Fight For The Fallen
Date: July 13, 2019
Location: Daily’s Place, Jacksonville, Florida
Commentators: Alex Marvez, Jim Ross, Excalibur
The shows are starting to pick up the pace around here and that could be a good thing. What matters here is figuring out what works and what doesn’t work before the big TV launch in October, so hopefully they can get closer to that here. I’m not sure what to expect with what we’re getting but if the show is anything like the previous two, we should be good to go. Let’s get to it.
This is an outdoor show in an amphitheater, meaning it looks more like a play, albeit with some seats behind the ring as well. It’s a really cool setup actually.
Pre-Show: Peter Avalon vs. Sonny Kiss
Avalon is one of the Librarians and says that since this is a library….here’s Kiss to break it up. His entrance is a little more energetic, with some Jacksonville Jaguars cheerleaders and the Jaguars’ mascot for a lot of dancing. Kiss dances around a lot and headscissors Avalon down, meaning more dancing. A suplex gives Kiss two as the announcers talk about Avalon having some romantic interest in fellow librarian Leva Bates. That’s more of a backstory than we’ve gotten on them in two shows. Kiss gets sent outside with Bates slowly sending him back in. Excalibur: “That’s odd.”
Kiss gets in a kick to the head and an exploder suplex, followed by the twerksault (just go with it) for two. Hang on though as Bates offers a distraction so Avalon can roll him up for two. Fans: “READING SUCKS!” Just not the book that Cody put out this week right? Avalon misses a moonsault though and Kiss’s split legged crotch drop finishes Avalon at 5:08.
Rating: D+. You can get the idea of the gimmicks a bit better here, but the match just wasn’t very good. Kiss’ dancing and stuff will get the fans energized to start things off so that’s fine, but the Librarians deal….I’m still not sure what that is supposed to be. Reading is now a heel action? Seriously? Not a good match either, but it got the fans going a bit more.
Pre-Show: Britt Baker/Riho vs. Bea Priestly/Shoko Nakajima
Riho and Priestly (Will Ospreay’s girlfriend) are the Tokyo Joshi Pro and Stardom champions respectively. Baker takes Shoko to the mat to start but gets flipped back into a quickly broken leg hold. Shoko’s crawl between the legs is cut off by the tail so it’s a not great looking running dropkick to take Baker down. Priestly comes in to quite the reaction but Baker rolls her up for a fast one.
We get some miscommunication with Britt trying to tag Shoko before going over to tag Riho instead. Priestly slams the much smaller Riho down and there’s a Shayna Baszler style arm stomp. The Fujiwara armbar sends sends Riho’s feet onto the ropes as the announcers talk about common languages and laugh about it far too much. The arm work continues for a bit until Riho finally slips over and brings in Baker.
That’s fine with Shoko, who hits a DDT and missile dropkick, sending her right back into the corner. Riho is already back in and picks up the pace, setting up a weird looking 619 from Shoko (the side of one foot hit Riho in the face). Riho tries her own 619 but Priestly kicks her in the face. Baker comes in to take Priestly down and gets faceplanted for her efforts. Shoko and Riho slug it out until Priestly and Baker break it up. They drag their partners to the corner for a pair of tags and the fans gasp at Priestly vs. Baker, which isn’t quite as epic as they seem to think it is.
Baker sends her into the corner but Priestly runs the corner for a springboard….knee to the face? I think it was supposed to be a clothesline but the placement wasn’t quite right. A butterfly suplex gives Baker two as Shoko gets back in to throw her outside. The double suicide dive connects and Shoko’s top rope backsplash gives Priestly two. Riho’s running knee to the back of Baker’s head gets two but Riho hits a running knee to Shoko’s face. The northern lights suplex gives Riho two but Shoko snaps off a hurricanrana for the pin at 15:37.
Rating: B-. This would have been better off as a four way instead of a tag match as it was much more like singles matches which were going on at the same time (as commentary said). I’m still not feeling the women’s division just yet as it’s been a bunch of random matches and pairings so far. The wrestling has been good, but these matches have been mostly interchangeable.
Post match Baker and Priestly get into it again with their partners breaking it up.
The opening video looks at most of the card and does a great job making the matches feel important. There’s no tie into the name or purpose of the show, but that’s a bit of a serious place to go so early on.
Maxwell Jacob Friedman/Sammy Guevara/Shawn Spears vs. Jimmy Havoc/Darby Allin/Joey Janela
Allin has bad ribs from the Cody match. Friedman was mad at Spears for the post match chair shot on Cody at Fyter Fest, which the announcers do bring up during the entrances. Friedman starts with Janela and says Spears is about to see greatness. That earns him a hiptoss, which pleases Spears very much. Havoc comes in and bites the finger but gets reversed into a wristlock, much to the fans’ annoyance.
