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by Samoa Rowe
February 29, 2020
Written in January/February 2021. Follow me on Twitter @SamoaRowe.
On the eve of COVID-19 changing everything, AEW was firing on all cylinders and presented Revolution on pay-per-view, live from the sold out Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois. Our hosts are Jim Ross, Tony Shiavone, and Excalibur
Dustin Rhodes (with QT Marshall) vs. Jake Hager
Hager earns some easy heat by making out with his wife in the front row. He doesn't like Dustin's "I'm here to fight Jericho's b!tch" t-shirt and has an aggressive start. Dustin shakes off a back suplex and leads Hager through the crowd. Dustin dismantles Jake's arm with the ring post. Hager hits a back suplex onto the apron and then a lariat for a breather (3 minutes in). Fans chant "Jericho's b!tch" and this sort of crowd feels otherworldly to my January 2021 sensibilities. Hager takes time to chat with Mrs. Hager, but Dustin knocks him aside and steals a kiss, smearing his makeup all over his face. Not cool, bro. Dustin rallies with his usual tricks, hitting a powerslam for 2. Hager chop blocks the knee, but Dustin blocks the Hager Bomb. Scoop slam by Hager and a proper Hager Bomb gets 2. Hager's gutwrench powerbomb also gets 2, and the crowd wills Dustin on. Dustin backdrops Hager to ringside and his face bounces off the apron. Low blow by Dustin and a rough Code Red gets 2. Hager reverses a cross armbreaker into an ankle lock. Dustin breaks free but the ref doesn't see Hager's low blow. Hager applies a standing sleeper and wins at 14:45! Average match that was out of place as the show opener, **½.
Winner: Jake Hager
Coming on March 25h, Blood and Guts in Newark, NJ! Now, I'm depressed. Every plan is a tiny prayer to Father Time, amirite?
Sammy Guevara vs. Darby Allin
Why wasn't this the opener? There's a loud "Darby" chant during his entrance and he skates right into a slick tope suicida. Shotgun dropkick by Allin and a vicious throw into the rails. Darby misses a head of steam, and Sammy hits a leaping kick off the steps. Darby hits a suplex onto the barricade and then misfires on a dive and flies headfirst into the steel! Sammy sets Allin on a table and puts him through it with a top rope 630 senton! Darby crawls to his feet and Sammy meets him with a running boot for 2. Darby answers with a Gory Special and bites the finger. Allin wrenches a deep armbar, but Sammy gets the ropes. Sammy snaps the rope into Darby's face and then hits a flying foot stomp to the chest. Sammy brings in the skateboard, but Darby cuts him off with Code Red. A scary top rope battle results in Sammy hitting a Spanish Fly but Darby kicks out! Sammy exposes a turnbuckle, but Darby catapults him into it. Stunner by Darby, and the Coffin Drop finishes at 9:52 to a huge ovation. Super fun stunt show that got over big time with those in attendance, ***½.
Winner: Darby Allin
Allin has evil intentions with his skateboard, but Jake Hager rescues Sammy.
AEW Tag Team Championship:
Hangman Adam Page and Kenny Omega © vs. The Young Bucks (Nick and Matt Jackson)
Page's slowburn heel turn is backfiring as the fans chant "Cowboy sh!t" at the opening bell. AEW would obviously pivot, and Kenny eventually went heel instead. Omega and Nick start with an urgent back and forth contest. Crowd pops for Page's tag and cheers him on against Matt. Page spits on Matt, to more crowd approval, and Matt unloads with rapid punches. Nick restores order, but Page thanks him with a slap, so Nick returns the favor. Friendship is out the window, as the Bucks go to work with lightning quick tandem offense. Page cuts Matt off by kneeing the back, and makes a tense tag to Kenny. Running backbreaker by Kenny gets 2, and the champs work Matt over. Matt desperately counters with a double suplex. Hot tag to Nick, for an incredible house cleaning sequence. Omega absorbs a moonsault to ringside and saves Page from Nick's Scorpion Deathlock with the Kotaro Crusher. Kenny ranas Nick to ringside , but his plancha is blocked via Matt's enziguri. The Bucks isolate Kenny, spit at Page, and nearly end it with a piledriver. Kenny bumps Nick into Page's boot and hits a spinebuster. Hot tag to Page, who unleashes some Cowboy Sh!t on the Bucks and the crowd adore him for it. Page delivers a top rope moonsault to ringside and then decapitates Nick with a lariat. He throws Nick into the corner and orders Matt to tag in. Fans chant "F*ck him up, Cowboy" as they slug it out. Kenny tags and throws Matt into Page's German suplex. Doctor Bomb by Omega gets 2! Hot tag to nick, who leaps off the stage for Destroyer on Page for 2! Stuffed superkick by Nick, and the Bucks hit a MCMG bulldog/suplex combo. Page blocks a superkick and kicks Matt's knee to set up a chicken wing! Nick saves with a 450 splash, but Page kicks out! Fans chant ‘This is awesome!" Omega helps with the Finlay Roll while Page hits his running SSP and then a somersault superplex! V-Trigger, Matt makes the save, and the crowd goes completely nuts. Nick and Omega trade counters, but Omega then