Written by: SamoaRowe from Da Wrestling Site
From Sears Centre Arena in Chicago, Illinois. Our hosts are Jim Ross, Goldenboy, and Excalibur.
SCU (Frankie Kazarian, Scorpio Sky, and Christopher Daniels) vs. Jurassic Express (Luchasaurus, Jungle Boy, and Marko Stunt)
Maybe it’s the months of empty arena shows wearing on me, but the great ovations the fans give both teams feels surreal. They applaud Jungle Boy and Kazarian for a stalemate sequence, and Kazarian takes over with a lariat. JB survives a double team and flips Daniels with a springboard armdrag. Crowd loves Luchasaurus and is receptive to Stunt hitting a flurry of rapid attacks. Stunt dives through JB’s legs onto SCU, setting up consecutive dives from JB and Luchasaurus to blow the roof off the house. SCU make a blind tag to confuse Jungle Boy and regain control. Luchasaurus gets the hot tag and cleans house with his tail whip kicks. He bounces off his back to dodge a clothesline and pops the crowd with a standing moonsault and chokeslam for 2! Crowd gives a standing ovation and chants “Luchasaurus!” JB helps with a dive while Stunt hits a spinning DDT for 2. SCU regroup and hit a double suplex into a Codebreaker on the dinosaur. SCU hit some dives in order to isolate Stunt with a Best Moonsault Ever/Piledriver for the win at 11:43! Hot opener with a crowd that was more than willing to play along every step of the way, ***½.
AEW Heels commercial. All the people ragging on AEW for this $50 fan club are surprisingly quiet regarding WWE charging $125 for 2 minute virtual meet and greets for Summerslam weekend.
Kenny Omega vs. Pac
Omega’s “troubling” 1-1 record already has folks wondering if he’s the same guy we saw in New Japan. That narrative would only continue to grow as 2020 lumbers on. They feel each other out and the crowd loves all of Omega’s showboating, clearly they missed the memo that AEW was ruining him. Pac rudely steps on Kenny’s spine for some jeers and they turn up the aggression. Pac blocks the Kotaro Crusher but then eats a monkey flip. Pac answers with a rana and counters a flying Omega with a kick to the chest. Both guys use the guard rail and Pac flapjacks Kenny onto the ring frame. Pac lives up to his “bastard” moniker with a missile dropkick to the face. Kenny survives Pac’s onslaught and the crowd is firmly behind him in a comeback, hitting a Fisherman buster for 2. Omega can’t hit a Snap Dragon, but does hit a Finlay Roll, but Pac dodges the moonsault. Tornado DDT by Pac gets a good nearfall. Omega rolls to ringside to avoid the Black Arrow, but Pac catches him with a top rope moonsault! Back to the ring, Pac’s 450 splash only gets 2. Omega is in a daze but slugs his way back into the fight and hits a nasty buckle bomb and spinebuster for a great nearfall. Omega continues cooking with the first V-Trigger of the bout, can’t hit One Winged Angel, but delivers a German suplex for only 2! Pac comes back with a cutter and snap German suplex. Pac’s dead lift German gets 2. Omega blocks a superplex and hits a snap Dragon and V-Trigger. Omega gets blocked a few times before hitting some more brutal looking V-Triggers. Pac blocks a reverse rana and totally botches one of his own. Pac reverses One Winged Angel with the Brutalizer. Kenny passes out to give Pac the victory at 23:42! Despite one bad blemish, this was the Kenny Omega Match that everyone was hoping it would be, and owes a lot to a crowd that badly wanted this to be great, ****.
