SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
AEW DARK ELEVATION REPORT
APRIL 4, 2022
TAPED 3/30 IN COLUMBIA, S.C.
AIRED ON YOUTUBE.COM
REPORT BY DAVID BRYANT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Paul Wight, Mark Henry
Ring Announcer: Justin Roberts
-Thank you for visiting PWTorch.com, and thank you for taking the time to read this report. I know there wasn’t much wrestling to watch this past weekend, and you’re probably starved for content, but it means a lot that you’re taking the time to read my ramblings right after having sat through just the right amount of WrestleMania. By the way, congratulations to Cody Rhodes on a fantastic debut. I look forward to seeing what his future holds, and hopefully, it isn’t grudges.
– If you would like to follow me on Twitter, you may do so at @IamDavidBryant (I promise my account will not waste your time ranting about how much Olivia Rodrigo should’ve won the Grammy for “Album of the Year” because such rants are not a waste of time.)
– Okay, enough blogging. Now, it’s “time for the main event!” Tonight’s AEW Dark Elevation taping emanated live from the Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, S.C. If you ever visit Columbia and want a break from the city’s historical sites, check out The Columbia Museum of Art. There’s a lot of cool stuff inside, but one of my favorite bits is the fountain out front. The fountain is an interactive work of art created by Rodney Carroll. If you check out the fountain, make sure to walk all the way around it — it hits different from every angle.
-Dark Elevation opened with the music of archvillain Leyla Hirsch. Hirsch’s shoulders swayed as she strutted to the ring with the air of someone who just helped a toddler tie himself to the train tracks.
(1) LEYLA HIRSCH vs. ELLA ENVY
Hirsch’s opponent, Ella Envy, awaited her arrival in the ring. A chyron noted this was Envy’s AEW debut match, and I hope she’s not about to get the Hirsch kicked out of her. (Fashion note: I enjoyed Envy’s outfit. It was sparkly, cheerful, a little bit fuzzy, and I’m pretty sure she’s a Popple.)
Envy waved to the crowd and looked excited to be there. Hirsch looked like she was about to borrow five hundred bucks and never call me again. Both women sized each other up before jumping into a collar and elbow tie-up. Hirsch broke the tie-up by transitioning into a waistlock faster than you could say “excalibur” and ripped Envy to the mat with a waistlock takedown. Hirsch then did a float-over while Paul Wight (who will wrestle later!) expounded on the merits of Hirsch’s in-ring abilities. Envy rolled out, backed up, begged off, and adjusted the puffy blue pom-poms in her hair. (You know, when I first saw the Popples, I was like, “TV shows in the ’80s were weird!” and then I was told they were based on children’s toys… and that they were popular.)
Envy attempted a leg sweep on Hirsch, but Hirsch caught her in another waistlock before transitioning into a side headlock. To escape Hirsch’s vice-like headlock, Envy shoved Hirsch into the upstage ring ropes. Hirsch bounced off said ring ropes and ran across the ring, hit the downstage ropes, and rebounded into Envy with a shoulder tackle. Envy tumbled to the mat.
“Look at that shoulder tackle!” Mark Henry said. “That’s athleticism and power, right there, boys and girls.” (Hirsch is indeed improving, IMHO. If I were a booker, and I’m not because no one cares, I’d be making serious plans for Hirsch’s future.)
Hirsch ran the ring ropes again. Envy dropped to the canvas; Hirsch jumped over Envy; Envy popped up and caught Hirsch’s speeding body with a hip toss. Hirsch pulled back and looked surprised and like she’d just helped a frog lose its golden ball. Envy took advantage of that surprise by yanking Hirsch to the mat with an arm-drag. Envy celebrated while Hirsch pulled herself up in the downstage right corner of the ring. Envy darted toward Hirsch, but Hirsch sidestepped her and aided Envy’s collision with the turnbuckles.
Looking like she’d just made a generous donation to the Cruella de Vil Shelter for Endangered Animals, Hirsch charged toward Envy’s collapsed body and nailed her with a Meteora, which she immediately followed with a rope-assisted, corner dropkick. Envy staggered out of the corner; Hirsch seized her waist and executed a release German suplex that was only “barely” released. (Of course, I’d rather it be “barely” released and safe than be “spectacularly” released and neck-breaking.)
Envy hobbled back to her feet; Hirsch sped across the ring and crashed into Envy’s face with a rising knee strike.
“If that won’t knock your fillings out, nothing will,” Wight said.
Hirsch covered Envy like she was protecting her from a happiness bomb and scored an easy pinfall.
WINNER: Hirsch at 93 seconds
(David’s Analysis: This was a short squash match, so there’s not much to say about it — but don’t worry, I’m loquacious! I meant what I said about Hirsch’s potential. People are sleeping on Hirsch because she isn’t “there yet,” but “yet” is the operative word. This new heel persona suits her in-ring wrestling style, and she’s getting better and better at executing excellent facial expressions. I’ve spent a good bit of my career scouting talent — albeit in a different field — and I can tell when someone has something extraordinary hiding beneath the appearance of ordinary. My two cents, which is worth enough to get me change back, is to emphasize Hirsch’s strengths, hide her weaknesses, and be patient because good things take time.)
– After the match, an advert for AEW Dynamite aired. It was narrated by C.M. Punk, and its montage featured a clip of Revolution’s epic dog collar match. (I highly recommend you see that match, and I also recommend you check out my AEW Revolution Retrospective. You can find it HERE)
(2) THE FACTORY (Q.T. Marshall & Aaron Solo) (w/Nick Comoroto) vs. LEE JOHNSON & BROCK ANDERSON (w/Arn Anderson)
Q.T. Marshall, who looks like the evil mayor from Pleasantville, came out to a chorus symphony Texas State University marching band of boos. Trailing behind Marshall were his henchmen, Aaron Solo and Nick Comoroto.
“Q.T. Marshall — the biggest jerk in the business,” Tony Schiavone said.
“That’s a bold statement,” Wight said. (No, it’s not.)
Nick Comoroto noticed a sign in the audience reading, “You’re hairy.” He grabbed the sign and tore it up while the fan laughed at Comoroto’s pain.
Next up, Brock Anderson, Lee Johnson, and the NRA’s Sexiest Man of the Year, Arn Anderson, came out to a nice ovation as well as detailed commentary about just much Brock Anderson looks like his dad. Johnson paused on the ring apron to look out at the fans and the hard camera. The fans seemed appreciative, and that appreciation has been earned.
Johnson and Marshall, a man who looks like Party Boy but in a diaper-sized speedo, started things off. Q.T. Marshall immediately tagged out to Solo because he’s annoying like that. Solo looked Johnson up and down like he’d worn a tuxedo to Denny’s and then tagged Marshall back in because dammit.
