Dr. Britt Baker DMD & Maki Itoh (w/ Reba) defeated Thunder Rosa & Riho
Britt Baker brings out Rebel on crutches, and says she can't compete, so she has a replacement. It's MAKI ITOH!!! The crowd loves her!!! She sings and dances. There ya go. Hall of Fame caliber. Maki Itoh. Nobody is disappointed. Good job AEW!! AEW needs to spend the next four days just putting 15 Maki Itoh matches in the can. She looked overjoyed to be there and get that reaction.
When you get dropkicked by Thunder Rosa, you get DROPKICKED by Thunder Rosa. Riho seems like she's fallen a half-step behind in the ring as far as timing goes. Itoh is a little rough around the edges at the start, but really picks it up. I got sold a ticket on the Half Crab on Riho, and the Death Valley Driver on Baker. Reba knocks out Thunder Rosa with a crutch for Baker to win.
I liked the ingredients involved, and the right person and team won.
AEW World Tag Team Titles
Young Bucks (c) defeated Inner Circle (Chris Jericho & MJF) (w/ Wardlow)
I'm happy that this didn't start with a lock up. MJF's gear looks really good. Matt is isolated as hes' the heavy seller of the group. MJF ate a HEAVY running Canadian Destroyer. Young Bucks doing MCMG's Made in Detroit was a nice touch. Jericho applies a Lion Tamer to Nick, then to Matt when he tags in.
MJF's catching sitdown powerbomb is one of my favorite moves in wrestling right now. The Heatseeker sold the crowd on a finish, and looked like a million bucks. Jericho accidentally Judas Effects Wardlow, so that's gonna cause some shit for sure. MJF broke up a BTE Trigger pin and got superkicked to death. A Meltzer Driver finishes a fantastic match with a crazy, frenetic pace.
Chris Jericho says the Inner Circle War Council will be Wednesday. MJF agrees and thinks some changes are needed. This was heavily implied by pro wrestling
Top Contender Match
Tag Team Casino Battle Royale
Death Triangle win
That Dustin Rhodes powerslam ended up being more of a belly-to-belly/hiptoss and it looked GREAT. The only other real highlight early was a ripcord slam into a flatliner from Uno. Austin Gunn has great body language and does the FameAsser just as good as his dad. QT Marshall eliminates The Gunn Club, and leaves Dustin when he complains about it. Bunny drags Dustin Rhodes off the apron to an elimination.
They should have kept the Jungle Boy theme playing for the full 90 seconds until the next entrant
Bear Country having a well deserved coming out party for a lot of people. They eliminate Luchasaurus, but Butcher tosses both of them. I want to do a full on interview with John Silver just about him tossing sunsabitches in the air. He is massively over.
This match is really sloppy until it gets down to the last four teams. Fenix ropewalk kicks Jon Silver out and it comes down to Death Triangle vs. Jungle Boy. When Jungle Boy and Fenix go at it, they do the dumb "let's trade strikes" deal. Well, at least we know going over the barricade isn't an elimination, because Fenix clears it on the dive. Fenix eliminates Jungle Boy to win.
AEW Women's Championship
Hikaru Shida (c) defeated Ryo Mizunami to retain
The crowd isn't there as much for this match, but it's Shida -- who is barely on TV, and Mizunami, who most fans didn't see before this tournament. I always seem to enjoy Shida's PPV matches, but there have been a lot of spots in them where I don't see a sense of urgency from a character standpoint considering the title is on the line. The "come on, hit me" stuff, standing in front of her prone opponent. Shida kicks out of the flying leg drop. Towards the finish, Shida was clearly feeling knackered.
Another match, another match where I got sold a ticket on a false finish. Some really good one with Shida and Mizunami. Ultimately, a spinning knee gets it done for Shida.
Nyla Rose, Britt Baker and Maki Itoh all team up and beat up Shida and Mizunami. Rosa runs them off. Not sure where that post-match stuff is going, besides obviously a six-woman tag, but we'll see.
Miro & Kip Sabian (w/ Penelope Ford) defeated Best Friends (Chuck Taylor & Orange Cassidy)
Miro beats up Chuck Taylor backstage and drags him out to the ring. Chuck Taylor went all Sandman Guilty As Charged 2001 and made them ring the bell. He got beat up a lot, but Orange Cassidy made the save. It often seems like people in AEW are a little late getting to break up pins.
Miro looks like a million bucks. He's in great shape and has good gear. He picks up the win on Chuck Taylor. Christopher Daniels helped produce the backstage aspect of this. Kip Sabian is consoling Penelope after Miro had pushed Orange Cassidy into her.
