** The Buy In **
Britt Baker & Maki Itoh (w/Rebel) vs Thunder Rosa and Riho - 7/10
They had Maki Itoh, knowing that their fanbase are marks for her, and they had her in the pre-show. I'm dreading American fans and booking ruining her and making her a meme.
The match was really good, all pairings worked for me, and understandably, the fans were hot for everyone. Baker got the win after Rebel interfered, so I'm guessing they're gonna rebuild Britt for a title match soon. I have to imagine that they're at least going to have Itoh in for this week's tapings.
** Main Show **
Show is starting and Jim Ross is already losing his voice. It's gonna be a long day for him.
AEW World Tag Team Championship Match
The Young Bucks (C) vs The Inner Circle (Chris Jericho & MJF) (w/WARDLOW) - 7/10
I still hate it that everyone sings Jericho's theme, included the babyface wrestlers at ringside. I hope they sing his song when he pins them. Bunch of marks.
This was the same Bucks match I've seen since their last year in Japan, with Matt being the babyface in peril, with a hurt back, building to a big awesome comeback from Nick Jackson, who ends up having to do a lot of the work himself. That comeback came when MJF started getting cocky, and the whole match turned around for him and Jericho. At the end, the Bucks hit the Meltzer Driver on Jericho for the win. It was a good match, but not memorable at all.
Casino Tag Team Royal
Natural Nightmares vs Dark Order (5 & 10) vs Santana & Ortiz vs Matt & Mike Sydal vs Dark Order (EVIL UNO & Stu Grayson) vs Gunn Club vs "Pretty" Peter Avalon & Cezar Bononi vs Varsity Blondes vs Bear Country vs Jurassic Express (w/Marko Stunt) vs Butcher & Blade (w/Bunny) vs Private Party vs SCU (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian) vs Death Triangle (PAC & Rey Fenix) vs Dark Order (Alex Reynolds & John Silver) - 6/10
Rumble rules, but with tag teams. Teams are eliminated when both members are gone. Straight and simple. 90 seconds between teams, and there is a clock front center of the hardcam, so there's no gimmicking the times. Winning team gets a title shot at the Young Bucks for the world tag team titles.
Sydal brothers were the first team eliminated, but #5 was the first elimination. Second team eliminated was the Gunn Club after QT turned heel on them and Dustin Rhodes, which would make it awkward if Rhodes won, as commentary brought up.
Commentary explained that the SCU rule to stop wrestling if they lost a match wouldn't count here since it wasn't in the proper spirit of tag team wrestling to just have a bunch of people out there.
For AEW rumble matches, this had to be the weakest I've seen, they're usually really good to book something for everyone, but here, a lot of teams just filled out spots. The match was kinda meh until the last four wrestlers, most teams came in and out and didn't do a single mark. I felt that of the teams that got eliminated before the final four, Bear Country and B&B looked the best, or at least looked most active.
Final four were Silver, Fenix, PAC, and Jungle Boy. Silver and PAC got eliminated, so it came down to Fenix and Perry, which I immediatly hoped for a singles match between them, since this pair up didn't last long. Fenix ended eliminating Perry for the win. Death Triangle vs Bucks imminent.
Biggest pop of the match was easily for Silver and Reynolds.
Paul Wight Interview - Show said that he had the big scoop and only a couple of people knew. He gave us a hint, that is someone that no one can outwork the new signing.
AEW Women's Championship Match
Hikaru Shida (C) vs "Aniki" Ryu Mizunami - 8.5/10
I really liked this, it's nice to see a match between two people that like each other, that want to get in a fight with each other, and are happy to do so. Wrestling people like Mizunami is what Shida has been missing for a while, people that can have good matches with her and that have no drama to it, as close as it can get to an open challenge, but with people with some wins behind them like Mizunami.
The match was mostly paced like a Japanese match, but skipping most of the early 'measuring each other' stuff. It was really strike intense, a lot of forearms, a lot of knees. The final minutes, the match picked up an even faster pace with a couple of good near falls. At the end, Shida won with the corkscrew Tamashii. Favorite match so far.
Post-match - Nyla Rose came down and attacked both women. Shida made the save. Baker, Itoh, and Rebel all joined in the beat down. Eventually, Rosa ran down for the save. This is gonna be our 3-on-3 on Wednesday before Itoh and Ryu go home.
Best Friends Interview - They were barely going to talk when Miro, Sabian, and Ford attacked them. Miro put Chuck through a window before dragging him to the ring. Taylor called for the match to start.
Miro & Kip Sabian (w/Penelope Ford) vs Chuck Taylor & Orange Cassidy - 6/10
Taylor is busted open, or at least has blood from the window spot, the cut seemed to be at the top of the nose, close to the eye, and maybe the arm, that's at least were I saw blood.
