Date: August 31, 2019
Location: Sears Center, Chicago, Illinois
Commentators: Jim Ross, Excalibur, Alex Mendez
It’s time for the fourth AEW show and the final one before we get to the weekly TNT show. This show might not mean as much as the other shows as it is all leading up to October, but the World Title will be decided for the first time. We should be in for a good show, but they have a hard one to follow after Takeover this afternoon. Let’s get to it.
Pre-Show: Casino Battle Royal
So it’s twenty one women in four groups of five with each group named after a card suit. Then there is a twenty first entrant with the Joker. The winner is in the Women’s Title match at the first TNT show. The Clubs (Nyla Rose, Faby Apache, Leva Bates, Shalanda Royal, Priscilla Kelly) start things off and it’s Rose cleaning house. Peter Avalon (Bates’ fellow librarian) offers Bates some books to stand on but Rose tosses everyone with almost no effort, plus Peter for a bonus.
The Diamonds (Britt Baker, Penelope Ford, Sadie Gibbs, Shazza McKenzie, Big Swoll) come in next with Ford hitting a handspring elbow on Rose as the ganging up….is broken up in just a few seconds. Baker pulls Shazza out for an elimination, leaving Rose to chokeslam Baker and Gibbs at the same time, leaving Swoll for a showdown. Rose isn’t having any of this and puts Swoll on the apron, setting up a Rock Bottom onto the apron for the elimination. A hard German suplex drops Ford as the countdown clock ends and….no one is here at the moment.
Ford is out as the Spades (Tenille Dashwood, Ivelisse, Bea Priestly, Brandi Rhodes and Awesome Kong) come out. Baker jumps Priestly in the aisle and it’s Ivelisse hurricanranaing Gibbs down. Dashwood butterfly suplexes Ivelisse into Gibbs in the corner, setting up Taste of Tenille to both of them. Brandi orders Kong to start cleaning house but Rose gets back in as a group of people go after Kong. Brandi’s Stunner takes Rose down as Kong picks up Ivelisse to use as a weapon.
Dashwood and Ivelisse are out and here are the Hearts (Allie, Nicole Savoy, Teal Piper, ODB and the bald Jazz). Allie goes straight after Brandi and it’s Savoy squaring off with Kong, who whips her into the ropes so Savoy can hit a big suicide dive. Piper pokes ODB in the eyes and grabs the sleeper but Kong breaks it up. Rose dumps Savoy and Kong tosses Piper through the ropes (no elimination), setting up the big monster showdown.
Jazz breaks that up and ODB joins them for the four way brawl. Kong and Jazz are eliminated as Mercedes Martinez is the Joker and the final entrant. Martinez starts suplexing everyone in sight and it’s a curb stomp to Priestly. Allie gets up and starts cleaning house but Rose knocks her out. It seems that we’re down to Rose, Gibbs, Martinez, Priestly and Baker, plus anyone on the floor. Gibbs gorilla presses Priestly but gets tossed a second later and we’re down to four.
A Sling Blade lets Baker put Martinez down and it’s time to double team Rose. Priestly tries to dump both of them but saves Rose in the process. Baker superkicks Martinez out but Rose survives a double toss attempt. Rose manages a cartwheel kick on the apron so Baker hits a Canadian Destroyer on Priestly. One heck of a forearm gets rid of Priestly and Rose dumps Baker (with an assist from Priestly) for the win at 20:41.
Rating: D. I really don’t care for this concept as it’s either the groups not coming out when the buzzer sounds or trying to keep track of who all is in there. At least they didn’t do the stupid “OH LOOK SOMEONE IS SNEAKING BACK IN!” but it’s still not a great concept. If you want to do a battle royal then do a battle royal, but the casino/gambling thing only really works in Las Vegas.
Pre-Show: Private Party vs. Jack Evans/Angelico
Isaiah Kassidy starts things off with Angelico and they waste no time in flipping around. Kassidy takes him down and starts dancing so it’s off to Marq Quen vs. Evans, with the former taking over in a hurry. Evans gets in a shot to the face on Quen though and the villains (or the closest things we have to villains in this match) take over. A guillotine choke has Quen reaching for the ropes as we already get the five minute announcement.
That’s broken up so it’s Kassidy coming back in to clean house, including the big dive onto Angelico. Back in and a slingshot splash gets two on Evans. A camel clutch into a leap frog double stomp to the back of the head plants Evans, followed by Kassidy flipping over a standing Quen and then flipping back into a tornado DDT on Angelico. An assisted Sliced Bread hits Evans and Kassidy nails a bit running flip dive to the floor.
