Date: March 8, 2023
Location: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, California
Commentators: Excalibur, Taz, Tony Schiavone
We’re done with Revolution and that means it is time to start getting ready for Double Or Nothing. That show is only two and a half months away so AEW actually needs to put some things together a little bit faster here. Other than that, we have a lot of fallout to get through so let’s get to it.
All-Atlantic Title: Orange Cassidy vs. Jay Lethal
Cassidy is defending and everyone is sent to the back to start. Cassidy takes him down with an armdrag but gets reversed into a rollup for two. Back in and Lethal counters the tornado DDT but can’t get the Figure Four. They go outside with Lethal’s shoulder getting posted before going back inside, where he crotches Cassidy on top. It’s right back to the floor, with Cassidy’s leg being sent into the post and we take a break.
Back with Cassidy winning a slugout and grabbing a suplex. Cassidy’s top rope DDT connects but he bangs up his knee again. The knee is fine enough to hit a tornado DDT for two but Lethal is right back with the Figure Four. Cassidy gets over to the rope for the save and clotheslines Letha from the apron back inside. The Lethal Combination plants Cassidy and Lethal goes back to the knee. Lethal tries the Lethal Injection but his arm, which had been worked on earlier, gives out. A quick Orange Punch retains the title at 14:47.
Rating: C+. Perfectly fine match here with Cassidy beating another experienced veteran with some credentials. That is how you go about making his title reign seem more impressive for when someone takes the title from him later on. Cassidy can hang well enough with most people, even in a match where the ending felt so out of nowhere. Good choice for an opener for sure though.
Post match Jeff Jarrett comes in to Stroke Cassidy and hit him in the knee with the guitar. The Best Friends make the save. Cassidy vs. Jarrett should work well.
We look at Wardlow announcing that his car was broken into, with the thief taking his gear, boots and title belt.
Powerhouse Hobbs says that’s a shame for Wardlow but tonight, Hobbs is taking everything Wardlow has left: being called a champion. I like that.
Here is Ricky Starks for a chat. Starks talks about everything he has done recent but he isn’t sure what is next for him. The question is actually where he is going next…..and here is Juice Robinson of the Bullet Club to plant him with his reverse DDT.
Wardlow, in an FTR shirt, says that since he doesn’t have his gear, let’s do this falls count anywhere, anything goes.
Renee Paquette brings out Ruby Soho, who leaves Toni Storm and Saraya on the stage. Soho is immediately asked why she joined up with the two of them and says it’s obvious. She talks about how she kept fighting the AEW originals and was booed every time. They are here to build AEW into a new place and the rookies in the back don’t support her at all. They are starting on a broken foundation, but it has to be done. Now bring out her opponent.
Skye Blue vs. Ruby Soho
Soho jumps her to start and the beating is on, with Soho hitting an enziguri to make it worse. We take a break and come back with Blue hitting a knee against the ropes. Soho isn’t having that though and grabs her by the hair, setting up Destination Unknown to finish Blue at 6:45.
Rating: C. Giving Soho a win straight after her heel turn made sense, even if the match was cut up by the break. Blue is someone who has been built up enough to make the win mean something without sacrificing anyone too big. Now just let Soho put things together before having her lose again and this could go somewhere for a change.
Post match Storm and Saraya come back for the spray painting, but Willow Nightingale comes in for the save. That doesn’t’ work either and the spray painting ensued.
Hangman Page says what happened to Jon Moxley is a warning to everyone else. Don’t try him, or he’ll take you to h***. He says it isn’t personal with Renee Paquette (handling the interview) and is sorry for what she had to see, but it’s over with Mox.
MJF is ready to be back next week and it’s going to be his birthday.
Here is FTR for a chat. The fans are glad to see them but FTR talks about how they have had some troubles lately. They lost their titles and a great friend, but they couldn’t let the Gunns come out here and talk about being the best team in the world. Dax talks about how they finishes the trilogy with the Briscoes in December, only to have the Gunns take it away. They’re coming for the titles for the fans, the Briscoes and themselves. They have to win the belts after that speech.
Jade Cargill doesn’t know what a challenge is. They’ll be in Canada next week so sent one of those wacky Canadians to take her own.
Jericho Appreciation Society vs. AR Fox/Top Flight
Fox slugs away at Jericho to start and knocks him outside, setting up the big dive to the floor. Back in and it’s off to Guevara, who takes Fox down for the Society pose as the villains take over. Dante comes in and takes over on Garcia, sending him outside for a dive. Angelo Parker grabs Dante’s boot though and Jericho punches him out of the air as we take a break.
Back with Dante fighting out of a chinlock and flipping Guevara away, allowing the tag off to Fox. House is quickly cleaned but everything breaks down. Darius comes in for a bridging German suplex for two on Garcia, setting up the parade of dives to the floor. Back in and the Judas Effect finishes Dante at 9:45.
Rating: C+. So is Jericho moving into the Trios division now? It’s one of the few things that he hasn’t gone after yet and he could certainly use a new act to bring down. Fox and Top Flight are still a good act, but when the only thing they have won is a wacky battle royal, it might be time to give them something that actually matters.
