Date: March 3, 2021
Location: Daily’s Place, Jacksonville, Florida
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Jim Ross, Excalibur
It’s an extra big night around here as it’s time for the Shaquille O’Neal match. That could go in a variety of directions but the quality of the match means absolutely nothing. The idea here is that the match needs to be anything resembling passable and everything will be fine. I’m not sure what else is on the card and I don’t think it really matters. Let’s get to it.
Quick recap of the mixed tag, still without a reason for the whole thing to start.
Cody Rhodes/Red Velvet vs. Shaquille O’Neal/Jade Cargill
Cargill has never wrestled before and O’Neal has only been in a battle royal. Cody and Shaq start and O’Neal just dwarfs him. A wristlock is shoved away and Cody takes him into a corner for some chops. That’s broken up and Shaq hits his own chop, which has Cody down on his knee. Another chop has Cody rocked and it’s off to the women, with Jade throwing her into the corner.
Velvet fires off some kicks, one of which seemed to miss and had to be covered with a camera cut. Cargill throws her down again and mocks the stirring the pot deal, but Velvet hits a high crossbody. That’s countered into a fall away slam for two, with Cody running over to knee Shaq off the apron. Billy Gunn’s kids and QT Marshall try to interfere but get beaten down by Shaq.
Velvet moonsaults down onto Arn Anderson, Cody and Jade, none of whom seemed to be expecting her. Back in and Cargill puts on the figure four (making sure to throw in a mocking wave) with Velvet breaking that up in a hurry. It’s table time, with everyone seemingly confused by Jade pulling one out. Velvet breaks that up and throws Cargill back inside before setting up her own table next to it. An enziguri rocks Jade again so it’s back to the men, with Shaq wanting a test of strength.
Cody’s kick to the leg doesn’t do much good as Shaq grabs a powerbomb for two. Back up and Cody hits a slam, which isn’t treated as quite the big idea. It’s back to the women to slug it out and Cargill manages a spinebuster (but doesn’t look at Arn) for two, drawing Cody in again. This time it’s a poke to Shaq’s eye and a running crossbody drives him through the tables. Cargill is stunned and walks into…..well commentary says a spear but the camera cut to the floor, making me wonder how bad it was. Jade hits a Glam Slam for the pin at 12:03.
Rating: B-. This could have been far, far worse and that’s all it needed to be. The best thing to say here is that they didn’t have any terrible botches and while there were a ton of camera cuts, they managed to hide all of the problems well enough. This was a perfectly fine celebrity match and the table spot/powerbomb both looked good. Cargill looks very green in the ring but she has the charisma and mannerisms down, which is a good sign for her future. All in all, not too bad here.
Post break, Shaq is loaded into an ambulance. Tony Schiavone goes to ask someone a question but Shaq has disappeared.
Rey Fenix/Pac vs. John Skyler/D3
Skyler gets kicked in the head a lot to start and D3 is kicked out to the floor. Pac nails the running flip dive and it’s a 450 to crush Skyler. The over the shoulder piledriver finishes Skyler at 1:08. Now THAT was a good looking squash.
Here is the Inner Circle for Chris Jericho/MJF’s press conference. We can’t hear the first question, but Jericho clarifies that it was about what the Tag Team Titles mean to the two of them. Jericho lost the World Title a year ago but then he has won seven Tag Team Titles in his career. He has teamed with Dwayne Johnson and Paul Wight, but none of them compare to MJF. Next up is Conrad Thompson (how in the world did it take him so long to get on this show) who asks if Sammy Guevara can be back in the team.
MJF and Jericho refuse to answer and throw Thompson out so we can get on to the next question. They don’t want to hear about Papa Buck either because he got blood on MJF’s custom suit. He doesn’t shop at Target (cue the TARGET chant) and if you thought what he did to Papa Buck was bad, wait until he gets skinny Matt and balding Nick on Sunday. Santana tells the Bucks to do better….and now Eric Bischoff is up to ask a question.
Bischoff asks if they know anything about Papa Buck’s condition and wants to know how smart it is to motivate the Young Bucks like that. Jericho tells him to shut up but here are the Young Bucks to interrupt. They talk about how great of a father they have and everything he taught them over the years. He did everything that MJF and Jericho’s fathers failed at, like building them a wrestling ring when he couldn’t send them to college. That’s the kind of work ethic that made the two of them and this company.
