Commentators: Jim Ross, Excalibur, & Tony Schiavone
The Tag Team Title tournament continues this week on Dynamite as Best Friends take on SCU and The Lucha Bros take on Jurassic Express. We’ve also got TWO title defenses on the show as Riho defends the Women’s World Title against Britt Baker (occupation: unknown) and, in the main event, Chris Jericho goes full Painmaker in his first World Title defense against Darby Allin.
- AEW WORLD CHAMPION: Chris Jericho
- AEW WOMEN’S WORLD CHAMPION: Riho
- AEW WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: Vacant
- AEW Tag Team Title Tournament – Quarterfinals: Best Friends vs. SoCal Uncensored (***1/2)
- Santana & Ortiz vs. Alex Reynolds & John Silver (SQUASH)
- Riho [c] vs. Britt Baker for the AEW WOMEN’S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP (**)
- AEW TAG TEAM TITLE TOURNAMENT – QUARTERFINALS: Jurassic Express vs. The Lucha Bros (***)
- PHILADELPHIA STREET FIGHT: Chris Jericho [c] vs. Darby Allin for the AEW WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP (***1/4)
–SoCal Uncensored (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian) make their entrance for the opening contest…but it’s cut short by a sneak attack by The Lucha Bros that ends with Kazarian going back-first into the post and Daniels getting drilled into the steel ramp with a package piledriver. The third SCU member, Scorpion Sky, makes his way out in street clothes to scare off The Lucha Bros, Daniels gets loaded on a gurney while being supervised by The Young Bucks and CIMA. Sky asks the ref to take Daniels’ place and the ref agrees, then Sky grabs some tape and tapes his wrists up. Match is still on!
- Great way to open the show and I absolutely LOVE that Sky had to tape up his wrists and wrestle in street clothes. He wasn’t scheduled for a match so obviously he wouldn’t be in his gear but that’s an attention to detail I rarely see so it really stuck out here.
AEW WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT: QUARTERFINALS
SCU (Scorpio Sky & Frankie Kazarian) vs. Best Friends (Chuck Taylor & Trent Barreta)
Best Friends immediately focus on Kazarian’s injured back and almost get the pin after a Trent cutter but Sky breaks up the count. Trent makes him pay with a release German suplex then Best Friends toss one of his shoes into the crowd, Chuck adding insult to injury by BITING HIS TOES. Ew dude. Best Friends send Kazarian back-first into the apron and guardrail, Chuck double stomps him from the apron and Trent drills him with a spear. Best Friends connect with an assisted Superplex (one on the shoulders of the other) but Kazarian still manages to kick out. Kazarian fights back and Sky gets the hot tag, countering Chuck’s backdrop with a double stomp Action moves to the floor, Chuck accidentally hits Trent with a tope con hilo when Sky pulls him in the way, Kazarian connects with a slingshot hurricanrana. Sky follows up with a tope con hilo and is so hyped up that he throws his OTHER shoe into the crowd. Best Friends fight back, hitting a combo Soul Food and half-nelson suplex on Kazarian. They try to hug, Sky breaks it up and eats a Sexy Chuckie Knee from Trent. Finally they hug and we get the Okada-style zoom out which RULES. Best Friends hit a Doomsday Knee Strike on Kazarian, but Kazarian still manages to kick out! Sky whips Chuck into the guardrail while Kazarian counters a piledriver and backdrops Trent on the apron, THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING. Back in SCU finish with a power bomb into a dropkick (…sorta) for the 1…2…3!
SCU defeated Best Friends via pinfall (9:57)
- They beefed the finish but besides that it was a damn good match, with Scorpio Sky looking like a superstar. This Philly crowd rules. Lots of fun near-falls and spots, and SCU still managing to get the win even with the substitution was cool. Will this cause some friction between Daniels and Sky since he was replaced and the team didn’t lose a step? Eh maybe. ANYWAY SCU moves on and will meet The Dark Order in the semi-finals next week. (***1/2)
–John Silver & Alex Reynolds make their entrance for the next match during the picture-in-picture commercial break.
