Original Air Date: February 10, 2021
Event Date: February 4, 2021
(aired on TNT & the FITE app)
Commentary: Excalibur, Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, Don Callis (6)
Ring Announcer: Justin Roberts
“Dynamite” by No One Hero
TNT Title Match
“The Bad Boy” Joey Janela vs Darby Allin (TNT Champ)
(referee: Aubrey Edwards)
Result: Darby Allin wins via pinfall after the Coffin Drop and retains the title in his second defense
Great match. Both of these guys are known for taking big risks as well as big beatings, so they went out there tonight and had a great wrestling match with wrestling moves in the center of the ring. There was very little in the way of outside-the-ring shenanigans, and the big risks were kept to a minimum. The match was great, and the unexpectedness of seeing these two have great technical exchanges throughout the match made it very memorable. It’s not we haven’t seen both of these guys wrestle like this before, but to see them put on a match like this together was super fun. Also, Team Taz didn’t get involved despite their threats last week. I enjoyed all of this.
Outside the Venue
Jon Moxley addresses the attack from KENTA last week and his upcoming challenge for Moxley’s IWGP U.S. Heavyweight Title. Moxley says he’s going to dump KENTA on his head in their sanctioned title match, but tonight he’s just going to have some fun with KENTA in their No DQ tag match.
Sammy Guevara needs a minute with MJF. Sammy accuses MJF of trying to take over the Inner Circle. MJF responds by saying he thinks Sammy hates Chris Jericho and wants to take over the Inner Circle himself. Sammy laughs and mockingly repeats what MJF said, then MJF smiles and reveals he was recording Sammy to get audio of him saying he wants to take over the Inner Circle (despite the cameraman recording the entire thing which Jericho would obviously see anyway). Angrily, Sammy throws MJF’s phone against the wall and punches MJF in the stomach. Sammy leaves while MJF rolls around on the floor.
Cezar Bononi & “Pretty” Peter Avalon vs Lee Johnson & “The American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes w/ Arn Anderson
(referee: Bryce Remsburg; in the front row: Brock Anderson)
Result: Lee Johnson pins Peter Avalon with a schoolboy
Very good match. I didn’t expect a ton from this tag match, but with Cody involved I should have known something good would happen. This whole match was built around building up Lee Johnson. Cody and Lee tagged in and out for a while, but as the match went on Cody was more or less sidelined. That left Lee Johnson to take on Avalon and Bononi with only a small amount of assistance from Cody. Johnson looked very good tonight, and he make a huge step forward in his AEW career. It was fun to watch.
After the match, Dustin Rhodes and QT Marshall join Cody and Arn in congratulating Lee Johnson. Tony Schiavone goes over to the stage to get a few words from Johnson. Lee is emotional as he talks about getting through a year of losing for this moment.
Earlier today, Dasha Gonzalez asked the Young Bucks about being knocked out of the tag team battle royal last week. As they begin to respond, the Good Brothers walk up. Anderson and Gallows say they were trying to distract and eliminate Private Party, not the Young Bucks. The Good Brothers redirect the Bucks’ anger towards the Inner Circle. Matt Jackson takes the bait and says he wants the Bucks to defend their titles against Santana and Ortiz next week.
Dasha welcomes Adam Page and asks about his potential partnership with Matt Hardy. Matt interrupts and says he knows Page doesn’t want to be in a tag team again, but they should at least go celebrate their win. Page agrees. As Page walks away he runs into Dark Order, and things get awkward.
“The Bastard” Pac w/ Rey Fenix vs “The Hollywood Hunk” Ryan Nemeth
(referee: Rick Knox)
Result: Pac wins via submission with the Brutalizer
A fun squash. Nemeth hit Pac with a dropkick and a nice DDT, but otherwise Pac destroyed Nemeth.
Miro, Kip Sabian, and Penelope Ford are still upset about last week’s wedding disaster, and Miro vows revenge. Chuck Taylor and Orange Cassidy have some champagne.
Dasha welcomes Chris Jericho with Wardlow and Jake Hager. MJF walks up with Santana and Ortiz, and MJF, while holding his ribs, lies about his altercation with Sammy. Jericho isn’t sure what to think, but he and MJF have a match right now.
