The SmarK Rant for AEW All Out – 08.31.19
This one is gonna have a tough time clearing the Bate-WALTER bar, but let’s see how it goes!
Live from Chicago, IL
Your hosts are Excalibur & Jim Ross & Goldenboy. The video game guy is immediately a huge improvement over Alex Marvez, sadly enough.
Pre-Show match: Jack Evans & Angelico v. Private Party
Angelico starts with Isaiah Cassidy and controls the arm, but gets taken down with an armdrag off the ropes and some very disrespectful dancing. I thought this promotion was about sportsmanship! Over to Mark Quinn, who actually wrestles in sunglasses and tails, and he hits Evans with a running knee and does some handstanding. Private Party double-teams Evans for a bit in their corner, but he fires back with a spinkick off the top and gets two on Quinn. Angelico with a back elbow on Quinn for two. They double-team him and Evans comes in with a double stomp for two and rolls into an armbar, but Quinn quickly makes the ropes. They fight to the outside and trade highspots to take out Angelico, but he comes back in and Cassidy gives him an impressive tornado DDT to get him out again. More crazy double-teams from Private Party and a shiranui from Cassidy on Evans, and Quinn goes up with a shooting star, which allows Cassidy to get two. Evans come back and tries a 630, but Cassidy moves. They regroup and double-team Cassidy into a PK from Angelico and 450 from Evans for two. Everyone fights to the top and we get an insane finish, with Quinn taking Angelico down with a top rope rana into a cutter from Cassidy for the pin at 11:39. That was quite the spotfest. *** Angelico and Evans attack after the loss, and the crowd chants “Party pooper”. Well that’s just MEAN.
Meanwhile, a Zack Snyder movie breaks out in the parking lot for someone named Wardlow.
Meanwhile, MJF points out that he didn’t actually want a match on the card tonight, because he’s more concerned about helping his best friend Cody Rhodes against Shawn Spears.
Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian & Scorpio Sky v. Luchasaurus & Jungle Boy & Marko Stunt
Once again, Luchasaurus looks like the biggest star in the match just standing there. Kaz starts with Jungle Boy and Boy gets a backslide for two, but Kaz gets a rollup for two, and they trade legsweeps for the stalemate. I actually much prefer JR’s “Jungle Jack Perry” name, which is a much better wrestling name. SCU double-teams Perry with an STO from Daniels, but Perry snaps off a rana and springboards into a wristlock takedown. Over to Luchasaurus and they double-team Daniels with kicks, and Luchasaurus gets a drop suplex and it’s over to Marko Stunt. Stunt and Perry double-team Kazarian and we get some flossing, but SCU bails and all the babyfaces follow with dives, ending with Luchasaurus. Back in, Stunt with a bodypress off Lucha’s shoulders for two on Daniels. Perry gets hit with a cheapshot out of the SCU corner, however, and they go to work on him. Double-team powerbomb gets two. They take turns with dropkicks in the corner, but Jungle Jack fights back with a clothesline on Daniels and it’s hot tag Luchasaurus. He cleans house with kicks on SCU and gets a standing moonsault on Daniels for two. Stunt gets a spinning DDT on Kazarian for two, and Luchasaurus tries to fight them off again, but they triple-team him and all the faces end up on the floor and fall victim to Scorpio’s dive. Then poor Perry and Stunt get stacked up and hit with the BME and pinned at 11:43. I’ve gotta question the booking there. Luchasaurus and Perry are crazy over and at some point you’ve just gotta push them and be done with it. Good opener regardless and a hot crowd. ***1/2
Pac v. Kenny Omega
Pac goes for the arm and Omega counters, and they trade showboating. Of note, we’ve already had “Quicker than a hiccup” and “Smoke through a keyhole” from JR tonight and it’s only the second match. Kenny dropkicks the knee and tries the Kintaro Crusher, but Pac counters out of it and flips out of the ring to take a breather. Kenny teases the Terminator dive, but Pac runs back in with a rana and teases his own dive. Kenny backdrops him onto the floor and tries a dive, but Pac counters with a kick to the chest and they brawl out there. Kenny tries a powerbomb into the apron, but Pac runs him into the railing and then into the apron to escape. More brawling out there and they head back in for a vicious missile dropkick from Pac, and JR calls him a “dumb bastard” for not trying to pin Kenny. Pac with a chinlock, but Kenny chops his way out and clotheslines Pac to the floor off that. Kenny with a baseball slide and he follows with a dive, smashing his own