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By Anthony Pires on 2021-01-13 20:00:00

I LOVE it when AEW kicks things off with a good old fashioned catch as catch can classic.  JR, Tony Schiavone and Excalibur have the call as Eddie Kingston and Pac start us off tonight.  This, my friends, ought to be an out and out war.  Butcher, Blade and Bunny accompany the Mad King and the Lucha Bros round out the Death Triangle.  Pac is either the greatest worker in wrestling today OR he makes a lot of apologies backstage because absolutely everything he does looks like it hurts.  Eddie is taking an out and out beating but he's asking for more.  Great line by JR: "You know Eddie isn't going to take the advantage with a top wristlock."

The Bunny with an eyerake on the outside gives Eddie the advantage.  A couple of weeks ago, we lamented the Ricky Starks v Darby Allin feud, where it seemed like this very personal issue got relegated to a normal wrestling match.  It didn't make sense to me.  What we've got here is a wrestling match to be sure, but this (make no mistake) is a fight.  I believe that Pac and the Mad King do not like each other at all.  When you do something like what they're doing, it takes absolutely nothing away from the guy who loses (I'm always assuming AEW will give us a pin or submission finish here-they're not big on non finishes).  

Kingston looks like he's in pain, but he's fighting hard.  If he wins, he's really beaten someone.  If he loses, then he put Pac over like a million bucks.  Black Arrow and Pac gets the win.  Absolutely perfect for what this match needed to be.  And now the 2 factions square off.  Here comes LAnce Archer to clear out Kingston's group and now he's jawing away with Pac.  This kind of felt like they needed to get Archer in here somewhere.  Can't complain one iota about it.  Great way to start the show off, in my opinion.

And now the Kentucky Gentlemen, Chuck Taylor, takes on Miro.  Odd stipulation in that if Miro wins, Chuck becomes Miro's "Young Boy" until the Kip and Penelope wedding.  If Chuck wins...nothing.  I understand this had to be put together pretty quick due to Trent's injury.  Miro's back to dark hair.  Chuck's forte is comedy, so I see no way he wins here tonight.  Oddly, a loss does him a lot more good here.  He loses, and he's guaranteed some TV time each week.  Granted, it's going to be as a servant.  Can't not see Orange Cassidy getting involved.  I'm predicting a Miro v Orange Cassidy match at the PPV and, honestly, I wouldn't have Cassidy wrestle on TV until then.  Don't overexpose this guy.  Miro wins this one in a pretty easy squash with the accolade.  THIS is how AEW needs to book Miro.  Miro and Cassidy stare each other down.

Dasha Gonzalez is with Private Party and their new manager Matt Hardy, as opposed to their adviser that he'd been for the last 5-6 months.  Matt "allows" them to speak.  Quen and Kassidy praise Matt and then, just like that, Quen starts arguing about the 30% Matt will be taking off the top.  The managerial contract is a week old and they're already having Hardy talk down to these guys and they CLEARLY don't like it.  I was in Boston the night they beat The Young Bucks.  The energy in that building for Private Party was off the hook.  They have since been devalued so badly since then.  These guys had a great entrance, great personalities and now they're getting played (again) as chumps.  This does absolutely nothing for them positive whatsoever.

Inner Circle New Years Resolution Time

  • Jake Hager- Championships
  • MJF- Continuing to strengthen their bonds AND eliminating fat people
  • Ortiz- mastering his grandmothers recipies
  • Jericho- winning the AEW tag team titles with MJF

I kind of knew that was gonna backfire.  Santana objects to that and then Sammy Guevara calls the Demo God a tag team slut, reminding him that Le Sex Gods were a thing and that he and Hager were supposed to challenge for the gold.  Basically this all sets up a triple threat tag team match next week: Ortiz & Santana vs. Sammy & Hager (Sammy Hager- get it?!?!) vs MJF & Jericho.  Poor Wardlow, no one to play with.  Jericho makes fun of the Sammy Hager name.  Sammy doesn't get why that's funny, and that's what makes it funny.  We get a middle finger salute from the Inner Circle.

Darby Allin vs. Brian Cage for the TNT Title later tonight.  We get a little preview on the match and all the history with Darby and Team Taz.

Time for the ELITE to reunite for some six man tag action.  Don Callis wants separate entrances for the trio and we get Justin Robert's intro.  Did you know that Omega is a hero to people in NORTH CAROLINAAAAAA?  He's a jerk.  He's supposed to be a jerk and Callis comes off as a genius old school manager.  This works for me.  SWERVE Callis introduces Omega's best friends and the World Tag Team Champions, THE GOOD BROTHERS!  Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson make their way through the crowd.  This just got very interesting.

And now we know why Griff Garrison, Brian Pillman and Danny Limelight were featured so prominently in the post match angle last week, as they provide the opposition.  Not sure how thrilled I am about that.  I like these guys.  In this context, they exist to lose.  Oddly, I have a feeling this match is going to be very competitive, which is not what this should be.  Gallows and Anderson especially have the "outsiders" sort of edge to them.  In the early stages of a story like this, the outsiders need, ABSOLUTELY NEED, to look like monsters.  Hall and Nash, back in 1996, ran roughshod over WCW for months on end, and it picked up with Hogan joining.  They looked dominant and were built up as a force.  Going even with Stars & Stripes would have brought them way down.


And now we've gone through commercial and the pace has slowed down.  It sounds odd to be complaining about a decent match, but this turning into exactly what I feared it would be.  Yes, the OG Bullet Club has taken most of this match, but the opposition tonight needed to get destroyed and they're not.  They're going competitive here.  Garrison gets a 2 on Anderson.  No way these guys should be down for a 2 count.  I respect the veterans wanting to have a good match, but sometimes you have to be selfish, you have to eat the other guy up.  Gallows and Anderson, as the unestablished AEW talent, look weak in not being able to put this away.  FINALLY, the Magic Killer gets applied and the right guys win, albeit 8-9 minutes too late for my taste.


