All Elite Wrestling kicks off their two-week FYTER FEST extravaganza tonight, as the Wednesday Night Wars against WWE's black-and-yellow brand continues with Dynamite going head-to-head against NXT The Great American Bash this evening.
AllEliteWrestling.com released the following preview for tonight's show:
AEW Fyter Fest Night 1 Preview
We have arrived!
This Wednesday night, “FYTER FEST” comes to TNT for the first night of a two week extravaganza that will see every AEW championship defended plus incredible non-championship matches on tap as well! It will be two loaded weeks of “AEW DYNAMITE”, and it all kicks off July 1st at 8pm EST/7pm CST LIVE on TNT, and on AEWPlus.com for our international audience!
AEW TNT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Cody (w/ Arn Anderson) (c) vs. Jake Hager
This Wednesday night will mark 40 days as TNT Champion for Cody, 40 days since he bested “The Murderhawk Monster” Lance Archer to become the first-ever title holder. And in those forty days Cody has certainly made an impact on All Elite Wrestling.
On the first edition of “DYNAMITE” after capturing the title at “DOUBLE OR NOTHING”, Cody not only successfully defended the title against Jungle Boy, but he also declared that the TNT Championship was now an open challenge, and one he would honor every possible week. And honor it Cody did...
One week later Cody would defend the championship against Marq Quen, one-half of Private Party, and defeat the very game young competitor via submission. The following week, Cody walked into “DYNAMITE” with no idea who he would be defending his TNT Championship against, just who Coach Arn Anderson picked for the challenger. It would turn out to be former NWA TV Champion Ricky Starks, one of the hottest free agents in professional wrestling, who would step up to the plate and try to wrest the belt from Cody's grasp. Unfortunately for Starks, Cody would successfully defend the TNT Championship for the third straight week, and the final time before “FYTER FEST: NIGHT ONE”.
See, even though there was one more week of “DYNAMITE” between the Starks match and July 1st, there was already a threat looming in Cody's future that had to be addressed. Rewind to the aftermath of the Marq Quen title defense, and the arrival of The Inner Circle's Jake Hager onto the scene. Hager began to approach Cody but elected to lay hands on Arn Anderson rather than the exhausted TNT Champion. An enraged “American Nightmare” attempted to attack Hager but got dropped with a quickness. Matt Hardy, Quen, and Isiah Kassidy hit the ring to help Cody which in turn brought out The Inner Circle to join the fray. In the aftermath, Cody issued the verbal challenge to Hager's physical one and the TNT Title bout was set for “FYTER FEST”.
As seen in the video above from last week's “DYNAMITE”, a press conference was organized for the competitors, but Jake Hager could not be bothered to show up when scheduled, and when he finally did, the situation got ugly very quickly, in no small part thanks to Jake's wife Catalina.
With the collision set for this Wednesday night, Cody is faced with an opponent quite unlike the other men he has defended the TNT Championship against the last 40 days. The unchecked violent rage of Archer, the fiery athleticism of Jungle Boy, the high flying innovative Marq Quen, and the X-Factor that was Ricky Starks; none of them, despite their respective strengths, have the fighting pedigree of Jake Hager. He has been a champion throughout his wrestling career, he is an undefeated MMA fighter, and, according to AEW World Champion Jon Moxley, Jake hits harder than any man Mox has ever faced. And although Moxley did beat Hager, it was under the auspices of a No Holds Barred fight rather than a straight wrestling contest so one can't help but wonder what may have been in a traditional match situation...
Cody doesn't have the luxury of those rules, or lack thereof, for his match with Hager. And whatever pent up rage he still feels for Jake stemming back to the broken arm elder brother Dustin suffered before “FULL GEAR”, Cody has to set aside in order to focus on the athletic prowess his opponent brings to the table. And there is also the factor of The Inner Circle, and their potential involvement in his bout. They have certainly never hesitated to lend a hand to one another with the situation required, and with Chris Jericho joining in for commentary on Night One, as well as Santana and Ortiz in the house for their tag team match, the odds feel quite stacked against the defending champion. In contrast, as Cody noted prior to his match with Ricky Starks, the rest of The Elite was not exactly there when The Inner Circle assaulted him following the Marq Quen title defense, leaving him to wonder if he was still part of that group.
