Date: February 22, 2023
Location: Footprint Center, Phoenix, Arizona
Commentators: Excalibur, Tony Schiavone, Taz
We have two weeks to go to before Revolution and that means it is time to start finalizing the card. That is a little tricky when one of the matches is going to be a sixty minute Iron Man match, but AEW does know how to throw in a few surprises. Tony Khan has promised a big surprise for tonight so let’s get to it.
All-Atlantic Title: Orange Cassidy vs. Wheeler Yuta
Only Cassidy is defending after Yuta wants revenge for Cassidy and the Best Friends forgetting about him. They go technical to start and get some near falls each until Yuta bails to the floor. Back in and Cassidy uses Yuta’s own Seatbelt rollup for two, meaning it’s time for another breather outside. Cue Claudio Castagnoli to slap Yuta in the face to wake him up.
That’s enough to make Yuta counter the Orange Punch and send Cassidy outside for some whips into the barricade. A posting ensues and Yuta strikes away back inside, despite Cassidy putting his hands in his pockets. Cassidy hits a dropkick ad sends him into the corner a few times. There’s an enziguri from Yuta, followed by a top rope forearm for two. We take a break and come back with Yuta hitting a brainbuster into an Angle Slam for another near fall.
Cassidy manages some rolling German suplexes for two but Yuta uses Cassidy’s Mousetrap for two more. They spit at each other and knock each other down before heading to the apron. Cassidy gets the better of things and hits the diving DDT to the floor. Back in and they trade the driving elbows to the face until the Orange Punch gives Cassidy two. The Orange Punch retains the title at 16:48.
Rating: B. This turned into a hard hitting fight and that is the kind of thing that you do not see from Cassidy very often. Yuta can wrestle the technical style very well and made his half of things work here. They had a better match than I was expecting and this worked very well for a long, back and forth opener.
Post match Cassidy loads up the hug but Castagnoli tells Yuta to get out, with Yuta listening and leaving with Castagnoli.
Evil Uno is ready for Jon Moxley and wants Hangman Page to stay out of there from bell to bell. The Dark Order has to stand up for itself.
Here is Ricky Starks for a chat. Over the last few months, he has been dealing with Chris Jericho, who doesn’t want a rematch with him. Therefore, he is moving away from Jericho and now he has an open contract for a match at Revolution. Cue Jericho, who says Starks is enjoying that one win he got but it is never going to happen again. Starks isn’t at his level so good luck with the open challenge.
Cue Peter Avalon to try to accept the challenge but Jericho beats him down. Jericho gets in the ring and says this is what happens when you issue an open challenge. Starks says if Jericho signs, he’ll just bring the Appreciation Society, because apparently he needs them to win. That’s too far for Jericho, who agrees to the terms…..but he doesn’t have a pen. Starks: “D***. I do!” And after the big dramatic click, Jericho adds a line about the Society staying in the back and signs for the match. That took some time but it was some nice mind games from Starks.
A bunch of tag teams are ready for the battle royal.
Lee Moriarty/Big Bill vs. Acclaimed
Stokely Hathaway and Billy Gunn are here too. Caster’s rap makes fun of Moriarty and Bill, including Bill’s mother. Caster doesn’t get far with an armbar as a Bill cheap shot lets Moriarty take over. Bowens comes in for the blind tag though and something like a neckbreaker onto Caster’s raised knees gets two.
We take a break and come back with the Gunns out to watch as Bowens gets the hot tag and cleans house on Moriarty. Bill comes back in to kick Gunn and Bowens down though, allowing the Gunns to stomp their dad down. The Acclaimed chases them off and Caster poses Bill. The Arrival into the Mic Drop finishes Moriarty at 7:08.
Rating: C. They kept this short and sweet here as the Acclaimed gets some momentum back on their way to the four way title match. I’m not sure I can imagine them getting the titles back so soon, but at least they are beating teams they should beat. The title change still feels like it came out of nowhere though, and that might not be the best move.
Christian Cage comes out for an interview but Jungle Boy jumps him from behind. Jungle Boy loads up a Conchairto but takes too long, allowing Cage to low blow his way out of trouble. Cage hits him in the head with the chair and then rams said head into the other chair a few times. Jungle Boy is busted open and referees break it up.
Video on Wardlow vs. Samoa Joe.
Saraya vs. Skye Blue
Toni Storm is here with Saraya. Blue starts fast but a Storm distraction lets Saraya pull her off the top. Saraya takes over on the arm and plants Blue down for two. As Tony and Taz discuss the difference between making friends and making money, Saraya can’t superplex her down, allowing Blue to hit a high crossbody. Blue nails a running kick to the face but Storm offers a distraction, allowing Saraya to hit a superkick. The Scorpio Crosslock makes Blue give up at 3:45.
Rating: C. The fact that Saraya is now needing help to beat Blue isn’t a good sign for her future, but things haven’t exactly been going well for her for a good while. This us vs. them story is only so good and Saraya continues to be a letdown since she has been back. It was cool to see her wrestle again, but the charm is wearing off quickly.
Post match the beatdown is on but Jamie Hayter and Britt Baker make the save. Cue Ruby Soho to signal that she wants the title shot. Hayter doesn’t seem opposed.
Here is Bryan Danielson for a chat. Danielson is ready to do everything he can to win the World Title but first he needs to talk about what MJF said last week. MJF hurt Danielson’s mentor William Regal…and here is MJF to interrupt. MJF says these people love Danielson but MJF is the guy who has been shoved away by everyone he has ever loved. Then he met a girl and fell in love with her, to the point where he got down on one knee and said he wanted to start a family with her.