Guevara comes in to ask who the man is before chopping Janela in the corner. A springboard crossbody misses with the fans VERY into Janela. It’s back to Havoc, with Allin not being happy with not getting the tag. Guevara gets in a jumping knee to the face so it’s off to Allin for the very high angle springboard wristdrag (Humberto Carrillo does that as well and it looks great from both of them). Janela comes back in and the announcers reference the fight with Enzo Amore, which they almost have to do.
Spears knocks Janela off the apron and starts stomping away before handing it back to Guevara. The chinlock doesn’t work and it’s almost time for Friedman and Spears to get into a fight. Friedman even gives him the ten pose but switches to a double middle finger. Janela uses the distraction to knock Spears down, allowing Friedman to call Spears an idiot. Everything breaks down with Havoc hitting a top rope superplex to Spears, complete with stepping on his partners’ backs.
Allin comes in with a flip over the back into a Stunner (cool) for two on Guevara, who is right back up to knock Havoc outside. Guevara backflips to the floor and superkicks Janela before going back inside for a standing Spanish Fly for two on Allin. Janela plants Guevara with a Death Valley Driver onto the apron, leaving Allin to hit a springboard spinning crossbody on Friedman. It bangs up the bad ribs though and Spears hits running Death Valley Driver to finish Allin at 13:15.
Rating: B. Yeah this was fun but not just for the action. The most interesting part here was having the partners who didn’t like each other, which made things a lot different than you might have guessed. That’s a nice twist and something you don’t see very often without it being hammered into your head. The match was almost all action but still managed to advance some stories. Well done indeed.
Private Party is sitting at ringside when Alex Jebailey pops in. Security gets rid of him though, because it’s a private party. Eh I chuckled. Just don’t have him wrestle again.
Video on Allie vs. Brandi Rhodes, both of whom seem to have confidence issues but keep going because they will never quit.
Brandi Rhodes vs. Allie
Hold on though as here’s Awesome Kong for a distraction but Allie ducks the cheap shot and takes over to start. Brandi gets sent outside but Allie stops to stare at Kong, allowing Brandi to take over with a shot from behind. A low superkick gets two on Allie and Kong grabs the leg to cut off any comeback attempt. Brandi hits a German suplex for two but Allie is right back with a neckbreaker for the double knockdown. A sliding forearm and a bulldog give Allie two and she puts Brandi on top.
That’s countered into the Wade Barrett swinging superplex into the suplex for two more and they’re both down. Allie is up first with a running Death Valley Driver (same spot from the previous match) with Kong putting Brandi’s foot on the ropes for the save. The distraction doesn’t quite work as Allie grabs a dragon sleeper, so Kong offers another distraction, meaning the referee doesn’t see the tap. Allie lets go and Brandi hits the Bionic Spear (with the announcers mentioning that it’s because she has a plate in her shoulder, thank goodness) for the pin at 10:16.
Rating: C-. Not terrible at all here with Brandi’s pre-match vignette making the Kong factor that much better. Brandi isn’t the most polished wrestler in the world but she isn’t embarrassing herself whatsoever, which is all you can ask for from someone in her position. This was the storyline part of the division and I’m glad they’re keeping that away from the wrestling part on the preshow.
Post match Kong goes after Allie and loads up the Implant Buster, drawing out Aja Kong for the save. Awesome Kong backs away from the staredown and Aja helps Allie up.
The announcers have a rather nice talk about the brothers vs. brothers match.
Dark Order vs. Angelico/Jack Evans vs. Jungle Boy/Luchasaurus
The winners get a shot at a bye at All Out. The Dark Order have the Creepers (JR: “Jeepers!”) but they go to the back before the bell. Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus have Marko Stunt with them and you can hear Jim Cornette losing it from here. Grayson drives Evans into the corner to start and snaps off a northern lights suplex to keep Evans in trouble. Angelico comes in and hammers at the jaw but gets dropkicked in the face for his efforts.
It’s Uno coming in to bite Angelico’s ear so Jungle Boy comes in for an Arabian armdrag. A neckbreaker gets Uno out of trouble but he stops to pose, allowing the tag to Luchasaurus for the monster staredown. Uno tags Angelico, who tags Evans from the apron. Evans fires himself up and is chopped right back down, followed by the big toss from Luchasaurus. A nasty wheelbarrow suplex sends Evans flying and Jungle Boy knees him into the Order’s corner.
Grayson comes in and shoves Jungle Boy into the ropes with Uno low bridging him to the floor. Back in and the Order stomp on Jungle Boy in the corner with JR wanting the referee to get involved. Jungle Boy fights back but Grayson is right there to pull Angelico and Evans off the apron. Uno’s top rope backsplash gets two but Jungle Boy is right there with a slingshot spear. The hot tag brings in Luchasaurus to kick away at the Order and chokeslam Evans over the top onto Angelico. Jungle Boy adds a shooting star onto the pile and the Tombstone Age (reverse powerbomb) gets two on Grayson.
Angelico and Evans get back in with a springboard double stomp/belly to back suplex combination for two on Jungle Boy. The assisted 450 gets the same and there’s a Razor’s Edge buckle bomb to make it even worse. Marko breaks up the 630 though and hits a super hurricanrana, with the referee ejecting Marko as a result.
Instead of leaving, Luchasaurus launches Marko onto Angelico in a huge crash. Grayson is flipped into a powerbomb from Jungle Boy (cool finisher) for two with Uno making the save. Jungle Boy gets suplexed into Luchasaurus in the corner and Fatality (Gory Bomb/Diamond Dust combination) gives Uno the pin at 15:13.
Rating: C+. This went a little longer than it needed to and Angelico and Evans could have been cut without losing much. Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy is an oddball team but the big man/small man combination has worked for years and it can work well for them too. If nothing else, the more Luchasaurus I see the happier I am, though the same isn’t the case with the Dark Order, who didn’t really stand out aside from an awesome finisher.
Video on Adam Page, who seems to be the chosen one.
Adam Page vs. Kip Sabian
Feeling out process to start with Page grabbing a headlock and hitting a hard shoulder to put Kip down. Some chops have Sabian in more trouble and a clothesline puts him on the floor. Page seems to have tweaked his leg or knee though, allowing Sabian to springboard enziguri him down to the floor. The dive is blocked with a forearm though and a tabletop suplex gives Page two.
Sabian knocks him outside and gets in an argument with a fan, though Page can’t make a comeback. The springboard missile dropkick gives Sabian two and it’s off to a half nelson. Page fights up and hits an overhead belly to belly with Sabian bouncing on his head. They’re both down until Sabian is back up with a middle rope DDT for two and a knee to the face. The slugout goes to Page though and a discus lariat turns Sabian inside out.
Back up and Sabian misses a stomp, allowing Page to belly to back suplex him onto the apron. Page hits a moonsault out to the floor but there goes the knee, with Page writhing in pain. The knee is fine enough for Page to hit a toss powerbomb to send Sabian over the top and onto the ramp for a heck of a crash.
Sabian slowly rolls back in to beat the count so Page takes him up top for a super swinging neckbreaker and another near fall. The Deadeye is broken up and Sabian bends the knee around the middle rope to put them both down as we have less than two minutes left. We hit the pinfall reversal sequence but Page reverses a sunset flip into the Deadeye for the pin at 19:04.
Rating: B-. Knee selling issues aside, Page looked like a star here as he came back from behind and won in the end with his finisher. Sabian looked great as well and that’s a very nice bonus in a match designed to make Page look like a star. It was good stuff and Page gets another win, so mission accomplished.
Post match a Creeper pops up and jumps Page with Excalibur being smart enough to figure this out in a hurry. The mask comes off to reveal…Mr. Claxton, the flower shop owner! Or maybe it’s Chris Jericho, who hits the Judas Effect to bust Page open.
So Cal Uncensored vs. Lucha Bros
It’s Scorpio Sky/Kazarian for SCU here and we get their usual shtick before the match. Kazarian and Fenix start things off with the partners coming in early on for the big standoff. That means a double tag to Pentagon vs. Sky as the fans are split down the middle again. They stare each other down and pose a lot until Pentagon takes off the glove and throws it to the referee….who drops it. No worries though as she throws it back and tries again, this time for a catch.
The chop means it’s time to head to the floor as everything breaks down again, with Christopher Daniels taking one of the loudest chops I can remember in recent memory. Sky gets one of his own and the cringing is real with this one. Fenix misses a dive onto Daniels and hits his brother by mistake, leaving Daniels to hit an Arabian moonsault onto the floor. Daniels gets ejected (thank you) and it’s Fenix being taken back inside for an assisted wheelbarrow bomb from SCU.
