The Buy-In: Hookhausen def. Tony Nese and Mark Sterling
Hook and Danhausen are a popular tandem and the crowd was certainly into them here. I still don't want to see them team in the long run as Hook has much more potential on his own, but it served its purpose here and the match was what it was supposed to be. It was also perfectly slotted on the pre-show. I still find Sterling to be an absolute goof, but even he played his role well. I also appreciated that this didn't overstay its welcome.
Wardlow def. MJF
There was a lot of chatter coming into this show that the drama with MJF and whether he would or wouldn't show up added interest to the match, but I'd argue all of that stuff actually took away from the amazing story they were already telling. For the record, I don't think any of it was a work, and the focus shifted to MJF because of everything happening with him. Wardlow's win was a memorable moment and the crowd was hot for him obviously, but all I could think about was where this leaves MJF. It was also odd to get this out of the way early seeing as how it was arguably the most anticipated match on the entire card, even over the main event. I didn't have a problem with it being a full-blown squash, but it would have been nice if it was a bit more competitive.
The Hardys def. The Young Bucks
I was looking forward to this match because I enjoyed their encounters in Ring of Honor five years ago, but I knew it wouldn't be on the same level as those matches because The Hardys are much slower nowadays. That said, this turned into a really fun affair. Young Bucks can bring the best out of pretty much everyone, but The Hardys deserve credit for holding their own and having their strongest performance so far in AEW. I also have no issue with The Hardys winning since they should be built up for a shot at the AEW World Tag Team Championship in the near future.
AEW TBS Champion Jade Cargill def. Anna Jay
This was one of those matches on this show that would have been better off on Dynamite or Rampage. I'm all for featuring Cargill on pay-per-view because she's a star, but the problem is that she's largely been absent from AEW TV lately and Jay hasn't won anything of importance in ages, so this came completely out of nowhere. Worse yet, the match itself was no good. They made up for it afterward with the debuts of Stokely Hathaway (the former Malcolm Bivens who will apparently be the new mouthpiece for Cargill going forward) and Athena (the former Ember Moon). My money is on Athena being the one to unseat Cargill as AEW TBS Champion.
House of Black (Malakai Black, Brody King and Buddy Matthews) def. Death Triangle (Pac, Rey Fenix and Penta Oscuro)
This was basically the same match we got on the Revolution Buy-In except with the full Death Triangle. The action was exciting, but the feud has gone on for so long that it was difficult to care coming into the show. Not to mention that it was laid out as a total spotfest, so if that's not your thing, you probably hated this matchup. The Julia Hart crap was dragged out for almost six months, so at least they finally paid that off. I don't know how I feel about her being put in House of Black, but I'm willing to give it a chance.
Adam Cole def. ROH World Television Champion Samoa Joe in the Finals of the Men's Owen Hart Cup
Joe not coming out with the ROH World Television Championship belt was weird, and he wasn't announced as being a champion, either. Maybe they wanted to protect the title seeing as how he lost here, but a little consistency would have been nice. Either way, this was a solid match. For a first-time-ever encounter, I enjoyed it, but it wasn't anything I'll remember a week from now and the interference from Bobby Fish was unnecessary. It didn't help that the finish felt abrupt because fans were probably expecting it to take a little more for Cole to put Joe away.
Britt Baker def. Ruby Soho in the Finals of the Women's Owen Hart Cup
Similar to Cole vs. Joe, this wasn't the most exciting encounter, and even though there were stakes with it being the finals of the women's Owen Hart Cup, there wasn't anything about the in-ring action that stood out as special. In fact, the pre-match entrances from both women (which were awesome, by the way) were more memorable than the match itself. Then came the finish that saw Soho lose when it mattered most yet again. Baker doesn't benefit in the slightest from winning this tourney, so I absolutely feel that was the wrong call. I'm not sure what to say about Soho at this point other than she's the ultimate loser based on how she's been booked so far in AEW.
Men of the Year and Paige VanZant def. Sammy Guevara, Tay Conti and Frankie Kazarian
Everything involved the AEW TNT Championship has been absolute garbage for the last few months. This match was added to the card this past Friday on Rampage and I have no idea yet. Sure, it featured the in-ring debut of VanZant, but couldn't that have been saved for an episode of Dynamite or Rampage? She did fine but didn't blow me away the same way with the performance she had. This was decent, but the crowd sitting on their hands for a majority of it was hardly surprising considering none of these characters are currently likable. Please, let's finally move on from this feud.
