The SmarK Rant for AEW Fight for the Fallen – 07.13.19
Live from Jacksonville, FL
Your hosts are Excalibur & Alex Marvez & Jim Ross
“The Librarian” Peter Avalon v. Sonny Kiss
The outdoor arena set up is very cool looking and different to say the least, as they use the amphitheater portion of the football stadium at a weird angle and turn the Jumbotron into their Titantron. Hey, different can be good. Avalon’s whole SHUSH gimmick is death and they’ve gotta get rid of it before the TV show. The main problem is that he doesn’t actually look anything like a librarian. At least Leva Bates is halfway committed to the gimmick, despite having moved from blue pants to blue hair. Kiss does some gymnastics and shakes his booty at Avalon, but Avalon chinlocks him and puts him down with a leg lariat for two. Avalon with a suplex for two and he tosses Kiss, as Bates gently helps him back into the ring. Kiss comes back with various flips and an exploder, then bridges under a high kick and gets a standing moonsault for two. Bates uses her book to distract Kiss and Avalon gets two, but he misses a moonsault and Kiss does the splits off the middle rope and gets the pin at 5:12. Kudos for being able to do the splits like that because my crotch hurts just watching him, but ramming your nutsack into someone isn’t an ideal finisher. Still, this was totally acceptable for an opener on the pre-show. **
Dr. Britt Baker DMD & Riho v. Shoku Nakajima & Bea Priestley
What’s with Priestley throwing shade at Io Shirai during her entrance? Nakajima trades headlocks with Dr. Baker, but Nakajima floats into a half-crab and Baker has to make the ropes. She tries to sneak through Britt’s legs, but gets caught by the tail. Well that’s awkward. Over to Priestley, who gets a big pop from the crowd. She misses a charge and Baker rolls her up for two, and Riho comes in with a bodypress for two. Baker actually tried to tag Nakajima in a moment of confusion, speaking of awkward. Priestley goes to work on Riho’s arm and Nakajima joins in with some gleeful arm wrenches. She’s so darn happy! The heels double-team the arm in the corner while Baker gets chastised by the ref, and Nakajima works on Riho with a headscissors and rams her head into the mat at bunch of times. Britt comes in with a neckbreaker on Nakajima for two, but Nakajima gets a missile dropkick that sends Baker flying into her own corner for the tag. Riho runs wild with a double stomp on Nakajima, but falls victim to a 619. Priestley comes in with a superkick and Baker hits her with a sling blade. Baker and Priestley slug it out, but Bea manages to hit a springboard knee for two. Baker with a superkick and butterfly suplex for two. Everyone brawls and Nakajima hits Riho with a dive, leading to Priestley suplexing Baker for two. Nakajima with a senton for two. And then closed captioning suddenly turns on from the source, which is not a good look for a company trying to make good impressions. Riho hits Nakajima with a northern lights suplex for two and follows with the top rope double stomp for two. Nakajima comes back with a double underhook DDT and goes up for a flying senton that misses, but gets a rana into a rollup for the pin at 15:38. The crowd treated it like a big deal but the match was kind of an overly long disaster, with all kinds of missed spots and people forgetting their timing. It also never really felt like an actual tag team match and would have been better served as singles matches. ** But hey, it wasn’t bad or anything and everyone worked hard.
Kip Sabian cuts his promo on Adam Page to wrap up the pre-game show, as the closed captioning is FINALLY fixed.
