Venue: Wintrust Arena, Chicago IL
There were big Woooo Energy ads either side of the entrance and cans of the stuff on the announce desk as Excalibur wished us a Happy Thanksgiving and introduced the Continental Classic, running through the rules:
Twenty-minute time limit, 3 points per win, 1 per draw, 0 per loss, no one’s allowed at ringside. Sounds great to me!
Split into two groups, Gold and Blue, the six Gold guys are all in action tonight.
Might have been a little rushed but at least they did explain things. Then showed the three titles for the winner, ‘more on that in a minute’ said Excalibur. Throwing those out there complicates things and adds a layer of explanation too many.
Swerve Strickland vs Jay Lethal (Continental Classic, Gold Group)
Backstory: Group Opener
Lethal came out alone since everyone’s banned from ringside – points deductions and I think they said suspensions for breaking that rule. They showed highlights of and talked about Swerve’s gruesome clash with Hangman Saturday. They need to tell us where Page is after that one.
Swerve’s shoulder taped, Lethal targeted it with a running shoulder, crowd chanting for Swerve as he was forced to the corner via lockup. He wriggled out via his crawling tejeiras, they fought on the apron where Lethal absolutely clocked him – yay/boo (Swerve being the yay, he’s popular here) until Lethal knocked him off then took him down via tope.
Before chucking him back in, continuing to work on the shoulder, Strickland briefly fighting back but knocked down via lariat. Crowd not really into Lethal here. Who’s playing a pretty good heel in what’s a strange alignment of roles. Strickland basement dropkick in from the apron, uppercut in the corner, running dropkick to the knee, Lethal crawling as Swerve cackled while the crowd chanted for him once more.
He targeted the knee via leglock, leaning his weight on the joint with his knees and posing while he did.
Standing switch before Lethal took Strickland down via arm wringer, still working the shoulder, a Strickland shoulder-breaker left both down – it targeted Lethal’s injured knee but affected Strickland’s injured shoulder. Lethal drove Swerve’s shoulder into the ringpost, pursued him but took a thumb to the eye and a splash against the barricade with his injured knee exposed.
Back to the two battling atop the buckle, Lethal again after the shoulder, Swerve fought it off to land a superplex which brought the crowd up: totally with Strickland here as he began kicking out Lethal’s leg, body shots, rolling flatliner, springing up and floating over into a brainbuster, for two, so fluid. Not many pin attempts thus far in what’s a tournament all about wins and losses.
Lethal slipped out of a fireman’s carry, reverse suplex, to the top, diving elbow, Strickland just kicked out. Crowd chanted for Swerve again, he countered Lethal Injection down into a stretch muffler, Lethal got the ropes, Swerve dragged him back middle, Lethal rolled him up for two, into a crossface, Swerve rolled free, took a pump kick, Lethal Injection coming – Swerve followed him into the ropes, dropkick to the knee, house call, Stomp, three points on the board.
I’d have started with a more meaningful match with the winner in doubt. Lethal wasn’t remotely over here. But Swerve was. And continues his momentum, even if he was a babyface. Props to him for working just a few days after that crazy match.
Winner: Swerve Strickland
Backstage, Renee with Orange Cassidy, Hook and Katsuyori Shibata. Wheeler Yuta interrupted an Orange announcement, taunting all three – it makes him sick seeing Shibata with his belt.
(Who gives a damn about ROH? Seriously, enough. Especially after Yuta lost clean to friggin’ Buddy Matthews Friday night.)
Orange tried to say his announcement but Renee said they were out of time. So, every AEW interview ever.
MJF’s music played, ‘cept it was actually BtYBB, crowd happy to see the duo back together. Cole still on crutches, Max had a single crutch too after ruining his hip on that crazy diving elbow from buckle to floor Saturday. Cole took a seat, Max stood and took a mic. He said ‘shit I’m pretty over bro,’ to Cole.
He kissed the crowd’s ass – interestingly, no Punk chants thus far. He then really put over Jay White as one of the best wrestlers in the world but did his ‘no one’s on the level’ line. He listed all the records his title reign has broken.
Then called himself the greatest AEW champ of all time. Then did his ‘better than you’ line. But none of what he did is possible without Cole. Who got a nice cheer. But that beard has to go.