Kyle O'Reilly def. Darby Allin
I'm a fan of both of these guys and thought they had one of the better bouts all night, but this should have been saved for Dynamite or Rampage as it was an unnecessary addition to an already loaded card. It was very well wrestled and I liked the clash of styles, but it was clear this was booked solely so AEW could kill time until the big basketball game was over, which I think is a silly excuse. Anyone who is interested in watching both will do so or wait to watch one when it's over. This is pay-per-view, not television. O'Reilly winning was a strange call as well since I don't expect AEW to do anything of note with him on his own, while Allin hasn't had this little amount of buzz in quite some time.
AEW Women's World Champion Thunder Rosa def. Serena Deeb
The build to this bout was largely botched (even though I was in the minority who enjoyed Deeb's recent promo on Dynamite), but they delivered the goods and had a terrific match. Then again, these are two of the top female performers in the entire company and we shouldn't have expected anything less. The crowd likely would have been hotter had this happened earlier in the night, but otherwise, this was a wonderful piece of business and obviously Rosa retaining the title was the right outcome.
Jericho Appreciation Society (Chris Jericho, Jake Hager, Daniel Garcia, "Daddy Magic" Matt Mernard and "Cool Hand" Angelo Parker) def. Eddie Kingston, Santana, Ortiz and Blackpool Combat Club (Bryan Danielson and Jon Moxley) in an Anarchy in the Arena Match
I know I'm in the minority on this one, but I absolutely hated whatever the hell it was supposed to be. I realize they were going for a wild and chaotic vibe, and they certainly captured that, but I found the match to be more of a mess than anything else (including "Wild Thing" playing on a loop which was clearly a tribute to ECW/New Jack but it annoyed the hell out of me). It was basically Stadium Stampede except far more hardcore and not cinematic in any way. They put forth quite the effort, I'll give them that, but my problem with stuff like this is that we see "extreme" matches in AEW on a regular basis, so how much do they really mean at this point? It's stupid spots for the sake of stupid spots. Jericho Appreciation Society winning was the worst part, but I should've figured that would happen to set up a Blood and Guts rematch.
AEW World Tag Team Champions Jurassic Express def. Swerve in Our Glory and Team Taz (FTW Champion Ricky Starks and Powerhouse Hobbs) in a Three-Way Tag Team Match
We already got a three-way tag team match for the tag titles at Revolution almost three months ago, so these six stars had their work cut out for them. That said, this ended up being a blast. I'd prefer Swerve in Our Glory and Team Taz as singles competitors, but both tandems have quality chemistry and there were plenty of sweet spots. Jurassic Express was the last team I expected to win, though. The Christian Cage heel turn on Jungle Boy is long overdue.
CM Punk def. "Hangman" Adam Page to Win the AEW World Championship
Despite this match happening well after midnight on the east coast, it still had a big fight feel and the atmosphere was electric. The crowd reaction was pretty split down the middle and there were audible boos for both men whenever they were on offense. This was a great match on the whole, even though Punk slipped up at a few different points and I could have done without them attempting to steal the other's finisher so many times. The unpredictable outcome helped, but Punk winning was ultimately the way to do. He's as hot as he'll ever be and Page's reign felt cold, so this freshens this up. The storytelling with Page refusing to cheat and that costing him the win was really well done and I'm hoping we haven't seen the last of these two against each other.
Fans (and Tony Khan himself) are going to make every excuse in the book as to why this show was as long as it was, but you just can't justify a four-and-a-half-hour pay-per-view (not counting the pre-show). I used to hate it when WWE did it with WrestleMania and AEW is no exception. It is possible to deliver too much of a good thing, not to mention two or three of these matches could have bumped off the card and saved for Dynamite or Rampage. All in all, I enjoyed the event, but I found it to be one of the weaker pay-per-views AEW has ever done. The bar is pretty high, so that isn't to say this show sucked by any means, but some of the booking decisions were questionable and there was a ridiculous amount of matches. Several of those matches are worth seeking out, but it was hard not to be exhausted by the time this was over.