The SmarK Rant for AEW Fyter Fest 2019 – 06.29.19
Funny enough, with the 2020 version of Fyter Fest happening in the next two weeks, I realized that I had never actually watched the original show!
I think my assumption was that we didn’t get BR Live in Canada, but it turns out that we totally do. Also, I was in a different mindset about AEW at that point, feeling like “Who the fuck is Darby Allin?” and not feeling like I wanted to see him against Cody in the main event. But things change and now I really want to see how this show was, back in the very early days of the company, now that I’m very familiar with all the characters and nuances.
Still free if you want to watch it, by the way:
Live from Daytona Beach, FL, drawing about 4200. Back before the state was infested with Covid. As far as anyone knew at the time.
Your hosts are Jim Ross, Excalibur & Goldenboy.
Christopher Daniels v. CIMA
Wait, wait…Excalibur makes the case that Christopher Daniels is actually CURRY MAN? That’s a spicy accusation! Also they look totally different and Curry Man has curry on his head. Frankly, I don’t see the resemblance. They trade shoulderblocks to start and CIMA hits Daniels with a dropkick to put him on the floor, and he follows with a baseball slide. Back in with a slingshot senton from CIMA and he wraps Daniels up in a wacky Mexican submission, but Daniels makes the ropes by the toe. Daniels comes back with a backbreaker to put CIMA on the floor and they fight out there, with Daniels hitting a northern lights suplex out there. Back in, Daniels hits a series of slams and follows with an STO for two. Stalling suplex sets up a slingshot moonsault and crossface, but CIMA makes the ropes. He fights back with a backstabber out of the corner and hits the Iconoclasm for two. Still an awesome move name. Daniels snaps off a Blue Thunder Bomb and follows with the Angel’s Wings, but that only gets two. CIMA escapes a uranage and hits an enzuigiri while JR notes “every Oriental wrestler I’ve seen loves to hit the head kick”. Good to know. Daniels slugs away in the corner and CIMA brings him out with a powerbomb for two. To the top with the Meteora, and that’s enough to finish at 9:44. This actually accomplished a couple of things long-term, setting up CIMA for his match with Kenny Omega at Fight for the Fallen, and also beginning the losing-streak gimmick for Daniels that teased the Dark Order stuff. Good opener, although they were mostly just taking it easy on each other. ***1/4
Riho v. Nyla Rose v. Yuka Sakazaki
Nyla offers a handshake to Riho and then hurls her into the corner, but misses a charge. The smaller girls try to double-team her, but she fights them both off and slams them both to set up a double splash for two. They both bridge out and beat Nyla down with their tiny little punches, but can’t get a suplex on her. Nyla stacks them up and puts them in a double camel clutch, but Yuka makes the ropes to break. Nyla with a bearhug on Yuka and she stops to suplex Riho and then send her to the floor. Yuka fights back with a rana that puts Nyla on the floor, and Yuka follows with a giant dive. Back in, Yuka goes up with a missile dropkick on Riho, and that gets two. They slug it out and Riho takes her down with a spinning headscissors, but they both try dropkicks and miss. So Riho hits her with a double stomp and follows with a 619 on Rose, into a seated senton from Yuka. Riho with a double stomp on Nyla, but Riho gets an awkward cradle on Yuka for two. Yuka with a seated lariat for two. Yuka tries to make a comeback on Nyla, but Rose catches her on a bodypress and slams her for two. Nyla with a delayed suplex and Yuka bails to the floor to