8/3 AEW WOMEN’S TAG TEAM CUP (Ep. 1): Mel & Penelope vs. Brandi & Ally, Nyla & Andrews vs. Conti & Anna Jay, analysis of sometimes cringe-inducing show

By Nick Morgan, PWTorch contributor


AUGUST 3, 2020

Hosts & Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Veda Scott

Ring Announcer: Shaul Guerrero

-The show opened with a montage (with music in the background) of several of AEW’s women wrestlers, including: Penelope Ford, Nyla Rose w/Vicki Guerrero, Anna Jay, Big Swole, Diamante, and, of course, Brandi Rhodes.

-The shot then shifted to the announce desk where Tony Schiavone welcomed everyone to the event and introduced his co-anchor, independent wrestling star and a tag team champion. Veda Scott, who talked about how excited she was for this event.

-Schiavone threw to ring announcer, Shaul Guerrero, who introduced Madusa, who the announce team built up as a huge star and a major personality in tag team wrestling. Medusa, standing in front of the tag team cup and introduced AEW’s first women’s tag team tournament.

-As Madusa left the stage, Schiavone threw to a “taped earlier today” segment with Dasha Gonzalez standing with Brandi Rhodes and Allie in front of the blind draw apparatus. Brandi made some, somewhat heal sounding noise about how her and Allie “spearheaded” the Women’s tag team movement and complained that the two of them had to draw for who their partner would be. Brandi drew a red chip and while she was turning to Dasha, Allie “sneakily” lifted up the covering on the drawing cup, looked in and pulled out a red chip also. Brandi and Allie yelled and jumped up and down with happiness and proclaimed they were going to win, while Dasha acted all surprised and said “well, looks like the Nightmare Sisters are back together.”

-Next up with Dasha was Penelope Ford along with Kip Sabian (wearing a very fashionable AEW face mask – very appropriate of him. After some banter back and forth, Ford picked out a baby blue chip, as she seemed happy with the color, Mel entered the shot holding up a similar baby blue chip, asked Ford if she “was ready to kick some ass”. Ford responded with a “hell, yes”, and then the two forearm bumped and when their separate ways of camera. As he was leaving Sabian called Dasha, Diana, which left Dasha with a strange look on her face as the segment ended.

(Morgan’s Take: A solid opening, with Schiavone putting over his co-anchor. However, the chip selection was way too cheesy and how Dasha couldn’t see Allie cheating right in front of her made Dasha look very bad.)

-During the introductions to the first match, both Schiavone and Scott made a point to stress that the teams had been drawn at random and as such there was a big question as to whether they will even “get along together”.

(1) MEL & PENELOPE FORD (w/Kip Sabian) vs. THE NIGHTMARE SISTERS (Brandi Rhodes & Allie w/Q.T. Marshall, Dustin Rhodes)

Prior to the bell, the announcers built up the fact that the Nightmare Sisters have been winning consistently (albeit with some “friction” between them) and have really been the driving force behind this tournament and the AEW women’s tag team division in general.

Ford and Allie started the match with Ford getting the early advantage, before Allie took over. Allie backed ford into her corner and Brandi tagged in. They double teamed Ford and threw her into the ropes where Mel was able to tag in (unbeknownst to Allie and Brandi). While Brandi attempted to pin Ford, Mel made her entrance and proceeded to ground and pound Brandi. With two handfuls of here, Mel continued to bash Brandi’s face into the mat. The ref broke the hold (due to the hair???) and Brandi flipped Mel into Brandi’s corner, after the tag Allie came in and took it to Mel.

Allie landed a swinging neck breaker for a near fall. After some back and forth action Mel pushed Allie into the corner and tagged out to Ford who came in and abused Allie along the ropes. As both women rolled out to the floor, both Kip Sabian and Q.T. Marshall started jaw jacking which allowed Mel to land a devastating front kick to Allie’s face. Mel rolled Allie back into the ring where Ford lifted Allie and dropped her and planted both knees into Allie’s gut for a near fall.

Ford and Mel made several tags and proceeded to beat on Allie. Allie avoided a top rope leg drop which left Mel staggering and tagged in Brandi, who proceeded to chop down Mel with a pump kick followed by a super kick. Brandi took Mel down again with a sling blade, but only got a two-count as Ford came in for the save. Allie rushed in to take out Ford, while Mel choke bombed Brandi and went for the pin. Unfortunately, the ref distracted by the Ford and Allie dust up, did not see the pin right away and after at least a five-count finally started his own count but Brandi kicked out at two.

Sabian started yelling at the ref from the apron and when Marshall came over to pull him off, Sabian decked him. Dustin Rhodes rushed over to attend to Marshall and squawk at Sabian. While all this was going on (and of course distracting the ref), Mel had backed up to the far corner and Allie jumped up and raked her eyes. As Mel stumbled (blinded) towards the middle of the ring, Brandi launched herself at Mel, nailing a pretty effective looking spear and pinned her for the pin fall.

WINNERS: Brandi Rhodes & Allie in 9:00.

