Venue: Bert Oden Arena, Edinburg, Tx
Eddie Kingston vs Bryan Keith (Proving Grounds)
Well, so much for the rankings. What a three days that was.
Kingston got his usual nice pop and wore a ‘King of the Bums’ tee. Keith was already in the ring. Do you think he might not win?
Lockup, crowd hot for Kingston, a few light dueling chants for Keith. Who slapped Kingston after a rope break. Back to the grapple, another break, Keith again tried a slap but landed a cheap shot to the gut. Then nailed a diving shoulder but was chopped down to the mat before Kingston landed shots to the face then chops against the ropes, overhead belly to belly out, Keith got the ropes to block a submission.
Exchanging headbutts now, crowd clapping along, down to their knees, Kingston wilting, back with an open hand that rocked Keith, pair of knees as they rose to their feet. Keith lowered his weight to block a suplex, both did so for about thirty seconds until Kingston settled for a chop instead.
Keith fired up, they exchanged chops and forearms, Kingston was rocked by one, stopping to sell, crowd erupting as he finally responded but buckled after a dropkick to the knee, running boot to follow, Kingston down.
Armwringer heel kick a la Booker T (not seen one of those in years), Kingston down once more, rolling outside for a breather holding his face. But sweeping the youngster under the ropes, where Keith reversed a whip to the barricade and Kingston sold his right arm like he had a stinger.
Kingston flung back in, knee drop, count of two. The champ continuing to sell his face after that shot which rocked him earlier. Back to his feet now, another exchange of shots, Keith ran into a belly to belly, both down, ads.
This is really good. Helped by a hot crowd.
Kingston boot up in the corner, elbow too, Keith came back a third time with a leaping headbutt to the ‘injured’ jaw, Kingston collapsed over and out to the floor, selling as if he were dazed/dizzy. Crowd chanted for him once more as the ref’s count reached eight, he got to the apron, Keith booted him off then hit an apron cannonball.
Kingston flung back in, running gamengiri, nail in the coffin, Kingston out at two. Then countered out of a Liger Bomb via exploder, Keith hit back with one of his own, Kingston popped up, Keith ducked an Uriken to land the Liger Bomb, champ out at the last.
Kingston still looking dazed on the mat, crawling to the corner, Keith in pursuit, chops in the corner, whip out, Kingston countered into an Uriken, Keith hit back with a knee, Kingston landed a saito suplex, Keith out at two (Kelly has to keep subtly correcting Schiavone on move names). Good as this is, that’s officially too long now. Uriken out of a reverse whip = cool finish. And protects the least protected finish in the company.
Keith fired up to shake off machine guns in the corner. And a second set via enziguri but ran into a sleeper, Kingston held on twice as Keith tried to counter, span him round into a ddt for another two count. Keith fired off chops until Kingston span into another Uriken to win. Crowd went wild for the pin. Original Uriken still would’ve been a better finish.
Really good match. But reflective of the show – which is wrestling for wrestling’s sake. The idea was this made Keith – ‘career-defining performance’ per Schiavone. The problem is AEW have done this now for four years with younger guys. They have a good showing, there’s no follow-up and they remain firmly in place. Boy who cried wolf and all that.
Schiavone hit the ring and asked Eddie about a hard-fought win. Kingston called him ‘Captain Obvious’ and asked him to go talk to Keith. Tony announced that Keith was All Elite and the graphic came up. I thought that was already done?
Kingston was congratulating the youngster when Bryan Danielson again had a premature entrance to infringe on Kingston. Which is just a brilliant gimmick. It’s subtle, different and totally dickish.
The problem is he then held Keith’s arm aloft and posed on the buckle to cheers while working the crowd. BCC BCCing.
Winner: Eddie Kingston
Back to footage of Moxley being beaten down by the CMLL dudes Wednesday. To a Mox promo post-show. He kept repeating ‘CMLL’ then talked about the respect BCC have for history. So they have respect for CMLL, the fans in Arena Mexico and the heritage of Lucha Libre. He’s not mad about their attack but ‘that behavior must be paid for’.