If not for them, MJF would be living at home and waiting for the Rosie O’Donnell Show to call and Jericho would be jerking the curtain at the Performance Center. Some superkicks put the Inner Circle down and Brandon Cutler comes out to help with the fight. Cue the Good Brothers with a table on the stage with Nick splashing Ortiz while Matt dives onto Santana on a table at ringside. Some of the verbal jabs were awesome (the Performance Center one made my mouth pop open) but the Bucks trying to be intimidating or serious is still really not their forte.
Video on the exploding barbed wire deathmatch, with various people talking about it, capped off by Atsushi Onita making a cameo to talk about how great it is. JR explains the idea and we see Kenny Omega hammering on the Moxley Extermination Chamber. Thankfully Excalibur does explain who Onita is after the video is over.
FTR/Tully Blanchard vs. Jurassic Express
JJ Dillon is here with FTR/Tully (all wearing old NWA title belts). A bit of shoving sets up a six way staredown before Jungle Boy comes in to dropkick FTR. Tully (in what looks like a bowler’s attire) teases coming in but thinks better of it, leaving Sax to get pulled into the Snare Trap. That’s broken up in a hurry so Boy grabs it on Cash on the floor. Cash taps but the distraction lets Dillon slip Dax the shoe (!) to knock Boy silly for two. Tully comes in and teases a dive but stops to strut instead.
We take a break and come back with Cash breaking up Boy’s hot tag attempt but a Vader Bomb hits raised boots. The hot tag brings in Luchasaurus to clean house on FTR so Tully comes in….and goes right back out. Marko gets tossed into Blanchard to knock him down but FTR kicks Luchasaurus down. Luchasaurus suplexes both of them at once and Boy hurricanranas Dax into a powerslam from Luchasaurus.
A heck of a tornado DDT takes Luchasaurus down on the floor and it’s a PowerPlex for two on Boy. Cash hits a German suplex for the same but it’s Tully with the slingshot suplex to Stunt. Luchasaurus Tail Whips Tully down and Boy loads up a dive but a masked man in a hoodie breaks it up. Whoever it is nails Luchasaurus with something and the spike piledriver is enough for Tully to get the pin at 11:24.
Rating: B-. This could have been a heck of a lot worse and Tully still knows how to play to a crowd like the old school master that he is. Seeing the slingshot suplex was great too and while they had a few too many things going on here, it was nice to have a bit of a Horsemen reunion without going too far with it. Nice enough here and seeing Stunt get beaten up is always fun.
Post match….it’s Shawn Spears under the mask. Everyone poses together and here’s Arn Anderson to give them the Horsemen sign, with Dillon and Tully returning it.
Schiavone brings out Paul Wight for his official Dynamite debut. Wight says raise your hand if you saw this coming. He’s glad to be here and is glad to come back to TNT after all this time. Wight puts over Elevation and talks about how much he’s ready to watch some amazing talent. With an arm on Schiavone’s shoulders, Wight promises that AEW is signing a Hall of Fame worthy talent this Sunday. Tune in to find out who it is.
Women’s Eliminator Tournament Final: Nyla Rose vs. Ryo Mizunami
Vickie Guerrero is here with Nyla and the winner gets Hikaru Shida, also at ringside, for the title at Revolution. Rose drives her into the ropes to start but gets forearmed in the head. Some more forearms rock Rose, who is back with a hard shoulder to take her down. A backdrop breaks up the Beast Bomb and it’s time for some pantomime, followed by a running elbow getting two on Rose.
Rose is back with a running flip dive for her own two and a powerslam is good for the same. Back from a break with Mizunami avoiding a Swanton which would have barely grazed her if she hadn’t moved an inch. A running shoulder to the ribs knocks Rose off the apron and the guillotine legdrop on the apron crushes her again. Rose dives back in at nine so Mizunami hits a quick middle rope legdrop.
Back up and Rose forearms her in the head and nails a Death Valley Driver for two. Mizunami gets draped over the top rope and a knee to the head gets two more. An exploder suplex gives Mizunami two but Rose catches her on top with a superplex. It’s Mizunami up first with a spear and the guillotine legdrop finishes Rose at 12:48.
