The Part-Time Champ is back to defend her Championship! In our world of constant wrestling content, it’s become impossible for me to keep up with anything not called NXT. So instead of hanging up my boots or drowning in wrestling, I’ve taken an alternative route of only watching pay-per-views and other special events. No context, no spoilers, no problem. It all comes down to one question: Is less wrestling actually more? With only a few rumours swirling around my head, how will my experience differ from the rest of the wrestling community’s? Let’s find out.
Today’s Edition: AEW’s Revolution
That’s Revolution, not to be confused with NXT TakeOver: R-Evolution. Much as I enjoy the existence of AEW, a rising tide raises all ships and all that, I haven’t been bothered to actually keep up with the weekly show. I find I enjoy this type of show in small doses, 4 times a year is plenty. Though I am excited to see how it’s grown since the last time I watched AEW a few months ago.
Here’s What I Know
Literally nothing! I believe Chris Jericho is still Le Champion. I think there was a boat. Luckily the pre-show has come to the rescue.
One of the things I enjoy the most about AEW is their preshows and the use of documentary-style hype videos. They do a better job than most of presenting the whole thing like a boxing match or MMA fight. It also catches me up quick to what’s going on and why I should care.
A couple of the videos stand out to me, the first being the AEW Women’s Championship. Nyala Rose is great and a very convincing champion, but it’s the Kris Stalander parts that are really exciting to me. Let’s be real, if Kris were in WWE we would all think this alien gimmick was the dumbest thing ever. There’s something about it that really works about it here. The commentators are all 100% committed to it, there’s no nudge nudge wink wink. Without an ounce of sarcasm, they recount the time they’ve lost after being bopped on the nose by her. I’m living for it.
Apparently, Kenny Omega and Adam Hangman Paige are tag team champions now. This is news to me. We see some footage from Being the Elite of the boys having ~drama because the Young Bucks want the titles and because Omega and Paige are having trust issues. I’ve decided I do not care about these boys’ drama.
Cody and MJF are the big grudge match of the night and it seems Cody has had to jump through some hoops to get it. Which seems weird to me, considering he’s the VP of whatever for AEW. Couldn’t he have just been like “hey Tony make this match” and it would’ve been made? Since when are you able to say no to a match if you’re not a champion? Tony Khan is cool with you regifting the watch he gave you but not with making MJF fight you? The whole thing is bizarre.
Finally, there’s Chris Jericho and Jon Moxley. Mox is a pirate now. He’s been training with the best in the world, and Jericho, God’s gift to earth, is ripping on each and every one of them. “I’m pretty sure I kicked their asses in a bar fight in Las Vegas I’ve already forgotten.” Incredible.
Big picture, I did think this was a great show. The greatest show I’ve ever seen? Eh, I wouldn’t go that far. Talking to people, I noticed many were comparing this and WWE’s latest Saudi Arabia show that I did not watch and do not care about. I don’t feel the need to compare the two in that way, and much as I like AEW, I don’t think it’s the saviour of wrestling. But hey, this was excellent.
I give it an Orange Cassidy very enthusiastic thumbs up. This is like, elated for him!
It is quite poetic that the show was bookended by two matches that could have happened (or did happen) in WWE a few short years ago. More on that later. Jack Swa- I mean Hager vs Dustin Rhodes reminded me of this fact far too easily. Dustin clearly made some moves to delineate between his character Golddust and this new iteration, but it still felt like an iteration. Meanwhile, Jack feels exactly as uninspired as he did back in the WWE days. This match was a lowlight of mine. Also please stop kissing women against their will, thanks.
As expected from the preshow, I have some questions about MJF vs Cody. Why did Cody have to subject himself to a whipping to get this match? Did MJF also accept the Rolex and the keys to Cody’s fancy vehicle? I hear Max loves that car. Who let Downstait perform live? What is happening with that neck tattoo? Who are all of these people in Cody’s entourage? Why did they agree to wear matching tracksuits? Most importantly, why does it feel like something is missing?
