WADE KELLER PODCAST - EARLY PREVIEW OF ROYAL RUMBLE 2020 MEN'S MATCH, PLUS 2019 AND 2010 LOOK-BACK ROUNDTABLES
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OCTOBER 9, 2019
BOSTON, MASS. AT AGGANIS ARENA
REPORT BY WADE KELLER, PWTORCH EDITOR
Commentators: Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, Excallibur.
Ring announcer: Justin Roberts
-They opened with pyro and a camera panning the arena. Jim Ross welcomed viewers to the sold out venue. He said it sold out in August in 30 minutes. They went to the announcing trio on camera. Schiavone hyped the Hangman Page & Dustin Rhodes vs. Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara, Emi Sakura & Bea Priestley vs. Riho & Britt Baker, Jimmy Havoc vs. Darby Allin, Jon Moxley vs. Shawn Spears (w/Tully Blanchard), plus the AEW Tag Team Tournament match between Young Bucks and Private Party. Ross then threw to a video package on the Bucks vs. Party match.
(Keller’s Analysis: This is a loaded line-up, and I wish AEW had released this line-up earlier so we could have talked more about it in the week leading up to the show, including more matches on last week’s show.)
-In the preview video, the Bucks said they’ve wrestled the best in the world and they need to keep doing that to prove they are the best. Private Party said they want to prove they can do their thing and justify why they were signed. “We’re going to do what we do and have fun doing it,” Private Party said.
(1) THE YOUNG BUCKS (Nick & Matt Jackson) vs. PRIVATE PARTY (Issiah Kassidy & Marq Quen) – AEW World Tag Team Tournament match
As the Bucks came out first, Ross said the Bucks are the heavy favorites. They showed SCU in the crowd watching. Also, Jack Evans & Angelico. Next, Private Party made their ring entrance. Ross said it’s single-elimination, so if it’s a draw or double-countout, they’re both eliminated. Kassidy ducked two superkick attempts by Nick. Excalibur talked about the youth advantage. Schiavone plugged tickets for the Oct. 30 Dynamite in Charleston, W.Va. Kassidy tagged in a few minutes in and hit a series of flying moves in and out of the ring. The crowd ate it up. Nick and Matt made a comeback and hit a superkicked. Nick came out of the melee with a bloody nose. Matt powerbombed Kassidy on the ramp. In the ring, Nick went after Quen. After a top rope Sliced Bread #2, Nick applied a half crab. Isaiah reached the bottom rope to force a break. Fans chanted “This is Awesome!” Ross said he loves that in AEW, wins and losses count.
Schiavone noted that the Bucks were instrumental in signing Private Party. Ross said when he first saw the Bucks, they reminded him of the Rock & Roll Express. He suggested younger viewers Google them if they don’t know them. Private Party made a comeback, but before Quen could make a hot-tag, Nick yanked Kassidy off the ring apron. Matt then scored a near fall. Ross said it disturbs him the Bucks haven’t finished Private Party yet. Quen then tagged in Kassidy. Justin Roberts announced that ten minutes had elapsed. Ross asked, “What was that?” Excalibur told him. Kassidy began selling a back injury. Matt gave both Quen and Kassidy an overhead suplex into a bridge for a near double-pin of both of them. Ross said if this match goes 20 minutes, both teams are screwed. Matt put Kassidy in a sharpshooter in the ring as Nick took care of Quen at ringside. Kassidy lunged to the bottom rope to force a break. Fans chanted “Fight Forever!” Private Party made a comeback after a blind tag and hit the Gin & Juice. Quen then landed a shooting star press on Matt for a believable dramatic near fall. Kassidy blocked a Meltzer Driver set-up and then Kassidy rolled up Matt for the three count.
WINNERS: Private Party in 14:00 to advance. [c]
-During the commercial break, they showed the continuation of Private Party celebrating amongst the fans while The Young Bucks soaked up the shocking upset loss.
(Keller’s Analysis: First of all, a really exciting well-executed tag match that the crowd ate up and elevated with their enthusiastic almost rabid cheering and chanting throughout. Second of all, I love the split screen where they emphasize the thrill of victory for Private Party and agony of defeat for the Young Bucks. It really made what happened out to be a really big deal. The announcers really built up the idea that the Bucks were so strongly favorited, a win for them was just a matter of time.)
