TOOTH & NAIL MATCH:
Big Swole vs. Dr. Britt Baker, DMD - -2/10
It used to be that with these cinematic matches, AEW would at least be smart enough to tell us how to win, but not this time. We’re in full WWE mode where they’re just fighting.
We immediately got a taste of what this will be, as Rebel pretends to be an attendant and wants Swole to sign in, as if Swole were supposed to believe that Britt’s office was open on a Saturday night on Labor Day weekend, with no patients except for her. And Rebelis suing a funny voice because she thinks that will help her.
Anyway, people got hit in the head a lot. A lot of this was also Swole walking around and talking trash. They tried to go for a goofy horror movie vibe, but it failed in the horror part because so much of this feud has been goofage.
We’re about two minutes in and Britt is always scared and trying to get in her car and leave. It’s shockingly light outside for something supposedly taking place live on this Saturday night in the eastern time zone. They’re doing moves on Britt’s vehicle, but Swole’s constant creamy is just too googfy. The heels tried to throw Swole in the dumpster but Rebel got thrown in the dumpster instead.
Oh. Apparently you win by pinfall. That would have been nice to know in advance.
Britt randomly found a drill on the floor. Not a dental drill. What she found was the sort of thing you use to build furniture. It was just randomly sitting there on the floor of the office. Britt tried to inject Swole with some sort of anesthetic but Swole made Britt stab herself with it instead.
Big Swole, apparently possessing a single-digit IQ took one of Britt’s diplomas off the wall and shove it in Rebel’s arms like a Van Daminator set-up and then punched through it to punch Rebel in the face. The problem with that is that this required her to punch through the glass/fiberglass/whatever casing is in front of the frame to protect the diploma. Even if we ignore the fact that this only increases Swole risk of injuring herself, this was still moronic because all punching through something will do is REDUCE THE FORCE WHEN YOU MAKE CONTACT WITH THE TARGET BEHIND IT! It would have hurt Rebel much more to just PUNCH HER IN THE FACE.
Big Swole then forced Birtt into a chair and put a laughing gas mask over her face, and Britt eventually passed out. Do you want to know what Swole didn’t do? TURN THE F*CKING GAS ON!
This was just more dumb goofage from everyone (even Swole’s trash-talking came off like stuff you’d expect to hear from a stereotypical African-American woman in a comedy, calling her enemies “ho” and “trick” all the time), and most of it was jokes we’ve already seen in this feud. There were some good moments in the fighting, but not nearly enough to drown out the bad.
YOUNG BUCKS vs. A BOY & HIS DINOSAUR (w/Marko Stunt) - 8.25/10
The idea here is that the Bucks are aggressive and hyper-focused. The Bucks managed to stick do that and not do any of their usual goofy stuff, and as a result, the match was excellent. Marko Stunt was annoying them, and eventually progressed to full-on cheating. If Marko Stunt isn’t going go be a heel manager, he just needs to go. Fortunately, he at least did eat a superkick here, as he deserves.
You know, for someone who claims to have such a respect- and even preference for old-school wrestling, Jim Ross seems to not have gotten the note where you don’t say things that hint to the audience that some things are fake. Why does he insist on telling us that the Young Bucks are “real brothers” and not “wrestling brothers?” Just say that they’re brothers and move on! Don’t say something that turs wrestling into a synonym for fake.
CASINO BATTLE ROYAL FOR A SHOT AT THE AEW WORLD TITLE - 4.5/10
Sonny Kiss eliminated Hager, so at least that is relevant to a storyline. LAX and Best Friends brawled. Archer eliminated Ortiz in a way that made him look like a total goof.
Matt Sydal was in the joker position. I should be excited for this, but the way that so many of AEW’s recent bring-ins have been used has me quite cynical. Sydal knocked Spears out on the outside with a beuautiful knee strike… and then immediately slipped while going for a shooting star press and almost landed on his head. I don’t know if this was a shoot or more AEW “comedy,” but either way, it’s not good for Sydal to essentially Shockmaster himself.
Brian Cage put Darby Allin in a body bag poured thumbtacks in before powerbombing him over the top rope to the ramp. This could have been a HUGE angle, but they wanted it in the middle of a battle royale.
This was a battle royal that went FAR too. This concept needs to be dropped. Archer won, which doesn’t really interest me in any way. It’s going to be Moxley being the other big monster that they brought in only to drop the ball with within a few months.
