Venue: Brookshire Grocery Arena, Bossier City, La.
Vince McMahon is scum. That poor woman.
Right to Wild Thing as the BCC made their entrance through the crowd. Introducing something as from the ‘… Grocery Arena’ does not add to the event’s allure.
Mox & Claudio vs Lee Moriarty & Shane Taylor (Grudge Match)
Backstory: It’s supposedly a ‘grudge match’ (since the heels beat down Mox last night) because that gives it a ton of meaning right? It’ll no doubt now put a dent in Rumble viewership by means of eleven letters
A grudge so important the heels didn’t get an entrance…
Mox and Claudio went right for them, splitting into pairs as they brawled around ringside. Into the ring, Taylor worked over Moxley but missed a corner attack, tag to Claudio who fronted up to Taylor and took a right, hitting back via uppercut, things continuing in that vein.
Until a ripcord lariat out of the corner left Taylor down. Crowd behind the BCC as Moriarty stopped the swing. Mox took him outside and we were back to split brawling. Until Taylor attacked Moxley from behind, sending him to the steps then avoiding Claudio who crashed over the barricade into the front row.
Kelly had to call Rick Knox a ‘laissez faire referee’ since all four were outside for ages, just as I was wondering what the rules actually are. If you don’t tell us, they’re not important.
Moriarty began working the arm of Claudio inside, the Swiss flung rights to free himself, Mox still outside nursing an injured hand. Taylor came in and hit a legdrop for two. Claudio blocked a suplex, countering into one of his own. Crowd appreciated that strength.
Mox back – tag, shots and kicks to Moriarty, who tried a sunset flip, Mox rolled through just ending him via running knee, release suplex, corner lariat, ten punches, bite, Taylor distracted him to prevent a Gotch style and Moriarty kicked the injured hand.
But Mox’s buddy returned to sweep Taiga Style into the swing. Taylor returned to slug it out, they hit the ropes and collided several times until finally the Swiss smacked Taylor over the ropes. Then was dumped out by Moriarty who missed an enziguri on Mox, tried an O’Connor roll, Mox got the choke, Moriarty slipped out to hook a pin for two, Mox popped up with a cutter. Really nice couple of minutes. Fast and smooth.
Taylor got the tag, Claudio again saved Mox, holding Taylor for a Hart Attack, Moriarty took an anti-air, Mox stomped Taylor’s head in, wrists captured, into the choke, Taylor fought to his feet, threw himself down to crush Mox but the former champ held on anyway for the tap.
Really good last five minutes or so. Ended when it should’ve too. And of course they’re throwing around the term ‘Dream Match’ for Danielson/Nagata. Dream matches do not happen in the middle of the f***ing card.
Winner: Jon Moxley & Claudio Castagnoli
Lexy with the Undisputed Kingdom job squad (for ease, we’ll call them the Disputed Kingdom when Cole and Wardlow are not there) and Komander. Strong yelled Komander’s name cause he’s still a comedy geek and ‘sold’ the Mexican on being the champ until the ppv with their help by grabbing Komander’s hand and shaking it.
Orange Cassidy vs Komander (International Title)
Backstory: Komander last night won his first match since fending off the other sperm
Komander got zero reaction coming out. He’ll probably win the crowd over during the match because he usually does. The announcers speculated that Strong was scared of Cassidy.
This started with Orange working the arm down into a series of cradles and pinfalls, Komander rallied back with one of his own for two and the champ rolled outside for a breather. Back in, he went for the pockets, Komander blocked to light boos and continued the Lucha grappling, the pair attempting Gory Specials, neither quite able to hook it, the last of which saw Cassidy’s legs trapped but the arms crucially free as he got the pockets while upside down.
Back to their feet, Komander avoided the pockets routine – sweeping the leg, avoiding the dropkick; the kip up saw Cassidy cheered anyway. Then taken onto Komander’s shoulders before spinning out into a tejeiras. The Mexican avoided a dive then did a back handspring for no reason before blocking the tornado ddt. Cassidy settled for stundog then nailed the ddt.
