Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over ten years now and have reviewed over 5,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net, starting today. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Double or Nothing
Date: May 25, 2019
Location: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada
Commentators: Jim Ross, Excalibur, Alex Marvez
It took long enough. This is the first show for All Elite Wrestling and the question is….egads there are a lot of them actually. The biggest of them all though is can they live up to the hype. All In certainly did, though that’s not exactly the same thing this time around. I don’t know if the show is going to be good (though it probably will be), but it’s going to be important. Let’s get to it.
Pre-Show: Casino Battle Royal
Sonny Kiss, Brandon Cutler, Ace Romero, Glacier, Brian Pillman Jr., Sunny Daze, Maxwell Jacob Friedman, Joey Janela, Dustin Thomas, Billy Gunn, Jimmy Havoc, Michael Nakazawa, Jungle Boy, Isiah Kassidy, Marq Quen, Luchasaurus, Shawn Spears, Orange Cassidy
Those are all the announced entrants. This is a special kind of battle royal with five people starting and five more coming in every three minutes until we get to twenty. The final entrant, number 21 (the Joker, which is better than a Wild Card), gets to enter on his own. Nakazawa, Thomas, Friedman, Daze and Cutler (the clubs) start things off with Friedman stomping on Thomas in the corner. This is a true heel move because Thomas has no legs.
Friedman keeps up the yelling by stomping on Cutler, saying he is just a Young Bucks favor. Nakazawa busts out some baby oil (a trademark) and uses it to slip out of a waistlock from Daze. Cutler gets thrown over the top but isn’t all the way out, allowing him to springboard back in to take Friedman down. There are no eliminations yet and here are the Diamonds: Pillman, Kassidy, Janela, Havoc and Spears (Tye Dillinger) with Janela and Havoc beating Pillman up on the ramp.
Spears is the only one of the group to get in as Kassidy was beaten up on the floor as well. A poke to the eye drops Friedman and Spears hits the TEN pose. The clock speeds WAY up with the Hearts coming in next: Gunn, Jungle Boy, Glacier, Quen and Romero. Pillman, Janela, Kassidy and Havoc still aren’t in the ring. Friedman takes Gunn down and does the Karate Kid pose on Glacier. Daze knocks Glacier through the ropes (not an elimination) and then knocks Nakazawa out for the first elimination.
Janela is in with a cigarette as Glacier uses the mist to freeze Daze and get rid of him. Friedman dumps Glacier as Havoc puts the cigarette on Janela’s head. Pillman gets in to take Janela down and the spades are in: Luchasaurus, Marko Stunt, Sonny Kiss, Tommy Dreamer and….I’m assuming Cassidy, who wasn’t announced here. Dreamer gets knocked off the apron so Romero (weighing about 400lbs) dives onto him and Luchasaurus. Romero and Luchasaurus slug it out as Cassidy is on the floor.
Dreamer brings in the weapons and hits a bunch of people in the head with the trashcan lid. There’s a cutter to Havoc and a double chokeslam from Luchasaurus to Quen and Kassidy (the combined team of Private Party). The Joker is here….and it’s Adam Page, who limps to the ring. The fans are very pleased as he cleans house, including a fall away slam on Jungle Boy. Janela is waiting on him for an All In rematch and the fight is on. The Dead Eye (over the shoulder kneeling piledriver, formerly known as the Rite of Passage) plants Janela but there’s no elimination.
Page tries to pick Romero up but hurts his knee again. That means it’s Jungle Boy and Stunt going after Romero to no avail. Romero Pounces Stunt out onto Private Party for a heck of an elimination. Jungle Boy dropkicks Romero in the back and gets rid of him on his own for a heck of an upset. Thomas comes back up with the 619 to Janela (WHICH THE CAMERA MISSES), followed by a springboard 450. Friedman puts Thomas on top so Thomas can DDT Spears out.
A slingshot DDT is blocked though and Friedman gets rid of Thomas. Cutler dumps Gunn but gets eliminated by Friedman as the ring is starting to empty out. Luchasaurus chokeslams Janela through a well placed table for a great bump that makes Janela’s girlfriend Penelope Ford scream. Kiss does his weird Stink Face variation to Dreamer in the corner and gets tossed for him.
Cassidy comes in (billed as the twenty second man, even though he was announced in advance) for his slow motion kicks so Dreamer punches him down. Cassidy keeps his hands in his pockets and nips up, only to get thrown out anyway. Havoc’s staple gun between the legs gets rid of Dreamer, leaving us with Friedman, Page, Jungle Boy, Havoc and Luchasaurus, assuming there are no more hanging out on the floor.
