By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Revolution Hits
Kenny Omega vs. Jon Moxley in an Exploding Barbed Wire Death Match for the AEW Championship: We will get to the grand finale disappointment later. Omega and Moxley did a great job of pulling off this style of match. Some of the explosions were better than others, but the work of the wrestlers was really strong, and the spot where Moxley triggered an explosion to avoid being pinned after taking the One Winged Angel was great. It will be a shame if the show is ultimately remembered for the pyro dud at the end and fans forget that the actual match was successful until that moment. One negative is that Moxley came off as naive to not have any backup given the obvious likelihood of Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson interfering. On the flip side, the storytelling with Eddie Kingston putting himself in harm’s way to save his longtime frenemy was excellent.
The Young Bucks vs. Chris Jericho and MJF for the AEW Tag Titles: My second favorite match of the night. The Bucks showed the right type of intensity to start the match given that the story was that they were out avenge their father. Jericho taking the loss for his team was logical given the storyline tease that occurred later in the show when MJF hinted that the end could be near for Jericho in the Inner Circle.
Sting and Darby Allin vs. Brian Cage and Ricky Starks in a Street Fight: This wasn’t a street fight, and AEW should have come up with a name that would have offered a stronger indication that this was going to be a cinematic match to avoid disappointing anyone who expected a traditional match. But coming from someone who dislikes most cinematic matches, this was solid. The match didn’t need commentary, but I still enjoyed it for what it was.
Ethan Page vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Penta El Zero Miedo vs. Scorpio Sky vs. Lance Archer vs. Max Caster in The Face of the Revolution ladder match: The Page surprise worked because it wasn’t overhyped. He’s a good get for AEW, and it will be interesting to see if tag team partner Josh Alexander follows once his Impact deal is up, or if they can simply reform their tag team since AEW has a working relationship with Impact. The match had all of the insanity that one expects from a multi-person ladder match. I could have done without Cody being tended to on the stage for what felt like an eternity, as it distracted from everything else that was happening in the match. I really liked Sky as a babyface, so hopefully they know what they are doing with his apparent heel turn.
Hangman Page vs. Matt Hardy in a Money Match: A good match that felt longer than it needed to be. The Dark Order saving Page from Private Party’s interference was solid, and I like the way they saved him from an apron bump and set him back on the apron to set up his Buckshot Lariat finisher. Still, I hope that Page moves on to bigger and better things. He had the long storyline with Kenny Omega that came to a screeching halt once Omega beat him in the tournament and then captured the AEW Championship. Here’s hoping that Page gets back into that main event mix soon. I also hope that this the last money match. Wrestlers winning or losing money doesn’t affect fans in any way, so it’s hard for them to really invest in the stipulation.
Hikaru Shida vs. Ryo Mizunami for the AEW Women’s Championship: A soft Hit for a well worked match that overstayed its welcome. Mizunami repeatedly kicking out of Shida’s running knee finisher went from seeming impressive for her character to feeling like overkill. The post match angle with Nyla Rose, Britt Baker, Reba, and Maki Itoh attacking Shida and Mizunami was fine until the heels ran away just because Thunder Rosa ran out. Despite these flaws, I enjoyed the bulk of the match, and the tournament that set it up helped show off the improvement of the AEW women’s division.
Casino Tag Team Royale for a shot at the AEW Tag Titles: The best part of the match was the final two sequence between Rey Fenix and Jungle Boy. As much as this felt like a “get everyone on the show” match, it was still entertaining and the outcome sets up what should be a terrific AEW Tag Title match between the Young Bucks and the team of Fenix and Pac.
Maki Itoh and Britt Baker vs. Riho and Thunder Rosa: Itoh replacing Reba was a fun surprise. It can be argued that the match went longer than it needed to, but I’ll take more in-ring action and less talking on pro wrestling pre-shows. I also liked that AEW went with an advertised 30-minute pre-show, as an hour ends up making the overall time investment of an event feel a bit much for some viewers.
AEW Revolution Misses
Here comes the… weak ass boom: The only thing missing was an 18-inch Stonehenge set. As students of the game, everyone involved had to have known that these things don’t always go smoothly. As such, I am surprised that there wasn’t a planned audible just in case the big finale didn’t go off as planned. My immediate thought was that they could have had Don Callis laugh and act as if the underwhelming pyro was a sick joke on Jon Moxley and a safety guard for the possibility that Kenny Omega would still be in the ring when the timer went off. I listened to the AEW media call and was disappointed that Tony Khan never directly acknowledged that the big finale was a dud. An honest “you win some, you lose some” type answer would have been suffice. Rather, Khan spoke about how they intend to blame the Omega character for his design without ever expressing any disappointment. I remember speaking with UFC President Dana White following the first UFC event in Las Vegas. While clearly not an identical situation, White had no problem admitting that the pyro they used for Tito Ortiz’s entrance was underwhelming and was intended to be more impressive. These things happen. Fans will forgive, but Khan could have sped up that process by simply expressing that he was just as disappointed as they were with the lack of pyro at the end.
Christian Cage debut: The hype of a Hall of Fame worthy signing who happens to be one of Tony Khan’s favorites really opened the floodgates to fan speculation. And that’s the problem. When fans are teased with this level of hype, their imaginations run wild and they often dream so big that what would have been a cool surprise instead feels underwhelming. All of that said, Christian is a nice addition to the roster and the timing is fun since he was in the Royal Rumble match. The segment itself felt a little flat since he simply signed the contract and went backstage without saying a word. At the very least, it felt like they should have told us during the pay-per-view that Christian will make his first comments on Dynamite, assuming that’s the plan.
Miro and Kip Sabian vs. Chuck Taylor and Orange Cassidy: Miro picked up a dominant win, but this feud feels ice cold. Hopefully he is finally moving away from Sabian and Penelope Ford. Their union has been awkward from the start and they never developed chemistry. For that matter, I’m over his feud with Taylor and Cassidy. Can anyone say with a straight face that Miro’s AEW run thus far has been any better than what WWE was doing with him? Here’s hoping that changes starting with this win.