AEW returned to Daily’s Place in Jacksonville Florida for Homecoming after taking a small road trip around the country as things began opening up again.
Chris Jericho vs. Juventud Guerrera
As part of the “5 labors of Jericho,” this match was the opener with the stipulation that Jericho could only win by executing a top rope move for pinfall or submission. I was curious in what condition Juventud would be in given that I haven’t seen him for quite sometime. I believe the last time I saw him might’ve been in the WWE along with Psychosis. But that group didn’t do much nor last long.
This match was sloppy and both men are much older and trying to hit moves as though they were back in their WCW days as cruiserweights. The announcers alluded to the fact that they no longer are “cruiserweights” as AEW does not distinguish in that manner. I thought that was a thinly veiled disguised way of saying both are fat. People on reddit were talking about how Jericho looked physically bad. Heck, I thought he might’ve had some “bubbly” prior to this match because he was not only off but his face had a bit of a drunk look to it.
Just too many near misses, miscommunication and botches that both, thankfully, had enough experience to hide. They should’ve worked a slower match with a few high spots thrown in just to make what they were doing look decent. Ending was Jericho doing a reasonably looking Judas Effect from the top.
Afterward, Wardlow came down to give Juvy an F10 then Jericho his finisher while MJF gloated saying Wardlow would be #4 while MJF would be by ringside next week. This was just a mess but at least they attempted a wrestling match compared to that other garbage thing from last week. If Juvy was applying for a job that night, he probably didn’t get it just because this was bad.
Lucha Bros Segment
Stupid stuff. I tuned out because Andrade shouldn’t speak. When is he going to wrestle again?
Dark Order Segment
Another stupid segment. Main point was for Page to come in and break up his relationship with the Job World Order because he “needed his space.” It’s funny how he was apologizing for their lost title opportunity because the match last week he did good and the heels had to cheat to beat him.
2.0 Matt Lee & Jeff Parker / Daniel Garcia Vs. Jon Moxley / Eddie Kingston / Darby Allin
2.0 was known as Ever Rise in the WWE. I think they were part of NXT then got released this past year. Don’t know anything about Daniel Garcia. Either way, this is 2.0’s debut. Supposedly, they called out Moxley, Kingston and Allin for this match.
They did a few comedy bits especially with one guy marking out for Sting which would allow Allin to launch himself into the guy. This is how AEW “best uses” Sting while he’s under contract. I guess at least he doesn’t have to wrestle and hurt himself.
They hit several consecutive big moves at the end with Allin winning the match for them. Sting got to pose with Moxley and Kingston, which was a nice touch. But I didn’t see what the point of this match was.
Brian Cage / Ricky Starks Video Promo
Brian Cage comes off more intelligent sounding now that he’s separating himself as opposed to just a muscled guerrilla. I guess they’re building this feud between the two. Ugh. Shouldn’t Cage just be on his own now?
The Elite Backstage Segment
Again, I tuned out. Just rambling. No interruptions of course because here’s your EVPs.
The Blade vs. Christian Cage
This match wasn’t that bad. Mostly, I attribute that to Cage, who does a good job pacing a match. The Blade is trying and he’s getting a few wins here and there but no one cares. Given the “feud” Cage has with Hardy et al, I’m surprised they didn’t come down to do more damage. Not sure where they’re going with The Blade but he just seems to be wandering.
Santana and Ortiz and FTR Video
They acknowledged Cash Wheeler’s arm injury. Basic idea was that this feud wasn’t done, which is good because their first match was left empty due to the injury. But they probably want to give these two teams more air time to build more chemistry. I just wish some of these guys would actually work rather than talk.
Britt Baker Interview
Red Velvet interrupts to demand a title shot. Apparently, she’s going to get one at the first Rampage. But the thing is that as of now, she’s ranked 5 with Hikaru Shida, the former champion, being ranked #4. How is that fair? Seems like they want to hold off Britt’s “money matches” of Thunder Rosa 2.0 and Tay Conti for a while. I can understand Thunder Rosa but why Tay Conti?
I will say this. I have been watching Red Velvet and she has looked better recently. However, I still think that these girls in non-squash, Dark matches, have problems once they exceed a 5-10 minute mark. The problem is just “filling in the blanks” once they used up their big spots. Don’t think Red Velvet will win at this point but I guess they needed to feed Britt some challenger before Thunder Rosa gets her opportunity (and probable win).
