Original Air Date: March 3, 2021
Event Date: March 3, 2021
(aired live on TNT & the FITE app)
Commentary: Excalibur, Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, Scorpio Sky (5)
Ring Announcer: Justin Roberts
“Dynamite” by No One Hero
Mixed Tag Team Match
“The American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes w/ Arn Anderson & Red Velvet vs Jade Cargill & Shaquille O’Neal
(referee: Bryce Remsburg; at ringside: QT Marshall)
Result: Jade Cargill pins Red Velvet after a chickenwing facebuster
This was a lot more fun than it had any right to be. I think Shaq is great, but when we all learned that he was actually going to wrestle, I had nervous flashbacks of Dennis Rodman and Karl Malone in WCW. I shouldn’t have been nervous though. This was a super fun match that will be remembered for its spectacle more than anything else. Shaq had a great presence, and so did Jade Cargill. Shaq didn’t spend a ton of time in the ring, but he didn’t need to. Every move he did looked (and sounded) like it hurt a lot, but he never stayed int he ring long enough to wear out his welcome. This match was ultimately about building up Jade Cargill, and I think it worked. Jade looked strong and powerful, and this match was a great start to her in-ring career in AEW. It’s not entirely clear how well she can put a match together on her own, but in this environment she looked really good.
QT Marshall (who was at ringside) should be given a lot of credit for his role in helping to keep the match together (I could see him giving cues to Shaq and Jade, and he helped Red Velvet at one point too). Referee Bryce Remsburg was also visibly helping with cues at times, and I’m sure Cody was leading the action from in the ring. Even though I could see some of the inner workings going on, I didn’t mind. This was a fun match that had me smiling.
During a commercial break, Shaq is loaded into an ambulance.
After the break, Tony Schiavone opens the abulance doors to get some information about Shaq’s condition. Shaq, however, is no longer in the ambulance. Where did he go?
Rey Fenix & “The Bastard” Pac vs John Skyler & D3
(referee: Rick Knox)
Result: Rey Fenix pins John Skyler after an over-the-shoulder reverse piledriver
Squash. D3 never got tagged in, and John Skyler had zero offense. Skyler was destroyed, and two-thirds of Death Triangle looked strong. Hopefully Death Triangle can get back to full strength and finally stay together for a good run.
Chris Jericho and MJF (with Santana, Ortiz, and Wardlow) head to the ring for the Inner Circle Press Conference hosted by Dasha Gonzalez. Jericho stars the press conference by talking about what the tag titles mean to him. Everyone knows Jericho is Le Champion, but he hasn’t held an AEW for a year and it’s time for him to hold a title again (with MJF).
Conrad Thompson has a question: what are the odds of letting Sammy Guevara back into the Inner Circle. MJF and Jericho get pissed, make a few fat jokes, and tell Conrad to leave. Brandon Walker of Barstool Sports asks why the Inner Circle attacked Papa Buck last week. MJF says the attack was in self defense, and he complains about Papa Buck getting blood on his suit. MJF then says it wasn’t his idea to attack Papa Buck, and he hands the microphone to Santana. Santana says the Young Bucks should have expected the attack because there isn’t a line the Inner Circle won’t cross.
Eric Bischoff asks Jericho if he knows the condition of Papa Buck, and he wonders where motivating the Young Bucks to come after them ranks on Jericho’s list of stupid ideas. Jericho doesn’t know Papa Buck’s condition, and he doesn’t care. As Jericho continues, the Young Bucks some out to the stage. Nick Jackson says the Inner Circle made this personal. Matt Jackson insults Jericho and MJF’s fathers, and he talks about the do-it-yourself attitude Nick and Matt’s father instilled in them. Their father also taught them to stand up for themselves, and the Young Bucks superkick Jericho and MJF. A brawl erupts, and Brandon Cutler runs out to help the Bucks.
Referees and officials run out to try to contain the fight, but the brawl just spread around ringside. The Good Brothers come out and set a table up on the stage. Ortiz is isolated and put on the table on the stage while Santana is put on a table at ringside. In unison, Nick and Matt leap from the top of the entrance tunnel and the stage (respectively) to drive Ortiz and Santana (respectively) through the tables. Jericho and MJF don’t like it.
A look at the feud between Kenny Omega and Jon Moxley and their upcoming exploding barbed wire death match. Atsushi Onita thinks the stipulation is perfect for Omega and Moxley!
FTR & Tully Blanchard w/ J.J. Dillon vs Jurassic Express
(referee: Paul Turner)
Result: Tully Blanchard pins Luchasaurus after a triple-team spike piledriver (and an attack from a masked Shawn Spears at ringside)
Great match. This was a fantastic mix of nostalgia (with Blanchard and Dillon) meeting some current greats of tag team wrestling. Tully Blanchard was highlighted in a great way that enhanced the match, and that allowed FTR and Jurassic Express to shine even more. After some back and forth early in the match, FTR and Blanchard isolated Jungle Boy for a while. Blanchard got involved in certain ways to keep the advantage through a commercial break, but Jurassic Express started to mount a comeback later in the match. Jurassic Express were gaining momentum when a masked man at ringside interfered to help swing the match back to FTR’s favor. That led to a very good finish to this very fun match.
After the match, the masked man enters the ring, revealing himself as Shawn Spears. Spears celebrates with FTR, Blanchard, and Dillon as Arn Anderson walks out onto the stage. Anderson looks at the men in the ring for a few second before putting up four fingers. Dillon and Blanchard return the four-finger salute as Anderson heads backstage.
