It's the time of the season again as AEW really ventures into the pay-per-view market. This time it will be a little different, as, like everything else, there will be no fans outside of the fighters AEW may have in the crowd. It's not much, but it's better than nothing and that's what they have to do here. The card looks good, but the build doesn't have the same fire as usual (fair enough in this case). Let's do it.
- 1 Pre-Show: private party vs. best friends
- 2 Dustin Rhodes vs. Shawn Spears
- 3 Penelope Ford vs. Kris Stadtlander
- 4 Ladder Match Casino
- 5 TNT Title: Cody vs. Lance Archer
- 6 Women's Title: Nyla Rose (c) vs. Hikaru shida
- 7 Jungle Boy vs. Maxwell Jacob Friedman
- 8 Inner Circle vs. Elite / Matt Hardy
- 9 AEW World Title: Jon Moxley (c) vs. Brodie lee
- 10 General thoughts
Pre-Show: private party vs. best friends
This is for contender # 1, even though Private Party has only fought in Dark in the past few months (their last victory in a two-on-two match at Dynamite was before Thanksgiving, as before the reinstatement of the records) and Best Friends, which seem to be on every AEW show in all-time history (the world needs those hugs) … well it's not that great. There hasn't been much development on this, but since the champions haven't defended their titles since the last pay-per-view, I don't think it matters that much.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KooS-ZiZCfg (/ embed)
I will take the best of friends here as AEW certainly loves them and Private Party has cooled a lot since its inception in the Tag Team Title tournament. Label splitting is something that has a lot of depth, but AEW doesn't really use much of what they have. I know there are more important things, but that division has cooled a lot in the last few months and that started before the pandemic. Doing this here is nice, but it doesn't mean much if you don't follow up.
Dustin Rhodes vs. Shawn Spears
I know this won't work out, but I really can't care about Rhodes as much as AEW wants me to. Yes, he has had an incredible professional revival in recent years and he looks great, but he is the same guy who has been a professional midfielder for about thirty years. He's had some great games and can speak as well as ever, but I'm not exactly hanging on the edge of the seat to see what he'll do next.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vKUdeDOPWM (/ embed)
So Spears is the one that makes sense here and it looks like we're headed toward Rhodes retirement. On the other hand, that seems to have been the case for a long time and I wouldn't be surprised to see him win in a moment YOU STILL HAVE IT. That may not be the best idea, but he has never arrested a member of the Rhodes family before. Spears should win and I think he will, but I'm not so confident about it.
Penelope Ford vs. Kris Stadtlander
Ford is a replacement for the injured Britt Baker as AEW had one of the toughest nights in injury history this week. As a result, there isn't a story here, but there wasn't much of a story between Baker and Stadtlander either, so it matches pretty well. I've been a fan of these two ever since I first saw them, so we might have a good one here, assuming they can have a great match.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MaYhylRqs14 (/ embed)
I'm going with Ford here, but not much. Stadtlander has been in a pretty tough fall since serving as challenger of the month, so there isn't much reason to give him a win here. Ford doesn't need it either, as she's the type of person who can get hot just by putting on sunglasses and frowning while doing the splits, but I'll go with her as she has so much potential on her own. However, it is another coin flip.
Ladder Match Casino
Dang loves this game theme (yes, I know the show was scheduled for Las Vegas). This is a nine person ladder game because the more people you have in a ladder game, the better it will be. Or something. Fenix has been replaced by Joey Janela, because the best replacement for a skilled flyer is a guy who got off random stuff with his eyes popping out. There's never a way to guess these things, making it a kind of blind game.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJfrlqHH4Ps (/ embed)
Give me Scorpio Sky for the surprise victory as they seem to have some plans for him. I can't imagine him winning the title, but he can fight a good game and speak well enough to make it work for once. As for the mysterious entrant … assuming none of the April 15 people are available because there are no competition clauses, I'll go with … probably Marko Stunt, although Drew Gulak is a possibility. But yeah, Stunt would be the least interesting, so I'll take him and hope he falls off something really tall.