They must have thought this is ‘like that show on that other channel – easy, lazy American wrestlers’. But this is AEW and the BCC is the ‘Elite of the Elite’. They showed up in his backyard. The CMLL guys better hope and pray that the BCC don’t show up in theirs.
Far from Moxley’s best work. Outside of the scandal, it’s pretty rich for AEW to take shots at WWE over anything atm. They’re very firmly #2.
I also have no interest whatsoever in an inter-promotional feud with luchadors while the ones on the roster get no screen time. AEW should be making the most of Bryan Danielson’s last year in terms of ratings, ticket sales and ppv buys. Not in terms of letting him get through a ‘wish list’ of whacky oppponents.
Bryan Danielson vs Hechicero
Backstory: NONE (Yes, Mox was attacked; the match was announced before that)
Hechicero’s entrance is cool, does some nice stuff with fire, ‘cleansing the ring’ per Schiavone. Nigel put him over as the best technical wrestler in Mexico for twenty years. As they got right to grappling and Cero (I’m gonna go with that since Hechicero is a mother to type) quickly escaped.
Btw the tag match Weds is now tornado-style. Did I miss that or have they added a random stip late again?
Cero took Danielson down, both sought leglocks, stalemate as they lay on the mat until firing chops, legs still locked. Danielson flipped through, Cero countered again, and once more into a two count. Danielson slipped behind, tripping Cero down and setting up the Romero Special.
Cero again ‘escaped’. Looked suspiciously like BD just let go. Cero applied a Romero Special of his own and Nigel went on about what a great move it was after saying ‘Same old s…’ when Danielson applied it.
Cero kept rolling through maintaining the hold until Danielson got the ropes. Crowd chanted for the Mexican.
Danielson fired kicks and chops in the corner, on top as things moved to striking. Cero countered an avalanche rana into a sunset flip for two. Danielson began booting the legs as Nigel emphasized him ‘resorting’ to strikes after being outwrestled.
Cero ducked a series of lariats into a tejeiras which turned into a guillotine legdrop. Very cool. Then cazadora’d into popping Danielson into a rear-naked. BD very close to the ropes, rolling outside after the break.
Btw they announced Hook had arrived and demanded a match which Khan had given him.
Stiff chops backed BD to the corner, gut shots and headbutts as Danielson tried and failed to cover up. Loud dueling chant, these fans are great. Danielson did his flip over off the buckle but Cero hit right back via springboard shotgun. Then a running double knees in the corner, shots atop the buckle, Danielson hit back via headbutt, the Mexican crumpled to the mat but caught Danielson diving down, capturing the arm, rolling through with both arms trapped, shoulders on the mat, Danielson out at two.
Nigel sold that he was lucky that ended up in a pin because there was no way he was getting out. Kelly keeps emphasizing that every wrestler has nights and opponents where the other guy just gets the best of them. Nice approach.
Danielson again resorted to strikes, Cero again a step ahead, rear naked across the ropes from the apron, ole’ing Danielson outside then the highest tope I’ve ever seen. BD sent back in, Cero to the top, diving cross body which didn’t quite land, Danielson nailed a double underhook suplex into the LeBell, dead center, crowd loud as Cero fought the tap, freeing his arm, hammering the leg with his elbow then hooking a twisting submission with the legs trapped and the arm wrenched behind Danielson’s own back. The Dragon again got the ropes.
Hook has apparently now said he’ll fight two people.
To their feet, Danielson kicks to the chest, Cero to his knees, yes! kicks, momentum building, until ducking the roundhouse, sweeping Danielson into a spinning hammerlock backbreaker. Danielson avoided a corner charge, dragon screw out, busaiku avoided into another submission. Danielson countered, fighting desperately to keep the Mexican down for the pin.
Schiavone wondered if that was Danielson’s biggest ever win in AEW.
Cero attacked after the bell as the crowd which’d been cheering him booed. Claudio hit the scene and Cero fled. Good match. With this style, I’m trying so hard to keep up with all the submissions and etc. that I don’t truly get into the action itself.
Still don’t think this is nearly the best use of the BCC or indeed AEW’s tv time. Are the CMLL guys going to sell tickets for them in May?
