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KELLER’S AEW REVOLUTION PPV REPORT
MARCH 7, 2021
JACKSONVILLE, FLA. AT DAILY’S PLACE
AIRED LIVE ON PPV
Commentators: Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, Excalibur
Ring Announcer: Justin Roberts
-Various video packages aired hyping the PPV line-up.
-Britt Baker walked onto the stage and said Nyla Rose attacked her partner Nyla Rose attacked her partner Reba. Reba walked onto the stage. Baker said she worked with AEW doctors to determine she cannot complete, but they’ve found a substitution. Out came Maki Itoh, all over-the-top perky and full of smiles. She danced and then sang as the announcers talked about her being a sensation in the AEW Women’s Tournament. Excalibur said Itoh was in a pop singing group in Japan, but was fired for being unpopular, so she became a pro wrestler.
(A) BRIT BAKER (w/Rebel) & MAKI ITOH vs. THUNDER ROSA & RIHO
Itoh applied a half crab deep into the match, but Riho reached the bottom rope. Excalibur said it’d be the first time Itoh was able to beat Riho. Excalibur talked about Itoh having a long transatlantic flight and she might be running out of steam. Baker and Rosa tagged in against each other. Baker scored a near fall with a backslide, then countered with a DDT for another near fall. Rosa countered with a crucifix. Rebel stood on the ring apron and distracted Rosa. Schiavone said Rebel seemed okay without her crutch. Baker charged at Rosa, but Rosa moved and Baker rammed into Rebel. Rosa gave Baker a Death Valley Driver. Itoh broke up the cover. Rosa threw her out of the ring. Riho dove onto Itoh at ringside. Baker gave Rosa a Thrust kick. Rebel then hit Rosa in the head with a crutch. The ref didn’t see it. Baker scored the three count. Riho ran into the ring immediately to check on Rosal
WINNERS: Baker & Itoh in 15:00.
-A video package aired on the Jon Moxley-Kenny Omega main event. A graphic showed the rules of the match.
-A tribute was shown for Jim Crockett Jr.
-Ross introduced the show. Ross sounded hoarse. Schiavone and Excalibur also chimed in.
(1) THE YOUNG BUCKS (Matt & Nick Jackson) vs. CHRIS JERICHO & MJF (w/Wardlow) – AEW Tag Team Title match
Jericho and MJF came out first. The crowd sang Jericho’s entrance theme. The Bucks were aggressively chomping on their gum during their ring entrance. After some brawling at ringside, the Bucks applied stereo sharpshooters. Jericho, the legal man for his team, reached the ropes to force a break. The Bucks fended off MJF on the ring apron. Wardlow checked on MJF. MJF broke up a Nick cover on Jericho after a flip senton off the top rope. MJF grabbed Nick’s leg from ringside, opening up Jericho to connect with a kick. MJF then choked Nick at ringside and Wardlow stomped on him as the ref was distracted. Jericho and MJF then beat down Nick for a while.
Matt tagged in and hit a DDT on MJF. Wardlow interfered at ringside. Jericho then suplexed Matt on the floor. Wardlow stomped him again. The announcers said it’s basically become a handicapped match. Excalibur said MJF is a P.O.S., but very talented. Ross said, “LOL.” MJF settled into a chinlock on Matt. Matt elbowed out of it, but MJF took him down again with a drop toe hold and then applied a front chancery. Matt eventually hot-tagged in Nick, who rallied against both heels. Jackson faceplanted MJF in the ring and then hit a Destroyer for a very near fall. The Bucks hit a double-team move on MJF which Excalibur called a tribute to the Motor City Machine Gunns.
Jericho caught Matt and went for a Lion Tamer. Matt rolled up Jericho as a counter for a two count. He blocked a Judas Effect with a superkick. MJF grabbed Nick’s leg as Jericho landed a tombstone. He then avoided a Matt dropkick and applied a mid=ring Boston Crab. Nick crawled over and tagged in Matt. Jericho immediately put him in a Boston Crab. Matt broke free. MJF tagged himself in and applied a backslide for a very near fall. MJF gave Matt a powerbomb mid-ring for a near fall. He kicked away at Matt and then did a crotch chop. “What motivates a guy to be an idiot?” asked Schiavone. MJF went to several more crotch chops. Schiavone said matt should punch him right where he was pointing. Matt set up a tombstone, but MJF countered with a roll-up. As Wardlow distracted the ref, Jericho hit Matt from behind with the baseball bat. MJF then gave Matt a Heat Seeker for a believable near fall. MJF reacted wide-eyed at the kick-out.
