Date: February 1, 2023
Location: Nutter Center, Dayton, Ohio
Commentators: Excalibur, Tony Schiavone, Taz
We are about a month away from Revolution and that means it is time to start hammering down the card. You can probably guess a good bit of it from here and that is a strong sign for the show. This week will feature a pair of title matches, including Jade Cargill’s latest conquest and Samoa Joe getting his rematch for the TNT Title. Let’s get to it.
Jon Moxley vs. Hangman Page
Moxley comes through the crowd with Wheeler Yuta and….his own father. That’s a new one. Moxley starts the fight in the crowd and takes it into the audience as we are waiting on the opening bell. Page gets in a whip into a barricade and they keep brawling back to ringside. Moxley wraps the chair around Page’s leg but Page throws said chair at Moxley to take over.
They finally get in the ring and slug it out, with Moxley’s eye busted open. Moxley is fine enough to grab an armbar but Page is back up with a German suplex. They fight to the apron and slug it out again with Page tossing him into the post as we take a break. Back with Page hitting a super Death Valley Driver for two. Moxley knocks him into the corner though and starts the stomps to the head. The Death Rider is blocked so Moxley switches into a cross armbreaker.
With that broken up, Page sends him outside but misses the moonsault. Moxley blasts him with a clothesline but can’t put Page through the ringside table. Page can put him through it though and gets two back inside. Page misses a jumping kick to the face and gets caught with the King Kong Lariat. They forearm it out again until Page hits a small package driver for two more. A Tombstone into the Buckshot Lariat gives Page two so he immediately goes into the bulldog choke. Moxley fights up and cradles Page for the win at 16:31.
Rating: B. These guys beat the heck out of each other and it worked as a trilogy match. I’m a bit surprised that Moxley won, though it was one of those matches that could have gone either way. The ending coming out of nowhere with a wrestling move after all of the intense brawling worked well too, so this was a fine way to go and felt like a showdown.
Post match the Blackpool Combat Club comes in to separate them, with Moxley flipping Page off and getting in a pretty clear F bomb. They have to be separated again and odds are we’re getting a rematch at Revolution.
Video on Samoa Joe vs. Darby Allin.
The Bunny challenges Jamie Hayter for the Women’s Title. We cut to the back (well, elsewhere in the back) where Saraya and Toni Storm are attacking Britt Baker.
Acclaimed vs. Turbo Floyd/Truth Magnum
Non-title. The jobbers (whose tights look like toothpaste) want some scissoring but get Scissor Me Timbers instead. Even Billy comes in for the scissoring before the Arrival into the Mic Drop gives Caster the pin at 50 seconds.
Post match the Gunns come out and say they want the title match. That earns them a bunch of the Acclaimed’s accolades but Billy says he’s sick of this and walks away. Austin says Billy is doing what he always does by turning his back on them. Colton: “Why don’t you do what you used to do and bury your sorrows in the bottom of a pill bottle?” Billy gets back in the ring and makes the title match for next week. Acclaimed doesn’t seem pleased.
Jungle Boy appreciated his time teaming with Hook but he wants a singles title.
Brian Cage vs. Konosuke Takeshita
Prince Nana is here with Cage, who gets clotheslined out side to start. Takeshita hits a big slingshot dive to take cage out again and they slug it out inside. A Blue Thunder Bomb plants Cage for two but he kicks Takeshita outside. The apron superplex lets Cage stop to pose as we take a break.
Back with Takeshita hitting a hurricanrana into a middle rope kick to the face. A German suplex gives Takeshita two but the running knee is blocked. Cage’s F5 is countered into a sitout powerbomb for two more. Cage discus lariats him for two more and the F5 connects as well. Takeshita hits him in the face though and the running knee finishes Cage at 10:06.
Rating: C+. It’s nice to see Takeshita get a win that feels like it matters a bit so well done on moving into the right direction. It isn’t like Cage has much to lose anyway but he still has enough of a look and athleticism to him feel like a threat. They needed to have Takeshita get a win at some point and this was as good of a way as it could have gone.
The Jericho Appreciation Society doesn’t like the idea of being accused of cheating last week. Now though, they have an idea: the Garcia/Guevara Gauntlet, which is Ricky Starks running a gauntlet to get another match with Chris Jericho. I was thinking just having Starks pin Jericho for a big rub was a good way to go but apparently not. Also, don’t we kind of already have a gauntlet with MJF trying to avoid Bryan Danielson?
The Elite is in a basketball gym and tells Top Flight and AR Fox to show up and shoot their shot next week. Matt Hardy/Isiah Kassidy/Ethan Page come in with Stokely Hathaway to challenge them for Rampage. Don Callis worries about the team selling NFT’s but the match is on.
Bryan Danielson vs. Timothy Thatcher
This is Thatcher’s AEW debut. Feeling out process to start with Thatcher taking Danielson (with his injured shoulder) into the corner. Thatcher can’t get anywhere with Danielson against the ropes so Danielson takes him down by the leg. A grab of the bad arm gets Thatcher out of trouble and he takes Danielson down by the arm. Thatcher’s Kimura sends Danielson to the rope and we take a break.
