Date: September 15, 2021
Location: Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey
Commentators: Excalibur, Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, CM Punk
Things have been getting big in a hurry around here and that is going to be the case again this week. This time around we have the in-ring debut of Adam Cole, which should make for quite the moment. Other than that, Grand Slam is on the horizon and that should be an even bigger show. Let’s get to it.
CM Punk, on commentary tonight, gets a big introduction and dives into the crowd again.
Adam Cole vs. Frankie Kazarian
The fans are behind Cole as Kazarian takes him over a few times. Cole flips out of a headlock and backdrops Kazarian over the top and onto the apron for a nasty crash. Back in and Cole takes some bows but Kazarian hits the slingshot Fameasser over the ropes. That doesn’t seem to do much to Cole, who is back with right hands into the chinlock. That’s broken up as well and Kazarian grabs a leglock while cranking on the arms at the same time.
Cole fights up and hits the fireman’s carry backbreaker for two more. Kazarian is back up as well and grabs a Rolling Chaos Theory out of the corner. The running knees in the corner connect but Cole is right back with a superkick. The Panama Sunrise is countered into an Alabama Slam and the springboard spinning legdrop leaves them both down. They forearm it out from their knees with Kazarian getting the better of things until a brainbuster onto the knee gives Cole two. Kazarian sends him to the apron but misses another Fameasser. The Panama Sunrise into the Last Shot finishes for Cole at 8:04.
Rating: C+. That’s all you could have asked for here as they gave Cole a win over a name after he had to work a bit to get there. I don’t think there was any doubt about the winner here but this was a much better way to debut Cole than having him win a squash match. Good stuff here and Cole was absolutely a star.
Post match, it’s time for Storytime with Adam Cole. He hasn’t been around long but there are three people who have gotten under his nerves. That would be Christian Cage, Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy, so how about next week it’s Cole and the Young Bucks vs. those three at Rampage Grand Slam. I think Cole might have meant Dynamite, but either way, the Superkliq is back.
The Lucha Bros are ready for Butcher and Blade on Rampage.
Fuego del Sol has a new car but he would give it up for the TNT Title. Actually let’s make that a challenge: title vs. car on Rampage.
Here is MJF for a chat. He doesn’t like being in New Jersey because this place is horrible. We hear about how various famous people from New Jersey suck harder than….and we’ll move on. The fans tell him to shut the f*** up but MJF doesn’t care. He is the salt of the earth and a very religious man. Therefore, he is going to have a conversation with the late great Brian Pillman. MJF looks down at the mat and says he and Pillman need to talk.
Next week, he is going to go to the horrible town of Queens and beat up the worst second generation wrestler of all time. The catchphrase is cut off by Brian Pillman Jr.’s music so MJF sends Wardlow to deal with him….and Pillman comes in through the crowd with a chair. Wardlow cuts that off so Pillman slaps him in the face and low bridges him outside. The threat of a chair shot sends MJF and Wardlow running. Good for them for trying to build someone up, because that’s what needs to happen.
Earlier today, Jim Ross sat down with Brian Pillman Jr. and talked about Pillman Sr. calling to say he had a son. Next week, Pillman Jr. has a chance to redeem himself against MJF and that’s what he wants to do to fulfill his father’s legacy. When MJF was being fed with a silver spoon, he was growing up fighting to survive. Next week, MJF is stepping in the ring with a Pillman.
Christian Cage and the Jurassic Express accept the challenge for Rampage (which is also called Grand Slam).
Dante Martin/Matt Sydal vs. FTR
Sydal armdrags Harwood down to start but he drives Martin into the corner without much effort. Martin is sent outside for some hard shots from Wheeler, including quite the posting. Back in and a headbutt rocks Martin and we hit the chinlock. Martin slips out and dives over for the tag to Sydal so the strikes can clear the ring. A double dive takes FTR down on the floor as we take a break.
Back with Sydal flipping out of an abdominal stretch but his crossbody is caught. That’s fine with Martin, who comes in off a blind tag and springboard missile dropkicks everyone down. The pace picks up and Martin hits a running Swanton, setting up a rollup for two. Stereo hurricanranas get two on FTR but Sydal is sent outside. That leaves Martin to walk into the Big Rig for the pin at 8:59.