escape, so Rose beats on Riho instead. She puts Riho on the top rope and follows with the guillotine knee, which gets over big, but she decides not to cover. Rose goes up to finish, but Yuka saves by distracting Rose for a bit. This allows Riho to dodge the flying senton and go up with a bodypress, but Nyla catches her. So Yuka goes up with her own bodypress, and Rose catches her too. So they both fall over on Nyla and that gets two. Riho and Yuka trade suplex attempts and Yuka wins that one. She goes up for the flying splash, but it hits the knees and Nyla lays her out. Nyla with the Beast Bomb, but Riho saves with running knees and Yuka rolls over for two. Riho hits Nyla with running knees in the corner, but walks into a death valley driver for two. Nyla tries another powerbomb on Riho, but Riho reverses to a cradle for the pin at 13:05. Nyla tries to lay them out afterwards, but the Japanese girls chase her off with a double dropkick before Riho turns on Yuka and shoves her down. That part didn’t really go anywhere but of course Riho and Nyla had a long-term feud afterwards. This ended up a pretty great little match, actually. ***1/2
Hangman Page v. MJF v. Jungle Boy v. Jimmy Havoc
MJF’s pre-match promo is just masterful stuff as he fires away at all the video game nerds in the audience (“If I wanted your opinion I’d turn on TLC and watch reruns of My 600 Pound Life”), but that’s mostly shooting fish in a barrel anyway. Page gets a good reaction, but nothing like he would get these days with a real crowd. He’s definitely someone who grew into his position. Everyone slugs it out and Page backdrops Havoc to the floor, and then boots Jungle Boy down. Page with chops on JB, but he fires back with a rana that puts Page on the floor. Havoc comes in and beats on JB in the corner, and a Michinoku Driver gets two. MJF steals a pinfall attempt on Havoc for two, but Page chases MJF to the floor and then hits Jungle with a fallaway slam and right into the dive on MJF. But then Havoc hits Page with his own dive. And then Jungle Boy tries his own, but runs into MJF’s elbow, and of course MJF has no interest in diving. He doesn’t want to do flips! Jungle Boy dumps him and hits all three guys with a moonsault. Back in, JB chops MJF down, but MJF attacks in the corner and punches the turnbuckle by mistake, allowing Jungle Boy to get a powerbomb for two. Jungle goes up, but Havoc cuts him off with a forearm and tries a superplex, which Hangman turns into the Tower of Doom spot, taking out MJF in the process. Hangman hits everyone with corner clotheslines, but MJF rolls him up for two. Jungle Boy hits Havoc with a reverse rana, but Page powerbombs Jungle Boy for two. Everyone kind of piles up in the corner in awkward sequence and MJF gets two on Havoc and sends him out. Page and MJF slug it out, but MJF clips the knee and teases a Sharpshooter while shining on the fans. That whole deal with Bret Hart went absolutely nowhere, which is too bad. But Page reverses to his own Sharpshooter, and MJF makes the ropes. Page tries a shoulerblock from the apron, but MJF piledrives him for two. Jungle Boy comes back from the floor, but Havoc throws him onto Luchasaurus on the floor, and then MJF kicks Havoc in the balls. Apparently a lot of people would like to do that these days. Havoc blocks the piledriver and goes up with a flying stomp for two. Havoc tries the rainmaker, but MJF pokes him in the eyes and Page comes in with the buckshot lariat and Deadeye to finish at 10:48. Not a super impressive outing for anyone, mostly because it was such a clash of four different styles and nobody really got much shine. ***
Meanwhile, Darby Allin burns a Cody mask.
