Date: May 3, 2023
Location: CFG Bank Arena, Baltimore, Maryland
Commentators: Excalibur, Tony Schiavone, Taz
We are less than a month away from Double Or Nothing and tonight we should get the final announcement of the main event. This week’s main event will see Jungle Boy and Darby Allin vs. MJF/Sammy Guevara. If the former win, the Double Or Nothing World Title match is a four way. Let’s get to it.
Orange Cassidy/Roderick Strong/Bandido/Adam Cole vs. Jericho Appreciation Society
That would be Jake Hager/Matt Menard/Angelo Parker/Daniel Garcia for the Society. Chris Jericho himself joins commentary as Cole hammers away on Parker to start. Cole stomps Parker down in the corner and chokes away before Bandido comes in for a snap powerslam. Everything breaks down and we get a big brawl on the floor, with the Society taking Cassidy down.
Bandido hits a big flip dive to take them down and Cole goes after Jericho. With that broken up by the Society, Bandido’s delayed vertical suplex is broken up. He suplexes Parker and Menard at the same time instead and we take a break. Back with Hager bearhugging Cassidy, who slips out and hits a Stundog Millionaire on Menard.
Everything breaks down and Strong hits an Angle Slam for two on Hager. Garcia gets Cassidy in the Dragon Slayer but it get broken up, setting up the parade of secondary finishers. Cassidy’s Beach Break gets two on Garcia, followed by the lazy tags. It’s back to Strong for a jumping knee to Parker’s face and Cole hits The Boom for the pin at 14:19.
Rating: B. This was the kind of fun opening match that you often need to have. It was a bunch of wrestlers who the fans like beating up wrestlers they don’t like and that is almost always going to work. Cole gets the win to start his revenge on the Society, which is likely setting up a violent match at Double Or Nothing. Good opener here and the fans seemed to like it a lot.
Post match Cole charges up the barricade to go after Jericho and even breaks the set down while jumping him.
Jungle Boy and Darby Allin are ready to get their main event title shot at Double Or Nothing.
Security takes Adam Cole out of the arena as Chris Jericho shouts about how dangerous Cole is. Britt Baker comes in to slap Jericho down.
The Blackpool Combat Club talks about (after starting with the volume down) how Kenny Omega thinks he is a legend. Bryan Danielson is better than him though and is the best wrestler in the world today. If not, it’s one of his teammates. The future of wrestling is better because of him though and he wants someone like Wheeler Yuta to be better. They’re willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen. Jon Moxley talks about how they work to make each other better and next week, he’s facing Omega in a cage.
Saraya vs. Willow Nightingale
The rests of the Outcasts are here with Saraya. Nightingale heads outside to yell at the other two, allowing Saraya to grab a choke back inside. With that broken up, Nightingale sends her into the corner and then out to the apron. This time, the rest of the Outcasts get in some cheap shots and we take a break. Back with Willow hitting a spinebuster for two, followed by a Death Valley Driver for…nothing, because the Outcasts break it up. Nightingale Pounces Soho and drops Storm, only to get the Midnight (Rampaige) for the pin at 6:39.
Rating: C. In a shock, the Outcasts use their numbers advantage to win a match over someone they have beaten before. This story has been running in place for months now and I’m almost worried about where it is going. The problem continues to be that the team isn’t that interesting and they have such a revolving door of opponents. Find something more concrete for them to fight over and it could work, but until then, stop trying to recreate the NWO without what made the NWO work.
Post match the beatdown stays on but Hikaru Shida runs in for the save….and then joins the Outcasts. Jamie Hayter and Britt Baker come in for the save….and Shida helps them beat down the Outcasts.
The House Of Black throw down the Trios Titles and want them to mean more. We hear about the Open House: any three people can come challenge for the belts, but under House Rules, it’s a 20 count on the floor, no rope breaks and DQ is enforced under Dealer’s Choice. The House Always Wins, including having black titles. Sure why not, as these titles continue to suck the life out of the tag division.
Tres de Mayo Trios Battle Royal
El Hijo del Vikingo/Lucha Bros, Varsity Athletes, Dark Order, Butcher and the Blade/Kip Sabian, QTV/Powerhouse Hobbs, Billy Gunn/The Acclaimed
All three members have to be eliminated. It’s a brawl on the floor to start (because of course) before everyone gets inside for the start. Scissoring/CERO MIEDO leads to a standoff and Evil Uno gets rid of Daivari. Uno is kicked out just as fast and Fenix runs the ropes to kick Nese out. Vikingo eliminates Woods and the Athletes are all gone. Marshall knocks Reynolds out but the Lucha Bros toss Marshall and Solow.
Hobbs goes after the Bros and shrugs off their kicks, only to have QTV offer a distraction. Now the Bros are eliminated but Vikingo goes after Hobbs. That earns Vikingo a toss out and it’s Hobbs running Gunn over. The Acclaimed dumps Hobbs but Butcher breaks up the scissoring to get rid of Caster.
We’re down to Butcher/Blade/Sabian vs. Gunn/Bowens vs. Silver, with the villains taking over without much trouble. Silver grabs a delayed vertical suplex on Blade but he’s back up to get rid of Silver, leaving us at 3-2. Blade Stuns Gunn but Bowens tosses him as well to even it up. Bowens gets thrown over the top but Gunn makes a save. Stereo Fameassers set up the double elimination to give Gunn/Bowens the win for their trio at 9:31.
