All Elite Wrestling and Shaquille O’Neal got everything they could have hoped for out of his match.
The 7-foot-1 NBA legend was treated like a powerhouse, delivered a powerbomb and went through two tables as he and Jade Cargill defeated Cody Rhodes and Red Velvet in a mixed-tag match Wednesday night in Jacksonville, Fla., on “AEW Dynamite.”
Shaq, who lasted wrestled in WWE’s Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 32, opened the match with some throws and loud slaps of Rhodes looking like your classic wrestling big man. Rhodes oversold things a bit, but that was not unexpected. O’Neal did get a few chaotic moments outside the ring tossing and body-slamming members for Rhodes’ “Nightmare Family,” leading to Red Velvet eventually hitting a moonsault to the outside onto Cargill and Rhodes.
O’Neal, who has been training at Rhodes’ Nightmare Factory wrestling school for months, got a big finish and AEW got a few clips that likely will be all over the internet and sports programs through this weekend’s NBA All-Star Game. After a test of strength, O’Neal delivered a powerbomb to Rhodes, who later body-slammed the former Lakers and Heat star. Eventually, Rhodes leaped over the ropes onto O’Neal, who was standing on the apron and sent the two of them crashing through two tables that had been set up on the outside.
The 48-year-old O’Neal really sold the spot by not moving. After a commercial, we saw him on a stretcher being loaded into an ambulance. The selling ended a bit when O’Neal had to move his legs so they could close the ambulance door. When broadcaster Tony Schiavone went to try to get information about what was going on, O’Neal was no longer the vehicle.
Cargill, in her first match with AEW scored the pin, which was exactly what the company needed as she has a chance to be a big star in the women’s division. She was solid in her debut, showing off an array of power moves and great charisma. Velvet also acquitted herself well. She was the spitfire, smaller underdog against the much bigger Cargill. Her speed and agility provided some contrast to when Rhodes and O’Neal were in the match.