The Bucks landed stereo dives onto MJF and Jericho. Nick scored a near fall on Jericho in the ring. Wardlow stepped up onto the ring apron again. They went to a replay of the previous move at a vital part of the match where Jericho mistakenly landed a Judas Effect on Wardlow, leading to a roll-up by Nick for a near fall. Jericho went for a springboard Lionsault, but the Bucks kicked him out of mid-air. They hit the BTE Trigger. MJF broke up the cover. The Bucks then superkicked MJF five or six times each. They gave Jericho a stereo superkick and he moved toward them. The Bucks then hit a Meltzer Driver on Jericho for the win.
WINNER: The Bucks in 18:00 to retain the AEW Tag Team Titles. (****)
(Keller’s Analysis: Really good tag match. They seemed to meet half-way in terms of the usual chaotic highspot-filled Bucks style and the more psychological and grounded-in-storytelling style of Jericho and MJF, and it worked. One thing that is worthy mentioning is now much 24 year old MJF has shown he belongs at this level with these three other veterans. There’s not even a hint these moments are too big for him in terms of personality or ring work.)
-They went to the announcers on commentary. Ross apologized for his hoarse voice, but vowed to make it through the event. They hyped the rest of the line-up.
(Keller’s Analysis: Ross did heavy-lifting here talking about upcoming matches. Seems like this would be a good time for him to rest his voice!)
(2) CASINO TAG TEAM BATTLE ROYALE
•Dustin Rhodes & Q.T. Marshall and Dark Order’s “10” and “5” battled for the first 90 seconds.
•Santana & Ortiz entered third. Marshall landed a Diamond Cutter and tossed out “5.” With “10” still in the match, no team was eliminated yet.
•Matt & Mike Sydal entered fourth.
•Dark Order’s Evil Uno & Stu Grayson entered fifth.
•Austin & Colton Gunn entered sixth. Ross noted they are the sons of Billy Gunn.
•Cesar Bononi & “Pretty” Peter Avalon were out seventh. Avalon and Bononi got in some spots and played to the crowd enthusiastically.
•The Varsity Blondes (Griff Garrison & Brian Pillman Jr.) came out eighth with a ton of energy and enthusiasm. The Gunns tossed out Avalon. The Gunns went after Bononi, but Marshall dumped them all over the top rope. Schiavone said they’re all part of the Nightmare Family. Dustin chewed him out. Marshall eliminated himself in a heel tactic to abandon Dustin. Excalibur said it was shocking. Bononi looked rough in the sequence leading to his elimination.
•Bear Country came out ninth and tossed around some wrestlers. They eliminated Grayson.
•Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus (w/Marko Stunt) were out tenth. Schiavone was very excited about Jungle Boy. JB eliminated Ortiz. Bononi clotheslined JB. Luchasaurus clotheslined Bononi over the top. Bononi & Avalon were eliminated. Luchasaurus eliminated Garrison. JB ducked a charging Santana, so Santana & Ortiz were out.
•Butcher & Blade came out tenth. Jack Evans was in the mix to pull “10” off the apron. The announcers wondered where he came from. Excalibur said it’s clear he is on Matt Hardy’s payroll. Butcher and Blade attacked Dustin on the ring apron. Bunny helped Dustin get eliminated, so Dustin & Marshall were officially eliminated.
•Private Party were out eleventh. Marko helped keep JB on the ring apron.
•SCU (Frankie Kazarian & Christopher Daniels) came out twelfth. Schiavone wondered if they’d quit wrestling if they lost this match. Excalibur said it has to be a traditional tag team match for it to count toward their vow to retire. (When was the last time that storyline was addressed on Dynamite?) Bear Country eliminated Luchasaurus. Butcher then eliminated Bear Country right afterward. Bear Country dragged Butcher to the floor and beat on him briefly.
•Rey Fenix & Pac came out thirteenth.
•John Silver & Alex Reynolds came out fourteenth. Reynolds piledrove Marko onto Daniels. Yikes. Silver & Reynolds gave Dark Destroyer to Isaiah Kassidy to eliminate Private Party. SCU backdropped a charging Butcher over the top rope to eliminate him.