BROKEN RULES MATCH WITH MATT HARDY’S CAREER ON THE LINE:
Matt Hardy vs. Sammy Guevara - 4.5/10
Matt is in the football stadium, demanding Sami’s presence. Why is this match not starting in the ring? Sammy shows up on the golf cart. He’s painted a “no Matt Hardy” symbol on the front of it, so I guess we know who is behind Retribution.
Sammy tries to run Matt over, but Matt moves and Sammy runs through a conveniently placed pile of soft things like empty cardboard boxes. Matt pulls Sammy out of the golf cart and starts punching him. In the background, we see a bunch of attendants removing the golf cart. Oops.
Our next ridiculous coincidence is that there happens to be a scissors lift right next to a merch table. Why this merch table 1) not being manned, 2) has no merch other than facemasks and one giant picture of Moxley, and 3) is located in THE FOOTBALL STADIUM NEXT DOOR THE ARENA WHERE THE FANS ARE is never answered.
They missed one of the two tables and Matt appeared to hit his head on the floor. Ross claimed that floor was made of concrete, but it looked to me like wood paneling, as concrete tends not to have uniform lines going down it in one direction.
Matt was able to get back up and brawled with Sammy a bit, but a doctor came rushing over and they even had a second referee and some other guy come and take Sammy away. Aubrey called for the bell, presumably stopping the match for the sake of Matt’s health. After being checked on for a few moments, Matt just stood up and appeared to be fine. He’s demanding to fight Sammy. We still haven’t gotten an actual announcement of the result, which is straight out of the WWE wishy-washy bullsh*t playbook.
We get a break for a few minutes with the announcers talking about the importance of taking care of someone’s health in a situation like this and saying that “sometimes you have to be an adult.” Then Matt finds Sammy and they just start brawling again, and apparently the match is back on. So much for being adult, huh?
Whose idea was this dumb sh*t, and why was that person not fired the moment it was suggested? What was the purpose of this? What was gained from it? Good job, AEW. For about sixty seconds, you had us all convinced that Matt was shoot hurt, and to do that, you had to give up several minutes of match time. Do you really think that was worth it?
And that is, of course, assuming that Matt really wasn’t hurt, in which case AEW would basically be forfeiting that moral high ground over WWE that their fans seem to love so much.
They climbed up a tower, and Matt punched Sammy off and he fell through what was clearly a gimmicked stage (and it was extremely clear how gimmicked it was from the above show they showed us later) and that was the finish. So that’s another loss in a big situation for Sammy, and in a match that was basically nothing but two or three big bumps and felt like it had just as much time spent not fighting as there was fighting.
(And no, from a kayfabe point of view, the “we had to make sure he was okay before we could let the match continue” excuse doesn’t work because it’s a f*cking LAST MAN STANDING MATCH!” If you don’t think a wrestler can continue, you don’t pause the match, you just call it. Also, if that was the shoot case, f*cking announce that to the crowd! Don’t not say anything and then come up with an answer an hour later).
AEW WOMEN’S WORLD TITLE MATCH:
Hikaru Shida(c) vs. Thunder Rosa - 7/10
Ross felt the need to shove a plug for his barbeque sauce in the middle of this championship match, so f*ck you, Jim Ross. Ross would also tell us how the Japanese influence has brought the knee strike to pro wrestling. Then, a few minutes later, when Shida did a knee strike, Ross credited the move to Mr. Wrestling II. Why is this man employed?
Speaking of people failing at their jobs, referee Paul Turner is following the wrestling around on the outside and waving his arms an telling them to get back into the ring instead of just counting them out like he’s supposed to.
This match was great, but the outcome never felt like it was in doubt. I would love to see more of Thunder Rosa, and I haven enjoyed her more than pretty much every woman we’ve seen in AEW thus far, but I assume she’s under contract to the NWA for a while.
ALEX MARVEZ INTERVIEWS KIP SABIAN & PENELOPE FORD - They’re getting married on Dynamite, so they’re idiots who want their wedding ruined by interlopers. We should tune in next week to find out who Kip Sabian’s best man will be, because apparently we’re supposed to give a sh*t.
