Wow… these video packages are REALLY long. The Young Bucks vs. Santana & Ortiz one made Santana and Ortiz look WAY too much like babyfaces.
BEA PRIESTLEY vs. BRITT BAKER, DMD - 6.75/10
In the video package they turned this feud into some TNA-esque bullsh*t where I’m supposed to be angry at Bea because she “broke the locker room code” and tried to hurt Britt too much and didn’t call her afterwards. This promotion is only six months old and we’ve already seen plenty of heinous things and not once has this idea been brought up, expect in the one feud where they need to make that the basis of feud. This angle is at best an ass-pull (at worst, like we’ve seen in TNA, it all but breaks kayfabe with its stupid worked shootiness) and no promotion should ever use it.
The story of the match was Bea working over Britt’s back while Britt chased the Mandible Claw. Britt was a fine babyface and got the win. In what feels like even bigger news Tony Khan must own a time machine, because he somehow managed to get Good Taz to do commentary for this match instead of the Taz we’ve seen for the past decade or so who is just looking to collect a paycheck and get himself over with stupid jokes and “let the pigeons loose!” bullsh*t.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Don’t like it. Brandi Rhodes and Awesome Kong come out to menace Bea Priestley. One of the Executive Vice Presidents of the company ordered one employee to attack another after the match, then PULLED OUT A KNIFE! WHERE THE F*CK IS SECURITY?! Thankfully they just cut off some of Bea’s hair, but for all the world it looked like they were going to stab her. Brandi’s stuff can’t exist in its own little universe where none of the six babyface EVPs take notice of it.
THE YOUNG BUCKS vs. PROUD & POWERFUL- 7.5/10
The Rock N’ Roll Express were shown in the front row. Ricky Morton is sixty-three years old and got powerbombed through the stage thirteen days ago. Can we maybe put him in a neck brace or something? I REALLY hope this match doesn’t get overbooked. Speaking of old people, does someone want to let JR know that a “shot fired across the bow” means a warning shot and is therefore the exact opposite of the “cheap shot”- something that makes contact on an unsuspecting opponent- that JR described it as?
Rick Knox won’t allow a tag because the wrestler on the apron touched the legal partner’s foot with his hand, not his hand. So are blind tags just not a thing in AEW if it all has to be hand-to-hand?
The team trying to make that tag were the heels. Then, moments later, we got a spot where the Ortiz tagged in Santana legally but Rick Knox didn’t see it because he was trying to stop the illegal Young Buck from getting in the ring. Proud & Powerful are supposed to be the heels, aren’t they? So why are they doing legal things and getting screwed over for them?
They did a spot where one of the Bucks got thrown into Ricky and Robert at ringside and Ricky and Robert got all fired up, Excalibur warned that if they got involved it would cause a DQ… but that actually runs contrary to what we have seen in AEW so far, as I can’t recall a single DQ but I can certainly recall people getting involved in matches right in front of the referee (Tully several times, Moxley attacking Omega on the first episode of Dynamite).
Proud & Powerful won clean in eighteen minutes, with the story of the match being Nick’s leg getting worked over. The action was basically what you’d expect. I’m definitely a fan of the booking here, as I think a dirty loss would have been much better for the Bucks to take. Otherwise they are on this redemption path that basically turns into the same story Omega has been on since the promotion started, and I don’t think the redundancy there is good, especially with two principal acts.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Remember that overbooking I was worried about? Well that was this. Sammy Guevara came out and Proud & Powerful started to beat up the Young Bucks until the Rock N’ Roll Express hopped the guardrail and made the save, taking out all three younger heels on their own. Was it cool to see Ricky Morton a Canadian Destroyer and a big tope? Of course it was. But don’t do it right after your heels have just gotten a big win and completely kill their heat!
ADAM PAGE vs. PAC - 8/10
An awesome, brutal fight with a finish that followed perfectly from the finish of their first singles match. The only think I didn’t like here was spot where they fought forever on the outside without getting counted out until it was time for the count-out tease, at which point the rule just suddenly started to be enforced again.
JOEY JANELA vs. SHAWN SPEARS (w/Tully Blanchard) - 7/10
The story was Janela working the head and Spears working the back, with Tully playing the difference-maker. He not only was able to distract Janela at key moments, but also helped Spears hit a Spike Piledriver on the outside. Janela then hit a Death Valley Driver for the win, but I’m happy to pretend that it was really the Spike Piledriver on the floor that put Janela down.