It was down to SCU, Reynolds & Silver, Fenix & Pac, and Jungle Boy (representing his team). Fenix headscissored Daniels out. JB backdropped Reynolds to the floor. Pac back suplexed Kax over the top rope onto the floor. It was down to Silver, Fenix, Pac, and and Jungle Boy. Fenix nearly eliminated Silver, who hung onto the ropes to pull himself back in. Fenix and JB had an athletic exchange. Pac and Silver then exchanged blows mid-ring. Silver threw a barrage of kicks at Pac. Fenix walked the top rope and aimed a kick to Silver’s forehead, although it missed by several inches. That eliminated Silver, who dropped to the floor.
The final stanza was Pac & Fenix vs. JB. JB sidestepped Pac who flew over the top rope to the floor. It almost looked like Pac meant to hang on. JB and Fenix squared off. This is a nice final two. They exchanged chops. Fenix flew thorugh the ropes with a flip at JB at ringside. Fenix threw JB back into the ring. Fenix told the refs he went between the ropes, so he’s still legal. JB attacked Fenix with a barrage of moves including a clothesline and a poison rana. Fenix came back with a kick and a clothesline, sending him over the top rope to the floor for the win.
WINNERS: Pac & Fenix in 27:00 to earn an AEW Tag Team Title match.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was good, in part because they kept it more simple without overly cute spots or attempts to reinvent anything. It was a straight forward fight throughout with a nice final sequence. That said, there were definitely a few missed moves and awkwardly timed spots. I’d vote for the time between entrances being 60 seconds instead of 90 seconds, and then giving more time at the end to Jungle Boy and Rey Fenix at the end.)
I’m looking forward to the Bucks moving on to a new rivalry with Pac & Fenix. Those matches should be amazing.)
-Dasha interviewed Paul Wight and asked for a hint regarding the new signing. He said only he, Tony Khan, and the wrestler know. He said nobody can outwork this particular talent.
-They showed DDP standing in the crowd. He didn’t look at the camera and he didn’t look happy. Paul Walter Hauser was standing next to him. They also showed Al Snow, who was wearing an OVW mask and looked pleased to be there.
-A video package aired on the AEW Women’s Title match.
(3) HIKARU SHIDA vs. MIZUNAMI – AEW Women’s Title match
Mizunami did that stupid pantomime rope pull thing early in the match, giving Shida a chance to recover and take over the match. I can’t think of a dumber spot in wrestling than that, since it backfires and shows a complete lack of focus and undermines the whole idea she’s in a fight with high stakes. Shida launched off a chair and dove at Mizunami, but Mizunami caught her and threw her into a crowd of wrestlers over the barricade. Ross seemed to get slightly irked with Schiavone when Schiavone explained a chair that Shida got under the ring wasn’t illegal because she used it as a launching pad, but not a weapon. Ross said seconds earlier that whatever she grabbed under the ring would be illegal. Ross corrected himself, but Schiavone still explained it.
Excalibur talked about their different backgrounds training in Japan and how Mizunami “likes to have fun at her opponent’s expense.” Shida delivered a Crunchy on Mizunami on the stage, then she smiled. Shida then gave Mizunami a cradle suplex off the top rope into the ring for a near fall. Mizunami made a comeback and scored a near fall. Shida made a comeback shortly thereafter. They traded hard clotheslines. Mizunami landed a top rope legdrop. The announcers declared “new champion!” but Shida kicked out.
Mizunami landed a clothesline to the back of Shida’s head a minute later. Shida came back with a falcon arrow. Then she landed some strikes. They went back and forth at a rapid-fire pace to the point of both being exhausted. Shida got up and delivered a move that was hard to tell who was delivering a move to whom. Shida delivered a running knee for a two count. She then landed a corkscrew knee strike and a high stack pin for the three count.
WINNER: Shida in 15:00 to retain the AEW Women’s Title. (***1/2)
(Keller’s Analysis: Good match most of the way. When they were selling exhaustion, their moves got sloppy and it looked like they were too exhausted to make the moves look as crisp as you’d like at the climax of the fight.)
-After the match, Nyla Rose attacked Shida from behind. Vickie Guerrero joined her and gloated. When Rose turned to Mizunami, Shida made the save. Baker, Itoh, and Rebel ran out. The announcers noted Rebel didn’t really didn’t need her crutch. Rosa ran out for the save. Baker and Itoh bailed out.
-A commercial aired for AEW Double or Nothing, the next PPV event. Excalibur said it’s their flagship event and it’ll be at Daily’s Place.
