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AEW Revolution recap & reactions: Elite steal the show

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AEW’s Revolution PPV (Feb. 29, 2020) emanated from Chicago, IL. It featured arguably the best match in AEW’s short history in Hangman Page & Kenny Omega versus the Young Bucks, Darby Allin and Sammy Guevara as standout stars, MJF upsetting Cody Rhodes, and Jon Moxley becoming World Champion.

Get caught up on all the Revolution details with the excellent live results and play-by-play from Claire Elizabeth.

Hangman Page & Kenny Omega vs Young Bucks steals the show

One match was clearly above and beyond the rest of the Revolution bouts. That was Hangman Page and Kenny Omega defending the tag team titles against the Young Bucks. As expected, the action was full of stupendous maneuvers and close call finishes. That wasn’t what made this match special. It was the story of tempers flaring and emotions running high.

It began during the entrances when Hangman was flapping his gums in the Young Bucks’ faces. He was ready to fight. Surprisingly, the Bucks received a smattering of boos during their introduction from Justin Roberts. Hangman received loud chants of, “Cowboy shit,” during his intro.

The first moment of crossing the line came after a stalemate exchange on the mat between Hangman and Matt Jackson. Matt offered his hand in sportsmanship. Hangman spit in his face. That enraged Matt. After that, the Bucks began getting too aggressive against their so-called friends. Yes, this was high-stakes competition, but the Bucks executed maneuvers that could have caused permanent damage. The fans noticed, and boos grew louder.

To start the finish, the Bucks hit Hangman with a spike piledriver on the entrance ramp. They nailed Omega with superkicks and a double V-Trigger. Omega kicked out on the count of one. The Bucks wanted to set up the Meltzer Driver. Hangman had recuperated by that time. He snuck over to yank Nick off the apron and powerbomb him through a table. That led to a Buckshot V-Trigger to Matt, but Matt kicked out of the pin.

Fast forward a little and Hangman crushed Matt with a One Winged Angel. Nick Jackson swooped in to break the pin. Hangman clobbered Nick on the ramp with a Buckshot lariat. Hangman then returned to the ring for a Buckshot to Matt. 1, 2, 3! The crowd erupted in cheers for Hangman and Omega retaining the tag titles.

After the match, the Bucks tried to apologize for their overzealous attitude. Omega was angry at first, but he was sweet talked into forgiving the Bucks. They all shared a fist pound. Hangman wasn’t on board. He declined the Bucks attempts at reconciliation. As Hangman exited the ring, there was a slight tease that he had thought of buckshotting Omega. That didn’t come to pass. They embraced as teammates and exited the scene.

Fantastic match. Even better story. It went over 30 minutes and maintained a high pace the entire time. All four wrestlers had me in the palm of their hands. Going in, I would have been disappointed with a Young Bucks’ victory. By the time the match reached its climax, these guys put on such a show that I would have been alright with the Bucks winning gold. They did their role perfectly by superbly playing the crowd to get boos. I’m curious if those boos will bleed over onto the next Dynamite. The post-match apologies felt like a way to smooth everything over, so they could remain crowd favorites after this feud. I’m also curious to see the direction the Bucks take now. Will there be a new side feud or will they get another title shot real soon?

I loved that the crowd was fully behind Hangman. That shows it was the right call for him to be the star in the end. One thing I did not like was the tease of turning on Omega. Hangman has so many fans right now. None of them want to see him go rogue. It’s time for Hangman to take the next step in evolving his character. His confidence should be restored, and his drinking should be more for fun rather than a coping mechanism.

Let’s run down the rest of the card from top to bottom.

Jon Moxley defeated Chris Jericho to become World Champion. The action began with fighting around the arena. Moxley bit Jericho’s stitches. Jericho powerbombed Mox through the timekeeper table. Moxley’s bad eye began bleeding. The story for the match hinged on involvement from the Inner Circle. Whenever Mox had momentum to win, they caused a distraction. Referee Aubrey Edwards eventually through them out with the fancy flourish of a baseball umpire.

That’s when the match got exciting. They exchanged fisticuffs. Jericho gouged Moxley’s good eye and went to work to make Moxley blind. Jericho went for the Judas Effect, but Moxley ducked and struck with a Paradigm Shift. Moxley removed his eye patch to reveal it was healed. A second Paradigm Shift earned Moxley the win.

This was an okay bout. The majority felt like filling time until the dramatic finish. As a fan, I’m sad to see Jericho’s run as champ come to an end. He provided so much entertainment in a short period of time. As a fan, I’m also excited to see the Moxley era begin. It will be fresh feuds and fun stories.

PAC defeated Orange Cassidy. The Best Friends were ringside to support OC. OC started strong with finesse moves to surprise PAC. PAC regrouped and beat the crap out of OC. OC had a burst of offense with a suicide dive, a flying crossbody, and a DDT. PAC kicked out of the pin then resumed control. OC ripped off a second flurry of offense. PAC rolled out of the ring. Trent intervened to push PAC back in. That’s when the Lucha Bros made a surprise appearance to help PAC. The Lucha Bros and the Best Friends brawled to the back. PAC used the distraction to snatch OC into the Brutalizer submission to win.

This match stunk. I thought it was boring and illogical. Orange Cassidy is a love or hate kind of wrestler. This was my first time seeing him in a legit bout, and it did not interest me. I’m not going to rain on anyone’s parade about protecting the sanctity of professional wrestling. Lucha Underground is my favorite wrestling program, so who am I to talk? I’ll just say OC’s style is not for me, and we’ll move on.

