SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
LECLAIR’S AEW DOUBLE OR NOTHING REPORT
MAY 23, 2020
JACKSONVILLE, FL AT DAILY’S PLACE
AIRED LIVE ON B/R LIVE, FITE.TV
Announcers: Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, Excalibur
-The show opened with a video package honoring Memorial Day, as well as a quick tribute to Shad Gaspard. A second package highlighted the shows premier match-ups.
-Excalibur introduced himself, as well as Tony Schiavone and Jim Ross as the camera swept across the ringside area, showing the “crowd” for the show, including Vicki Guerrero.
– Quick backstage promos from each of the competitors in the Casino Ladder Match for a future AEW world title shot. Christopher Daniels represented Scorpio Sky and Frankie Kazarian. Orange Cassidy was flanked by Best Friends.
-Frankie Kazarian headed to the ring first. Dasha explained that a new competitor will enter the match every two minutes. Scorpio Sky headed to the ring next. Ross and Schiavone noted that the match could end before more competitors enter the ring.
(1) FRANKIE KAZARIAN vs. SCORPIO SKY vs. KIP SABIAN vs. DARBY ALLIN vs. ORANGE CASSIDY vs. COLT CABANA vs. JOEY JANELA vs. LUCHASAURUS vs. BRIAN CAGE – Casino Ladder Match for an AEW World title match
Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky began the match by leaving the ring to retrieve ladders. They both quickly thought better of it, returning to the ring and engaging in some quick chain grappling. A giant clock was displayed at the top of the stage, indicating the time remaining before the next entrant.
Sky and Kazarian continued to duck each other’s offense, but eventually ran face first into each other. The timer ran out and Kip Sabian headed to the ring as the next entrant. As he was walking to the ring, Jimmy Havoc attacked Sky and Kazarian from behind with a ladder. Havoc and Sky double teamed SCU, but Kazarian eventually gave Havoc a German suplex onto a propped ladder in the corner.
On the outside, Kip Sabian climbed a tall ladder in front of a prone Scorpio Sky. Kazarian tried to climb a ladder in the ring. Sabian returned to the ring to fight him off. Darby Allin headed to the ring as the fourth entrant.
Allin quickly took out everyone in the match and began rearranging the barricades at ringside. He bridged a ladder between it and the ring. Kazarian tried to attack, but Darby tossed his skateboard in Frankie’s face.
Darby ascended a ladder and attempted to ollie onto Kazarian. Frankie moved, sending Darby crashing through the ladder. Orange Cassidy entered the fold as entrant five.
Cassidy nonchalantly wandered around the staging area, then went to the announcers desk to ask how to actually win the match. “Tony explained this to you like 200 times,” Excalibur said.
Cassidy made it to the ring with about a minute to spare on the clock. He casually grabbed a ladder and stepped on top of it to try to reach the hanging chip. SCU returned to the ring, but Cassidy sidestepped them both. He finally picked up a ladder, but let it topple over.
Colt Cabana headed to the ring as entrance six. He entered into a discussion with Orange Cassidy, but quickly tossed him from the ring to set up a ladder and climb. Kip Sabian quickly pulled him down. SCU tipped the ladder over, jamming Cabana’s fingers as it closed.
Orange Cassidy approached SCI and delivered some kicks. He hit a double pocket dropkick, then dove onto the pair on the outside.
Joey Janela entered at number seven, running down the ramp and flipping onto anyone left standing. Janela hit the ring and took down Colt Cabana, then climbed a ladder. Frankie Kazarian returned and tossed him out. Kazarian began his ascent, but was quickly cut off with a steel chair to the back from Janela.
Scorpio Sky returned, stole the chair, and cracked it over Janela’s back. Kip Sabian returned and climbed the ladder. He and Kazarian traded climbs, tossing each other off and out of the ring. Luchasaurus entered at number eight.
A collection of wrestlers gathered on the outside of the ring. Luchasaurus grabbed Kip Sabian and power bombed them onto them on the outside. Frankie Kazarian attacked Luchasaurus and received a choke slam onto a ladder.
Darby Allin returned. Tony Schiavone wondered if his leg may be broken. He hit a Code Red off the middle rope onto Luchasaurus, then tried to set up a ladder on one leg. The clock ran out on the final entrant.
Brian Cage came to the ring as the final entrant, accompanied by Taz. Cage hopped in the ring and gave Darby Allin an “F10”, as J.R. called it. He tossed Allin from the ring and set up a ladder. Scorpio Sky tried his luck, but got kicked by Cage and tossed from the ring with a massive release German suplex.
