Date: February 12, 2020
Location: HEB Center, Austin, Texas
Commentators: Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, Excalibur
We’re less than three weeks away from Revolution and the card is either set or pretty clear from this point. There is still some work to do, but at the same time there are major matches to get through on television. That would include tonight, as Riho defends the Women’s Title against Nyla Rose and SCU challenges Kenny Omega/Hangman Page for the Tag Team Titles. Let’s get to it.
Tag Team Titles: Kenny Omega/Hangman Page vs. SCU
Omega and Page are defending but hang on because the Dark Order pops up on the screen before the match. They make it clear that there are many of them and they may be closer than it seems. That sends Christopher Daniels to the back to check on things, which doesn’t bode well. Omega armdrags Kazarian to start but stops to yell at Sky, allowing Kazarian to break up a dive.
Everything breaks down in a hurry and Page loads up the Buckshot Lariat, only to have Kazarian break it up. Sky hits a big running flip dive, followed by the same thing from Omega. Back in and Omega hits a missile dropkick to Sky’s back, followed by a fisherman’s buster for two. There’s the running Fameasser from Omega but You Can’t Escape hits knees. Page gets shoved off the top and into the barricade with Omega being sent in as well.
Back in and Kazarian’s spinning springboard legdrop gets two as Omega is favoring his ribs. Kazarian charges into a boot though and it’s back to Page to start kicking people in the face. A standing moonsault gets two on Sky and an assisted DDT gets the same on Page. Kazarian hits a Backstabber into a slingshot cutter from Sky, setting up stereo dragon sleepers.
JR accurately points out that the match can’t end here because there are two illegal men in the ring but Omega rams Kazarian into the other two for the save anyway. The Snapdragon ropes Kazarian but the Buckshot misses. Omega V Triggers Kazarian anyway and, with Sky taken out by a dive, it’s the V Trigger/Buckshot combination for the pin at 13:15, with Kazarian grabbing a rope a split second after the bell.
Rating: B. This is a good example of the kind of match that makes AEW work: they’re all action and very exciting, though I can understand why some fans might not be thrilled with them. They have very little in terms of traditional tag team offense and a majority of the match is spent with everyone in the ring at once. What matters though is AEW has made that the norm and the matches are certainly entertaining. This was a lot of fun and while the ending wasn’t a surprise, it made sense on the way there.
Post match the champs leave in their separate ways (as tends to be the case) and here are the Dark Order, the Best Friends, the Hybrid 2, Butcher and Blade and the Young Bucks for the big brawl to preview next week’s tag team battle royal. The Bucks clear the ring and then dive onto everyone else, which would be very stupid in a battle royal. Daniels did not come back out here.
We get a sit down interview with JR and Santana. There was a time when Santana was in a dark place, living in a terrible apartment in the Bronx and he couldn’t take anymore. He called his dad and said every day of his life was terrible. His dad started going blind at 14 and knew that he would be blind at 25. Imagine how that feels. Then last week Jon Moxley attacked his eye. JR think Santana should be mad at Jericho but Santana goes on a rant against Moxley for throwing everything away. Tonight, Moxley learns what it’s like to be in the dark. This was a rather emotional interview and not something you hear from Santana.
Here’s another video from Darby Allin, this time with messages written on pieces of cardboard. It was a mistake to smash his throat with a skateboard and he’ll find them sooner or later. In the meantime though, he’ll face Sammy Guevara at Revolution. The final sign is a picture of Sammy’s face, saying “kissing Jericho’s a** gave me herpes.” These things are different and that’s what makes them work, plus Darby coughing in the background to sell the throat injury.
Sammy Guevara vs. Dustin Rhodes
Guevara has Jake Hager in his corner. Sammy bails to the floor to start so Dustin has to wait to throw him down back inside. A running knee to the face gives Dustin two and it’s time for another breather on the floor. That’s fine with Dustin, who hits a running clothesline off the steps and stares Hager down.
Back from a break with Dustin hitting a Downward Spiral and going up, only to get distracted by Hager. Sammy grabs a torture rack and flips Dustin over into a GTS for two. Dustin shoves him off the top so Sammy runs the ropes, only to get taken down with a release gordbuster. A Panama Sunrise plants Sammy and the Final Reckoning gives Dustin the pin at 6:47.
Rating: C. To clarify, a middle rope Canadian Destroyer isn’t the finish. I know it’s not Dustin’s finisher but egads man, stop overthinking this stuff. The match was fine enough and gets us closer to the match that makes the most sense. Guevara continues to be great as the member of the Inner Circle who takes a beating and keeps annoying everyone and that’s a great place for him.
Post match Dustin calls out Hager (“Jericho’s b****.”) for Revolution. Hager leaves without saying anything but the fans seem to like the idea.
We look back at Britt Baker attacking Yuka Sakazaki after last week’s loss.
Britt Baker talks about following her ethical obligations by taking out Yuka’s decaying tooth for free. We don’t even know if she had health insurance! Tony does though, right Mr. Starbucks? Baker mocks the fans with their Whataburger faces and lists off her resume, including her degrees and being the first woman signed to this company. She is the women’s division and throws in an upside down Hook Em Horns sign. JR: “This is terrible.”
