This was only the second pay-per-view by All Elite Wrestling since their weekly show began back in October. They continue to prove that quality over powers quantity in professional wrestling.
A buddy of mine had a diaper and beer party because that is what new dads do now. I got to watch with some of my closest friends so that is always a good time. Because I am passionate about professional wrestling, it was music to my ears when people who either get bored by wrestling or used to love it and now have become indifferent thanks to WWE can say they enjoyed watching.
That speaks volumes for the product in and of itself. Overall, the pay-per-view was fantastic from start to finish. It was yet another showcase of brilliant story telling which is why AEW is so damn great.
Dr. Britt Baker & Penelope Ford def. Riho & Yuka Sakazaki
I did not see the pre-show and had no idea this match happened so I have nothing notable to say here. I wrote in my preview how intrigued I am by the heel turn for Baker. I am sure she is on her way to a title run in the near future.
Dark Order def. SCU
Obviously the entire storyline is around the Exalted One. Again, I didn’t get to see the pre-show but I did go back and watch Christopher Daniels make an appearance pretending to be said Exalted One before laying into Dark Order. It was well done. But no grade can be given because I didn’t see the actual match, but I loved that element of surprise. It was also cool seeing Colt Cabana show up.
Original Pick: The Dark Order Wins, Christopher Daniels reveals he’s with Dark Order, but not the Exalted One. Hardy shows up to reveal himself as that. (Optimism here)
Jake Hager def. Dustin Rhodes
Original Pick: Hager by a mile, there is no way he loses his debut because it completely breaks the idea he is the muscle of the Inner Circle
It wasn’t Rhodes’ best match in AEW thus far, but it was solid. The match was a bit of a slugfest. The two of them spent the match working to injure each other’s arms. They are playing off the angle of Rhodes’ arm injury, with Hager going for a re-injure while Rhodes attempts to seek revenge and injure Hager. Classic wrestling storytelling. Hager and his wife were displaying some heavy PDA before the match. So it was pretty funny to see Dustin plant one on Hager’s wife getting his red face paint all over her. There were a couple of near falls and submits before Hager hit a low blow on a distracted Aubrey Edwards to give him the edge. He locked Dustin into the triangle choke making him pass out thus getting the dub.
Hotard Huddle Grade: B-
Darby Allin def. Sammy Guevara
Original Pick: Darby Allin
Although they probably had 12-15 minutes of screen time, the match itself lasted only five minutes. Darby Allin is one of the most over guys and one of the biggest faces in AEW currently. Guevara smashed his throat a few weeks back and Darby being a sadistic and enigmatic superstar, of course he’s looking for revenge. He rides down to the ring before hitting Guevara with a suicide dive thus taking the action to ringside before the match even starts. The high spot of the match happened before the bell rang, which was Guevara hitting the 630 senton from the top rope through a table crushing Allin. That is why they call him the Spanish God. You also had Guavara drive Allin to the mat during the match with a Spanish Fly from the top rope. The match ended after Guevara exposed the turnbuckle and it worked against him. Allin sends him into the metal piecing with a monkey flip leading to his flip stunner. That allowed Allin to hit the coffin drop for the win. After picking up the win, he was looking to do some more damage to Guevara who was saved by Hager. My favorite part about this match was it showcased two guys who are young and have many years ahead of them. Allin (27) and Guevara (26) showed the brand in is great hands. I have loved both of them since the first episode of Dynamite.
Hotard Huddle Grade: A
Kenny Omega & Adam Page (c) def. The Young Bucks (AEW Tag Team Championship)
Original Pick: The Young Bucks win and Page loses his shit and turns heel. Now we get heel angry drunk cowboy…I’m in.
With a 30:56 run time, the match absolutely blew the card out the water as every second was entertaining to the core. This was the match of the night by miles. Immediately following the match, I turned to my friends and said this has to be a 5-star rated match by Dave Meltzer. Meltzer is a wrestling guru and he has arguably the most powerful voice in terms of critiquing pro wrestling. He did say it was one of the best tag team matches of all time so I think that rating is coming. From start to finish, it was filled with action and drama. Adam Page has been the outcast as The Young Bucks and Omega are all part of The Elite. The story has been Page being disgruntled about it. He is eventually going to snap, but it wasn’t on this night. For me, this was easily the best tag team match I have ever seen.
