This is the third straight week of PPVs, and to be honest, I’m glad we get a break next weekend. All Out wasn’t bad — it was pretty enjoyable, but sometimes certain things just overshadow the rest of the PPV and that Matt Hardy incident was a hard one to look away from. But how did the rest of the PPV shape up?
Serpentico vs. Joey Janela: Serpentico has been a good jobber on AEW Dark and I’m happy to see him getting some PPV time. I’ve also noticed that Joey has seemed to improve from when he first started at AEW. Serpentico had a great showing — that high flying knee was amazing, and boy, does he get some height on his jumps. They’re giving him PPV time, even if it’s the pr-eshow, that that seems extremely promising for him. I’m excited for Sonny and Joey to be pushed more in the future as well.
Dark Order vs. Private Party: It’s been a while since we’ve seen Private Party on Dynamite, so it was nice to see them. The pace of the match was set pretty quick. Excellent arm drags at the start and some impressive, fast-paced sequences really made this a fun spot fest to watch. There was good work of isolating Cassidy in the beginning of the match that made that hot tag really feel earned.
I do think the commentary team needs to do a better job highlighting stuff like that throughout the match, though. It was the entirety of the first half of the match and the commentary team made only a passing reference to it after he was able to get the hot tag.
Dr. Britt Baker, DMD vs. Big Swole (Tooth and Nail Match): This was a pretty silly match, in a cheesy and fun way. Swole and Britt both have great personalities that play off each other well and I love their dynamic. This particular match was fun, although it felt a bit sloppy. I think that is mostly due to the environment they were in.
The small confines of the hallways made it seem a bit awkward as they tried to maneuver around and it’s clear they had to be careful in some of the rooms. But it didn’t detract from the match much, because the overt silliness of the match made these issues feel a bit more like it was part of the aesthetic. I would have preferred that those issues weren’t there but it wasn’t that big of a deal.
The match could have gone on a bit longer, however — I felt like there could have been some fun things to explore, for instance Britt stalking Swole at the beginning like she was a killer from a horror movie. Also, just gotta say, Reba is doing an excellent job. Please, more of Reba.
Young Bucks vs. Jurassic Express: I like the Bucks’ ability to shift over to heel when need be and play into the subtleties of their more heelish, arrogant sides. It never feels out of character, and it especially makes sense in this context that they would be frustrated and upset about what was going on with Hangman. The actual match itself kind of took a backseat story wise to how The Bucks are taking out their frustration from the Hangman situation.
Jurassic Express seems like a team that just is one level above jobbers. They are beloved enough to get over and are able to win some matches because of this, but they have never won anything meaningful and don’t seem to be able to win any feuds. I am hoping to see them have something substantial in the near future.
The match itself was great. Lots of fun high spots, fast paced action, and so many intense sequences. It was a good match for its place on the card.
Casino Battle Royale: For battle royals this one was… well… kinda boring. Don’t get me wrong, it was still fun, but as far as battle royals go it was one I will forget about quickly. AEW seems to have an issue with stories during their battle royals and knowing how much time to spend on each individual engagement. Their first one at Double or Nothing was fun primarily because it was in large part a comedy match. They seem lost with how to do a battle royal without relying on comedy. And honestly, I wouldn’t mind if they did add in a bit more comedy into things.
Matt Sydal botching was probably the most memorable part of the match, which is saying a lot. I feel for him. But since he did seem like he recovered and didn’t seem hurt, I gotta admit I did laugh. Hopefully it won’t define him in AEW. They could easily work the botch into his character in a way that isn’t just “bumbling idiot”. I am excited for him and I hope it’s something we can move past because he is so much fun to watch.
Sammy Guevara vs. Matt Hardy (Broken Rules Match): This was the most awkward and terrible thing. It was honestly terrifying. I can’t say I blame anyone; however, Matt for sure shouldn’t have fought through that. There was no salvaging the match after that botch. I respect Matt trying to fight through it in so far as I can understand his frustration and wanting to do the rest of the match. But holy crap he should not have done that. It didn’t salvage anything — it just made it harder to watch. We should have shown him standing up to show us he wasn’t dead and good enough to stand then just end the match. I hope Matt recovers.
Thunder Rosa vs. Shida (c) (AEW Women’s World Championship): This was a good match and I enjoyed it, but it was just hard to get over what had just happened. It was overshadowed by the complete mess that was the match before.
