By: Matt Ederer
ITS THE #ALLOUT #FALLOUT, and let me just say that it remains a delight to hear Kevin Harlan talk about AEW Wrestling while announcing NBA Playoff games. The best announcer in sports actually said the words “I love Jungle Boy” during the NBA Playoffs last week. You gotta take the good with the bad in 2020.
COLD OPEN: Backstage Promo – Chris Jericho and MJF
Tony Schiavone greets us in the parking lot, as two big ol’ black SUVs roll up in the background. MJF and Chris Jericho emerge from each vehicle, and the two dastardly heels each lament the other’s loss at All Out. They each say the other is great and deserves to be AEW Champion, but as they walk away, we get a split screen of both wrestlers saying “what a loser” about the other. This got an audible laugh from the small crowd at Daily’s Place in Jacksonville.
Fun little cold open to this evening’s ‘rasslin program. Small W.
Tag Team – The Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus) (2020: 6-4) w/Marko Stunt v. The Lucha Brothers (Penta El Cero M & Rey Fenix) (2020: 2-4) w/Eddie Kingston, The Butcher and The Blade
Oh my God in heaven, I think Luchasaurus hit the biggest chokeslam in the history of wrestling on Rey Fenix.
Of all the flippy, go-go-go AEW tag team matches, this match was certainly one of them. These matches are always enjoyable and a perfect way to start a wrestling show off, but you do tend to forget these matches immediately (world’s most insane chokeslam notwithstanding).
Jurassic Express have kept up a nice winning pace in 2020, after losing basically every tag match they had in 2019. I would love to see JE continue to rise up the ranks and eventually defeat FTR for the AEW Tag titles in 2021.
Jurassic Express win via pinfall w/a School-boy rollup by Jungle Boy on Fenix (after an accidental Canadian Destroyer from Penta to Fenix, lol) to move to 7-4 in tag team action in 2020.
In-Ring Promo – Eddie Kingston, Lucha Bros, Butcher & Blade
Post-match, with Penta and Rey arguing in the ring, Eddie Kingston comes in to play peacemaker. After saying he’s closer to them than “their British friend” and noting that he is here for them and their wives aren’t (..oof?) Eddie makes Rey shake Penta’s hand, and the group leaves united. Eddie also mentions that he was never technically eliminated from the Casino Battle Royal.
Good little promo. Nothing Earth-shattering, but Eddie Kingston is one of the better promo guys in wrestling and should speak on the show every week or two just because.
Backstage Promo – Jake “The Snake” Roberts & “The Murderhawk” Lance Archer
In an alley in the rain, Jake the Snake and Lance Archer say scary, heelish things into the camera. We’re not here to drive cars, we wreck cars! Or something to that effect. It was a promo. Not a patch on Jake’s work in 1991, but I gotta say, I believe that these scary men are indeed scary, and want to hurt Jon Moxley before taking his AEW World Title.
Small W here.
In-Ring Promo – Matt Hardy is Alive
Matt Hardy walks out to the ring and apologizes to his fans and family for scaring them at All Out. He thanks his wife Reby in the audience (who did not look impressed). Hardy also apologizes for the short match at All Out, but is glad his feud with Sammy Guevara is over, because if it kept going, somebody would have been hurt even worse. Hardy is going to take this time to heal up, and come back hungrier than ever, ready to move up the rankings an challenge for the AEW Title.
I thought this was really nice. It was played straight-up, and we rarely get that in wrestling nowadays. You just know in WWE, Randy Orton would have RKO’d his wife and newborn baby in the audience. Matt Hardy cut a honest, human promo that put over the entire company of AEW, the goal of every wrestler (win the title, move up the rankings) and Sammy Guevara in a big way. Huge W from Hardy here. Hope he comes back healthy and ready to lose to younger wrestlers.
Singles – Angelico (2020: 3-5) w/Jack Evans v. Orange Cassidy (2020: 9-5)
Cassidy comes out looking like a million bucks, and after getting tangled into a knot a few times by the Angelico (who I guess is now a submissions guy? Cool, cool) he wins clean with the Orange Punch in under 5 minutes.
I could have done with at least 5 more minutes of this, but the idea was to put Orange Cassidy over strongly, and they delivered on that. Nothing worth going out of your way to see, unless you are an Orange Cassidy completionist.
Orange Cassidy wins via pinfall w/the Orange Punch (Running Jumping Right Hook) to move to 10-5 in singles competition in 2020
Post match, Santana and Ortiz attach Cassidy, and the Best Friends Chuck and Trent make the save for their pal Orange. BFs get the mic and proclaim that this beef must end, challenging Ortiz and Santana to a fight in the Parking Lot next week on Dynamite. I’m, for one am both very fine with that match, and with this feud wrapping up thereafter. Overall, small W.
In-Ring Promo – Kip Sabian’s Best Man
Oh my God it’s PUF! A Canadian indy staple from Buffalo, NY, PUF is a hilarious comedy fatboi wrestler. I have started PUF chants at indy shows in Toronto, back when independent wrestling was still alive. What a strange, but personally fulfilling cameo. I hope he gets a few matches in AEW.
Kip Sabian teases Puf and Brian Pillman Jr. as his best man, before revealing the former Rusev, now known as Miro as “THE BEST MAN”. Which I guess is his gimmick going forward.
