Date: February 10, 2021
Location: Daily’s Place, Jacksonville, Florida
Commentators: Jim Ross, Excalibur, Tony Schiavone
We’re still starting to get on the road to Revolution and that means we might find out a few more matches on the way there. The big story from last week was the surprise debut of Kenta, who signals the new relationship with New Japan Pro Wrestling. That could certainly lead in a few different directions so let’s get to it.
TNT Title: Joey Janela vs. Darby Allin
Allin is defending and we actually hear about a PWG match between the two of them. Feeling out process to start with Darby sending him arm first into the corner. Joey knocks him to the floor for the suicide elbow and laughs a lot. Back in and Joey grabs a bodyscissors with some bonus fishhooks to the jaw. Allin fights up and sends Janela to the apron, only to get caught with a shot to the eye. Back in and Allin nails a shotgun dropkick into the corner and then snaps the arm down onto the top rope.
Janela gets knocked outside for the suicide dive into the barricade for the big crash. They head inside again with Allin grabbing the Fujiwara armbar to send Janela over to the ropes. Allin’s springboard Coffin Drop is countered into a German suplex (that looked good) but Allin flips around to hit a Stunner for two. Janela is right back with a piledriver for two, followed by a trio to the top. Allin cranks on the arm up top and hits a super sunset bomb for another near fall. The Coffin Drop retains the title at 8:49.
Rating: C+. I’m still not big on Janela but they got into a nice groove with the trading big spots by the end. Throw in Allin’s complete lack of worry about hurting himself for the sake of a spot and it works out well enough. The lack of Team Taz hurt a bit as they kept talking about it, but at least it let Allin look better without some kind of shenanigans.
We look back at Kenta’s debut and preview the rest of the show.
Jon Moxley is used to Kenta calling him out and last week Kenta showed up to look like a dork. Kenta and Kenny Omega must have gotten together on some Bullet Club message board and decided to come after him. They’ll meet later this month but tonight it’s unsanctioned with Moxley teaming up with Lance Archer to face the two of them. Tonight, it’s just for fun.
Sammy Guevara comes in to see the Inner Circle and asks to speak to Maxwell Jacob Friedman alone. Everyone leaves but Sammy wants the cameraman to stay. Sammy knows that MJF is trying to take over the Inner Circle but MJF has no idea what’s going on. When MJF first got into the Inner Circle, he thought Sammy was just jealous.
Now though, he understands that Sammy really hates Chris Jericho. Sammy must think that he should be the front man because Sammy wants to take over the Inner Circle. That leaves Sammy so incredulous that he repeats it, which is exactly what MJF, and his phone, wanted to hear. Sammy punches him in the ribs and leaves him laying.
Cody Rhodes/Lee Johnson vs. Cezar Bononi/Peter Avalon
Arn Anderson is here with Cody and Johnson, with Arn’s son in the crowd. JR: “His face looks like it belongs on a can of beef stew.” Cody works on Avalon’s arm to start and hands it off to Johnson, who is quickly headlocked. Bononi comes in off a blind tag and gets in a hard shot to drop Johnson. A moonsault lets Lee flip over Avalon and a dropkick scores as well. That’s enough to send Avalon over to Bononi again but a jawbreaker lets Lee make his own tag.
A pumphandle flip slam drops Cody on his face and we take a break. Back with Cody catching Avalon’s springboard in a fireman’s carry gutbuster. That’s enough for the hot tag off to Lee, who drops Avalon with a neckbreaker. One heck of a corkscrew flip dive takes Bononi down and a fisherman’s buster onto the knee gets two on Avalon as Bononi makes the save. Bononi cleans house and drops Lee face first, though he’s fine enough to grab a rollup for the pin at 7:50.
Rating: C+. This was a way to showcase Lee and that worked out well enough. Having Cody interested in teaming with Lee is going to make him look even better so if they can make a new star out of him, well done. It’s not like Avalon and Bononi losing means anything either so no one is hurt here, meaning it’s a nice little success.
Post match the Nightmare Family comes out to celebrate Johnson’s first win in AEW, making him 1-29. The Nightmare Family is his family.
The Young Bucks run into the Good Brothers, who find it funny that the Bucks lost last week’s battle royal. The Bucks were going to pick the Good Brothers if they won but the Brothers are more interested in promoting Impact Wrestling’s No Surrender this weekend. As for around here though, the Brothers think the Bucks should be mad at Santana and Ortiz, so the Bucks agree to give Santana and Ortiz and title shot next week. Nick reluctantly gives a too sweet.
