Night One of the two-week event that is Fyter Fest has been and gone.
From chain wrestling title matches, to tag-team bust-ups to convincing performances; Fyter Fest night one certainly achieved a lot.
We opened the show to “Le Champion” Chris Jericho wearing a noticeable Canada themed jacket to commemorate Canada Day. He made an extremely grandiose entrance and was serenaded by a chorus of pyro to his position at the commentary desk where he would spend most the night putting over the superstars in the ring.
MJF & Wardlow vs Luchasaurus & Jungle Boy
The show opened with a tag-team affair picturing the brightly-dressed MJF & his partner, Wardlow against Luchasaurus & Jungle Boy. Before the aforementioned tag-team could make their entrance, MJF had picked up a mic and was running down his opponents, questioning why the match was even going ahead; he concludes that he is needed on the card as there is a “ratings war”. This pre-match promo leads to Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy forgetting their pre-match visual antics and deciding to instead storm down to the ring and get the match underway.
A fiery Jungle Boy takes it to MJF in the early stages of the match before MJF slowly takes control. MJF and Wardlow initiate heel tactics from the get-go, from distracting the ref to sneak in moves to hitting cheap shots, from the apron, whenever possible. This is quickly halted, when a hot-tag leads to a fired-up Luchasaurus to run through his collection of uniquely powerful yet agile moves on the opposition. A wonderful sequence from the four wrestlers starts when Jungle Boy hits a Frankensteiner on Wardlow, only for Wardlow to respond with a clothesline. Luchasaurus then hits a devastating sit-out Powerbomb only for MJF to reply with a superkick; the four wrestlers lay flat on their backs in the middle of the ring only to then go and hit a double duo kip-up.
The ending sequence comes about when MJF is seen to be putting on his Dynamite Diamond Ring. He enters the ring aiming to finish Luchasaurus with a punch, only for Luchasaurus to duck and push MJF into his partner, not before MJF had the chance to shout “can you do anything right?” at Wardlow. MJF is pulled outside of the ring leaving Luchasaurus to hit Wardlow with a barrage of vicious strikes and kicks. After plentiful moves from Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy, they are able to get the win after a thundering kick to the chest of Wardlow from Luchasaurus.
This was a really enjoyable, fast-paced opener. We saw some lovely sequences between the two teams and the continuation of an MJF and Wardlow split is something to keep your eyes out for on future Dynamite episodes. The right team won and in the right manner as Wardlow enabled MJF to avoid eating the pin.
Hikaru Shida vs Penelope Ford – AEW Women’s World Title Match
Following that opener, we were now introduced to our first title match of the night; the AEW Women’s World Title. This match saw champion, Hikaru Shida, facing off against the challenger, Penelope Ford. She was accompanied by Kip Sabian but a pre-match pushing battle saw the Superbad star sent to the back who decided to take Shida’s kendo stick with him. We were now left with a one-on-one battle.
A hot start saw Shida go straight for the running knee and falcon arrow combination which helped her defeat Red Velvet in 12 seconds on Dynamite. Penelope Ford, however, managed to reverse this blisteringly sharp offence from Shida. Penelope Ford’s mix of athleticism and strength saw her beating down the AEW Women’s Champion. This continued after the commercial break as every time Shida seemed to find her footing, Penelope Ford would manage to get on top again. A wonderful combination saw Shida’s Falcon Arrow reversed effortlessly into a roll-up by Ford for a near fall.
A fast-paced ending occurred when Kip Sabian, though barred, stormed into the ring as the referee was distracted with Ford on the outside. He gets slapped by Shida which subsequently leads to him throwing Shida’s kendo stick in the air, who then catches it and lashes him around the head. Penelope Ford pounces on a distracted Shida and connects with her springboard stunner for a two-count. Shida bounces up and hits Ford with her running knee and Falcon Arrow combination for another two-count before finishing the job with one more running knee meaning she retains her AEW Women’s Title.
This was a great match and despite Shida retaining, both competitors came out as winners. It was a magnificent showing for Penelope Ford who proved she can compete in these high calibre matches. She showed how relentless she can be in her offence and defence. Hikaru Shida, too, put in an amazing performance which seems to be par for the course for her now. That being said, I do believe this did wonders for Penelope Ford, especially due to the absence of Kip Sabian at ringside.
Cody vs Jake Hager – TNT Championship Match
Before the matchup got underway commentary was emphasising the collegiate amateur wrestling backgrounds of the participants in this match. which gave us a hint of what’s to come.
Jake Hager made his way to the ring first accompanied by his wife, Catalina. They were then followed by the TNT Champion, Cody, who was accompanied by “The Enforcer” Arn Anderson. The match begins with sequences of chain wrestling complementing each-others technical ability. Cody early on in the matchup is locking in an abundance of lower limb submissions hoping to wear down the 6ft 7in behemoth. A Figure Four seems to do the trick, however, as Jake Hager can be seen limping around the ring after this submission move. The tide changes, just before the break, when Jake Hager attacks Arn on the outside before hitting Cody with a rough German Suplex on the floor.
After the break, Hager is persistent with his offence. Not giving Cody much time to breath and halting any chance of a comeback. A lovely top-rope, springboard cutter from Cody manages to swing the match back in his favour but Cody just can’t seem to get a consistent set of strikes going. He is struggling to capitalise on any sort of momentum. Hager has managed everything he has thrown at him thus far. That is until a hectic ending ensues.