Cole talked about them still being tag champs with a little help from Samoa Joe. He has more bad news though, he’s not even close to walking again. But he’ll work his ass off to get back as soon as possible (is this all a red herring and his ankle’s closer than we think?).
Though he’s worried about Max since he can’t have his back. He talked about Wardlow then mentioned the Devil – Max cut him off. To say when he was born the devil wasn’t happy cause he didn’t want competition. Then threatened to send him to hell.
The Devil guy appeared on screen and did a really lame voice-modulated bad-supervillain cackle, right before Samoa Joe’s music blared and he marched the ramp as the crowd chanted his name. Joe couldn’t understand the sad faces, it was time to celebrate!
He baited Cole for not being able to help Max.
Then reminded MJF he owed him a rematch. So he’s out to ensure the deal gets honored. MJF said his breath smells like a skunk’s asshole (this dude gets less cool by the week). He has a response to the title match claim – ‘blow me’ (What was I saying?). He then begged off as Joe grabbed him by the collar – Cole begged Joe to let him go then told Max he should honor his promises.
Immediately changing tune, MJF said Joe wouldn’t be the ‘first legend I beat in Chicago – twice’, so challenged Joe to do it right now. Joe said no: if Max lost he’d cry about not being 100%. Joe wants him at full strength – say at World’s End. Max put over Long Island, the crowd booed, he said he didn’t ‘give a shit’ if they booed.
MJF agreed to the match, they shook, Max pulled him in, stopping in the middle of this world title build to say he liked deep dish pizza, then compared challenging him to ‘coppin head from an alligator’ but that the way Joe looks he isn’t in a position to turn anyone down.
Joe said Max doesn’t have to worry about the Devil now – cause Max has his property and he’ll always be two steps behind, watching his back, MJF’ll never be alone, then he’ll choke him unconscious ‘in front of everyone you know… and love’.
Killer last line to end a solid segment with the champ continuing to make some questionable decisions in how he acts and what he says. Some very corny stuff.
Orange Cassidy, Hook & Katsuyori Shibata vs 2.0 & Jake Hager
Excalibur killed what little is left of his credibility by calling this a ‘huge trios match’. A match the heels came out for during the break.
They showed Hook and Yuta exchanging words at the end of Mox/Orange. Danhausen’s back so if you like monotonously repetitive things have they got a treat for you! He got a nice pop and a chant.
Hook was beating 2.0 by himself till the faces were dumb, got knocked off the apron and Hager attacked the youngster from behind. Then hit a Vader Bomb for two.
Right back to a break. In the middle of such a huge trios match too!
Hook got a lariat to Parker, both down seeking tags, Parker knocked Shibata off the apron but took a T-Bone and Hook tagged Cassidy. Btw all three faces have titles here, and the opening tournament match showed the three titles on the line in that, and the seg in between discussed the world and ROH tag titles. And we’re still not close to listing them all.
After a brief back and forth with Hager, Orange tagged Shibata, they had a fight, Shibata shook off a bunch of kicks then nailed Hager with a pump kick, avoided a charge in the corner, flurry of chops and strikes, Hager slumped, running dropkick.
2.0 just keep coming into the ring, ‘cause reasons. They beat down Shibata from behind, were prepping a triple powerbomb but stopped because Danhausen stepped on the apron, even though he was behind them. He pulled out Hager’s bucket hat, Hager pursued him and got cursed. Meanwhile Hook was tagged, he and Shibata got Redrum/sleepers, Cassidy took out Hager with the Punch, even Excalibur wasn’t sure who was legal. Presumably Hook’s guy since they played Hook’s music.
Went at least twice as long as it needed to. Shibata’s sequences were nice – very crisp.
Winner: Orange Cassidy, Hook & Katsuyori Shibata
Renee backstage with Adam Cole. Who was about to leave. She wished him well in his recovery. Cole said he was proud of Max for living up to his word. Roderick Strong rolled up yelling ‘ADAAAAM’ (which was very over, fans were yelling it during the BtYBB seg). Strong asked Cole where he was Friday and Cole finally snapped and told him to get it through his skull that they weren’t best friends. Then stormed off. Strong looked like he was about to cry.
They’re doing a good job making you think Cole might be in cahoots with Joe by pushing Max into accepting that AEW Title match after being the whole reason Max had to turn to Joe in the first place.