Havoc sends Jungle Boy over the ropes and bites his fingers for the elimination. Friedman gets caught in the corner and triple stomped to send him through the ropes for a breather. Havoc’s Acid Rainmaker hits Luchasaurus and there’s a Death Valley Driver to Page. Another Acid Rainmaker is blocked and Luchasaurus kicks Havoc out. The fans are split as Luchasaurus shrugs off Page’s strikes to the face and hits the reverse powerbomb. Page low bridges him anyway for the elimination and the bell rings but Friedman comes back in….and takes the Buckshot Lariat to give Page the win at 23:55.
Rating: C+. Page was a bit of a letdown as the Joker but I can understand the idea of bringing in someone bigger for later on in the actual show. What we got here was good and a nice representation of how unique the roster can be. I had fun watching it and the match certainly didn’t feel like twenty four minutes, though the Joker winning was just kind of there after a parade of quick eliminations near the end.
Pre-Show: Kip Sabian vs. Sammy Guevara
Sabian is British and Guevara wears what looks like a panda skin to the ring. Sammy’s headlock doesn’t get very far as Kip takes him down into a headscissors for a nipup escape. Back up and Sammy starts flipping around to set up the dropkick, followed by another nipup. That’s enough for Guevara to take a bow but Sabian sends him to the floor for a kick to the face and a springboard flip dive.
Back in and Sammy hits a kick to the spine, followed by an Andrade double moonsault into a standing shooting star press for two. Sabian nails a springboard dropkick to the back, followed by a penalty kick to the chest for the same. Sammy suplexes him over the top and goes down with him, meaning it’s another suplex on the floor for a cool crash. Sammy drapes him over the barricade for a shooting star to the back and Sabian is in trouble. The 630 hits knees though and the Deathly Hallows (torture rack into a reverse Samoa driver) finishes Sammy at 9:41.
Rating: C. Sammy is a great heel but he didn’t get to showcase a lot of his usual stuff here, which is what makes him that much better. What we got was fine, though this was much better served in the pre-show. It’s the kind of a match that you can see on a bunch of indy shows and it was really nothing that I’ll remember in a few minutes. Still though, it’s probably a good idea to have a regular match instead of just the battle royal to get things going.
Some people from a charity called Kulture City sing the National Anthem.
The opening video looks at the rise of AEW, including the press conferences and media events, which are really all they have to go on at the moment. Well aside from Being The Elite.
So Cal Uncensored vs. Strong Hearts
The Strong Hearts (El Lindaman/T-Hawk/Cima) are from Oriental Wrestling Entertainment, a group out of China. Before the match, SCU does their usual spiel about this being the worst town they’ve ever been in, but it’s their favorite worst town. Of note: wrestlers now have ten seconds to get out of the ring as opposed to five in most promotions. Daniels and Cima start things off with a pair of missed dropkicks as the feeling out process begins. T-Hawk comes in to face Kazarian for a chop off.
Kazarian hits a dropkick of his own to possibly draw a little blood. The rather small Lindaman comes in to throw Sky around but a takedown lets SCU start with the revolving elbows. Excalibur talks about cutting off the ring at the hypotenuse, marking the debut of that word in wrestling. Daniels gets caught in the corner though and Cima drapes him over the ropes for a top rope double knee to the back.
T-Hawk chops Sky off the top as everything breaks down. SCU takes over again and it’s Lindaman getting caught in the wrong corner. Sky comes in for a running double stomp to the back but Lindaman manages a bridging German suplex for two. It’s back to Kazarian for two off a northern lights suplex on T-Hawk, leaving Daniels to suicide dive onto Cima. Back in and Cima plants Daniels but walks into a slingshot cutter from Sky.
Lindaman dropkicks Sky down but walks into Kazarian’s slingshot DDT. Daniels and Cima clothesline each other for a double knockdown. Back up and they slug it out with Daniels hitting Angel’s Wings but Lindaman comes in off a blind tag for a deadlift German suplex. Cima’s Meteora gives Lindaman two more and Kazarian hurricanrana T-Hawk to the floor, setting up Sky’s running flip dive. That leaves Lindaman inside to the Best Meltzer Ever for the pin at 13:08.