Then she left him, meaning the only thing that that stops him from taking a fist full of pills and calling it a day is this title. Everyone loves Danielson though, and they’ll shout YES at the top of their lungs. Danielson has a family that he takes for granted but do you know why MJF hates him? Danielson has had concussions and seizures but he’s still wrestling. Every time Danielson gets in the ring, he is saying wrestling is more important than his family and his children.
Every time Danielson gets in the ring, he is spitting in MJF’s face because he disrespects everything MJF wants. Danielson is worse than his drug addicted mentor so he’ll get all of the spotlight he wants at Revolution when MJF beats him do badly. MJF talks into the camera to Danielson’s children and promises to hurt their daddy at Revolution, to the point where Danielson can’t play with them again.
For some reason Danielson doesn’t move, but MJF gets in the ring and promises early onset CT…..and Danielson jumps him. Security eventually breaks it up. This was a weird segment, as it didn’t so much make me want to see MJF lose the title, but rather make me want to buy him a hot sandwich and give him a hug.
Jamie Hayter thinks Ruby Soho and Saraya deserve a title shot, so let’s make it a triple threat at Revolution.
Tag Team Battle Royal
Jeff Jarrett/Jay Lethal, Top Flight, Best Friends, Lucha Bros, La Faccion Ingobernable, Aussie Open, Ari Daivari/Tony Nese, Jericho Appreciation Society, Butcher and the Blade, Dark Order
The winners move on to Revolution for a Tag Team Title shot and both members must be thrown out for an elimination. It’s a brawl to start with some teams on the floor and others fighting inside. Nese and Penta fight to the apron but here is Mark Briscoe to go after Josh Woods, because that feud is still going. Penta Fear Factors Nese for the elimination and Daivari is tossed out shortly thereafter as we take a break.
Back with no eliminations during the break but Aussie Open is tossed at the same time. Dark Order gets rid of Blade and Darius Martin was tossed somewhere in there. Butcher eliminates Reynolds and Penta kicks Vance out. Vance helps Rush get rid of Penta but Penta kicks Rush out to get rid of La Faccion.
The Society finally gets in and goes after the Best Friends, only to have to deal with Danhausen. They toss him out so he fires off a curse, with the Society being tossed out at the same time. Jarrett and Lethal get rid of Taylor, leaving us with Jarrett, Lethal, butcher, Fenix, Trent and Dante Martin as we take another break.
Back again with a mini six man having broken out and Butcher knock Fenix through the ropes to the floor (not an elimination). Dante gets knocked out but Fenix dumps Butcher as well. Jarrett and Lethal toss Fenix and we’re down to the two of them plus Trent. The double teaming is on but Trent makes the comeback, only to have Satnam Singh make the double save.
Jarrett hits the Stroke and sends Trent….to the apron, where Orange Cassidy makes a save of his own. Sonjay Dutt’s interference doesn’t help as Trent manages to get rid of Lethal. Danhausen chases Dutt to the back but Singh saves Jarrett from another elimination. Another Strike lets Jarrett toss him out for the win at 18:31.
Rating: C+. The ending was a bit much and they had a bunch of stuff going on at once, but Jarrett and Lethal being added to a four way title match isn’t a bad idea. You’re going to need a team to keep things a bit more under control and that is where Jarrett and Lethal can shine. Fun match here, though it did run for a good while.
The House Of Black wants the Trios Titles.
Tony Khan joins us for a big announcement….which will be made by Adam Cole: AEW is getting a reality series called All Access, which debuts next month after Dynamite. On a more personal note: Cole is making his in-ring return the same night as the show’s debut. I get that it’s an announcement and a cool deal for AEW, but hyping this up as a “major announcement” was destined to fail. Put out a press release, mention it on Dynamite, and then talk about it rather than making a big deal that isn’t likely to go over very well. And yes, I understand that it’s likely a mandate from WBD. Just maybe present it a little smarter.
Here’s what’s coming on various shows.
Jeff Jarrett, Jay Lethal and company are excited but here are the Gunns to interrupt. Mocking ensues, but nothing gets physical.
Jon Moxley vs. Evil Uno
Uno jumps him to start and the beating is on fast, with Moxley having to fight his way out of trouble. Moxley gets sent outside for the top rope flip dive and Uno hammers away some more. A whip into the steps cuts Uno off though and Moxley sends him head first into the steps for a bonus. Uno is busted open and Moxley hammers away back inside, only to get caught with a pair of piledrivers. Moxley shrugs them off and chokes Uno out at 6:18.
Rating: C. You mean the former World Champion and one of the biggest stars in AEW history bet a guy who has been treated as little more than a comedy goof since AEW began? I’m really not sure why this was given the main event slot, as just having Moxley out there isn’t likely to give them that much attention. It was a bloody brawl, but there was zero drama to it and Moxley didn’t exactly seem to be worried.
Post match Moxley won’t let go so the Dark Order, the Blackpool Combat Club and Hangman Page run in (Page promised not to be out there from bell to bell so he kept his word). Page loads up what looks to be barbed wire but Moxley bails from the threat of a Buckshot Lariat to end the show.
Overall Rating: C+. This was a weird show as everything worked out well enough from a presentation standpoint and the wrestling was fine to good, but man alive AEW is ice cold going into Revolution. The MJF vs. Danielson feud is just weird, Page vs. Moxley has been done over and over, the women’s feud has a ton of moving parts and the Tag Team Title stuff is overcrowded. This wasn’t a bad show by any means, but AEW needs to figure out what they want to focus on and fast.
Orange Cassidy b. Wheeler Yuta – Orange Punch
Acclaimed b. Lee Moriarty/Big Bill – Mic Drop to Moriarty
Saraya b. Skye Blue – Scorpion Crosslock
Jeff Jarrett/Jay Lethal won a tag team battle royal last eliminating the Best Friends
Jon Moxley b. Evil Uno – Rear naked choke
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