Cody Rhodes v. Darby Allin
Ah, the halcyon days before the ugly fucking tattoo. Obviously Darby is a much bigger star these days. They fight for the lockup in the corner and Darby goes for a hammerlock, but Cody reverses out and goes for a takedown. Allin makes the ropes, so Cody takes him down with a side headlock and tries a hiptoss, which Darby counters by flipping out of it and sending Cody to the floor. Back in, Darby with La Majastral for two, but Cody slugs him into the corner and then chucks him through the turnbuckles and into the post. Hell of a bump there from Allin. Back in, Cody goes to work on Darby’s leg to set up the figure-four, but Darby makes the ropes and gnaws on the bottom rope. Cody biels him into the corner and Darby bumps to the floor again, but then suckers Cody over to the ropes and smashes his hand in the post. Cody throws a lariat for two and beats on him with knees on the ropes, and then wraps him up with a hammerlock submission on the mat. Cody with a drop suplex and he slugs away. He tries a delayed suplex, but Darby grabs the injured hand to break it up, and splashes him for two before going to town on the hand and applying an armbar. This gives JR his first chance to say “surcease” on the show. They fight to the floor and Allin hits a dive, but Cody drops him on the stairs. Cody hits own dive and they head up the ramp, but Cody tosses him back in and Darby makes a comeback with strikes and a Code Red for two. Darby goes up and Cody cuts him off with a superplex for two. Both guys are out, and Cody tries to bail to the apron, but Darby goes up with a Coffin Drop that hits nothing but apron, THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING. That looked fucking sick. Back in the ring, Cody puts him down with the big boot and Allin bumps onto his own body bag, at which point Cody zips him into it and hits a disaster kick on the bag in a wacky visual. That gets two. Darby does a zombie sell off that and Cody rolls him up for one and then unleashes the WEIGHT BELT OF DOOM for some shots with that. Crossroads is countered with a knee to the head and Darby hits a stunner, but another Crossroads gets two as time expires at 20:00. Picked up a ton at the end, but most of the match was pretty plodding and Darby didn’t come across as a star worth caring about at this point. *** I know, hot take, giving Cody a *** rating. Cody wants 5 more minutes, but this brings out Shawn Spears, who lays out Cody with the infamous chairshot to the head that leaves Cody lying in a pool of his own blood. The thing that was really annoying about it is that they never really gave any context for WHY Spears would want to do that. Everyone seemed to think that it would make Spears into a big star to have that feud, but it sure didn’t.
The Lucha Bros & Laredo Kid v. The Young Bucks & Kenny Omega
As you’d expect for a gaming convention show, the geekdom is strong with the Elite, as the Bucks are Ryu & Ken and then Kenny is Akuma. But with JAZZ HANDS.
ROUND ONE: FIGHT!
OK I popped for that. Nick and Laredo trade flips to start and then take each other down with wristlocks, but Laredo gets a kick from the apron and they trade superkick attempts and fight to a stalemate back in the ring. This leads to a six-way standoff and everyone slugs it out, but Team Lucha dropkicks the Elite to the floor and follows with triple dives. Back in, the Luchas double-team Kenny and then hit Matt with a double superkick into a reverse rana from Laredo to clear the ring. Nick tries to get some revenge but he gets kicked in the face and Laredo hits a pair of moonsaults for two. Penta and Fenix double-team Nick in the corner, but Nick takes them down with a double headscissors. Matt comes in with the locomotion northern lights on all three of the heels, and it’s over to Kenny. Kenny hits Laredo with chops in the corner and follows with a running elbow and backbreaker for two. Laredo escapes You Can’t Escape and goes up for a bodypress, but Kenny blocks with a dropkick and sends the Kid to the floor. Kenny with the Terminator Dive, but Penta cuts him off and throws the glove to the ref. Kenny is not intimidated by this and they trade shots, before Kenny dropkicks the ankle and hits the crusher. Fenix comes in with a kick from the apron, but the Bucks boot him to the railing and we get a triple-team on Laredo. German suplex from Kenny and this time You Can’t Escape, with the Bucks adding a flying elbow and swanton on top of that. Kenny gets two from all that with a one foot cover. Kid fights off the Bucks and Penta comes in with a backstabber on Omega to put him on the floor. Fenix