Date: February 16, 2022
Location: Municipal Auditorium, Nashville, Tennessee
Commentators: Excalibur, Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone
They have their work cut out for themselves after last week’s show but AEW has a tendency to make something like that work more often than not. We are less than three weeks away from Revolution as well so it is time to start hammering home the card. The good thing is that you probably know what you’re getting. Let’s get to it.
We open with CM Punk sitting in the middle of the ring, where he explains the idea of straightedge, which means he is better than you. That kind of a statement might sound familiar because he said it for the first time over twenty years ago. It inspired some people to be wrestlers and some people to be straightedge. Heck it even inspired some people to sit like him, ala Maxwell Jacob Friedman.
That would be the same MJF who beat him in his hometown of Chicago (twice). MJF tries to make himself seem like some all time great but in reality he’s the same s***** little MJF from s***** little Long Island. Now though, after last week, and thanks to Jon Moxley for the assist, Punk gets to pick the rules of their rematch. That will be March 6 at Revolution in Orlando, Florida, but what kind of a match should it be?
Punk had been thinking about a cage match, but Wardlow can still tear things apart and MJF can still run away. The thing is, most important losses of Punk’s career are the kind of matches where he has left a piece of himself behind. MJF has been talking about Piper in Portland though, and that has Punk thinking. He opens a box in front of him and pulls out a dog collar with a chain attached.
Punk wants MJF out there to hear this from his mouth so here he is. Before MJF can say anything, Punk has one more thing: a photo of MJF as a kid meeting Punk. Punk: “For your, it was the greatest day of your life, but for me, it was Friday.” Revolution is going to be the worst day of your life, but for Punk, it is going to be Sunday, when the canvas will be stained with MJF’s blood. MJF picks up a mic to say something, only to drop it and walk away instead. That’s a nice choice for a stipulation and I could go for the violence that comes with it.
Video on Bryan Danielson trying to get Jon Moxley to join him in teaching the new generation.
Jurassic Express is defending their Tag Team Titles in a three way at Revolution and there will be a pair of battle royals over the next two weeks to determine their challengers (this company LOVES battle royals). Jungle Boy says he knows something about winning battle royals and taps Christian Cage on the shoulder in a nice, subtle moment. That’s cool with the champs.
Bryan Danielson vs. Lee Moriarty
Matt Sydal is here with Moriarty and this could be pretty great. Danielson offers a handshake but pulls it away when Moriarty goes for it. They go technical to start until Danielson slaps him in the face. Moriarty takes him down again by the ankle but gets reversed into a surfboard with a dragon sleeper. That’s escaped as well and Moriarty hits a running kick to the arm. Danielson’s legs are still fine enough for a moonsault over Moriarty, who gets tied in the ropes for the kicks to the chest.
We take a break and come back with Danielson holding Moriarty on the mat with a knuckle lock but not being able to break his bridge. Instead they lock legs (while still holding hands) and stand on their heads, where they start slapping each other (it’s quite the visual). Since that’s a bit nuts, Danielson tries to switch into the LeBell Lock but Moriarty makes the rope. Moriarty suplexes him down but gets kicked down to his knees.
The big kick is blocked though and Moriarty hits a clothesline. A belly to belly gets two on Danielson and it’s time for some forearms to the back. The Border City Stretch (Gargano Escape) has Danielson in more trouble but he reverses into a reverse fisherman’s suplex for the break. The running knee sets up the stomps to the head into the triangle choke to knock Moriarty cold at 12:12.
Rating: B. These two beat each other up rather well and that’s what they should have been doing. Sometimes you need a hard hitting match and the two of them did just that here. Danielson beating him down and winning in the end made sense, but Moriarty got to show what he can do as well. Moriarty is a very skilled star in his own right and it was nice to see him get this kind of a showcase. Good stuff here, as is a guarantee with Danielson these days.
Post match Danielson says that he needed to teach Moriarty a thing or two about violence but he wants Jon Moxley to help him. He has asked Moxley for his help and now he wants an answer. Cue Moxley through the crowd to talk about how he used to be just like Moriarty. When he was young, broke and a bit dumb, he wanted to take a shot at the American Dragon.
It was at a small show in Ohio but Danielson was late to the show because bad weather delayed his flight. After Tracy Smothers stalled for about 45 minutes, Danielson arrived in his gear and then got in the ring with Moxley. He fought hard, but ultimately Danielson beat him, as he has done every time. Moxley has never beaten him before and now he wants that one win that has eluded him.