“You know what I see when I see Q.T. Marshall?” Henry asked.
“A stain in your underwear?” Wight jumped in.
“I don’t have stains in my underwear,” Henry said. (Good to know.) “When I see Q.T. Marshall, I see that gunk you pull out of the dryer after you washed your clothes.” (I wish I’d thought of that one first.)
Solo and Johnson lurched into a collar and elbow tie-up, and Solo got the upper hand, backing Johnson into the upstage left corner. The referee called for a break, and after a moment, Solo complied. Solo swung a clothesline at Johnson, who sidestepped him; Solo’s arm then struck the top turnbuckle. Johnson hung Solo in the scarecrow position and clobbered him with three knife-edge chops and four straight right hands. The referee got between Johnson and Solo, and Johnson backed off toward the center of the ring.
Solo came storming out of the corner, kicked Johnson in the guts, and trapped his doubled-over torso in a front facelock. Johnson struggled, and Solo opted to shift the front facelock into a side headlock. Johnson escaped Solo’s headlock by throwing Solo into the stage right ring ropes. Solo rebounded off the aforementioned ring ropes and slammed into Solo with a shoulder tackle takedown. Solo posed for the crowd, looking as proud and obnoxious as Q.T. Marshall’s resting face, and then he began to run the ropes. Johnson dropped to the canvas; Solo jumped over Johnson; Johnson leaped frogged Solo, and Solo ran into a double axe-handle from Johnson. Anderson applauded from the apron as Johnson walked toward him and then tagged him in.
“Back in my day — ” Henry said.
“— back when you were in Egypt on a chariot race,” Wight deadpanned.
Anderson ran into the ropes and blasted Solo with an elbow. Anderson hooked Solo’s leg, but Solo kicked out at one. Anderson then tagged Johnson back in. Anderson trapped Solo in a wristlock, and Johnson took over the wristlock, wrenching Solo’s arm. Solo escaped Johnson’s wristlock by driving two knee lifts into Johnson’s stomach before punching him in the face. Johnson Irish whipped Solo across the ring, but Solo grabbed the downstage ring ropes to stop his momentum.
Johnson dashed toward Solo, and Solo sidestepped him. Because of that, Johnson flew through the middle ring ropes and landed on his feet outside of the ring. Johnson spun around, grabbed Solo’s ankle, and tripped him onto the mat. However, Comoroto charged his way around the stage left side of the ring and hammered Johnson with a running lariat. Johnson took a hard back bump to the floor.
“Whoa,” Henry said. “Oh, my Lord!”
“He got hit by a freight train,” Wight exclaimed.
Arn Anderson slowly stalked forward toward Comoroto.
“Oh, you know that’s not going to go unanswered,” Schiavone added.
As Arn passed the timekeeper’s table, he grabbed a steel chair. Comoroto backed off in horror — although he was probably still grateful the chair wasn’t a gun. Arn slammed the steel chair against the floor, and a loud clatter rang throughout the area. Comoroto called for the referee’s attention and pointed at Arn. The referee stepped through the ropes to order Arn to put the chair down. However, Arn stood his ground and protected Johnson’s body with a chair as Brock Anderson checked on him. Brock helped Johnson back into the ring and looked at Arn. Arn finally backed off with the chair and allowed the match to continue.
Marshall took advantage of Johnson’s prone position by stepping off the apron, pulling Johnson’s torso partly under the ropes, and hammering Johnson’s neck with an elbow. (Where’s Arn and his chair? He should use the chair now.) Marshall, who is currently the legal man, stepped into the ring. Marshall grabbed Johnson’s head, pulled him upright, and once more tossed him to the floor. Johnson used the ring post to pull himself back to his feet, and then, out of the corner of his eye, Johnson spotted Comoroto running toward him. Johnson released the ringpost, and Comoroto crashed into it. (This spot was both comical and satisfying.)
Arn helped Johnson back into the ring, and Marshall jumped out of the ring to confront Arn. Arn reached into his pocket to pull out his finger gun, and Marshall went as white as a sheet. Marshall threw up his hands and begged Arn not to shoot him with his… finger gun? (Makes sense.) Marshall, the human equivalent of elevator music, rushed back into the ring and attempted a fisherman’s buster, but Johnson managed to acrobat his way out of it. Having landed on his feet, Johnson was able to execute a running neckbreaker on Marshall, and both men went down!
Johnson (gymnast extraordinaire) and Marshall (toast flavored toast) both crawled to their corners to make a scalding hot tag. The audience began to swell as both men reached out for their respective opponents, and then the audience roared in delight as Anderson and Solo were tagged into the match.
“That’s it,” Henry said. “Let’s go! Let’s get this building rocking!”
Anderson and Solo barreled into the ring. Pandemonium ensued, and the crowd delighted.
“Call the construction workers. We need another roof!” Henry exclaimed.
Solo then selfishly took a clothesline from Anderson and didn’t even bother to hang any clothes on it. Anderson hit Solo with a back elbow, another clothesline, and speared him in the corner. Anderson followed that by grabbing the ropes and plunging three short-arm shoulder blocks into Solo’s stomach, and the crowd was still going off. Marshall, of the aforementioned toast flavored toast, ran into the ring and attempted to spear Anderson; however, Anderson sidestepped Marshall, and he instead speared Solo!
Solo was ravaged, Marshall was toast, and Anderson was dominating the ring. Anderson dumped Marshall out of the ring and to the floor, grabbed Solo’s arm, and whipped Solo into the opposite corner so hard he literally bounced off and stumbled backward toward Anderson. Anderson caught Solo with a gutwrench powerbomb and went for the cover. The ref counted one, two — KICK OUT! (The crowd seemed shocked, and at least one audience member reached for his head.)
“You’re gonna be judged by the crowd you keep,” Henry said. “And if you hang around oranges, there’s gonna be orange juice.” (Is that a phrase? I don’t think that’s a phrase.)
Anderson Irish whipped Solo into the stage left ring ropes; Solo flew across the ring into the stage left ring ropes; Anderson attempted to punch Solo, but Solo stopped mid-ring, bent over, and covered his head with both hands. Anderson grabbed Solo’s doubled-over body, wrapped up his head, and delivered a DDT. Anderson went for the cover, but he only got a two-count because Marshall broke up the pin!
Johnson was having none of Marshall’s nonsense and totally toasted that @$$hole’s @$$, delivering four right hands to his Milhouse-looking face.
“Throwing hands like Will Smith,” Henry said.