Miro proceeds to cut a promo straight out of WWF 1998-2000 attitude era (or worse, TNA 2002-forever Impact) talking about living in a house with a glass ceiling, and reaching for an imaginary brass ring. I felt this to be unsatisfying, just because we’ve seen it done so many times before. But hey, of all the people who ever had a reason to say it, Big Miro is right near the top of the list.
This was maybe the most WWE-style segment that AEW ever produced. The names were smaller in scale, but the beats were straight out of WWE Raw’s playbook. The fake, nonsensical reveals, the cheesy jokes. I liked it (PUF AND RUSEV HOLY SHIT), but that doesn’t mean it was “good”. I think I would have preferred almost any other way to debut Rusev. Kip Sabian did a great job on the mic, but I think other than that, this was a pretty bad segment? Subjectively, I “marked out”, as Matt Stryker would say on air and get fired for. But objectively, I’m going to say this was a pretty big L for AEW.
Having said that, people will forget about this quickly if Miro is put in a position to shine. I am very excited to see what Big Miro can do with a push and some confidence, in a company that isn’t actively working against him at every turn.
Backstage Promo – Tony & The Hangman
Adam Page cuts a dramatic promo, admitting that he is largely to blame for the Elite breaking up and thus, costing himself two friends. Aw. Hangman says Kenny and he have overcome adversity before, and that they will climb the mountain again. More on this story as it develops.
Tag Team, No DQ – The Inner Circle (Chris Jericho & Jake Hager) v. Joey Janela & Sonny Kiss
Not the strongest effort, but Joey Janela is the new Cactus Jack in that every single match, he’s going to take at least one batshit insane bump that is so crazy it makes you question why he’s doing this and why you watch wrestling at all.
Pretty average tag match, or maybe a below average tag match that was slightly bumped up by the charisma of the performers. Well, three out of four ofthe performers.
Post-match, Chris Jericho announces that he and Hagar are going for the AEW tag team titles. I wonder if this will lead to a break-up of the Inner Circle and eventual feud with Santana and Ortiz?
Backstage Promo – MJF’s Campaign EXPLODES~!~!
MJF is backstage with his crew, who he blames for his loss and fires, loudly. Wardlow pipes in, only to be berated as well. MJF reminds Wardlow (and introduces to the viewer) that he pays Wardlow’s cheques, not Tony Khan, and he has the power to put Wardlow and his family out on the street.
As usual, great promo by MJF and a little bit of character development for this duo. It was a little too shouty, and the “poor guy needs money” angle is played out in wrestling, but I’m willing to give it a shot because MJF is so charismatic. He’s already made dumber ideas work. Small to medium W.
Backstage Promo – Jon Moxley
Can’t go wrong with a Jon Moxley promo. The champ says it never gets easier, and asks us if we want to bet against him. Perfectly fine promo, I’m down to watch it every week. W.
In-Ring Promo – FTR’s Championship Coronation
Tully cuts a raspy old man heel promo, noting that it was 117 degrees in the ring at All Out, and that FTR is the best team in the world. FTR make fun of some of the teams around the ring, before Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus stand up to these no good hillbilly bullies (hill-bullies? Nope. Moving on.)
This had to have been the first cake-related celebration in the history of wrestling that ended with people casually enjoying the cake. AEW continuing to break ground as the most progressive wrestling company on Earth.
Not great, but a bit of fun. Minor W.
In-Ring (On Stage) Promo – Ricky Starks Cosplays Darby Allin
Ricky Starks comes out dressed as Darby Allin. Ricky says there’s a reason why Darb sits alone backstage, and why he’s at home alone injured now: because he is reckless. Starks threatens to finish the job next time Darby shows face in AEW.
Great little promo and a big W here for AEW and for Ricky Starks. I only grow more excited for this eventual Darby v Ricky match. Plz put it off until the next PPV, and let these two tear the building apart. Ricky Starks is fantastic.
Singles – “The Native Beast” Nyla Rose w/Vickie Guerrero v. Tay Conti
Conti cries on the way out to the ring, as it’s noted that she signed full-time with AEW just today. That was sweet.
This match was far more competitive than I expected, with Conti getting a lot of offense and having a lot of time to sell for Nyla. I also thought the finish was great, as Tay fought and fought to get a triangle locked in, only to get powerbombed to absolute shit and beaten thoroughly. Great performance by Tay, and a perfectly acceptable loss to take early in her career. I quite enjoyed this.
Backstage Promo – Kenny and JR Sit-down
This was one of the strongest promos I’ve ever seen Kenny cut. Omega explains that he couldn’t say no to teaming with Adam Page because they had such great chemistry. But Kenny gave a year of his life to the AEW tag division, and now that they’ve lost the titles, he wants to focus on singles competition. Kenny wants to be the face of AEW, and the shining star that people thought he should have been all along. As for Page, if he wants to regain the tag titles, he had better make other plans.
Good promo, honestly one of the best of Kenny’s career (low bar, but still). Big W.
Main Event: TNT Title – Brodie Lee (c) w/John Silver v. Dustin Rhodes
The announcers even pointed it out, but this was the exact wrestling match we all expected from Brodie Lee and Dustin Rhodes in 2020. It was a slower pace than the majority of AEW matches, but it was a hard hitting, believable RASSLIN BATTLE, with real (well, fake, but actual established in-storyline) stakes, between two characters who feature prominently on the AEW television program. This was a perfectly acceptable pro wrestling main event, and while I won’t remember it next month, I’m very glad I saw it.
Overall this was a solid show, let’s go 7.5/10. Nothing that I will remember on my deathbed, but a solid progression of storylines with some good promos and a huge debut.