SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
•FTR vs. Jurassic Express – HIT
Fantastic opening match. AEW has been very smart to keep Jungle Boy working against some of the best workers out there. Each time he’s in the ring, you can see the improvements and forward strides. He wrestled the bulk of the match for Jurassic Express taking a beating Dax and Cash. FTR have great chemistry with Tully Blanchard giving credence to the idea of them being old school territory heels. Last week, was a complete misfire with them being humiliated in a ring surrounded by babyface teams. Before the match, The Young Bucks came out and super kicked the referee leading more into the idea of them turning heel.
•Hangman Page vs. Frankie Kazarian – HIT
In a matter of weeks, Hangman Page feels like he’s regained a lot of what fans liked about him before he prevented The Young Bucks from winning. The story had to make some necessary unsavory steps to get to this point, but a performance like this has recaptured my attention. A great back and forth match against Frankie Kazarian where Page is trying to prove himself as a winner. Kenny Omega was on commentary playing down the idea of tagging with Page again because he is set on being a singles competitor like fans wanted from the beginning. It seems more evident that Kenny Omega will turn heel at some point along with The Young Bucks. Being obvious about the direction of the story isn’t a bad thing, but timing is going to be key. Holding off until there are more fans could derail this story again.
•Eddie Kingston Promo – HIT
A bounce back performance on mic this week for Eddie Kingston. Their unnamed group appears to be working more cohesively after the scuffle between Penta El Zero M and Fenix last week. Kingston is an engaging enough talk to make this work. He again stated that he never lost the battle royal before Butcher and Blade attacked several wrestlers at ringside. Kingston then patted Blade on the back and told him he needs to get his house in order. That may have something to do with the Bunny as she has largely been absent from their act since infiltrating the Nightmare Family.
•MJF vs. Sean Dean – HIT
A quick win for MJF off of an eye poke. Afterwards, he cut a promo settling back into his natural persona without the campaign staff. The most striking thing about the promo was that he teased being a part of a faction. He said that in order to get a fair shake, it seems you have to be a part of a group. It’s unclear if he meant he was thinking of joining one or starting his own. There isn’t any logical group for him to join up with because he’s an alpha and it’s hard to imagine him in a secondary role. As MJF said, there may be too many groups already and I would agree with him. To get the most out of MJF, he has to be the sole focus. However, MJF could make more heel alliances so that he’s in the back pocket of more than just Wardlow.
•Chris Jericho & Jake Hager vs. Private Party – HIT
Really good well worked and psychological match. Private Party have done plenty of flips and dives in the past, but this match proved that they are capable of doing a lot more. They reeled in the spots for an engaging contest. Chris Jericho and Jake Hager work well together as the two bruising heels who don’t really do any high spots, but know how to generate heat and get over the baby faces. There are a lot of tag teams getting a push right now so it seems unlikely they will be facing FTR any time soon, but this is a good role for Jericho where he can use his star power to elevate Hager and their opponents.
•Thunder Rosa vs. Ivelisse – HIT
A slow start to the match, but once it got going it was very good. Thunder Rosa continues to have a presence when she appears in AEW and elevates her opponents. In the post-match, Diamante attacked Thunder Rosa only to be stopped by Hirkaru Shida who watched the match from ringside. Shida gazed at the NWA title which would point to a rematch with Rosa at some point if she says in AEW. Another logical direction would be a tag match against Ivelisse and Diamante who recently won the Deadly Draw tag team tournament.
•Lance Archer Promo – HIT
Move over Teddy Long, that’s how you set up a tag match. Coming out of the hype for the Casino Battle Royal, Lance Archer and Jake Roberts have made a pact with Taz, Cage, and Ricky Starks to take out Moxley. As Taz explained why he is working with Archer, Moxley’s music hit and he came through the back of Daily’s Place. Starks and Cage attacked him from the stands before Will Hobbs came swinging with a chair in Moxley’s defense. Moxley announced he’s going to tag with Hobbs and Darby Allin next week. Hobbs has been working matches on Dark before being a stand out in the Casino Battle Royal at All Out earning himself a full-time contract. His debut stands out as not being flashy, but it marks him as someone important by being aligned with Jon Moxley.
•Best Friends vs. Santana & Ortiz – HIT
As someone who’s not a traditional fan of parking lot brawls or action outside the ring, this was one hell of a performance. An exciting match with plenty of hardway blood from being smashed onto windshields. Santana & Ortiz were far more vicious in presentation wearing white face paint while Best Friends left the gimmicks until the end. Of course, Orange Cassidy made an appearance coming out of a trunk leading to the finish of a piledriver through a car roof. Trent’s mom, Sue, picked up the Best Friends in a refurbished or brand new Honda Odyssey. She rolled down the window and flipped the bird as she drove off. A satisfying conclusion to the feud focusing on intensity and brutality before sprinkling in the comedy.