Then he got to plug his Twitch channel, and a “this message has been approved by AEW wrestling” message appears on the screen, because we have to take a shot at WWE. This is the sort of thing that you’re not going to be able to do it if turns out that Matt Hardy really did have a concussion and you let him finish the match anyway because the booking needed him to win. Actually, I wouldn’t mind it if AEW a page out of WWE’s playbook and cut out all of the third-party plugs. Maybe they could even fire the asshole who thought a women’s title match was a good time to shoe-horn in a plug for his barbeque sauce.
THE DARK ORDER (Brodie Lee, Stu Grayson, Evil Uno, & Colt Cabana) vs. MATT CARDONA, SCORPIO SKY, & THE NATURAL NIGHTMARES (w/Brandi Rhodes & Allie) - 6.25/10
Ross is now insisting to me that midcard goof in a midcard tag team Stu Grayson is “the best pound for pound athlete in all of AEW.” How about we save praise like that for people who are either top guys who actually came across as tremendous athletes, okay?
They did stuff. Anna Jay got to run in, but was easily dispatched by Brandi. The match was fine, but went a lot longer than it needed to.
Q.T. Marshall took an assisted powerbomb from SSB, a Black Hole Slam from Brodie, and a top rope splash from Cabana. “What a great finish,” I thought. Then Q.T. Marshall kicked out of what felt like it should have been a death combo.
Brodie demanded a tag from Cabana and got it, then tossed Q.T. over to the corner so that he could fight Dustin. Colt tagged in and missed a moonsault, then got rolled up by Dustin. Brodie Lee yelled at Colt and pushed everyone. Are they really breaking Colt away already? What has even done in the Dark Order?
TONY SCHIAVONE INTERVIEWS DUSTIN RHODES - Great! Dustin cut a fine promo. Tony then told him that he had just been informed by Tony Khan that Dustin will be getting a shot a Brodie’s TNT Title on Wednesday. That Tony Khan seems to work really fast tog et some matches signed but exceedingly slow with others. Dustin then cut a second, even better promo
AEW WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
Adam Page & Kenny Omega(c) vs. FTR (w/Tully Blanchard) - 7.5/10
The heels worked over Page’s stomach and Kenny’s knee. The babyfaces lost as a result of a miscue on their part, then some moves from FTR. The announcers teased that Kenny’s knee may have suffered permanent damage. FTR were jerks and left Page a beer. This match went almost half an hour and really would have benefitted from going less than that by about dive or ten minutes, because it really started to drag at points.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- bad
Kenny teases hitting Page with a table but doesn’t. Then Page collapses towards him but Kenny purposely gets out of the way and lets Page fall on his face. Who is supposed to be the babyface here? Neither of these guys (nor the Bucks, nor FTR) have acted in any way likable during the course of the past few months.
The camera followed Kenny backstage. He walked up to the Bucks and told them he was “done.” The Bucks followed him and tried to talk him out of quitting, I guess? Kenny was angry at them for not walking out with him.
Also, Kenny is moving around pretty well for someone who might have sustained permanent damage to his knee. It’s almost like the announcers were talking out of their asses and this company has no quality control to make sure the announcers don’t push things that they shouldn’t be pushing.
MIMOSA MAYHEM MATCH:
Chris Jericho vs. Orange Cassidy - 7.5/10
There were decorations by the mimosa vats, including a cocktail tray so flimsy that it shattered into many pieces when Jericho hit OC in the head with it. These two worked the match extremely well. That doesn’t post-facto justify sticking arguably your top guy in this goofy feud with Goofball von Goofington.
AEW WORLD TITLE MATCH WHERE THE PARADIGM SHIFT IS BANNED:
Jon Moxley(c) vs. MJF (w/Wardlow) - 7/10
MJF worked over Moxley’s arm. Moxley tossed MJF into the ringpost and he bled a lot. They got their big moment out of the stipulation by having Moxley set up for the Paradigm Shift but the referee reminded him that it was illegal, and that hesitation allowed MJF to counter into the Salt of the Earth. The finish saw Wardlow throw MJF the diamond ring and distract the referee, but Moxley was able to stop the shot with the ring and hit a Paradigm Shift behind the referee’s back. Yes, MJF was trying to cheat so it doesn’t bother me that much, but I would still have rather had Moxley win without resorting to something he had promised not to use.
This was a decent show from AEW, but when you’re trying to be a work-rate promotion, that’s really not enough. Combine that with the few stinkers and the things that went on a lot longer than they needed to, and you have what turned into a very hard show to sit through. They really need to tighten things up, both in terms of card-construction and Creative.