The Buy-In: NWA World Women's Champion Serena Deeb def. Allysin Kay
This match replaced Orange Cassidy vs. John Silver (which instead took place on the main card) on The Buy-In earlier this week. Despite having no storyline support, this was a damn good match. Kay announced her departure from the NWA the day before this was announced, so it will be interesting to see if she impressed officials enough here to earn a contract with AEW. She had a solid showing while Deeb's career resurgence continues. She's the perfect person to represent that title right now and I can't wait for her upcoming rematch with Thunder Rosa, who resurfaced afterward and confronted Deeb.
Kenny Omega def. "Hangman" Adam Page to Win the World Title Eliminator
IMPACT Wrestling executive Don Callis appearing on commentary for this match was a special treat. He's really close with Omega and has done commentary before for IMPACT (as recently as Bound for Glory a few weeks ago) and New Japan Pro-Wrestling. As for Omega vs. Page, it was an excellent opener and a hot way to kick off the evening. Omega winning was the right choice as Omega vs. Jon Moxley is the more appealing match on paper, but the clean win was a nice surprise. The scary part about this is that I'm sure they're capable of having an even better bout, which you know is coming once Omega captures the AEW World Championship and defends it against Page, potentially at Double or Nothing next May.
Orange Cassidy def. John Silver
I said coming into this event that this had no business being on the main card, simply because there was no reason for it to happen in the first place. That said, I applaud AEW for capitalizing on the goodwill Silver has built with fans on Being The Elite in recent months and allowing him to showcase that same personality on a bigger platform. To his credit, he really impressed me with what he can do here and had a standout showing. Cassidy had to win coming off his victories over Chris Jericho, but I'd argue Silver gained plenty in defeat. Hopefully this isn't the last we see of him shining on his own.
Darby Allin def. Cody Rhodes to Win the AEW TNT Championship
First and foremost, it's so damn awesome that Cody got his surname back. It's going to take a little while for me to get used to writing "Cody Rhodes" again after calling him just Cody for so many years. Nevertheless, this was every bit as great as their other encounters. They built to the finish nicely, though Allin upsetting Cody was something I did not see coming. That said, I'm happy Allin finally got his moment because that title had his name on it from the day it was introduced. Post-match, Brian Cage and Ricky Starks attacked Allin and Cody before Will Hobbs made the save, so expect Team Taz to collide with Cody and Allin on an upcoming episode of Dynamite.
AEW Women's Champion Hikaru Shida def. Nyla Rose
It's weird that these two went from having a No Disqualification match at Double or Nothing to a normal match here. What's weirder is that AEW waited almost six months to give Rose her rematch for the AEW Women's Championship even though she's been ranked at number one this whole time. It was a well-wrestled matchup that told a simple story, but I didn't think it was on the same level as their Double or Nothing encounter. On the bright side, Shida is still champion and can soon rekindle her rivalry with Britt Baker. They worked wonderfully together earlier this year and it's probably the biggest feud AEW can do with the women at the moment. As for Rose and Vickie Guerrero teasing tension, can we please skip to the part where Rose drops her and goes back to being on her own?
The Young Bucks def. FTR to Win the AEW World Tag Team Championship
Young Bucks declared beforehand that if they lost, they could no longer challenge for the AEW World Tag Team Championship. That essentially gave away the finish, especially since AEW did that exact same stipulation a year ago at Full Gear and Cody can now no longer compete for the AEW World Championship (though I entirely expect that to change eventually). Despite that, they did a terrific job of making you think FTR could win, and it was an understanding match on the whole. They had a lot to live up to following years of hype, and whether they were able to or not is debatable, but it definitely delivered in my opinion and made up for the underwhelming build. All of the callbacks were cool, Matt sold his (apparently legitimate) injury well, and they were constantly keeping things interesting. I would have had FTR go over in their first match and prolong their title reign by a few months, but hopefully this isn't the last we see of FTR vs. Young Bucks and hopefully FTR get the belts back before long.
Matt Hardy def. Sammy Guevara in an Elite Deletion Match
As advertised, this was a cinematic match that took place on the Hardy Compound. I've been waiting for this since Matt initially arrived in AEW earlier this year as this is the type of environment he's thrived in since the creation of the Broken character. If this wasn't your cup of tea, I totally get it. Cinematic matches have been done to death across AEW, WWE and IMPACT in 2020 and this paled in comparison to the Stadium Stampede, the Boneyard match, the Firefly Fun House, and even Ultimate Deletion and Final Deletion. That said, I enjoyed it for what it was, appreciated the creativity put into it, and liked the references to the Hardy Halloween special from two years ago and the many ways Guevara has hurt Hardy over the course of their rivalry. Guevara desperately needs a high-profile victory, but I figured he wouldn't get it here, so the result didn't shock me. My only two complaints is that there should have been background music for the first half and that it could have been slightly shorter to avoid dragging toward the end.
MJF def. Chris Jericho
Per the stipulation, MJF is now a member of Inner Circle as a result of his victory over Jericho. I thought MJF would win and swerve viewers by turning down Jericho's offer, but it looks like he and Wardlow will be a part of the faction for the time being based on their interaction afterward. The match itself was solid albeit unspectacular. It was always going to be hindered by the heel vs. heel dynamic, but with it being so late in the show, I wasn't surprised the crowd wasn't into this and the slow pace contributed to that. They tried their best, but this had the tough task of following what came before it and failed. We'll see where this storyline goes from here because I get the feeling MJF will is only a part of Inner Circle temporarily.
AEW World Champion Jon Moxley def. Eddie Kingston in an "I Quit" Match
Last year's Lights Out main event at Full Gear was pretty polarizing for how violent it was, whereas this "I Quit" match, while brutal and uncomfortable at times, was exactly what it needed to be. Kingston is known for having matches like this and thus he shined despite the outcome never once being in doubt. Moxley was also right at home in this environment and it made for a fun main event that met my expectations. I was hoping Omega would viciously lay out Moxley afterward to kick off their feud and to cement his heel turn, but no such luck. I'm guessing AEW wants to wait a little longer until they pull that trigger (no pun intended).
This was an insanely stacked card on paper in my opinion, and while not every match was an instant classic, there were enough memorable matches to make it a strong show. MJF vs. Jericho was a little lackluster and the women's match was decent at best, but neither of those things were bad by any means and everything else was either enjoyable or exceptional. It was also a newsworthy night with two titles changings hands and the setup for several storylines such as Moxley vs. Omega, Allin and Rhodes vs. Team Taz, MJF in Inner Circle, Cassidy vs. Miro, and Deeb vs. Rosa. This was easily my favorite AEW event of the pandemic period and I hope they can build off this momentum in the remainder of the year.