They made a big thing out of Will Ospreay signing, showing clips of his match with Jericho in London and clips of him signing his contract Saturday. They’d also mentioned the signing during the opener.
Christian Cage’s music hit and he mostly got a pop. Schiavone called him ‘one of the worst people I’ve ever been around in my life’. That Patriarchy name and them listing all the buzz words describing Cage during his entrance vid are nice touches to his character.
Cage started getting ‘WHAT’d almost immediately (funny since he’s the guy Stone Cold called up when he came up with the thing). They died down as he emphasized that neither he or Wayne lost the match at Full Gear, Luchasaurus did. So they need to wash away the stench of losing and he wants to reimagine them in his own image.
He told Saurus to take a knee, Saurus hesitated – twice. Before doing it after Cage got hot. Cage said the name Luchasaurus will forever be associated with ‘being a loser’. So he came up with a strong, tough name – ‘you are my finisher’, he’ll be known from now as Killswitch.
Wayne immediately got down on his knees but Cage told him to stand right back up and said he shouldn’t ever get on his knees for another person. He’s special. He’s the son Cage always wanted, ‘you are me, I love you Nick’. So he’s now ‘The Prodigy, Nick Wayne’.
Nick’s mum came out to hardly any reaction and began talking to her son. Cage asked what she was doing here and called her a terrible mother. Cage made fun of her for being a waitress and said she couldn’t provide for such a prodigy. He then said it’s a good thing her husband’s dead already cause Nick would have disowned him. ‘Buddy wasn’t the man or father I am’. He then said if she’d played her cards right things could’ve been different.
She started to cry, Luchasaurus stepped in front of her and fronted up to Cage. Crowd cheered. Cage told him to get back down on his knees. Saurus didn’t budge this time, crowd began to chant his name, Cage slapped him. Then said he’d expose his face and show the world why he wears a mask, then shoved him into Wayne’s mum. She collapsed.
‘Go to your mother what are you doin! Nick, go to your mother!’ said Taz, very believably, he was excellent here. Wayne went and got a pair of chairs and Cage was preparing a con-chair-to when he handed the chair to Luchasaurus instead. It’s a good thing Cage decided to do that cause otherwise Adam Copeland wouldn’t have made it out in time to stop it.
He Speared Wayne, cornered Cage until Luchasaurus pulled him out to safety. They have not made it clear if those new names are sticking, Excalibur veered back and forth between Luchasaurus and Killswitch. As Copeland gave Wayne another Spear then readied a con-chair-to. Cage begged him not to but wouldn’t go to help. Crowd chanted ‘Do it!’, Copeland did, as Wayne’s mum watched. So presumably she’ll turn heel at some point and screw him.
Very long. Not bad, but not good enough for so much tv time. Really nice build to Saurus turning though. Be nice if the TNT Title became a thing people wanted again.
Especially since we’ve rushed to the back for another talking segment. One involving the ex-JAS too. Anna Jay was supposed to get an interview, the other guys all talked about a bunch of nothing. Jay cut a pretty good promo saying she was tired of losing and wasn’t sure whether the others were helping or hurting her.
She’s a moron so when Ruby Soho called Parker she asked ‘You’re in my corner tonight right?’. No Anna, he’s not.
Jay White vs Rush (Continental Classic, Gold Group)
Backstory: Group Opener
White came with the Gunns but no Juice since he’s legit injured. Thankfully they played the correct music tonight, that was embarrassing Saturday.
This show has absolutely breezed by, we’re over an hour in.
The ref sent the Gunns to the back as they crapped on the tournament rules immediately – the announcers said they should be suspended till the end of the year just for coming out. Guess they did it to prove the rule.
It’s a Jay White match so the face got the better and he bailed outside. As Excalibur promo’d Flair’s drink.
Back in, Rush knocked him down then stomped away. Running splash in the corner, another, dropkick to the back after White collapsed out, few ‘Rush’ chants as he pursued White outside and chopped him down.
The announcers emphasized that Saturday was White’s first AEW loss as the Kiwi was hurled around ringside into each and every barricade. Rush pulled a rope out, the ref discouraged him.