MJF defeated Cody Rhodes. Wardlow, Brandi Rhodes, and Arn Anderson were all ringside making a scene. At one point, Wardlow tried to help MJF cheat by putting MJF’s feet on the ropes for leverage on a pin. Brandi retaliated with a flying crossbody. Wardlow caught her. Cody talked him into putting his wife down. Cody then went for a pump kick, Wardlow moved, and Arn was the target of impact.

For the finish, Cody whipped MJF twice with his weight belt. MJF whimpered in the corner. He crawled to Cody’s feet, apologized, then hugged. MJF said he was sorry then spit in Cody’s face. Cody reacted with two Cross Rhodes. On the third, MJF pulled out the Dynamite Diamond Ring to punch Cody in the face and win.

This was another high-profile match that was just okay. There was too much going on that didn’t necessarily impact the match itself. For example, there was the previously mentioned accidental kick to Arn. Another example is MJF started bleeding. It felt like blood for the sake of blood. I didn’t even notice what move was supposed to have opened him up.

I’ll give credit to MJF for being a fantastic heel. He knocked the hat off a fan’s head, he threw a beer at another fan, he rolled out of the ring before Cody could connect on the boogie woogie elbow, he attacked Cody’s broken toe, and even took Cody’s boot off to bite it. Prognosticating the rankings after Revolution, we may be on course for MJF against Moxley with the championship at stake.

I don’t know what emotion I was supposed to feel after Cody’s loss, but it certainly was not sorrow or sympathy. Cody only has himself to blame. He could have won after either of the first two Cross Rhodes. Cody decided to pour the punishment on with a third, and he paid the price for it. Also, MJF clearly cheated, so Cody shouldn’t feel like he was defeated.

Nyla Rose defeated Kris Statlander to retain the Women’s Championship. Rose won by countering a super hurricanrana into a super powerbomb.

This match received the cool down treatment from the fans. There were long stretches of silence, and I can’t blame them. This match felt too ambitious for the ladies’ skill level. It had a few entertaining sequences, but it was far from being technically sound. There were sloppy moments to the point that someone could have been injured. I think the better story would have been a shorter match with hoss collisions, but that would have put AEW in a tough spot. If the women got the short match, then some fans would complain about inequality of treatment.

Rose winning clean was the right call. She needs more matches for her title reign to flourish and make her eventual loss become meaningful. Statlander has plenty of time to rebound and challenge again over time.

Darby Allin defeated Sammy Guevara. These two beat the stuffing out of each other. Allin attacked with a suicide dive before the bell rang. They brawled around the floor for awhile, then Allin came up short on a second suicide dive when his foot clipped the rope. That led to a 630 senton from Sammy onto Allin though a table.

Once the match was officially underway, the pace did not slow down. The finish involved an exposed turnbuckle. Allin monkey flipped Guevara into that corner. A stunner and a Coffin Drop followed for the win. The crowd popped the loudest of the night at that result.

This was the second best match on the card. Both men came out looking like future main players. Allin is pretty much a star. He just needs the opportunity. Guevara showed he will be a star. They can be career rivals in AEW, and I look forward to that next chapter.

Jake Hager defeated Dustin Rhodes. For the finish, a knee to the balls behind the referee’s back proved pivotal for Hager to take control. Hager hooked in a standing arm triangle choke. Rhodes passed out.

I thought this match was a weird choice as the opener. It was a little on the slow side for a typical AEW contest. In hindsight, it was the right spot. It would have gotten the cool down treatment if following one of the bigger matches. Going first gave them the crowd’s energy.

I like Hager’s choice of finisher. Given his height in comparison to the rest of the AEW roster, he has built in leverage to make the hold lethal.

Dark Order defeated SCU on the pre-show. In a backstage interview, Scorpio Sky and Frankie Kazarian told Christopher Daniels to stay backstage. They were side-eying him as a possible member of the Dark Order. Dark Order was accompanied by Alex Reynolds, John Silver, plus two random creepers.

For the finish, Sky escaped Fatality. He flung Kaz into a monkey flip double clothesline. SCU set up the SCU Later, but Evil Uno grabbed Kaz’s foot and dragged him out of the ring. Sky rolled up Stu Grayson. Uno blasted Sky in the head from behind. Grayson rolled up Sky for the win.

After the match, Dark Order put the boots to SCU. Boom, boom! Colt Cabana ran down for the save. The numbers game got him. A mysterious, hooded figure walked down the ramp. It seemed to be the Exalted One, but it turned out to be Daniels pulling a rouse. He attacked the Dark Order, and it seems his name is cleared of any potential wrongdoing by Sky and Kaz.

It was a good call for Dark Order to pick up a quality win. They still have work to do to be perceived as a top team. The Dark Order needs all the momentum they can get until the Exalted One appears.

Extra thoughts. I’ve previously said Jim Ross is a shill for the Young Bucks. Here’s another example. When the Bucks attacked Omega or Hangman as the outside man, they were praised as tag team specialists. When Hangman would punch an outside man, JR called it a cheapshot. I don’t trust JR to be impartial. I’ve got my eye on him.

AEW needs to figure out what they are doing with their referees. They often look like incompetent doofuses. Rules are selectively applied. They are biased in favor of the babyfaces. None of the wrestlers respect their authority. I don’t know the answer, but it needs fixing.

How much did the Lucha Bros get paid for that run-in appearance? Pretty sweet gig.

Grade: B+

Overall, Revolution was entertaining. Hangman Page & Kenny Omega versus the Young Bucks carried this show. The rest of the big matches were good enough but not as good as I was anticipating. I don’t have any qualms about the winners. All the finishes made sense in their own way. The crowd knocked it out of the park. Their enthusiasm truly enhanced my viewing experience. Thanks!

How do you rate Revolution? What was your favorite moment?

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