Cracker Barrel Clash:
Darby Allin vs. Jimmy Havoc vs. Joey Janela
In the year gone by, Allin has become a breakout star, Havoc got axed due to the Speaking Out movement, and Janela has pretty much tread water. The crowd here only seems to care about Janela during entrances. Havoc ducks out to get his staple gun and staples himself. Janela hasn’t forgotten about when Havoc stapled a cigarette to his forehead and goes on the attack. Allin helps tape Havoc to a chair. They pour thumb tacks into Jimmy’s mouth and tape it shut. Allin and Janela start fighting and Darby hits a quick dive. Stunner by Allin and he decides to dive onto Havoc and the chair. Janela catches Allin with a sick slam onto the apron. Janela finds a tennis racket, which makes him sick, (take THAT, Cornette) and moves on to a table. Havoc spits out the tacks into Janela’s face. Havoc disgusts the fans by dishing out PAPER CUTS between Joey’s fingers and monkey flips him onto the chair, but Janela makes a comically safe landing and waves. Havoc paper cuts the face, so Janela brainbusters him onto the chair. Janela sprints to put Darby through a table with a sunset flip powerbomb! Fans chant “Cracker Barrel” and Joey misses everything with a moonsault to ringside. Havoc smacks Joey with a platter of delicious biscuits and goes for the literal barrel on the stage. Darby interrupts with his thumb tack enhanced skateboard and drives it into Janela’s back. Darby desperately coffin drops Havoc into a table. Havoc taunts by shooting staples, so Allin drapes him on the ring steps and misses a BARRELIZED COFFIN DROP! Janela is free to hit Havoc with an elbow drop for 2. Havoc answers with a superplex into the table, but he missed most of it! Havoc properly destroys the barrel with an acid rainmaker, and Janela is finished at 14:58! This was a complete guilty pleasure car wreck of a match that got Allin and Havoc over pretty quickly. Hindsight says that Allin should have gone over, but I don’t want to make any 2020 jokes, ***¾.
Winner: Jimmy Havoc
Commercial for AEW toys, which my local Walmart has yet to get in stock.
The Dark Order (Evil Uno and Stu Grayson, with some creepers) vs. Best Friends (Chuck Taylor and Trent)
At this stage, the Dark Order is just Stu and Uno, with a collection of shiftless creepers. Crowd could care less about them, but are happy to see Best Friends. Taylor fights out of an early double team and Trent’s blind tag leads to stereo clotheslines to the floor and a nice hug. Chuck tosses Trent into a splash for 2 on Uno. Trent gets caught with a dropkick off the apron to give Dark Order control. The crowd is quiet, but polite during the Dark Order’s lengthy heat sequence. Chuck’s hot tag gets a good pop and he cleans house with Sliced Bread and a pop-up powerbomb. Chuck nails a dive onto Stu and Uno. Dark Order regroup, but Trent’s blind tag sets up a tandem German suplex. Best Friends hit a lawn dart into an Ace Crusher for 2. The creepers hold Taylor in place for Grayson’s springboard dive, but Uno is unable to pin Trent. Stu throws Trent into Chuck, and the Dark Order hit a 450/Senton combo but Trent kicks out! The fans reward them with a “Best Friends” chant. Dark Order can’t hit Fatality, and Trent nearly steals it with a roll-up on Uno. Best Friends hit the Sole Food/HalfnHalf combo. Chuck plants Grayson with the Awful Waffle, but Trent’s cover is interrupted by Uno. The creepers swarm Chuck behind the ref’s back. Dark Order finish Trent with Fatality at 13:44. The match was well executed, but the Dark Order were ice cold at this point and this also suffered from having to follow matches with bigger star power and spots, **¾.
Winners: The Dark Order
The Dark Order tries to carry Trent out like a sacrificial lamb, but the lights go out and return to reveal Orange Cassidy in the ring, hands in pockets, and the fans go wild! He takes out the creepers with a dive. The fans chant for a hug and Best Friends oblige. Great debut for OC, especially considering the year he’s had since.