Cage gave Joey Janela a deadlift suplex over the ropes. Frankie Kazarian tried to sneak up a ladder, but Cage ripped him off with a neckbreaker. Cage began to climb, but Orange Cassidy attached himself to Cage’s back.
The other seven wrestlers came to pull Cage and Cassidy down. They succeeded, but barely. A brawl ensued, with everyone working together to take out Brian Cage. SCU worked together to drive a ladder into Cage’s face. The remaining wrestlers dragged Cage outside and tossed him into the ring post. They piled ladders and barricades on top of Cage in an attempt to eliminate him.
Kazarian, Sabian, Cassidy, and Janela retrieved a Double or Nothing chip from the entrance stage and piled it on top of the collection, further burying Cage.
In the ring, Colt Cabana was cut off by Scorpio Sky. Sabian dumped Sky over the top rope, then hit a coast to coast dropkick on Cabana. Kip climbed a ladder, but Kazarian tossed a ladder at his back.
Orange Cassidy clipped Kazarian with a leaping elbow. He climbed quickly, but Sabian met him at the top of the ladder. They traded punches. Cassidy grabbed Sabian’s fingers and bent them back, then tossed Sabian onto a propped ladder. Penelope Ford rushed up the ladder to stop Cassidy, but Cassidy let her fall onto Sabian.
Jimmy Havoc pulled Cassidy off the ladder and choked him with his tie. Best Friends rushed to the ring and took Havoc out. Luchasaurus returned and shoved the ladder over. He grabbed Cassidy by the throat, but Orange fought free. He set him up for a choke slam, which, obviously failed.
Marko Stunt appeared in the ring with a mini ladder. He gave Cassidy an assisted chokes lame with Luchasaurus and the ladder for help. Joey Janela retrieved Stunt’s ladder and slammed Cassidy with it. He gave Cassidy a Death Valley Driver off the apron, onto the pile of rubble on top of Brian Cage.
Janela returned to the ring and set up a ladder. Sky pulled him down and gave him a TKO. Sky climbed the ladder. Kazarian shot up the other side. Luchasaurus knocked them both off, then kicked Colt Cabana off the apron. Suddenly, Brian Cage shot up from under the rubble. He and Luchasaurus traded punches and kicks. Luchasaurus attempted a chokeslam, but Cage flipped through it and gave him a power bomb into a ladder propped in the corner.
Cage set up a ladder. Darby Allin returned, but Cage gave him a massive short arm clothesline and a Drill Claw. Taz returned to the ring and shouted orders at Cage. Cage propped a ladder on the top rope and put Allin on top of it. He military pressed the ladder and Allin and tossed him haphazardly to the outside. Cage climbed the ladder and grabbed the chip.
WINNER: Brian Cage in 31:00
(LeClair’s Analysis: Wow. This was wildly chaotic from the onset. The stakes seemed to raise with each additional entrant, and the debut of Brian Cage was immensely effective. Cage made short work of everyone in the match and looked like an absolute monster. It was only when the entire collection of wrestlers in the match got together were they able to slow down his momentum. This match was designed to entertain early with a lot of over talent, and then put a big focus on the debuting Cage. With that said, as the match progressed, the stunts got bigger and more dangerous. While much of it was well controlled, I was a bit perturbed by the unprotected ladder shots to the head, and the risks taken by Darby Allin. The spot at the end of the match looked downright brutal. Hope Allin is alright.)
-Jim Ross and company ran down the rest of the night’s card. They mentioned that no one has seen Dustin Rhodes all day, and wondered whether or not he’d appear for his match.
-MJF headed to the ring for his match with Jungle Boy. Jungle Boy headed to the ring alone.
(2) MJF (w/ Wardlow) vs. JUNGLE BOY
Jungle Boy sold the seriousness of the moment and locked up with MJF. After a break, Jungle Boy flipped out of MJF’s hold. MJF dropped Jungle Boy to the mat, but Jungle Boy kipped up.
MJF left the ring to collect himself, then returned for a tech of strength. He Jungle Boy a stiff knee, then the two mat wrestled into a body scissor from Jungle Boy. MJF broke free and pushed on the knees of Jungle Boy.
MFJ slapped Jungle Boy, which led to a brief flurry of punches that MJF quickly cut off. Jungle Boy floated over a running MJF, but MJF collapsed to the mat in pain, grabbing his knee.
Jungle Boy backed off as medical came to check on MJF. He shot to his feet and attacked Jungle Boy from behind. The announcers admonished him for it. MJF slapped on a side headlock, then an overhead belly to belly suplex. MFJ strutted toward Jungle Boy and got slapped in the face. Jungle Boy caught a quick cross body and tried to capitalize, but MJF elbowed him in the face.
