Date: September 2, 2023
Location: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
Commentators: Excalibur, Tony Schiavone
And then CM Punk got fired. That is going to be the absolute game changer that shakes up everything about this company for a good while to come, with the next two shows being in Chicago to crank up the awkwardness. I have no idea what AEW has up their sleeves to get them through what could be a rather horrible crowd reaction but let’s get to it.
Tony Khan welcomes us to the show and announces that CM Punk has been fired. The incident endangered people, including Khan, who was fearing for his life. That is nothing anyone should have to deal with at work so Punk is gone. Anyway,, on with the awesome shows.
We get a recap of All In.
Tony Schiavone is in the ring to start and you can hear some CM Punk changes. Anyway, Tony brings in Ricky Starks, with Big Bill, to challenge Ricky Steamboat. Schiavone: “Ricky, you have issued a challenge to Ricky Steamboat, a 70 year old man. Are you out of your freaking mind?” Starks talks about how he’s tired of having to start over again and again, but every time he shows up and out.
No matter how many times people try to suck the life out of him, it doesn’t work. Starks talks about how awesome Bill is for everything he’s done, including overcoming addiction. He’s so angry that he wants to cry but he’ll do what he needs to do. Starks sat at home and watched All In because he whipped Steamboat, so now he wants a strap match at All Out.
Steamboat comes out and says he hasn’t complained once about getting whipped by Starks. The Dragon doesn’t complain but he has a contract ready for an old school fight. The contract actually says “Ricky Starks vs. The Dragon” so Starks signs, and Steamboat gets to the obvious point: he meant THIS Dragon, so cue the returning Bryan Danielson (the American Dragon). He signs as well and we’ve got a match, with Starks being livid.
Jon Moxley is going to be the man who solves the Orange Cassidy puzzle. If Cassidy is a cosplay wrestler, who is he pretending to be? I believe that would be Paul Rudd in Wet Hot American Summer actually. Anyway, Moxley thinks Cassidy is the real thing, and we’ll find out on Sunday. A lot of people believe in him, so don’t let people down. They’re making this feel like a serious match and that’s a good thing. If Cassidy is treated like a joke, why would it matter if Cassidy beat him?
Trios Titles: Daniel Garcia/Matt Menard/Angel Parker vs. Acclaimed/Billy Gunn
Acclaimed and Gunn are defending. Bowens punches Parker down to start so it’s off to Garcia vs. Gunn. Garcia gets in a few shots and dances a bit before telling Gunn to suck it. Gunn knocks him down with Parker landing on his knees in front of him (gyrations ensue). Everything breaks down and Garcia gets elbowed, only to get caught with a double hot shot. The piledriver into a double implant DDT into the Dragontamer has Bowens in trouble but he makes the rope (because a piledriver into a double implant DDT leaves him wide awake).
We take a break and come back with Bowens diving over for the tag to Caster to clean house. Garcia takes Caster down but Menard tags himself in, allowing Caster to hit a running clothesline. Gunn comes in but gets distracted by Jake Hager. That doesn’t last long as it’s a Fameasser to Menard. The Arrival into the Mic Drop retains the titles at 8:30.
Rating: C+. This was a perfectly fine match and that’s how you keep the Acclaimed hot: give them a match where they have to work a bit before finishing with the usual. No it won’t last forever (or that long really because there isn’t exactly a division) but it’s a crowd friendly act that has worked every time they’re out there. Go with what works.
Dark Order is ready to win the Ring Of Honor Tag Team Titles.
Ricky Starks is ready for Bryan Danielson at All Out because he’ll knock it out of the park like everything else.
Aussie Open vs. Nick Wayne/Komander
Wayne hits a running hurricanrana to Fletcher to start and then flips up but the Aussies are right back to take over. The Aussie Arrow gets two on Komander as we take a break. Back with Wayne cleaning house, including a frog splash to Fletcher. A half nelson suplex plants Wayne and one heck of a piledriver drops Komander. Wayne kicks his way out of trouble but a double Wayne’s World is countered into Coriolis for the pin at 8:00.
Rating: C. I’m trying to get my mind around a piledriver actually knocking someone silly enough to put them down for the rest of the match. This was a way to get the Aussies some of their heat back and there is nothing wrong with that. Wayne continues to be someone who can do all of the athletic stuff but there is nothing to make me care about him. He has no character or anything outside of athleticism and that isn’t going to get him very far.
Post match Wayne talks about how he’s upset with Darby Allin over forgiving AR Fox. Cue Allin, to say he burned a bridge with Wayne’s father and they didn’t make up before he died. He didn’t want something similar to happen to Fox, so now he wants Wayne to do the same. Allin is challenging or the TNT Title on Sunday and wants Wayne in his corner.
Cue Christian Cage (Nigel: “It’s the father of the year!”) and Luchasaurus, with the former saying it was mean of him to ask about Wayne’s father without asking for his mom’s name. Maybe he should slide into her DM’s and try to change that. Christian talks about how we’re in the United Center, and these people know how to smell a loser from a mile away. Wayne should bring a towel with him because it’s going to be destruction at All Out. Then I…er, we will still be TNT Champion. Christian is on another level right now and he knows it.