Johnson swung Marshall into the upstage right corner and ran toward him. However, Marshall, the toast of absolutely nowhere, caught Johnson by his shoulder and flipped him over the ring ropes and onto the apron. Johnson jumped to the floor, grabbed Marshall’s ankle, and dragged Marshall out of the ring.
“Here we go!” Schiavone said.
Johnson punched Marhsall, but Marshall quickly got the upper hand, swinging Johnson into the steel barricade.
“Put that in your pipe and smoke it!” Henry said.
Back in the ring, Anderson and Solo traded forearms as the crowd alternated between “boo” and “yay” chants. Solo went for a clothesline, but Andreson ducked it, grabbed hold of Solo’s person, and attempted a vertical suplex. However, Solo landed on his feet and trapped Anderson in a waistlock. Solo ran Anderson toward the ropes, and Anderson grabbed the top rope, using its leverage to throw Solo off of him.
Marshall, forever busy putting the toast in milquetoast, ran around the apron, grabbed Anderson, and stun-gunned his throat on the top rope. Anderson stumbled backward, and Solo nailed him with a windmill kick. Anderson collapsed to the mat, Solo covered Andreson, and Anderson kicked out at two!
Marshall (Did you know the word milquetoast came from the name of a 1920s comic book character?) jumped into the ring to distract the referee. Johnson then jumped into the ring to superkick Marshall. Solo kneed Johnson’s midsection and went for a double underhook, but Johnson spun out of Solo’s grasp and nailed Solo with a superkick. Solo staggered away from Johnson and into a spinebuster from Anderson. Anderson covered Solo, and the crowd counted along as Anderson got the pin.
Winner: Anderson & Johnson (w/Arn Anderson) in 8:00
(David’s Analysis: Wowsers! For Dark Elevation, that was a fun match. I was into it from start to finish. In fact, I was so wrapped up in it that I didn’t even get a chance to complain about the referee allowing utter mayhem to break loose near the end, but now that I’ve mentioned it…)
(3) SERENA DEEB vs. DANI MO
Serena Deeb made her way to the ring wearing a powder-blue robe and an evil-queen smirk. As she walked to the ring, Tony Schiavone told us about upcoming dates at a normal speed. Dani Mo was already in the ring, and she had the best haircut of the night. She might lose this match, but she won where it mattered.
Deeb removed her robe and threw it at the referee. (To be clear, I don’t mean she tossed it to him to catch. No, she threw it on him like he was a fire she was trying to snuff out.) The referee placed Deeb’s powder-blue robe in the corner and rang the bell. He was much more professional than I would have been.
Deeb and Mo wasted zero seconds, jumping straight into a strong collar and elbow tie-up. Deeb muscled Mo into a murderous-looking side headlock, and Mo reached desperately for the ropes. Mo managed to escape the headlock, but only by a hairsbreadth, and Deeb spun around her waist, locking her in a hammerlock. Mo struggled to get out of the hammerlock, and Deeb let her, but only so she could capture her in a second side headlock.
Mo tried to escape the side headlock by whipping Deeb into the ropes, but the force of her whip only served to turn Deeb’s side headlock into a front headlock. (Wow.) Deeb released Mo from the side headlock of her own accord and sliced her across the chest with a knife-edge chop. Mo followed that up with two European uppercuts and immediately went back to the side headlock. Deeb then executed a headlock takeover, grabbed Mo’s leg, held on tight, and executed a dragon screw legwhip.
“Watching that made my leg hurt,” Henry said. “She just tore my ACL.”
Deeb trapped Mo in the corner, hooked Mo’s recently whipped leg around the middle rope, and kicked Mo’s inner thigh. Deeb then sat Mo on the second turnbuckle, grabbed Mo’s leg once again, and executed yet another dragon screw legwhip — this time, off the turnbuckles. Mo rolled across the ring in agony.
Mo clutched at her injured leg and tried to roll out of the ring. However, Deeb caught her by the legs, partially pulled her back into the ring, and catapulted her into the bottom rope. Mo tried to stand, but her leg collapsed under the weight of her own body, and she was forced to one knee. Deeb then pie-faced Mo, and she collapsed the rest of the way down to the canvas. (That looked vicious. I’m trying to do this justice, but I’m simply not doing a good job of describing the amount of vicious this looks.)
Mo tried to get back up once again, and once again, Deeb pie-faced her to the mat. Mo tried to get up once more, and again, Deeb sent her down to the mat. Finally, Deeb allowed Mo to get up, but only while Deeb kept hold of her injured leg. With Mo hopping on one leg while her other leg lay trapped in Deeb’s arms, Deeb slapped Mo three times. Deeb then executed an inverted dragon screw legwhip. Deeb then trapped Mo on her stomach, grabbed Mo’s leg, and repeatedly rammed Mo’s knee on the hard canvas. (Someone, please end this horrible assault.) As if she heard my pleas, Deeb applied the Serenity Lock (a misnomer if there ever was one) on Mo and probably permanently damaged her leg in the process. Needless to say, Mo tapped out.
WINNER: Deeb in 3:00
(David’s Analysis: Deeb is so good at her role that she’s starting to legit scare me, and I own well over one-hundred horror movies. I’m starting to wonder if she isn’t secretly enjoying this just a little, too much? Best of all, I think this storyline is going to lead to a great payoff — one day, one of Deeb’s “jobbers” won’t “job,” and the rub that person will get by being the one to finally beat Deeb will be off the charts.)
(4) FRANKIE KAZARIAN vs. LUCKY ALI
Frankie Kazarian came out of the faces’ tunnel looking all talented and stuff. He posed at the top of the rampway as bright columns of fiery flames billowed around him. Kazarian then made his way to the ring. (If Khan does decide to run ROH as its own company, and I hope he does, Kazarian would make a terrific headlining act.)
Lucky Ali was already in the ring, and a chyron noted he was making his AEW debut. Ali smiled and pointed at the camera, oblivious to what “AEW debut” actually means on Dark Elevation. Kazarian took off his branded hoodie and tossed it into the crowd, pointing to the lucky person who caught it. The referee rang the bell.
Both men started with a collar and elbow tie-up, which Ali quickly shifted into a waistlock. Kazarian executed a standing switch and a waistlock takedown. Kazarian covered Ali for a quick win, but he kicked out at one.
As Ali sat up, Kazarian smartly trapped him in a kneeling front facelock. Ali tried to tiger-roll out of the facelock, but Kazarian quickly shifted to keep him trapped. Both men made their way to their feet, and Ali backed Kazarian into the downstage left corner. Because of that, the referee called for a break-up, forcing Kazarian to release his front facelock. Ali stepped back and made like he was about to walk away; however, as soon as Kazarian moved an inch forward, Ali turned and pounced on him. Kazarian jumped out of the way, and Ali’s pounce sent him face-first into the top turnbuckle.
