Date: August 4, 2021
Location: Daily’s Place, Jacksonville, Florida
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Jim Ross, Excalibur
We’re back in Jacksonville for Homecoming as we have the fifth week in a row with some kind of a special themed show. That could include a lot of different things, including Chris Jericho vs. Juventud Guerrera of all people. Why? Well he wrestled in WCW in the 90s so he’s fair game. Let’s get to it.
Juventud Guerrera vs. Chris Jericho
MJF is on commentary and Jericho has to hit a move off the top to win. The once again masked Juvy chops away to start and grabs a headscissors to send Jericho outside. Air Juvy takes Jericho down again and but he slips out of the Juvy Driver back inside. Jericho takes him outside and chops away, followed by a high crossbody for two back inside. Jericho forearms him down but runs into a superkick (MJF: “I taught him that.”). A low kick to the face sets up the Rings of Saturn to Jericho, who powers up with ease.
Jericho hits a top rope ax handle for two, with frustration setting in. Jericho knocks him down and goes for a cover, which isn’t how this match works. With that not working, Jericho goes up again but Juvy catches him with the right hands to the head. The super hurricanrana is countered into the Walls but Juvy grabs the rope. Another kick to the face gives Juvy two more and the Juvy Driver gets the same. MJR wants Aubrey fired for the slow count as Juvy takes Jericho up top. That’s fine with Jericho, who shoves him down and hits a top rope Judas Effect for the pin at 9:49.
Rating: C. This was a lot better than I was expecting, but it was another legends match which didn’t exactly blow the roof off. It also didn’t exactly feel like a bit followup to the Nick Gage match last week, but they probably should have taken a step back as you can only go so far. Juvy looked like an older version of himself here but that’s exactly how is should have been.
Post match here is Wardlow to wreck both of them, allowing MJF to announce that Labor #4 is Jericho vs. Wardlow. That match needs a special referee, and MJF will be the perfect choice.
The Lucha Bros are here sans Pac. Andrade El Idolo comes up with his entourage, with Chavo Guerrero offering money, cars etc. That’s going to be a no, with the Lucha Bros leaving because Death Triangle is family.
The Dark Order is ready for a chat but Hangman Page shows up, drink in hand. Page takes blame for the loss last week and says he can’t keep blaming himself. For now, it is time to go their separate ways, even though he still loves them. They agree to let him have his space.
Daniel Garcia/2.0 vs. Darby Allin/Jon Moxley/Eddie Kingston
Sting is with the good guys. Before the match, 2.0 (formerly Ever-Rise in NXT) says it is time to show what they can do. During Moxley’s entrance, JR talks about how great it is going to be in Cincinnati. He quotes Major League (and gets the first word wrong), which is about the Cleveland Indians. Anyway we start fast with Garcia getting some early near falls on Allin. A blind tag brings in Matt Lee to send Allin into the corner but a quick roll into the corner allows the tag to Kingston.
The chop off goes to Kingston and it’s time to stomp Lee down in the corner. A chop block cuts Moxley down though and we take a break. Back with Kingston and Garcia hitting a double clothesline but Garcia cuts off the tag. Moxley has had it and comes in to wreck everyone, allowing Allin to hit the dive to the floor. Back in and Moxley this a clothesline into a neckbreaker to drop Garcia. The Paradigm Shift sets up a Coffin Drop to put Garcia away at 7:20.
Rating: C. This could have been worse and I could see 2.0 being on Dark or Dark Elevation. I’m not sure if they need to do anything more than that as this tag division is completely bloated already, but I can see why they are getting a chance. Garcia was the star of the team and will likely get at least another look, which he should.
Video on Brian Cage vs. Ricky Starks, with Starks knowing that the FTW Title is his ticket to the top. Cage says he’s going to bring the intensity because who’s better than him?
The Elite is still having fun with a basketball, with the Young Bucks asking if there is anyone left to come after their Tag Team Titles. That would be no, because they are going to have to be buried with their belts. Kenny Omega talks about how Hangman Page blew it at the buzzer and now the fans don’t care about him anymore. Brandon Cutler goes up and cuts down the net. Note that Omega was wearing a Cookie Monster shirt. As in CM.