Quen hits a great looking shooting star press but Evans is back in to suplex Kassidy off the top. A kick to the face and an assisted 450 gets two on Kassidy as we hit five minutes left. Everything breaks down and it’s a series of hurricanranas to Evans and Angelico, setting up another hurricanrana into a cutter to finish Evans at 11:14.
Rating: C+. Yeah it was a moves match but Private Party continues to look great. That’s the kind of thing that AEW needs: some teams (or acts in general) who can come in and be more original stars. Private Party has been around the indies for a good while but now they’re getting their first national exposure and they look like hidden gems.
Post match Evans and Angelico jump Private Party and wreck Quen’s knee as the fans are not pleased.
Some kids from a charity sing the Star Spangled Banner.
The opening video looks at just about every match on the show tonight in a well produced package.
The announcers preview the card again.
SoCal Uncensored vs. A Small Boy/A Boy And His Dinosaur
SCU does their usual stuff before the match with Daniels talking about how they were All In last year and now it’s a new deck and a new dealer. Jungle Boy and Kazarian start things off with neither being able to get anywhere, meaning they flip to a standoff. Daniels comes in for an STO to put Jungle Boy down but he’s right back up with a springboard armdrag. Luchasaurus comes in and it’s a series of kicks to take Daniels down, with the fans being WAY into the dinosaur.
It’s off to Stunt for a running dropkick and the required Floss Dance, setting up the even more required suicide dive. Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus hit their own dives and we settle down to Jungle Boy chopping and headlocking Daniels. A blind tag brings in Kazarian for a dropkick before it’s back to Daniels for a dance of his own. The chinlock goes on for a bit until Jungle Boy fights up and brings in Luchasaurus to kick away.
The chokeslam into a standing moonsault gets two on Kazarian and the fans are rather pleased. Stunt gets tossed into a tornado DDT on Kazarian but Celebrity Rehab gets SCU out of trouble. A slingshot hurricanrana takes out Jungle Boy and Stunt, followed by Sky’s big flip dive onto Luchasaurus. The Best Meltzer Ever finishes Stunt at 11:58.
Rating: C. The Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy stuff is awesome as they work perfectly well together but Stunt….yeah it’s too much. Even Rey Mysterio is bigger than he is and that’s as much of a stretch as you can get. It’s like forcing a comedy act in there but they don’t really treat it as comedy. Sometimes its ok to not try for every smile possible and just have a good match without something like that. A Boy and His Dinosaur are awesome on their own so don’t mess with it any more.
Kenny Omega vs. Pac
They circle each other to start and the fans seem to be more behind Omega. Pac drops down and Kenny walks over his back for a bit of taunting. They take turns shoving each other in the face and the 205 chants begin. Omega sends him outside and tries the dive but Pac is waiting on him with a kick to the ribs. A whip into the barricade staggers Pac but he’s fine enough to drive Omega back first into the barricade as well.
The choking against the barricade continues, followed by a great looking dropkick to put Omega down again. Omega fights out of a chinlock in a hurry before sending him outside. That means a suicide dive to take Pack out but Omega comes up holding his ankle. As long as it’s not the V Trigger knee, he still has 89% of his offense. Back in and the ankle is fine enough for a missile dropkick to the back of the head and a fisherman’s buster gets two.
The Regal Roll connects but Pac rolls away before the middle rope moonsault can connect. Pac spikes him with a DDT for two but it’s too early for the Black Arrow. Instead Pac moonsaults to the floor, with his leg crashing into the barricade. Back in and a 450 gives Pac two, followed by Omega’s spinebuster for the same. Something like a fisherman’s buster onto the knee sets up the first V Trigger. The One Winged Angel is broken up so Omega settles for a bridging German suplex instead.
Pac is back up with a slingshot cutter and a snap German suplex of his own. The Snapdragon sets up Omega’s second V Trigger for two, followed by the third to stagger Pac some more. Pac hits something like a reverse hurricanrana but gets caught in a fireman’s carry. Before Omega can throw him anywhere though, Pac reverses into the Brutalizer (standing Rings of Saturn) to knock Omega out for the win at 23:14.
Rating: B-. Almost every Omega criticism is right here: longer than it needed to be, little building to anything and even less selling. It’s a bunch of spots and shots to the head with both of them popping right back up. I’m sure Omega will go on a winning streak and win the title eventually and that’s acceptable, but it’s the kind of thing that you know is coming at the end of the day. The idea here was that Omega isn’t what he’s capable of being and his “heart isn’t in AEW” yet so I’m sure he’s going to get a big featured story.