Kazarian planted two knife-edge chops into a stunned Ali before swinging Ali into the ropes and catching him on the rebound with a one-armed spinning mat slam. Ali righted himself but teetered in place, and Kazarian caught him with a spinning heel kick to the gut, a knee lift to the chest, and a discus lariat to the neck. (This was fast-paced and exhilarating.) The crowd applauded the in-ring action. Kazarian stalked toward Ali, and Ali begged off, scooting toward the downstage ring ropes.
“There’s no such thing as a time out in wrestling,” Henry said. “Kick his ass!”
Kazarian granted Ali’s request for a time out (Wait. Really?), and Ali climbed back to his feet, met Kazarian mid-ring, and offered him a handshake. Kazarian looked incredulous, and that look was deserved because Ali quickly attempted to boot-kick Kazarian in the stomach. However, Kazarian was on his toes and caught Ali’s leg. With his leg in Kazarian’s hands, Ali tried to beg off again, but while Kazarian may be gracious, he is not an idiot. Kazarian shoved Ali’s leg, spun him around, and went for a clothesline. Ali ducked Kazarian’s clothesline, switched around Kazarian’s waist, and executed an innovative chin breaker/neckbreaker combo.
Kazarian fell forward onto the stage left middle rope in the “please 6-1-9 me” position, but instead of a 6-1-9, Ali hit Kazarian across the back with a flying forearm. Ali did this while diving through the ring ropes and landing upright on the floor. (This Ali guy is good. Like… he’s really good.) Ali rolled right back into the ring, covered Kazarian, and hooked his leg. However, Kazarian kicked out at one, or more like at “a half.”
Kazarian hit Ali’s chest with two knife-edge chops and then attempted a short-arm clothesline. However, Ali ducked under Kazarian’s clothesline while keeping hold of his arm. Ali then seized Kazarian’s hip and executed a belly-to-back suplex.
“Wow,” Henry said.
Ali jumped into the air and flattened Kazarian with a senton splash, hooked Kazarian’s leg, and went for the cover. Kazarian kicked out at two. Ali applied a modified rear chinlock.
“You see how Ali is locking his fingers together?” Wight said. “That’s not a strong grip, believe it or not. A better grip is a skeletal grip, not a finger grip.” (I love little asides like these — it makes it feel more real.)
Kazarian fought his way back to his feet and repeatedly punched Ali’s torso, trying to fight his way out of the chinlock. Kazarian hit Ali with a straight right, and that was enough for Ali to finally release the hold. Kazarian hammered away at Ali until he was trapped in the downstage right corner. The referee called for a break, and Kazarian walked away in frustration. Kazarian then ran back toward Ali and executed a monkey flip. Kazarian then stood and waited as Ali made his way back to his feet. As soon as Ali was vertical again, Kazarian let loose, sprinting toward him with an elbow takedown. Ali splattered backward onto the mat.
Kazarian pulled Ali upright, and Irish whipped him toward the ropes. However, Ali reversed the whip. Kazarian rebounded off the stage left ring ropes and ducked under a clothesline attempt. Kazarian then lept onto the stage right ring ropes and executed a springboard back elbow onto Ali. Kazarian popped right back to his feet, and the crowd applauded vigorously.
Kazarian went for a chickenwing, but Ali rolled under Kazarian to escape. Kazarian pulled himself upright using the downstage ring ropes, and Ali bounded toward Kazarian. Kazarian pulled down the top rope and launched Ali over it onto the apron. When Ali grabbed hold of the top rope, Kazarian yanked it toward him and executed a slingshot flying cutter. (That looked outstanding.)
Ali stood, unaware of where he was in the ring. He stumbled for a second, punch drunk and shadowboxing, until Kazarian attacked him from behind. Kazarian applied a crossface chicken wing submission hold on Ali, and both men fell backward to the mat. Ali tapped out.
WINNER: Kazarian in 4:00
(David’s Analysis: This match was literally flawless. There was not a single spot that was even mildly botched. Everything in it made sense, and the crowd was with both men from start to finish. Ali is talented, and I hope Khan sees this match and has him back. I’d love to see him face off against other great AEW talents like Lee Moriarty or Bryan Danielson. This was a fantastic use of the time allotted, and not one single second felt wasted.)
(5) BRITTANY JADE vs. RED VELVET
The director cut straight to the next match, and Red Velvet’s music played as the words “stir it up” appeared on the overhead screens. Velvet came down the rampway, beaming ear-to-ear and wearing a bedazzled chef’s apron that matched her outfit. (I don’t care what anyone else thinks, I’ve been enjoying Velvet’s matches with Hirsch, and I look forward to seeing what the future has in store for both of them.)
Velvet posed on the ring apron and did her famous high kick (which probably knocked an angel unconscious) before stepping into the ring. Velvet did her “stir it up” gesture, and Roberts announced her opponent, Brittany Jade. Jade waved to the crowd, sporting pink ring gear and neon-blue hair. The referee rang the bell.
Jade and Velvet started things off with a collar and elbow tie-up, which Jade shifted into a side headlock. Velvet fought Jade off and shoved her into the stage left ring ropes, but a rebounding Jade caught Velvet with a shoulder tackle takedown. Jade stood over Velvet and made a “na-na” face.
While Jade gloated, Velvet recuperated and jumped back to her feet. Jade ran the ropes; Velvet dropped into a split on the canvas; Jade jumped over Velvet; Jade rebounded off the opposite rope, and Velvet caught Jade with a spinning leg lariat. Velvet took charge of the match and rammed Jade’s head into the upstage right turnbuckle pad. Velvet then boxed at Jade’s torso, and the referee asked her to break things up. Velvet backed off but only for a moment; as soon as the break was made, Velvet kicked Jade multiple times in the stomach. The referee once again called for a break, and once again, Velvet backed off momentarily. Velvet then choked Jade with her boot while leaning over the bottom ring rope and talking smack to the camera. (That made for a great visual!)
Velvet pulled Jade out of the corner by her head, slammed a forearm into Jade’s chest, and then took Jade down with a snapmare takeover. Velvet ran into the ropes, bounced off, and executed a basement dropkick onto Jade. Jade clutched her chest and rolled over as Velvet smiled for the crowd.
Velvet helped Jade back to her feet, and Jade shoved Velvet off. Jade then attempted a backslide pin, but Velvet escaped Jade’s arm-hooks. Velvet tried to go for a waistlock, but Jade caught Velvet in a side headlock and executed a swinging neckbreaker. Jade quickly covered Velvet and hooked Velvet’s leg but only got a one-count.
