June 18th, 2021
Daily’s Place - Jacksonville, FL
This is what I’m guessing is AEW’s take on what NXT did with the “fight pit” gimmick. Admittedly I haven’t seen many of those matches so this entire concept will be pretty new to my eyes. To me, I think they did a decent job for what it is. It’s set up like an MMA octagon. They are doing 3 five minute rounds. Hager has the clear verbalized advantage so they have Wardlow look out of his element early then he surprises Hager with some power and takedowns which lead to strikes. Round two ends up belonging to Hager though and he forces Wardlow to tap. They blended the wrestling with the “MMA” here and didn’t try too hard to make this super MMA so it didn’t come off bad at all and was definitely something different to spice things up.
Match rating - **3/4
After the match, Shawn Spears attacks Hager despite he & Wardlow teasing a fist bump post bout. Chris Jericho then runs in which leads to my favorite line of the show..
“We’ve got a rat in the building...” -Tony Schiavone
MJF IS HERE and he’s as much of a piece of shit as ever. He attacks Jericho, rips his cast off and locks his injured arm up in his signature submission. Dean Malenko steps in and MJF teases hitting him before actually DOJNG IT. JR proclaims “I hate him” as MJF smirks. Sammy Guevara is out next, hoping over one of the cage walls into the cage. MJF gets away though. Good shit.
Backstage, Kazarian quotes a bible verse, but says he doesn’t always agree with the lord because tonight vengeance is his. Kingston agrees and says they better pray their soul is taken because they are gonna kick their asses. Penta says CERO MIEDO.
Taz is backstage with his BOYZ. He says Hobbs wants Hangman Page one on one next week and later in this show, the match is confirmed so it will indeed happen.
2) Darby Allin vs. Ethan Page & Scorpio Sky
Darby is great from fighting from underneath and he & Ethan Page have awesome chemistry, so this was fantastic in that regard. Darby tried to mount a comeback once or twice, but ultimately falls to the Men of the Year after an ego's edge. I'm so used to Darby overcoming that this felt weird. I can only assume this is just building toward him doing just that and overcoming, except it will be much bigger than if he won these matches along the way. Page & Sky destroy Darby here and are very happy about it.
Match rating - **1/2
3) Orange Cassidy (w/ Best Friends & Kris Statlander) vs. Cezar Bononi (w/ Peter Avalon, JD Drake, & Ryan Nemeth)
This was a doggone blast. As you probably expected. Cezar is really growing on me, I've always enjoyed Avalon and JD Drake rules. This new group of the three of them and Nemeth is random as fuck, but it somehow works. They pull Orange out in between Cezar flooring him so they can give him a "makeover" which includes spraying tanner on him and putting gel in his hair. It isn't long before Chuck Taylor, Trent, and Kris Statlander roll out. Kris distracts the ref (Bryce) as the Best Friends hoist up Orange and launch him out to the floor onto THE WINGMEN. This leads to the Orange comeback and victory. He orange punches JD Drake along the way for good measure as well.
And next, we get the best backstage segment in awhile. Jungle Boy arrives to the arena for an interview with Alex Marvez about his big title match next week. Before he can even get the chance to speak, Kenny Omega & Don Callis roll up on a golfcart. Omega & Callis are as hilarious as ever, but still dickish obviously. Don is yelling "THE CHAMP IS HERE" as they're pulling up. Kenny proceeds to say he doesn't think Jungle Boy has ever been in a real fight and challenges him to one right now. He says he's packed a picnic lunch for them both that includes two knuckle sandwiches, both for him. Don says "You hungry?!" LMAO. So dumb, but fucking hilarious. Jungle Boy says he would rather just beat him next week for the title in the middle of the ring. Omega offers him to take the first punch right now. Jungle Boy seems to be willing to oblige only for MT Nakazawa to hit Jungle Boy with a laptop in the back. Omega throws Jungle Boy on some trash cans, but Jungle Boy reverses and starts throwing some stiff shots to the champion. Omega & Callis bail as Omega kicks Nak into Jungle Boy which allows them to pull away on the golfcart. Omega yells that he will get him next week. This reminded me so much of Omega's old PWG backstage segments.
Matt Hardy is cutting a promo inside a cage backstage or something and Christian shows up pissed to try and attack him, but is unable to reach him.
4) Cody Rhodes & Brock Anderson (w/ Arn Anderson) vs. QT Marshall & Aaron Solow
So it’s no secret how much I’m not a fan of recent Cody shit and this Factory/Nightmare Family stuff, but let’s face it, this match rocked. Felt straight outta the 80’s/early 90’s NWA - WCW. Everyone was perfect in their role. Cody as the veteran mentor, Brock as the green rookie in his first match making many newbie mistakes. Solow & Marshall being the bastards taking advantage of that and being cheap. Just simple and good stuff. Brock gets the pin with a braun hold despite being attacked by Solow while he wasn’t paying attention after Cody hit a big move on QT on the stage.
