Date: March 29, 2023
Location: Chaifetz Arena, St. Louis, Missouri
Commentators: Excalibur, Tony Schiavone, Taz
We are on the way to Double Or Nothing and that means the card needs to start coming together. You can probably guess a few of the matches that are expected, but there is also a big show next week in New York. There is a good chance that we will be finding out some of the matches on this week. Oh and Kenny Omega vs. Jeff Cobb, if we just have to. Let’s get to it.
Jungle Boy vs. Matt Hardy
Ethan Page is here with Hardy, who stares Jungle Boy down to start before working on the arm. That’s reversed into Jungle Boy’s wristlock and a dropkick puts Hardy on the floor early on. They trade places and Matt hits a dive before the brawl can continue. A Side Effect on the apron plants Jungle Boy and we take an early break.
Back with Jungle Boy fighting back but Page pops up on the apron. Cue Hook to even things up and brawl with Page but he accidentally hits Hardy for trying to break it up. Back in and Jungle Boy backslides Hardy for two before nailing a superkick. A running Downward Spiral sets up the running elbow to the back of the head for the pin at 9:57.
Rating: C+. It’s a good idea to have Jungle Boy in the ring with someone like Hardy, who isn’t going to go too nuts and can keep things a bit more grounded. Jungle Boy is talented at what he does but can use some help in the ring from time to time. Hardy is a shell of the shell of himself but he can still wrestle a basic match, just like he did here.
Post match here is MJF, who says he runs the show around here so the fans can shut up. Not that it matters though as next week, they’re back in the best place in the world in Long Island, New York MJF isn’t happy with how Jungle Boy interrupted things two weeks ago and calls his entire AEW run mid. It’s not MJF’s fault that things are falling apart for Jungle Boy and he brings up their match at Double Or Nothing.
For the first time, MJF felt like he had met the man he would be at war with for the rest of his career. That night, MJF shook his hand but now, here they both are. MJF says that people like Marko Stunted Growth and Christian (MJF: “Great call by the way.”) held him down and Hook will do the same.
They could have run this place together but now Jungle Boy only cares what the fans think. Jungle Boy calls him selfish and self centered, which is enough for MJF to keep running his mouth. MJF finally goes too far by saying Anna Jay wasn’t impressed with Jungle Boy’s, uh, yeah, meaning the fight is on. Jungle Boy beats him down in the corner but MJF bails from the running forearm to the back of the head. It still feels like we are going towards that four way and this might have been adding another pillar to the founda….I have no idea how construction works but you get the idea.
Kenny Omega is getting taped up for his match tonight when Don Callis, who tells Omega to not worry about Hangman Page. Callis is off to apologize.
The Jericho Appreciation Society treats the Acclaimed and Billy Gunn to a night on the town, complete with a St. Louis Blues game, ice cream and a rather nice looking dinner. The Acclaimed will make their decision about joining the team next week. When Matt Menard sees the bill for the night, he hopes all of this is worth it. The Acclaimed could have a hotter feud than this in an igloo.
Dalton Castle/The Boys vs Blackpool Combat Club
The Club jumps them to start and Moxley brawls with Castle on the floor. The bell rings and Castagnoli Riccola Bombs Brent for the pin at 49 seconds. Well that was unexpected and exactly what it should have been if Castle wasn’t in the ring.
We look back at Kenny Omega vs. El Hijo Del Vikingo. Tonight, Omega is ready to defend the IWGP United States Title against Jeff Cobb.
Don Callis tries to apologize to Hangman Page, saying he just lost his balance last week and knows Page didn’t do anything. Page isn’t sure but the Blackpool Combat Club comes in to deck him. Callis tries to shake Moxley’s hand but gets beaten down as well, leaving him busted open.
Post break Omega is told about what happened to Callis and Page. He’s shaken but has a match.
IWGP United States Title: Kenny Omega vs. Jeff Cobb
Omega is defending. They stare each other down to start until Omega’s shoulder has no effect. Cobb is sent to the floor though and Omega hits the big flip dive. Back in and Cobb goes after Omega’s banged up ribs to take over, with a hard shot sending Omega outside. We take a break and come back with Omega slipping out of a bearhug and trying a backslide.
With that not working, Omega blasts him with a V Trigger into a pair of snap dragons. Cobb pops right back up though and hits a hard clothesline to leave them both down. They go up top with Cobb hitting a delayed superplex and a V Trigger of his own. Omega is able to counter the Tour of the Islands into a ripcord knee and another V Trigger. The One Winged Angel retains the title at 9:57.
Rating: B. I’m not the biggest Omega guy but he is miles better on the good side than the evil one. Omega’s offense is built to be a hero and it has been on display in the last two weeks, both of which have worked well. Let him be more of the AEW superhero than anything else and he should be a lot easier to watch week in and week out. Cobb continues to be a guy who feels like he could be slotted into any main event spot but he’s never around long enough to do so.
Post match the Blackpool Combat Club comes to the apron surround Omega….and Bryan Danielson returns to get in the ring. Danielson chases them off and says no before offering to help Omega up. Omega accepts but, after going after Wheeler Yuta, gets caught with the running knee and the LeBell Lock, with the rest of the Club stomping away. Security and Brandon Cutler come in and are beaten down too.
