Date: March 2, 2022
Location: Daily’s Place, Jacksonville, Florida
Commentators: Excalibur, Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone
This is an interesting show as we have both the go home show for Revolution but Tony Khan himself is also making a major announcement. That could go a lot of different ways and I’m curious to see what he has next. Other than that, we need the final push towards Sunday and we should be in for something good. Let’s get to it.
Tony Schiavone is in the ring with Tony Khan for the big announcement. Khan talks about how far AEW has come in three years and how proud he is of everyone, including the fans. He has also been a fan of another company that started twenty years ago called Ring of Honor. That’s why he is proud to announce that as of today, he is officially the owner of Ring of Honor Wrestling. Two of the men in the first Ring of Honor main event are here in AEW and that’s our opening match.
That is a heck of a headline and I’m curious to see where it goes. That is the problem though, as I’m not sure exactly what is going on here. I would assume that Ring of Honor is the new developmental territory and that is not a bad idea. Use the name brand that you already have instead of making it another edition of Dark for a change. I’ll wait and see where this goes, but I’m cautiously optimistic, especially about that tape library.
Bryan Danielson vs. Christopher Daniels
Danielson takes him down to start but lets him up for some jumping jacks. Back up Daniels takes Danielson down for a change, meaning it’s Daniels doing his own jumping jacks. Daniels sends him outside for the Arabian moonsault and Danielson is rocked. They head back inside with Danielson hitting some kicks and tying up Daniels’ legs. Daniels fights out and gets to his feet, only to get German suplexed.
The cross armbreaker is broken up but Danielson reverses la majistral into a cradle of his own. They trade near falls until Daniels punches him in the face, making Danielson shake his head. They slug it out until Daniels gets dropped, though he is fine enough to catch Danielson on top. The Iconoclasm is broken up so Daniels loads up a hurricanrana, which is shoved off without too much effort. Daniels hits a release Rock Bottom and goes up for the BME, which is pulled into the triangle choke to give Danielson the win at 11:10.
Rating: C+. This was more of a nod to the big announcement than anything else but it was still a good way to start. Danielson wasn’t in any serious danger from Daniels, who still looks awesome at 51 years old. Sometimes you need a match against a still talented star who is going to make you work but not much beyond that and Danielson got such a match here.
Post match Danielson shakes the still out of it Daniels’ hand….but this isn’t Ring of Honor. He’s in AEW, and it’s time to kick someone’s head in. Danielson stomps away at Daniels until Jon Moxley comes out to break things up. Moxley talks about how he is on two different paths, one of which ends with him getting his head kicked in. The other path ends with him fighting in blood and he’s ready to start right now. The jacket comes off but Danielson bails.
Sting and Darby Allin are ready for Revolution and Rampage.
Casino Tag Team Battle Royal
There are fifteen teams but this seems to be a regular Royal Rumble format with ninety second intervals and both members needing to be eliminated. The winners join the Young Bucks and ReDRagon in a triple threat Tag Team Title match at Revolution. FTR and the returning Top Flight start things off with Top Flight flying around (oddly enough) early on. The Acclaimed is in at #3 and Caster’s rap eats up most of his time, talking about sending FTR to ROH and making things less popular than Glenn Jacobs’ tweets.
Since they don’t have much time, it’s the Dark Order (10/Alan Angels) in at #4 and get to clean house for a bit as the clock seems to be speeding up. Butcher and Blade are in at #5 to add in some power, meaning house is cleaned even more. Angels is tossed out and it’s the Varsity Blonds in at #6 as we take a break. Back with Bear Country having entered at #7 and Santana and Ortiz in at #8.
Santana and Ortiz go right after Bear Country and toss them without much trouble for the first team elimination. Caster is knocked out and it’s the Best Friends in at #9. Garrison is tossed and apparently Pillman was eliminated during the break, so the Blonds are gone too. More Dark Order (Evil Uno/Stu Grayson) are in at #10 as Blade gets kicked out. Three members of the Dark Order get rid of Butcher to eliminate another team. The Big Rig hits Grayson and it’s the Young Bucks in at #11 for the showdown with FTR.
That’s broken up by everyone else though and we take another break. Back again with the Wingmen in at #12 and the Gunn Club coming in at #13. The means a double Big Rig and the Bucks team up with FTR to get rid of the Club. Brock Anderson and Lee Johnson are in at #14 and get caught in the melee. Bowens goes after 10’s mask and tosses him out to get rid of the team. Chuck Taylor is tossed and the Wingmen go after them. There goes Grayson for a nasty crash and it’s 2.0 to complete the field at #15.
