Dark Order v SCU: The preshow match was decent. It wasn’t amazing but it did what it needed to do in terms of the plot. It was able to continue on the storyline of the Dark Order and SCU, which I have very much been enjoying. The Exalted One fake-out with Christopher Daniels was compelling and I am excited to see where the plot goes from here.
The match itself, however, was what brought this match down. I love the Dark Order’s plot but in the ring the two just seem to struggle. Their better matches are often helped along by their opponents. There were some impressive hits and bumps, however the pacing felt awkward and didn’t seem to flow. It wasn’t a terrible match, but not amazing. In the end I think I agree with AEW’s placement of the match, on the preshow.
Jake Hager v Dustin Rhodes: The obvious part of this match was Hager’s wife and it felt like a weird angle in the match. We’ve never seen her before but she was the focal point; it was odd to say the least. And than came Dustin forcing a kiss on her. It was strange, uncomfortable, and the least face like thing he could have done. It was creepy and really uncalled for.
The actual fight itself was no better. They seemed to be trying to make the match mirror the slow pace of MMA matches, having Hager being more of the MMA fighter he is and Dustin embodying more of the traditional pro wrestling style. Strikers in wrestling are usually more fast paced; to try to introduce a more methodical slower pace to that just doesn’t work in the scripted environment of wrestling. I had to reassure my non-wrestling friends I invited over that the matches would get better the entire time.
Sammy Guevara v Darby Allin: I’ve been loving Sammy more and more and this match only proved to me that I am justified with this opinion. Everything about this match was amazing. The flips, the impact of the hits — the entire match was amazing. They came out the gates full speed and only slowed down after the bell officially rang, only to pick the pace back up to 11 mere minutes later. I didn’t bother to even take notes during this match I was just so enthralled by it. Amazing.
Young Bucks v Hangman/Omega: I think everyone agrees this was match of the night. I will say, though, it was a bit weird to see the crowd turn on The Bucks immediately. I felt like I had missed something when they were met with boos. Nevertheless, it was interesting — one thing about pro wrestling that is always fun is the audience contributing to the story and this was a strong example of it.
The match itself did a great job reinforcing all the plot points we had established throughout the past month and a half, like Kenny and Hangman’s squabbles and the increasing tension between the two teams. And the fighting itself was just picking up the pace from where Darby/Sammy left off. My one complaint was there were two or three too many false finishes; however, I admit I did buy into every single one as they happened. We didn’t seem to get anywhere new though in the overall plot though and I think it’s time they took the next step.
Nyla Rose v Kris Statlander: This was a good change of pace. I don’t think I could have taken another fast paced, high flying match after that last one. There wasn’t too much plot leading up to this match so it did feel a bit as if it was thrown in simply because the title needed to be defended. It’s honestly the main issue with the women’s roster — while there may be good matches, the plots around them are left totally devoid of any depth.
Nyla and Riho really showed off the giant contrast between the two and Nyla works extremely well in that environment. I didn’t seem to feel that same energy with Nyla against Kris, though. Statlander seemed a bit off as well with some of her bumps, however others were flat out brutal. Despite the few stumbles, it was overall a solid title defense and helps cement Nyla as a champion.
MJF v Cody: This was…. frustrating. Perhaps my expectations were just too high at this point, but the match overall fell a little flat for me. That is not to say the match was terrible or even bad. There were some great segments — the first five minutes or so were especially good. And at each beat in the match I could see and appreciate what they were going for.
However, I think they made MJF just a little too cowardly. The back half the match was MJF looking extremely weak, and while MJF did a good job playing up Cody’s foot it just didn’t have the same effect as if it had been an arm instead of stomping on his toes. It was just a bit… comical. The match was going for blood and pathos but I never truly felt that pathos.
It would be unfair of me, however, if I ignored the multiple shots of MJF hanging on the ropes, blood pouring down his face with a dazed yet malicious grin. Those were amazing shots. I just never felt that same intensity from him throughout the rest of the match.
Orange Cassidy v PAC: What can I say? Supreme. Brilliant. The crowd was great, OC was amazing and PAC did an excellent job putting in the right amount of frustration and exasperation. It established OC as a competent wrestler, something needed for those who have only known him from AEW. It was a complete delight.
Moxley v Jericho: The bit of pathos and the intensity that was missing in the MJF/Cody match must have gotten lost and ended up with these two. Every hit honestly just felt like the two men wanted to destroy each other. And destroy each other they did all over the stadium. This match was a smorgasbord. From in ring action, to out of ring action, weapons, interference, it had everything, and it all felt like it fit. I never felt overwhelmed with how much was thrown at me, nor did I feel like it was trying to pack too much into the match.
It was a fight that was fitting for the first time the AEW World Championship has changed hands — with Mox having to deal with the entire Inner Circle. I absolutely loved Aubrey’s interactions with the two and I loved the final twist of Moxley pulling off his eye patch. The tag match was still my match of the night, but this was an amazing way to end the pay-per-view.
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