Jake Hager def. Dustin Rhodes
I’m not sure this is the match I would have chosen to start the night. Don’t get me wrong, the caliber of matches that Rhodes is able to put on even at his advanced age is incredible, and I like the change of scenery for Hager. However, this was kind of a meddling performance if you ask me. The pacing was kind of slow and it felt more like something of a cool-down match.
I liked Hager’s intensity and physicality, and I loved how Dustin had to respond in kind. However, if you want to start a PPV off the right way, you should do so in a match that gets everyone excited and settled in. This wasn’t it, and Hager’s offense was kind of slow. Far from a bad match, but not one that I’d open a PPV with. **1/2
Darby Allin def. Sammy Guevara
Now this is a match that you open a show with. Two extremely agile wrestlers willing to do anything to win. I loved the pacing of the match from the start and it was exactly what it needed to be. Darby was literally flying all over the place and Sammy was unique in the offense that he displayed.
What I also loved is that the match didn’t overstay its welcome either. It was quick, high-flying action that had the crowd popping. If you switched the first match with this one, you’d get a better result if you ask me. Overall, a very fin and energetic sprint that I thoroughly enjoyed. ***3/4
Kenny Omega (C) and Adam Page (C) def. The Young Bucks – AEW Tag Team Championships
If you wanted to envision how great this match would be, I think it’s safe to say all four of these men lived up to those expectations. What a fabulous and damn near perfect tag team match. It’s not like a match featuring Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks could possibly be bad, but this was just unbelievably fun tag team wrestling.
The first thing that I loved from the start was the staunch differences in the interactions between Page and Omega with the Bucks. While Omega was fighting to win with The Young Bucks, there was a sign of mutual respect. With Page, he was essentially going into business for himself, and both Page and Omega showcased through their intense interactions throughout the match. You’d think that they were teasing that their clear disagreements would cost them the match. I’ll be honest in saying that I’m not a fan of singles wrestlers posing as a tag team, but when the character interactions are golden, like here, you can get magic.
The Young Bucks also make matches like these look effortless. They were just unbelievably cohesive in this match and it’s as if each man could tell what the other was going to do before they did it. The near-falls towards the end were also heart stopping as well. One thing that I hate in matches is doing near falls for the sake of near falls. I prefer build up with a series of small moves leading to big moves, and not just kicking out of every big move (like see Cena vs. The Rock at WrestleMania 29). I’m talking about things like those triple suplexes that Page took on the outside.
Kenny playing the babyface in peril towards the end was also a sequence I enjoyed. The dude just went from 0 to 100 and changed the energy of the crowd. And Page was on something else to finish the match. He was literally all over the place. Just incredible stuff all around, from the character work to the in-ring magic. Just fantastic. ****3/4
Nyla Rose (C) def. Kris Statlander – AEW Women’s Championship
Yeah, this match never stood a chance. Not after that tag match. Even if the match placement wasn’t the issue, these two just didn’t have a good match to me. First, as a side note, I’d just like to say that I let out a hearty laugh when the ref held up the title belt before the match started. I’m sorry, but that championship is way too small. I can’t imagine how Nyla walks around with that small thing. It literally looks like a novelty toy I can purchase off of Amazon.
Anyways, the match never clicked and didn’t get into second gear. It’s possible the two just don’t have chemistry, but everything really never got out of second gear. Rose’s clotheslines in the middle of the match was visibly lacking extra power. It also didn’t help that there was never a moment in the match where you felt Nyla would lose the match. So what do you have a time? A slowly paced dull match that led to the predictable winner.
Aside from some desperation offense from Kris towards the end, I wasn’t a huge fan of this. It also went kind of long for the finish they were going for. That top rope powerbomb was also dangerous looking. **
MJF def. Cody
Before I say anything, Cody’s tattoo……yeah, I don’t know how I feel about it. From far away, it kind of just looks like a big scar from a medical procedure. I just find it a weird place to put it. Just found it distracting is all.
