All Elite Wrestling
February 29, 2020
Wintrust Arena
Chicago, Illinois

Watch: PPV & B/R Live in USA & Canada, Fite internationally

Meet our reviewers:

Suit Williams: We’re talkin’ bout a Revolution! One of the most anticipated wrestling shows in two decades has finally landed, and he can’t wait to see it. Follow him on Twitter @SuitWilliams, and hear his thoughts on wrestling every week on the Smark Sports podcast @SmarkSports.

Sean Sedor: Happy Leap Day everyone! Sean’s very excited to join in on the review of AEW’s first PPV of 2020. Much like everyone else, he’s loved the build to this show over the last several weeks, and he can’t wait to see how things turn out. You can follow Sean on Twitter @SASedor2994.

The Dark Order (Evil Uno & Stu Grayson) def. SoCal Uncensored (Frankie Kazarian & Scorpio Sky)

Suit Williams: The biggest problem with early Dark Order matches was that they had no heat, so this Exalted One deal has given the crowd some reason to care. They still aren’t into it very much, but something is better than nothing. The match was nothing special, as the Dark Order get the win off of a reversed roll-up. The post-match is where the intrigue comes in, as the rest of the Dark Order run in and beat down SCU. Colt Cabana comes out and gets some offense in until he gets overwhelmed by them. A cloaked figure comes out to the Dark Order’s music and reveals himself to be Chris Daniels (who was in the back for the match), but he ends up helping his friends run off the heels. Eh. **1/4

Sean Sedor: My pizza arrived just as the teams were making their entrances, so good timing. Before the match started, we got a backstage promo with SCU where Kazarian and Scorpio Sky told Christopher Daniels to stay in the back. Obviously this continued to fuel the wild speculation regarding The Dark Order’s Exalted One and specifically Daniels. This was a pretty solid tag team contest that had a pretty simple formula. SCU had the edge early. Dark Order took control after some chicanery on the outside (Alex Reynolds, John Silver, and the other two creepers attacking Kazarian on the outside while Uno and Grayson had the referee distracted). The hot tag was eventually made to Scorpio Sky, and the last few minutes featured some fine action. The finish did come off a little flat, as Dark Order got the win after Reynolds and Silver jumped up on the apron to provide the distraction. 

With that win, Dark Order remain undefeated as a tag team in 2020, but the big story was what happened in the post-match. Dark Order continued their beatdown on SCU until Colt Cabana made the save. He ran wild for a bit before falling to the superior numbers of the Dark Order. Then, we got an Exalted One fake out, as a cloaked figure made his way down to the ring. It turned out to be Christopher Daniels, and he made the save for SCU and Cabana. Again, the match was solid for what it was, but what happened after the match was more important. I guess this eliminates Daniels as the possible identity of the Exalted One? Time will tell. ***1/4 

Jake Hager def. Dustin Rhodes

Suit Williams: It’s interesting to start with the hoss fight, and it’s…interesting to have it go as long as this one did. Dustin had a shirt that said he was here to fight Jericho’s bitch, so that was that. What this match made clear to me was that whatever fire Hager had is pretty much gone. His control segments were pretty tedious, and the crowd had to try their best to stay into it. Hager did lick the facepaint off of Dustin’s face, in a fun homage to Tyson Fury. Dustin and Hager trade low blows, but Hager ended up getting the win by choking out Dustin. On one hand, this wasn’t a great opener. On the other hand, it was better to get it out of the way here instead of letting it grind the show to a halt later on. **1/2

Sean Sedor: Interesting choice for a PPV opener. When you look at the whole card, this match was definitely going to be on the lower end in terms of quality (despite the fact that it’s had a good build), so I guess the idea is to get it out of the way quickly? I would think it would come close to dying a death if it was following one of the more exciting matches on the card. 

