AEW Revolution 2021 Results: Reviewing Top Highlights and Low Points
With an Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch, Sting in a street fight, a Casino Tag Team Royale, The Inner Circle against The Young Bucks and more on the card, AEW Revolution 2021 had a lot to be excited about heading into the show.
With so much hype, AEW set itself up for high expectations that would be hard to match, but still attainable given all this card's potential.
Now that it's finished, how did the event play out? What were the standout pros and cons of the night?
Presented in order of appearance, here are the highlights and low points of AEW Revolution 2021.
Tune in to TNT on Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. ET to catch all the action of All Elite Wrestling: Dynamite.
Full Match Results
AEW Revolution 2021 results
- (Buy In) Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D. and Maki Itoh defeated Riho and Thunder Rosa by pinfall.
- The Young Bucks defeated The Inner Circle's Chris Jericho and MJF by pinfall to retain the AEW World Tag Team Championship.
- Death Triangle won the Casino Tag Team Royale.
- Hikaru Shida defeated Riyo Mizunami by pinfall to retain the AEW Women's World Championship.
- Miro and Kip Sabian defeated Best Friends by pinfall.
- Big Money Match: Hangman Adam Page defeated Matt Hardy by pinfall.
- Face of the Revolution Ladder Match: Scorpio Sky defeated Cody Rhodes, Penta El Zero Miedo, Lance Archer, Max Caster and Ethan Page
- Tag Team Street Fight: Darby Allin and Sting defeated Team Taz by pinfall.
- Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch: Kenny Omega defeated Jon Moxley by pinfall to retain the AEW World Championship.
Highlight: Buy In Pre-Show
AEW's pre-shows are much easier to digest than WWE's. The first half hour consists of the recap video packages and information to fill everyone in on the feuds and the card without stretching anything out too far. The second half is when the match takes place to whet everyone's appetites.
In this case, the match saw a pleasant surprise with Maki Itoh replacing Reba as Dr. Britt Baker's partner. Itoh was arguably the standout from the Japanese side of the eliminator tournament (save for the winner, Ryo Mizunami).
Itoh provided a fun and fresh energy to the match that wouldn't have been there had Reba stayed in the match as Baker's partner. This was exhibited with quirky moments like Itoh's headbutt and acting like a crying child before stomping on her opponent's foot.
Reba had her moment to shine by doing what she does best, which was to interfere from the outside. She was the difference-maker, nailing Thunder Rosa with a crutch to give her friend the win.
Highlight: AEW World Tag Team Championship Match
The Young Bucks are always reliable for a quality, athletic tag team match. When paired with great characters like Chris Jericho and MJF who can hold down the fort on the psychology aspect, that's a recipe for success.
Every time MJF and Jericho had the upper-hand, Nick and Matt Jackson became better babyfaces fighting back to keep their titles. They stepped up each others' games.
The only knock against this match was the lack of tag team rules, which is a persistent issue with AEW. Other than that, it was great from start to finish.
More than a handful of near-falls could have easily been the end, which kept fans on their toes. Eventually, once The Young Bucks successfully retained, it felt earned, while The Inner Circle can hold their heads high knowing they put up a great fight.
Highlight: Casino Tag Team Royale
Battle Royales are almost always guaranteed to be fun. So long as there is enough variety in the competitors and everyone puts in a few minutes of effort, it's hard to fail.
Your mileage may vary on whether or not Death Triangle winning in and of itself was something to celebrate, a disappointment that ruined the match or something inconsequential. But even with the latter two, at least the action leading up to that finish was rock solid.
Pac and Rey Fenix against The Young Bucks should be a great contest on a future episode of Dynamite to look forward to. In the end, that's all you can ask for: a good match that will lead to another good match.
Low Point: AEW Women's World Championship Match
No viable contenders were properly built in the women's division to give Hikaru Shida a worthwhile opponent at this event. AEW's response was to book a generic tournament where half the competitors aren't even truly on the roster.
That was underwhelming heading into this, but if the match was phenomenal, it would have looked less problematic in hindsight.
Unfortunately, this was far from a show-stealing fight. In fact, it was slow in comparison to the action that preceded it. Multiple times, the action came to a total halt for a few seconds as if everyone had to regain their bearings.
Several moves, like Mizunami's chops, looked weak, rather than impactful.
Another disconnect was how both played up more heel tendencies at different moments in the match. That went against establishing one person to root for so the match could have a through-line.
Theoretically, Mizunami should have been the heel as the invading wrestler, while Shida's the established member of the roster. Having Shida arrogantly kick Mizunami in the face for the sake of taunting her threw off that dynamic.
