Cody retains against Eddie Kingston
AEW once again chose to open their show with Cody putting the TNT Title on the line, this week they brought in outside talent Eddie Kingston. Kingston, an 18-year veteran of the professional wrestling business, is best known for his time spent being the manager to Santana and Ortiz before their time in AEW.
Eddie came out and said that AEW President Tony Kahn told him that this match could be a 'No Disqualification' match as long a Cody agreed to the stipulation. Cody, of course, agreed, and Kingston kicked the match off by attacking Cody when he had his back turned. As the match went on, both Eddie showed how vicious he could be when given the opportunity. He whipped Cody with his weight belt, raked Cody's eyes, and even hit a low blow before going out of the ring, and retrieving a cloth sack from beneath the ring. The announcers guessed back and forth at what could be in the bag, until Kingston untied the bag, turned the bag upside down, and let the thumbtacks in the bag fall to the mat below.
Both men fought back and forth around the tacks, trying to keep from being thrown into them. Eventually, Kingston got the upper hand, and power bombed Cody onto the thumbtacks.
Early in the match, Eddie hurt his left knee, and Cody was able to take advantage of that to end the match by locking in the figure four leg lock and forcing Eddie to tap out.
The point of an open challenge is to make the title that's on the line feel more important. The same way John Cena's open challenge helped make the US Title feel important a few years back. It works, in that the TNT Title feels important because it's featured in the build and on the show every week. The only problem I have with the way AEW is trying to do this is none of the people challenging for the title feel like viable threats. Don't get me wrong its great to see people get a chance on live national TV, but challengers should feel like a challenge. For the most part, Cody has been running through them. Sure, they beat him down early on, but then, like clockwork, he battles back and retains yet again.
Now, I'm not saying AEW should take the TNT title off of Cody, but the thing that made Cena's run feel so special was everyone that challenged felt like they could dethrone him at any given moment. Maybe that's the difference in Cena and Cody, maybe Cody hasn't figured out how to make everyone feel like a threat to his title. The matches Cody puts on are good, I'm not saying they aren't, I'm just never worried Cody's reign will come to an end during them.
I understand AEW is working with a limited roster, but there has to be someone they can throw out there to give Cody a run for his money. I'd be fine with seeing one of the Jackson brothers challenge for the title, or Matt Hardy, they don't have to win, but at least it would feel like they could.
MJF defeats Griff Garrison
Up next, MJF took on up and comer Griff Garrison, and to no surprise, this was a squash match. MJF was focused on making Griff admit that he was undefeated after before the match Griff said that MJF lost in the tag match at AEW Fyter Fest. Griff got a little offense in towards the end, but MJF, for the most part, dominated the match and pinned Garrison to end the match.
Taz and Brian Cage Promo
Taz and Brian Cage came out next, and Taz explained to everyone why he threw in the towel last week, costing Cage his shot at the AEW World Title. Taz said he wasn't going to allow Cage to tear his bicep again because he didn't want him to be on the shelf for six months.
Darby Allin then came out, and before he could get in the ring, Ricky Starks jumped him. Cage then exited the ring, and power bombed Allin on the stage outside the ring, and then power bombed him into the ring. Starks and Cage started to beat on Allin some more before the AEW Champion Jon Moxley came out and made the save with a barbwire bat in tow. Cage, Starks, and Taz retreated, as Mox pulled Allin up to his feet, as AEW faded to black.
AEW Women's Tag Team Tournament Announcement
While the announcement video above doesn't say it explicitly, AEW fans have to believe that this tournament will crown the first-ever AEW Women's Tag Team Champions. AEW has toyed with the idea of having tag titles for their Women's division for a long time. It looks like they fell they finally have enough talent. Their Women's division is strong enough to support a tag division. Hopefully, it is, and these tag belts will be treated better than other promotions treat their Women's Tag Team Championships.
Young Bucks defeat Butcher & Blade
The Young Bucks were then seen walking around backstage looking for The Butcher and The Blade, and they found them in the kitchen of the arena. The two teams battled in the kitchen for a few minutes, with Butcher and Blade dominating this portion of the match. They eventually fought outside and near a truck with Matt Jackson being thrown into the truck, and Nick Jackson bounced off the outside.
They ended up fighting by a bar, with Blade being thrown through the plexiglass on the bar, and Butcher getting hit in the head with a tray. Nack Jackson then jumped off the bar and put Butcher through a table next to the bar. The Young Bucks then went looking for Blade and found him walking away toward an escalator, Matt and Nick caught him as he neared the bottom of the escalator. They super kicked him, and he fell onto the escalator and rode up to the top as the show went to commercial.