Rating: B. Heck of an entertaining match here with everyone moving and looking good. SCU is a heck of a team and they’re the kind of people you can put into a match anytime you need a good performance. Strong Hearts looked great as well and that’s a very bright sign for the future. You need some people you can just throw in there for some interchangeable matches and that might be what they’ve found here.
Allie joins commentary for the dreaded four person booth.
Nyla Rose vs. Kylie Rae vs. Britt Baker
Actually hang on as here’s Brandi Rhodes to make it a four way.
Nyla Rose vs. Kylie Rae vs. Britt Baker vs. Awesome Kong
Well that’s a wild card. Kong and Rose go straight for the staredown but all three go after Kong instead. That’s shrugged off and Kong hits the swinging backfist to send her to the floor. Kong misses the running splash on Baker and Rae though and gets low bridged out to the floor. The very smiley Rae runs Baker over but misses a low superkick, allowing Baker to grab a suplex for two, setting up a smile of her own.
Kong is back up though and Baker dives on her for no logical reason. That means a suicide dive from Rae to take both of them down as Rose is back up. Rose can’t chokeslam Rae, who tries some forearms to the back to no avail. Instead Rose plants her with a spinebuster for two with Britt coming back in for a Sling Blade. A Samoan drop takes Baker down but Rae is right back with a Code Red for two of her own on Rose.
Back up and Rose starts cleaning house before heading up top, which of course means the Tower of Doom from Kong. Kong takes Baker outside for the spinning backfist but Baker fights out of a powerbomb on the apron. Rose spears Kong into the steps, leaving Kylie to hit a low superkick on Baker.
That’s fine with Britt, who comes back with a swinging fisherman’s neckbreaker for a two that is so close that JR isn’t convinced. Rae is right back with a dead lift German suplex for two more and it’s time for Rae to get serious for the first time. Baker hits her in the face though and the Last Shot (Adam Cole’s old finisher) finishes Rae at 11:14.
Rating: C+. This felt like two matches going on at once with Kong and Rose having one match while Baker and Rae had the other. It was entertaining though and that’s the best thing that could happen. Baker and Rae aren’t very well known and having Baker win the match over Kong, who is a known name, is a good sign. Nice match too, though a singles match would have fit better.
Best Friends vs. Jack Evans/Angelico
Evans bounces off Trent to start and a bigger shoulder takes him down. It’s time to load up the big hug but Angelico and Evans break it up in a hurry. Evans starts cleaning house with JR declaring him “like a deadly…..wasp.” Everything breaks down with Evans elbowing Trent in the face.
The Friends get caught in the corner but a kick to the face sets up the Falcon Arrow with Excalibur getting in all of his usual shtick. A double stomp from the apron takes Angelico out so Evans starts his variety of odd kicks, including a backflip kick to Trent’s head. Soul Food sets up the big hug and it’s a reverse Razor’s Edge to send Evans into a cutter from Trent for two.
Angelico comes back in for an assisted Code Red on Trent, followed by an assisted cyclone knee to the head. Trent charges into a knee to the face in the corner and the Fall of the Angels (running crucifix buckle bomb) sets up Evans’ 630 for two with Chuckie breaking it up. Chuckie hits the running flip dive onto Angelico and the spike Strong Zero finishes Evans at 12:16.
Rating: B-. I’m not a big Best Friends fan but they went with the serious stuff here to make it work that much better. Evans and Angelico have a spot going forward as well as the spot fest guys and there’s nothing wrong with that. Best Friends winning makes sense though as the company is looking to be based on tag teams and having a bigger name team is the right call.
Post match they load up a hug….and the lights go out. They come back up with a bald guy and a masked guy in the ring. The lights go out again and it’s…..a bunch of masked men around the ring to pull Angelico, Evans and the Best Friends to the floor for a beating. The fans don’t recognize the bald guy and the masked guy as they destroy the four of them. The team is better known as the Super Smash Bros, though they’re not named here.
All Out is coming to Chicago in August. They do have some decent pay per view names.
Aja Kong/Yuka Sakazaki/Emi Sakura vs. Hikaru Shida/Riho Abe/Ryo Mizunami
Kong is a legendary monster. Shida and Sakazaki start things off for a missed running knee to the face, meaning it’s off to Mizunami vs. Kong. A power battle easily goes to the much larger Kong until some kicks to the head work a bit better. Sakazaki comes back in for a top rope seated senton on Riho and a slam, followed by the tag off to Sakura. The surfboard goes on for a bit before it’s back to Kong for the loud kick to the back.
