Monday, May 31, 2021

AEW Double or Nothing 2021

By Steve Ward

All Elite Wrestling returned to pay per view this evening with Double Or Nothing. The event emanated from Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, Florida in front of, not only a sold out crowd, but also one sold to the venue’s capacity - much unlike WWE who are still performing in front LED screens a couple hours away. This evening’s stacked card featured the defense of every AEW championship and was headlined by a double main event - Kenny Omega’s defense of the AEW World Heavyweight Championship against PAC and Orange Cassidy in a triple threat affair, as well as, a Stadium Stampede match between The Inner Circle and The Pinnacle.

The Buy-In Pre-Show:

NWA Women’s Championship

Serena Deeb (c) vs. Riho

Winner: Serena Deeb via submission

Deeb and Riho more than warmed up the capacity crowd on the lone pre-show bout as the ladies left nothing to spare with the NWA gold on the line. After targeting Riho’s knee for much of the contest, Deeb finally forced her to tap out in the end with a modified half-crab.

Main Card:

Brian Cage vs. “Hangman” Adam Page

Winner: “Hangman” Adam Page

The main card kicked off with the FTW World Champion Brian Cage representing Team Taz going toe to toe with Adam Page. These two competitors set the bar high for the remainder of the card keeping the raucous crowd on their feet for much of the bout. Brian Cage had requested that the remainder of Team Taz remain out of the match, however, that only lasted so long. In the closing moments, Brian Cage executed a spinning liger bomb, however, Hook and Ricky Starks made their way to ringside after a failed pinfall attempt. As Hook distracted the referee, Starks tossed the FTW belt to Cage so he could use it against Page. As Cage and Starks argued, Page capitalized with the Buckshot Lariat to solidify the victory.

AEW Tag Team Championship

The Young Bucks (c) w/ Don Callis & Brandon Cutler vs. Jon Moxley & Eddie Kingston

Winners: The Young Bucks via pinfall

After The Young Bucks turned their backs on Moxley several weeks ago on Dynamite and realigned themselves with Kenny Omega, Don Callis, and The Good Brothers, they in effect painted crosshairs on their backs. Following several weeks of accosting the Bucks, Moxley and Kingston found their way into a tag team title bout. Before the opening bell, a melee broke out between the two teams that finally spilled back into the ring allowing for the opening bell to sound. Not before long, The Young Bucks assumed control of the match and played the numbers game with Eddie Kingston. Just as it appeared it could be a short night for the Bucks, Moxley found his way into the match and quickly turned the tide. In what evolved into a back and forth affair, the final moments of the bout witnessed the Bucks take Kingston out of the equation before they brutalized Moxley with a Superkick Party and, not one, but four BTE Triggers. This allowed The Young Bucks to pin a bloodied Moxley to retain their titles.

Casino Battle Royal

Winner: Jungle Boy

This 21 man battle royal had high stakes at hand as the winner would receive a future world title shot. The match would see four groups of five enter the ring in five minute intervals before the “Joker” would join the fray. The groups were as follows:
Group One - Christian Cage, Matt Sydal, Dustin Rhodes, Powerhouse Hobbs, and Max Castor

Group Two - Matt Hardy, Isiah Cassidy, “Ten” Preston Vance of Dark Order, Nick Comoroto, and Serpentico

Group Three - The Varsity Blondes (Brian Pillman Jr. & Griff Garrison), Colt Cabana, Anthony Bowens, and Penta El Zero Mieda

Group Four - Jungle Boy, Marq Quen, Aaron Solow, Evil Uno, and Lee Johnson
The Joker - Lio Rush

The final four competitors in the match were Christian Cage, Matt Hardy, Jungle Boy, and Marq Quen. Marq Quen was quickly eliminated off the ring apron by Jungle Boy. Matt Hardy next attempted to form an alliance with Cage who seemingly was in accordance with his plan until he backstabbed him and tossed Hardy from the ring. This left Christian Cage and Jungle Boy as the final two competitors. In the final moments, Jungle Boy appeared in dire straits as he stood on the ring apron. As Cage charged him, Jungle Boy delivered a headbutt to the stomach and vaulted Christian out of the ring.

Anthony Ogogo w/ QT Marshall vs. Cody Rhodes w/ Arn Anderson

Winner: Cody Rhodes via pinfall

Former Nightmare Family member QT Marshall put forth his student, Olympic bronze medalist boxer, Anthony Ogogo as the challenger to Cody Rhodes this evening. Anthony Ogogo made a nice showing for himself in his pay per view debut as he mixed his boxing background in with a strong wrestling acumen which included a perfectly executed frog splash. In the end, Cody executed the Vertebreaker to secure the win.

