The SmarK Rant for AEW Revolution – 03.07.21

The SmarK Rant for AEW Revolution – 03.07.21

Live from Jacksonville, FL

Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Jim Ross & Excalibur

AEW World tag team title:  The Young Bucks v. Chris Jericho & MJF

Nick charges in and pounds on Jericho to start and it turns into a brawl on the floor, which is won by the Inner Circle.  But the Bucks regroup with stereo dives and slingshot back in with stereo Sharpshooters, and the heels make the ropes.  The Bucks double-team Jericho and dropkick MJF off the apron, but he hangs onto Nick’s foot from the floor and Jericho hits him with the springboard dropkick to take over.  Back in, they hit Nick with a double flapjack and give us a Bucks pose.  It’s uncanny!  Matt comes in, however, and runs wild on MJF with a DDT, but Wardlow pulls him to the floor and Jericho adds a suplex out there.  Back in, Jericho with a suplex and then the Circle adds a double delayed suplex, complete with middle fingers, for two.  MJF with the chinlock and Matt fights out of that, so MJF cuts off the ring with a facelock.  Matt escapes with a DDT and makes the hot tag to Nick, and he hits everyone with some thigh-slapping kick action and slingshots in for a facejam on MJF and a Canadian Destroyer for two.  Bucks double-team MJF in the corner, which has Tony pretty happy, and a double powerbomb gets two.  Matt pounds on Jericho, but it’s reversed to an attempt at the Walls, so Matt cradles for two.  They set up for the Meltzer Driver, but Jericho reverses Matt into his own tombstone and then catches Nick in the Walls.  Matt tags in to save, but Jericho takes HIM down and puts him in the Walls as well!  Matt fights out of it, but MJF blind tags and gets a backslide for two.  Powerbomb gets two.  Max offers a crotch chop but does it too many times and the Bucks almost catch him with the Meltzer, but MJF rolls up Matt for two instead.  The ref gets distracted and Wardlow nails Matt with Floyd the Bat, and MJF hits the Heatseeker for two.  The Circle tries to double-team Matt, but Nick tags in and we get stereo crossbodies, which gets two for Nick.  Jericho goes for the Judas Effect, but hits Wardlow by mistake and Nick rolls him up for two.  Lionsault misses and the BTE Trigger gets two, as MJF saves.  SUPERKICK PARTY for MJF counters the diamond ring, and Jericho also attends the party.  This sets up the Meltzer Driver, and that finishes Jericho at 17:50 to retain.  Hell of an opener as Jericho came to work tonight.  ****

Casino tag team battle royale:

