The end of summer in 2019 brought to us All Elite Wrestling’s final pay per view leading up to their big television debut on TNT, All Out. That show saw PAC beat Kenny Omega with only ten days notice, Hikaru Shida and Riho showing the western world what joshi could do, the Lucha Bros and Young Bucks dedicating everything to trying to murder each other and themselves, and finally the inaugural AEW World Champion crowing in Chris Jericho. One year to the day from that raucous Chicago crowd (remember crowds?) brings us All Out again, and Dan and myself (Ken) will break down each match and give our thoughts on who wins and what comes after.
Buy In Match: Big Swole vs Britt Baker in a Tooth and Nail Match
Ken: Britt Baker’s heel turn was a wonderful injection into the women’s division that unfortunately got derailed when she sustained an injury. However, between promo work and some genuinely fun skits with Big Swole and her assistant Reba have provided a fun story. There is a problem with this match being on the Buy In (while the Bucks/Jurassic Express match has much less build but is on the main card) (UPDATE: Amazing when a promotion listens sometimes and puts the deserving match on the main card) and as of time of writing we’re not sure what a Tooth and Nail Match is, but hopefully it can just be a fun match.
Ken: I’m all for Big Swole for this one. This will be some big catharsis for her finally getting her hands on Baker.
Dan: Tough one to call without knowing what a “Tooth n’ Nail Match” is, but I think Britt Baker is the one with a bigger part to play in the immediate future of the women’s division, so I fancy her to win whatever this match turns out to be.
What Comes Next
Ken: As discussed below, Swole could be in line to be the next challenger for Hikaru Shida. While the booking of the division has been at best, sketchy, there is a real good match that could happen between Swole and Shida. Meanwhile, let Britt Baker get her stride back in a slower buildup and have her be the challenger for Full Gear.
Casino Battle Royale for a Shot at the AEW World Championship
Ken: The premise is simple: 21 men vying to get a shot at the champion. We’ve only had some build just these last few weeks via promos from people such as Jake Roberts, Taz and Eddie Kingston. It’s a match that’ll get people on the card and will hopefully provide some banter.
Ken: To me, this match comes down to two men. Recently, with the announcement that all of -what I had been calling “Kingston-Gun” until Eddie told me it wasn’t a faction and that I should grow up, sorry sir!- will be in the match, there’s going to be a big advantage there. But here’s the thing: Everybody Dies. Lance Archer has been quietly being rebuilt on Dark and reintroduced back into Dynamite with even the hints that there could be a face turn on the horizon.
Dan: Even with only a few names confirmed for this melee, it still feels as if there are more potential winners than there has been in any of AEW’s previous Battle Royale matches. That being said I do have to agree with my esteemed colleague Ken and say that Lance Archer wins it so that we can revisit his history with Moxley. I’d love to see some lengthy interaction between Archer and Brian Cage, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see them as the final two after the likes of Allin and Starks have taken each other out. As a side prediction, I fully expect to see Archer and Cage have a contest to see who can throw Marko Stunt the furthest.
What Comes Next?
Ken: I had the pleasure of seeing Archer and Moxley’s Texas Death Match at Wrestle Kingdom 14 live and it was a sleeper hit of the weekend. I think they could put on something fun for the coming month or so on Dynamite. (Spoilers for who I think wins the Main Event)
The Young Bucks vs Jurassic Express
Ken: Just added to the card this passing Wednesday, this match has very little buildup (almost like it should be on the Buy In instead of Swole/Baker). It is more of a byproduct of the story surrounding the dissolution of the Elite as a whole. The Bucks showing more and more frustration and going up against such a popular babyface team of Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy will probably just increase that.
Ken: I’m going to take a gamble here. I personally would’ve rather have the Bucks off the ppv and in the stands as they watch Hangman and Omega explode. Having said that, I’m going to go for Jurassic Express for a big upset and show even more deterioration of the group.
Dan: Feels like we’re seeing something significant happening with the Bucks after their aggressive showing on the go-home show, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them come out on top here with a further show of malice. Young Bucks to win.
What Comes Next?
Ken: Jurassic Express wouldn’t be a bad idea for a first defense against FTR during September and October’s Dynamite episodes. Like I said, they’re a popular babyface team that FTR could work great with.
