Date: March 25, 2020
Location: Daily’s Place, Jacksonville, Florida
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Cody, Kenny Omega
We’re still in Jacksonville and hopefully that remains the case going forward. This show was supposed to be Blood & Guts but AEW came to their senses and realized that the match, which probably could have headlined a pay per view, should at least take place in front of an audience. The show had to be rewritten as a result so hopefully their backup plan works. Let’s get to it.
The announcers (this could go in several directions) run down tonight’s card.
The gambling is going on in the back this week.
Cody vs. Jimmy Havoc
Havoc works on the arm to start but Cody reverses into a sunset flip out of the corner for two. Cody takes him down again and grabs a Figure Four. Havoc pulls the ear for a failed escape attempt so he goes with the classic poke to the eye to get out. With Havoc bailing for a breather, Havoc hits a quick suicide dive to keep him in trouble. We go split screen to join the gamblers, with Chris Jericho getting in on the action. They fight up the ramp and Havoc throws on a headset, grabs Cody’s tongue (yes tongue) and says he’s going to punch Cody.
After punching Cody, they head back inside with Havoc suplexing him into the corner to knock Cody a bit silly. Cody is back up to drop Havoc ribs first across the top rope and goes into the tunnel for a running clothesline to put Havoc back inside. The Cody Cutter is countered into a cross armbreaker, followed by the Acid Rainmaker (Tony called it a lariat and Omega was too busy talking about Stardom to even reference it) for two. Cody manages to crotch him on top though and hit a reverse superplex. Back to back Cross Rhodes finishes Havoc at 10:41.
Rating: C. This was a bit of a clash of styles but Cody gets the win to keep him on track as he gets ready to face Lance Archer at some point in the future. Havoc is fine as a midcard villain but he’s not likely to get any further than that. The lack of drama when he hit his finisher tells you all you need to know about his status around here.
Post match, Jake Roberts comes on screen to talk about how Lance Archer wants to fight someone. AEW set out to change the world but they never called Jake, who has the best mind wrestling has ever seen. Archer was smart enough to call him and now they want to fight Cody one time. That’s all they need to get done what they want to get done. Trust him. Back in the arena, Cody seems to be thinking about it.
Post break, Cody is back on commentary and seems to say the match with Archer is on for next week.
Video on Darby Allin talking about how he doesn’t see anything superbad about Kip Sabian. He drinks from a bottle labeled “a little bit of the bubbly” and has masks of the Inner Circle. He lights the bottle and the masks on fire.
Darby Allin vs. Kip Sabian
Darby knocks him into the corner to start and that means Penelope Ford needs to give Sabian some advice. The high angle armdrag sends Sabian outside but he whips Allin into the barricade. Back from a break with Sabian charging into an elbow in the corner and shotgun dropkicking Sabian into the corner.
Allin misses a charge though and gets his back bent around the post. Sabian gets knocked outside though and it’s a suicide dive to take him down again. A Ford distraction lets Sabian hit a triangle Disaster kick, followed by a Time Turner (draping suplex) for two. Allin pulls him down by the leg though and ties them up into a cradle (dubbed the Last Supper) for the pin at 10:35.
Rating: C+. The match was good and Allin continues to shine, but Cody was GREAT on commentary here. He was referencing both old and new wrestlers, breaking down what the wrestlers were trying to do and not sounding over the top at any point. The more I hear from him the more I like him and this is something he could do for a LONG time if he ever wants to slow down in the ring (which doesn’t need to be the case for years to come).
Jake Hager vs. Chico Adams
Tony: “What we have here is Chico and the man.” Look it up people. Hager drops him in a hurry and hits the Vader Bomb in the first ten seconds. A Rock Bottom into the head and arm triangle finishes Adams at 1:06.
Post match here’s Jon Moxley to stare Hager down. The fight is on and Moxley hits a quick Paradigm Shift, only to have Hager pull him into the ankle lock. That’s broken up and Moxley grabs the belt to scare Hager off. I could go for these two in a big showdown.
Video on Brodie Lee being unveiled as the Exalted One last week.
The Dark Order is sitting around a table as Lee aggressively has dinner. Lee says the other two don’t get it: this is the new Dark Order and they do what they want. They prey on the weak and Lee gets mad at one of them for considering eating before Lee finishes his own meal. The other one sneezes and Lee throws him out. Oh….tell me this isn’t what I think it is.
Brodie Lee vs. QT Marshall
Lee kicks him in the face before the bell and throws Marshall outside. A slingshot hilo connects back inside and Lee forearms him in the back. Marshall’s comeback is cut off with a swinging Boss Man Slam and a discus lariat gives Lee the pin at 2:59.
Post match, Lee leaves a mask on Marshall. It’s a good squash, but if this is going to be a Vince caricature, this thing is dead where it stands.
Video on Matt Hardy’s debut last week.
Video on the Inner Circle attacking Nick Jackson and putting him out of action.
Vanguard 1 goes to Nick Jackson’s house where he is rated at 61% recovered. Nick sees the drone and goes towards it, meaning the signal is terminated.
