Date: June 29, 2019
Location: Ocean Center, Daytona Beach, Florida
Commentators: Excalibur, Alex Marvez
We’re back for round two and things are already being shaken up a bit. This isn’t going to be anything like Double Or Nothing as this is taking place at a gaming festival. That’s going to mean a change in the way the audience reacts but at the moment, getting AEW wrestlers in the ring and in front of people is what matters most. Let’s get to it.
Pre-Show: Best Friends vs. So Cal Uncensored vs. Private Party
The winners get into a match for a bye in the Tag Team Title tournament and it’s Kazarian/Sky for SCU. Trent shoulders Isaiah down to start and Chuck does the same. It’s off to Sky vs. Quen with the former hitting a rather spinning backbreaker. Trent comes in again and gets double teamed by SCU but Quen springboards in with a crossbody to Trent and Sky. That means some house cleaning and dancing, followed by a heck of a tornado DDT onto Chuck.
A big flip dive has the ring cleared as Private Party gets quite the showcase moment. SCU pulls Isaiah to the floor to take over and it’s the Best Friends taking over, including the hug (with the fans going nuts again). Trent’s northern lights suplex gets two on Cassidy and Chuck adds Soul Food. A spinning kick to the face drops Trent but since Quen is down, Cassidy has to dive over and bring in Kazarian instead.
Everything breaks down and Trent gets run over, setting up a gorgeous shooting star press to give Quen two. Chuck is back up with the short piledriver to Quen, setting up Trent’s sliding knee for two more. Quen gets put on top for a belly to back superplex but manages to land on his feet, setting up a super hurricanrana to send Trent into a cutter from Cassidy. Quen hits a big dive over the top onto Sky, leaving Trent to hit a knee to Cassidy’s face. Strong Zero gives the Friends the pin at 15:57.
Rating: B-. The sloppiness was high with this one but that has to be expected in a match built around spot after spot. They needed to trim things down a little bit here and the winners get a chance to get a bye in a tournament? Isn’t that overthinking things a bit? Finally, still no explanation on who these people are, who I’m supposed to cheer for or anything about them really. I know who they are, but what about the people trying this out for the first time? This shouldn’t be this hard. The action was very entertaining, but slow down and get some of the details right first.
Post match the Dark Order (the former Super Smash Bros) appear on screen to say the Best Friends will be their first. A snap of their fingers makes the lights go out. Back up and the minions are around three sides of the ring. Excalibur: “They are completely surrounded!” After establishing that we are apparently in a sitcom, the lights go out again and the minions disappear.
Leva Bates vs. Allie
Bates (formerly known as Blue Pants) is one of the Librarians and gets into a long shush-off with Peter Avalon (the other Librarian). She also rips on the fans for not reading enough but the fans shout that they can’t read. Is there some joke here from the webseries that is sailing over my head here?
Allie takes over to start and knocks Leva outside but Avalon trips Allie up. Back in and a fisherman’s buster gives Bates two, followed by a northern lights one for the same. The fans actually start a HOOKED ON PHONICS chant as Bates grabs the Rings of Saturn, complete with a shush as Allie is in trouble. That’s broken up but Allie gets dropkicked into the corner, setting up some slingshot knees to the chest.
Now it’s a READING RAINBOW chant as Allie makes her comeback with a neckbreaker and a sliding forearm in the corner. Bates gets in a Backstabber out of the corner and a Pedigree (with the camera missing the impact) gets two. Avalon tries to throw Bates a book but Allie intercepts it and hits the BSE for the pin at 8:50.
Rating: D+. This was every indy match you could imagine and the librarian deal got annoying in a hurry. Maybe I just don’t get the joke but it isn’t funny and I need a little better reason to boo someone because they don’t read. It was just a match and not exactly a great way to showcase the women’s division.
Alex Jebailey vs. Michael Nakazawa
Jebailey is the CEO of the gaming convention and not a wrestler. Therefore, this is a hardcore match. Before we get going, Nakazawa talks about an unspecified issue the two of them had last year and tricks Jebailey into telling him about a previous leg injury. Jebailey manages a hiptoss and grabs a waistlock so Nakazawa busts out the baby oil to escape. That makes Jebailey and the referee slip before they head outside, with Jebailey whipping Nakazawa into the barricade.
Back in and a gaming console to the back gives Jebailey two and it’s time to go up to the set. Nakazawa gets choked in a kiddie pool (part of the jokes about Fyre Fest and the “luxurious” accommodations being bad) but comes back with a pool float to the head. They go back to ringside where Nakazawa chokes with a GameCube controller and spears him off the apron through a table. Nakazaway lets him up at two and pulls out a thong, but Jebailey ties his arm into it.