Rating: C+. It was a team battle royal, which is one of AEW’s favorite weird matches. It also shows you how far things have shifted from a regular tag teams to the trios stuff, which still doesn’t hook me as well. Maybe this is something else for the Acclaimed, but I would still like to have the two divisions more merged together. Or just get rid of the Trios Titles altogether, though that doesn’t seem likely.
Sammy Guevara isn’t happy with MJF, who interrupts him to say they’re still friends. For tonight, they’ll make sure the Double Or Nothing main event is just them. MJF has a bad back from carrying the company, which is enough for Guevara to buy his excuse.
Kenny Omega and Don Callis are ready for Jon Moxley next week. Moxley is a crazy man and Omega will be ready for him. Even if Moxley makes Omega bleed it won’t be enough, because Omega is ready to end it next week.
Wardlow vs. Logan Laroux
Non-title and the Powerbomb Symphony finishes Laroux at 1:27. Lash would have done better.
Post match Wardlow wants to finish this with Christian Cage and Luchasaurus. Cue the two of them, with Cage saying not tonight. Oh and Luchasaurus isn’t challenging, but rather Cage. Interesting enough.
Jeff Jarrett and Jay Lethal come to see Mark Briscoe to calm things off. Mark puts them to work on the farm, along with Sonjay Dutt and Satnam Singh. They wind up sitting around with Jeff playing guitar but Papa Briscoe comes in to glare. With everyone down, Papa tells him to be worried about all of them. The team has a peace offering though: a singles match for Briscoe on Rampage. This was hilarious, with the villains playing wannabe hillbillies just fine.
Ricky Starks vs. Juice Robinson
Robinson slaps him out of the corner to start so Starks hammers him in the face. They fight to the floor with Robinson whipping him into the barricade but not being able to add a piledriver. Starks gets sent hard into the steps but Starks manages a quick posting. A slam off the steps drops Robinson on the floor as we take an early break.
Back with Starks hitting a clothesline and a tornado DDT getting two on Robinson. Starks sends him into the corner for the running Cannonball, followed by a hard clothesline of his own for two. The forward DDT is countered a few times and Starks hits the spear. The Roshambo finishes Robinson at 9:16.
Rating: C+. Nice match but it’s still not exactly a great feud. Starks was red hot for a little while now but instead he is here with what feels like the New Japan refugees. Robinson and Jay White are talented stars, though they don’t have much in the way of success around here. At the same time, Starks did get the pin, but I have no reason to believe that this story is anywhere near done with Double Or Nothing less than a month away.
Post match Jay White runs in to help beat down Starks, who still needs another partner.
Video on the Firm Deletion match.
Here’s what’s coming on various shows.
MJF pitches an alliance with Jungle Boy, who he says he loves like a brother. Jungle Boy isn’t sold because he wants the title. Darby Allin comes in and looks suspicious.
Maxwell Jacob Friedman/Sammy Guevara vs. Darby Allin/Jungle Boy
If Allin and Jungle Boy win, they’re added to the Double Or Nothing World Title match. Guevara’s headlock on Jungle Boy doesn’t last long so he shoulders Jungle Boy down for some early posing. It’s quickly off to Allin vs. MJF, with the former getting two off a rollup. MJF drives Jungle Boy into the corner, where Guevara gets knocked to the floor. A double elbow drops MJF but Guevara comes back in to choke away on Allin.
More choking (with the scarf) is made worse by the referee dealing with the other two on the floor. Allin reverses into his own choke though and hits MJF with a flipping Stunner. MJF is fine enough to cut Jungle Boy off before the hot tag though and we take a break. Back with Allin fighting his way out of trouble, and diving between the villains for the hot tag to Jungle Boy. Everything breaks down and Allin dives onto MJF.
Jungle Boy’s tiger driver drops Guevara on the back of his head for two but MJF cuts Jungle Boy off again. It’s back to Allin to clean more house but a Code Red is countered into a sitout powerbomb to give MJF two. Jungle Boy comes in off the blind tag and Snare Traps MJF, with Guevara making a save. The villains tease a double dive, with only Guevara diving onto the other two.
Back in and MJF’s lifting DDT gets two on Jungle Boy, leaving quite the angry reaction. Guevara’s Swanton gives MJF two, but hold on as Guevara isn’t happy with that cover. MJF isn’t happy and slaps Guevara in the face. The argument earns MJF a superkick, allowing Jungle Boy to roll Guevara up for two, followed by the basement superkick. Allin tags himself in and hits the Coffin Drop to pin Guevara at 15:55.
Rating: B. This match had a tricky job to pull off, as the result wasn’t exactly in doubt but they had to draw in some interest anyway. To their credit, they did in fact make it work, as this was a good match with a lot of storytelling elements included. Instead of just having three people who want to get rid of MJF, you have three people who also want to beat each other. Rather strong main event here, which is even more impressive given the not exactly stunning result.
Jungle Boy and Allin have some words but seem pleased to end the show.
Overall Rating: B. This show started to get Double Or Nothing more together, though they are going to need to make some matches official before too long. Doing so with the main event was the important part here and that part worked, along with some other fun matches at the same time. Now just turn the potential into something worthwhile and we could be on to something for the big show later this month.
Orange Cassidy/Bandido/Roderick Strong/Adam Cole b. Jericho Appreciation Society – Boom to Parker
Saraya b. Willow Nightingale – Midnight
Acclaimed won Tres de Mayo Trios Battle Royal last eliminating Butcher & the Blade/Kip Sabian
Wardlow b. Logan Laroux – Powerbomb Symphony
Ricky Starks b. Juice Robinson – Roshambo
Darby Allin/Jungle Boy b. Maxwell Jacob Friedman/Sammy Guevara – Coffin Drop to Guevara
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