The Pinnacle (MJF, Cash Wheeler, & Dax Harwood) vs CM Punk, Sting, & Darby Allin
Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, North Carolina, United States
(reviewed 03/27/2022) Fun stuff. Definitely overlong and uneven but still a lot of fun, the perfect sort of thing for a light holiday show that still advances future storylines. This is a rare instance in which me watching the FITE broadcast probably hurt my enjoyment of the thing, as the relatively listless action of the commercial breaks elongated what was already a slow-moving match. I’m all for lengthy, deliberate bouts but control segments on all three of the babyfaces is a bit much, especially when Sting is much better-suited to hot tags at this stage and when Punk is weirdly off his game here. (The latter point is probably due to this match’s length and what it asks of him; it’s no surprise that my least favorite of Punk’s recent matches have been his longest, a trend that extends to the rest of AEW as well.) Still, this is almost great. The good people of Greensboro wanna see their heroes go nuts and they explode whenever that happens, especially with the insane Icon doing old man planchas. All in all this is one of my favorite MJF matches in a while, one in which he actually employs effective heel work again. His refusal to lock horns with Punk is enjoyable all on its own but even more so when it sets up a big Darby dive on the entire Pinnacle. FTR are likewise in their element, especially the big-bumping Cash Wheeler. Any match where those two can pinball around for worthwhile wrestlers is good in my book and they get plenty of opportunity to do just that. Darby throws in a few high speed collisions himself and in general he’s the highlight here, always kicking things up a notch when he tags in or facilitates some other move. Some particularly unhinged commentary helps to keep this match moving when the in-ring action slows to a crawl, with Taz seemingly burning every bridge he can before Jim Ross resumes his spot. And thankfully things end on a high note, first with Sting just launching MJF out of the ring onto the point of his head with a hiptoss that misses its mark. (I guess it depends who you ask.) There’s a fun finishing stretch cresting off of that with all our heroes hitting their moves but not on their intended target, just what you want in a Christmas crowd-pleaser. Was sort of surprised by how this thing turned out, having heard it talked up for months, but even in its rocky state it’s real enjoyable.