Arena: Agganis Arena
City: Boston, MA
Last Week’s Rating: 455,000 overall; 0.14 in 18-49 demo
Welcomed by JR, we were quickly hit with Christian Cage’s music, Tony & Excalibur chiming in to acknowledge the crowd’s boos. Luchasaurus quickly followed.
Jungle Boy’s Challenge for Christian & Luchasaurus
Footage aired of JB & Saurus trying to take each other out as Jungle Boy made his entrance. Cage quickly took the mic and recalled beating Jungle Boy in ten seconds. They were done with him until JB cost Luchasaurus his title shot last week.
Jungle Boy responded that while he’d cost them a match, they’d cost him everything: friendship, three years of his life… They keep stacking the odds against him, so he’s gonna stack the odds against himself, by challenging Saurus inside a steel cage at Full Gear.
Christian accepted, because they weren’t gonna get rid of him til they finished him for good. ‘Cheap Heat’ Christian Cage, after bashing the locals, made a bunch of references to Jungle Boy’s mum and dead father. If you have to go there, you’ve already failed.
Luchasaurus chokeslammed his former friend onto a propped-up steel chair. Really bad landing on his neck.
Lexi Nair with Death Triangle. Pac interrupted Rey to explain to both he and Penta that there’s a reason they aren’t double champions. They have to be smart and take every advantage they can, ‘by any means necessary’, tapping the belt with his hammer in time with the words.
Brian Cage vs Dante Martin, Eliminator Tournament 1st Rnd
Backstory: Winner will face Ricky Starks/Lance Archer in semis
It took them this long to tell us the Starks/Archer match has been rearranged due to Archer’s attack on the former (they released it online earlier but that won’t make a dent in the tv audience). That should’ve been the first thing said when the show started.
Predictably, this began with Dante looking to use his speed, but being caught in a fallaway slam position and bench-pressed. Slipping out, he fired forearms which staggered the big guy but didn’t knock him down, until a dropkick sent the bigger man outside.
A very scripted looking tope (it was basically in slow motion) ended with Dante being snatched out the air and dropped on the outside via brainbuster.
Cage almost bagged a three count as we returned, stopping to jaw at the crowd, Dante crawling around, snatched up for a DVD which he countered into a ddt, leaving both down. Though Cage was quicker to his feet, a flurry of forearms from Dante left Cage staggered but an irish whip was a bad idea: Cage reversed it, Dante flipped out to the apron, enziguri, cross body from the top, two slaps of the mat.
A tired crowd getting into it.
Cage blocked a nose dive but was sent through the ropes, hit with a springboard cross body to the outside, splash off the top, count of three. Dante well on top.
Lastly, Cage was blasted with a step-up enziguri but avoided a 450, hit a huge lariat, spinning slam, close two. Before quickly hauling Dante up into the Weapon X (kinda like a Gory Special into a ddt, looked great) to advance in the tournament.
WINNER: Brian Cage
‘Lets go to the back!’ yelled Excalibur, in classic TNA style, barely seconds after the ever so important number one contender tournament match had ended. To go to Lexi with Lee Moriarty & Stokely – it’s time for Lee to collect some gold, any gold will do. Just as Hook turned up. Hathaway hid behind Moriarty.
House of Black video package played – all three members plus Julia Hart were shown here. The idea again that they were being resurrected.
Rush vs Bandido, Eliminator Tournament 1st Rnd
Backstory: Winner will face Ethan Page in semis
JR really put Rush over during his entrance.
El Toro Blanco struck early, launching himself over the ropes at Bandido as he made his way down the aisle. Then violently flinging him around ringside, into several sets of barricades, then attacked with the extension cord, as he has often recently. The commentators explained that this was before the match so that’s fine then.
Apparently, Aubrey decided the newcomer was fine to compete. This booking is getting worse by the show.
An aggressive Rush quickly piled Bandido into the corner, launching a stiff kick to the mush before rolling back into his pose as the ads arrived.
Bandido was just fine as we returned: launching a frogsplash and shimmying like Latino Heat. Rush slipped out of the delayed suplex, chops to the chest, thrust kick, big spinning elbow and a nonchalant cover for barely two.
Trying to fire the crowd up from the mat, Bandido continued to be beaten around the ring – a sort-of dropkick off the top from Rush barely made contact. Yet they showed a replay.
Bandido then caught Rush up into a military press & slam, then they exchanged Germans which both no-sold, crucifix bomb by Bandido, spinning leg lariat by Rush, both down in the middle.
