By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW Revolution Hits
CM Punk vs. MJF in a Dog Collar match: The highlight of the night. Punk’s throwback entrance and gear was good fun that played to the hardcore fans without taking newer fans out of the moment. The slow pace of the match stood out in a positive way compared to the frenzied approach of most of the other matches. Wardlow pretending that he couldn’t find the diamond ring for MJF only to then leave it for Punk was a fun development that sets the stage for an interesting follow-segment up on Dynamite. Meanwhile, I’m very curious to see what Punk does next given that this felt like it may have been the end of his excellent program with MJF at least for now.
Eddie Kingston vs. Chris Jericho: A violent opening match with stiff shots and wicked suplexes. While the match styles were very different, this reminded me of Jericho working the death match with Nick Gage in that he’s at a point in his career where many wrestlers are content to deliver their greatest hits, but Jericho continues to challenge himself by working a variety of styles. That said, one can only hope that both men came out of this healthy because some of those suplexes were nasty. Jericho did right by Kingston and the storyline by putting Kingston over and then refusing to shake his hand afterward. We clearly haven’t seen the last of this feud, and with Jericho working as the heel in the match, it looks like we could be in for another dose of Jericho reinvention.
“Hangman” Adam Page vs. Adam Cole for the AEW World Championship: A good main event that simply lacked major drama regarding the outcome. AEW has only been around for a few years and so Tony Khan’s booking patterns are not as well established as longtime bookers such as Vince McMahon. With that in mind, I couldn’t entirely rule out Cole winning, and yet I all but did, simply because it was hard to envision Tony Khan putting the championship on a guy who was the face of the NXT brand that AEW defeated in the head-to-head battle. Speaking of NXT, Jake Barnett nailed it in Dot Net Members’ audio when he said that his match felt like an Takeover main event in that it was very much a Cole style match. The live crowd’s Adam chants were fun early on, but they lost their appeal quickly and started to take away from the match. I would have put the dog collar match on last, but it’s hard to complain about a world championship match closing the show.
Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus vs. Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly vs. The Young Bucks for the AEW Tag Titles: A fun spot-fest style match with some solid storytelling as the relationship between Fish and O’Reilly and the Bucks deteriorated quickly. Jungle Boy did an excellent job of selling throughout the match and was involved in several believable near falls. As much as I enjoy the free for all style that the Bucks and other teams use in AEW, I hope the company will also find more room for the traditional tag team style used by teams such as FTR as well as Fish and O’Reilly. I’d love to see either team have a program with Top Flight, who could learn a lot from the veterans while delivering some really good matches along the way.
Jon Moxley vs. Bryan Danielson: The live crowd seemed to hit the proverbial wall during this match. It was a long night and a similar thing occurred at one point during the AEW Full Gear event. I also wonder if the company would be better off having Danielson cut pre-match promos or even showing him delivering a heel promo on the big screen before he makes his entrance even if we don’t see it at home. Fans have been through a lot with Danielson over the years and view him as one of the true good guys in the industry. He can get good heat with his mic work, but it does seem like fans are slow to boo him at times if he doesn’t encourage it ahead of time. Either way, Moxley and Danielson worked hard and had a very good match even if the crowd was at its low point for the main show. And just when I started to wonder if the crowd would bounce back, they gave the debuting William Regal one of the biggest pops that anyone has received in 2022. Regal playing the tough love father figure for Moxley and Danielson was intriguing, as it looks like we might be getting that Moxley and Danielson faction after all.
Keith Lee vs. Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Wardlow vs. Ricky Starks vs. Orange Cassidy vs. Christian Cage in a Face of the Revolution Ladder match: A mixed bag with some big spots, some sloppy spots, and some decent drama regarding the finish. As much as I suspected that this would be a spotlight win for Lee, I really liked the call to give the win to Wardlow. MJF told Wardlow last week that he could keep the TNT Title shot if he could win this match, and now it will be interesting to see if MJF follows through on that or if this will be positioned as a heel telling a lie to add even more fuel to the fire.
Darby Allin, Sting, and Sammy Guevara vs. Andrade El Idolo, Matt Hardy, and Isiah Kassidy: The pay-per-view really didn’t need this match, but everyone involved stepped up and worked hard to deliver a wild spectacle. Watching 62 year-old Sting go into New Jack mode by doing a balcony dive through multiple tables was completely unexpected fun.
Hook vs. QT Marshall: Another good showing for Hook. It felt like AEW was getting too aggressive with Marshall’s push during his feud with Cody Rhodes, but they’ve pulled back and found a good spot for him. Marshall is a good talker and it’s smart to have him working with some of the younger wrestlers. There are no signs of it happening, but I think Hook, Powerhouse Hobbs, and Ricky Starks could be a cool babyface faction. And since I’m already in fantasy booking mode, I’ll take a step further by adding that it would be a fun twist if Taz snapped because the trio moved on from Team Taz, and then became so jaded that he essentially becomes the Bobby Heenan to his son’s Hulk Hogan by lining up heel opponents for young Hook.
AEW Revolution Misses
Malakai Black, Brody King, and Buddy Matthews vs. Pac, Erick Redbeard, and Penta Oscuro: There’s simply too much happening in this feud. The House of Black is still being introduced and yet we also have Penta and Alex Abrahantes introducing their darker personas, as well as Redbeard being introduced as a replacement for Rey Fenix. There’s nothing wrong with any of those things individually, but it’s all too much when it’s taking place during the same feud. It feels like both sides need wins and would be better off moving in different directions regardless of how well they work together. Pac continues to feel wasted in Death Triangle. His angry persona screams loner, and he really belongs in the singles championship mix.
Britt Baker vs. Thunder Rosa for the AEW Women’s Championship: An understandable Miss. They had the tough task of following the dog collar match and had an unsatisfying match finish. But they are clearly building toward a rematch taking place in Rosa’s hometown of San Antonio on March 16, so this match felt like it was just a way to extend the feud. I’ll be surprised if we don’t get a title change in their next match.
Jade Cargill vs. Tay Conti for the TBS Championship: Conti felt like a rising star in the women’s division at one point, but she’s cooled off considerably. She cooled down before her AEW Women’s Championship match with Britt Baker, and then she was rushed into this title match loss. On the bright side, Cargill continues to improve and is already a star for AEW. This match didn’t really need to be on the card, but the company did a good job of spotlighting Cargill, and I like that they are giving her unbeaten streak the Goldberg treatment.
Leyla Hirsch vs. Kris Statlander: This was a decent match that felt like it could have just as easily aired on Dynamite or Rampage or even on Dark or Dark Elevation. It was more of an in the middle than a true Hit or a Miss. But it is an example of one of the matches that could have been trimmed from the lineup to make the overall show shorter and better. A five-hour show is asking a lot from most viewers. A five-hour show that ran until midnight eastern time is just too much. I’d really like to see AEW leave their pay-per-view audience wanting more. But if Tony Khan feels the marathon approach is the right way to go, then I hope he will considering moving the start time back an hour when they run Sunday night pay-per-views.