legs into the railing on the way down. Back in, Kenny goes up with his own vicious missile dropkick, to the back of the head to boot, and follows with a fisherman’s buster for two. Pac escapes There Is No Escape, but Kenny gets it on a second try, although Pac dodges the moonsault portion. Hurricane DDT gets two. Pac goes up to finish, but Kenny rolls to the floor, so Pac changes to a moonsault out there instead and he also smashes into the railing on the way down. Maybe they should have set those a little further back. Back in, Pac goes up again and hits a 450 this time, for two. They slug it out and Kenny wins that with forearms, but then Pac just UNLOADS with an elbow and Kenny gets all fired up and powerbombs him into the buckle. Short powerbomb gets two. Pac hides behind the ref to stop the V-Trigger, but Kenny gets an ushigoroshi and hits a second V-Trigger. One Winged Angel is escaped, so Kenny drops him with a german suplex instead and gets two. Kenny tries a tiger driver and Pac backdrops out of it and comes back with a slingshot cutter and snap german suplex. Deadlift version gets two. “This ain’t ballet” notes JR for those still updating your bingo cards. They head to the top and Kenny slips out and drops Pac on the top turnbuckle, and he follows with the snapdragon and V-Trigger for two. Another knee is blocked by Pac and they exchange kicks, but Kenny hits a V-Trigger out of nowhere and they trade reverse ranas. That didn’t look great. They slug it out with chops and Kenny hits him with another straight knee strike to set up the Angel, but Pac slides into his Brutalizer submission hold from the back, and Kenny is OUT at 23:45. The crowds boo him out of the building for that. I’d say that Pac has still got it, and he looks like a major star now. Gotta say though, that was a ballsy booking decision and not the one I would have gone with. ****1/4
Cracker Barrel Challenge: Darby Allin v. Jimmy Havoc v. Joey Janela
Havoc immediately pulls out the hardware from under the ring and grabs his trusty staple gun, and everyone immediately brawls on the floor before Joey and Darby decide to team up and tape Havoc to a chair and then dump thumbtacks in his mouth and tape it shut. I guess that’s…unique? So Allin hits Janela with a dive to end that alliance, and back in for a stunner. Darby goes up and hits the helpless Havoc with a flip dive, while he’s confined to the chair with a mouthful of tacks mind you, although the announcers do note that Havoc was egging him on. So that makes it OK? Janela gets an Emerald Frosion on the apron and laughs off the idea of using a tennis racket as a weapon. Biting commentary there, fellas. Havoc finally escapes his unlawful confinement and spits the tacks in Janela’s face. Back in, Havoc finds another staple gun and follows with a Michinoku Driver for two. And then he grabs a piece of paper and PAPERCUTS Janela on the webbing of his fingers. Horrifying. Janela comes back with a brainbuster on an open chair and then hits a powerbomb onto Allin to put him through a table outside. The fans chant for Cracker Barrel, but Janela goes up and tries a moonsault onto Havoc, missing and landing flat on his face on the floor. Jesus. Havoc uses the biscuits and I feel like we need a Digital Underground “Hit him in the biscuits” soundbite here. Back in the ring, the actual barrel gets involved, but Janela comes back with a lariat on Havoc and then Allin finds a skateboard that’s covered in tacks and ollys it onto Janela’s back from the top rope. Tony Hawk would not approve. Darby splats onto Havoc to put him through another table, but Havoc fires staples from his back in desperation. So Allin grabs a Cracker Barrel and launches himself with it, but misses and lands on the stairs barrel-first to smash it. I don’t even know what to do with this match anymore. Back in, Joey with a draping DDT on Havoc and he goes up with the flying elbow for two. With tacks stuck in his back from the skateboard spot, mind you. Another barrel gets involved and Janela puts its on Havoc and goes up, but Havoc escapes that balsa wood doom and finishes with the Acid Rainmaker onto the remnants of the barrel at 15:00. I don’t even know what to do with this. It certainly wasn’t boring, and as Scarface noted, nothing exceeds like excess. And this was certainly the definition of “everything but the kitchen sink”. I’m going to give it the benefit of the doubt and call it **** because it was tremendously entertaining as a freakshow, but I’m open to other opinions on it and they’re probably also valid and you could just as easily say it’s a one-star mess and I’d be like “OK, I can see it.”