-Alex Marvez interviewed Chuck Taylor & Orange Cassidy backstage. Miro and Kip Sabian attacked them before they could speak. Miro threw Taylor’s head into a door with a window. He then said, “Play my music.”
(Keller’s Analysis: When the camera panned back, it showed there was no way for Miro to actually have surprised Taylor with the attack as there was a wall right there behind the camera and they were in a narrow hallway. It wasn’t believable at all that Taylor was surprised by Miro.)
(4) MIRO & KIP SABIAN (w/Penelope Ford) vs. CHUCK TAYLOR & ORANGE CASSIDY
Miro and Sabian dragged Taylor to the ring. He was bleeding from his forehead. Cassidy was nowhere to be seen. Miro yelled at Taylor for saying no to him over and over. He said he can make it stop if he just says the word. He held the mic up to Taylor’s mouth. Taylor said, “Ring the damn bell.” He stood and threw a chip. Miro took over with an aggressive attack, though, as soon as the bell rang. Ross wondered what happened to Cassidy. Schiavone wondered if he was waiting for his music. (That’d be hilarious! His partner is getting crushed and Cassidy is just standing patiently backstage, insisting his music play before he goes to the ring. Ross noted he got beat up backstage.)
The announcers talked up Miro being in the best shape of his life. Cassidy made his way to the ring and tagged in against Sabian. He landed a dive through the ropes at ringside, then a diving DDT in the ring. Taylor blind-tagged in and stuff piledrove Sabian. Miro broke up the cover at two. Ford yelled at the ref. Cassidy put his hands in his pockets and slow-kicked Miro’s ankles. Miro smiled, looking amused. He then ducked an Orange Punch. Cassidy landed a Slum Dog Millionaire and an Orange Punch. Miro struggled to stand. Ford distracted Cassidy on the ring apron. Miro shoved Cassidy into Ford, knocking her hard to the floor. Miro then attacked Cassidy. Taylor entered and went after Miro. Sabian was checking on Ford. Miro officially tagged in. Taylor then small packaged Miro for a believable near fall. Miro came back with a camel clutch for the tapout win.
WINNERS: Miro & Sabian in 8:00. (**1/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: An average tag match. Nothing wrong with it, and fine for this place on the card. The PPV wouldn’t have suffered without it, though.)
-Marvez interviewed a dejected Jericho & MJF. Marvez asked them to comment on failing to win the titles. Jericho took exception to the term “failed.” He said they’ve been through so much and they’re depleted. He said like any good army, they’re going to make necessary changes. He called for a meeting on Wednesday to make the changes necessary. MJF ominously he agrees change could make them better. It implied MJF was going to be appoint himself the leader, but Jericho didn’t catch on. Jericho told Marvez he’s never failed at anything in his life.
(5) MATT HARDY vs. “HANGMAN” ADAM PAGE – Money Match
Ross talked up Page before the bell as having huge potential at just age 29. They locked up at the start, and Page got the better of Hardy. Hardy took control and worked over Page’s hand. He rammed it into the ringside steps, then bit down on his hand back in the ring. Ross called it sick. Schiavone said Page wouldn’t quit “with this much money on the line.” He then added, “Or ever.” (I wonder if someone said something to him in his headset about Page not being a quitter in general, not just with big money at stake.)
They fought back and forth for several minutes, but Page flip dove off the top rope onto Hardy at ringside. Page landed hard against the ringside barricade when he landed. Back in the ring, Page landed a sliding lariat. He went for a Dead Eye, but Hardy grabbed the top rope. Hardy then landed a neckbreaker. Page eventually hit a Dead Eye. Kassidy and Quen distracted the ref. The ref ridiculously yelled at Quen instead of making the count as Page had Hardy covered. Page turned to Kassidy to yell at him. He then turned to Quen on the other side. Schiavone said they are buying time. Page stayed in control. Kassidy entered the ring. Page clotheslined him and then knocked Quen off the ring apron and then dove through the ropes at Kassidy outside the ring. When he went for a Buckshot Lariat, Hardy caught him a Side Effect and a Twist of Fate. The announcers declared Hardy was going to win, but Page kicked out. Ross said all of Hardy’s A-list offense just landed, but it wasn’t enough. When Hardy called for more Private Party help, Dark Order ran out and attacked them. Page then kicked Hardy in the head. Hardy knocked Page off the ring apron, but Dark Order ran over to catch him. He then hit a Buckshot Lariat for the win. Ross said that lariat would make Stan Hansen proud. Page and Dark Order had a big group hug after the match. They gave Page a beer.
