MAY 29, 2022

Watch: PPV & FITE (Non-US)


Suit Williams: So what do you wanna talk about? I’m set to watch what should be a very good, if not very well-built, AEW pay-per-view. There is the small matter of not knowing if the most-anticipated match on the card tonight is happening as I write this, but I’m sure everything will work itself out*! (*Suit will make no apologies if everything does not work itself out) Follow me on Twitter @SuitWilliams, and follow my sports/wrestling hybrid podcast @SmarkSports.

Jeremy Sexton: Well, trying to get the show to just work on Apple TV was an ordeal, so I’m feeling SALTY! At least AEW pay-per-views tend not to disappoint, so let’s watch some good wrestling! I’m on Twitter at @jeremysexton, if you haven’t yet thrown your phone into the nearest body of water.


Jeremy Sexton: Well, this was exactly what it needed to be. It was short, it was fun, the finish was perfect. This was a great way to use Danhausen, a great way to let Hook do his thing without squashing Nese yet. Is it a 3-star match? Not really, but I’m going there cause I just enjoyed it that much. ***


Suit Williams: Well that is that. After the better part of two days of wondering if MJF would show up, he was the first out of the curtain on the PPV. He even did an airplane motion when getting in the ring, and was welcomed with a YOU SHOWED UP chant. Some people will complain that this wasn’t a classic opener to a PPV, and Bret/Owen this was not. But this was exactly what it needed to be. Wardlow didn’t sell a thing, MJF finally got the beating that he had coming to him for so long, and the fans get what they want. MJF gets a comically bad stretcher job, with security dragging him onto a stretcher and putting an oxygen mask over his eyes. This whole thing felt like a write-off for MJF. Whether it’s temporary or long-term, we’ll find out. But either way, he went out and did business for the next big star, the way it should be done. I don’t know how to rate this, and I don’t really care. All I know is that this was an excellent way to start the PPV. N/R

Jeremy Sexton: We got our answer right off the bat: MJF is in the building and he’s flying around the ring! If you’d not heard, the rumors are swirling that MJF is trying to expedite his exit from AEW and I gotta say, I really home that’s not the case as he’s so good at this and he’s going to be wasted there.

This match was pitch perfect. Finally, we paid off Wardlow’s 3-year long ordeal with MJF. We got a stretcher job. Bryce is the unsung hero here, as he was great, as well. His facials selling everything, especially taking the ring. I had been hoping that they would pay it off ultimately with “the graphic” signifying Wardlow is All Elite, as he wasn’t technically before now, and sure enough they did it and made a big deal out of it. Just aces all around, but basically an angle more than a match. N/R


Suit Williams: Caprice Coleman joined the desk for this one. The Bucks got a Elvis-style intro song and came out in Elvis-inspired jumpsuits. Now the good news about this match is that the crowd was into it, and that the Bucks worked very hard to make this match as good as it was. But good grief, the Hardys are cooked, and they looked every bit of it. Jeff may have gotten hurt at some point, as he just never looked right in the body of this match. With a lesser team, this could have become a trainwreck. But the Bucks held things together, got things back on track, and helped to make this something worthwhile. Jeff took out Matt with a Swanton onto the ring steps, and the Hardys teamed up to beat Nick with the Twist of Fate/Swanton combo. A testament to how over the Hardys are, and a testament to how great the Bucks are. ***

Jeremy Sexton: Elvis Bucks! Caprice Coleman! Let’s go! Beautiful counter to the Poetry in Motion from the Bucks, it’s fun to see the two teams intersect their signature spots. Unfortunately, a good portion of this match was not very fun at all. Towards the end it picked up, but so much of this match was dull. It did seem like Jeff wasn’t right, not sure when that happened, but I guess I’m hoping it occurred during the match. From around the time Jeff hit the Swanton on the stairs, the crowd got into it in a huge way and it got pretty good, but it took too long to get to that point. Very surprising result, but I guess it really didn’t matter who won. **½ 


