Date: October 2, 2019
Location: Capitol One Arena, Washington DC
Commentators: Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, Excalibur
We’re finally here. It almost feels weird to imagine that it’s actually happening but here we are. This is the debut episode of the much ballyhooed weekly series from AEW and the hype seems to be real. The show is going head to head live with NXT as the Wednesday Night Wars begin. I’m actually excited for this so let’s get to it.
The announcers welcome us to the show.
We get some clips from last night’s Countdown show to hype up Cody vs. Sammy Guevara, which will be the first match in the history of the show.
Cody vs. Sammy Guevara
Brandi is here with Cody and that is a lot of pyro. Feeling out process to start with Sammy’s speed giving Cody some issues. A trip to the floor lets Cody have a breather and it’s back in for an armbar from Sammy. That’s broken up as Cody powerslams him down and slaps on the Figure Four so we can hit the WOOing. Sammy makes the rope so Cody kicks him down again and does some pushups, setting up a springboard cutter/Stunner for two. Sammy is right back with a slingshot cutter for two of his own.
Cody sends him outside as well though and nails a suicide dive….which hits both Brandi and Sammy. Thankfully Brandi isn’t knocked cold and gets in a shoe to Sammy’s head, setting up Cody’s Disaster Kick for two. To mix it up a bit, Cody takes it to the top rope for a reverse superplex for two more. They head up again with Sammy hitting a super Spanish Fly, only to have a shooting star hit raised knees so Cody can small package him for the pin at 11:52.
Rating: C+. They were clearly jazzed to be on a big show and you knew Cody was winning here to set up his World Title shot at the next pay per view. The spots were good here and Sammy was fine for a villain here. They didn’t need to do anything more than get through a fast paced match here and that’s what they did. Nice first match with Cody playing the face role well.
Post match Cody has something to say but Sammy stops him for a tense handshake. Cue Jericho to jump him from behind and hit a Codebreaker as we take a break, albeit going split screen with Jericho beating him up even more during the commercial. Back with Jericho powerbombing him through some open chairs to really bang up the spine. Jericho declares himself the champion before leaving.
Maxwell Jacob Friedman vs. Brandon Cutler
Friedman has a mic on the way to the ring and insults the poor looking crowd, along with Cutler, who looks like a Dungeons and Dragon fan who got lost and needs to be back in his seat. We hear about Cutler being a big Dungeons and Dragons fan, with JR cutting the other two off as Cutler slaps Friedman in the face.
A shot to the throat gets Friedman out of trouble and he works on the arm while demanding Cutler tell his family that he’s a bum. Cutler gets fired up and sends him outside for a suicide dive but comes up favoring his knee. Back in and the knee doesn’t seem to be working so Friedman grabs his Fujiwara armbar for the tap at 2:45. That felt like a very sudden ending so maybe the injury was legit.
Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes (as Jay and Silent Bob) are here to hype up their new movie, featuring Chris Jericho. Cue Angelico/Jack Evans to yell, so Jay makes fun of them for not being able to win a match. Private Party shows up with drinks for some laughter.
SCU is in Washington DC to announce that they will be in the tournament, with Scorpio Sky impersonating Barack Obama.
In the arena, SCU announces that it will be Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian representing the team in the tournament. Cue the Lucha Bros to say they’re the best team in the world, with Pentagon spitting water in Daniels’ face. The fight is on but security quickly breaks it up.
Pac vs. Adam Page
Make up match after Pac’s contractual issues over the summer. Joined in progress with JR promising a picture in picture commercial break next time. Pac slides back in and forearms away but a discus lariat turns him inside out. They head outside with Pac being sent into the barricade, followed by a fall away slam into a running shooting star press back inside. Pac is fine enough to knock him back to the floor for an Asai moonsault and Page’s head bangs off the ramp.
Page is a bit rocked as Pac puts him on top, only to elbow Pac in the face. A super fall away slam sets up a slam into a reverse flapjack (that’s a new one) for two. Pac whips him shoulder first into the post though and we take a break. Back with Page in trouble and Pac shouting a lot before walking into a spinebuster. Page gets two off a powerbomb but Pac kicks him low. The Red Arrow hits Page in the back and the Brutalizer is good for the knockout win at 13:00.
Rating: B-. I’m a little surprised by the result here as Page seems to have had the plug pulled out from underneath him. Pac is certainly a star and someone who could be a huge deal around here, though I didn’t think it would be at the expense of Page. It wasn’t clean though and a rematch wouldn’t shock me, nor would it annoy me in the slightest.