That’s shame, because as I said, it was good match. There were one or two moments where I felt like there were some miscommunications but perhaps I was just hyper aware of things at this point in the PPV. But oh my god! Those back breakers that both women pulled off looked devastating and there were some flurries of exchanges that were spectacular.
I rewatched this match the morning as I edited this and it absolutely was great, just simply overshadowed by what happened before it. It’s a shame, too, because Thunder Rosa is absolutely talented, and I would love to see more of her in AEW.
Dark Order vs. Nightmare Family: After the women’s match acted as a palette cleanser (and after another drink), I was able to start getting back into this PPV. I gotta say, QT Marshall was the highlight of the first part of this match. Yeah, he got utterly wrecked, but man it took skill to sell some of those hits.
This match felt more like it would be on an episode of Dynamite, though. That isn’t necessarily a knock against it — not every match in a PPV is some grand culmination of a plot. But it for how much they were hyping this match up, it felt more like a filler match than anything.
I would have preferred that the Dark Order get the win and maintain their momentum. There doesn’t seem to be any reason to give the win to the Nightmare Family — it does nothing for them, and only hurts Dark Order. That being said, this was probably the best way of doing it. It does a great job furthering Colt’s extremely interesting plot with the Dark Order, although I gotta say I am absolutely terrified for him having to face Brodie Lee’s wrath next BTE/Dynamite.
FTR vs. Kenny Omega and Adam “Hangman” Page (AEW Tag Team Championship): This match already felt so emotional going in with the anger and distrust between Kenny and Hangman. The amount of story and character that has been invested in this match has been amazing. While the match started fast, it slowed down quickly. Normally I get extremely bored during slower matches with submission after submission, but when you have this amount of emotion and build to a match it honestly only makes things better.
However…. most of the match FTR was in complete control and it was just submission after submission. The few bits of offense Kenny/Page got in was often cut short, thus forcing us to go back to watching more submissions. At a certain point it becomes too much and the match never really felt like it got going. With the emotion that was behind this match that’s not a bad thing, but since it was all just mostly an extremely slow and methodical match I would have cut the time down by five or eight minutes.
I also absolutely loved the ending, where the ultimate betrayal wasn’t so big beat down but just Kenny not being there for Hangman. It was a much more emotional moment and it was extremely well earned.
Chris Jericho vs. Orange Cassidy (Mimosa Mayhem Match): This match was everything it needed to be. Light-hearted but tense. Despite how silly it was, it felt perfect for these two wrestlers who are just as silly in a lot of ways. It wasn’t a showstopper, but it was absolutely fun. I think this is a perfect match to show someone who enjoys cheesy fun things and is looking at getting into wrestling.
I am wondering where they go with Cassidy at this point, though. They’ve established him as someone who can fight, someone who has pinned the legendary Chris Jericho multiple times in AEW, so they can’t just have him do nothing now. But they can’t have him just suddenly be someone who wrestles normally, either — he has to maintain his gimmick. Perhaps they will give him some small feuds for a couple months where he loses but makes it obvious he lost just because he doesn’t care? Only to come out kicking for his next major feud. I don’t know, we shall see.
MJF vs. Jon Moxley (c) (AEW World Championship): This match had a good build to it but I honestly wasn’t that excited for it. It didn’t feel like any big personal match, nor did I think in any way that MJF would win. I think I would have swapped this match for the tag match, honestly. It was also extremely late by the time this match came around and I was pretty worn out. So I wasn’t expecting to like the match as it began.
And yet, it was a Mox match and MJF is pretty good in the ring as well so as it began I found myself interested in it regardless of everything it had going against it. I wouldn’t say I loved it, but it was an engaging match and I honestly cringed in pain every time MJF targeted that arm of Moxley.
The ending was very smart: it gives MJF something to complain about and to claim that he wasn’t pinned fairly, thus is still unpinned in AEW. I expect MJF to cut a promo about it in the next week or two before he finds his next feud. My one complaint with him is that he relies on cheating too much. Most of his wins are from cheating and thus he doesn’t feel like a legitimate threat. They need to start building him up as someone who can win but will cheat just as part of his larger arsenal, much like Undisputed Era when they held their titles.
The Verdict: If we ignore that Hardy/Guevara match, All Out was a decent PPV. Not up to AEW’s usual standards, but still entertaining. It did drag on a bit too long into the night, which didn’t help, and while the first couple matches were fun I wouldn’t call them amazing by any stretch. And the fact is we can’t ignore the shadow that the Hardy incident left on the PPV. All things considered, it was fun, but other than the Mimosa Mayhem match I probably won’t be revisiting this PPV ever again.
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