But now Danielson wants to team up with him and yeah, Moxley has thought about it. Imagine the legacy of violence they could put together. He really couldn’t think of one good reason to say no, but then he got to thinking. Does Danielson want to be his partner to create things, or is it because he doesn’t want to be across the ring from Moxley? So what is Danielson saying? Either way, Moxley isn’t standing next to someone until he bleeds with them first.
That story was a great touch for this and it gave this a nice personal touch, especially with Danielson being the big monster that Moxley wants to slay. I’m not sure where this is going, but between Violence Unlimited and Violent By Design, I could go without another violence themed stable.
Keith Lee is happy with last week’s win, but it’s step one on the way to being the Face of the Revolution.
Face of the Revolution Qualifying Match: Wardlow vs. Max Caster
Shawn Spears and Anthony Bowens are here too. Caster’s rap mocks local Nashville teams and suggests that Wardlow is MJF’s b**** boy. Wardlow doesn’t like that and goes right for him, including sending Caster into the corner. We take a break and come back with Caster using a chain around his hand to escape the Powerbomb Symphony. The Mic Drop gets two but Wardlow is back up with the first powerbomb. The Powerbomb Symphony finishes Caster at 5:27. Not enough shown to rate but Wardlow dominated what we got to see.
Post match Bowens goes after Wardlow and gets powerbombed down for his efforts. Wardlow doesn’t seem interested in Spears’ approval.
Mercedes Martinez, with Britt Baker and company, is ready for the No DQ match with Thunder Rosa but Baker tells her to get this done already. A man (apparently a villain in the Karate Kid movies series….which I haven’t actually seen) comes in to say no mercy. That seemed to be a rather cool cameo.
Here is Hangman Page for a chat. Before he can say more than a few words, here is Adam Cole to cut him off and ask the fans to give Page a round of applause. Cole was impressed by the war that Page went through to retain the title last week and he has earned the right to be called champion. Now Cole has been a World Champion everywhere he has gone too, but for right now, Page has the title. Page talks about how Cole’s friends built up a company without him and this is the one World Title he has never had.
Cole brings up that the Young Bucks and the Dark Order have all left Page, who says Cole doesn’t have the best record with friends either. That makes Cole chuckle, but the truth is that Page is always known as the other Adam. Page rolls up the sleeves but Cole sucks up to him, saying they will fight for the World Title at some point. May the best man win, and they shake hands, with Cole walking away in peace. Cue ReDDragon to jump Page from behind though and Cole joins in for the big beatdown. Security comes in for the save, with Dark Order coming in as well. 10 even beats up security, with the Order having to hold him back.
Darby Allin talks about how wrestling is therapy to him, just like it is to Sammy Guevara. Sammy talks about their history together and now they’re fighting again.
Chris Jericho/Jake Hager vs. Santana/Ortiz
The Inner Circle implodes and here is the returning Eddie Kingston to make things all the bigger. Ortiz sends Jericho into the corner to start and it’s Santana coming in to chop away. A middle rope dropkick to a seated Jericho gets one and Ortiz’s fisherman’s suplex gets two. Jericho clotheslines his way out of trouble though and it’s Hager coming in for a belly to belly. The Vader Bomb gets two on Ortiz and we take a break.
Back with Jericho slapping Ortiz in the head but getting caught with a clothesline. Santana comes in to clean house, only to get powerslammed to give Hager two. It’s back to Jericho, who gets planted down without much trouble. The Street Sweeper gives Ortiz two and it’s time for some stunned kickout faces. Jericho is right back with the Walls of Jericho on Santana, with Kingston begging him to make the ropes. That earns Kingston a shot to the face but Santana is back up with a discus lariat to finish Jericho at 10:45.
Rating: B-. This was a solid enough tag match as Kingston’s issues with Jericho continue to cause problems. You can probably pencil them in for a match at Revolution, which very well could be Kingston’s big win. It wasn’t quite a classic, but they advanced the story as Santana and Ortiz win while Jericho gets taken down a peg.
Post match Jericho freaks out and gets in a fight with Kingston.
Adam Cole and ReDDragon ask the Young Bucks where they were earlier but the Bucks don’t have much to say. Cole is cool with that though as they are going to win both of their matches on Rampage and then they’re going to dominate the tag team battle royals. This turns into an argument over which team has the better fathers, with Cole trying to place peacemaker. Cole isn’t sure which way to go so he tells Brandon Cutler to turn off the camera instead.
