One year on from the wrestling world being shaken up with ‘All In’, All Elite Wrestling returned to Illinois and presented ‘All Out’ to the Chicago faithful.
New champions were crowned, a couple of match of the year candidates were on show and a HUGE return occurred… Let’s have a look at the card.
21 Woman’s Casino Battle Royal
Thoughts: In my opinion, this was far better than the men’s Battle Royal from Double or Nothing. It felt more impactful, more things happened and there were some huge moments. The first thing we have to talk about is the winner; Nyla Rose. I thought she continued to look great throughout the match and played the ‘big monster’ character perfectly. Many, myself included, predicted Britt Baker to win due to the way she has been presented thus far but it was a welcome surprise to start the show. The surprise debut of Mercedes Martinez was amazing and she looked completely natural in her appearance. Very excited to see what she can do moving forward. However, this of course suffered from the issues every battle royal suffers from in the sense that it’s hard to focus on everything that happened such as new entrants and eliminations.
Result: Nyla Rose wins, last eliminating Britt Baker
Private Party vs Jack Evans and Angelico
Thoughts: I would like to see both these teams wrestle all the time, please and thanks. The chemistry both have with each other was instantly noticeable and ensured the match was contested at a blistering pace throughout. Private Party are already one of the biggest success stories of AEW and they’ve only had two matches. They’re instantly captivating, energetic and hugely appeal to all audiences. With their match coming up against the Young Bucks, it makes complete sense for them to win and keep them looking strong. Angelico and Evans turning properly heel post-match is a fantastic move as well as it ensures they have something to do going forward and means they aren’t just floating along in an already stacked tag division.
Result: Private Party win via pinfall
SCU vs Jungle Express
Thoughts: If Luchasaurus isn’t AEW World Champion at some point, the company have massively dropped the ball somewhere. He has absolutely everything going for him; individual look, fantastic move-set, over as anything and appeals to kids. The entire entourage of ‘A boy, his boy and his dinosaur’ has nailed what professional wrestling can be in all its simultaneous silliness and legitimacy. As a result, you may think it a bad move to have them lose against So Cal Uncensored. But I think it was the right decision. All three members of SCU have more experience than the other team and are a more established group so should be winning. Thankfully, it doesn’t hurt Luchasaurus and the gang after having an amazing showing throughout the match. Fantastic start to the main show.
Result: SCU win via pinfall
PAC vs Kenny Omega
Thoughts: …well this was stiff. There were at least four points during this match that I thought either PAC or Omega had legitimately injured themselves which was absolutely terrifying. It’s no real surprise that when you put two of the best current wrestlers on the planet, they delivered a fantastic, hard-hitting, well-paced and incredibly technical match up which will surely be discussed in the match of the year category. Since leaving WWE, PAC has occasionally been criticised for not fully ‘going for it’ in his matches…that criticism can’t be applied for Saturday night. He reminded everyone that he truly is one of the best in-ring talents currently working in the world. Kenny Omega is just…Kenny Omega, which means that every shot felt real, every V-Trigger found its target and every dive looked brutal. The finish was a fantastic one as well. Having Omega pass out in the Brutaliser ensures that PAC looks legitimate, a real threat and able to win any match whilst simultaneously keeping Kenny looking strong as, instead of giving up, he passed out. Amazing stuff.
Result: PAC wins via knockout
Jimmy Havoc vs Darby Allin vs Joey Janela
Thoughts: When the first moment of a match is one wrestler firing a staple gun into his own chest just to prove how hard he is, you know how brutal and uncomfortable this match is going to be. There were several moments that were hard to watch and could cause some to look away. Instead of covering this like a normal match, I’m just going to list some of my favourite spots; Havoc getting thumbtacks put in his mouth and taped shut, Allin jumping onto Havoc as he’s still tied to the chair, Janela hitting a brainbuster to Darby on the apron, the Cracker Barrel barrels getting involved, a thumbtacked skateboard, Allin hitting a coffin drop onto the steel steps with a barrel on his back and SO many more. Just go and watch this, it’s mental. Havoc winning is absolutely the right choice as, of the three men involved, he has had the lesser spotlight placed upon him.
