Date: June 29, 2019
Venue: Ocean Center (Daytona Beach, FL)
Commentators: Jim Ross, Excalibur, & Goldenboy
Finally watched an AEW event. This is my record of that.
- CIMA vs. Christopher Daniels (***)
- Riho vs. Yuka Sakazaki vs. Nyla Rose (**3/4)
- Adam Page vs. Jungle Boy vs. Jimmy Havoc vs. Maxwell Jacob Friedman (***)
- Cody vs. Darby Allin (***3/4)
- Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks vs. Laredo Kid & The Lucha Brothers (****1/4)
- UNSANCTIONED: Joey Janela vs. Jon Moxley (****)
-OPENING VIDEO: Double of Nothing montage, plus hype for tonight. Great video, tbh. I almost turned this off and ordered the dang PPV.
-Ross, Excalibur, & Goldenboy welcome the home audience at ringside. Goldenboy is an e-sports commentator, added to the team as this show is taking place in conjunction with a video game tournament. He fits in better than you’d think. Big matches are hyped as expected.
CIMA defeated Christopher Daniels via pinfall after a meteora (9:39)
A good opening match between two guys who are in way better shape than I will be once I hit that age. Daniels has to be a highlander or something; the world is going to end and somehow Daniels will still be wrestling and kicking ass. CIMA has a big match with Kenny Omega at AEW’s next show, Fight for the Fallen, two weeks from this one so it made sense that he got the win and had a good showing to boot.
- RATING: ***
Riho defeated Yuka Sakazaki and Nyla Rose by pinning Rose after countering a Beast Bomb with a roll-up (13:02)
The match started off well, with Riho and Sakazaki working together to take down the much bigger Rose, and Rose just bodying them repeatedly with her brute strength. It lost me as it went on though as it got a little janky and awkward, felt like a lot of waiting around for moves to happen in places. It picked back up by the end, including a tremendous top rope guillotine knee from Rose that woke the crowd right the f*ck up, and had a good closing stretch. Riho sneaking the victory and doing it over Rose, who appears to be on a collision course with Awesome Kong, was surprising but made sense. All in all a decent match, it just didn’t grab me. Honestly I was hoping for Rose to just WRECK Riho and Sakazaki in a squash so that’s on me, probably.
- RATING: **3/4
–Kip Sabian joins commentary for the next match, the winner to be his opponent at Fight for the Fallen.
–Maxwell Jacob Friedman (MJF) enters first and cuts a scathing and low hanging fruit heel promo on all the video game nerds in the audience. He says that he used to love video games too…until he lost his virginity, and the fine folks in production found the perfect dork in the audience to cut to for a reaction. I hope whoever made that decision got a bonus.
“Hangman” Adam Page defeated Jungle Boy [w/ Luchasaurus], Jimmy Havoc, & MJF by pinning Havoc following the Dead Eye (10:48)
Page is facing Chris Jericho to decide the first AEW World Champion at All Out in August so I was not surprised whatsoever to see him get the win here; he’s going to need all the momentum he can get heading into the biggest match of his career and the highest stake main event in AEW’s short history. The road to victory was a fun one though, but I’ll be honest Page wasn’t the one that stood out to me. The MVPs in my eyes were Jungle Boy and MJF, the former for his bouncy athleticism (including a cannonball Moonsault that he almost took on his head when his feet got caught on the top rope strut) and the latter for his effortless douchebaggery and smart game plan (Jungle Boy’s foot on the rope so Page couldn’t get three-count was especially great). They made a big deal of Page and MJF going 1-on-1 and honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if that ended being a PPV main event in the future. Anyway dug this one a lot, Page got the win as expected and looked great in victory but for my money Jungle Boy and MJF were far more compelling. Also Kip Sabian added NOTHING to commentary, I forgot he was there.
- RATING: ***
-Highlights from the Cody/Dustin match from Double Or Nothing, ending in Cody enlisting his older brother as his partner to face The Young Bucks at Fight For the Fallen.
-A promo/vignette of Darby Allin immediately plays after, but I forgot what he said soooo let’s continue on.
“The American Nightmare” Cody [w/ Brandi Rhodes] and Darby Allin fought to a time limit draw (officially 20:00 but really 20:03)
I’ve seen Darby Allin wrestle before on an EVOLVE show at some point, but I had forgotten all about him. I will never make that same mistake again because HOLY SH*T was this a star-making performance for him. Cody beat the sh*t out of Allin for the bulk of the match, throwing him around and Allin selling at almost Hennig-levels but in a more realistic way (if that makes sense, it probably doesn’t). No matter what Cody threw at him, Allin got back up and fought back, focusing on Cody’s left hand to give him a little leverage. And then that missed Coffin Drop on the apron. YO.
YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Completely insane. Allin might be skinny or whatever, but this dude has IT. By going the time limit despite getting beat up he looked like a friggin’ superstar and Cody did a great job raising his star power. Great match, great showing from Allin, too bad people will probably remember the stuff that happened after the match more. I hope not. Allin f*cking killed it here.