All of this will have to be put out of his mind if Cody hopes to survive “FYTER FEST” as the TNT Champion, and continue his quest to prove he is the absolute best wrestler in the game. If not, if he cannot maintain the fire that has gotten him this fire, Jake Hager will be bringing a championship to the Inner Circle.
AEW WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Kenny Omega & Hangman Page (c) vs. (#1) The Best Friends (Chuck Taylor & Trent)
Come game time on Wednesday night, Omega and Page will have reigned as champions for over 160 days. In that time, they have turned back the challenges of SCU, The Young Bucks, The Lucha Brothers, The SuperBad Death Squad, and, most recently, The Natural Nightmares on June 11th. It has been a rough road, both personally and professionally for the duo, but ever since they began teaming, Kenny and Hangman have managed to pull it together when that bell rings. As they stated in the video embedded above, they are not the best of friends, but they have proven to be the best of tag teams for nearly six months.
Conversely, Chuck Taylor and Trent are best friends, not just in their tag team moniker, but also outside the ring in their every day life. They have functioned as a cohesive tag team duo since 2013, competing all across the independent wrestling world, as well as in Japan, but for all their successes as a unit, there is one thing that has eluded Chuck and Trent no matter where they traveled.
A Tag Team Championship
One hundred and forty-four tag team matches in the Cagematch.net database, and The Best Friends have never been able to call themselves champions. They have faced, and defeated, the greatest teams of the last decade from all around the world, but championship success remains the albatrosses around their necks. But that was all in the past, that was all before All Elite Wrestling.
Here, on this day, Chuck and Trent are the number one ranked contenders for the World Tag Team Titles. They head into “FYTER FEST: NIGHT 1” on an eight match win streak, having won nine of their last ten fights, with their last loss taking place on March 18th. Just to name a few, they've beaten Kenny Omega in a match where he teamed with Michael Nakazawa, The Butcher and The Blade, The SuperBad Death Squad in a No DQ battle, Private Party to claim this title opportunity, and then Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara to secure it.
If you are a believer in momentum, it is very clearly on the side of The Best Friends given the roll they've been on the last three months, and what they went through with The Inner Circle to ensure this title match with Page and Omega. Will “FYTER FEST” be the night Trent and Chuck Taylor finally free themselves of the albatross and claim the World Tag Team Titles as their own? Or will their own personal curse live on while the championship reign of Page and Omega continues?
AEW WOMEN'S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Hikaru Shida (c) vs. (#2) Penelope Ford (w/ Kip Sabian)
2020 has been a banner year for both of the women in this match. An impressive win streak for Hikaru Shida would lead to a lengthy stay in the top spot of the Women's Rankings, and ultimately a Women's World Title Match against “The Native Beast” Nyla Rose at “Double or Nothing”. And while on paper the No Disqualification rules would seem to lean the bout in Rose's favor, it was Shida who would slay the beast to become the third AEW Women's World Champion! Come Wednesday night, she will be sitting at 40 days as the champion, but also with the knowledge that her opponent at “FYTER FEST” holds a pinfall victory over the champ.
And that victory Penelope Ford holds over Shida from June 10th, despite the questionable way in which it occurred in a tag team match, is just one example of how 2020 has been a tremendous year for Ford's profile as a wrestler. She holds a victory over Riho, the first Women's Champion, that took place shortly after Riho lost the championship. She has won her last three matches, including the aforementioned pin on Hikaru Shida, and nearly bested Kris Statlander at “DOUBLE OR NOTHING”. After only competing in a handful of AEW matches in 2019, Ford has stepped up as a singles competitor, proven she is in AEW to do more than just second fiancee Kip Sabian to the ring, and has her own designs on the Women's World Championship.
