Hello AW Universe,
On the eve of AEW announcing that they had struck a shiny new three-year partnership with WarnerMedia, keeping Dynamite on TNT through 2023, they kept that momentum rolling straight into Miami for “Bash at the Beach.”
Kenny Omega & “Hangman” Adam Page d. Santana & Ortis, Best Friends, and The Young Bucks to become #1 Contenders for the AEW Tag Team Championship
Cody accepts MJF’s stipulations in order to face him at Revolution
Hikaru Shida & Kris Statlander d. The Nightmare Collective (Brandi Rhodes & Mel w/Luther)
Jon Moxley d. Sammy Guevara
The Butcher & The Blade (w/The Bunny) & MFJ (w/Wardlow) d. QT Marshall, Dustin Rhodes & DDP
Pac d. Darby Allin
So the show kicks off with an “In Memory of” tribute to Rocky Johnson, after of which cuts into the arena with JR hastily listing off other recently passed pro wrestlers while the camera drifts over the stage, showcasing the beach-themed aesthetic, complete with a “lifeguard,” which is a model in a bikini and heels sitting in lifeguard chair. Okay, I get it, sex sells. There’s nothing wrong with beauty and sexuality, but my god, it’s 2020 guys. Is the gratuitousness really necessary? TNA pulled this, but at least it was 2002 and exclusively on iPPV.
Well anyway, the show opened up with The Young Bucks in a tag team match, so naturally it’s a spotfest that refuses to find a draw the line between entertaining and incoherent. The Miami crowd goes crazy, and erupt into “This is Awe-some” chants so hey, what do I know. But I think these quotes sum up my thoughts pretty accurately. First, from Tony Schiavone: “Does anyone even remember who the legal men are here.” (No, of course not, is this the first time you’ve watched a Young Bucks match?) and then from JR as all eight competitors attempt to pull off : “What the hell is going on here?” No one knows, JR. I just understand why these matches aren’t just Tornado Tags; it all breaks down into spotfests so just make everyone legal.
The highlight by far was the back-and-forth combination between Omega and Page, with the former hitting Trent Beretta with a Rolling Press, then Page hitting him with a standing Shooting Star Press, then Omega hitting him with a second-rope Moonsault then Page hitting a Moonsault on Chuck Taylor and Santana on the outside.– whose chyron is hilarious once again reading “Anxious Millennial Cowboy.” Omega & Page win the match, which surprised me slightly, but they have some good storytelling going on between them, as Page seems to be getting slowly fed up with the rest of The Elite (although I thought he had quit the group already…)
Cody cuts a promo that breaks the Internet fourth wall by using by referring to his “pop” and MJF as an “old school heel,” and accepts the three stipulations set down by MJF in order to face him at the next AEW PPV Revolution, which are displayed on the stage monitors (with a gratuitous shot of the rotating model on the lifeguard chair, of course): 1) Cody Cannot Touch MJF until Revolution; 2) 10 lashes on live TV; 3) Steel Cage Match Against Wardlow. The promo was alright, it was just another intense Cody yelling into the mic while telling everyone how shitty of a heel MJF is. But he accepts the stips, and is immediately booked to face Wardlow in said cage in two weeks in Atlanta (because the logistics of having a steel cage in yacht next week would just be a nightmare).
Luther accompanies Brandi Rhodes & Mel reverts back to not explaining anything about new talent on the roster as JR tells the audience that if they aren’t familiar with The Legend of the Japanese Death Match that they should, “look it up, do some research.” So annoying. That’s like a teacher getting asked an inquisitive question by a student and the teaching annoyingly answering “Just fuckin Google it.” The match is average, as the women’s division continues to leave something to be desired, but Statlander picks up the pin on Mel with an Piledriver that missed by half a foot.
We learn that the Dark Order have an unseen leader above Evil Uno, and that they’re targets as new recruits are members of The Elite, like Adam Page and Kenny Omega– wait a minute, those very two guys won a #1 contender’s match early in the night, and they’ll in the same place at the same time next week… Hmm…
Sammy Guevara continues to suck; nothing about this character is original: he uses Tyler Breeze’s phone gimmick, he does Finn Balor’s entrance wearing a leather jacket and leans back on the ropes, and his cockiness is bland. The only original thing about him is the cue card promo gimmick, which is already tired; they same something relevant about the storyline and then shamelessly publicly hitting on famous women. Anyway,
Dean Ambrose Jon Moxley drives into the arena in his new (stolen?) Ford GT and I think they forgot to play his entrance music. It should be mentioned that as much as this is framed as redemption for Guevara in the name of Chris Jericho, but the winner gets to face the winner of Darby Allin and Pac next week on the “Chris Jericho Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Rager at Sea Part Deux” in a #1 Contender’s match.
The match is good, with Guevara getting some high-spots in, but Moxley getting the stiff moves in and eventually winning by submission, after of which they’re late to play his music again! It’s short-lived anyway as Jericho’s music hits and the Inner Circle appear after the lights go out and beat the hell out of Moxley, before Jericho takes a spike out of his jacket and stabs him in the eye with it. It was a bit of a weird move, but Jericho explains it to Jenn Decker afterwards as an “eye for an eye” after what Moxley did to Jericho last week, and I dig it. We also find out that The Inner Circle will be facing Jurassic Express on the cruise next week.
The six-man match is largely uneventful, with the focus being DDP’s return to the ring, which starts out pretty unspectacularly as he just hits a bunch of Lariats and then a Diamond Cutter on The Butcher, followed by Dustin hitting another beautiful Canadian Destroyer on The Blade.. But he does dive off the top rope to the outside on everyone else, so props to the man for doing that. QT Marshall is obviously in this match for one reason, and he does the J.O.B. and eats the pin from MFJ.
The main event was the best match of the night, with Darby Allin taking some hard bumps like a stiff top-rope Dropkick, and a Powerbomb onto the steel steps that cut his left tricep open hard-way– the only complaint is that they cut to a picture-in-picture commercial break for that spot, which I can’t understand why.
Pac wins after a couple of headbutts to knock Allin off the top rope, sending him face-down onto the mat and hitting the always-gorgeous Black Arrow to the injured lower back from the Powerbomb; just some excellent in-match storytelling.
Tony Schiavone interviews Pac after the match, and The Bastard cuts a promo saying that Mox is fucked and won’t be able to compete next week, so he’s the de facto #1 Contender. The camera then cuts to Cyclops Mox in the back of an ambulance with a bandage over his stabbed right eye, a bloody towel, and blood-stained face and chest. He then heads to the ramp, and tells Pac that “it ain’t going down like that, brother” and vows to be there next week and kick Pac’s ass. Moxley is clearly going to win next week, but I love building a little bit of heat for the match regardless.
The rarely-botching Excalibur then invites the viewers to join them next week at ” The Bash at the Beach.” Except this was “The Bash at the Beach.” Next week is the “Rock ‘N’ Wrestling Rager at Sea Part Deux.” Ah well, we all knew what he meant, right?