Velvet hit Jade in the chest with a forearm, and Jade hit Velvet in the chest with two forearms. Jade attempted to Irish whip Velvet across the ring, but Velvet reversed Jade’s whip. Both women ran the ring ropes until Velvet got the better of the exchange and connected with a clothesline, taking Jade down. Jade rushed back to her feet, but Velvet immediately floored her, yet again, with a second clothesline.
Velvet swung Jade toward the downstage ring ropes and dropped to the canvas to trip Jade in the process. Jade fell onto the ropes in the “please 6-1-9 me” position. Velvet backed up, bounced off the upstage ropes, and crushed Jade with a running Meteora. Velvet then winked at the hard camera before hitting Jade with her Just Desserts finisher. Velvet covered Jade, hooked her leg, and the referee counted to three.
WINNER: Velvet in 3:00
(David’s Analysis: This was a nice short match. There were a few weak spots, but most of the offense worked out well, and Velvet has personality for days.)
After the match, Velvet climbed the ropes and pointed at various fans in the audience, encouraging them to do her signature “stir it up” gesture. She winked at two fans and then danced backward in the ring. (Like I said, personality for days.)
(6) THE WORKHORSEMEN (J.D. Drake & Anthony Henry) vs. THE BEST FRIENDS (Chuck Taylor & Trent Beretta) (w/Orange Cassidy)
The Workhorsemen, J.D. Drake & Anthony Henry, came out first, making their way out of the heels’ tunnel and down to the ring. Once in the ring, Henry (not Mark) and Drake (not the singer) bumped forearms before mugging for the hard camera. The Best Friends, represented by the team of Chuck Taylor & Trent Beretta, came out next. Taylor and Beretta looked more than happy to be there, but even still, they were overshadowed by the searing-hot energy of Orange Cassidy’s enthusiasm as he stood there.
The director cut to Trent’s mom, Sue, in the audience. (She better not ever end up on a forklift, or I swear to…) Sue held up a sign that read “Happy Birthday Greggie!” and swayed back and forth to the beat of her son’s entrance music.
Back in the ring, the referee rang the bell, and we were off to the races. (One team does have “horse” in its name, so a “horse race” idiom seemed appropriate.) Taylor and Henry started things off. Taylor attempted a collar and elbow tie-up, but Henry blocked him by kicking him in the stomach. Henry lurched forward and snatched up Taylor’s head in a side headlock. Taylor shoved Henry into the ropes. Henry ran the ropes; Taylor dropped to the canvas; Henry jumped over Taylor and came back around; Taylor leapfrogged Henry; Henry rebounded toward Taylor, and Taylor caught him with an arm-drag followed almost instantaneously by a second arm-drag. (Great action already!) Taylor ran Henry’s head into the top turnbuckle in the face team’s corner and tagged in Beretta.
Together, Beretta and Taylor executed a double-team delayed vertical suplex on Henry, and Taylor then John-Silvered to celebrate. Beretta pushed a dazed Henry onto his back and went for a cover, but Henry kicked out at one. Beretta whipped Henry across the ring and caught him on the rebound with a back elbow. Beretta paused to give Cassidy a nice thumbs-up, and Cassidy responded with a super-charismatic, ultra-electrifying, thumbs-through-the-roof! Beretta attempted to apply a wristlock onto Henry, but Henry blocked him with a spinning heel kick. When Beretta doubled over from the pain, Henry scurried to the heel team’s corner and tagged in Drake.
Drake shot into the ring, but Beretta was ready for him and took him down with a huge arm-drag. Beretta kept hold of Drake’s arm and placed it in an arm-bar. (The director then cut to a shot of Sue filming her son on her smartphone’s camera.) Beretta tagged in Taylor, and the two members of The Best Friends Irish whipped Drake across the ring. However, when Drake hit the downstage ring ropes, Henry made a blind tag. Drake hit Taylor with a shoulder block, and Henry grabbed hold of Beretta’s arm. Drake grabbed Taylor’s arm, and together, The Workhorsemen tried to swing The Best Friends into one another. However, instead of colliding, Taylor and Beretta grabbed each other’s arms and proceeded to square dance.
Both members of The Workhorsemen ran at Taylor and Beretta, and both members of The Best Friends took Drake and Henry down with a pair of simultaneous clotheslines. The Best Friends look at one another, spread their arms wide, and step forward to “give the people what they want.” However, The Workhorsemen were not of the people, and they did not “want.” Instead, the Workhorsemen attacked both Beretta and Taylor and, in the process, dumped Taylor outside of the ring.
Suddenly, all four men were outside the ring, swinging for the fences in an out-and-out brawl. Beretta and Taylor were thrown into opposite barricades. Taylor was pinned against a steel barricade, and Drake blistered his chest with a knife-edge chop. Henry then jumped into the frame from out of nowhere and crashed into Taylor with a flying hip attack. Taylor collapsed to the ground, and the camera cut back to Sue. Sue looked concerned.
“Come on!” Sue shouted.
Henry rolled Taylor back into the ring and covered him to get a one-count. Henry picked Taylor up, keeping him trapped in a side headlock, and tagged in Drake. Together, Drake and Henry Irish whipped Taylor into the stage left ring ropes and executed a double-team drop toe-hold onto Taylor. Drake then held Taylor’s chin between his knees in the “Code Breaker” position, and Henry jumped onto Taylor’s back, forcing Taylor’s body downward. Drake went for a cover; however, he only got a two-count.
“Man, I can smell the popcorn cooking in this place,” Henry said relevantly.
Drake scooped up Taylor’s person and bodyslammed him to the mat. Drake followed up his bodyslam with a hard falling headbutt. (That move always looks like it would hurt the person executing it more than the person receiving it… at least, it does to me.) Taylor rolled out of the ring to regroup, and Henry jumped down off the apron to greet him. Henry snatched Taylor’s arm and attempted to Irish whip him toward the barricade; however, Taylor reversed the Irish whip and sent Henry into the steel barricade instead.
Henry crawled away on all fours, and Drake attacked a distracted Taylor by punching him in the side and throwing him back into the ring. Before Drake could get back into the ring, Orange Cassidy confronted him.
“What are you doing?” Drake asked.
Orange Cassidy executed a hand-in-pocket, and the crowd popped loudly for this maneuver. Cassidy then followed up that exciting action by executing a lively but devastating thumbs-through-the-roof. Having survived Cassidy’s offensive, Drake slid back into the ring, but Taylor was ready for him. Taylor nailed Drake with a back elbow, ducked a clothesline from Drake, and executed a flatliner onto Drake. Both men were down and began making their way to their respective corners. Henry and Beretta were tagged in at the same time.