Jebailey comes back with a SCARY German suplex that drops Nakazawa on top of his head. And now, a bag of…..some kind of button toys that I’m not familiar with is poured out on the mat. Nakazawa’s powerbomb is countered into a backdrop onto them but Nakazawa shoves the thong into the referee’s face. There’s no count for Jebailey’s Majistral cradle so it’s another thong shot to the face to give Nakazawa the rollup pin at 8:50.
Rating: F. Look back at what happened here, pick two things, and count those as the reasons for the rating.
Jon Moxley tells us to stay tuned because he’s going to show us who he is.
The opening video looks at how Double or Nothing started an empire and tonight it’s time to raise the game. Tonight it’s time to show us why AEW is here to stay.
The announcers run down part of the card.
Christopher Daniels vs. Cima
The announcers give us a bio on Daniels, because of all the people on this show, they think Daniels needs an explanation. Feeling out process to start until Daniels is sent outside for a baseball slide. Back in and a reverse Rings of Saturn has Daniels in trouble until a foot reaches the rope (with JR explaining why that is a break). A tilt-a-whirl backbreaker is broken up and Cima is sent outside with his back going into the barricade.
Back in and a running STO gets two and the Arabian moonsault sets up a Crossface. Daniels gets driven into the corner though and Cima hits a rolling palm strike. The Iconoclasm gets two but Daniels is right back with a Blue Thunder Bomb for two. Angel’s Wings gets two but Cima kicks him in the head. A Liger Bomb sets up something like a fisherman’s driver for two more and Cima can’t believe the kickout. White Noise sets up a top rope Meteora to finish Daniels at 9:43.
Rating: C+. This was the highest quality match on the show so far and that isn’t surprising whatsoever. You had two veterans who know what they’re doing and were able to have a solid match with a story included. Cima winning makes sense as we heard about his upcoming match against Kenny Omega, making this a perfectly fine opener.
Yuka Sakazaki vs. Riho vs. Nyla Rose
Rose offers to shake hands to start but then jumps both of them, turning it into a handicap match early on. A double cover is escaped by a double bridge but Rose slams them both to set up a double camel clutch. That’s broken up and Sakazaki knocks them to the floor for a big dive (nearly losing her balance on the way up).
Back in and Sakazaki and Riho strike it out with Riho getting the better of things. Rose is back up so Riho knocks her into the ropes for a 619. Riho’s top rope double stomp keeps Rose down and a jumping version has Sakazaki down. Rose breaks up the cover and chokeslams Sakazaki for two. A suplex sends Sakazaki to the floor and Riho gets draped over the top.
Rose jumps to the top for a jumping knee to the head but misses a Swanton. Back up and Rose catches Riho’s high crossbody….and then catches Sakazaki at the same time for a VERY cool visual. Riho tries a top rope splash but hits knees, allowing Rose to fold her up with a German suplex. With Sakazaki down, Rose hits a Death Valley Driver for a delayed two on Riho. Rose loads up a powerbomb but gets rolled up to give Riho the surprise pin at 13:05.
Rating: B. They do realize that they have a pretty unique monster in Rose right? The match was a good bit better than I was expecting and once they got into their rhythm, it was a good showcase for all three. That’s a good thing too because they still did very little to tell us about the women or who they were. I get that they’re talented, but a few details wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
Maxwell Jacob Friedman vs. Jungle Boy vs. Adam Page vs. Jimmy Havoc
Kip Sabian is on commentary and gets the winner of this, presumably at Fight For The Fallen. Before the match, Friedman grabs the mic to make fun of the crowd for being nerds who got shoved into lockers a lot. Friedman: “That mother of yours, whose basement you live in? She swallows.” Friedman used to love video games….and then he lost his virginity. Jungle Boy is carried to the ring on Luchasaurus’ shoulders, with the announcers dubbing them A Boy and His Dinosaur and the Jurassic Friends. Friedman and Page feel like they’re on a different planet here and that’s both a good and bad sign.
Havoc and Friedman head outside, leaving Page to kick Jungle Boy in the face. Jungle Boy snaps off a running hurricanrana but gets caught in Havoc’s Michinoku Driver. Friedman comes in to steal a rollup two but bails when Page is back up. A slingshot dive takes Friedman down, followed by Havoc’s running flip dive from the apron. Friedman teases a dive of his own but stops to make a rather rude gesture to the fans.