-Chris Jericho’s ring entrance began after the break ended. He walked out with the AEW World Title over his shoulder along with Sammy Guevara, Santana, Ortiz, and Jake Hager. Ross said Jericho might be the shrewdest dude in all of professional wrestling. Schiavone said he’s reinvented himself and earned his longevity. Ross noted Hager is undefeated in MMA. After Schiavone said, “There’s the big strap,” Ross asked if they’re allowed to say “strap” on this television show. Jericho introduced himself as the Champion of AEW with a swagger in his voice. Jericho said they were the highest rated premiere in TNT history “and it’s all because of me.” Hager stood behind him looking like an especially paranoid secret service agent. Fans chanted, “Thank you, Jericho!” He told them shut their mouths and sit down. They did.
Jericho said last week they showed they are next and they are now. Jericho said people want to know if they’re going to keep working together and if they have a name. He said yes. “He looks like a Spanish god,” Jericho said about Guevara. “Look at how sexy he is.” He touted his skills and said he is amazing. “He is on my list,” he said. Then he talked about Santina & Ortiz. “They’re street fighter back ally brutes, and I like it,” he said. “That’s why they made my list.” He then said the giant behind him is Jake Hager is a former World Champion, but more importantly, he’s the roughest, most terrifying, crazy MMA fighter in the world today. Fans chanted “We The People!” Jericho stopped and told them to stop chanting that. “‘We the People’ sucks and it’s dead and buried.” (Big points for that!) “It was a stupid idea from bad creative, and all that’s gone.” (Double points for that!) The crowd erupted in cheers. The fans switch to an “AEW!” chant. He said Hager is undefeated “and that’s a shoot.” He said he’s the toughest dude in the entire wrestling business. He said he’ll face anyone and he’s ready. Hager stood expressionless with his hands behind his back.
He said they are his inner circle. “We are the Inner Circle, baby!” he said. “And we’re taking control of AEW, no matter who thinks they’re in charge around here. We’re in charge now.” He called Cody a “stupid son of a bitch.” He said Cody was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. “I don’t like you and I don’t like your family. I don’t like your father, Dusty Rhodes. I think he was a jerk.” Loud boos. “I don’t like your brother, Dustin Rhodes. I’m going to kick his ass tonight. Most importantly, on November 9th at Full Gear, when you challenge the champion, I’m going to beat the ever living shit out you.” He said then they’re going to walk the streets of Baltimore and have a little bit of the bubbly in celebration. “We’re the Inner Circle. And you’re welcome.”
(Keller’s Analysis: That was an absolute home run promo segment. The way he shut down the crowd’s “We the People” chant was brilliant and needed. AEW crowds shouldn’t be chanting stale WWE gimmicks.)
(2) JIMMY HAVOC vs. DARBY ALLIN – Winner Earns AEW Title match
As Havoc came to the ring, they showed a split-screen interview of Havoc talking about 15 years of wrestling. He said he’s had to go through unimaginable amounts of pain and violence. “But guess what? I like the pain! I like the violence!” He said Darby will feel his pain tonight. He punched himself in the face with both fists, then vowed he’ll become the no. 1 contender. Then they showed clips of Allin giving Cody a Coffin Drop at FyterFest this summer. Ross said he talked to both wrestlers and they told him they want to shed the image of being just “hardcore guys” who use weapons. When Excalibur said Havoc is a sadist and masochist, he told people to have “safe search” enabled if they look up those words. He plugged the Nov. 27 return to Chicago at Sears Center. Havoc bit Allin’s hand, then suplexed him out of the ring to the ringside mat. Back in the ring they exchanged slaps. Havoc stomps on Allin’s hand and then twisted his fingers. Then he bit his fingers. Schiavone said Darby Allin doesn’t mind the pain. (Mick Foley told me decades ago how irritated he was that Schiavone said on air that he didn’t mind the pain.) The screen noted that Jon Moxley vs. Shawn Spears as coming up. They cut to a break at 4:00. [c]
Back from the break, Havoc landed a discus elbow. It looked good on TV, but the announcers covered for it as if it showed some light. Havoc gave Allin a Death Valley Driver into the turnbuckle. He lifted dead weight Allin next gave him a Tiger Driver ’98 for a near fall. Allin surprised Havoc as he complained to the ref with a crucifix for a near fall. Havoc went right back to stomping on Allin’s face. Allin bit Havoc’s hand, then gave him a flip-over stunner. He followed with a flying Coffin Drop to the sternum for the win.