Matt Hardy interrupts Hangman Page and suggests a tag team. For tonight though, Matt has rented out a private bar for the two of them and the tab is on Matt all night long. That works for Page, who runs into the Dark Order. They offer him a spot drinking with them but he mentions Matt and things are cool enough.
Pac vs. Ryan Nemeth
Fenix is here with Pac. They circle each other to start and Pac knocks him down with ease. Some kicks have Nemeth in more trouble and Pac even knocks him to the floor. Back in and Nemeth does his best Dolph Ziggler impression with the jumping DDT. Pac isn’t exactly having that though and drops Nemeth again, setting up the Black Arrow. The Brutalizer makes Nemeth tap at 4:19.
Rating: C-. There’s something special about Pac giving up a bit of offense but just turning it on to win in the end because he knows there is no one that can stop him. Pac has shaken the ring rust off and looks like his old killer self again and that’s a great thing. Nemeth isn’t much in the ring and just makes me think he’s Ziggler’s lame little brother (I mean….).
We look back at last week’s zany wedding, with Miro swearing vengeance on Orange Cassidy and Chuck Taylor.
Cassidy and Taylor are drinking the champagne with Cassidy asking what they thought was going to happen last week. Taylor: “Obviously Orange Cassidy was going to pop out of a cake.”
MJF, now with taped ribs, comes up to Chris Jericho and says Sammy punched him in the ribs. There might have been some breaking involved! Jericho says it’s ok and they’ll deal with this after their match.
Acclaimed vs. Chris Jericho/MJF
Max Castor knocks MJF out to the floor to start, with the ribs getting banged up even more. Back in and Castor drops Jericho as well, setting up Anthony Bowens’ slingshot elbow. MJF comes back in but gets planted down on the ribs for two. Bowens is eventually taken into the corner though and it’s a double flapjack, allowing Jericho and MJF to step over him for a rather snobby moment.
Back from a break with Castor reversing MJF’s abdominal stretch into one of his own. That’s enough for the tag off to Bowens, who picks up the pace with dropkicks. Bowens grabs a torture rack and spins MJF down for a faceplant before having to knock Santana off the apron. Jericho’s Lionsault is broken up with a boom box shot for two but Jake Hager pushes Castor off the top. The Judas Effect finishes for Jericho at 9:05.
Rating: C. I haven’t been impressed by the Acclaim so far so it was nice to see them have a pretty decent match tonight. It’s even better to see that Jericho seems to be a little bit more motivated (and maybe a tad bit slimmer) as the Inner Circle continues to do something fresh. Good little match though and this worked out well enough.
Post match the Inner Circle celebrates but here’s Sammy Guevara to interrupt. Jericho asks him what’s going on, and Sammy brings up what he said on December 9: if MJF did one more thing, Sammy was out. Well now he’s done, because he quits. And there’s the face turn (or at least part of the face turn) that Sammy has been primed for over the last few months.
Post break, Sammy leaves the building.
Hangman Page and Matt Hardy are drinking at the bar but Hardy isn’t as well versed with some of the choices. Hardy makes his sales pitch as the agent and even has a contract offer. Page actually agrees but, as Matt talks to the camera, switches the papers and signs something else. He has Matt sign as well but Matt is too excited to notice and leaves with whatever Page had him sign.
Tony Schiavone brings out Sting for an interview but Team Taz interrupts, showing that they have Darby Allin in a body bag. Allin, still in the bag, is tied to the car and dragged across the parking lot. Sting gives chase as we take a break.
Earlier today, Alex Marvez tried to talk to Kenny Omega on the golf course but has to wait for the shot. Marvez asks what Omega is doing when he has such a big main event coming up. Omega says he’s already the best wrestler ever so now it’s time to prepare mentally and spiritually her eon the golf course. Don Callis praises Kenny for his alleged eagle (ignore the adjusting of the ball while Omega and Marvez talked) and lets Marvez have the ball as a souvenir. Marvez asks for a ride but gets turned down. Maybe because Callis and Omega are on foot?
Women’s Title Eliminator Tournament First Round: Thunder Rosa vs. Leyla Hirsch
Rosa gets an inset interview talking about her goals of becoming champion. Hirsch takes her down a few times to start but Rosa gets in a slam and scores with a running backsplash. Back up and Hirsch pulls her down into the waistlock, followed by the running up the ropes for an armdrag. A suicide dive drops Rosa again but she’s right back in, where Hirsch pulls her down by the arm. That’s broken up as well and Rosa snaps off a neckbreaker over the middle rope.
