SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
•Private Party vs. Kenny Omega & Hangman Page – HIT: Good match delivering what would be expected from these two teams. The reason for this taking place was due to the AEW Championship being shelved until next Wednesday. Hangman Page and Kenny Omega got in most of the offense and definitively beat Private Party. Private Party are an up and coming act, but aren’t near the top of the tag division at this point. Matches like this give them that experience against some of the best workers.
•Lance Archer vs. Joey Janela – HIT: Joey Janela took some rough bumps for Lance Archer. Janela got in quite a bit more offense than I was expecting, but it didn’t deter from the match. There was great energy throughout while Archer still looks like a dominant beast. He feels like he’s back on track following his loss to Cody.
•Taz promo – HIT: This was more good stuff from Taz. This time, the content wasn’t exclusively about Jon Moxley or Brian Cage. Taz introduced the retro FTW Championship then awarded it to Cage eliciting a nostalgic feeling for ECW. I have major reservations if the FTW Championship is to be recognized as the third men’s singles championship. AEW has spent months building up the TNT Championship and trying to make it a prestigious belt. If it’s just to be used as a gimmick belt exclusively for Cage then I don’t see much of a downside other than Cage looking foolish for carrying around a fake championship.
•FTR & The Young Bucks vs. Lucha Bros. & The Butcher & The Blade – HIT: What a fantastic match and one of the best in the pandemic era. The athleticism displayed in this match was top tier with several memorable spots. At one point, Fenix was lifted over the top rope onto a cluster of wrestlers while executing a Mexican Destroyer on Nick Jackson. The emphasis going in was whether or not FTR and The Young Bucks can coexist. The two teams worked well until an inadvertent super kick allowed for Pentagon to secure the pin in his return to the ring. This would seem like the opportune time to officially kick off their feud. Instead, there was a brief camera shot showing of The Bucks and FTR showing respect and shaking hands. If they are to save their first match for pay-per-view, All Out is 8 weeks away so there is plenty of time before taking the next step.
•Nyla Rose vs. Kenzie Page & Kylin King – MISS: Not an impressive showing for Nyla Rose, but that is largely due to the awkwardness of the matchup. Rose works best with undersized and experienced wrestlers. Kylin King was substantially taller which made for a few awkward sequences, but it was kept short and to the point. In the post-match, Rose made her presence known by eyeing down the AEW Woman’s champion, Hikaru Shida, as well as announcing that at some point she will have a manager. She teased that it could be one of the existing managers on the roster or someone new. There’s nobody who immediately comes to mind as a good fit. Vickie Guerrero is a name with experience and ties to AEW who could work, but there isn’t anyone who feels like a great pairing.
•SCU vs. Colt Cabana & Dark Order – HIT: I’m finally starting to see more substance to Colt Cabana potentially joining Dark Order. Colt didn’t do much in the match because despite an injury, the AEW medical team cleared him and Brodie Lee pushed him to wrestle. It was a fine match with Dark Order allowing Colt to take the pin so that he could taste a victory again. Colt and Dark Order are such an odd pairing, but Colt’s acting and facial expressions have worked to make it a believable story of coercion.
•Orange Cassidy vs. Chris Jericho – HIT: Less shenanigans and more intensity from Orange Cassidy. Cassidy has proven himself to be a major babyface star in the promotion. Surely a win over Chris Jericho would have elevated him to a higher level. But without the fans in attendance, Cassidy’s gimmick loses some of its touch. Had fans been in attendance, this would have been the moment to let Cassidy get his first significant singles win. Without them, Jericho surprising Cassidy with the Judas Effect feels like the right call and allowing for the big moment to be saved.