We start with the Natural Nightmares against 5 & 10 and everyone slugs it out.  You know what’s great about this company?  They put the timer RIGHT ON THE SCREEN so they can’t screw around with the intervals.  I appreciate that, but they’re gonna be rushing to hit their marks I bet.  Dark Order double-teams QT with a lungblower into a moonsault from 5, but Dustin bulldogs them both and tries to throw 5 out.  Santana & Ortiz are next and they hit QT with a double-team neckbreaker right away, but Dark Order double-teams Ortiz.  QT catches 5 with a Cutter from behind and tosses him at 2:45, but 10 nearly throws QT out in response.  The Sydals are #4 at 3:10 and they go flying all over on the way in and double-team 10 with kicks and a double-team STO while Dustin tries to stomp 10 off the apron.  Stu Grayon & Evil Uno are #5 at 4:40 and they whomp on the Sydals, as Mike is tossed at 5:15 by Santana and Ortiz.  Dark Order triple-teams Ortiz, but Santana saves with boots.  The Gunn Club is #6 at 6:10 (Colton and Austin, not Billy) and they run wild with some nice stuff as Santana boots Matt Sydal out at 7:05 to eliminate that team.  Peter Avalon & Cesar Bononi are #7 at 7:40 and I’m sure everyone is terrified of that.  We get a pile-up in the corners and The Varsity Blondes are #8 at 9:10.  Austin Gunn hits Avalon with a fameasser and throws him out at 9:45, and then hits one on Cesar and tries to put him out, but QT dumps both Gunns at 10:17.  Dustin gets in his face about that, so QT walks out of the match at 10:33 and spits on Dustin on the way out.  And I was just wondering when they would follow up on his heelish tease!  Bear Country are #9 at 10:40 and they powerbomb everyone and toss Stu at 11:47.  Jurassic Express are #10 at 12:10 and the crowd is singing their song, but Dark Order traps Luchasaurus in the corner.  Jungle Boy clotheslines Ortiz out at 12:55 and Luchasaurus clotheslines Bononi out at 13:15 and then throws out Griff at 13:18.  JB takes Santana out with a rana at 13:32.  Marko Stunt runs in and takes out Uno at 13:46.  The Butcher and the Blade are #11 at 14:00 as Jack Evans pulls 10 out at 14:20 after apparently hiding under the ring for the whole match.  Dustin gets sent to the apron and fights off B&B, but Bunny pulls him out at 15:01.  Private Party is #12 at 15:10 and they go after Jungle Boy in the corner as it slows down a bit for the first time in a while.  SCU is #13 at 16:40 and they hit Kassidy with a double powerbomb and double-team Luchasaurus, but he hits them with a double chokeslam attempt and Bear Country throws out the dinosaur at 17:40.  And then the Butcher puts out the Bears at 17:50.  Rey Fenix & Pac are #14 at 18:10 and they just kick the shit out of everyone and toss Blade and Quen at 18:40 at the same time, and then Daniels hits Fenix with an STO and tries to get him out.  Silver & Reynolds are #16 at 19:50 as the last team in and Silver runs wild, setting up Reynolds hitting a piledriver on JB, onto the stomach of Daniels!  They toss Kassidy at 20:44 to eliminate Private Party, and Butcher charges and gets backdropped out by SCU at 21:00.

Final Four Teams:  We’ve got Death Triangle, SCU, Dark Order and Jungle Boy on his own.  Fenix takes Daniels out with a headscissors at 21:40, and JB backdrops Reynolds off the apron at 22:05 to put him out.  Pac backdrops Kaz out with mustard at 22:20, leaving…

Final Four:  John Silver, Jungle Boy, Pac & Rey Fenix.  Silver slugs it out with Pac from the apron and gets kicked off, but he hangs on to the ropes and pulls himself back in.  Jungle Boy backdrops Fenix out, but he hangs on as well and pulls himself back in for a kick to JB’s head.  Silver and Pac slug it out and I didn’t even know I needed this match in my life until now.  Pac gets a german suplex and throws him to the apron, and Fenix follows with the ropewalk kick and puts Silver out at 24:40 to end the dream.  So that leaves Jungle Boy alone with the Death Triangle and he evades Pac and sends him out at 25:18.  Fenix and JB trade chops and Jungle Boy slides out to the floor, so Fenix DESTROYS him with a dive through the ropes and flies into the front row in the process.  Back in, Jungle catches him with a superkick and the poison rana, but can’t throw him out and Fenix rebounds him with a clothesline to win at 26:54.  HOT DAMN this was a great finish to a great Rumble style match.  Just non-stop action start to finish, no dead zones and a tremendous ending.  Might not be for everyone given the midcarder-ific nature of the match, though.  ****  Also, I suspect that Young Bucks v. Death Triangle MIGHT be a pretty good match.

Meanwhile, Dasha tries to get some info out of Paul Wight, but he’s only here to plug AEW Dark Elevation.