Back with Danielson headbutting his way out of trouble but being sat on the top. Danielson headbutts that off too and fires off the kicks but his O’Connor roll is blocked. Thatcher goes for the Fujiwara armbar but gets kicked in the head for two instead. Danielson grabs a choke, which is driven into the corner for the break but the referee gets bumped as well. Cue MJF but Konosuke Takeshita cuts him off, leaving Thatcher to Fujiwara armbar Danielson again. The rope is reached so Danielson ducks a clothesline and hits the running knee for the pin at 13:38.
Rating: B+. Oh of course this was good and there was no way it was going to be anything else. AEW brought Thatcher in for this kind of a match and it delivered very well. What matters here is Thatcher getting to torment Danielson, who survived anyway and won in the end with the thing he did better than Thatcher. Heck of a match here and I’m not slightly surprised.
In the back, MJF and Takeshita have to be separated. Renee Paquette pops in to make MJF vs. Takeshita for next week.
Mogul Affiliates is ready to hurt Dustin Rhodes because the generation is changing. For now though, they’ll settle for Brian Pillman Jr. on Rampage.
MJF pays Rush off to take out Bryan Danielson next week. Rush is in.
TBS Title: Red Velvet vs. Jade Cargill
Cargill, with Leila Grey, is defending. They seems to miscommunicate a bit on a slugout but Cargill gets sent outside for a dropkick through the ropes. Back in and Cargill hits a wheelbarrow suplex for two and we take a break. We come back with Velvet kicking away until the pump kick gives Cargill two. Cue Kiera Hogan to send Grey into the steps and the distraction lets Cargill kick out of the Final Slice. Cargill muscles her up into Jaded to retain at 7:06 for her 50th win.
Rating: D+. STOP DOING THIS SAME MATCH! The Velvet vs. Cargill feud felt like the latest in a long, long string of people who didn’t make Cargill break a sweat and gave us no reason to believe she was going to lose. Just pick someone and have them beat her already so she can move on and do something else. Doing the same stuff over and over isn’t interesting and until she has to learn something new, her career is going to stall.
Post match Cargill picks up her daughter and walks off.
Ruby Soho comes in to see the injured Britt Baker. Soho denies being involved in the attack but Baker says she’s good anyway.
Here’s what’s coming on various shows.
TNT Title: Darby Allin vs. Samoa Joe
Anything goes and Allin is defending (Joe’s ROH TV Title isn’t on the line), so he comes to the ring in a hoodie covered in thumbtacks. Allin charges at him to start and hits a few tack filled shots, only to have Joe use the towel to clothesline him down. Joe stomps away in the corner and it’s already time for a table. That takes too long though as Allin dives into the table as Joe picks it up, meaning Joe is busted open.
Joe sends him into the steps and over the barricade so the fight can go into the crowd. A Rock Bottom onto the hand rail leaves Allin laying as we take a break. Back with Allin fighting out of a neck crank but charging into the Rock Bottom out of the corner. Allin jawbreaks his way out of trouble and chops away but gets tossed over the top for a nasty crash.
The chairs are loaded up and Joe drops him back first onto them but Allin is fine enough to throw some powder in the eyes and hit a Code Red for two. Allin grabs the tack hoodie and hits the Coffin Drop….for two. With nothing else working, Allin whips out a boxcutter and cuts up the mat (taking his sweet time to do so). Joe uses the time to send Allin through a table and them wrap the tack hoodie around Allin’s face. Allin goes for the eyes to break it up but the Coffin Drop is blocked. The Muscle Buster onto the exposed boards knocks Allin silly to give Joe the title back at 15:25.
Rating: B. Well it was nice for Allin to be the TNT Champion and this workhorse for a full month, but now he gets beaten down in another match. It was an entertaining one (depending on how much pain you can handle Allin taking) and it felt like a main event, with the title change being a big deal. Allin’s body continues to be turned into something no longer resembling a human but that ship has long sailed.
Post match Wardlow is back and goes after Joe, who bails before the powerbomb. Wardlow beats up security instead and loads up a powerbomb….which we don’t see as the show goes off the air. So if Wardlow gets the title back, we’re right back where we were in November for everyone involved.
Overall Rating: A-. This was a pretty awesome show with one very good match after another and only the latest Jade match hurting it in the slightest. Other than that, this moved some stuff forward and has me wondering where some of the stories are going. Now just start finalizing the Revolution card and the shows can be off to the races. Back to the winning formula here and it worked very well.
Jon Moxley b. Hangman Page – Rollup
Acclaimed b. Turbo Floyd/Truth Magnum – Mic Drop to Magnum
Bryan Danielson b. Timothy Thatcher – Running knee
Jade Cargill b. Red Velvet – Jaded
Samoa Joe b. Darby Allin – Muscle Buster onto exposed boards
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