GOLDENBOY INTERVIEWS KIP SABIAN - Sabian explains that he has decided to ally himself with TH2 because everyone else seems to be part of some alliance or another. He has also brought in Penelope Ford to be in his group to “bring some sex appeal to this loser-infested company.” Penelope asks “why be bad when you can be super-bad,” so I assume a feud with Joey Janela is coming. This was good stuff, but really isn’t something I would have spent PPV time on.
AEW WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
SCU (Frank Kazarian & Scorpio Sky)(c) vs. Lucha Bros. vs. Private Party - 6.75/10
Rich Knox is the referee in this match but apparently in this match tags that are not hand-on-hand do count. Jim Ross claimed that these teams had “three different styles,” but all I saw here were MOVEZ. SCU won clean.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Bad. The Lucha Bros. attack SCU from behind. Pentagon Jr. grabs a chair but the lights go off, and when they come back on there is a second Pentagon Jr. magically in the ring. Everyone knew who it was, which made the disguise feel silly. The masked man (Christopher Daniels) made the save, eventually hitting Fenix with an Angel’s Wings that Pentagon Jr. had to very obviously try to move himself into the path of just so Fenix could land on him because I guess that makes it cooler.
Not only did I not like the execution here, but I think the booking is rather flawed. We’re keeping this feud going, but then bringing Daniels back right away, giving the babyfaces a man advantage? And this will, of course, result in the Lucha Bros. getting yet another title shot even though they have no cleanly lost two title matches in a row. So much for wins and losses mattering, huh?
AEW WOMEN’S WORLD TITLE MATCH:
Riho(c) vs. Emi Sakura - 6.25/10
Riho was small and agile against her bigger opponent. She kicked out of the roll-up that beat her on Wednesday, then got the win with a roll-up of her own.
AEW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH IN WHICH IF CODY DOESN’T WIN, HE WILL NEVER CHALLENGE FOR THE TITLE AGAIN:
Chris Jericho(c) (w/Jake Hager) vs. Cody Rhodes (w/MJF) - 7.75/10
Also, if the match goes to a draw, it will be decided by judges at ringside. Those judges are Arn Anderson, Dean Malenko, and The Great Muta. JR told us there is no point system, which means that if no one wins in sixty minutes, the fate of the championship will come down to the completely subjective opinions of three men, with no structure of any sort to govern them. I’d rather they just do a rematch than have judges decide.
Cody’s mom interfering should have been a DQ. So should Jericho whipping Cody with the weight belt. Either the weight belt is illegal and it should have been a DQ the moment Jericho hit Cody with it, or it’s not illegal and Aubrey Edwards shouldn’t have taken it away from Jericho.
And can we please not do the stupid shot where a wrestler shoves the referee and the referee shoves the wrestler back? Shoving the referee should be an immediate DQ. A referee should not be shoving a wrestler, either, as that affects the outcome of the match, and does anyone really want to see the babyface win because the heel was an idiot and instead of following up on the babyface he complained about the count and pushed the referee so the referee shoved him into a roll-up by the babyface? I want to see the babyface win because he/she is better than the heel, not because the heel was an idiot and the referee helped the babyface.
Other than that sort of stuff I liked the match a lot, but that sort of stuff drags a match down for me because none of it served any purpose in the match. It was just stuff they did to get a reaction from the crowd, and the match was worse off for it.
They built slowly and traded finishers and did a good job with things and had a great atmosphere and the story of Cody’s injured ribs worked. The finish with MJF throwing in the towel for Cody definitely seems like something that is going to be more than just a way to protect the babyface from having to do a job, which is exactly how you should use a finish like that.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Oh. I guess we’re going there a little quicker than I thought. MJF acts apologetic at first but then hits Cody in the nuts. If he was going to attack Cody, why did he wait until Cody had recovered to do so? Also, I don’t know if I’m missing something here, but the announcers are acting like MJF is Cody’s protégé or something, and I have no memory of anything like this ever happening.
LIGHTS OUT MATCH:
Kenny Omega vs. Jon Moxley - 7.25/10
JR has a damn good point in asking why the referee Moxley attacked has been assigned to Moxley’s match when there are so many other referees in the building. Fortunately this did not affect the match in any way. The match was a bunch of progressively scarier deathmatch spots. By the time they were slicing each other with broken glass I found this pretty hard to enjoy. I like a no DQs match as much as anybody, but I don’t like people just cutting each other and taking bumps on the silly contraptions.
This was a very good show from AEW. I think some people will be disappointed by the lack of any real blow-away match, but everything was good to great and nothing was bad. I didn’t like some of the booking decisions and post-match angles, but the wrestling itself was consistently very good or better, so it was definitely worth the time I put into watching it, and that’s the real measure of a good show.