AEW’s Fourth Pay-Per-View, live from The Sears Centre Arena in Chicago! An impressive card is at hand but how were the matches and is this worth the TNT TV deal?
Let’s start with the Buy-In Pre-Show
Women’s Casino Battle Royale (Winner receives shot at inaugural women’s title)
There isn’t a ton of story here, all women going “all out” to see who will have a shot at the inaugural AEW women’s title. Nyla Rose being pushed hard in this, eliminating many of the first round of contenders, but her movement is slow and labored in comparison to the other women. Awesome Kong was able to easily take on two to three opponents at a time but her attacks again are slow and aren’t believable. She’s a veteran trying to keep up but it isn’t working. She is here as Brandi Rhodes’ muscle but looks weak in comparison to many of these women. Nice to see Roddy Piper’s daughter, Teal Piper, in the ring but her time in the match was too short. Mercedes Martinez enters as the joker pick and impressively stomps everyone but Allie, keeping my favorite strong until she sadly was bumped out.
Nyla Rose wins, pushing Britt Baker over the top rope with the help of Priestly from ringside
This kept Baker looking strong as she wasn’t eliminated by Rose one-on-one. I foresee these two facing off again.
Move of the Match: Rose eliminated Priscilla Kelly by tossing her over the top rope and directly onto the mats outside of the ring. While she landed on her back, there were no wrestlers to buffer and she didn’t roll over like most do. I’m curious if this was a botch or just a risky bump.
Private Party vs. Angelico & Jack Evans
Private Party comes out with more swagger than I’ve seen in a long time and an ovation to match. In comparison, Angelico & Jack Evans coming out felt like watching the white cheerleaders in Bring It On. Their gimmick is so similar that Angelico and Evans almost looked like they were parodying Private Party.
Isaiah and Angelico start this off with a series of lock-ups, both show their ability but Isaiah definitely has the upper hand. Jack Evans and Matt Jackson tag in and are a HUGE upgrade in regards to physicality.
Great teamwork and timing overall, proving my first impression of Angelico and Jack Evans wrong.
Simultaneous poisonrana from Kassidy on Angelico with Cassidy hitting a cutter on Evans, Evans is pinned.
Move of the match: Matt Jackson flipping to avoid Evans, losing his glasses, and having Evans kick the glasses out of the ring. This was a great unscripted moment! Honorable mention is Matt Jackson’s shooting-star press!
Post match, as the teams are shaking hands, Angelico and Jack Evans attack Private Party in a classic heel move. Again, protecting the losing parties from looking like jobbers.
We are treated to a pre-taped trailer/promo for Wardlow, beating up a bunch of randos in a parking lot. All I kept wondering about was what happened to his traps? It looked like an open wound but I couldn’t find anything on this online! Someone tell me! This is followed by an MJF promo, proving he is still the best heel ever. He has no match but still spits fire!
THE MAIN CARD: All Out begins
Luchasaurus, Jungle Boy & Marko Stunt vs. SCU
Both of these teams have amazing charisma but are drastically different. Luchasaurus is obviously the muscle in this but Jungle Boy proves as always that he is no slouch. Christopher Daniels expertly puts over Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy at the beginning and even let Marko Stunt get some hits in. Eventually, Daniels and the rest of SCU gain momentum and prove their veteran status, destroying Stunt and Marko.
SCU win via pinfall
I feel like the Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy team had magic but adding Marko Stunt feels like… Well, a stunt. He’s not a bad wrestler but he’s so small that he is easily overpowered by anyone and some of his offensive moves don’t look believable. This may be why he is teaming with Luchasaurus but I’m not sure how long this gimmick will last.
Christopher Daniels hits the Best Meltzer Ever on both Jungle Boy and Marko Stunt at the same time for the pin and the win.
Post-match, Daniels asks Luchasaurus to check on Jungle Boy and Stunt before they all shake hands. Again, keeping everyone’s respective characters strong.
Kenny Omega vs. PAC (AKA in WWE, Neville)
Originally this was going to be Omega vs. John Moxley but Moxley is out with a MRSA infection. Good to see them being transparent about this and cautious to keep their wrestlers healthy. Great to see these two wrestlers face off with some amazing showboating. These two show that they can tell a story through a match. Omega does a great job putting over PAC, who needs this after his lack-luster treatment in WWE. PAC slams Omega into the barricades and then back into the ring. Omega starts to power up and dives
Move of the Match: A tie between Kenny Omega diving over the top rope and out of the ring at PAC and PAC’s moonsault from the top turnbuckle to a standing Omega. Both men appeared to have hurt their ankles or shins in these moves.
PAC chokes out Omega with a Brutalizer, stopped by referee
One of the best matches I’ve seen in a long time and an easy five star contender!
Joey Janela vs. Jimmy Havoc vs. Darby Allin
A Cracker-Barrel Clash? Some strange branding here as Cracker Barrel apparently is sponsoring the match to advertise their tasty home-style fried chicken breasts are no longer only for Sunday but will be available all week! While this is odd product placement for what amounts to a hardcore triple threat match, I’m pretty happy I can get this chicken on days other than Sunday. Take that Popeyes and your chicken sandwich shortage!
This was a great hardcore match, with pain and creativity that hasn’t been seen outside of the indy scene in a long time. Jimmy Havoc stapled himself, Darby Allin received an Emerald Fusion on the ring apron, and Joey Janela moonsaulted from the top turnbuckle onto the metal ramp with no opponent to cushion him. Darby even brought out a skateboard full of tacks, leaving many of them in Janela’s back!
Jimmy Havoc hits the Acid Rainmaker on Joey Janela through a barrel for the win!
Move of the Match: Darby Allen attempts to back drop from the top turnbuckle onto Jimmy Havock, attempting to sandwich him between a barrel and the ring steps, but Havoc moves and Allin crushes the barrel onto the steps.