Darby Allin vs. Joey Janela vs. Jimmy Havoc
This is the Cracker Barrel Clash as we have a sponsored match. They go straight for the weapons and it’s time for the staple gun. Jimmy uses it on himself and it’s time to head outside with Jimmy getting taped into a chair. Joey puts thumbtacks in Jimmy’s mouth and tapes it shut as well, leaving Joey vs. Darby inside. A flipping Stunner takes Joey down but Darby would rather flip dive onto Jimmy, who begs him to do it.
The fight heads outside with Joey busting out weapons of his own, including a tennis racket, which he throws away (hilarious you see). Jimmy chops Joey down and gives him the paper cuts between the fingers. A monkey flip sends Joey flying but he lands in the chair, only to get a paper cut in the mouth. Joey brainbusters Jimmy through a chair and hits a running Canadian Destroyer to send Darby through a table in a nasty crash. Back up and Jimmy goes for a moonsault to the floor….with absolutely no one there to catch him.
Jimmy was down a few feet away but that looked Joey was trying to hurt himself. Since Joey has been crushed, Jimmy throws a plate of biscuits at him and then brings some barrels to the ring. Darby is back in with a skateboard covered in tacks, which he double stomps onto Joey’s back.
Darby throws Havoc at the steps and puts him on them….before grabbing a barrel. The Coffin Drop, with a barrel on Darby’s back, only hits steps as JR declares this insanity. Back in and Joey drops a top rope elbow for two on Jimmy. Another barrel is brought in and Havoc superplexes Joey….well his foot went through it at least. The Acid Rainmaker through the barrel finishes Janela to give Havoc the pin at 14:40.
Rating: D+. I didn’t hate this, mainly because they kept this in one match by itself instead of putting it in some big match that means something. Some of the stuff involved here was so ridiculous that it’s almost impossible to not smile a bit. There’s nothing more than freak show appeal here and some of it was so goofy that it was entertaining. Not the worst, with the biscuits being amusing and Cornette’s response to the tennis racket thing will be worth it alone.
Dark Order vs. Best Friends
The winners get a first round bye in the Tag Team Title tournament. Chuck can’t do much with Stu to start so everything breaks down in a hurry with the Friends cleaning house for the hug. We get a SPOOKY PERVERTS chant (JR: “That’s another t-shirt!”) after what the Best Friends have dubbed the Dark Order.
We settle down to the Order taking over on Trent with a side slam/knee drop combination for two. Grayson hits some knees to the ribs to keep Trent in trouble and it’s a slingshot hilo to the apron as Uno comes back in. A running clothesline isn’t enough for Trent to get over for the tag though as Uno brings him back to the wrong corner. Grayson pulls Chuck off the apron to break up a tag in another classic move. The beating continues, including something like Chasing the Dragon.
Trent gets in a tornado DDT and there’s the hot tag to Chuck so house can be cleaned. The Friends are right back into it Sliced Bread from Chuck, followed by a toss 3D for two on Grayson. That’s not cool with Uno, who comes right back in to toss Trent to the floor. A top rope backsplash gets two on Trent, as does Grayson’s 450. Chuck is back in though and house is cleaned, including Soul Food into a half and half suplex on Grayson. The Awful Waffle hits Uno but the Creepers (Order’s minions) beat up Chuck. The Fatality finishes Trent at 14:43.
Rating: C-. Yeah next please. I don’t like either of these teams and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. They’re not very interesting with the Best Friends coming off like they’re just goofing off and the Dark Order looking like cosplay evil wrestlers. Not a bad match, but a match I was wanting to wrap up in a hurry.
Post match the Creepers go after Trent but Orange Cassidy comes in for the save without ever taking his hands out of his pockets, as is his custom.
Hikaru Shida vs. Riho
The winner gets Nyla Rose for the Women’s Title on the first TNT show. The much smaller Riho slugs away to start but gets cut off by a knee lift. Shida knees her again and grabs a half crab with Riho being bent way too far back. Somehow that doesn’t break Riho in half so Shida sticks with the power by throwing Riho around some more.
A superplex is broken up though with Shida being sent down to the apron for a top rope double stomp. Back up and Shida goes for a Stretch Muffler but Riho makes the rope. With JR demanding separation, Shida pulls her away from the rope and bends the knee around some more. Riho escapes and hits a double stomp but can’t follow up. Shida’s running knee to the arms over Riho’s face gets two and frustration is setting in.
Riho grabs the leg to slow Shida down and it’s a northern lights suplex to drop Shida. A missed kick in the corner sets up the Alberto double stomp on Shida, followed by running knees for two. Shida is right back up with a fireman’s carry backbreaker for two and Shida is ready for a rollup. The second attempt works for Riho and puts Shida away at 13:14.
