Wrestling Review: AEW All Out (2021)

There is no doubt about it: All Out All Elite Wrestling’s (AEW) biggest event yet. Every championship in the company will be on the line, a legend returns to the ring, and one of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s (NJPW) former champions makes his AEW debut. In the main event, the World Champion of All Elite Wrestling, Kenny Omega, will defend his gold against his long-time rival, Christian Cage. Cage recently became the first man to pin Kenny Omega since Omega won the title, and in the process claimed the Impact World Championship, but when the AEW World Title is on the line, Omega will prove just why he is the Best Bout Machine in the world of professional wrestling. Omega’s Elite team members, the brothers Matt and Nick Jackson, will also be defending their gold, however they will be inside of a steel cage when The Young Bucks face off with another pair of brothers, Rey Fenix and Penta El Cero Miedo, collectively the Lucha Bros. This match promises to be violent, but more importantly it promises to be contested fairly, as none of The Elite’s stooges will be able to interfere. But for the live crowd in Chicago, arguably no match holds more importance than the return to in ring competition of their own Second City Saint, the Chicago Made legend himself, CM Punk. After seven long years, CM Punk returns to wrestling action when he faces young and fearless Darby Allin, who has promised that he will defeat CM Punk in Chicago, or die trying.

Regarding the TNT Championship, Miro has claimed to be God’s Favourite Champion, and he will be facing his toughest challenge to date when he walks through hell with The Mad King, Eddie Kingston. Kingston claims to know Miro’s weakness, and has made no secret that he will target Miro’s neck en route to winning the title, but Miro has promised the world that he will redeem Eddie Kingston, and bury him in the dirt. In the women’s division, two massive matches will lay the groundwork for the future of the company: in one match, Dr Britt Baker, D.M.D. will defend her championship against Kris Statlander, the challenger whom has gone undefeated since returning from injury in the middle of 2020. Baker’s rise to superstardom has been well documented as Baker went from broken leg to Baddest Bitch on the Block, but Statlander’s power and strength advantage is not to be underestimated. But whoever wins that championship match will have to be prepared for anything, as the 21-Woman Casino Battle Royale will see a new number one contender crowned. The Casino Battle Royale has seen surprises, debuts and shocks almost every time it has occurred, and tonight promises to be no exception. But one thing is sure, AEW is the place to be for any woman wanting to test herself in the world of professional wrestling.

But even with no championships on the line, there is a lot going on in All Elite Wrestling. For Chris Jericho, it could mean the end of his in-ring career, as he faces MJF one more time in The Final Fight. With three previous losses to MJF, Chris Jericho has vowed that if he is unable to defeat MJF this time, Jericho will retire from in-ring competition. For MJF, it’s one more win and no more Chris Jericho. Jon Moxley has been on the warpath through two companies, AEW and NJPW, but it may all come to a screeching halt as he faces the NJPW and All Japan Pro Wrestling legend, Satoshi Kojima. And after months of bullying and harassment from QT Marshall towards announcer (and 63-year-old man) Tony Schiavone, Paul Wight (formerly known as The Big Show) has come to Schiavone’s aid and will face QT Marshall in a fight. And all of the action will begin with a huge 10-Man tag team match on the Buy In, as Jurassic Express teams with the Best Friends to face the Hardy Family Office.

