This review is something I wanted to postpone but I know if I don’t do it now, it’ll never get done. Lately, I haven’t been reviewing AEW shows just because there hasn’t been anything really noteworthy outside of CM Punk and MJF segments for the most part while the rest of the shows have suffered from god awful booking and bad comedy. However, this being a major PPV made me decide to write up a review just because I have a lot of beef with what went on.
I’m going to skip two of the Buy-in YouTube matches just because I have no desire to watch anymore of this mess. I did start with the six man tag team match and will go from there.
House Of Black Vs. Erick Redbeard / Penta Oscuro / PAC
This match was a train wreck. I have complained about the House of Black for a while now in that the gimmick is stupid, overthought and just doesn’t translate well into wrestling. The basic visual of tattooed, black metal, devil worshiping type of figures is fine for me. But once you start trying to explore the gimmick, it falls apart because it gets silly fast.
Of course, the big two things here were Buddy Matthews making his AEW PPV debut along with Erick Redbeard, who was last seen during the Brodie Lee tribute show. The thing about this match was, despite the talent involved, there was absolutely no flow. It felt like another indies match that felt apart at times because of sloppiness, the need to go at 100 mph and people getting lost. There were a few good moments but for the most part just a lot of awkwardness. I don’t know how often Erick wrestles but he looked bad here. There were some moments of decency but I’m talking just knowing where to go. And I just don’t like Penta as a wrestler. These are people who get to do what they want, trade spots and don’t really establish anything of momentum. Like that terrible hot tag to Penta. The crowd bought it only because this was an undercard match with top talent. But it wasn’t really a hot tag. There was a pause and they allowed it which seemed awkward. Things like that just hurt the momentum of the match. Thankfully, at least Malakai Black got the pin fall but I have low hopes for this being over just because I’m certain these guys enjoy working together and we’ll just have one of those endless feuds that go nowhere.
Eddie Kingston Vs. Chris Jericho
This was the best match I’ve seen Jericho have in AEW since I started watching. Probably, it’s because he finally got the hint that his conditioning for the past year and over was awful and he looked like an unmotivated drunk rather than an athlete since the pandemic started. Crowd was super hot for Kingston because this match actually meant something for him.
My biggest issue with this match is that Kingston is a Kenta Kobashi mark and he’s taken some of the worst aspects of Kenta Kobashi to incorporate into his own move set like the machine gun chops which is fake as hell and the stupid head drops. I hate high elevation back drops knowing what happened to Misawa Mitsuharu. Jericho is a pro but at his age, he shouldn’t be taking them.
Surprisingly, Kingston won this match which was the right move here. He tried to shake Jericho’s hand and told him he respected Jericho but Jericho ignored the handshake and walked off. That was a good move because Jericho should go full fledged heel since his smart ass ’99 version of Jericho simply doesn’t work anymore. Unfortunately, I predict that they won’t do anything to help propel Kingston higher into the card after this win especially because this match was positioned so low on the card.
ReDragon Vs. Young Bucks Vs. Jurassic Express For the Tag Team Titles
This was a typical Bucks/Jurassic Express match. I lost interest pretty quickly even though this match went on forever. ReDragon try to make the match logical like when Kyle O’Reilly got Jungle Boy in a cross arm scissors after JB tried for his silly jump rope routine with the wrist. However, these matches never really have any psychology, momentum nor story because people just exchange moves until the participants are sure that they’ve showed off everything that they have. Unfortunately, the tag titles didn’t change here but the good news is that ReDragon wasn’t beaten. Most likely we’ll see a feud starting between the Bucks and ReDragon where ReDragon get humiliated somehow while Jurassic Express continue beating other teams, even though they need to get the titles off of Luchasaurus and hide him in the 4th dimension ASAP.
Hobbs/Starks/Lee/Wardlow/Cassidy/Christian Face of the Revolution Ladder Match
This was a dumb concept. Three men are muscle men and not really known for climbing ladders. Only one person really is a specialist for ladder matches. There’s a joke and another guy who has a bad neck issue. So what do you do? You dump them into a ladder match.