Post match the Society says that they are the #1 contenders to the Trios Titles (and on their one year anniversary at that). The lights go out and cue the Elite to say not so fast. Don Callis talks about how they’re in Winnipeg next week and Jericho is only the second best wrestler from the city. Callis: “And if I had a couple of months to train, you would be #3!” Jericho wants to fight but the lights go out again and here is the House of Black to say we’re in for a triple threat trios match for the titles.
Tony Khan announces that Orange Cassidy wants to defend the All-Atlantic Title against Jeff Jarrett next week and the match has been granted. However, in partnership with Warner Brothers Discovery and because of Shazam 2: Fury of the Gods, the title will now be the AEW International Title. WAY better name and cool, though I have no idea how that ties into the movie.
A broken Bryan Danielson talks about how he has fought everywhere to get here. Then he woke up in the LeBell Lock at Revolution and couldn’t feel his arms. He gave up, and now it is time to go home. To Ring of Honor perhaps?
Blackpool Combat Club vs. Dark Order
Moxley and Claudio for the Club here and they jump the Order before the bell. The beating starts fast, with Silver being taken into the corner. A flapjack onto the buckle drops Silver again but he manages to get over to the corner for the tag to Reynolds. Everything breaks down and Reynolds gets knocked to the floor as we take a break.
Back with Reynolds getting away from Castagnoli and getting over to Silver for the tag. Silver pounds on Moxley but has to fight out of a triangle choke. Moxley gets choked instead and Reynolds comes back in. A front facelock choke (Darce choke I believe commentary said?) finishes Reynolds at 10:14.
Rating: C. The match was fine enough but I was sitting here wondering two things. First, why was Moxley wrestling (and dominating) three days after such a violent match? Second, how in the world are two World Champions taking ten minutes to beat these losers? Sometimes it’s ok to squash someone and move n, which is what they needed to do here.
Post match the Blackpool Combat Club beats down the Dark Order again, with Moxley choking away. Evil Uno comes to the ring for the save but gets beaten down as well. Cue Hangman Page for the save but he gets beaten down as well, because we need a six man to keep this going.
The Acclaimed is ready to get back on track but here is the Jericho Appreciation Society (goon edition) to say they love rap music. They offer the Acclaimed a spot on the team and get laughed at.
Here’s what’s coming on various shows.
TNT Title: Wardlow vs. Powerhouse Hobbs
Wardlow is defending and it’s anything goes, falls count anywhere, with wins coming by pinfall, submission or knockout. The fight is on in the back to start, with Hobbs hitting him with the brass ring (which bounces as he throws it away). A suplex onto the car makes it worse for Wardlow and the bell finally rings. We take a break and come back with the brawl heading into the ring. The F10 gives Wardlow two and they head back outside, with Hobbs sending him into the barricade.
Hobbs takes too long to set up the table though and it’s a Swanton from the top to put Hobbs through said table for two. The powerbomb onto the ramp plants Hobbs, though Wardlow comes up holding his ribs. They go up to the stage (where the TNT Title can be seen on a stand) and it’s QT Marshall of all people to chair Wardlow down. Wardlow gets double powerbombed off the stage and the ten count gives Hobbs the title at 10:48.
Rating: C+. Oh boy there is a lot to unpack here so let’s get the good out of the way first. Above all else, Hobbs winning a title is LONG overdue. He has felt like a star in the making for months now and him walking out as champion is good. Second, it was a good fight and if that had to be done because of Wardlow’s gear being stolen, that’s fine enough as it’s something beyond their control.
Then you have the problems and we’ll start with Wardlow. After the pretty lame first title reign, he you have him lose in three days via shenanigans after he came back to win the title after that big sad speech about his father? Why did this match need to happen so soon? Just because it was the “Face of the Revolution” ladder match?
Finally, there’s the ending and I have no idea what they’re doing. Marshall is little more than a pest most of the time and now he’s managing/associated with someone with Hobbs’ potential? I really don’t get this one as Marshall has been gone or months and Hobbs can talk or himself. This felt like a way to keep Wardlow looking strong and sure, fine, but there HAD to be someone better than Marshall available.
Hobbs poses with the backup belt to end the show. If they had that, why not let Wardlow hold it earlier?
Overall Rating: C. This was a show where the wrestling was good but the weird choices bring it down a bit. Between Marshall, Moxley vs. Page continuing, the Society getting into the trios picture (which granted may be just a one off) and Danielson going away, there were some head scratching moments tonight. It was still an energetic show with good enough wrestling, but this felt like they were taking a step into a weird direction and that has been happening more and more recently. There was good on the show (the wrestling, Soho, FTR and Danielson’s promo) but it felt more odd than interesting at times.
Orange Cassidy b. Jay Lethal – Orange Punch
Ruby Soho b. Skye Blue – Destination Unknown
Jericho Appreciation Society b. AR Fox/Top Flight – Judas Effect to Darius
Jon Moxley/Claudio Castagnoli b. Dark Order – Choke to Reynolds
Powerhouse Hobbs b. Wardlow – Powerbomb off the stage
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