Story here was that OC was taken out backstage too, so Taylor had to wrestle by himself for a while against both Miro and Sabian. Eventually, OC came out and took most of the second half of the match against Miro. There was a big development which may play out later, where Miro straight up hurt Ford by tossing OC on top of her. After that, Miro won the match by himself, submitting Taylor with the clutch.
The Inner Circle Interview - They were asked about losing and what was next. Jericho said that they're an army and will change their battleplans. Jericho said there will be a War Council on Wednesday. MJF seemed ready to drop TIC after this loss. These Inner Circle gimmicks have become Jericho's gimmick.
"Hangman" Adam Page vs "Money" Matt Hardy - 7/10
This was a really well wrestled match, but I just got bored. The match was long and spotty, Page was out there doing moonsaults to the floor. The whole match built to Page being close to winning and Private Party to come out to aid Hardy, Page took them out, but the numbers game was too much, and so the Dark Order ran out to take out Private Party and help Page win.
Post-match - Page and the Dark Order all embraced and celebrated being somewhat richer. If this was the big Page+Dark Order payoff, it was really disappointing, it should had been Page saving DO, or at least have Page do the DO taunt. I'm hoping this was just a hug in the moment, and there's more to come.
Face of the Revolution Ladder Match
Cody (w/Arn Anderson) vs Scorpio Sky vs "Murderhawk" Lance Archer (w/Jake Roberts) vs PENTA 0M vs "Platinum" Max Caster vs "All Ego" Ethan Page - 6/10
There is literally a brass ring hanging for the wrestlers to reach for. Mystery wrestler was Ethan Page, who is an amazing tag team wrestler, but I incredibly dislike him by himself and I'm still salty he broke up The North to be a wrestling meme.
Ok, at this point, I has to be me, I found this pretty boring too for a ladder match, and it went incredibly long, this should had ended a minute later after Cody made his return. Towards the end of the match, people like Page were completely forgotten to me. Sky won at the end.
There was a spot where Penta hit a Destroyer on Cody on a ladder bridge. Cody was taken away by referees and doctors. He took most of the match off and then came back at the end. He ended up getting his ass kicked by Archer and Caster. It took a while for the spots to get entertaining. A lot of the ladder spots like cutters from them, looked super botched, I noticed it at least with Sky and Cody. None of the spots felt unique or innovative.
Surprise Signee Debut - It's Christian Cage, and while I'll always love Cage, it's not 2005, this is an incredibly underwhelming hype. He also just came out, walked around, posed, and that was it. WTF? Batista or CM Punk aside, people hyped themselves too much for this and it was always going to be underwhelming, but even with that said, there are levels of underwhelming, and I think Cage is just way to low on that tier list.
Brian Cage & Ricky Starks vs Sting & Darby Allin - Good.
This was cinematic and it looked fantastic, the production value was great. The transitions between Sting and Starks wrestling in the ring, to Cage and Allin fighting on the other side of the warehouse great.
This was pretty much a brawl, back and forward, until Hobbs and Hook came down and aided Team Taz. It ended with Cage and Hobbs tossing Allin into a window, leading to all 4 members of Team Taz ganging up on Sting until Allin recovered enough to toss Sting his bat. Cage was finally eliminated when Darby dropped an elbow from a second floor on top of Cage, through some flooring. Sting pinned Starks with a Scorpion Deathlock.
When it comes to cinematic matches, this was good. It looked grimy, but with a lot of quality. The fighting looked great, the drama played out nicely, and the big spots looked legit.
AEW World Championship Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch
Kenny Omega (C) (w/Don Callis) vs Jon Moxley - 7/10
Moxley came out with a fake Onita jacket. He should have come out smoking with a chair in hand. Referee Bryce is dressed like the old school Japanese referees would dress for these matches. Mox drinking right before the match was a great touch, if only he could smoke too.
Really good match with the cheapest and lamest explosions I've seen in wrestling. You can't promise an explosive deathmatch, and then wimp out of bigger explosions. At the end of the day, it was a great barbed wire massacre match, but a terrible exploding deathmatch. The drama that surrounded the barbed wire and dodging it was great, but as the match went on and the cheap explosions got exposed, the match just started to lose credibility. At the end, when things were getting good, the Good Brothers came out and we had an EVIL/Togo finish that sucked the air out of the match.
Post-match - Omega, Anderson, and Kingston all stayed in the ring and handcuffed Moxley so he couldn't escaped the 30 minute explosion. Eddie Kingston came out to protect Mox, for what should had been a great babyface turn, except the explosion was lame, and so no one will talk about Kingston at all.
Ok show from AEW, but for the big pay-per-views they do a year, this felt in the weaker tier, if not the weakest of them all. I'm walking out and my favorite match was the women's match, so I may have fully become a Joshi mark now. Truth is, a lot of matches felt overplayed overdone, some stuff didn't live up to the hype, and some stuff was just boring or lame.