Anyway, they charged at each other as soon as the bell rang, which was great. It’s a grudge match, so we shouldn’t see a cautious lockup! Dustin got the early edge with some brawling in the crowd, but then he got absolutely leveled on the floor by a Hager clothesline. The middle portion of the bout wasn’t that interesting, but things picked up a little bit after Dustin forced himself on Hager’s wife, who was at ringside (it was less of a kiss and more of Dustin rubbing his face paint on her). There was more action in the closing few minutes, with a couple of decent nearfalls (one for Hager after a Doctor Bomb and one for Dustin after a Code Red). Hager eventually won with a head and arm choke. This was a weird one for me. While it did go entirely too long, the second half was actually pretty solid, and if you cut out the first several minutes, it’s a much better match. I’ll throw the gentleman’s three at this one. ***

Darby Allin def. Sammy Guevara

Suit Williams: This one started red hot, as Darby hit a dive to the floor before the bell rang. Sammy took control with a skateboard shot to the face before HITTING A 630 THROUGH A TABLE ON THE FLOOR. Jesus Christ. The bell rang and Darby was able to get back into it using his technical skills. A big Code Red got two, before Sammy hit one hell of a Spanish Fly. Sammy takes the turnbuckle cover off, but Darby monkey flipped him into the exposed cover. Coffin Drop gets the win. Darby went to do more damage before Hager dragged Sammy away. This was a perfect match for the spot, and it still leaves room for more. Great stuff. ***1/2

Sean Sedor: Much like the opener, this one got off to a hot start, as Darby dove straight onto Guevara before Justin Roberts could even finish his ring introductions. That was totally appropriate as (again, much like the opener) this was a grudge match. They did a ton of brawling on the outside before the bell even rang. Darby crashed and burned on a dive attempt that saw him land face first on the floor (looked like he caught his foot on the ropes as he was doing the dive). Guevara took advantage of this mistake by Allin, and did a freaking 630 Splash from the top rope, all the way to the floor, to put Allin through a table. I guess he saw that Shooting Star Press through a table spot that PAC did during the Iron Man Match on Dynamite and thought “I want to top that”. He’s an absolute maniac.

Darby somehow managed to get back in the ring, and the bell finally rang to officially get this one started. The actual match didn’t go that long (or it didn’t feel like it went that long, at least), but we saw some really fun action between these two, and the crowd was loving every second of it. Darby eventually got the win after hitting the Coffin Drop on Guevara. Darby was going to get more revenge on Guevara after the fact, as he went after him with his skateboard, but Jake Hager came out and pulled Guevara away from the ring. When you combine the actual match with what happened beforehand, this whole thing was awesome. A great crowd and some absolutely insane spots. It was a blast to watch. ****

AEW World Tag Team Championship: “Hangman” Adam Page & Kenny Omega (c) def. The Young Bucks

Suit Williams: The Young Bucks music muted out the part where they chanted “The Elite”, and Hangman didn’t have a funny quip on his lower third like he usually does. It was serious business here in Chicago. Young Bucks got some boos when they were announced, a very foreign sound these days. What followed was one of the best tag team matches you will ever see in your life. There was incredible action and athleticism that you would expect from these four men, but the storytelling and the building of tension brought this match to unbelievable levels. This is a match you show people when you want them to understand why you love pro wrestling. Omega couldn’t hit the One Winged Angel because of his shoulder, which was hurt in the PAC match last week on TV, so Page tagged in and did it himself for a two count. Then Hangman, who has had a chip on his shoulder for months, hit both Bucks with Buckshot lariats to get the win and retain the titles. Hangman Page solidified himself as a main event player, and if there is a better tag team match this year, I can’t wait to see it. *****

Sean Sedor: Another case of interesting match placement. If it wasn’t going to be closer to the top end of the card, I would’ve guessed that it was going to kick off the PPV. This started off with Omega and Nick Jackson, and they had your basic opening exchange. However, once Hangman got tagged in, things got WAY more heated. Page had some aggressive exchanges with The Young Bucks, and Page managed to gain the advantage for his team after targeting the back of Matt Jackson. If you watched this on mute, you would think that Page is the heel (given some of his action), but Page has gotten so over that the fans booed anytime The Young Bucks stopped him from doing something (whether that be connecting a big move or getting the hot tag). 

Once Page did get the hot tag, this match just took off and turned into an amazing tag team title contest. There were so many incredible moments throughout. There’s almost too many to go over. Matt doing his Northern Lights Suplexes on the rampway, The Young Bucks hitting Page with the IndyTaker on the ramp, The Young Bucks hitting Omega with the freaking Golden Trigger, Page hitting the One Winged Angel when Omega couldn’t do it (since he hurt his shoulder in the Iron Man Match with PAC), and finally, Page winning the match the same way that he won the titles for his team on the Jericho Cruise. That’s just a few of the absolutely insane spots that occured in this match. Combine all of that with the great storytelling, and you have the makings of an instant classic. How fitting that we got this match almost two years after the outstanding Golden Lovers/Young Bucks match in Long Beach. Just amazing action from start to finish, and an absolute match of the year contender. *****