Hotard Huddle Grade: A+
Nyla Rose (c) def. Kris Statlander (AEW Women’s Championship)
Original Pick: Nyla Rose
The worst part of the match is having to follow an emotional high from a potential match of the year candidate. Unless you put on a five star performance, you’re screwed. For the first part of the match, we took a small break and went outside missing some of it. Overall, the women’s division is struggling to get over. There is some potential there though. I love what is happening with Baker as mentioned earlier. Nyla can be a stud, but things need to become more polished. Overall, it was a very average match. The finish for the match was a great high spot with Rose beast bombing Statlander from the top rope after reversing the attempted hurricanrana.
Hotard Huddle Grade: C
MJF def. Cody
Original Pick: MJF…I want Cody to win so bad because MJF is a piece of shit you love to hate. Watching him get bullied would be glorious. If wrestling has taught me anything, heartbreak is inevitable. Someone is getting involved that will help elevate MJF here whether it is Dustin or Arn, something is happening to screw Cody thus making him a more lovable babyface
This was your typical pit of super heel vs super face with the super heel winning with a super heel move. This had one of the best builds of all the matches and it delivered. This match has been building since day one of airing on TNT. Every single time Cody seemed to gain momentum, the smug MJF kept stealing it with under-handed tactics such as low blows. I absolutely loved the finish to this match. Cody used his executive power with the ref to pay MJF back for the 10 lashes giving him a brutal shot with his weight belt. After getting whipped, MJF started crying in the corner before crawling to Cody’s feet apologizing. In typical heel fashion, MJF spit in his former friend’s face after rising to his feet. A visibly pissed off Cody nailed two consecutive Cross-Rhodes. He attempted a third and MJF countered and used his ring to blast Cody across the skull and picking up the win. While MJF is not great in the ring technically speaking, you don’t have to be when you’re that charismatic as a heel. I would also like to point out, he is only 23 so there is many more years of growth coming. Brilliant storytelling in this match and I doubt this is last we see of this rivalry.
Hotard Huddle Grade: A
PAC def. Orange Cassidy
Original Pick: PAC Wins because he needs to, but Cassidy looks strong with some typical freshly squeezed offense
There was no way PAC was walking into this and losing. Orange Cassidy made his singles debut and most certainly delivered. His gimmick is so over with the damn crowd and it is awesome. Sometimes bad gimmicks work in your favor and end up being great. He is lazy, lethargic and nonchalant in the ring thus giving him the King of Sloth Style persona. I have literally re-watched this match twice because of how hilarious he is. PAC wins, but Cassidy went over in this one big time thanks to PAC selling all the bullshit Cassidy does. I attached some of the match below. Watch the very beginning and then the 2:40 mark. The crowd eats up the complete absurdity of the character as they should. This is why I love wrestling. You don’t need a five star caliber match like the tag match to be captivating.
Hotard Huddle Grade: A+
Jon Moxley def. Chris Jericho (c) (AEW World Championship)
Original Pick: Moxley. The match itself will be great and I think every member of the Inner Circle gets involved at some point or another. Moxley kicks the crap out of everyone to become the second AEW World Champion. The best part of putting the belt on Moxley is he can work as a face or heel because he is an anti-hero. That being said, I will never be mad with Jericho keeping the title. No matter the outcome, it is win win in my eyes.
Jericho and his cronies of Inner Circle have been hell bent on injuring rivals hence the reason Moxley has been wearing an eye patch the last month or so. Much like many of the other Inner Circle matches, it featured the two trying to injure each other, focusing on eyes. The first half of the match featured Santana and Ortiz along with Hager interfering to help their leader. Eventually, Aubrey banned them from ringside. Overall, it was a great back and forth match, but the most prominent spot was the very end. After Jericho raked Moxley’s good eye, he took him down with a series of strikes before going for his finisher, the Judas Effect. Moxley dodged him and nailed Jericho with the Paradigm Shift for the 1-2-3. Immediately following the pin fall, Moxley removes his eye patch and OH MY GOD MOXLEY COULD SEE THE WHOLE TIME! HOLY SHIT! Moxley ends the long run of Jericho. If Jericho is losing the belt, Moxley was a great choice. I love that it ended with Moxley playing the Inner Circle and Jericho regarding his “injured eye.” It was a brilliantly played swerve into the storyline. We all know he wasn’t really injured, but selling your storylines for a long build like this goddamn eye patch is just fucking brilliant writing. It was a fantastic exclamation point to the build of the rivalry.
Hotard Huddle Grade: A