Wednesday, March 4, 2020

AEW Revolution (Feb. 2020 PPV)

How odd was it that I was more looking forward to a PPV event from All Elite Wrestling than I am the next Wrestlemania, which is supposed to be the biggest deal of them all?

In a way, not so odd... because in the preceding three months, I got a weekly wrestling show in Dynamite that was not only entertaining and fun, but also got me invested in wrestlers and personalities that I had either never known about before or at one point, disregarded as former WWE guys. Hell, this last week's episode was probably the perfect go-home show for a PPV I've watched; because it had a main event angle that pushed forward not one, not two, but three matches primed for the card, it had a couple really good segments to build other matches, and there was also a really sick Ironman match that set the tone for the rest of the night.

And so, I watched the Revolution show... they missed a trick by not calling this show Lethal Leap Year or something like that. And the last time I saw a wrestling PPV with the word "Revolution" in it, it was a largely bad show whose only high point was Edge cashing in a briefcase to win the World title. I guess calling it Lethal Leap Year is out of the question because that's a Southpaw thing... but in any event, silly name aside, how does the show fair?

Jake Hager defeated Dustin Rhodes via submission in a pretty decent opening match that is effectively a WWE midcard match. And look, I get that opening the show with Goldust vs. Jack Swagger is going to earn this show eyerolls from the WWE marks, but somehow I care more now than I would've then because the storytelling makes sense and I'm more invested into this than before. Just me, though.

Darby Allin defeated Sammy Guevara. A short but sweet match that was preceded by a really long brawl between two guys with a deep grudge. See, Sammy crushed Darby's throat with a skateboard and Darby wants revenge, so he starts by beating the crap out of Sammy and it spills outside, staying there for... I wanna say ten minutes? But they have their brawl, they get to the ring where the bell rings, and the wrestling portion is short. Even after the match, Darby looks to punish Sammy a little more before the Spanish God is saved by  Jake Hager. See, a grudge match has two guys fighting 'cuz they hate each other instead of having a straight wrestling match... imagine that.

AEW World Tag-Team Champions Kenny Omega and Hangman Adam Page defeated the Young Bucks via Cowboy Shit to retain the titles. Good luck trying to follow this match, kids. Fast-paced action, solid tag-team wrestling, furthering this Exploding Elite business, and even teasing Page potentially turning on his partner before letting through the ropes after the match.

AEW Women's Champion Nyla Rose defeated Kris Statlander to retain the title... probably the only sore spot on the show. Say what you will about RIHO, but the matches were pretty good. This was... a thing that happened, and I'm being generous in that regard. They tried, but I just couldn't get into it. Sorry, folks.

MJF defeated Cody via international object. International object could imply many things in this context - the horrid live performance from Downstrait (though, to be fair, it's not the first time a good song came off bad as a result of a live performance). the equally terrible neck tattoo - but in this case, I'm referring to the diamond ring to the fact that MJF stuck in his trunks. The match felt off for me... probably because this was supposed to be a grudge match and instead we got a wrestling match. And while the match was fine for what it was in a vacuum, as a chapter in this bloodfeud between Cody and the man who betrayed him - especially after the cage matches and the lashes and stuff - this should've been more intense... and it was missing something.

THAT FUCKING GODDAMNED RAT BASTARD PAC defeated Orange Cassidy... who tried... he really did... but ultimately he got distracted by the Lucha Bros fighting his buddies on the outside and then Pac catches Orange in his Brutalizer submission for the win. I had already seen Orange Cassidy wrestle a couple times in the past, so I knew he could have a decent match. This was a fun match, with the angry PAC and the calm OC being opposites but somehow playing along just fine with the weak kicks and stuff.

Jon Moxley defeated Le Champion Chris Jericho to win the title in a fantastic main event match. Mox came in from the streets to the ring for his entrance while Jericho had a choir singing his Judas song; clearly, no expense paid with these fine entrances. Starts with a brawl that spills into the crowd, Jericho gets the upper hand early on, Mox bleeds like a stuffed pick, a table is broken, Inner Circle interferes and gets ejected by Gearl Hebner, Jericho beats on Mox a bit more with everyone worried about his other good eye... and then Mox dodges the Judas Effect and hits a Paradigm on Jericho before pulling off the eyepatch, thus revealing that the whole thing was a sham and his eye is just fine. Hits another DDT for the pin, the place goes wild.

An absolutely amazing ride; probably not the best technical wrestling and one could argue this is more of a WWF-style main event, but as a match that told a story and as far as the action is concerned, it was pretty damned great. This was a match where you really could go one way or another and it'd be fine. Some could make the argument that it was too soon for the reign of Le Champion to end and I'd agree with that... but at the same time, when something is really hot, you fucking go with it and Mox was on a roll, he's got quite the following, and so they went with him. And it'll be interesting to see how the shows turn out number-wise going forward.

And then Mox cut a promo thanking everyone, lost his train of thought, and then music played prematurely, prompting a "What The Fuck" from Mox in what was one of the most human and real reactions in a promo. I got a laugh out of that, actually... and the show is over.

So, despite the lousy name, this Revolution show may very well be AEW's best PPV event to date. Some great matches, some memorable moments, and much like the weekly show, the pacing was such that the four hours flew by quickly rather than be an endless sloth.

To put it quite simply... AEW Revolution is good shit.

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