Welcome to the TJR review of the second All Elite Wrestling show called Fyter Fest. This was not a pay-per-view show and it did not feature the full AEW roster, but it’s another quality wrestling show to review, so here I am at it again. The first AEW show was Double or Nothing on May 25, which was a very good show that I reviewed here.
The event was held in conjunction with the Community Effort Orlando (CEO) fighting game event, so the CEO logo was all over the event. It was marketed as: “The Most Luxurious Gaming & Wrestling Festival of All Time.” They got the name from the Fyre Festival, which was a disaster of a music festival. I have not seen the Netflix documentary about it, but some friends recommended it to me, so maybe I will check that out soon. I don't know much about video games anymore (I used to play a lot) and I don't know much about the Fyre Festival aside from what I just read about it today. What I feel like I do know a lot about is pro wrestling, so that's what I'm here to review.
I'm not going to review the Buy In Pre-Show. Here are the results.
- Best Friends (Chuck Taylor and Trent Beretta) defeated SoCal Uncensored (Scorpio Sky and Frankie Kazarian) and Private Party (Isiah Kassidy and Marq Quen).
- Allie defeated Leva Bates (with Peter Avalon).
- Michael Nakazawa defeated Alex Jebailey in a Hardcore Match.
The main card had six matches at just over 2.5 hours. The show was available for free on B/R Live in the US, FITE internationally and other locations.
AEW Fyter Fest
Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, Florida
June 29, 2019
The opening video package showed highlights of Double or Nothing where they put the company over for changing the world…of professional wrestling. The video was well done.
It was a packed house in the Ocean Beach Center. The attendance was around 5,000 people. The announce team of Jim Ross, Excalibur (guy in a mask) and Goldenboy were the announcers. Goldenboy is an Esports commentator, not a regular AEW guy. They went over some of the matches. The ring announcer is Justin Roberts.
The set of the arena was like Double or Nothing with a big stage, then two side entrances and two big video screens. It looks cool.
Christopher Daniels was up first representing the SCU group. Daniels doesn’t seem to age because he’s 49 years old and continues to perform at a high level. Daniels is also Head of Talent Relations in AEW, so he’s a big part of the company already. Cima was the opponent. They were on opposite sides in a six-man tag at Double or Nothing last month.
Christopher Daniels vs. Cima
Cima with a shoulder tackle. It was noted by Excalibur that this rivalry and friendship goes back over 20 years. Daniels with an armdrag. Cima with a running dropkick, Daniels to the floor and Cima with a baseball slide that drove Daniels into the barricade. Back in the ring, Cima sent a senton followed by a submission where he hooked the arms of Daniels, who got to the ropes. Daniels with a backbreaker. They went to the floor with Daniels hitting an overhead suplex on the floor. Daniels with two body slams with the announcers noting that Daniels had 26 years of experience and over 1,000 matches in his career as Daniels hit a STO clothesline for two. Daniels with a suplex followed by a moonsault off the top onto the back of Cima leading to Daniels applying a crossface submission. Cima got to the ropes to break it. Daniels charged, Cima got a boot up and hit a hard slap to the back. Cima with a backstabber out of the corner and both guys were down selling. Cima set up Daniels on the top rope leading to an iconoclasm slam for a two count. Cima was selling the back injury, so Daniels hit a Blue Thunder Bomb followed by the Angel’s Wings slam for a two count. Cima with an enziguri kick to the head, Daniels was on the middle turnbuckle and Cima hit a running Powerbomb. Cima with a perfect driver for two. Nice nearfall. Cima had Daniels on his back and slammed him hard into the mat. Cima went up top and hit the double knees Meteora onto a seated Daniels for the pinfall win at 9:40.
Winner by pinfall: Cima
Analysis: *** It was a competitive match with some cool moves from each guy. You could tell they knew eachother well. Daniels controlled most of it, Cima made the impressive comeback and they had some believable nearfalls for both guys. Everything they did was so smooth. They are both very experienced and it showed. Cima faces Kenny Omega at their next event Fight for the Fallen in two weeks, so it made sense for him to get the victory. If Omega doesn’t win that match it would be a surprise.
After the match was over, Daniels and Cima hugged. They bowed at eachother as a sign of respect. Cima continued to sell the back injury after the match too.
