The cathedral of pro wrestling, Chicago, Illinois, will play host to All Elite Wrestling’s (AEW) final PPV event before their huge TV deal begins in October, as it presents All Out. The first ever AEW Champion will be crowned as the veteran Chris Jericho, the man who claims credit for the creation of AEW as a whole, faces off against the country strong Hangman Adam Page. Jericho has been wrestling for longer than the Hangman has been alive, but it will be much more than a case of experience versus youth in the first ever battle for AEWs top title. The AAA Tag Team Championships will be on the line as long-time rivals The Lucha Bros (Pentagon Jr. and Rey Fenix) defend against the Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) in an Escalera De La Muerte Ladder Match for the belts. With Jon Moxley forced to pull out of his landmark match with Kenny Omega, Omega will now instead face the Bastard of Dragon Gate, PAC, while one of AEWs flagbearers, Cody, will battle Shawn Spears in a very personal grudge match. All of this and much more At AEW All Out.
+ Adam Page vs Chris Jericho (AEW World Championship): this was a Jericho masterclass in playing the shithead bad guy to a crowd that refused to hate him. Hangman was great at times, but this match was led by Jericho at almost every turn. Aubrey Edwards was the third star of this match, and played off both competitors perfectly. As far as main events go, the crowd was into it and I think the right man won, for this new company to have a champion to be proud of
+ Lucha Bros (Pentagón Jr. & Rey Fénix) (c) vs The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson) (Ladder Match for the AAA World Tag Team Championships): I was absolutely ready to tear this to pieces, because it was an incredibly choreographed spot-fest… but I soon found myself sitting on the edge of my seat, praying to the Macho Man above to protect these men from dying on live TV. Tables, ladders, Mexican Destroyers, piledrivers, superkicks and any other shenanigans you can imagine were on display here, and if keeping viewers invested is the main aim, then this succeeded in spades
+ Riho vs Hikaru Shida: Riho is adorable, but I’ve only seen Shida in one other match, the six-woman tag from the earlier AEW show. This was okay, but nothing particularly special
+ Best Friends (Chuck Taylor & Trent Beretta) vs The Dark Order (Evil Uno & Stu Grayson): I am not entirely sold on the Dark Order as a faction, complete with their own little mooks, but this match helped me out. The Best Friends are going to be a staple going forward, either as singles competitors, tag partners or if they can find a partner (WINK WINK). There was some sort of ‘winner gets a bye in an upcoming tournament’ deal, but frankly, having to win a match to get a bye in a tournament we don’t know the bracket for meant this was essentially just a tournament match itself
+ Kenny Omega vs PAC: this was very, very good, but never quite reached ‘great’. I have always been a PAC fan, even his not great run at the end of his WWE tenure, but Pac as the Bastard King is something I think any company would want to have in the long term. One early counter had me gasp out loud, and the way both men kept hitting the barricades on their outside dives made me cringe and fear the worst. Nonetheless, with a bigger build and perhaps some higher stakes, this could be a huge rematch in the future
+ A Small Boy, a Boy and His Dinosaur (Marko Stunt, Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus) vs SoCal Uncensored (Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, & Scorpio Sky): Luchasaurus may have the best entrance video in wrestling history. SCU are trusted with the opening slot for good reason, and against a team of up-and-comers, this was about what you’d expect. The Jurassic Express trio got some good spotlight, and the SCU team did what makes them such a good team, and overall this was another solid, if not particularly crazy start to the show
+ Private Party (Isiah Kassidy & Marq Quen) vs Angélico & Jack Evans: I’ve never actually seen Private Party wrestle before, and I was impressed. The Street Profit comparisons are obvious, it just so happens both guys are like Montez Ford; super athletic and capable to incredible hang time when they fly. Angelico and Evans are just fantastic as ever, with Evans in particular still so good even as he gets on in years. This was a little bit sloppy when they attempted too much, but overall pretty damn good
– Cody vs Shawn Spears (w/ Tully Blanchard): maybe I am missing something, but this was absolutely nothing to me. Tully was the best part of this match by a very wide margin, and I’ll be happy not seeing these two face off again
– Darby Allin vs Joey Janela vs Jimmy Havoc: it’s a simple fact that one day, at least one of these three are going to kill themselves either in the ring, or diving off a part of the ring. I enjoyed the spectacle, but Janela and Allin in particular, but yes, still Havoc as well, are going to run this style of wrestling into the ground if they do these throwaway, dangerous matches on every major show
– Casino Royale: this was pretty sloppy for the most part, but thankfully these battle royales don’t need to be pretty. By the time Ivelisse, Tenille Dashwood, Awesome Kong and Jazz (!) arrived, things got a bit cleaner (though not literally, because ODB was there too). Unfortunately, the final five or six competitors were not the great workers, and overall this was not particularly good
> the pyro scaring Cody’s dog made him the biggest bad guy on the whole show for me. Poor Pharaoh.
Should you watch this event: Following the Fight for the Fallen event, and the awkward way it went off the air, this was a much more professionally timed, booked and especially worked wrestling show. The crowd was loud and lively all throughout the show, even for the matches I personally didn’t care for. Omega/PAC, the main event title match but especially the Lucha/Bucks match will be ones to be remembered for a long time to come.