We are only a mere handful of days out from the Revolution PPV, and the All Elite Wrestling roster is now at “The Crossroads”. No, I didn’t make that up; CEO and General Manager of AEW Tony Khan must’ve felt like adding a little bit of extra razzle dazzle to the go-home show of Dynamite this week.
The first match up on the card this evening was the long anticipated and highly hyped up mixed tag match. On one side is Cody Rhodes and Red Velvet. One the other side is AEW homegrown talent Jade Cargill, in her in-ring debut, and the decorated former professional basketballer Shaquille O’Neal.
This match, originally meant to be on the upcoming Revolution PPV but moved to the go-home show due to a mishap in Shaq’s schedule, has been teased for months- both Shaq’s appearance and Cargill’s debut. Cargill and Shaq have a very intimidating presence that contrasts well against Cody and Red Velvet’s perpetual babyfaceness.
Shaq spends his moments in the ring basically tossing Cody around like a ragdoll. He is very strong, presented entirely as an unmovable monster, and Cody doesn’t stand a chance against him. When it’s Cargill and Red Velvet’s time, Cargill is an absolute powerforce and Red Velvet is forced to use every weapon in her arsenal in order to even try and take her down. Shaq does a touching tribute to Brodie Lee with an Exalted One-style powerbomb. Eventually, Cody takes down Shaq and both of the men go through double tables- Cody gets an insane amount of height, and Shaq is out for the rest of the match. Not even Arn Anderson can coach Red Velvet out of this one, and Cargill gets the pin, and her first win in AEW.
This match had the potential to be ridiculous and overhyped- personally, everyone involved was used perfectly. The main focus on the match was Red Velvet and Cargill, with Shaq and Cody there to elevate the women and to push Cargill’s debut. Shaq is a lot of fun in the ring, and was a pleasant surprise.
Shaq is taken to an ambulance, still out for the count, and when Tony Schiavone goes to get a comment from the man, he has disappeared ala Undertaker style.
AEW’s roster now lives in perpetual suspense that Shaquille O’Neal could reappear around any corner.
Results: Jade Cargill & Shaquille O’Neal def. Cody Rhodes & Red Velvet
PAC and Rey Fenix have a small squash match against a couple of Dark recruits next up. Not much to be said about this match. Both PAC and Rey are excellent high-flyers, and Death Triangle is back in business.
Results: Two thirds of the Death Triangle def. John Skyler & D3
Next up, Chris Jericho & MJF (who still don’t have a team name – Inner Circle still, I presume) have a quick press conference to address the horrible attack on The Young Bucks’ father the week prior. Jericho points out that he has held seven world tag team championships, and he would really like to hold another- it has been a year since he held the AEW championship.
A reporter from Barstool is there, Conrad the Mortgage Guy from Grilling JR is there, and of course, Eric Bischoff is there. I assume AEW keep Bischoff in a room and only let him out to do occasional Jericho spots. Jericho and MJF do a lot of yelling, the term ‘turkey tits’ is used, and the Rock is name-dropped. MJF calls the Young Bucks “Malnourished Matt and Not-so-slick-wish-my-hair-was-way-more-thick Nick,” which, try saying that ten times faster.
The Young Bucks, tired of Nick Jackson’s hairline being unfairly insulted, come out to confront them. In one of Matt Jackson’s best promos, he talks about what kind of man their father is, how they clawed their way up from being dirt poor, and how that “DIY spirit” instilled in them is the reason they are where they are today, and why AEW was created. After that extremely inspiring speech, it’s time for a Superkick Party. Brandon Cutler comes out to lend a hand, the Good Brothers come out with some plunder, and Nick and Matt each crush a member of Proud and Powerful through a table- Nick from the titantron and Matt from the stage.
I don’t even know where Eric Bischoff ended up, but I assume he’s gone away back to his room until the next Jericho conference.
It’s time for legendary Tully Blanchard’s return to a wrestling ring at the ripe old age of 67 years old. FTR and Tully come out accompanied by JJ Dillon- the manager of the classic Four Horsemen stable. Be prepared for some old school nostalgia.
Jungleboy Jack Perry is a dominant force in this match, doing most of the heavy lifting for Jurassic Express until he can tag in Luchasaurus. Marko Stunt does a few spots with Tully Blanchard- who isn’t really in the ring much, but gets his shots in. Tully teases a rope suicida, then decides against it, Cash does a really cool swinging DDT on the outside of the ropes, and a mysterious masked man uses JJ Dillon’s legendary shoe to take out Jungleboy, allowing Tully to get the pin.