MJF & Sammy Guevara & Shawn Spears v. Darby Allin, Jimmy Havoc & Joey Janela
Hopefully Enzo doesn’t do a run-in looking for a rematch with Joey. Janela quickly hits MJF with a dropkick to quiet him down, and Havoc comes in to bite his fingers. Havoc with a crucifix for two off that. MJF slams him and brings in Guevara, but Janela suplexes him into the corner. Havoc comes in and Guevara hits him with a knee strike. I find it hard to take Guevara seriously when he looks like someone who plays Minecraft on YouTube for a living. Darby Allin comes in and wants SATISFACTION from Shawn Spears, but that’s not gonna happen. So Allin gets a flying armdrag on Guevara instead and Janela comes in with a rana, but Guevara dropkicks him while Excalibur stumbles over a burial of Enzo. MJF dumps Janela and now Spears comes in and beats on him in the corner, which sets up a chinlock from Guevara. Janela fights off the heels and makes the hot tag to Havoc, who slams Spears onto MJF. Guevara tries to cut him off, but the heels all pile up in the corner like the Three Stooges and Havoc hits Guevara with a superplex for two. Havoc goes for a dive, but Allin tags himself in and hits a stunner on Guevara for two. MJF flips Janela into the turnbuckles and everyone goes crazy with the big spots and dives. Guevara in particular does three dives in a row and then hits Allin with a C4 for two. He goes up and Janela brings him down with a death valley driver onto the apron, which is pretty sick. Spears comes in and puts Allin away with an ushigoroshi and death valley driver at 13:27, however. I think Spears looks like a star, especially since he’s HUGE compared to everyone else in the match, but it might be too late for him and really looking like a star isn’t hard compared to the skinny geeks in there. Match was all right. **
Allie v. Brandi Rhodes
Alex Marvez actually gets a funny line here for once, noting about Brandi “She’s OK looking” in a deadpan. I laughed. Also, while Brandi is a smokeshow, I must also throw respect at Allie for her outfit. There are no losers in these contests! Awesome Kong joins us for intimidation reasons, so Allie attacks at the bell and gets a senton for two. Allie gets a high kick from the apron and goes for words with Kong, which allows Brandi to hit her with a baseball slide. We get the dreaded bottled water shower from Brandi, and speaking from experience it’s dangerous to get a woman’s hair wet if she doesn’t want it to be. Back in, Brandi with a kick for two and she slugs away on the mat and chokes Allie on the ropes, which gets two. Allie comes back with a rollup for two and a neckbreaker for the double down. They slug it out and Allie hits her with elbows in the corner, which gets two. Bulldog gets two. Brandi charges and walks into a superkick, but Kong pulls Brandi into the ropes to save. Allie spends forever yelling at Kong, which allows Brandi to get a cradle for two. Allie gets a sleeper while Kong takes the ref, so Allie lets go like an idiot and Brandi rakes the eyes and spears for the pin at 10:10. Well, Brandi makes a good on-screen personality at least. ½* Aja Kong comes out for the epic KONG-KONG staredown, which will pay off at All Out I’m sure.
Jim Ross clarifies at this point that the brothers involved in the main event are all real brothers, and not made-up wrestling brothers. Well that’s good to know. Although the Rhodes are half-brothers.
The Dark Order v. Jack Evans & Angelico v. Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus
So the Dark Order are the guys who no one knew at Double or Nothing. Stu Grayson chops Evans in the corner to start and throws him into his own corner, inviting Angelico in. Grayson spikes Angelico with a slam and brings in Evil Uno, so Angelico tags out to Jungle Boy. JB with dropkicks on Uno, but Uno plays EXTREME GOT YOUR NOSE and hits a neckbreaker. This brings in the Luchasaurus, who immediately is over as a huge star despite being a creepy asshole on Big Brother, and he tosses Evans around the ring, into an Evans elbow. JB gets caught in the Order corner, however, and they double-team him for a bit. Luchasaurus murders everyone with kicks and puts Evans and Angelico on the floor for a dive from Jungle Boy, and a tombstone gets two on Grayson. Grayson gets a double Pele, but Angelico and Evans double-team Jungle Boy and Evans gets a standing 450 for two. Marco Stunt decides to get involved and and hits Evans with a top rope rana, and then Luchasaurus powerbombs Evans and Jungle Boy gets two. Then the Dark Order suddenly reappears and throws JB into Luchasaurus, setting up a pair of sentons for two. They double-team JB with a Grayson blockbuster and Uno slam, and that finishes him at 15:00. There was too much going on here and it was overly long, but the spots were crazy enough to make it worth the watch. Luchasaurus is money, as much as I hate to say it because Austin Matelson was such a tool on Big Brother. ***1/4 This would have been more on the classic side with only two teams, however.
Hangman Adam Page v. Kip Sabian
Page works a headlock to start and chops him down, so they decide to trade some of those. Page wins that battle with a spinning elbow and follows with a fallaway slam to put Sabian on the floor, but he takes too long and Sabian hits him with a springboard kick off the apron. He knocks Page to the floor again and follows with a dive, and back in with a springboard kick for two. Flying double stomp gets two. Page comes back with a boot for two, but Sabian gets a DDT for two. Penalty kick follows for two. They slug it out and Sabian hits a knee strike and offers some spit, so Page puts him down with the discus lariat. They fight to the top and Page goes down to the apron, but catches Sabian on the way down and slams him on the apron, THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING. Oh great, now that shit is permeating AEW too. Page follows with a moonsault, which probably isn’t a good idea for a big guy with a bad knee. Back in, Page LAUNCHES him with a powerbomb onto the entrance ramp, which is likely the REAL hardest part of the ring. OK, now this is getting awesome. Back in, Sabian beats the count, so Page gives him a neckbreaker off the top rope, for two. Sabian cranks the knee in the ropes, however, and flies in with a rana for two, but Page reverses to a sunset flip for two, and the Deadeye finishes at 19:03. Page should have smoked this geek but it ended up pretty great at the end after 15 dull minutes. *** And then one of the Dark Order geeks runs in and attacks Page, before unmasking as Chris Jericho?