WINNER: Allin in 11:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Allin needed to shine more in that match if the idea was to promote him as a World Title level challenger for Jericho. Havoc dominated almost the entire thing. Solid match, and the biting type stuff isn’t for everyone, but it’s part of breaking from the homogenous WWE Style that can help brand AEW as something different. That’s also the type of match I can promise you people in WWE watched and just shook their head at and ripped into as they convinced themselves their way is the only proper way.)
-The announcers hyped the Jericho vs. Allin match next week for the AEW World Title in front of a sold out crowd. Schiavone said up next was the women’s tag match. [c]
(3) BEA PRIESTLEY & SAKURA vs. RIHO & DR. BRITT BAKER
Excalibur said Sakura is a legendary Japanese women’s pro wrestler. He said she has won titles in multiple promotions, started her own promotion, and has trained some of today’s top stars including Riho. Ross said Excalibur is “the best in the business.” Ross said Riho is 98 pounds and will probably always be the smallest wrestler in her matches. Excalibur said her only loss came when she teamed with Baker previously.
The bell rang at the start of the second hour.
(Keller’s Analysis: From a match placement strategy, it’s interesting they didn’t start this hour with the Jericho tag or the Moxley-Spears match. That said, last week’s minute-by-minute ratings for AEW was so steady, they might not really need to plot out their shows that way as there’s less “channel flipping” than 20 years ago. It’s more about appointment television.)
They fought at ringside early, which set up Riho diving onto both opponents off the top rope to the floor with a body press. They cut to a break. [c]
Back from the break, Sakura hit a Vader Bomb into a senton on Baker. Schiavone asked, “Is that what that’s called these days? That is so cool.” (Not sure Schiavone should admit to how little he’s watched wrestling since Nitro like that.) Baker eventually came back and scored a tapout win over Sakura once she applied a Mandible Claw during a submission hold. They had a post-match fight. The ref got Priestley out of there and yelled at her.
WINNERS: Baker & Riho in 9:00.
-The announcers plugged the main event tag team match.
-A vignette aired on Best Friends. They showed them hugging in the middle of a grass field.
-The Jen Sturger interviewed the Best Friends at ringside. Chuck Taylor said it was the greatest video he’s ever seen. Trent Beretta deferred to Orange Cassidy, who was sitting behind them casually. The crowd cheered. Then they cut away.
-Shawn Spears made his ring entrance with Tully Blanchard. [c]
(4) SHAWN SPEARS (w/Tully Blanchard) vs. JON MOXLEY
They showed snippets of Moxley’s “breaking out of prison” video. The crowd went bonkers for him. Mox went right up to Spears and leaned his head into his head. Spears threw two punches that badly missed. Maybe Mox was just running away. He took early control. Pac joined the announcers and complained about how Allin and Havoc are being given chances at title matches before him. Fans loudly chanted, “Let’s Go Moxley!” when he took over early. Spears fired back with chops and punches, and Moxley invited more, then brushed them off and went after Spears again. When Spears retreated to ringside to consult with Blanchard, Mox attacked him. Blanchard grabbed Mox from behind, but Mox turned around and backed him away. Spears then attacked Mox from behind. Ross asked why the referee let that go when there was blatant interference from Tully. Excalibur said no one wants to see this end in DQ so the ref is using his discretion. Ross said he doesn’t either, but he’s asking a logical question.
