Original Air Date: January 20, 2021
Event Date: January 20, 2021
(aired live on TNT & the FITE app)
Commentary: Excalibur, Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone
Ring Announcer: Justin Roberts
Dark Order comes out to the stage with -1 (Brodie Lee Jr.) riding on 10’s (Preston Vance) shoulders. There’s a table set up on the stage with a cake, and Anna Jay lights the candles. 4 (John Silver) gets on the mic, and he’s excited not only for -1’s birthday, but he’s also excited that Adam Page will be officially joining Dark Order tonight. Silver then leads everyone in a song, singing Happy Birthday for -1.
Chaos Project (Luther and Serpentico) aren’t impressed. Luther doesn’t like that AEW has become a day-care center, and he doesn’t like that -1 recently said that Luther’s head looks stupid (on Dark). The crowd agrees with -1, but Luther insists that -1 is a stupid-looking doofus. Chaos Project doesn’t like children, and they don’t like -1. They plan to ruin -1’s birthday, so Dark Order attacks them. The Hybrid2 comes out to join the brawl, and Adam Page joins soon after.
Alex Reynolds & John Silver & Colt Cabana & “Hangman” Adam Page w/ Brodie Lee Jr., Evil Uno, Stu Grayson, Alan Angels, Preston Vance, Anna Jay vs Chaos Project & The Hybrid2
(referee: Rick Knox)
Result: Alex Reynold pins Serpentico after a combination including a forearm strike (Reynolds), an enzuigiri (Silver), a stunner (Reynolds), a tandem Buckshot Lariat & German suplex (Page & Silver), and a deep jackknife cover (Reynolds)
This was an extremely fun match. After starting in the middle of a brawl, the pace never really slowed down. It was utterly chaotic, and there were a lot of great moments scattered throughout the fight. Dark Order and Page dominated most of the match, and the teamwork of Page, Silver, and Reynolds was especially exciting to watch.
After the match, Evil Uno and Stu Grayson hold Serpentico on the stage so -1 can hit him with a kendo stick. -1 tells Dark Order that his birthday was three days ago, then he throws a stack of papers at Serpentico before Serpentico finally runs away.
In the ring, John Silver gets excited again as he compliments Adam Page on his wrestling and his hair. Silver gets on one knee and asks Page if he will join Dark Order. Page pauses before responding. Page stammers as he says, “I can’t,” and Dark Order’s celebration is brought to an abrupt halt with Page’s words. Page explains that he’s done the group thing before and it didn’t work out well. He’s had a lot of fun with Dark Order recently, but they forced him into making a decision tonight. Page just isn’t ready to commit to another group. Dark Order is devastated as Page walks away.
Alex Marvez welcomes Chris Jericho and MJF. MJF voices his concerns about tonight’s match causing further dissension within the Inner Circle, but Jericho isn’t worried.
In the ring, Tony Schiavone introduces Sting. After Sting joins Schiavone, Darby Allin joins them both. Sting gets on the mic to compliment Allin and congratulate him for being the TNT Champion. Sting begins to explain that he came out last week not interrupt Allin’s match, but to try to make it a fair fight with Team Taz hanging around the ring. As Sting talks, Taz interrupts him via the video screen.
Taz says Sting didn’t want a fair fight, otherwise he wouldn’t have attacked Ricky Starks with a baseball bat. Plus, Allin tried to hogtie Brian Cage with a belt in the middle of the match. Taz says Sting and Allin fight dirty. They fight street style. Team Taz has been nothing but gentleman up to this point, but if Allin and Sting want a street fight, then Team Taz is willing to oblige.
Sting whispers something to Allin, and Allin tells Team Taz to be careful what they wish for. It just might happen. Sting and Darby Allin then walk away together.
Earlier today, Alex Marvez greets the Young Bucks as they approach Kenny Omega’s house. Michael Nakazawa escorts the Bucks to a room where they can wait for Omega. After Nick and Matt find an interesting painting of Don Callis and Kenny Omega, Callis walks up and welcomes the Young Bucks. Callis says Omega is very busy and he is unable to attend this meeting today, but this is a good time to clear the air.
After having Nakazawa take Marvez and the cameraman to “the dungeon,” Nick, Matt, and Don discuss the Bucks’ “investment” in their friendship with Omega. Callis writes out a check to compensate the Young Bucks for their friendship, and Callis explains that he and Omega have decided to keep Omega to himself. They want to keep old acquaintances away at this time. The Bucks get angry at the bribes Callis is giving them to throw away a twelve year friendship. Callis explains that the Young Bucks are holding Omega back. The camera goes to black as the Young Bucks approach Callis in a very aggressive manner.
“Pretty” Peter Avalon vs “The American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes w/ Arn Anderson
(referee: Bryce Remsburg)
Result: Cody Rhodes wins via submission with a figure four leg lock (after/because of threatening to slap Avalon in the face)
This was a pretty good match. The commentators talked about Cody proclaiming that he would beat Avalon in less than a minute, but an appearance/distraction by Jade Cargill right at the beginning of the match made sure that didn’t happen. Avalon used the distraction to kick Cody in the groin, and Avalon proceeded to get a lot of offense on Cody over the next few minutes. Cody eventually started to mount a comeback after a commercial break, and then the match ended in a comedic way. This was fine.
