Wrestling Review: AEW Revolution (2022)

The revolution will be televised. All Elite Wrestling (AEW) presents Revolution, live from Orlando Florida, where four huge championship matches will take place across the show, including the defence of the AEW World Championship in the main event when Adam Page faces Adam Cole. Don’t be fooled, the same first name is where the similarities end, as Hangman Adam Page looks to show that hard work, and self-belief can conquer whatever number of dirty tricks the undefeated Adam Cole can throw at him. The AEW Women’s Championship will also be on the line, when old rivals meet one more time as Dr Britt Baker defends her title against Thunder Rosa. These two previously met in a Lights Out match, widely regarded as one of the greatest women’s matches in the history of wrestling, but the simple fact is that the Lights Out match does not count on the competitors’ official records. With the record officially 0-0, both women will be looking to notch their first win over their opponents in the record book, and leave with the AEW Women’s Championship. A triple threat will determine the tag team champions of AEW, as Jurassic Express contend with both The Young Bucks and reDRagon with the gold on the line. Rounding out the championship matches, Jade Cargill looks to keep both her undefeated record and the TBS Championship when she defends against the Brazillian Jiu-jitsu black belt, Tay Conti.

Not to be outdone, even though there are no titles on the line, the rest of the Revolution card looks to solve some issues even more personal. At the top of that list, CM Punk and MJF will settle their decades-long beef in one of the most violent matches possible in professional wrestling: a dog collar match. The road to this match has been paved with blood and crocodile tears, but CM Punk will be looking to upset MJF’s comparatively young career before it can properly begin. Bryan Danielson and Jon Moxley are also set for a collision based on a simple declaration from Moxley: “before I team with someone, I have to bleed with them.” Eddie Kingston will look to prove that he can win the big matches, as he goes one on one with the legendary Chris Jericho. Finally, Andrade El Idolo and Matt Hardy will lead Isiah Kassidy into battle against the TNT Champion Sammy Guevara, Darby Allin and the Icon, Sting.

Starting things off, on the show before the PPV begins properly, three matches will take place on the Revolution Buy In: HOOK will face his toughest challenge to date when he gets in the ring with one of his trainers, QT Marshall; former friends turned bitter enemies collide when Kris Statlander battles “Legit” Layla Hirsch, and; Malakai Black leads Buddy Matthews and the monstrous Brodie King to war, as the House of Black will fight Penta Oscuro and PAC of Death Triangle and their special partner, the giant Erick Redbeard.