Something just felt off about this match to me. It was kind of going the way Randy Orton vs. Kofi Kingston at Clash of Champions last year went. What I meant is that Cody and MJF just started doing wrestling moves instead of just throwing hard shots at each other. This is supposed to be a personal rivalry between former comrades, and they just started doing limb work and Irish Whips. What I had in mind wasn’t what I got. But what I got was still relatively solid, if not overbooked.
I think that’s one of the problems that I have with Cody’s matches. They always end up being okay to pretty good, but a lot of the times there’s a lot of extra drama to needlessly elongate a match for no reason. This was supposed to be a match to settle things before MJF and Cody, but we needed extra time for Arn Anderson, Brandi and Wardlow to get involved. It really should have just been those two duking it out. Of course, we can’t forget a lot of blood. There must always be copious amounts of blood.
The ending was also kind of anticlimatic. I couldn’t tell what happened in real time because it was kind of awkward. It just felt like a normal punch. The post match sympathy bit was kind of whatever, too. I don’t think the quality of the match warranted it. But, it’s cool. Overall, the match was good, but a lot of fluff wasn’t needed. ***
PAC def. Orange Cassidy
This was a long time coming for Cassidy, and I’m glad he got this moment to shine, and especially against one of AEW’s top names. What made this match special is because Cassidy’s character actions work so well. When he hits offense as he usually does, the crowd always pops because it’s unorthodox, but it’s interesting to see. But when he hits offense that you know actually hurts, it’s wonderful because of the contrast in his character.
PAC was the absolutely perfect opponent for him here as he not only hit some stiff offense of his own, but he sold all of his moves well. The interactions between the Lucha Brothers and Best Friends also added to the drama towards the end. In a way, I thought this had the same premise as Chris Jericho vs. Jungle Boy, only with lesser stakes.
Overall, this was way more fun than it had any right to be, and I’m hoping that we can see more of these two going forward. ***1/2
Jon Moxley def. Chris Jericho (C) – AEW World Championship
As I had stated in our predictions panel, if there was ever a time to put the title on Moxley, now would be the time because of his momentum. Also, a guy like Jericho doesn’t need to be carrying around a world championship for an extended period of time at this stage of his career. The last thing he needs is a championship to validate himself. For Moxley, it was the culmination of a frustrating journey from the latter days of his WWE career. He’s in a plce where he feels happy, and now he’s the top dog of the brand.
Let’s get to the match. I’ve watched it a few times, and it really kind of felt like a WWE main-event style match from the mid 2000’s. Actually, it kind of felt like every match Triple H had when he was the World Heavyweight Champion? What does that mean? There’s plenty of interference, shots with the title belt, the referee getting distracted, some kind of injury being exploited and blood. Yep, all the boxes check for me.
Some Triple H style main event matches are good and some are insufferable. I think this fell somewhere in between. It certainly solid to say the very least. Jericho and Moxley are both two incredible workers in their own right, and I do think they gave the crowd their money’s worth. But I do think there was another gear that they just missed. In addition, Moxley revealing the eye injury was just a rouse was kind of anti-climatic. I mean, it’s not like he was completely blind in the match. The most that patch did was make him look like a pirate.
In the end, I do think the title change was the right way to go, and these two put on a very, very solid main event. But I do think nit was a tier below other main events AEW has had in the past. ***1/2
Well, AEW Revolution was far from a home run, but it was still a very well put together show if I say so myself. The tag team match was damn near perfect and some of the other undercard matches had the crowd very entertained. If there was anything I didn’t like, it was the choice of the opener and the women’s match which was deflating to me.
Despite that, the good far outweighed the bad, and AEW put on another great performance on PPV. To put it into perspective, I think Takeover Portland was ever so SLIGHTLY better, but AEW Revolution is still worth your time if you trim some of the fat. Thumbs up!