Kong’s partners hold the other two in the corner as Kong hits a piledriver for two, with a pair of diving saves breaking it up. Riho is mostly dead but a shot to the ribs allows the hot tag off to Ryo. Everything breaks down for the big brawl until it’s Kong vs. Mizunami. The power game goes nowhere so it’s off to Riho as everything breaks down.
Knee strikes abound and it’s Kong suplexing Riho and Ryo (They couldn’t call one of them Earl?). A suicide dive takes both of them down and it’s a brainbuster to Shida. Sakura adds a moonsault for two that is so close that the bell rings and music starts playing. The fans aren’t pleased with the kickout but settle for Shida hitting a running knee to Sakura’s head for the pin at 13:09.
Rating: B-. It was a pretty wild brawl with a lot of physicality, but it was one of those cases where the people involved felt like they were interchangeable outside of Kong. The match was good and that’s all you can ask for and the majority of the match is all about having these people featured. That worked quite well and as long as you get a taste, everything should be fine.
We recap Dustin Rhodes vs. Cody. They’re brothers who don’t get along and it’s a personal feud this time. Dustin is much older and Cody wants to take him out for good. Dustin isn’t ready to be put out to pasture/taken out behind the barn/whatever other Texas saying they can think of.
Dustin Rhodes vs. Cody
Cody has a flashy robe and discount HHH throne, plus Brandi in his corner for a rather nice bonus. In case you didn’t get the idea from the cross and skull throne, Brandi hands him a sledgehammer to destroy the throne. ARE THEY BEING TOO SUBTLE FOR YOU??? Dustin has half of his face painted because, again, he isn’t much without the links to Goldust. Cody’s weight belt says Attitude Killer because we need to get that in there too.
We get a DUSTY chant for a nice touch (Dustin looks near tears) and the fans declare this awesome. Did they see their WWE matches? Cody trips him down and throws in a cartwheel for the early pose. Dustin gets sent outside for a suicide dive and it’s a bit of a botch as Dustin isn’t ready for something like a 619 on the apron. A running flip dive off the apron drops Cody and the bulldog connects back inside.
Ten right hands in the corner set up some snap jabs and Cody bails again. Fans: “NEVER LOST IT!” Cody grabs some water and Brandi gets in a cheap shot so Cody can hit a fireman’s carry gutbuster for two. A powerslam gives Cody two but Dustin hits his kneeling uppercut. Dustin loads up Shattered Dreams but Cody pulls the buckle pad off and throws it at Dustin, who charges anyway. That earns him a drop toehold into the exposed buckle for a trip to the floor.
Brandi adds a spear, with JR wondering what kind of family this is. That earns Brandi an ejection and Diamond Dallas Page makes a cameo to help get rid of her. Dustin is busted WAY open so Cody rubs the blood on his own chest. Cody punches at the cut and Dustin can’t see through the blood. A curb stomp gives Cody two and he adds a top rope ax handle. The scoop powerslam gives Dustin (who is now reaching an all time amount of blood) two but Cody takes him down into the Figure Four.
That’s powered over until Cody lets it go, so it’s time for a whipping with the weightlifting belt. Dustin grabs a Code Red (third time tonight) for two and the fans are on their feet. The top rope superplex is a near crash as Dustin slips off the top but he’s fine enough to hit Cross Rhodes for two. A low blow gets Cody out of trouble and the Disaster Kick sets up the real Cross Rhodes…..for two.
There is blood EVERYWHERE, with Earl and Cody both having it all over them and the mat is covered. Dustin hits another Cross Rhodes for another two and it’s time to trade kneeling uppercuts. Cody grabs something like a Vertebreaker (more like a backbreaker though as Cody was sitting before Dustin’s head started going down) but pulls Dustin up at two. Cross Rhodes finishes Dustin at 22:28.
Rating: B+. I had no expectations for this one and while I’m still not sure exactly why they’re fighting (I get the story but I’m not buying it), this was a heck of a war and far better than most people would have guessed. They beat each other up and had the best match they could have, which was also the best match tonight.
Post match Cody gets back in the ring and says Dustin doesn’t want to do this just yet. Instead, Cody has an upcoming match against the Young Bucks with a partner of his choosing. He doesn’t need a partner or a friend though because he needs his older brother. That gets a big hug in a scene reminiscent of Dusty Rhodes saying something similar to Dustin back in 1994 (that’s not a bad thing).