Riho vs. Nyla Rose vs. Yuka Sakazaki
Riho and Sakazaki shook hands as the smallest women in the match that are also Japanese. Rose is the bigger heel. Rose whipped both women into eachother. Double dropkick by Riho and Sakazaki. Rose with body slams on both women followed by a running splash on both women. Riho and Sakazaki went for a double suplex, but it didn’t work as Rose hit a suplex on both of them. Rose applied a double Camel Clutch with the faces getting to the ropes to break. Rose with a suplex on Riho and she tossed Sakazaki onto Riho. That was a weird spot since Riho stood there for like three seconds watching it. Sakazaki with a step up hurricanrana to send Rose out of the ring. Sakazaki with a springboard dive off the top onto both women on the floor. Sakazaki with a missile dropkick on Rose inside the ring for two. Riho with a headscissors, then they each went for a dropkick and Riho with a double stomp to the ribs of Sakazaki. Riho set up Rose against the ropes leading to the 619 kick on Rose. Saka with a Thesz Press onto Rose off the top and then Riho with a double foot stomp off the top on Rose. Riho and Sakazaki had a pinfall exchange leading to Sakazaki with a running clothesline on Riho for two as Rose broke up the pin. The fans booed as Rose posed. Sakazaki went for a running clothesline, but Rose caught her and hit a sitout slam for two. Rose with a delayed vertical suplex on Sakazaki, who rolled out of the ring. Riho was back in the ring, Rose with a splash on her and she set up Riho across the top rope. It was nice of Riho to hold herself there as Rose went up top leading to a knee to the back of Riho and fans chanted “holy shit” for that. I just don't like it when the person has to hold onto the ropes for ten seconds to set up the spot. Rose didn’t go for a cover. Rose went up top, she shoved Sakazaki to the floor and then Rose tried a Senton Bomb, but Riho moved and Rose hit the mat hard. Riho off the top, Rose caught her, Sakazaki also jumped off the top and onto both women. They each covered Rose for a two count. Sakazaki with a suplex on Riho, then she went up top for a splash, but Riho got the knees up to block. Rose with a German Suplex on Sakazaki followed by a Powerbomb, but Riho broke it up and then Riho hit a running dropkick on Sakazaki. Riho charged at Rose, who hit a Death Valley Driver for a two count after a delayed pin attempt due to Rose selling the attacks. Rose went for a Powerbomb, Riho slipped out, she rolled through and covered for the pinfall win at 12:30. Rose kicked out right after the pinfall to show that it was a close finish.
Winner by pinfall: Riho
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a solid match with an interesting story of Rose dominating most of the match, but she didn’t go for pinfalls as often as she should have and it cost her the match. The women’s division will likely be built around Rose as the bigger heel trying to dominate others. I think AEW has to do a better job of telling us more about these wrestlers going into the matches. The announcers mentioned Riho was 22 years old and started wrestling at 9 years old, but why not give us a quick video package before the match with that info? It would help.
After the match, Rose hit Riho in the back with a forearm. Sakazaki saved Riho and the two Japanese women hit a double dropkick to send Rose out of the ring. Sakazaki picked up Riho, but Riho shoved her down. The director missed it. They didn’t even replay it.
The announcers were joined by Kip Sabian at ringside. He will face the winner of this match.
Maxwell Jacob Friedman made his entrance for the Fatal 4-Way match. MJF has the scarf around his neck gimmick. MJF did a pre-match promo as the fans booed before he even spoke. MJF ripped on the fans for having flashbacks of being shoved into lockers. The fans chanted “you suck” at him and he said your mom swallows. He ripped on his opponents while calling himself the fastest rising star in professional wrestling today. MJF ripped on the fans calling them “pencil neck geeks” and said if he wanted their opinions he’d watch reruns of My 600 Pound Life on TLC. MJF said he used to love video games and then he lost his virginity, which led to laughs. He said he’s better and you know it.
Analysis: That was fun. He’s a good heel with a bright future at only 23 years old. I think his gimmick is basically the late 2000s Chris Jericho scarf character and he is also like The Miz was in his rise in WWE as well. I think he’s going to be an outstanding all-around performer very soon. I enjoy his heel schtick a lot.
Jungle Boy was up next. He’s the son of late actor Luke Perry and Jungle Boy went down to the ring on the shoulders of his buddy Luchasaurus. Jimmy Havoc was next. He’s an experienced wrestler from England that’s the King of the Death match in the UK according to commentary. “Hangman” Adam Page was next. He got some fireworks for his entrance and he’s wrestling Chris Jericho for the AEW World Title at All Out.
Maxwell Jacob Friedman (MJF) vs. “Hangman” Adam Page vs. Jimmy Havoc vs. Jungle Boy (w/Luchasaurus)
Jungle Boy tossed MJF out of the ring and Page sent Havoc out of the ring. Page with a boot to the face of Boy. Boy with an arm drag followed by a headscissors. Havoc with a running dropkick on Boy followed by a sitout slam and MJF went into the ring for two counts. Page with a fallaway slam on Boy followed by a springboard attack over the top on MJF. Havoc with a running dive onto Page on the floor. Boy ran the ropes, but MJF stopped him with a back elbow. MJF teased a dive, but then he taunted the fans to piss them off, so Boy hit him with a dropkick. Three guys were on the floor, Boy to the turnbuckle, he went off the turnbuckle and hit a moonsault onto the three guys. It was called a hanging moonsault. I’ve never seen anything like that before. Impressive. Boy and MJF battled by the turnbuckle with Boy hitting sunset flip Powerbomb for two. Havoc tried a superplex and then Page went over for the Tower of Doom spot with MJF also taking a bump after the superplex part of it. Wrestlers love that Tower of Doom spot no matter what promotion they are in. Page with a spinning elbow on MJF, which led to Boy and Havoc hitting forearms on Page. Boy with a reverse rana on Havoc, Page with a clothesline on Boy and a Popup Powerbomb by Page on Boy got a two count because MJF put Boy’s foot on the bottom rope. Havoc with a German Suplex on Page, MJF with a double foot stomp to the arm of Havoc and MJF sent Boy into Havoc by the turnbuckle. When MJF tried to pin Havoc, Page pulled Havoc out of the ring. Page faced off with MJF with JR noting they have bright futures in AEW since they are 27 (Page) and 23 (MJF) years old. MJF with a chop block to the knee. MJF teased a Sharpshooter, but Page turned it into a Sharpshooter of his own with MJF getting to the ropes to break. MJF sent Page to the apron and hit a jumping piledriver like move using the ropes for a two count as Boy broke up the pin. Luchasaurus saved Boy from going to the floor and Havoc tossed Boy onto Luchasaurus on the floor. MJF kicked the ropes to crotch Havoc, then Havoc countered a move off the ropes and Havoc hit a double foot stomp on MJF. Page with a buckshot lariat on Havoc after MJF moved. Page sent MJF out of the ring. Page hit the Deadeye slam on Havoc for the pinfall win at 10:50.
Winner by pinfall: “Hangman” Adam Page
Analysis: ***1/2 Good work by everybody involved in this fast-paced match. I was really impressed by Jungle Boy, who I had not seen much of before this match, but it was a nice showing by him especially when it comes to his aerial skills. Havoc didn’t really get to show off what he could do. MJF had a lot of fun moments throughout. I liked the way they built up the Page/MJF confrontation. The win by Page made sense since he should win every match he has before the AEW Title match against Jericho at All Out on August 31.
Post match, Page celebrated the win while MJF and Page had a staredown.
There was a video package about Cody’s win over his brother Dustin Rhodes at Double or Nothing. The video also included Darby Allin talking about how he’s going to hand Cody his first loss in AEW.
Darby Allin made his entrance with JR calling him a conflicted unique young man. Half of his face is painted. Allin had a black body bag with him that had “Cody 1-1” written on it because that’s what his record will be when Cody loses. Excalibur informed us that when Allin was a five-year-old kid, his uncle died while drunk driving with Allin in the car, so the story is that he was scarred as a kid.
Cody made his entrance with his lovely wife Brandi Rhodes. No throne smashing this time, but Cody has his “Throne Breaker” shirt. Just so it’s clear, he can use the name “Cody Rhodes” and just chooses to use Cody. He gets announced as “Cody with Brandi Rhodes” so at least they get it in that way. There was a nice pyro display for Cody as well. In two weeks at Fight for the Fallen, Cody teams up with brother Dustin against the Young Bucks at the Fight for the Fallen event.
Cody (w/Brandi Rhodes) vs. Darby Allin
The crowd was chanting for Cody a lot since he is one of the main founders of AEW. There was some posturing early as they killed a couple of minutes. Allin hit an incredible arm drag to send Cody rolling out of the ring. JR noted that Allin is only 22 years old, so he has a bright future too. Cody with a hard slap followed by the uppercut punch and Cody whipped Allin into the turnbuckle with Allin bumping to the floor hard. Cody did some push-ups to celebrate. Cody with a suplex across the ring while Excalibur talked about how Allin was a professional skateboarder as well. Cody with a backbreaker followed by a Figure Four Leglock, but Allin got to the ropes quickly to break. Cody tossed Allin into the turnbuckle again with Allin bumping to the floor. Allin whipped Cody’s left hand into the ring post and Cody came back with a flatliner. Cody with a clothesline for a two count followed by a submission hold on the upper body of Allin. The ring announcer Justin Roberts announced it was ten minutes into this 20-minute match. Cody with a standing suplex. Cody remained in control with a vertical suplex attempt, but Allin grabbed the injured left hand and Allin got a twisting splash for a two count. Allin punched the hand of Cody along with headbutts followed by an armbar on the left arm of Cody. When Cody bailed to the floor, Allin hit him with a suicide dive through the ropes. Cody tripped up Allin on the steel steps and sent him back first into the steps. Cody went back into the ring with a suicide dive of his own. Back in the ring, Allin with a dropkick, back elbow and a sunset flip Powerbomb got a two count. It was announced that were five minutes left.
They both went up to the top rope and Cody hit a reverse superplex with Allin taking the bump onto his knees. Slow cover by Cody while selling the left hand injury and that got a two count. Allin bit the hand of Cody and then he drove Cody’s left shoulder into the top rope. Allin went up top, he went for a backsplash, then Cody went into the ring and Allin went spine first into the edge of the ring apron! Ouch. There were stunned looks in the crowd. The announcers were shocked by it. Crazy bump. Back in the ring, Allin with a slap leading to a bicycle kick by Cody. Allin was on his body bag, so Cody put Allin in the body bag and hit a Disaster Kick. Cody took him out of the bag and got a two count. There was one minute left and Cody got a rollup for two. Cody whipped Allin in the back with his belt two times. There were 30 seconds left, he went for Cross Rhodes, but Allin with a knee and then a Stunner variation. Cody hit the Cross Rhodes where he spiked Allin on the head. Cody covered, the clock was counting down, the referee counted to two and just before she got to three, that was the end of the match after 20 minutes. It’s a time limit draw.
Match Result: 20-Minute Draw
Analysis: ***1/2 The time limit draw finish is not something today’s wrestling fans are used, but it was used a lot 30 years ago and before that. I think it’s a smart way to show that this less established wrestler in Allin could hang with an experienced wrestler like Cody. It also sets up a future match between them and when that next match happens, fans are going to buy into the possibility of Allin winning that match because of the draw they had here. I like Allin’s gimmick, but he’s on the small side, so it’s going to be tough for him against some opponents. Cody sold for him great and it was competitive. Allin’s a young guy in his early 20s, though, so he has a bright future. I know Allin’s young, but he should not be doing that back bump onto the apron all the time. That’s going to shorten his career. As a story, I liked the match for the most part.
After the match, Cody and Brandi wanted five more minutes, but it was not given to them.
Shawn Spears (former Tye Dillinger) went into the ring with a steel chair. When Cody turned around, he saw Spears and Spears smashed the chair into the back of Cody’s head. People were screaming at the sight of it because we rarely see headshots in wrestling (at least mainstream wrestling) anymore. Brandi went into the ring wondering what Spears was doing, so Spears stared at her and the referee stood in front of Brandi. Cody was bleeding from the back of the head, so that became the big story.
Cody was down on the mat with blood coming out of the back of his head and filling up his blonde hair. Wrestlers like MJF, Frankie Kazarian, Scorpio Sky, Brandi and referees checked on Cody. You could see a glazed look in the eyes of Cody. They put a towel on the back of Cody’s head as he was helped to the back. Dean Malenko, who is a main producer in AEW, checked on Cody as well. They replayed the spot repeatedly while the announcers talked about the brutal assault from Spears.
As Cody was helped to the back, the announcers talked about it some more. They mentioned that Cody was being looked at by a doctor. The announcers talked about it for several minutes. JR wondered why they even bring steel chairs to wrestling shows anymore.
— Get The Tables (@GetDaTables) June 30, 2019
There were more replays of the brutal chair shot to the head. After the show was over, they announced Cody didn’t have a concussion. He had 12 stitches put in his head to cover the wound.
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEWrestling) June 30, 2019
Analysis: I don’t like the chair shot to the head at all. I think it’s irresponsible to book a spot like that. You can gimmick the chair all you want, but what happens if something goes wrong? Well guess what, something did go wrong. My understanding is that they gimmicked the chair and they didn’t want to have a bloody spot here, but the edge of the chair hit the back of Cody’s head. Why even do that spot? We know about concussions, we know about CTE and we know that taking a chair shot to the head can cause damage, so I think it’s a dumb move to even do that. Based on post match comments that I watched/read, it was likely Cody’s idea and I’m sure he trusted his good friend Spears. I’m not going to blame anybody because accidents can happen. I just think that’s the kind of thing you don’t need to do. I’m glad that WWE has banned chair shots to the head. I’m glad that the other wrestling promotions I watch don’t do them anymore. I realize that some hardcore wrestling promotions still do them and likely do even worse stuff too, but I don’t want to see it knowing how that piece of metal swung at a fast pace can damage somebody’s brain. If Spears hit him with a few moves, it would have been fine because the turn was shocking. They didn’t need to do a stiff chair shot to the head. That’s just my opinion. I’m not soft. I’m just sensible and I hope that going forward, AEW is sensible too. I think they will learn from this. I hope so.
Analysis x2: Now that I got that out of the way, I like the idea of a Cody vs. Spears feud. I assume it will be a match at All Out in two months and then it can continue when the TV show starts in October. They have a long history together going back to the mid-2000s in OVW when that was a WWE developmental territory and they were a tag team, so they can build off that with Spears as a jealous heel. It should be a fun feud.
The Lucha Brothers duo of Pentagon Jr. and Fenix entered with Laredo Kid. I don’t know that much about Laredo Kid, but I have heard good things about him. I know the Lucha Brothers. They’re awesome.
The Young Bucks made their entrance in Street Fighter attire, which was pretty cool. Kenny Omega had a special entrance as well as Akuma from Street Fighter with the red hair and he got a big pop. The announcers mentioned Street Fighter to JR, who had no idea what they were dressed as. Matt of the Young Bucks talked to ring announcer Justin Roberts and Kenny told him as well. Roberts said “Round One…Fight” as if it was Street Fighter. That’s cool and it drew a pop.
Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) vs. Lucha Brothers (Pentagon Jr. and Fenix) and Laredo Kid
This is going to be a ridiculously fast-paced match, so if I miss something, I apologize. Nick and Kid did some choreographed routine to start with neither side getting the advantage. Kid with a hard slap to Nick. They did another sequence of moves leading to double an even face off. All six guys went into the ring. Kenny and the Bucks all ran into kicks by the masked men. Kid hid a springboard moonsault followed by somersault dives by Fenix and Pentagon over the top to the floor. That was timed perfectly. Pentagon with a Slingblade on Omega and there was a double superkick into reverse rana on Matt. That was sweet. The fans were familiar with the Lucha Brothers chants. Fenix with a superkick on Matt, Kid slammed Matt and a double moonsault got two. Kid with a running forearm, which led to Pentagon and Fenix going in. Nick took down Pentagon and Fenix with a headscissors and arm drag combo. Matt with five Northern Lights suplexes in a row on all three guys including a double suplex. Omega tagged in to a huge pop leading to chops on Kid, a running elbow and a backbreaker for two. Kid with a kick to the ribs followed by a neckbreaker on Omega. Kid up top, he jumped off and Omega with a dropkick to the ribs. Omega wanted to do a dive out of the ring, but Pentagon faced off against him. Pentagon said “zero fear” in Spanish with the crowd chanting it with him. They exchanged strikes, Omega with a dropkick to the ankle and a leg drop to the back of the head. Fenix with a kick on Omega, so the Bucks dropkicked Fenix off the apron. Nick with a running cutter on Kid, Omega with a German Suplex and then the Bucks left the ring. Omega with a rolling senton, a moonsault on Kid, Nick with an elbow drop and Nick with a Senton Bomb on Kid for a two count for Kenny. Nick tagged in and Kid hit a hurricanrana to send the Bucks into eachother. Omega in, Kid landed on his feet to counter a suplex and Pentagon tagged in. Pentagon with kicks for both Bucks and a backstabber on Omega. Fenix with a kick to Omega and a hurricanrana on Omega on the floor. Kid with a suicide dive onto Nick on the floor. Pentagon with a double foot stomp off the top onto Matt for two. I can’t remember if they were the legal men. I doubt the referee knew.
