November 13th, 2021
Minneapolis, MN - Target Center
The Buy In:
1) Thunder Rosa & Hikaru Shida vs. Jamie Hayter & Nyla Rose
This was so refreshing. Finally, AEW seems to be seeing what women need to be in what position on the card and with whom they need to be paired. These four just so happen to be four of the best the roster has. Rosa & Hayter can have a great match with just about anyone and Shida & Nyla can more than hold their own as well so this was just a blast, honestly. They also ran back the amazing bumping from Jamie Hayter when Rosa hit a crossbody to the floor and Jamie took it PERFECTLY. I wasn’t paying tons of attention to detail in the closing stretch but I know that I enjoyed myself and that’s enough for this rating.
Match rating - **3/4
2) Darby Allin vs. MJF
This opens the show and where do I even start? This completely blew all expectations I had out of the water. Darby matches tend to follow a formula, but that formula was completely disregarded here. These two started this off with chain wrestling and lucha exchanges which was a nice change of pace and a fucking BLAST. MJF mouths off with a fan at ringside and eats a nasty Darby dive and after some even nastier bumps like Darby missing a coffin drop on the apron & eating shit, things settle into the story of the match with MJF hitting a brutal powerbomb on Darby on his knee. Looked like it tweaked it and Darby goes after it and they continue play on it through the entirety of the second half of the match which included some awesome spots and a Sting save when Shawn Spears & Wardlow tried to interfere. They played into the promos that led into this as MJF tried to coax Darby into hitting him with the skateboard so he’d get disqualified, which to me was an immediate callback to MJF saying he would break Darby mentally and Darby refuting it. Just good, good shit all around. MJF wins by using his ring on Darby and then .. a headlock takeover. Insane. This will be a rivalry that pops up multiple times in the next decade of AEW and what a chapter here.
Match rating - ****1/4
3) Lucha Bros (Penta El Zero Miedo & Rey Fenix) (c) vs. FTR (Cash Wheeler & Dax Harwood) - AEW World Tag Team Title Match
First off, I love FTR’s new entrance music. It feels SO fucking WCW and fits them perfectly. Lucha Bros have an awesome entrance here as well. This started fast, but took a minute for me to get into due to how much of a barnburner Darby/MJF was. Things really pick up in the final half, seeing the Lucha Bros pay tribute to Eddie Guerrero and the crowd rise to their feet was so awesome. They do a loooooot of overbooking and some of it hits and some of it is like .. too much. But it’s still pretty much a blast during the second half. They call back to the green masks FTR wore when they were disguised as luchadors and try to do a switcharoo thing that sorta threw me off. But yeah it’s not good enough and Lucha Bros retain.
Match rating - **3/4
4) Bryan Danielson vs. Miro - AEW World Title Eliminator Tournament Finals Match
Danielson continues his run as the Wrestler of the Year here having a banger with Miro. The story early really turns into Miro just dominating Danielson because I mean… basic physics. Miro is a monster and a lot stronger and throws Bryan around. Bryan works his comeback and this turns into a god damn slugfest, the exact thing we wanted from these two. They keep a nice story going too, though, and the finish.. man.. the finish. The DDT is once again Miro’s worst nightmare as a swinging DDT into a choke puts him out. Awesome battle. Bryan Danielson is the new #1 contender to the AEW World Championship.
Match rating - ****
5) Superkliq (Adam Cole & The Young Bucks) vs. Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus) & Christian Cage - Falls Count Anywhere Match
I hate to sound repetitive when I review Superkliq matches, but these are just always bonkers in the best way possible. You know exactly what to expect and they deliver every single time. The Falls Count Anywhere stip solidified it even more. Cole gets cut open early. We get awesome table spots with BATSHIT dives from Nick & Matt who continued that trend all match, flying around every fucking where like maniacs. Jungle Boy got the tacks in the mouth superkick spot. CHRISTIAN does a fucking crossbody off the balcony. Everyone was going nuts here. I was particularly shocked to see Christian doing some of the stuff he did here. On top of the balcony crossbody, he hit a nasty looking spinning DDT on Cole on a ladder. They fight up the stage, a lot of wild stuff happens here. Insane dives and chokeslam off the stage to the floor. Luchasaurus with a SHOOTING STAR PRESS OFF THE STAGE. Yeah that dude is a fucking insane person. He took a triple V trigger with thumbtacks on the knee pads here too. Christian gives Jungle Boy the honor of hitting the conchairto on Matt Jackson for the victory after an absolutely bonkers match.
Match rating - ***3/4
6) PAC & Cody Rhodes (w/ Arn Anderson) vs. Andrade El Idolo & Malakai Black
This felt like it was in a semi cool down spot and that’s just fine. They did kill it, though. Cody is booed out of the building, but for some reason they decide to build towards a hot tag for him. He works the apron and all building towards it and boos just reign down on his ass. Shit is so wild. But yeah, this was fun. Andrade & PAC had some more great exchanges here and PAC got the pin to finish things off when all was said and done.