With everyone on the floor, Jungle Boy hits a very quick moonsault to take all three out. Back in and Jungle Boy powerbombs Friedman for two as everyone gets in again. The Tower of Doom sends Jungle Boy flying into Friedman Havoc’s Acid Rainmaker is broken up so Page hits a pop up powerbomb on Jungle Boy. Friedman and Page slug it out with Friedman taking out Page’s bad knee. A Sharpshooter (with a Bret Hart pose) is broken up and Page puts on his own version.
That’s broken up as well and Friedman hits a hanging piledriver for two. Jungle Boy makes the save but Havoc throws him onto Luchasaurus. Another hanging piledriver is broken up and Havoc gets two off a double stomp. The Acid Rainmaker is blocked with a poke to the eye and Page adds the Buckshot lariat to drop Havoc. Deadeye finishes Havoc at 9:52.
Rating: C. Page feels like the chosen one and while I’d bet on Jericho winning the title at All Out, they have something special with him going forward. Friedman’s promo before the match made him feel like the guy you want to see get destroyed and that’s a very valuable name to have. Jungle Boy and Havoc feel like pure gimmicks and while that’s not terrible, they don’t feel anywhere near as important.
We look at Cody vs. Dustin Rhodes from Double Or Nothing and the great post match promo that set up their tag match against the Young Bucks. Darby Allin respects Cody but promises to give him his first loss.
Cody vs. Darby Allin
Allin is a tortured soul who lost faith in humanity after his uncle was killed in a car wreck when he was five with Allin in the car. He even brings in a body bag with Cody 1-1 painted on it. Allin works on a hammerlock to start and backflips up off the escape. Cody grabs a headlock so Allin walks the ropes for a high angle armdrag to send Cody outside. Back in and Cody sends Allin hard into the corner for a nasty crash to the floor, leaving Cody to do the slow motion pushups.
Back in and Cody starts stomping away before sending Allin outside again. Allin grabs the arm to send it into the post but Cody is right back in control as Allin comes in again. Cody goes with a double underhook to keep Allin down before a release suplex drops Allin again. Another suplex is loaded up but Allin grabs the bad arm as he’s upside down for the escape.
A Fujiwara armbar stays on Cody’s arm so Cody gets outside, meaning it’s a fast suicide dive from Allin. Cody slams him onto the steps and adds his own suicide dive for good measure. Back in and Allin gets two off a Code Red before heading up, only to get pulled down with a reverse superplex. They head to the apron with Allin biting the hand to take Cody down.
Allin heads up top and tries the Coffin Drop (jumping straight backwards), landing square on the apron as Cody moves away. Back in and Cody puts him in the body bag and hits the Disaster Kick for two. The bag comes off and we have a minute left. Cody whips him with the weightlifting belt but Cross Rhodes is broken up. The second attempt connects for two but time runs out at 20:00.
Rating: B. I’m not sure on having Allin survive that long as taking a close loss here wouldn’t have hurt him, but this was the breakout performance that they were shooting for. Allin looked smart and completely capable of holding his own against a top name like Cody. Cut out the body bag part and this is even better. Well done match with the arm playing a major role for a good story. I’m impressed.
Post match Cody and Brandi want five more minutes but here’s Shawn Spears with a gruesome, no hands chair shot to Cody, who is busted open badly. Wrestlers, including Friedman, come out to chase Spears off. Cody very slowly walks to the back with some help. It’s a good moment, but I do not want to ever see a chair shot like that again. Period.
Lucha Bros/Laredo Kid vs. Young Bucks/Kenny Omega
The Bucks are in Street Fighter (I think?) gear and Omega lays out a man who runs up onto the stage for their entrance. I’m not a fighting game guy so I’m missing this one. Ring announcer Justin Roberts gets in a ROUND ONE FIGHT and it’s Nick working on a wristlock to Kid to start. The flips begin and both miss dropkicks to give us a standoff. Kid hits a springboard high crossbody for no cover as Nick gets up and spits in his face.
All six get in for a big standoff and it’s a trio of superkicks to send Kenny and the Bucks to the floor. An Asai moonsault and stereo running flip dives take them out again and the non-luchadors are in trouble. Back in and stereo superkicks to Nick set up a reverse hurricanrana from Kid. We settle down to Matt rolling northern lights suplexes on all three of them, including both Pentagon and Fenix at the same time.
Omega comes in to a big reaction and hits a backbreaker on Kid. The Terminator dive is loaded up but Pentagon cuts it off with CERO MIEDO. They slug it out with Omega hitting (or coming close to it) a sliding dropkick into the leg, followed by the running Fameasser. Matt comes back in for a German suplex on Kid and the series of top rope dives crush him for two. A spear accidentally hits Nick though and it’s off to Pentagon to pick up the pace.