On the way back into the ring, Spears snapped Moxley’s neck over the top rope. Tully then shoved Moxley into the ringside steps. They showed Pac at ringside, who then asked about his win-loss record worldwide. He said in the last few years he’s only been pinned once. He said in this age, no one compares to him. He said he wanted to know why he was relegated to the commentary booth with goons like them. Spears gave Mox a Death Valley Driver into the ringside barricade. They cut to a break, but stayed with the action on split screen. [c]
Spears remained in control. Mox came back with a dive through the ropes onto Spears. Then he took it to Mox in the corner. Excalibur called it a “violence party.” Schiavone liked that. Ross said that’s a t-shirt. Justin Roberts announced ten minutes had passed, ten minute remained. Mox rallied, but a Tully distraction opened up Spears to take over again. He scored a near fall. Mox eventually hit the Paradigm Shift for the clean win.
WINNER: Moxley in 12:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: I want to hear from Moxley. The match was high-energy, but somewhat clunky. Some of Spears’s offense just didn’t look good.)
-After the match, Kenny Omega walked out with a barbed wire bat and a barbed wire broom. Omega threw the bat to Mox. Ross said, “Pick your poison.” Fans chanted “Holy shit!” Pac then hit Omega from behind with a chair. Mox was upset. Pac left. Mox turned back to Omega. He threw the bat down and walked away rather than hit Omega while he was down. [c]
(5) SAMMY GUEVARA & CHRIS JERICHO (w/Jake Hager) vs. DUSTIN RHODES & “HANGMAN” ADAM PAGE
Dustin came out first. Then Hangman Page. Then Guevara. Then Jericho, accompanied by Hager. Guevara started, but immediately tagged in Jericho to face Dustin. Ross announced Riho would defend against Baker next week. Dustin and Jericho brawled at ringside. Jericho tried to run away, but Dustin pulled his shirt over his head. Hager stared down Dustin. Dustin threw Jericho into the crowd. When Guevara dove at Dustin, Dustin punched him mid-air. Ross put over the Dustin-Cody match. Hangman tagged in. They cut to a break with Dustin and Page dominating Guevara. [c]
Back from the break, the heels were tagging in and out against Page. Dustin got a hot-tag and leaped off the top rope with a crossbody onto both Jericho and Guevara. The crowd popped and chanted, “AEW!” Dustin backdropped a charging Guevara to the floor. Page then landed a top rope moonsault that the director almost missed. Hager then attacked Page at ringside. Back in the ring Dustin sunset-flipped Jericho for a near fall. Hager ran in and knocked Dustin down as Guevara distracted the referee. Jericho then hit the Judas Effect for the three count.
WINNERS: Jericho & Guevara when Jericho pinned Dustin in 13:00.
-After the match, Page was still selling the attack by Hager at ringside. Page finally got up to stop a three-on-one attack on Dustin. Hager, though, clotheslined him over the top rope. Page then hit Hager with a chair to take control. Guevara and Jericho, meanwhile, were beating up Dustin. Fans chanted “Cody! Cody!” The lights went out. When they came back on, Cody was standing behind Guevara and gave him an inverted DDT. Jericho pointed at Cody “bravely” as Santana & Ortiz charged Cody from behind. Dustin tried to help, but he was soon swarmed. Jericho held up his AEW World Title belt. Then he choked Cody with his tie. MJF ran to the ring in a blue suit and scarf with a chair in his hand. Ross said he’s “Cody’s so-called best friend.” Jericho held up Cody. MJF teased hitting Cody, but instead jabbed Santana, Ortiz, and Jericho with it instead. He played to the crowd and got a big pop. Ross said nobody trusted “the little guy.” He corrected himself and said he’s 230. Jericho then hit a celebrating MJF from behind. The Young Bucks ran out to finally fully even the odds and clear the ring of the heels. They dove onto Santana and Ortiz at ringside and punched away as fans enthusiastically cheered them on. Jericho held up his title belt and smiled. Fans chanted “Be Elite, Be Be Elite!” Darby Allin skate-boarded down the ramp and attacked Jericho with the skateboard as announcers hyped their match next week. Schiavone said that was a first. Jericho told Cody he’s going to pay. He called Darby a son of a bitch and said he’d see him next week. Jericho took the mic and said those stupid idiots don’t know who they’re dealing with. He said they’re in control and they’re taking over. He said Cody is dead and called him “bitch.”