(Morgan’s Take: All in all a pretty good match with some good action, though several very clunky spots, especially by Allie. Her timing was not great and often left her opponent looking a bit silly as they stood there waiting for the move, especially bad was a forearm outside the ring. Mel is a bit lumbering, but definitely comes on a bruiser, especially with her size and her buzz cut hair. Brandi is Brandi, OK, but still needs to work on her moves, though her kicks and her sling blade looked great. However, on the spear, she didn’t get a lot of air and the move looked a lot more like a hunched over, running shoulder. She needs to work on that. Penelope Ford continued to impress, she is clearly one of the most athletic of the current crop of wrestlers and is only getting better with each outing. One final point, I know that Dustin Rhodes, Q.T. Marshall, and Kip Sabian normally escort these women, but I felt that as this is a special event supposedly celebrating the women’s division, having the men there lessened it. Ultimately the only reason they were there was to cause a distraction that lead to the eye-rake which led to the finish. Bottom line, if they are going to do this, let the women shine!)

-After the match, a promo aired for All Out on pay-per-view in September and then a very strange piece that featured Brandi Rhodes (and her shoes?????) as she seemed to be touting the women’s division with lots of clips of all the women in action, but then ended with a logo of two high-heeled shoes and spelling out AEW HEELS???? Color me confused.

-Then a replay aired of Nyla Rose picking her purple chip and the introduction of her partner, Arianne Andrews, the former Cameron from WWE.

-Next, Anna Jay was with Dasha to pick her chip, Dasha asked her about being in the Dark Order, Anna Jay brushed that off, said let’s do this and proceeded to pick a black chip (well, that wasn’t obvious, was it?}. Also holding a black chip, Tay Conti (formally Taynara Conti from NXT, with pretty much the same look) came on screen and viola anew team is born.

-We then moved right to the entrances for the next match. Anna Jay approached the ring in her mask with the entire Dark Order in tow. Very impressive.

(2) TAY CONTI & ANNA HAY (w/The Dark Order) vs. ARIANE ANDREWS & NYLA ROSE (w/Vickie Guerrero)

During Nyla Rose’s entry, Tony Schiavone made a point of saying that Nyla was not happy with her pairing with Ariane.

Bell rings and Ariane offered a hand shake but instead hit and kicked Anna Jay. Ariane acting heelish controlled the early action, until Arianne went for a tag. Nyla refused that tag, which led to a beat down by both Anna Jay and Tay Conti. While she didn’t make the tag earlier, Nyla came in and double choke slammed both Anny and Tay. Tay tried to take it to Nyla, but Nyla was too strong. Tay made some ground with several kicks leading to a cover but only a one-count. Anna Jay tagged in but after a successful drop kick, Nyla fought back and had Anna wobbly legged as she tagged in Ariane.
After beating down Anna Jay a bit, Ariane whipped her into her corner, put a foot up to her throat and tapped in Nyla. After getting tossed across the ring, Anna started taking it to Nyla, going after Nyla’s knee and leg with several moves.

Tay tapped in and continued the attack on Nyla’s leg, including and hanging leg bar using the bottom rope. The action continued back and forth as both teams got in moves and damage while Nyla sold her leg being injured and unable to really plant on it.

Ariane hit several moves on Tay, including a back suplex and “split cover”, however she had not noticed that a tag had been made and Anna Jay was legal. Anna came in with a rolling neck breaker and rolled Arianne up for the three-count and the win. While this was going on, Nyla was on the floor, continuing to sell her leg injury and thus did not have the ability to go for the save.

WINNERS: Anna Jay & Tay Conti in 9:00.

-Anna and Tay left the ring and while Ariane continued to writhe around inside the ring, Nyla hobbled up the stairs and entered the ring still selling the leg injury. After appearing to make nice with Ariane, Nyla flattened her with a lariat forearm while Vicki Guerrero laughed outside the ring. Obviously, Nyla was not a happy camper and didn’t appreciate losing.

(Morgan’s Take: Obviously, this match was all about getting Nyla Rose out of the tournament and it worked. We will have to see if the knee injury moves with her onto the main show and if the angle continues there, to keep her away from the championship picture for a while. As for the match itself, it was not that good. Many of the moves did not look good, especially from Ariane Andrews and Anna Jay. If they are going to continue onward in AEW, I would strongly suggest they keep their wrestling confined to AEW Dark so they can hone their skills and keep their move sets very limited until they can master them. Nyla was fine in her limited time in the match and really seemed to be there to add some star power. As for Tay Conti, I think they have something here and with some more time, she could become a real asset to the division.)

-Schiavone threw to an Alex Marvez backstage segment with “the winners” of the night. First, Brandi and Allie: I could swear that I saw Brandi’s head grow as she touted how great she is and that she has and action figure, which ended up pissing off Allie. They continued their “friction in the team” shtick and left the frame with Brandi letting Allie know that as AEW brand manager, she would get right to work on getting Allie an action figure too. Oh, please… this was not good.

-Next up, Tay and Anna. First was Tay, who positioned the pair as the “prettiest and most dangerous” tag team. Alex tried to ask Anna about the Dark Order and she shut him down and just wanted to talk about the tournament. Alex ended the interview and we got a screen shot of the brackets with a voice over from Schiavone and that was the first show.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Overall, this was a passable show. Clocking in at a very reasonable 37 minutes made it an easy watch and the action, while at times a little hard to take was okay. Obviously, AEW still has a long way to go with its Women Division, but hopefully as the women continue to work they will get better and their moves tighter. Perhaps the best way to watch these shows is to skip all the stupid stuff with picking the chips and making the teams, because so much of it is just cringe-worthy and just speed through that stuff and enjoy the matches. No, they aren’t groundbreaking, match-of-the-year contenders, but for relatively quick 8-10 minute matches they are totally watchable.

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