The stage for All Out was set in stone Saturday night when AEW held its third show, Fight for the Fallen, which took place in Jacksonville, Fla.
The free show (here in the U.S.), which aired on B/R Live, was the perfect go-home sell job for AEW’s next big $49.99 pay-per-view, All Out,which is set for next month in Chicago (on the anniversary of All In).
All Outwill feature the crowning of the first AEW Champion, when Chris Jericho faces Hangman Page. The Young Bucks and the Lucha Brothers will clash in a ladder match for the AAA Tag Team Championship. Kenny Omega faces Jon Moxley and Cody Rhodes vs. Shawn Spears also seems set for the show. On Saturday night, AEW also teased Awesome Kong vs. Aja Kong.
(1) SHAWN SPEARS, MJF & SAMMY GUEVARA def. JOEY JANELA, JIMMY HAVOC & DARBY ALLIN
There was a lot of good booking here. For Janella and Darby Allin, especially, this could have felt like a huge letdown coming off of bigger matches at Fyter Fest but everyone was showcased in this match and Janela had some showcase spots. The only thing I didn’t like was Allin taking the pin. Two weeks ago, Allin drew Cody Rhodes and it felt like it was going to be the start of something big for Allin, and then to take the loss so quickly felt a little deflating. Havoc should have taken the pin, if that team was going to lose.
On the flip side, Spears getting the win makes total sense after what he did to Cody at Fyter Fest, and working under the assumption he’s going to face Cody at All Out.
(2) BRANDI RHODES (w/ Awesome Kong) def. ALLIE
Kong’s distraction (twice) leads to Brandi’s win over Allie.
I like the decision to use Brandi as a heel, especially if she’s the “chief brand officer.” That’s such a corporate term that wrestling fans have grown to hate because of Stephanie McMahon. And I don’t mean from a TV/character standpoint. I mean wrestling fans who have tuned out WWE, some of them anyway, have complained about the homogenization of the product now that WWE has become so corporate. Nothing is more corporate than a “chief brand officer.” I practically threw up typing it.
It will be interesting to see how they utilize Brandi with Cody later. Cody seemingly turned babyface at Double or Nothing. And he’ll be the babyface vs. Spears at All Out.
After the match, Awesome Kong and Brandi beat up Allie a bit more before Aja Kong entered and went face-to-face with Awesome Kong before the referees pulled them apart. Aja Kong vs. Awesome Kong at All Out?
(3) THE DARK ORDER def. JACK EVANS & ANGELICO and JUNGLEBOY & LUCHASAURUS
Dark Order won the match, which was to be expected, but Jungleboy and Luchasauras stole the show. For Jungleboy, it was another example of him finding the spotlight cast on him during an AEW match. He’s not ready for the main event, but he should clearly be in that mid-tier mix for AEW immediately and I think, with the right booking, he could be on the top of the card in a few years.
The action was very good. A traditional tag-team match may have been better, but AEW is still in the stages of trying to get as many talents as possible onto the shows, in the interest of exposure (without weekly television).
(4) HANGMAN PAGE def. KIP SABIAN
Chris Jericho attacked Page after the match, wearing the same gear as one Dark Order’s minions. The announce team was heavily promoting Page vs. Jericho at All Out, and at one point when Page landed awkwardly following a moonsault to the outside, the announcers speculated what would happen if Page was hurt and unable to compete.
This match reminded me a lot of Darby Allin’s match with Cody at Fyter Fest, in that Sabian gained overness by association and was a bigger star taking the loss than he was before the match began (at least to this AEW audience).
That being said, Sabian could have been helped out even more by the commentary. The match almost went 20 minutes (19:03), which they should have made a bigger deal about. Sabian almost drawing the No. 1 contender for the World Title should have been a big deal. The match dragged at points and was probably too long, so if the point was to drag it out to tease a draw, only to have Page win, the announce team should have played that up more.
(5) PENTAGON & FENIX def. SO CAL UNCENSORED
The match was good, but the post-match promo by Pentagon and Fenix, challenging the Young Bucks to a ladder match at All Out, is the real story. The match was booked and presented in a way where it felt like the Lucha Bros. were beating a team of significance en route to the third match with the Bucks.
Truthfully, Pentagon and Fenix needed the win here. They came up short against the Young Bucks and, if they’re exclusive (in the U.S.) to AEW, they needed to give them a big win here before setting up another rematch with the Bucks again.
(6) KENNY OMEGA def. CIMA
CIMA hit Omega with what felt like 100 meteoras (and they were viciously impactful), but couldn’t put Omega away. The announce team kept building up that Omega hadn’t had a singles win yet in AEW, which may have given away the result, but in reality, we all knew Omega would win this match en route to his match against Moxley at All Out in September.
Overall, this show has done a good job of building up to All Out next month. For a secondary show — for lack of a better team — this show is building towards the big pay-per-view next month, where AEW hopefully makes some money. Fyter Fest was more of a standalone show where tonight feels like they’re selling the pay-per-view.
(7) THE YOUNG BUCKS def. CODY & DUSTIN RHODES
I was looking forward to this match, and perhaps I had built it up too much in my mind, but I don’t think it delivered what it needed to. There wasn’t enough energy and the crowd just wasn’t into the match, it felt like. Granted, part of the reason could have been that they were going on 4-1/2 hours if you include the pre-show.
After the match some members of the locker room, including Kenny Omega, came out with Shad Khan to announce they raised $150,000 for victims of gun violence in Jacksonville. That’s to be commended.
Cody cut a promo on WWE, saying you “can’t counter-program what AEW is doing.”
Overall, a good show as far as selling future and potential matches for All Out, but probably too long for what it was. I would have been happier with a three-hour experience.