Date: November 27, 2019
Location: Sears Center Arena, Chicago, Illinois
Commentators: Excalibur, Jim Ross
It’s back where things got started with a return to Chicago. As luck would have it, we are in for a big show here with the World Title being defended as champion Chris Jericho faces Scorpio Sky in an unlikely title defense. That could make for a heck of a match and hopefully the rest of the show backs it up. Let’s get to it.
We open with Chris Jericho’s Thank You celebration, complete with people in rather large costumes, a marching band, large presents and MIKE JONES (Virgil) as emcee. Jericho, sounding rather distorted, talks about how much he has earned this thank you, but he has a thank you for the fans too. Some of the people in this arena have coupons underneath their seats for FIFTY CENTS off the new Le Champion shirt.
Jericho has also found some grapes from the mountains of Nepal and we now have official Little Bit Of The Bubbly champagne available. With a toast out of the way, Jericho brings out the Inner Circle for the celebration. Sammy Guevara has a present for Jericho: a cardboard cutout of the two of them hugging. Santana and Ortiz have a gift basket, including some Vaporub, a photo of someone whose name I couldn’t understand, some flip flops (Ortiz: “These double as a weapon.”), a little bit of the 40 (in a brown paper bag), and a Puerto Rico bandanna.
Cue Jake Hager with a goat named Chris Jerigoat. Now it’s time for the BIG surprise (it’s in a big box) which is…..Jericho’s dad, Ted Irvine! Ted talks about beating the Chicago Blackhawks all of the time and busts out some custom New York Rangers jerseys for the Inner Circle.
Jericho has a letter from AEW but since he isn’t in the mood to read, Justin Roberts can come do it for him. The statement is a nice proclamation about Jericho as World Champion but Jericho didn’t like Roberts’ tone. The beatdown is on but the marching band, which happens to be SCU, comes in for the save and beat down Virgil. This was a bit long, but the gifts were funny and Jericho can sell anything.
Best Friends vs. Lucha Bros
Orange Cassidy, in a turkey suit, is here with the Best Friends. The Bros jump them in the aisle so Cassidy dives onto the Bros, giving us a WKRP In Cincinnati references from JR (look it up). The Friends fight back in a hurry and we get the hug out of the way early on. A few cheap shots behind the referee’s back let Pentagon superkick Trent down for two. Back from a break with Trent still in trouble and a top rope double stomp, which looked rather low, gets two more.
Trent fights up and gets over for the tag to Chuck, who grabs a half crab of all things. That’s broken up with a quick superkick but Trent is right back with a running flip dive to the floor. Pentagon’s Canadian Destroyer gets two and it’s Fenix hitting his springboard kick to Trent. The rolling cutter is countered into the Crunchie for the pin on Fenix at 7:54.
Rating: C. The Friends looked good here, though I’m not sure how much sense it makes to have the Lucha Bros lose, especially after Pentagon lost the previous night. I can appreciate them building up a team like the Best Friends though, even if they’re not a team I care for all that much. I’m not sure I can picture them against SCU, but someone has to face the champs.
Here are the women’s rankings. Before the next match, we hear guest commentator Marco Martinez thanking JR and Excalibur in a statement I don’t think was supposed to make air.
Emi Sakura/Bea Priestly vs. Kris Stadtlander/Hikaru Shida
JR during Sakura’s entrance: “Freddy Mercury never looked so Oriental.” It’s a brawl to start with Stadtlander sending both of them to the floor. Shida loads up her dive off the chair so Sakura sits in it, only to be knocked out of it in a hurry. The dive hits and we take a break.
Back with Shida in trouble and Sakura grabbing an abdominal stretch, complete with her mic stand to continue the Mercury tribute. Sakura gets sent into Priestly in the corner though and an enziguri knocks Priestly sillier. She’s fine enough to grab a German suplex so Shida hits a running knee and makes the hot tag to Stadtlander. A pumphandle rollup gives Stadtlander two on Sakura but a rolling cutter takes her down.
Priestly hits a top rope double stomp to the back for two but Stadtlander avoids the moonsault. A running knee sets up a superkick to the back of Sakura’s head and an ax kick gives Stadtlander two (in a very near fall). Priestly gets in a cheap shot from behind though and Sakura grabs la majistral to finish Stadtlander at 9:33.
Rating: C. This felt sloppy in a lot of places with the fans not being happy with the ending. Shida is losing me in a hurry with the same knee strikes in every match. It’s still better than the Mercury thing, which is one of the more out there tributes that Sakura does every week. Are we really hoping to cater to the Mercury/wrestling fan crossover audience? Not the worst match, but it wasn’t exactly a tight effort.
Jon Moxley wants someone to come after him, even though they’ll get hurt. So a guy in a room is asking someone to pick…a fight….with him?
Cody vs. Matt Knicks
Knicks tries for a backdrop to start but gets uppercutted for his efforts. The springboard cutter sets up…the weightlifting belt being thrown into the crowd instead of being used for a whipping. The Figure Four finishes Knicks at 1:26.
