All Out and all the images you see I this recap are owned by All Elite Wrestling and Shahid Khan
Well here it is! After months of trial and error, big announcements, and no real response from WWE, it’s the last show before the AEW experiment goes to prime time television! Starting in October we will be getting a weekly show from them on TBS and while I doubt they could IMMEDIATELY crash and burn considering how much money there is behind them, it’s still something of a risky venture to go into Vince’s backyard and try to claim a piece for yourself. WCW failed, TNA failed, and the other guys just kept off of TV altogether. It’s kind of a big deal, but we’re not really here to talk about all that! We’re here to find out if this show had any good wrestling on it and if it’s worth your time and money to see it! Can AEW end their PPV run on a high note as they head to the big leagues, or will this end up as a foreboding vision of things to come? Let’s find out, and we’ll start with the pre-show!!
Casino Battle Royale
We start the night off with another Casino Battle Royale, but unlike the one in Double or Nothing this one is with the women’s division. What IS like last time however are the overly complicated rules for how the groups are populated and ordered which amount to absolutely nothing because we don’t end up seeing the process; just the result. With WWE’s Royal Rumble, they don’t make a big deal out of it and just make it a simple lottery system which is easy enough to get across to an audience but also allows for a bit of drama and tension as well; especially if someone tries to cheat it. The wrestlers here have to draw from a “special deck” but we don’t see the drawing which determines their group, and apparently the don’t determine the group order prior to the match; they shuffle the deck right when the timer goes off and whatever suit is selected goes next. Again, we don’t actually SEE anyone draw a card to determine the next group, but I like to imagine Cody’s in the back after having called 2 suits and has to pick the third one, but he keeps getting the first two suits over and over and over again until half the deck is on the floor before a new one comes up. See, THAT might have justified this nonsense! Anyway, that’s all rather immaterial as it basically boils down to a staggered Battle Royale match, so how is it? Well I think the problem here is that it’s a Battle Royale that FEELS like it should be paced like a Royal Rumble because of those staggered entrances which are the defining feature of a Royal Rumble. Sure a Royal Rumble can go on for a rather long time which is whole PPVs are built around them, but the benefit is that the pacing allows for multiple storylines to play out in the ring. Contrast that with a Battle Royale which are MUCH better for pre-shows where everyone is in the ring at the start and it usually devolves into chaos until the last five or so competitors are left. The latter is basically what happens here; it’s not until everyone has made it to the ring that it stops being about random spots and constant eliminations to play out into something more substantive; all of which is fine, but the fact they stagger the entrances makes it feel like more should be happening throughout. It also isn’t helped by the camera work which missed a few eliminations, and while I would normally cut them some slack considering how chaotic this was (some of the more prominent wrestlers got thrown out with little fanfare during other team’s entrances), this is a problem that ended up persisting throughout the entire show and I’ll make sure to point it out when it happened during other matches.
Fight for the Fallen and all the images you see I this recap are owned by All Elite Wrestling and Shahid Khan
We’re back for Part 3 of the AEW saga which will hopefully be better than Alien 3, but probably not as good as Back to the Future Part 3. Will it be better than the last PPV Fyter Fest? Well we’ll find out soon enough, but can I point out that twice in a row now they’ve given these shows out away FOR FREE which, even with the TNT deal approaching fast, STILL feels like it’s riding the line between confidence and foolishness. All I’m saying is that I came to peace with having to pay money for these things, and it’s feeling kind of weird that the moment I do they decide to give them away! I’m usually not that lucky with these kinds of things, but I guess I’ll ride this no charge train until it derails!
So before we get started, let’s talk about the setup of the show itself. There’s a slight change to the ring here in that there’s a ramp leading directly to it rather than a ramp to the outside where they have to then climb in. At first I wasn’t sure if I liked the idea of a raised platform on the outside of the ring, but I never noticed it hindering anyone and they managed to sue it effectively a few times throughout. The open air theater is fine even if I’m usually not a big fan of it as natural lighting feels a bit dull, but they do it late in the day so most of the matches are at night under controlled lighting anyway so it works out fine and it ends up feeling like a casual affair rather than a full on Double or Nothing production. It’s good that they kept things on a much lighter note here because I’ll tell you right now, this is the worst show they’ve done so far even if it’s still a solid wrestling program. We’ll get to why soon enough, but if it has an edge over Fyter Fest they at least set the tone right with this almost picnic vibe to keep it all feeling more casual. That also extends to the announce table though as our three announcers feel like they’ve regressed back to Double or Nothing; struggling to find things to talk about; especially in the lower key matches that really could have used the boost. Matches like, just for example… the first one on the preshow!
Peter Avalon “The Librarian” vs Sonny Kiss
“The Librarian” is accompanied to the ring by Leva Bates “The Librarian”
First things first! The last time we saw Sunny Kiss was when he was shoving her butt into Tommy Dreamers face back in the Double or Nothing Battle Royale and on top of that, I referred to him as a woman. I did in fact assume their gender and it turns out that I was wrong. According to a tweet from Sonny Kiss, he uses He/Him pronouns so I will use those going forward. ANYWAY! The Librarians have gotten quite a bit of flak in the short amount of time and while I DO appreciate what they’re going for and just how much heat they’re willing to take from the audience, I honestly I don’t think this match is doing them much favors. First major problem is that Peter Avalon shouldn’t take off his librarian costume. Wearing traditional wrestling trunks as he does in this match, he looks like a dork and not in the good way. Certain heel gimmicks need to carry into the ring for them to work; particularly ones where the gimmick is that they are not in fact wrestlers. Just look at Baron Corbin who is a pretty effective heel and never takes off his “manger” outfit when he’s in the ring, at least as far I’ve seen, and it helps convey his status as a sniveling authority figure. Sonny Kiss on the other hand projects style, grace, and attitude through every costume choice, every move he makes in the ring, and every appeal to the audience whenever Peter’s on the ground. I think the gimmick can work, but there’s certainly room left to tweak it.