Original Air Date: February 24, 2021
Event Date: February 18, 2021
(aired on TNT & the FITE app)
Commentary: Excalibur, Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, Taz (2)
Ring Announcer: Justin Roberts
“Dynamite” by No One Hero
Jon Moxley vs “The Hollywood Hunk” Ryan Nemeth
(referee: Aubrey Edwards)
Result: Jon Moxley wins via pinfall after the Paradigm Shift
This was a fine exhibition for Moxley on his way to Revolution. Nemeth got crushed, and Moxley looked strong. A fine warm-up for Moxley to cut a promo after.
After the match, Moxley sits down in a chair in the center of the ring. He says he will do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to get back the AEW World Title. With an exploding barbed wire match coming up, he will have to do anything and everything to win back the title. Moxley says he is addicted to the blood, sweat, and tears of pro wrestling, and he can’t resist the idea of an exploding barbed wire match even if it is a trap set up by Kenny Omega and his cronies. If everything comes to an end at Revolution, then it will be a perfect way to go out.
A brief look at the history of violence between Jon Moxley and Kenny Omega.
Last week after Dynamite, Alex Abrahantes asked Lance Archer and Rey Fenix about facing each other to qualify for the Face of the Revolution Ladder Match. The conversation starts friendly enough, but Archer and Fenix end up brawling after a few words to each other.
Earlier today, Mama Buck took a picture of the Young Bucks with Papa Buck next to one of the road trucks with Nick and Matt’s images on it.
Varsity Blonds vs “Absolute” Ricky Starks & “The Machine” Brian Cage (FTW Champ) w/ Taz
(referee: Bryce Remsburg)
Result: Brian Cage pins Brian Pillman Jr. ater the Drill Claw
Good match. Pillman started strong against Starks, but Starks was able to prevent Pillman from getting a tag which ended up isolating Pillman from his parter for a long time. Starks and Cage took turns beating up Pillman until Garrison was finally tagged in. That tag caused a breakdown in the match, and everyone was in and out of the ring until the definitive finish. This was fun. The Varsity Blonds looked good, but this was an exhibition for Team Taz.
After the match, the lights go out and a black & white video appears on the screen. We see a body bag being dragged behind a vehicle. When the vehicle stops, Darby Allin emerges from the body bag with a smile on his face.
Back in Daily’s Place, Sting walks out to the stage dragging a body bag. When Sting opens the bag, we see that it’s not Darby Allin inside, it’s Hook who has been beaten up. With everyone looking up at the stage, Darby Allin uses a zip line from the rafters to enter the ring. Together, Sting and Allin make short work of Starks and Cage. Team Taz is forced to retreat.
Tony Schiavone sits down with Kip Sabian, Penelope Ford, and Miro. Sabian and Miro want to destroy Orange Cassidy, but Miro wants Charles Taylor to come back and be his butler. As Miro speaks, Schiavone is handed a note. The note asks Miro and Sabian if they will wrestle Taylor and Cassidy at Revolution and to circle one: Y, N, Maybe. Miro is frustrated at Taylor’s childish behavior.
Brandon Cutler vs Jake Hager
(referee: Rick Knox)
Result: Jake Hager wins via pinfall after a running lariat
Pretty good match. Cutler had a little offense in the middle of the match, but Hager made short work of him otherwise. This feels like it’s more of a story segment for the Young Bucks versus Jericho and MJF than anything else.
After the match, Santana, Ortiz, and Warldow come out to the ring and beat on Cutler. That draws the Young Bucks to the ring to help Cutler and clear the ring of the Inner Circle. The Inner Circle retreats, and Matt Jackson calls Chris Jericho and MJF to the ring so they can settle things now.
Jericho’s music plays, but no one comes out. On the video screen, we see Jericho and MJF in the back. They’ve beaten up Papa Buck and bloodied his head. Papa Buck is slammed into the truck we saw earlier, leaving the Jacksons’ dad’s blood on their images. Jericho and MJF flee the scene as the Bucks check on their father.
Papa Buck is stretchered into an ambulance. The Good Brothers and Nick Jackson ride with him while Matt Jackson stays behind.
A look at the buildup for Shaq and Jade Cargill versus Cody Rhodes and Red Velvet.
Isiah Kassidy w/ Matt Hardy, Jack Evans, Angelico vs “Hangman” Adam Page
(referee: Aubrey Edwards)
Result: Adam Page wins via pinfall after the Dead Eye
Good match. With so many people accompanying Kassidy to the ring, the outlook was grim for Page. However, after Matt Hardy started interfering in the match, John Silver and Alex Reynolds came out to neutralize the effects of Hardy and TH2. That left Page and Kassidy to have the match (mostly) to themselves. Kassidy looked good in the fight, and he repeatedly kicked out of some of Page’s stronger moves. Kassidy was able to avoid a few setups for the Buckshot Lariat, and that forced Page to get a little creative in his approach. The winner here wasn’t really in much doubt once Dark Order was in Page’s corner, but it was still a fun match.
After the match, Matt Hardy vows to hurt every member of the Dark Order that Adam Page loves so much. Hardy drags Alan Angels out from the backstage area and throws him off the stage through a table. Page seems more confused than anything, and Silver and Reynolds go to check on their stablemate.
Alex Marvez approaches Kenny Omega is a workshop. Don Callis stops Marvez, wondering why he is again invading Caliis and Omega’s private space. Marvez doesn’t say anything, but he sees that Omega is busy building some contraptions for the upcoming exploding barbed wire death match.
AEW Women’s World Championship Eliminator Tournament American Semifinal Match
“The Native Beast” Nyla Rose vs Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. w/ Rebel not Reba
(referee: Paul Turner)
Result: Nyla Rose wins via pinfall after the Beast Bomb
Very good match. I really wasn’t sure which way they were going to go with this, and that helped make the match exciting. The action was good, and battle was fought pretty evenly throughout. Baker was able to use distractions and speed to really wear down Rose and set her up for Lockjaw, but Rose’s power was difficult for Baker to handle. This was another solid match in the tournament.
A look at the feud between FTR and Jurassic Express leading up the the six-man tag match next week.
Face of the Revolution Ladder Match Qualifier
“Murderhawk Monster” Lance Archer w/ Jake Roberts vs Rey Fenix
(referee: Rick Knox)
Result: Lance Archer wins via pinfall after Blackout
Great match. It was speed versus power and agility versus more agility. It was hard-hitting and high flying (from both guys at times), and it was a lot of fun. The match got dangerously close to the TV time limit, and that forced the tension to ramp up considerably in the final couple of minutes. I would have been cool with either guy winning and moving on to the ladder match at Revolution, so it was one of those matches whre I was half happy and half slightly disappointed. The action was great though.
Other than the final two matches and maybe the Sting/Allin/Team Taz segment, this felt very much like an in-between week leading up to a bigger show. That’s exactly what this episode was, so it’s not surprise it felt that way. I just mean that it was clear a lot of the big matches were being protected with squash matches or having the competitors not even compete and just show up in videos or other story segments. And that’s totally fine. Next Wednesday will be a big show, and then Revolution is that following Sunday. You need buildup to make the big events feel even more important, and that’s what tonight’s episode was doing.
Match of the Night
Lance Archer vs Rey Fenix
Archer is in an interesting spot where he’s still kind of acts like a bad guy when he wrestles, but he’s more friendly outside the ring. I think that’s a delicate balance for him, so I hope he can continue to make it work. This match was a lot of fun, and it felt like the most important of the night.