It’s answer time. By that, we mean it’s the night Jon Moxley tells Chris Jericho whether he’s accepting membership in the Inner Circle. Also, probably some wrestling matches! It’s all set to go down live on TNT, so let’s get to it.
Not only is Tony Schiavone back, but it’s a four-man booth tonight as legendary Memphis Wrestling announcer Dave Brown joins in for tonight’s show from Southaven, Mississippi.
Match 1 – “Hangman” Adam Page and Kenny Omega vs. Private Party
Despite Page’s seeming desire to separate himself from The Elite (and he always seemed like a bit of an outsider anyway), the announcers put over the idea that he and Omega are professionals and will work together to get this W. They do turn out to be on the same page, and Brown says he is amazed by the athleticism of Private Party. Page manages not to smash Omega with a Buckshot Lariat, though later he takes a double dropkick that inadvertently crotches Omega on the top turnbuckle, and Page takes an accidental bump too. Despite those road bumps, Omega pins Marc Quen with the One-Winged Angel.
After the match, PAC appears on the big screen and rants that it’s Kenny’s fault that Michael Nakazawa is locked in the Brutalizer, as he wants his rubber match. Page encourages Omega to rush to his aid.
Match 2 – Kris Statlander (challenger) vs. Riho (champion) – AEW Women’s Championship Match
Dave Brown is out and Brandi Rhodes is in at the announce table … not exactly an upgrade. And will someone please tell Jim Ross exactly when the commercial breaks are coming? It continues to feel like these two don’t have terrific chemistry when paired together, but Statlander clearly has impressed someone to be in the title picture this early. Rhodes’ Nightmare Collective shows up ringside, Brandi walks down the ramp and gets in Statlander’s face, and the whole thing gets even weirder when Dr. Luther emerges from beneath the ring, apparently also now a member of the Nightmare Collective. Whatever. The match continues through all this in a classic case of overbooking, particularly when Awesome Kong trips Statlander and allows Riho to get the pin. Kong assaults Statlander after the bell, and while Hikaru Shida comes to the aid of the downfallen, Britt Baker does not. Way too much going on here.
A video package tells us more about the Superbad combo of Kip Sabian and Penelope Ford, complete with the low blow to Joey Janela.
Match 3 – Christopher Daniels vs. Sammy Guevara
You fancy youth vs. experience? You’ve got it. Despite being pushed pretty hard as part of the Inner Circle, Guevara feels like he could use a win. But since nothing can go off without run-ins it seems, Pentagon Jr. issues a challenge from the ramp that serves as a distraction to allow Guevara to get a pinfall. That might not have helped anyone. Oh, and the Dark Order comes out right after the bell, with Evil Uno trying to convince Daniels to join because no one believes in him any more. He refuses, of course, and it’s not only the rest of the SCU but the Young Bucks who rush to his aid. Scorpio Sky takes flight and takes out a number of the heels, and Daniels shows he can still fly with an impressive Best Moonsault Ever.
Match 4 – Lucha Brothers vs. “The Natural” Dustin Rhodes and “The American Nightmare” Cody (w/ Arn Anderson)
All proceeds from Cody’s new shirt go to the NSW Rural Fire Service, so good on him. The Lucha Brothers have gradually been drifting toward full heel status and continue that here as Rey Fenix picks up a chair, but The Enforcer kicks it out of his hand. The in-ring action does not disappoint, with Dustin hitting the Final Reckoning on Fenix to secure a victory.
Schiavone wants to know if Cody has decided whether or not to accept MJF’s stipulations for a match, but Anderson interjects and tells him … we’ll find out next week — to the dismay of the fans, who hit him with some boos. MJF wants Cody to return to the ring, but instead of the American Nightmare, he gets DDP instead. He dubs MJF Motormouth Jackoff Friedman, which is at least a little funny. MJF takes exception to that, summoning the Butcher and the Blade to do his dirty work. He crosses the line when he talks about DDP’s daughters, though, and both Butcher and Blade end up taking Diamond Cutters. Alas, Bunny steps in and MJF hits DDP with a low kick. It looks like bad news for DDP until QT Marshall(!) and Dustin Rhodes slide in to make the save, sending MJF, Wardlow and Bunny scurrying away.
Match 5 – Jurassic Express vs. Best Friends and Orange Cassidy
Stop the presses, Orange Cassidy is in a match! J.R. sells this encounter as six of the fastest rising stars in AEW, and while that might be a bit of an exaggeration, it’s also not completely ridiculous. Not sure why they go to a full commercial break during this match, but there’s a lot I continue to not understand about the breaks during Dynamite. Cassidy gets a huge pop when he finally tags in, and another when he hits a freshly squeezed dive to the outside. Orange also signals for a fancy top rope move but simply falls off the top turnbuckle for a splash. In the end, Jungle Boy pins Chuck Taylor to end what was definitely the most fun match of the show.
This show isn’t ending with a match, but with the Inner Circle in the ring to get a final decision from Jon Moxley. Chris Jericho says the Ford GT is gassed up and ready to go, and Santana and Ortiz are preparing a celebration. Mox says he has had a lot to think about and that a lot more went into it than many people think. Though Moxley says no one really knows his motivations and teases a refusal by saying he isn’t motivated by money or cars, he says his goal to dominate and run roughshod over AEW is best accomplished by joining the Inner Circle. He opens his jacket to reveal an Inner Circle t-shirt, so the only thing left is to pop open a little bit of the bubbly. Surely this is a long con by Mox, right? He asks for the keys to the Ford GT, so something must be up. Moxley finally shows his hand after Guevara and Jake Hager leave the ring, telling Jericho he was just kidding, and that he has nothing he wants: except the AEW Championship. Mox busts a bottle of the bubbly over Jericho’s head, hits the Paradigm Shift and heads back up into the stands. A little long, but not too bad, especially since the rest of this episode felt so cluttered. See you in seven!
Nick Tylwalk has been with SLAM! Wrestling since the dawn of time, or at least since before the turn of the century. He spends his days doing PR things, but he’ll always make time to sneak away for some wrestling.