Date: April 22, 2020
Location: Undisclosed Location
Commentators: Chris Jericho, Tony Schiavone
We’re still on the road to what was supposed to be Double Or Nothing from Las Vegas but it could be interesting to see what they might have to do instead. I’m not sure how things are going to go around here but I liked last week’s show well enough. That doesn’t always mean something going forward though and now we’ll have to see where this goes from here. Let’s get to it.
Cody, looking at a bunch of monitors, talks about everyone else in the tournament. He needs to see if he can rise above the midcard and show everything he can do. But can he get by everyone else?
Tony and Chris run down the card.
Sammy Guevara talks about how he has it all and tonight he’s taking a step closer to bringing a title back to the Inner Circle. Why should he be scared of Darby Allin when Darby won’t even show his face?
Darby Allin talks about how Sammy is more of a sinner than he knows and Darby stands on his own two feet. Tonight, he’s killing Sammy’s dream.
TNT Title Tournament First Round: Sammy Guevara vs. Darby Allin
Sammy jumps him on the floor before the bell before bridging a ladder between the barricade and the apron. Darby is laid over the ladder and a top rope splash crushes him to leave both guys on the floor. Back from a break with Sammy throwing him inside and demanding that the bell ring. Sammy loads up a superplex but Darby breaks it up and unhooks Sammy’s boot of all things. An ankle lock from the top sends Sammy bailing so he used the booed foot for an enziguri.
A springboard cutter gives Sammy two but Allin pulls him back into an ankle lock. That’s broken up with right hands to the face and a big shot to the already busted nose drops Allin again. We take another break and come back with Sammy avoiding a suicide dive to send Allin hard into the barricade. A 630 gives Sammy two but Allin is right back with the flipping Stunner. Darby’s springboard is countered into the Burning GTS but Allin flips out and grabs the Last Supper for the pin at 9:50.
Rating: C+. They were flying around the ring rather nicely and Allin making another comeback win is a good idea for him. I’m not sure what the point was in having Sammy wrestling with a handicap but it was certainly unique enough. Allin advancing is a good sign though and I could go for him vs. Lance Archer at some point in this tournament.
Broken Matt Hardy talks about how the Inner Circle needs to come face him at the Hardy Compound. We hear from the Matt Hardy vessel, who has been friends with or respects the heck out the Elite for years. Jericho is scared to see the pillars of AEW knocked out because they allow him to profit off of everything. Matt is ready to beat up everyone in the Inner Circle until he gets to Jericho.
Taz breaks down some of Kenny Omega’s offense. This is the kind of thing you don’t get very often in wrestling and it’s one of the things that can make AEW feel like a more realistic sports presentation. If nothing else, having someone like Taz, who can talk and knows wrestling quite well, makes it even better. Good idea here and do it again.
Kenny Omega vs. Alan Angels
Jericho cheering for Omega being from Winnipeg and then calling him a pumpkin head is something that only he could get away with. We actually hear about Deep South Wrestling as Angels gets out of the Snapdragon so Kenny chops him instead. Omega stops a splash with raised knees and hits a backbreaker as Jericho brags about being undefeated against Omega in his career.
Angels gets caught in the ring skirt but uses it to knock Omega backwards, setting up a springboard dropkick for two. A spinning kick to the head drops Omega as Jericho tries to figure out what Angels’ tights says, thinking it might be ankles or Engalls. The Snapdragon into the V Trigger gets two, followed by another V Trigger to finish Angels at 6:19.
Rating: C. Angels got a lot in here and that’s something you wouldn’t have expected. Jericho continues to be hilarious with a never ending run of references and jokes, all of which work because it’s Chris Jericho saying them. This was a fine use of time and Omega let him have some shine in there.
We get a video on Scorpio Sky, talking about how much he has always wanted to be a wrestler. He has always wanted to do this more than breathing but back in 2008 he hurt his back. The options were either to have surgery or live with the pain and never wrestle again. Then one day he was fine out of nowhere and he doesn’t know what happened. Then he got back in the ring and gave wrestling one more shot, without knowing if it could work. In 2017, SCU was formed and we’ll pick it up there next time. Good stuff here as Sky is a likable guy.
Dustin Rhodes has announced that he will retire if he doesn’t beat Kip Sabian in the tournament.
Jimmy Havoc vs. Orange Cassidy
Cassidy, from wherever, weighing whatever and with the Best Friends, is too laissez faire for Le Champion. Havoc jumps him from behind to start and chokes Cassidy with his own jacket. Said jacket is thrown over the barricade and Penelope Ford stomps on it. Cassidy loses his shirt too and Havoc sends him into the barricade. Jericho gets in the easiest joke ever, saying that Orange Cassidy is being beaten to a pulp. A chop against the post makes it worse and there’s a poke to the eye, allowing Jericho to make Three Stooges noises.