-Back live out come Santana & Ortiz, covered in all sorts of Puerto Rican flags. Their video calls them Proud & Powerful, their theme song talks about being Proud & Powerful, but the ring announcer just calls them Santana & Ortiz. LEARN TO READ AND LISTEN, MAN.
Proud & Powerful (Santana & Ortiz) vs. John Silver & Alex Reynolds
Silver kicks Santana and does a goofy celebration, then gets the sh*t kicked out of him for the rest of the time, P&P ending things quickly with the Street Sweeper.
Proud & Powerful defeated John Silver & Alex Reynolds via pinfall (2:00)
- Fun squash for what it was. (SQUASH)
-Ortiz & Santana celebrate up the ramp when Chris Jericho, LE CHAMPION and the leader of the Inner Circle, appears on the jumbo tron. Jericho calls them pitbulls and thugs, in a positive (and honestly vaguely racist) way, and talks for them saying that they challenge The Young Bucks for Full Gear. Will they accept? I mean probably. Ortiz yelling “THE BEST” through the whole thing was cool as sh*t, very Terry Funk “FOREVER”-like.
-VIDEO: Brandi Rhodes, Diamond Dallas Page, MJF, and Michelle Rubio (Cody’s mom) talk about how focused and driven Cody is to become the World Champion, and how nothing means more to him. A well-produced video that made the World Title look like the biggest deal in the world and did a great job hyping him heading into Full Gear. MORE OF THIS ON THE DAMN TV, PLEASE. That ruled so hard.
Riho [c] vs. Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. for the AEW WOMEN’S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Rihio is tiny, Baker is a dentist. I think I understand now. They won their tag team match last week over Bea Priestly & Emi Sakura so they proved they can be partners, but how will they be as opponents?
Baker is the bigger one so she’s in control at the start, attempting the Lock Jaw early but Riho gets to the ropes to force the break. They fight on the buckles, Riho knocks Baker off and hits a crossbody but Baker rolls through for the 1…2…Riho bridges out and belts her with a dropkick, followed by a cazadora into a double stomp. Baker dodges another stomp attempt and sort-of hits a sling blade followed by a TKO stunner and a running boot, but Riho kicks out of the lateral press. Baker blocks an inside cradle attempt, Riho is small you see, and counters with a fisherman neckbreaker. Riho hits a flying double stomp to the back and running double knees, but Baker kicks out of the subsequent pinfall attempts. Baker sends Riho into the buckles and connects with a rip cord elbow. She goes for Lock Jaw but Riho refuses to open her mouth and shifts her weight into a roll-up for the 1…2…3!
Riho [c] defeated Britt Baker via pinfall to retain the AEW WORLD WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP (8:20)
- This was…not good. Even the Philly crowd, hot for everything else, struggled to maintain their excitement and energy for this one. Britt Baker is not giving me the same amount of confidence AEW has in her but maybe I just haven’t seen her in the right match yet. Her finisher is cool at least. Riho bouncing around the ring and using her small stature to her advantage to get victories is cool and makes her reign believable. Still though this match did almost next to nothing for me and I hate saying that. (*3/4)
Baker shakes Riho’s hand after the match in a show of respect. And out comes Bea Priestly to…oh wait she doesn’t come out to attack? Fair enough. Felt like this match/segment should have had SOME sort of interference to sell the blood feud with Baker, to be honest.
-EARLIER IN THE SHOW: Pentagon drops Daniels on his head with a package piledriver. He suffered a stinger but he’s okay now and walking around.
AEW WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT: QUARTERFINALS
Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy & Marko Stunt) vs. The Lucha Bros (Pentagon Jr. & Rey Fenix)
Luchasaurus is injured so Stunt is replacing him in this match. BOOOOOOOOOOO. That’s legitimately disappointing, he makes this whole Jurassic Express team work. Also yay for being sad a wrestling dinosaur isn’t on the show, pro wrestling is cool.
