Shaquille O'Neal makes his AEW in-ring debut on tonight's episode of Dynamite: The Crossroads.
Shaq will team with Jade Cargill against Cody Rhodes and Red Velvet in a tag match in tonight's opener.
The finals of the AEW Women's World title eliminator tournament will also take place. The winner of the United States bracket, Nyla Rose, takes on Japan bracket winner Ryo Mizunami. The winner will face AEW Women's World Champion Hikaru Shida at Sunday's Revolution PPV.
Paul Wight will make his first AEW appearance. His signing was announced ahead of last week's taped Dynamite and referenced in passing on commentary.
Tully Blanchard will return to in-ring action on tonight's show. He will team up with FTR against Jurassic Express.
Prior to their AEW World Tag Team title match against The Young Bucks, challengers Chris Jericho and MJF will hold a press conference this evening.
10 (Preston Vance) of The Dark Order will take on Max Caster in a qualifying match for Sunday's Face of the Revolution ladder match.
Hangman Page and John Silver will tag against Matt Hardy and Marq Quen. Page faces Hardy at Revolution with the winner getting the loser's first quarter 2021 earnings.
Plus, PAC and Rey Fenix will team up in tag team action. Our live coverage begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
Show Report --
Before the opener, a video package aired recapping the feud from start to finish.
Shaquille O'Neal & Jade Cargill defeated Cody Rhodes & Red Velvet
This was so much better than it had any right to be. All four competitors should be commended for making it work.
Cody and Shaq started. They locked up right away, but Shaq was able to easily push his way out of an arm wringer. Shaq pumped up the crowd and performed a little jig. Cody forced him into a corner and laid in right hands, but Shaq turned it around with a frying pan chop. He then countered Cody running the ropes with a back body drop.
Shaq continued the offense with more overhand chops, then Cargill tagged herself in, as did Velvet. They wrestled around until Cargill downed Velvet with a bicycle knee. Velvet fought back with kicks but was overpowered once again by Cargill. Velvet landed a diving crossbody, but Cargill rolled through and downed Velvet with a fallaway slam.
Cargill provoked Cody into knocking Shaq off the apron, where he was met with a chair shot from Austin Gunn. Shaq ran wild on the Nightmare Family, including both Gunn children and QT Marshall. The camera panned over, where Velvet landed an Orihara moonsault onto Cody and Cargill on the floor.
Back in the ring, Cargill locked in the figure four on Velvet. After a long fight, she released the hold and taunted before heading to the floor. Cargill pulled out a table and set it up on the floor, but took too long, allowing Velvet to attack. Velvet then pulled out a table of her own and set it up right next to the first one.
Velvet scored a cyclone kick on Velvet and tagged in Cody, which meant Shaq had to come in too. Shaq called for a test of strength, but Cody booted him in the gut. Shaq hit a knee lift and then a nice powerbomb on Cody, but Cody hit the Rhodes right hand and was able to slam Shaq for two.
The women tagged in and traded strikes in the middle of the ring. After a long exchange, Velvet ran into a Cargill spinebuster and covered, but Cody broke up the count.
In one of the most ridiculous spots I've ever seen on television, Cody then dove over the top rope, taking out Shaq, and both crashed through the tables on the floor.
Velvet then hit a spear on Cargill for a close near fall. She tried to follow it up, but Cargill overpowered Velvet with a wheelbarrow facebuster for the win.
– During the commercial break, Shaq was loaded into an ambulance. However, it cut to Tony Shiavone, who tried to interview, and when the ambulance doors opened, Shaq was gone.
PAC & Rey Fénix defeated John Skyler & D3
This only went a minute or two. Skyler and D3 are Dark talent and they didn't get a single bit of offense as PAC and Fénix threw bomb after bomb. The 450 from PAC and the Fire Thunder Driver from Fénix finished it.
Inner Circle Press Conference
The press conference was moderated by Dasha, and Jericho and MJF were joined by Santana, Ortiz, and Wardlow. Someone asked a question, but it wasn't mic'd up correctly and we couldn't hear it. Jericho talked about his career accomplishments, including being a seven-time world tag team champion. None of his partners are better than MJF, however.
Conrad Thompson was next, and the mic worked this time. He asked about the chance of Sammy Guevara coming back to the Inner Circle, so Jericho and MJF exploded on him and sent him packing. The next question was why they attacked the Young Bucks' father last week. MJF said it was an act of self-defense, and he was upset because his suit got all bloody. He then said it wasn't his idea. Santana took the mic and said there wasn't a line that the Inner Circle wouldn't cross.
Eric Bischoff asked the next question, specifically to Jericho. He asked if he knew the condition of Papa Buck, then asked how stupid it was to give more motivation to the Bucks. Jericho said they don't know Papa Buck's condition, and they don't care.
The Young Bucks then interrupted. They talked about how their dad is the greatest person in the world, and everything he taught them -- everything Jericho and MJF's parents' apparently didn't teach them. It was those teachings that allowed the Bucks to help create AEW, which are the only reasons MJF and Jericho are currently in high profile wrestling positions.