Jungle Boy caught a roll up for a two count. MJF rebounded with a big backbreaker for a two count of his own. MJF worked over Jungle Boy’s arm and whipped him into the corner. He followed up with chops to the chest, screaming in Jungle Boy’s face.
Jungle Boy exploded out of the corner and dropped MJF, holding his left arm at his side. MJF wandered around the ring, trying to get away from Jungle Boy’s chops. Jungle Boy hit a rolling double chop that dropped MJF to the mat.
After recovering, MJF tossed Jungle Boy to the outside and slapped him in the face. He argued with Pineapple Pete at ringside, allowing Jungle Boy to recover and hit a trifecta of dives to drop MJF.
Jungle Boy hit a swinging DDT off the apron and covered for a near fall, broken by MJF’s foot on the ropes. MJF hit a double stomp onto the arm of Jungle Boy, then the two stood face to face in the middle of the ring, trading chops. MJF chopped Jungle Boy’s arm, but Jungle Boy caught him with a super kick, followed by a Destroyer. MJF fell into a cover, but Jungle Boy transitioned into a Crossface at the count of two. MJF slipped out of it, then bit Jungle Boy’s hand.
MJF hit a package driver into a cover for a near fall. Both men rolled onto the apron. Jungle Boy gave him a vicious looking reverse-rana on the apron. MJF collapsed to the floor, staring blankly at the ceiling. “He’s out,” Schiavone declared.
Jungle Boy scooped MJF in the ring tn avoid a count out win. MJF distracted the referee enough for her to inadvertently cause Jungle Boy to crotch himself on the top rope. MJF ascended, but Jungle Boy fought him off. Jungle Boy gave MJF a sit out power bomb off the top rope for a believable near fall.
MJF hooked Jungle Boy’s arms but couldn’t lift him. Jungle Boy rolled through into a cover. MJF countered into a backslide for a two count. MJF elbowed Jungle Boy’s injured arm, then powered out of another roll up attempt. The two traded multiple roll ups, each holding the tights, but MJF scored enough leverage on the final attempt to get a three count.
WINNER: MJF in 18:00
(LeClair’s Analysis: This was a lot of fun. Again, there were a couple of needless risks, but by and large, these two worked a safe match that made a ton of logistical sense and told a great story. MFJ was a slimy heel who underestimated Jungle Boy, and Jungle Boy was the underdog full of heart that came close on multiple occasions. To me, this match showed that Jungle Boy can be a viable singles star in AEW, and gave MJF a great foil to get some extra juice out of his character. Really enjoyed the commentary as well, which highlighted the dastardly acts of MJF and sold the heart and intensity of Jungle Boy in the face of adversity. There is too often too little attention paid to the heel acts of heels, and that wasn’t the case here at all. )
-A video package aired hyping the Cody vs. Lance Archer match.
-“Iron” Mike Tyson headed to the ring, holding the newly minted TNT Championship, featuring a red strap and silver plates. Excalibur explained that the title will be finished in gold plating at a later date.
Lance Archer tossed someone in street clothes onto the stage and into the ring, as he’s done in recent weeks. He gave him a huge chokeslam and tossed him from the ring. Jake Roberts trailed behind him, smiling. Mike Tyson smiled at the destruction as well. Cody headed to the ring.
(3) LANCE ARCHER (w/ Jake Roberts) vs. CODY (w/ Arn Anderson) – TNT Championship tournament final
Lance Archer dropped Cody with the Blackout Bomb as soon as the bell rang. The announcers sold the severity of such an opening. Cody rolled out of the ring to save himself. Archer retrieved him quickly.
Cody caught Archer’s arm in a hold to slow him down, but Archer quickly fought free. Cody delivered a hard chop and Archer no-sold it. Cody grabbed Archer by his pony tail and went for a cutter off the middle rope, but Archer cut him off with a massive elbow in mid-air.
Cody struggled to compose himself on the outside. The fight spilled beyond the barricades. Cody climbed the stands, but Archer grabbed him and tossed him clear over the barricades. Archer tossed Cody in the ring and jawed with Pineapple Pete. Back in the ring, Cody caught Archer with a stiff kick out of the corner. Archer shook it off with ease and kicked Cody in the head.
Archer walked the ropes and hit a moonsault for a near fall. J.R. commented on Archer’s athleticism given his size. Cody tried to set Archer up for a suplex, but Archer tossed him across the ring and ripped the padding off a turnbuckle. Archer charged at Cody, but Cody side stepped and sent Archer into the exposed turnbuckle.
Cody bent Archer’s body around the ring post and chased Jake Roberts away. Cody climbed to the top rope, but Archer recovered and tossed him clear over the ring to the mat. Archer retrieved Cody and continued to pummel him around the ring, then tossed him inside and continued his onslaught.
