Dynamite continues to be a great show with frustrating moments. Tonight’s AEW Revolution go-home show was nothing if not spectacular, and there were phenomenal individual segments. Unfortunately, there were also lots of little niggling things that bothered me, and those build on each other over time. I break it all down here with the show’s Hits and Misses.
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) March 4, 2021
Shaquille O’Neal/Jade Cargill vs. Cody Rhodes/Red Velvet: Better than I ever expected
Where did this come from?! This match was unbelievable considering the experience level of everyone involved. On the Revolution go-home show, the best segment actually had nothing to with the pay-per-view.
Cody did a great job selling for Shaq, who in turn was utilized perfectly with great overhand chops and a surprisingly solid powerbomb. You would’ve never guessed that Cargill and Velvet, meanwhile, are rookies learning on the job out there. Did they put on the Serena Deeb-Riho wrestling clinic we got a couple weeks ago? No, but they did impress with natural athleticism and star power.
I’m burying the lede, though. This match will be remembered for that insane diving crossbody that sent Cody and Shaq crashing through two tables onto the floor. I loved pretty much everything about this and would say it rivals Kurt Angle & Ronda Rousey vs. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon as far as star-studded intergender tag matches go.
The entire AEW Women’s Eliminator Tournament
AEW’s women’s division has been unfairly maligned for not being featured enough. While I understand that criticism, I think it’s more of a function of talent within the division rather than any sort of priority regarding gender; if AEW had WWE’s insanely deep talent pool of women, they’d be featured more.
But they don’t, so a tournament like this is a great way to get these women on TV with matches that have real stakes. There are three main takeaways I got from this tournament. First, Nyla Rose is one of the most improved wrestlers over the last year, far beyond where WON Most Improved winner Britt Baker is at. Second, Riho should be the centerpiece of the division, putting on the best Western women’s match of the year so far while also being a legitimate television draw.
Third and finally (and for many reasons beyond wrestling), this pandemic needs to end. The amount of Japanese women’s talent that has been missing opportunities to come to the United States over the last year is so sad. Once the Japanese competitors (and more) come over to the United States regularly, look out. At that point, WWE’s women’s division is within reach.
NWA nostalgia in the best way
While WWE would have you believe that the only way to effectively use nostalgia is to remind viewers “Remember how much better it used to be?”, the entire FTR vs. Jurassic Express segment was a salute to the past done right.
There were so many great touches, from Tully walking out with the Ten Pounds of Silver, to J.J. Dillon appearing and whacking Jungle Boy with a shoe, to Arn Anderson coming out afterwards and flashing the “four” to the group, to FTR just generally being 2021’s reincarnation of the Midnight Express.
I’m intrigued by where this group goes from here, while I’m marginal on the Shawn Spears reveal, whoever ends up being the fourth member of this group (Scorpio Sky?) could find themselves in the world title picture sooner than later.
Where were Kenny Omega and Jon Moxley?
This was completely baffling. On the Revolution go-home show, where the main event is this insane Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch for the company’s world title, the two participants were nowhere to be found.
I don’t get the justification at all. Take the final Hangman Page vs. Matt Hardy build in the main event spot. What do we think would make Revolution a better show and encourage more buys: a decently enjoyable tag match that repeats the same story beats we’ve seen over the last month and hypes a Battle Royal of all things, or a sit-down interview, contract signing, or weigh-in involving the company’s two top stars?
This world title match at Revolution is one of the five or so biggest matches in company history, and the culmination of the single biggest feud in company history. Kenny Omega is your world champion and Jon Moxley is the best talker in the business. You’re telling me you couldn’t find a single minute for these two in your show? It just doesn’t make sense.
Technical problems throughout
I have no doubt that running a live TV broadcast is difficult, but we’re a year and a half in at this point. There were far too many technical problems throughout this broadcast, making a very good television program seem amateurish and lazy.
Here’s a list: completely missing Jade Cargill’s big spear, mistiming multiple commercial break cues, and failing to mic up multiple people correctly, including one of the interviewers during the Inner Circle segment and Tony Schiavone.
While they’re nowhere near the most important parts, the supplemental aspects of a professional wrestling broadcast – the presentation package, the music, the entrances, and the commentary – all work together to create an enjoyable viewing experience. If AEW gets the broadcast chops to match up to its storytelling and talent, watch out.