AEW Women’s World Championship: Nyla Rose (c) def. Kris Statlander

Suit Williams: How do you say “follow that” in alien language? This was a very tough spot to be in, and after Statlander fluffed a nip up, I thought these two were gonna flounder. But these two got it together and ended up getting an emotionally exhausted crowd into their match, so a credit to both of them on that front. Statlander hit two big dives and a missile dropkick for two. Nyla got Statlander up for the big top rope knee, but Kris handwalked out of it and got a big flurry of offense for two. Kris hit a scary superplex for two, so she got back up to the top rope for a rana. Nyla caught her on the way down and hit a massive Beast Bomb to win and retain. An unenviable position to be in, but these two handled it well and had a solid women’s title match. ***1/4

Sean Sedor: I did not envy these two at all. Having to follow that incredible tag team title bout is an extremely tough task, and it showed early on, as the crowd seemed very quiet during the opening exchanges. However, once Nyla Rose connected with a running spear from the elevated ramp into the ring (which was easily the best spear she’s ever hit), the pace picked up a bit, and the fans started to gradually get into the bout. There was some solid back-and-forth down the stretch, but Nyla ultimately got the win after hitting a scary looking Beast Bomb from the second rope. It was very similar to the opener in that the second half was much better than the first half. The fact that it had to follow Omega & Page vs. The Young Bucks absolutely hurt it early on (this would’ve been the last match I picked to come after that tag title match), with regards to crowd reactions, and the fact that Kris Statlander was getting over the flu (she still may have it, for all I know) probably didn’t help matters either. This will be the second gentleman’s three I’m handing out tonight. A pretty solid second half that saved it from totally falling apart, so I’ll give them a ton of credit in that respect. They were put in a very tough spot, and they did the best they could. *** 

MJF (with Wardlow) def. Cody (with Arn Anderson & Brandi Rhodes) 

Suit Williams: Cody got a big time entrance with the Nightmare Family (Brandi, Dustin, Arn Anderson, Arrow star Stephen Amell). He showed off his Nightmare Family neck tattoo, which is…certainly a neck tattoo. Downstait…certainly played Cody’s music. There was a lot to like about this, but there was a good amount not to like. The heat for this match was off of the charts, and the storytelling was great as well. Cody got MJF’s blood, and he got a receipt for the lashes by whipping him with his weight belt. Cody wanted revenge too badly, and MJF wanted the win, which he got with a Dynamite Diamond Ring-assisted punch. But the action was perfunctory at best. It was tedious, and it didn’t feel like Cody had been waiting since November to get his hands on this guy. I don’t expect this to be the end of the feud, so I’m hoping they have better in them. But as this stands, this left me a bit empty. ***

Sean Sedor: Downstait performed Cody’s entrance music live as he made his way down to the ring with the rest of the Nightmare Family (let’s just saw the studio version of the song was better). It was also during Cody’s entrance that we finally got to see his brand new neck tattoo, which is basically the Nightmare Family logo. Cody went after MJF straight away, but of course, MJF bailed every chance he got. Once Cody was able to get his hands on MJF early on, he beat the crap out of him (this included a Cody Cutter and a running clothesline from the rampway). He even managed to take out Wardlow with a dive after being distracted by Brandi. 

After an arm wringer in the ropes, however, MJF took control. He targeted the arm as well as Cody injured toe. At one point, he even took Cody’s boot off and bit the injured toe (that was disgusting). Cody was able to fight back, and even managed to bust MJF open. It was at this point that we really got into the storytelling elements of this one. Arn got accidentally taken out by Cody, the weight belt came into play, as Cody managed to get a measure of revenge on MJF. At this point, it looked as though Cody was on the verge of winning, as he connected with two Cross Rhodes and was looking for three in a row (a callback to the Kip Sabian match). MJF was able to counter the third Cross Rhodes, and hit Cody with the Dynamite Diamond Ring when the referee wasn’t looking, at got the win. If you were going to extend the feud between these two, then MJF absolutely had to get the victory here. A strong combination of good in-ring action, great storytelling, and a hot crowd. Everyone involved played their respective roles perfectly. Again, the feud is certainly not over, so it should be interesting to see where things go from here. ***3/4 