Back in and Havoc puts Cassidy’s hands in his pockets, which seems to power him up. Cassidy picks up the pace with a dropkick to the floor and a suicide dive, followed by a tornado DDT. The lazy splash gets two more and a Superman punch puts Havoc down again. Ford gets on the apron for a distraction, so Chuck Taylor pulls her down….into the splits of course. Kip Sabian dives onto the Best Friends but Ford misses her hurricanrana to Cassidy. A crucifix pins Havoc at 9:06.
Rating: C. Remember when Cassidy did this same thing against Pac? Well here it is against Jimmy Havoc. I know it might be hard to believe that Cassidy could do the same things over and over without changing anything, but that was the case here. Other than that, the match was fine enough and probably sets up a tag match for later.
We go to MJF’s house where he talks about how horrible it has been for him to not be in the ring. The truth is that he has suffered a horrible injury in the form of a hangnail. However, he promises to his loyal MJFF’s (MJF Fans) that he will be back and become the World Champion, because he’s better than you.
Wardlow vs. Lee Johnson
Wardlow starts fast with a gorilla press powerslam and a release overhead suplex. Johnson slips out of another suplex and forearms away to as much success as you can imagine. A release F5 finishes Johnson at 2:39.
A man sits in the dark as a woman calls to say this isn’t working out. As this goes on, he looks at a website talking about a Heisman Trophy hopeful hurting his knee. With the call over, he goes to the Dark Order’s website and joins, because he needs a new start.
We go to Brodie Lee, who is talking to presumably the person who sent the message. Lee says Uno has told him a lot about the guy. The unseen guy says he is 6’2 and 240lbs and Lee wants to offer him success. The Dark Order are the lions of AEW and they feed on the prey. The man is now part of the team.
Justin Law vs. Brodie Lee
Lee starts fast with the release suplex and this a running elbow in the corner. The discus lariat finishes 1:57. Total and complete squash.
The Best Friends don’t like Sabian and Havoc so the tag match is set.
It’s time for more of the Bubbly Bunch with Sammy saying he’s sad and Jake Hager promising to end Jon Moxley the next change he gets. Jericho doesn’t want to hear about people being sad because they can dance. They can do the Flim Flam! Jericho says whoever does the best Flim Flam gets a bottle of hand sanitizer. Sammy: “Hand sanitizer???? That’s all you had to say Chris!” And then they all dance. Sammy adds a bunch of flips and an annoyed Jericho hangs upon him because Sammy had to show off. Jericho: “ENJOY YOUR HAND SANITIZER!” I’m far too old to have any idea what this means.
Video on Jon Moxley.
Kip Sabian is ready to win because he has an ace in the hole with Ford.
TNT Title Tournament First Round: Kip Sabian vs. Dustin Rhodes
Rhodes will retire if he loses and Penelope Ford/Brandi Rhodes are the seconds. Feeling out process to start with Dustin working on a wristlock but getting taken down for a kick to the head. Sabian takes him into the corner and we go to a break. Back with Sabian avoiding a charge in the corner to band up Dustin’s knee and we hit the leglock.
Some stomps to the leg stay on the knee and then it’s off to an armbar. Back up and Dustin grabs a spinebuster for the double knockdown. An atomic drop sets up the snap powerslam for two but Sabian grabs a tornado DDT. The women get in a fight on the floor though and Brandi comes in to spear Ford. The distraction lets Dustin hit a Canadian Destroyer for the pin at 13:12.
Rating: C. The drama wasn’t exactly high here as there was only so much of a reason to believe that Sabian was going to beat Rhodes in the first round. That would have been a better story for next week against Archer next week, but at least they tried to do something here. A mixed tag would make sense, but at the moment it’s the Best Friends getting Sabian’s attention because they have to do something.
Overall Rating: C+. This show was ok at best without much to get interested in. They focused on the tournament more than anything else, but you can only get so much out of the early rounds when the matches aren’t exactly great. The lack of a crowd is really starting to become an issue here as AEW crowds offering all that energy is a major calling card around here. It was a watchable show, but the lack of energy was notable.
Darby Allin b. Sammy Guevara – Last Supper
Kenny Omega b. Alan Angels – V Trigger
Orange Cassidy b. Jimmy Havoc – Crucifix
Wardlow b. Lee Johnson – Release F5
Brodie Lee b. Justin Law – Discus lariat
Dustin Rhodes b. Kip Sabian – Canadian Destroyer
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