Match rating - ***1/4
7) Britt Baker (c) (w/ Rebel & Jamie Hayter) vs. Tay Conti - AEW Womens Title Match
Britt gets a live entrance with dude from Fozzy playing guitar for her theme. Tay Conti has her game face on early and does an awesome job exhibiting her anxiety and the pressure & seriousness of this match. The crowd seems to be very worn out at this point, but these ladies really busted their ass and delivered a great match. One that is honestly my favorite of Britt’s reign so far. Conti is still fairly green, but she has a LOT of major things down. The facial expressions and the general layout and execution of this match was phenomenal. I expected some hiccups or awkward pacing, but there wasn’t much of that, if any. Tay’s selling and facials were just next level and kept me hooked from bell to bell. They threw some pretty crazy apron bumps and stuff in here and Tay hits a breathtaking moonsault that rules. They make Tay look strong in defeat, but eventually she’s caught in the lockjaw, she rolls out for a pinning combo only for Britt to reverse it and scoop the pin. I really liked this match.
Match rating - ***1/2
8) CM Punk vs. Eddie Kingston
Match of the night and one of the best matches of the entire year. Undoubtedly the best CM Punk match since he returned. Eddie had no frills in his entrance, not that he ever really does, but here there was nothing but a walk to the ring and motioning for Punk to come out. Punk comes out and there are no frills during his entrance either. No pose, no nothing. This felt like a fight from the jump and they go nose to nose with the ref holding them back and King hits a spinning back fist on Punk before the bell that floors him. Punk tries to recover and Bryce asks if he’s good AND PUNK FLIPS OFF KINGSTON. The bell rings and things explode and god damn what a brawl we got here. Not just any brawl, the brawl of all brawls. A classic pro wrestling showcase that can simply not be topped. Punk bleeds, and it rocks. The crowd is torn on who to cheer for and it’s only made harder when both guys are plainly only working with one goal - beating the living shit out of the other. There’s nothing nice about this. Biting, taunting, fists flying, it’s just a war and one that tells a phenomenal story. Much like the promo battle between Punk & Kingston on Rampage shadowed the old Punk/Cena promos from 2011, they expanded upon that as mid match, Punk began hitting shoulder blocks, then set Kingston up move for move for the five knuckle shuffle. POSING WITH HIS HAND UP FOR THE YOU CANT SEE ME AND SMILJNG AT THE CROWD WHO IS NOW BOOING HIM AS BLOOD DRIPS DOWN HIS FACE AHHHHHHH.
These moments will never be forgotten. This is one of the best matches of either man’s careers. Just everything it needed to be and then some.
Match rating - ****3/4
9) The Inner Circle (Chris Jericho, Sammy Guevara, Santana, Ortiz, & Jake Hager) vs. Ethan Page, Scorpio Sky, & American Top Team - Street Fight
Thankful this was placed in the spot on the card that it was because I needed a cool down and also, I couldn’t care less about this match. However, it most definitely delivers for what it is and we get everything we want out of it. Hilarious moments and some great spots like Sammy’s insane Jeff Hardy style dive off the tallest ladder I’ve seen in AEW. Ethan Page taunts Jake Hager’s wife at ringside then gets locked in the claw by Baron von Raschke who was at ringside. Dan Lambert gets embarrassed when all is said and done and Jericho does a tribute to the late Eddie Guerrero with the finish. Can’t complain one bit! Gentleman’s three boy.
Match rating - ***
10) Kenny Omega (c) vs. “Hangman” Adam Page - AEW World Championship Match
Video package airs before the match and another pre-tape we haven’t seen of Hangman riding his horse down the street outside of the Target Center. This match feels huge, as it should. It’s 2 and a half years in the making, as we all know. Omega and Page make their entrances and we settle in for a match structured differently than arguably any other match that’s ever happened in AEW. I truly don’t think I’ve seen any other main event worked this way and that in itself is super cool. This is the first time I’ve seen Kenny work a New Japan esque main event and I think it’s done this way to try and make Hangman look all the more like an absolute superstar. They work slow and methodical. Nothing is rushed. All the big moments/moves are inched towards so that they mean so much more when they hit. This feels exactly like what it is - the biggest match in AEW history. NOW, does it also have the slight stench of the excessivesness of some NJPW style main events.. yes. It sometimes felt like they needed to kick it to a different gear or spice things up to break the formula. Doing so, probably would’ve boosted this a higher rating because everything else was there. None the less, we still get a fantastic title match that I think stands far apart from all other AEW Title matches before it. My favorite moment of the match was seeing Omega go for the One Winged Angel, Page counter it and HIT OMEGA’s MOVE ON HIMSELF. Absolutely fucking awesome. I think we all were expecting Page to kick out of the move so we didn’t even think of what would happen if Page hit it on Omega. The Young Bucks come down next and we get the absolute most perfect final moment in this match as Hangman hits two buckshot lariats on Omega, one from each side of the ring. Nick Jackson is on one side tempted to interfere, but doesn’t. Matt Jackson is on the other side and nods his head almost in approval as Page stares at him before finally hitting the Buckshot on Kenny for the victory. Wow. What a heartfelt moment. Page getting the fair chance and approval from his former friends that he always wanted. Fuck yes man. We have a new AEW World Champion!!!
Match rating - ****1/2
Final thoughts: All in all, this completely lived up to expectations, and I think could be looked up on as potentially AEW’s greatest PPV event to date. Atleast match quality wise. All Out had the moments like Punk’s first match in 7 years and Danielson & Cole debuting, but the match quality here surpassed it just slightly for me. It really feels like a new era is beginning now that Hangman is champion and I'm excited to see where things go and how things reset. Strap in yall, it’s about to get wild!!!
ALSO if you don’t already follow @upandoverpod on Twitter, this Friday we will be discussing Full Gear and the Dynamite that follows so if you want more thoughts and round table discussion on this event, don’t miss it!