Date: April 6, 2022
Location: Agganis Arena, Boston, Massachusetts
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Jim Ross, Excalibur
It’s pretty rare to have a lot of things going on when a company hasn’t had a major show, but that is the case this week. Ring of Honor’s Supercard of Honor event was basically AEW’s Wrestlemania weekend show and included the debut of Samoa Joe. He’ll be here tonight, and that means things could get a lot more interesting. Let’s get to it.
Adam Cole vs. Christian Cage
They stare at each other for a bit until Christian grabs a headlock to grind away a bit. Cole breaks that up and sends him into the corner to take over. Christian knocks him outside though and it’s a baseball slide out to the floor. That means some chops up against the barricade but Christian’s foot gets caught in the ropes, allowing Cole to take over again. A hard whip into the corner rocks Christian and we take a break.
Back with Christian knocking him to the floor again and diving over the top to….I think it connected but it was more grazing Cole’s hands/arms. Back in and Christian hits the pendulum kick in the corner, setting up the tornado DDT for two. Cole’s Backstabber out of the corner gets two more and the low superkick into the running knee (knee pad still up and to the face instead of the back of the head) is good for the same. The Boom is countered into a rollup for two, followed by Christian hitting a spear for two more. With nothing else working, Cole pokes him in the eye and hits the Boom for the pin at 14:50.
Rating: B-. This is where Christian can help a lot, as he has a reputation that means a win over him still means something and can make anyone look good. Cole gets a nice win and Christian has been a made man for a long time so it isn’t like he is hurt here. Good choice for an opener and the kind of win that gives Cole an actually important win.
Post match ReDDragon comes out for the beatdown but the Jurassic Express makes the save. Christian walks off to the side of the stage as the other four brawl (After rolling outside pretty fast after the pin. Hopefully nothing is wrong.). With everyone else gone, Hangman Page comes down to get in Cole’s face. Page issues the challenge for a Texas Death Match for the title next week on Rampage (not Dynamite), while telling him to get his affairs in order.
We look back at Jay Lethal challenging Jonathan Gresham for the World Title and beating him down, only for Samoa Joe to return and take out Lethal’s associate Sonjay Dutt.
Owen Hart Foundation Qualifying Match: Samoa Joe vs. Max Caster
Anthony Bowens is here with Caster, whose rap talks about how Samoa Joe is an overweight X-Division wrestler who was NXT Champion when Dynamite beat NXT in the ratings. Joe starts fast and hammers away in the corner, even throwing in a dance. Caster gets knocked to the floor for the suicide dive and it’s the MuscleBuster for the pin at 2:53. Total and complete destruction, as it should have been.
Post match Jay Lethal and Sonjay Dutt pop up on screen to say they aren’t scared of Joe. They had a change of heart last week and now it’s about doing what they want. The might not have needed one had Joe just answered his phone in the last four months. Joe clearly has a phone, but he’ll only answer calls from billionaires. It’s not too late to roll out the red carpet for Joe though, so next week Lethal promises him a present. Next week, Joe is getting a present that he’ll never forget. Dutt is quite the odd addition to this story. I know he and Lethal have history together but there was no one else to pair up with Lethal?
William Regal is happy with the Blackpool Combat Club, as Wheeler Yuta will face Jon Moxley on Friday. Regal feels sorry for Yuta, and Moxley promises violence.
Shawn Spears vs. Shawn Dean
MJF is on commentary as commentary points out that Dean has beaten him. Spears throws Dean over the top for a big crash, only to stop and point at the security posters for Wardlow. Back in and Spears hits a pumphandle driver onto the knee for two, with Spears pulling him up. We cut to the back where security has been taken out and the fans know what’s up. Now we see Wardlow beating up security and coming into the arena, where he beats up even more security. In the melee, Dean rolls Spears up for the pin at 3:48.
Rating: C-. The match was a squash with a fluke ending and that’s fine as a way to keep pushing Wardlow as a major threat to MJF. The destruction is coming and it is going to be awesome once we get there. Dean could have been anyone here but giving him a pair of wins over Dean and MJF is a nice bit of continuity.
Wardlow is very happy as security takes him out of the arena.
The Best Friends aren’t happy with Wheeler Yuta finding new friends. Chuck Taylor even bought him his tights and Yuta lives on his couch. Trent is less forgiving, calling him a scumbag before leaving.
Earlier tonight, Eddie Kingston/Santana/Ortiz beat down the Jericho Appreciation Society in the back. The Society bailed away in a car.
Here are Kingston/Santana/Ortiz in the arena for a chat. Eddie talks about how he’s coming for the Society and threatens to show up at Daniel Garcia’s door. Santana and Ortiz say they’ll be ready when Jericho stops running, say next week for example.
Here are Jade Cargill and Mark Sterling for a chat. Cargill introduces her Baddie Section, which is what she describes as a bunch of beautiful women with power. She’s ready for Marina Shafir to be her 30th victim.
MJF and Shawn Spears aren’t happy with Wardlow but MJF promises more security next week. As for Dean, he can face MJF next week, where he’ll get a Purple Heart for being injured worse than he ever could have been in the military.
Hardys vs. Butcher and the Blade
Tables match. It’s a brawl to start with Blade clotheslining Jeff down inside. Blade misses a charge through a table in the corner, which doesn’t count as it wasn’t an offensive move (as made clear by the pre-match announcement of the rules). Butcher and Matt come in, where Butcher can’t suplex Matt through a table. A double DDT drops Butcher but Blade breaks up what looked to be the Swanton through the table. That leaves Jeff to get suplexed/high crossbodied through a table for the elimination.