We look at the battle royal again as things are set up for the title presentation.
Here’s BRET HART of all people to put over the event and talk about how important the title is. He brings out Hangman Page, who will be facing either Kenny Omega or Chris Jericho “Next month…..or in a few months. Sorry it’s been a little while.” Page comes out but here’s Maxwell Jacob Friedman to interrupt. He does his usual…..Friedman: “BRET LOOK OUT! A FAN!”
After Friedman is done laughing, he talks about how he’s going to be the future of this company because a horse like Page certainly can’t be its face. Friedman talks about taking horses out back and shooting them before telling Page to give him the title shot. He demands that the old man look at him because he’s going to be the best there is, was and ever will be. Actually scratch that because that catchphrase sucks.
Page comes after him so Friedman drops to the floor. Friedman: “Easy Seabiscuit, easy.” Cue Jungle Boy to stop Friedman on the ramp and Jimmy Havoc to cut him off again. Page, Jungle Boy and Havoc surround Friedman, who wants to talk about this. The beatdown is on as Bret unveils the title, which is rather large with AEW in the middle. Not bad at all, with a pretty simple design.
We recap the Young Bucks vs. the Lucha Bros. The Bucks showed up in AAA and won the titles from the Brothers, who had won them earlier in the night. This is the only title match all night and it’s an actual dream match….which has happened before.
AAA Tag Team Titles: Young Bucks vs. Lucha Bros
The Bucks are defending and come out in Elvis style jumpsuits. Matt and Pentagon start things off with a staredown and Matt breaks up CERO MIEDO. An early Pentagon Driver attempt is broken up so it’s already off to Fenix. Nick comes in off a blind tag but the Bucks get caught in a double wristdrag to the floor. Everyone winds up outside and it’s Fenix and Nick both trying dropkicks at the same time for a standoff.
Back in and it’s a chop off with Fenix getting the better of Nick. The rolling dropkick puts Nick down again and the double superkicks make it even worse. The assisted wheelbarrow splash gives Fenix two but Nick is back up with a springboard wristdrag/headscissor takeover combination. Matt comes in to pick up the pace and it’s a gorilla press to Fenix, followed by a spear to Pentagon. Nick’s top rope double stomp hits Matt’s back by mistake but Nick takes Pentagon down to keep control.
Pentagon is right back with a monkey flip to send Nick into Matt in the corner. Fenix comes in and plants Matt on his head for two. It’s already back to Pentagon, who gets caught in a top rope flipping Stunner (nearly a neckbreaker) from Matt. Rolling northern lights suplexes set up a Sharpshooter but Fenix makes a quick save. Nick comes back in and it’s time for the rapid fire offense, including a kick to Fenix and a slingshot X Factor to Pentagon. Back in and the Bucks grab stereo Sharpshooters but ropes are grabbed in a hurry.
Nick hits the top rope 450 to a draped Fenix with Pentagon making the save. A powerbomb/super Sliced Bread #2 gets two on Fenix and we need a breather. Pentagon comes back in to start firing off the superkicks and everyone is down. Matt and Pentagon head to the floor to trade kicks to the legs. Kicks to the face give us a double knockdown but it’s the Bros up with back to back slingshot Canadian Destroyers for two on Nick.
Fenix’s middle rope flip dive takes out both Bucks, followed by the Fear Factor into the Swanton for two on Nick. It’s back to Matt and the Bucks superkick Fenix out of the air. A Helluva Kick into a brainbuster onto the buckle gives us the Sami Generico special on Fenix. More Bang For Your Buck gets two on Pentagon, followed by a spike package piledriver for two more.
Fenix breaks up the Meltzer Driver though and Pentagon snaps Matt’s arm. The Pentagon Driver gets two on Matt as Nick is down near the top of the ramp. That leaves Fenix to start kicking Matt in the arm but in true Bucks fashion, Matt is suddenly fine and Nick is suddenly back, meaning it’s the Meltzer Driver to retain at 24:59.
Rating: A-. This was the best match of the night, even if it had that rather annoying Bucks tendency to get destroyed and then pop up and win in about two seconds. I liked the idea of the Bucks using moves from their past rivals to to make sure they could beat the Bros, though I’m not sure who is supposed to beat the Bucks now. Either way, it’s a heck of a match, though both teams are capable of doing better.