WINNER: Page in 15:00. (***)
(Keller’s Analysis: Solid match. Maybe a bit too long for its place on the card. I get the idea of Hardy leaning on Private Party’s help, but the ref ignoring Page’s cover to yell at them on the ring apron really looked bad.)
(6) “PLATINUM” MAX CASTER vs. “MURDERHAWK” LANCE ARCHER (w/Jake Roberts) vs. SCORPIO SKY vs. PENTAGON JR. vs. CODY RHODES (w/Arn Anderson) vs. ETHAN PAGE (a mystery entrant)
Caster did a rap on his way to the ring. “I’m gonna cancel ya’ all like Dr. Seuss,” he said. He also took a shot at Gov. Cuomo. He played specifically to different sides of the arena and the commentary team. Ross said he’s got some charisma. Second out was Archer. When Sky came out, Schiavone said Sky showed a bit of an attitude adjustment. Ross said he feels he’s been a little overlooked. Ross said if he feels that way, this match is a good chance to do something about it.
Cody came out fifth. Ross said he took himself out of the race for the AEW Title. “That’s still a head-scratcher to me,” Ross said. Ross said rumors are running rampant about how serious Cody’s shoulder injury is, and he’s not sure the extent of it. They showed Jade Cargill at ringside. Then they showed Red Velvet. The final mystery entrant turend out to be “All Ego” Ethan Page. Excalibur said he’s as shocked as anyone. He said he’s a two-time champion in Impact Wrestling and was a tag team specialist with Josh Alexander in PWG.
A few minutes in, Caster called for Jack Evans to come to the ring. Dark Order “10” came out and slammed Evans onto the ramp. Caster then picked up the boom box, but Cody gave him a Disaster Kick. Page set up the ladder and climbed up to grab the gaudy-large brass ring (which is a tremendous prize for a ladder match that works on a number of levels). Caster used the the boombox as a weapon against Cody. Penta ran up a ladder leaning on the second rope and flip dove onto Cody and Caster at ringside. Archer then surveyed the scene, then dropkicked Penta off the ring apron. Archer then grabbed the ladder, but Page entered and gave him a cutter onto the ladder.
Sky entered and went after Page. Page and Sky slipped on a side slam attempt. Page then gave Scorpio a released powebomb onto the ladder, with Archer sandwiched inside the ladder. Cody set up a move on Penta off the ring apron onto a bridged ladder, but Penta escaped and gave Cody a Destroyer on the ladder. Cody writhed in pain on the floor. Referees and medics checked on Cody at ringside. Cody grabbed at his left shoulder. Page tried to suplex Sky on the ladder, but Sky reversed it. Cody was helped to the back. Caster, meanwhile, climbed the ladder, but Sky knocked him down.
Caster tried again and reached for the brass ring, but Sky yanked him off the ladder by his leg. They cut to the stage where Cody seemed to be coming to terms with being unable to rejoin the match. Caster and Sky climbed ladders side-by-side in the ring as Cody was led to the back. Archer met them up there. Page then joined in. All four grabbed at the big brass ring at once. Archer was knocked to the mat. Then Page. Sky then knocked Caster down. Sky grabbed the ring, but then Penta returned and knocked Sky down.
Penta and Sky battled on the ladder and then they landed with a thud. Caster and Page climbed one remaining ladder. Page powerbombed Caster off the top of the ladder. Sky threw Page into the ladder. In the background, Cody finally walked to the back out of sight as Jerry Lynn and Arn Anderson were among those talking him out of returning. Sky climbed to the top rope and leaped at Caster on a ladder on the mat and landedd a frog splash. Sky set up a ladder mid-ring. Archer catapulted Sky toward the ladder, but Sky grabbed onto the ladder. Archer yanked Sky off the ladder, then landed a knee to send Sky through the bridged ladder at ringside.
Penta and Page returned to the ring and battled. Caster ran in, but Penta threw him into Page in the corner. Penta fended off Archer, then played to the audience. He climbed the ladder. Caster met him at the top. Caster knocked Penta down. Cody returned with his weight lifting belt. He whipped everyone in sight and went after Page in the corner. He held his left arm close to his body and used his right arm. He gave Page a Crossroads. Cody set up a ladder and climbed to the top. Archer met him up there and punched away at him. He delivered a cradle suplex off the top of the ladder. Caster then leaped off the ladder with the Claim to Fame elbow onto the back of Cody.
