It’s time to hop on my wrestling soapbox and discuss AEW’s latest pay per view offering, Revolution. The Chicago crowd was on fire for the entire show as they witnessed seven matches and one significant title change. AEW has had some hits and misses since their debut on Wednesday nights. Besides one match, this was a fun show worth the price of admission.
Jake Hager choked out Dustin Rhodes: This was a decent opener between two wrestlers with distinct characters. Hager is Jericho’s bodyguard in the Inner Circle stable who broke Dustin’s arm a couple of months ago. Dustin has been on a career resurgence since he had a match of the year candidate with Cody last year.
Hager was a little rusty since he’s been focused on MMA and hasn’t had a pro wrestling match in awhile. There was nothing fancy about this match. It was merely a device to get the crowd going. Rhodes hit a Canadian Destroyer and followed up with an armbar to give Hager a taste of his own medicine.
The finish came when Hager hit a low blow behind the referee’s back and applied a standing head and arm triangle choke for the submission. When the characters are over, and there is a story in place, you don’t have to go all-out crazy. The match was designed for story over insane wrestling moves and Rhodes and Hager did their job.
Darby Allin pinned Sammy Guevara: Darby Allin is ridiculously over with the AEW faithful despite not being the best wrestler in between the ropes. He does his big moves extremely, but it’s the little things such as selling, kicking, and punching that leaves a lot to be desired.
AEW is trying not to make the same mistakes WCW did by actually pushing the younger talent. The difference was in 1998, Jericho, Benoit, Malenko, and Guerrero were ready for primetime. Darby Allin and Sammy Guevara are not, yet.
Guevara has shown a lot of improvement since his AEW debut while Allin has remained the same. I’ve seen a lot of young wrestlers over the years who believe as long as they can do the big moves, there is no need to focus on the little things. I hope Allin won’t be that guy.
As for the match, it was a fast-paced stunt show where both wrestlers exhibited an intense will to win. Allin’s foot got caught on the rope during a tope suicida and crashed to the floor, which could have gone a lot worse. Guevara hit a 630 through a table and followed up with a beautifully executed and filmed Spanish Fly.
Allin hit a stunner and followed up with a Coffin Drop (trust fall from the top rope) for the pin. Jim Ross said these two could be AEW’s top guys in two or three years. Guevara has the makings of a great villain, and Allin has an undeniable connection with the audience.
World Tag Team Titles: Kenny Omega & Hangman Page retain over The Young Bucks: This is one of the great wrestling matches you will ever see. There was lots of tandem offense from both teams. Some of it was stuff we’ve seen before, while a lot of it was innovative and spectacular. All of it was thirty minutes of awesome.
Using everything but the kitchen sink in a match is annoying because often there is no story to the chaos in the ring. That wasn’t the case here. All four men in the match are friends, but Hangman has had a chip on his shoulder for months.
The Bucks were surprisingly booed by the audience. Instead of fighting it, they went with it and increased their heel tactics as the match progressed.
Omega’s injured shoulder and Matt Jackson’s injured back played a role. Hangman didn’t hold back while Omega and the Bucks didn’t go too far due to their friendship. Hangman tried to powerbomb Nick Jackson through a table but Omega stopped him. Page made good the second time around, which forced everyone to throw caution to the wind.
Omega went for a One-Winged Angel, but couldn’t pull it off due to his injured shoulder. Hangman tagged in delivered the One-Winged Angel for a super close near fall. That should have been the finish, but I get it. It’s Omega’s move, and no one does it better.
Hangman followed up and drilled Nick and then Matt with a Buckshot Lariat for the 1-2-3. After the match. Omega and The Bucks reluctantly shook hands. Hangman teased a heel turn on Omega, which couldn’t have been better executed if it was directed by Scorsese.
Women’s World Championship: Nyla Rose pinned Kris Statlander to retain: I did not envy these ladies having to follow the tag team match. The fans wanted them to succeed, but they were in a no-win situation.
The tag match did big moves with a story in mind. Here, the big moves were done for the sake of doing big moves with some botched spots along the way. Statlander and Rose tried to do more complex stuff than their experience allowed. They went for two big moves off the top rope. The first one barely worked, and the second one was a top rope powerbomb from Rose that almost broke Statlander’s neck.
I hoped that was the finish, and thank goodness it was. AEW did not serve them well here.
MJF defeated Cody: This was the most hyped match on the show. Under the guise of friendship, MJF cost Cody the chance to ever get a world title shot ever again. The match didn’t live up to the hype that the build created. However, it came super close.
Sometimes, it was overbooked with smoke and mirrors. Other times, it was just right. After the match reached its apex, Cody gave MJF the beating people paid to see.
Cody was about to seal the deal until MJF nailed Cody with the Dynamite Diamond. MJF slipped on the ring, hit Cody, hid the ring, and covered Cody so fast that the audience couldn’t believe what happened as the referee counted to three.
PAC defeated Orange Cassidy: This match was about one thing and one thing only. Proving that Orange Cassidy can wrestle. Cassidy’s sloth/slacker gimmick is over like gangbusters.
I had never seen Cassidy’s work before AEW, but many had told me he’s great in the ring. Well, he was and showed it in a way they didn’t betray his character.
PAC is the most underrated rated top-flight talent in the world. PAC and Cassidy worked well off each other. The slacker is the perfect foil for PAC’s “angry bastard” persona.
Some might say PAC made Cassidy look good, and he did. However, Cassidy more than held up his end, making for a white-hot crowd reaction.
World Championship: Jon Moxley defeated Chris Jericho to win the title: Meredith Bell led a gospel choir in singing Jericho’s entrance theme, Judas. Jericho and Moxley brawled from the jump and took the action out into the crowd. Once they got back into the ring, Jericho immediately worked over Moxley’s injured eye.
Le Champion was unrelenting as Moxley fought him off. Moxley gained the upper hand and cut off interference from Hager, Santana, and Ortiz on the entrance ramp. Guevara emerged from the crowd on the opposite side of the ring and cracked Moxley with the championship belt. This was well done.
Upset that Moxley kicked out, Jericho began to work over Moxley’s good eye, assumedly blinding him completely. After pretending he couldn’t see, Moxley ripped off the eye patch and revealed that his damaged eye was healed and hit Jericho with the Paradigm Shift DDT for the win.
This match served as an example of a great main event brawl. There were a lot of ingredients thrown in, but the finished product was cooked just right. I initially thought Jericho should have held the title a little longer. After seeing the reception Moxley received for the win, it is safe to say I was wrong. Plus, with heels going over the three previous matches, the show needed a happy ending.
The Revolution count down special showed Moxley training with UFC legend Randy Couture and specifically learning how to counter the Walls of Jericho. Moxley used those techniques in the match to avoid being placed in the walls. It’s a small detail, but I appreciated seeing meaningful connectivity between various forms of content.
Final Thoughts: With the evident growing pains of a ten-month-old major wrestling promotion, AEW needed a big win. All of the matches told a different story, which rewarded the viewer for the time invested in the product.
The women’s division needs dramatic improvement. Maybe even a complete overhaul. It’s s shame considering AEW is a wrestling centric promotion, and women’s wrestling has never been more popular.
The tag team title match will go down as an instant classic. MJF is well on his way to becoming the best heel in the business. Orange Cassidy is a unique enigma. Hangman Page will be “the guy” sooner than later and Moxley capturing the title was the perfect bow on a fantastic night of wrestling.
Revolution was a big win for AEW.