- The Owen, Quarterfinal: Samoa Joe vs Johnny Elite ***
- Konosuke Takeshita vs Adam Page ****
- Strickland, Lee vs WorkHorsemen NR
- The Owen, Quarterfinal: Kyle O'Reilly vs Rey Fenix ****1/4
- The Owen, Quarterfinal: Britt Baker vs Maki Itoh **1/2
- The Owen, Semifinal: Jeff Hardy vs Adam Cole ***1/4
I actually watched this one live but lacked the energy to run this as a live review. Dealing with COVID sucked but I'm still finding myself lacking in the energy department days later. I was torn between watching this tonight and Under Siege, but pulled the trigger on this one due to the two wildcard spots.
While this is obviously being posted after the show has concluded, note that I am thinking Athena and Claudio might be the two incoming names. Gargano and Candice are other options. Culticon had suggested to me Trish or Lita on the women's side in one of our private conversations that you're not invited to. If you do want to have a public conversation with me, though, hit me up and maybe we can schedule a podcast episode or something.
Yes, you. My podcast features myself and whomever the hell I've picked for that week talking about whatever we want. If that sounds fun, let me know.
But yeah, I sincerely have no idea who the wildcards are and I haven't tried to dig around at all on this. I am rather excited for the surprise. I can know spoilers and still enjoy a movie or show, but surprises can be enjoyable, too.
The show kicked off with Samoa Joe walking out to the ring. Johnny Elite followed shortly behind, making his AEW debut and filling up the men's slot. Honestly, the dude is talented so I'm for it. I've actually enjoyed him since I first saw him during his WWE ECW days. I liked him in Lucha Underground, on IMPACT, and thought WWE never knew what they had with him. I had expected other names, but Johnny is a perfectly fine debut and I'm not disappointed at all by it.
Mundo telling Joe to move before his dive spot was funny as fuck. Expect it to be all over anti-AEW Twitter. I agree with Culticon tonight when he told me jokingly Euforia needs to come in and teach base work to them, because that was actually pretty bad.
Anyway, the match was actually good overall even with that weak moment and they were working hard for sure. I don't think it all came together nearly as well as they were aiming for either, if that makes sense.
I wonder how many thought Gargano was coming out instead of JM.
Joe won off of a muscle buster to move ahead in the tournament and then Lethal and crew attacked to continue the angle that absolutely no one cares about. Lethal attacked Joe's arm with a pipe before CHAOS ran the heels off.
It smells like go away heat.
Matt and Jeff are backstage. Matt and Nick join in and the two teams have some words. Matt Hardy warns the Bucks to not get involved. Clearly they'll be getting involved.
Punk is out next, wearing a pro-choice shirt in Texas. I fucking love it. Excalibur references it, too.
The ace of DDT is out next to face the AEW World Champion and it's not Kenny. 2022 is weird, people. I appreciate this match occurring especially as it finally fixes one of TK's biggest mistakes.
Takeshita deserves better than Dark, people.
Anyway, the two worked a competitive throwaway with the champ getting a nice win to pad himself up before the Punk defense. During the commercial break I was hopeful that we'd be getting another ten minutes as they slowly let this sizzle into a burn. This match is perfect for both and I thought that would be the best option.
Allow for a killer showing with the champ going over while also finally establishing Takeshita in a way that he can be a fun import star anytime he's available. We got basically what I wanted and this added up nicely into a fantastic match in general. If you missed it live and have no plans on watching the full episode, make time for this one individually, at least.
Know that I've been praising this dude since this blog first launched so I hope you are already, or soon to be, a frequent reader that way you can know about some of the stars on the horizon. That is, unless you were already a fan of Takeshita. If that's you, props! Note that Takeshita appeared to be hurt near the end but pushed on because he's sincerely one of the most professional professional wrestlers in the game.
Page won this via GTS. Like I said, it was fantastic while also being a tad rough around the edges in a way that actually added to the entertainment value in the same way that a few out of control fights can make a great hockey game even better.
Page and Punk had a moment after on the ramp. Summer of Punk III is going to be starting off with a banger, people!
Fuego del Sol wants to die. He is joined by X and Uno and a match with House of Black for Friday is announced.
Next, Strickland is on his way out along with Keith Lee. The later got a nice, predictable pop but the former seemed to get a pretty conservative crowd response, sadly. The two took on the WorkHorsemen. I've been begging for more chances for JD and AH, but really the two just haven't done the best with their chances to shine if I am being honest. They are a team capable of great matches and still do so on smaller stages but for some reason come off as largely forgettable in AEW.