Trent Baretta & Chuckie T v. The Dark Order
The Best Friends immediately get the Okada Hug spot, but Trent gets double-teamed by the “Spooky Perverts” (TM Chicago crowd) and Uno chokes him out in the corner. Stu Grayson comes in and suplexes Trent on the top rope. Trent fights Uno off, but gets dragged back to the corner and double-teamed. Trent finally dives away, but Grayson pulls Chuckie off the apron to cut that off and they hit a double-team on Trent for two. “I want him to die!” yells Grayson. “That’s an HR issue,” points out JR helpfully. Finally Taylor gets the hot tag and runs wild with a powerbomb on Grayson for two before hitting the Dark Order with a dive to the floor. Back in, the Friends double-team Grayson with a german suplex and a version of 3D for two. JR complains about it being called an “Ace Crusher” in a funny bit. Grayson tosses Taylor and hits the Boys with a dive that also takes out Taylor, while Uno gets a senton on Baretta for two. And they hit the senton/450 combo on Trent for two. They set up for the Fatality, but Chuckie breaks it up and they double-team Grayson, but Trent can’t get Uno up for their finisher. So they piledrive Grayson instead and Trent gets two, but Uno saves and we get a botched count as he didn’t pull Trent off in time. The Boys take out Chuckie and they finish Trent with the Fatality at 13:44. ** Match was all right but really killed the momentum the show had been building. No one is buying this Dark Order crap and they look like a couple of indy geeks. The Druids try to kidnap Trent, but the lights go out and ORANGE CASSIDY appears in the ring and makes the save with a pocketed tope. Well I guess he’s not the mystery cornerman.
Riho v. HIkaru Shida
Shida overpowers Riho to start and takes her to the apron for a kneelift from the floor. Backbreaker gets two. She goes to the Boston crab as the announcers keep confusing who will end up as Women’s champion and when it will happen. Riho makes the ropes and Shida gets a body vice and then hangs Riho in the corner and puts her down with a knee to the back for two. Riho finally comes back with a headscissors and puts Shida on the floor, then fights her off and hits a double stomp onto the apron. Back in, Riho with a flying bodypress for two and tries a 619, but Shida catches her and wraps her up with a stretch muffler. Or muff stretcher, whatever. Riho rolls out of it, but walks into a high knee and Shida gets two. Shida tries a suplex and Riho rolls her up for two, but Shida powers her to the apron for some abuse. Back in, Riho gets a northern lights suplex and goes up, then fights off Shida with a double stomp and follows with a meteora for two. Shida catches her with a backbreaker for two. Riho counters a slam into a small package for two and spins into a crucifix pin at 13:14. This was a totally fine, well-worked match, but this was another one where it slowed down the momentum and it didn’t make me excited for the upcoming title match at all. ***
Shawn Spears v. Cody Rhodes
So Spears has Tully Blanchard backing him up, and Cody has the cast of Star Trek as interpreted by MJF, Brandi and DDP. Plus the poor dog, who gets spooked by the fireworks display and practically dragged down to ringside with them. Maybe leave the dog at home next time, Cody. However, for his true cornerman, he goes with MJF. OK then? Cody immediately attacks Spears and they fight into the crowd before the bell, and then head back to start proper with a powerslam from Cody on the floor. Tully gets involved and allows Spears to go low on Cody to take over. In the ring, Spears works him over with chops in the corner, but Cody gets a top rope rana to put Spears on the floor and follows with a dive, which Spears counters with a forearm. Spears sends him into the post and they head back in, where Spears gets two. He looks ridiculous with those stupid contacts. Back to the floor and Spears gets a DDT on the apron thanks to MJF causing an unintentional distraction. Spears steals the weight belt and beats on Cody, but Cody uses THE POWER OF THE PENCIL to make the comeback, hitting a springboard cutter. Alabama Slam sets up a figure-four, but Spears reverses immediately. Tully gets involved again and JR is all “THE GODDAMN INTERFERENCE”. Tone down the potty mouth, Jim! Back to the floor and Spears gets a death valley driver on the ramp and this match is just not getting over. It’s technically fine and the story behind it is fine, but Spears is clearly not a star at the level to pay it off and it’s kind of sad because people desperately want a big blood feud to get behind.