I don’t really care about how many innovative spots they do because the match just is choreographed in terms of knowing when a person has his turn to shine. Again, no rhythm, no story, just trading spots. There were a few impressive ones like Wardlow leaping onto the ladder. But the only interesting thing was seeing the big men going at it. I think the match people want to see is Keith Lee vs Powerhouse Hobbs. That ought to be good when it happens.
Wardlow surprisingly won this one. So the clear mission objective on this PPV was get all of the local AEW talent over, which I get but when you start looking at what’s going on, then most of those ex-WWE guys should start being more concerned about how they might be used as fodder for the less talented, green, homegrown AEW people.
Shane “Swerve” Strickland Signing
I haven’t really seen anything of this guy but he did receive a decent reaction. Not as big as Punk or other people but reasonable. My prediction is that this guy will be on Dark in a few weeks beating indy guys to build up meaningless wins just because the roster is overflowing at this stage.
Jade Cargill Vs. Tay Conti for the TBS Championship
I honestly thought that this match was better than it had any right to be. Neither girl are really good workers. But Jade actually looked pretty impressive here. She’s still a bit awkward but she’s moving around a lot better. It’s no secret that Bryan Danielson is training her which is why she’s making good strides.
The funny part is that Anna Jay and Tay got some boos here because Anna Jay used a chair on Jade and Tay worked a bit like a heel. I’ve been saying this for a while now but Jade needs to ditch Mark Sterling like yesterday and embrace a babyface role as a super hero type of wrestler. She should watch old Hulk Hogan matches from ’84-’85 to incorporate with her move set, sell a shit ton more, make a big come back and take photos with young girls. She’s very beautiful, has a great physique and they’re obviously putting a lot of investment into her to improve. So ditch her current slogan, lose the cursing and be the caring figure because I think that suits her more.
As far as Tay Conti and Anna Jay are concerned, I don’t really care. Anna Jay has no personality in or out of the ring. She’s never really done anything for me inside the ring and seems like a mediocre worker at best. Tay has about as many brain cells as her boyfriend Sammy but at least he does the flashy moves. Tay has better confidence at this point but she’s still greener than hash.
CM Punk Vs. MJF Dog Collar Match
This is the only match I really wanted to see. And it delivered for the most part. I’m not going to talk about everything they did here but this match was brutal. Good selling by both, it was emotional and they gave it time. Maybe a bit too much time. But guys bled, especially Punk who hit a major gusher. The canvas was pretty sick and stained with blood. People have said this was the real main event of the program and I agree to that. It honestly was match of the night for me.
My only issue was the thumbtacks. Completely unnecessary. At least the rest of the show didn’t employ them. But you already had a chain involved in this match so why add another gimmick weapon? The ring could almost fall into that category except there was some karmic retribution with the help of Wardlow who now is over as a face officially. Punk won and he motioned for the world title. Quite honestly, I think he should get a shot. More on that later.
Britt Baker Vs. Thunder Rosa for the AEW Women’s Championship
I’ll be very direct: I skipped most of this match. This match was boring and should’ve gone on before the dog collar match. Britt just isn’t a good story teller unless she’s in a match that’s less than 5 minutes and Thunder Rosa is better off wrestling job girls that she can dominate. So when you get two people who require gimmicks to be over, it’s not going to go well. I still think Ruby Soho should’ve beaten Britt back at the Arthur Ashe Stadium show because now she’s on Dark wrestling indy girls and just lost all her momentum.
Regardless, Britt should’ve lost here and the only people she really hasn’t beaten are Jade and Jamie Hayter. Jamie isn’t going to go anywhere. But they did say they were going to sign Paige VanZant but she’s going to be green and awful most likely because AEW’s trainers (outside of Bryan Danielson) suck. And they aren’t going to let her shoot on Britt so nothing will be accomplished having her face Britt. Maybe facing Jade since (thank god) Brandi Rhodes is gone and probably Jade will be taking that spot. But let us not forget Tony Khan’s not-so-secret mission statement of spending tons of money for external talent to take losses to homegrown talent that are green, are mostly not over and get wins rather than losses so that they can learn. Either way, poor Thunder Rosa here. I like her and she deserves a hell of a lot better.
