Those letters adorned the vest that shielded the back of a man who wore it to hide his freshly shed skin state. The wayward conqueror Jon Moxley is here, thirsty to prove his worth and fulfill a destiny.
A Judas inspired conquest sequence served as the ignition of a Lazarus-like raising of the man they once referred to as Ambrose.
It was a wink-wink surprise ending to a show that based purely on the content provided to the audience should be labeled as an unmitigated success.
All elite it was not for AEW’s first big show: Multiple missed camera angles, numerous commentary mistakes and a botched finish that took the air out of what was otherwise a wonderful six-woman showcase match were the most noticeable knocks and kinks.
Luckily, for a company that is set to debut on Turner Network later this year, the “Drama” was there, in many nuanced layers, especially in a finishing sequence which saw the last three marquee matches present three distinct and memorable stories, followed by the hook of something new to look forward to.
The testing of the brotherhood bond was the main selling point of the Cody vs. Dustin Rhodes and Lucha Bros. vs. The Young Bucks matches.
The bloodshed of Dusty’s first born was uncomfortable to witness in real time but it added a much-needed element to a match that saw a surprisingly in-shape yet obviously physically limited Dustin relying on tricks learned from his legendary father to provide a unique atmosphere to a familial strife.
Cody being able to seamlessly transition from face to heel and back again at a moment’s notice is a testament to how rapidly he has developed character-wise in his post-WWE career.
As expected, the Lucha Bros. vs. Young Bucks contest will warrant a second watch so it can be fully comprehended and appreciated. An overload of disorienting action mixed in with an underlying story of Matt and Nick trying to get on the same page proved to be the right formula for a spectacular affair that wowed the crowd from start to finish.
Some grizzled veteran main event performers would see two such matches unfold and understand that they may be walking out to a drained crowd. But luckily for Alpha vs. Omega II, the passionate fans that made the trek to the desert to support this upstart operation were readily invested in what was presented to them in the final showcase.
In a similar fashion of their Wrestle Kingdom 12 brawl, Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho beat the hell out of each other, and the crowd ate it up. A 48-year-old Jericho, wearing his less refined dad bod proudly, didn’t miss a beat with the 35-year-old best bout machine.
Jericho winning and setting up a title match with Casino Battle Royal winner Adam Page makes sense. Ultimately, though, that pairing will likely end up being overshadowed by a potentially landscape-shifting Kenny Omega vs. Jon Moxley feud that should have the pro wrestling world buzzing all summer long.