Cody beats the count and suddenly gets Crossroads, but Tully gets involved again and takes the ref, which prompts a challenge from MJF. So Tully tapes up his fists and comes into the ring, at which point Spears boots MJF out of the ring before anything can happen. And then finally, as Tully puts the boots to MJF, Arn Anderson, who has gone from AA to AAA, makes his way into the ring and hits Spears with a spinebuster. Arn has basically turned into the Kevin Nash impression of himself at this point, I should point out. Arn and Tully both leave and Cody makes the comeback with a disaster kick onto the chair, and the Crossroads finishes at 17:16. And then MJF celebrates with Cody and the announcers declare how their friendship is obviously real after all. What? I really feel like they need to stop booking stuff that doesn’t make sense without watching Being the Elite. Or at least recap that show. Who would possibly buy MJF as a sympathetic babyface? Anyway, the match was a complete disaster on a lot of levels, coming off like the booker and real life friend putting themselves over after 15 minutes of masturbation. This was ridiculously long and the old-timers looked like the biggest stars in the match. Arn literally so. *1/2, if that. Cody is, as he might say, a good hand, but he’s not the guy who can make someone else into a star when they’re not. And Shawn Spears is NOT.
AAA tag team title ladder match: Pentagon & Fenix v. The Young Bucks
Usual chaos to start and Matt gets taken down and hit right in the ol’ perineum with a Lucha Brothers double-team, but the Bucks do the powerbomb/enzuguiri on Fenix and Nick gets the double stomp before they stop to pose on the ladder. This allows the Luchas to take the Bucks to the floor and Fenix dives over the giant ladder onto them. Back in, the Lucha Brothers outsmart the Bucks and climb for the titles, and then we get the brothers pairing off with each other for slugfests on the ladder before breaking it up with stereo cutters. And then everyone heads to the apron and we get stereo spears through stereo tables. Back in the ring, Pentagon and Nick are the survivors, so Penta batters him with leg kicks, but slides out of the ring and allows Nick to hit him with a dive as a result. Matt and Fenix go next, as Matt hits rolling northern lights suplexes on Fenix and suplexes him into a ladder for the finale. But Nick tries to come back into the ring and gets slammed onto a ladder for yet another crazy bump. The Lucha Bros bring the big ladder back in and try to climb, but the Bucks take them down with superkicks and Nick hits a slingshot X-Factor on Fenix. Matt climbs and then changes his mind and hits Pentagon with a dive instead, and then Fenix moonsaults onto them. Matt comes back with another climb attempt, but Pentagon recovers and takes him down with a sling blade. Back to the floor for more dives and then Fenix does an amazing slingshot through the open ladder and into a Canadian Destroyer on Matt. He gets put on a table and Fenix sets up a ladder in the corner, but that just allows Pentagon to hit a Destroyer off the top of the ladder and through the table on Matt. And then if THAT wasn’t enough, they go outside and we get stereo dives off the ladders through tables. Back in, Bucks with the superkicks and Nick gets a Sharpshooter on Pentagon while Matt does a crossface, but this allows Fenix to sprint in and climb himself. Nick knocks him off and Matt teases him by setting up Fenix with a piledriver and calling for the Meltzer Driver, but Pentagon shoves him off and Nick catches his feet on the ropes and slams headfirst through the tables outside. Holy shit. Pentagon and Matt fight on the ladder and Matt STEALS THE MASK in a cowardly move, but Pentagon shoves the ladder over and Matt crotches himself on the ladder. Luckily Pentagon regains his mask and the Lucha Brothers hit the package piledriver on Matt on a ladder outside, because why the fuck not, and all that’s left is for them to climb the ladder and retain the titles at 24:00. And then a pair of masked men head into the ring and lay out the Luchas, using the Point Break masks, as well as the Bucks. And it turns out to be LAX from Impact, who at least add something new to the tag division here. Match was a ladder match, with crazy spots and stuff. At this point I’ve seen these four against each other enough. ****
Coming in November: AEW Full Gear. That’s not a great name.