Christian Cage vs. Blade
Bunny is here with Blade, who gets in a fight with Christian on the ramp. Christian hammers him down to the floor but Bunny gets in Christian’s face. That doesn’t quite work as Christian decks Blade again and goes back inside. Bunny grabs the foot again but here is Leylah Hirsch (her opponent tonight) to fight her to the back. Christian grabs the reverse DDT for two but Blade drops him ribs first across the top as we take a break.
Back with Blade stomping on Christian but missing a charge into the post to send Blade outside. Christian hits the big dive but is too banged up to do anything about it. Back in and Christian wins a slugout, allowing him to stand on Blade back for the middle rope choking. There’s the middle rope elbow but Blade is right back with a powerslam. Blade teases going after the turnbuckle but it is a ruse so brass knuckles can be grabbed. Not that it matters as Christian spears him down for the pin at 9:50.
Rating: C+. This was another nice match, even if it didn’t hit that next level. Christian is piling up wins and I’m curious to see where that is going. Cage getting a pay per view title shot is hard to imagine but it is the kind of thing that we might be seeing. It isn’t the worst idea, but it seems like there might be better options.
Dax Harwood goes on a heck of a rant about how Santana and Ortiz watched Cash Wheeler’s arm be busted open so badly that he nearly lost it. This isn’t funny and it isn’t over between them.
Here are Britt Baker and Rebel for a chat, but since chats don’t last long without being interrupted around here, it’s Red Velvet to interrupt. Velvet says Baker doesn’t look good in red but Baker says she beat Velvet in three minutes last time. That was when Velvet was an enhancement talent (Velvet’s words) but now she is 22-4 with 7 straight wins.
Baker says the match is on if it’s Tony Khan approved, which it will be because she’s the golden girl. We’ll do it on the big stage in her hometown of Pittsburgh next Friday. Rebel tries to get in a crutch shot but Velvet knocks her away, only to get jumped by Baker. This is just a one off match and that’s fine, because Baker’s reception next week is going to be other worldly.
Chavo Guerrero has gotten Fuego del Sol to work for Andrade El Idolo, but del Sol isn’t happy with being told to shine shoes. Andrade destroys him.
Here is Hangman Page for a chat but he only gets out a “well” before the Elite interrupts him. Page says he has something to say to them, so the Elite joins him in the ring. Kenny Omega sees this as a plea to rejoin the Elite, but Page says not quite. Omega thinks Page is a try hard just like all of these people. They have been thinking about accepting Page’s faults, but they don’t have failures in their group. Page slaps him in the face but the beatdown is on in a hurry.
Cue the Dark Order but Evil Uno and Stu Grayson holds them back. A Magic Killer and some BTE Triggers have Page rocked but it’s Frankie Kazarian running in to take out some of them. The beatdown is on though, with Michael Nakazawa even throwing in the basketball. Omega belt shots Page to leave him laying.
We look back at Lance Archer destroying Dan Lambert.
TNT Title: Lee Johnson vs. Miro
Johnson, with Dustin Rhodes, is challenging and gets powered around to start. The driving shoulders in the corner have Johnson in more trouble. Johnson jumps over him out of the corner and strikes away, only to get tossed with a belly to belly. Game Over sends Johnson bailing to the floor though and we take a break. Back with Miro holding a bearhug but Johnson slips out and slugs away as well as he can. A dropkick puts Miro outside and Johnson hits back to back suicide dives, followed by a big running flip dive.
Miro tries to catch Johnson but falls over, allowing Johnson to throw him back inside. A high crossbody gets one on Miro and Johnson kicks him in the head again. More superkicks rock Miro but he catches the fifth (yes fifth) superkick. Johnson slips away again though and hits the big superkick, setting up a frog splash for two. Miro escapes the fireman’s carry though and kicks Johnson in the face instead. Game Over retains Miro’s title at 9:28.
Rating: C+. This was a good example of giving it everything you have in a rough spot. It worked out pretty well too, with Johnson doing more than I would have expected here. At the end of the day though, Miro should be holding that title for a long time to come and it seems like he will be. Good enough match here, which was a nice surprise.