Best Friends vs. Dark Order (Winner gets a bye in tag team championship tournament)
Dark Order continues their haunting and uncomfortable gimmick, a great juxtaposition with Chuckie T, and Beretta as Best Friends. Stu Grayson and Evil Uno did some great heel tag-teaming, isolating Beretta for quite a while before Beretta finally gets the tag. Best Friends take a beating most of the match, in a classic heel/face style, pins being stopped and Creepers hitting Chuckie T while the referee looks elsewhere.
Dark Order hits The Fatality on Beretta for the win
Post-match, as Dark Order attempt to leave, Orange Cassidy appears in the ring and dives onto The Creepers, his signature hands in pockets until Best Friends give him a hug. Considering Cassidy’s connection to Chuck, this may be a new addition to the team!
Riho vs. Hikaru Shida
Two great wrestlers here, showing their ring-knowledge and selling the struggle throughout. Riho does a great job making Hikaru Shida look strong here, which isn’t hard since Riho weighs under a hundred pounds. The referee missed a rope break here since Shida pulled Riho to the center afterwards, but JR called him out. The fact that this wasn’t milked by Shida at all shined a light on this botch.
Riho wins with a spinning roll-up on Shida for the win
Move of the Match: She may have repeated it, but Riho’s flying stomp while Shida was on the ring apron looked brutal!
Post-match, Nyla Rose comes out for a stare-down. Riho is up to the challenge and these two will meet next time for the women’s championship!
Cody Rhodes vs. Shawn Spears
Shawn Spears milked his entrance, holding the chair he hit Cody Rhodes with at Fyter Fest. Tully Blanchard follows him down the ramp and accompanies him ringside, his history with the Rhodes family making this event even more impactful. Though this entrance was great, Cody continues to show his nerd side and tops his last entrance, this time wearing a sleeveless shirt that resembles a Starfleet Captain’s uniform. DDP, MJF, and Brandi show p in uniforms as well, with Brandi rocking a Seven of Nine onesie. Cody picks MJF to stay at ringside, a good choice even if I would have gone with Pharaoh the dog.
Before the match even starts, Cody takes Spears into the crowd for some punishment. Shortly after they return to the ring, Blanchard interferes with Cody as MJF distract the referee early on in the match, allowing Spears a cheap shot. MJF continued to interfere in the match in Spears’ favor but it wasn’t clear if this was just by accident or to ensure Spears’ momentum. Cody hit the Cross Rhodes and would have won but Tully Blanchard distracted the ref by entering the ring. MJF met him inside the ring and the two have a short scuffle before Arn Anderson comes in to stop Blanchard and allow the match to continue without interference.
Cody Rhodes wins with a Cross Rhodes on Spears with a steel chair, echoing revenge from Fyter Fest!
Move of the Match: Spears dropping Rhodes onto the ramp with a rolling fireman’s carry
AAA Tag Team Championship: Lucha Brothers (c) vs. The Young Bucks
Fighting in an Escalera de la Muerte, a ladder match, the two teams put everything on the line in this match. Warming up with each team trading bumps before moving onto some amazing high spots. The ladders allowed for some great height and spills through multiple tables, possibly injuring Nick as he fell from a ladder in the ring onto a table at ringside. The Bucks and Lucha Brothers have had many matches and this was probably their best one, becoming more and more creative with their use of ladders and tables. Each team looked very strong until the end with The Young Bucks putting the Lucha Brothers over and doing the J-O-B.
Lucha Brothers win by retrieving the belts after laying The Young Bucks out
Move of the Match: Pentagon being put into a sharpshooter/crossface by The Young Bucks
Post Match: Two masked wrestlers came in and attacked The Young Bucks before revealing themselves to be Santana and Ortiz, LAX! A great addition to the AEW roster and showing how much tag teams will matter here as they move to TNT!
AEW World Championship: Chris Jericho vs. Adam “Hangman” Page
Page shows up on a horse and is ready for a fight, even rushing through his normal pre-match routine. Jericho in contrast takes his time coming to the ring and takes in the crowd reaction. I’m a bit shocked that Jericho didn’t get as big of a reaction as Page but this may be due to it being over four hours into the show. The fact that the crowd hasn’t left after this amount of time shows how great Hangman and Jericho truly are.
Kicking off the match, Jericho makes Page work for every move, taunting him and hamming it up for the crowd. He is a true veteran and shows it in-ring, not just with his moves but with his pacing and storytelling. Jericho continued to strut and play up to the crowd as he dominated Page. Finally, Page started to bring in some offense and stopped Jericho’s momentum for a moment before Jericho put Page into the Walls of Jericho. Page reversed this and began to elbow Jericho and give him some color. AEW is showing they know when blood can elevate a story and in this case, it did; Jericho bleeding from a similar spot to where Page was hit over a month ago.
I could go on and on about the back and forth, how natural it felt, but that would just be self indulgent. Multiple false finishes that each had a natural pace and didn’t seem forced or rushed. This is storytelling in wrestling and these men and the best.
Jericho hits the Judas Effect on Hangman Page and pins him for the win, becoming the first AEW Champion!
Move of the Match: Hangman’s Rite of Passage being reversed into the Walls of Jericho
Thought Jericho is a veteran and a huge pull, I think they should have put Hangman over on this one. I’m sure we’ll see a rematch and/or a triple threat with MJF in the future but Jericho needs to put these guys over to show AEW’s new blood is strong and can carry the franchise.
With the pre-show, this clocked in at almost five hours but there weren’t many lulls along the way. This showed AEW’s strength and that they can keep up with the boys in Connecticut (cough, cough.. WWE). I look forward to seeing them on TNT and the competition to build!
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