Why on earth was THIS match in THIS spot used to teach the audience that the referees in AEW are suddenly going to be extra as fuck about tag rules? First off, clearly it has been the house style of AEW to be very “relaxed rules” when it comes to tag matches. It’s so much so that Jim Ross can’t shut up about it on Dynamite every week, as he is so incensed about the lack of power that the referees are exerting. The only possible explanation was that this match was a reaction the complaints of Jim Ross or a way of making fun of him. I’m more inclined to believe the latter given that they clearly did not clue him in because even Jim Ross was confused by Rick Knox insisting that the tags be made by hands as opposed to any other body part.
The second half of this match ended up being much more interesting. Nick tweaked his knee at one point, and then things just kept progressively getting worse for him the longer he was forced to work. Matt kept trying to end the match quickly but to no avail. Nick had no choice but to get heavily involved again. This only made things worse for Nick’s knees as he collapsed to the floor on a Meltzer Driver attempt. Nick tried to endure and fight back, but it was fruitless. P&P eventually took him down with the Street Sweeper.
It’s admirable that these dudes went for a different type of match that they are known for working. It’s called a house style for a reason though, and the crowd mostly did not know how to react to any of this besides booking Rick Knox. The story of the match also really just did not play to the strengths of the wrestlers quite frankly. The wrestlers often looked goofy and uncomfortable as there was some forced goofiness in response to the sudden application of the rules.
The bigger issue is the decision-making process that leads to the first Dynamite era PPV opening with a 20+ minute reeducation of what tag team wrestling maybe will be in the company. Maybe long term, this match will be seen as an uncomfortable but necessary beginning to a new era of wrestling in the company. (**1/2)
After the match, Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson got their heat back on P&P for some reason. Morton hit a Canadian Destroyer and tope suicida though which made the crowd happy at least.