MJF & “The Demo God” “Le Champion” Chris Jericho w/ Jake Hager, Santana, Ortiz, Wardlow vs The Acclaimed
(referee: Aubrey Edwards)
Result: Chris Jericho pins Anthony Bowens after the Judas Effect
Very good match. MJF was selling his rib “injury” to different degrees throughout the match, much to the annoyance of Tony Schiavone, so that was fun. Also, The Acclaimed looked good as the default good guys having to contend with almost the entirety of the Inner Circle. This was a smartly wrestled match by both teams, and Jericho did a great job of building drama when this could have easily been a blow-out. I enjoyed this more than I though I might.
After the match, Sammy Guevara comes out and interrupts the rest of the Inner Circe as they celebrate. Jericho is concerned, and he wants to know what Guevara’s problem is. Guevara responds by saying that he already told everyone that if one more thing happened with MJF, then Guevara would be done. Well, something happened, so now Guevara is done. MJF smirks as Guevara explicitly says he quits the Inner Circle. Guevara walks away as Jericho looks confused and upset.
Outside the Venue
Alex Marvez tries to get a word from Sammy Guevara as he leaves the building. Guevara says he just needs some “time away from this place” to refocus.
Adam Page and Matt Hardy enjoy some drinks at the bar (well, Page enjoys some drinks while Hardy pretends to drink). Hardy pitches a business deal to Page and offers him a contract. Page says Hardy might be on to something, and he agrees to sign with Hardy. As Hardy turn away to address the cameraman, Page switches Hardy’s contract with a new contract. Page signs, then he had Hardy sign as well. Without looking at the contract they both signed, Hardy quickly stuffs the papers in an envelope and leaves. Page happily orders another drink.
On the stage, Tony Schiavone welcomes Sting. Before Sting can say anything, Taz and Powerhouse Hobbs appear on the video screen. They have a surprise for Sting. The camera pans over to show Ricky Starks and Brian Cage standing over Darby Allin in a body bag. The bag is tied to the back of an SUV, and with Team Taz inside the vehicle, the car drives forward dragging the body bag behind it. Back on the stage, Sting quickly runs to the back.
Earlier today on a golf course, Alex Marvez approached Kenny Omega. Marvez wants to know why Omega is golfing rather than preparing for his No DQ tag match. Omega says he’s forgotten how to lose, and clearing his mind.
AEW Women’s World Championship Eliminator Tournament First Round Match
“Legit” Leyla Hirsch vs Thunder Rosa
(referee: Rick Knox)
Result: Thunder Rosa wins via pinfall after a sit-out driver
Great match. This was a hard-fought match from both women. Hirsch’s technical skill and power worked well against Rosa, but Hirsch’s flying backfired on her more than it helped. Rosa took advantage of Hirsch’s penchant for flying by countering well and following up on some big misses. Rosa worked consistently with slams and strikes that wore Hirsch down, and her steady attack paid off more than Hirsch’s attempts at big, high-risk moves. This was a great way to start the tournament.
Earlier today, Tony Schiavone sat down with Jungle Boy. Jungle Boy says he became a different man after beating Dax Harwood one on one. He also says Jurassic Express didn’t try to get FTR suspended, they want FTR around so they can continue to beat them. After what FTR did to Marko Stunt last week, Jungle Boy is ready to make Harwood his “bitch.”
Falls Count Anywhere No DQ Tag Match
KENTA & Kenny Omega (AEW World Champ) w/ Don Callis vs “The Murderhawk Monster” Lance Archer w/ Jake Roberts & Jon Moxley (IWGP US Heavyweight Champ)
(referees: Paul Turner, Bryce Remsburg)
Result: Kenny Omega pins Lance Archer after the One-Winged Angel
Great match. This was chaos and violence pretty much from bell to bell. There was a detour to the kitchen area of Daily’s Place in the middle of the match, but for the most part the match stayed in and around the ring area. At first KENTA and Omega were both wanting Moxley to themselves, but after a while they began to work better together. A lot of that was necessitated by the fact that Lance Archer wasn’t going to be an afterthought in this fight. Even with the occasional teamwork though, this match was mostly four individual efforts from guys who just wanted to hurt each other. The Good Brothers naturally made an appearance late in the match, and that definitely swung the momentum into the favor of Omega. This was a fun match to end the night.
This was a surprisingly good show. There was a squash and a fair amount of story line stuff, but the matches delivered a lot more fun than I was expecting. I thought this was going to be just another fine show between bigger and better shows, but I can’t think of anything I didn’t thoroughly enjoy tonight.
Match of the Night
Joey Janela vs Darby Allin
Seeing Janela and Allin have an uninterrupted wrestling match was probably my favorite part of the night. The main event and the women’s match were just as good for different reasons, but the TNT Title match is the one I’ll most likely rewatch before anything else tonight.