Caster set up the ladder mid-ring. Penta met him at the top. Archer knocked the ladder over. Archer then chokeslammed Page, Cody, and Penta. Caster went after Archer but Archer no-sold him and knocked him down. Then he gave Caster his Black Out onto the ladder. Archer looked up at the brass ring. Schiavone noted that Jake was celebrating already. Page came up behind Archer and hit him. Archer climbed down to go after him. He knocked him down. Page then gave Archer a low-blow and gave him a released Razor’s Edge. Jake entered teh ring and gave Page a short-arm clothesline. Fenix then superkicked Jake on his chin.
Penta then climbed the ladder. Cody re-entered and hit Penta with his one usable arm. Cody gave Penta a Cody Cutter. Ross called it as ugly a Cody Cutter as you’ll see, but it got the job done. Penta bumped the opposite direction as is normal. Cody climbed the ladder next. Penta hit Cody’s sore left arm with a chair. He shoved Cody to the mat, then again played to the crowd before climbing the ladder. Sky re-entered and bashed Penta with a chair. Penta dropped to the mat, grabbing at his ankle.
Sky climbed the ladder. Cody got up and climbed the other side of the ladder. They battled at the top. Sky shoved Cody to the mat and then grabbed the brass ring to win.
WINNER: Sky in 23:00. (****)
(Keller’s Analysis: That was a spotfest to be sure, but a more mature one than some with the frenzied pace of a match like this slowed just enough to keep it exciting but also manageable. There were several believable near finishes throughout. Everyone had a good spotlight for stretches of the match and, with the exception of Ethan Page, I bought into the possibility that everyone else was on the verge of possibly winning.)
-They went to the announcers at ringside who then threw to the stage where a podium stood.
-Christian Cage walked out to a takeoff on his TNA music fromm over a decade ago. Schiavone called him “one of the great world champions ever.” (Ummm…) Ross said he had unfinished business, and that is one of the motivators for him coming to AEW. He revealed his AEW gimmick when he opened his jacket and revealed “Out Work Everyone” on his t-shirt. He then walked past the podium and returned to the back.
(Keller’s Analysis: He became the popular guess this weekend, although his name was part of the short list of likely candidates even last Wednesday night. He’s probably at the lower end of what the hype suggested while still living up to the hype for most people. Given his association with Edge who is headlining WrestleMania and that he was given a spotlight in the Royal Rumble just a few weeks ago, he’s a good signing that I think most viewers will be excited about or at least content with. I wouldn’t have wanted to be Christian knowing that C.M. Punk, Dave Bautista, John Cena, The Rock, Becky Lynch, and Brock Lesnar were among the big names being speculated about the last four days as the Paul Wight tease probably grew bigger than AEW anticipated. Now Brian Cage and Christian Cage have to share a last name, just like Ethan Page and Hangman Page do. I’m thinking, given how much AEW hyped Christian as a huge, huge star and Hall of Fame worthy and one of the great world champions ever, that he’s headed toward a feud and title match with Kenny Omega. I’m okay with that, as there aren’t other obvious fresh opponents for Omega. That said, it could be pushing how most viewers see Christian. I’d think a feud with Scorpio Sky, if Sky beats Darby for the TNT Title, would be more in line with how fans perceive Christian. Christian, though, has always craved being seen as a top guy and at Edge’s level; I suspect that part of the negotiations to sign with AEW.)
-Taz joined the announcers on commentary.
(7) STING & DARBY ALLIN vs. RICKY STARKS & BRIAN CAGE – Street Fight
This was pre-shot in black and white on an actual street. Darby skateboarded in the street to arrive. This is a rare case of not false advertising a Street Fight stipulation. I take that back. They actually fought in a warehouse, not in the street. The ring was surrounded by Allin’s Army of guys in white masks. Cage threw some of them around. Darby then attacked him.
In the ring, Sting clotheslined Starks and landed a Stinger Splash. They had a cool camera set up above the ring that flew to various parts of the warehouse from above the action to film in. They had eerie background music as the match took place. Cage threw Darby through two doors that fell off their hinges. Sting hit Starks with another Stinger splash, then clotheslined him over the top rope to the floor.
