Arena: Canada Life Center
City: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Last Week’s Rating: 447,000 overall; 0.15 in 18-49 demo
That’s the best demo rating for 2023.
It’s Friday Night, and you know what that means… it’s time for MJF’s favorite show!
Excalibur, Tony Schiavone & Paul Wight on comms.
Powerhouse Hobbs vs Rey Fenix, TNT Title
Backstory: Fenix accepted Hobbs’ open challenge Weds
The ‘QTV Crew’ were at ringside. That’s Aaron Solo & the Blonde Australian – ‘she’ (her name remains unimportant, apparently) filming via cellphone. This all seems very TNA.
Straight to the ring, Aubrey held up the belt as the two went head-to-chest, Hobbs twice knocking down Fenix with ease. Until Rey avoided a trip with a series of backflips, launching a springboard cross body which Hobbs countered by simply shoulder charging him out of the air.
But was then bridged outside as Wight really put over Fenix’ athleticism. As the Mexican launched a pair of topes and a quebrada, Hobbs staggering back inside to get his bearings. Rey again took to the air, only to be caught into a powerslam off the shoulder.
Hobbs got two as Wight criticized such a loose pin in a championship match. Nice touch.
Continuing the beating, the champ flung Rey into the buckle twice as the crowd chanted ‘QT sucks’. About the only noise they’d made thus far. The dreaded nerve-hold followed, Rey screaming before being hauled up into a delayed suplex then back into the nerve-hold to bring the break.
A limp Fenix was dragged back inside as several minutes of inaction continued with Hobbs leering menacingly and dropping his weight across the back then back into a nerve-hold. Rey fired back with a flip kick, corkscrew, tried his run-the-ropes armdrag but was crotched then caught into a powerslam. Two slaps.
The crowd woke briefly at that Fenix flurry but quickly died like his comeback.
Rey hit his spin-kick in the corner, ducked a wild swing, thought German but was caught via back-elbow only to run the buckle, flip over Hobbs’ back and land it at the second attempt. Spectacular.
Hobbs quickly kicked out with authority. Fenix hit his rolling cutter for a count of two.
A stumbling Hobbs was drilled with a punt as Excalibur remarked that this was maybe a tougher defense than he’d thought. Against a former tag and trios champ who’s had world title matches.
Back to the top, Hobbs avoided a dive, absolutely crushed Rey against the buckle then hit a spinebuster for a very close two. Fenix fired his rebound heel-kick, absorbed an elbow strike then threw another roundhouse to leave both down. Before taking to the air once more via frogsplash for another two.
A pair of thrust kicks followed, a third, before being snatched into a spinebuster then Town Bidness as Hobbs retained.
The closest thing to bored you’ll ever be with Rey Fenix in the ring. Both the match and crowd dead whenever he wasn’t on offense.
While AEW do need to have more matches where name beats name, would prefer it wasn’t the very special Rey. Or that they at least gave it some build and made it a big deal when he does lose.
Post-match, Hobbs held Alex Abrahantes so QT could lay him out with a Diamond Cutter. Because we all know who the real star is. This whole act drags Hobbs down so very badly.
WINNER: Powerhouse Hobbs
Adam Cole promo. You might be shocked to know that he teased his return match without naming an opponent. As he’s been doing since early January.
From the hospital where Evil Uno’s laid-up, Stu Grayson challenged Mox for Dynamite.
Taya Valkyrie vs Ava Lawless
Backstory: Taya’s debut
Taya won with Road to Valhalla aka Jaded.
Jade, Leila & Smart Mark came out to the ramp to take notes.
For those who don’t know, it’s common knowledge within the business that the rampway is the absolute sweet spot from which to scout an opponent. Backstage monitor’s too far; ringside’s too close. Which is why it’s sometimes referred to as the Goldilocks Position.
Valkyrie has a nice presence and charisma. And looks like she’s having fun out there. Music adds to the vibe.
WINNER: Taya Valkyrie
Footage of Matt Hardy, Isiah & Ethan Page training Stokely for his match with Hook. Hardy was clearly taking advantage of his manager. This was fun.
2.0 vs Bollywood Boyz
Backstory: 2.0 want to prove to the Acclaimed why they should join the JAS
2.0 suckered the Boyz into the wrong corner, though they quickly fired back with a double team elbow-strike out of a Hart Attack position. Menard flung chops in the corner then tagged Parker to continue the beating.
Menard screamed ‘we love rap music’ while clutching one of the Boyz in a headlock (the announcers never identified who was who). The other ran wild with clotheslines and a spinning heel kick but was hit with a double-team elbow drop and ddt as the JAS won.
Before a post-match scissoring.
AEW are fumbling the Acclaimed so very badly. 2.0 are a team they should squash. Not feud with.
Don Callis was shown greeting Takeshita at Winnipeg airport with flowers and traditional drums. Nice idea but don’t know that it did Takeshita any favors since the airport was damn-near empty.
Package previewing Omega vs Vikingo for Weds. They pushed this extremely hard as a ‘dream match’ even labelling it as such in the graphic.
Recap of the HOB/JAS brawl post-match on Weds.
Quick video of the Gunns ‘mistaking’ Top Flight for valets. The Gunns called them the ‘second best’ brother team in AEW as Top Flight noted that they must be big fans of the Bucks or Lucha Bros.
The champs then left their luggage behind because they’re dumb.
Daniel Garcia vs Brody King
Backstory: King pinned Garcia in the trios match Weds
Jericho accompanied Garcia to a huge pop. King brought the similarly blonde but slightly prettier Julia Hart.
Remembering how he’d fared on Wednesday, Garcia quickly bailed outside and spent a good couple minutes avoiding Brody. As they again put over Omega/Vikingo. They are really pushing this.
King finally caught the youngster, crushing him in the corner, clubbing him across the back and bothering his blood vessels via chop. Garcia again headed outside. But chose this time to try his luck with Julia, was caught and beaten around ringside. Where King setup a chair, sat him on it and absolutely crushed him via running cross body. (That move looks so great: makes you wince.)
But was caught in a drop toe hold into the ringsteps as the ads arrived.
An angry Brody snatched Garcia into a Bossman slam for two as we returned. A piledriver followed as he continued to dominate. Before brutally crushing the youngster via corner cannonball. Only his legs on the ropes could save Garcia.
He then targeted the achilles with a series of knees before slapping on a long sleeper which King eventually broke by running Garcia into the buckle then snapping him over into a slam.
The crowd are really starting to get behind the big man.
Gonzo Bomb ready, Garcia slipped out, high stack for two. The Walls followed as the crowd responded, King made the crawl to get the rope break but was drilled by Floyd as Garcia slapped on a face-lock: King’s arm dropped three times as Wight screamed that ‘he absolutely stole it’.
(Wight’s been good. He doesn’t spend time trying to pop himself or the other commentators and talks about the matches in a way that seems real.)
So seems the JAS will be continuing their feud with the HOB while the Elite get involved with Hangman & the BCC. A lot of Blood & Guts possibilities when the AEW vs WWE women feud is factored in.
Solid main event as they continue to push Brody as a monster no-one wants any part of.
WINNER: Daniel Garcia
- Hook vs Stokely Hathaway, no DQ
- Kenny Omega vs El Hijo del Vikingo
- Jon Moxley vs Stu Grayson
- Toni Storm vs Skye Blue
- Gunn Club vs Top Flight, Tag Titles
Where the hell is Swerve? One short promo in two weeks.
There was nothing here to particularly look forward to. And in that regard, it didn’t disappoint.
Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!