Pad down, Punch coming, so too are the Disputed Kingdom.
Ads. No! You can’t do this! I simply must see what Roderick Strong and the Kingdom are planning!
Springboard cross body saw two for Komander. Who hit his own tornado ddt after hitting the ropes hard. Both slow to get up, Komander fired chops (Roderick Strong’s music briefly played on my broadcast), Cassidy hit a thrust kick then the new kicks in the corner. But ran into a boot, Komander hit a wonky destroyer from the middle buckle, lungblower, two.
The Disputed Kingdom were now sat on chairs on the ramp.
As Komander got two via frogsplash. Then tried a weird hold which just looked like he couldn’t hit a piledriver. Cassidy hit back with beach break, went to the top, Komander joined him, hit a pair of kicks before Orange walked along the middle rope very slowly, ostensibly his own ‘lazy’ version of Komander’s rope walk. Komander took him down via ‘rana, which looked very staged, Cassidy just waited for him.
Cassidy slid outside for a breather where the Kingdom were, Strong hit the apron to distract the ref but Komander refused the help and took out the Kingdom instead, leading to him taking a Punch back inside to lose. What. A. Dweeb.
Between that finish and the heels actually wanting to face him at the ppv, they couldn’t have made Komander less of a threat here. Strong briefly held Cassidy’s belt then dropped it in front of him, Cassidy helped Komander to his feet.
Winner: Orange Cassidy
Backstage, Daniel Garcia was down and bleeding as Matt Menard checked on him. Menard to sub and win the match??? Joking of course, we all know Garcia’s going to bravely come out anyway and win now don’t we.
Toni Storm promo after Weds. She said Deonna had made things personal by attacking Luther and made a bunch of entendres about being ‘knuckle deep’ and ‘no pulling out now’.
She got mad at May for interrupting – ‘What is it woman?’ May asked if Storm would watch her match on Collision. Storm said it sounded great until being disgusted at where the event was being held because her horses died there or something.
Entertaining. Storm continues to find the right balance between entertaining and building matches.
Mariah May vs Lady Frost
Don’t think putting May out there with the athletic but raw Frost will do her any favors. Nigel emphasized people being ‘mad about May’ so that might be a tagline.
May patted Frost’s head patronizingly, Frost ducked a right and was on top until pausing to preen and shout ‘ice cold’. And what happens to posing babyfaces? They get walloped.
Frost briefly got two via neckbreaker; May hit back via running shotgun.
Ads. Crowd quiet.
Back to Frost getting two after countering a powerbomb, May hit back via release German then posed and took one from Frost. Some assholes yelled ‘suplex city’. Of all the days…
Frost hit palm strikes and cartwheeled into the chiller driller (air raid crash). May hit back and went to the top for a shotgun but missed a corner attack and took a kick to the back of the head then a handspring cannonball.
May slumped, Frost to the top but very quickly cut off as May sought an avalanche German. Frost fought her off but May hooked her down into Mayday to win.
Some nice athletic sequences. Very short.
Nigel was standing and applauding. His job here seemed to be to fawn over May. The Brit posed for a bit then left. She has some nice mannerisms and fan interaction stuff.
Winner: Mariah May
Package for the dealer’s choice matches. Strickland asked what Hangman had left. He said he’s keeping it ‘in house’ for his choice – with someone who’s never lost in AEW – Toa Leona. Yawn.
At least there’s some logic to the choice but it’s not exciting. It’ll be tougher for Page to pick someone on that level because he’s not aligned with anybody. So they better have a damn good reason why he wouldn’t just pick Mox or somebody.
Page response – he’s ready for Leona but Page will have to wait ‘the whole f’n show’ to find out who he’s picked. Continually using tv time on old guys to sell tickets is a surefire way to ensure younger talent never will.