Winner: Bryan Danielson
Backstage, Lexy with FTR and Daniel Garcia. She asked if they were going to be a trio. Garcia said he was glad to have FTR by his side and Cash put him over. Dax said FTR hadn’t made the tag rankings but had made the trios ones so a new chapter starts tonight and Cage etc. are in the way.
Hook vs the Outrunners
They replayed Hook saving Swerve from a two-on-one Wednesday as he made his entrance.
Even Dasha got the Outrunners’ names wrong.
Hook flung them around with suplexes and throws until the numerical advantage briefly saw the heels on top. Including a double suplex. From which Hook popped up, double lariat, more throws, crowd firmly behind him as he nailed cross faces, sent Floyd outside then hooked Redrum on the other guy.
Perfect use of a squash – as a palette cleanser after two longer matches. Hook needs a proper feud though. With someone who isn’t Bryan Cage.
Schiavone in the ring to bring out Mark Briscoe. Who he introduced as making a difference in the cage match last week. So you could see where this was going. A matter of when, not if, the lights will dim.
Briscoe played to the fans and said he and his brother spent their Saturdays watching Schiavone interview Dusty Rhodes, Ric Flair and others. So this is special for him. A light ‘Tony’ chant started.
Onto business. He came out to help his ‘blood brothers’ FTR. ‘That’s what we do dammit we fight for our friends, we fight for our family’. But was jumped from behind by the HOB who ‘left me for dead’. But as the show ended, it was he and his crew with their hands held high as the House crawled back to lick their wounds.
(That’s the essence of wrestling – Briscoe has values he fights for, friends he fights for, and put over the sweet feeling of winning and pain of losing.)
It’s been the most challenging year of his life but he gets knocked down, he gets back up; shoot him you better kill him; ‘we fight till we can’t fight no more and then we fight some mo’. What a damn babyface.
The HOB killed the mood with their usual spooky promo. Malakai said he likes magic tricks – sure we’re all shocked. He likes when magicians make people disappear so that’s what they’ll do to Briscoe. He said it’d happen ‘just like this’, clicking his fingers as the lights came up and Briscoe prepared for an attack. Malakai said they were already in his head.
Fun promo until the HOB interruption which is now so redundant it’s redundant to mention its redundancy.
‘Cope Open’ package. Basic.
Serena Deeb vs Queen Aminata
Serena gave her banner to a kid in the front row who was absolutely made up. Aminata’s been ‘so successful’ per Schiavone. So anyone else only seen her lose or that just me? Kelly answered this by saying it wasn’t about wins and losses at Aminata’s young age.
Lockup, Deeb switching behind, floating really, Aminata tripped, Deeb posed over her. Back to the lockup, Aminata forced Deeb down then rubbed her ass in her face. Deeb swept the leg into a seesaw submission with the arms trapped. Quick pin bagging two.
Tentative lockup, Deeb behind once more, Aminata countered back, headlock, whip off, duck down, Deeb dropped by Aminata shoulder block. Deeb hit back with a single-leg, Aminata got the ropes to block a crab. Then kicked Deeb into the buckle and hit a snap suplex out.
Back to nice chain wrestling, Deeb working the arm; Aminata countering to avoid being taken down, Deeb hit the ropes, couple duck unders before a beautiful diving forearm, snapping lefts, Aminata wobbling, discus right taking her down. Deeb to the apron where she drew Aminata in for her seesaw neckbreaker against the middle rope, swinging one to follow back inside, count of two.
Aminata countered Deebtox via back body, Deeb held on into a unset flip, Aminata sat down to bag two. Deeb twirled her round like nine times before a backslide, Aminata out at two then a headbutt left both down.
Hip attack in the corner, Deeb avoided a dropkick there (Aminata’s not playing with that, she came with force even knowing she was missing), hooking the legs around the ringpost for a figure four, Deeb perched on the steps to help.
Deebtox sought once more, Aminata blocked it again until a swinging neckbreaker left Aminata down, Serena smashing the knee against the mat before the immediate tap as the Serenity Lock was applied.
Not spectacular but not a lick of daylight in this one. Which is a base the women’s division needs to apply.
