Wrestling Review: AEW Revolution (2021)

All Elite Wrestling (AEW) returns to pay per view at AEW Revolution, where three championships will be defended, two huge signing will make their debut, a legend returns to the ring, one man will earn some Big Money, and number one contenders will be decided in a ladder match and a tag team battle royale. In the main event, Kenny Omega defends the AEW World Championship against eternal thorn in his side, Jon Moxley, but this time it’s not just a regular wrestling match – this time, Omega and Moxley face off in an Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch. Explosives surround the ring and the ropes on three sides of the ring will be replaced with barbed wire, and the man who leaves with the top gold in All Elite Wrestling will need to do more than just win, but survive. The Tag Team Champions are also on the line in a match that has become personal in very quick fashion, as the Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) battle two members of The Inner Circle, MJF and Chris Jericho. It was only two weeks ago that MJF and Jericho attacked the Bucks’ father, leaving him bloodied in the parking lot, so this match is just as much about revenge as it is for the championships.

Hikaru Shida has outlasted all challengers for her AEW Women’s World Championship, but faces someone from her past that she has never beaten, in Ryo Mizunami. These two women have had three singles matches in their careers, and all three have ended in draws, however Shida has vowed to end that streak tonight and finally put Mizunami down. Tonight will also see the return of an Icon, as Sting returns to wrestling action, when he teams with the current TNT Champion, Darby Allin, in a street fight. Their opponents, however, will be the ruthless members of Team Taz, Ricky Starks and Brian Cage, and it is certain that the monstrous Powerhouse Hobbs, the crafty HOOK and the sinister commander himself, Taz. Anything goes in a Street Fight, and Sting will be sure to have his baseball bat with him, ready to match whatever harm Darby can do with his skateboard.

Not to be outdone, Matt Hardy will face Hangman Page in a self titled Big Money Match, wehre the winner will receive the first quarter earnings of their opponent. A 15-team tag team royale will also take place to determine the next number one contenders for the Tag Team Champions, whoever it may be following the opening contest. And if that wasn’t enough, there will also be a six man ladder match to determine a number on contender for Darby Allin’s TNT Championship, featuring Cody Rhodes, Scorpio Sky, Lance Archer, Penta El Zero Mideo and Max Caster, along with one mystery opponent to be revealed. Miro and Kip Sabian will also be seeking revenge on Orange Cassidy and Chuck Taylor in a tag team contest, and Thunder Rosa and Riho will team to face Dr Britt Baker, D.M.D. and a partner of her choosing on the pre-show. Outside of the ring, and separate to the ladder match competitor, new signee Paul Wight (fka The Big Show) has promised the debut of a Hall of Fame worthy talent to make their first appearance at AEW Revolution.

+ Kenny Omega (w/ Don Callis) (c) vs Jon Moxley (Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch for the AEW World Championship): the first 99 per cent of this match was fantastic, full of great looking deathmatch spots, really solid ‘explosions’, and a lot of blood… before the final moments of the aftermath completely torched the goodwill I had built up. The match itself was nothing but a positive, including of the best non-kickouts you’ll ever see, but just be aware that the finale is so disappointing it almost had to be a joke
+ Team Taz (Brian Cage & Ricky Starks) (w/ Taz) vs Darby Allin & Sting (Street Fight): this was a pre-recorded ‘cinematic’ presentation, but it was still structured as a live contest. There were big spots and dangerous looking offensive manoeuvres, but unfortunately commentary over the top, though overall overall it was pretty good. Darby is insane, so I have no doubts he really did most of what he was shown to do, and Cage looked ot be in incredible shape. Ricky Stark is going to be a massive superstar in the wrestling world one day, and I can’t wait
+ Adam Page vs Matt Hardy (Big Money Match): the winner here receives the loser’s 2021 first-quarter earnings, so it already had higher stakes than all the other other non-title matches. Matt Hardy in big PPV matches has not disappointed yet (obviously him getting knocked silly doesn’t count) and this was no exception, especially when paired with the so young, and so good Hangman Page. This was great, if slightly overbooked towards the ending
+ Hikaru Shida (c) vs Ryo Mizunami (AEW Women’s World Championship): hot damn I loved this. It’s no surprise that matches with a real life back story are always better than matches with *just* a wrestling backstory, and this had both in spades. Shida has been the cornerstone of the AEW Women’s Division (alongside Nyla Rose and Britt Baker, arguably) and she had a phenomenal match here with someone who is not an AEW mainstay. This was great, and I really liked the simple but effective aftermath
+ The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson) (c) vs The Inner Circle (Chris Jericho & MJF) (w/ Wardlow) (AEW World Tag Team Championships): overall, this was pretty good. But I just can’t get over how much they do in their matches; there are just so many impressive looking moves that don’t win, and that just makes the moves not feel so impressive after all. MJF and Jericho are a really good team, in style if not substance, but the Bucks are one of the best tag teams in all of wrestling for a reason. This was not a blow-away match like the Bucks/Omega & Page matches last year, but it was still good
+ Riho & Thunder Rosa vs Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D. & a mystery partner: though relegated to the Buy-In pre show, this still featured a twist on the advertised match. Rosa and Baker work so well together, I am surprised neither of them won the tournament to face Hikaru Shida on this show, and Riho is a former champion in her own right. Britt’s partner was a welcome surprise, and overall I thought the match was pretty good, if slightly too long

Cody Rhodes (w/ Arn Anderson) vs Scorpio Sky vs Penta El Zero Miedo vs Lance Archer (w/ Jake Roberts) vs Max Caster vs TBA (Face of the Revolution Ladder Match): first and foremost, ‘TBA’ was revealed to be someone I like, but I can’t say it was a great match overall. A few awkward story beats punctuated otherwise good action, but the winner is slightly disappointing and the match never felt like it hit a high gear
Miro & Kip Sabian (w/ Penelope Ford) vs Best Friends (Orange Cassidy & Chuck Taylor): look, I like everyone involved, but Miro has just not clicked for me in AEW just yet. Maybe it’s the comedy with Kip and Orange, or maybe he just hasn’t instigated a televised murder like I want him to. Orange and Kip are both good, and Sexy Chuckie T is great, but Miro should be doing something else
Casino Tag Team Royale for a future AEW World Tag Team Championship match: AEW generally does quite well with battle royals, because there is not often any wasted motion. That said, this was still a battle royale, so of course nothing really mattered too much until the end. A few interesting twists and turns were peppered throughout but it wasn’t until the final few that it got good, and made me really want to see particular matches. I love the winner, and think the next tag title match should be crazy good, but overall this felt superfluous

> the new signee to All Elite Wrestling was revealed… and it’s cool. I’m a fan, but I’ll admit I was hoping for someone different for a few reasons

Should you watch this event: Yes, those final “explosions” were hot garbage, but the main event and the majority of the rest of the show was really good. All three championship bouts, the Hardy/Hangman match, and the Street Fight with Darby/Sting vs Team Taz were all well worth watching.

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