Dark Order v Natural Nightmares, Matt Cardona and Scorpio Sky
Dan: What an up and down few months the Dark Order have had. At the end of December 2019 they were the butt of every joke both inside and outside of AEW. The terrible segment, which by all accounts was meant to see the unveiling of Marty Scurll as the Exalted One, saw minions punching thin air and no real storyline development at all.
Even when Brodie Lee (sorry….MR Brodie Lee) was unveiled it all felt a bit limp as the grand reveal came slap bang in the middle of the lows of the empty arena era.
Fast forward to All Out however and suddenly the Dark Order are on fire. Whether it’s their ability to conjure up brilliant matches in defeat with the likes of John Silver and Alex Reynolds, or shower us with comedy gold on Being The Elite, they had been steadily gaining traction even before the shocking events of 22nd August. On that night, Brodie Lee destroyed Cody’s TNT Title Run, and the Dark Order destroyed his friends and family. It was swift, brutal and absolutely electric.
Now we see those friends and family try and fight back whilst Cody remains on the shelf licking his wounds.
Dan: Having thoroughly destroyed Cody and his entourage, it would be incredibly disappointing to see anything here other than a big win for The Dark Order. Whilst I expect, in particular, both Cardona and Scorpio Sky to get a good few licks in, I believe that the end of the match will see The Exalted One knock somebody’s head off with his discus lariat to continue his reign of dominance.
Ken: What a month the Dark Order has had. Like, it is very impressive that this company took a slow build of establishing the underlings of this stable as great workers in undercard matches, getting the group over on Being The Elite and then using all the momentum of Cody’s great TNT Championship run to put Mr. Brodie Lee over a massive deal. I am conflicted, because I kinda want the Dark Order to win but I think we might see Team Cody’s Friends win with a pin on Uno or Grayson to begin the first feud in Mr. Brodie’s reign.
What Comes Next
Dan: Mr Brodie has already stated that he won’t be defending the TNT Title in the same way that his predecessor did, so do expect to see fewer defences and don’t expect to see him facing off against any indie darlings. I actually think we may see a build to Brodie vs Colt Cabana as that little Dark Order side story plays out to a finish. On the other side of the fence it feels too soon for Scorpio Sky to have another crack at the TNT belt, but perhaps that challenge is more immediate in Matt Cardona’s future.
Matt Hardy vs Sammy Guevara in a Broken Rules Match
Ken: Right. I know this is where we break down the kayfabe buildup to this match, but the problem here is that real life is more important. And to be fair, the start of this feud was pretty decent, veteran Matt Hardy seeing potential in Sammy Guevara and wanting to rescue him from Chris Jericho’s clutches.
Then the #SpeakingOut Movement happened. Then an old interview where Sammy said some frankly horrible things came out. Then Sammy was rightfully suspended for a month.
This feud has been snakebit since Sammy’s return. No matter what they have done since is going to change how awkward Sammy is right now just being slotted back in as if nothing happened. On top of that, Matt being busted open hardway has intensified the violence but it still doesn’t change that this feud should’ve just ended with the suspension.
Ken: Hardy bet his career on this match and I don’t think he’s done yet. That’s as nice as I can be because I frankly could not care less about this match.
Dan: I’m not really sure either man has benefited from this feud and I’m not sure either man would particularly benefit from a win in this contest. Sammy has proved that he can eat a loss and still stay strong so I think we’ll see a lot of goofy ‘Broken’ gimmickry leading to a victory for Matt Hardy.
What Comes Next
Ken: I genuinely am not sure where we are going to go from here but I think it would be for the best for both to go there separate ways after this match and feud are in the rear view.
Mimosa Mayhem Match – Chris Jericho vs Orange Cassidy
Dan: I don’t know what else you want me to say. It’s just your standard, run of the mill, everyday Mimosa Mayhem Match.
Part three in the trilogy of matches that not even the wildest of predictions could have foreseen 12 months ago should be hugely entertaining if nothing else. The build between these two vastly different wrestlers has been great across the board with Orange’s sloth-like antics increasingly riling up Le Champion both verbally and physically (the debate between the two was a marvelous piece of television) and Jericho’s brutality continuously cutting Cassidy down to size.
The second match between the two suffered from an awkward finish, so the two will be looking to right that wrong in an environment that promises that at least one of the two will be dunked in a vat of Mimosas. What more could you want really?