Tully Blanchard says FTR might be ranked number one, but they also need the tag title belts. FTR agree with Tully. Jurassic Express walks up, and Jungle Boy says he can beat either Dax or Cash. Dax Harwood gets in Jungle Boy’s face and issues a one on one challenge. Luchasaurus informs FTR that he’ll be at ringside to ensure that no one interferes.
Nick Comoroto vs Jon Moxley
(referee: Rick Knox)
Result: John Moxley wins via referee stoppage with a sleeper hold
Good match. Comoroto is a big guy, and that allowed Moxley to hit him really hard a bunch of times. Comoroto put up a bit of a fight, but Moxley looked strong in this showcase match.
After the match, Jon Moxley says things are crazy in AEW right now, and he can’t keep track of everything. What he does know is that Omega made things more fun and interesting when he decided to bring the Good Brothers into AEW. That’s just two more bodies for Moxley to beat up and climb over. Bring in anyone from anywhere, because all roads in professional wrestling lead to Jon Moxley.
Dasha Gonzalez welcomes Eddie Kingston, The Butcher, The Blade, and The Bunny. Dasha asks Eddie how he’s going to prepare for Lance Archer next week, but Eddie says he doesn’t prepare. Eddie Kingston just fights. As Kingston talks, Lance Archer interrupts as he walks up with Jake Roberts. Archer is ready to fight now, but Roberts pulls Archer back. Roberts has a few words for Kingston, and Kingston is going more and more frustrated. There is no violence tonight though, and everyone walks away.
Kenny Omega arrives at the building, and he’s not happy when he discovers a big bruise on Don Callis’s face. Callis doesn’t want to tell Omega who caused his injury, but he lets it slip that Nick and Matt did it. Alex Marvez walks up to get confirmation from Callis that the Young Bucks did attack him, but Callis and Omega just tell Marvez and the cameraman to leave.
Top Flight & Matt Sydal vs Private Party & Matt Hardy
(referee: Bryce Remsburg)
Result: Marq Quen pins Dante Martin after a shooting star press (and a chair shot from Isiah Kassidy)
Good match. There was naturally a lot of high-flying action, and for the most part it was high-risk fun. Top Flight had some sequences that didn’t quite come together and Marq Quen had an odd interaction with Matt Sydal, but overall I enjoyed the match. Once again this feels like some very good experience for Top Flight. The biggest takeaway from this match though is that Private Party might be getting comfortable with cheating to win. Are they also becoming cool with Matt Hardy taking 30% of their earnings? We’ll see. Maybe.
After the match, Private Party initiates an attack on Top Flight and Matt Sydal. Matt Hardy joins in, hitting Sydal with the Twist of Fate.
MJF (with Wardlow) tells the rest of Inner Circle that he doesn’t necessarily want tonight’s match to happen, but everyone in the Inner Circle needs to follow Chris Jericho’s lead. Sammy Guevara gets aggressive with MJF. MJF says he loves everyone in the Inner Circle and he respects Guevara for speaking his mind, but he needs everyone to just get through tonight without falling apart. Everyone expect for Guevara gives MJF a fist bump.
“Legit” Leyla Hirsch vs Penelope Ford w/ Kip Sabian, Miro, Charles Taylor
(referee: Paul Turner; watching in the crowd: Orange Cassidy)
Result: Penelope Ford wins via pinfall after a pump kick to the side of the head (and Kip Sabian holding Leyla’s legs down during the pin)
Very good match. Hirsch used a lot of strength, speed, and technique, and Ford didn’t have very many answers to Hirsch’s attacks. Ford was able to get in some offense, but when Hirsch got on a roll, she was hard to stop. Hirsch was slowed down a few times by Sabian and Taylor (who was forced to interfere on behalf of Sabian), and that’s really what gave Ford an advantage in the match.
After the match, Miro calls Charles Taylor into the ring. Miro orders Taylor to tell Orange Cassidy that Miro is Taylor’s new best friend. Taylor takes the mic and does what Miro has instructed. In the crowd, Orange Cassidy turns around and slowly walks away.
Kenny Omega and the Good Brothers beat up Penta El Zero M as Don Callis watches.
Inner Circle Tag Team Challenge
MJF w/ Wardlow & “The Demo God” “Le Champion” Chris Jericho vs Sammy Guevara & Jake Hager vs Santana & Ortiz
(referee: Aubrey Edwards)
Result: MJF pins Sammy Guevara with a schoolboy (and a handful of tights)
Very good match. This was a mostly evenly fought match, and I liked how each team brought something different to the fight. Santana and Ortiz were absolutely the best tandem, and they had a lot of great double-team moves. Sammy and Hager had the best individual efforts, with Hager taking everyone down with power and Sammy flying all around the ring in another example of him wrestling as more of a fan-favorite high-flier than a bad guy. That left MJF and Jericho as underdogs in a way, but they used well-timed tags, some luck, and a bit of cheating to stay on the same level as everyone else. This was fun, though the finish did have me rolling my eyes.
This was a fine show. After the past few weeks, and really after the past month or more of big-deal shows, tonight’s episode felt like somewhat of a step down. Or rather, it was a step back to normalcy after weeks of big matches and big shows. Tonight’s episode did a lot of character and rivalry building, and I think it did that well.
Match of the Night
Dark Order & Adam Page vs The Hybrid2 & Chaos Project
This and the main event were both very good, but the finish of the main event was way less fun than the finish of tonight’s opener.