AEW Women’s title:  Hikaru Shida v. Ryo Mizunami

Ryo beats on Shida in the corner with chops, but Shida returns fire, so Ryo fires up one more time and finishes it.  She does a mime routine for some reason and Shida hits her with a rana and follows with a running knee into the corner, and they head to the floor where Ryo dumps her into the crowd to counter the chair dive.  Back in, Shida tries for the leg, but Mizunami counters with a fameasser for two and goes to a facelock.  Shida fights out and hits knees out of the corner, and goes up with a missile dropkick for two.  Ryo clotheslines her to the ramp and they fight to the top rope, but Shida takes her down to the stage and drops her with a Deadeye out there.  Suplex back into the ring gets two.  Shida slugs her down and they trade shots, but Ryo puts her down with a clothesline and gets a death valley driver for two.  Shida rolls her up into a knee strike, but Ryo no-sells it and hits a lariat, and Shida pops up with a knee strike and they’re both down.  So they both throw elbows in a joyous exchange of violence and Mizunami gets a uranage off that, and spears her to set up the top rope legdrop.  It only gets two, however.  They trade more shots and Shida comes back with an enzuigiri and german suplex, but Ryo rolls through and clubs Shida down again.  Shida comes back with a Michinoku Driver, but Ryo blocks the knee strike, so she hits one to the back of the head instead, and the Falcon Arrow gets two.  Another running knee is countered with a lariat from Mizunami, but Shida hits a high knee and then POKES THE EYES for two.  Ha!  Knee strike follows, but Ryo counters for two, and Shida kicks her down for two.  She tries a suplex and Mizunami counters and kind of falls back on her, and Shida hits a knee strike for two and then finishes with a spinkick at 15:10 to retain.  Kind of a weak finish but I think Ryo might have been knocked loopy at the end there and it kind of fell apart.  It was mostly great up until then, though, although they seemed to lose the flow a few times.  ***1/4  And then Nyla Rose and Britt Baker come out for a beatdown on both women and Thunder Rosa makes the save.

Miro & Kip Sabian v. Orange Cassidy & Chuck Taylor

Miro runs Chuck into a window backstage and then hauls him out the ring without Orange, so this probably won’t go well for the babyfaces.  Miro beats on Chuck and offers to make the pain stop if he says the word, but Chuck wants to work the match by himself.  So Miro beats him with punches and Sabian adds a springboard dropkick as they choke him out in the corner.  Miro boots him in the face and Sabian dropkicks him in the corner, but Chuck fights back with a knee on Sabian.  Sadly, he has no one to tag because Orange was injured as well and is currently selling on the ramp.  But Miro goes after him and Orange reveals his subterfuge and hits Miro with the Orange Punch, then makes the hot tag and dives onto Sabian outside.  Back in, the diving DDT gets two.  Sabian comes back with a gutbuster and a knee strike for two.  Sabian with a fisherman’s buster for two.  Chuck makes the blind tag and they hit Sabian with a version of Strong Zero and Chuck follows with a piledriver for two.  Penelope takes the ref while Orange does the kicks on Miro, but he somehow fights them off.  Orange hits him with the punch, but gets distracted by Penelope, and Miro shoves Orange into her and then kicks Orange’s head off and slams him.  But Sabian is the legal man, so Miro throws him in and then tags himself in again.  Chuck gets a rollup for two, but the Game Over finishes for Miro at 7:54.  Not much to this one, really, but the heat was great.  **1/2  Also I would like to thank my Best Man for not hurling me into my bride on my wedding day.  I feel like that will probably signal the end of Miro’s relationship with Sabian soon.

Meanwhile, The Inner Circle denies failing tonight and Jericho announces there’s gonna be CHANGES to the faction on Dynamite.  MJF agrees that one change in particular can make the group a whole lot better.   I think we can all see where THAT one is going.