follows him out and hits a rana on the floor and then Laredo unleashes a crazy tope suicida. Back in, Pentagon gets a double stomp on Matt for two. Matt comes back with a Canadian Destroyer and spear and it’s back to Omega. He fights off three luchas and hits them all with dragon suplexes, but he goes up and Pentagon cuts him off and then backdrops his own brother over the top rope and onto Nick! Laredo hits an amazing splash on Kenny for two while Pentagon hits Matt with a Canadian Destroyer of his own, and then it’s SUPERKICK PARTY and everyone’s invited! So we get another six-way showdown and the Luchas all hit superkicks, but the Elite counters with HADOKENS. Triple powerbombs get two. Fenix and Kid get hung up on the ropes and Nick goes up with a 450 onto them, and Omega gets one before Pentagon kicks his head off. Nick tries to dive onto Pentagon and gets hit with a slingblade on the floor, but Laredo Kid takes a V-Trigger in the ring and then Kenny runs into a cutter from Fenix. And then Nick hits Fenix with a hanging neckbreaker while Fenix showboats. Matt wants a Meltzer Driver to the floor on Penta, but the Kid breaks that up, so Nick does a Spanish Fly on Fenix onto Pentagon on the floor instead! Kenny hits the Kid with Tiger Driver 98 for two after all that craziness. V-Trigger and One Winged Angel put this insanity to bed at 20:25, good night. Just a crazy goddamn spotfest with tons of nutty video game references and dives. ****1/4
Lights Out Unsanctioned match: Jon Moxley v. Joey Janela
No real issue here, just that “both guys are cut from the same cloth…violent cloth” according to the announcers. Violent cloth indeed. Janela quickly sends him to the floor for a tope and they brawl into the crowd. Man, those were the days. It feels like decades ago. Joey finds a table and then solicits a prosthetic leg from a fan for a shot with that, but Moxley hauls him into the ring and beats on him in there. Mox slams him on a chair, but Janela sets up the chair and puts Mox on it. He tries a swanton, but that misses and he takes out the chair in a painful way instead. Next up, Moxley finds a barbed wire-wrapped chair and stomps that onto Janela’s arm, but Joey slams the chair into his back and gets two. That was a little cringey. Janela gets another table and sets it up in the corner, but Moxley teases putting him through it. They fight to the apron and both guys fall through a table out there. Back in the ring, Moxley spears Janela through the table in the ring, and then finds another pair of tables and sets them up on the floor. Janela flips him off in response and Moxley calls him a “dumb motherfucker” and this time he finds a barbed wire board under the ring. So that gets set up in the corner, but Janela slams Moxley through it and that goes badly for Mox. That gets two. They slug it out in the middle and Joey wins that, but then walks into the lariat out of the corner. Janela superkicks him to the apron and finds a ladder in the magic void under the ring this time, which sets up a flying elbow off the ladder and onto Moxley on the two tables on the floor. Next up, Janela finds his own barbed wire board and makes a bridge with it on the railing, but Moxley comes back with a DDT in the ring. This sets up a death valley bomb over the top rope and through the barbed wire to the floor. And Joey gets all tangled in the barbed wire and that’s pretty gross. Back in, Moxley just beats on him with Muay Thai knees and then finds a bucket and a bag of thumbtacks. Then in a horrifying spot, Moxley takes off Janela’s boots AND socks and teases an atomic drop on the tacks. Janela manages to escape that, but Moxley suplexes him onto the tacks instead and then stomps his hand into the tacks before finally dropping him feet-first onto the tacks as teased. DUDE. UNCOOL. If that was Lego the guy might be dead. So Moxley finds another bag of tacks, hits the Paradigm Shift onto the tacks, and that’s enough to finish at 19:59. Jesus. ****1/4
And then Kenny Omega hits the ring and destroys Moxley, before they brawl over to a stage and Kenny runs him into a drum kit and beats on him with a guitar. This of course set up an even CRAZIER hardcore match at All Out, which wouldn’t have seemed possible after watching this one. Moxley gets helped out by referees, but then fights them off before Omega runs back out and beats on him with a trash can this time and hitting a double arm DDT on it. And after all that, Moxley is left smiling like a lunatic.
Hey, nothing really legendary here, but for a free show that’s 2 and a half hours with two ****+ matches? That’s an easy recommendation from here.