When they came back from commercial Matt Jackson was leading Butcher into the ringside area, Nick was following close behind. Not too long afterward, Blade caught up and hit the Young Bucks with a chair. Tables were then pulled out from beneath the ring, and Matt was cross bodied by Butcher through one of them. Matt and Nick eventually led their opponents up to the stage area, and used the tabled the Butcher and Blade had set up against them. The Young Bucks jumped off the entrance tunnels and put both the Butcher and Blade through tables to win the match.
This match was, not surprisingly, a good match. But it was like most other Young Bucks match, very high-risk spot fest style match. While there's nothing wrong with that, seeing a normal match every now and then wouldn't be a bad thing.
You have to start worrying for the Butcher and the Blade, though, because they've lost so many times recently that it may start to hurt their legitimacy if it hasn't already.
Lance Archer Attacks
Next, we see Alex Marvez standing backstage as Lance Archer, and Jake Roberts walks by behind him Marvez turns to stop the duo and offends Jake 'The Snake' Roberts in the process. Jake, in turn, turns Archer loose, and Archer grabs Marvez and drags him into a locker room where various enhancement talent are sitting. Archer goes on the attack throwing the other men around the locker room and even throwing one of them through the ceiling tiles. AEW appears to be trying to build Archer back up as a threatening big man. While there hasn't been a lot of damage done to his reputation, moments like this can help bring him back to where he was before he went on his losing streak.
Ivelisse defeats Diamante
I honestly don't know where to begin with this match. It was sloppy, and it honestly reminded me of the old WWE Divas matches. The reason for this match was Shida saying she would take on any challenger from anywhere, and somehow AEW landed on these two, who had previously only ever been seen on AEW Dark, to get the shot. This match was nothing more than a slap fest, mostly because that's all the two women in the match could pull off without looking sloppy. From this match alone, neither of these women deserve a shot at the Women's title. Another reason this match reminded me of the WWE Diva matches of old is that AEW talked about how important this match was, only to have a prerecorded video from Big Swole in the middle of the match talk about her ongoing rivalry with Britt Baker. If the match is so important, don't interrupt it with a prerecorded promo.
Adam 'Hangman' Page defeats Number Five
In the grand scheme of things, this match was fine. Page looked strong, it was a good way to remind everyone that, somehow, Evil Uno and Stu Grayson are the number one contenders for the AEW Tag Team Titles. Not that they don't deserve to be the number one contenders. I just don't remember them facing Private Party, or The Young Bucks to become number one contenders. Either way, the Dark Order came out about halfway through the match. That gave Number Five about five seconds of revitalized life before Hangman knocked him back down. Hangman eventually won the match with a powerbomb, and Brodie Lee and Colt Cabana made their way to the ring.
Brodie Lee offered Page protection because his friends clearly didn't care enough to help when he was in immediate danger. Page thanked him for the offer but said he wasn't quite ready to join a cult yet. Lee told him he had made his bed, and now he'd have to sleep in it, and he turned and took Cabana to the backstage area, and the rest of the Dark Order attacked Page. Hangman was able to fight them off for a few seconds, but eventually, it was FTR who had to make the save. Kenny would run out once it was all pretty much over with to check on the well being of his partner, and the saga of Page and Omega not being on the same page continues.
Inner Circle defeats Jurassic Express
Jericho and Hager looked to make Jungle Boy and Luchasauras pay after Jurassic Express laughed at Jericho for getting orange juice dumped on him at the hands of Orange Cassidy last week.
It was a good back and forth match, and both teams got to get their offense in with both Mark Stunt, and Santana and Ortiz getting their cheap shots in from the outside. Jericho tried to introduce his bat into the match, but ref Aubrey Edwards caught him and forced him to drop it outside the ring. A few moments later, Serpentico jumped the rail, grabbed the bat off the ground, and hit Luchasauras with the bat leading Jericho to get the pin and the win. After the match, all of the Inner Circle looked confused as Serpentico joined in the Jurassic Express beatdown. Once Jurassic Express was out for the count, Serpentico stood in the middle of the ring, removed his mask, and revealed himself to be the returning Sammy Guevara.
Orange Cassidy and the Best Friends come out to run the Inner Circle off, and we find out that next week there will be a five on five match featuring the three teams.
I'm torn about bringing Guevara back so quickly. While I will admit his presence within the Inner Circle was missed, things are still kind of fresh. While he and Banks have talked and he apologized, and she accepted, it still doesn't change what he said, and I'm still not sure he should be back this soon. Either way, he's back, and it will be interesting to see how next few weeks play out.
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