AEW TNT Championship Match
Miro (C) vs Eddie Kingston - 8/10
Really good hoss fight revolving around Kingston going after Miro's neck, and Miro going after Kingston's back. As big as he is, Kingston's style never really goes full hoss, but Miro is so hoss that many spots forced Kingston to look like one. There were some pretty great spots like Miro powerslamming Kingston to the floor, and the near fall after the Backfist to the Future. Finish was all about one of the turnbuckles getting ripped off earlier in the match, but later on, Kingston would try to whip Miro into it, only for Referee Bryce to stop him, and with all that distraction, Miro low blowed Kingston, took him out with a couple of kicks, and got the pin.
So no CJ Perry yet, and no title change yet, but I do think that's for the best. I think this should be a rematch on the NYC show and Kingston should win there.
Jon Moxley vs Satoshi Kojima - 6.5/10
Ok match, they worked it like a Kojima match for the most part, with a lot of striking. Even before the match started, Moxley was being a dick flipping off Kojima for fake heat, and from that point on, I just couldn't get behind the match as much, I just wanted to see Mox get his ass kicked, but I knew it was obvious this was all a set up for whatever post-match happening we were getting. Mox won with the Paradigm Shift.
Post-match - As expected, Minoru Suzuki came out to challenge Moxley. They exchanged some strikes, Suzuki locked in the sleeper, hit the GSP, and left Mox for dead.
AEW Women's Championship Match
Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D. (w/ Rebel & Jamie Hayter) vs Kris Statlander (w/Orange Cassidy) - 6.5/10
Well wrestled, but it was kinda boring. Things seemed to pick up a bit after OC hyped up Baker to get back in the ring, but aside from Statlander kicking out of the Pittsburg Plunge, that was it. The match was slow, not a lot of emotion, kinda like everyone knew that Statlander had no chance at winning and they were just going through the motions until Baker could get her win.
Andrade El Idolo & Chavo Guererro Interview - Marvez asked the dumb question if PAC not making it to the US was their problem, Andrade said it wasn't their fault, but Chavo pretty much revealed that it was him. It seems like the same story between Tenille Dashwood and Taylor Wilde on Impact.
AEW Tag Team Championship Steel Cage Match
The Young Bucks (C) (w/Brandon Cutler) vs The Lucha Bros - 9/10
Lucha Bros had a special hip hop entrance with a person that I highly doubt all the white boys in the crowd will know about, but they sure did pop for Penta and Fenix coming out with penachos.
This was really good, they managed to get A LOT of heat based on a rivalry from almost two years ago. Half of this match was a normal wrestling match with some slight use of the cage, but after some back and forth, they started the real heat segment of the match. Bucks tore Fenix and Penta's masks, Cutler threw in the thumbtack shoe that they used that time Candice LeRae won the PWG tag team titles by herself, and again at Road Rager, and now here. At this point, Penta was busted open, protecting his younger brother, and Fenix was done for, it all painted a picture were the Bros were super babyfaces. The heat was so much that I actually started thinking that there was no way the Bucks could retain at that point, you can't go all that far into one direction to not actually deliver the outcome, and I wasn't wrong, the Bros eventually made a valiant comeback and won after Fenix hit a crossbody from the top of the cage, followed by the spike Fear Factor.
Crowd was hot for the Lucha Brother's win, they've been fan favorites for so long.
Casino Battle Royale - 6.5/10
First suit in were the clubs. The participants were Hikaru Shida, Sky Blue, Emi Sakura (w/Lulupencil), The Bunny, and Abadon. Sky Blue is a local wrestler that got a spot in the match after a good performance at the DARK tapings, and the first thing she did was pose for the crowd and let Abadon eliminate her, who also got eliminated in the same spot by The Bunny. Waste of spot, but she was definitely over. All I could think about this group was get the US wrestlers out of the way and let Shida and Sakura go at it.
