SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Christian Cage vs. Frankie Kazarian – HIT
A nice return match for Christian Cage. Not the 4-star plus matches we’ve become accustomed to in AEW’s prime match slots, but coming off a seven year hiatus, Christian looked smooth. Frankie Kazarian who is a familiar opponent for Christian from their time in TNA, took the lead for most of the match and got in more of the offense. Cage looked great physically, but appeared quite worn out by the end. He’s a solid addition to the roster, but this performance did nothing to increase excitement about a potential match with Kenny Omega.
Cody Rhodes vs. QT Marshall – MISS
As Wade joked, finally another faction! What everyone has been clamoring for. As it turns out, there are only 2 wrestlers on the men’s side of the roster who are not involved in a group or tag team. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with factions, my issue with groups is that it nearly guarantees outside interference which has plagued much of wrestling as of late. QT Marshall had been setting up a turn on Cody Rhodes for several weeks feeling. In the end, he intentionally disqualified himself (it doesn’t count because it’s an exhibition match) and several of his students attacked Cody and the Nightmare Family. This was a solid execution, but it wasn’t enough to get more interest in a program between the two. The beat down does give something memorable to QT’s students that they could hang their hat on while destroying opponents on Elevation or Dark.
Jon Moxley vs. Cezar Bononi – HIT
Before the match, Jon Moxley cut a promo acknowledging his scars from Revolution. Moxley came to the ring with authority then took a beating from Bononi. Bononi lost to Hangman in 2:18 last week, but got in much of the offense on Moxley. Without the promo ahead of time still selling the injuries, I would’ve had more of an issue with this. Instead Moxley was able to regain his footing and defeated Bononi with a rear naked choke a la Minoru Suzuki.
MJF’s Gift to The Pinnacle – HIT
Back in black! The Inner Circle is back with a vengeance. As MJF introduced an interior decorator to The Pinnacle to revamp the backstage area previously occupied by The Inner Circle, the group made their return and laid down a beating. Despite the convenient camera cuts, it was a satisfying and brutal brawl to say the least. It felt fresh to do the return not like the conventional in-ring beatdown. It also sets them up for a promo for next week.
Kenny Omega & The Good Brothers vs. The Lucha Bros & Laredo Kid – HIT
Before the match, Don Callis gave a great performance on the mic trying to get a rise out of Matt Jackson. He continued to accuse The Young Bucks of breaking Kenny’s heart and changing themselves for the worse since leaving New Japan. Tremendous action throughout with the Lucha Bros continuing to show off their creativity. Laredo Kid took the pin in the end off the One Winged Angel. In the post match, Jon Moxley crept down the stage followed by The Young Bucks to set up a six-man tag for next week.
Hikaru Shida & Tay Conti vs The Bunny & Nyla Rose – MISS
A fine match between these teams. It had a sizable amount of outside interference with Dark Order and Matt Hardy’s group in opposing corners. Tay Conti continues to refine her offense, but was easily defeated off of a distraction finish then hit with a kendo stick.
Chuck Taylor & Orange Cassidy vs. Miro & Kip Sabian – HIT
Just two weeks ago Britt Baker and Thunder Rosa engaged in an epic hardcore contest drawing blood and thumbtacks. This week’s main event featured arcade favorites along with legos. The contrast isn’t as much of a negative as it is an example of the wide variety that AEW has to offer. A match like Arcade Anarchy isn’t going to appeal to everyone, including myself, but they made it into a fun spectacle. It was essentially a no disqualification match where competitors could use the arcade games setup at ringside as weapons. The stipulation set up not one, but two returns including Kris Statlander popping out of a crane machine and Trent being driven by his mom, Sue. The Best Friends got their revenge on Kip Sabian and Miro which should mean this long feud has come to an end. This would be the opportunity to break off Miro and start fresh with him as a monster heel on his own.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S AEW HITS & MISSES: AEW DYNAMITE HITS & MISSES 3/24: Omega and Sydal deliver a good opener, Page looks for his next story, Britt Baker doubles down on last week’s match, more