AEW World title: Chris Jericho v. Hangman Page
Page literally rides a horse to the ring. Come on. Main eventers don’t ride horses to the ring. This is known. Plus we’re already 4.5 hours into this show counting the pre-game so let’s just get this wrapped up. They immediately fight to the floor and slug it out there, but Page chases Jericho back into the ring and catches him with a big boot. Jericho gets a missile dropkick for two and Page tosses him and follows with a dive, and back in for a flying CLUBBERING BLOW for two. Back to the floor and Page tries a shooting star press off the apron, which Jericho sort of counters but mostly Page just lands on his own neck and Jericho basically saves his life by absorbing the damage. Jericho takes the count and then sends Page into the railing for good measure. Back in, Jericho goes to work on the arm and shows off his abs to counter the heckling fans. So the fans call him a stupid idiot instead. I thought fat people were supposed to be jolly? So then Jericho goes after the knee and lounges in the corner, before following with a senton for two. They trade chops and Jericho goes up with a bodypress, but Page rolls through into a fallaway slam. Jericho tries the Lionsault, but Page counters him with a legsweep for two. Page sets up for the piledriver, but Jericho reverses into the Walls. Page quickly powers out of that and hits him with a discus punch to put Jericho on the floor, and Chris blades off that. They fight on the floor again as Page is blown up, and back in a mudhole stomping in the corner. The announcers note that the lack of time limit means they should “just keep grinding” as we’re 15:00 away from midnight EST. Come on, even HHH would say this match is plodding and Vince would say the PPV is an hour too long. They fight to the top and Page gets a neckbreaker off the top for two. Jericho with a suplex onto the top rope as JR is like “Finish! Finish is the word! You gotta finish!” Is that code? I hope so. Page come back with the buckshot lariat finally and sets up the deadeye piledriver, but Jericho reverses to the Walls again and Page makes the ropes. JUST END IT ALREADY. Jericho does the shoving match with Gurl Hebner, which allows Page to backdrop him over the top and follow with a moonsault to the ramp. Back in, buckshot lariat is countered with the codebreaker and that gets two. Page comes back with a shooting star, but Jericho gets the knees up and tries another codebreaker. Page counters into the deadeye, but Jericho rolls him up for two, and then Page gets the deadeye for two. Page with another buckshot lariat, but Jericho hits the Judas Effect and thank Christ it’s over and Jericho is the first champion at 26:21. Page was completely exposed here as the match just dragged and dragged to a finish when they really needed to do a one minute sprint and end the show. Probably one of Jericho’s worst ever matches. *1/2
Yeah, they were trying desperately for “EPIC” all night and just couldn’t pull it off. I didn’t really get the booking decisions either. There was enough good here for a recommendation, but this was in no way the home run that Double or Nothing was. First and foremost they desperately need to get their time management under control, because another company doing five hour self-indulgent PPVs is not going to overturn the status quo. Was it mostly good? Yes. Was it worth $60? Not so sure about that. On the scale of Burn It / Avoid It / Skim It / Watch It / Binge It, I can’t go much past SKIM IT for this one. It’s not worth a five hour investment to me.
The winner this weekend: NXT UK with the surprise upset.