SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Jon Moxley Match & Promo – HIT: The match was short and sweet with Moxley not playing to any of Nakazawa’s antics. Moxley’s post-match promo was strong in stating where he stands in AEW and what he’s fighting for. He ended it by laying out a challenge for down the line which would play out later in the show. Before that, we got an update on Kenny Omega’s health. Omega had several wounds from their hardcore match. I liked this behind the scenes look at Omega meeting with a doctor and him selling the damage he took. Perhaps Moxley should’ve sold more of his injuries.
Dark Order vs. Jurassic Express – HIT: At the beginning of the match, Ross kept emphasizing how fast-paced the match was when not a whole lot was happening. The crowd was really into Jungle Boy’s comeback and stuck with it until the end. Dark Order asking Marko Stunt to join them felt out of place. This of course led to the return of Luchasaurus. The crowd rejoiced in his return to the ring, taking out the minions before saving Jungle Boy and Stunt. The match wasn’t the smoothest and the Dark Order recruitment of Stunt was odd, but it led to a satisfying return of fan favorite.
Shawn Spears vs. Darby Allin vs. Librarian – HIT: One of my biggest pet peeves of booking in the last 20 years was the stipulation of three-way matches being no disqualification. It makes no sense why there can’t be a regular DQ. That being said, the crowd was really behind Darby Allin and his now regular entrance of riding a skateboard. Allin got the easy victory over Peter Avalon after Joey Janela interfered to take Shawn Spears out of the match. Allin gave a short post-match promo accepting Jon Moxley’s challenge. I want to keep seeing short post-match victory promos like this because even a few sentences goes a long way in creating a bond with the audience.
Nyla Rose vs. Dani Jordyn – HIT: This was a good return for Rose to introduce her back to the audience. She felt fresh for not seeing her since week 1. Great use of a squash match showing off Rose’s power.
Allie Interview – MISS: Tony Schiavone’s interviews being interrupted have become a parody. At this point, fans should be anticipating a run-in anytime Schiavone points the mic at someone. On top of that, AEW went back to the overused lights gimmick. I had come to accept that they would use it on special occasions for big reveals, but now it has significant diminishing returns. I’m still waiting to see how the Awesome Kong and Brandi pairing plays out, but so far the cutting of the hair has been weird. AEW wants Nyla Rose to play the old Awesome Kong character while Kong is doing a Halloweenesque gimmick with Brandi.
Chris Jericho and MJF Promo – HIT: Chris Jericho was looking to give another home run promo before being interrupted by Cody’s music. It turned out it was MJF who was drowning in boos from the crowd. He went on to explain how Cody is a fake person and tried to use him for Cody’s personal gain. Jericho and MJF went back and forth in a comedic way about MJF joining The Inner Circle. While its not clear if MJF did join, they both agreed that they hated Cody. Cody elected not to turn off the lights and instead made his way to the ring even though QT Marshall tried to hold him back. Cody was able to get the better of Jericho and MJF before the debuting Wardlow took him out. I don’t think you can make a bigger statement with a heel than having him destroy the biggest babyface in the company. Wardlow appears to have created an alliance with MJF so that will give someone for Cody to try to get through on his quest for revenge.
Hangman vs. Pac – HIT: Another really good match between these two. AEW seems to want to go back to protecting Hangman after giving him a number of losses prior to Full Gear. They teased a referee stoppage before Pac hit a Black Arrow followed by The Brutalizer. It appears this feud is over for now with Pac getting the better of Page. Pac should be in contention for the championship, but that may be difficult to figure because of the heel vs. heel match-up with Jericho.
Santana & Ortiz brawl with The Young Bucks – MISS: It looks like Full Gear was only the beginning of the feud between Santana & Ortiz and The Young Bucks. Santana & Ortiz continued their act as crazed wrestlers starting a brawl with The Bucks. I wasn’t wild about the bathroom door opening to reveal Orange Cassidy for a comedy spot, but Cassidy consistently receives big reactions. WWE does similar comedy bits that have undermined the central focus. They continued to fight into the main arena where they duplicated the power bomb off the stage that Santana & Ortiz did to Ricky Morton. At some point, The Bucks have to be the dominating team. They continue to be beaten even though they are touted as one of the world’s best tag teams.
SoCal Uncensored vs. Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara – HIT: For being a championship main event, they sure did a lot to cut into the time of the match. There were multiple commercial breaks and an extended ring introduction. Some good action, but this didn’t have nearly enough time to become something epic. AEW sure seems to be invested in Scorpio Sky. The commentary team put him over big throughout the match. Sky got the inside cradle pin on Chris Jericho, making him the first wrestler in AEW to get a win over Jericho. The fans were pleasantly surprised while Jericho appropriately threw a tantrum at ringside.