Big Money Match:  Matt Hardy v. Hangman Page

The crowd actually chants for Big Money Matt in something of a surprise, but Page beats him down in the corner and hits him with a backdrop suplex.  He goes for the Buckshot right away, but Matt bails to the floor to escape and Page takes him into the crowd and drops him on a railing and then follows with a double axehandle off a staircase.  Back in, Matt runs away again and suckers Page into punching the post, and he works on the hand outside and kicks it into the stairs. Back in, Matt continues working the hand, but Page fights back with forearms and counters the Side Effect into a sloppy rollup for two.  Death valley driver gets two.  They slug it out on the apron and Hangman misses a dive, allowing Matt to hit the Twist of Fate on the floor.  That gets a 9 count and Page beats the count, so Matt chokes him out on the ropes.  Page tries to go up and Matt pulls him down with a german suplex for two.  They slug it out and Page tosses him and follows with the moonsault, and back in for a crossbody that gets two.  Page with the sliding lariat, but Matt gets a neckbreaker for two and a powerbomb for two.  Matt with the Twist of Fate, but Page reverses to the Deadeye and Private Party takes the ref.  Page chases them off while Matt recovers and he tries the Buckshot, but Matt counters into a Side Effect and then a Twist of Fate for two.  But this brings out the Dark Order and they clean house, help Hangman stay in the ring after getting tossed, and the Buckshot Lariat finishes at 14:55.   And having vanquished the heel, Page hugs it out with the Dark Order and they share a beer for the feel good ending.  Nothing spectacular but a solid effort from both and the finish was GREAT.  ***

Face of the Revolution Ladder match:  Cody Rhodes v. Scorpio Sky v. Penta el Zero v. Max Caster v. Lance Archer v. Ethan Page

Page is a good get for AEW, although between Ethan and Hangman and DDP there’s too many Pages.  Unless they team up and AEW signs Paige to manage them and licenses “Turn the Page” as their theme song.  Anyway, there’s literally a brass ring hanging above the ring, which about as on the nose as you can get.  Everyone brawls to start and Archer uses a ladder to clean house, but Penta takes him down with a sling blade.  Penta grabs the ladder and Sky hits him with a german suplex while he’s still holding the ladder and that’s pretty crazy.  Caster calls for Jack Evans to deliver his boombox, but Preston Vance runs interference and takes him out.  Meanwhile Ethan climbs for the ring, but Cody stops him.  They team up to take out Archer and Cody offers a handshake, but Page turns on him and they all end up on the floor.  Penta sets up the ladder and dives onto everyone outside, but Archer also goes for the ladder and Ethan comes in with a cutter onto the ladder.  Scorpio comes at Page and tries a TKO, but Page reverses to a Splash Mountain and drops Sky onto the ladder, squashing Archer in the process.  And people thought CHRISTIAN was going to be the mystery guy and do this crazy shit?  Penta and Cody set up a ladder bridge outside and Penta hits him with a destroyer on that.  Jesus.  Back in, Caster tries for the brass ring, but Sky yanks him down by the feet while the crew tries to get Cody back to the dressing room.  Sky and Caster both get ladders set up and they slug it out on top, and then we get Archer and Page up there as well, but Sky fights them all off.  Penta makes the save and hits Sky with a superkick, but they head up the ladder and Sky brings him down with a slam of some kind.  That didn’t go well.  Caster and Page slug it out on top and Caster brings him down with a powerbomb.  Sky slams Caster onto a ladder and follows with a frog splash onto the ladder, but then Archer catapults Sky onto the ladder after it’s set up.  Sky immediately pops up the ladder and grabs the ring, but Archer yanks him down and throws him out and through a ladder bridge to get rid of him.  Penta and Page slug it out on the ladder, but Cody makes his way back into the ring and whips everyone with his weight belt before hitting Page with the Crossroads.  Cody climbs a ladder in the corner, but Caster takes him down with a superplex and drops an elbow on him.  He climbs again and slugs it out with Penta again, but Archer shoves them over and then chokeslams everyone.  He adds a Blackout on the ladder for Caster and makes the climb, but Page stops him with a Razor’s Edge off the ladder.  But this brings Jake into the match and he hits Page with the short clothesline, only for Penta to take out Jake and climb again.  Cody brings him down with an ugly Cody cutter, but Penta hits him in the bad arm with a chair to bring him down.  And then Sky uses the chair to bring HIM down and Cody goes to the top with Sky and they fight for the ring.  Cody goes down right on the bad shoulder, and Scorpio claims the brass ring at 23:20.  Well his theme song does say “Reach for the sky”.  This went WAY long and felt pretty meandering most of the way through.  Just didn’t need the ladder match with everything else on the show.  **3/4  On the bright side, if anyone needs a hemorrhoid pillow, Scorpio has them covered.  I bet you all thought I’d go for the Sonic the Hedgehog jokes because I normally pick the low-hanging fruit, didn’t you?