Stunt and Pentagon trade taunts. Pentagon throws his glove at Jungle Boy then tries another “Cero Miedo” but Stunt bites his hand and follows up with a hurricanrana. Fenix runs in and kicks Jungle Boy down. Pentagon throws Stunt onto Fenix, who hits a DDT! Jungle Boy runs in and DDts Pentagon. Lucha Bros bail to the floor, Jungle Boy holds the ropes open and Stunt goes flying with a tope onto Fenix, Jungle Boy hitting the other FIGHT BRUTHA with an Asai moonsault. Tremendous. Things go good for Jurassic Express until they don’t, Pentagon nearly taking all of Stunt’s teeth out with a big boot to the mush. Fenix tags in and hits Stunt with a step-up enzuigiri as he completes an armdrag on Jungle Boy. Beautiful. Pentagon connects with a pumphandle driver for a two-count, Fenix tosses Jungle Boy into the ring steps. We move to picture-in-picture commercial break, which has the Lucha Bros bullying Stunt with chops and a ONE-HANDED gorilla press into a superkick.
Back to the full screen for Stunt to connect with a leg lariat. Jungle Boy gets the tag and hits an inverted slam on Fenix while Stunt hits another tope to Pentagon on the floor. Stunt connects with a 450 Splash on Fenix and Jungle Boy follows up with a standing shooting star for the 1…2…NO! Pentagon hits Jungle Boy with a Destroyer, then snaps Stunt’s arm with an armbreaker. Lucha Bros finish things off with a Package Piledriver/Double Stomp combo on Stunt for the win.
The Lucha Bros defeated Jurassic Express via pinfall (11:32)
- Some fun spots by both teams and I loved Lucha Bros playing to the crowd and just bullying the sh*t out of Stunt during the commercial break. However the pacing of the match felt off, like they were dragging it out longer than it needed to be and it took some of the wind out of its sails. Nothing wrong with an eight-minute sprint, y’all. Lucha Bros meet Private Party in the semi-finals next week. (***)
“The Cleaner” Kenny Omega & “Hangman” Adam Page vs. “The Bastard” PAC & Jon Moxley
We get an insert promo from Mox during his entrance, where he asserts himself as the man on top of the food chain who wants to mount Omega’s head on his wall at Full Gear. All four men brawl IMMEDIATELY, Page and PAC on the floor and Omega and Mox in the ring. Mox connects with a lariat and launches into full-mount rights. Page connects with a big boot, PAC tags in and belts Page with a step-up enzuigiri. Mox tags himself in and wrecks Omega with knees and a clothesline. Omega responds with a snap suplex, Page tags in and hits a slingshot splash (pescado?) on PAC and a flying clothesline on Mox for a two-count. Page boots Mox to the floor and heads to the top, PAC distracts him and Mox shoves him off the buckles, sending him flipping onto the apron. DAMN.
We move to picture-in-picture as PAC hits Page with a moonsault on the floor. Omega tries to check on his partner, Mox attacks and sends him into the guardrail. Back to full screen Mox hits a sliding clothesline on Page and locks in a Cloverleaf, which is broken up by Omega. PAC tosses him out, Page belts Mox with a series of lariat strikes into an actual lariat. Omega and PAC both tag in for their team, the former hits the latter with rolling senton right into a moonsault from the middle turnbuckle. Mox runs in and eats a snap Dragon Suplex, as does PAC…and then Mox again! Action moves to the floor, Mox hits Omega and his own partner with a double tope suicida and Page follows with a moonsault on PAC and Mox. Omega and Page do some TANDEM OFFENSE, Mox breaks up the pinfall attempt. Omega hits a V-Trigger on Mox, PAC catches Omega with a slingshot cutter. Page sends the Bastard to the floor via backdrop and hits a tope suicida that drives him HARD into the barricade. Omega hits another V-Trigger on Mox, Mox responds by turning him inside out with a lariat.
They roll to opposite ends of the floor, Omega grabs the BARBED-WIRE BROOM while Mox grabs the BARBED WIRE BAT. Mox hits Omega with the regular side of the bat but before he can use it further PAC runs in and throws the weapon out of the ring, not wanting to be DQed. Annoyed at his duel once again being interrupted Mox flips PAC off and hits the Paradigm Shift before leaving the Bastard to fend for himself. It does not go well as he eats a Buckshot Lariat, a V-Trigger, and finally the Dead Eye for the 1…2…3. Eyyyy Page won something!