Next group was the diamonds. Participants are Anna Jay, Kiera Hogan, KiLynn King, Diamante, and Nyla Rose. Anna Jay went straight for the Bunny. Diamante and Hogan worked together (aww!). Sakura was eliminated here by Diamante, as was Kiera Hogan and King at the hands of Rose. She then eliminated Shida for the first big elimination. When the numbers got low, Diamante and Rose turned on each other and fought.
Next group were the hearts. Thunder Rosa went straight for Rose. Penelope Ford joined The Bunny against Anna Jay. Riho with the biggest pop of the match, and finally Jamie Hayter and Big Swole. Riho seemed to get eliminated by Hayter and it looked like a mistake, she didn't do a single thing. Diamante and Swole also got eliminated, with the latter also leaving without doing anything.
Final group was Tay Conti, who joined the Bunny/Ford vs Dark Order fight. Also Red Velvet who went after Hayter. Leyla Hirsch who took her time and then started slamming people. Jade Cargil and Rebel, who was the first eliminated of the group. Jay eliminated Bunny, Ford eliminated Jay. Jade pressed slammed Hirsch over the top rope for the elimination.
Finally, the Joker card was as expected, Ruby Soho, who got the biggest pop she's ever received in her whole career.
Jade eliminated Hayter and Velvet, but as she celebrated, Nyla Rose eliminated her from behind. Conti eliminated Ford, and also distracted herself and got eliminated by Rose.
Final three were Rose, Soho, and Rosa. The first eliminated was Nyla at the hands of Thunder Rosa, and we're down to what could probably pass as a dream match in the US indies right now, Rosa vs Soho. Crowd went hot for their face off. They had a good Japanese style exchange until the match spilled to the apron. At the end, Soho hit an Enzuigiri and knocked out Rosa.
Soho celebrated with Bryce and it was heart warming.
Match was ok, felt more in control that the previous match, even if we had the Riho fuck up, but the use of ongoing feuds and the a couple of potential new ones that could come out of this.
Chris Jericho's AEW In-ring career on the line.
Chris Jericho vs MJF - 7/10
MJF did the OLD Chris Jericho WWE entrance, just to countdown to a graphic saying "Chris Jericho's Last Match".
This was boring, it was well wrestled, both MJF and Jericho told an ok story, and we even had some big spots like wrestling into the crowd and MJF hitting an Asai Moonsault, but the truth is, the action was just kinda there and neither wrestler is particularly exciting. Given the retirement stipulation, I never really felt the urgency that the stipulation should bring along with, nor the drama, the desperation, anything, this really could had been just a match. First (false) finish came after WARDLOW and Hager brawled outside, but in the ring, MJF hit Jericho with his bat and the Judas Effect, successfully getting a pin, but Jericho had his leg on the ropes. Referee Edwards didn't see it and called for the bell.
Afterwards, referee Turner came out and clarified with Edwards what he saw. After confirmation, the match was restarted. It worked perfectly to get the crowd hyped for a couple of near falls and the finish with Jericho locking in the Liontamer.
Rejoice that Jericho is not joining the commentary table full time.
Post-match - The rest of the Inner Circle came to celebrate with Jericho and I finally realized that for once, none of those guys made it in to the pay-per-view.
CM Punk vs Darby Allin - 7/10
As expected, big energy for Punk's entrance. He came out wearing pants and I think we're all weirded about it. It's like that time that Triple H wore long johns in 2003 after years of trunks. It just feels weird, but I'm guessing it could be because of the same reason that they did it, they're not super happy with the current look of their legs.
I thought the match was a mixed bag, in a way really similar to MJF vs Jericho, in the sense that a lot of the action in the middle was kinda meh, almost boring, but the energy of seeing Punk wrestle for the first time in 7 years, and the last couple of minutes really make up for it. There was an aspect to the match where Punk clearly had the experience and power factory over Darby, but he was go rusty that he didn't have things under control, a Punk on his game wouldn't have deliberately gone for the GTS so near to the ropes. Eventually after some teases and near falls, Punk hit a second GTS in the middle of the ring for the win.