Women’s Title: Nyla Rose vs. Riho
Riho is defending. Rose powers her into the corner to start but Riho rolls her up for two. That just means Rose can run her over for two, with Riho bridging out of the cover. Rose crushes her with a backbreaker and let’s set up a table. JR: “She’s not even from Dudleyville!” Riho uses the distraction to hit a dropkick off the table and we take a break.
Back with Riho getting two off a crucifix bomb and avoiding a sitdown splash. A basement dropkick gives Riho two more but Rose is right back with a Samoan drop for the same. Rose drapes her across the top and hits a top rope knee to the back of the head for a big crash and a near fall.
They go up top with Riho biting her on the nose, only to get taken down with a super Death Valley Driver. That’s only good for to and Riho is back with a pair of Snapdragons. A northern lights suplex gets two but the top rope double stomp gets one. Riho hits two more double stomps but Rose is in the rope. Back up and the spear into the Beast Bomb gives Rose the title at 12:24.
Rating: C+. They had to do it. Riho was fine for a first champion but there comes a point of “she has so much heart” just isn’t enough to carry things anymore. The match was your usual David vs. Goliath fight and Rose winning was the right call. You can only have her lose so many times before she stops mattering so giving her the title was the only call.
Chris Jericho is sick of Jon Moxley so if Moxley can make it past Santana tonight, he can face an assassin next week: Jeff Cobb.
We get a quick highlight video on Cobb. I’m rather glad to see him on the big stage, as Cobb can be rather awesome.
Video on last week’s awesome closing segment with Maxwell Jacob Friedman and Wardlow whipping Cody.
Maxwell Jacob Friedman vs. Jungle Boy
They’re both on their own here and Brandi Rhodes is on commentary. MJF trips him down to start and poses a lot, only to have Boy jump up and grab a rollup to annoy MJF quite a bit. They stare each other down and Boy shoves him outside for a breather. Back in and Boy is smart enough to not fall for a handshake as he knocks MJF into the corner.
MJF slugs away and takes it to the floor for a whip into the barricade. We see Arn Anderson watching in the back as MJF slams Boy on the floor. Back from a break with Boy hitting a backdrop and sending MJF outside. That means two straight suicide dives, plus a big flip dive to put MJF down again.
A reverse hurricanrana gets two back inside but Boy’s back gives out on a powerbomb attempt. MJF grabs an inverted Gory Stretch until Boy flips out. Boy gets crotched on top though, allowing MJF to grab his crotch and shout that Brandi can have a real man. A sunset bomb gets Boy out of trouble so here’s Wardlow to give MJF the big ring. MJF knocks him silly and the Double Cross finishes Boy at 11:49.
Rating: C. Boy continues to impress and MJF continues to be the best heel in wrestling today. The match wasn’t anything great but it accomplished everything it was supposed to be. Boy got to show off a little bit and MJF cheated to win to keep his momentum high going into Revolution. It might not have been a classic, but it was efficient and that’s a great sign.
Post match, Wardlow lays out Boy again.
Next week: Cody vs. Wardlow in a cage.
Pac can’t wait for his Iron Man match with Kenny Omega.
Next week: a tag team battle royal.
We look at the Inner Circle attacking Jon Moxley’s eye.
The Inner Circle is in the crowd.
Santana vs. Jon Moxley
Moxley comes in from the concourse and Chris Jericho isn’t happy. Santana jumps Moxley on the floor and the fight is on in a hurry with Moxley sending him into the barricade. They head inside for the opening bell but Moxley sends him right back outside for a top rope ax handle to the floor. Santana tries to send him eye first into the corner of the steps but settles for a baseball slide instead.
We take a break and come back with Moxley hitting a series of clotheslines into a release German suplex to drop Santana. A rolling cutter gives Santana his own two and he plants Moxley with a piledriver for the same. The top rope splash hits raised knees though and Moxley blasts him with another clothesline. Moxley goes up for a change but Ortiz spits booze into the good eye. Santana hits a frog splash for two but Moxley pokes him in the bad eye. The Paradigm Shift finishes Santana at 10:00.
Rating: B-. This was similar to the Rhodes vs. Guevara match in storytelling but a bit higher quality. Moxley has an issue with Santana after last week but it’s a glorified warmup before he gets to the match that he really wants. What we got was good though and Moxley keeps rolling towards Revolution.
Post match the Inner Circle runs in to destroy Moxley, including a 630 from Guevara and a Judas Effect from Jericho. Jeff Cobb comes out and hits the Tour of the Islands to end the show. So….why are they bringing in a power monster with amateur skills when the Inner Circle already has a power monster with amateur skills?
Overall Rating: A-. This was a heck of a show with some very good action and several Revolution matches being advanced. It’s the kind of show that they needed to have and the company is officially on a roll as we head towards Chicago. This was one of their better shows yet and that makes me more interested in where they’re going after the pay per view. Really good stuff this week.
Kenny Omega/Hangman Page b. SCU – Buckshot lariat/V Trigger combination to Kazarian
Dustin Rhodes b. Sammy Guevara – Final Reckoning
Nyla Rose b. Riho – Beast Bomb
Maxwell Jacob Friedman b. Jungle Boy – Double Cross
Jon Moxley b. Santana – Paradigm Shift
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