Rating: C. Again: next please. I know there is a reason for these things but it’s not clicking and seeing Riho vs. Rose is about the least most interesting combination they could go with for the first title match. There are so many interesting names on the roster and they pick these two for the best options? I get why with both of them, but it’s really not worth seeing.
We recap Cody vs. Shawn Spears. Cody brought Spears in and said he was a good hand who could become a player/coach. Spears didn’t like that and hit Cody with a chair to bust him open, plus got Tully Blanchard as a manager. This one is personal.
Cody vs. Shawn Spears
Shawn has Tully Blanchard in his corner but Cody counters with Pharaoh (who does not look happy about appearing), Brandi, Maxwell Jacob Friedman and Diamond Dallas Page in Star Trek gear. Only MJF stays and I think you know where this is going. Cody dives onto Spears before the bell and the fight heads into the crowd early on. They head back inside for the opening bell and go right back to the floor with Tully grabbing Cody’s arm so Spears can get in a low blow.
Back in and Cody shrugs off some chops but a suicide dive is knocked away because Spears saw it coming on the screen. That’s a nice touch that you don’t see very often. Back in and Spears hammers away with left hands to the head. Cody gets in the Dustin uppercut but misses a charge into the post. A hanging DDT onto the apron rocks Cody and it’s time for the weight belt.
Earl Hebner isn’t letting that happen though and yells, but the distraction lets Tully slip in a regular belt to beat on Cody again. Cody no sells a belt shot to the head and the beatdown is on. A springboard cutter into an Alabama Slam makes it even worse for Spears and it’s time for the leg. The Figure Four is applied but Spears turns it over, with an assist from Tully. They head outside with Cody getting dropped on the ramp, only to have MJF drag Cody back towards the ring.
Back in and Cross Rhodes hits Spears but Tully has the referee for a distraction. MJF tries to come in though, allowing Tully to get Spears a breather. Hang on though as Tully and MJF get in a choke off, allowing Spears to kick MJF in the face. The fight heads to the floor…and here’s Arn Anderson of all people with a spinebuster to Spears, which draws Tully up the ramp after Arn. Cody grabs a chair and hits the Disaster Kick to send it into Spears’ head, setting up Cross Rhodes for the pin at 17:28.
Rating: C+. This was a bit better than I was expecting but as tends to be the case in a Cody match, it was too much stuff going on and the show was hurt as a result. Spears was good enough as a heel, though it feels like MJF is the real big bad for Cody later on. It was fine, though the show is starting to run long and it’s hurting things a bit.
Post match MJF teases a chair shot to Cody but hugs him instead.
We recap the ladder match. The Young Bucks and the Lucha Bros have fought a bunch of times and now they’re fighting in a ladder match for the final win.
AAA Tag Team Titles: Lucha Bros vs. Young Bucks
The Bros are defending in a ladder match and the Bucks are in deer masks (bucks you see) Thankfully they come off after the bell as I have enough trouble remembering which is which in the first place. Pentagon breaks up a very early Meltzer Driver attempt and the Bucks are sent outside early on. A ladder shot breaks up a Bros dive and the Bucks start the kicking. Fenix is right back up with a springboard flip dive over a ladder to take everyone down.
Back in and Nick and Fenix springboard onto the ladder but get taken down with rolling cutters. Since we’re doing the “we know each other so well” sequences, it’s a pair of spears to put Nick and Fenix through tables at ringside. That leaves Pentagon to kick Matt in the leg but Matt sends him outside for a flip dive. Back in and Nick rolls some northern lights suplexes on Pentagon but Fenix is back up with a springboard hurricanrana to send Nick into a ladder.
The Bros springboard off the ropes and then off the ladder to take out both Bucks. Another ladder is brought in but Nick gorilla presses Fenix and spears Pentagon down. Nick springboards onto the ladder, which is nowhere near the belts, but gets it turned over. That’s fine with Nick, who springboards off the top to take Pentagon down outside. Fenix’s springboard moonsaults takes Nick down so it’s Pentagon and Matt fighting on top of the ladder.
A super Sling Blade brings Matt off the ladder and it’s Pentagon going outside. That means a suicide dive from Nick, leaving Fenix to hit a Canadian Destroyer on Matt. A table is brought in as JR talks about barbecue sauce. Just because we need one, Pentagon hits a Canadian Destroyer off the ladder to drive Matt through the table and everyone is pretty much dead.