TNT Championship

Miro (c) vs. Lance Archer

Winner: Miro via submission

Archer noticeably made his way to the ring on his own as Jake “The Snake” Roberts was assaulted by Miro at the weigh-in on Saturday. “The Murderhawk Monster” wasted no time taking the fight to Miro as he attacked him on the entrance ramp. Miro quickly reasserted himself until Jake Roberts made his way to the ring late in the match with the snake bag in tow. Miro intercepted Roberts and tossed the bag up the ramp, however, this distraction allowed Archer an opening to choke slam Miro and get himself back in the match. This wasn’t enough as moments later Archer found himself passing out at the hands of Miro in the Game Over to retain his title.

AEW Women’s Championship

Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. w/ Rebel vs. Hikaru Shida (c)

Winner: Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. via submission

The longest reigning champion in AEW history, Hikaru Shida, found herself facing a legitimate threat to her title this evening in the form of “The Doctor” - a woman who has climbed the women’s rankings over the past couple months to earn this opportunity. Rebel distracted the referee late in the match allowing Dr. Baker to execute a curb stomp of Shida’s head onto the women’s title, however, Shida rebounded with her patented running knee. Dr. Britt Baker was able to kick out of the subsequent pinfall and quickly cinched in the Lockjaw to secure her first 

AEW Women’s Championship.

Sting & Darby Allin vs. Ethan Page & Scorpio Sky

Winners: Sting & Darby Allin via pinfall

The icon Sting made his return to the ring in a sanctioned match for the first time in six years as he tagged with his protégé Darby Allin as they fought the new tandem of “All Ego” Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky. It was hard to believe that Sting is 62 years old as he moved around the ring arguably better than he did in his short-lived WWE stint that ended with a devastating injury six years ago. Sting pulled out all the stops as he executed multiple Stinger Splashes, the Scorpion Deathlock, and finally the Scorpion Death Drop which allowed him to secure the pinfall on Scorpio Sky.

AEW World Championship Triple Threat Match

Kenny Omega (c) w/ Don Callis vs. PAC vs. Orange Cassidy

Winner: Kenny Omega via pinfall

The “Belt Collector” Kenny Omega found himself in a three way dance this evening as PAC and Orange Cassidy wrestled to a no contest recently on Dynamite in a number one contender match. In what had to have been one of the most outstanding title bouts in AEW history, the final moments saw PAC, Cassidy, and the referee all laid out after Omega assaulted all three with his variety of championship belts. Orange Cassidy then emerged from nowhere to deliver the Orange Punch to Omega. As he covered the champ for the pin attempt, referee Aubrey Edwards made her way to the ring to make the count. Omega reversed the cover attempt at two into a crucifix pin to retain his title.

Stadium Stampede Match

The Inner Circle (Chris Jericho, Jake Hager, Sammy Guevara, Santana, & Ortiz) vs. The Pinnacle (MJF, Shawn Spears, Cash Wheeler, Dax Harwood, & Wardlow) w/ Tully Blanchard

Winners: The Inner Circle via pinfall

The main event of the evening pit Chris Jericho’s, Inner Circle, against MJF’s, The Pinnacle, in a Stadium Stampede match within the confines of TIAA Bank Stadium located adjacent to Daily’s Place. In another match with high stakes, the Inner Circle would disband if they failed to emerge victorious. This match, while starting at the ring set up in the center of the football field, quickly dispersed to various locations around the stadium - including the head coach’s office where Jericho and MJF brutalized each other as Jaguars coaches Urban Meyer and Charlie Strong observed. The match eventually concluded after the action spilled back over into Daily’s Place as Sammy Guevarra and Shawn Spears brawled in the ring. Guevarra sealed the deal for the Inner Circle as he drove Spears head into a steel chair wedged between two turn buckles and then scaled to the top turnbuckle to execute a 630 Senton Splash.

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Monday, May 17, 2021

WWE Wrestlemania Backlash 2021

By Steve Ward

Following two nights of Wrestlemania in front of a capacity crowd at Raymond James Stadium last month, WWE reverted back to their dystopian setting this month as Wrestlemania Backlash emanated from the new home for the WWE Thunderdome, The Yuengling Center on the campus of the University of South Florida. This is a curious development since AEW will present their annual Double or Nothing pay per view in two weeks and have announced they will sell Daily’s Place to capacity - a venue which stands only a couple hours away in Jacksonville. Nonetheless, this evening’s event represented a culmination of the fallout from the “Showcase of the Immortals” as five titles were contested on the six bout card with the headline bout featuring Roman Reigns stepping toe to toe with Cesaro for the Universal Championship.