Kenny Omega & Adam Page defeated PAC & Jon Moxley via pinfall (15:02)
- Super fun match that built the Omega/Mox feud well including PAC who once again spoiled the duel they both want. I’m pumped to see them actually USE their barbed wire weapons at Full Gear. Page didn’t really have a dog in the fight but he did get the win for his team so he finally snapped that losing streak which he needed to do. (***1/4)
NEXT WEEK: The Tag Team Title semi-finals, Britt Baker & The Young Bucks in action, and PAC will take on Jon Moxley in singles action! Oh maaaaaan that’s going to be a good one, including Omega’s inevitable interference.
PHILADELPHIA STREET FIGHT
“The Painmaker” Chris Jericho [c] vs. Darby Allin for the AEW WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Jericho bust out his “Painmaker” persona, which means different tights and some hastily-added Crow makeup. It’s real goofy. Allin won this title shot last week on Dynamite and also had the best moment of that show, skateboarding down to the ring to attack the champ in the closing segment. He has a custom skateboard for this one and his skeleton side has “Champ” written down a bunch like an asylum wall.
Allin is a house of fire immediately, sending Jericho to the floor and hitting a tremendous tope suicida between the middle and bottom rope. Allin slaps Jericho repeatedly and hits a sunset bomb for a two-count. Jericho puts the stops to the onslaught with a lariat, then whips Allin in between the buckles and into the post, the challenger landing awkward on his knee as we go to commercial. A real commercial. WHY NOT DO THE PICTURE-IN-PICTURE FOR THE MAIN EVENT? I think I said that last week but it still drives me nuts.
Back live Jericho has a kendo stick in hand and chokes Allin with it. Allin fights back with speedy jabs and rolls the champ up with a crucifix for a two-count. Allin rolls Jericho up with an O’Connor for the 1…2…Jericho kicks him into the ropes, Allin comes flying off with a splash for the 1…2…Jericho kicks out and Allin immediately moves into a Fujiwara Armbar. Jericho counters into the Walls of Jericho, Allin forces a rope break. This street fight has rope breaks which is weird but at least the commentators told everyone up front. Jericho grabs a chair and hits Allin with it, then wedges it in between a top and middle buckle. Frustrated, Jericho grabs gaffer’s tape and tapes Allin’s arms behind his back. Allin, however, will not be denied and fights back despite having no hands, hitting a senton through the ropes and a Whisper in the Wind when they get back into the ring. Orange Cassidy is unimpressed. Jericho connects with a gutwrench power bomb onto Allin’s custom skateboard for the 1…2…ALLIN GETS HIS SHOULDER UP. Allin dropkicks the chair into Jericho’s face and starts the climb for the Coffin Drop but out comes Jake Hager who belts him with a right hand. Allin stumbles off the buckles and Jericho locks in the Walls of Jericho for the win.
Chris Jericho [c] defeated Darby Allin via submission to retain the AEW WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP (13:07 shown)
- Darby Allin is a f*cking World Champion in the making, at least a short run for a week or something. He ruled here and Jericho did a great job putting him over by needing to tape his hands behind his back and a Hager run-in to save his title. I thought the match itself was pretty good overall, but Jericho’s whole “Painmaker” thing is real goofy and added NOTHING to this except bad face-paint. (***)
After the match the rest of the Inner Circle (Ortiz, Santana, and Sammy Guevara) come out to celebrate with A LITTLE BIT OF THE BUBBLY. End of show.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Good show this week; Dynamite still flies by which is great, and the in-ring action for the most part was solid here. Some matches did feel longer than needed though and I would not be mad if they shortened some of these to add in more storyline stuff. Give me more of those Cody-style videos and I’ll be happy. The Omega/Mox build was great, Mox getting mad at PAC for ruining his duel for the second week in a row was fun and I’m looking forward to that match next week. Only true weak spot was the Women’s World Title match but even that’s relatively watchable. I’m excited for this Tag Team Title tournament to end so we can get to some more story. GIMME DAT STORY.