Date: May 17, 2023
Location: Moody Center, Austin, Texas
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Excalibur, Taz
We have less than two weeks to go before Double Or Nothing and coming into this show, two matches have been announced. That should be easy to solve as there are several matches all but ready to announce, though AEW does like to take their time actually making things official. Don Callis also owes us an explanation so let’s get to it.
Here is Wardlow to get straight to the point. He calls out Christian Cage, who comes out with Luchasaurus. Christian and Wardlow argue with Christian loading up some spot in the face. Luchasaurus breaks that up and a low blow drops Wardlow so the beating can be on. A ladder is brought in and Luchasaurus chokeslams Wardlow through it for a nasty crash. An Unprettier onto the ladder drops Wardlow again and Christian holds up the TNT Title. It has been what, two months since we’ve had a ladder match around here?
Orange Cassidy/Darby Allin vs. Lee Moriarty/Big Bill
Moriarty and Cassidy trade rollups to start and wind up sitting on the mat for a quick slap off. Bill comes in to throw Darby around but everything breaks down and stereo suicide dives drop the villains. We take a break and come back with Bill loading up a delayed vertical suplex. It’s so delayed that Cassidy manages to tag out but the referee doesn’t see it and gets Allin out before Cassidy is dropped.
Cassidy manages to roll away and bring in Allin officially to clean house. Bill cuts Allin off with a Boss Man Slam for two, meaning Allin has to bring Cassidy back in. Moriarty gets Cassidy in a Border City Stretch but that’s broken up as well, allowing Cassidy to drive him into the corner. It’s Bill coming back in for a double clothesline but an assisted Code Red puts him down. The Beach Break from Cassidy sets up the Coffin Drop to Moriarty….for no cover. Instead, Allin grabs a headlock takeover for the pin at 11:04.
Rating: B. This got rolling near the end and I was digging what they were doing. The headlock takeover was a nice addition as it gave the match a tie into what Allin is doing and it isn’t like Moriarty has anything to lose. It’s kind of a weird set of teams to open the show, but the fans liked it and the action got rather intense by the end.
The Young Bucks say Kenny Omega is banged up when the Blackpool Combat Club comes in to beat them down. Jon Moxley declares the Club the Elite in this business.
Wardlow is being checked out when Arn Anderson comes in to yell at him. The result: Wardlow challenges Christian Cage to a ladder match for the TNT Title at Double Or Nothing. Well of course he did.
Orange Cassidy will fight everyone, including Kyle Fletcher, at Double Or Nothing.
Sammy Guevara vs. Exodus Prime
GTH finishes Prime at 19 seconds. I guess Sammy doesn’t mind paying for shipping.
Post match Guevara talks about working his way up through the Texas independents and knowing what it took to get here. At Double Or Nothing, he’s winning the title. Uh yeah home state or not, he was taking a check to take a dive three weeks ago so the face turn isn’t quite working for me.
Video on the Four Pillars match.
Tony Schiavone brings out Sonjay Dutt and company for a chat. Well never mind as FTR runs in and jumps Satnam Singh to knock him off the stage, starting the brawl with Jeff Jarrett and Jay Lethal. With Lethal losing a good portion of his pants, Jarrett is left inside to get double teamed. Cue Karen Jarrett of all people to how blow Wheeler, allowing Jarrett to Stroke Harwood. Singh is back in and guitar shots abound.
Darby Allin says that was a message to MJF but Sammy Guevara comes in. He isn’t going to be a follower, but offers an alliance with Allin to take the title from MJF. Sure.
Outcasts vs. Hikaru Shida/Britt Baker
The Outcasts (with Saraya) start fast but the running hip attack is broken up. Shida hits a middle rope dropkick to drop Soho and it’s off to Baker. Saraya’s distraction lets Storm hip attack her to the floor, where Saraya gets in a few more shots. We take a break and come back with Shida coming in to fire off on Shida, allowing Baker to hit a suplex.
Shida’s top rope Meteora gives Baker two as Storm has to make a save. Baker does the always ridiculous looking spot where her neckbreaker makes Storm DDT her partner but Lockjaw is countered. No Future drops Baker and it’s back to Storm, who gets caught with an Air Raid Crash. Saraya pops up for a distraction though and Storm spray paints Baker in the face, setting up Storm Zero for the pin at 9:13.
Rating: C+. Storm almost has to be next in line for Jamie Hayter, assuming she is back in time for Double Or Nothing. The ending felt like a heel stable cheating to win and was one of the first times I’ve felt like the Outcasts were getting things right. It was a nice upgrade from their usual team stuff and that could be trouble for whomever they face next.
Orange Cassidy is told that twenty people want the International Title so he’ll fight them all, say in a Blackjack Battle.
Tony Khan’s big announcement is the debut of Collision on June 17 (location TBA) and we hear about some upcoming cities. Collision was announced earlier today, so the Big Announcement is a mixture of that and upcoming cities for Collision tapings?