The Bucks then landed superkicks on Jericho and MJF, then an all-out brawl ensued with the Inner Circle, The Good Brothers, Brandon Cutler, referees, and backstage officials getting involved. Santana and Ortiz were placed on tables, and both of the Bucks landed sentons on them, putting them through the tables.
A video package for Kenny Omega vs. Jon Moxley played. It focused on the background and brutality of the Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch. Atsushi Onita, innovator of this match, was a part of the video.
FTR (Cash Wheeler & Dax Harwood) & Tully Blanchard (w/ J.J. Dillon) defeated Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy, Luchasaurus, & Marko Stunt)
There was so much NWA nostalgia in this great tag match, but modernized for a current audience.
This was Tully Blanchard's first match since 2007. He came out with the old silver NWA United States title.
All six men squared off at the bell before Jungle Boy and Harwood were the two left in the ring. Jungle Boy dispatched both of FTR with dropkicks before immediately going for the Snare Trap submission. Harwood was too close the ropes, and Wheeler pulled Jungle Boy to the floor, where he fell victim to another Snare Trap.
While Jungle Boy and Wheeler wrestled on the floor, Dillon slipped Harwood his shoe, where a shot to Jungle Boy got two. Tully tagged in and teased making a dive, but he thought the better of it and strutted away heading into the commercial break, where the heels continued their beatdown of Jungle Boy.
Wheeler went for a corner splash but fell into a boot from Jungle Boy, allowing Luchasaurus to tag in. The dinosaur ran wild on FTR, and then he tossed Stunt into Tully for a crossbody. Luchasaurus then hit a double German suplex before going for a chokeslam, which Harwood escaped out of. Harwood then avoided a corner spear, sending Luchasaurus into the post.
Jungle Boy topped Harwood from going to the top rope, sending him into Luchasaurus for two. Wheeler pulled Luchasaurus to the floor and hit a swinging DDT, then FTR hit a superplex frog splash combination on Jungle Boy for two. Wheeler then hit repeated suplex bridges, but one was interrupted with a Stunt splash. Tully hit his signature slingshot suplex on Stunt.
Tully and Luchasaurus faced off in the ring, where Luchasaurus landed the Tail Whip kick. Jurassic Express hit their tag team finisher, the Thoracic Express, but Wheeler kicked out. Jungle Boy tried to land a dive on Harwood and Tully, but a cameraman got in the way and then attacked Luchasaurus with the camera.
FTR and Tully then hit the assisted spike piledriver, with Tully pinning Luchasaurus for the win.
– After the match, the cameraman unmasked, and it was a returning Shawn Spears. Arn Anderson briefly appeared on the ramp, flashing four fingers.
Tony Schiavone announced that his co-host for the new AEW Dark: Elimination show is the newly signed Paul Wight. Wight came out and jokingly asked if anyone saw this "turn" coming before emphasizing how happy he is to be here. He then said that he has a big scoop: this Sunday at Revolution, AEW is going to sign a Hall of Fame-worthy talent.
AEW Women's Eliminator Tournament Finals: Ryo Mizunami defeated Nyla Rose (w/ Vickie Guerrero)
This was the third very good match of the show, a fitting tournament final. Some of Mizunami's schtick didn't really stick, but when she gets going, it's pretty spectacular.
After being absent for most of Rose's tournament matches, Guerrero returned to manage Rose in this match.
They had a strong style shoulder block battle to start before trading forearms. Rose got the first knockdown of the match with her own shoulder tackle. She went for a quick Beast Bomb, but Mizunami powered out of it and laid in machine gun chops in the corner. Mizunami then did her rope gimmick, concluding with a corner clothesline as always.
Rose easily flattened Mizunami with a flipping senton for two, then a powerslam for another two into the break. Mizunami got a couple brief hope spots, but Rose would always cut her off with her power as women's champion Hikaru Shida was shown looking on.
Mizunami rolled out of the way of Rose's senton bomb and fired up. She sent Rose to the apron and then tackled her out of the ring. Rose regained the advantage, but had her legs swept out and took a hard fall on the apron. Mizunami then landed the apron leg drop that allowed her to beat Kong by countout. The official reached the count of nine, but Rose rolled into the ring, where she was immediately met with another leg drop for two.
Rose weathered strikes from Mizunami and landed short lariats of her own. After a hard lariat, Rose hit a Death Valley driver for two. She draped Mizunami over the top rope and hit the diving knee drop, but Mizunami kicked out as Guerrero screamed on the floor. Rose tried to keep up the offense with the Beast Bomb, but Mizunami fought back with an exploder.
Mizunami then climbed the ropes but was met by Rose, who hit a superplex for two. Mizunami fired up with a German suplex and a spear before hitting another guillotine leg drop to win the tournament and advance to face Hikaru Shida at Revolution.