Hikaru Shida vs. Riho
The winner faces Nyla Rose in the inaugural AEW Women’s Championship match on the first Dynamite. The fans are receptive to both women during their entrances and seem interested as they feel each other out. Shida hits a backbreaker and Riho bridges out of the cover to hit a dropkick. Shida takes control with a running knee lift. Shida relentlessly targets the back, and Riho earns sympathy with her rag doll selling. Riho makes a scrappy comeback and hits a diving double stop to the gut of Shida! Riho’s 619 is blocked and Shida pulls her into a stretch muffler. Riho reverses into a roll up for 2 and follows with another double stomp to the gut. Shida blasts Riho’s face with a knee lift. The crowd is getting into the nearfalls and reversals. Shida hits a suplex off the second rope for a good nearfall. Shida hits a Northern Lights Suplex, but Riho answers with a double stomp to the face in a tree of woe. Another vicious double knees attack from Riho gets a solid nearfall. Shida answers with a sick backbreaker, and the fans pop for the false finish. Riho spins around Shida to score a neat roll-up to win at 13:22! Shid and Riho set out to impress and got themselves over with the live fans, despite the tough placement on the card, ***¼.
Nyla Rose appears on the stage and seems to be imagining the hurting she’s going to put on Riho.
Great video package for Cody vs. Spears. Basically, AEW signed Spears and Cody commented that he was a “good hand.” In turn, Spears felt like he was being overlooked and broke a chair over Cody’s skull.
Shawn Spears (with Tully Blanchard) vs. Cody (with the Nightmare Family)
Spears is wearing spooky contact lenses and is presented like a top guy. Cody’s entourage are cosplaying as Star Trek characters, because this is a wrestling show for nerds and all. MJF walks Pharoah to the ring and is chosen over DDP and Brandi to stay behind for the match. Cody wastes no time hitting a tope suicida on Spears before the bell and takes a shot at Tully. The fans LOVE Cody right now. Back to the ring, Spears kicks the abdomen, but Cody answers with a power slam on the floor. Tully sneaks up to hold Cody for Spears to deliver a low blow. Spears dissects Cody with deliberate offense, but Cody is feisty and hits a super rana! Spears blocks a second dive and hangs Cody upside down on the apron for a boot to the face. Spears dominates with a grab bag of typical heel attacks (spraying water into the face, using the ring post, etc) and ups the ante with a draping DDT onto the ring frame. Spears fails to punk out referee Earl Hebner, but distracts him by tossing Cody’s weight belt, only to use Tully’s leather belt as a weapon instead. Cody hulks up and no-sells a belt shot to the face, and mounts a fiery comeback. Cody’s Figure Four is immediately reversed. Spears follows with a DVD onto the steel ramp. Cody is nearly counted out but manages a Cross Rhodes out of nowhere. Tully and MJF go for each other’s throat, and Spears kicks MJF out. Tully puts the boots to MJF and Arn Anderson arrives to hit Spears with a spinebuster to a monster ovation. Tully is so shocked that he wanders off shaking his head. Spears grabs a chair but Cody cuts him off with a DDT, considers using the chair, but hits some Dusty jabs instead. Disaster Kick into the chair and Cross Rhodes finishes at 18:56 to send Spears packing to Dark. This was carefully constructed and full of bells and whistles, but still managed to be fun in it’s own right, ***.
AAA World Tag Team Championship (Ladder Match):
Lucha Bros (Pentagon Jr. and Rey Fenix) © vs. The Young Bucks (Nick and Matt Jackson)
Crowd is pumped and standing at the opening bell. They exchange rude gestures and the Bucks spit. Bucks quickly look for a Meltzer Driver, but Fenix powersbombs Matt in place for Pentagon’s diving stomp to the groin. Bucks block stereo dives with a ladder shot! Bucks answer with a tandem leaping double stomp over the knees. Fenix springboards over the ladder to hit a plancha to ringside! They have a clever exchange while trying to climb, and everyone goes through tables with double spears off the apron! Nick hits a fancy springboard dive onto Fenix while Matt delivers rolling Northern Lights suplexes on Pentagon until they hit a ladder. Fenix surprises with a slick springboard rana onto a draping ladder! Fenix steps off another ladder to hit a rana, followed by a tornado DDT, earning a standing ovation. Matt answers with a gorilla press and spear. Nick hits a facebuster followed by a moonsault off the apron. Matt gets tipped off the ladder, so he springboards into a plancha on Pentagon! Fenix follows with a springboard moonsault! Pentagon sling blades Matt off a ladder! Cue a second standing ovation. Nick catches Pentagon with a plancha through a ladder! Fenix dives through the same ladder for a Canadian Destroyer on Matt! Cue the third standing ovation. Some furniture gets set up so Pentagon can murder Matt with a CANADIAN DESTROYER OFF A LADDER AND THROUGH A TABLE! Fans chant “This is awesome!” Fenix and Nick both hit splashes off ladders through tables after daring each other. Bucks put Pentagon in stereo submissions pinned under a ladder, but break to stop Fenix’ climb. Bucks hesitate getting the gold when a Meltzer Driver opportunity reveals itself, and Pentagon pushes Nick off the top and through a ringside table! Matt unmasks Pentagon (to boos!), but Pentagon shoves the ladder out from under him and he takes a hideous bump onto his spine! Pentagon regains his mask, and the Lucha Bros. put Matt through a bridged table with the double stomp/piledriver combo! Lucha Bros. claim the titles at 24:06. If you want to dismiss this as a spotfest, go ahead, but this was an intricate display of athleticism and insanity, ****½.
