Date: October 23, 2021
Location: Addition Financial Arena, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Jim Ross, Excalibur, Tony Schiavone
It’s another tournament focused show as we continue the World Title Eliminator Tournament and begin the TBS Title Tournament. We are also less than a month away from Full Gear and that show is going to need some more attention sooner than later. The card is being set up, but it rarely feels like something that is receiving focus. AEW knows how to pull these things off though so let’s get to it.
World Title Eliminator Tournament First Round: Bryan Danielson vs. Dustin Rhodes
Feeling out process to start with Rhodes seeming to be a bit nervous to go after him. Danielson takes him down by the legs and ties them up in kind of an Indian deathlock. Back up and Rhodes hits the drop down uppercut but gets knocked to the floor, setting up the suicide dive.
Dustin is right back up with a flip dive off the apron and scores with a belly to back suplex for two. Danielson pulls him down by the arm though and it’s a short armscissors, setting up the stomp on the arm. They go up top with a superplex bringing Danielson back down, setting up Dustin’s snap powerslam.
Danielson kicks away in the corner but gets caught with the jumping clothesline. Dustin has to block the LeBell Lock and it’s time for some more kicks. A big one to the chest makes Dustin Hulk Up and it’s a piledriver to plant Danielson for two. Dustin is back up but Danielson slaps on the guillotine to finish at 15:24.
Rating: B. I’m not a big Dustin fan but he was going hard here and the match got a lot better as a result. This was about the old gunslinger taking one more shot but running into the buzzsaw that is Danielson. I don’t know how much reason there was to believe in an upset here, but they absolutely made it interesting on the way there. Very good stuff, with Rhodes pulling his weight and then some.
Kenny Omega and the Elite are ready for the Superkliq to face the Dark Order next week. Omega saw Hangman Page being all tough last week but he knows the man behind the mask. He knows Page’s weaknesses and at Full Gear, it’s going to be COWARD S*** instead of COWBOY S***! The Bucks compliment him on the last line.
FTR brags about winning the AAA Tag Team Titles last week. They have been waiting on the sidelines for over a year now and it is time to complete their return by winning the AEW Tag Team Titles.
Penta El Zero Miedo and Alex Abrahantes swear revenge on FTR for hurting Fenix last week.
FTR says bring it.
Tony Schiavone brings out Sting for an update on Darby Allin. Before he can say anything though, here is MJF to interrupt. After asking Florida to try and have some class, MJF talks about how Sting needs to tell these people that their little hero is a coward. Sting can paint his face, swing a bat, or even have your leftover stash from the 80s rain down on the, but you can’t fool MJF: Sting isn’t a good guy.
MJF talks about how all of Sting’s fans stick by them and then he leaves them, like he left Lex Luger in a wheelchair. The fight is on and here is the Pinnacle to beat Sting down, despite Sting swinging MJF’s jacket at them. MJF picks up Sting’s head and asks if he has broken Darby Allin’s mind this time. Allin can listen to these people all he wants, but this is what is waiting on him, because MJF is just that much better. The Pinnacle gets ready to leave but MJF hits Sting with the Dynamite Diamond.
Britt Baker isn’t happy with Tay Conti sticking her nose in the title picture. If Conti had worked hard to get to the main event, they could have had a nice title match. Now though, since Conti put her hands on something that didn’t belong to her, Baker is going to kick that a** that Conti loves showing everyone (her words) and keep her title. Baker continues to come off like she believes every word she says and that is why she is one of the best talkers in wrestling today.
TBS Title Tournament First Round: Penelope Ford vs. Ruby Soho
Ford takes her into the corner and starts the stomping but a running boot is blocked. They fight to the apron and slug it out but here is the Bunny for a distraction. That’s enough for Ford to get in a kick to the face and we take a break. Back with Soho striking away for two but missing a charge into the corner. Ford catches her with a jumping cutter for a close two so Soho gives her an STO out of the corner. Another kick to the head rocks Soho though and it’s the fireman’s carry gutbuster for two. Bunny tries to throw in the brass knuckles but the referee sees what’s going on, allowing Soho to grab an O’Connor roll for the pin at 8:30.
Rating: C-. Another not very long match here as Soho doesn’t quite impress. She is a weird case where she has all of the tools on the surface and seems to have a mind for wrestling but for some reason it hasn’t exactly clicked in the ring. Maybe that can be changed with just a few tweaks, but it isn’t working out perfectly.
Post match the Bunny goes after Soho but Red Velvet runs in for the save.
MJF says he sent Darby Allin a message this week but Wardlow interrupts. Wardlow wants to know why MJF shoved him in front of Sting last week. MJF says it was just fight or flight and tries to talk his way out of it. He sees that Wardlow has been working hard and that’s too much pressure. Therefore, he is assigning Shawn Spears (here as well) to be his account-abili-buddy. Wardlow and Spears are confused but MJF has to leave for a meeting. That was a little weird.
Bobby Fish vs. Anthony Greene
Green grabs a rollup for an early two but Fish is right back with the kicks to the knee. A hard suplex sets up a big kick to the head to end Green at 1:48.
Post match Fish kicks Greene down again to turn heel. The beating is on but CM Punk runs in for the save. So Fish vs. Punk? Well if it’s all you have.
Lio Rush still tries to tell Dante Martin that they’re going to be a great team. Martin still isn’t sure but Rush has already gotten them a match against the Sydal Brothers next week. Dante does not look happy.
World Title Eliminator Tournament First Round: Eddie Kingston vs. Lance Archer
Kingston jumps him in the aisle to start and the brawl is on outside the ring. Archer gets the better of things and pulls a plant over the barricade to slam onto Kingston. A chokeslam off the apron plants said plant onto Kingston and we head inside for the opening bell. Archer chops away but Kingston slips out of the Black Out. The chinlock goes on to put Archer in trouble and we take a break.