Suit Williams: This was rough to start. These two worked like the two green wrestlers that they quite frankly are. Just moving through all their stuff at 100 miles an hour, not registering anything, and not on the same page at almost any point. But they were able to slow down a bit and get things on the right track. Anna took out the Baddies and John Silver took out an interfering Smart Mark Sterling to a big pop, which led to an excellent nearfall with Anna reversing Jaded into the Queenslayer choke. Stokely Hathaway showed up and gave Anna enough of a distraction to allow Jade to hit Jaded off the top to win. Smart Mark’s interference backfired and Stokely’s led to the win, so Jade would be fully justified to swap them out on Dynamite. I like Smart Mark, but Stokely Hathaway is a no-brainer signing for a promo company like AEW, and pairing him with Jade is a perfect match. Post match, Kris Statlander stopped a Baddie Beatdown before Athena (the former Ember Moon) made her debut to make the sides even. Athena is another good signing, as her work raises the water level of the division. An effective segment, if not a good match. **

Jeremy Sexton: This started out pretty good! For like 2 minutes! Then they completely lost the plot. They were extremely ambitious, which is good if you can pull it off, but they couldn’t exactly. It was way above expectations, even still, as I appreciate the effort here. The finish was a whole “overbooked” hullabaloo, which led to Stokely Hathaway’s debut! Why does Anna Jay seem to know him? How did Jade secure a new manager mid-match? I have questions. What cannot be questioned is the addition of Athena, as it makes a lot of sense and injects another capable hand into the division. **½


Suit Williams: What do you want me to say? These guys went absolutely crazy in this match, as you would expect from these six people. This was a wild spotfest, with very good storytelling in it as well. All three of Death Triangle eventually got Black isolated, but Black was able to fight off the Lucha Brothers with spin kicks. It came down to PAC and Black, and PAC had him set up for the Black Arrow, but the lights went out when he was on the top rope. When they lights came up, Julia Hart finally turned and misted PAC. Black hit the kick to win. Like I said in the preview, I love the House of Black when they wrestle and hate them in any other context. I got both here. I got the great trios match, which should be the blueprint for the trios matches in this company when they hopefully introduce trios titles. I also got the spooky nonsense with Julia being corrupted by mist. It’s not my thing, it never will be my thing. But it was the payoff to a months-long story that a large section of the crowd is into, so I can’t hate on it too much. Well I can, and I will. But I can’t say it didn’t work. First great match of the night. ****

Jeremy Sexton: I pictured this match going a certain way in my head, as did we all, I’m sure, and turns out, it was basically exactly like that! They went out there and had a fast-paced, spot-filled match and it was a delight. Had a blast with it right up until the lights went out. I know that the Julia Hart thing had been built up well, but when you turn the lights out, you have to deliver a pop. Julia Hart was not that pop, so it felt a little flat. She also looks kinda silly in the spooky getup. But come on, this match ruled. ****


Suit Williams: Shockingly enough, despite running in the same circles, this was a first time ever match. Adam Cole is over to a main event level, but god that man is not a main event calibur wrestler. His matches do not come near to the peak of the top-level of the roster, and this one was just another flat, dry encounter. It was worked well with Cole working over Joe’s arm, the arm that had been shredded over the course of this tournament. It made sense, it was just dreadfully uninteresting. Bobby Fish got involved, with Joe taking him out quickly, but Cole ended up winning with the Boom. A flat end to the tournament, but an accolade for Cole to brag about. A generous ***.

Jeremy Sexton: This match was a giant disappointment. It was plodding at times, there was a surprising lack of heat, it was not great. It wasn’t bad wrestling, but it was worse than that, it was boring. I’ll take a weird, bad match over a dull, ok one any day. I don’t even know what to say about this. It was a match. Definition of the Gentleman’s Three for me. ***


Suit Williams: Britt Baker is over to a main event level, but god that woman is not a main event calibur wrestler. Her matches do not come near to the peak of the top-level of the roster, and this one was just another flat, dry encounter. The match picked up when Ruby started getting some nearfalls, and peaked when Ruby got the sharpshooter on. Why you would have the babyface put the sharpshooter on and not win with it here is certainly a question to ask, but Ruby’s sharpshooter was so bad that I can’t complain about it here. Britt fought out and won with the Bret/Owen WrestleMania X finish. Afterwards, Dr. Martha Hart in her Sunday best came out and awarded Britt and Adam Cole with ceremonial title belts to celebrate their tournament wins. I remember hearing about there being title belts being awarded to the winners of the tournament, but I don’t remember where. (It was hereL ***

Jeremy Sexton: As soon as I saw the table set up with both belts and the cup and was told that Martha would be presenting to the winners, I immediately knew that Baker and Cole were winning. I question the wisdom of having two heels win the tournament to honor Owen Hart, but what can you do? This match eventually got pretty good and Rancid was dope. That sharpshooter was a disaster, but the crowd was molten hot for it. They worked hard and got the crowd by the end of it. Gentlelady’s Three! ***


Suit Williams: Celtics 76 – Heat 67, 4:06 left in the third. Literally no one involved in this feud is in a better or equal position than when they started. Well, maybe Kaz benefitted. He got some TV time. Sammy Guevara and Tay Conti were over babyfaces at one point. Recently too! Men of the Year are as cold as they’ve always been. Paige Van Zant, the reason this entire shitshow started, simply existed here. This may not be the worst storyline in pro wrestling this year, to which Tony Khan should send a gift basket to the brain geniuses over at NXT. But it is the most detrimental to all involved. God willing, we’re done with this now. *

Jeremy Sexton: What in the actual world is the story here? Who am I supposed to be rooting for? Frankie and Paige is the best I can come up with. Aren’t they on opposite sides, Jeremy? Yes, yes they are. I don’t know what to tell you. The part with Paige and Tay was surprisingly good, and the finish wasn’t bad. However, you have the opportunity to book Paige Van Zant’s first match one time. This is what you did with it. What is wrong with you? **


Suit Williams: This was a nice palate cleanser to get the business end of the card started. With how quickly the story came together, I figured this was to get Darby a clean win on PPV. But surprisingly, O’Reilly got the win here with three Penalty Kicks and a diving knee drop. The crowd was dead for a good bit of this one, but they picked up once these two really got it going. The O’Reilly win signals one of two things to me. One, they see something in Kyle as a singles. Or two, they’re building to a Darby/Sting vs ReDRagon match down the line. I would be good with either one. ***1/2

Jeremy Sexton: These two went out there and had an entertaining, athletic match that the crowd just did not care at all about. It was crickets all match. At this point in the show, it just didn’t have a chance. If you can look past that, there’s a really good match here. Should have been on Dynamite this Wednesday, where it would’ve been a bigger deal. ***¾


Suit Williams: This was a really solid singles match between two of the better workers in the division. I was impressed with them getting the crowd a bit more into this than Darby and O’Reilly were, although they did benefit from going after that match and not the mixed tag. The energy is coming back in this building, and in time for the top of this card. These two just beat the hell out of each other, and it was good stuff. Serena used all of her tricks to try and put Thunder Rosa away, including the Detox and the Serenity Lock, but Thunder Rosa survived it all. A superplex into a Fire Thunder Driver scored the win and the successful defense for Thunder Rosa. ***1/2

Jeremy Sexton: The same way that the two Owen matches mirrored each other, this and the Darby match bore similarities. They had a pretty good match here, but the crowd struggled to get into it, especially early. At one point, Deeb attempted a Texas cloverleaf that looked terrible. Another connection between the Owen match, I suppose… It was similar to Baker/Soho, but a bit better. ***½


Suit Williams: Justin Roberts introduced this match by saying very simply, “Shit’s about to hit the fan.” This was professional fucking wrestling. This was an absolute violent spectacle that left me absolutely speechless. This was ten men working their hardest to get on a PWI magazine cover in 1984. The blood flowed, Wild Thing blared over the speakers until Jericho killed the soundboard for heat. The brawl didn’t touch the ring for at least 5 minutes, as they dragged each other all over the building. Eddie Kingston ended up in the merch stand with one guy, the concession stand with another, and on the freight elevator with a third guy. It was absolutely incredible. We also got some story in this too, as Kingston broke up Danielson’s submission on Jericho by dumping gasoline on both of them. Kingston and Danielson started brawling, and that allowed Jericho and Hager to get Danielson alone and choke him out with the ring rope to win. I’ll never forget the sight of Eddie Kingston walking to the ring, gas can in hand and someone else’s blood all over him. Jon Moxley promised glorious violence, and they delivered 100 percent. Meanwhile in Toyama, Japan, Wheeler Yuta is gearing up for a clean technical battle with TJP.  *****

Jeremy Sexton: This was a wild, unforgettable spectacle. Every little touch here was bang on. From playing the music through the match until Jericho destroyed the “sound board” and shut it off to the high spots to Eddie’s psycho march with the can of gas. This was something else. This was my most anticipated match of the show and it did not disappoint. I loved every second of it. *****


Suit Williams: As they put the ring back together, we get an announcement from Andrade. He doesn’t like the AFO being full of losers, so he’s bringing in a friend of his. And that friend is former Ring of Honor World Champion Rush! Big pickup for AEW here, as they continue to build around Andrade.

Jeremy: TK thought working with MJF was difficult, so he signed Rush! Will be interesting to see if they do more ROH or AEW, but certainly a 6-man with them and Naito at Forbidden Door is a MUST!


Suit Williams: Another hot match, as this was an energetic, well-put together match that highlighted everyone involved. It shows how deep this AEW tag division is when the two challengers aren’t even two of the most highlighted teams in the division, yet they still put on an awesome match. We got a really good nearfall with Jungle Boy taking a second to check on Christian before getting speared out of his shoes by Ricky Starks. Starks’ star presence really shone through early on, as he was the most over guy in the match. Swerve and Keith Lee gelled really well in this scenario as well. In a bit of an upset, Jurassic Express retains by hitting their powerbomb combo on Swerve. I was caught by surprise by it, but Jurassic Express keep having really good title matches, so I’m not gonna complain. ****

Jeremy Sexton: This match ruled. Everyone shined, but especially Keith Lee and Swerve. It’s unreal that WWE had these guys and couldn’t find a way to use them. But hey, what a prize for the rest of us who watch this show. They’re both SO great. Everyone in this match is great. I don’t mind the match being a three way, it let them go out and do a bunch of cool stuff and get the crowd hype again for the main event. Not a bad thing at all. ****¼


Suit Williams: CM Punk is the new AEW World Champion. Honestly, this feels like where everything has been building since his arrival in AEW. He’s been in the hottest matches on the card up to this point on PPV, his feuds dominate the body of the show, and now he’s got the title and stands as the official top guy in the promotion. Punk was overwhelmed with emotion after winning the world title of this promotion. Not only because he returned to the top of the mountain in pro wrestling, but that he did it in this promotion. AEW was built on the spirit of the independent wrestling scene that Punk himself helped to build. It was formed by men who became stars in a promotion that Punk loved in Ring of Honor. He may not have been around when AEW started, but he was the man that gave them the blueprint for how professional wrestling should feel in this day and age. And now, after being burned and scarred and broken by the business, CM Punk stands at the center of it once again. Only this time, he didn’t have to sell himself out. He didn’t have to compromise. He reached the top of pro wrestling again, and he did it on his own terms. This crowd was red hot and split down the middle, maybe 60/40 for Punk. The story of this match was these two playing into their egos, and it costing them both. Punk tried to hit Hangman with a Buckshot lariat, keyword being tried. He fell on his ass both times, and he lost control of the match both times afterwards. Hangman was damn near obsessed with the crowd here, constantly looking to them for approval after doing a big move. He hit an Orihara moonsault that messed up his leg, which would play into the body of the match as he couldn’t capitalize on anything without his knees giving him fits. The end of the match saw Hangman go to use the title belt while the ref was down, only to change his mind and go for the Buckshot to win it. But Punk reversed it into a GTS to get the win and the title. It wasn’t the cleanest match, but it was good. Now we head into what I guess we can call the Summer of Punk III, as AEW begins a new chapter with CM Punk as the man on top. ***3/4

Jeremy Sexton: New champion! The story of this match ended up being twofold. Firstly, both men had a bad leg, which lead to some interesting stuff. Secondly, after a ref bump, Hangman had a crisis of conscience about whether or not to use the belt. It was a little bit of a lean into the “WHY AM I SO VIOLENT?” hands, but not nearly as bad as that can be. Ultimately, this was just a really great title match. Sad to see Hangman lose, but I’m looking forward to what it means for him next, as well as where Punk’s title defenses will take him. ****¼