Beretta and Henry ran at each other with explosive momentum, but Beretta got the best of their collision, taking Henry down to the mat. Beretta then whipped Henry into the stage right ring ropes and caught Henry on the rebound, executing a pop-up flapjack slam.
“That was some elevation on Elevation!” Schiavone commented on the soaring height of Beretta’s flapjack slam.
Henry stumbled into the downstage right corner, Beretta ran at Henry, and Henry kicked Beretta in the face. However, Beretta was only briefly stunned, rapidly shaking off the cobwebs. Beretta grabbed Henry around the waist and executed a Saito suplex. Henry looked completely out of it as he crawled toward the heel team’s corner on his knees and tagged in Drake.
Drake swung a chop in Beretta’s direction, but Beretta ducked it and chopped Drake’s chest instead. In fact, Beretta chopped Drake’s chest four times, forcing him against the upstage ring ropes. Beretta then attempted an Irish whip, but Drake reversed out of it and caught a hurling Beretta in the fireman’s carry position. Beretta struggled his way out of the fireman’s carry, countering it with a tornado DDT! (That was something else. Holy crap.) Beretta pushed Drake flat on the mat, covered his torso, hooked his leg, and the referee counted one, two — kick-out!
Beretta looked frustrated. Cassidy vociferously argued with the referee by saying nothing, holding up three fingers, and executing a life-ruining poker face.
“Cassidy is challenging the referee,” Henry said.
“She can count to three,” Wight said. “Of all the referees in AEW, she’s the one that is actually competent.” (Just the one?)
Beretta held Drake against the downstage ropes and nailed him with nine forearms. Each time Beretta hit Drake, he sunk lower and lower until he was eventually sitting on the mat. The only competent referee in all of AEW broke things up by pushing Beretta back. Drake bailed to the floor, wobbling like a six-foot-tall bobblehead. Beretta attempted a slingshot crossbody over the top rope and to the floor, but he missed hitting Drake. Despite missing Drake, he still managed to land on his feet.
Drake grabbed Beretta by the waist, threw Beretta from the floor into the ring ropes, and then caught Beretta’s falling body with a forearm to the face. (That looked very, very cool.)
“All these years,” Henry said, “I never thought to use the ropes as a slingshot on the outside.”
Back in the ring, Henry (the other Henry) caught Beretta as soon as Henry tossed him back into the ring. Henry put Beretta on his shoulders and executed a tornado jawbreaker, and wow. As fast as a big burly ray of light, Drake shot across the ring and hit Beretta with a running knee strike. Drake covered Beretta’s badly battered body and covered him for what would have been a three-count had Taylor not broken things up.
Henry charged at Taylor, but Taylor dropped Henry with a bell clap. Drake grabbed Taylor from behind, and Henry hit Taylor with a roundhouse kick and a spinning side slam. Taylor rolled out of the ring, and Beretta pulled himself up into the scarecrow position. Drake whipped Henry toward Beretta, but Beretta caught Henry with his shoulder and tossed him onto the apron. Henry tried to execute additional offensive from the apron, but Beretta sent Henry to the floor with a back elbow.
Drake tore across the ring toward Beretta, but Beretta sidestepped Drake, and he smashed into the turnbuckles. Beretta took hold of Drake’s head with a side headlock and walked him toward the heel team’s corner. There, Beretta attempted to execute a tornado DDT on Drake. However, two things happened during Beretta’s DDT attempt: one, Henry slapped Drake’s back to make a blind tag, and two, Drake countered Beretta’s DDT by grabbing his legs in mid-freaking-air.
Drake kept a tight grip on both of Beretta’s legs and catapulted Beretta toward Henry; Henry nailed Beretta with a superkick. Drake hoisted Beretta up on his knees, holding him in the air, and Henry jumped off the top turnbuckle to execute a flying double stomp onto Beretta’s torso. (Holy…) Henry covered Beretta, the referee jumped down to the canvas, and Beretta kicked out at two! ($h!#…) The crowd seemed surprised, and so am I. This match is almost too much fun!
The crowd’s applause slowly became a rhythmic clap as they encouraged Beretta to get back to his feet. Henry put Beretta in a front face lock, walked him to the upstage left corner, and Irish whipped him toward the downstage right corner. However, Taylor jumped onto the turnbuckles to prevent his friend from colliding with them. Beretta hurried toward Henry and floored him with a running clothesline while Taylor climbed to the top turnbuckle.
Drake tried to whip Beretta, but Beretta countered Drake’s whip. Beretta held Drake in place for a Sole Food from Taylor and then executed a half and half suplex himself. Then, with their opponents down, The Best Friends “gave the people what they want” with a great big time-appropriate hug. The camera cut to Sue applauding their time-appropriate hug.
Beretta then picked Henry up and held him upside down. Taylor went up to the top rope, jumped off the top turnbuckle, and executed a Strong Zero onto Henry. Beretta pinned Henry, holding both his legs, and the referee counted to one, two, and three.
WINNER: The Best Friends (Trent Beretta & Chuck Taylor) (w/Orange Cassidy) in 9:00
(David’s Analysis: There were a lot of hijinks in this match, but I still loved it. Everyone involved did a splendid job, and the action would not have felt out of place on Rampage or Dynamite. This was definitely a mainstream TV-worthy bout. If any of you guys are Best Friends fans, I highly recommend you check it out.)
– After the match, Sue celebrated in the crowd with all the expressions of a Mom at a hard-fought soccer game. At ringside, Cassidy mugged for the camera with all the expressions of a heroin-chic fashion model.
(7) DIAMANTE & ASHLEY D’AMBOISE vs. ANNA JAY & RUBY SOHO
Diamante came out first, looking absolutely ferocious, and Ashley came out right behind her, looking confident and raring to go. Diamante posed on the downstage right turnbuckles and pointed “finger guns” at the crowd as a pow-pow-pow sound effect reverberated throughout the Colonial Life Arena. After that, Ruby Soho’s music played, and the team of Ruby Soho & Anna Jay came out next. Jay looked happy, Soho looked more than happy, and the crowd looked into it. Once in the ring, Anna Jay made Lady Gaga’s mother monster hand gesture, and Soho bounced around the ring like an electrified ping pong ball.
“Ruby Soho is so energetic,” Wight said.
Diamante and Jay started things off with a collar and elbow tie-up, but Diamante quickly took charge and seized Jay’s wrist. Jay struggled against Diamante’s wristlock while the crowd all but screamed a loud “Ruby Soho” chant. (I am so happy to see Soho getting that kind of love, but I also sort of feel bad for Anna Jay. Jay is the one currently in the ring right now, and she probably can’t even hear herself think from how loud the crowd is chanting her teammate’s name.)