And here comes Moxley through the crowd.  After a second or so Omega and The Good Brothers take over. Here come the Lucha Bros to break things up.  The Young Bucks intervene and break things up but they get double superkicked by the Lucha Bros.  The AEW locker room empties.  This was a little confusing in terms of who is exactly coming after and/or saving who here.  


We get the AEW Dynamite debut of the Waiting Room with Dr. Britt Baker.  Her very special guest is Cody Rhodes.  I just love Rebel/Reba as the sidekick here.  Her over the top cheering for Britt is great.  I have an awful, just awful feeling that Jade Cargill is going to appear.  Britt is great at this as she congratulates him on his "Go Big Show" stint and a baby on the way.  NO!  Britt has another huge surprise guest.'s Jade Cargill.  Shaq and her are tired of waiting.  Where is Jade's opponent? Where are her mic skills?  Here comes Red Velvet and we get a slap fight and a pull apart.  So I guess we finally have an opponent for Jade.  I feel so bad for Red Velvet.  She was properly trained, she works hard and she's paid her dues.  Sadly, she's going to be made fodder for Jade.  Sorry, everyone, AEW is bound and determined to make this a thing.


All of a sudden, Thunder Rosa appears on the screen to inform Dr. Baker that on Feb 3, they're going to have their one on one.  Dr. Baker is not pleased.

FTR vs. Jungle Boy and Marko Stunt is next and I have an awful feeling about this. FTR, in my opinion, was THE best tag team in the world in the 2nd half of 2020.  They ran through AEW en route to an amazing title win over Omega and Page and an even more amazing performance in their title loss to the Young Bucks.  Now?  Look, this is going to be a good match, I have nothing against Marko Stunt.  Nothing.  I can't buy him as someone who should be competitive against the once best tag team in the world.  Spike Dudley got over by getting his head handed to him month in and month out in ECW.  Those beatings were a thing of brutality.  It got Spike over as a guy with all heart.  When he finally got over on the monsters, it meant something.  Spike beat Bam Bam Bigelow, he a was a legit tag team champion and had a hell of a World Title match against Mike Awesome on PPV.  With Stunt, we just get a nice competitive match week in and week out.  He doesn't stand out as a result.  He shouldn't be going toe to toe as an equal.

We're back from commercial and, as I feared, this is still being presented as a match.  In fact, its so competitive that it's taking away from Jungle Boy, who at this point in his career should never be presented as the "big man" in his team.  FTR FINALLY puts this away with the Big Rig.  This was easily 10 minutes longer than it should have been.

NWA Women's World Title match as Tay Conti challenges the single best comeback story of 2020, champion Serena Deeb.  Conti looks like a star.  She has these unique eyes that draw your attention.  The fact that's only wrestled professionally a bit over 3 years is astonishing for someone of her skill.  Deeb is the veteran, and they're not afraid to portray her as an elder stateswoman.  Doesn't make her old, just experienced.  JR reminds us that, at one point, Deeb would have been one of Conti's trainers at the outset of Tay's career.  Nice touch.  We're a mere couple of minutes into this and there's already a big fight feel. This is possibly Tay's first shot at gold.  She's wrestling very carefully, as someone in her position should in real life.  The moment doesn't seem to be getting to her.

Deeb is in trouble.  Conti is scoring some very close 2 counts. I'm liking this one, A LOT!  Conti is looking flustered with each near fall. In real life, you'd be excited in a moment like this.  I still like Deeb here and now she takes over.  She's the smart one out there.  she's been in more big matches than Tay has had matches probably.  Package Pedigree and Deeb scores the win to retain the gold.  Tremendous match.  I would have had zero issue if the 10-15 minutes I was hoping they'd take off the other matches got applied here.  Go out of your way to see this one!

MAIN EVENT TIME.  Taz joins commentary and speculates that AEW has it in for Team Taz.  They way they've been booked I think there's merit in that statement.  Think about it.  You've got a legend in Taz leading an almost perfect wrestling specimen (Cage), a hot up and comer with LOADS of personality (Starks) and a young prospect with a lot of upside (Hobbs).  They've been made to look weak.  This group deserves so much better.  I'd almost...ALMOST understand if the plan is for Cage to be TNT champion here.  The thing is, I don't see it happening tonight.  Darby just got press slammed over the top and through a table.  Darby is bleeding from the forehead.  Given the beating that Cage is administering here, I admit that I don't hate this blood.  It somewhat makes sense with the story of the match.

Darby is getting beaten 1/2 to death here and kicking out strongly at 1.  This has been all Cage so far.  They're not doing another Brodie Lee v Cody I squash here.  Allin, I fear, is going to come back from this to win.  No issue with this being a great match, Allin is a bonna fide AEW star. I love the kid but a strong kickout at 1 is not doing anything for Cage here.  Cage with a trio of powerbombs and then a powerbomb over the top and onto the ramp.  This is too much for someone to be able to come back from.  Cage loses this and I have no idea how he and the group recover.  Now Darby's back to life and nails a coffin drop on steel steps.  He should be dead after the beating he's taken.  There go the lights.  It's Sting.  At least Starks gets to take a bat shot from him.  Crucifix by Allin off the top and he scores the pin to retain.

Wrestling issues are supposed to be the heel (especially the heel faction) gets over on the babyface until the babyface can fight back.  Maybe Allin gets laid out a few weeks and THEN Sting comes to his aid.  Nope, essentially Team Taz is 0-7 so far in this feud.  They should mean a lot.  They don't.  God these guys deserve better.  Thanks for reading this blog of a mixed bag show.

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