The Inner Circle (Chris Jericho, Santana, & Ortiz) vs. The Elite [Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks (Nick Jackson & Matt Jackson)] from AEW 2019

As the first television main event for AEW, this probably would have to be considered a net positive. The match itself was not really the point of what unfolded, but it did feature enough productive things to be moderately bullish on the immediate programs the match was serving.

For starters, Moxley’s run-in and total beatdown of Omega was very nicely done. It gave their rivalry a shot in the arm and should help to make their PPV match heated. Having him put Omega through a glass stable stood out as unique in a positive manner as well.

The debut of Jake Hager was well done. It’s hard to be excited about Hager. He clearly has (or maybe had) talent at one point, but he’s never been one to cause much enthusiasm. AEW has managed to turn Cody Rhodes into the biggest babyface in pro wrestling though so.

The match itself was also pretty fun despite the fact that its quality was about the 10th priority as far as what AEW wanted to present here. A key part of keeping fans feeling satisfied is that matches that end indecisively or are heavily impacted by angles need to still feel satisfying. Countless matches in the 80s ended in a DQ or countout but still managed to feel satisfying. It can be done.

Now, for some negative things. For starters, they need to reckon with how they are going to handle these interference situations as far as wins and losses are concerned. If they want to “give referees wiggle room,” they just need to establish what happens with that.

Also, Santana and Ortiz really felt like also-rans in all of this. There’s obviously a lot of time to make them seem nuanced or more individualized, but there seems no reason for them to be followers of Jericho here. They would be a lot more interesting if they were forging their own path. They are young and hip and could be huge new stars. They should be presented as such.

Anyway, there was a lot going on here in a short amount of time, and that made it pretty engaging. Hopefully, everything is followed up on well! (***)

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