Jon Moxley Vs Bryan Danielson
This match bored me too. I can barely stand Jon Moxley’s matches. This match had zero heat for the most part because the audience was confused on whom they should cheer. That shows you that neither really should have faced each other in the first place because there’s no true issue between them outside of the fact that Moxley has never beaten Danielson. The only issue that happened here was that Tony Khan refused to give up on old booking plans in requiring some “stars” to be near the top of the card and he needed a way to quickly rehabilitate Moxley’s image after going to rehab which fucked Khan’s previous card up. Shit man, I would punish the guy and have him work his way back up rather than humor him in putting him in a heatless main event like this.
The only part that was noteworthy from this match was the post match where Steve Regal randomly showed up as both guys continued to beat on each other with all the referees coming in ineffectually. Regal gave Moxley a headbutt greeting which was cool and a slap as well as Bryan Danielson a slap before forcing both guys to shake hands. For godsakes will Regal be the official general manager for AEW? People say that they don’t need one. THEY FUCKING NEED ONE! You need one guy you can believe in to take control of the front office, so to speak. And at least with Regal, he’s established. It’s doubtful we’ll see him wrestle ever again but he’ll be great in a GM role that I assume would have gone to Ric Flair if it wasn’t for that Dark Side of the Ring episode which crippled his career (and assuming that he was, indeed, quitting the WWE to join AEW for that role).
Matt Hardy / Andrade / Isiah Kassidy Vs. Sammy / Sting / Darby
This was called a Texas Tornado match but to me it was nothing more than the typical lazy booking AEW match where people just went around doing their own thing to the ketchup masturbating AEW fans. This match was impossible to follow. The only two memorable moments I guess were Sammy doing a stupid Spanish Fly off the top of some balcony structure with Kassidy as the victim and another move which I felt was the dumbest move of the night: Andrade basically rolled with no explanation onto the tables so that Sting could do a diving splash from a balcony. Visually, the splash looked cool. Everything else was dogshit stupid. Andrade looked like a moron in putting himself onto the table nice and neatly just to await for Sting to get up on top. And Sting is just nuts at his 60+ years of age for doing something like that. Unfortunately, the fans keep egging him on with the lowest of the low chants: “You still got it!”
I forgot to add that HFO got involved too, mostly Blade and Butcher as well as Marq Quen. Again, never forget Tony Khan’s other mission statement: try to get as many of his contracted idiots on the show as possible in any justifiable manner. It’s just terrible visual chaos that comes off really and on TV.
Adam Page Vs. Adam Cole for the AEW Championship
Let me preface this part of the review by saying that I like Adam Cole the person. I am a member of the Chugs Army on Twitch, I really enjoy his Twitch streams and he comes off as someone I wish I could hang around just because of his interest in both gaming and wrestling. With that said, I grow more disappointed every time I see him on AEW TV just because all the momentum he started with has evaporated.
And as far as Adam Page is concerned, this match has convinced me that he shouldn’t be world champion. This match felt like an Adam Page match in that it was just another back and forth “you do your spot, I’ll do mine” blase exhibition that lasted too long for my taste. I don’t like it when there’s no momentum and people exchange spots because you don’t feel ebbs and waves in a match. And since Page had started challenging Omega for his title, I’ve been following him.
The only match I really enjoyed from Page was his 60 minute match against Bryan Danielson and that’s because Bryan Danielson crafted the match. It wasn’t just back and forth but there was a real story to it and deep psychology. Page vs Cole felt like two friends who talked behind the scenes and just said, “Okay, I’m going to do this. What will you do next?”
The funny part is that Page rightfully started getting booed at the end in tying Cole up with the belt and kicking him repeatedly to the face. The explanation I’ve read was, “I needed to go to a dark place.” Well, when you go to that dark place, you know what that’s called? It’s called being a heel.
On top of that the Dark Order came out and outnumbered ReDragon. But there really wasn’t any cheers for them because the Dark Order are being featured on the main event even though they are nothing more than job guys. ReDragon were the guys that should’ve won the tag team titles because Jurassic Express is horrible. So now they get chased off by more job guys who think they’re bigger than their indy level status permits.
And of course, Page won even though it didn’t feel like a big victory. He gave a post match speech that talked about that justification for his actions but you had to watch outside clips to get that.