We recap Chris Jericho vs. Kenny Omega. Jericho needs to win the match to avenge his loss in Japan. Omega knows that Jericho might be the best of all time but also that Jericho needs this win.
Kenny Omega vs. Chris Jericho
Jericho brings out the List of Jericho, the light up jacket and….finally the hat because he’s Evil Jericho this time around. They trade slaps in the face to start with Jericho hitting a running shoulder. The early V Trigger misses so Omega tries a hurricanrana, which is countered into the Walls. Omega bails to the rope and gets knocked outside where Jericho rings the bell. This time Jericho throws him into the crowd and grabs a camera for some filming (with Excalibur calling him Generico twice in a row).
That earns him a soda to the face and they go back inside for a Regal Roll into the middle rope moonsault from Omega. Jericho is right back with a dropkick and some chops to bust Omega’s chest open. For some reason Jericho stops to flip off a fan and throw in some yelling, allowing Omega (who might have a broken nose) to snap off a hurricanrana. Jericho goes outside and finds a table, which Omega dropkicks into his face. Omega isn’t done though as he hits a big running flip dive to knock the table into Jericho again.
The table is set up on the floor but Omega takes him back inside for the jumping Fameasser for two. Omega hits the first V Trigger to the back of the head, followed by the belly to back superplex for the huge crash. Another V Trigger is broken up but the Lionsault hits knees. Now the second V Trigger can connect and Jericho adds a release German suplex. The second and third Lionsaults connect (the second to Kenny’s head) for two but Omega is right back with another V Trigger.
Jericho backdrops him to the floor through the table though and they’re both down. They slug it out with Omega on the apron so Jericho breaks up a springboard with a dropkick. Omega breaks up a superplex but dives right into the Codebreaker for two. The Walls are broken up again and a tiger driver gives Omega another near fall. Another V Trigger is countered into the Walls with Jericho even turning it into the Liontamer.
Omega slips out again and hits one heck of a V Trigger (that’s about seven total) but the One Winged Angel is countered into the deformed cousin of a DDT. It was so bad that they do the same sequence again so the DDT can work as designed. The Codebreaker drops Omega for no cover and it’s the Judas Effect (a spinning back elbow to the face) to give Jericho the pin at 27:37.
Rating: B+. It’s a strong main event and I completely understand the idea of putting Jericho on top but it never felt epic. It came off like they were just trading big finishers until we got to the ending. Jericho winning is fine as you can either have him as the first champion or have him put Page over for the title, both of which would work. Still though, rather good, just not great.
Post match Jericho rips on the fans, saying he doesn’t care what they think and calling them marks. It’s his time now though and this is his company. This company is all about him and he’s the reason for this building, the logo and the TV deal. With all that done and Omega defeated, it’s time for a thank you.
Instead, he gets Jon Moxley coming through the crowd to hit Dirty Deeds on Jericho and the referee but Omega fights one off and the brawl is on, all but guaranteeing the next main event. They fight into the crowd and onto the poker chip set, with Moxley hitting Dirty Deeds on top of the pile. An AA off the pile of chips plants Omega to end the show.
Overall Rating: A-. It was very good and that’s what matters most here. They had some rather good matches (the last three all delivered) and while it felt a little long near the end, I liked just about everything they put on. It wasn’t a blow away show or an instant classic, but what we got was very good and I’m curious to see where they go with the next show.
The important thing to remember is that this is a first step. Most of the matches didn’t have much of a backstory and they didn’t need to. This show was much more about letting these people get in the ring under the AEW banner and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a very good debut and while I liked All In more, this is a good way to go for the first step on a long road.
So what does this mean for their long term future? Not much really, as they’re still several months away from having their weekly show, which is what really matters. They’re not going to have the Rhodes blood bath or the crazy Bucks vs. Bros match or a Jon Moxley coming through the crowd every single time. What matters is getting people to watch when that hype is gone and while this doesn’t show much about that ability (as it’s something completely different), it showed that they can put on a very good and entertaining show.
Another good sign was Jim Ross, who sounded motivated and energized for the first time in a long time. His New Japan run just made me sad as he clearly didn’t care and wasn’t trying, but he can still bring it when he needs to. Let him be a guiding light behind the scenes and things will be great. This show wasn’t quite great, but it was a very strong start and that’s a nice sign.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. Get the latest and greatest in professional wrestling news by signing up for our daily email newsletter. Just look below for “GET EXCLUSIVE UPDATES” to sign up. Thank you for reading!