Cody def. Sammy Guevara
The crowd absolutely adored Cody, but honestly, I would have gone with a hotter match in this spot (especially considering what they went up against with the NXT Championship clash kicking off WWE NXT). Don't get me wrong, it was a good match that the audience was into, but it was far from a technical masterpiece. You had to know Cody was winning when he said the other day that he'd relinquish his shot at the AEW World Championship at Full Gear if he lost, but I was glad that Guevara looked credible in defeat. Chris Jericho blindsiding Cody afterward was a nice touch to build toward their encounter at Full Gear.
MJF def. Brandon Cutler
The only other time we've seen Cutler on AEW TV was during the Casino Battle Royale at Double or Nothing (where he actually got eliminated by MJF), so unless you keep up with Being the Elite, most fans wouldn't have much of a reason to care about him. MJF, on the other hand, established him as a heel within seconds of making his entrance with his pre-match promo. He's such a spectacular heel. The match itself was anything special, but at least it didn't overstay its welcome. Cutler's apparent botch at the end was unfortunate, though.
SoCal Uncensored and The Lucha Brothers Brawled
The bit that SCU did outside the White House was hilarious and Scorpio Sky's Barrack Obama impression was on point. Sky revealed that it will be Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian entering the AEW World Tag Team Championship tournament since they have the most experience as a team. The Lucha Brothers interrupted and proceeded to brawl with them, which served as effective hype for the upcoming tag title tourney. They won't be fighting in the first round, which is odd, but maybe they both make it to the finals? I doubt it, but it's a thought.
Pac def. Adam Page
This match was originally scheduled to take place at Double or Nothing but was pulled from the pay-per-view at the last minute. Well, it was worth the wait. They didn't go all out like I thought they would, but Pac and Page produced an excellent affair, nonetheless. They worked the perfect pace and both guys had impressive performances. The finish felt a bit underwhelming, but Pac winning was the right move to keep him strong. It only makes sense that he contends for the AEW World Championship sooner rather than later following his victories over Kenny Omega and now Page.
Riho def. Nyla Rose to Become the First-Ever AEW Women's Champion
I haven't been high on Rose's in-ring ability since her debut, but to give her credit, she wasn't totally terrible here. In fact, this turned into a fun match down the stretch with some suspenseful nearfalls. Many (myself included) assumed Rose would win the title, so Riho the inaugural champ was pleasantly surprising. Based off the post-match angle that saw Rose beat up Riho and Michael Nakazawa, it appears their feud is far from over.
AEW World Champion Chris Jericho, Santana and ortiz def. The Elite
Jon Moxley was advertised to appear on this episode, so I guess we should have figured that he'd get involved in this main event in some form or fashion. Sure enough, he targeted Omega and brawled with him to another part of the arena, going so far as to hit him with a Dirty Deeds through a glass table. I have no idea how that didn't result in a disqualification, though. At any rate, the rest of the match featured enjoyable action and the correct outcome. All hell broke loose afterward with the heels standing tall over The Elite, Cody and Dustin Rhodes. Among that group of heels was the debuting Jake Hager, f.k.a. Jack Swagger. It may seem like a strange choice for some if they haven't seen him since his WWE days, but he's improved immensely on the independent scene and in the mixed martial arts world and I think he's a great get for them.
On the whole, this was a hell of a first show from AEW. It wasn't perfect by any means, but between the hot crowd, the first-ever AEW Women's Champion being crowned and the abundance of quality matches, the positives definitely outweighed the negatives. I appreciated how it had a fresh feel to it and I thought the commentary team came off exceptionally well. The bit with Kevin Smith, Angelico and Jack Evans was awkward, but it was a cool cameo, nonetheless. I'm sure AEW will continue to build off this effort and have even better shows in the future. I'm excited to be in attendance for next week's episode in Boston and look forward to seeing how they follow up their historic debut.
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