AEW returned to pay-per-view Sunday night with its Revolution event. In many ways, the event was what fans have come to expect from the promotion's biggest shows as it was filled with good in-ring action and fun surprises. But few wrestling events have ended on as big of a down note as what happened at the conclusion of the exploding barbed wire deathmatch for the AEW world championship between champion Kenny Omega and Jon Moxley.
It was an unfortunate note on which to end a show that had otherwise largely lived up to expectations. Those expectations were even exceeded in some cases -- as was the case of Sting's return to action alongside Darby Allin as the duo took on Brian Cage and Ricky Starks in a cinematic street fight that was the 61-year-old's first match since 2015.
CBS Sports was with you all night, bringing you recaps and highlights of all the action from Daily's Place in Jacksonville, Florida.
AEW Revolution results, grades
Riho & Thunder Rosa vs. Britt Baker & Maki Itoh: Baker had a "doctor's note" -- written by herself -- saying Rebel was medically ineligible to compete and Itoh was revealed as the new partner. There were some ugly stretches with some miscommunication and work that wasn't always smooth. The match did smooth out down the stretch, however, with Rosa and Baker standing out in the continuation of their long-standing rivalry. Itoh put her hard head to work, using it to block a strike flurry from Riho and then landing a headbutt to set up a late near fall for Baker, but Riho managed to avoid being pinned before making the tag to Rosa. Rebel got on the ring apron but Baker accidentally hit her. Before Rosa could capitalize, Baker shoved her into Rebel, who struck with a crutch behind the referee's back, allowing Baker to score the pin. Britt Baker & Maki Itoh def. Riho & Thunder Rosa via pinfall. Grade: C
AEW Tag Team Championship -- The Young Bucks (c) vs. Chris Jericho & MJF: The Bucks went right at Jericho and MJF from the opening bell, blasting away with strikes and following them out of the ring to continue the beating. After stereo suicide dives, the Bucks locked in simultaneous sharpshooters to nearly score an early submission. The Bucks' domination would continue until Wardlow's involvement outside the ring helped Jericho and MJF get things going their way. Jericho locked Nick Jackson in the Liontamer, then did the same to Matt Jackson after what the Bucks thought was a blind tag. After some really solid near falls by both teams, Jericho snuck in a shot with the baseball bat, allowing MJF to hit the Heatseeker, but Matt managed to kick out in a dramatic moment. Jericho missed with the Judas Effect, hitting Wardlow by mistake. Shortly after, the Bucks hit the Meltzer Driver on Jericho to score the pin. This was a really well-put-together match that leaned heavily into big, dramatic near falls before the clean finish. The Young Bucks def. Chris Jericho & MJF via pinfall to retain the titles. Grade: B+
Casino Tag Team Royale: In one of the early highlights of the match, QT Marshall got into an argument with Dustin Rhodes when Rhodes took issue with Marshall eliminating the Gunn Club before deciding to leap over the top rope to eliminate himself. Jack Evans, who was not in the match, helped eliminate Stu Grayson by popping up from under the ring, seemingly having been paid off by Matt Hardy. Teams cycled in and out, getting in big moments with Bear Country as one of the most notable impressive showings from a fairly fresh team. The last five men in the ring were PAC, Rey Fenix, Frankie Kazarian, John Silver and Jungle Boy. That left PAC and Fenix as the only complete team down the stretch. Fenix and PAC worked together to eliminate Kazarian and Silver, leaving Jungle Boy at the huge disadvantage. Jungle Boy managed to duck out of the way of Pac and send him spilling over the top rope, leaving just two men in the match. After a fun final stretch between Fenix and Jungle Boy, it was Fenix who managed to score the elimination, securing Death Triangle a future tag title shot. A match like this is bound to have sloppy stretches, but was pretty standard Rumble action with entrants coming in, getting shine and moving on to the next entrant. The final stretch was fantastic and helped elevate the match overall. Death Triangle (PAC & Rey Fenix) won the Casino Tag Team Royale. Grade: B