Mercedes Martinez vs. Thunder Rosa
No DQ and John Kreese (the Karate Kid guy) is in the front row, where he is identified as Britt Baker’s sensei (you can imagine how this goes with JR). Rosa comes out looking like the Bride from Kill Bill and they start with the brawl in the aisle. The fans chant something I can’t make out as the fight is already heading back to the floor. Rosa pulls out the table but gets sent into the steps for her efforts.
Martinez throws some chairs inside but Rosa whips her through the barricade. They head into the crowd, where Rosa hits a dive off another barricade to take her down. We take a break and come back with Martinez hitting a fisherman’s buster off the apron through a table. Some chair shots send Rosa back inside but she counters a superbomb with a hurricanrana.
Rosa puts a trashcan over Martinez’s head and hits a running dropkick for two. Martinez is fine enough to catch her on top with a German superplex, setting up a top rope elbow (with a nasty landing) for two. A bunch of chairs are piled up but Rosa manages a crucifix bomb. The Fire Thunder Driver onto the chairs finishes Martinez at 9:30.
Rating: B-. Another good brawl and what matters most is Rosa gets closer and closer to the showdown with Baker. I would assume the title match is coming at Revolution, but I could also see it being the main event of a huge episode of Dynamite. Martinez is someone who continues to be a solid gatekeeper heel and she is perfect for this kind of a match when you need to make someone look a lot better. Not a classic fight, but Rosa got what she needed out of it.
Post match, Martinez shows respect but here are Britt Baker and company. Baker comes up to Kreese, who tells her to finish this. Jamie Hayter and Rebel run in to jump Rosa, with Martinez coming back in. She teases hitting Rosa with a lead pipe but can’t do it, meaning Hayter jumps her from behind and poses with Baker.
The House of Black talks about how they want to hurt people. A third member seems to be teased.
Jay White is ready to prove himself on Rampage.
TNT Title: Sammy Guevara vs. Darby Allin
Sammy is defending and Sting lets Allin do this one on his own. They stare each other down to start and then shake hands to get things going. Allin headlocks him over but has to slip out of a rollup. Back up and Sammy flips over him, only to get knocked into the corner. They head up top with Sammy getting him in a fireman’s carry and dropping him ribs first onto the top turnbuckle.
Back in and Sammy drapes him over the top for a Swanton to the back, sending Allin FLYING out to the floor in a cool looking crash. We come back from a break with Allin taking out Guevara’s knee and then falling backwards onto it to make things even worse. Allin ties him in the Tree of Woe and pulls on a loose leg to bang up the knee in a more unique way. There’s a half crab in the Tree of Woe (cool) but Sammy powers up and hits a super Spanish Fly.
Sammy’s springboard is countered into a Figure Four but they slap it out for the break. The flipping Stunner and GTH are both countered so Allin grabs the Last Supper for two. Now the flipping Stunner can connect to send Sammy outside but he counters a dive into a cutter for a big crash on the floor.
Back up and Sammy misses a Swanton onto the apron, with the landing leaving him down on the floor for a good while. They get back inside where Allin loads up the Coffin Drop but here is Andrade’s assistant Jose for a distraction. Sting takes him out, allowing Andrade to run in and hit Allin with the iPad. Sammy, who didn’t seem to see what happened, hits GTH for the pin to retain at 14:52.
Rating: B. Good stuff here and I don’t think that’s any kind of a surprise. This wasn’t so much about the wrestling but rather the big moves that leave one of them knocked silly or flying away. That’s a different way to go and it is the kind of match where these two excel, making this a solid main event, which even advanced Allin vs. Andrade. Granted your mileage on Andrade may vary, but at least they have an idea.
Post match Matt Hardy runs in to beat on Allin with Sammy making the save. Andrade hits him with the iPad poses with the TNT Titles (because there are still two of them) until Sting chases him off to end the show.
Overall Rating: B+. Another awesome show here and that is what I have come to expect in the last few weeks. They are getting the formula right and it has me wanting to see what they are going to do from week to week. You had a bunch of matches here, but more importantly there are several things set up for later. That covers two bases at once, as we now have something to look forward to, but also the proof that they have a plan here. The plan might not be your taste, but they have something there and that is a great thing to see. Much like this show.
Bryan Danielson b. Lee Moriarty – Triangle choke
Wardlow b. Max Caster – Powerbomb Symphony
Santana/Ortiz b. Jake Hager/Chris Jericho – Discus lariat to Jericho
Thunder Rosa b. Mercedes Martinez – Fire Thunder Driver onto a pile of chairs
Sammy Guevara b. Darby Allin – GTH
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