Chris Jericho vs. Roderick Strong
Falls Count Anywhere and Adam Cole/the JAS are barred from the arena. Strong starts fast and they trade chops, with Strong getting the better of things. A running clothesline sends Strong to the floor and the beating continues, setting up the Walls back inside. Strong makes the rope for the break (If it’s falls count anywhere, why did the hold need to be broken? In the ropes counts as anywhere.) and a commercial break.
We come back with Jericho suplexing Strong through a table in the concourse as commentary tells us about the death of Superstar Billy Graham (might want to time that better people). They fight into a stairwell and Jericho hits a running forearm on a platform above the stairs for two. The fight goes into the concession area and Strong throws plastic cutlery at Jericho. Some ice cream to the face drops Jericho again but Strong heads outside. Jericho follows….and Adam Cole is waiting right there to jump Jericho and beat him down. Strong adds the jumping knee to the face for the pin at 13:01.
Rating: B-. This was a good example of a match where they all but flat out said what the ending was going to be and it was exactly how it should have gone. As soon as you could see daylight, you knew Cole would be there and everything leading up to that was just ice cream on the cake. Entertaining brawl, but more importantly a solid step forward for Cole vs. Jericho.
Rush vs. Jungle Boy
They fight straight to the floor with Rush getting the better of things and sending Jungle Boy into the barricade. We take an early break and come back with Jungle Boy’s clothesline having no effect. Jungle Boy manages to stagger him and get up top for a super hurricanrana.
The Snare Trap goes on in the middle of the ring but Rush makes the ropes anyway. They go to the apron to chop it out until Rush belly to bellies him over, with Jungle Boy BARELY getting his head around to avoid crashing into the floor. Back in and Rush stomps away in the corner but stops to yell at the referee, allowing Jungle Boy to grab a rollup with trunks for the pin at 9:58.
Rating: C+. This was quite the miss as I’m not sure how it was supposed to make Jungle Boy look good. Unless they were trying to do something with Jungle Boy pulling the trunks at the end, this made Jungle Boy look rather weak, especially as he comes up on the biggest match of his career. Rush got in WAY too much offense here and Jungle Boy looked beneath him for a good portion of the match, which is not the way this should have gone.
Post match Rush and company beat down Jungle Boy, with Darby Allin’s save attempt not working. Sammy Guevara comes out for the real save and Guevara, Allin and Jungle Boy stare at each other.
MJF knocks Renee Paquette’s microphone away when asked about the title match.
Toni Storm wants Jamie Hayter for the Women’s Title at Double Or Nothing.
Jay White vs. Ricky Starks
Juice Robinson is in White’s corner. White starts fast and sends Starks outside, only to be sent into the barricade for his efforts. Back in and White gets two off a hot shot as we take an early break. We come back with Starks kicking him down and grabbing a springboard tornado DDT for two. White drops him ribs first on top to bang up the ribs though and a swinging Rock Bottom gives White two more.
Starks tries to fight back but gets sent over the top in a big crash to the floor. Back in and a quick Michinoku Driver gives Starks two but Robinson trips him up. The Blade Runner is countered into a rollup to give Starks two, followed by the spear. Robinson brings in a chair but gets it taken away from him, allowing Starks to unload on him. Another chair to White’s back is enough for the DQ at 9:30.
Rating: C+. This got going near the end but the ending felt a lot more like a way to keep the feud going. I’m just not sure why that is the case though, as White vs. Starks hasn’t exactly been lighting the world on fire. White was brought in and put into this feud completely on his reputation. He really could use more mic time to show what he can do and what he is all about, but that might not be coming for a long time.
Here’s what’s coming on various shows.
Here is Don Callis, with security, for his big explanation. He is the real victim in the Kenny Omega situation, because he carried Omega to everything in his career. Omega tries to fight through them but the Blackpool Combat Club jumps him hard. The Club gets in the ring as Omega tries to get up, which draws out the Young Bucks to even things up a bit.
Cue the returning Hangman Page (with eye patch) for the save and big brawl. Page announces Anarchy In The Arena for Double Or Nothing, leaving Moxley looking worried to end the show. Omega looked like a star here and Page’s return was rather good. The Four Pillars match will probably headline, but it’s hard to imagine that this isn’t going to be the real main event.
Overall Rating: B-. Good show here, though the Four Pillars match still isn’t exactly lighting the world on fire. Other than that, the main event angle was good and the opener went well. Add in the Cole interference going precisely as it should have and this was a completely watchable show overall. They need a strong show next week to get us to Double Or Nothing, and that feels like a possibility given this one setting the table for the table setting.
Orange Cassidy/Darby Allin b. Lee Moriarty/Big Bill – Headlock takeover to Moriarty
Sammy Guevara b. Exodus Prime – GTH
Outcasts b. Hikaru Shida/Britt Baker – Storm Zero to Baker
Roderick Strong b. Chris Jericho – Jumping knee to the face
Jungle Boy b. Rush – Rollup with trunks
Jay White b. Ricky Starks via DQ when Starks used a chair
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