Christian Cage turns out to be the big surprise signing, which is a letdown after all the hype.  That doesn’t feel like a payoff worth buying the PPV for.  I mean, good for Christian, but they don’t need another 47 year old ex-WWE guy.

Street Fight:  Sting & Darby Allin v. Brian Cage & Ricky Starks

They’re in an undisclosed location with a ring set up in an abandoned warehouse.  Maybe it’s the remains of the Aztec Temple after Lucha Underground went under?  The ring is surrounded by druids in Sting masks for extra ambiance, and Cage smashes everyone outside the ring and slams Darby into a railing.  In the ring, Sting hits Starks with clotheslines and the Stinger Splash, while Cage tries a powerbomb on Darby outside and then opts to smash his head into the wall and throw him through a door instead.  That was some great camera work, with Cage looking like a literal monster with the backlighting in the doorframe.  Meanwhile, Sting chases Starks around with the baseball bat, but Starks claims Sting is nothing without it, so Sting drops it and beats him down instead.  Back to Cage, as we get the amazing visual of Cage holding Darby in a vertical suplex and WALKING UP THE STAIRS before slamming him into a trashcan.  Sting makes the save and the faces double-team Cage, but Starks runs a barrel into Sting to take him out.  Sting and Darby team up with a chokeslam on Cage through a table after hitting him with a bottle.  Starks charges Darby and hits a pole, allowing Darby to come off the pole with a coffin drop onto some debris, but Will Hobbs and Hook run in and take him out.  Cage rises from the dead and takes out Sting and Team Taz all works Allin over, and then they throw him through a damn window pane.  But Sting makes the comeback and gets his bat back, then breaks it on Cage and switches to a shovel instead, which sets up Darby for a flying elbow off what appears to be the THIRD FLOOR, putting Cage through a stage.  Back in the ring, Sting misses the Stinger Splash on Starks, and Ricky spears him for two.  Sting hits him with a powerbomb, however, which gets two, and then finishes with the Death Drop at 13:50.  This was an amazing cinematic match, although it didn’t need the commentary over top of it and probably would have worked better without it.  But kudos to all involved and I’m glad the babyfaces finally went over in the end.  ****

And finally…

AEW World title, EXPLODING BARBED WIRE DEATH MATCH:  Kenny Omega v. Jon Moxley

As promised, the ring ropes are wrapped in barbed wire, with barbed wire tables in the corner, and the referee is dressed in what looks like a hazmat suit. Also I’m gonna have to get that commemorative EXPLODING BARBED WIRE DEATH MATCH shirt Kenny is wearing.

30 Minutes Until The Ring Blows Up:

We get some threatened barbed wire action to start and they trade chops, but Kenny grabs a headlock and Moxley takes him down with a suplex.  They both tease shots to the barbed wire and both guys stop themselves and back off again.  They slug it out and Omega comes off the one side of the ring he can bounce off and hits a boot, but Moxley clotheslines him out to the stage, where Mox finds some weapons as if barbed wire and explosives weren’t enough.  Kenny throws powder in the eyes and sends him into the barbed wire for our first EXPLOSION, and Moxley goes down from that.  That gets two.  Kenny gives him a crazy kneecrusher onto a trashcan, which is turned upside-down, and then Kenny hits the Kotaro Krusher onto the can for two as Mox is busted open.  Kenny with a figure-four, but Moxley grabs a handy barbed-wire-wrapped chair and rubs it on Kenny’s knee to break.  So Omega runs him into a barbed wire board in the corner and Moxley is kind of a mess.  Kenny CAREFULLY hits a moonsault, avoiding the explosive side, and that gets two.  But then Kenny gets cocky and Moxley runs him into the ropes to trigger another explosion.