Dan: I think this is the hardest match to call on the entire card. Do AEW run with the veteran who remains such a figurehead for the company, or go with the crowd favourite and potential future hero. On balance I have to go with Freshly Squeezed himself Orange Cassidy. Whilst his schtick is not for everyone, I do believe he can be a highly effective champion if used correctly in AEW, and for that to work he needs a big win here. Plus, the site of an angry Chris Jericho being fished out of a vat of Mimosa? That’s surely too good a visual to turn down.
Ken: I can’t believe this is the match we’re disagreeing on. While Jericho has been flexing his comedy side these last few months, I think it is…weirdly enough… going to come down to the gear Jericho is wearing. If Jericho comes out in full white gear, he’s going in that pool of mimosa. If, as I think this may be used to re-establish Jericho, he comes out as the Painmaker, he’s winning. I suppose for a sporting difference for us I’ll choose Jericho.
What Comes Next
Dan: It might be time for Jericho to take a bit more of a backseat in the next few months. His work on commentary is always excellent, and he can remain highly relevant in his role as leader of the Inner Circle without necessarily having to wrestle on a regular basis. There’s also unfinished business for Le Champion with Jungle Boy if AEW want to pull that particular trigger. As for Orange, I say push him to the moon. He could actually be the perfect man to eventually take the TNT Title off Brodie Lee, as his interactions with the Dark Order on BTE have proved there is comedy gold there, and his in-ring performances have shown he could level up to the Exalted One.
AEW Women’s World Championship: Hikaru Shida (c) vs Thunder Rosa
Ken: As has been discussed over and over, there’s been a great deal of problems with AEW’s women’s division, a discussion worthy of a separate piece. For me personally, I believe it is a lot more complex than simply “give the wrestlers more time.” There’s a myriad of problems that some are AEW’s fault and some that aren’t. However, the “give them time” advice might be the best suggestion for this match.
It’s not controversial to say that the build for current champion Hikaru Shida and NWA Women’s World Champion/TJPW’s International Princess Champion Thunder Rosa has been sparse. It’s reminiscent of the build between Jon Moxley and Mr. Brodie Lee leading into Double or Nothing this year. What saved that match can also save this one: let Shida and Rosa just have a 15-17 minute stiff banger. Shida is far and away the most talented in-ring woman currently available at AEW and Rosa herself is very talented as well. Give them space and time and they can put on one of the best matches of the show.
On the business side, it would behoove commentary to build on the prestige of the NWA Women’s Championship, if NWA is allowing talent to work with AEW. On top of that, maybe even plugging Rosa’s budding Mission Pro Wrestling promotion, it’s a nice bit of business all around.
Ken: It doesn’t seem that Rosa is going to be dedicating to AEW majorly, so I’m seeing a Shida retention here, but after a hard-fought match that puts both women over.
Dan: Tough one this as we don’t know what Thunder Rosa’s, or indeed NWA’s relationship will be with AEW going forward. For that reason I have to go with Hikaru Shida to win but I just hope that this is the match that can really relaunch the AEW women’s division and make Shida look like the strong champion that her talent suggests she should be portrayed as.
What Comes Next?
Ken: This is the tricky part, isn’t it? Travel restrictions and injuries screwed with a lot of plans for the division, but there are some ways ahead. I would see Big Swole, coming off a victory against Britt Baker, as the next challenger for the September/October Dynamite episodes with Britt Baker being the foreground as we begin the build to Full Gear.
AEW Tag Team Championship – Mega Cowboys (Kenny Omega & Hangman Adam Page) (c) vs FTR
Dan: One of the best built matches in American wrestling history? That may sound like a fairly staggering claim, but the slow ramping up of this title match really has had everything.
The tension between the Tag Champs has been there almost since they won the belts at sea back in January 2020. The small miscommunications, the awkward interviews and Kenny’s reverence for The Elite all looked like it was going to come undone at Revolution against the Young Bucks. But AEW didn’t pull the trigger and we find ourselves 6 months on still wondering how close Page was to leaping over the ropes and clobbering his partner at the end of that wonderful title match.