Archer told the camera guy to watch as he appeared to make a cover. He quickly thought better of it and hit a splash from the second rope. He lifted Cody up, then bent his body backwards all the way to the mat while holding a shoulder lock. Cody tried to rally, but Archer dropped him.
On the outside, Arn Anderson coached Cody up. Archer tossed Cody into the barricade. Cody stood in anger and fired off several shots, but Archer dropped him with a single punch. Cody returned to the ring and fought into a modified crossface, using Archer’s own braided hair to choke him. The referee forced him to break.
Jake Roberts distracted Cody, but Cody still managed to hit Archer with a DDT, a la Roberts. Roberts was incensed. Archer recovered almost immediately and hit Cody with a massive spine buster, a message to Arn Anderson.
Archer climbed to the middle rope and jawed with Anderson. Cody recovered and hit a massive springboard cutter. He covered Archer, but only got a one count. Cody stayed in the fight with a number of punches and a bionic elbow. He followed up with a Cross Rhodes, but Archer kicked out easily.
Archer rose in the corner. Cody hit him with a Stinger Splash. Archer shot out and gave Cody a chokeslam for a near fall. He grabbed Cody’s face and locked in the claw. Selling the effects of Cody’s offense, he failed to cover.
Archer tried walking the ropes again, but Arn Anderson tripped him up. Cody hit a brutal reverse suplex off the top rope. Another referee came to ringside to inform the acting official of Anderson’s interference. Arn was tossed from ringside.
Archer recovered and dropped Cody with a German suplex. Jake Roberts came to the stage with his signature bag. Mike Tyson cut him off, removing his shirt. Lance Archer set Cody up for another Blackout Bomb, but Cody countered into Cross Rhodes. He held on and hit it a second time. Cody covered Archer for a three count.
WINNER: Cody in 21:00
(LeClair’s Analysis: Another really solid match with excellent storytelling. Lance Archer looked like an absolute monster impervious to Cody’s offense. Cody sold like his life depended on it. Anderson and Roberts were involved the perfect amount, with excellent touches to their careers and legacies sprinkled into Cody and Lance’s offense, both as homages, and points of antagonization. Mike Tyson’s involvement was understated, but effective and it certainly felt like it raised the stakes of the match. A second referee getting involved to point out interference was excellent, but this isn’t something AEW does consistently, and I wish they were better about that sort of thing. If you’re going to do it for one match, do it for all of them, not just when it’s convenient. That aside, highly recommended.)
-Dr. Sampson from AEW medical provided an update on Dr. Britt Baker, revealing she had a fairly serious injury. He said the patient is actually worse than the injury. It was announced that Britt would reveal her return date on Dynamite on Wednesday.
(4) PENELOPE FORD (w/ Kip Sabian) vs. KRIS STATLANDER
Ford and Statlander locked up in the center. Statlander grabbed a side headlock into a takeover, but Ford grabbed her hair to break the hold. They traded quick arm drags. Penelope Ford hit a springboard arm drag, but Statlander shot to her feet and began cartwheeling.
Ford grabbed Statlander’s hand and bit it. Statlander sold it for a minute, then punched Ford. Ford rolled to the outside to regroup with Kip Sabian.
Back in the ring, Ford tossed Statlander toward the ropes and fired off some kicks. Ford rolled to the outside after a brief flurry from Statlander, but Kris flew through the middle rope and took out both Ford and Kip Sabian.
Both women returned to the ring. Ford caught Statlander with a hook kick for a near fall. She drove Statlander’s head into her knee repeatedly. Statlander fought back with a kick to the face and a release German suplex.
Statlander recovered and went for the Big Bang Theory, but Ford reversed it into a reverse DDT. She followed up with an attempted stunner, which Statlander blocked. She then fired off a clothesline and set up Ford on the top rope. Ford fought her off, then hit a twisting hurricanrana. Ford set up for a springboard stunner, but Statlander hit a modified blue thunder bomb, followed by a Big Bang Theory for the three count.
WINNER: Kris Statlander in 6:00
(LeClair’s Analysis: Like many of the efforts in the AEW women’s division, this felt like they were trying to do a little too much given the level of experience. I continue to be perplexed by the draw of Kris Statlander’s character, but people seem to be into her, and she’s certainly athletic. While I didn’t think this match was particularly impressive as a whole, it did serve as an appropriate cool down following the first three matches of the night.)
-Shawn Spears headed to the ring in a suit. He said all mediocre careers must come to and end, and said Dustin Rhodes is at home washing his tights. Dustin Rhodes’ music hit. Spears looked toward the entrance. J.R. wondered if Rhodes may just be screwing around with Spears.