PAC def. Orange Cassidy

Suit Williams: What a damn great match to put together here. PAC needed a win, Cassidy loses nothing with a loss, and the match itself was very good on its own merits. It’s a wonder why more old timers don’t like Orange Cassidy. He doesn’t do an excessive amount of flips. He gets the absolute most out of the absolute least. He is undeniably over. A legitimately great wrestling match here. The Lucha Brothers came out for some reason to take out the Best Friends, which led to PAC locking on the Brutalizer for an immediate tap. ****1/4

Sean Sedor: Well, this match was an absolute blast to watch from start to finish. We got a mix of athleticism and comedy early on from Orange Cassidy (with PAC even playing along with the weak kicks at one point), but PAC took control after throwing Cassidy into the ring post skull first, which looked absolutely brutal. PAC then beat the crap out of Cassidy for a bit before he started to fight back. Once Cassidy was able to mount his comeback, the crowd exploded, and it was during this final stretch that we really got to see what Orange Cassidy could do when he tries. Great action between these two down the stretch. Towards the end of the bout, The Lucha Bros came out and started brawling with Best Friends. As this brawl continued on the rampway, PAC locked Cassidy in the Brutalizer and scored the victory. This was a super enjoyable match to watch. The action was entertaining throughout, the crowd was hot any time Orange Cassidy was on offense. Although he never really had a chance to win this one, that doesn’t change the fact that Orange Cassidy is one of the most over guys in the entire company. He got to show off the wrestling ability that we all know he has, but The Bastard was always going to come out on top. ****1/4 

AEW World Championship: Jon Moxley def. Chris Jericho (c)

Suit Williams: Chris Jericho gets a choir to sing Judas before he comes out, which gets THE FULL FIVE from me. The match started with a bit of plunder and the Inner Circle had some involvement, but it was mostly clean. Mox got busted open around his bad eye, which Jericho focused on for the majority of the match. Hager came out and knocked Mox out with a punch, but Ref Aubrey saw and threw Hager, Santana and Ortiz out from ringside. Sammy Guevara came in (shirtless, of course) and knocked Mox out with the belt, but Mox kicked out of the ensuing cover. Mox caught Jericho with a quick Paradigm Shift before taking off the eyepatch and revealing that he could see the whole time! Paradigm Shift proper gets the win, and we have a new World Champion. Loved the eyepatch swerve at the end, and I thought this was a damn good main event. 

Jericho had an incredible run as World Champion from start to finish, and you truly couldn’t ask for much more from a title run. He elevated the title, he elevated everyone he worked with, and he elevated the company as well. Now we get to see Jon Moxley get the top guy run that people have been craving to see since 2014. I can’t wait. ***3/4

Sean Sedor: I absolutely loved the entrances from both men. They started shooting Moxley’s walkout as he was outside of the building, which I thought was cool. Then, we got Jericho’s entrance, which featured a freaking choir singing Judas. That has to be one of the best moments in pro-wrestling in 2020. We got a lot of brawling on the outside to start, which wasn’t much of a surprise. Jericho ultimately got the better of this brawl, as he busted up Moxley around his injured eye before slamming him on the timekeeper’s table. Jericho would continue to attack the injured eye of Moxley, but after Moxley was able to regain the advantage, The Inner Circle (mainly Jake Hager and Proud ‘n’ Powerful at this point) got involved. They attacked Moxley at various points before Aubrey Edwards threw them out from ringside. All this commotion, however, allowed Sammy Guevara to run in an smack Moxley with the AEW World Title. Moxley survived this belt shot. Eventually, Moxley hit the regular version of the Paradigm Shift, and then removed his eye patch to reveal that his previously injured eye was fully heated. Following that reveal, he connected with the elevated Paradigm Shift to capture the AEW World Title. While this wasn’t the match of the night, it was still a great main event from start to finish. Jericho was fantastic as always, as he played his role as the heel World Champion to perfection. He tried to use various shortcuts (which included the interference by The Inner Circle), but Moxley was able to overcome them all. He wasn’t going to be stopped on this night, and he got one over on Jericho with the eye patch reveal right before he beat him. I doubt that this feud is over, as I’m sure we’ll get a rematch down the line, possibly at Double Or Nothing in May (which isn’t that far away). Moxley cut a great babyface promo to close the show, and I can’t wait to see what he does as World Champion. He can finally be the ass-kicking, babyface World Champion that he could’ve been (and should’ve been) in WWE six years ago. ****