Hager has the ankle lock firmly locked in, which worries Arn who decides to distract the ref, enabling Cody to try and figure a way out of the move. It, however, leaves Cody prone to a slap from Hager’s wife. This then leads to Dustin Rhodes to run out and hit Hager. Cody capitalises on this and sets up for the Cross Rhodes but Hager reverses into a Rock Bottom of sorts. Hager pounces onto Cody to lock in the arm triangle but Cody manipulates his body and manages to pin Hager. Hager, who seems to think he has won, is incensed when he finds out otherwise and reacts by punching the referee before making his way to the back, leaving Cody in the ring to see another day as TNT Champion.
Similarly to the first two matches, I really enjoyed this. I liked how they paid homage to their collegiate backgrounds throughout the match as it played into making the match better from a viewership standpoint. Both respective ringside acquisitions played their role perfectly and despite a somewhat hectic ending it felt unique and protected Hager, who seemed on course to win up until that point.
Private Party (w/ Matt Hardy) vs Santana & Ortiz
Before this match started, we saw Orange Cassidy walk out with a steel chair and go sit down at the commentary table amongst his current rival, Chris Jericho.
Santana and Isiah Kassidy get the match started and Santana starts by offering Isiah a free shot on him. Regretfully, Santana is then on the wrong end of a cannonade of offence, most noticeably, a beautiful assisted Moonsault onto Santana & Ortiz who are on the outside. Private Party begins to slowly work over Santana & Ortiz before a Springboard DDT, from Ortiz, and a Waistlock Suplex, from Santana, evens things up.
After the commercial break, Isiah Kassidy hits a sumptuous Tornado spinning dive quickly followed by a Swanton from the top-rope. This initiated a theme of Private Party trying to hit the quick-paced offence and Santana & Ortiz just trying to apply slow and methodical offence. One Avalanche Liger Bomb leading into a slam into the turnbuckles followed by a leaping Senton seemed to spell the end for Private Party but they managed to stay in the match. It seemed to go from bad to worse for Private Party too as Santana and Oritz were set up for the Streetsweeper only for Marq Quen to cover the eyes of Santana which delayed the move. This meant Isiah could run into the ring, quickly hit a slick Sling Blade, back-breaker before executing Gin n Juice for the three-count.
Certainly not the best tag match on the card, it still served its purpose. It was a nice palette cleanser after that very wrestling based TNT Championship match. Isiah Kassidy was the stand out performer for me, he showed many bright moments. I am still intrigued by the Matt Hardy affiliation with Private Party however as nothing significant seemed to happen surrounding him at ringside but maybe that is something to expect more of in the future.
Before the main event of the night got underway we were introduced with some changes to the Fyter Fest Night Two card. It was announced that the winner of the AEW World Tag Team Title Match would face Private Party on Night Two. It was also announced the Jon Moxley vs Brian Cage will instead be on 15th July at Fight for the Fallen. We had Taz and Brian Cage come out to address this, essential claiming Moxley is using current circumstances to wriggle his way out of the match for next week.
Kenny Omega and Adam Page also had a pre-match interview where they downsized their opponents, coming across as extremely confident whilst doing so.
Kenny Omega & Adam Page vs Best Friends – AEW World Tag Team Title Match
Best Friends made their way to the ring in a unique fashion; getting a ride from Trent’s mother. After being dropped outside the arena and making their way into the ring, it was time for Kenny Omega and Adam Page to make their entrances. It was main event time.
Chuck Taylor and Kenny Omega start the match where they initiated a string of Irish Whips, Arm Drags and Head Scissors in an equally battled opening lockup. Tagging in their respective partners, Adam Page and Trent entered the ring. Juxtaposing the previous lockup, these two took it to each other with hard-hitting offence. We see the AEW World Tag Team Champions hit their patented Kotaro Crusher and Standing Shooting Star combination for a two count before FTR walked out with deck chairs, where they would find comfort at the commentary desk.
After a spell of Adam Page and Kenny Omega working over Trent, the aforementioned manages to hit a hellacious clothesline followed by a stinging DDT to get on top of the matchup. Trent then hits a perfectly executed Tope Suicida on Kenny Omega who is swiftly planted into the guardrail by Chuck Taylor.
Kenny Omega and Adam Page begin to regain their momentum when they go for The Last Call. However, Best Friends reverse it and launch Kenny Omega out the ring before hitting Sub Zero on Adam Page leading to an extremely close near fall. Kenny Omega then goes for the One Winged Angel on Chuck who reverses it into a hard-hitting piledriver of sorts which wipes Omega out of the match. Adam Page, left alone in the ring, hits the Deadeye and the Buckshot Lariat on Trent to get the win and retain the AEW World Tag Team Titles in a very one-sided finish.
FTR enter the ring as the match finishes and offer beers to the AEW Tag Team Champions. Adam Page accepts but Kenny Omega pours his beer out on to the floor. Much to the chagrin of FTR, it leads The Young Bucks to come out and play peacekeepers. Giving us the closing visual of Night One being FTR, Kenny Omega & Adam Page and The Young Bucks alone in the ring.
I thought this was match was really good. Not the best tag match we have seen from AEW but when the standards are set so high it is difficult to reach them sometimes. That being said, the in-ring action was really good and the ending interested me a lot. Will the fact Adam Page won single-handedly anger Kenny Omega? Did Omega pour his beer out, not because of FTR, but out of anger of Adam Page winning by himself? It did leave me with lots of questions, which I suppose is what makes me tune in each week. A perfectly acceptable main event.
Well, there we have it. That was Night One of Fyter Fest. Lots of storyline wrinkles being placed into fruition which I am excited to see develop over the next weeks. We may have witnessed zero title changes, what we did witness was five really good matches all in their own right which has lead me to be just as excited for Night Two.