Spears slowly turned back to the camera, revealing that he set up the music to play. He asked for the bell to be rung so Rhodes could be counted out.
(5) SHAWN SPEARS vs. DUSTIN RHODES
“Wins matter!” Spears declared. Dustin’s music played again. “You only play it once, idiots!”
Brandi Rhodes showed up on the ramp. Dustin Rhodes appeared in the ring behind Spears and fired off punches. Spears recovered, but couldn’t get his suit coat off. Rhodes quickly took control, ripped off Spears’ shirt and pummeled him in the corner.
Spears eventually dropped Rhodes and removed his belt, setting up to attack Rhodes. Rhodes blocked the attempt and ripped Spears’ pants off, leaving him in his boxers. He smacked Spears’ exposed backside, then hit an inverted atomic drop before clotheslining Spears to the outside.
Spears finally turned around to reveal Tully Blanchard’s face printed on the crotch of his boxers. Rhodes hit Spears with a Final Reckoning for a quick three count.
WINNER: Dustin Rhodes in 4:00
(LeClair’s Analysis: Not much to this one. It appears as though the bloom is off the rose with Shawn Spears, as he wasn’t really treated with any modicum of seriousness here. Between being stripped down to his boxers, to the reveal of Tully Blanchard’s face on his boxers, to the unceremonious defeat, his position seems rather clear. Dustin Rhodes continues to impress at this stage of his career, though this wasn’t much of a chance for him to show his skills.)
-A promo for AEW’s next Pay-Per-View, All Out, aired.
-Excalibur spoke over a memorial graphic for Hana Kimura.
-A promo package hyping the AEW Women’s title match aired.
Hikaru Shida and Nyla Rose headed to the ring. Rose carried her title and Shida’s kendo stick. Dasha gave the formal championship introductions.
(6) HIKARU SHIDA vs. NYLA ROSE (c) – AEW Women’s title match, no disqualifications or count outs
Excalibur and Schiavone talked up the seriousness of Hikaru Shida as the match began. At the bell, Shida kicked the kendo stick out of Nyla Rose’s hand and swung it at her. Nyla locked the shot.
Nyla licked the kendo stick and cracked it over Shida’s back, then over the arms and abdomen. Nyla gave Shida a big body slam and covered her for a two count. Shida recovered quickly and hit Rose with a number of knees, dropping Rose to the mat and sending her reeling under the ropes.
Shida hit a running knee to the head on the outside, then went to look for her discarded kendo stick. Nyla Rose tossed Shida into the barricade then drove her foot into Shida’s face. Nyla went under the ring and retrieved a table, but Shida cut her off. Rose pressed Shida and tossed her through the poker table set up behind the barricade.
Nyla set up a folding chair after hitting a downed Shida with it. Shida climbed to her knees with the help of the chair, but Rose choked with her the end of a second chair, then tossed her back to the ringside area.
Back in the ring, Nyla hit a sidewalk slam and covered Shida for a two count. She set up for a power bomb, but Shida countered in a hurricanrana. Shida tried to lift Nyla into a suplex, but Rose reversed into one of her own. Rose clotheslined Shida over the top rope to the floor.
Nyla tossed Shida toward the ramp steps, but Shida flew off it and hit a knee to the back of Nyla’s head. She tossed Nyla over the barricade, followed her over, and bounced her head off of one of the stacked poker chips. Shida and Nyla traded attempts trying to suplex one another onto the poker chips.
Nyla charged at Shida, but Shida caught her with an arm drag onto the poker chips. She caught Nyla with a running knee, sending the champion crashing into the chips again. She tossed Nyla back to ringside.
Shida retrieved the kendo stick and hit Rose with it, chasing her back into the ring. She attacked the throat and chest of Rose with the stick, then cracked her right over the head with it. Shida followed up with a brain buster onto the kendo stick. She covered Rose for a near fall.
Shida hit another running knee for another near fall. Rose bought herself some time with a big power slam off a counter. Rose hanged Shida up on the ropes, climbed to the top and hit a diving knee to the back of the neck. Rose covered, but Shida kicked out just before three.
Rose retrieved the table she pulled earlier. She set it up in the corner of the ring. Rose scooped Shida, but Shida rolled down the back. Shida blocked a second attempt. She shot off the ropes, but Nyla gave her a big clothesline, then delivered a running power bomb through the table. Rose covered for a near fall.
Nyla lifted Shida again and hit the Death Valley Driver before retrieving the kendo stick to pummel Shida’s back and head. Rose climbed to the top rope, but a recovering Shida tossed the kendo stick at her. Shida met rose on the top rope and hit an avalanche falcon arrow for a believable near fall.
