On last week’s episode of AEW Dynamite, Jake Hager squared off against Wardlow in an MMA Rules Cage fight. The fight was certainly highly anticipated as fans wondered just how legitimate it would turn out to be.
It was certainly a very physical and brutal affair as both titans took each other to the limit in the fight. In the end, when all was said and done, Jake Hager was the victor in the fight. The match itself received a mixed response from fans for a variety of reasons.
While speaking on his Jim Cornette Experience podcast, Jim Cornette talked about the MMA Rules Cage fight between Jake Hager and Wardlow. Jim Cornette lambasted the fight and stated that it made both competitors look like klutzes, which is not something a good booker would do.
“Three rounds, three five minute rounds, for the first two minutes they danced, they jabbed, Hager got one straight jab in. At one point Wardlow gutwrenched Hager and just tossed him and Hager got right back up and double-legged him and let him back up. And right there is about as far as they needed to go because then Hager starts throwing the leg kicks but Wardlow sells them. You don’t sell the leg kicks unless it’s a big leg kick and these weren’t. Then with a minute left in the first round, they started punching and it was terrible.”
“Phoney punches, slow-mo punches, rotten punches. They were trading like two drunks in a wading pool and it was sloppy and it didn’t look like a fight or like wrestling, it didn’t look like anything. It looked like two guys trying not to hurt each other. It’s not a great match idea if they can’t work it. You can go down the list of all the MMA guys or the high-level amateur wrestlers or the old shooters like a Billy Robinson or people that could have done this. That could work either legit pro wrestling style or work MMA style, it would be snug, it would be tight, it would be a lot of grappling, not many strikes. Especially not to the face because those are the hardest to work, but you could have guys that know how to work a contest. Just not these two.”
“It made both of them look like klutzes and that’s not the job of a good booker to make your talent look like klutzes. Wardlow’s punches were destroying Hager’s elbows because he wasn’t anywhere near his f*cking head. Then Wardlow popped out of nowhere and did a hurricanrana in the middle of an MMA fight and Hager just lost his legs off of his f*cking neck so he just did a forward roll with it like two seconds later. Then within seconds Hager did a sloppy Rock Bottom on Wardlow and kept the triangle and just choked him out flat. Just choked him out. Boom. Done.”
We wonder if AEW will ever have another MMA style match as it certainly could be a much better match than what fans saw with Jake Hager and Wardlow.
h/t to Inside The Ropes for the quotes.