Back with Archer choking away in the corner but missing a running shoulder. Instead he gets a boot up to Kingston’s face so Archer tries a moonsault and lands ON THE TOP OF HIS HEAD. Thing stop pretty soon and Archer rolls outside, only to go back in where Kingston rolls him up for the pin at 8:12.
Rating: C. I’m going with right in the middle because I’m a bit shaken up after that landing. It isn’t often that I get scared watching wrestling but seeing a giant like that landing on the top of his head is one way to make it happen. That looked horrible and the best thing to see is that Archer was walking around. Hopefully he is on his way to the hospital though, because that was a scary situation.
Of note: former WWE star Tony Nese was shown in the crowd just after Archer’s crash.
Here are Dan Lambert and the Men of the Year for a chat. They aren’t impressed by the Inner Circle, because the team has been beaten down time after time. Yeah Jake Hager has an undefeated MMA record but no one has ever seen it. Santana and Ortiz are from the streets, but the Men of the Year treat the streets like a runway. As for Chris Jericho, why is AEW paying him to come to the ring and flirt with Paige Vanzant?
Cue Sammy Guevara to quote Jericho, by asking them to shut the h*** up. Sammy remembers hearing that they had some stipulations so let’s have them. Dan Lambert cuts them off and says that Sammy doesn’t suck on the stick as much as he thought he did. The Inner Circle can have their big team match at Full Gear, but only if Sammy defends the title against Ethan Page next week.
WHEN Sammy loses though, he’s also out of the Inner Circle forever. Sammy says it’s on, but if he wins, he gets to pick the members of American Top Team. That’s a deal, but Scorpio Sky is ready to fight right now. Cue the rest of the Inner Circle to chase the villains off in a hurry.
Jon Moxley knows he is supposed to be talking trash and yelling about how he’s going to take out everyone in the tournament. He’ll be doing that, but right now, all he can think about is his baby daughter. His daughter squeezes his finger (which is a little messed up) for all she’s got and all he can think about is her looking up at him. Winning this tournament will let him do more for her, and it’s time so smash everyone.
The Dark Order is ready for the Superkliq when Hangman Page comes in. Page is sorry for not getting back with them sooner. If they are going back after the Elite, and so close to Halloween, it might be time for some costumes. The Dark Order seems interested, with John Silver mentioning Bambi.
Jungle Boy vs. Brandon Cutler
Jungle sends him outside for an early suicide dive and throws him back in for a backdrop. The Snare Trap finishes Cutler at 1:02.
Post match Jungle Boy says he’s still feeling good and wants another member of the Elite. Since no one comes out, the Snare Trap goes on again so Cole screams for someone to help him. Cue Adam Cole to say we can do this right now but it’s a ruse so the Young Bucks can run in for the beatdown. Jungle gets beaten up the ramp and then throw off the stage through some tables in a huge crash.
Miro wants to know why his God has forsaken him. Now he will hurt everyone in front of him and become the favorite champion again. Therefore he can return to his wife, with blood on his hands, which is on us.
Malakai Black vs. Cody Rhodes
Black has beaten Rhodes twice before but now Cody is being more serious. Arn Anderson is back with Cody, who charges into the ring and we get the opening bell in a hurry. Cody goes straight for the knee but can’t get the Figure Four. Back up and they strike it out as the fans chant CODY SUCKS. A shot to the knee has Cody in trouble but he knocks Black away for a breather. Cody is right back on the knee and we hit the Figure Four as the fans seem to be paying attention to something else. Black bails to the floor and we take a break.
Back with Black in trouble after Cody hit Cross Rhodes through a table at ringside. Black manages to post Cody and they’re both busted open. The fans want Anderson to GET THE GLOCK as Andrade comes out for a distraction. Anderson cuts off Andrade’s assistant with the spinebuster and here is Pac to take out Andrade. Black mists Anderson but walks into the Cross Rhodes for two (and A LOT of booing).
Back up and Black kicks him down, setting up a bridging German suplex for two. Black Mass connects but Cody falls into the ropes to avoid the cover. Cody is back up and gets backdropped out and onto the apron. Black misses the middle rope moonsault and gets taken down by Cody’s suicide dive. The Cody Cutter drops Black back inside and it’s Cross Rhodes into a double underhook piledriver for the pin at 11:44.
Rating: B-. Is it really a surprise that Cody got his win back here? This whole thing has been a Cody story since the beginning with Black getting in some good shows and moments, but ultimately this was about Cody rediscovering the eye of the tiger. This isn’t the end of Black and this isn’t some horrible moment, but it isn’t something that needed to happen. Black is a potential breakout star and the fans do not seem to like Cody very much. Unless this is leading to something down the road with Cody turning, I’m really not feeling this move.
Overall Rating: B-. This was an interesting one as it certainly didn’t hit the heights that some of their shows did, though there was enough to make it worth watching. What interested me the most here is just how much energy there was to the show and how far it took everything else. The fans were into everything they were seeing here (even if they weren’t happy with Cody at any point) and that is going to make a show so much more fun. AEW might be a lot of things and there are criticisms to be made about it, but they know how to make their fans care about everything they are doing and that is huge.
Bryan Danielson b. Dustin Rhodes – Guillotine
Ruby Soho b. Penelope Ford – Rollup
Bobby Fish b. Anthony Greene – Kick to the head
Eddie Kingston b. Lance Archer – Rollup
Jungle Boy b. Brandon Cutler – Snare Trap
Cody Rhodes b. Malakai Black – Tiger Driver 98
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