As for Punk, you could see some actual ring rust, some of the positioning wasn't all there, but beyond that, he looked good. I don't know how in purpose it was too, but he was also playing to the crowd a lot, to the point that stuff like laughing when he dodged Darby's coffin drop felt like he was reacting to the moment and not just pretending to look cocky.
Post-match - Sting returned to the ring to help Darby up. Shook hands with Punk, and Punk checked on Darby. I was waiting for a heel turn by any of them, but instead it was just an emotional embrace. Makes sense that the next wrestling promotion that Punk would work after ROH would see Punk follow the Code of Honor.
Paul Wight vs QT Marshall (w/The Factory) - Squash
I understand this match was positioned here not as a buffer between Punk and the main event, but as a time adapter for the show. This was a match that was left to this point in case a match had gone long and they needed to cut it, or if they needed to adjust, you can always have Show slam Solow a couple more times before going for the pin.
This was a squash, Wight squashed all three guys. Wight's movement is really limited, his knees buckled inward. This was a waste of time. People have said that Wight shouldn't wrestle more than 3 or four matches a year, I'd say, he shouldn't wrestle more than half a match a year.
Jon Moxley Promo - He cut a promo about wrestling Suzuki. It was meh. Suzuki skipped the G1 for this?
Malakai Black Promo - He cut a promo on Dustin Rhodes, saying that Rhodes will slip up in the ring if he can't control his feeling in the ring with Black. This was much better.
AEW World Championship Match
Kenny Omega (C) (w/Don Callis) vs Christian Cage - 8.5/10
Jesus, this was pretty brutal. Just the execution of a lot of normal moves, but a lot of them seemed to really take a toll on both guys. Christian wasn't the same after the table spot where he got a cut on his right side torse, Omega looked out after that top rope One Winged Angel. Those were late match spots, but overall, some of the earlier stuff, they were really putting weight into the spots.
I was curious to see how this match would play out, I really expected a bit more references to their match for the Impact title, but instead I felt this was it's own thing for the most part. In a way, this was as Japanese as the match could get, with the pacing, the back and forth between action inside the ring and outside the ring, and the late match near fall trading.
I do have to mention that at one point Anderson and Gallows came down for the interference, but I thought it was just a little bit of drama, it didn't really change the pacing of the match, nor it really affected the result in a way that would make you think Cage deserved another shot, so I really have no problems with it.
Post-match - Bucks and the rest of Elite came out and attacked Cage. Jurassic Express came out and also got taken out. Omega cut a promo about being the best in the world and no one being on his level.
Suddenly, the lights went out and we got Adam Cole BAY BAY. This is why Vince McMahon has been traumatized about no compete clauses for over 30 years. Cole teased fighting Omega, but instead he superkicked Jungle Boy and rejoined The Elite. Cole took the mic and said The Elite is the strongest stable in history and there is No Chance In Hell that anyone will stop them. Omega was closing off the show right before...
BRYAN f'n DANIELSON came out! No Final Countdown though. He sided with Jurassic Express and Cage and a brawl broke out. Dragon hit a German and the Busaiku knee.
A truly fantastic show. I'm not gonna tell you this was my show of the year (it is for US shows), but there is no doubt this will be looked back at as a historic event in professional wrestling, this will be 2021's most important show.
Top to bottom, this was a celebration of wrestling, a show that existed in harmony with its fanbase, the promotion gave the fans what they wanted, and the fans reciprocated will all the energy they had. This was a show were the talent all performed with enthusiasm because they want to be here. Bryan Danielson's post-show words say it all "I loved where I worked before. And still left." because this is what wrestling should be like.
One final thing to say. Suzuki, Soho, Cole, and Danielson in one night. Wow.