It’s a wrestling filled weekend with SummerSlam having already started (or finished) as you read this and Ric Flair’s (alleged) last match 24 hours later. So I won’t waste any more of your time. Let’s get to ranking!
Honorable Mention: Ethan Page, The Acclaimed and Cole Carter. Ethan Page quickly and sadly destroyed one of my favorite wrestlers, Leon Ruffin with an Ego’s Edge as we saw Stokley Hathaway and Leila Grey watching and rooting him on backstage. Now 0-6 in AEW singles action I’m still hoping the former NXT North American Champion Ruffin can have his 1-2-3 Kid moment but unfortunately that was not against the man who uses Razor Ramon’s finisher. The Acclaimed dropped Trash Day and rapped about the Gunns. Said the kids had Jannetty genetics and that line was pretty fun. Said Billy should’ve shot blanks from his Smoking Gunn. That line was a KO shot like Bart took in round 1. The lines were fresh enough, no need for a new batch. Then Acclaimed told the Gunns they picked a dumpster match. Cole Carter got an offer from QT Marshall in the back to join The Factory and saod he could sleep on it, not with the fishes and I hadn’t realized Carter was Two Dimes until he said that.
5. Wheeler Yuta. Claudio Castagnoli and William Regal came out for an interview with Tony Schiavone. Claudio thanked the fans in 3 different languages before calling out Yuta. Jericho got all huffy and puffy and got off commentary to cut them off. But Yuta said he knew what Jericho was going to say, a sports entertainer will always beat a pro wrestler except when Yuta beat Garcia at Death Before Dishonor. Yuta knows he can beat Jericho too. Claudio says he knows it too and Regal said “definitely” Jericho challenged Yuta to a match on Dynamite but Yuta declined and said he knows it, he doesn’t need one. Jericho was incensed and offered to put his shot against Moxley on the line. Yuta accepted and said “That was easier than I thought!” Anything with Jericho in singles action in 2022 is going to be a bit of a tough sell for me but I have faith in Yuta to make it good. I expect a Jericho win because I can’t see Yuta losing to Mox again and can’t picture him taking the belt from Mox right now either but hopefully there’s shenanigans like the Garcia match this week that help keep Yuta strong. Maybe it even leads to Jericho v. Mox in a cage and they can make up for that flop of a cage match they had in WWE. But also, I can’t totally rule out them going with Yuta so it feels less predictable than some of Mox’s recent defenses.
4. Wardlow. After the losers of the opening 6 man started laying waste to The Best Friends and Orange Cassidy Wardlow came out to put an end to things. He grilled a hole through all 3 of the bad guys including the massive Satnam Singh whose size managed to make Wardlow look human. This was another great look for Wardlow and helped solidify him as a fearless monster.
3. The Best Friends and Orange Cassidy. In the opening trios match against Jay Lethal, Satnam Singh and Sonjay Dutt The Best Friends and Cassidy managed to outwit their opponents for the win. We had the expected comedy early on. After grabbing a fry from a fan on the way to ring Cassidy challenged Singh to trade with him but Dutt tagged in instead. Cassidy wound up toe to toe with Dutt in a full suit complete with a pencil behind his ear. Dutt took off his jacket and handed it to the ref and unbuttoned his shirt but never removed that or the pencil. Cassidy put his glasses on the ref while he was holding the jacket and started his lazy kicks but a fed up Dutt tagged Satnam Singh in. Signh no sold a dropkick from Cassidy with his hands in his pockets and lifted him into the corner for a big chop while Dutt and Lethal made sure Cassidy’s hands remained in said pockets. Singh then hit a running crossbody on The Best Friends again like he did a few weeks ago. Lethal tagged in and Cassidy back rolled, leap frogged over Lethal and then lackadaisically got what Jericho called “The coldest hot tag (he’d) ever seen!” Trent and Chuck hit the Sole Food/Half and Half combimation on but Singh on the apron grabbed Trent as he went to the corner for the hug with Chuck. The Best Friends delivered chops and double dropkicks to both of Singh’s knees to knock him off the apron. They turned around and ate a double Lethal Injection. Orange Cassidy came in and hit a tornado DDT on Lethal who tagged in Dutt. Dutt tried 2 lazy kicks of his own on Cassidy but as he came in for the big one Cassidy stopped him, grabbed the pencil from his ear and snappes it in front of him! Cassidy hit the Orange Punch on Dutt for the 3 as the Best Friends held the legs of Singh to stop him from getting in to break up the pin. The trio got attacked after the bell but the win should qualify them for a spot in the trios title tournament despite that never being said.
