Date: February 23, 2022
Location: Webster Bank Arena, Bridgeport, Connecticut
Commentators: Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, Excalibur
We are two and a half weeks away from Revolution and that means it is time to start hammering down the card. That could go in a few different ways, which makes this show all the more interesting. One of the spots in the Tag Team Title match will be determined tonight in a tag team battle royal, as opposed to next week when one of the spots in the Tag Team Title match will be determined by a tag team battle royal. Let’s get to it.
Tag Team Battle Royal
Dark Order, Young Bucks, Butcher and the Blade, Best Friends, Private Party, Gunn Club, Santana/Ortiz, FTR, 2.0, ReDDragon
There are ten teams in all and both members have to be eliminated. It’s a huge brawl to start, with no entrances of course, and people fighting in and out of the ring. Blade knocks Alex Reynolds of the Dark Order out but spends too much time posing, allowing John Silver to toss him out. Santana and Ortiz get rid of the Gunn Club without much trouble and the Butcher double clotheslines the Bucks.
The Best Friends low bridge Butcher out but ReDDragon gets rid of Chuck Taylor. Private Party is put out back to back, with Matt Hardy slowly walking out on them. Santana dumps 2.0 but the Bucks toss Ortiz and double superkick Santana out of the air. FTR and the Bucks have a showdown which is broken up in a hurry. Everyone brawls near the ropes until FTR tosses Matt Jackson out.
ReDDragon throws Trent over the top but Orange Cassidy pops out from underneath the ring for the save. Back in and Trent cleans house, including a running clothesline to get rid of Bobby Fish. We take a break and come back with Silver eliminating Cash Wheeler, leaving us with Dax Harwood, Kyle O’Reilly, Nick Jackson, Santana, Silver and Trent. The remaining seven circle each other until it’s time for a series of strikes, leaving Trent and Santana to slug it out.
A discus lariat drops Trent but he pulls Santana out to the apron with him. Matt and Kyle knock both of them out though and we’re down to four. O’Reilly and Harwood fight to the apron with Harwood being eliminated. Silver is back up with a running knee to Nick’s back, setting up the Spin Doctor. Jackson and O’Reilly get together for an improvised Chasing the Dragon, leaving Jackson to dump Silver…but O’Reilly tosses Jackson to give ReDDragon the win at 18:21.
Rating: C+. Battle royals are always weird to rate as they’re such a free for all until you get down to a manageable number of people. ReDDragon winning by getting rid of the Young Bucks at the end is about as logical of an ending as there could have been here, but it would not surprise me to see the Bucks somehow get into the title match anyway next week.
Post match the Bucks and ReDDragon are ready to fight but here is Hangman Page to go after ReDDragon in revenge for last week. Adam Cole comes in but has to get pulled out by ReDDragon. John Silver takes ReDDragon out so it’s the Buckshot Lariat to O’Reilly. Page grabs a chair and it’s time for Story Time With Adam Page Bay Bay! This week’s story is about a smug kid named Adam Cole who got into wrestling a long time ago and now wants the most prestigious prize in wrestling. What he doesn’t realize is that he is inching closer to a grave, and he’ll land in that grave with a BOOM.
Bryan Danielson is ready for Daniel Garcia tonight because he had a great mentor in William Regal. Imagine what Garcia could have done with a great mentor like Danielson or Jon Moxley.
Here is MJF for a chat but he has to pause for the CM PUNK chants. He used to love Punk just like us and we hear about Punk showing a photo of MJF meeting him as a kid. MJF used to wake up every morning because of wrestling because he was a huge fan. He had really bad ADD but he could succeed because of football. It wound up working, but then his teammates threw a bunch of quarters at him and said “pick them up Jew boy, pick them up.” It hurt of course, but that night he got to meet his hero CM Punk, who he wanted to be just like when he grew up.
Fast forward until 2013, when MJF had a bunch of scholarship offers to play football but all he wanted was to be a wrestler, but then Punk left everyone in 2014. Punk left when he needed them the most, but MJF promised to be the hero that Punk should have been and the man that everyone could look up to. At Revolution, Punk can whip him with the chain and make him bleed but he will not give up. Cue Punk, who doesn’t know what to say. Punk, without a mic, looks at MJF and asks if that was the truth. MJF says it’s true and leaves, possibly with tears in his eyes.
This was a VERY different MJF as there was no swerve to mock the audience and it felt like one of the best good guy promos you would have heard in a long time. Punk being freaked out over not knowing if he should believe him or not was a great twist, as you don’t see anyone get inside Punk’s head ever. Awesome stuff here.
Daniel Garcia and 2.0 are ready for Bryan Danielson.
