30 Years of Jericho
What a 30 years it has been! I’m 30 years old. This man has been wrestling almost my entire life and has been one of my favourites throughout that time as well. AEW and Jericho are what got me back into wrestling. Jericho, you truly are one of the best to ever do it. Some wrestlers struggle with the entertainment side of things. Others struggle with the wrestling side of things. You are a master of both. To quote another Canadian legend, you just might be “The best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be”. Here’s to 30 more in the business.
There were a lot of tribute videos to Jericho throughout the night, I won’t be covering these. I’ll remain focused on just the AEW side of things. The tributes came from all around though : former and current wrestlers, NBA players, rockstars and all kinds of celebrities. Good to see that I’m one of many around the world who idolise that man.
After some confusion between Excalibur and JR on what the main event was, the festivities kicked off with the FTW championship match. Yeah, apparently we are still supposed to care about that belt. The champion, Brian Cage squares off against the challenger, Will Hobbs. Despite not caring about this belt at all, this match was excellent. These are two huge and athletic dudes (especially Cage), my favourite combination.
Cage really got to show off some of his capabilities in this one. We saw him leapfrog Will Hobbs, a nice looking dropkick and a moonsault from a standing start, just to name a few of the highlights. Watching this match, I couldn’t help to think that Brian Cage is everything that Brock Lesnar could (should or would) have been.
Cage wasn’t the only one to show off his ability. Will Power showed that he has plenty of talent and strength as well. He hit an awesome lariat. They both traded suplexes back and forth, very impressive considering their sizes. The only thing that annoyed me was JR’s insistence on calling him “Willy”. He must of called him Willy 6 or 7 times throughout the match. Maybe even more. Are we going to start calling him “Big Willy Hobbs”? “Willy Power”? Sheesh.
Cage obviously retained his belt, but this match was excellent and entertaining. Post match, Hobbs was offered a chance to join Team Tazz (surely creative could have thought of a better name) and was told if he declined, Starks and Cage would beat him up. Darby Allin to the rescue! Tazz yelled at Darby and Cage/Starks made their exit. This is such an excellent and talent filled feud, I just wish that Tazz wasn’t involved at all.
We have a quick promo from Lance Archer to talk about his upcoming match against Moxley. He mentions a previous Texas Death Match between the two of them, which I want to check out at sometime.
Tag team titles are on the line next, as the champions FTR square off against their hand picked challengers, TH2. It was shown backstage that the Young Bucks were watching this match, which instantly meant that TH2 had no chance of winning. We knew that anyway. For some reason, the Young Backs had their backs to the TV, but their heads turned around to watch it. It was weird. Just face the TV, dudes.
I think it’s impossible for Jack Evans to have a match and not steal the show with his incredible athleticism. He is simply phenomenal to watch. JR said he reminds him of “an angry dog on diet mountain dew” whatever the heck that means. It looks like Evans did botch one move from the top rope, despite the commentary teams best effort to sell it as a hit. If he misses a hit, call it a miss. If he botches a move, just say he slipped. This isn’t the WWE. Evans also had an incredible pinning bridge attempt. I’m convinced he can fold in half and is a contortionist.
Angelico didn’t spend a lot of time in this match, but he did have some impressive submission holds and manoeuvres of his own. FTR kept their cheating antics up and Tully was often involved as well. FTR won and retained their belts. Backstage, the Young Bucks superkick the cameraman. It just feels weird that they aren’t actually superkicking opponents or other wrestlers.
The jumbotron is hijacked and on it appears the picture of two animated hot dogs, wearing the AEW tag team belts. Best Friends music hits and they walk out, wearing T-Shirts with the same design. Here is the link to purchase them : https://www.shopaew.com/ftr-hot-dog-champs.html I’m not sure if the money goes to FTR or Best Friends, but it looks like FTR. If you don’t get the gag, it’s because the champions are Weenies! Best friends reveal that Tony Khan has booked them for a tag team championship match, next week on the anniversary show. I’m sure it will be a great match, it’s too bad it feels like FTR can’t lose until they meet the Young Bucks.
We have an MJF promo, in which he praises Chris Jericho and says he may or may not appear on Dynamite to congratulate him in person.
Up next is another title match, this time it’s the TNT championship. The champion, Brodie Lee is set to face the challenger, Cody in a dog collar match. For the uninitiated, a dog collar match is when the two wrestlers are joined by a chain at the necks for the fight. Cool. Cody really knows how to make an entrance. It’s electrifying.
As was to be expected, a lot of blood was shed in this match up. The first victim, was Silver. He got busted open by Cody and then drop kicked through a chair. Brodie, perhaps a little angrily, instructed Anna Jay to get him backstage. My Dark Order article is coming to fruition.