This could have happened on Dynamite, but was important into establishing that Miro can't really be controlled, even by his "best friend."
Big Money Match
Hangman Page defeated Matt Hardy (w/ Private Party)
Matt Hardy works over the hand in a much slower paced match than we've seen tonight. He smashes, kicks and bites the hand of Hangman Page. The crucifix pin out of the Side Effect combo was SMOOOOOOOOOOOOOOTH. Some good spots in this one -- Hardy with a Twist of Fate to the floor and a powerbomb inside, Page with a Moonsault to the floor and a FILTHY DEAD EYE. Hangman kicks out of the Side Effect and the Twist of Fate. Dark Order helps Hangman Page beat Matt Hardy in a great finish
This feud has felt like a pit stop on the way to something bigger. I think Matt Hardy and Private Party have done a really good job in this feud with Hangman. It's clear there's a grander direction for Page, but I think what we just saw was important in getting there.
After the match, Page celebrates with Dark Order. This is such a great, emotional build. It helps that they were headed a similar direction even before Brodie Lee's passing.
TNT Title Top Contender
Face Of The Revolution Ladder Match
Ethan Page is the surprise entrant! Few deserve it more than him. He does an awesome heaving crucifix bomb on the ladder. Penta does a psychotic Canadian Destroyer onto a ladder.I'm just still over the moon about Page. Cody gets taken out and is being tended to in the tunnel.
I love commentary immediately bringing up the Ethan Page/Darby Allin history. Scorpio Sky takes an insane bump outside, and this is a car crash as many expected. Cody re-emerges and whips Page with the belt.
Jake Roberts does a short-arm clothesline and has to be helped to the back. Cody takes a straight up bump to the mat off the ladder and Scorpio Sky wins. This was solid, but I've seen way better ladder matches.
Christian Cage has signed with AEW. That's it! WWE not mentioning Christian at all the week after he returned seemed very odd, and makes a lot of sense now.
Sting & Darby Allin vs. Team Taz
This is a cinematic match, and the best option to use Sting. Cage takes out all of the Sting/Darby cronies. There's a hilarious door body slam spot that looks incredible. Darby Allin is definitely taking the lumps for Sting. Sting instead is taking some spots like having a barrell ran into him.
There's a particularly good bump from Darby over Ricky Starks' knee. For some reason Will Hobbs runs in wearing a mask, followed by Hook, who isn't wearing a mask. Darby Allin getting thrown into a bunch of windows and the frame falling on him was SICK.
Keep giving me these old wrestlers doing cinematic matches. I LOVE IT. Sting calls for the bat and Darby gives him the assist. Then Darby drops from the SECOND FLOOR with an elbow drop. Sting pins Ricky Starks. This ruled.
AEW World Championship
Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch
Kenny Omega (c) defeated Jon Moxley
I've not been big into the hyper-violent hardcore stuff in AEW so far, excluding the Parking Lot Brawl. The ref in the beekepter suit was great. Needless to say the crowd enjoys the first explosion. I hated that Moxley dropkick for years in WWE because it always looked like he was hurting himself more than someone else. It looks a LITTLE different when he kicks someone into barbed wire and something explodes in their face.
The explosions aren't big, but wrestling isn't real, ya guys. I don't really care how big the "explosions" are. That's what camera angles are for, to accentuate it. There's definitely a lot of room for improvement there.
There's an insane Paradigm Shift off the side of the ring through one of the setups outside. Disgusting!!! In a good way. That was the most kickass way to not get a pinfall off of the One Winged Angle. Moxley kicked the ropes and made an explosion happen. BRILLIANT!
Good Brothers come out and Omega hits Moxley with an EXPLODING BAT. One Winged Angel onto the chair for the win! This ruled
The beatdown continues until the end of the countdown. Eddie Kingston tries to help him and covers him up. That "explosion" was a DUD. A fart. Eddie Kingston should not be selling that. At all. Pivot. Adjust. Don't do it.
10- Perfect, 9- MOTY Territory, 8- Excellent, 7- Great, 6- Good, 5- Average to above average, 4- Slightly below average, 3 or below: Poor
Each match starts at a 5 and slides up and down based on entertainment, execution, time, environment, reaction and stakes. The ratings are in no way an indication of a "star rating," which is a completely different system. A standard, non-offensive "TV match" lands at a 5. The gap between 5.75-6 is generally the largest, with anything reaching 6 being recommended viewing.
These are opinions, and incredibly inconsistent ones that may change upon a second viewing, or sitting on the match for a period of time. Don't take them too seriously, and have (and share) your own!