+ Kenny Omega (c) (w/ Don Callis) vs Christian Cage (AEW World Championship): there was a lot of debate about what match should go on last, and this was the right decision (for several reasons). Omega is still one of the best wrestlers in the world, even with his clearly injured body, and Christian Cage has been one of the most underrated guys for years, and that was before he got this rugged veteran thing happening. From a wild table bump to a perfectly timed finisher, to the crazy finish and aftermath, this was the best way you could possibly have ended the PPV
+ CM Punk vs Darby Allin: there were a lot of unanswered questions before this match kicked off, and frankly I think it started slowly as both a way to appear like it wasn’t going to go great, and to let Punk get back into his groove. Once it did kick into second gear, this absolutely became something special, with at least three moments that had me grinning like a bloody idiot. I’m an unashamed CM Punk fan, and have been for many years now, so I was a bit emotional when this began, and by the end it was absolutely worth the wait
+ Chris Jericho vs MJF (The Final Fight): one entrance was absolutely fantastic, and the other really did fall a bit flat. This was not a match of the year, but the Jericho stipulation added to the match because the crowd was hanging on every single pin attempt, submission or disqualification tease. There was some shenanigans that I think may have been a bit too cute for what the match was going for, but it was not enough to detract from this overall
+ The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson) (c) vs Lucha Bros (Penta El Cero Miedo & Rey Fenix) (Steel Cage Match for the AEW Tag Team Championships): this was the match of the year. Full stop. Fenix is one of the best wrestlers on the planet right now and it’s not even close, and the things he is willing to do to himself are spectacular, but all four men deserve credit. I can’t hype this up enough, it was too good for words
+ Dr Britt Baker D.M.D. (c) vs Kris Statlander (AEW Women’s World Championship): Statlander is really good, in fact I’d say a better wrestler than Baker, but Baker’s connection to the audience, despite being the bad guy, is simply unparalleled. There were a lot of teases from Baker about someone else we should all expect in AEW sooner rather than later (bay bay), but Statlander had some fantatic offence of her own as well. It’s amazing what happens when you give these women, who can actually wrestle, the time to show it
+ Jon Moxley vs Satoshi Kojima: truthfully I’m not sure just how well-known Kojima was to the majority of this Chicago crowd, but Kojima is good enough to get them on his side, or against him, as required. This really was a New Japan style match, as the two destroyed each other with chops and lariats in good measure, and I think Moxley relished the chance to play a bit more of a bad guy against someone he clearly immensely respects. This was another really good match. And then, just… holy shit
+ Miro (c) vs Eddie Kingston (TNT Championship): Miro looks like an absolute monster, the way he can so easily lift and manhandle someone the size of Eddie Kingston. Kingston’s connection to the crowd is so hugely underappreciated, especially when compared to his friend and tag partner Jon Moxley. This kicked off the event once it went on the air properly, and the crowd was crazy for everything both guys did, and it made for a phenomenal atmosphere
+ Best Friends (Orange Cassidy, Chuck Taylor & Wheeler Yuta) & Jurassic Express (Luchasaurus & Jungle Boy) vs The HFO (Matt Hardy, Marq Quen, Isaiah Kassidy, Jack Evans & Angelico): this was a match mostly full of ‘flashy moves’ from both sides of the ledger, but everybody involved just looked fantastic, helped incredibly by the nuclear excited fans. Jungle Boy and Orange Cassidy were of course the heavy favourites, but even Luchasaurus, Matt Hardy and Jack Evans got fantastic reactions. And more than just the match was the aftermath, including one of my AEW favourites that has been MIA for a while now. This really did set the show up for something special

Paul Wight vs QT Marshall (w/ Aaron Solow & Nick Comaroto): this was exactly what it should have been, and exactly what you’d expect. It won’t win any awards, but it was what it was
21-Woman Casino Battle Royale: this match was a really mixed bag, mostly due to the fact that these sort of matches are always a bit wonky. This match was built around the “Joker” participant reveal, and while that was a big success, the rest of the match was a bit lacklustre. With competitors like Layla Hirsch, Tay Conti, Anna Jay, Thunder Rosa, Jamie Hayter and the surprise entrant, there was some good wrestling, but overall it was a bit of a mess. As always, a gauntlet or “scramble” match might be a better option

> with the removal of PAC/Andrade from the main card, the Women’s Casino Battle Royale was bumped to the main card. This did give rise to the 10-Man Tag on the Buy In. Previously, though, none of the HFO, Best Friends (especially Orange Cassidy) or Jurassic Express were on the card, nor was FTR, Dustin Rhodes, Dante Martin, Malakai Black or any of the Dark Order, Pinnacle or Inner Circle.

Should you watch this event: From start to finish, this was one of the absolute best PPV events I have seen. I only counted/can recall now two mistakes throughout every single match, and the four or so hours flew by to the point I am writing this at 3 am and am contemplating rewatching the whole thing.

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