– After the match, Shida presented Mizunami with her trophy, but Mizunami wanted to keep fighting and exchanging forearms. They smiled at each other as Shida posed with her belt.
Tony Schiavone brought out Sting for an interview. Sting said his preparation evolves every single week, as he found out he wasn't ready when Brian Cage powerbombed him through the ring. But now that he's shaken off the rust, Sting feels like he's ready for a street fight.
Ricky Starks interrupted alone and admitted that he's seen some fire from Sting, and that Sting's still got it. However, he still stands behind what he said, which is that Sting isn't an icon. He then slapped Sting, who beat up Starks in return with a Stinger Splash and the Scorpion Deathlock.
Powerhouse Hobbs and HOOK ran in to break it up, then Cage and Taz made their way out, where Cage put Sting in powerbomb position. Allin then ran out and put Cage in a sleeper, allowing Sting to land another Stinger Splash. Allin followed it up with a shotgun dropkick as Team Taz regrouped on the ramp.
Scorpio Sky, who is in the Revolution ladder match, joined commentary for this match. He wasn't that engaging, affecting a strange heelish tone.
Preston "10" Vance (w/ -1) vs. Max Caster in a Revolution Ladder Match Qualifier
Caster did his rapping gimmick and 10 had to hold -1 back ahead of the match.
10 rolled Caster up right away for two. They had a back and forth exchange where 10 landed a running crossbody for a near fall. He followed it up with ten right hands in the corner before clotheslining Caster out of the ring. Caster took control on the floor before rolling 10 back into the ring as the show went to commercial.
They recovered from a double down coming back from break and 10 immediately went into his comeback. He hit a spinebuster on Caster before landing a slingshot spear for two. Caster took 10 down with an arm drag and hit a nice brainbuster before going for Acclaim 2 Fame, where 10 rolled out of the way.
10 brought Caster back in the hard way with a powerbomb, but Caster put his foot on the ropes during the cover. With the official distracted, Jack Evans, of all people, whacked 10 with the boom box, and Caster covered for the win.
Caster acted like he didn't know what happened, but Hardy showed up as it appeared to be part of his mission to take out the Dark Order.
AEW Revolution card:
- Buy-In: Riho & Thunder Rosa vs. Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D. & Reba
- Miro & Kip Sabian vs. Orange Cassidy & Chuck Taylor
- TNT Championship #1 Contender Ladder Match: Cody Rhodes vs. Lance Archer vs. Penta El Cero Miedo vs. Scorpio Sky vs. Max Caster vs. ???
- Paul Wight's major announcement regarding AEW's next signing
- AEW Women's Championship: Hikaru Shida (c) vs. Ryo Mizunami
- Big Money Match: Hangman Page vs. Matt Hardy
- Street Fight: Sting & Darby Allin vs. Team Taz (Brian Cage & Ricky Starks)
- Casino Tag Team Battle Royal
- AEW Tag Team Championships: Young Bucks (c) vs. Chris Jericho & MJF
- AEW World Championship Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch: Kenny Omega (c) vs. Jon Moxley
During the card rundown, a quick Miro promo aired where he said he'd bring destruction to Revolution.
Hangman Page & John Silver defeated Matt Hardy & Marq Quen
Hardy landed a cheap shot on Silver early on, allowing his team to take control. Page tagged in and tried to lariat Hardy, but Hardy tossed Silver in the way, and Page stopped himself just in time. Quen tagged in ahead of the commercial break but was pounded in the corner by Page. The match layout here was odd, as the babyfaces controlled the action most of the way.
Back from break, Silver got tied in the ropes and Hardy sent him crashing down with a Side Effect on the apron. Hardy and Quen beat down Silver with frequent tags. Silver finally escaped for the hot tag to Page, who easily took control on Quen while continuing to try to go after Hardy. Quen took out Page's knees, but inadvertently kicked Hardy on the follow up.
Page took advantage with a fallaway slam on Quen and a plancha onto Hardy on the floor. Quen stomped Page upon re-entry to the ring but was caught with a Death Valley Driver. Page tossed Quen into the corner, demanding that Hardy tag in, but Hardy wouldn't do it. Quen was able to kick out Page's knee and tag in Hardy, who called for the Twist of Fate. Page countered it with a back suplex before Silver tagged in.
Silver immediately crushed Hardy with a spear before laying in kicks and a brainbuster, but Hardy kicked out at two. Quen took out Page, Hardy downed Silver with a back suplex, and Quen landed a missile dropkick. Silver was able to tag in Page, and the two effortlessly worked together with a big sequence of moves on Quen, concluded with the Buckshot Lariat for the win. Hardy had a chance to break up the pin, but wouldn't.
– After the match, Hardy attacked Page with the microphone and laid in shots with it in between cutting a promo on him. The rest of the Dark Order came out to make the save as -1 directed traffic on the stage. The rest of the teams in the Casino Battle Royal came out for a brawl with dozens of people involved as the show went off the air.