Wednesday, July 3, 2019

AEW Fyter Fest 2019

So this is All Elite Wrestling's second ever event, named to mock the failed Fyre Festival and a show that ran co-currently with the CEO Fighting Game Championships event that is a thing for some reason... well, whatever, that's not my sort of thing, but there's a community for that sort of thing, so good on you... until you end up being a douche.

Anyway, I watched this on the Bleacher Report Live, where the show was airing for free and coincidentally, it did work, which was a worry because I didn't think it would, but there you go. And it had a start time of 7:30, which I thought was early, but then realized that it was the pre-show start time and the actual event started an hour later... okay, so I guess I'm watching the pre-show.

So I guess I'll touch on the pre-show... which wasn't very good to be honest. I don't mind wrestling matches in a pre-show and I'd prefer that over endless talking heads that do nothing but pad out the show, but the pre-show is supposed to be an appetizer for the main show; whether that means background information or vignettes on the various matches or a couple matches to get the audience going. This pre-show... didn't quite work for me and...

Best Friends (Trent Baretta and Chuck Taylor) defeated SCU (Kazarian & Scorpio Sky) and Private Party (two "out" people whose names I don't recall... sorry.) The match was fine, but the lack of familiarity of some of these guys hindered the match for me and this would've been the best time to fill in the blanks for newcomers who don't follow the Youtube stuff... which is a lot more people than the social media dullards would want to admit.

Allie beat The Librarian Leva Bates in what could be best described as a bad match bordering on Bella Bad. It starts with Leva Bates and fellow Librarian Peter Avalon telling gamers to stop playing and start reading, with the gamer audience letting them know that they can't read... well, they're honest, at least. This librarian stuff is not working for me, either way. It's stupid, and not the kind of stupid you could at least laugh at.

Michael Nakazawa (some comedy wrestler) defeated CEO Convention head Alex Jebailey with a face full of dirty pantsu. This is the kind of match Jim Cornette likes; stupid oil comedy bits, ridiculous spots that amuses the easily-amused gamer crowd, hardcore head shots with a balloon flamingo... wait, he doesn't like that sort of thing? But he created the fucking Boogeyman!

So it's full-blown comedy; there'a fighter stick used as an offensive weapon, there's a Gamecube controller used to choke somebody out, there's a bunch of arcade buttons used in the same fashion as thumb tacks, a bunch of random video game references thrown out there, someone gets tossed into the kiddie pool and sells a shot against a balloon, and the aforementioned pantsu. This match has its fans, I thought it was stupid, but then again, I've seen stupider things in wrestling.

And then Jim Ross comes out... and here's the first big mistake; he could've done the last match and all the video game references would go over his head, which would enhanced the viewing of the match... and then I remember that Kenny Omega is also a big gamer guy, so we might get that chance later.

So, let me re-iterate that the pre-show was bad. It did not do a good job of selling me on the show... and it did not provide ample samplings of the promotion in general... but the show must go on.

CIMA (from the Oriental Wrestling Entertainment promotion or something) defeated Christopher Daniels in what I can best describe as perfectly good wrestling. Two guys who are really good at what they do have a pretty good match, but not so good that it ends up overshadowing the rest of the show. I don't know if that was the intent, but I appreciate the less-than-epic-aspirations.

Riho (joshi in white garb) defeated Nyla Rose (big giant woman... yeah, I know) and Yuka Sakazaki (magical girl joshi with magical girl costume and adorable expressions) in a three-way match. It was two small girls against one big girl and the big girl came off looking like a monster before getting cocky and tired out enough so that one of the small girls could eventually get the win... and then one small girl tries to help out the other small girl and the winning small girl tells here to fuck off, giving us Sad Yuka, which made me sad and I realized that I was emotionally touched here... more so than anything out of the WWE camp.

"Hangman" Adam Page defeated Jimmy Havoc, Maxwell Jacob Friedman, and the Jungle Boy in a four-corners match to continue his winning ways... I guess. Because wins and losses matter, you know. The match was fine and each guy got their stuff in... and for what it's worth, I'm glad that MJF wasn't the guy who ate the pin because he's probably the most entertaining heel they've got; good shots, good wrestler, has that smug, punchable face that makes him easy to hate and you can't wait to see him get his ass kicked... you know, the kind of thing that a wrestling heel or BAD GUY is supposed to be... that Corbin guy should take notes.

TIME LIMIT DRAW between Cody and Darby Allin, which surprised me in a good way because I thought we were long past the days of time limit draws in wrestling, but this was a nice surprise to see... though I don't need to see that finish often. Another thing I don't need to see often is the chair shot from Shawn Spears - the former Tye Dillinger - to Cody. Full-blast unprotected head shot with a steel chair, concussion city almost assured but fortunately none of that... good way to build drama, I guess, but I never need to see that again.

The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega (coincidentally wearing garb akin to your three main "Shoto" guys from Street Fighter, so clearly, they know their current audience) defeated the Lucha Bros and Laredo Kid in what was an entertainingly solid little match. No mention of the Bucks losing the AAA Tag Titles to said Lucha Bros in the interim between shows despite their title defense at Double Or Nothing, but I guess that doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. In any event, this was fine for what it was.

And in the main event - billed as a non-sanctioned match - Jon Moxley defeated Joey Janella in a match that featured tables, ladders, chairs (oh my), barb-wired wrapped chairs, barb-wire boards, thumb tacks, fans chanting "You sick fuck", Joey flipping birds, Jon calling him a motherfucker, and a couple other things that I might've forgotten... but it was chaos, it was cringeworthy (though not to the degree of that one chairshot), it was at times really nerve-racking, and yet at the same time, there is a sort of twisted pleasure in seeing these two maim each other for the sake of entertainment.

Your mileage is going to vary depending on whether this sort of match appeals to you and for me personally, I did enjoy the match for what it was; two sick fucks trying out sick fuck the other and one sick fuck coming out on top. Is this the sort of thing I'd want to see Moxley do on a regular basis in AEW? No, because that sort of thing loses its luster after a while... and for what it's worth, I've seen some of his New Japan stuff and I liked that stuff well enough. So if he could bring some of that over to AEW and keep the hardcore stuff for "special cases" and not anything that would be featured on a wrestling show airing on TNT, that I'd be fine with that.

And then Kenny shows up. He beats on Moxley for a bit that eventually involves him hitting an electric guitar and a DDT on Mox, with the show ending on Mox's sick smile, as if to say that he enjoys this sort of carnage.

So here's the thing with Fyter Fest... if you were expecting the same caliber of quality matches and progression that you got from Double Or Nothing, then you were setting yourself up for major disappointment because that's not what you got here. This was a wrestling show at a fighting game convention that probably was already planned out long before this AEW thing became a thing and suddenly, it became an AEW thing and... well... meh. We have a show under the AEW banner and it's exactly what it was; a show with some decent matches, a couple bad matches (mostly the pre-show), some stuff to appease the largely gaming-centric audience in attendance, but otherwise nothing that is going to hard sell newcomers on this hot new property.

If you're an AEW fan or BTE fan, you'll love this show more than likely. If you've been on the fence with AEW or don't care for the promotion otherwise, this is perhaps not the best representation of the promotion at its best, with the pre-show being a particularly sour point on the whole thing. This was a nothing show with some mild entertainment value, much like a WWE B-show PPV done right... and in that regard, it does what it does well enough.

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