Pentagon faced off with Matt with Matt hitting a Canadian Destroyer followed by a Spear. Omega tagged back in, hit a snap Dragon Suplex on Pentagon and Fenix. Omega with the knee to the face of Kid followed by another Dragon Suplex. Omega went to the middle ropes, Pentagon kicked him in the face and Nick was sent over the top to the floor. Pentagon launched Fenix over the top turnbuckle onto Jackson. Kid hit a Laredo Fly off the top on Omega right into a pin and then Pentagon hit Matt with a Canadian Destroyer. Omega kicked out of the pin attempt although it was hard to see it. Nick and Matt went back into the ring for a superkick party as there were several superkicks in a row. The Elite did the Hadouken from Street Fighter and the masked men all bumped for it. The Elite all hit sitout Powerbombs and the referee counted all the pins for a two count. Who were the legal men in the match? I don’t think it mattered at this point as fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Nick went up top as Kid and Fenix were set up by the ropes and Nick hit a 450 Splash for a two count because Pentagon kicked him to break up the pin. Nick spiked Fenix head first into mat and Pentagon hit a Slingblade on Nick on the floor. Kid with a dropkick to send Matt at out of the ring. Kenny with the V-Trigger knee on Kid. That was impressive. Omega ran the ropes leading into Fenix hitting a cutter. Nick with a neckbreaker on Fenix to put him down. The fans chanted “fight forever” there. Matt held Pentagon on the floor, then Kid held Nick on the top rope and Fenix slammed Nick onto Matt and Pentagon on the floor. Kid and Omega were in the ring with Omega hitting a jumping knee to Kid’s face. Omega hit a Tiger Driver 98 for a two count. Omega with a V-Trigger knee to Kid followed by the One Winged Angel and Omega covered Kid for the pinfall win at 20:50.
Winners by pinfall: Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks
Analysis: ****1/2 That was an outstanding tag team match with so many impressive moves. It’s hard to keep track of them all. If you want to be picky, they didn’t follow traditional tag team wrestling rules that well. There was no explanation for why guys can just be in the ring for one minute doing moves, but it happened a few times in the match. In the last few minutes, they stopped doing tags. The team of AEW Executive VPs got the win as expected. Kenny lost his first AEW match, so I’m not surprised he won for his team. Kenny was the right guy to get the win. It was all about putting on a show, they didn’t really follow the rules the whole match, but that’s okay with me because the action was amazing. I also think one of the purposes of this match was to introduce the bigger audience to the Laredo Kid and he had a pretty good showing, so I think it was successful in that regard. Omega is one of my favorites in all of wrestling, so I’m glad he had an impressive showing. Omega had a standout performance along with Nick Jackson. They all had a great showing, but it would be nice if they didn’t ignore tag team rules as much as they do.
— TDE Wrestling (@tde_wrestling) June 30, 2019
Replays were shown of the key spots in the match. The announcers plugged that at Fight for the Fallen on July 13, it’s The Young Bucks vs. Dustin and Cody Rhodes as well as Kenny Omega vs. Cima.
After the match, the teams talked in the ring with Omega having a lot of praise for his opponents. Omega greeted fans at ringside including some selfies as well.
Analysis: Kenny is a huge video game guy (I have no idea what he's tweeting about most of the time since it's about video games), so he was a big reason why AEW was able to put together this event with CEO.
