Happy Thanksgivin' Thumpin' to you and yours!
From the Sears Centre Arena in Chicago, Illinois. Our hosts are Jim Ross, Marco Solis Martinez, and Excalibur.
Cold open heads right to Chris Jericho's Thanksgiving Ceremony. Soul Train Jones is in the ring, which is full of oversized gifts, mascots, and a framed portrait of the Inner Circle. There's a live marching band playing on the ramp. The crowd is superhot for all this nonsense, and Jones wastes little time introducing Le Champion Chris Jericho! Crowd chants "Thank you, Jericho"'" but he tells them all to shut up. Jericho doesn't want thank you's from people who don't matter, but will offer them 50 cents off his t-shirts! Jericho says after months of searching, they found the right grapes to produce the official "Little Big of the Bubbly" beverage, which is on sale now! Jericho and Jones enjoy a taste while the crowd chants "bubbly." Jericho welcomes his fellow Inner Circle cohorts to the party. If this were WWE, I'd expect some babyface to be hiding in the oversized presents or disguised as a mascot, though I admit I'm a bit worried that's where this is heading. Sammy Guevara thanks his father figure, Jericho, and unveils his gift: a cardboard cutout of them hugging. Jericho loves the gift and hugs the Spanish God. Santana and Ortiz have a gift basket for Le Champion, full of random items, and they make him an honorary Puerto Rican. Jericho demands to know where the missing Jake Hager is. Hager enters from the side, trying to lead a live goat into the arena. Hager brands it "Chris JeriGoat" and the crowd is eating this up. Jericho wants to know what's in the big present, and it's his father, Ted Irvine! Daddy Jericho says "It's great to be back in New York City" to great heat. Jericho explains they're in Chicago, so Ted reminisces about all the times he beat the crap out of the Chicago Blackhawks. Ted has custom New York Rangers jerseys for all the Inner Circle guys. Jericho is clearly enjoying himself as he reveals a written thank you statement from AEW brass and orders ring announcer Justin Roberts to read it for him. Jericho doesn't like Roberts' tone so they beat him up. The marching band runs in for the save, and it turns out to be SCU in disguise. The Inner Circle retreat, leaving poor Soul Train behind as a patsy. I can already hear the WWE loyalists screaming from their keyboards "YOU WOULD HATE THIS IF IT WAS ON RAW" but this actually managed to be funny, put heat on the heels, and had a ton of thought behind it. If you're going to do Sports Entertainment, do it this way.
Best Friends make their entrance (Orange Cassidy is dressed as a bat, or flying squirrel, or some nonsense) but are ambushed by Lucha Bros. Best Friends reverse whips into the barricade and hold them in position for Orange Cassidy's dive.
Jon Moxley cuts a backstage promo. He puts himself over as napalm death, burning across the country side. He challenges anyone on the roster to step up to be a hero but get seriously hurt instead. I'm digging Moxley's act.
Cody takes a mic and wastes no time calling MJF out for a fight. Instead, "The Blade" emerges from under the ring and attacks Cody. He's followed by "The Butcher" who helps hit a double team suplex. The crowd is confused but plays along. They are joined by "The Bunny" Allie, who seems to have recruited these guys to AEW. I turn to my good friend, Google, who informs me that these guys are Andy Williams and Pepper Parks. Not familiar with either guy, aside from Parks, who I used to always end up signing to my fed when I'd play Extreme Warfare Revenge. That means he's good, right? Cold debut, but AEW has earned the right for me to let it play out and see where it goes.
Dynamite Diamond Ring Match:
Maxwell Jacob Friedman (with Wardlow) vs. Hangman Page Page is hot and attacks MJF before the bell. Wardlow resists getting involved as Page clotheslines MJF over the guard rail. They cut to a break, and MJF gains the advantage for a bit. They return, with Page hitting a suicide dive, followed by a moonsault! Now, THAT'S some real cowboy sh!t! MJF grabs the ref to avoid a buckshot lariat and then pokes the eyes. Page hits a discus lariat anyway for 2. Page counters into the buckshot lariat, but Wardlow puts MJF's foot on the ropes! Page stupidly leans in to talk smack and Wardlow slugs him! MJF easily hits a Cross Rhodes for the win at 6:30. This was effective in putting over MJF's new game plan, but not much of a match in it's own right, **.
Diamond Dallas Page arrives to present MJF with his victory ring. Crowd interrupts the ceremony with a loud "DDP" chant. MJF takes his newly won ring to a loud "@sshole" chant. DDP continues, saying that some of MJF's actions have been very disappointing, but since he is the bigger man, he will congratulate him like a man. MJF offers a disrespectful handshake, which fires up DDP, but Wardlow gets between them. DDP tells Wardlow he's going to look stupid when a 63 year old man kicks his ass all over Chicago. The ring fills with referees and officials as a brawl almost breaks out.
Jen Decker interviews Dustin Rhodes in the ring. Dustin hasn't forgotten that Jake Hager broke his arm and is out for his blood. The Inner Circle runs in for a 3 on 1 beatdown, but The Young Bucks make a timely save with a SUPERKICK PARTAY! Santana, Ortiz, and Guevara all suffer Shattered Dreams and the crowd pleasing segment ends on a good note.
A poor schlub finds an advertisement for the Dark Order on a telephone pole and is easily recruited. He attends a meeting, and is easily indoctrinated into the cult-like group of incels.
Jericho isn't' satisfied and reapplies the Walls of Jericho. Jon Moxley waltzes in through the stands to a superstar ovation. Jericho breaks the hold and taunts Moxley with his championship. Great to see the seeds planted for a big Jericho vs. Moxley title showdown.
Final Thoughts: I love this show so much I could cry. Or burst into song. Or both. Consider my Thanksgiving royally thumped.Final Thoughts: This flew by and was awesome all the way through. Excuse me while I mark out. Thumbs Up.