SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Sammy Guevara defeated Andrade El Idolo to retain the TNT Championship: MINOR HIT
Good match, but it never really felt like it had high stakes. In addition, they cut right to it at the beginning of the show. I’m not an old fan, but I’d really like for the champion to have an entrance. Title defenses need a good set up instead of just cutting to the ring.
After the match, Matt Hardy attack Sammy before Darby Allin and Sting came to the rescue. I presume this sets up a tag match for the PPV?
QT Marshall/Hook Segment: MINOR HIT
QT Marshall came out and starting berating Taz and Hook. He claimed that he was the one who created Hook.
While this was a good promo overall, why did they wait until now to reference the fact that he is a QT Marshall trainee? That is the sort of thing you plan in advance of a feud like this. Inserting it midway just doesn’t feel organic.
Hook then came out and laid out a bunch of QT’s students while QT stood at a distance. This was fine for what it was.
Men of the Year Backstage Promo: HIT
We FINALLY heard from Scorpio Sky again. It felt like they were looking away from him after building his rightful title opportunity up for many weeks.
He’s not getting a title shot soon, but a chance to qualify for the Face of the Revolution ladder match. Sky was right to point out that he deserves better given his record, but I guess that’s what we are stuck with.
Wardlow vs. Nick Comoroto: HIT
This is the type of match where you can afford to put long commercial breaks. We got to see the hot beginning and end, without suffering through a lumbering middle. Comoroto has improved, but he’s still not good enough for a lengthy match, and I don’t think Wardlow can carry him to a good match either.
Post-Match Promo by Spears: HIT
After the match, Aaron Solow tried attacking but Wardlow caught him and attempted to deliver the powerbomb. However, Spears interfered by hitting Solow with a chair while he was in powerbomb position. This angered Wardlow and Spears cut a promo to try and calm him down.
I thought this was a great, smarmy promo. While there was some meta moments like “getting over” which I found eye-rolling, and would usually tank a promo in my eyes, most of it was good. It makes sense for Spears to express denial of the popularity of the powerbomb and ask Wardlow to tone it down. He’s essentially gas lighting him. A villainous group wouldn’t want the muscle of their gang to develop his own identity. Wardlow is getting increasingly upset, and it will reach a boiling point soon.
Serena Deeb defeated Kayla Sparks in “The Professor’s 5-Minute Challenge”: HIT
This was good. If people didn’t see Deeb as someone who is “just there to work with the girls and help them improve,” she’d be as big a star as Baker. I hope these challenges are a way of building her up for a consistent run on top. I’d also love to see Deeb as a female member of Bryan Danielson’s new faction. She would fit right in.
Britt Baker-Thunder Rosa Contract Signing: MISS
This started out good with Baker referencing their Lights Out match and acknowledging that Rosa won but it was Baker who came out a bigger star. But then it veered into talk of action figures and the “women’s revolution,” and Rosa seeing herself as the face of it. Wasn’t that a corporate buzzword WWE used when they were finally shifting course from the Divas era? I know AEW had to and still needs to invest more in women’s scouting and the building of stars, and probably representation at the commentary desk as well, but Thunder Rosa, the wrestling character, doesn’t talk about the state of women’s wrestling her promos all that much. She just goes after people and beats them up. So, what reality is Baker drawing from? I don’t mind heels making things up sometimes, but this didn’t feel like it was intended to be a bold-faced lie so much as her spin on a morsel of truth. The only problem is, I can’t remember that morsel of truth despite watching AEW television every week for nearly two years.
Baker also addressed Rosa’s obsessive championship aspirations, which is great to do in theory, but Rosa hasn’t exactly been on a path to capture the Women’s Championship recently. Her sights only turned to Baker in the last two-three weeks, and she hasn’t really mentioned the championship so much as she just wants to hurt Baker for hiring Martinez to screw her out of the TBS championship (which itself made no sense, but I’ve talked about it in a previous column). This feud has skipped so many chapters it’s difficult to keep track. Baker is referring too many “nothings.” Good delivery, poor content.
As far as Rosa goes, she said one forgettable line at the beginning and quickly got lost in the post-segment brawl. In the end, it was Martinez who put Hayter through a table, while Rosa posed with the belt.
This was a decent but underwhelming segment overall. I feel the same way about the feud in general. It had the potential to be legendary and industry-defining, on the level of Lynch-Rousey, but sadly, I don’t think it even has the internal consistency of Ripley-Gonzalez from NXT last year.
Main Event Promo: MINOR HIT
This was surprisingly entertaining, but it slightly defined down the main event worthiness of the match.
Orange Cassidy defeated Anthony Bowens to earn a spot in the Face of the Revolution ladder match: HIT
Fine main event with lots of “sports entertainment.” If Vince McMahon needlessly shuns the “pro wrestling label,” this is an example of how Tony Khan/some AEW wrestlers are in complete denial of the “sports entertainment” nature of their show. I’m not saying it’s bad, but you can hardly tell the difference in genre sometimes.
I wish the TNT championship match swapped places with this match, but it’s not a big deal.
Commentary: MINOR HIT
Commentary was fine
Overall Show: MINOR HIT
This episode was so fast-paced and jam-packed that it’s difficult for anything to stick. The Baker-Rosa contract signing was underwhelming, but everything else at least did its job. Decent show.