aew revolution

The Three Count: AEW Revolution Delivered Blasts From The Past, Thrilling Matches, And Much More

Heading into the show, AEW Revolution arguably had the most stacked card in AEW history. While some of its predecessors gave fans unmatched in-ring action and captivating storytelling, this year’s Revolution felt special, even before the broadcast began. Each and every match featured top-level talent, and several of the top bouts were built up with remarkably heated feuds. Did the promotion’s first pay-per-view of the year live up to the hype?

In a word, yes.

AEW Revolution wasn’t perfect. In some ways, the card was too deep, as some of the matches suffered from their placement on the show and struggled to stand out in an event that stretched roughly five hours. But from the opening bell on The Buy-In to the special introductions for the main-event title match, each and every contest showcased AEW’s loaded roster, offered viewers the electric wrestling the company is known for, and packed plenty of exciting storytelling into the entire night.

AEW Revolution’s Callbacks Were “Elite”

Perhaps AEW’s greatest strength lies in the way it successfully caters to various generations of viewers and hits home runs nearly every time it leans into fan service. This strong suit was on full display during AEW Revolution. One of the show’s most buzzworthy bouts was the Dog Collar Match between CM Punk and MJF, as their feud stretched back to November. Top-notch storytelling and amazing character work from both performers quickly turned this rivalry into one of AEW’s all-time greats. Over the past two weeks, the narrative has centered around “The Salt of the Earth” bringing out the monster within Punk, the same heinous heel who was one of the top stars in the independent wrestling world during his time with Ring of Honor. A brutal beatdown that bloodied Punk set the stage for an enthralling promo on the go-home edition of Rampage, as he made it clear that MJF would get what he asked for (and more) on Sunday.

Once it was finally time for the Dog Collar Match at the pay-per-view, MJF had some fun before the bell by faking fans out with his entrance; he entered to Punk’s “Cult of Personality” theme song, a move viewers have been hoping to see for some time now. But “The Second City Saint” quickly outdid his rival with his own arrival. Punk came to the ring to AFI’s “Miseria Cantare”, his classic ROH theme. Likewise, he donned the baggy shorts he was known for wearing during his time with the promotion. This callback delighted fans before the match even began and incorporated the foundational years of Punk’s run as a genuine standout in the wrestling business. Younger viewers may not have fully understood this reference, but it’s safe to say long-time Punk fans marked out when the song hit.

Later in the show, AEW leaned into a different generation. At least part of the AEW fanbase consists of viewers who once loved the black-and-gold era of WWE NXT and gradually watched the company tear it apart, either through multiple waves of releases or the sweeping “2.0” rebranding process. This combination has seen former NXT stars like Andrade and Aleister Black become “All Elite” and thrive in their new home. Plus, other fan-favorites like Adam Cole have willingly left WWE and signed with AEW; Cole’s decision set the stage for the reunion of the popular NXT stable, the Undisputed Era in AEW. (More on that later.)

On Sunday, AEW brought in another NXT veteran, someone who fans passionately rallied around when they were released for seemingly no good reason. When former NXT general manager William Regal power-walked to the ring, fans in the ring and watching at home popped because the Englishman was rightfully brought back into the spotlight. Regal’s wrestling acumen is renowned around the world, and he is also considered one of the best on-screen authority figures in recent history.

For this reason, seeing him force Bryan Danielson and Jon Moxley to get along, as if he was the father of two belligerent boys during an argument, was a welcome surprise. It’s easy to joke that NXT was the developmental for AEW all along, but perhaps it’d be more fitting so say that the spirit of NXT’s black-and-gold era is alive and well in AEW.

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