Date: January 11, 2023
Location: Kia Forum, Los Angeles, California
Commentators: Excalibur, Tony Schiavone, Taz
We’re in for a big show this week as things head back to Los Angeles. AEW knows how to bring it on the bigger stages and that is what should happen here. This week is centered around the ladder match to end the Best Of Seven series between the Elite and Death Triangle for the Trios Titles. Let’s get to it.
Jon Moxley vs. Hangman Page
They go right to the fighting with Page sending him into the corner for a running boot to the face. Page forearms him down but Moxley fights up and starts the swagger. The cross armbreaker doesn’t work for Moxley so he knocks Page off the apron instead. Back in and Moxley blasts him with a clothesline for two and we take a break.
We come back with Moxley hitting another clothesline to set up the exchange of forearms. Page hits the fall away slam and nips up to knock Moxley outside. The moonsault to the floor connects but Moxley counters the Buckshot Lariat into the Death Rider for two. Page gets out of the choke so Moxley hits a hard piledriver for two more. The Deadeye is broken up as well and now the Deadeye connects. Moxley staggers to the ropes though and hits the Stomp to leave both of them down. Back up and the slug it out with Page getting the better of things and hitting the Buckshot Lariat for the pin at 14:10.
Rating: B. Good fight, though it didn’t quite hit that level they had built the match up towards. The important thing here is that Page won, as he pretty much had to given everything that had happened. He had a personal issue with Moxley but also needed to win to boost himself back up so well done with the whole thing.
Post match Moxley is checked out by the doctors and Page walks away without a second look. That might be Moxley’s long awaited vacation.
Here is Tony Schiavone to bring out….the returning Adam Cole! It’s Story Time with Adam Cole, who always wanted to be a professional wrestler, and here he is in an AEW ring in Los Angeles. He’s been going through a bunch of health issues, from a destroyed shoulder and two serious head injuries. Someone told him that they don’t care if Cole wrestles again but all he wants is Cole to be ok.
For six months, he has given the fans nothing but the fans still seem to care about him. For that he is eternally grateful and we pause for the ADAM COLE chants. Cole has some bad news though….and it’s not for him. The bad news is for everyone else because he is BACK! Remember this day because the new Adam Cole is being born, and one day he is going to be at the top of the AEW mountain. Cool moment here as it’s nice to have Cole back and seemingly as a good guy.
The Acclaimed is getting stars on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. Oh boy.
Lee Moriarty/Big Bill vs. Hook/Jungle Boy
Stokely Hathaway is here with Bill/Moriarty. Hook and Moriarty start things off with Moriarty having to fight out of a short armscissors attempt. Jungle Boy comes in for a basement dropkick but Bill grabs him by the throat. The chokeslam onto the apron is broken up by Hook’s baseball slide though and Bill gets to dance a bit. Jungle Boy is knocked to the floor and we take a break. Back with Jungle Boy fighting out of Moriarty’s triangle choke and bringing Hook in. House is quickly cleaned and Hook manages to suplex Bill. With Bill looking stunned, Jungle Boy Snare Traps Moriarty for the tap at 7:38.
Rating: C+. The story here is Hook, who is now getting to work longer and more complicated matches as he is coming along nicely. You can only get so much out of a few suplexes and Redrum so having him live in a match with a more serious story is a great sign. Hook seems like he could have something in the future and I could go with seeing how they use him.
An actor named Paul Walter Hauser has a present for Danhausen and Orange Cassidy, which he’ll give them on Rampage. The Best Friends come in and everything is cool.
The Elite has nothing to say.
Konosuke Takeshita vs. Bryan Danielson
Hold on though as before Danielson comes out, here is MJF (with his chyron saying he is looking to avoid a match with Danielson at Full Gear instead of Revolution) to say KONICHIWA. He loves Takeshita, even though he has never seen a second of his stuff. MJF mocks Takeshita’s name and tells him to win tonight, earning a yell in Japanese. Takeshita is ready to fight but the referee holds him back.
MJF says people are accusing him of being scared of lasting an hour, but ask your mama about that. He’s all about pinning shoulders to the mats and bending rats but everyone here is irrelevant. Actor Ken Jeong is here, with MJF mocking his career stalling a bit. Freddie Prinze Jr. is here too and gets the same round of insults. Cue Danielson to chase MJF off (dude can run when he is wearing a belt) and we’re ready to go.
They start fast and wrestle to an early standoff as some people are standing up and talking in the front row. Takeshita works on the arm but Danielson pulls him into a surfboard with a dragon sleeper. That’s reversed into Takeshita’s attempt at a dragon sleeper but he goes with forearms to the face instead. Danielson goes for the arm but Takeshita bails to the rope for the save. Back up and Danielson charges into a heck of a Blue Thunder Bomb for two and they chop it out as we take a break.
We come back with Danielson trying a dive off the apron into….I think the running knee but he gets spun around and lands hard on the floor. Takeshita grabs a brainbuster on the floor but a springboard Swanton hits raised knees back inside. Danielson grabs the LeBell Lock but Takeshita gets a foot on the rope.