Sting and Starks fought onto the perimeter balcony area. Starks said he’s not worthy anything without the bat. Sting threw his bat up into another level of the warehouse, then beat up Starks. The camera then filmed Cage beating up Darby in a stairwell. He lifted him for a vertical suplex and carried him up a flight of stares. Ross said that’s as amazing as anything he’s seen in wrestling in years. Cage dropped Darby onto a trash can, then kicked him around.
Eventually Powerhouse Hobbs and Taz’s son Hawk joined in. Schiavone said, “No wonder you’re so confident.” Cage picked up Sting and rammed him into a wall and a support post. Taz said the end was near. Team Taz swung Darby into and through a big glass window leaning against a wall. Cage then bashed Sting with a shovel. Darby then tossed Sting his bat from above. He used it for his comeback. He broke it over the back of Cage. Sting then bashed him across the head and neck with the shovel. “What the hell is happening?!” said a worried Taz. Darby then leaped off a balcony and dropped several floors down onto a platform set up for the spot, landing on Cage with a flying elbow drop. Sting looked down at them.
Starks avoided a Stinger Splash. Then he speared Sting and scored a near fall in the ring. Sting then gave Starks a Scorpion Death Drop for the win.
WINNERS: Sting & Darby in 14:00. (****)
(Keller’s Analysis: This was really well done. It’s really tough to apply a star rating to a match of this type, but this worked. They delivered a compelling atmospheric cinematic match that was really well shot and didn’t overstay its welcome. There were some spots that felt more like orchestrated stunts than improvised violence, but not enough to take away from the match overall. The whole vibe and feel was as good as I’ve seen for a pre-taped cinematic presentation of pro wrestling. The live announcing really added to it.)
-A video package previewed the main event.
(8) KENNY OMEGA vs. JON MOXLEY – Exploding Barbed Wire Death Match for the AEW World Hvt. Title
Moxley walked amongst the fans on his way to the ring. It was the best shot of the venue and the crowd’s presence all night. Most of the camera angles failed to convey just how man fans were watching the event live. Ross talked about Terry Funk giving him a call Saturday night “way past our bed time” telling him no one will the same after this. Schiavone talked about seeing the Onita vs. Funk match for the first time recently and it was spectacular. Excalibur said it’s a career-shortening match. He said Mox was just drinking from a flask to prepare himself for what he was about to go through. Excalibur said the local fire official required everyone wear protective fireproof outfits. The ref was dressed in a full body suit and face mask out of a sci-fi movie. Mox entered the ring, which was wrapped in barbed wire and had barbed wire tables leaning in the corners. Excalibur said this rivalry has been defining for AEW and has been a thread running throughout AEW’s existence.
Omega made his ring entrance next with Don Callis. He had a serious look as he walked out. No dancing women in leotards with brooms. Ross said he thinks Omega is up to something by suggesting this match. Excalibur said he clearly wants to beat Moxley at his own game. Callis joined the announcers on commentary. Callis said it’s a great night to die. He said they have to send him off or he’ll keep rising and coming back at them. Justin Roberts then did formal ring introductions.
Excalibur said if the match hasn’t ended by the 30 minute mark, all the explosions will go off, and whoever survives that will be declared the winner. They spent the opening minutes trying to prevent themselves from being shoved into the barbed wire. Callis said he and Kenny spent many sleepless nights putting this together and there are some surprises to come. Mox threw a bunch of weapons out of a trash can. He used a barbed wire baseball bat against Kenny on the stage. Mox bashed Omega with a kendo stick. He then picked up the bat and a stick. Omega threw powder in Moxley’s eyes. Mox swung wildly, but Omega toyed with him. He threw Mox into the barbed wire which sparks. Callis laughed and said, “It’s over! That’s it!” Omega made the cover. Moxley kicked out. Omega bashed Mox with the kendo stick next.
Mox ended up bleding from the forehead. Mox rubbed a barbed wire chair across Omega’s hand. He stood and swung the bat. Omega ducked. Mox broke free, but Omega shoved him back-first into a barbed wire wrapped table in the corner. Mox’s face was covered in blood at this point. Schiavone noted it was 10 minutes into the match, with a max of 20 minutes to go.
When Omega went for a figure-four, Mox kicked him into the ropes. Sparks flew. Mox kicked him into the ropes a second time. More sparks. A “This is awesome!” chant started among some in the audience. “The odor of burning skin is not pleasant,” said Ross. Mox overhead suplexed Omega into a barbed wire table in the corner. Mox set up a Paradigm Shift onto a barbed wire wrapped chair. Omega escaped. Mox gave Omega a released German suplex. Mox then side slammed Omega onto the barbed wire wrapped chair. The chair stuck to Omega’s pants.