Shida hit another running knee for another two count. Rose slowly rose to her feet, but Shida wound up and struck her in the head with the kendo stick. She hit another running knee and covered Rose for a three count.
WINNER: Hikaru Shida in 16:00
(LeClair’s Analysis: A couple of weeks ago on Wade Keller’s Pro Wrestling Post Show, I mentioned that I’d like to see AEW commit to a long term Women’s champion to carry the division and be established as a major top act. I wasn’t sure if that was Nyla Rose, or even Hikaru Shida, and I’m still not, but I liked what I saw out of Shida tonight as a lead babyface for the division. Both women worked hard here, and there were some violent looking spots that still maintained safety. For a women’s division that takes a lot of unnecessary risks, I thought this match did its job and got the point across without crossing any major boundaries into being excessive.)
-Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, and Excalibur talked about Hikaru Shida’s title win and linked it to her connection with Hana Kimura. They talked briefly about Shad Gaspard, and their belief that wrestling is a family, then rolled into a promo package for the AEW World title match.
Brodie Lee entered with members of the Dark Order. He sent them to the back after revealing the AEW World title underneath his robe. Security members stood in the ring, presumably to separate Lee and Moxley.
Jon Moxley entered from the steps of the stands, underneath the large Daily’s Place sign. Excalibur said Moxley and Lee shared many locker rooms in the “Northeast independent scene.” J.R. remarked that one of the two men would suffer his first loss of 2020 tonight. Dasha provided formal championship introductions as Moxley and Lee stood separated by a security team.
Lee interrupted Dasha to tell her to declare him the “self proclaimed” AEW World champion.
(7) BRODIE LEE vs. JON MOXLEY (c) – AEW World title match
Jon Moxley charged at Brodie Lee as soon as the bell rang. Lee thrusted him into the corner and went for a running boot, but Moxley ducked it and sent Lee crashing to the outside. Mox dove onto Lee and sent him through the ringside barricade.
Lee recovered quickly enough to cut Mox off and toss him back in the ring. He hit a rolling senton from the apron, then gave Moxley a snap suplex. Moxley shot up and climbed to the top rope, but Lee caught him by the throat and tossed him to the outside. Brodie followed up with a dive through the middle rope, leading Moxley to back pedal through the broken barricade area.
Behind the barricades, Lee tossed the champion into the structural barricades of Daily’s Place. He gave Moxley an abdominal slam onto the broken barricade piece.
Back in the ring, Moxley and Lee traded hard rights and elbows. Mox hit a running knee, but Brodie fired back with a hard elbow, then a snap back drop. Moxley hit Lee with a short arm clothesline, then a piledriver into a cover for a near fall. The camera focused on a bruise forming on Lee’s arm.
Moxley headed to the outside and set up the ringside steps to his liking. Moxley charged at Lee, but Lee cut him off with a kick. Lee set Moxley up on the steps, but Moxley back dropped Lee onto the furniture set up for the ring crew.
Mox tossed Lee back into the ring and climbed to the top rope. Lee stood and cut Moxley off, then gave him a superplex from the top rope. Moxley cradled Lee into a cover, but only got a two count. Lee rolled to the outside. Moxley leaped out to attack, but Lee caught him and tossed him overhead into the wooden Double or Nothing set dressing at ringside.
Lee gave Mox a body slam onto the large wooden playing card. Lee rolled in the ring to break the (generous) count. Moxley slowly crawled back in. Brodie set up for a power bomb, but Moxley blocked it. Lee hit a big boot anyway. Brodie followed up with a sit out power bomb for an extremely close near fall.
Both men retreated to opposing corners and stared each other down. Brodie stood first. Moxley punched himself into a fury and rose, but then collapsed on wary legs. He rolled onto the attached ramp and crawled to the top of the stage. Lee followed.
Moxley hit Lee with a small poker chip from the stage. Lee wavered, but fired off a punch. Moxley grabbed Lee and gave him a Paradigm Shift off the steps on the stage, through the ramp, out of sight.
Officials and medical personnel surrounded the hole in the stage. Jon Moxley pulled himself out of the wreckage and back into the ring. Brodie Lee rose afterward, bleeding heavily from his forehead. He wandered back in the ring and went for the discus clothesline. Moxley ducked and hit the Paradigm Shift for only a one count.
Moxley responded in anger, punching Lee repeatedly at the source of his cut. He gave him a leaping Paradigm Shift for only a two count. Moxley applied a rear naked choke and then wrapped his legs around Lee. Lee passed out and the referee called for the bell.