Match rating - ***
Jake Roberts & Lance Archer pre-tape. It’s chaotic and repetitive. Lance is pacing behind Jake while he rambles. Basically the jist is “Lance is tired of waiting.” And Jake can’t hold him back. So, I guess he’s gonna attack somebody to start a new feud soon or something?
JR’s sit down interview with Andrade El Idolo is next. I really have not been a fan of how they’ve positioned Andrade including his lackluster debut. He is so fucking cool on his own just from his look and vibe, even if you don’t know he’s a great wrestler, that it feels like they really have overbooked his debut instead of just sending him out there with a statement making attack on someone like Kenny who he’s facing in AAA later this summer. You don’t have to do much with someone like Andrade, his look and vibe says it all. This wasn’t horrible, though. Way better than I expected, in fact because most things with JR tend to be on the verge of a trainwreck especially when it’s with someone as modern and cool as Andrade. Train stayed on the tracks though and Andrade came off like some sort of damn movie star. He says he & Vickie have a surprise coming up and that statement closes the interview.
5) Julia Hart (w/ Brian Pillman Jr & Griff Garrison) vs. Penelope Ford
Golly gee. The Varsity Blondes & Julia Hart have become quite the stars haven’t they? They feel like so much more than they felt a year ago this time. They aren’t just some guys. Pillman Jr isn’t just the son of the late great Brian Pillman, they’re an established act and feel so fun and likeable. Penelope is back here after the fiasco with Kip, Miro & company. Her & Julia have a solid little match that showcases both of their strength as they are polar opposites character wise. Julia misses her signature split kick and ends up trapped in a submission with no choice but to tap. Penelope refuses to break the hold after the bell and snarls at the camera about it after she finally releases it.
Match rating - **1/2
After the match, TNT Champion Miro comes out and asks Penelope where Kip is. He says it looks like she’s out here in a 3 on 1 situation so he takes it upon himself to attack the Varsity Blondes. Good lord, Miro is such a king. Pull apart brawl between he & Pillman Jr. as Excalibur starts announcing matches for the 6/30 edition of Dynamite and one of them is.. MIRO defending the TNT Title against Brian Pillman Jr!
The Dark Order is hangin out. Hangman Page is with them and avoids questions about being the #1 singles competitor and Kenny Omega/the AEW World Title, and instead takes the time to commend John Silver for healing from his injury quickly, Evil Uno for his effort in the TNT Title match last week and so on.
Britt Baker & Rebel are interrupted by Vickie Guerrero backstage. She says Tony owes her one for bringing in Andrade so he gave her the match she asked for - Britt/Rebel vs. Nyla/Vickie.
Hype package for the FTR/Santana & Ortiz feud. Real good shit, these two teams could have a sleeper moty candidate if given the time whenever they clash.
Mark Sterling and Jade Cargill announce they are partnering with a Toronto hotel. You can get a discount there if you use the code THATBITCH. LMAO. They say she’s gonna continue her winning streak and stuff because she’s THAT BITCH.
6) Eddie Kingston, Penta El Zero Miedo, & Frankie Kazarian vs. Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows, & Matt Jackson (w/ Don Callis)
Standard filler stuff to cap off the show here. Not that it was bad, it's just a house style trios match from these six which is just fine. You can't blow the lid off every single week. They do stuff. Elite are the Elite. Taking shortcuts, being shit heads. Penta & Eddie are the perfect babyfaces with a lot of fire and Kaz is pissed cause the Bucks retired his best friend and caused their team to disband. Nick Jackson shows up and sprays some shit in Penta's face and it allows Karl Anderson to get the pin on him for the victory. AHHH damn. I hate that finish only because it seems like Penta is always taking these pins and is never in a position to do anything worthwhile. He lost to Cody in a two-week program and now he's taking the fall in this trios match. Penta deserves so much more and I hope they give him the run he deserves someday. I also think it wouldn't have hurt at all for the Elite to finally take a loss here. They aren't powerhouse dominant heels that would be hurt by a loss. This is a damn throwaway show, after all. Throw the babyfaces a bone instead of repeating the victory stealing by the Bucks & co week after week. To me, any of the faces pinning someone like Gallows, or even Anderson, would have been much smarter than pinning Penta. BUT WHATEVA. This oddly may have been my least favorite match on the show. Just didn't like the outcome and the way it was worked with the same repetitive formula, plus there wasn't as much fire as there normally is when some of these guys mix it up.
Match rating - **1/4