Date: April 15, 2020
Location: Undisclosed Location
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Chris Jericho
We’re taped again and this time around we have a major match with the World Title on the line as Jake Hager challenges Jon Moxley. Other than that it’s time to continue the TNT Title tournament as we continue towards what is likely going to be an empty arena Double Or Nothing at some location to be determined. Let’s get to it.
We open with Jake Roberts talking about how Lance Archer is ready to be the TNT Champion because the tournament was made for him. Colt Cabana may have some skills, but it’s not enough to get through Archer.
Tony and Chris run down the card.
Colt Cabana talks about how he is coming in as an underdog but he has been surviving for fifteen years. Archer has dominated Japan but Cabana has wrestled all over the world. Tonight, he’s proving what he can do.
TNT Title Tournament First Round: Lance Archer vs. Colt Cabana
Archer takes out an unidentified person on the way to the ring and then decks Cabana before the bell. Some chops and forearms don’t do much to Archer so he runs Cabana over with a shoulder. Cabana makes Archer chase him a bit and tries a wristlock to little effect. The Flying Apple is countered into a full nelson slam for two and it’s time to rip at Cabana’s face.
A hard clothesline takes Cabana down again but the wrestlers at ringside are behind him anyway. Back from a break with Cabana getting knocked down again but avoiding a middle rope splash. Now the Flying Apple connects and a middle rope splash gives Cabana two. Some right hands stagger Archer, but they also make him laugh. Archer nails a Pounce and there’s a chokeslam to make it worse. The Blackout finishes Cabana at 11:24.
Rating: C. Archer’s power stuff was impressive enough and Cabana was wrestling mostly serious tonight so it wasn’t a bad performance whatsoever. It was a little longer than it needed to be though and that is the kind of thing that can make Archer seem a little less dominant. Good enough though and Archer should have had a little more trouble with someone like Cabana.
Britt Baker is in her office and has a presentation about how to be a role model. Step #1 is always fight fair, which wasn’t the case last week when Hikaru Shida injured her. Britt kept fighting though because it is her mission to always be the face of the division. So who is the true winner here? Baker has gotten awesome at this stuff in a hurry.
ESPN’s Ariel Helwani picks Hager to win the World Title tonight.
Taz picks Moxley.
Post break, Taz walks us through how Hager chokes people out, including Moxley a few weeks back.
Britt Baker vs. Cassandra Golden
Baker kicks her in the leg and then nails a superkick, followed by a bunch of choking on the ropes. Golden’s mouth is place on the rope and a kick to the back of the head is good for the pin at 1:09.
Ron Funches picks Moxley.
Mike Goldberg (MMA commentators) picks Hager.
Double Or Nothing is coming.
And now, the Bubbly Bunch, which features the Inner Circle talking over the phone about how they aren’t sure which of the Young Bucks is Carlos. Sammy Guevara jumps in and says he isn’t sure why someone would call him a fake Latino. He’s ready to punch someone cinco times. Jake Hager would beat up Kenny Omega and choke out the Elite.
Tonight though, he’s beating the s*** (his kids, poolside with him, cover their ears at that one) out of Moxley. Jericho, making eggs, agrees and thinks Hangman Page is an idiot. Page has been cone for so long now though that he thinks Cody Exotico fed Page’s remains to Pharaoh. Jericho has another call though and, as he spills orange juice and with the dogs looking on, complains to his assistant about a lack of toilet paper. This started slowly but got into that good Inner Circle humor by the end.
Sammy Guevara vs. Suge D.
Sammy, who is not Brandi Rhodes’ favorite, gets a nice reaction from Jericho. Guevara takes him into the corner to start as Jericho and Tony try to pronounce Suge. That’s cut off with a jumping knee to Suge’s face to knock him outside. Back in and a delayed suplex gives Sammy two, followed by some squats with Suge on his shoulders. A clothesline drops Suge again but he comes back with a chop. Suge strikes away but gets kneed down again, setting up the Burning GTS for the pin at 5:57.
Rating: C. Sammy was good but Jericho’s man crush on Sammy is one of the funniest things going in wrestling today. They fight together so well and Jericho was on fire with commentary the whole time here. It was an entertaining squash and I like that finisher rather well.
Post match Sammy promises to win the title, including taking care of Darby Allin. The beatdown continues but Allin makes the quick save.
Big John McCarthy (Bellator referee) picks Hager.