AAA Mega Title: Kenny Omega vs. Sammy Guevara
Guevara is defending and has caricatures of Jericho and Brandi sitting in seats at ringside. Omega takes him down without much effort to start and Sammy has to pull himself up in the corner. The gamblers are back at it in the back as Sammy grabs a front facelock and sends Omega outside. Back in and Sammy goes to the eyes so it’s right back to the floor for a slugout. Sammy sends him into the barricade but stops to talk to the Brandi caricature. A kiss to the caricature has Brandi annoyed and we take a break.
Back with Sammy being sent knees first into the steps. What looked to be a Tombstone attempt is countered into a cross armbreaker but Omega is in the ropes in a hurry. Sammy’s moonsault hits knees but he’s right back with another armbar. The chinlock goes on for a bit until Omega powers up and we take another break. Back again with Kenny hammering away but favoring the bad hand. Omega ax handles him in the chest for a delayed two as the gamblers are freaking out in the back again.
The running Fameasser gets two more but Sammy counters the snapdragon into a double stomp to the ribs. A frog splash gets two on Omega, who is back up to send Sammy to the apron. That means an enziguri into a springboard cutter to send Omega outside again. Back in and a springboard hurricanrana is countered into a powerbomb, setting up the V Trigger to knock Sammy silly.
Sammy is right back with a Spanish Fly for two, only to miss a shooting star press. Another V Trigger connects but Sammy bites the hand. That earns Sammy another V Trigger but Sammy flips out of the snapdragon. Kenny is back up with another V Trigger into a Jay Driller for two. Another V Trigger sets up the One Winged Angle to retain the title at 23:37.
Rating: B+. Rather good match here, despite some of my usual reservations about Omega’s bigger matches. Sammy got a lot here though and looked like a serious challenger more than once. They had some good stuff going here and it’s clear that Omega’s destiny is to be the bigger singles star once the run with Hangman Page is over. Rather good match here and by far the best thing on the show so far.
Here’s Chris Jericho with a hands free microphone to talk about Matt Hardy’s debut last week. That’s why this week, Jericho is going to give Matt the chance to join the Inner Circle. Instead here’s Vanguard 1, sending Jericho into a rant about how he’s never liked Vanguard 1. He doesn’t like Vanguard’s politics or rantings on social media, but he’s always respected Vanguard 1.
That’s why the Inner Circle wants him, meaning Vanguard 1 can have all the bubbly poured into his gas tank and all the women on his dashboard that he wants. Vanguard flies away so here’s Matt Hardy….who teleports from one part of the arena to the other (ignore Jericho’s head jumping each time Hardy appears somewhere else).
Hardy gets inside and says he knew Jericho would come. Jericho: “Of course I’d come. We booked the segment.” Jericho explains that Hardy wants to join the Inner Circle, so Hardy talks about owing the Bucks of Youth a debt for resurrecting him. AEW represents freedom for Hardy and he cannot allow the Inner Circle to destroy it. Jericho talks about making the Inner Circle and promises to make Matt as well. Matt calls himself Damascus, who is over 3000 years old.
Jericho knows about reinventing himself and offers Matt a chance to reinvent himself. Matt sees Jericho is still a hole of the a** so Jericho talks about Matt living in shadows. That could be of his older brother, the shadow of bad booking or the shadow of Le Champion. Jericho wants to know if Matt is Inner Circle or Elite and it turns into a DELETE vs. ELITE argument. Matt talks about Jericho’s fans singing Judas (Matt: “I knew the real Judas. He betrayed me too.”) and sings the Obsolete song, with Jericho pointing out the lack of fans.
That’s not true though, as Matt knows there are essences all around here. Abraham Lincoln is sitting in 15C and Martin Luther King is right over there. Jericho threatens to slap the essence out of Matt and gets punched down. Jericho: “Abra kadabra”. Cue Sammy to jump Matt but Cody and Omega run down with chairs to make the save. Sammy and Jericho try to leave and Matt controls the flames on the stage to scare them to end the show.
I didn’t dislike this, but it was VERY over the top and different, while showing that it is indeed just Matt Hardy. He’ll be fine in the short term, but once the bell rings, things are going to be a bit different and not in a good way. Jericho was of course hilarious as he can more than hang with any insanity put in front of him.
Overall Rating: B. This was a rather different show than last week and while it was still good, it wasn’t quite up to the same level as what they did before. Just not having the wrestlers in the arena slowed it down a bit, but maybe they got in some trouble for having that many people in the same place at once. The wrestling was good and the big segment at the end was certainly different, but if Brodie Lee is a Vince McMahon character, just cut everything off now because it’s a disaster in the making. Good enough show, but not last week’s.
Cody b. Jimmy Havoc – Cross Rhodes
Darby Allin b. Kip Sabian – Last Supper
Jake Hager b. Chico Adams – Head and arm triangle choke
Brodie Lee b. QT Marshall – Discus lariat
Kenny Omega b. Sammy Guevara – One Winged Angel
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