Kazarian’s legdrop gets two and it’s back to Sky as Fenix is in trouble off a front facelock. Fenix manages to fight up and hit a pair of kicks Kazarian’s face, allowing the hot tag off to Pentagon. Sling Blades abound as everything breaks down, including more kicks to SCU’s heads. Kazarian is sat in the corner as Sky is tied in the Tree of Woe, allowing Fenix to flip Pentagon into the two of them at once.
Fenix and Kazarian head outside as Pentagon gets two on Sky. Everyone gets back inside with a top rope double stomp/Unprettier combination getting two on Pentagon. Not to be outdone, an assisted super DDT gets two on Fenix. Back up and Fenix rope walks into a double stomp to Sky’s back, followed by the Canadian Destroyer to give Pentagon two more. The double stomp/Fear Factor finishes Sky at 15:00.
Rating: B. This is the wild kind of tag match that the company seems to focus on. There’s nothing wrong with that either as the tag division has been one of the highlights of the first three shows. The Lucha Bros are one of the best teams around too so giving them their first win makes a lot of sense. I’m sure So Cal Uncensored is going to be fine in short order.
Post match Daniels comes back out but the Bros pull out a ladder to clean house. Pentagon grabs the mic and says they’re the best team in the world. As for the ladder, how about a rematch with the Young Bucks in a ladder match at All Out?
Kenny Omega vs. Cima
Feeling out process to start with an early armbar attempt sending Omega to the ropes. Omega’s sunset flip is broken up and Cima nails a double stomp to keep Omega in trouble early on. Something like a reverse Rings of Saturn has Omega reaching for the ropes again and things reset again. Omega hits a hard chop and a belly to back suplex for two and a hurricanrana puts Cima on the floor.
Cima dives back in and kicks Omega in the face to break up a dive attempt and a Perfect Driver gets two. A knee to the face rocks Cima though and Omega takes him up top. The super Snap Dragon is broken up as Cima climbs into an electric chair but spins down into a super sunset bomb to send Omega crashing. Omega is back up and goes for the leg with a kick to the thigh before stomping on it in the corner. A Regal Roll looks to set up a middle rope moonsault but Cima gets the knees up.
The regular Snap Dragon connects though but the One Winged Angle is broken up. That means a Backstabber to Omega and they’re both down again. It’s Cima up first with a dropkick to put Omega on the floor, where he pulls Cima down by the leg again. Omega goes over to the timekeeper’s table but Cima rams him into it, setting up a Meteora off the balcony to crush Omega.
They get back in as the fans keep booing and cheering as the big screen goes in and out. Back in and a pair of springboard Meteoras give Cima two but his super Codebreaker is countered into a buckle bomb. The V Trigger connects for two and it’s a second V Trigger to set up another failed One Winged Angel attempt. Cima rolls out of a powerbomb into a DDT, followed by another Meteora (and I thought the V Trigger was bad).
They head to the apron with Cima planting him down hard, drawing a YOU KILLED KENNY chant. Yet another Meteora gets yet another two and they strike it out again. Omega hits another V Trigger into the Tiger Driver 98 for two of his own. There’s another V Trigger (JR: “I could have sworn that was a knee to the head.”) and the One Winged Angel finishes Cima at 22:35.
Rating: B. They hit a lot of V Triggers (“But that makes sense for Omega!”) and a lot of Meteoras (“But that makes sense for Cima!”) and it was a hard hitting match, though it felt longer than it needed to be, which is a trend tonight. Omega continues to be the really awesome junk food of wrestling: the matches might not be the best constructed or highest quality, but dang they’re fun to watch.
Here’s Chris Jericho for his open mic promo. Jericho talks about having Page’s blood on his hands and asks if we can see it. He’s still looking for a thank you, but not from the fans here in Jerksonville. Jericho knows that the thank yous from the people here don’t matter so he’s going to get it every night by beating up the fans’ heroes one at a time. All Elite Wrestling is taking place because of him, including the TV show on TNT in October. Jericho watched the battle royal at Double Or Nothing very carefully and counted down the entrants until only Hangman Page was left.
Ever since then, Jericho has been sitting up worrying about facing the Hangman, but he’ll beat him for sure. That’s just another victory for the greatest of all time, but if he loses….it’s the beginning of the end of AEW and of Jericho’s career. Therefore, he has to beat the Hangman. Cue Page for the brawl with referees breaking it up. Page’s eye looks very nasty from earlier.
We recap the Young Bucks vs. Cody/Dustin Rhodes with Tony Schiavone and Jake Roberts of all people talking about how important it is and how the fans want to see it. That’s quite the interesting pair.