+ Hangman Adam Page (c) vs Adam Cole (AEW World Championship): technically, this was a very, very good match, but it really lacked some of the oomph that many other matches on the show had. In the same way that Hangman/Archer never felt like it was important as they tried to make it appear, this was basically just a few weeks of “I want that belt” versus “Well, you can’t have it” with some ROH references shoved in. Leaving aside the story, the match was great, as Adam Cole plays the cool bad guy everyone loves, and Hangman plays the newly confident, but prone to self-defeating relapses Champion. However, I am so disappointed in the way the crowd reacted to this, in the exact same way I hate the crowd on NXT these days. The crowd is not part of the show, no matter what the official company line or what wrestlers may say in interviews, and I think some people need that hard truth
+ Bryan Danielson vs Jon Moxley: this match was absolutely incredible. This would top the best matches of any G1, and if Eddie was channelling Ishii by way of Tenryu earlier, then this was Danielson and Moxley channeling Shibata and Suzuki. It was another violent and very bloody fight on a show seemingly filled with violent, would-be-bloody grudges to be settled, but it was still great. I might suggest it was almost more about the aftermath than the match itself, but that would take away from just how damned good this was
+ CM Punk vs MJF (Dog Collar Match): holy shit, this was insane. I lost my mind at one entrance in particular (and so did only one audience member, it seems) and things never let up from there. After Punk bled like a stuck pig less than a week ago, it is nuts how much blood there was from both men. Yes, I expected that, but it still sometimes catches me off guard. Both guys used the chain in exciting and clever ways, though I couldn’t help but notice the referee saying ‘watch the collar, careful of your necks’ a lot, and that MJF’s collar threatened to come off, and the chain did come off at one point. It’s hard to stress how intense this match was, especially for the live crowd, and just how obviously in hindsight (and arguably beforehand as well) that it should have gone on last
+ Keith Lee vs Powerhouse Hobbs vs Wardlow vs Ricky Starks vs Christian Cage vs Orange Cassidy (Face of the Revolution Ladder Match): look at all that MEAT in the competitor lineup. I simultaneously love and hate ladder matches, and specifically what they have become, because the things these competitors do to try and one-up all the previous ladder matches are just scary. Keith Lee, Powerhouse Hobbs and Wardlow were the clear centre pieces, but with Christian and his history in ladder matches, Orange’s comedy style and EVERYTHING about Starks, it was hard to focus on the big bois too much. I truly believe Starks is going to be something huge if he is given a chance
+ Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus) vs The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) vs reDRagon (Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly) (AEW Tag Team Championships): simply from the names involved, of course this was going to be a good match. But just how damn good Jungle Boy and Kyle O’Reilly in particular were was not expected. The crowd loves a bit of Luchasaurus, and he got to play against the type of the other competitors in a really fun way. My only complaint would be that so much of the stuff is stuff we have seen before; it’s still fantastic, but we are also not even half an hour removed from the House of Black/Death Triangle and Redbeard match from the Buy In
+ Chris Jericho vs Eddie Kingston: god almighty I love Eddie Kingston. I don’t know if there is anybody else in AEW that can get the crowd on his side the way that Eddie Kingston can, and that is thanks in no small part to just how despicable Jericho can be when he wants to be. From literally the first second of this match, Eddie was channelling all the AJPW greats, especially Genichiro Tenryu, and it’s no surprise that he was basically playing Tomohiro Ishii against the Painmaker version of Chris Jericho. The crowd was white hot for all of this, the chop trades were insane and overall this kicked the PPV event proper off in a really special way
+ House of Black (Malakai Black, Brodie King & Buddy Matthes) vs Death Triangle (Penta Oscuro & PAC) & Erick Redbeard (w/ Alex Abrahantes): I’ll jump straight to the point – I am a huge fan of Redbeard and I am a huge fan of the death metal and horns of the House of Black. This is what I love in my wrestling. Every combination of these guys against each other could be something really good, but I’d be lying if I said I don’t really want to see PAC and Buddy Matthews let loose properly. I absolutely loved this match, but I will say that it probably went on a bit long with too much ‘stuff’ considering the PPV hadn’t even started properly
+ HOOK vs QT Marshall: it’s hard to call this a particularly good match, but as far as HOOK matches go it was exactly what it needed to be. I’ll list is as a positive, because yes it was a HOOK match, and yes QT is fantastic at what he does. You know the deal
+ “Legit” Layla Hirsch vs Kris Statlander: I’m a big fan of both of these women, and it’s been simple but effective story between the two. I also stress just how important it is to have women of all shapes and sizes on the roster, because it makes for matches like this. A few moments in particular here really did feel like the culmination of a big story, and a few smaller moments highlighted each woman’s character in particular. This was a lot of fun

Sammy Guevara, Darby Allin & Sting vs The A.H.F.O. (Andrade El Idolo, Matt Hardy & Isiah Kassidy) (Tornado Trios Match): simply from the line up, obviously there was some exciting stuff in this match, but it felt redundant considering the Dog Collar match and the Moxley/Danielson match before it. Especially as commentary continues to subtly hype up Matt Hardy’s tag team specialist brother, this was probably the one match I would have cut from the show. I sure hope Kassidy is okay, because he looked destroyed the last we saw of him
Dr Britt Baker, D.M.D. (c) (w/ Rebel & Jamie Hayter) vs Thunder Rosa (AEW Women’s Championship): this match had the unenviable task of following the Dog Collar match, and frankly I think it struggled because of that. I am a big Thunder Rosa fan, and have enjoyed what Britt has been doing, but it was just so tame in comparison to not just what was immediately before it, but their previous Lights Out match as well. The story seemed to be heading towards a repeat of a bloody brawl for these two, but taking place on the show where it did it just didn’t feel important enough. As a small aside, I hate the way every House of Torture match in NJPW is just interference ad nauseum, and Rebel and Jamie with Britt is getting to be the same thing
Jade Cargill (c) (w/ Smart Mark Sterling) vs Tay Conti (TBS Championship): Jade Cargill is on her way to unprecedented mega stardom. All things considered, this was probably the weakest overall match, but much like the HOOK/Marshall match from the Buy In, it did what it was meant to do. This was arguably Jade’s biggest match to date, and as much as Conti has improved, I don’t know if I’d consider her something to lead a new wrestler just yet. There was a few ‘kissing your opponent as a distraction’ moments from both women, and I’ll be honest, I didn’t understand the relevance

> I think I’ve mentioned this before, but the way AEW microphones work (either on the ring side cameras, or those attached to the referees?) make it far too easy to pick up talking from the referee or the wrestlers in the ring

Should you watch this event: Don’t let the three matches listed as negatives steer you astray; there were no bad matches on this and none that should be avoided or skipped over. Every match brought something different (however slightly) to those around it, and AEW continues to put on absolute classic events. I dare say they are almost getting too big for their own status at the moment, because after all of this I still felt like there were too many people missing and wanted to see them.

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