It’s the final stop on the All Elite Wrestling (AEW) Welcome Back Tour, as the company returns to Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, Florida for AEW Homecoming. In the main event, light and dark will clash as the debuting Malakai Black looks to absolve the sins of Cody Rhodes. Following a vicious attack by Black on Rhodes’ manager, Arn Anderson, Rhodes has promised that Black will not make his name in AEW at the expense of Rhodes. The TNT Champion, “The Redeemer” Miro will also be in action, as the self-proclaimed “God’s Favourite Champion” defends his gild against the Nightmare Factory’s Lee “Big Shotty” Johnson, who will have Dustin Rhodes at ringside to help him. Three fan favourites will also team up, a long time grudge will continue and the new number one contender for Kamille’s NWA Women’s Championship will be decided. Kicking off the show will be the Third Labour of Jericho, as Chris Jericho must face a long time rival of his, Juventud Guerrera, in a match that Jericho can only win by hitting a move off the top rope.
+ Malakai Black vs Cody Rhodes: theoretically, Cody Rhodes needs to be gone for a while to film some more stuff for TNT, and the last time that happened was decimated by Mr Brodie Lee and sent packing. I expected something similar here, with the added benefit of the fact that I just don’t care for Cody as he currently stands in AEW. I was always a fa of Tommy End/Aleister Black and I’m hoping he gets a chance to have longer matches with better opponents than his recent years, but I’m not sure a big feud with Cody is the way to go
+ The Blade (w/ The Bunny) vs Christian Cage: this was billed as some sort of rivalry match, but truthfully that wasn’t really the case. Cage has been feuding with Matt Hardy, so The Blade is a proxy feud at best. All of that aside, this was a really good match as you’d expect from Christian, who is out to prove something to both himself and everyone else, and the Blade who is criminally underrated as both as a singles wrestler and in the Butcher and the Blade tag team
+ Jon Moxley, Eddie Kingston & Darby Allin (w/ Sting) vs Daniel Garcia & 2.0 (Matt Lee & Jeff Parker): this was a one sided affair as you would expect, but the former Ever Rise, now 2.0, showed that charm which they were finally being able to show in NXT before their release. The fan favourite trio were like Gods to these rabid Jacksonville fans, and even some fun Kingston/Sting interactions brought a smile to my face. Off the top of my head, I’m not familiar with “Red Death” Daniel Garcia, but he was perfectly fine, if nothing standout
– The Bunny (w/ The Blade and The HFO) vs Leyla Hirsch (w/ Best Friends): I am a big fan of both these women in different ways, but Hirsch is just something special to watch in the ring. The winner here will receive a championship match against the new NWA Women’s Champion, Kamille, which would be an interesting match no matter who the winner was. This was not a must-see match by any stretch, but even this match was done a disservice by just how many other people were at ringside or otherwise involved in the match
– Miro (c) vs Lee Johnson (w/ Dustin Rhodes) (TNT Championship): Miro The Redeemer is one of the best characters I’ve seen in a long time, and it’s a shame this was not just a two minute squash win for Miro. I was surprised at how even a fight this was presented as, and frankly I think it was a poor choice to have the match go the way it did
– Chris Jericho vs Juventud Guerrera (The Third Labour of Jericho): I was pumped to see The Juice back on TNT and wrestling Chris Jericho, but once that initial high wore off, this match was not very good. A fair few miscommunications made for some awkward transitions, and it seemed that at 46 years old, Juvie just didn’t have the spring in his step that made him famous on Nitro so many years ago. Frankly, this match was better in idea than execution and while I really liked the ending of the match, I probably could have done without it
Should you watch this event: This wasn’t a bad show, but the same issues continue to crop up: Jericho’s Labours all feel rushed, Cody Rhodes is just not at the level he believes he is in AEW, and the middle of the show matches continue to go on for that bit too long. Still, even the worst AEW shows of late have been an easy watch.