Women’s Title: Nyla Rose vs. Riho
For the inaugural title and Britt Baker is on commentary. After the Big Match Intros, Riho starts with some dropkicks but gets shouldered down without much impact. Riho knocks her down again and tries a double stomp to the back but Rose just sits up for the block. The STF goes on for a bit until Riho makes the rope to save herself. A running knee sends Rose outside but she’s fine enough to send Riho into the barricade.
The ref takes a chair away so Rose sends her into the barricade again and pulls out a bunch of chairs. She puts Riho on those chairs but the middle rope dive only hits the steel, allowing Riho to hit a double stomp off the apron. Another double stomp sets up a Bank Statement inside and we take a break.
Back with Riho in trouble and making the mistake of trying a backdrop. Some forearms are cut off by a kick to the face but Riho slips out of a powerbomb. A rollup gets a very close two and the fans aren’t pleased by the kickout. Rose’s Death Valley Driver gets two more and she goes up top, only to get caught with even more forearms. A northern lights superplex gives Riho two so she knees Riho in the face for the pin and the title at 13:27.
Rating: C+. Yeah I can’t say I’m surprised. The tiny newcomer beats the seemingly unstoppable monster in your metaphor of the night. The problem with Riho continues to be that her whole character is that she’s small. Rose continues to lose far more often than she should and that was the case here as well. The crowd got into it though and those near falls were quite good at times. Fine match, but it’s going to take some time to get into Riho.
Post match Michael Nakazawa comes in for the interview in Japanese but Rose comes in to jump them both and powerbomb Nakazawa. A Death Valley Driver on the apron is broken up but Kenny Omega makes the save.
Elite vs. Chris Jericho/Santana/Ortiz
Omega runs back to the stage for his entrance despite the lack of a commercial. Jericho starts against Omega but tags out to Santana before anything happens in an old but classic move. Omega kicks Santana’s knee out and tries his running Fameasser but has to settle for a bulldog as he overshoots it a bit. Jericho comes in for the chops and the Bucks have to break up the Walls with some superkicks.
Nick hits a big dive over the top onto Santana and Ortiz…and here’s Jon Moxley to jump Omega. They fight into the crowd with the referee seeing the whole thing and we’re just going to keep going. Kenny finds a mop and cleans a bit to a big reaction as we head to the VIP area as the match has seemingly just stopped in the ring. An elevated Paradigm Shift through a glass table knocks Omega silly and we take a break.
Back with the Bucks in trouble and Santana/Ortiz hitting their assortment of splashes. Jericho misses the Lionsault to Nick but Ortiz breaks up the hot tag attempt. A cutter out of the corner sets up some rolling northern lights suplexes and the hot tag brings in Nick to clean house. Everything breaks down and it’s Matt taking a springboard Cannonball in the corner. The Judas Effect gives Jericho the pin at 13:20.
Rating: C. The Omega deal took things down a bit here and it felt like it just came and went. It was a good choice for a first main event as it showcased Santana and Ortiz and it’s not like losing to the World Champion is a bad thing. What we got here was good enough and it gave us a fine enough main event, even if the big angle came a bit early.
Post match the big brawl is on with Cody coming in for the save. Sammy Guevara comes in to kick him low so Dustin Rhodes is out for the save. Cue the debuting Jake Hager (Jack Swagger) to wreck Cody, Dustin and the Bucks. That means a WE THE PEOPLE chant as the villains stand tall together. A table is brought in and Dustin gets powerbombed onto (not through) it for the big OOH from the crowd. The Judas Effect leaves Cody laying to end the show. They did get the timing right to wrap it up this time around.
Overall Rating: B. The wrestling wasn’t what mattered here. The point of this was everything working well enough and the presentation feeling big overall. Everything looked great here and it felt like a WWE level show. There are a lot of things to work on still, but what we got was rather good. I want to see where things are going in the future and that’s a great sign for a first night.
That’s what matters the most here: it was the first night and the show worked well. Nothing was bad and they had a big moment with the title change. Nothing blew me away, which is actually a silver lining in a way. If you start with your biggest, best show ever, where can you go from there? They have room to improve, but what matters most is to keep things going. Very good start, now keep doing it and make it better.
Cody b. Sammy Guevara – Small package
Maxwell Jacob Friedman b. Brandon Cutler – Fujiwara armbar
Pac b. Adam Page – Brutalizer
Riho b. Nyla Rose – Running knee to the face
Chris Jericho/Santana/Ortiz b. Kenny Omega/Young Bucks
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