Eddie Kingston vs Willie Mack (Eliminator/Proving Grounds (something of that ilk))
Mack flew at Kingston with a boot and brainbuster for a near fall. This is not the time for Kingston’s usual formula of scraping a victory out of defeat. Mack hit a splash in the corner, standing moonsault, Kingston out at two.
A wobbly Kingston fought back with a snapmare, chops back and front, weak chops to the face. Nigel making fun of Bryan Danielson was the most interesting thing here – he castigated him for spitting on Kingston and imagined an internal dialogue.
Mack hit a senton splash and hit his own head. Some boos. Count of two. Kingston avoided another cannonball, so obviously that Schiavone noted ‘(Mack) really telegraphed it’, and hit a suplex for two. Mack elbowed free of a backdrop driver and landed a sit out powerbomb for another two.
They scrambled up into a chop fest, both blocked enziguris, Mack took him down and headed upstairs, Kingston got the knees up to block the six star and hit the Uriken. And actually won with it.
Like the brevity but if you’re going to do a squash have the winner do so with some impact.
Kingston was leaving up the ramp when Danielson came out to his music, ostensibly for his upcoming match but in reality just to mess with Eddie. He dismissively breezed past Kingston and wouldn’t even look at him. Kingston glared at him from the ramp then joined on comms and thanked an attendant for getting him a chair, a towel and some water. Judge people on how they treat those ‘below them’ folks.
Winner: Eddie Kingston
Bryan Danielson vs Yuji Nagata
And of course Kingston is the best guy they could put out here to put over Nagata. He and Kelly really emphasizing how he’d kept New Japan afloat and set the stage for Tanahashi and co.
We started with a grapple, Nagata blocking a trip, targeting the arm, Danielson armdragged free, reset.
A wary Dragon circling, the crowd cheering both and chanting ‘yes!’ before they got back to it, Nagata swarming him in the corner, shots and stomps, Danielson returning fire with kicks to the gut out into a suplex for two, right into the armbar, Nagata blocked being flattened out then rolled to the ropes for the break.
Danielson rolled away and posed as Eddie talked about beating one of his demons in Mox and vowed that BD was not going to get into his head. Dueling chant: ‘let’s go Bryan/ let’s go Yuji’, test of strength, Danielson losing out, to his knees, rolling backward to release the pressure, Nagata right back to it – snapping the arm across the shoulder and continuing to work it.
As the ads arrived.
The work continuing as we returned until a low dropkick took the vet down. Danielson worked the leg in the ropes, running dropkick to it, leg lariat in the corner and a second dropkick to the knee. Eddie put over that Danielson ‘did his homework’ and knew Nagata had bad knees. As the Dragon began whacking the joint against the ringpost.
Until Nagata kicked him off, Danielson went upstairs, shotgun, cover, two. Into H&A, Nagata had been waiting and grabbed the arm he’d been working over and landed an exploder (Kingston was jealous of how good it was). Back to their feet, exchange of forearms and uppercuts, Nagata took him down into the Nagata Lock, dead center, Danielson countered by hooking the heel, Nagata released his hold then kicked free of Danielson’s, both down.
Dueling chant again as they got back to scrappin’. Nagata hit a knee to the gut, running boot in the corner, Danielson placed atop the buckle, Nagata seeking an exploder. Danielson headbutted him down, the vet wobbled but maintained his grip on the ropes, a second and a third headbutt had the same result.
Nagata fired up with strikes to the face, hit what Kelly called an avalanche exploder but looked like a plain ol’ superplex to me, Danielson out at two but slapped back into the Nagata Lock, the Dragon used his legs to get the ropes as Nigel called him a coward for finding a backdoor out. Kingston cackled.
Danielson blocked a suplex with a knee to the face then landed a dragon screw. Both down once more. Exchange of stiff yes! kicks to the chest, Kingston doing a great job putting both guys and the match over, Nagata blocked another but took a roundhouse, a second, on all fours now but not quite down as Danielson readied and hit the Busaiku for the win.
