether. Another less scary, but still ugly spot came after Matt took off Pentagon's mask off, which led to Pentagon tilting the ladder on him, provoking Matt to fall back first to the ladder.
Post-match - Kennedy and Clinton hit the ring, attacked Lucha Bros, hit a move really really similar to the 5150 from Impact's LAX, and then unmasked to reveal Ortiz and Santana, who the commentary sold as "Los Boricuas" and "Los Puertoriqueños", so I don't know what they're being called. Fans popped for them.
Escalera de la Muerte is a AAA thing, but I wonder if AEW will continue to use that name for the TLC/Full Metal Mayhem/Ladder War style match.
I can remember at least three times that the crowd visibly gave standing ovations to the match along with a ton of the usual chants.
Singles Match for the Vacant AEW World Title
Adam Page vs. Chris Jericho - 8.5/10
They did the big introductions and all. Referee Aubrey is making history by being the first women to referee a world title main event match. Page came out on a horse, so that was kinda cool.
This was a solid match and what it had to be. It was pretty brutal, heavy on striking. Page started hot, but after a great Shooting Star into a Codebreaker spot outside the ring, Jericho gained control and worked over Page in front of his family. Page landed a big discuss elbow that busted Jericho open, playing into Page's injury at the hands of Jericho. Last few minutes saw Jericho constantly use the Walls of Jericho as Page hit the Deadeye and the Buckshot Lariat, but neither man could put the other down. Finish finally came out of nowhere when Jericho landed the Judas Effect, which I kinda thought Page would just kick out since it was out of nowhere, but they're protecting that move and Jericho pinned him for the 1-2-3.
Something that I hate from WWE is how the winners of matches don't sell for the post-match photo ops, but I thought that the ending of the show needed that one legendary looking picture of Jericho holding the championship. Maybe a big promo a la New Japan. He did cut a promo backstage, but that don't count.
Great solid show, but some of the matches around felt like they could have taken place at the TNT shows. It was really packed when you think about the storylines developments, since most matches had some sort of title contention going on, Cody vs Spears, the 3-Way, and the 6-man opener were the only matches that didn't really have a direct relation to a championship, but even then, two of those matches had some storyline built from the previous shows.
Well, now we wait. One Month before AEW TV finally starts and we can properly judge what they got.
Something I noticed throughout the show that I liked was that they're showing the relevant win/loss records for each wrestler during their entrances along with their name tags.