Post match Cody calls out MJF but a masked man comes out from a hole in the ring. Excalibur: “IT’S THE BLADE!” Another man comes out, with Excalibur calling him the Butcher. Excalibur: “We have not seen them before!” They pull Allie, now going by the Bunny, out of the hole. JR was as confused as I am about who those two are, but Excalibur knows and that’s all that matters.
Pac vs. Kenny Omega
Omega starts fast with a snapdragon and sends him to the floor for the big dive. Pac gets in a kick to the ribs but it’s another snapdragon to put him back down. The suplex off the apron doesn’t work as Omega gets knocked to the floor with Pac nailing a moonsault as we take a break.
Back with Omega striking away in the corner and hitting another suplex. Omega goes up though and gets caught in a super Falcon Arrow for two. The Black Arrow is loaded up as JR congratulates Excalibur for getting in the Bowling Shoe Ugly line. Omega rolls away to make Pac crash and there’s the V Trigger to set up the One Winged Angel. That’s reversed as well so Omega rolls him into a crucifix for the pin at 12:04.
Rating: B-. This felt like the structure of a Pac vs. Omega match but it needed another eight to ten minutes to really make it work. What we got was good enough though and Omega won clean to continue his road to redemption. Pac losing again so soon after the loss to Page is a bit questionable, but so is having this many big matches so soon after the show debuted.
We look back at the end of last week’s battle royal.
Dynamite Diamond: Adam Page vs. Maxwell Jacob Friedman
MJF, with Wardlow, says he is the only one who deserves the diamond. Page says he isn’t a ring guy but he’d be glad to win this. It’s a brawl to start with Page sending him to the floor and over the barricade as we take an early break. Back with Page hitting a moonsault to the floor, followed by the Buckshot lariat for two with Wardlow putting the foot on the rope. Wardlow gets in a shot of his own and the Cross Rhodes gives MJF the pin and the ring at 6:58.
Rating: D+. What we got was decent but Page losing another match isn’t helping him, though it’s hardly some career killer as it wasn’t even a clean loss. MJF getting the big win here is great though as he is the kind of guy who needs to be pushed as hard as they can. He’s the best heel in the company if not all of wrestling at the moment so giving him a win like this works well.
Post match here’s Diamond Dallas Page to present the ring. Page hands him the ring but isn’t happy with some of MJF’s recent actions. That means a hard slap on the shoulder but Page is willing to be the bigger man and offers a handshake. MJF puts his gum in the hand instead and gets pulled back, only to have Wardlow get in Page’s face. Agents and referees break it up in a hurry as I can’t believe they didn’t reference Page’s Lord Of The Ring from WCW.
Here’s Dustin Rhodes to say he’s out for Jake Hager’s blood. Cue the Inner Circle to go after Dustin though, drawing out the Young Bucks for the save. Triple Shattered Dreams leave the Circle laying.
We get another Join The Dark Order vignette, featuring various people flashing back to what drove them here. Anyone could be Dark Order, and they are all better now that they are part of the group.
AEW World Title: Chris Jericho vs. Scorpio Sky
Jericho is defending and seconds are banned from ringside. They take their time to start with Jericho shouldering him down but getting sent outside for his efforts. Sky hits a running boot to the face and a jumping elbow to the jaw back inside. Jericho is back up to send him to the apron though and the triangle dropkick connects to send us to a break.
Back with Sky still in trouble but hitting something like a Thesz press. A dropkick puts Jericho down and it’s the slingshot cutter for two. Jericho is right back with the Walls though, sending Sky straight to the ropes. Another cutter from Sky sets up a dragon sleeper but here’s Hager for the distraction into the break.
Jericho is back up for his half of a double clothesline and they’re both down again. Cue Kazarian and Daniels to go after Hager and drive him to the back, leaving Sky to hit the TKO for two. Sky gets two more off an enziguri but the Codebreaker pulls him out of the air for two more. A backslide gives Sky his own near fall but Jericho pulls him into the Walls for the tap at 12:13.
Rating: B-. This was a case where the ending wasn’t exactly in doubt but they gave us enough good stuff to make the match work. They weren’t out there a crazy amount of time and there was never a situation where I was thinking “get on with it because Sky isn’t winning”. It wasn’t the best match, but they didn’t do anything terrible or stupid and that means a lot.
Post match Jericho goes after Sky again but Moxley appears in the crowd for the big staredown to end the show.
Overall Rating: C+. That’s probably the weakest and least interesting show they’ve done so far and it was still a perfectly watchable and at times good two hours of wrestling. The energy was a bit down though and very little felt like something you needed to see (though the opening segment was highly entertaining). The most promising thing for the future though is that this felt like a one off dip instead of something I’m worried about. It wasn’t a great show but I have no reason to believe that they’re falling apart. That isn’t the case for a lot of companies and it’s a good sign for them.
Best Friends b. Lucha Bros – Crunchie to Pentagon
Bea Priestly/Emi Sakura b. Hikaru Shida/Kris Stadtlander – La Majistral to Stadtlander
Kenny Omega b. Pac – Crucifix
Maxwell Jacob Friedman b. Adam Page – Cross Rhodes
Chris Jericho b. Scorpio Sky – Walls of Jericho
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