A little slow for my taste but psychologically sound, the crowd enjoyed it and Kingston added a lot on comms.
Danielson held Nagata’s arm aloft as Eddie talked about how fake he was.
Winner: Bryan Danielson
Lexy with FTR. They’re waiting for an update on Garcia but will fight two on three if they have to. Mark Briscoe entered to offer his services. Dax said it was ‘touch and go’ and they’d leave the decision to Garcia but they appreciated the offer.
Can we have Mark instead? Please? Someone likeable who doesn’t dance and has charisma.
Didn’t exactly sell the gravity of the situation.
Renee with Bryan Cage for a promo. He said the FTW Title wouldn’t be a thing if it wasn’t for him. He said Hook was the size of his smaller leg. Hook rolled in to say he was waiting anytime Cage wanted some. Then said ‘Who better?’ and did a cut-throat gesture.
There are not enough ‘cool’ stars in AEW. But Hook’s one of them.
Serena Deeb vs Robyn Renegade
Backstory: Deeb’s first match in fifteen months
Deeb seems to be a face since she gave some of her stuff to fans in the front row. After a brief ‘welcome back’ chant the crowd got quiet. As Deeb completely outwrestled Renegade down into a crab. Renegade got the ropes. A fan yelled randomly yelled ‘I love you’.
Robyn slipped behind into a full nelson, Deeb slipped out via yoga (you read that right), blocked a slap, hit one back, ducked a lariat and landed a leaping one of her own. Body splash in the corner, boot up to block Renegade, kick to the face, neckbreaker against the middle rope.
As the announcers talked up how smooth Deeb is. She certainly is. Reminiscent of Swerve.
Deeb hit Detox as fans chanted ‘Deeb’ then swept through into the Serenity Lock for the immediate tap.
That, Mr Kingston, is how you do squashes.
She took a mic and asked ‘Did you miss me?’. The crowd cheered. She asked again, louder. They cheered louder. She said she’d been sat home wondering if, when and how she would come back. And now she has it feels ‘damn good’.
But one question was clear. The ‘why’. She’s back to elevate the division and become a champion. The crowd chanted ‘Deeb’ again. This isn’t just what she does, it’s who she is. She put everyone on notice that ‘the most elite wrestler is back’.
More Deeb, Deonna (and Mercedes?) – serious, talented wrestlers ready for tv.
Winner: Serena Deeb
We went to a package pushing four CMLL guys coming to Rampage. Missed the first, the others were Mistico, Mascara Dorada and Hechicero. Maybe finish your breakfast before you start on dinner Tony?
FTR & Daniel Garcia vs House of Black (Elimination Cage Match)
Backstory: Dax challenged the House to finish things here after they brawled last week
This is escape-the-cage rules.
FTR out first, by themselves. Mark Briscoe came out but had his entrance interrupted by the lights going out and the House attacking and throwing him off the stage.
The House beat FTR around ringside, chairs and stuff. Brody crushed Cash against the barricade with his running cross body. The other HOB catapulted Dax into the cage and were preparing a chair shot when Daniel Garcia came out to murmurs (it certainly wasn’t a big cheer; in his defence, they didn’t exactly build to it brilliantly, it felt premature). With a chair. And was immediately taken down and flung into the cage.
The HOB flung Dax in there too and began beating him one-on-three with Garcia slumped in the corner. He was taken out via Liger bomb, Garcia started to fight back as Cash entered the cage via cross body from the top.
Back to all six fighting in pairs, Malakai blocked a Dax suplex, Dax ducked a kick and hit a rebounding Black with a spinebuster. Cash took a Bossman slam from Brody, Buddy belted Garcia with knees and kicks then he and Malakai flung the youngster into the cage then a Brody knee. Then took out Dax via triple team.
All the babyfaces down, HOB can leave the cage and win whenever they want.
