Hello AW Universe,
It was night of blood, sweat, and title matches at AEW’s second PPV from the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Il.
Here is a recap and reactions to the event.
Jake Hager d. Dustin Rhodes
Darby Allin d. Sammy Guevara
Kenny Omega “Hangman” Adam Page d. The Young Bucks to retain the AEW Tag Team Championship
Nyla Rose d. Kris Statlander to retain the AEW Women’s Championship
MJF d. Cody
Pac d. Orange Cassidy
Jon Moxley d. Chris Jericho for the AEW Championship
Dustin Rhodes vs. Jake Hager
The match started out slow and never really picked up from there, with some brawling on the outside and heavy strikes, followed by much of the same once they got back into the ring.
There was a large emphasis put on Hager’s wife being at ringside and at one point Dustin Rhodes, the babyface, forcibly kisses Hager’s wife?? AEW, what the fuck? Such an unnecessary spot that had zero implication into the in-ring storytelling or finish.
Hey, guess what? You can call him Jake Hager, but he’s still Jack Swagger. He fucking sucks. The fact that this man ever held the World Heavyweight Championship in WWE and is now getting a legitimate push in AEW is a blight on both promotion’s is a blight on pro wrestling. Why am I so fired up about this? Because he got the win here. Rhodes didn’t even get a chance to work that well in this one.
The announcers always put over Hager’s shoot undefeated MMA record over… He’s 2-0 with a No-Decision! I mean, I get that it’s all about spin, but come on…
Darby Allin vs. Sammy Guevara
Allin started the match out incredibly, hitting The Lamest Wrestler on the AEW Roster with a Suicide Dive less than 20 seconds into his entrance. But this match showcased everything that can over be wrong with AEW: all sugar but no filling; they started with some brawling on the outside before the bell, with Guevara eventually PULLING OUT A TABLE and hitting Allin with a 630 Senton. Admittedly, it was a beautiful-looking maneuver, but what?? Allin thankfully wins with a Coffin Drop, but was the first part of the match ever a gratuitous mess.
Kenny Omega and “Hangman” Adam Page vs. The Young Bucks
AEW Tag Team Championship
So the Chicago crowd gets it out the gate: they bury The Young Bucks with audible boos and but Page over like crazy with chants of “COW-BOY SHIT” filling the arena any time Page was in the ring. The story in this match was surprisingly well-told, and went deeper to it just being between Page and Matt Jackson after Page had spat in his face early in the match.
Page took an Indie-Taker onto the ramp-way, and as the intensity of the match built, Matt Jackson let it get the best of him, eventually getting him to heel off on Omega’s damaged shoulder from the Ironman match and attacking it. There were of course a tonne of high spots, more than can be named without descending into a laundry list, but the four men did not disappoint.
The Bucks were booed aggressively throughout the match, so it it’ll be interesting to see how they decide to book them moving forward. I’m also still eager to see Omega (and Page for the matter) booked into a singles feud, but the subtle implication at the end of the match that Page is keen on turning on Omega makes the promise of that eventual feud worth the longer burning angle.
Nyla Rose vs. Kris Statlander
AEW Women’s Championship
Absolutely no heat for this match. There just honestly much to say about this bout, as there was zero storytelling going into this and it just went way too long. I felt as though this was an effort to get the division over as a whole by giving them equal time to other matches on the card, but didn’t do much to give much confidence in the division going forward.
Cody vs. MJF
Man, Cody can pretend he isn’t Triple H all he wants, but he undoubtedly spent half of AEW’s budget on his stupidly over-the-top entrance, complete with the band preforming his entrance theme. Also, how do wrestling promotions not yet realise that live performances suck for entrances?
Anyway, this match was honestly a little lacklustre. For a feud that was built on rage and vengeance and (promised) brutality, it just lacked those elements. It was a fine worked match, but MJF was the one who got colour and the finish was a little dragged out, but I suppose it makes sense that there
Pac vs. Orange Cassidy
This match what exactly what was expected of it, with Cassidy getting his comedy spots in at the start, popping the crowd with this “sloth-style” spots. But he be did get some decent offence in, looking at times to be going over “The Bastard.”
Pac did pick up the win, but he just came out of a 30-minute Ironman match with Omega three days ago on Dynamite, looking strong even in that loss, with a tonne of badass heel heat has beat the shit out of Omega. But with the Lucha Bros getting involved to remove Best Friends from ringside, it made Pac look unnecessarily weak when this match easily could’ve been a five-minute showcase for Cassidy’s unexpected move-set, then a beatdown by Pac.
Chris Jericho vs. Jon Moxley
Another match that started out with a bunch of brawling, with a fair amount of it going on outside and into the crowd and leading to Mox getting colour after getting powerbombed through the timekeeper’s table.
The balance of the match was steady, without many high spots. Again, there was a tonne of interference playing into the finish, with Mox battling through every member of the Inner Circle– including getting hit with the title belt by Sammy Guevara– to eventually ducking under two Judas Effects and hitting the Paradigm Shift to become the second AEW World Champion.
The eyepatch gimmick was neatly wrapped up, playing into the finish as a means of feigned blindness in order to trick Jericho into a false sense of confidence heading into the final Paradigm Shift was well executed. I honestly thought there would’ve been more juice to be squeezed from Jericho as champion, but Mox is one of the most over wrestlers on the roster so it was probably a good time to put the title on him.
Plus, we got an epic championship speech after the match.