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.
Fyter Fest and all the images you see I this recap are owned by All Elite Wrestling and Shahid Khan
We’re back with another PPV brought to you by the throne smashers themselves, AEW! Things have certainly changed since Double or Nothing, haven’t they? For one, WWE has completely lost the plot from what I’ve heard and responded to AEW with nonsense, bad story lines, and an overabundance of Shane McMahon. With their primary rival of sorts doing such a poor job of responding to the new challenger, which is surprising in its own right, it only got stranger when AEW announced that THIS PPV would be completely free; a move that still baffles me considering how successful they’ve been up to this point. Sure, Double or Nothing MIGHT have been a bit pricey at fifty bucks, but they could have at least charged twenty or even ten for it which would have gotten them a heck of a lot more money than ZERO! I guess TBS and the Khan family have the money to throw around, and I’m not about to complain TOO much about not having to pay for a show like this. The bigger question is what’s different in this show and have they improved since Double or Nothing? Eh… sort of. As far as commentary, Excalibur has improved but JR still sounds a bit rusty and out of touch; especially when he referred to Cima as “an Oriental.” I mean look, we can argue about how much of a slur that is or whether JR has any genuine ill feelings about Asian wrestlers (and I can think of WAY worse people they could have gotten as an announcer where the answer to those questions wouldn’t even be debatable), but it really does make him seem like an awkward fit for what is supposed to be a very modern and forward thinking wrestling company. While the announcing has improved, sadly the camera work still has a few rough patches that will hopefully get ironed out before they go to TV. I only mentioned this very briefly in my last recap, but the editing sometimes misses spots or more often will miss whenever there’s drama at the end of a match. Someone does a low blow, someone else enters the ring, stuff like that will almost go by unnoticed because whoever is running the cameras is focusing on something else an nearly misses the action. Again, this is the kind of thing that can be easily fixed with experience and I’m not gonna begrudge them this learning curve, but it is even more noticeable here than it was last time. In fact, I’d say that’s the overall vibe I’m getting from Fyter Fest. It’s still really good stuff, but I think the high from Double or Nothing has started to wear off and so it’s easier to see and evaluate its flaws. The big one that MOSTLY stayed in the pre-show but kept coming back to annoy me was the show’s theme where they didn’t JUST name it after something topical but had to do little skits to make sure we ALL KNOW that they saw the documentaries too. Kenny Omega is trying to find instruments for bands that don’t exist, The Young Bucks lost their luggage and need to find new costumes, and they even brought models out before swiftly replacing them with mannequins. It all just felt so corny and unnecessary when they could have used that time to put up a few promos for the matches which frankly were desperately needed as many of them seemed to have a story but one that we weren’t informed of ahead of time. Let’s put all that aside though and just focus on the matches! So how did the pre-show kick things off?
Six-man Tag Team Match
Private Party: Isiah Kassidy and Marq Quen
vs. SoCal Uncensored: Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky (Schuyler Andrews)
vs. Best Friends: Chuck Taylor and Trent Beretta
There’s a lot going on in this first match which is good because you want to get the crowd on board right away so they can carry that energy for the rest of the show. We’ve got Private Party as the newcomers who I think AEW is trying to push as future superstars of the company considering they got a whole episode of Road to Fyter Fest dedicated to them. We’ve got two thirds of SCU who had one of the best matches in all of Double or Nothing, and while I wasn’t really impressed with The Best Friends last time (definitely a victim of the last show running long), they get a pretty good pop from the crowd so I was willing to give them another chance. The only thing that I didn’t like right off the bat was the fact that this was a Triple Threat tag match and they always use this weird rule where only two compeitors can be in the ring at a time; leaving one team to just sit on the sidelines while the other two actually fight. I don’t understand why they don’t have one member of each team in the ring like say… an ACTUAL Triple Threat, but we’ll get back to this later on in the match. For now, I just want to point out that everyone in this looks great and does some very impressive acrobatics! SCU continues to be the best tag team as far as I’m concerned as they can take already impressive wrestlers like Private Party and Best Friends and make them look even better than they already are! There’s this really impressive spot where Isiah Kassidy and Marq Quen go back to back on Kassiran in beautiful and brutal fashion! If I could say one thing about the match it’s that it FEELS a bit too much like an exhibition; like everyone is here to help the other team show off their moves instead of win the fight, but frankly that’s a rather minor complaint when the moves are THIS impressive!