WINNER: Jon Moxley in 16:00
(LeClair’s Analysis: What a unique match. I’m not terribly keen on the leeway given by the referee, given that this wasn’t officially advertised as no disqualification or no holds barred. I also find the placement curious, given that it followed another match that was mainly contested under hardcore rules. Moxley and Lee were incredibly physical and hard hitting, but they remained safe. This was a fight between two guys who wanted to put on a brutal affair, and it showed. Lee shined in a main event position, and Moxley continued to show prowess as a lead babyface. The big stunt toward the end of the match could have easily forced the match into a no contest, but, smartly, AEW opted to tease the cop out only to go with a real finish. In general, I dislike devaluing finishers by spamming, but I loved the added touch of Lee being out on his feet and kicking out on instinct, leading Moxley to get resourceful and creative and just flat out choke Lee out. It made sense for what the match became. Bravo to both men.)
-J.R., Tony, and Excalibur reset following a commercial for AEW’s first action figure line, available this summer. They ran through a recap of the night thus far, then threw to a video package highlighting the rivalry between the Elite and the Inner Circle.
-Justin Roberts introduced the competitors for the Stadium Stampede match. The Inner Circle wore matching football uniforms. Jacksonville Jaguars cheerleaders cheered on the participants.There was a full ring set up in on the 50 yard line.
(8) THE INNER CIRCLE (Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara & Santana & Ortiz & Jake Hager) vs. THE ELITE (Kenny Omega & Hangman Page & The Young Bucks & Matt Hardy) – Stadium Stampede match
The official blew the whistle and the two teams (sans Adam Page) charged at each other, meeting in the center. After a few minutes of chaos and pandemonium, Adam Page rode out on a horse and chased away Sammy Guevara.
In the ring, Chris Jericho and Nick Jackson engaged in some traditional wrestling. Matt Jackson joined the fray and they sent Jericho to the outside. Santana and Ortiz jumped in and sent Nick Jackson to the outside, but hitting a big power bomb on Matt.
Kenny Omega attacked Proud and Powerful. He hit Santana with a quick release German suplex, then got dropped by Jake Hager. Sammy Guevara returned from the tunnel, giving a running knee to one of the Bucks.
Guevara tried to land a Shooting Star Press on Matt Hardy, but Matt moved. Hardy hit a Twist of Fate after a buckle bomb from Kenny Omega on Guevara. Omega tried for a V-Trigger, but Jericho grabbed his leg. Nick Jackson took out Hager on the outside of the ring.
Several men gathered to catch Santana, who flew off the ropes with a springboard moonsault. Sammy Guevara climbed to the top and hit a shooting star press off the turnbuckle onto a crowd of wrestlers below.
The battle stretched to the end zone, where Jericho and Guevara double teamed Nick Jackson. Matt Jackson returned with a ladder and took Jericho down. Nick body slammed Guevara onto Jericho’s back.
Matt Jackson used a ladder to climb onto a goal post. He landed a moonsault onto a crowd below and covered Jericho for a near fall. Meanwhile, Kenny Omega battled Ortiz in the stands. Hardy battled Hager below.
Ortiz hit Omega over the head with a cone. Santana and Ortiz dragged Omega to the second level of the stadium and whipped him inside through a tunnel.
The camera cut to Hangman Page, somewhere in the stadium, still on his horse and searching for Sammy Guevara. Page left his horse once he stumbled upon a bar. Somewhere in the second level concourse, Santana and Ortiz whipped Omega and Hardy with their belts.
Santana tossed Hardy into a set of barricades. Omega took control of Ortiz and tossed him into some trash cans, then went to work on Santana. Ortiz returned with salt from the concession stand and tossed it in Omega’s eyes.
Santana and Ortiz set Omega up on a barricade that had been propped on top of bar tables by Omega earlier. They gave him a double power bomb through the steel barricade and covered him for a two count.
Santana and Ortiz turned their attention back to Matt Hardy. They walked him to the pool, situated in the corner of the second level. They tossed Hardy in, then Santana jumped in to attack. Ortiz reluctantly joined, saying he can’t swim. Santana and Ortiz held Hardy underwater.
Hardy popped up in different gear, no longer broken. A Matt fact appeared on the screen. He popped up again, this time, Version 1. They forced him under again. He again, re-emerged, broken again.
Ortiz and Santana struggled to climb out of the pool. Hardy tossed Ortiz on a table, then backdropped Santana onto him, breaking it. He slammed Ortiz’s head off a bell, sat him in a wheelchair, and duct-taped him to it.
Hardy and Santana battled to a different area of the concourse. Hardy shoved Santana into an ice chest, them stuffed him inside. He locked the door with a broom through the handle.
In another section, Jake Hager happened upon Hangman Page’s horse. He followed the trail to the bar and found Page. Hager sat down next to him. Page asked Hager if he came to fight or drink. Hager took a drink, but then they broke into fists.