Bandido stood still for ages playing to the crowd while Rush was apparently paralyzed in the corner, unable to take advantage of the delay, but then hit a piledriver for two. After which he beckoned for a chair, distracting Aubrey as Jose tried to remove Bandido’s mask. Bringing John Silver out to knock down Jose with one punch and allow Bandido to bag a win via the most dangerous finish in wrestling – the distraction rollup!
You beat up Bandido at the start presumably in order to set-up a triumphant babyface overcoming the odds; yet he didn’t sell any sort of injury and was being beaten pillar-to-post until bagging a fluke win. So why even bother with all the stuff at the start!? Save it for a match that really matters and give it meaning.
This tournament is vomit.
Of course we have to immediately cut away again from the number one contender tournament to go backstage. Jake Hager approaching Claudio – they go way back – and Claudio’s a hell of a sports entertainer, implying that he should join the JAS. Hager lastly noted that ‘I like this hat’ – and I smiled for the first time all night (well, all show, sounds a bit morbid otherwise doesn’t it).
Nyla Rose vs Kayla Sparks, TBS Title open challenge
Backstory: Nyla isn’t the champ but has tossed out this open challenge anyway; Jade’s vowed to get her
Nyla was hamming it up to a ridiculous degree, I guess trying to be Jade, as she won with a pumpkick and Jaded. Bringing Cargill and the Baddies out straight after. The Baddies were sent packing but a pump kick of Jade’s own sent Nyla to the outside. Cargill had to be held back as Nyla escaped again with her title.
WINNER: Nyla Rose
Orange Cassidy vs Lee Johnson, All-Atlantic Title
Backstory: They continued the gimmick where Cassidy just immediately offers/accepts title matches
Lee Johnson hasn’t been on tv for so long that I couldn’t remember which Lee he was when writing out the contest. They have way too many guys to be using valuable tv time on him. Particularly if he’s just going to disappear again for a year.
This started fast: the pair exchanging whips, leapfrogs, drop-downs, armdrags… until Cassidy darted out the way of a final armdrag from Johnson, launching the kicks until distracted, allowing Johnson to take over briefly before being run from buckle to buckle by Orange. Best Friends pulled QT off the apron for the second time in as many minutes, allowing Nick Comoroto to throw Cassidy off the apron as the final break beckoned.
Both guys down in the middle, ref counting as Comoroto sent Chuck Taylor into the barricade on the outside, leading to Cassidy backdropping Johnson outside onto Comoroto before springboarding onto all of the Factory.
Back inside – he came off the top with a cross body and went for a tornado ddt – Johnson countered into a blue thunder bomb for two. At which point Comoroto interfered AGAIN, dragging Cassidy outside until attacked by Beretta, QT & Cole Carter then attacking him until Chuck flew over the top onto them, then hugged his partner.
Back inside again, Cassidy missed an Orange Punch, Johnson bagged a two with his feet on the ropes, hit a pair of thrust kicks, then Cassidy hit Beach Break for the win to end the worst wrestling show all year.
Or maybe not. We hadn’t had enough interference so Cole Carter came in after, being blasted with an Orange Punch for his trouble. QT threatened to join them but bailed instead, leaving Cole Carter in the middle of a Best Friends hug. They then triple powerbombed him.
WINNER: Orange Cassidy
- Le Sex Gods vs Claudio Castagnoli & Bryan Danielson
- Ethan Page vs Bandido, Eliminator Semi-Final
- Acclaimed’s latest music vid
- Toni Storm vs the Bunny, Women’s Title
- Death Triangle vs Top Flight & AR Fox (it’s great news for both brothers, the tag division, and us viewers that Darius is back), Trios Titles
- MJF interview
- There were more interviews advertised but I couldn’t keep up, apologies
- Presumably the winner of Archer/Starks will face Brian Cage
- Eddie Kingston & Ortiz vs Jun Akiyama & Konosuke Takeshita
Added to Full Gear:
- Luchasaurus vs Jungle Boy, Steel Cage
A show which ostensibly seemed to be really trying to highlight AEW’s latest tournament instead turned into an overbooked blur where nothing had any time to have any impact… and almost nothing was good anyway. Go down the checklist for bad booking and this’ll tick every box.
- Dante vs Cage was the only acceptable thing on the show because it was the only thing without constant and blatant interference. But only if you’re wrestling-starved.
Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!