Inside, White briefly fought back, they exchanged knife edges in the corner, White got a boot to the gut and briefly got on top until being chopped and stomped down in the corner. Rush hit his fake-out Bulls Horns: dismissive kick before rolling back into his pose. Crowd chanting his name as the ads arrived.
Very physical. So your typical Rush match.
White back-elbow and suplex into the ropes, two with the first pin of the match. Again, be nice if the guys were more obviously trying to win.
Three chops in the ropes, Rush ducked several times running the ropes, diving shoulder, three amigos, White landed behind out of the third but Rush elbowed him and hit it at the second attempt. Two count.
White’s getting run over here, which seems to happen against Rush. The latter headed upstairs, missing a senton and being dragged up into a brainbuster, for another two. White mockingly held out a matador’s cape then threw more chops in the corner, Rush grabbed him by the throat, chop battle in the middle, exchange of forearms – yay/boo – till White thumbed the eye. Rush struck back via rising knee but ran into a uranage for another close count.
White signalled Bladerunner, Rush slipped out – back to the chop battle, lotta these Rush chops are very high, White rushed him, ending up in a German but popped up into a dragon screw. More chops with Rush on his knees until running into an overhead throw into the buckle.
Rush hit a running forearm, White down in the corner, Bull’s Horns coming, White popped up, Rush blocked the Bladerunner, ref pushed into the corner as they grappled and we have our first blatant cheating in only the tournament’s second match, as White hit a low blow then won.
Crowd booed heavily at the ref being squashed in the corner – not in a heel heat way.
This did nothing for White coming off his title loss – Rush dominated the match and the Kiwi only won by cheating. A shame for the only match tonight whose outcome was in doubt. If they’re going to duck guys winning decisively, it ruins the whole point of the tournament. And while good still wasn’t at the level I was expecting.
They showed the standings. Be a nice touch if they discussed strategy a little – White’s got experience in these things etc.
Winner: Jay White
They replayed Ricky Starks and Big Bill retaining the tag belts Saturday. Then Jericho & Omega beating the Bucks to become #1 contenders. Then Jericho and Starks talking smack at the post-show presser. And the champs attacking Jericho afterward. They targeted his arm and crushed it against the wall using a crate thingy.
Schiavone just crapped all over any heel heat by saying he didn’t blame the champs for what they did after Jericho interrupted them. Excalibur tried to counter.
Shouldn’t we have an Omega promo or something saying they’ll pay?
RJ City and Renee on the stage to introduce the new women’s champ – they announced it as if it were the Oscars and we didn’t know who’d won. Storm was in the crowd and acted shocked. She slipped on the ramp and got mad at Luther. No idea if that was legit. Mariah May came out to present her with the belt.
Storm put on glasses and said she didn’t have anything prepared then pulled out a long speech. She thanked ‘Anthony Khan and the people at Time Warner.’ They played her music as if she was done and she insisted she wasn’t. She said it was her ‘spot’ and no-one will take it.
Then acted weird a bit longer until Skye Blue interrupted. Good god no.
She walked through headed for the ring. As if the winner of the next match wasn’t obvious enough.
This won’t be popular since everyone seems to love the act but that sucked. Far too cute, not funny, and presented the champ as a weird comedy figure while they presumably didn’t show how she won the belt because the finish was embarrassing.
Also, poor Shida. Back to being an afterthought again in between placeholder slots.
Ruby Soho vs Skye Blue vs Anna Jay
Backstory: Good god why?
Anna came out with 2.0 after the break. Ditto Saraya and Ruby. They were all smiles and hugs after Ruby cost Saraya the match on Collision. Because the Outcasts can never actually break up.
Blue knocked down Anna then mocked her pose. Jay hit back with a hook kick, Soho took her down with a running forearm then saito suplexed Blue. Blue knocked her off the apron after a very practiced-looking sequence. Parker grabbed Blue’s foot and Jay knocked her outside. There are no rules in a three-way of course. How fun. Why don’t 2.0 just go grab chairs and get this done with then?
Back to a tower of doom spot. Anna got two on Ruby. And on Skye. They’ve presumably run late cause they’re talking about ‘sticking with’ the main event later. As Blue lariated Jay down, making her ddt Ruby in so-doing. Ruby flung Blue to the barricade. Pretty viciously. Then flirted with Parker. Menard and Saraya pulled them away, leaving Ruby open for Anna to clock her.