The announcers talked about the upcoming match that is a Non-Sanctioned match with Excalibur talking about how they are known for having that similar hardcore style of wrestling. Ross said that Moxley came to AEW to return to what he’s most comfortable with – his hardcore roots.
Justin Roberts said that what we just witnessed was the final bout of the AEW event. However, he said there will be one last match with no time limits, no countouts, no disqualifications and anything goes. This match will be unsanctioned.
Analysis: Calling it unsanctioned is another way of saying a No Holds Barred or Falls Count Anywhere match.
Joey Janela was up first for the main event and he’s known as the “Bad Boy” with a reputation for a hardcore style. There was a decent reaction for him, but nothing special. Janela will turn 30 years old on July 4 and is likely going to get a good push in AEW.
Jon Moxley got a huge ovation with Roberts doing the “Jon” for Moxley the way he used to do it with John Cena. Moxley was in great shape and ready to go. The fans responded to him in a big way because they knew it was the first AEW match for the former Dean Ambrose. Even though it’s an unsanctioned match, there’s still an AEW referee there to count the fall like a regular match.
Analysis: I have probably reviewed hundreds of Moxley matches in the last seven years, so if I write “Ambrose” by accident I apologize. You know who I mean!
Unsanctioned Match: Jon Moxley vs. Joey Janela
The action spilled into the crowd quickly as they brawled around for a bit, but then the action went to ringside where Janela whipped Moxley into the ring post. It’s a square ring post instead of a round ring post. Janela set up a table. Janela grabbed a prosthetic leg from a fan, he hit Moxley and then Moxley sent Janela into the steps. Back in the ring, Moxley with a body slam onto a chair. Janela went for a dive off the top, but Moxley moved and Janela went through the chair. Moxley had a small cut over his right eyebrow. Moxley reached under the ring where he retrieved a steel chair that was wrapped in barb wire. Moxley with a body slam on Janela, then he put the chair on Janela and Moxley stomped on it. The fans chanted “you sick fuck” for Moxley and Moxley bowed to the crowd. Janela went up top and hit a hurricanrana off the top leading to Moxley’s back going into the barb wire. Janela with the barb wire to the back of Moxley for a two count. Ouch. Moxley set up a table in the ring against the turnbuckle. There was another table set up on the floor. Janela wanted a suplex through that table, but then Moxley went to the apron and they did a Russian legsweep off the apron through the table. The fans chanted “AEW” for them. It was Janela that delivered the move. Back in the ring, Moxley picked up Janela and drove him spine first into the table against the turnbuckle. Moxley had some visible cuts on elbows and lower back. Moxley pulled out two tables from under the ring, so he set them up on the floor. Janela displayed two middle fingers at Moxley, so Moxley went back into the ring to beat on him. Moxley pulled out a barbed wire board from under the ring, which he set up against the turnbuckle. Janela put Moxley on his shoulders and tossed him off the shoulders into the barbed wire board against the turnbuckle. That was brutal as Moxley winced in pain. Janela got a two count out of it. They got into a slugfest leading to Moxley hitting a clothesline. Moxley went for a slam, Janela fought out of it with a superkick and another superkick set up Moxley on the apron. Janela pulled out a ladder from under the ring and he set it up near the ropes. Moxley back was all cut up from the barbed wire spot. Janela set up Moxley on the table. Janela climbed the ladder, the referee held the ladder and Janela jumped off the ladder with an elbow drop through one of the tables. I think they wanted to break both tables with that spot with Janela going through one of the tables, but only one table broke. That was an impressive leap.
Janela brought out his own barbed wire board and set it up from ring apron to the top of the barricade. The fans that were seated near there were moved back. Back in the ring, Moxley was back up with a DDT. Moxley picked up Janela on his shoulders and gave him a fireman’s carry slam over the top through the barb wire board that was on the edge of the apron. That was like John Cena’s Attitude Adjustment if you want a comparison. Moxley sent Janela back into the ring, he worked over Janela with knees to the face and Moxley grabbed a bucket that had a bag of thumbtacks. Moxley spread the thumbtacks throughout the ring. Moxley took off the sneakers and socks of Janela to expose his feet with Janela unable to get Moxley off of him. Moxley tried to slam Janela onto the tacks, but Janela fought him off briefly until Moxley tossed Janela onto the tacks with a suplex. Moxley sent Janela feet first into the thumbtacks. Janela was screaming in agony as fans chanted “you sick fuck” at Moxley again. Moxley pulled out another bag of thumbtacks, he spread them around the ring and hit a Double Arm DDT called the Paradigm Shift on Janela right into the thumbtacks. That looked brutal and Moxley’s back went into the thumbtacks too. Moxley covered for the pinfall win at 20:05. Moxley spit out a thumbtack or two after it was over.
