AEW's Women's Tag Team Cup Tournament kicked off on Monday with two matches. Since I was already in the neighborhood to recap WWE Raw tonight, I figured, what the heck, I might as well recap this one too.
AEW Women's Tag Team Cup Tournament Night 1
Tony Schiavone and Veda Scott are handling the commentary for the debut show. Ring announcer Shaul Guerrero introduces Madusa to kick off the tournament. She gives a brief speech, and then we cut to Dasha Gonzalez backstage from earlier today with the Nightmare Sisters, who had to draw their colors for the tournament. Teams in the tournament are chosen by a random draw based on colors, so that meant Brandi and Allie could be broken up. However, Brandi Rhodes drew red, and while she was talking to Dasha, Allie cheated and pulled out a red card as well, allowing the team to stay together. Next, Penelope Ford and Kip Sabian came to the drawing area, and Ford drew baby blue, pairing her up with former Nightmare Collective member Mel.
Penelope Ford and Mel vs. The Nightmare Sisters
Back in the present, Mel and Ford come to the ring, followed by the Nightmare Sisters with Dustin Rhodes and QT Marshall. Ford and Allie start things off. They mix it up for a bit until Brandi and Mel tag in. The announcers are sure to point out that Brandi is responsible for Mel's shaved head from the aborted Nightmare Collective storyline, and it looks like she's still holding a grudge. Brandi gets the better of Mel and tags in Allie, who kicks Mel in the face and gets a two-count. Allie attacks Mel with chops and elbows, then hits a swinging neckbreaker for two.
Mel tags in Penelope Ford, who scrapes Allie's eyes against the ring ropes, and Allie responds with a fist to the face, and Ford rolls out of the ring so Kip Sabian can console her. That brings Allie's boyfriend, QT Marshall, into the mix. In the confusion, Mel nails Allie with a big boot and tosses her back into Ford. Ford drops Allie on her knees and gets a two-count, then chokes her on the bottom rope. At this point, Ford and Mel take turns beating up Allie as Brandi waits for a hot tag. Allie makes a few false comebacks until Mel misses a leg drop from the top rope. Brandi comes in and hits Mel with a big boot and a superkick. She knocks Penelope off the apron, then hits a slingblade om Mel. Ford breaks up the pin.
Now Allie comes in and jumps on Ford as Mel hits a chokeslam on Brandi, but the ref is distracted and starts the count late, so Brandi kicks out. Kip Sabian hops up on the apron to rightfully argue with the ref. Marshall interrupts and gets knocked out. In the ring, Brandi hits a spear on Mel and gets the pin.
Winners: The Nightmare Sisters
Interesting choice here for the heels to lose due to cheating, especially when they didn't even try to cheat themselves. I haven't been watching Dark, where Brandi and Allie have had their matches, but maybe this is their gimmick. The match itself was pretty basic.
A video package for the AEW Heels, narrated by Brandi, plays next. Then we see the video from Dynamite last week where Nyla Rose was paired up with Ariane Andrew, formerly known as Cameron in WWE. Then we see a video from earlier today where The Dark Order's Anna Jay draws blue, which pairs her up with debuting former NXT star Tay Conti. That match happens next.
Nyla Rose and Ariane Andrew vs. Anna Jay and Tay Conti
Conti comes out first, followed by Jay with the entire Dark Order, who only walks her out and then head back to the backstage area. Ariane comes out, followed by Nyla Rose and her manager, Vickie Guerrero. Jay and Andrew start things off with an exchange of slaps. They feel each other out a bit. Andrew wants a tag, but Rose refuses. Jay tags in Conti, and they hit a double clothesline. This aggravates Rose, who comes and hits a double chokeslam on both of them. Now she's willing to tag in. She beats down Conti but misses a splash in the corner. Conti fights back, but Rose shrugs off her strikes. Conti tries a jumping armbar, but Rose brushes her off. But Conti pulls Rose down to her knees and kicks her in the face. She tags in Jay, who hits a dropkick, but Rose kicks out at one. Rose hits a powerslam, but Jay kicks out at two. Rose hits a butt attack in the corner and a clothesline and gets a two-count.
Rose tags in Andrew, whoo hits a splash and a bulldog as Tony plays up her training. Andrew tries a few pin attempts in a row, none successful. She tosses Jay into her own corner and tags in Nyla. Rose tosses Jay across the ring, but Jay troops her into the turnbuckle. She hits a dropkick to the knee for a two-count. Jay goes to work on Rose's knee for a bit. She tags in Conti, who tries a rollup for one, then lands a bunch of kicks to Rose's leg. She puts on a leg lock over the ropes and slams Rose's leg into the apron. That earns a two-count.
Jay tags in and goes right to work on Rose's leg some more. Rose punches her way out of a leglock and hits a dropkick as Jay gets a blind tag to Conti. Rose hits Conti with a crucifix drop but her knee is too hurt. She tags in Andrew, who hits some clotheslines and a hurricanrana, then a bulldog. Jay breaks up the pin. Jay and Conti go for a double suplex, but Rose catches Andrew and clotheslines her two opponents, then rolls out of the ring, selling her hurt knee. Andrew gets a snap suplex on Conti and a split leg drop, but she doesn't see Jay get a blind tag. She hits a neckbreaker on Andrew while she's pinning Conti with the split. That gets the pinfall.
Winners: Anna Jay and Tay Conti
Rose attacks Andrew after the match as Vickie laughs. Rose and Guererro leave.
Alex Marvez interviews the Nightmare Sisters backstage. Brandi calls it a huge win tonight; it's the first night she's realized she's a big star here in AEW. She's a huge deal. Allie interrupts to say she did pretty well too. Brandi says they're the top team and the favorites to win the tournament. Brandi touts her Instagram followers and action figure, and though she knows Allie doesn't have one, if she continues to hang around Brandi, maybe it will happen.
Marvez then interviews Tay Conti and Anna Jay. Conti says they're the prettiest and most dangerous tag team in the tournament. Jay doesn't want to talk about the Dark Order when asked.
Both of those teams move onto the semi-finals. Next week, there will be two more quarter-final matches to decide their opponents. And that's it. This didn't go perfectly. Production always seems a little weak for AEW on YouTube, and neither of these matches was particularly spectacular, though the second one was better than the first. That being said, a lot of the women in AEW are early in their careers and can use some experience, and this is how they get it. Out of everyone, Conti and Jay looked the best tonight. Conti is a great addition to AEW, and that alone makes this tournament worth it so far.
Watch the whole show, which ran about 40 minutes total with no commercials, below. I've gotta go get in a quick smoke break before Raw starts, and I have to settle in for three hours of hell.