They slug it out again until both of them go down for a breather. Takeshita’s running knee is countered into the elbows to the head but Takeshita is back with a wheelbarrow driver. A wheelbarrow suplex looks to set up the running knee but Danielson hits it instead for two. The stomps to the head set up the Regal Stretch to finishes Takeshita at 14:17.
Rating: B+. Yeah this was great and I don’t think that was any kind of a surprise. Danielson can work wonders with just about anyone and Takeshita has been a treat almost every time he is in the ring. Danielson is on the road to Revolution and an Iron Man match with MJF for the title, but MJF’s stand up set might not be over by then. The jokes before the match didn’t do much and MJF running away was the highlight of his appearance.
Juice Robinson wants to face Darby Allin on Rampage for the TNT Title.
Saraya/Toni Storm vs. Britt Baker/Jamie Hayter
Hikaru Shida and Rebel are the seconds here. Storm and Hayter fight over a lock up to start with Storm taking over and bringing Saraya in. Saraya knees her in the ribs for two but Baker offers a distraction. That doesn’t seem to matter as Saraya sends Hayter into the steps as Baker punches Storm as we take a break.
Back with Baker coming in to get clotheslined by Saraya. A knee gives Saraya two and it’s back to Storm, who hits the running hip attack in the corner. Baker takes her into the corner though and a super Air Raid Crash gets two. The quick piledriver gives Storm two on Hayter as everything breaks down. Baker gets in a kendo stick shot to Storm and Hayterade gives Hayter the pin at 11:45.
Rating: C+. The match was good enough, but after teasing Mercedes Mone and not delivering her, it felt a bit flat. A lot of that was built on fan theory, but when Baker called herself a boss, they were leaning into it quite hard. As for the match, it’s Storm losing again, which shouldn’t be a surprise anymore.
Here’s what’s coming on Rampage.
Eddie Kingston and Ortiz don’t seem to be on the same page for Friday, but Kingston says he’ll prove himself.
Here is the Jericho Appreciation Society for a chat. We hear about how great the team is, including their PWG invasion over the weekend. On top of that, Tay Melo/Anna Jay are totally going to wreck Willow Nightingale and Ruby Soho on Rampage. Cue Ricky Starks and Action Andretti to interrupt with Starks bragging about beating Chris Jericho last week. Andretti mocks Daniel Garcia and Sammy Guevara, the latter of whom can’t even control his own wife. Guevara can’t control where his wife’s hands go, because last week they were between Andretti’s legs.
Garcia rants about how pro wrestlers like Andretti don’t get it because he isn’t a sports entertainer. Starks wants Jericho to move aside so he can talk to the idiot in the purple hat. Jake Hager was a top athlete but then he got with Jericho and became the village idiot. Starks wants to fight next week, with Excalibur saying the match has already been made. Hager talks about his hat and MMA career before promising to slap Starks’ face off his face (yes). Starks continues to feel like a star in recent weeks and that is great to see.
Trios Titles: Elite vs. Death Triangle
Death Triangle is defending in the final match of a Best Of Seven series and this is Escalara de la Muerte (TLC match). The brawl is on to start with Omega and Pac being left inside for the slugout. Matt and Penta come in for the Backstabbers and slug it out on their own but it’s too early for the Fear Factor. Death Triangle clears the ring with Penta hitting a running flip dive to take Omega down on the floor.
Back in and the first ladder is set up but Fenix springboards in with an armdrag to pull Nick down. Omega grabs some snapdragons but misses a running flip dive through a table at ringside. Matt hits a high crossbody to dive Pac through a table though and we take a break. Back with Nick being dropped legs first onto a ladder and Omega’s hand being stomped inside another ladder.
Omega is fine enough to try a One Winged Angel but Pac reverses into a poisonrana. The Bros hit dives but the Bucks are back up with superkicks. Nick 450s Penta through a table at ringside and it’s time for Matt to go up…and get shoved over by Alex Abrahantes. Brandon Cutler cold sprays Abrahantes and the ladder is bridged into the standing version. Penta and Omega fight up the ladder, with Omega hitting the One Winged Angel to knock him silly. The Black Arrow hits Omega’s raised knees and Omega pulls down the titles at 14:49.
Rating: B. This was the violent carnage you would have expected coming in. It’s also the result you probably expected, as the Elite get their titles back, making the last few months more or less a total wash. The series was fun and gave us some good matches, but I’m sick of seeing these teams against each other. Both of them need to be far, far apart from each other and that’s probably going to be best for everyone involved.
Overall Rating: A-. They felt like they were trying for the pay per view level Dynamite here and it was a success. You could tell that being in Los Angeles made things feel more important and that made the show feel much more important. Nothing was bad (save for maybe MJF’s jokes) and there was one awesome match after another. That’s a heck of a two hour show and this was a smash.
Hangman Page b. Jon Moxley – Buckshot Lariat
Hook/Jungle Boy b. Lee Moriarty/Big Bill – Snare Trap to Moriarty
Bryan Danielson b. Konosuke Takeshita – Regal Stretch
Jamie Hayter/Britt Baker b. Toni Storm/Saraya – Hayterade to Storm
Elite b. Death Triangle – Omega pulled down the titles
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