Winners and still AAA World Tag Team Champions: Lucha Bros.
“Bill Clinton” and “Jimmy Carter” enter the ring and hit Nick Jackson with the Street Sweeper. They unmask to reveal themselves as Santana and Ortiz, to a huge pop.
Video package for Jericho vs. Page. Jericho is already thriving as a sniveling heel who wants credit for being the reason why AEW exists, while Page is somewhat struggling as a white meat babyface, not yet defined by his bad attitude and drinking problems.
AEW World Championship:
Hangman Page vs. Chris Jericho
Page arrives on a horse and the crowd is pretty impressed. Referee Aubrey Edwards wants a clean match. Bell rings and they have a tentative start. Fallaway slam by Page and a clothesline to ringside. Jericho tries to run away but Page lands a big boot. Jericho comes back with a missile dropkick. Page blocks the Walls and nails a slick tope suicida. Page avoids Jericho’s springboard dropkick, but Jericho counters a SSP from the apron! Page avoids a count-out (J.R.: “Wouldn’t that be lame?”) but Jericho knocks him off the apron into the rail. Jericho makes a point out of beating Page up directly in front of his family. Jericho showboats while controlling the action, but Page comes back with knife edge chops. Page’s leg is hurt but he rolls through a flying crossbody and hits a fallaway slam. Page hits a Finlay Roll and sliding lariat. Page’s glancing running SSP gets 2. Page counters a Lionsault with a nifty side Russian leg sweep off the second rope. Jericho counters with the Walls! Page breaks out and nails a discus lariat to the eye and busts Jericho open. Page targets the bloody eye and hits an avalanche swinging neckbreaker for only 2! The usually enthusiastic crowd didn’t buy that nearfall one bit. Discus elbow by Page, but Jericho hangs him on the ropes. Page counters with a superkick and buckshot lariat! Jericho blocks Deadeye and reapplies the Walls. Edwards has to force a rope break and Jericho shoves her, but she doesn’t back down. Page backdrops Jericho to ringside for a standing moonsault, but he hurts his own knee. Jericho blocks another buckshot with a Codebreaker, but Page kicks out! Closed fist by Page, but Jericho counters the running SSP, and Page counters into Deadeye, but Jericho kicks out! Edwards creates a meme by overreacting to the nearfall. Buckshot lariat by Page, but Jericho counters into the Judas Effect for the win and title at 26:15! Crowd is pleased with the finish. They had a good game plan, but this felt pretty laborious due to the tired, subdued crowd. They were able to get some heat in the last few minutes, but this was a mild letdown for the first AEW title match, ***¼.
Winner and first ever AEW World Champion: Chris Jericho
Final Thoughts: There’s a lot to enjoy here, especially the feel-good, “anything can happen” vibe that you can only get from an emerging company that was about to land on a major cable network. Take some time and relive this on Youtube if you have the time. Thumbs Up to a historic show that makes me happy to have stuck with wrestling.