2. Lee Moriarty. After beating “The Student” Dantw Martin last week Moriarty faced “The Teacher” Matt Sydal this week. Sydal believes in “Peace, love and pro wrestling” but on commentary Jericho said he believes in “War, hate and pro wrestling!” which, you know, isn’t exactly a shocker if you follow Jericho outside the ring. Commentary said Moriarty claimed to grab the rope last week out of instinct not malice but instantly removed any doubt about his true intentions by headbutting Sydal while they shook hands. Sydal leaned back to dodge an arm trapped lariat and hit a standing twisting senton for 2. Sydal hit a meteora off the apron to Moriarty on the floor but as he went to return to the ring Lee grabbed the tights and pulles him back into the barricade. Moriarty whipped him into the other barricade and hit him with a running boot over it. Inside he started laying in forearms to the back of Sydal’s head and showing off his vicious, almost Blackpool Combat Club side. Sydal tried a hurricanrana but Moriarty rolled through for a cover and a 2 count. Lee hit the arm trapped lariat but Sydal was able to come back and hit a Lightning Spiral for 2. Stokley Hathaway came out as Sydal and Moriarty duked it out on top of the corner of the ring. Sydal knocked Moriarty off and he clutched at his leg allowing Hathaway to try to grab Sydal as the ref checked on the king of Taiga Style. As Sydal kicked Stokley off Moriarty flew in and crotched him on the top rope. He followed up with a lifting flatliner for 2 and then locked in the Border City Stretch as Sydal had no choice but to tap. Lee kept the hold on after the bell until Hathaway called him off. In the ring Lee finally accepted the business card from Stokley that he declined last week and held it in his teeth as he flexed before they shook hands. I’m all for Hathaway building up his own male faction and I wouldn’t hate Page joining the crew after Stoke scouting him earlier in the night. Then if they can land 2 more guys we could start the build to an eventual BCC v. Hathaway faction clash and just getting Hathaway jawing with Danielson and Regal makes it all worth it!
1. Anna Jay. The newly dubbed Anna J.A.S. took down AEW’s resident bridesmaid Ruby Soho in the main event this week. This was another fun match and helped solidify Jay as a heartless evildoer as she started the match by trying to kick out the bad arm of Soho still braced from when the J.A.S. slammed it in a car door. Lucky for Soho she was able to move. Soho tried for the No Future but Jay caught the kick and tried to drop an elbow but Soho avoided it and caught Jay in a crucifix pin for 2. After being sent into the corner Ruby did a handstand on the turnbuckle and tried to catch Anna with her feet to pull her into the corner but Jay threw her legs up and kicked out the bad hand as Soho was doing another handstand. Jay rolled across the ring and hit a kick to Soho seated in the bottom corner. Jay ripped the brace off Ruby’s hand. Ruby tried to lift Anna but struggled because of her hand but after a short exchange hit her with a side suplex that left her clutching her bad hand. Jay knuckle locked the bad hand but Soho headbutted her way out of it and hit a back heel trip for 2. Anna countered a Destination Unkown attempt into a Gory Bomb for 2. Jay locks in the Queenslayer but Ruby rolls back and covers her for 2. Ruby hit No Future for 2and headed to the top to try a sit-out senton but Jay moved. Jay threw off her wrist wraps and as referee Aubrey Edwards removed them from the ring Jay slyly grabbed the brace Soho was wearing on her hand and locked in the Queenslayer with it. Ruby goes to sleep and Jay tossed the brace from the ring as Aubrey told the ref to ring the bell. The show ends with Jay celebrating and Jericho on the ramp clapping. This was my favorite singles match I can remember from Anna Jay and one of Soho’s better offerings too. I appreciated that it helped establish Jay’s alignment and for somebody commentary reminded us has only been wrestling for 2 years it was a very strong showing for Jay. But man I just wish Soho would finally get a win in a big match. She’s, possibly intentionally, starting to feel like the Eddie Kingston of the women’s division. If had my way I’d have Grand Slam see Kingston take the men’s world title from either Punk or Mox if Punk’s not back and Soho win the women’s title and have the show close with the two of them as champs embracing in a moment that could be this generation’s WrestleMania 20 moment but hopefully without all the baggage that moment had heaped on to it a few years later.