Let’s finish this off as we cover the second half of the card
We get clips of Miro giving Jake Roberts a cheap shot the day before the show.
Champ: Miro Vs Lance Archer
They’re not waiting around here are they? Straight into the next match! Archer flings his body at Miro right from the off and the fight is on. Hey, they’ve got these two big scary dudes and they’re going to let them be big scary dudes. Works for me! It’s like what I imagine happens when you select the “Wild Brawl” road agent note on TEW.
Archer gets the better of things early on and even puts Miro through a table, but Miro replies by flinging him into the front row and then follows that up by working him over with kicks back inside the ring. Archer fights back, but it feels like the crowd is starting to get a bit tired now and the heat isn’t there for this like it was for the earlier matches.
Jake Roberts joins us with Damien supposedly in a sack, but Miro takes him out and flings Damien onto the ramp, but this allows Archer to catch him with a choke slam for a near fall. Miro supposedly killing the snake got one of the bigger pops of the whole match I should add (Don’t worry animal lovers, I’m betting that there wasn’t an actual snake in there. Just some kittens, and sod them eh?).
Miro eventually finds a way to gain an advantage by kicking the rope so that it catches Archer right in his Hoyt’s, which leads to Miro being able to put Archer in Game Over for the referee stoppage finish.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: MIRO
Fun scary big man battle, as Miro continues to look like an intelligent brute, which is an interesting direction to go in with him. Archer is in danger of becoming the Super Heavyweight Lex Luger at this rate though
AEW will be returning to Chicago for All Out
AEW World Women’s Title
Champ: Hikaru Shida Vs Britt Baker w/ Rebel (Not Reba)
Baker is the next person to get a monster pop. I like how Rebel started out as Baker’s beleaguered and browbeaten lackey, with Baker treating her with outright disdain, but now they are instead a much more functional tandem. That’s a little thing called character growth, as relationships change over time and the company doesn’t just do the same thing for months on end with seemingly no payoff in mind.
The action here is good in the early going, with them telling a good story of a fired up Shida taking it to her challenger, whilst Baker tries to find something that works so that she can get a foothold in the match. Rebel even gets involved by catching Shida on a dive, with Baker finally managing to catch Shida with a kick out of nowhere to stop her in her tracks for the cut off. Baker shows good personality and intensity in the heat, with Shida selling her offence well.
Baker isn’t the full finished article yet, which comes across a bit with some of her execution in the heat looking a little loose, but she’s over and does great character work, so that isn’t a deal breaker or anything and there’s every chance that with more experience she’ll tighten that aspect of her game. It’s not like her wrestling is bad by any measure, but there’s still room for growth, which she has every chance of fulfilling.
Shida eventually makes the comeback with some punches from the mount and she goes all Heel Liger by digging her fingers into Baker’s face in vicious manner. We head into the closing stretch, with both women getting near falls, as the crowd seems to mostly be behind Baker. I think they probably go for a little bit too long, as fatigue sets in and some of the moves and spots they’re going for don’t quite come off as they want them to, including a spot where it looks like Shida tries to give Baker a move onto the top rope and they both sort of just collapse.
Rebel tries helping out her boss with a crutch shot, but Shida dodges it and Baker gets hit instead for two in a great fall. Rebel gets involved again, distracting the ref so that Baker can Curb Stomp Shida onto the belt for another great near fall. I was totally buying that as the finish! They have probably gone for too long, but some of the near falls have been superb. Baker keeps going for Lockjaw and finally gets it applied for the submission win and the Title.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: BRITT BAKER
Those near falls at the end were top notch and that was the right finish
Baker gets a hug from Tony following that.
Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page Vs Darby Allin and Sting
Sting gives me heart palpitations early on by taking a suplex onto the ramp from Scorpio before popping up and following with a dive out onto the two Heels. Hey, to be fair Sting is moving pretty well here actually, as he and Darby get to shine in the early going until the Heels manage to cut Darby off for some heat. Darby rag dolls around for that in his usual manner and the Heels do some good work playing to the crowd.
Page and Sky are a little bit generic as an act, but they know how to be Heels, such as when Page flings Darby out to the front row from inside the ring like he’s Spike Dudley against Bam Bam Bigelow. Man, Darby should be the future star of this company for years to come but at this rate he’ll be lucky if his body doesn’t give out. Darby does eventually mange to catch Page with a Stundog Millionaire and its hot tag Sting.
Sting looks good once again and the crowd is into him. I wouldn’t want to see him wrestling every week, but every couple of months I could live with. Things break down following that and we get a great spot where Page and Darby try to gouge one another’s eyes out whilst they are both in a submission holds from Sting and Sky respectively. That was all kinds of fun! With Page and Darby taken out from that, we get Sting and Sky doing a nice closing section, where Sting wins it with a Scorpion Death Drop.
WINNERS: DARBY ALLIN & STING
I enjoyed that and thought Sting looked good, especially as he’s in his 60’s. He moved better than Keiji Muto and Muto is still Main Eventing over in NOAH
Sting and Darby do the big celebration in a heart-warming moment.
AEW World Title
Champ: Kenny Omega w/ Don Callis Vs Pac Vs Orange Cassidy w/ Best Friends
The action here is really good, with the match being fought at a quick clip, as you’d expect from these three. It helps that the crowd is really into OC and loves seeing him take it to the other two. Pac gets a period where he gets to control things, where his stuff looks good and he shows a tonne of charisma and poise whilst battering the other two. Omega then completes the cycle by getting his time to control things, and that’s really good also.