This match had some really good spots, the best one was perhaps when Cody hit Brodie with a package pile driver, through a table onto the outside. It was amazing Cody could lift him so cleanly. Someone has been working out! There was also a some nasty looking punches, in which Cody had the chain wrapped around his fist. Speaking of wrapping chains, just prior to the finish, Cody wrapped the chain around the face of Lee and hit a Cross Rhodes. That chain looked very tightly wrapped around the mouth and eyes of Brodie. In that moment, Brodie lee reminded me of Jonathan Hyde as the hunter in Jumanji. I will never be able to unsee that.
This was a pretty good match with lots of violent hits and manoeuvres. The commentary team got on my nerves again when they sold a move that clearly missed. Call it how it is guys! Also, at one stage, the referee was performing a double countout, even though the only way to win was via pinfall or submission.
Cody won the match and got his TNT title back. He made up for his lacklustre promo last week and cut a very heartfelt and emotional one after his victory tonight. Cody says that he intends to defend the title on Dynamite next week and he doesn’t care against who. Enter Orange Cassidy. They exchange thumbs up and the match is booked. I’m not sure why Cassidy gets another TNT championship shot, he lost one only 2 or 3 weeks ago and is currently unranked. I’m starting to think that the rankings mean nothing around here.
We go backstage to see Kenny Omega guaranteeing that he will be the victor in the upcoming 8 man tournament. We have 3 more competitors announced – Wardlow, Colt Cabana (representing the Dark Order) and “Hangman” Adam Page. They join the aforementioned Omega, Jungle Boy and Rey Fenix. 2 slots are still available.
It’s always hard to follow up a hardcore match and that’s exactly what the next slot had to do. Big Swole versus Serena Deeb. Big Swole was wearing gear inspired by Tuxedo Mask of Sailor Moon. it looked pretty cool. This match was pretty decent, but like I said, it had a hard task of coming out of the shadows of the previous match. Big Swole wins this one. They probably should have swapped positions on the card.
We go to Moxley for a promo and it is actually pretty good, definitely one of his better ones. He also references the Texas Death Match against Archer and says he has come to terms with the fact that he might lose the belt. That tells me that there is no chance that Moxley will lose the belt. The best part of this was when Mox quoted Boromir from Lord of the Rings “One does not simply beat Lance Archer”.
Time for the main event and the man of the hour, evening and decade, Chris Jericho. He teams up with his partner Jake Hager to take on his longtime friend and rival, Luther, also with his partner, Serpentico. This match was unfortunately, just average. Jericho and Serpentico were exceptional. Hager and Luther, were not.
It was an off night for Hager, he just seemed to struggle to get into his groove. His execution of manoeuvres was sloppy and he seemed out of place. He missed a punch by a mile and of course the commentary team sold what a massive hit it was. I really wish I could put the eye rolling emoji in. I won’t judge Hager too much, we all have off nights. It was just unfortunate it was tonight.
If Hager was bad, Luther was worse. I’m convinced he hurt himself early on in the match or came in with an injury. He was definitely off. He looked slow and lethargic and unsteady on his feet. He went top rope a couple of times and looked so shaky. The commentary team mentioned it was his shoes. I couldn’t find anything about an injury or anything, but he did not look good. I hope he is ok. He did catch a baseball bat as it was thrown in the ring. That was cool.
Jericho and Serpentico both looked good in this match. I really hope that Chaos Project start to move up the rankings. Jericho hit one of the longest and cleanest lionsaults that I’ve seen in a long time. Jericho picks up the win after a Judas Effect and the celebrations can begin. As Jericho picks up the mic to address the crowd, MJF’s music hits.
He did say he would make an appearance. He comes out with a gift and apologises for interrupting. He also apologise to Sammy for the lack of a jacket. MJF asks Wardlow to get ready to reveal the gift. “We are going to countdown from 5. Count with me if you can, Jacksonville!” He really is a legendary heel. Wardlow removes the red blanket and reveals Clownicho the Clown. Jericho does not look impressed. But, there is one more gift. MJF kindly offers to open it, but Jericho says it is his gift and he will open it. He does and it is a framed picture of MJF.
Jericho does not look impressed and he breaks it over the head of Clownicho and hits him with a devastating Judas Effect. I mean, it looked lethal. “I hate clowns and don’t ever interrupt me again” Jericho says. He and MJF stare each other down for a moment and I realise that they won’t be joining forces after all. And then, they both laugh and Jericho thanks the audience. Everyone comes out to join him for a little bit of the bubbly. The credits roll and it turns out Jericho does everything on Dynamite. Absolutely everything.
That’s a wrap! I will talk to you all next week for the anniversary show of AEW Dynamite. Can you believe it’s been a year? Here’s hoping I’m writing about this show for years to come.