Anderson and Lee are tossed and Top Flight knocks Bowens out to get rid of the Acclaimed. Uno and Trent wind up on the apron, with Uno poking him in the eye and trying a piledriver, only to have Danhausen pop out from underneath the ring. The curse to Uno allows Trent to suplex Uno out, with Trent thanking Danhausen. Santana, Ortiz and 2.0 all wind up on the same apron for a fight with 2.0 being eliminated, followed by FTR getting rid of Santana and Ortiz.
Matt Jackson sends Trent into the corner ala Ric Flair and then clotheslines him off the apron ala Hulk Hogan. That leaves us with the Bucks, Top Flight and FTR as the final six so the slugout is on. Dante misses the Nosedive but grabs a hurricanrana on Cash, which eliminates both of them. Harwood tries a slingshot powerbomb on Matt but gets countered with another hurricanrana. Cue ReDRagon for a distraction, allowing the Bucks to superkick Harwood out.
That leaves the Bucks vs. Darius Martin, the latter of whom knocks Matt down. Darius hits a handspring elbow to Nick and a Spanish Fly to Matt but Brandon Cutler saves Nick. The Meltzer Driver is broken up though and now Nick is tossed. Darius throws Matt to the apron but not out, meaning Matt can backdrop him to the apron. Matt gets pulled to the apron as well, where he kicks Darius low and then superkicks him out for the win at 26:54.
Rating: B. The best thing about this match was that they kept things moving and didn’t let the match get bogged down. I like the Royal Rumble format better than the Casino style, though it makes me wonder why they bothered with the Casino name here. Anyway, it was a good showing for multiple teams, including Top Flight, but the Bucks winning was the only real choice.
Post match the Bucks and ReDRagon are pleased with each other but here is the Jurassic Express for the staredown.
Chris Jericho is ready to beat Eddie Kingston and, after explaining what a promo means, says he knows Eddie is going to fail again because he is scared of success. After Revolution, he is going to tell Eddie to GFY. Santana and Ortiz come in and fist bump Jericho, but won’t say if they’re good with him or not.
Here is a serious looking CM Punk for a chat. He has spent the last week asking himself if he is the bad guy, but he can’t be sure that MJF isn’t gaslighting him. Punk believes that those things happened to MJF, but he isn’t sure if he cares. There is a photo of a young Punk on the internet meeting Steve Austin, though Punk wasn’t hut when Austin took his ball and went home.
Punk has seen MJF do horrible things to people like Dean Malenko and insult the memory of Brian Pillman. When Punk arrived, MJF offered him a handshake but Punk didn’t accept it. Does that make him Dr. Frankenstein and MJF the Monster? Punk wants the MJF from last week to come out here for a conversation, so here is MJF, sans music. Punk talks about the horrible things he has done over the years, from pouring alcohol down an alcoholic’s throat, poured ashes from an urn onto another person, and insulted an addict until they lost their job.
This right here though is bigger than the two of them because it is about that eleven year old kid at home. This morning, Punk asked himself if he was the good guy and he said he sure was trying. Punk extends his hand but MJF isn’t sure about that. Instead MJF hugs him, which Punk eventually accepts. MJF kicks him low though and then takes off the jacket, revealing a shirt with the photo of MJF meeting Punk as a kid.
The beating is on, including the Dynamite Diamond to the face. Wardlow and Shawn Spears come out with the dog collar as Punk is busted open. Punk is hung with the collar and chain and is COVERED in blood. MJF says Punk is a stupid old man and calls himself the devil himself. Spears hangs Punk over the top rope until Darby Allin, Sting and Sammy Guevara run out for the save. That was a heck of an angle, with Punk being COVERED in blood. Vengeance should be sweet on Sunday and that is what they were going for here.
Keith Lee is interrupted by Team Taz and isn’t happy about it. They’ll see each other at Revolution.
Britt Baker/Jamie Hayter vs. Thunder Rosa/Mercedes Martinez
Rebel is here with Baker/Hayter. Baker gets double teamed into the corner to start but she comes back with a Sling Blade to Martinez. Hayter comes in and gets shouldered down but Rebel offers a distraction. That means a superkick can drop Martinez and we take a break. Back with Martinez taking Hayter down for two but Baker comes back in to forearm Martinez in the face.