There are plenty of highlights throughout the match, such as when Omega dives out onto both challengers and gives us some “psycho face” and a moment where Pac gets a 450 Splash onto both men when they’re trying to bridge up into a potential backslide. It’s been a pure spot fest thus far, but those can be fun when done right and they’ve done it right thus far in my opinion. It’s a matter of what you personally enjoy though, as I can see some fans disliking this due to how it’s so heavily built around all the wild moves and dives.
I wouldn’t even say that this style of match falls into my own personal favourite category of wrestling, but I can appreciate that style when it’s done as well as it is here. We do get a really funny moment at one stage where Omega clobbers OC and then starts slapping him like Obelix slapping a Roman Legionnaire. That was fabulous! We of course get the big OC near fall at one stage, as Pac gets an Everest Falcon Arrow on Omega and OC steals the pin for a fantastic two count. The crowd totally bit on that and their reaction was brilliant.
Pac kicks OC right in the colony following that one, which of course is allowed because this is No DQ, and he follows up with the Black Arrow, which gets two when Omega breaks it up. Some of these near falls have been immense. Pac tries submitting Omega with The Brutaliser following that, but OC breaks that up and then gets The Beach Break on Omega for another nail biting near fall. This has been wonderfully exciting and fun. I missed exciting and fun wrestling matches.
OC fires up and it looks like he’s going to win the match, which of course leads to Callis pulling out the ref when OC seemingly has the match won. Don gets away before OC can kill him and that leads to Pac Brutalising OC. In another great spot, Omega can’t break the hold because Pac won’t be denied, so he just clobbers the ref instead. I love it! Omega destroys Pac with his belt collection following that, with Don passing him another belt each time in a display of top level toadying, only for OC to catch the Champ with the Orange Punch, ONLY for Omega to then catch OC with a desperation pin counter to retain the belt.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: KENNY OMEGA
This was your pay per view quid’s right there! Fantastic match, with all kinds of awesome action, tightly executed near falls, great character work from all involved and a finish that genuinely came out of nowhere in the best way. Go watch this!
Tony confirms that Mark Henry will be coming in as an analyst on AEW’s new show. Basically every person that WWE insulted on that Legends Night episode of Raw is jumping to AEW one at a time aren’t they?
The Inner Circle Must Break Up If They Lose
The Pinnacle Vs The Inner Circle
In an impressive visual, The Inner Circle abseil down the side of the stadium to make their entrance, which leads to both groups going at it. It’s a good brawl for the most part, but again it’s one of those matches that not everyone is going to like due to the cinematic nature of it all. I don’t want to get too bogged down in play by play, especially as there is so much going on, but everyone pairs up into the natural “marriages” and all have fights in different areas of the stadium. The Jacksonville Jaguars coach gets a cameo at one stage too, as Jericho and MJF brawl into his office and Jericho uses his laptop as a weapon.
Meanwhile, Wardlow shows that he clearly had some experience playing Tomb Raider II in his youth as he tries to lock Hager in the walk-in freezer. This is actually a fantastic fight, as both guys are really believable and it feels like they are really going heck for leather. That segment seems to end with Wardlow spearing Hager through a wall into the kitchen, which leads to us heading to Spears and Sammy fighting with some chairs. Sammy does a lot of really good high-flying brawling, which makes me think he could genuinely be a Hollywood stuntman, but the section ends with Spears handcuffing him, however he doesn’t notice that there are some bolt cutters nearby Sammy when he walks off.
Now we head to a bar, where FTR and Santana & Ortiz have a quick pint before going at it, and Konnan just happens to be the DJ in the bar! What a cameo that was! Tully Blanchard tries to help his boys, but Konnan stops that from happening and Tully gets stabbed in the eye just like when he feuded with Magnum TA in the 80’s. This match has ALL the call backs. The fight is still ongoing when we cut back to Hager and Wardlow, where Hager is on the defensive but keeps fighting and eventually manages to choke slam Wardlow through a table.
We head back to Jericho and MJF, where TK’s poppa makes a cameo in the form of a cardboard cut-out. Seriously, is Scott Parker going to show up next? MJF piledrives Jericho on a conference table for two, and Jericho fires back with a baseball bat shot before sending MJF face first through a door. We head back to Spears following that, where the Inner Circle’s motorbike club chases him down. Jericho and MJF then head out into the arena, which I guess means we’re now live after some pre-tapes?
MJF tries flinging Jericho off the bleachers, but Jericho fends him off and then powerbombs him through…something. Yeah, I’m not really sure what that was but it got a pop. Meanwhile, Sammy is chasing Spears down with a buggy, which leads to them fighting down to the ring. Spears chairs him back in there, but Sammy manages to kick out to pop the crowd. Sammy is a fantastic babyface it must be said, as he shows great fire stomping Spears’ head into the chair before following up with a 630 Splash for the three count.
WINNERS: THE INNER CIRCLE
Again, this won’t be for everyone, but I absolutely loved it. Rather than bothering with the silly Matt Hardy bollocks from last year they just focused on ten guys having a wild brawl instead and it worked much better as a result
We have a babyface singalong to close us out!
That one-two punch at the end makes it an easy thumbs up!