Date: April 21, 2021
Location: Daily’s Place Jacksonville, Florida
Commentators: Excalibur, Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone
We are about five weeks away from Double Or Nothing and that means it is time to start setting up the show. The good thing is you can probably guess a good chunk of the card from here so it isn’t like they need to do a ton of work on the way there. We also have Blood & Guts coming up in two weeks and it needs one more push. Let’s get to it.
Commentary runs down the card.
Ricky Starks vs. Hangman Page
Starks has Hook with him and promises to take care of Page, who has poor interview etiquette. Taz joins in on commentary as they trade headlock takeovers to start. Page counters a leapfrog into a slam and stomps Starks down into the corner. A springboard clothesline puts Starks on the floor and there’s a slingshot dive to drop him again. Back in and Starks sends him throat first into the middle rope to take over. Some choking ensues but Starks has to stick the landing on a belly to back flip suplex.
Starks’ springboard is clotheslined out of the air to give Page two and a brainbuster gets the same. An Alabama Slam out of the corner is countered though and Starks’ sitout powerbomb gets two. The fall away slam sets up a running clothesline for two more on Starks but the Buckshot Lariat misses. Starks spears him down for his own near fall and escapes the Deadeye. Instead, Page pulls him down into a bulldog choke and pulls back on the leg to make Starks tap at 8:56.
Rating: B-. These are the guys that give you hope for the future in AEW as they are both young and talented, but above all else they feel like stars. Page seems like a main eventer ready to break out and Starks seems like someone with all of the potential in the world. Throw in the fact that they can have a good match and this was a very nice way to get things going.
Post match Taz tells Page to watch his back and Hook takes him down with a chop block. Page tries to fight them off but Brian Cage comes in to keep up the beatdown. The Dark Order runs in for the save.
Trent vs. Penta El Cero Miedo
Trent has the question mark behind his name again and commentary isn’t sure why it’s there. I’m guessing it is something that he put together on the indies and for some reason did not stop using it despite not being in the indies anymore. Trent starts fast by taking Penta down for a running Meteora and then knocks him outside for the big flip dive (thankfully not injuring his leg when it crashes into the barricade).
Back in and Penta hits a quick Sling Blade into the Canadian Destroyer and we take a break. Of note: during the break, an ad for Rich Swann vs. Kenny Omega at Impact’s Rebellion on Sunday aired. Aside from a throw away line here or there, that might be the first mention of the match on AEW TV.
We come back with Penta hitting a Backstabber for two and the Pentagon Driver is good for the same. They head to the apron and Trent drops Penta to the floor, but Penta’s translator says that Penta has a message for him: Trent sucks, but not as much as Trent’s mom! Trent grabs a chair to go after him but walks into a microphone shot into the package piledriver to give Penta the pin at 10:37.
Rating: C. I like Penta a lot but I’m not sure how much success a feud built around a YOUR MOM insult is going to have. Death Triangle vs. the Best Friends is a little weird in the first place but maybe they can make it work in the ring. I would hope that they drop the stuff about the mom though because that is just kind of lame.
Earlier today, Jim Ross sat down with the Pinnacle for a chat. MJF talks about having his scarf for years, but Tully Blanchard has sent him a gift: a new scarf! Wardlow brings up JR calling Chris Jericho’s recent statements the immortal promo. Jericho cut a great promo (not as great as MJF’s of course) but he stumbled a bit on Wardlow.
That’s because he knew he was doing something wrong, because you don’t mess with Wardlow. MJF accuses Jericho of standing around a bunch of B’s so you look like an A and wrestling a bunch of B’s so you don’t look like an A. Jericho has tried to latch on to a bunch of popular stars like Jon Moxley and Orange Cassidy, which worked well until he got to MJF. Jericho likes to say that MJF is great for 25 but that is BULL S***!
MJF is great for any age and he finds it interesting when Jericho says go beat some low level people. See, he remembers beating Jericho, which means that MJF is better than him and Jericho knows it. The one thing Jericho got right was saying that MJF is a mark, but it is for Jericho’s spot. At Blood and Guts, MJF is taking it. This was mostly great, with MJF selling everything and Wardlow getting some time as well. I’m not big on them saying promo, but that ship has kind of already gone for a sail, come back and been chopped up for firewood.