RAW Women’s Championship Triple Threat Match

Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka vs. Rhea Ripley (c) 

Winner: Rhea Ripley via pinfall

Charlotte firmly reasserted herself in the RAW Women’s division the night after Wrestlemania as she brutally assaulted new champion Rhea Ripley and manipulated her way into a title opportunity. This of course did not sit well with the former champion, Asuka, hence the table being set for our triple threat match this evening. Charlotte established her dominance for much of this bout, however, she would not factor into the decision. In the closing moments, Flair stood on the ring apron and delivered a kick to the face of the charging Asuka. The momentum not only drove Charlotte to the arena floor, but also set up Asuka for the Riptide which solidified Ripley’s title defense.

WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship

Robert Roode & Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. Rey Mysterio & Dominik Mysterio

Winners: Rey & Dominik Mysterio via pinfall

This contest was originally supposed to feature Rey teaming with his son Dominik until Roode and Ziggler brutally attacked him backstage during the Kickoff Show. Rather than find another partner, Mysterio elected to challenge for the titles on his own. Rey put forth a valiant effort to open the match, however, it did not take long for the numbers game to eventually overwhelm him. After being the recipient of a vicious beat down, topped by a Fameasser delivered by Dolph Ziggler, a hobbled Dominik Mysterio made his way to ringside to aid his father. Dominik’s presence revitalized Rey as they turned the tide of the bout. In the closing moments, Rey executed the 619 on Roode. Rey then proceeded to tag in his son who delivered a Frogsplash from the top rope crowning the first ever father-son tag team champions in WWE history.

Lumberjack Match

The Miz w/ John Morrison vs. Damian Priest

Winner: Damian Priest via pinfall

After being embarrassed by Damian Priest and Bad Bunny at Wrestlemania, The Miz sought retribution this evening. Following his victory over John Morrison on Monday night, Priest was able to name the stipulation for tonight’s match and elected for a Lumberjack Match. With the event being sponsored by Dave Bautista’s movie Army of the Dead, WWE elected to make all of the lumberjacks…zombies…yes, you read that correctly. In the closing moments, Priest was able to withstand a running knee from The Miz and finished him off with the Hit the Lights for the pinfall. Following the match, The Miz was swarmed by the zombie lumberjacks as Priest escaped the ring.

Smackdown Women’s Championship

Bianca Belair (c) vs. Bayley

Winner: Bianca Belair via pinfall

Belair found herself in the crosshairs of Bayley following her victory at Wrestlemania as the former champ has made it a point to regain her title especially after being left off the card at WWE’s signature event. I’ll be quite honest, this match didn’t hold a candle to the triple threat contest that opened the show. The closing moments saw Bayley attempt a pinfall only to have Belair use her excessively long hair to create leverage and reverse the pin to retain her title.

WWE Championship Triple Threat Match

Bobby Lashley (c) w/ MVP vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Braun Strowman

Winner: Bobby Lashley via pinfall

Following his retention of the WWE title over McIntyre at Wrestlemania, Bobby Lashley again found himself set to defend his championship against him at Backlash following Drew’s victory over Randy Orton recently on RAW. As if this weren’t enough, Braun Strowman reestablished his dominance in recent weeks and manipulated his way into the bout as well stacking the deck against “The Almighty” Bobby Lashley. Early in the match, Lashley and McIntyre found themselves engulfed in a brawl at the top of the entrance ramp that concluded with Drew thrusting the champion through an LED display which erupted in sparks. McIntyre and Strowman proceeded to demolish the arena and each other as Lashley was out of the equation. In the closing moments, McIntyre delivered the Claymore Kick to Strowman before he was ambushed by Lashley who ejected Drew from the ring. Lashley proceeded to deliver a devastating spear to Strowman setting up the pinfall victory.

WWE Universal Championship

Roman Reigns (c) w/ Paul Heyman vs. Cesaro

Winner: Roman Reigns via submission

Following monumental wins over Seth Rollins at Wrestlemania and recently on Smackdown, Cesaro found himself competing for his first world title in WWE. Cesaro had one of his finest matches, however, it just wasn’t enough in the end as Roman also put worth one of the most well-rounded efforts I’ve ever seen where he actually utilized more than three moves and demonstrated legitimate technical expertise. In the end, Roman cinched in a guillotine choke that rendered Cesaro unconscious and allowed him to retain his title. Following the match, Jey Uso entered the ring and praised the “Tribal Chief” for his victory. As if this wasn’t enough, Seth Rollins then made his way to ringside and proceeded to lay waste to Cesaro with a steel chair and a curb stomp to close the broadcast.

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