Christian Cage thanks Leylah Hirsch for the save (while singing the Golden Girls theme) but he has some friends. Best Friends. Next week on the debut of Rampage though, he is ready to be #1 contender.
Bunny vs. Leylah Hirsch
The winner gets an NWA Women’s Title match. The Hardy Family Office and the Best Friends are all here too. Hirsch tries an armbar and Bunny bails to the floor. Back in and Hirsch works on the arm a bit until Bunny sends her outside. Bunny runs into Kamille (the NWA Women’s Champion) in the front row though and we take a break.
Back with more of the women’s division watching at ringside as Hirsch fights up. Hirsch knocks her into the corner for two but COMPLETELY misses a moonsault. Bunny is right back with a Death Valley Driver for two but Down The Rabbit Hole is broken up. Hirsch gets the cross armbreaker for the tap at 8:15.
Rating: C. I don’t think there was much drama to this one as Bunny isn’t going to get a major title match against Kamille. Hirsch getting a one off title shot will work well and it took a nice performance here to get her there. Just don’t let her try any more moonsaults, because that really didn’t work.
Post match, Hirsch and Kamille have a staredown, with Kamille being more than a foot taller.
Mark Sterling says Jade Cargill hasn’t been wrestling because it has been all about growing their brand. Cargill will be back on Dark Elevation next week and the sky is the limit, because she is that b****.
Malakai Black vs. Cody Rhodes
Black has a skull mask with horns for his entrance and it works rather well. Cody isn’t sure what to do to start so Black goes after the leg. That’s reversed into a Figure Four attempt until Black rakes the eyes to escape. A legsweep takes Cody down and we hit the half crab to keep him in trouble. The rope is grabbed and Cody is right back with the Cross Rhodes attempt, which is broken up with ease. Cody goes up and is kicked right back down, sending him through a ringside table. Back in and Black Mass knocks Cody silly for the pin with a boot on the chest at 4:43.
Rating: C+. Yeah that worked and it’s how this should have gone. Black Mass is one of the best finishers in wrestling today because it’s a really obvious idea: kick the other guy in the head really hard. Black ran through Cody here and even though this is for the sake of filming the Big Show, he put Black over perfectly here. Nice job.
Post match Black leaves and Cody talks about legacy. He got into the business at fifteen as a referee and he wanted to win the title that they stole from his daddy in the Garden. Time flies and goals change though and it takes Cody a second to get up. The fans are already singing the GOODBYE Song as Cody uses a crutch to get to his feet. Cody talks about how he fired them instead of them firing him (meaning WWE) and then he met Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks.
Now this isn’t just an alternative because they’re competition. They set this table and now it’s time for someone new to eat. He has been around everywhere and has been so lucky. There have been some outside people and maybe there has been some in-fighting with the other Executive Vice Presidents but they are here. For him, this is the AEW Amphitheater and he thanks the fans.
Cody takes off his boot (a sign of retiring)….and Malakai Black breaks the crutch over his back. Black steals the boot and glares a lot to end the show. I’m glad they didn’t tease the full on retirement angle here as AEW fans are smart enough to know why Cody is going to be gone. Also, well done on bringing Black back in, because it would have been annoying to have him get that kind of a win and then just leave while Cody did his thing.
Overall Rating: C+. This felt like they were taking their foot off the gas a bit and that’s ok. We’ve had four weeks of major shows and what we got here still worked. They kept advancing the stories forward and with All Out in about a month, it means they can set up the actual matches in the next week or two. What we got here was fine enough, but it was one of the slower paced shows they’ve had in a bit.
Chris Jericho b. Juventud Guerrera – Top rope Judas Effect
Jon Moxley/Darby Allin/Eddie Kingston b. 2.0/Daniel Garcia – Coffin Drop to Garcia
Christian Cage b. Blade – Spear
Miro b. Lee Johnson – Game Over
Leylah Hirsch b. The Bunny – Cross armbreaker
Malakai Black b. Cody Rhodes – Black Mass
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