We take a break and come back with Rosa hitting some sling shot knees in the corner. The running basement dropkick in the corner gives Rosa two but Hirsch shoves her off the top. A high crossbody gives Hirsch two but her moonsault hits raised knees. Rosa loads up a fire thunder driver, only to have Hirsch pull her down into a triangle choke. That’s countered with a powerbomb though and Rosa’s layout inverted reverse DDT finishes at 9:15.
Rating: C+. Hirsch continues to be someone they see something in and I can’t say I blame them a bit. There is always going to be a place for someone with her amateur skills and she makes things feel different. Then you have Rosa though and the star power is all over her, hence why she is likely going to make a deep run in this thing.
We run down the first round of the Japanese half of the bracket. The matches will air on YouTube this coming Monday.
Jungle Boy talks about his great match with Dax Harwood, where Boy won by submission. No the Jurassic Express didn’t want o have FTR suspended, so as soon as possible, Boy is making Harwood his b****.
Here’s what’s coming next week.
Kenta/Kenny Omega vs. Jon Moxley/Lance Archer
Falls Count Anywhere and Kenta gets in a briefcase (his #1 contendership to Moxley’s US Title) shot to Moxleys’s back to start. Some kicks to Archer’s knee lets Omega hit the Kitaro Crusher but he and Kenta get in an argument. That’s enough for Archer and Moxley to fight back, though they don’t seem to trust one another either. The running clotheslines in the corner have Omega and Kenta in trouble again. Omega and Archer are knocked outside but it’s too early for the GTS to Moxley.
Instead here’s Omega with a trashcan to knock Moxley silly and then put the trashcan on the post. That means the moonsault with the trashcan onto Moxley and it’s time to cringe a bit. It’s time to bring in a ladder but Moxley fights back and hits a suicide dive on Kenta as Archer supelxes Omega into said ladder.
We take a break, coming back with Kenta and Omega fighting near the stage….and here’s Peter Avalon (out of his heart shaped bed) to interrupt and take the GTS it as well. Archer chokeslams Omega onto said bed and Moxley kicks Kenta in the face for two. Moxley knocks Kenta around the arena and then up the steps near the door Moxley uses every week.
Archer leaves Omega laying and goes after them but they have wound up in a kitchen. A DDT puts Moxley onto a metal table and the YES Lock goes on, only to have Archer make the save with a bag of potatoes. Moxley grabs one and hits Omega, getting to say that “he potatoed him”.
We look back at the rest of the match and come back with Omega and Moxley coming back to the arena. Moxley gets in a few kendo stick shots to Omega as they head inside again. Omega V Triggers Moxley out of the air and out to the floor though as the things slow back down. Cue Archer and Kenta to fight on the stage with Archer loading up a powerbomb through the announcers’ table. That’s broken up though and Kenta hits a running double stomp to put Moxley through a ringside table.
Archer sees Omega in the middle of the ring so Omega grabs the kendo stick. That shot is easily blocked so Omega goes after the knee. Archer is fine enough to hit a chokeslam though and the ladder is tossed to the floor. The rope walk moonsault gives Archer two but Omega slips out of the Blackout.
Cue the Good Brothers so Archer knocks them down and shrugs off Kenta’s spinning backfists. The Brothers get in though and Anderson hits Archer with the Gun stun. Jake Roberts gets in so Anderson uppercuts him down but Omega’s V Trigger is broken up. The Brothers low blow Archer to cut him off though and there’s the Magic Killer. The One Winged Angel is enough to finish Archer at 19:53.
Rating: B-. This is going to be a case where your individual tastes may heavily vary but there was too much going on here and it got a little too goofy at times. Stuff like Peter Avalon and the potatoes make for some good gags but they didn’t quite fit with the anger and violence that seemed to be the idea here. Not a bad match at all and it was certainly wild, though just not my thing for this one.
Overall Rating: B-. I liked the show pretty well this week, though we’re still far enough out from Revolution that it’s ok to not set up a lot of the card just yet. You can see the pieces being put together at the moment and, as usual, if this is one of their weaker shows, they’re going to be just fine. This worked out well enough and I’m curious to see where things go, which is more than a lot of companies are accomplishing these days.
Darby Allin b. Joey Janela – Coffin Drop
Cody Rhodes/Lee Johnson b. Cezar Bononi/Peter Avalon – Rollup to Avalon
Pac b. Ryan Nemeth – Brutalizer
Chris Jericho/MJF b. Acclaimed – Judas Effect to Castor
Thunder Rosa b. Leyla Hirsch – layout inverted reverse DDT
Kenny Omega/Kenta b. Jon Moxley/Lance Archer – One Winged Angel to Archer
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