With the other two down, Nick and Fenix put them on tables and climb ladders at opposite sides of the ring. They shout at each other and there are the big dives through their brothers so everyone is down again. Nick and Fenix fight over another ladder until Nick dives over it for a tornado DDT. Two tables are set up at ringside but Nick has to superkick Fenix to prevent a climb. Since back to back huge moves don’t keep you down long, Matt is back in with a Crossface on Pentagon but lets go to cut Fenix off again.
Nick is alone on top so he teases a dive, allowing Pentagon to superkick Matt and then shove the ladder over, sending Nick through the tables. Matt and Pentagon go up with Matt taking off the mask, but Fenix kicks the ladder out for the bigger crash. Pentagon has the mask back on and it’s a spike Fear Factor onto the bridged ladder to kill Matt dead. The Bros FINALLY get the titles for the win at 24:06.
Rating: B. It was a complete stunt show spot fest and that’s all it was trying to be. There was no storytelling and nothing in the way of psychology as everything was one spot after another. Now in this case, that’s what it was supposed to be and in that sense it worked well. Now at the same time, it went on longer than it should have this late in a show and there were way too many instances of the teams having a chance to go up and then doing a spot instead.
Post match some masked men come in and beat down the Lucha Bros. The Bucks get laid out as well and it’s Santana and Ortiz, formerly known as LAX. Their matches with the Bros in Impact were awesome so I’m more than good with that.
We recap Chris Jericho vs. Adam Page. Jericho beat Kenny Omega and Page won a battle royal to earn their spots here, then Jericho busted him open to make things personal. Tonight it’s for the inaugural title.
AEW World Title: Adam Page vs. Chris Jericho
The title is vacant coming in and Page rides in on a horse. We get Big Match Intros and an introduction from the referee to stretch things out even more. Page drives him into the corner to start and it’s an early clean break. A fall away slam and a clothesline put Jericho on the floor but he’s right back in with a middle rope dropkick.
The Liontamer attempt is broken up so Page sends him outside for a suicide dive. A top rope clothesline gives Page two and he ducks the triangle dropkick. The shooting star off the apron is blocked though and Page is down on the floor. Jericho knocks him off the barricade for a big crash with Page’s elbow banging into the barricade. Back in and Jericho bends the arm around the rope, followed by a backsplash for two.
Page fights back up with some strikes and a sliding lariat. The middle rope Russian legsweep gets two but a piledriver attempt is countered into the Walls to put Page in real trouble. That’s broken up and a discus punch busts Jericho open. Page slowly throws him back in, yells at the referee, and then punches Jericho down.
As JR asks if Jericho has enough soldiers in his tank, Page hits a super swinging neckbreaker, followed by the Buckshot Lariat. The Deadeye is countered into the Walls again but Page gets out one more time. Jericho is sent outside and Page’s top rope moonsault….somewhat connects.
Another Buckshot Lariat is countered into the Codebreaker (cool) for two and they’re both down again. Page gets back up but the running shooting star hits knees. The Deadeye is countered into a sunset flip but another attempt plants Jericho….for two. Another Buckshot Lariat misses and the Judas Effect gives Jericho the pin and the title at 26:23.
Rating: C+. It was a perfectly watchable match but it went on too long and the fans were just done by the end. Jericho winning was pretty clear about halfway through (at the latest) and while it makes sense to have the World Title (especially the first one) go longer than anything else, it came after a very long show. Jericho isn’t likely to hold the title for a long time but he’s the right call for the first champion.
Page is crushed as Jericho poses with the title to end the show.
Overall Rating: C. These shows have got to be shortened a bit as the length is their biggest problem. Eventually you’re two and a half hours in and looking at the clock because the show just keeps going with one long match after another. What we got was mostly good and it set up some stuff for later but my goodness it felt every bit of those five hours.
They need to shorten a few matches (it’s ok to have something go seven or eight minutes) and do something in between them every now and then, just for the sake of a breather. Having it be two hours a week will help, but these pay per views have got to pick up the pace a bit. This didn’t change a lot and I wouldn’t say it built up any real momentum for them, but I’m really not as interested in the promotion as I used to be. I hope TV helps them with that, because their spark isn’t going to last forever with these five hour shows that aren’t exactly burning the house down.
SoCal Uncensored b. A Small Boy/A Boy And His Dinosaur – Best Meltzer Ever to Stunt
Pac b. Kenny Omega – Brutalizer
Jimmy Havoc b. Joey Janela and Darby Allin – Acid Rainmaker through a barrel to Janela
Dark Order b. Best Friends – Fatality to Barreta
Riho b. Hikaru Shida – Rollup
Cody b. Shawn Spears – Cross Rhodes
Lucha Bros b. Young Bucks – Bros pulled down the titles
Chris Jericho b. Adam Page – Judas Effect
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