AEW Women's Championship -- Hikaru Shida (c) vs. Ryo Mizunami: Shida and Mizunami exchanged strikes early in the match before the action spilled out to the floor. Mizunami managed to take over after catching Shida trying to vault off a chair into a flying knee. The action picked up in a big way from there with Shida hitting some big power moves and putting Mizunami in big danger. The match remained a hard-hitting battle with Shida hitting huge running knees and Mizunami answering with heavy lariats before an extended section of trading elbow strikes. The action did not let up with both women obliterating each other with huge moves and the recipient coming right back with a big answer. Shida hit several Tamashii running knee strikes, but Mizunami continued to kick out until Shida finally managed to put away the challenger with a jumping spin kick to the face. After the match, Nyla Rose, Britt Baker and Maki Itoh ran in to attack Shida until Thunder Rosa came to the ring to run them off. This was a very good match with some minor issues with the match pacing in the middle stretch. But Mizunami was the right opponent for Shida on this night. Hikaru Shida def. Ryo Mizunami via pinfall to retain the title. Grade: B
Miro & Kip Sabian vs. Orange Cassidy & Chuck Taylor: Before the match, Miro and Sabian attacked Cassidy and Taylor backstage. Miro dragged Taylor to the ring but a compromised and bloodied Taylor told the ref to ring the bell despite Cassidy not being with him. Cassidy eventually made his way to the ring, hitting Miro with an Orange Punch and trying to take the fight to Sabian. Taylor almost had the match won after a piledriver, but Miro finally recovered from the Orange Punch to make the save. Cassidy again hit Miro with an Orange Punch but Penelope Ford caused a distraction and Miro chose to shove Cassidy into her to get the upper hand. Miro took out Taylor before locking him in Game Over to get the submission victory. This was the short, filler match it was expected to be. The pre-match stuff felt a little unnecessary in getting where things ultimately went, but it served its purpose well enough and Miro came out looking strong, which is what he needed. Miro & Kip Sabian def. Orange Cassidy & Chuck Taylor via submission. Grade: C
"Hangman" Adam Page vs. Matt Hardy (Big Money match): Page exploded early, looking for a Buckshot Lariat, but Hardy rolled out of the ring to avoid the shot. Hardy then focused his attention on Page's hand and arm to try to neutralize the shot going forward. Page continued trying to throw right hands, despite the damage, fighting on instinct. Hardy tried to steal a countout victory by hitting a Twist of Fate outside the ring, but Page was able to barely beat the referee's count. Page hit a lot of his standard big moves, including a moonsault from the top rope to the floor and a top-rope crossbody when the action returned to the ring, but Hardy kept firing back. Page appeared to have the match won with Deadeye, but Private Party ran to the ring, distacting the referee before jumping in the ring. Page took out both men but the Buckshot Lariat was countered into a Side Effect and Twist of Fate for a two count. Dark Order ran to the ring to take out Private Party, and tossed Page onto the ring apron where he flipped over to hit the Buckshot for the three count. This went probably five minutes too long, but Hardy performed a bit beyond expectations and Page can always deliver in the ring. Hopefully the program between Page and Hardy can now be put to bed. "Hangman" Adam Page def. Matt Hardy via pinfall to win Hardy's first-quarter earnings. Grade: B-
Face of the Revolution Ladder Match -- Cody Rhodes vs. Penta El Zero Miedo vs. Scorpio Sky vs. Lance Archer vs. Max Caster vs. Ethan Page (Winner earns TNT title opportunity): Page was revealed as the mystery opponent, a former year-plus tag champion in Impact and standout performer for EVOLVE where he had a wild feud with Darby Allin. As expected, the match was full of wild moments, including Penta hitting Rhodes with a destroyer on a ladder suspended between the ring apron and the ringside barricade. That move led to Rhodes being escorted to the entrance to be checked by trainers. In another highlight bump, Archer threw Sky threw another ladder on the outside of the ring as bodies continued to crash in and around the ring. The injured Rhodes made his way back to the ring, using his belt as a weapon before hitting Page with Cross Rhodes. Rhodes was hit with a suplex off the apron by Archer and then an elbow off the ladder by Caster. Jake Roberts got in the ring and hit Page with a clothesline after Page took out Archer, but Penta then attacked Roberts to remove him from the equation. Sky ultimately won the match, last taking out Rhodes, who had taken several big bumps on his injured shoulder through the match, shoving Rhodes off the ladder and grabbing the brass ring for the win. The match had plenty of big action, but didn't really separate itself from the pack of "very good ladder matches" that has grown increasingly deep over the past few decades. Scorpio Sky won by grabbing the brass ring. Grade: B
Christian Cage signed with AEW. The former WWE superstar, who only recently was cleared to return to the ring, and did so at the Royal Rumble, made his way to the center of the AEW ring. Once in the ring, he signed his contract and revealed a shirt that said "outwork everyone."