Andrade Backstage Segment
Ugh, how does this guy get TWO segments? Can’t we just see him wrestle? The closest thing at this point is him taking Fuego Del Sol and hurling him into the wall after Fuego became confused about his job to “shine Andrade’s shoes.” What a waste of time. The whole segment was there just to say that Death Triangle need him and not Pac.
This didn’t last a few seconds before Kenny Omega comes out with his goon squad to interrupt. Again, I tuned out because anything involving Omega and the Elite is bad. Dark Order tries to make a save but they hold themselves back because “Page needs his space.” Instead, Frankie Kazarian comes in and gets his ass handed to him. What was the point of all this?
Miro Vs. Lee Johnson
This wasn’t a squash and Miro gave Lee a lot. But no one took Lee seriously as a winner here even though there was a moment or two that Miro provided some doubt. Surprisingly, no afterbirth with Dustin because I wouldn’t have minded Dustin vs Miro for the title in the future. Main story here was that Lee Johnson could be a competitor in the future. We’ll see.
Christian Cage Segment
Christian Cage says he’s the #1 contender for the World Title and he’s looking to gun for Kenny Omega. FINALLY. This guy deserves the World Title. He would be a great champion and it would be a great run if this is how he decides to end his career. Maybe he might join Kazarian being an Elite hunter?
The Bunny vs. Leyla Hirsch
This is for an NWA title match. Hirsch wins and Kamille is invited to the ring. The main thing is the size difference. Hirsch can wrestle but is inexperienced. Doubt she’ll win that match but this is one of those “forbidden door” moves, which I think is the best thing going. It’ll give Hirsch a chance for a title but gives the women’s NWA title a chance to be seen in front of a bigger audience by proxy.
Cody Vs. Malakai Black
This is Malakai Black’s debut and he’s got a pretty neat entrance. This match almost was a squash but they made it look good except for the stupid table bump. Malakai is doing a shooter style gimmick with tons of kicks, strikes and submission holds. Sadly, this match didn’t last too long as they did an afterbirth of Cody seemingly announcing his retirement only for Malakai to assault him once again after Cody stripped off one of his shoes. Not sure where they’re going with this but I’m assuming this might light a fire under Cody. Presumably, if Cody does “go away” for now, it’s to be with his newborn and wife.
Overall, not a great show. I’m still unimpressed by the matches especially the match length. It drives me nuts that only the EVPs (minus Cody here) get long matches. Too many talking segments as usual and I even skipped out in mentioning the Jade one because I did fast forward through it.
One thing they announced was the Rampage announcing team finally with Excalibur, Taz, Mark Henry and Chris Jericho. That wasn’t too surprising to me except for Chris Jericho. So I’m thinking at this point Jericho will lose some sort of retirement stipulation against MJF but be allowed to stay on as a broadcast announcer (kinda like Randy Savage or Piper). But we have yet to hear Henry in a commentator’s role so I’m wondering if Taz or Jericho are going to drown him out.
As far as Malakai Black is concerned, he looked great. Not sure if they kept the match short because of ring rust but I’m already a fan because his stuff looked really good and believable. People are speculating whom his next challenger will be and the names coming up are Darby Allin, Miro and maybe even Christian if he wins the world title. I just hope that he isn’t in the traditional infinite feud with Cody because I like it when wrestlers get a variety of opponents.
I’m becoming beyond frustrated with Andrade. Even if he’s in an angle with Death Triangle, I wish he would simply wrestle. Heck, I’d take a squash match with Fuego Del Sol if it means Andrade would not be involved in some hokey backstage segment.
The Job World Order apparently are getting Impact Tag Title matches for next week. This is so stupid. I know the stipulation was so that they wouldn’t get AEW tag title matches but now they’re getting Impact Tag Title matches against the group they lost to? How bone headed is that? The only good to come out of this is that the Impact Tag Titles get a defense on AEW TV. So the “forbidden door” once again is open. We know that the Job World Order won’t win so I guess this is a feed type win for Impact since Kenny still has their title.
At any rate, besides getting to see Malakai in action finally there really wasn’t much else to write home about.