Rating: C+. I can go for seeing FTR getting a nice win because it just does not happen very often. They had to break a sweat to win but then got the win in the end. That’s all you can ask for and I’m hoping to see a little bit more from them in the future. FTR just doesn’t get to wrestle regular tag matches very often and I don’t get why as they’re really good at it.
Commentary talks about the Suzuki Incident, meaning Minoru Suzuki isn’t happy that his music was cut off early last week.
Lance Archer and Minoru Suzuki (stable mates in New Japan) aren’t happy with Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston so the tag match is on for next week.
Here is Malakai Black for a chat (with commentary being silent to make it that much better). The House of Black has an enemy and we cut to actress Rosario Dawson in a Nightmare Family shirt. Black goes over to glare at her but here is the returning Cody Rhodes (Dawson’s fellow judge on the Go Big Show) as Dawson jumps on Black’s back. That’s broken up and the guys fight into the crowd until we take a break. Good brawl here and Dawson was a nice addition.
The Bunny isn’t happy with Anna Jay being back because Jay can’t just leave her alone.
The Dark Order is ready for Anna’s Rampage debut but here are Alex Reynolds and 10 to argue with Evil Uno. Anna doesn’t want to hear any of this and says if this is what is going on, none of the Dark Order needs to be here for Rampage. She and Tay Conti leave together.
Here is Dan Lambert, with the Men of the Year and others, to complain about AEW fans being small men and large women. These fans will cheer for a wrestler throwing six superkicks, climbing three floors and diving through a bunch of tables onto a lifeless body. Cue Chris Jericho and Jake Hager, with Lambert complaining about the fans singing Judas.
The fans sing it sans music as Excalibur lists off all of the MMA fighters here with Lambert. Jericho calls Lambert a “fat faced dips***” and sings a song of his own about it. Lambert can’t believe Jericho is out here to defend the fans, but he is the master manipulator around this company. He insults Jericho and the Fozzy fans, who use their allowance to buy their records. Jericho: “You guys get an allowance?”
Jericho sees Lambert and American Top Team but wants to know which one is on top. Hager and Jericho aren’t going to be intimidated because Hager is undefeated and Jericho has been fighting with MMA guys backstage for years. Lambert issues the challenge for next week and Jericho and Hager say it’s on, because there will be no escape from New York.
The Gunn Club talks about why they attacked Paul Wight. They are undefeated around here but now wins and losses don’t matter. Respect will be earned one way or another and if anyone has a problem with that, do something about it. Makes sense. Still the Gunn Club.
Jade Cargill vs. Leyla Hirsch
Leyla, billed from New Jersey, sends her outside to start and then dives onto Mark Sterling. Back in and Leyla hits some knees in the corner, setting up a slingshot dropkick. Cargill has to counter a cross armbreaker into a powerbomb and we take a break. Back with Jade fighting out of a choke but getting German suplexed down for two. Cargill bails to the floor and gets taken down again by a dive. A running knee to the face gives Leyla two but Cargill gets in her own shot to the face. Jaded finishes Leyla at 6:07.
Rating: C. Cargill is still a physical marvel but you’re only going to get so much out of her in the ring at this point. Hirsch put her in trouble for the first time though and there was a point where I thought they might go with the big upset. That’s a good sign for the match and while it wasn’t great, it was Jade’s best match by far.
Andrade El Idolo isn’t happy with Chavo Guerrero interfering with his match last week, which is why he took Chavo out. He can beat anyone he wants whenever he wants.
Taz and Hook interrupt commentary to accuse Punk of trying to take Taz’s jobs. It’s a ruse though and Powerhouse Hobbs jumps Punk from behind. Punk tries to fight back but Hook hooks a dragon sleeper. Hobbs slams Punk onto the announcers’ table for the big crash.
Shawn Spears doesn’t like Darby Allin calling him generic and brings up giving Allin his first AEW loss.
Shawn Spears vs. Darby Allin
Spears has Tully Blanchard and his chair while Allin has Sting. Allin sits in the corner to start so Spears hits a running knee to his face. After that far too logical opening, Spears drops him ribs first onto the top to take things outside. A whip sends Allin into the steps but he avoids a running knee to the face against said steps. Back in and Allin’s dive is cut off by Blanchard getting in the way so Sting offers a well timed glare. Spears gets in a cheap shot though and grabs a bottle of water and a towel, which he uses to rub the paint off of Allin’s face.