Claudio Castagnoli beats up Wheeler Yuta as he talks about how Yuta keeps getting up. He thought Eddie Kingston had changed, but apparently not.
Kingston laughs it off and says Katsuyori Shibata has some words for the Blackpool Combat Club. Shibata, through Google Translate, thinks they suck. Ok that was clever.
Saraya doesn’t want to hear about problems with the Outcasts but now she’s stuck in Chicago. She’s ready to see Ruby Soho win the TBS Title and Soho seems rather confident she will do so.
Tony Schiavone brings out Dennis Rodman for a chat. Before he can say anything, Jeff Jarrett and company come to the ring, with Jeff talking about how similar Rodman is to his team (both Rodman and Karen Jarrett look great in dresses). Rodman is offered a spot on their team but shoves down Satnam Singh. Cue Billy Gunn and the Acclaimed and we get a Trios Titles match for All Out, with Rodman in the champs’ corner.
Shane Taylor is ready to win the ROH TV Title.
Samoa Joe doesn’t think so, and is ready to take Taylor out.
Britt Baker/Hikaru Shida/Kris Statlander vs. Outcasts
Statlander and Soho start things off but Storm comes in instead. A slam drops Storm but she slips out of a second one and stomps Statlander down in the corner. Statlander is right back up with the tag to Baker though and a Sling Blade puts Storm down. Shida comes in for a knee to Soho’s ribs and we take a break. Back with Statlander powerbombing Saraya for two and then kicking her in the head. Statlander powerslams Saraya but Storm hits Saraya by mistake on the save attempt. Everything breaks down and Saraya spray paints Baker, allowing No Future to give Soho the pin at 8:11.
Rating: C. This was your weekly “here are the women in a match with a break in the middle and the Outcasts use spray paint to win” match. The women’s division has fallen a pretty long way since its peak and this was a good example of how uninteresting things are at the moment. The Outcasts feel so repetitive most weeks and that was on display here, but odds are they aren’t changing anytime soon.
MJF isn’t here so Adam Cole reads off some insults to Dark Order that MJF sent him. Well most of them as one is too disgusting to read.
Kris Statlander knows the Outcasts are going to use the spray paint tomorrow. The Outcasts come in and yelling ensues.
Powerhouse Hobbs vs. GPA
Spinebuster finishes in 7 seconds.
Post match Miro comes out for the brawl.
All Out rundown, including a battle royal on Zero Hour.
Video on Kenny Omega vs. Konosuke Takeshita.
Orange Cassidy does not want to be talking right now because he wants to fight. He’s proven himself over and over again and he’ll do it at All Out. Then he’ll take the weight off of Jon Moxley’s shoulders and put it on his. He still has no catchphrase.
Jay White vs. Dax Harwood
Bullet Club Gold and Cash Wheeler are here too. White gets backed to the floor to start but he comes back in for a chop, only to head back outside. Harwood scares him out to the floor again and we take a break. Back with Harwood being sent outside where everyone else teases a big fight. A DDT gives White two but Harwood catches him on top with a superplex. The top rope headbutt misses though and White gets two as we take a break.
Back again with Harwood hitting a brainbuster for two and knocking White outside. They go over the barricade for more chops but White snaps the leg over the ropes on the way back in. White gets two off a Death Valley Driver and Harwood gets the same off a piledriver. Back up and White sends him shoulder first into the post, setting up the swinging Rock Bottom for two.
Harwood is fine enough to hit a slingshot powerbomb for two but the Sharpshooter sends White to the ropes. Harwood follows him outside and gets caught with the Blade Runner. Back in and another Blade Runner finishes for White at 20:09. Nigel: “WHAT A MOMENT!” A career singles wrestler and former World Champion pins a mostly career tag wrestler?
Rating: B-. The action was good, but this was a match that felt like it went long for the sake of going long. Harwood can wrestle a match like that and White is rather good, but it’s still a bit hard to buy that it took White twenty minutes to win here. These two are some of the main stars of Collision but that doesn’t mean they need to be out there that long if it doesn’t make sense.
Post match the beatdown is on but the Young Bucks run in for the save.
Overall Rating: C+. This was a weird show as the wrestling was the least interesting part almost throughout. They had the Punk drama hanging over them and managed to avoid a lot of drama from it, but other than that, the show was mainly focused on All Out. That show needs the help, but I’m not sure it got enough of it here.
All Out does not feel important and there isn’t much of a way to hide that. AEW needs a bit of a breather from big shows, and with Grand Slam and WrestleDream both less than a month away, we won’t be seeing that anytime soon. Instead, I could see the weekly shows running out of steam more and more, which isn’t going to bode well for the next few weeks.
Acclaimed/Billy Gunn b. Matt Menard/Angelo Parker/Daniel Garcia – Mic Drop to Menard
Aussie Open b. Nick Wayne/Komander – Coriolis to Wayne
Outcasts b. Britt Baker/Hikaru Shida/Kris Statlander – No Future to Soho
Powerhouse Hobbs b. GPA – Spinebuster
Jay White b. Dax Harwood – Blade Runner
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with 30 different cheap wrestling books at: