Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, Michigan
The show starts with short promos from Darby Allin, Christian, Ricky Starks, and Bryan Danielson, hyping the matches on the card.
*Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness on Commentary.*
TNT Championship Title Triple Threat Match
Darby Allin vs. Christian vs. Luchasaurus
(Sting was banned from ringside.)
It’s amusing that Luchasaurus is the champion, yet Christian, who has him under control, walks around with the title around his waist – another great touch from Christian Cage. He even kissed the title when giving it to the referee – brilliance.
With the odds stacked against Darby Allin, he cleverly throws powder in Luchasaurus’s eyes and attacks Christian to start the match.
It didn’t take long until the numbers game caught up with Allin and Christian, and Luchasaurus was in control. Luchasaurus tries to pin Allin, but Christian stops him and says, “let’s beat him up some more,” telling him to get something from the outside. While his back is turned, he sneakily tries to pin Allin.
Allin does what he does best – take an absolute beating and make everyone’s offense look devastating. Luchasaurus misses Allin and goes shoulder-first into the turnbuckle, taking him to the outside, allowing Allin to get back in the match, hitting some offense on Christian. But once again, the numbers game was too much, and Luchasaurus choke-slammed him hard to the mat.
Luchasaurus picks up the TNT title and looks at it. There’s a bit of a tease here that eventually Luchasaurus will turn on Christian. Allin pushes Christian into Luchasaurus and grabs the belt, nailing Luchasaurus in the face, followed by a coffin drop. Christian grabs Allin before he could make the 3 count, throws him to the outside, and pins Luchasaurus for the win to become the new TNT champion. After the match, Christian hugs Luchasaurus to a lukewarm response. The story continues in this storyline.
A little recap on the Chris Jericho/Sami Guevara/Don Callis family/Kenny Omega storyline from Rampage.
We move to a backstage interview with Don Callis, Takeshesta, and Sami Guevara. Don Callis cuts a promo hyping his team of the Don Callis family beating Chris Jericho, Kenny Omega, and Ibushi at the Wrestledream PPV coming up in Seattle.
Yet another backstage interview, this time with Tony Schiavone interviewing Christian with Luchasaurus. Christian dedicates his victory to Nick Wayne’s mom and his deceased father, who he says was cheering him on upstairs and blows him a kiss – brutal, haha. Schiavone announces that Tony Khan has informed him that Darby Allin will get a one-on-one match with Christian at Wrestledream, and it will be a best-of-2/3 falls match for the TNT championship. Christian is irate and storms off to find Tony Khan.
Tag Team Match
Hook and Rob Van Dam vs. Daddy Magic and Cool Hand Ang (accompanied by Jake Hager and Anna Jay)
Hook, having Taz as his dad, makes sense to have him teamed up with RVD. Hook comes out first; he has a 31-1 record, but the crowd doesn’t seem to have any reaction or connection to this guy yet. RVD comes out to his Pantera – Walk, and the crowd pops for the one-of-a-kind superstar. Meanwhile, is this the best thing you can do with Jake Hager – having him as a guy that comes out with and helps make interferences? The guy is a former world champion and a legit tough guy. Massively underutilized.
Hook starts the match off and gets into a bit of back-and-forth grappling with Daddy Magic. A few sneaky interferences from Cool Hand Ang and Anna Jay take Hook down to the mat, but he makes a comeback and tags RVD in who gets the best of them. Hook gets tagged in and starts getting beat down by the dastardly tactics of Daddy Magic and Cool Hand Ang (I feel these guys need a tag team name).
He finally makes the comeback and gets the hot tag to RVD, hitting his signature moves. Hager comes in with a chair to interfere and gets clocked by RVD, making him look like a big goof. Hook gets Cool Hand Ang in the Redrum chokehold, and RVD nails Daddy Magic with the Five Star Frog Splash for the win.
They play a Dark Order vignette which is really a tongue-in-cheek advertisement of needing “Dark Order” in your life. The Matt Taven and Mike Bennett backstage interview was next, talking about the Best Friends and how they are “neck strong” unlike them. I’m not understanding what is going on with this neck strong gimmick, so I’ll give it some time to see where it goes.
Julia Hart vs. Keira Hogan
Keira Hogan gets zero reaction from the crowd when coming out. Not her fault – there is no character development, and I know nothing about her going into this match. The crowd was cold for this match, although competitive. Julia Hart picked up another win with her submission finisher. After the match, Julia Hart locked in her submission again; this time, Skye Blue came to the rescue but got a face full of mist spat into her face by Hart.
Brody King took to the mic and challenged Kris Statlander to accept a match for her TBS Women’s Championship at Wrestledream.
Julia Hart said, “The House of Black always wins.”
They showed a vignette from Righteous next. I really like how this was filmed and produced – I’m getting a Rob Zombie film, kinda feel from it. They talked about their upcoming match with Better Than You Bay Bay.
Jay White (accompanied by the Bang Bang Gang) vs. Andrade El Idolo
These two went at it 50/50, trading blows until Jay White took control of the match. The Bang Bang Gang heckled Andrade relentlessly throughout the match – they were so juvenile and over the top. Andrade took a lot of punishment, with Jay grinding him to the ground, giving him hard chops, and not letting up until Andrade got his opening after a double clothesline. This allowed him to mount some offense.
The prior punishment from Andrade had drained him, but he slowly made the comeback, with a reverse moonsault taking out the Bang Bang Gang. He almost picked up the win with a standing moonsault on White, narrowly getting his shoulder up.
The match went back to these two trading blows once more, with Andrade nailing White with a back elbow, almost getting the win again.
The match would have most certainly been over after Andrade nailed White with the double knees in the corner, followed by a modified double-armed DDT, but it was Juice Robinson of the Bang Bang Gang who put White’s leg on the rope to save him. The Bang Bang Gang distracted the referee while Andrade had the modified figure-four locked in on White, allowing Juice Robinson the time to nail Andrade with a foreign object behind the ref’s back, allowing Jay White to hit his finisher and pin Andrade and win the match under sketchy circumstances.
This made the referee look very stupid and that he had absolutely no control over the match. I’m sure this feud is not over.
*Another short package was next with Ortiz and Santana talking about the history and beef between them, thus building the eventual match between these two.*
**Shane Taylor backstage promo was next**, talking about Keith Lee leaving him in ROH while he went off to “other millionaires,” while he became an ROH legend, and that if he had to put Lee in the ground to take care of his kids, so be it, but first, he has to face his partner Lee Moriarty.
AEW World Tag Team Championship Title Match
FTR vs. Workhorsemen
Some mat wrestling started off the match, which I liked as it was a different start to all the other matches on the card.
After some hard chops to Dax Harwood from Drake, The Workhorsemen took control of the match until out of nowhere, Drake missed a flying leg drop off the top rope, which allowed Dax to lock in the Sharpshooter to Drake to tap him out.
Aussie Open (terrible name) came off commentary and came in the ring with mics to brag about how they are going to take the titles off them at Wrestledream. Dax responded that they would need to be at their baddest at the PPV.
Backstage interview with CJ Perry (formerly Lana in WWE), was asked about her husband Miro and that he had lost his way, preoccupied with past temptations. She said she wanted to help him. Miro came into the scene and said we always have temptations to test us, and that his temptation was her. But he said her temptation is the lights, cameras, the fame – it changes you. They agree to go on their own paths, and CJ asks Miro one thing, not to lay a hand on her friends or future clients she manages. Miro gives her a look and leaves the scene.
A recap of all the matches coming up at Wrestledream was next.
Ricky Starks vs. Bryan Danielson
Both wrestlers aren’t from Texas; the show is in Michigan – where did this Texas Death match come from? I can only think that this was a tribute to Terry Funk? Both men went for it outside the ring and brawled all around the crowd and arena. Starks finally went into the ring but it was only to dive from the top and into the front row to land on Danielson and those around him.
Back to chops and brawling on the outside where Danielson took control with headbutts and chops. He threw Starks back in the ring only to stretch him in the middle of the ring. Starks got the hell out of there and grabbed the ring and clocked Danielson over the head. Starks grabbed the mic and said he was making good on his promise of putting him six feet under.
Bryan is now busted open with Starks giving a few vicious chair shots. He makes the mistake of leaving the chair in the ring to go to the top rope; Danielson takes advantage and smashes him with the chair. Both men teeter on the top rope until Danielson throws Starks off the top to the mat and nails him with a dropkick. Yes, kicks aplenty for Starks as the referee starts to count; Starks gets back up and in control of the match by throwing the chair in Danielson’s face.
Starks brings a strap into the ring and whips and chokes Bryan and takes it to the outside. Danielson manages to take control again until Starks grabs a chain from under the ring, wraps his fist, and nails him with it. His second shot he misses, and Danielson kicks him down.
Both men trade blows until Starks hits a spear and begins to choke Bryan with the Chain and stops as he thinks Bryan is out.
Bryan gets back up, and Starks begins to choke him with the chain again. Bryan counters the back choke; Starks tries another spear, which is reversed into the Labelle Lock, and Danielson adds the chain around his neck. Somehow, Starks gets out, and then Bryan pummels him with some hard strikes.
Starks grabs a chair and swings it but misses and gets nailed with a running knee drop kick from Danielson, who stops Starks on top of the chair until Starks is busted open. Danielson wraps the chain around his legs and knees and nails Starks with his double knees, knocking him out for the ten-count.
This match really should have been on a PPV, being half an hour long and with so much physicality and risk. The show goes off the air with both men struggling to get up.