home | wrestling | flashback_reviews | aew
by Samoa Rowe
April 8, 2020
From an undisclosed location (QT Marshal's gym) in a secret part of Georgia (the town of Norcross). Rumor has it that local police tried to shut down the taping, but the good people at AEW had their paperwork and permits to save themselves. The COVID-19 era rolls on with Chris Jericho and Tony Shiavone on commentary. There are more wrestlers filling in as fans, so we should have some good ambiance.
Jake Roberts cuts a promo in an ominous location. He compares the experience of facing Lance Archer to that of jumping out of an airplane without a parachute. Archer made an example of Marko Stunt. Jake questions if Cody is a man or mouse.
Lance Archer vs. Allen Ingles
Archer attacks the jobber before the bell rings and before the camera can catch up. Archer finishes with the Black Out at 1:35 to cap off a proper squash.
Winner: Lance Archer
Dr. Britt Baker vs. Hikaru Shida
Baker lands a kick and hides in the ropes from a ticked off Shida. A shoving match leads to Baker grabbing the hair to smash Shida into the buckles. Shida shows some fire so Baker runs away to lure her into giving up the higher ground. Baker serves a round of Methodical Heel Offense. Baker talks a ton of smack and poses next to a weary Shida. Baker reverses an Irish whip, but Shida piles her onto the rail, and some wrestlers hold Baker in place for Shida's drive-by kick. That sends us to commercial. Back from break, Shida scores a vertical suplex for 2. Shida counters Baker's roll-up into a head scissors armbar. Baker gets the ropes and hits a decent Sling Blade and Butterfly Suplex for 2. Baker hits a sloppy legsweep but Shida blocks the mandible claw. Shida hits a glancing enziguri and Baker nails a superkick. Baker has a nose bleed and Shida nearly ends it with a Michinoku Driver. She takes a medical glove from the ref and shoves it into Shida's mouth! A furious Shida hits a running kick to the bloody nose. Baker hits a swinging neckbreaker for 2 and another superkick. Britt laughs sadistically as she places Shida's open mouth on the ropes, but Shida avoids the curb stomp. They jockey for position on the turnbuckles until Shida slams her onto the top rope! Shida's running knee finishes at 17:07! This was rough around the edges, but they kept me guessing until the very end. Baker really got to shine as a dastardly heel, ***½.
Winner: Hikaru Shida
Kenny Omega and his buddy, Michael Nakazawa, prepare for their tag team reunion by brainstorming a new team name. Nakazawa suggests “Best Friends” and Omega tries to diplomatically talk him out of it. Orange Cassidy casually strolls in and opens their camper door for Chuck Taylor and Trent, who are pissed that they would consider stealing their name. I guess they can forget about having a friendly exhibition later on.
Pre-order the Young Bucks' new book, Killing the Business! That's a tremendous title.
Time for A Very Special Look at Jon Moxley vs. Jake Hager. Moxley isn't about putting smiles on peoples' faces (hahaha). Hager presents himself as a prize fighter in his training montage. His wife, Catalina, says they are a house of winners, so if Jake doesn't win, he cannot come home (HARSH!). Meanwhile, Moxley has been kicking lots of ass and carried himself all the way to the AEW title. Hager's coach puts him over for simultaneously being successful at pro wrestling and MMA. Hager has his sights set on being AEW Champion and Bellator Champion. Good package, these guys put way more thought into this title feud than they were expected to, given the circumstances.
Cody vs. Shawn Spears video package. Cody says that Warner asked them to create the TNT title, which was a funny change of pace. Spears says this tournament will put him on the map. Cody is taking this seriously, especially since he cannot compete for the World title, and he hasn't forgotten about the chair shot from Spears at Fyter Fest. Spears brags that he would smash Cody's head again.