Winner by pinfall: Jon Moxley
Analysis: ****1/4 It was a violent, old school brawl with a lot of brutality. I think going 20 minutes was a bit too long. If they went closer to 15 minutes it probably would have been better. Since Moxley is a worldwide name that’s an established top guy, it made Janela look impressive in defeat because he went 20 minutes in a grueling match and had good showing. Moxley getting the win was the right move because it was his first AEW match. It’s not like AEW is going to sign Moxley to a big contract to have him lose his first match. That wouldn’t be smart. I give them credit for some creative spots with the weapons including the table spots, the barb wire boards and the finishing spot with the thumbtacks. I don’t watch hardcore wrestling matches by choice anymore, but I certainly remember and have written about many Mick Foley hardcore matches that had similar spots in them. Moxley was impressive and full of energy from start to finish. He looks to be in his comfort zone.
After the match, they showed a closeup of the feet of Janela with thumbtacks in them. Moxley left the ring while he still had thumbtacks in his back. The announcers said that this won’t go in the record books because it was unsanctioned. They replayed the key spots in the match.
Moxley was at the bottom of the ramp getting back to his feet when Kenny Omega showed up for some revenge. Omega with a V-Trigger knee on Moxley. Omega with a piledriver on the edge of a table. Omega with a double foot stomp off the top onto the tables on Moxley on the floor. This was payback from Double or Nothing when Moxley attacked him. The referees tried to stop them, but they didn’t have much success as Omega whipped Moxley into drum kit that was by the stage. Omega grabbed a guitar and hit Moxley in the back with it. It was a real guitar rather than a gimmicked guitar they use in wrestling. Omega appeared to leave as referees helped Moxley walk up the ramp. Moxley shoved the referees down. Omega went back out there with a garbage can. Omega with a double arm DDT on the trash can that was on the ramp. Omega posed over a fallen Moxley. The camera showed Moxley’s face and he was smiling. The show ended there.
Analysis: It was payback for when Moxley attacked Omega at Double or Nothing and they have a match at All Out on August 31, so it was a good way to get people excited about that match. They are doing an outstanding job of making us feel like Moxley vs. Omega is one of the most anticipated matches of the year. It is a match I'm looking forward to.
This event had a run time of 2:36:23.
After the show, Moxley posted this picture with Janela. It's not great for kayfabe, but I think it was pretty funny.
— Jon Moxley (@JonMoxley) June 30, 2019
Five Stars of the Show
1. Kenny Omega
2. Jon Moxley
3. Nick Jackson
5. Joey Janela
It gets an 8 out of 10 from me.
I gave Double or Nothing an 8.5 out of 10, so that's two great shows for AEW. This one was not as big of a show since some key guys were off this card, but it was still an impressive showing.
The last two matches were great and they were completely different styles, so that worked well. None of the match results were surprising since most of the bigger names won since AEW actually cares about wins/losses and they are going to want to give those wrestlers positive momentum, which is the right way to book a show like this.
I think the moment that got people talking the most was when Spears hit Cody with the chair and it cut open Cody’s head in a disgusting way. It's not something I want to see them do again, but we might see it when Cody gets his payback on Spears because that's just the way wrestling is.
The commentary team did a better job here. Excalibur worked well with JR while Goldenboy didn't talk that much. I think they should go with a two-man announce team of just JR and Excalibur, but they seem keen on having three guys.
The next AEW show is Fight for the Fallen on Saturday, July 13. I will review that one too. After that, it’s All Out on Saturday, August 31 in Chicago. That’s going to be awesome.
Thanks for reading this review. My contact info is below. I’ll be back during the week with Raw and Smackdown reviews as usual.