Result: Havoc wins via pinfall
The Dark Order vs Best Friends
Thoughts: The Dark Order just isn’t properly clicking with audiences. We don’t really know their motives, what they’re doing and their presentation is too reminiscent of the Wyatt Family for people to take them seriously. As a result, this was one of the lower end matches on the card. Certainly not bad, but just weaker than others. Dark Order winning does make sense though as they’re the new tag team who AEW are trying to present as main event players in the tag team scene. Most of the grade I’ve given this however…is due to Orange Cassidy. After the match, the minions of The Dark Order attempted to take Trent away but the lights went down and, when they came back up, Orange Cassidy was stood in the ring who then helped The Best Friends run off the Dark Order. This pairing is going to be absolutely fantastic and will be a prefect blend of comedy and in-ring work.
Result: The Dark Order win via pinfall
Riho vs Hikaru Shida
Thoughts: Both these women work really well together. Commentary did well to remind us how, in their native Japan, they have faced multiple times before and teamed together at Double or Nothing so knew each other inside out. The crowd slowly got into the match as it went on due to the excellent in-ring work they both showcased. Riho winning makes sense for two reasons. The first being that Riho has been presented as one of the major players in the women’s division so should be getting this opportunity. Secondly, it sets up the traditional ‘David vs Goliath’ model for the title match which always works well. Really interested to see who wins.
Result: Riho wins via pinfall
Cody vs Shawn Spears
Thoughts: For me, the biggest surprise of All Elite Wrestling thus far, has been the fact that Cody has been my favourite wrestler of the entire promotion. If you also include All In, I have been most invested in every single match he has been involved due to the rich veins of storytelling that have been prevalent throughout. And this was no different. The in-ring work almost takes a backseat in Cody’s matches and this was no exception; every single movement was in line with storytelling. Shawn Spears looked absolutely incredible. His entrance was amazing and I cannot wait to see what happens next with him going forward. MJF’s inexperience almost costing Cody several times is another layer in their ongoing, slow burn of a storyline. Arn Anderson making the shock debut ensured that Tully was removed from the match in a logical way as he couldn’t believe one of his best friends had gone against him. Cody winning has clearly angered some but I felt it was the right decision. The only negative of the match, and it is a big negative, is having Pharaoh that close to pyro. That should never be happening and I’m glad to hear it was a mistake and won’t be happening again. Apart from that, this was an amazing match. Seek it out.
Result: Cody wins via pinfall
The Lucha Brothers (c) vs The Young Bucks – Escalera de la Muerte match for the AAA Tag Team Championships
Thoughts: At one point, Matt Jackson took a Canadian destroyer through a table from the top of a ladder. That, in a sentence, is how insane this match was. The Lucha Brothers and The Young Bucks have only had a few matches together but have cemented the feud as one of the best tag team feuds ever. I don’t really want to say much of what happens during the match as it won’t be as impactful than just sitting down and watching it yourself. A couple of notable moments however were Pentagon’s mask coming off which…we don’t know if it was planned but I imagine it wasn’t. Additionally, the fact that Nick Jackson is even alive is insane as he completely smacked his face against the side of a table from around 12 feet in the air. PLEASE BE OK NICK. Regardless, the match was incredible, the crowd were fully into it and gave multiple standing ovations for all four men involved. Seriously; just go and watch this. Another match of the year contender, no doubt.
Result: The Lucha Bros retain their titles
‘Hangman’ Adam Page vs Chris Jericho – AEW World Heavyweight Championship
Thoughts: The match was fine and what was expected but that’s not what everyone is talking about. Already, the decision to crown Chris Jericho as the first ever champion in All Elite Wrestling’s history has caused mass polarisation from both sides of the opinion so here is mine. From a business perspective, it makes complete and utter sense to have Jericho be the first champion. It does not matter how talented, energetic, hard-working and fantastic the roster is. If you can’t draw in new fans, they’re never going to be seen. With having Chris Jericho as your main event champion, it draws in people with a recognisable name that invites them into a whole new world of talent. Additionally, if they choose to, the story is there to build Adam Page back up and have him eventually win the title further down the line when more people are invested in him. Definitely a stranger end to the show, due to a heel winning, but one that makes complete sense.
Result: Jericho wins via pinfall – New Champion Crowned
Overall; All Out delivered and then some. Every match was, at least, good and there were more than one match of the year contender. Incredible show and one that sets up AEW’s television incredibly well. I cannot wait to see what is next for the future of this company.
You can find me on Twitter @McIverTheMark. Thanks for reading.