We take a break and come back with Allin crawling to the ropes to escape the Scorpion Deathlock. Spears takes him up top but Allin catches him in the Tree of Woe and hammers at the bad knee to put Spears in trouble. They head to the apron with Spears trying the C4 onto the steps but getting countered into the flipping Stunner. The big flip dive sends Spears into the steps instead and it’s the Coffin Drop to give Allin the pin at 8:20.
Rating: C. Every time I see Spears, the more I agree with what Allin said about him: he really is generic and it gets to be a bit difficult to find a reason to care about his matches. Spears is far from bad, but egads I could go for something a little more interesting from him. Allin continues to feel like a star and that’s what AEW has been going for with him since the beginning.
Post match here is FTR for the brawl with Sting and Allin. Blanchard’s chair shot to Sting does nothing but the numbers game has Sting down for the beating. Allin gets the same treatment, leaving Sting to take the spike piledriver. Then Blanchard goes huge by wiping off Sting’s face paint (or at least some of it). I’m sure this is going to mean violence and it should after a good angle.
Bryan Danielson thinks the Elite acts like people who are insecure so he is going after Kenny Omega. He is excited to get in the ring and he would love for Omega to be his first match. He’s here and he is game so let’s go. This was the same promo from Rampage.
Tony Schiavone brings out Bryan Danielson for a chat. Danielson is glad to be here but here are Don Callis and Kenny Omega to interrupt. Callis calls Danielson a hippie millionaire who thinks that he is here to jump into the title match. Callis: “And people call me a carny piece of s***”.
Danielson finally cuts him off and says he is here to talk to Omega. This might be about the title one day but for now, let’s give the people what they want. The match is teased but Callis says no way. Danielson talks about how he came here to face the Best Bout Machine but all he sees is someone hiding behind a bunch of goons. Maybe Omega has lost his testicular fortitude, so is it yes or no? Omega says he’s in and the fans approve. This was a formality but something they had to get out of the way.
Miro promises to bash Fuego del Sol’s brains and his car.
Matt Hardy wants to shave Orange Cassidy’s head.
Here’s what’s coming on Dynamite and Rampage, including Bryan Danielson vs. Kenny Omega on Dynamite.
Jon Moxley/Eddie Kingston vs. 2.0
2.0 and Daniel Garcia jump them on the floor before the bell but Moxley takes over inside as we officially get going. 2.0 is sent outside in a hurry and Garcia gets whipped into the barricade. That’s enough of a distraction for Moxley to get beaten down and we take a break. Back with Moxley still in trouble but he fights them off like they/re 2.0 and brings Kingston back in. Everything breaks down and the spinning backfist sets up the DDT. Moxley comes back in for a clothesline/half and half combination for the pin on Lee at 6:38.
Rating: C-. Not much of a main event as this was little more than a glorified workout for Moxley and Kingston. I was wondering what would headline the show and it was kind of a disappointment when I saw what they were doing. I’m sure there will be something after the match ends, but it’s not much of a match for the main event.
Post match here is Minoru Suzuki, who gets the full version of his theme song this time. Cue Lance Archer to pull Kingston to the floor for the brawl into the crowd. Moxley and Suzuki fight at ringside, where Moxley has to save himself from a piledriver through the table. They fight into the crowd as well to end the show.
Overall Rating: B-. Not so great main event aside, this was a good example of fitting a lot of stuff into two hours. Several stories were covered and they set up all kinds of stuff for next week’s two special shows. This week’s show might not have been great, but it got things ready for the next great show and that is very important in its own right. Good show here, which shouldn’t surprise you.
Adam Cole b. Frankie Kazarian – Last Shot
FTR b. Matt Sydal/Dante Martin – Big Rig to Martin
Jade Cargill b. Leyla Hirsch – Jaded
Darby Allin b. Shawn Spears – Coffin Drop
Eddie Kingston/Jon Moxley b. 2.0 – Clothesline/half and half suplex combination to Lee
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