Back inside, they fought, Skye climbed the ropes, they politely let her then stood still so she could leap onto them via cross body, she tried Code Blue, Anna countered into her off-the-back slam, Matt Menard grabbed Ruby’s leg, he and Saraya argued in maybe the loudest possible argument AEW could put on as Skye hit a really weak knee strike then knocked Ruby off into Parker’s arms.
Menard and Saraya pulled them apart again, Blue hit a thrust kick then a sit out cutter which we barely saw because who cares about who won when we can see jobbers flirting right?
Blue won btw. Absolutely baffled by how much tv time a Soho/Parker love story is taking up.
Winner: Skye Blue
Wardlow was bench pressing some metal stuff near a truck backstage. Renee asked what he was waiting for re: attacking Max. Wardlow said the world doesn’t revolve around Max and was getting to his point when AR Fox rolled up to tell him to stop blaming everyone else. Wardlow gave him a deserved head butt and left.
Was actually interested in Wardlow’s answer to that too.
Jon Moxley vs Mark Briscoe
Backstory: Group Opener
There are like five minutes left as this gets going.
Pretty loud, very male, duelling chants as the two exchanged rights and forearms. Chops next, Briscoe whipped to the apron, redneck kung-fu, stomp to the face, Mox bit him atop the buckle, Briscoe hit back by dropkicking Mox out through the ropes then hit a blockbuster off the apron – really stupid bump with Mox landing on the back of his head like that after a concussion.
Briscoe missed a Froggy Bow, they threw more rights, Briscoe ended up in the corner, Mox followed him in, sent him to the apron, booted him off, ads.
Mox hit a piledriver for two (again, not many pin attempts), tried a German, Briscoe hit an enziguri (he’s bleeding from the head after the break btw), running elbow strike, Briscoe fired up, Mox down in the corner, he tried a KKL but was caught into an overhead throw for another two. Briscoe tried a neckbreaker as the crowd chanted his name, Mox transitioned into a choke, down into a juijigitame, Briscoe got the ropes.
Moxley took him upstairs, Briscoe fought back and bit him, Mox fell to the mat, Briscoe leapt off into a boot to the gut and Paradigm Shift, Briscoe popped up to hit a low dropkick to the face, both down. Hate him no-selling that.
I missed a little as they talked about Rampage changing times and the Collision matches, Briscoe hit the Froggy Bow, Mox kicked out, Briscoe nailed him with a lariat, Mox fought off the Jay Driller, KKL, Death Rider, Briscoe kicked out! The hell??? Are they booking this dude to win the world title?
Briscoe got two via the Bret kick-off-the-buckle rollup (except Briscoe used the ropes), popped up, back to scrappin’, stiff chops and rights – yay/boo – leaping forearm from Briscoe, Mox followed him to the ropes – kitchen sink, curb stomp, second Death Rider to win.
Good match. Very surprised at how much of this Briscoe took, especially alongside no selling/kickout out of Mox’s finishes.
They showed the standings. The pair went head-to-head but shook hands.
Winner: Jon Moxley
I enjoyed this show. As I have the past three Dynamites. It whizzed by. But still have reservations about the product which this show failed to address.
- Rampage airs before Collision on Saturday
- Claudio Castagnoli vs Daniel Garcia (Blue Group)
- Eddie Kingston vs Brody King (Blue Group)
- Show felt different/interesting with tourney & matches w/ stakes
- They began the build to the next ppv immediately and made the world title the centrepiece
- Swerve continues to win and get tv time
- Jay White vs Rush
- Cage/Saurus tension
- Some promos from the guys in the tournament explaining why they wanted to win it would’ve been nice, Mox and Eddie could probably sell it better with their words than anything else could
- Where the hell’s Hangman? Is he pissed? Dead? Injured? You can’t just ignore a guy who was in a match like that
- If it’s a one-off for a heel then fine but low blows etc. to avoid decisive wins will hamstring this tournament
- Toni Storm segment for reasons listed above
- If you aren’t liking the move towards WWE-style programming, this won’t have helped: lot of talking, lot of angles, not much wrestling
Appreciate you reading. Have a good week, happy Thanksgiving to all who partake.