No, I’m pretty sure it was Jericho.
Kazarian & Scorpio Sky v. Pentagon Jr. & Ray Fenix
Everyone gets into a shoving match after Kaz and Fenix do a stalemate to start, and Pentagon gets all up in Sky’s face. So Sky stops for some sweet dance moves, and Pentagon dramatically takes off the glove and tosses it at Aubrey Edwards….who misses it. So they repeat the spot and she catches it on the second try. Never repeat the spot! The Lucha Brothers go to work on SCU and dump Sky before heading out for a double superkick on Daniels and a nasty chop on him. Sky gets some of that as well, but Fenix tries a dive and hits his own brother by mistake, allowing Daniels to moonsault them. Sadly, this leads Gearl Hebner to toss him out of the match. He was just defending himself! I bet they don’t have that kind of terrible officiating in SoCal. Kazarian tosses Fenix back into the ring for two and they go to work, but Fenix gets a superkick out of the corner on Kazarian and gets the tag to Pentagon. Sling blade on both SCU guys, but Sky comes back and tries to clean house, only to get cut off by a rebound kick. The Luchas hang Sky in the Tree of Woe and dive onto him to set up a Pentagon double stomp for two. Everyone gets a little mixed up as someone is out of place and Fenix hits a dive on Kaz after losing his place, while Penta gets a pumphandle slam on Sky for two. Kaz and Sky double-team Pentagon with a backstabber into a Sky flying stomp, but Fenix hits them both with a rolling cutter. Fenix goes up and Sky brings him down with a DDT for two. They continue double-teaming Fenix, but Penta breaks it up and hits Sky with the Canadian Destroyer for two. Package piledriver into the double stomps from Fenix finishes at 15:05. All action, match of the show thus far for sure. Still kind of disjointed at times, though. ***3/4 And then the Lucha Brothers bring out a ladder and lay out a challenge to the Bucks for All Out. I sense that might be a good match.
Kenny Omega v. CIMA
The crowd chants “This is awesome” before they even touch, so this has a high bar to clear. CIMA grabs a headlock and they do some tumbling into a double stomp from CIMA. CIMA counters a roll into a sunset flip for two and then turns it right into a submission hold on the mat, but Kenny makes the ropes. CIMA with a senton and they slug it out, which allows Kenny to hit a backdrop suplex for two. Cena with a headlock, but CIMA escapes with a chop, so Kenny puts him on the floor with a rana. Kenny teases the dive, but CIMA comes in with a kick to the nose and Kenny hits a DDT for two. He tries CIMA’s own Perfect Driver, but CIMA is able to reverse and hit his own for two. Omega puts him into the corner with an enzuigiri and follows with the knee to the back, but they fight to the top and CIMA counters a rana with a powerbomb. CIMA tries to follow with the Meteora, but it mises and hurts the knee. Kenny goes to work on the knee and tries You Can’t Escape, but CIMA blocks the moonsault and makes a comeback. Kenny clips the knee and hits the snapdragon suplex, but CIMA escapes the One Winged Angel with a backstabber. CIMA dropkicks him into the railing, but misses the dive and Kenny slams his knee into the apron, which as Marvez pointed out earlier, is THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING. They fight over a table spot and CIMA suplexes Kenny on the floor, and then climbs up to the stage and delivers a Meteora onto Kenny’s chest on the table! WHAT THE HELL, MAN? Back in, CIMA hits another Meteora to the back of the head, and then follows with a third one to the front, for two. He tries a fourth one, but Kenny catches him and tosses him into the turnbuckles, and hits the V-Trigger for two. Ushigoroshi and another V-Trigger set up the Angel, but CIMA escapes with a DDT. Omega with another knee, but CIMA drops the knee on him to block a sunset flip, and CIMA goes up with yet another Meteora. They fight to the apron and CIMA hits the Air Raid Crash out there, and follows with yet another Meteora, for two. “You killed Kenny!” note the fans. Kenny fights back with chops and they slug it out and trade slaps, but CIMA kicks him in the face. CIMA cuts off the V-Trigger with a dropkick, but Omega headfakes him and hits a second one, then the Tiger Driver for two. CIMA counters a V-Trigger into a Mexican cradle for two, but Omega V-Triggers him into the One Winged Angel at 22:33. Started slow but it got AWESOME. ****
Chris Jericho joins us, with the blood of Adam Page literally on his hands, and he workshops some names for the town. Jerksonville? Jackoffville? So he still wants a Thank You for founding the company and getting them a TV deal (on TNT, starting on October!). Of course he knew that he would beat Omega, but the battle royal had him wondering who he would face? The guy with no legs? Brandon Cutler, who is apparently the ”cabana boy” for the Young Bucks? Jericho kind of rambles about Page and seems to be about as drunk as someone from Jacksonville, and that brings out Adam Page for the pullapart brawl. Much like drunk people in Jacksonville, come to think of it.
