Live on PPV from Chicago, Illinois
February 29th, 2020
1) Jake Hager vs. Dustin Rhodes
In ring debut for Jake Hager. Dustin is sporting a "Jericho's bitch" shirt in reference to Hager. Nice pop and start as Hager mouths "you motherfucker" and charges Dustin at the bell. Unfortunately the fire from that opening exchange doesn't last all too long and fluctuates from dull to fiery during the entire match. Things get good again when Dustin kisses Hager's wife at ringside only for it to die down again. Dustin hits a cool code red for a two count. They trade moves and Hager debuts his standing sleeper hold to win. That came off weak and the crowd booed in kind. Match as a whole wasn't bad but didn't reach the level it could've. Just thankful it wasn't a dud.
Match rating - **1/2
2) Darby Allin vs. Sammy Guevara
Insane flying Darby as soon as he gets in the ring, before his music even stops playing. This outside plunder before the bell ends with Guevara hitting a 630 on Darby through a table. Darby makes it into the ring for the bell somehow and he & Sammy trade all the big movez. Darby hits an epic long distance coffin drop for the win. So much fun. Darby is HOT rn.
Match rating - ***1/2
3) Hangman Adam Page & Kenny Omega (c) vs. The Young Bucks - AEW World Tag Team Title Match
Okay wow. Where do I start? When The Bucks won the battle royal to get this title shot I was like okay, that will be fun. Everyone has also been talking up Hangman's recent rise in popularity and while I agree, I hadn't got invested fully to the point of emotional investment. Then they did the sit down interview segment with Jim Ross on last week's Dynamite and I was like okay that was reallllly good and I got vibes from the epic Golden Lovers/Bucks clash that I gave ***** last year. And the video package heading into this match heightened that. So we get to this match and I am as invested as can be and these guys DELIVERED. This was everything I loved about Golden Lovers/Bucks. Just superb, epic tag team wrestling and without a doubt has to be a Top 10-20 tag match of all time. Big Dave said it's the best of all time and while that's a bold take - it's a valid take. You don't get wrestling like this much nowadays. Esp in tag team wrestling. The Bucks have now done it twice in the past two years and they're the only team to deliver something of this level in the past 10 years or so. But anyway, here, Hangman Page is so fucking good. He's so over and just like every other Babyface in AEW - not in the typical WWE learned way - in his own unique way. He could easily come off as bratty for his attitude towards his Elite brethren but people love his attitude and have attached themselves to him as chants of "Hangman" and "cowboy shit" rang through from the opening bell. The Young Bucks leaned into their heel side for this and did so amazingly. Omega was his usual tweener self. I've never seen four guys have such unique, ungeneric flexible roles that can work to the level they do here. People can say this was just a spotfest and overrated, but that would just show shortsightedness because there is SO much more to appreciate here. Not that the action wasn't top notch though, it was every bit as good as anything AEW has produced but with levels and levels of storytelling and character development to boot. This is my personal favorite MOTY and it will be hard to top this going forward. Hangman & Omega retain and god damn I hope their reign never ends. It's been phenomenal. This earns my first five star rating of 2020.
Match rating - *****
4) Nyla Rose (c) vs. Kris Statlander - AEW Women's Title Match
After that classic, the crowd is kinda worn out. So this having a little rough start didn't help. Once it got going, it picked up down the stretch but I don't think anyone ever got their teeth fully sunk into this. It was not bad by any means though, just not on the level of other AEW title defenses. A dominate showing for Nyla none the less and a solid first defense.
Match rating - **3/4
5) Cody vs. MJF
Some people say the neck tattoo and Downstait performance ruined this match & Cody for them but once the bell rang, all that went out of the window. This was classic pro wrestling, just like this whole story has been and just like almost everything Cody touches. Slow burn with a lot of emotion. Cody accidentally kicks Arm when Wardlow picked up Brandi. MJF bleeds and dubs the crimson mask. Lots of good stuff in here. Not the show stealer and a not a MOTY candidate, but great great wrestling.
Match rating - ****
6) PAC vs. Orange Cassidy (w/ Chuck Taylor & Trent)
Orange Cassidy is so over it's insane. This was so different from everything else on the card and such a different role/type of match from PAC coming off such a pure wrestling match like the Ironman with Omega on Dynamite earlier this week. Comedy wrestling at it's finest worked perfectly and another W for PAC.
Match rating - ***1/2
7) Chris Jericho (c) vs. Jon Moxley - AEW World Title Match
Super hype entrance for both men and it feels like a big fight feel world title brawl. And that's just what it was. It's not match of the night, it's not match of the year, but it delivered. Mox and Jericho fought tooth and nail for the belt to end a story that was simple wrestling storytelling in it's best form. And that's something we don't get anymore. Huge pop for Mox ripping the eye patch off and even bigger one for what it led to as he becomes the new AEW World Champion.
Match rating - ***3/4