Sting & Darby Allin vs. Brian Cage & Ricky Starks (Street fight): This was a cinematic match with elaborate entrances before the competitors arrived at an empty warehouse. Allin and Sting were accompanied by a group of men in Sting masks who surrounded the ring. Sting paired off with Starks in the ring while Allin and Cage battled around the building with Cage brutally throwing Allin into walls and through doors. The setup of the match allowed Sting to look good without having to do much while Cage was his usual powerhouse self. Starks played the slightly cowardly heel and Allin took his usual variety of insane bumps. Powerhouse Hobbs and Hook ran in as Allin appeared to have the match won after taking out Starks. With the huge numbers advantage, Team Taz threw Allin through a window propped against a wall. As Team Taz stalked Sting, Allin recovered and threw a bat to the icon, allowing him to knock Cage onto a wooden platform. Allin then dove from a window, driving Cage through the platform with a huge elbow. This left Sting alone in the ring with Starks, where the two went back and forth until Sting hit the Scorpion Death Drop for the win. Your mileage may vary on cinematic matches, but this allowed everyone involved to showcase their best qualities while also hiding the obvious limitations of Sting at 61 years old. Sting & Darby Allin def. Brian Cage & Ricky Starks via pinfall. Grade: A-
AEW World Championship (Exploding barbed wire deathmatch) -- Kenny Omega (c) vs. Jon Moxley: The opening moments saw both men trying to force the other's face into the barbed wire. From there, the psychology of the match was established -- as is the case in such matches -- as revolving around the continued teasing of one mistake leading to potential catastrophe. Moxley would be the first man to taste the barbed wire and explosions after Omega threw powder in his eyes and whipped him into the ropes. Moxley was busted open early but continued to fight back, even as he was thrown into a barbed wire-covered board propped in the corner. Omega tried to follow up with a figure-four, but Moxley kicked him off, sending Omega face-first into the barbed wire ropes for an explosion. Moxley then dropkicked Omega back into the ropes for a second explosion. Omega was sent through a second barbed wire board in the corner after a Moxley exploder, after which Moxley hit a side slam onto a barbed wire-covered chair.
Omega tackled Moxley into the ropes, but it was Omega who took the worst of it with his face ending up right near the resulting explosion. Moxley hit a Paradigm Shift off the ring apron onto the exploding barbed wire boards on the floor, driving Omega head first. Omega hit the One-Winged Angel shortly after they went back to the ring, but Moxley broke the pin by kicking the ropes to cause an explosion and blinding Omega. Before Moxley could capitalize, The Good Brothers ran into the ring to attack, handing Omega a barbed wire-wrapped bat that was also rigged to explode when he hit Moxley. Omega drove Moxley through a chair that had been set up in the middle of the ring with the One-Winged Angel to score the victory. The beatdown continued after the match before the trio handcuffed Moxley's hands behind his back and continuing the assault until leaving Moxley in the ring as the 30-minute timer counted to zero.
Eddie Kingston ran to the ring and covered Moxley as the the explosions went off. Unfortunately, the explosions were little more than some mild flashes and fireworks as it appeared the pyro did not go off as planned. These kinds of matches are unique and hard to compare to a standard wrestling match, but the brutality, bloodshed and everything you could expect was on display. Moxley and Omega are capable of even more than this, but the match style does come with some limitations. Unfortunately, the final explosion did not deliver, and it left Kingston's sacrifice and the "very serious ending" to feel comedic at best. The ending completely tainted everything that came before, ending what had been a very enjoyable show on a terrible note. Kenny Omega def. Jon Moxley via pinfall to retain the title. Grade: B-