As seen in the video embedded above, the tension between the two women has already boiled over in advance of their title collision. What will happen once the match officially begins? Will the title run of Shida come to an end with her first defense, or will it be the beginning of a reign for the ages? Tune in Wednesday night to see if Ford pulls out the upset!
(#5) Private Party (Marq Quen & Isiah Kassidy w/ Matt Hardy) vs. Proud-n-Powerful (Santana & Ortiz)
Last week on “DYNAMITE”, Matt Hardy squeaked out a victory over Santana in a singles match but suffered for that victory with a vicious assault at the hands of both members of Proud-n-Powerful. It wasn't the first meeting between Damascus' vessel and these Inner Circle members, but it was certainly more vicious than previous encounters, and left Hardy a beaten man for the moment. If not for the intervention of his newfound proteges Private Party, who knows just how far Santana and Ortiz would have gone with their attack.
So it is this week during “FYTER FEST” that these four men will collide in tag team action, but with very different circumstances than their meeting way back in November on “DYNAMITE”. That meeting between the teams was done in tribute to their friend, and fellow pro wrestler, Matt Travis who was taken from this world far too soon. It was their only AEW meeting in a traditional tag to this point, and it was Private Party who picked up the victory that night in Indianapolis.
This match is not that.
Matt Hardy, in recent weeks, has taken Quen and Kassidy under his wing as proteges of a sort, with an aim towards helping them grow as competitors as was done for Matt and his brother early in their careers. Matt is giving back out of the goodness of his heart, and a desire to help the next generation of professional wrestlers grow. Stark contrast to say...Chris Jericho, who just seems to have surrounded himself with the next generation as a buffer to first protect the AEW World Championship, and after losing it to Moxley, protect himself from whomever he chooses to anger this week. Just look at the situation here: Hardy will be ringside with his allies, Jericho will be sitting behind the commentary table away from the action.
But those two veterans are not the focus here;no, the spotlight belongs to Private Party and PnP who will showcase why the future of the pro wrestling business, and tag team wrestling in particular, is very, very bright. This will no doubt have an impact on the tag team wrestling rankings as well, with both teams in pursuit of title opportunities in the future.
TAG TEAM GRUDGE MATCH
The Jurassic Express (Luchasaurus & Jungle Boy w/ Marko Stunt) vs. MJF & Wardlow
Spiraling out of the Lumberjack Match seen in the video embedded above, this tag team grudge match has really been in the making for quite some time. MJF has made his disdain for the members of The Jurassic Express pretty clear since day one, and Jungle Boy has been a frequent target for that disgust. The fact that Max holds multiple singles victories over Jack Perry only gives Mister “Salt Of The Earth” further motivation to trash the man at any opportunity, and the fact that Wardlow just beat Luchasaurus on “DYNAMITE” adds more fuel to the fire.
MJF sitting pretty at the number one spot in the rankings with an undefeated singles record, with only one loss on his overall stats (a loss he will make sure that you know did not involve him getting beat), it all just inflates that ego more and more into one giant insufferable balloon that needs to be popped. The muscle that stands at Max's side makes that task increasingly difficult though.
That's where another monster of a man comes in with Luchasaurus, he is the balance to the Wardlow equation while Jungle Boy is the solution to MJF. At least that is the hope, the desire for The JurEx to hand Max his first true loss, for Jack Perry to be the one to pin MJF's shoulders to the mat and, however unlikely, humble the holder of the Dynamite Diamond Ring just a smidge. And “FYTER FEST” would be the perfect location to deal that blow to MJF, after all it was last year's event where that lone loss on his record occurred in a four way that also featured Jungle Boy. Feels like synchronicity...
Make sure to join us here at Rajah.com TONIGHT for LIVE AEW FYTER FEST Night 1 Results coverage!
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