Chuck Taylor vs. Kip Sabian
Orange Cassidy and Penelope Ford are on commentary. Jericho isn’t happy with Cassidy because Cassidy wears a shirt of himself and WHO DOES THAT??? Jericho: “I was going to wear a Tony Schiavone shirt but I couldn’t find one!” Taylor takes him down to start and grabs a quick half crab, only to have Sabian escape in a hurry.
Some stomping in the corner keeps Chuck down as Jericho rants about Vanguard 1 and leather pants. Taylor gets in a knee to the face and drops an elbow for two, only to get knocked outside. That goes badly for Sabian, who gets suplexed onto the apron, which has Jericho declaring Taylor as the biggest heel in the match. Sabian dropkicks Taylor down and a kick to the chest gets two.
Taylor is right back with a Samoan driver as Jericho mocks wrestlers cheering from ringside. A pop up sitout powerbomb gets two on Sabian, who is right back with some right hands. Hold on though as Sabian has to kiss Penelope, which draws Cassidy up to the apron for a distraction. Jimmy Havoc pulls him off the apron though, allowing Ford to hit a top rope hurricanrana on Taylor to give Sabian the rollup pin at 10:08.
Rating: D+. This felt a lot longer than it was but that’s probably because Taylor was involved and I still don’t get it. They were just trading moves for a bit here until Taylor got pinned after something from Ford. It never got my attention and it got worse as it continued so this wasn’t exactly my favorite thing.
Dan Soder picks Moxley.
Ortiz picks Hager.
We look at Cody defeating Shawn Spears last week, plus Spears defeating Billy last night on Dark.
Shawn Spears vs. Justin Law
Spears doesn’t seem to think much of Law and slowly chops away. Some trash talking lets Law roll him up for two, sending Spears into a rage. The beating is on in the corner, including a heck of a clothesline. The running C4 gives Spears the pin at 2:23.
Josh Thomson (Bellator fighter) picks Hager.
Santana picks Hager.
AEW World Title: Jake Hager vs. Jon Moxley
Hager is challenging, no holds barred, and Jim Ross is on commentary. They go for the grappling to start and Moxley takes it to the mat to go after the arm. That doesn’t work so Moxley pulls him back down by the leg as the grappling continues. Moxley elbows away in the corner and starts cranking on the arm. Hager fights his way out of that without much trouble but gets sent outside.
That earns him a dive from Moxley and the cross armbreaker goes on again. Hager breaks that up with some shots to the head though and we take a break. Back with the two of them fighting into the empty stands and Hager knocking him around. They stagger in front of more empty seats and Moxley is sent into a barricade. He is also dropped onto a barricade, just to make sure he knows it a little better. Hager chokes with a knee and throws him back to ringside.
Moxley’s running knee takes Hager down back inside and it’s time for the big slugout. A gutwrench powerbomb gives Hager two more and we take a break. Back again with Hager hitting a running clothesline in the corner and pausing for a breather. Moxley hits another clothesline though and they both struggle to get back up. Hager gets to the middle rope but dives into the Paradigm Shift.
The cover takes a good while though and the head and arm triangle choke goes on, sending Moxley to the rope. That shouldn’t be a break but that has never stopped them before. Hager wedges a chair in the corner and Moxley misses a charge into it, giving Hager two. We take another break and come back again with Moxley getting caught in the ankle lock. That’s reversed with a roll through the ropes and Moxley grabs a guillotine choke. Hager escapes that as well and they slug it out until Hager kicks him low. Moxley is right back with the chair to the face though and the Paradigm Shift onto the chair finishes Hager at 30:53.
Rating: B+. This was a heck of a fight and I got into the chance that they might actually change the title in the end. You can tell that Moxley has a great time with this kind of match and that it’s much better suited to what he wants to do in wrestling. This could have easily been a pay per view match on a show with a major main event to come on after and that’s what it should have been. Moxley is going to hold the title for a good while and it’s going to be a big deal when he loses it, which is a nice feeling to have.
Overall Rating: A-. It’s quite a show when you have one match eat up about a fourth of the show and have it be rather good. The rest of the show was hit and miss but they made the main event feel like something must see and gave us a heck of a match. I liked the show rather well and it felt like In Your House as a TV show. That’s a formula that can work and it did so here.
Lance Archer b. Colt Cabana – Blackout
Britt Baker b. Cassandra Golden – Kick to the back of the head
Sammy Guevara b. Suge D. – Burning GTS
Kip Sabian b. Chuck Taylor – Rollup
Shawn Spears b. Justin Law – C4
Jon Moxley b. Jake Hager – Paradigm Shift onto a chair
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