All Elite Wrestling comes our way from the Wolstein Center in Cleveland Ohio. The perfect place for a Beach Break in January! Last week, a healthy-looking Jon Moxley made his triumphant return. MJF scolded Wardlow. Britt Baker & Adam Cole defeated their mixed-tag opponents, Orange Cassidy & Kris Statlander, proving that love really does conquer all. Tensions rose in the Inner Circle. CM Punk blasted Shawn Spears with a GTS and a quick 1-2-3. The Gunn Club mugged Christian Cage in a parking garage. Cody Rhodes cut a babyface/heel promo daring the crowd to boo/cheer him. PAC did not join The House of Black.. The Murderhawk Monster decimated Frankie Kazarian and called out the champ. Legit Leyla was D O N E with Red Velvet’s interference. Serena Deeb did a murder on Skye Blue. Matt Hardy went into business with Andrade El Idolo. And finally, Sting and Darby Allin defeated the Acclaimed when Sting said, “age? I don’t know her.” as he threw himself across the stadium.
This Week’s Headliner:
For weeks, Orange Cassidy and Adam Cole have been embroiled in a nasty feud. Tag matches, backstage brawls, singles matches, MIXED tag matches...these two can’t get enough of each other! Except, of course, Adam Cole, who is DONE with Orange Cassidy and his chill vibes. Adam Cole is a man with an action plan. He’s a man that’s always thinking twenty steps ahead, and that is why he is one of the very best in pro-wrestling. Imagine his frustration when all his machinations are put to the test by a guy with a “sure whatever” attitude in sunglasses and stretchy jeans! For his own mental health, he needs to take out Orange Cassidy once and for all. What better way to do that than in a Lights Out anything goes match?
Cole has promised Orange Cassidy that he’s going to “end your stupid career,” but if there is one thing we know about the laconic wrestler, it’s that he always rises to a challenge. Cole consistently underestimates Orange Cassidy, and that could very well be his downfall.
However, my money is on Cole winning this match. He’s still new(ish) in AEW, and as the de facto leader of 1.5 stables (?) he needs to look strong. Plus, he’s a heel. A lights-out match indeed does mean anything goes, and while OC is no stranger to playing dirty, it’s hard to play dirtier than The Elite & ReDRagon.
Hope WWE officials aren’t watching because this one is gonna get bloody. Hey, look on the bright side. Sand is easier to clean when it’s been thickened with blood.
The Title Scene:
One wonders why the execs at AEW thought it necessary to crown an interim TNT Champion if the title was only going to exist for two weeks...but hey! At least now we get a unification ladder match! As the saying goes, if it ends in ladders, who cares how we got here. My money’s on Cody Rhodes retaining the actual TNT Championship as he (a) just won it and (b) is doing this very confusing and intriguing heel/face tightrope walk that only benefits from him holding gold. Sammy Guevara was a fun champ, but he’s young and has more title runs in his future, so he’ll be fine with a loss here. Plus, it’s looking like The Inner Circle will need him to play the role of “child of divorce” sooner rather than later.
The World Champion Hangman Adam Page did not back down from Lance Archer’s “call out” after his match with Frankie Kazarian. The duo got a little physical in the ring when Page came out to help down trodden Kazarian, and while the Murderhawk was able to duck the buckshot lariat, he still got his giant ass knocked out of the ring by the champ. Lambert and Jake can make fun of the champ’s “cowboy shit” all they want, but the fact of the matter is when The Cowboy is called, The Cowboy comes.
Jade Cargill defeated Anna Jay in an excellent match for the TBS Championship on Rampage last week. That brings her record up to a clean 25-0. She’s an undeniable force in the women’s division. But who’s next? It seems like Kris Stadtlander will be the next challenger for The World Women’s Champion, Britt Baker, which we will probably find out about tonight as she is scheduled “to speak.” Thunder Rosa is currently building a feud with Mercedes Martinez. The Bunny and Penelope Ford seem to be an inseparable duo as of late. Ruby Soho is off somewhere licking her wounds. Serena Deeb would be too destructive to Cargill’s title reign, and Hikaru Shida is in Japan. But someone with a lot to prove like Leyla Hirsh? That seems like a safe bet. Hirsh is currently embroiled in a mini-feud with Red Velvet, but if the promo she cut last week is any indication she’s done playing nice and is going into business for herself. If she defeats Red Velvet tonight in their one-on-one, a logical next step would be to try and take out the TBS champion. Even if she loses to Cargill (which she will) she still will have a title shot under her belt and can continue to build up her presence in the women’s division.
Christian Cage, best friend and pseudo father to the Tag Team Champions Jurassic Express, got jumped by the Gunn Club. Cage and Gunn have a history, and we do love an old man fight, but the real story here is the potential for a tag team challenger. The Gunn Club are hungry and have sat on the sidelines for some time. Now it looks like they are taking their future into their own hands.
Other things to keep an eye on:
-Jon Moxley returned on last week’s Dynamite and cut the promo of his career. He backed it up on Rampage when he defeated Ethan Page and put all those “ring rust” rumors to bed. We’re all excited to see the purveyor of violence back on our screens, but it looked like no one was more excited than Bryan Danielson. Considering Danielson’s heelish tendencies in AEW, he’s a perfect foil for Moxley’s comeback. And it’s definitely a match that will draw eyes to AEW! My bet is that Mox gets a few lower card wins under his belt while Danielson watches from the sidelines for a little while. This one they could stretch out until Revolution in March.
-Inner Circle’s Santana & Ortiz are starting to listen to that little Eddie Kingston shaped Devil on their shoulder, and they’ve started to see Chris Jericho with new eyes. Tonight the trio will try to recreate some of that famed Inner Circle comradery when they face off against Daniel Garcia & 2point0. You bet Eddie is grabbing his popcorn for this one!
-Tonight, CM Punk (presumably wearing some borrowed cowboy chaps) “speaks.” One can only assume he makes fun of Shawn Spears for losing so quickly last week while he encourages Wardlow to leave MJF and for MJF to “grow a pair” (these two love talking about genitals) and face him one-on-one.
-PAC promised to make Malakai Black into a martyr. I hope he recruits Julia Hart into his crusade.
-We better get some boys and girls in bikinis, speedos, and ski goggles.
Tune into AEW on TBS at 8pm ET for the final time to see how all this plays out.