Video on Hikaru Shida vs. Tay Conti for Shida’s Women’s Title. Shida respects her, but it is time to fight.
Women’s Title: Hikaru Shida vs. Tay Conti
Conti is challenging and the Dark Order goes to the back to let her do this on her own. A hard forearm doesn’t do much to Shida to start and it’s time for the slugout. Conti judo throws her over and grabs a chickenwing with a bodyscissors. Shida gets to the ropes for the break and heads to the floor for a needed breather. Conti tries to follow but gets tripped down, setting up a running knee to the face.
An enziguri catches Conti again and a suplex drops her hard. Back in and the surfboard goes on but Shida switches into a reverse chinlock to keep Conti in trouble. We take a break and come back with Shida hitting a superplex but Conti pops up to kick her in the face. A German suplex drops Shida again and some running kicks to the face in the corner put her down again.
Shida is laid across the top rope and Conti adds a top rope backsplash for a near fall. The DDTay is broken up and Shida hits a running knee to the face. The Falcon Arrow gets two and Shida drops her hard to the floor. Back in and Conti nails another pump kick, setting up the TayKO for two. They strike it out again until Shida drops her with a slap. A fireman’s carry into a backbreaker sets up the Katana to retain the title at 12:18.
Rating: B. I liked the match but egads Shida has lost all sense of interest with this never ending title reign. While you can all but pencil in Britt Baker to take the title at Double Or Nothing, it has been far too long coming. Tonight was another good match and Shida can be fun to watch in the ring, but something to make me care about her would help a lot. Conti has been on a tear as of late and I really hope she isn’t dropped as a result.
Post match here’s Britt Baker, who shows us the updated rankings….with her at the top.
Miro is sick of Kip Sabian not being here and he is ready to beat people up.
Here is the Inner Circle for a chat. After we reaffirm Jericho’s rock star status with the fans singing Judas back to him, Jericho talks about how Mike Tyson knocked Shawn Spears’ teeth out. Jake Hager has straws for the Pinnacle because they are going to be drinking meat through straws after Blood & Guts. Santana finds it interesting that MJF is only doing his talking when he has people behind him. They have seen the color of their blood and now they are going to see the size of their hearts.
Jericho talks about MJF singing show tunes on Rosie O’Donnell so Jericho has written a show tune of his own. The song recaps the Inner Circle returning and MJF’s head going into a toilet but Jericho drops the singing rather quickly. It is great to make jokes but next week, the teams are having a parlay, meaning a meeting to discuss battle plans, before Blood & Guts. Jericho gets serious and says that MJF better own his soul because on May 5, they own the Pinnacle’s a**. They brought it at the end, but they have not done the best job setting things up. Another interview before the war isn’t likely to help that.
Billy Gunn vs. QT Marshall
Gunn goes after Marshall and company before the bell to take over early. A suplex into a tilt-a-whirl slam sends Marshall outside so the referee checks on him. That lets Anthony Ogogo jump Gunn so the Gunn Club dives out of the crowd to take care of them. Back in and Marshall punches him down and mocks the SUCK IT. You don’t do that to Gunn, who is back up with some right hands. The Fameasser and Diamond Cutter are both avoided so Gunn is sent to the ramp. Cue Anthony Ogogo again to hit the gut shot to drop Gunn, allowing Marshall to get the pin at 4:18.
Rating: D+. Not the worst match but it’s really hard to bring myself to care about Billy Gunn and his kids against QT Marshall and company. Marshall’s stable has some potential but how much interest is there going to be in a story involving these people. Also, if Marshall is going to be moving up a bit, he shouldn’t need help beating Billy Gunn.
Post match Ogogo hands Marshall a chair but Dustin Rhodes runs in for the save. Nick Commarado comes back in so Dustin breaks the wooden chair over his head to no avail. Referees get Big Bubba out of the ring as Dusty is stunned.
