We are LIVE from Indianapolis, Indiana and the heartland is ready for action! We’re starting hot with a Young Buck taking on a Lucha Bro.
Nick Jackson vs. Ray Fenix
Nick is chewing gum as the match starts and I understand the look he’s going for, but that just seems like a health hazard. Yes, I’m a father.
Lots of flipping and flying to start the match, as you would expect with these two. In a down moment, Tony tells us that AEW is presenting Bash at the Beach in January. Yes, that’s an old WCW pay-per-view name. Cody just loves walking under ladders, huh?
The match moves to the outside with some hard-hitting shots, and a Cutter from Fenix on the floor elicits a “This is awesome” from the crowd. It’s nice to see a very crisp match after a lot of sloppy work from the crew last week. A springboard rana with both men standing on the ropes gets the crowd out of their seats.
Soon after, we get the anticipated Superkick Party from both men and the gum finally comes out of Nick’s mouth. Whew, that makes me feel better.
Just as it looked like the action was slowing, Rey walks the ropes to rana Nick from the apron to the floor. Good gawd. They get back in the ring and Fenix hits another rolling cutter to nearly get the win.
The crowd progresses to a “Holy S#%*” chant when Nick hits a German Suplex on Fenix on the ring apron!
Nick locks in a Sharpshooter and the crowd is shouting “Tap!” When do you see that?
After turning the tide, a few nasty kicks allow Fenix to nail a Spinning Sitout Muscle Buster for the impressive victory. Wow. This was a damn match. The only negative I would present is the lack of selling during some of the huge spots, but they were trying to cram a lot into this match. If they had sold appropriately, this match would have taken an hour. Not that anyone would have hated that. At all.
Afterwards, Nick offers a handshake and Fenix turns his back to celebrate his victory as he walks up the ramp. Very strong opening segment.
Britt Baker vs. Hikaru Shida
Britt is still being built as the next AEW women’s champ so I don’t see Shida winning, but this company can surprise us at times.
This is a bit of a tough follow for these two, as the crowd is still coming down from Nick/Fenix, but they do a good job of keeping it simple to avoid exposing too many weaknesses. After a commercial, the action gets a bit faster. So fast that Britt gets a busted nose. She’s just having the worst time with getting hurt in matches.
I feel for my fellow Hoosiers in the crowd as this match is okay, but it just can’t follow the opener, and the crowd is on their hands.
In a fun moment, Shida does the classic heel eye-poke/small package for a near fall. Then she stuns me by nailing a knee strike for the victory. I appreciate AEW’s effort to keep match endings unpredictable, but Britt was being built up as the next big thing, and losses mean something here so why have her lose? She could have won and still kept Shida looking strong. Unless I have no idea what is actually going on, which is always possible.
No time for questions, because we have a vignette to watch. A portly gentleman is bullied on the subway and we cut to a cult-like message from the Dark Order. Beautiful people are apparently part of the Dark Order and they use hashtags to recruit. JR says what we’re all thinking: “I don’t know where this is going.”
Battle Royal Time! The Dynamite Dozen Battle Royal will determine who meets next week for a diamond ring. Okay.
Dynamite Dozen Battle Royal
Hangman Page gets an entrance, then during the break we see Chuck Taylor, Orange Cassidy, Kip Sabian, Jimmy Havoc, Jungle Boy, Marko Stunt, Pentagon Jr., Sonny Kiss, Joey Janela, MJF, then we return to see Billy Gunn make his TNT debut.
The action starts with Christopher Daniels fooling Pentagon with a Fenix mask, which leads to the Lucha Bro being eliminated. Cue the ongoing SCU/Lucha Bros. rivalry. But Fenix and Nick…? My head hurts.
In a weird moment, everyone gangs up on Gunn, and he pulls the Big Show move and throws them all off at once. That seems improbable at best.
Havoc is eliminated only to return with a staple gun. This thing is starting to look like the All In battle royal, and that isn’t a good thing.
The battle royal continues as they do, until Orange Cassidy rises to deliver his kick spots on Gunn, but he is interrupted by MJF throwing him out of the ring. Super heel move there. Gunn gets in his face and MJF mouths off just long enough to get a Fameasser for his trouble. But a distraction from Wardlow allows Page to throw Gunn out. Hate to say it, but that probably helps this match.
Eliminations continue until we’re down to Jungle Boy vs. Page, or are we? MJF was never eliminated and he yanks Jungle Boy off the apron to end the match. Next week will be MJF vs. Page for the fancy ring. It appears Page and Wardlow are destined for a rivalry here.
During the break, we see Jericho interact with several individuals backstage on his way to the ring.
The champ is on the way to the ring. Has he explained his buddy moment with Trump Jr. yet? I didn’t think so. He says some stuff while I read recaps of the impeachment hearings.
I rejoin the show when SCU interrupts. Scorpio aptly reminds Jericho that he pinned the champ last week. The two admittedly have a pretty good exchange, with the champ even throwing in a Baby Yoda reference. Jericho tells Sky he isn’t in his league and he wants to have a singles match to prove it. SCU throws some reverse psychology at Jericho and he falls for it, giving Sky a title match next week in Chicago. Sky says he might just turn Jericho into “Le Bitch.” Aw snap!
The Inner Circle attacks SCU and a few people come to help, including Marko Stunt and Jungle Boy, but the Circle handles them. Then Luchasaurus comes to play and faces off with Jake Hager. Before anything can happen, Jake backs off. That will be an interesting big man match when it comes to pass.
The Librarian comes to the ring during the break. Cue squash.
Luchasaurus vs. Peter Avalon
After a Jurassic Park reference, Avalon gets a boot to the head and an inverted powerbomb. Squash over.
Santana/Ortiz vs. Private Party
These two teams have a common bond in the late Matt Travis so this match seems to be a tribute to him. The match is pretty straightforward. A wild spot happens when Santana and Ortiz pass Marq Quen back and forth in a vertical suplex four times, then he gets dropped on his head in a Steiner Driver type move. Then it goes a bit weird as Kassidy hits a reverse sunset flip and seems to have the three count, but the ref stops counting for no apparent reason. It is explained later that Ortiz wasn’t legal, causing the count stoppage. Yeah, we can go with that. The crowd is deflated after that weirdness until Nick Jackson runs out to stop some underhanded tactics. Nick’s intervention allows Private Party to hit Gin and Juice for the win.
The Inner Circle strikes again as Sammy shows up to attack Nick, but Dustin Rhodes is here with the cast ready to bash. Dustin, Nick and Private Party stand tall.
Before our main event, Kenny Omega is pumping…I guess you could call that iron? He addresses the crowd and tells us his path to redemption starts next week against PAC.
Darby Allin vs. Jon Moxley
Darby gets a very Taker-esque entrance as a body bag labeled MOX is carried out and Allin emerges. Moxley comes through the crowd and they don’t take long to turn this into a brawl. They fight all over the place, with Moxley eventually beating Allin down enough to get him inside the body bag. Moxley beats on the bag for a while before the ref can open it to free Darby. Allin tries to come back and flies off for the Coffin Drop which Moxley counters into a submission move. They go to the top rope and Moxley basically kills Allin with the Paradigm Shift from the top. How did he survive that? As everyone wonders if Allin has a broken neck, Moxley complains to the camera that he broke his hand. Ha.
This was a pretty great show. AEW is doing what they do well and they know it.
UNTIL NEXT WEEK!