As FTR, Blanchard, and Dillon leave, Tony Schiavone heads over to the stage. Schiavone welcomes AEW’s recent signing and Schiavone’s future co-host for AEW’s Dark: Elevation, Paul Wight. Wight looks elated as he talks about how happy he is to be in AEW. Wight also has “the biggest scoop ever.” This Sunday at Revolution, a new hall-of-fame-worthy signing will be revealed. Wight knows who it is (and it isn’t who you think), but he won’t tell us. We’ll have to watch Revolution to find out.
A brief look at Ryo Mizunami’s journey so far in the Women’s World Championship Eliminator Tournament leading up to her match in the overall finals against Nyla Rose.
AEW Women’s World Championship Eliminator Tournament Overall Final Match
“The Native Beast” Nyla Rose w/ Vickie Guerrero vs Ryo Mizunami
(referee: Aubrey Edwards; at ringside: Hikaru Shida)
Result: Ryo Mizunami wins via pinfall after a diving leg drop
Very good match. Both women started by having a little fun with some lighter attacks and posing, but the tone got way more serious as the match went on. Nyla Rose used her size and power to try to dominate Mizunami, but Mizunami showed some impressive strength of her own throughout the match. Mizunami was able to suplex Rose multiple times throughout the match, and her strikes looked jut as strong as Rose’s. Towards the end of the match, the two women fought in a strong style, and both took to the ropes a few times. Both women hit moves that finished earlier competitors in the tournament, but neither of them would stay down. The fight was pretty much even as it went on, and that helped keep the tension high as it neared its finish. I enjoyed this match and thought it was a very good way to end the tournament.
After the match, Hikaru Shida enters the ring and presents the winner with her trophy. The two women shake hands, and then they both smile as they exchange a few hard strikes to each other.
In the ring, Tony Schiavone welcomes Sting. Schiavone tells Sting that he looks ready, and Sting says he wasn’t really ready until he got powerbombed by Brian Cage recently. That powerbomb shook off and ring rust he might have had, and now he’s ready for a street fight.
Ricky Starks comes out and interrupts. Starks tells Sting that “he’s still got it.” However, Starks thinks Sting is no icon. Starks slaps Sting, and Sting responds by beating Starks up and putting him in the scorpion death lock. Powerhouse Hobbs and Hook run to the ring. Hobbs tries to free Starks from Sting’s hold while Hook puts Sting in a chinlock. Sting releases Starks and attacks Hook, but Taz and Brian Cage join the rest of Team Taz. Cage sets Sting up for a powerbomb, but Darby Allin runs out to save Sting. Together, Sting and Allin clear Team Taz from the ring.
Face of the Revolution Ladder Match Qualifier
Dark Order’s 10 w/ -1, Evil Uno, Stu Grayson, Alex Reynolds, John Silver, Alan Angels, Colt Cabana vs “Platinum” Max Caster
(referee: Paul Turner)
Result: Max Caster wins via pinfall after Jack Evans hits 10 in the head with Caster’s boom box
Very good match. This was a nice match from two wrestlers on the rise. 10 seemed to get more offense, especially later in the match, but both men looked good throughout. The finish involved some story line shenanigans, and it worked well as some minor plot progression for Matt Hardy and Adam Page’s ongoing feud.
After the match, Matt Hardy comes out to the stage and hands Jack Evans an envelope that has “Mr. Jack Evans $4200.00” written on it. Hardy, Evans, and Caster all head backstage as 10 tries to recover in the ring.
Earlier today, Miro said the people who want him to stop playing games will finally get their wish. Miro promises destruction at Revolution.
Marq Quen & Matt Hardy vs John Silver w/ Dark Order & “Hangman” Adam Page
(referee: Rick Knox)
Result: Adam Page pins Marq Quen after the Buckshot Lariat
Very good match. This was a nice mix of story and action. Page and Silver were a very good tandem with some nice two-man combinations throughout the match, but Hardy and Quen had very different ideas throughout the match. Hardy did everything he could to avoid Adam Page until Page was in a vulnerable position, and that left Quen alone in the ring for long stretches of time. Quen took a beating throughout the match, but Hardy was more concerned with taking care of himself. That led to an unsurprising yet fun finish that sets up Page and Hardy’s match at Revolution well.
After the match, Hardy attacks Silver and Page from behind. Silver is knocked out of the ring, and Hardy pounds Page in the head with a microphone. Dark Order run out and stomp Hardy. After a few seconds, a whole bunch of wrestlers run out to the ring causing a giant brawl. In the melee (in addition to the people already in the ring) are Chaos Project, The Butcher & The Blade (with The Bunny), Peter Avalon & Cezar Bononi, Bear Country, The Varsity Blonds, The Natural Nightmares, Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian, and Matt & Mike Sydal. Rey Phoenix & Pac arrive fashionably late to the Casino Tag Team Battle Royal preview brawl. The show ends as chaos engulfs the ring.
AEW knows how to put on a great go-home show before a PPV. Some of those shows are better than others, but this was a really good one. It felt like an important show on its own with important matches (like the finals of the women’s tournament) and big spectacles (like Tully Blanchard returning to the ring and Shaq and Jade Cargill tagging), and it did a great job of either progressing or maintaining the feuds heading into Revolution.
Match of the Night
FTR & Tully Blanchard vs Jurassic Express
There were lots of fun moments and some great wrestling tonight. For me, this match had the best combination of both.