- RATING: ***3/4
After the match Shawn Spears enters the ring and hits Cody flush with a chair to the skull. The back of Cody’s head somehow got ripped in the process, resulting in a very real (and VERY GROSS) pool of blood. Cody’s friends, including MJF (HE HAS FRIENDS?!?), help Cody to the back as the towel applied to the back of his head gets soaked in blood. It’s cool, I hate eating anyway.
-Ross and company put on their serious voices to talk about what just happened, including Ross bringing up a possible CTE test for the American Nightmare. This goes on a little longer than it should.
–The Young Bucks make their entrance dressed like Ryu and Ken from Street Fighter, then a random dude shows up to do Batista pantomime (is this some joke from their YouTube show?). Lights go out, and when they come back on Kenny Omega stands over the body of the Batista pantomime guy, cosplaying as Akuma. VIDEO GAAAAAAAMES.
Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks (Nick & Matt Jackson) defeated The Laredo Kid & The Lucha Brothers (Pentagon Jr. & Rey Fenix) when Omega pinned Kid following the One-Winged Angel (20:32)
Seeing the folks involved I knew I was in for an exciting match, and I got what I was hoping for. There wasn’t a wasted second in this one, from superkicks to poison ranas to even a triple HADOUKEN to pay off the Street Fighter cosplay, and I loved every goddamn second of it. Not a lot of “psychology” or whatever but when six wrestlers are this good at hitting cool flips and spots it’s easy to let that go and just let it wash over you. I can’t pick a favorite spot for real, but Fenix getting backdropped OVER THE POST and onto Nick Jackson was pretty f*cking cool. Delivered and then some, damn near made the event worth it by itself.
- RATING: ****1/4
–Justin Roberts announces that the official AEW show is over but there is one match left and it’s UNSANCTIONED. Lights go off, lights go on, and now anything goes! I appreciate the theatricality of it all though seeing a “lights out” match in 2019 is weird. Y’all don’t want the responsibility of the action but still want to profit from it and give them intros/a referee/etc?
Jon Moxley defeated “Bad Boy” Joey Janela via pinfall with the Paradigm Shift into a bed of thumbtacks (20:01)
Prior to Moxley’s WWE run he used to compete in deathmatches for CZW, including one where an electric saw was used on his forehead (obviously not one with the actual teeth, but I’ll admit I got fooled the first time). In the years he was headlining events and winning World Titles, Janela took over the mantle and has been doing crazy sh*t on the indies for various companies, including GCW. With Moxley back on the scene it made sense these two would wrestle one another and it would get violent. And violent it was.
Moxley and Janela did not hold back, fighting into the crowd within the first minute and introducing the first of many tables within two. Both men took crazy bumps through said tables, through barbed wire covered boards (which there were TWO of, I guess these guys had a busy morning), and in the finale a whole lot of thumbtacks. This is only the second Janela match I’ve personally seen (first was his brawl with Hangman Page at All In last August) and once again I was blown away by the risks he was willing to take for the sake of infamy and putting on a good show. The man took thumbtacks TO THE BARE FEET for god’s sake. Moxley, in what I think was his first match since leaving WWE, did not hold back either and apparently decided he wanted all of the barbed wire to puncture his skin, taking shots through boards and from a chair wrapped in the stuff. No rubber caps on that bitch like WCW Uncensored 1999. The intensity built wonderfully and when it came time for the end game, which involved TWO bags of thumbtacks and all sorts of violence surrounding them, it was a terrific way to cap off a wild brawl. I enjoyed the sh*t out of this and Moxley really felt like he earned that win at the end. Great stuff from both men and an excellent AEW debut for Moxley, who instantly erased the past year and change of his WWE run with one match.
- RATING: ****
Moxley attempts to leave but is immediately dropped with a V-Trigger from Kenny Omega, looking for revenge following the attack at the end of Double Or Nothing. And revenge he gets, swan stomping a piece of a broken table into Moxley’s head and beating him with all sorts of stuff in the “band” area of the set (for the band that never showed up because Fyre Fest GET IT). Omega leaves, refs try to help Moxley but he shoves them away and Omega rushes out AGAIN, this time with an aluminum trash can. Omega finishes his attack with a Paradigm Shift on the dented can, mirroring Moxley’s use of the move on top of the chip pile at Double Or Nothing, and finally leaves…but it’s Moxley who’s the one smiling all crazy-like as the show ends.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I’m nowhere near the hype train that AEW is chugging along on but after watching Fyter Fest I’m definitely more interested in seeing what they’ve got going forward. The show was a breeze to watch, with the final three matches especially delivering both action-wise and storyline-wise. Giving the show away for free on B/R Live was a gamble, as if it sucked it would have been a real disaster, but AEW proved itself as being worth at least some of the goodwill it has been getting from all sorts of wrestling fans. Time will tell if the momentum keeps up as their TNT show doesn’t debut till October, but they’ve got my money for All Out for sure. I want to see Omega/Moxley and Page/Jericho for sure. Fyter Fest is worth your time if you’ve got a few hours to kill and want to see WWE’s competition in action.
- MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Omega & The Young Bucks vs. Laredo Kid & The Lucha Bros
- MOMENT OF THE NIGHT: Darby Allin hits nothing but apron after missing a Coffin Drop. I’m still wincing from that.