The Elite is in the back and talks about how they are the reason business was up in Japan. They are the reason for the Bullet Club shirt exploding and the revolution that became AEW. Kenny Omega is sick of Jon Moxley but we keep hearing a horn….and Omega demands it be taken care of. It’s Moxley in his truck, which he rams into the side of the trailer the Elite was in. Eddie Kingston gets out of the truck and they go inside the trailer, armed with pipes. The Elite is gone, which Moxley describes as “b**** AF”. He throws the pipe through the window anyway, with Kingston asking if Moxley could wait until he is out of the way.
Christian Cage. vs. Powerhouse Hobbs
Taz is on commentary again and Hobbs powers Christian into the corner to start. A waistlock works a bit better, or at least it does until Hobbs slams him down. They head outside with Hobbs hitting him in the back of the head, setting up a toss over the barricade. Hobbs grinds his face against the barricade and we take a break. Back with Hobbs stepping on Christian’s chest but the Vader Bomb is countered with some raised boots to the face.
The pendulum kick connects in the corner and a top rope back elbow gives Christian two. Hobbs is back with a heck of a spinebuster for two (not powerbomb JR) but gets powerbombed out of the corner (now JR). The frog splash gets two but Hobbs sends him into the corner for the running hip attack. Hobbs has to power out of a sleeper so he sends Christian into the corner, only to have Christian come back with the Killswitch for the pin at 10:20.
Rating: C+. See, now this is more like it. Christian needs to establish himself in AEW and he beats a monster like Hobbs by coming from behind. It was a completely watchable match and it was one of the few without something going on before or after. Do more of this from time to time and let things breathe a bit.
Here is what’s coming next week.
Jade Cargill talks about how every manager wants her and we hear from Matt Hardy and Vickie Guerrero about why she should sign with them.
TNT Title: Darby Allin vs. Jungle Boy
Allin is defending and Sting and the rest of the Jurassic Express are here. They go technical to start with both of them grabbing a rollup for two each. Boy works on the wristlock and armdrags him into an armbar. That’s broken up with Allin’s springboard armdrag and they start getting in each others’ faces. Allin takes him down and hammers away so they head to the floor to keep up the fight.
Some chops have Boy staggered but he tackles Allin over the barricade as we take a break. Back with Allin charging into an elbow in the corner, allowing Boy to grab a bridging German suplex for two. A tiger suplex gets the same but Allin is back with the flipping Stunner. Boy sends him outside for the back to back suicide dives into the flip dive over the top. Back in and Allin stomps away, setting up the Coffin Drop back to the floor.
Luchasaurus has to help Boy back in, which gets Sting in his face. They fight to the back, leaving Boy to blast Allin with a clothesline. The brainbuster into a running elbow to the back of the head gets two on Allin and the Snare Trap goes on. Allin has to go to the eyes for the escape so Boy forearms away out of desperation. They get back up and Allin pulls him into the Last Supper to retain at 14:45.
Rating: B. This match told a good story as Allin is trying to defend the title as often as he can but is starting to have more trouble, leading to some slightly more desperate ways to retain. That could lead somewhere, but for now it is a good match with a clean enough finish, though with a slightly dirty path to get there. Boy losing is kind of sad to see, but Allin is a bigger deal right now.
Post match Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky run in to beat Allin down. Lance Archer runs in for the save but gets beaten down as well, drawing out Sting with the baseball bat for the save to end the show.
Overall Rating: B. There were three rather good matches on here, but some of the other stuff dragged it back down. It’s great to see some of this stuff featured, but at the same time, they might want to have something a little more interesting than Marshall vs. Gunn, trying to figure out the question mark after Trent’s name and another ending that felt like a month’s worth of material in fifteen second. The good outweighs the bad here though, as the wrestling was enough to make up for some kind of odd choices.
Hangman Page b. Ricky Starks – Bulldog choke with a leglock
Penta El Cero Miedo b. Trent – Package piledriver
Hikaru Shida b. Tay Conti – Katana
QT Marshall b. Billy Gunn – Punch to the ribs from Anthony Ogogo
Christian Cage b. Powerhouse Hobbs – Killswitch
Darby Allin b. Jungle Boy – Last Supper
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