SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
The Young Bucks vs. Pac & Rey Fenix – HIT
AEW didn’t leave any room to doubt that The Bucks have officially turned heel. Their pre-match promo explaining their actions and the strongly negative crowd reaction (which I suspect was sweetened) clearly indicated they pivoted fully. They changed up their look to be more mid-90’s Shawn Michaels with the leather hats, earrings, and they removed the tassels from their gear. Matt Jackson explained that they chose friendship and weren’t going to sit in the background. A fine explanation to finally just be at the next stage and get the Bucks back onto a clear path. Of course, both of these teams had a great match against each other showing off the highest levels of athleticism. The Bucks performed far less high spots than usual in order to get over their heel characters. Meanwhile Rey Fenix continues to innovate every time he hits the ring. The finish to the match felt off with a missed superkick then the removal of Fenix’s mask followed up by a double super kick. Good match, but they left a lot on the table for a rematch down the road.
Jade Cargill vs. Red Velvet – HIT
Jade Cargill and Red Velvet continue to impress in the ring. A relatively short match where Red Velvet created most of the movement, but this booking worked well. Cargill sold well leading up to her finisher. In only her fourth match, she has a long way to go, but she continues to show a lot of promise.
Anthony Ogogo Debut – HIT
I’m cool with a punch to the gut and that was nearly exactly how I would’ve executed Ogogo’s debut. A very quick one punch and done. Being a former professional boxer allows him to be a character we don’t often see with quick out of nowhere finishes.
Chris Jericho vs. Dax Harwood – HIT
I love FTR as a tag team, but I always enjoy seeing Harwood solo. A hard hitting match with Chris Jericho that went to the outside a number of times. AEW continues to better utilize Mike Tyson as a dangerous looming presence. Jericho won with the Judas Effect as both teams build towards their Blood & Guts match on May 5th.
Kris Statlander vs. Amber Nova – HIT
Kris Statlander dominated Nova in a short match. She looked excited and confident in her first match back from her ACL injury. I’m still not a fan of her being an alien, but she is a natural fit with the Best Friends. They all have quirky personalities and really seem to enjoy one another.
Christian Cage Promo – HIT
Like all Tony Schiavone promos, Taz cut off Christian Cage early on demanding an answer as to whether he would be joining their group. Christian said he came to AEW to win championships and his answer is definitively no. Taz went off on Christian, then Will Hobbs entered the ring and took out Christian after an initial struggle. Hobbs continued the beat down outside of the ring. Christian feuding with Team Taz feels like a good spot for him at this point. He can have some compelling matches with some of the younger talent and do his best to get them over.
Darby Allin vs. Matt Hardy – HIT
A chaotic match between the brawling on the stage and outside interference. Matt Hardy’s group, Sting, and Lance Archer all had their moments mid-match. The action between Allin and Hardy was good as they beat each other down at ringside leading up to the staging area. Allin climbed up a metal post to hit the coffin drop through a table for the win. As Allin continues to rack up wins, it makes it increasingly intriguing as to who will someday beat him for the championship.