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What ‘All Out’ said about AEW



Last night’s All Out pay-per-view was the second major broadcast for the upstart promotion, as it was held in Chicago at the Sears Center, the same venue that sold out last year for All In, the event that led to the start of All Elite Wrestling. The card had too much action to review in-depth here because this article would become too lengthy, but there’s certainly much to discuss about direction of the organization based on the results of this event.

During the pre-show, there was a women’s battle royal to determine one of the competitors for the first ever women’s championship when the company debuts on TNT in October. The battle royal itself was sloppy, but that’s usually the case with those type of matches. Nyla Rose won it to advance to the championship contest.

Later in the night on the main broadcast, Riho defeated Shida to advance as well. This creates the dynamic for an easy story to be told ahead of the title bout with the monster Nyla against the underdog Riho. If it was my decision, I’d pick Riho to win the championship. As I said after the Double or Nothing event in May, it was a wise choice for management to bring in the Joshi athletes because it gives the group something more unique to promote as far as the pure joshi style added to an American promotion, and the Joshi athletes could be a draw for a different demographic than the usual pro wrestling audience.

So Cal Uncensored won a basic, but entertaining six man tag match to open the main show. This is meant as a compliment, SCU is probably the perfect opening act for an event because they can get the crowd into the show and deliver a solid match without doing too many moves too early in the show. Again, this is meant as a compliment, in many ways the trio are also great utility performers because they are versatile enough to make any role on the card work, which is an extremely valuable asset for any company. As for the other team, it’s not difficult to see the potential that Jungle Boy has, and if he continues to develop as an all around wrestler, he could be one of the names that AEW builds around in the future.

Despite being mostly a gimmick, I’d say that Luchasaurus actually has a lot more to offer than just the mask, considering that he could be a tremendous heel with an eventual turn because he’s very agile for his size. However, for now it makes sense for the pair to have a run as an entertaining duo because they work well together as a team. Nothing against Marko Stunt, but I’m not sure how much longevity he will have because the novelty of his statue might wear off and at this point, he only has a few years of experience so he might not have the polished ring skills to get beyond the gimmick of being the smallest wrestler on the roster.

On paper, Pac vs. Kenny Omega seemed somewhat flat because Pac exited the All Elite picture rather quickly after his match at Double or Nothing was cancelled because he was the Dragon Gate champion at the time.

When Jon Moxley had another dangerous case of MRSA, he obviously had to be replaced and Pac was added. So, there wasn’t really any time for any type of build up for the bout. Plus, since Pac has worked primarily in Japan since he resurfaced on the scene, he doesn’t have much buzz in the United States. That being said, these two delivered a physical, hard-hitting match that was a very good contest. I have to be honest, I was surprised at the finish with Pac’s victory because as of now, this was a one-off for Pac, and the thrown together match took some steam away from Omega already.

The defeat doesn’t leave him with much momentum ahead of the TNT debut so unless there’s some type of angle planned where he starts at the bottom and climbs through the ranks, I’m not sure what direction Kenny Omega goes from here. One this is for sure, after the All Out pay-per-view, the wrestler that arguably had the most buzz in 2018, doesn’t have much hype behind him right now.

The Cracker Barrel Clash was the “blood and guts” on the card so to speak and while it was a decent match, it was also concerning with some of the risks the three athletes took during it. This isn’t meant as a lecture on wrestling philosophy, but rather that each of them individual have much to offer from a character perspective as well, and these type of risks could easily lead to an injury that takes away their chance to get their persona over with a national audience. Darby Allin has an extremely interesting background that could be used to allow him to connect with the audience, which is more valuable than just a pop from the crowd from one of the dangerous bumps. Don’t get me wrong, he’s an extremely talented athlete, I just don’t want to see his career reduced to stunts instead of an intriguing persona on TNT.

The Dark Order beat The Best Friends to get a bye in the tag team title tournament, which made sense for the heels to get the bye so that a baby face team will have to overcome the odds if they are going to win in the finals. It was an okay tag match, but it might be too early for a tournament since there aren’t many established teams on the roster yet. It almost seems like the tournament is being rushed as an early part of the promotion simply so that the company can have tag team champions as a part of the roster.

Cody vs. Shawn Spears, the former Tye Dillinger, was solid, but for a match that had a lot of hype behind it based on the chair shot that cut Cody’s head previously, a heated feud seems to have concluded abruptly. Cody won and got his revenge on Spears so where’s the angle supposed to go from here? More specifically, what’s next for Spears, considering that the basis for his debut in AEW was the storyline around his friendship with Cody from their early days in wrestling? Possibly there will be some type of follow-up or a new direction for Spears, who had the most importance of his career from this angle, but he doesn’t have any heat as a heel right now because Cody already defeated him.

The ladder match was absolutely insane and one of the best ladder matches of all time. While there were many risks, the bout was done in probably the safest way possible and the four athletes involved maximized the position of a featured matches on a major show to make the biggest impression possible. As far as risks go, this was different from the three way earlier in the show because it wasn’t in the middle of a four-hour event that was packed with high spots so I think the argument could be made that the chances the teams took had a place on the card that allowed it to be more memorable. I discussed the potential of Pentagon as a major star, the great ability of Rey Fenix, and how over the Young Bucks are before so I’m not going to repeat all those details again, but this incredible match might’ve stole the show.

The Chris Jericho/Adam Page match for the first ever All Elite Wrestling championship was put in a tough spot because they had to follow not only a three and a half hour event, but also the previous match had a Canadian destroyer off a ladder through a table. However, I thought that Jericho and Page worked a physical, quality main event that kept the audience guessing as to the conclusion.

As I’ve said before and I will say it again, too often in the modern era, finishers are used as a way to attempt to create near falls, but all it accomplishes is reducing what should be a major move in the narrative to just another spot in a match. Furthermore, the concept of what a false finish is seems to be lost in much of the modern landscape. A false finish isn’t simply a narrow kick out, but rather the ability to make the audience think that it could be the actual finish to a contest. This is why it was very important that the Judas Effect elbow was only used for the finish because it will eventually allow for a major reaction if someone does kick out. That being said, I think it was the right call for Chris Jericho to win the title because it truly gives me another chapter in his career to build in AEW. He’s not just there for his name value from the past or a veteran just trying to cash-in for a big contract. As the champion, Jericho is putting much of the potential for AEW to get off the ground on his shoulders, and it also sets up for a chase to the title for Adam Page in the future.

Overall, All Out was a great pay-per-view with only a few low points and it showcased the company very well. Still, the more important piece of the puzzle for the company as a whole will be to become an established commodity on television after the debut in October. Keep in mind, on a national level, the AEW product will have to get over with the general public, and so far much of its success is from a diehard portion of the audience. The pieces of the puzzle are there, but the presentation of the product will have to draw a wider demographic. That being said, the stage is set for a very interesting conclusion to the year and there could be a shift in the direction of the industry.

What do you think? Comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback and anything else that was raised.

Until next week
-Jim LaMotta

E mail | You can follow me on Twitter @jimlamotta

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