The masked man joins FTR, Tully, and Dillon in the ring, revealing himself to be the recently disappeared Shawn Spears (with a fresh new hairdo), presumably fully uniting this new Four Horsemen stable. As they bask in their victory, Arn Anderson decides to come out from the face tunnel to show his respects to the ghosts of his former stable.
Results: FTR & Tully Blanchard def. Jurassic Express
Tony Schiavone (with the quote of the episode to JJ Dillon with, “Yeah, you don’t get paid any extra for that, by the way.”) comes out to introduce AEW’s latest surprising signing: Paul Wight, formerly known as the WWE’s Big Show- No More BS. Wight is going to be a colour commentator for AEW Dark: Elevation alongside Schiavone. Wight then teases a “Hall of Fame Worthy” debut at Revolution. Everyone let your guesses and predictions run absolutely wild.
The AEW Women’s Eliminator Final is next, with Nyla Rose representing the US bracket and Ryo Mizunami for the Japan bracket. Ryo has a lot of fun the entire match, with her unique moveset and an infectious charisma that has seen her progress through the tournament. Nyla is, as always, an unstoppable force to be reckoned with, and the ever shrill Vickie Guerrero is an effective manager in Nyla’s corner.
The match is pretty evenly matched, with Nyla doing a fair amount of taunting towards Ryo, and is dominant towards the end with a lot of offence. However, in an arguably huge upset, Mizunami takes the win for the Japanese bracket, and wins the tournament- earning her a match at Revolution against current champion Hikaru Shida. The champion and the challenger have a fun back and forth in the ring after Shida presents Mizunami with her trophy.
Results: Ryo Mizunami def. Nyla Rose
Tony Schiavone, who is having a busy night, introduces Stiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing. Sting talks about being ready for Revolution, and Ricky Starks comes out to confront him. After a nice slap and some choice insults, Sting goes crazy on Ricky. Team Taz comes out to assault the Stinger, and Darby comes in to defend his partner. They decimate Team Taz together, and this feud will finally be put to rest at Revolution.
In our qualifier for the “Face of the Revolution” ladder match at the PPV, it’s Dark Order’s 10 against the Acclaimed’s Max Caster. 10 comes in accompanied by Negative One and the Dark Order, and Max Caster comes in accompanied by a boom box and some bars. Scorpio Sky, already a participant in the match, is here to be suspiciously heel-ish on commentary.
The match is pretty basic back and forth, 50/50 either way. Jack Evans conks 10 on the head with the boombox, and hides under the ring. Caster gets the pin and is going to be an entrant in the ladder match. Turns out Matt Hardy paid Jack Evans to take out 10, continuing his quest to hurt members of the Dark Order in order to get back at Hangman Page.
Results: Max Caster def. Preston “10” Vance
The final match of the night is a taste of a matchup at Revolution – Hardy face to face with Hangman. This time, they’re in designated tag teams- Hardy with Marc Quen and Hangman with John Silver. I assume Isiah Kassidy is in timeout for losing the previous week. Hangman’s title card tells everyone to go to his website, which, when followed, takes you to a lovely relaxing video of horses. Thanks, Hangman.
John Silver definitely stands out in this match. His style is old school, hard strikes and grounded. Hangman has a lot of spots with Marq Quen, and Matt Hardy causes mischief on the outside of the ring. Hangman and Silver are outraged at Matt Hardy’s actions towards the Dark Order- particularly Five and 10- so are eager to get their hands on him. The match doesn’t allow for Hardy and Hangman to get a lot of time together in the ring- saving it for Revolution. Hangman does a Death Valley Driver on Quen, and Silver tags in on Matt Hardy after he attempts to put a Twist of Fate on Hangman.
Hangman gets the pin on Quen, which Hardy purposefully allows, making it clear his eyes are on Hardy only, and Hardy uses the opportunity to ambush him in the ring with a microphone, Kenny Omega-style.
Results: Hangman Page & John Silver def. Matt Hardy & Marc Quen
In the wake of Hardy’s ambush on Hangman, Dark Order run out to defend their new friend, and then all the AEW referees and officials. Then all the participants of the tag team Battle Royale follow, leading to an all-out, no holds barred, beatdown brawl in the ring whilst Negative One commands chaos from the stage. It’s an excellent scene to end the go-home episode with, showing what Revolution will be on Sunday. I hope everyone is excited.
Best Moment: Shaquille O’Neal taking a double table bump off the apron, and then disappearing into the night like a ghost.
Worst Moment: The filler squash match, and these uncalled for insults about Nick Jackson’s hairline, damn.