We take a break and come back with Matt chairing Butcher, setting up a top rope legdrop through the table for the elimination. That leaves Matt vs. Blade but Matt puts himself through a table off the apron. Butcher sticks around to help double team Matt, who is thrown over the barricade.
A double suplex brings him back over but Jeff has moved the table. What looks to be Poetry In Motion into a clothesline against the barricade doesn’t look great so Jeff makes up for it with the Twisting Stunner to Blade. Matt hits a Twist of Fate on the floor and the Hardys set up two tables underneath a ladder (you knew it was coming). The Swanton off the top drives Blade through the table to give the Hardys the win at 11:55.
Rating: C+. It was pretty good, though I’m trying to get my head around the Hardys being hyped up for their history in tables matches. The Hardys are certainly stars, but it doesn’t feel like they are a big deal at the moment. Maybe that’s FTR being on another level and the Hardys not being anywhere the title picture, but it feels like they’re still waiting to take off. They certainly can do that, though it hasn’t happened yet.
Post match here is Andrade, flanked by the AFO, but here is sting with the baseball bat to beat them down. The AFO didn’t do anything, so maybe Sting just broke up the presentation of a lovely bowling trophy.
Christian Cage is ticked off and walks away from Jurassic Express’ interview. The Express doesn’t think much of ReDDragon’s records but they can have a title shot next week anyway.
Thunder Rosa is ready for Nyla Rose at Championship Fight Night on April 16.
Jamie Hayter isn’t shaking Toni Storm’s hand because she wants to win the Owen Hart tournament.
Owen Hart Foundation Qualifying Match: Hikaru Shida vs. Julia Hart
Hart still has the eye patch and sends the Varsity Blonds to the back. Hart gets in a shot in the corner which has Shida mad as we take an early break. Back with Shida pounding away and hitting a running knee in the corner. Hart rakes the eyes to get off of Shida’s shoulders though and a splits bulldog gets two. What looked to be Twisted Bliss only has Hart’s knees hitting the mat though and Shida elbows her down. Shida hits a spinning knee though and the Falcon Arrow is good for the pin at 7:40.
Rating: D+. Yozwa this didn’t work very well, as they felt like they were on different pages at times. The moves weren’t connecting very well, they didn’t seem to be communicating and it was just awkward throughout. It’s rare to see a match go this badly in AEW but this was a pretty bad showing.
Post match Serena Deeb comes out for a kendo stick/chair showdown with Shida before bailing. This feud MUST CONTINUE you see.
Shane Strickland had a good time at the Grammys but here is Team Taz to jump him. Keith Lee makes the save and drives Powerhouse Hobbs through a wall.
AAA Tag Team Titles/Ring Of Honor Tag Team Titles: FTR vs. Young Bucks
The Bucks are challenging. Harwood headlocks Matt down to start and it’s off to Dax to do the same to Nick. An armdrag into an armbar keeps Nick down but everyone comes in for the big staredown. We settle down to Dax taking Matt down with a headlock, setting up double Sharpshooters from FTR. Nick rakes the Wheeler’s eyes for the break and it’s Matt hitting a middle rope elbow on Wheeler.
The Bret Hart pose sets up the tag off to Nick and we take a break. Back with Wheeler suplexing his way out of trouble but Matt cuts off the tag attempt. Harwood Matt outside though and kicks his way over for the tag off to Harwood. House is cleaned with Harwood chopping away in the corner and getting two off a small package. Matt’s backslide (with Harwood’s shoulder not on the mat) gets two, as does Harwood’s piledriver. The PowerPlex is loaded up but Nick cuts off Wheeler with a super hurricanrana.
A dropkick/bulldog combination connects but Harwood brainbusters Nick on the floor. Wheeler Gory Bombs Matt for two but what looks like a low blow takes Wheeler down. The Big Rig gets two on Wheeler and More Bang For Your Buck connects for the same. Nick gets in a belt shot for two more on Wheeler but Harwood dives in for the save.
There’s a double superkick to Harwood and the BTE Trigger gets….a Dusty Finish, as Wheeler gets his foot on the ropes just before three, meaning the pin is called off. The Meltzer Driver is loaded up but Harwood makes the save, setting up a slingshot powerbomb to Matt. The Tombstone plants Matt and, after the double kiss, the Big Rig retains the titles at 20:00.
Rating: A. This is what you can get when you tone the Bucks down. Two superkicks, one or two flips. It was much, much better than their usual stuff and a high quality match instead of their usual junk food wrestling. The Bucks are very impressive athletes, but there are times where they want to remind you of that a bit too much. Have someone to keep them on more of a leash and you get an instant classic like this.
At the same time, FTR can do absolutely no wrong at the moment. They did this in NXT and they are doing it in AEW. These guys are just great and are becoming must see television. That isn’t something that has been the case in tag wrestling since probably Edge and Christian vs. the Hardys vs. the Dudleyz and that was 20+ years ago. Awesome stuff here and absolutely worth seeing.
Overall Rating: B+. The main event absolutely lifted this show up as, aside from maybe the opener, it wasn’t exactly great. This was the week where they moved things forward for later though and you can see a lot of what they are going for at the next Battle of the Belts. FTR is an amazing team at the moment though and that’s about all you need to remember from this show. Check out that main event for sure.
Adam Cole b. Christian Cage – Boom
Samoa Joe b. Max Caster – MuscleBuster
Shawn Dean b. Shawn Spears – Rollup
Hardys b. Butcher and the Blade – Swanton Bomb through a table to Blade
Hikaru Shida b. Julia Hart – Falcon Arrow
FTR b. Young Bucks – Big Rig to Matt
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