SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
•Young Bucks vs. Hangman Page & Kenny Omega vs. Santana & Ortiz vs. Best Friends – HIT: The crowd is way more into Hangman Page since he started the drinking gimmick. The production showed several Hangman signs in the crowd and according to those who attended the show, he had the loudest of anyone introduced to the in this match. AEW is clearly setting up some sort of turn with Hangman that may get to its next chapter with the Tag Team Championship match next week. Before the turn on Omega, they teased a potential match with The Young Bucks which wouldn’t happen until after next week. But this match didn’t get bogged down with that storyline and all teams put in a tremendous effort for a great match. With all the teams, it got chaotic at times even knowing who the legal participants were. That didn’t matter to the live crowd as they were with it the entire way and ate up every spot.
•Cody’s Response to MJF – HIT: What else can I say other than Cody continues to come off as a star. He maintains a confidence and swagger that went untapped during his WWE tenure. This wasn’t in the realm of Cody’s recent great promos because at times it felt disjointed. He went through the list of stipulations before he receives his match against MJF at the Revolution pay-per-view. It seemed like he wanted to go in order of how they were listed out on the titan tron, but it felt like he wasn’t hitting the crescendos at the right time. This is a minor criticism because the fans were into it all the way and reacted positively to Cody’s jabs at MJF.
•Kris Statlander & Hikaru Shida vs. Brandi Rhodes & Mel – MISS: Saying this match was bad is putting it lightly. Everything was off from clunky sequences to multiple blatant missed spots. Nobody came out of this match looking better. I’m confident that Kris Statlander and Hikaru Shida will recover, but I don’t know where the Nightmare Collective goes from here. The act has been rejected by the crowd and it’s made up of talent who either can’t work or too beat up to be a difference-maker.
•Sammy Guevara vs. Jon Moxley – HIT: Sammy Guevara’s ceiling continues to rise each week. His role in the Jon Moxley/Inner Circle segment was eye opening with his character work and top-notch selling. He got in quite a bit of offense on Moxley again showing what he is capable of, but he is going to need to start getting wins on lesser opponents. Moxley is on his way to a Championship match so a win for Guevara would’ve made no sense, but Guevara would be the ideal candidate to hold a mid-card championship. I’m glad that AEW followed up on Moxley in the car giving reason for him duping The Inner Circle. The beat down by The Inner Circle post match was brutal and a great setup for Moxley at the end of the show.
•MJF & The Butcher & The Blade vs. DDP & QT Marshall & Dustin Rhodes – HIT: At 63 years young, Diamond Dallas Page looks fantastic. He seemed to be having the time of his life being back in the ring for the first time in several years. He did all of his signature spots and looked credible making this match an excellent advertisement for DDPY. Dustin continues to look great during his career renaissance and QT had a good outing as well. MJF is nowhere near the top level of workers in AEW, but he will never need to be. His antics make him one of the most entertaining performers in the business. I’m really looking forward to seeing him in a big match setting. Cody is a great performer to work with because of how he is able to tell a story instead of relying on athletic moves. He has brought out the best in his opponents such as Nick Aldis, Dustin Rhodes and Shawn Spears. None of them are thought of as great athletic workers, but had some of the best matches of their careers working with Cody.
•Pac vs. Darby Allin – HIT: Solid Dynamite main event. Darby Allin took a tremendous amount of punishment which led to some bruising and deep cuts during the match. It’s too soon for Allin to be near the championship after his match with Chris Jericho from a couple months ago. Pac is ready to step-up as a main event heel. He has a unique look and ring style that truly earns him the name of “The Bastard”. His match with Moxley with Moxley next week to determine the number one contender for the AEW Championship will surely be nothing short of a great match. Moxley is fire continues to burn brighter with his great reactions like when he came back to the staging area with an eye patch. Moxley rising to the occasion in his higher position proves his potential to be one of the next special stars in wrestling.