Instead, they elected to climb, took their time and were pulled back down. FTR flung the non-Brody members into the cage then worked on him 3:1. FTR were going to leave through the door but Garcia convinced them to keep fighting. Is he going heel?
FTR hit a Shatter Machine to Black and crushed Brody against the cage, flinging his back/head into it several times. Buddy took them all out with rapid kicks, Garcia avoided a stomp to hit one of his own in a beautifully done sequence.
Dax avoided Malakai’s strikes to hit a brainbuster, all six down. The camerawork is better than Blood and Guts, much easier to keep up with the match. Dax tried to climb out now a couple minutes after electing not to just walk out the door. He and Brody crashed to the mat and the announcers wondered who did what to who. As did I. Just after I put over the camera guys too.
Dax sensibly now decided to just leave through the door and was speared by Brody who crashed out himself, they’re both eliminated.
Garcia and Cash hit a powerplex to Malakai but Garcia took a Matthews meteora. Buddy sold the knee he hurt last week, limping to try to climb the cage. Cash caught him, they fought atop the ropes, Cash was crotched but caught Matthews and both fought hanging above ringside on the outside of the cage. Why wouldn’t you just drop? Well, Cash did, onto a conveniently located table. After his head was smashed against the steel.
Matthews too was knocked off, leaving Garcia and Malakai. The Dutchman hit kicks, Garcia landed a leaping lariat, both down. TiA from the crowd. Garcia decided to climb, Julia Hart climbed the buckle outside and sprayed him with mist. So lame.
Malakai prepared to leave through the door and was basically out when Garcia yelled to come and ‘finish me’. Malakai placed a chair down, Garcia ducked the End and hit a piledriver onto it. Garcia climbed up and over, Malakai was going to beat him out ‘cause he used the much easier door option, Mark Briscoe returned to slam the door on his head because every cage match ever must copy Freebirds/Von Erichs. And Garcia dropped out first to win.
Cowardly booking as usual. Even in escape-the-cage rules the losers were protected. This was supposed to ‘finish things’ but guessing that’s an excuse for one more match.
Might have mentioned this before – I’m an asshole. So most everything about the psychology here was off to me.
Firstly, the second there’s the option to just walk out a door, I have no idea why you’d climb. As noted, there was also the decision to not just leave through the door before Dax decided a mere couple minutes later that now was the time to leave by climbing over. Thirdly, why would a babyface try to exit by themselves and leave their comrades to wrestle at a disadvantage? Makes no sense. And then there’s the mist for no reason angle which is just overbooking 101.
Winner: FTR & Daniel Garcia
- Hangman Page vs Toa Leona
- Swerve Strickland vs (Hangman’s choice)
- Deonna Purazzo vs Taya Valkyrie
- Chris Jericho vs Kyle Fletcher (guess they figure the Vince news will take the heat off Jericho)
- This show certainly wasn’t horrible (as might seem the case from the ‘Down’ section), most of the wrestling was entertaining enough, there just wasn’t anything particularly good and the booking was cheap at best
- The last five mins or so of the opener
- Toni Storm segment was entertaining and continued building the title feud effectively
- Danielson/Kingston is a nice subtle story about pride and respect
- Really hoping this was Tony getting his last kicks by throwing no-marks into ‘title matches’ and ‘eliminators’ before the rankings kick in
- Almost every contest had a cheap hook to do the job the booking had not – grudge match, title match, eliminator match, dream match, return match, cage match
- A piss poor job making the Garcia attack seem important – we went backstage once, there was little speculation, no-one wondered how FTR would manage 2-on-3, or who had carried out the attack or whether the match would even take place. There was zero drama. It’s as if AEW looked along a list of storyline headings and chose one without bothering to read how to carry it out and make it impactful, including in the way they had Garcia come out just a couple minutes into the match with no music
Appreciate you reading. Enjoy the rest of the weekend.