The Young Bucks v. Cody & Dustin Rhodes
We get some handshakes to start, but then Cody and Nick trade wristlocks and things get more personal. Dustin comes in with an atomic drop and bulldog on Nick, and they put Matt on the floor, but Matt comes back in with a flying bodypress onto both Rhodesessesses. Cody and Dustin hit the floor, so the Bucks follow with stereo dives and then stop for a tearful reunion hug. TOO SOON. Dustin gets double-teamed by the Bucks and Nick moonsaults Cody off the apron. Dustin gets the heat as the Bucks hit a double suplex for two and Nick gives him the boot rakes. They beat on Dustin in the corner and Matt goes to the facelock while JR recalls the WarGames match in 1992, “one of those vaunted five star matches”. Dustin fights back with a spinebuster, but Nick yanks Cody off the apron and does a comedy bit where he jumps up and asks for the tag in his place to be a dick. Dustin fights off the Bucks in their corner and goes up with a bodypress, and it’s HOT TAG Cody. Cody cleans house and gets a moonsault press on Nick, then hits Matt with a dive onto the ramp. Back in, he hits Matt with an inverted superplex, for two. Cody tries the Vertebreaker, but Matt flips out of it, and then charges and hits the post. So the Rhodes go to work on the arm as we get some classic old school Southern tag team action, complete with Cody using a short-arm scissors on Matt. Dustin runs the shoulder into the corner and beats on him there, slowly going heel as the match progresses. Dustin runs him into the post, but Matt fights back with the northern lights suplex on Cody. He tries to roll through to another one, but Cody turns it into a Fujiwara armbar. Matt fights out and blocks a bulldog, dumping Cody onto the ramp, and he spears Cody on the way in but hurts his shoulder in the process. It’s hot tag Nick, however, and he hits the double stomp on both guys and declares a SUPERKICK PARTY, which proves to be premature. Bucks get the double Sharpshooters, but the Rhodes reverse into double figure-fours. The Bucks escape and it’s a double down. The Bucks bail and Dustin hits them with a dive and brings Nick in for a Shattered Dreams attempt, but Matt saves. The Rhodes hit him with a double Crossroads, but Nick saves with a swanton and everyone is out again. We recover with everyone slugging it out and the Rhodes get stereo powerslams after the ref is bumped, and it’s double Shattered Nuts. Double Final Cut gets two. The Bucks bail to regroup and Cody dives at them, but he lands on a superkick, leaving Dustin alone with the Bucks. So he fights them off with the Flip Flop and Fly, but Nick superkicks him and Matt drops the elbow for two. Double superkick on Cody gets two, but Dustin saves. So the Rhodes help each other up with BROTHERHOOD, but the Bucks continue acting like jackholes, so Cody and Dustin give them superkicks. And then Matt hits Cody with a Crossroads for two. Nick tosses Dustin and follows with a dive, and the Meltzer Driver finishes Cody at 31:28. This really hit the wall at 20:00 and never really recovered. I enjoyed the old school dynamic and it was good overall, but it wasn’t the show-stealing classic we were waiting for, especially after a long show. ***1/2
Afterwards, Matt assures them that all the trashtalk was just about competition, because he doesn’t watch “much of the other product” and so didn’t know much about them. But then Shad Khan brings out the big cheque for the violence victims and Cody isn’t sure if they’re on the air anymore but lets us know that you can’t counter-program AEW. And then Kenny apparently thinks they’re off the air and does a dark promo that actually is on the PPV. What a weird and awkward way to end the show.
Ehhhhhhhhh…not a huge fan of this show, to be honest. I was really pumped for the show and I don’t feel like it delivered. There was some good escalation of action at the end, but the main event just wasn’t what I was looking for and the crowd was exhausted for it. For free, yeah it was fine, but it didn’t seem like a huge step up after what sounded like a disappointing Fyter Fest. I’d say check out Kenny-CIMA and the Lucha Bros match, but overall it’s a pretty definitive SKIM IT from over here.