Rating: B-. Not a bad power match with Mizunami getting the win, thereby giving us one thing that we know about her. The tournament was quite the way to set up a #1 contender for a champion who has held the title WAY too long, but I’ll take someone new over Riho or Rose again. Now just change the title already, as it is long overdue.
Post match Shida comes in for a handshake but they wind up slugging it out, with Shida getting the better of things.
Tony Schiavone brings out Sting for a chat. Sting talks about how the powerbomb from Brian Cage didn’t tickle but it shook the rust off. Now he’s ready for a street fight but here’s Ricky Starks to interrupt. Starks respects him and then slaps him, meaning it’s time for Sting to hammer away. The Stinger Splash into the Scorpion Deathlock is on but here are Hook and Powerhouse Hobbs to jump Sting.
That’s broken up but Brian Cage comes down and loads up another powerbomb, only to have Darby Allin make the save (why Cage stopped to load up the powerbomb when Allin’s music hit isn’t clear). House is cleaned (with Cage making sure to look over his shoulder for the Stinger Splash) with Sting and Allin standing tall.
Face Of The Revolution Qualifying Match: 10 vs. Max Caster
Scorpio Sky is on commentary and Caster raps his way to the ring. 10 grabs a headlock to start and hits a crossbody for two. The right hands in the corner set up a running clothesline to the floor but Caster manages to post him for a breather. We take a break and come back with 10 hammering away, including a spinebuster. The slingshot spear gives 10 two more but Caster is back with a quick brainbuster. A top rope elbow misses for Caster but here’s Jack Evans with a boom box to the head to give Caster the pin at 8:47.
Rating: C-. This wasn’t exactly thrilling stuff as it felt like a quick way to get someone into the ladder match. The Acclaimed haven’t done much for me but maybe having Caster in there can be his big breakout moment. I’m not sure who is going to win the thing but at least there are some interesting options.
Post match here’s Matt Hardy to give Evans $4,200 for taking out part of the Dark Order.
Miro says Chuck Taylor has made him do this and on Sunday, it’s GAME OVER.
We run down the Revolution card.
Matt Hardy/Marq Quen vs. John Silver/Hangman Page
Page thinks we need to go to Adampagewrestling.com, which takes you to two hours of relaxing guitar music and shots of horses. Silver headlocks Matt to start but it’s quickly off to Page, who sends Hardy running. We take a break and come back with Hardy getting two on Silver and grabbing a chinlock. That’s broken up and Page gets the hot tag, sending Hardy bailing to the floor.
This time Page gets his hands on him so Hardy uses Quen as the sacrificial lamb. Back in and Quen dropkicks Page’s knee out, allowing Matt to come in with a neckbreaker. Page isn’t having that and brings Silver back in to clean house in a hurry. A spear sets up Page’s Buckshot Lariat to finish Quen at 11:03.
Rating: C. Well that happened. It’s pretty weird for AEW to have such a lame main event as this felt like it should have been somewhere in the middle of the show. It wasn’t a bad match or anything but it’s the kind of match that really didn’t feel like it belonged in the main event slot. Matt Hardy continues to be one of those guys that makes me sigh when he is in a match. I know whey he is on TV so much but that doesn’t make it much better.
Post match Hardy jumps Page with the microphone and promises to win. Cue the Dark Order, plus all of the other teams in the battle royal. Death Triangle comes out to join the fray to end the show.
Overall Rating: B. This is a show where the total absolutely does not equal the sum of its parts. The first hour or so of this was one of the most energized things I’ve seen in wrestling in a long time as it just felt important. Starting with the Shaq match was an interesting way to go and following it up with the hot squash kept my attention. I liked this show quite a bit and while the second hour wasn’t as strong, it certainly wasn’t terrible. Very good show here with some especially great energy.
Jade Cargill/Shaquille O’Neal b. Cody Rhodes/Red Velvet – Glam Slam to Velvet
Rey Fenix/Pac b. D3/John Skyler – Over the shoulder piledriver to Skyler
FTR/Tully Blanchard b. Jurassic Express – Spike piledriver to Luchasaurus
Ryo Mizunami b. Nyla Rose – Guillotine legdrop
Max Caster b. 10 – Boom box to the head
Hangman Page/John Silver b. Matt Hardy/Marq Quen – Buckshot lariat to Quen
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