20 Minutes Until The Ring Blows Up:

You know, gore porn aside, there’s a really interesting and neat psychology to the buildup and delivery of the spots in this match.  They fight in the corner and Kenny goes into the board this time, but Moxley escapes an attempt at the One Winged Angel and then drops him with a backbreaker onto the barbed wire chair.  Moxley wraps his arm in barbed wire and hits a lariat, but Kenny gets the snapdragons and Moxley pops up with the rebound lariat.  Of course, he doesn’t rebound off the barbed wire.  He tries to set up the Paradigm shift to finish, but Kenny drives him into the ropes to break, triggering another explosion and temporarily blinding Kenny.  They stagger to the apron and slug it out there, teasing the TRIPLE HELL LAND MINE spot, but Moxley blocks a hiptoss out there and takes him off the apron with a PARADIGM SHIFT through the TRIPLE HELL LAND MINE TABLE for another explosion and a bunch of barbed wire.  Again, it’s the illusion and buildup to the carnage rather than actually delivering “real” explosions that sells the match.  It’s smoke and mirrors in its purest form and it’s fascinating to watch.  Speaking of which…

10 Minutes Until The Ring Blows Up:

Back in the ring, Moxley pulls barbed wire off the Triple Hell boards and beats on Kenny, and we get dramatic countdown music in the background while everyone freaks out.  Moxley with a piledriver for two as there’s this ominous pulse in the background now to ramp up the tension.  Kenny with a powerbomb for two as they’re both desperately trying to finish the match and not get blown up.  Literally.  Kenny hits a pair of V-Triggers in the corner and follows with the One Winged Angel, but Moxley puts his leg on the ropes and TRIGGERS AN EXPLOSION to get out of the cover.  That is next level.  So technically no one has still kicked out.  Moxley grabs a bat and makes a comeback, but Those Two Yayhoos From Impact hit the ring and run interference, allowing Omega to unleash an EXPLODING BARBED WIRE BASEBALL BAT.  For two.  Another One Winged Angel onto a chair this time, and that finishes at 25:11 to end it before everyone dies in a fiery explosion of barbed wire.  ****1/2 So the Bullet Club proceeds with the beatdown on Moxley and brutalize him with various barbed wire implements, leaving him for dead as the final countdown hits.  So Eddie Kingston runs in and covers up Moxley to protect him from the final horrifying explosion…but the only “bomb” is the payoff here, as the final pyro is on par with Gillberg’s sparklers as the announcers have to put over the “explosions” that never came.  And then poor Eddie has to lay there selling an “explosion” on par with Kane’s entrance pyro and everyone acts like they’re lucky to be alive.  I can’t retroactively drop the match rating because it was still awesome before that post-match nonsense, but HOW DO YOU NOT TEST THAT SHIT?  That’s like WCW level humiliating.  Anyway, they pulled off the match itself, but the big explosion was less “Dynamite” and more “firecracker”.

This was still an awesome show with a variety of styles for everyone and a strong thumbs up, but man that ending was a bad note to leave on.  Should have been out in the stadium so they could go balls out and commit to the gimmick 100%.  I think they should have actually ended on a cliffhanger, with Eddie covering up Moxley and then fade to black JUST as the timer is about to expire and Tony can be screaming “OH MY GOD WE’RE OUT OF TV TIME!” so you can do a big rating on Dynamite and fix that shit in post.  Anyway, the show was great, the ending was an all-time boner, what can ya do?