Mox wrapped barbed wire around his arm and then clotheslined Omega. Omega came back seconds later with a snap dragon. Then another one and a V-Trigger. Mox fired back with a hard clothesline. Omega shoved Mox into the ropes as he went for a Paradigm Shift, and another explosion went off. Omega asked to rinse his eyes with water. The ref gave him a bottle to rinse his eyes. They were both slow to get up. They fought on the ring apron with the explosive barbed wire tables below. Moxley gave Omega a flying DDT off the ring apron, but he landed on the barbed wire. More explosions. Omega tied to peel himself off the barbed wire as Omega recovered next to the table.
They both rolled back into the ring. Ross called this the most violent match he’s ever seen. Mox wrapped barbed wire around his hand and punched away at Omega. Thumping noises began to play indicating a countdown. The announcers said that’s a ten minute warning. Mox then delivered a leaping piledriver for a two count. Callis said Omega is going to turn it up. Schiavone said there is no countdown clock, so they have to guess how much time is left.
Omega landed two running V-Trigger knees. Then he lifted Mox onto his shoulders with a One-Winged Angel for a near fall. Omega’s foot pushed against the middle rope, causing an explosion. Ross called it “nothing less tan ingenious.” Omega covered his face as if he was blasted with sparks. Mox grabbed the barbed wire bat. Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows ran out. Mox bashed them with the bat. “You wanted it, you got it!” said Schiavone. Ross said, “Get your ass back to Nashville.” Omega bashed Mox with an exploding barbed wire wrapped bat. Callis said he told everyone there’d be surprises. Omega scored a near fall.
Gallows and Anderson continued to help Omega beat up Moxley. He gave Mox a One-Winged Angel through a chair for the three count. Callis said he came into this as the God of Pro Wrestling and now he can be called the God of the Death Match. Excalibur said Omega needed the help of the Good Brothers to take out Mox. He said the clock is still ticking. Ross said he’s told they’ll hear a distinctive siren before the final explosion.
WINNER: Omega in 27:00 to retain the AEW World Hvt. Title. (****1/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: It’s hard to say if the match lived up to expectations. I could see a wide range of opinions on that, depending on what people anticipated and whether the violence and gimmickry lived up to people’s imaginations and AEW’s build. It was brutal for sure, and I was glad to see a pinfall, although the interference from Omega’s henchmen made it feel inconclusive even though there was a three count. If a match like this can end only because of a three-on-one attack, what did it really solve?)
-Callis checked on Omega in the ring, then left the ring. They handcuffed Mox’s hands behind his back. Anderson, Gallows, and Omega continued to beat on Moxley. Omega talked to the ringside camera. Callis went back to the announce desk and said this is now a message to the entire roster. Omega rubbed a barbed wire baseball bat across Moxley’s forehead, then rammed his head into the bat. Schiavone said they were down to two minutes before the explosions. Omega bashed Mox with the bat twice. The one minute countdown air raid sirens began. Callis assured the announcers they’ll be fine, but he moved further back. The heel trio left the ring.
Eddie Kingston ran out and battled past the heels and tried to get Moxley out of the ring. He couldn’t so he covered him in a replication of Onita covering Terry Funk nearly 30 years ago. Then the countdown clock hit zero and some sparklers shot out of the ringposts and then some other explosions went off. It was a very weak climax after all the build up. Even the announcers couldn’t hide it. There were scattered boos in the crowd. Schiavone called them bombs that gave off a lot of heat. Medical staff and referees checked on Kingston and Mox. Kingston was selling it as if it was a big impact on him. Ross signed off as the wrestlers were being tended to.
(Keller’s Analysis: On the bright side, if Christian felt like he was a letdown compared to the hype and speculation, he wasn’t the biggest letdown of the show. It would have been better to cut off the feed after the explosions fizzled rather than spending several minutes hard-selling the impact on Kingston especially who wasn’t in a grueling match and was lying there selling a near-death experience that was barely a Cody Rhodes ring entrance in terms of pyro.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: A strong thumbs up show, but not at the level of a PPV of the Year. Just really good most of the way. They came in under four hours for the main PPV, which is vital as I think anything past three-and-a-half hours begins to backfire with a lot of viewers every minute that goes by.