AEW brings us the big anniversary show! Crowning the inaugural World Champion and setting up for TNT!
Now I have been fairly critical of AEW during this run of PPVs to set up for TV. Some of these gimmicks seem to be a little rough or too Indy to catch fire, but you never know.
I just hope we get a few good matches and this show feels less like an Indy Supershow, and more like a multi-million dollar company trying to put things into motion.
Let’s find out!
- Women’s Casino Battle Royale: Nyla Rose wins @20:50 – *
- Private Party vs Jack Evans & Angelico: Private Party win via Gin & Juice @11:30 – ** 1/2
- SCU vs Two Boys and a Dinosaur: SCU wins via Best Meltzer Ever @11:50 – *** 1/4
- PAC vs Kenny Omega: PAC wins via Brutalizer @23:30 – *** 1/2
- Darby Allin vs Jimmy Havok vs Joey Janela: Havok wins via Acid Rainmaker @15:10 – * 1/2
- The Dark Order vs Best Friends: Dark Order win via Fatality @13:40 – ***
- Riho vs Hikaru Shida: Riho wins via Satellite Crucifix Pin @13:40 – ****
- Shawn Spears vs Cody Rhodes: Cody wins via Crossroads @19:10 – *** 3/4
- Escalera de la Muerte AAA Tag Team Championship: Lucha Bros (c) vs Young Bucks: Lucha Bros retain @24:15 – **** 1/4
- Inaugural AEW World Heavyweight Championship: Hangman Adam Page vs Chris Jericho: Jericho wins via Judas Effect @26:25 – *** 3/4 – Inaugural TITLE WIN!!!!
Women’s Casino Battle Royale – This was awful. Early eliminations were sloppy, Leva walking across books was dumb, Nyla dumping Priscilla Kelly onto no one just looked bad. Teal Piper was a waste of promo time, she walked around the ring for a minute, got in to do an Eye Poke and Sleeper Hold, then got tossed out. But she had to go back in real quick since she went through the middle instead of over the top. Hell even Awesome Kong, ODB and Tenille Dashwood didn’t really do anything of real merit. God, nothing looked good in this match. Nyla did some terrible Cartwheel that even the production truck cut away from. The finish being the homage to the 1992 Royal Rumble wasn’t lost on me, it just didn’t help an awful Battle Royal. The crowd popped pretty hard for Jazz and Mercedes Martinez, but nothing in the ring was even close to good.
Private Party vs Jack Evans & Angelico – Now this is that quintessential Indy style where it’s a lot of high spots and literally no story. But seriously, do Jack Evans and Angelico think they’re cool? They look like rejected characters from SSX Tricky that happened to be sponsored by Monster Energy. Every 16 year old in 1999 dressed like they do. But as for the match, Private Party thankfully were the best thing about this. Their personalities shine better between the ropes, the high spots were pretty solid…I just hate that high pitched scream, it’s not funny. Aside from poorly timed slow transitions during the finishing sequence, it was a decent match where Private Party looked like the only team with talent.
-I think it can be officially confirmed, that AEW Pre-Shows are lucky they are free. They’re the definition of you get what you pay for.
SCU vs Two Boys and a Dinosaur – Well Marko Stunt is still ridiculous in a ring with adults. It’s sad when Jungle Boy towers over someone, but it was a fun match. Aside from one stumble between Scorpio and Jungle Boy, the spots went fairly smooth, and the story of the veterans outsmarting the kids was easy to digest. Luchasaurus had a bunch of great offense, they had a cool little trifecta move that is effectively an assisted Tornado DDT. SCU hit their trios move of Celebrity Rehab, and that’s the point in time where they took over. Kazarian hits a Frankensteiner on Luchasaurus, which sends him flying into the kids and he squashes Stunt. Literal squish, not short match squash. Best Meltzer Ever on the boys and the veterans get the win. It was a fun way to start things off, and not too bad all things considered.
PAC vs Kenny Omega – So surprisingly, Omega is the second match on the card. As we all know, Moxley was diagnosed with a staph infection, so Moxley out, PAC in. The match was fast paced and definitely felt like a Japanese style match. However, their timing was off early, but it did pick up nicely. A few questionable sequences on logic, but we got a few One Winged Angel teases and of course at least a dozen V Triggers. The crowd fell flat during the botch sequence of Omega attempting a Reverse Frankensteiner, PAC ducked out of it and tried his own, and it just looked bad. Omega and PAC were both wobbly and tired, so it played to the story a little, and then PAC counters the One Winged Angel with a Flying Rings of Saturn, that apparently is called the Brutalizer now. There’s a League of Legends joke in there about beating Omega with a Brutalizer and not needing a finished item. Solid match, definitely fell short of the assumed mark, but not a bad match.