If I had paid for this crap, I would have been seriously pissed at wasting my money. The only two matches where the finish worked for me were Kingston beating Jericho (props to Jericho) and Punk beating MJF just because both guys are really good and they had a great story/feud for this entire duration that should’ve been a show unto itself to separate the quality from the rest of the AEW drek.
The rest of the show was just bad booking that progressed nothing. My belief is that if you have four titles on the line for a PPV event that occurs quarterly, at least one should change. We got none. No one expected Jade to lose. That was for certain. But the tag titles, women’s world title and the world title should have changed.
Maybe the biggest part was Wardlow moving up. But again we have green, homegrown talent that requires a shitload more of polishing moving over a guy that presumably Khan had spent a fair amount on in Keith Lee. But if I were Keith Lee and I cared about the remnants of my career, I would take a sharp look at what AEW has done to most of the ex-WWE wrestlers not named Jericho, Moxley or CM Punk.
Now, I want to rattle on about Adam Page for a bit. I’ve been saying this for a while now but his title reign has sucked. It’s just unconvincing for me. The best match he had thus far was against Bryan Danielson and it’s because of Bryan Danielson. He got Lance Archer, who disappeared back down to Dark, then Adam Cole got his shot. But just like Ruby Soho at the Arthur Ashe Stadium show, this was the night to change hands for Cole.
Page’s matches and personality don’t convince me that he is the man. I was watching Ric Flair vs Lex Luger the other night and you could tell it was the Ric Flair show because of how much Flair was doing to make Luger look good for 40+ minutes. Page’s matches come off as indy, story-less, spotfest and his promos are inconsistent.
But if you listened to that crowd tonight, they were ready for Cole to win. Even if he cheated, they would’ve cheered him. Instead, he was buried because Tony Khan refuses to use DQs or count outs for the majority of these matches, despite the countless instances of rule breaking and outside interference in a fucking world title match that actually had no stipulations besides being for the title. This was one of those instances where a DQ or count out would’ve not hurt either man but in fact saved the situation so that they could have another better match in the future.
Instead, Adam Cole looked buried the way Page destroyed him. But the beat down finish wasn’t cathartic hence the booing. We aren’t convinced that Page was the better wrestler. We aren’t convinced that he deserved to beat Cole. It was the wrong finish.
My gut instinct is that Tony Khan listened to Eric Bischoff’s recent podcast talking about how Cole should decline winning the championship here. Because up to this point, Cole’s sudden transition from working with the job joke guy Orange Cassidy to world title contender made no sense as he had zero momentum going into this. And I think Cole getting the main event spot was Tony Khan’s response to the critics saying that Cole isn’t being used well in AEW. Well, you can’t just suddenly thrust a guy who got beaten by a clown into the main event against the world title holder just to claim that Cole is being used well.
It’s almost like Jade Cargill winning the TBS title after the Big Swole crap came out. I mean, Ruby Soho should’ve won that if not her then Thunder Rosa at least. Instead, we got a green girl who needed a lot of work. But I do believe that affirmative action played a huge part here because Tony Khan wants to deflect criticism of his otherwise piss poor booking and the fact that he focuses on the wrong people.
But this just goes to Tony Khan knowing nothing about momentum or how one should build momentum. He reacts too slow as a booker or doesn’t change his mind once he gets an idea. And it’s very frustrating to watch because he’s got the best roster around but no one has momentum and it’s very hard to get behind people because we can’t see them grow to get that momentum. They’re either pushed immediately the momentum Khan hears a few people cheering or they’re buried because the local people or higher ups complain.
I think the worst part of Tony Khan’s booking is that he’s constantly worried about AEW being compared to WCW, even though it’s obvious he wants to emulate WCW in the mid to late 90s. Where WCW’s problem had been around that time the inability to get new talent over (outside of DDP and Goldberg) in just using ex-WWF personnel, AEW suffers the reverse problem where he kills all the momentum the escapees of the WWE prison have coming in by having his green job people beat them into powder. The net effect is that no one is anymore over except the rare case of CM Punk just because he’s intelligent and has a clue about how to handle himself.
At any rate, a very highly disappointing, way too long PPV. This was more quantity over quality and it was a sheer chore to watch.