Winner: Serena Deeb
Was wondering what was coming before the main event. And found out as Schiavone called Swerve Strickland to the ring. Crowd went wild. And I threw my arms up. Why the in the blue hell would you not advertise and push this appearance? That’s two shows this week where they’ve failed to push the appearance of arguably their most popular performer.
Nana was back too. Schiavone asked about Swerve’s match with Hangman Wednesday.
Swerve said it was Black History Month. And is ‘noble enough’ to recognize all the people who paved the way for him. Like Ron Simmons. ‘My friends who made black history – Kofi Kingston’ and wrestlers ‘in house’ like Athena.
Wednesday he has a chance to do what he promised when he arrived in AEW – become the world champion. He admitted doing ‘terrible, horrible… reprehensible things’ to get here. ‘And I wouldn’t regret any of it’.
Crowd got quiet there because that’s what happens when people aren’t sure whether to cheer or boo, they don’t make any noise.
Schiavone mentioned Hangman to some boos. A ‘cowboy shit’ chant started behind that. Swerve called him ‘a man that’s in my way’ to becoming champ. Who’s left scars on his body. Who he’s beaten twice. Maybe he can finally put Page behind him once and for all and become Black History then become world champion.
Nana grabbed the mic and started talking about controlling things as the top faction. Swerve cut him off and told Nana sternly – ‘no interferences’.
Then said ‘Whose house?’.
Great presence, charisma and control of the room. But like Strickland’s character, this lack a little clarity. The gist was there but it wasn’t a home run.
Strickland pointed at Nana sternly as if to continue the warning.
Over the top even by her own standards, Toni Storm was ranting about Purazzo when May interrupted to ask if she saw her match. Storm said ‘if you’ve seen one match you’ve seen them all’. Storm got right into the camera and threatened to ‘smell’ and ‘taste’ Deonna among other things.
Then asked Luther to book her a ‘public workout’ to highlight her own technical skills.
I thought that sounded fun until the announcers then made it clear that ‘workout’ is the match against Velvet Wednesday. Which they’d already announced. This company does not seem well organized. I present to you the last two segments.
Red Velvet vs Vertvixen
Velvet won after a few minutes with an enziguri that missed very badly. See previous comments about establishing a base for women’s matches. It’s a shame because Velvet has a lot of charisma. Like many young women in the company, she needs more seasoning.
Winner: Red Velvet
FTR & Daniel Garcia vs Christian Cage & the Patriarchy
Garcia’s ‘grown’ over the past couple months apparently. Comes out, wrestles well, dances. Yeah that sounds like same ol’ to me.
Wayne and Dax to start, Matt Menard joined on comms. Immediate armdrag from Wayne who stopped to pose. Dax wrestled circles around him into a headlock takeover then smacked him down with a nasty chop. Wayne certainly knows how to play heel – cocky on top, whining in defeat, nice facials too.
Tag to Cage who entered to boos, was run over by Dax and hooked into a cradle for two. A second got the same result. Cage hit a kick to the mid-section, Dax again hooked him into a pin and Cage bailed. But wouldn’t tag Killswitch.
Wayne smacked Dax and offered his face, Dax tagged Garcia instead. Who knocked Wayne down twice with his shoulder, exchange of armdrags, legsweeps, to their feet, stalemate. Very nice exchange. Garcia was going to dance, Wayne smacked him and danced instead then got ole’d outside through the ropes, Cage too.
Killswitch came in to stop Garcia dancing. All six in, ads.
Garcia down in the heels’ corner as we came back. Cage choked him against the ropes, Garcia fought to his feet but took a boot and hit the deck once more. Back to the corner, the Patriarchy held him by the arms as Cage talked smack, posed in front of FTR then readied an attack.
Garcia fought out, leaping for the tag, cut off by Cage, floating over into a sunset flip for two but quickly cut off once more. Cage upstairs, diving headbutt missed, both down. Both made tags, Wheeler vs Wayne, the face running wild: strikes, Manhattan drops, dropkicks, knife edges. Leapfrog on Wayne, blind tag to Dax, Killswitch entered to block a two-on-one (why do babyfaces bother with those pesky tags?), catching FTR in chokeslam position but settling for flinging them away.