“South Carolina is showing Ruby a lot of love,” Wight said.
“Absolutely,” Schiavone said.
Soho bobbed her head, looked out at the crowd, and acknowledged them. However, she did so in a way that was more than a little subdued — at least, for Soho. (I think Soho realized how it might feel for Diamante and Anna Jay to be wrestling to chants for another athlete within mere seconds of the bell having rung. I think she handled that moment very well; she kept the crowd engaged while ensuring things did not go off the rails.)
Back in the ring, Diamante and Jay were going back and forth in a wristlock exchange that Diamante got the better of. Diamante yanked Jay down to the mat. The crowd was still chanting, and Diamante turned to them and made a vulgar gesture. (That was the perfect response for a heel in that particular moment.)
“Oh, wow,” Wight said. “She told them what she thought!”
Diamante and Jay looked poised for a second collar and elbow tie-up, but when Jay made her move, Diamante rolled underneath her, caught Jay’s ankle, and took Jay down to the mat with a Russian leg sweep. Diamante then tackled Jay, mounted her torso, and began pounding away at her face. Jay covered her head with her forearms as Diamante’s blows rained down like the seven plagues.
Diamante pulled Jay into a front face lock that looked like she was trying to decapitate the poor athlete. Diamante walked Jay to the heel team’s corner and tagged in D’Amboise. D’Amboise stepped through the ropes, took hold of Jay’s arm, applied a wristlock, applied a side headlock, and executed a headlock takedown. Once on the mat, Jay (who we established in a previous report is also Lady Legasus from Teen Titans Go) countered D’Amboise’s offense with a headscissors to escape. D’Amboise executed a matrix pop-up out of Jay’s headscissors, and Jay responded with an abrupt headlock takedown. D’Amboise instantaneously responded to Jay’s response with a headscissors escape of her own. Both women jumped to their feet, fists ups and ready to fight. A brief stalemate occurred as both women stared one another down.
Jay extended her hand, and D’Amboise shook it. (Surprisingly, there were zero shenanigans.) Both women separated, and D’Amboise threw a clothesline. Jay ducked D’Amboise’s clothesline and trapped D’Amboise in a waistlock. D’Amboise’s executed a standing switch on Jay, and Jay ran toward the ring ropes, using them for leverage to remove D’Amboise from her person. With D’Amboise no longer attached to her waist, Jay tagged in Soho. (The crowd was more than happy.)
Jay executed a running blockbuster on D’Amboise, and Soho followed that with a running kick to D’Amboise’s chest. Soho grabbed D’Amboise around the waist and went for a backdrop driver, but D’Amboise countered Soho’s attempted driver by grabbing her head and executing a jawbreaker out of nowhere. D’Amboise picked Soho up, looking for a spinebuster, but Soho managed to wriggle her way free and executed a sunset flip D’Amboise. However, right before D’Amboise went down for the sunset flip, she managed to tag in Diamante. Soho didn’t see the tag and went for a pin on D’Amboise. The referee informed Soho that D’Amboise wasn’t the legal competitor, and this provided enough of a distraction for Diamante to nail Soho with a picture-perfect top rope dropkick.
“Ruby Soho!” Diamante said, mocking the crowd’s chant. “Ruby Soho!”
As Diamante continued to mock the crowd, she began stomping at Soho’s fallen torso. (This is some well-improvised heel work here.) Diamante hit Soho with a forearm, a springboard stomp, a backrack, and a double axe-handle. After that vicious assault, Diamante picked up a devastated Soho and threw her headfirst into the downstage right turnbuckle pad. Diamante confined Soho to the corner and planted her with a forearm. Diamante pulled Soho out of the corner and whipped her into the ropes; however, Soho ducked under Diamante’s planned clothesline and rolled Diamante up for a surprise two-count.
Soho tried to tag in Jay, but Diamante grabbed Soho’s arm and denied her the tag. Diamante pulled Soho’s arm into a ripcord, grabbed Soho’s waist, and executed a hotshot onto the top ring rope. Soho tried once more to tag in Jay, and once more, the tag was denied. This time, Diamante had seized Soho by the back of her waistband. Diamante pulled Soho toward the center of the ring and attempted to kick her. However, Soho caught Diamante’s boot mid-kick and delivered a kick of her own. Diamante went sprawling backward, and Soho jumped toward the face team’s corner, finally tagging in Jay.
Jay ran into the ring, ducked a clothesline from Diamante, and pummeled Diamante with three forearms. Diamante went for another clothesline; Jay ducked a second time, wrenched Diamante’s wrist into a wristlock, kicked Diamante’s leg, swept her leg over Diamante’s trapped arm, and kicked Diamante’s chest with her heel. (“Lady Legasus, GO!”)
Jay grabbed Diamante around the waist and executed a release northern lights suplex that sent Diamante all the way into the upstage left corner. Diamante pulled herself up into the scarecrow position, but before she could gather her wits, Jay clobbered her with a European uppercut, a back elbow, and a front forearm. Jay Irish whipped Diamante into the opposite corner and tagged in Soho.
As soon as the tag was made, Jay ran at Diamante in the corner, nailing Diamante with her signature spinning leg lariat. Soho pushed Diamante out of the scarecrow position, jumped over the top rope, grabbed Diamante’s head with her knees, and executed her signature Deadly Nightshade into the second turnbuckle. Soho pulled a limp Diamante into a pinning position, covered her, and hooked her leg. However, Soho was only able to get a two-count. Soho looked more than frustrated. Soho pulled Diamante back to her feet, whipped Diamante into the face team’s corner, and ran toward her. However, Diamante got her foot up just as Soho approached, and Soho crashed into Diamante’s boot.
Diamante knocked Jay off the apron with a back elbow, kicked Soho in her stomach, nailed Soho in the face with a forearm, and rolled Soho up for a one-count. As soon as Soho sat up from the one-count, Diamante struck her in the face with a knee lift, and it looked painful.
“I don’t know if I have seen a knee that flush this entire program,” Henry said.
Soho reeled, and D’Amboise tagged herself in. However, Diamante did not seem at all pleased with D’Amboise for having tagged in without permission. The two athletes argued over the tag in the heel team’s corner, and this momentary distraction allowed Jay to run in and attack Diamante from behind. Jay nailed Diamante across the shoulder blades with a forearm, and Diamante plummeted to the mat.
Jay and D’Amboise left the ring, and Diamante grabbed Soho around her torso, attempting to execute a side slam. However, Soho elbowed her way out of Diamante’s offense. Soho grabbed Diamante’s shoulders and executed her new Destination Unknown finisher. Soho then pinned Diamante and got the win.