Hager tossed Page over a pool table. Page cracked a cue over Hager’s back. Page flipped off the bar, gave Hager a big boot, and then leapt off the pool table. Hager caught him and slammed him onto the pool table.
Hager laid Page out on the bar, then slid him across the glasses and chips before throwing him to the floor. Hager gave Page a gutwrench bomb through a table, then covered him for a near fall.
Kenny Omega ran to Page’s rescue. He cracked a bottle over Hager’s head, but Hager shrugged it off. Omega hit him with a second. Page hit him with a third. Omega hit him with a fourth, then finally took Hager down with a V-Trigger. Page flipped over Omega’s back to hit a Buckshot Lariat, sending Hager flying over the bar. Page poured Omega glass of milk. Omega poured Page a glass of whisky. They clinked glasses and drank.
Back on the field, Matt Jackson tossed Sammy Guevara into a ladder. Guevara flipped off a barricade, but Jackson caught him and tried to give him a German suplex. Sammy landed on his feet. Matt gave Sammy a trio of Northern Lights suplexes onto the turf.
Nearby, Chris Jericho tossed Nick Jackson over the player’s bench, then hit him in the head with a down marker.
Now at the 50 yard line, Matt Jackson continued to give Guevara Northern Lights suplexes. Nick Jackson tossed footballs at Jericho. Jericho gouged Jackson’s eyes and tossed him into a large prop Jaguar head. The Jags mascot appeared to distract Jericho, but Jericho knocked him out.
Meanwhile, Matt Jackson continued to deliver Northern Lights suplexes to Guevara across the entire length of the field. Nick Jackson super kicked Jericho into the kicker’s net, then tossed him into the field wall. Jericho suddenly stumbled upon Floyd, his bat, and hit Jackson with it. He covered, but Jackson kicked out. Jericho threw a red flag and said he’s challenging the call. He argued with Aubrey for a replay. She confirmed the two count.
Matt Jackson completed his 100 yard trek of Northern Lights suplexes. A referee threw a flag for excessive celebration. Jackson gave him a super kick.
The Young Bucks joined forces to take Jericho’s bat. Nick tossed Jericho on a table while Matt climbed to the top of the lower level. He got a running start down the stairs, then leaped onto and off of the barricade, onto Jericho and through the table at field level. They spray painted a line over Jericho’s body.
Sammy Guevara crawled to the 30 yard line, but was attacked by the sprinkler system. He stood, claiming he’d won. Suddenly, Guevara turned around to see Kenny Omega and Matt Hardy, riding a side-by-side cart and chasing Guevara. Sammy sprinted down the field and jumped into the stands.
The Elite gave chase, now at full capacity. Guevara through chairs to slow them down. He caught Kenny Omega with a boot, then choked Matt Hardy. Suddenly, the camera switched to a drone view, flying toward Guevara.
Omega caught Guevara with a V-Trigger, then set him up on his shoulders and hit a One-Winged Angel off a platform in the stands through a wooden structure at field level below. Omega covered Guevara for a three count.
WINNER: The Elite in 34:00
The Elite celebrated amidst a firework display from the opposing end zone. J.R. signed off and the show came to an abrupt close.
(LeClair’s Analysis: By all accounts, this shouldn’t have worked. I’ve been mostly underwhelmed by previous iterations of similar attempts in the past, regardless of company. Somehow, though, they pulled this off. There was an effective blend of genuine comedy while also acknowledging the seriousness and length of the conflict. There were easter eggs sprinkled throughout for fans of Being the Elite, die-hard football fans, and just keen viewers of AEW programming. The stunts were controlled and risk was seemingly minimized. I thought the sectioning off of wrestlers was practical and effective, given that the opening few minutes of the match were so hectic and hard to follow that I was wondering in the early going how long this could really go. Having the commentary crew stay on to call the match added a significant dimension that WWE’s similar presentations have severely lacked. All in all, despite this being far from what I’d consider “my thing”, I walked away thoroughly entertained and impressed with the work that went into this thing.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: An excellent show under the circumstances. Crowd-less wrestling is never going to take off, and it’s going to be hard to sustain or build an audience in this format, but AEW is doing it just about as well as it can be done. The matches tonight felt consequential and creative, the in-house audience added noise, energy, and excitement to the action, and the wrestlers worked hard from top to bottom. If I had a complaint, it’d be the nearly four hour run time. While I don’t think that’s a horrible format for AEW to follow under traditional circumstances, I would prefer that crowd-less shows are trimmed down a bit, even though AEW does a commendable job creating noise. Even still, if you can stomach this new, pandemic induced format of pro wrestling, this should comes highly recommended.