All Elite Wrestling (AEW) is back in front of a sold out crowd as it presents the first of two nights of action known as the annual Fyter Fest event. Night one, coming live from the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Texas features two championships matches and the first ever Coffin Match in AEW history. In the main event, Darby Allin will face off with long time rival “All Ego” Ethan Page where the only way to win will be to place your opponent inside a wooden coffin and slam the lid shut.
+ Darby Allin vs Ethan Page (Coffin Match): this was fantastic. It is my opinion that Fenix vs Mil Muertes in the first Grave Consequences match on Lucha Underground is the single best casket/coffin match in wrestling history, but this was damn close. It’s hard to get a scale of how big Ethan Page is when he’s surrounded by other wrestlers, but when he’s against a smaller guy like Darby, Page can just toss him around like a sack of potatoes. Darby is insane, though, and his sometimes literal life or death shenanigans turned this from a great to excellent match
+ Yuka Sakazaki vs Penelope Ford: there was a strange period in the middle where it looks like Penelope was hurt, but overall I really enjoyed this. Yuka was crazy popular to the live crowd, though I personally have a soft spot for Penelope – hot damn, what a woman, both in looks and wrestling ability. Aside from that awkward middle section, this was a good match
+ Sammy Guevara vs Wheeler Yuta (w/ Orange Cassidy & Chuck Taylor): Sammy Guevara was like a god to these hometown Texas fans. I’m still relatively new to my exposure to Yuta, but he was so smooth and accurate in all of his movements that I think he could be something really big. This was a Sammy showcase more or less, but hot damn it was a lot of fun
+ Hangman Page responds to Kenny Omega: this was a long segment, and one that I think tricked the fans into thinking they were getting something on this show rather than in the future, but I still really liked it. I have not been behind a title challenger like I am for Hangman page in quite some time, and I know the match is going to be something special
+ Jon Moxley (c) vs Karl Anderson (IWGP United Stated Heavyweight Championship): the kicked off the show and the crowd was bonkers for the whole thing, and it goes to show the effect a live crowd can have on an already good wrestling match. Anderson has always been an underrated worker, in my opinion, and he was able to carry Moxley between the big spots – not that Moxley needs it, just that after time off for the birth of his first child I was expecting him to be a bit off. I was wrong
+ all throughout the show, this crowd was absolutely on fire. I have missed the chants, real reactions and everything. The WWE Thunderdome was interesting, but it just can’t compare to the real thing
– Matt Hardy vs Christian Cage: this was good, but never really kicked into being great. It’s not a slight on either man in particular, but I think the simple fact that this is such a non-AEW match on paper automatically made it something I don’t really want to see. Matt is best as a manager, and while Christian is still great in the ring, I don’t think it’s controversial to say his best days are behind him. At least this is now over with
– Brian Cage (c) vs Ricky Starks (FTW Championship): win, lose, or draw, you have to believe that Brian Cage was not long to remain in Team Taz. This was not very good, and a lot of that seemed to be on Cage as he mistimed some of the bigger moments. This built up to bigger things, but truthfully I felt it hard to get into, despite how insanely popular one of the guys was
Should you watch this event: This first live show back in front of crowds was incredible. The atmosphere from the beginning to the end was something special, and every match, even those listed as negatives above, are probably worth watching if you just view this show in its entirety. It’s an easy two hours, well worth your time.