Video on FTR vs. the Gunns.
The Gunns are ready for FTR and know they’re just as good as FTR could ever been. They don’t respect FTR though and next week it will be top guys, out.
International Title: Orange Cassidy vs. The Butcher
Blade is challenging and has Blade with him. Cassidy gets jumped before the bell but says he’s fine enough to go. Butcher beats the fire out of him for a bit before taking it outside. A hard whip into the barricade drops Cassidy again and we take a break. Back with Cassidy rolling through a Texas Cloverleaf and going to the eyes to escape a powerbomb.
The Stundog Millionaire connects and the tornado DDT plants Butcher for two. The diving DDT gives Cassidy the same but Blade comes in with a cheap shot to the back (with some kind of object) to give Butcher two. Cue the Best friends to go after Blade, plus a cheap shot to Butcher, with the same object, so the Orange Punch can connect. The Beach Break finishes Butcher at 7:54.
Rating: C+. Cassidy wins again as I believe that is 17 in a row since winning the title. It’s still working, but I’m not sure how long he can go without some of the charm wearing off. Having him out there week after week is going to start taking away some shine, especially if it’s just a bunch of one off opponents.
Jade Cargill and company think Taya Valkyrie is going too far by stealing Jaded. Vengeance is promised on Rampage.
Juice Robinson is ready for Action Andretti on Rampage before he gets to Ricky Starks.
Willow Nightingale vs. Ruby Soho
The rest of the Outcasts are here too. Soho is chased to the floor to start and we get a meeting with the Outcasts. That’s not cool with Nightingale, who pulls her back in and counters No Future. A side slam into the basement crossbody gives Nightingale two. Hold on though as Soho has something in her eye, allowing Saraya to get in some knees to the face. Choking on the ropes ensues and we take a break.
Back with Nightingale hitting a hip attack in the corner and a powerbomb gets two on Soho. That’s enough to make Soho ask for a truce, only to get caught in a Death Valley Driver for two more. Nightingale goes up but gets distracted by Toni Storm, allowing Soho to hit a pair of No Futures….for two (ok they got me). Destination Unknown is countered into a backslide but Nightingale is back up with a hard Pounce. Storm breaks up the doctor bomb though and Soho grabs a rollup with feet on the ropes for the pin at 9:03.
Rating: C+. It’s kind of sad that AEW has someone as naturally charming as Nightingale but you know she is going to lose as soon as her music starts playing. The Outcasts claim another victim as this story continues to not exactly be great. It’s just another female heel group, which has been done to death in wrestling over the last few years. It isn’t like they’re doing anything interesting and that is starting to show fast.
Post match the Outcasts load up the Pillmanizing on Nightingale’s ankle but Riho and Skye Blue run in. That devastating pair is beaten down but here is Jami Hayter for the real save.
Powerhouse Hobbs is ready to hurt more people. The lack of QT Marshall or QTV made this roughly 485% better than anything he has done in recent weeks.
Adam Cole vs. Daniel Garcia
Feeling out process to start with Garcia grabbing a headlock. Cole reverses into one of his own before shouldering Garcia down. A headscissors drops Cole though and a piledriver sends him outside as we take a break. Back with Cole hitting a pump kick and the brainbuster onto the knee gets two.
They trade kicks to the face until Cole gets caught in a German suplex. Some elbows to Cole’s head keep him in trouble but he’s back up with a failed Panama Sunrise. The Dragon Tamer has Cole in more trouble until he makes the rope. An arm trap piledriver (that’s a new one) gives Garcia two but he charges into a boot in the corner. The Panama Sunrise sets up the Boom to finish Garcia at 11:05.
Rating: B-. This was all it needed to be (despite further death of the piledriver) as Cole comes back and gets a win over a wrestler with some status. Garcia was there to help Cole get his feet wet again and it was a good match to help him do just that. Cole is still smooth and my goodness I’m glad to see him as a hero for once. His heel stuff is good but I could go for seeing him do something else, which is actually happening for a change.
Post match Britt Baker comes out to celebrate with Cole as a bunch of streamers fly. Cue Chris Jericho to….help Garcia to the back and glare at Cole without doing anything. Cole and Baker celebrate to end the show.
Overall Rating: B-. Between last week’s huge main event and next week’s big show in New York, this was the show between the shows. As a result, AEW rightfully took its foot off the gas a bit, as you don’t want to run through everything you have. Next week should be a heck of a big show and this helped set that up with nothing bad and some good action throughout. I liked the show and it has me more invested in next week so well done here.
Jungle Boy b. Matt Hard – Running forearm to the back of the head
Blackpool Combat Club b. Dalton Castle/The Boys – Riccola Bomb to Brent
Kenny Omega b. Jeff Cobb – One Winged Angel
Orange Cassidy b. Butcher – Beach Break
Ruby Soho b. Willow Nightingale – Rollup with feet on the ropes
Adam Cole b. Daniel Garcia – Boom
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