hits a pair of V-Triggers. Snap Dragon by Omega and Tiger Driver ‘98, but NICK KICKS OUT! Omega looks for a top rope One Winged Angel, but Nick reverses into a super poison rana! Page tries to help, but gets Matt hits rolling Northern Light suplexes over the ropes and up the ramp! Meltzer Driver onto the stage! Superkick party on Kenny and the BTE Trigger, but Omega kicks out at 1! A second BTE Trigger, but Kenny still kicks out! Bucks look for the Meltzer Driver, but Page interrupts by powerbombing Nick through a table! Buckshot/V-Trigger combo, but MATT KICKS OUT! V-Trigger but Matt blocks One Winged Angel. Page tags himself in and hits One Winged Angel himself, but Nick breaks the cover! Buckshot lariat on the stage takes out Nick, and then a buckshot in the ring on Matt ends it at 30:08! One of the greatest matches of all times, in terms of excellent false finishes, crowd investment, and insane, athletic, creative high spots fused with complex storytelling. A classic in every sense of the word, *****.
Winners and still AEW Tag Team Champions: Adam Page and Kenny Omega
Omega hesitates but then accepts handshakes from the Young Bucks. Page rejects the offer, and seems torn on whether or not to attack Omega or hold the ropes for him to exit. Page chooses to be a good person this time, a decision that would cost him down the road.
AEW Women's Championship:
Nyla Rose © vs. Kris Statlander
The fans are totally spent after the previous match, but are polite while Rose and Statlander lock up. Rose hits a shoulder block and Statlander unfortunately botches a kip up, but recovers with a flipping senton and standing moonsault. Statlander misses a spear through the ropes and hits the ramp hard. Rose hits a spear (to crowd approval) and takes control. Statlander comes back with a thrust kick to the jaw and they take a breather. Statlander wins a slugfest and sends Rose into the rails with a tope suicida. Statlander hits a second dive while J.R. complains on commentary, and follows with a missile dropkick for 2. Rose goes for her draping flying knee, but Statlander walks away on her hands. Roundhouse kick, boop to the nose, and DDT by Standler gets a good nearfall. Rose knees the head and applies an STF. Statlander blocks a splash and hits a glancing dropkick to the head, but Rose hits a Beast Bomb for 2. Statlander slips while hitting a superplex and barely lands the move. Statlander looks for a super rana, but Rose reverses into an avalanche powerbomb for the win at 12:49. Card placement put them in a tough spot, but everytime the fans were starting to get into it, something got botched. Really disappointing, *¾.
Winner and still AEW Women's Champion: Nyla Rose
MJF (with The Wardlow) vs. Cody (with Brandi Rhodes and Arn Anderson)
Downstait plays Cody's theme live, and while they sound horrible on the broadcast, they do lend a "big fight" feel to the event. In case you forgot, this was the debut of Cody's baffling neck tattoo, which we somehow have all become numb to in the year since. Cody is hot at the bell but MJF stalls at ringside. MJF tries to lure Cody into the crowd, but Coach Arn talks some sense into his protege. Cody patiently waits in the ring, and then controls the brawl, hitting a Cody Cutter for 1. Cody sprints all the way from the tunnel to clothesline MJF back into the ring. MJF thumbs the eyes and kicks the bad toe, but Cody answers with a spinning Alabama Slam. Wardlow pulls MJF to safety, so Brandi throws an adult beverage into his face. Wardlow chases her into Cody's tope suicida. Wardlow injures Cody's shoulder with a throw into the ring post, and MJF goes on the attack. MJF softens Cody up for the Salt of the Earth, and Cody gets the ropes despite having all his limbs tied up. MJF removes a boot to bite Cody's injured toe. Cody counters with a flapjack onto the buckles and a super reverse suplex. Wardlow provides another distraction, Arn fends him off with a chair. MJF blades his forehead, and Cody continues assaulting the open wound. MJF stomps the bad toe and nails the Heatseeker, but ref doesn't let him use the ropes for leverage. Brandi dives into Wardlow's arms, Cody misses a rescue running pump kick and flattens Coach Arn! MJF capitalizes for a low blow and a nearfall. They trade suplex reversals and crash to the floor. They stumble back to the ring for a slugfest, Cody overtakes the exchange with Dusty jabs, and MJF collapses. Surprise Cross Rhodes by MJF gets 2. The ref takes a weight belt away from MJF, so Cody kicks him in the groin and hits a Vertebreaker for 2. Cody gets away with whipping with the same weight belt, great callback to the infamous "10 lashes" scene from Dynamite. MJF grabs Cody's ankle and sobs for mercy, before spitting into Cody's gullible face. Cody responds with a pair of Cross Rhodes, but MJF blocks a third attempt, and socks him with the Dynamite Diamond and WINS at 24:37! I wonder if the people who are always whining that "AEW is nothing but flips/gymnastics/spots" even know this match exists. Great story driven contest that defines MJF as a villain on the rise, ****.