TNT Title: Cody vs. Lance Archer
Even though this has been featured as the main event, I will take AEW's word for it when they called the main event the world title. The big draw here is Mike Tyson, whose appearance reveals the ending. I can understand why he's on the show and that's great, but it's not exactly the most exciting and drama-filled game.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9DzCQomcUg (/ embed)
Of course, Cody wins here, as you know he will. Do you really think that AEW will make Archer pose with Tyson instead of one of the faces of the company? It was a kind of gift and I wouldn't be surprised to see this as the grand finale of the show. It shouldn't be that way, but I wouldn't be surprised either.
Women's Title: Nyla Rose (c) vs. Hikaru shida
This is a match that has been accumulating for several weeks since Shida has been # 1 in the ranking for months. It's unclear why it took him so long to get to the title match, but at least we're finally seeing him fall. The women's division has improved a lot in recent weeks and hopefully it will continue to improve. I'm not sure if it would improve if Shida won.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sENaGoCC6VY (/ embed)
I'll go with Rose holding back, as he appears to be someone there for the sake of building a challenger to take the title away from him later. Rose hasn't been around that much lately, but there is a lot you can do in the current situation. Perhaps she may be more often in the future, and that would include retaining the title here.
Jungle Boy vs. Maxwell Jacob Friedman
Boy has been one of the best surprises in all of AEW as I was expecting a lame Tarzan character and got someone whose name has almost nothing to do with what he does in the ring. That's good, since the character could have been something much worse. However, what matters here is showing the future, as these are two types that could be a big problem for AEW for a long time.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rI_x_eTkMw (/ embed)
There is no real reason to choose Boy here, so I will take Friedman to win after an entertaining game. Friedman is one of the most entertaining people in all of AEW and it wouldn't make much sense for him to lose here. Just let him continue to upload the card until he can finally win the World Title, confirming his status as one of the best in the world today. For now, though, he wins here.
Inner Circle vs. Elite / Matt Hardy
This will be your completely crazy game of the night, as it will take place in the middle of an empty football stadium where anything goes. These people might be everywhere with one crazy idea after another, but I have a bad feeling that we're going to get something too ridiculous with one place after another instead of anything that follows a flow. On the other hand, I have been surprised before and could be here again.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLeGER8YjoA (/ embed)
I'll go with the Elite winning here, as the Inner Circle has won many of the main battles in the rivalry so far. So it's time to change things up a bit and it makes sense for Elite to regain victory. If nothing else, with the Young Bucks and Hangman Page finally coming back, it would be a bit odd for them to lose here. The party will be a show, but we hope they focus on the match enough and not just the show.
AEW World Title: Jon Moxley (c) vs. Brodie lee
So Lee is 5-0 at AEW, having defeated QT Marshall, Lee Johnson, Justin Law, Marko Stunt and Christopher Daniels. Since two of those people have never won a game on AEW and another is a glorified pet, I don't think the strength of the calendar matters much around here. I'm not entirely sure who will win here, but it should be a great fight.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pNd-L3fSaU (/ embed)
Give me Moxley to hold here, but after they get hit a bit. Lee is much better now that he has dropped Vince McMahon's stuff, but he's still not that entertaining. Coupled with the fact that Archer is pretty much better in every respect, there isn't much reason to go with Lee as the champion here. Moxley should be meant to take on Friedman, but you never know where they could go around here.
AEW knows how to do great things, but they lack a bit without their crowds. I'm not sure how well the show will go, but I'm interested in enough matches and hope that can do something. The pieces are in place to put on a good show and AEW's pay-per-view history is pretty solid so far. If anyone can make you forget the lack of fans, it's this company and maybe they can do it here.
Thomas Hall has been a fan of wrestling for over thirty years and has watched over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling critic since 2009 with over 5,000 complete shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.comor take a look his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. Get the latest and greatest professional wrestling news by subscribing to our daily email newsletter. Just look below for "GET EXCLUSIVE UPDATES" to sign up. Thank you for reading!
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