That means a Backstabber to Omega to send him outside, followed by a running hurricanrana. Another spear allows the tag to Omega and it’s the snapdragon on Pentagon. Matt gets sent outside so Pentagon backdrops Fenix over the top and onto him for a huge crash. A super Spanish Fly plants Omega but Nick makes the save, only to take a running Canadian Destroyer from Pentagon. The Superkick Party is on but the luchadors hit superkicks of their own.
Not to be outdone, Omega and the Bucks hit Hadoukens, followed by a triple Liger Bomb for two each. The Bucks start their usual series but Pentagon hits a Sling Blade to take Nick down on the floor. Omega nails Kid with the V Trigger but Fenix cuts him off with a cutter. Matt gives Fenix a cutter of his own and that means a Meltzer Driver on the floor. Since that would kill him though, Fenix dives in to make a save, leaving Omega to hit the Tiger Driver 98 for two on Kid. Another running knee sets up the One Winged Angel to finish Kid at 20:30.
Rating: B. Yeah it was good and athletic, albeit with most of the usual issues from the Bucks and Omega (though only two V Triggers, which is acceptable for once). You knew the Bucks weren’t going to lose because they almost never do, though at least the match was rather entertaining.
Jon Moxley vs. Joey Janela
Anything goes and unsanctioned. They’re on the floor in a hurry and brawl into the crowd for a bit. Back to ringside and Janela posts him before going for the first table. Moxley comes back and grabs a chair, with Janela being slammed onto it. Since long term selling isn’t going to be a thing in this match, Janela is right back up and puts Moxley (with a bloody eyebrow) in the chair for a high crossbody. Moxley gets sent outside and finds a chair wrapped in barbed wire.
The chair is driven into Janela’s chest so the fans dub Moxley “YOU SICK F***!” Moxley takes a bow, which takes a little too long as Janela hurricanranas him onto the barbed wire. A chair shot to the back gets two on Moxley and another table is brought in. Janela doesn’t like that one though so it’s a Russian legsweep off the apron through the table at ringside. Back in and Moxley drives him through a table in the corner for no cover. Instead he loads up two more tables on the floor but Janela flips him off.
Moxley beats him up some more and it’s time for a barbed wire board. Janela is back with a running AA through the barbed wire though the table and let’s get a ladder. With Moxley on the table on the floor, Janela climbs the ladder in the ring and drops the big elbow. And now, it’s another barbed wire board (Goldenboy: “He’s got one too?”), with this one being bridged between the ring and the barricade.
That takes too long though and Moxley grabs a DDT, followed by an AA through the barbed wire board. It’s time for the thumbtacks but Moxley takes off Janela’s boots and socks. Janela saves himself so Moxley hits a release suplex onto the tacks instead. That’s not enough though and Moxley sends him feet first into the tacks to draw some screaming. Janela flips him off again so Moxley pulls out more tacks for the Paradigm Shift (Dirty Deeds) onto said tacks for the pin at 20:00.
Rating: D. Your individual tastes may vary but I’ve never been a fan of this kind of match. It’s violence for the sake of violence and that isn’t the most entertaining thing in the world. Moxley is capable of having a good match without this stuff but I guess he needed to prove something or other. It’s nowhere near as bad as some of the nonsense death match garbage, but it’s still nothing I needed to see.
Post match Omega runs out with a V Trigger to Moxley, who is laid on the pieces of table. A springboard double stomp crushes Moxley and Omega takes him up to the set. Omega uses some of the equipment for the band that never showed up, including a guitar shot to the back. Moxley isn’t going to be helped out so Omega runs back out with a trashcan to take Moxley out again. A Paradigm Shift to the trashcan leaves Moxley laying, but he smiles at Omega to end the show.
Overall Rating: B+. There are a few factors here (the kind of show and the price among others) but this was another heck of a show. The action was good up and down the card and they were in and out in less than three hours. I could have gone without the chair shot to Cody (which is just dumb, dangerous and unnecessary) and some more character stuff early on, but I had a good time with this and never got bored. It’s a smart move to not have every event be the big time show as this won’t have near the expectations, making it feel that much better. Very good followup, if you ignore the awful preshow.
Cima b. Christopher Daniels – Top rope Meteora
Riho b. Yuka Sakazaki and Nyla Rose – Rollup to Rose
Adam Page b. Jungle Boy, Jimmy Havoc and Maxwell Jacob Friedman – Deadeye to Havoc
Cody vs. Darby Allin went to a time limit draw
Kenny Omega/Young Bucks b. Laredo Kid/Lucha Bros – One Winged Angel to Laredo Kid
Jon Moxley b. Joey Janela – Paradigm Shift
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