They were fine here, but far from noteworthy. Instead, this was a fun squash as Swerve and Keith continue their rise up the division.
The fans continued to love of Keith Lee after the match as the big man announced that he and Strickland had landed themselves into the Top 5. Hobbs and Starks broke up the fun and the FTW Champ called Lee the t-rex from Toy Story. They traded words, then Jurassic Express arrived. Instead of a contender match or something, we're getting a three-way.
Christian also apparently has booking powers because he set that up as well as Jungle Boy vs Strickland vs Starks. Give him the books because that's gonna be some entertaining television, people!
Red Velvet and Kris traded words backstage with Tony holding the mic. Jade and crew ended the segment.
MJF is here next to piss off some of my old high school classmates and exes, having the crowd quickly eating right out of his hands. I was begging for more contact shit on the mic. Also, MJF NEEDS to be the one to dethrone Punk. That or have Eddie do it, be Mankind for a short bit, then have MJF dethrone him and then run that reign until his contract is set to expire while he teases a WWE jump.
Anyway, the latest lashes made for some entertaining shit, people. The way that Wardlow no-sold them was simply amazing and both men are going to be even bigger stars as a result. Even Spears looked great here.
This angle is gold and the crowd heat made it even better. I don't really formally rate segments, but this was 4.34 stars level shit.
Roppongi Vice want gold. Them and FTR is set up.
Kyle versus Fenix followed as The Owen continues. I love televised tournaments! I really wish AEW would start a yearly G1 style tournament, in fact. I want torneo ciberneticos, too! Terribly so, in fact, as I think AEW could easily deliver a spectacular one.
Hope was that Kyle would win here because Joe clearly forgot how to base. We don't want Fenix to die and come back as Phoenix.
During the commercial break, a Khan/APHM ad ran that was well done.
Back from the ads and we were given a match full of nice spots that built up into something truly worthwhile. Fenix and Kyle traded shot after shot as the welts and sweat added up. It was a nice chance for Rey to showcase how well rounded he was, which is always nice to see, and KO got to put in a singles performance at a high level once again, too. I know that I was excited going in but even so I must reveal that they still overdelivered on my expectations.
This was fantastic work people and this episode is banging.
Bryan and Regal head out followed by Mox, Eddie, and PnP. JAS came out and pissed off fans. Chris called out Regal and dropped some shit on his shoes. He then attacked everyone else verbally, too. Eddie got some nice love from the crowd. The Wizard was dropping bombs and it made for yet another bit of must-see TV on the episode.
Fun fact, but Regal likes to shove things up his ass.
Jericho went to pitch a Stadium Stampede match but was cut off by Mox. At Double or Nothing, we're getting an anything goes match instead. Jon even dropped some taglines.
Dante and Sydal make challenges for Rampage. I missed who it was for, though.
Itoh is here as a wildcard. I'm big on this because I'm always good with Itoh getting work in AEW. Her history with Baker was a nice cherry. The two had a solid match though one that seemed to drop the crowd for a span. Maki won them back but admittedly this didn't work out as well as I thought it was going to.
After, Toni came out for a setup for the two's semi-final match.
Tony came out to promote future content and was interrupted by Deeb. This was yet another rough segment with Serena. She called out Dustin to talk some shit. Thunder ran out, Serena got the upper hand and walked off to end the segment with the belt in hands.
I liked a small section of it, especially when she tried to get personal, but this still dragged the show down hard. Kenny, please run this one differently.
The main saw Cole attack Jeff during his entrance and kept a decent intensity level. I didn't expect much but they overdelivered and gave us something that was actually fairly good and just outside of recommendation levels. I said recently that I am a fan of Jeff's but that I have little desire to see him in singles action at this point. I was wrong and should go fuck myself.
Cole, Matt, and Nick attacked The Hardys after. Sting and Darby ran in for a save until reDRagon joined in. Sting tried fighting the unit off and managed to do well with the numbers for a while. Kyle broke his ankle and the heels stood tall as the show faded to black and American Dad started in its place.
The episode had a few things that landed poorly, dragging down the overall quality, but most of this installment was super well done and I can recommend to entire episode with decent confidence. Perhaps just skip past the lesser parts.
Overall Rating: 80/100%