Best Friends (Chuck Taylor and Trent, with Orange Cassidy) vs. Kenny Omega and Michael Nakazawa
Jericho mocks Nakazawa for blatantly keeping his baby oil on the mat and brags about all the weapons he hides in his own tights. Chuck and Kenny have a good sprint, but Best Friends scores a tandem axe handle, so Nakazawa tags himself in. Trent and Nak trade chops, so Nak covers himself in baby oil, which neutralizes Trent's chops. Nak and Omega enjoy themselves with their “Mini Skirt Police” kicking party. Omega bashes Trent into the corner, and then Nak viciously pulls the legs to crotch him against the post. Cue the commercial! The action immediately continues with Trent nursing his groin while Omega and Nak make quick tags. Desperation lariat by Trent and hot tag to Chuck. Nak runs into a drop toe hold and head butts Omega's groin. Best Friends hit stereo dives. OC enters the ring for a group hug, but denies Nak and Omega. Nak blatantly sprays his oil at Best Friends, but OC's sunglasses save him. Nak tosses the glasses, so OC casually pulls a second pair out of his pocket and hits the hands-in-pocket dive. Referee Aubrey Edwards seems cool with all of this. Nak catches Trent with a spear, and Taylor and Omega tag in. Omega victory rolls Taylor into a backstabber on Trent. Snap Dragon on Trent, who quickly comes back with a running boot. Taylor's sitout powerbomb on Omega needs a save from Nak. Omega hits a buckle bomb and Nak catches Taylor with a super fallaway slam. Doomsday Clothesline by Omega and Nak! Nak pulls his thong off and shoves it in Trent's face. Nak inadvertently puts the thong in Omega's face, and Best Friends almost finish with the Sole Food/Back drop combo. Trent's piledriver should have finished Nak, but Omega stops the count. Best Friends finish Nak with the Gory Bomb/Double Stomp combo at 16:31. This was almost as pointless as it was highly entertaining. Good win for Best Friends though. ***.
Winners: Best Friends
Both teams share a group hug around OC.
The Exalted One Brodie Lee continues his Vince McMahon parody series by dressing down two Dark Order minions for not wearing ties to the airport. This leads right into a 2020Census ad that I initially mistake for a Dark Order PSA.
A still bloody Britt Baker is interviewed backstage. She's angry at the notion that Hikaru Shida is a role model and calls her the dirtiest wrestler she's ever been in the ring with, and THANK GOODNESS she didn't touch her teeth.
Another Jake Hager training/dominance video package. He puts over his affiliation in the Inner Circle, as each member has brought something new out of him. Meanwhile, Jon Moxley makes a case that his grit and desire will be enough to save his title.
Broken Matt Hardy hosts a wacky promo from the Hardy Compound. He questions why "Hole of the Ass" Chris Jericho was wearing leather pants in a hot tub, accuses Spanish God Sammy Guevara as a false God, compares Ortiz and Santana to a delicious meal, and depicts Jake Hager as a Frankenstein monster. Vanguard1 will NEVAAA join the Inner Circle and they burn the Inner Circle shirt in the pit while having a back and forth conversation about what a dumpster fire the faction is. Hardy invites Chris Jericho to the Compound for a Delete the Elite showdown. Your mileage will vary, but I loved this.
Lee Johnson vs. Brodie Lee
The Exalted One slaps away a dropkick and nails a vicious big boot. Slingshot senton by Brodie and an overhead half nelson suplex. The Discus Lariat ends the massacre at 1:25. Chris Jericho spent the whole match gasping at Brodie's offense, great squash.
Winner: Brodie Lee
Brodie stares down Marko Stunt as if he'd like to squash him next.
TNT Championship Tournament - Opening Round:
Shawn Spears vs. Cody (with Brandi Rhodes)
Jericho complains about referee Aubrey Edwards always bossing him around while the guys feel each other out. Cody goes for an early Figure Four and Spears flees to ringside, where he exchanges shoves with Billy Gunn. Cody cuts off Spears' chair shot and hits a springboard cutter for 2. Spears is stuck on defense but makes enough counters to stay alive. Cody misses a moonsault, allowing Spears to hit a piledriver. Back from break, Cody comes back by smashing the Chairman around the ringside area, but Spears reverses a suplex onto a leaning guard rail. Cody is in trouble and Jericho loves it. Cody blocks a Frog Splash and delivers a hard power slam for 2. Cody uses his weight belt as a whip, and Edwards doesn't seem to mind, but Spears answers with a sitout powerbomb for 2. Cue the second commercial. They come back with Cody setting up a table on the floor. Sugar Dunkerton holds Spears still for Cody's ambush, but he comes right back with a superplex. Seems like anything goes in this one. Brandi distracts, but Spears blocks Cross Rhodes, and nearly knocks husband into wife. Spears settles for an Attitude Adjustment through the table! Cody is nearly counted out but hits a defiant pair of Cross Rhodes, but Spears kicks out! That was generous of Cody. The Figure Four finishes it via PINFALL at about 21:00. Good action, even if the booking felt sloppy (cheating babyfaces, weapon shots in front of the referee, etc).
Final Thoughts: This was fine, but it's clear that they're spinning their wheels to fill time until the world starts turning again.
Comment about this article on Da' Wrestling Boards!
back to AEW Index