Cody/Dustin Rhodes vs. Young Bucks
Cody and Nick start things off with Nick kicking his hand away. Everything teases breaking down before Cody goes with a headlock to bring Nick over to Dustin. Now everything breaks down with Matt being knocked outside off a double clothesline. Back in and the Bucks start their double teaming, including a headscissors to Cody to set up an enziguri. Stereo dives to the floor drop Cody and Dustin and we get a mock hug.
We settle down to Matt working on Dustin’s arm and Nick adding the slingshot X Factor. A boot scrape lets Matt come back in for some shoulders in the corner, followed by a double dropkick. Nick pulls Cody off of the apron and teases taking the tag from Goldust, who does in fact tag him with a shot to the jaw. The distraction lets Goldust go up top for a spinning crossbody to both Bucks and NOW we get the hot tag to Cody.
That means a top rope moonsault of his own to Nick and a dive onto the ramp to take Matt down as well. It’s time for the weightlifting belt to Matt’s back, followed by a missed charge to send Matt shoulder first into the post. Dustin starts in on the arm with an armbar and a whip into the corner as this is dragging a good bit. Another whip sends Matt into the post again and it’s time to go to the floor for a whip into the barricade.
Back in and the Fujiwara armbar goes on but Matt finally fights up and brings in Nick to clean house. The clothesline/bulldog combination takes Cody and Dustin down, followed by a Backstabber out of the corner to Cody. The Bucks go with double sunset flips into a double Sharpshooter, which is broken up for a double Figure Four. That’s broken up with some rope grabs and quadruple lariats give us a four way knockdown. Fans: “THIS IS WRESTLING!” No. This is long and needs to end so JR and Dustin can go to bed.
Dustin gets up for some powerslams and an assisted Cross Rhodes plants Nick. Matt dives in for the save and it’s time for a double slugout. Double powerslams take the Bucks down again and the ref gets bumped at the same time. Stereo Shattered Dreams take the Bucks down for two each with the Bucks rolling outside.
Cody’s springboard dive is superkicked out of the air, leaving Dustin to hit some Flip Flop and Fly. Another superkick drops Dustin but he’s right back up with a Code Red for two. Cody comes back in and it’s a double superkick to the back of the head for two more. More superkicks connect so Nick can hit Cross Rhodes for two on Cody. The Meltzer Driver hits Cody for the pin at 31:34.
Rating: C-. This was a match that is going to be praised for how long it went but that’s all it was. It wasn’t bad, but there were far too many moments where I was looking at the clock and sighing because this just wouldn’t end. You could have easily cut ten or so minutes out of it and still had the same match, including the long arm work in the middle. Dustin and Cody just losing is a bit anticlimactic, but you knew the Bucks were the heavy favorites coming into this one.
Post match everyone hugs and Matt’s arm is still banged up. Matt grabs the mic and praises Cody and Dustin for being one of the best teams they’ve ever been in the ring with…and here’s the locker room with a check to a group supporting gun violence victims in Jacksonville. A bunch of people have chipped in money for a grand total of $150,000. That’s a very cool deal and something they can be proud of doing.
Cody doesn’t know if they’re still on the air but you can’t counter program what AEW is doing. You can counter program some of them but you can’t counter program the love in this company. Kenny talks about how cool it is to make this kind of a donation but there is a bit of a conundrum. His signature line doesn’t seem appropriate right now, partially because it ends with him poking a finger gun in the air. Instead it’s adieu, but since we’re off the air, we’ll change it from BANG to BOING. JR can be heard asking if they’re clear as Kenny thanks the fans for coming out to end the show.
Overall Rating: C+. The wrestling was good and the energy was high but this went WAY too long and it took away a lot of the positives about the show. That main event and the post match stuff were major hits to the evening and it didn’t do them any favors. It’s still an entertaining show, but for the first time I was thinking about how long it was and that’s not a good sign. These timing issues aren’t going to work on TNT and they need to fix them before we get there. Not a bad show by any means, but they have a lot of tightening up to do.
Shawn Spears/Maxwell Jacob Friedman/Sammy Guevara b. Darby Allin/Jimmy Havoc/Joey Janela – Running Death Valley Driver to Allin
Brandi Rhodes b. Allie – Bionic Spear
Dark Order b. Luchasaurus/Jungle Boy and Angelico/Jack Evans – Fatality to Jungle Boy
Adam Page b. Kip Sabian – Deadeye
Lucha Bros b. So Cal Uncensored – Spike Fear Factor to Sky
Kenny Omega b. Cima – One Winged Angel
Young Bucks b. Cody/Dustin Rhodes – Meltzer Driver to Cody
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