In the meantime, the two had seemingly settled their differences at Stadium Stampede, only to see the arrival of FTR. Cunningly worming their way between the ‘team’ of Omega and Page, they have befriended the latter whilst slowly enraging the former, leading to questions about when Kenny will completely snap and return to his ‘Cleaner’ persona. In the final act of intrigue, FTR seemingly manipulated Page into helping them win the number one contender’s match on Dynamite where Hangman interfered, causing the Bucks to lose and resulting in everyone’s favourite cowboy being thrown out of The Elite.
We therefore go into this showdown with a confused and broken Page, a borderline crazy Omega, and a perfectly oiled machine of a tag-team in FTR….oh year and they also have Tully Blanchard on side as well. This one should be wild.
Dan: Whilst AEW have shown themselves very adept at long term storytelling, this does feel like the moment that the Mega Cowboys implode, leading to new AEW Tag Champions in FTR. Whether it’s an accidental clash of partners, a deliberate turn from either Hangman or Omega, or even just Cash and Dax being the better team on the night, I think the evening ends with FTR’s arms raised, and an epic falling out between the tag team champions. I also have little doubt that this will be the match of the night.
Ken: FTR are the biggest heels in AEW right now to me. They are experts of their craft and they have applied it well both in the ring and out of it. The masters of cutting a ring in half have effectively exasperated the rift between Omega and Page to cut our tag champs in half. FTR are going to win this match, but it’s what will happen after that will perhaps be the most interesting. Will Hangman, after all the bullshit he’s had to deal with these last half a year, finally deliver on that camera shot from Revolution… or will we finally see Omega’s last attempts to maintain all his friendships snap and we see the birth of the AEW incarnation of the Cleaner? There are so many permutations that one could calculate with this story and each is mouth watering.
What Comes Next
Dan: The possibilities really are endless for all four men involved. FTR vs The Young Bucks will always be on the horizon, but I hope AEW don’t feel the need to rush towards it considering the number of other tag teams that are available on that roster. The much-discussed new incarnation of the Four Horsemen surely includes FTR with their links to Tully and Arn Anderson, and perhaps that storyline is the way to delay that inevitably brilliant confrontation with the Bucks. As for Page and Omega, a feud between the two also looks a certainty, although who will be playing which role is tantalisingly unclear. Personally I think that this could the start to a long road back to the AEW World Title for a babyface Hangman, and I would love to see him go head to head with The Cleaner if that’s where Kenny’s character is going.
AEW World Championship: Jon Moxley (c) vs MJF
Ken: Over the last month and a half, MJF has been playing this pseudo presidential campaign angle, with his “Dictator Jon” nickname, all the pomp of his election team and campaigning to ban the Paradigm Shift in the match, which he eventually got. In my opinion, it has been a mixed bag that was saved by Moxley’s actions in the genuinely really good contract signing. MJF has the potential to be a stalwart person for AEW and this Main Event is going to be a massive test for him.
Ken: Moxley isn’t losing this. MJF may feel safe knowing the Paradigm Shift isn’t in play, but it’s just as Mox said: he’ll just have to get creative. In my opinion, Moxley is the ace of this company right now and he’s going to hold that belt for a long time and rightfully so. What will be interesting to see is what Wardlow will do in MJF’s corner. There had been tension with MJF losing his cool with Wardlow several times around Double or Nothing and I think that may come back with Wardlow throwing in the towel for MJF, neatly paralleling what MJF did to Cody when Cody had gone for the World Championship.
Dan: The removal of the Paradigm Shift gives this match an extra edge, but if MJF thinks it’s going to be easy then he must not have seen MOX’s submission destruction of Brian Cage. It’s actually hard to picture MJF getting much offense in here, but I suspect some Wardlow based shenanigans will come into play. Even if the big man does get involved though, I expect to see Moxley win this one and we could see him do some fairly terrible things to his opposition ‘candidate’. If we see a Burberry towel thrown in it wouldn’t be a surprise and I think rather than being MJF’s coronation, this will be the dress rehearsal for when that moment comes in a couple of years time.
What Comes Next?
Ken: As discussed earlier, I think Lance Archer will be next for Moxley, with perhaps Eddie Kingston coming after that for Full Gear. MJF on the other hand will perhaps be more interesting. I think the partnership with Wardlow comes to an end soon, but I think MJF will soon see himself aligning with Three Other Men to form something long since teased.
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