To make things worse, this ended with Nyla Rose attacking both of them. Rose has already fought Shida multiple times and if AEW has nothing better to do than rerun that feud once more, it truly exposes how badly this company needs an influx of more established wrestlers to join the women's division.
Low Point: Miro and Kip Sabian vs. Orange Cassidy and Chuck Taylor
For a feud that has gone on as long as this has, if this was the blow-off, it wasn't worth it. This exact segment could have easily been on an episode of Dynamite weeks ago and things would have played out the same.
Starting things off with an attack backstage was the most interesting part of the match. Once they went out to the ring, it was a standard fight with nothing special to it. Even Orange Cassidy—the most inherently interesting competitor of the bunch—was kept out of most of it.
If you missed this, you didn't miss anything. Nothing even came out of Miro pushing Cassidy into Penelope Ford.
Miro beat down Chuck Taylor for a while until the inevitable submission, so this was filler, rather than something that took this feud to a new level.
Highlight: Matt Hardy and Hangman Adam Page Have Backup
The Big Money Match between Matt Hardy and "Hangman" Adam Page had its ups and downs, but was largely a decent midcard match.
The real highlight was how logical this played out with the two feuding factions and friendships.
Hardy's underlings, Private Party, were the first to get involved. To even the odds, Page's backup came in Dark Order, who are still his friends despite how he turned down joining the group.
This needed a happy ending with Hardy suffering his comeuppance and that's exactly what happened. A loss for Page would have been a reversion back to his more depressed character and a step back, but a win here had him celebrating with a cold beer and his pals.
Highlight: Face of the Revolution Ladder Match
Like the Casino Tag Team Royale, gimmick matches like the Face of the Revolution Ladder Match are typically hard to dislike. They're messy and don't have too much psychology to them, but it's good to break up the show with something more straightforward as a bunch of talented guys beating the tar out of each other.
It wasn't perfect, admittedly. There were some hiccups, like the distraction of Cody Rhodes being in the corner of the screen, taking attention away from the action in the ring.
However, by and large, this was all you could ask it to be.
The mystery participant was a worthwhile surprise in Ethan Page—someone who has made a name for himself and has a following. The winner of the match, Scorpio Sky, is exactly the type of wrestler who could benefit from winning this and can use this to reach the next level in the company.
It will be interesting to see if Sky is just a temporary challenger or if this is just the start of something big.
Mixed Bag: Christian Cage Is All Elite
Paul Wight's scoop of a new signing was revealed to be Christian Cage, who is now part of the AEW roster.
This has major positives and negatives all across the board that prevent it from being a true highlight or low point.
In and of itself, it's a good surprise. That would be an easy highlight if it didn't come with some heavy criticisms.
First and foremost, AEW's win is WWE's loss. Are there any matches Cage can have in AEW that will be worth knowing he won't team up with or face Edge likely ever again? How could WWE let him go?
This also gives more ammo to the critics who say AEW is turning into TNA, hiring older wrestlers who are former WWE guys. After all, Sting and Cage were two of the key players in Impact's past.
Undoubtedly, Cage will have some great moments and more freedom in AEW than if he had stuck with WWE, but this is more complicated than that.
Highlight: Sting and Darby Allin vs. Brian Cage and Ricky Starks
Cinematic matches have their pros and cons. The downside to it is that the background music is largely hokey and if it isn't filmed well, it comes off more like a vignette than an actual match.
Thankfully, this had far more positives than negatives. Some of those weren't even too obvious, such as how airing this gave AEW time to set up the main event.
This was a safer way to book Sting, too. He's far from 100 percent healthy and this required less bumps, the option to do multiple takes if something looked bad and an atmosphere that suited his character.
One of the standout moments was when Darby Allin was tossed into a window.
Some found the commentary a bit much, but if you could shut your brain off and just watch the action, it was a fun segment.
Highlight: Exploding Barbed Wire Death Match for the AEW World Championship
To no surprise, Kenny Omega and Jon Moxley continued their series of brutal matches by destroying each other in this Exploding Barbed Wire Death match.
With a gimmick like that, this had a lot to live up to. Expectations would have been high if this were just a simple No Disqualification match. With those other weapons bumping this up several more notches, these two had to deliver on something that would make fans wince.
Of course, wrestling purists who are more fond of Omega's matches in the Tokyo Dome won't connect with this as much as fans of the hardcore style, but even if this isn't your thing, it's hard to say this wasn't entertaining. It literally had explosions and barbed wire as advertised, including an exploding barbed wire bat!
A One-Winged Angel on a chair after everything they had gone through was a great way to cap off a violent main event.
The cherry on top would have been how Moxley was handcuffed and left in the ring with Eddie Kingston trying to protect him, but the final explosion was something more to laugh at than take seriously.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.