WINNER: Ruby Soho & Anna Jay in 5:00
(David’s Analysis: Another enjoyable match that was given just enough time to feel meaningful. The crowd was extremely into Ruby Soho; I was not expecting such an extreme reaction, but I was thrilled to hear it. Perhaps the next time they’re in South Carolina, they should put Soho on Rampage or Dynamite?)
– After the match, Diamante continued to argue with D’Amboise, and then she attacked her own partner, slamming D’Amboise to the mat. Diamante snarled at the hard camera while D’Amboise rolled out of the ring.
(8) PAUL WIGHT vs. AUSTIN GREENE
Here we go! It’s actually happening, folks! Paul Wight is going to wrestle, and I’m going to get to write about it! I know that’s a lot of exclamation points, but the realization that I’m getting to cover one of Paul Wight’s matches in 2022 is exciting beyond words. (And my report is 100 percent words.) Still, here goes nothing!
While wearing a pinstripe suit borrowed from the set of “Guys and Dolls,” Justin Roberts announced that this match would be our main event and that it had a time limit of 20 minutes. (Sadly, YouTube’s player shows me exactly much time we have left, but I’m going to try to ignore that part.)
“Already in the ring,” Roberts said, “Austin Greene!” (Already in the ring is pro-wrestling’s version of $h!# out of luck.)
Austin Greene raised his hand for the crowd and nodded as they applauded. (Good luck!)
“And his opponent,” Roberts said. “Weighing in at 400 pounds, standing seven feet tall, and from Columbia, South Carolina… No more B.S., Paul Wight!”
Paul Wight’s music hit and the camera cut to the announce desk. Wight took off his headset, stood up, and was already wearing his ring gear. The director cut to multiple angles of audience members cheering their hometown hero, and Paul Wight thundered his way toward the ring. (Does Greene have an insurance policy? Someone should take out an insurance policy.)
Wight smiled at the crowd as he stepped over the top rope.
“What a legend,” Schiavone said. “And I mean a pure legend.”
Wight posed for the hard camera and raised his right hand in the air to make his iconic “chokeslam” hand gesture. Wight then took off his zipper vest while Greene cautiously eyed him. (Did Greene sign a waiver? I know this is a wrestling show, but I feel like this match needs its own waiver.)
The bell tolled. (Has anyone here seen the Korean horror film “Death Bell?” I feel like that applies here for some reason.) Anyway, the bell tolled, and in this book, Greene was the “for whom.” Wight and Greene circled one another. Greene looked at Wight like he was ready for a fight, and Wight looked at Greene like a snake waiting for a mouse to drop into its cage. Both men jumped forward and collided into a colossal collar and elbow tie-up.
The tie-up turned into a massive test of strength. (Greene’s strategy here is interesting. It’s very different than mine. Mine involves running. I have great cardio for a reason, and it’s not just figure skating.) Greene and Wight broke up the tie-up, and Wight’s face lit up with the smile of a man with a human-sized freezer in his garage.
“You know, I’ve actually seen Austin Greene,” Henry said. “He did a little MMA fighting a couple of years ago.” (Yeah, okay, but hear me out. Wight turned over a Jeep Renegade with his bare hands.)
Wight and Greene jumped back into another gargantuan collar and elbow tie-up, and Wight pushed Greene off, shoving him halfway across the ring. Wight cornered Greene in a back corner and went for a humungous chop, but Greene sveltely ducked underneath Wight’s arm. Wight turned around, and Greene struck him with an uppercut. Greene pushed Wight into the stage left ring ropes and punched him in the stomach and chest. Greene then attempted to Irish whip Wight across the ring, but Wight reversed the whip and caught a rebounding Greene with a mountainous shoulder tackle takedown.
Green tried to pull himself back up to his feet, but his legs gave way. Greene then tried to crawl toward the ropes, but Wight grabbed Greene by the back of his head and rammed him face-first into the upstage left turnbuckles. Wight then hung Greene in the scarecrow position and geared up for one of his signature chops. Wight put a finger to his mouth, shushing the crowd. Wight then drew back his hand, let it fly through the hair, and nailed Greene’s chest with an immense chop. Greene’s mouth formed an “O” as the force of the chop shook his entire body.
“Did you see that?” Henry asked. “Did you see that? His soul just flew out. His soul just flew out of his body like ghostbusters.”
Greene staggered along the edge of the ring, using the top rope to hold himself up. Greene made it to the downstage left corner, and Wight once again trapped him. Wight shushed the crowd a second time, but they were not listening. (The crowd was screaming, and some people were actually jumping up and down.) Wight pulled back his arm like a mammoth-sized baseball bat, held it momentarily in the air, and then swung it down like the sword of Damocles coming for the throne. The sound of the supersized slap echoed throughout the arena, and the audience delighted in Greene’s probably inside-out ribcage. Greene then stumbled to the downstage right turnbuckles, pulled himself into the scarecrow position, and finally realized that was probably not the safest place to be when you’re in the ring with Wight.
Greene fumbled his way out of the corner and toward the center of the ring. There, Wight made the universal hand gesture for “chokeslam,” and the crowd popped. Wight grabbed Greene’s throat, put his hand on Green’s hip, and chokeslammed him into the Beyond section of Bed, Bath, and Beyond.
Greene fell to the mat. Wight covered Greene, hooked his leg, and the referee counted to three. The crowd burst like a balloon full of joy, and the whole arena appeared to be on its feet. Wight stretched out his arms to bask in his victory as Justin Roberts announced him as the winner.
WINNER: Wight in 2:00
(David’s Analysis: This match is proof that accomplishing “fun” doesn’t always have to be hard.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: This show was miles better than last week’s, and a lot of that had to do with the length of the matches. I appreciated the longer matches, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Those few extra minutes really do make a substantial difference for matches such as The Best Friends vs. The Workhorsemen, The Factory vs. Johnson & Anderson, and Soho & Jay vs. Diamante & D’Amboise. However, this week’s match of the night goes to Paul Wight vs. Austin Greene due to the sheer spectacle of it. That said, I’d also recommend checking out The Best Friends vs. The Workhorsemen and The Factory vs. Johnson & Anderson. If you enjoy women’s wrestling, check out Soho & Jay vs. Diamante & D’Amboise. Everyone involved in tonight’s show did a good job and should be proud of their work. It still amazes me the amount of effort AEW and its performers put into everything they do — even shows on YouTube.
Thank you all for reading. I truly appreciate it. And as always, I’m still working on my sign-off, but until next week, remember, if you’re in a situation where your house is on fire, stop reading this report, and RUN! Your house is on fire! God. At least call somebody!