"Brandi, you let him get away with… so much." – my mom, on: 1. Cody's neck tattoo, 2. Downstait being allowed to perform live, 3. Cody's WrestleMania entrances every pay-per-view, 4. those tracksuits #AEWRevolution
— LaToya Ferguson (@lafergs) March 1, 2020
In all seriousness, I can’t put my finger on it, but it felt like something was just not coming across in this match. The build-up was solid, but when it came down to it, I just wasn’t sold on the storytelling. It seems like this was a fairly polarizing match. I know a lot of people who enjoyed it fully and others who agreed on it sort of fell flat.
Miscellaneous Hot Take Intermission:
Before I get to the main event, let’s take a moment to celebrate and criticize the rest of the show.
Nyla Rose vs Kris Statlander: Much as I was immediately sold on both these women and thought they delivered a great match, I feel that the women’s division is lacking. Sure they got a cool video package, but it still felt like such an afterthought. It doesn’t feel like AEW is bringing it when it comes to their women. They’re not putting in the time and effort. When RAW and SmackDown Live have a leg up on your women’s division, you have a problem.
Orange Cassidy vs PAC: Hot damn, I love Orange Cassidy. It’s impossible to ignore that just like Statlander if he was in WWE, we would think this was so dumb. There’s something worth thinking about there about our preconceived notions and how expectations shape our experience with wrestling. But you know what, I’m not even thinking of that right now because I’m too busy enjoying Orange Cassidy.
Omega & Page vs The Young Bucks: Look, I still don’t care about these boys’ drama. What I will say, is that other than the fact this was a truly excellent match, I do really like the story here. When AEW was announced, we all expected the Bucks would be the tag champions. I love that they’re having to fight from underneath for it. The idea that everyone, even tag teams that aren’t really tag teams, has held the championships before them just sings. It’s going to be a very big deal when they eventually win.
The Main Event
We close out the night with Chris Jericho vs Jon Moxley for the AEW Championship. To be honest, this match isn’t my wrestling cup of tea. Generally speaking, Mox doesn’t work for me because in my heart I am a small child who is afraid of blood. To AEW’s credit, they do a good job of having multiple different styles so that you can find a cup of tea that’s for you. I think that’s great, not everything has to be for you. Sometimes I do feel like it gets in the way, like the time I didn’t even finish Kenny Omega vs. Jon Moxley because I felt sick. Other times, like this one, I just sort of tune out the ultraviolence and enjoy the story. The story is fantastic.
As entrances begin, I’m mesmerized by Meredith Bell’s beautiful rendition of Judas. It’s not on Spotify, I checked. Between that and Mox’s eye patch, I’m so distracted I completely forget we’ve actually seen this match before. It’s not until a friend of mine mentions Mitch the House Plant (RIP) that I remember the Ambrose Asylum match.
Unlike the Swagger vs Dustin Rhodes match that opened the show, this feels entirely distinct from WWE Chris Jericho and Dean Ambrose. A lot of that is to the credit of Jericho. Make no mistake, Jericho is the greatest of all time. He is able to be just as over in 2020 as he was when Y2J debuted two decades ago. His self-reinvention is a huge asset. Which, of course, isn’t to discount how Jon Moxley is doing the work of his career. Though he always had great comedic timing, Mox was always best when he was playing utterly pissed off. He excels at that deeply personal furry, it’s what made Ambrose vs. Rollins so good and Ambrose vs. Jericho so… not. Aside from avenging Mitch the House Plant (RIP), there was no personal stake in that match that I can actually remember.
This time, you can feel the disdain between Mox and Jericho. It doesn’t matter if I understand what caused so much bad blood between them. They’re selling it like nobody’s business. When wrestling is great, you forget that it’s fake – ahem, predetermined. Less than a year ago, Jericho so delightfully interrupted his own podcast to say, “hello Renee, how are you?” when Jon’s wife walked into the kitchen during recording. You’d never know that’s the same guy who went for Mox’s eye with a sharp pointy object. Their work makes me genuinely believe that they hate each other even though that’s probably not true.
Jericho’s reign was legendary, but ultimately, this felt like the right time to pass it on. Moxley was arguably AEW’s biggest steal from WWE and an instant star. He’s the guy to take the company into the next stage. It’s fantastic to see him reach such heights and look so incredibly happy.
Let us just remember those of us who could not be here to celebrate this tremendous day.