Kings of the Black Throne vs. Pac/Penta Obscuro
Penta has a special entrance, holding a shovel and rising from behind a grave which reveals his new name. Cool, as it is basically Pentagon Dark. It’s a brawl before the bell (makes sense) with Penta diving onto both of them on the floor. The bell rings and Pac hits a quick 450 for two on Black. Penta and Black slug it out before it’s off to King to blast Pac with a clothesline.
We take a break and come back with King putting Penta on Pac’s shoulders and hitting a hard chop to turn it into a poisonrana (I’m not sure if that’s how physics work). Everything breaks down and it’s a series of strikes to give us a four way knockdown. Dante’s Inferno is broken up and it’s Pac German suplexing King. The spike Fear Factor is loaded up but Black makes the save. Black loads up the mist but Penta covers his mouth and grabs a rollup for the fast pin at 7:34.
Rating: B-. This needed a bit more time but what mattered most was having Penta get the pin. You don’t want to bring back this evil version and then have him lose his first match so well done on getting the result right. It wasn’t even a definitive win but rather a fluke rollup, which saves a bit of face for Black in the loss, so well done.
Post match the big beatdown is on with the Kings beating down Pac and Penta. Black grabs the shovel but the lights go out and it’s…Buddy Matthews (Murphy) in the ring. Black doesn’t know what to do but Matthews jumps Penta, joining the House of Black in the process. Penta gets his face stomped onto a chair.
Britt Baker says Thunder Rosa never beat her on paper. Rosa says at Revolution, it’s going t count. Still not the best sounding explanation.
Here is Eddie Kingston for a face to face showdown with Chris Jericho. With security in the ring just in case, Kingston asks what’s going on with the security. Jericho says they’re here to make sure that the two of them can talk, but Kingston says this is a wrestling company instead of a sports entertainment company. We’re just a few miles from Stamford so maybe Jericho will give him some sports entertainment, but maybe it will be entertaining.
Jericho talks about how he heard Kingston was coming and he had never heard of him. At first he thought it was Eddie Edwards but then he saw Kingston and knew why he had never heard of him: Kingston looks like a jobber. Then he saw Kingston’s match against what’s his name (Cody Rhodes) and heard Kingston’s promo and knew there was something there. Jericho even told him he would become a huge babyface and that’s what happened.
Everyone was happy to see Kingston sign a contract at 38…except for Jericho, who made it at 22. By the time he was 38, he had main evented pay per views and made millions of dollars. Kingston says Christopher only did all that because he wasn’t there. Now Jericho is out there talking, but Kingston doesn’t want to talk to him because Jericho is sucking the blood out of this place. Instead, Kingston wants to fight and the challenge is on for Revolution.
Before he answers, Jericho asks if Kingston has ever heard of the fear of success (Kingston: “No, I have a GED.”). Jericho explains that Kingston is afraid of success and if he did he had Jericho’s success, he would fall off the side of a mountain. Jericho has heard all of the stories about Kingston’s family (Kingston: “Careful. Careful.”) like his uncle, who was a failure, and his father, who was a failure.
Kingston can’t win the big one and in AEW, Jericho is the big one. If Kingston wants Jericho at the pay per view, it’s on, but if Kingston manages to beat him, he will look Kingston in the eye and say he respects him. If Kingston beats him, it means Jericho has helped him get over his fear of success. Kingston says the match is on, but don’t give him the one who gave him the Mimosa match or the one who got shoved off the cage by MJF.
Give him the one who was the first World Champion, the one who bled in Tennessee, the one got respect from Tenryu in WAR and the one who Levesque hated. If it isn’t that Jericho, Kingston is going to eat him alive. Jericho promises to be that Jericho, but he knows Kingston can’t do it because he’s a loser. Now hit Jericho’s music. As usual, Kingston brought it here and Jericho is way better as a heel.
Matt Hardy is ready to see Andrade win the TNT Title but also suggests a tornado trios match with the two of them and Isiah Kassidy vs. Sting/Darby Allin/Sammy Guevara at Revolution. Andrade seems to approve.
Face of the Revolution Ladder Match Qualifying Match: Ricky Starks vs. 10
Powerhouse Hobbs is here with Starks while the Dark Order is here with 10. Starks kicks him in the ribs to start but a running shoulder doesn’t work. A running shot to the mask puts 10 down but Starks stops to pose, allowing 10 to hammer away in the corner. 10 hits a delayed vertical suplex and we take a break. Back with 10 grabbing a full nelson but Starks makes the ropes. A discus lariat plants Starks again and another full nelson goes on. Starks pulls at the mask to escape and the spear is good for the pin at 5:55.