A superkick puts Martinez down but she is able to get over to Rosa for the Baker showdown. They slug it out until Rosa scores with a Death Valley Driver for two. Everything breaks down though and Martinez takes out Hayter and Rebel, leaving Rosa to hit an Emerald Flosion for the pin on Baker (Tony: “NO! NO! NO!”) at 8:20.
Rating: C+. Rosa had to get a pin here to set up the big title showdown and make it feel a lot more dramatic. That is going to be the match where it feels like Baker could lose and making it feel more likely here is a good idea. Martinez and Hayter were fine in their roles as well so this was a good step forward to the bigger match.
Jade Cargill isn’t interested in hearing about Tay Conti’s martial arts so Anna Jay has to hold her back.
Kris Statlander doesn’t think much of Leyla Hirsch calling herself a real athlete but Hirsch doesn’t think enough of her to respond. Statlander promises to show a new side of herself that no one has ever seen before.
Wardlow vs. Cezar Bononi
Bononi tries a powerbomb to start and gets powerbombed for the first time. The Powerbomb Symphony finishes for Wardlow at 49 seconds. Longer than I was expecting.
Post match Wardlow breaks up Shawn Spears’ chair shot to Bononi and they stare each other down. Spears thinks better of things.
Here’s the rundown of upcoming shows.
The House of Black takes credit for turning Pentagon into something so evil. Just remember that the house always wins.
MJF comes in to see Wardlow and says that if he wins the ladder match, he can even keep the TNT Title. MJF: “It’s not like you’re going to win it anyway.” Wardlow says he’s too busy making sure MJF is always winning so MJF slaps him in the face. MJF reminds Wardlow that he isn’t a professional wrestler but rather the bodyguard. That means he needs to stay in line or his family is going to be in trouble.
Hangman Page/Dark Order vs. Adam Cole/ReDRagon
Page backs Cole into the corner to start so it’s off to Fish instead. That’s fine with Page, who stomps Fish down into the corner so O’Reilly comes in for a change. Silver strikes him down and it’s the Dark Order flipping O’Reilly over for a crash, followed by a dropkick from Reynolds. O’Reilly manages to pull him into an abdominal stretch but Reynolds is out in a hurry. Page comes back in but gets taken down by a cheap shot.
Cole’s Panama Sunrise is countered into a cradle so they hit the pinfall reversal sequence. The Deadeye is broken up and Cole superkicks him in the leg. Page gets over to the apron but the threat of the Buckshot sends Cole bailing to the floor as we take a break. Back with Silver in trouble but managing to kick his way to freedom. Granted it isn’t a freedom that doesn’t last long though, as O’Reilly pulls him down into a kneebar.
That’s broken up as well and the hot tag brings in Page for the staredown. Cole gets suckered in as well and the slugout is on, with the other four joining in as well. Everything breaks down and Cole hits the brainbuster onto the knee to drop Silver. Page decks Cole, who is right back with an enziguri. Reynolds hits a pop up knee to Cole, who superkicks him twice. The Boom finishes Reynolds off at 12:42.
Rating: B-. Pretty nice main event here and much like the women’s tag, it helped advance the bigger title match at the pay per view. This worked out well and Cole gets to look stronger on the way to Revolution. At the same time, Cole vs. Page isn’t exactly feeling like a major pay per view showdown. Maybe that is because Punk vs. MJF is that awesome, but Cole vs. Page needed all the help it could get.
Post match Page goes after Cole again but gets duct taped to the ropes. That leaves the Dark Order to get beaten down. Cole superkicks Page and drapes the title onto his shoulder to end the show.
Overall Rating: B. This was quite the weird show, as it had the big announcement to start and then a nearly thirty minute match eating up about a fourth of the show. That put a lot of focus on two things when the rest of Revolution needed a good bit more focus. Rosa vs. Baker needed some more focus over the last few weeks and the main event still doesn’t feel hue. That being said, the Ring of Honor announcement was interesting and the action was all good to very good. Kind of a weird show, but it was more solid stuff, as usual.
Bryan Danielson b. Christopher Daniels – Triangle choke
Young Bucks won a casino battle royal last eliminating Top Flight
Thunder Rosa/Mercedes Martinez b. Jamie Hayter/Britt Baker – Emerald Flosion to Baker
Wardlow b. Cezar Bononi – Powerbomb Symphony
Adam Cole/ReDRagon b. Hangman Page/Dark Order – Boom to Reynolds
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