Darby Allin vs Jimmy Havok vs Joey Janela – This was a terrible train wreck of a match, that much like a train wreck, sucks…but there’s an entertainment level to it. It starts off with stupidity where Havok rolls out to get weapons, and Allin and Janela just stand and wait. Then they half ass their way into trying to duct tape Havok to a chair with tacks in his mouth. Then whilst looking for weapons, of course Janela finds a tennis racket and he continues to take shots at Cornette like that’s funny or somehow makes him less of a trash can gimmick. Either way, this match sucked, the only bright spots involved Darby Allin. He pulled out a skateboard with tacks on the bottom, so he Avalanche Ollie’d onto Janela’s back. Then he did a Coffin Drop with the Cracker Barrel Barrel, and missed. We get a finish, with two people who suck. The 60 year old man who shops at Hot Topic wins by ripping off Okada. I could garner more enjoyment from flushing a deuce and watching it go down.
The Dark Order vs Best Friends – This match was meant to decide who gets a Bye in the upcoming tag team tournament. There was a decent amount of tag team mechanics. Trent was singled out for most of the match, and it really looked like Dark Order’s match to lose. A few moments in the match made no sense, like why the Creepers were grouped to catch Grayson for the Tornillo, and Uno was late on the grab for Trent’s leg for the pin break up. Aside from those, it was a solid enough match. I don’t care for either team personally, but it was a serviceable enough match, especially following up the Triple Threat mess.
Riho vs Hikaru Shida – Well now, I don’t know where to start with this. There was great back and forth, big moves from both and great fire spots for both women. Riho’s story is really just how tiny she is compared to everyone, and Hikaru is arguably who most people expected to lead the Japanese half of women’s locker room. Great counter moves, great dives and turnbuckle moments that added to suspense of the match. This was paced well and built a nice story. Plus, Riho’s flash pinfall victory adds to her underdog persona. This was just a fantastic match.
Shawn Spears vs Cody Rhodes – The Cody Rhodes special of having matches with a lot of emotional weight in the story, that’s easy for fans to get invested in. Cody starts off quick with the Suicide Dive and brawl into the crowd. Tully was a masterful old school manager with distractions and weapons hands off while keeping MJF pissed and causing referee distractions. Tully and MJF had a square off, Tully taped up his hands and they slugged it out a little. Arn Anderson makes a run in, hits the Double A Spinebuster of Shawn Spears, sending Tully into disarray. After watching his old teammate choose Cody, Tully left, Cody kept the advantage and put Spears away. The match was a little over booked and unnecessary in spots, but it told a great story, the babyface went over and it was just a lot of fun.
Escalera de la Muerte AAA Tag Team Championship: Lucha Bros (c) vs Young Bucks – Umm…I think the Young Bucks died a few times. Tons of tables, ladders and well…not many chairs. Mexican Destroyer from the Ladder through a table, numerous dives through the ladders and into tables…just insane. Yes, it was a spotfest, some spots didn’t make a ton of sense and the selling was…let’s say questionable. But god damn it was a fun match. Spiked Fear Factor through a ladder killed Matt Jackson for the last time, and both Lucha Bros climb the ladder to retain their tag titles.
-After the match, we see two guys in presidential masks show up and clean house. JFK and Bill Clinton pull off a Street Sweeper on Nick Jackson, and that makes it obvious who the new team is. LAX, EYFBO, Santana and Ortiz, Los Boricuas…whatever the hell they’re known as now. Good stuff.
Inaugural AEW World Heavyweight Championship: Hangman Adam Page vs Chris Jericho – The early goings of this match was a walk down Jericho lane. The double muscle pose, his lazing in the corner pose, just good ole Jericho doing the Jericho. After that though, this match was all…I mean ALL Hangman. He cut Jericho open with a Rolling Elbow, which allowed for a blade spot and the referee to check and stall a little. Which added to the story, since Hangman is still young and unproven, but Jericho being half blind gave Hangman even more of a chance. Jericho got in a few choice counters here or there, but was mostly getting eaten alive. Page hits the Buckshot Lariat and Deadeye, but…wait…Jericho kicks out. Page is beside himself and tries for another Buckshot Lariat, Jericho counters, they go for a few counters and then Jericho catches Page with the Judas Effect for the pinfall!
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEWrestling) September 1, 2019
Overall Score: 7.25/10
The Battle Royale and the Triple Threat were a little hard to tolerate, but everything else was good to great. Given what we know about the roster, and the fact that AEW is focusing primarily on their core fans and not casuals, I feel like every show is gonna have some duds. In a company that’s trying to pride itself on having a little something for everyone, there will be stuff that just doesn’t fit or doesn’t fit personal tastes.
All things considered, this was their best show since Double or Nothing, and finished really strong. Also it’s a little surprising that PAC won in the way he did. Ortiz and Santana are a good boon for the tag division to make sure that Lucha Bros and Young Bucks keep some space. They’ve had like 6 matches in the last 8 months, I think the well is dry there.
Sufficed to say, I may have nit picks and general people I dislike, but it was a pretty damn good show. Definitely a strong way to enter TV with, and having a household name like Chris Jericho as the first champion is good business.