Two-on-one now FTR fired rights before a high/low took the big guy down. Wayne hooked a sneaky cradle for two then a code red for the same. But was cut off up top, Dax thinking upstairs belly to back. And hitting. Killswitch saved the pin at two and again just hung around in the ring. Allowing Cage to send Dax into a chokeslam, Wayne to the pin, Dax out at two.
Ads. This is a brilliant six-man.
Dax’s turn to be cut-off, body drop to Cage who tagged Wayne and Harwood was again stuck in the wrong corner. Tyring to fight out, Wayne nailed a snap suplex for two then grabbed a chinlock. Fighting to his feet, Dax armdragged free, belly to back after ducking a lariat, both looking for tags now.
Cage back in, Dax cut off once more, flung outside on the heels’ side. Dax sent Luchasaurus to the steps (we didn’t see all of it), he and Cage then bumped heads and we were back to both needing out.
Wayne back in, rushing to cut off Dax but running right into a body drop, Garcia in, big boot to Wayne, open hand, saito suplex, corner lariat, Cage in to cut him off, Garcia fought off both; Cash evened the odds, synchronized ten punches in the corner, crowd loudly counting along, the faces then reversed whips to nail lariats to the heels, Garcia whipped Cash into a tope, leaving him to brainbuster Wayne for a near fall.
Dragontamer coming, Wayne kicked free, knee to the back, beautiful fisherman for two. This is easily the best Nick Wayne has looked in AEW. He mocked Garcia’s dance again to boos. Then paintbrushed an out-of-it Garcia on the mat, was suckered into a cradle for two, ducked a lariat, thinking Killswitch, Garcia elevated him over, Wayne landed on his feet, Garcia countered back via swinging neckbreaker.
These two together are something.
Cage cut Garcia off and introduced his head to the buckle. Dax fought him off. But then Cage just went right back and shoved Garcia off the top into Wayne’s World. Garcia kicked out. Like the opener, that seemed like a good way to finish.
Cash in to powerslam Wayne out of the air, Garcia sent Killswitch to the buckle but turned into a Cage spear, Dax swept Cage into the sharpshooter, Wayne hit Wayne’s World on Dax, only he and Garcia left.
Garcia avoided a charge, avoided Wayne’s World then hooked a jackknife pin. Fast becoming the deadliest finish in AEW.
Overall, nice mix of fast, modern wrestling with classic crowd-pleasing spots.
Garcia danced as Cage looked aghast. Kelly did a nice job emphasizing that the winning trio had beaten ‘quality’ opponents two weeks in a row so should be moving up the rankings. It was made pretty clear we’re getting a Garcia/Cage TNT Title match.
Going in, I wasn’t into this match. It was great. Wasn’t into Garcia or Nick Wayne. They were great and now I want to see them wrestle. Show ended on a high. Though once again it was wrestling masking general booking deficiencies.
Winner: FTR & Daniel Garcia
- Sting & Darby Allin vs Ricky Starks & Big Bill (Tag Titles, Tornado)
- Tony Khan ‘Big Announcement’
- Chris Jericho vs Konosuke Takeshita
- Hangman Page vs Swerve Strickland (Winner faces Joe at Revolution for the title)
- Red Velvet vs Toni Storm (Eliminator, Deonna Purazzo on comms)
- CMLL Dudes vs BCC minus Yuta
- Adam Copeland promo
- Kingston vs Keith
- If you’re starving for wrestling, wrestling and more wrestling…
- Main event
- Not a single match had a reason to exist and only the six-man left any doubt as to the winner. Tony Khan needs to ask himself whether he’d watch a season’s worth of pre-season football/NFL/NBA and then think about what he’s putting out on Saturdays
- Three days. Three days it took to undercut the rankings by putting Bryan Keith and Red Velvet in Eliminator matches
- A baffling lack of promotion not only for Swerve Strickland himself but the fact he was addressing his upcoming #1 contender’s match. It sometimes feels like the other stuff merely gets in the way of Tony Khan putting on matches he wants to see
Appreciate you reading. Enjoy the rest of the weekend.