Pac vs. Orange Cassidy (with Best Friends)
Fans chant "He's gonna try!" at the opening bell. Pac stops OC's hands from going into his pockets, so OC hits a slick arm drag and the crowd plays along with his intentionally lazy kicks. Pac also plays along, but gets tired and shoves OC down. Fans chant "Fight Forever" as OC unleashes a flurry of offense, with hands in pockets the entire way. Pac cuts off a dive with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Pac picks OC apart with deliberately paced high level offense. Superplex by Pac might have ended it, but Pac chooses to continue. Pac perches for the Black Arrow, but OC casually rolls away. Pac resets him, but OC rolls away again. Pac gets properly angry and doesn't see OC's tope suicida coming! OC sprints into a swinging DDT for a great nearfall. Pac comes back with head shots, but OC defiantly puts hands in pockets and surprises with the Orange Punch! Stunner by Cassidy (crowd is going apesh!t), but Pac dropkicks him on the top rope. Pac looks for an avalanche piledriver, but OC counters into a super DDT! Diving DDT by OC, but Pac rolls onto the rampway. Trent throws Pac back in and Cassidy hits the Air Raid Crash, but PAC KICKS OUT! The Lucha Bros. run in and attack Trent, so Chuck Taylor rushes in with a plancha onto the ramp. Sadly, Pac uses the chaos to his advantage and puts OC into the Brutalizer for the submission at 13:03! Cassidy might have lost, but this was a huge coming out party for him. Super fun match, enhanced by the crowd, ****.
AEW World Championship:
Chris Jericho © (with Santana and Ortiz) vs. Jon Moxley
Jericho has a church choir perform "Judas" and it's pretty amazing. Jericho is sporting a cut from a recent Moxley head butt, and Moxley is wearing an eye patch after getting blinded by the Inner Circle. They head straight into the crowd for a brawl. Jericho gains the upper hand and throws a piece of barricade. Moxley returns fire and hits a double axe handle off the ramp. Moxley tries to bite out Jericho's stitches, crowd loves it, but Jericho knocks him into the ring post. Moxley seems to be bleeding from his bad eye and Jericho powerbombs him through the timekeeper's table. Jericho declares himself the winner and proceeds to attack the eye and neck area. Moxley takes a beating and then hits a desperation flying lariat. Moxley loses control stomping a mudhole into the corner. Jericho counters a missile dropkick, but Moxley counters the Walls into a heel hook. Jericho slips away and Moxley hits a tope suicida from behind. Moxley blocks Jericho's dropkick to the apron and hits a DDT for 2. Santana and Ortiz interrupt the Paradigm Shift, and Jericho hits the Lionsault for 2! They trade counters until Moxley steals the Walls of Jericho! Moxley lets go to punch an interfering Jake Hager, and Jericho nails a Codebreaker for 2. Jericho locks on the Walls! Moxley gets the ropes, and Jericho loses his focus arguing with referee Aubrey Edwards. Moxley ambushes with a back suplex, but Hager clocks him in the face. Edwards ejects Santana, Ortiz, and Hager to massive crowd approval. Sammy Guevara sneaks in and smashes the AEW title into Moxley's face. Jericho's late cover gets 2! Jericho targets Moxley's good eye with punches, but Mox returns fire. Jericho gouges the eyes again, and may have blinded Moxley for good. Jericho signals the Judas Effect, but Moxley ducks and hits the Paradigm Shift! Moxley removes the eye patch to reveal that his eye is perfectly okay! One last Paradigm Shift ends it at 22:21 andt the crowd goes nuts. Just a red hot main event that accomplished everything it set out to do, including coronating a strong champion in Moxley, who would carry AEW through the dark days that 2020, ****.
Winner and new AEW World Champion: Jon Moxley
Final Thoughts: One of the greatest pay-per-views of all time. Someday, when (if?) the COVID-19 pandemic finally ends, I hope we can have more shows like this. Thumbs Up.
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