Rating: C. They didn’t have time to get very far here and a lot of the match took place during the break. That being said, it was the right idea here as the ladder match needed someone other than a hoss to mix things up a bit. Starks is someone who could be a dark horse candidate to win and that makes things a lot more interesting.
ReDDragon and the Young Bucks argue over the battle royal with Adam Cole in the middle. The Bucks are in next week’s battle royal too and now they’re more motivated to win. With the Bucks gone, Cole tells ReDDragon to get it together because he has enough on his plate at Revolution.
TBS Title: Jade Cargill vs. The Bunny
Cargill, with Mark Sterling, is defending. Bunny drives her into the corner for a clean break so Cargill lifts her up by the arm. A legdrop to the arm sets up an armscissors with the legs, with Cargill throwing in some pushups. Bunny manages to send her to the apron for the breather and a sliding forearm to the back puts Cargill on the floor. A Russian legsweep into the barricade drops Cargill and we take a break.
Back with Bunny hitting a running knee but charging into a spinebuster. Cue Matt Hardy to jump up onto the apron to throw in the brass knuckles, but Sterling throws in the TBS Title. The knuckles shot is cut off by a belt shot and it’s a double ejection of Hardy and Sterling. Bunny uses the distraction to hit some superkicks. Down the Rabbit Hole is loaded up but Cargill reverses into Jaded to retain at 6:43.
Rating: C+. Cargill is starting to look more and more natural and that is a great sign for her future. The problem is I’m not sure who is going to be able to take the title from her, but it is going to be a pretty big event when someone does. What mattered here was having Cargill break a sweat and then add one more name to the list, which wound up working very well.
Post match Tony Schiavone comes in to talk to Cargill, who says cut the s***. She is on the way to 50-0 and wants to know who is left. Cue Tay Conti to say she is the one who is going to beat her at Revolution. Conti charges inside and gets in the ring, with Cargill kissing her on the head. Bunny pops back up to brawl with Conti, who hits the TayKO, only to get kicked in the face by Cargill. Anna Jay runs in for the save.
Keith Lee is ready for the Face of the Revolution ladder match when Ricky Starks and Powerhouse Hobbs interrupts. Starks explains that Team Taz runs this place and wants him to mind his p’s and q’s. Lee and Hobbs have a staredown.
Here’s what’s coming on various shows.
Daniel Garcia vs. Bryan Danielson
Danielson shoves him into the corner to start and talks some trash, setting up an exchange of uppercuts. Garcia can’t get anywhere with some grappling so he hits a chop instead. Danielson likes that and tells Garcia to chop him again, only to take him down in a leglock. A suplex looks to set up the LeBell Lock but Garcia rolls around. More rolling sets up most of the LeBell Lock, with Garcia getting a foot in the ropes for the break. Danielson flips over him out of the corner and tries the running clothesline, with Garcia taking out the leg instead for a nice counter.
We take a break and come back with Danielson hitting a missile dropkick and getting fired up. Danielson grabs a leglock but Garcia hooks one of his own, meaning it’s time to kick at each other on the mat. Cattle Mutilation goes on until Garcia slips out and goes for the leg again. Some kicks to the back of Danielson’s head don’t work as he takes Garcia down and grabs a test of strength on the mat. With their hands still interlocked, they forearm it out until Garcia goes for a dragon screw legwhip. That’s blocked for some stomping and a triangle choke, with the double bicep pose, finishes Garcia at 10:24.
Rating: B. This was what you would have expected from these two, as they beat each other up and traded holds and strikes until Danielson won. That’s all you could ask for from these two and that is a good thing, as Garcia got to look strong against a much brighter star. It’s a piece of a bigger story though and that is not a bad thing.
Post match Danielson says that is what he wanted and praises the violence. Cue 2.0 to go after Danielson but Jon Moxley makes the save and clears them out. Garcia loads up a chair but Danielson takes it away. The Paradigm Shift drops Garcia so Moxley and Danielson stare each other down. Danielson grabs the mic and says it’s on for Revolution, where Moxley might be the only one bleeding. The staredown ends the show.
Overall Rating: B+. This was a show built around talking and that is one of the better ways to make me care about a show. The Jericho vs. Kingston stuff was good but the MJF promo was special and took their feud in a direction I didn’t expect. Other than that, there was some good but not great action, which all adds up to another strong show as Revolution continues to look better each week. Granted it helps when you add three matches to the show in one night.
ReDDragon won a tag team battle royal last eliminating the Young Bucks
Penta Obscuro/Pac b. Kings of the Black Throne – Rollup to Black
Ricky Starks b. 10 – Spear
Jade Cargill b. The Bunny – Jaded
Bryan Danielson b. Daniel Garcia – Triangle choke
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