Wednesday, September 25, 2019

AEW All Out 2019

AEW's fourth show and second PPV event took place a few weeks ago and due to scheduling conflicts, I was unable to catch the show. From all accounts, I've heard mixed reactions. Some really enjoyed the show, while others were lukewarm on it and then you had the few who feel the shine has worn off on all things All Elite. I had bought the Double Or Nothing PPV and enjoyed it, but after two less-than-stellar outings in Fyter Fest and Fight For The Fallen, I was hesitant in forking down another sixty dollars.

As it turned out, a buddy of mine had somehow managed to record the show to DVD-R, thus proving that I'm not the only one with a DVD recording device and offered to lend me his copy for viewing. I thanked him and promised that I'd watching the show over the weekend and return his copy promptly.

Turned out this took me a week and a half to sit through... not a good sign for what is essentially sixty dollars spent on a wrestling show.

SCU (Daniels, Kazarian, and Scorpio Sky) defeated the Jurassic Express Experience (Luchasaurus, Jungle Boy or Jungle Jack Perry as JR calls him, and Marko Stunt) in a pretty fun opening contest. People seem to really like the wrestling dinosaur and his jungle caveboy fellow... and Marko Stunt is along for the ride, so I wonder if they plan on doing anything with them beyond having them get beat by the EVPs and stuff.

PAC defeated Kenny Omega via submission in a pretty good match. Funny how things work here; PAC was supposed to be at the Double Or Nothing show, but couldn't make it due to political reasons (he was champion of another promotion and wasn't going to lose while champion) so we had to wait until Jon Moxley (who was supposed to wrestle Kenny) was scrubbed due to injury and so we have PAC as a replacement. Which would've been a better match? Who knows? But this was tremendous.

Jim Havok defeated Joey Janela and Darby Allin in a Cracker Barrel Brawl match, which is basically a hardcore match sponsored by Cracker Barrel... who knew Lance Storm's favorite American eatery would support senseless wanton violence? Anyway, there's two ways to go about it. You either enjoyed the hardcore violence involving people dumping tacks into other people mouths, exploding barrels, and giving people paper cuts... or you thought the whole thing was complete and utter garbage that shouldn't have been given air time. Either way works, but one thing is certain; this sure as hell wasn't boring.

The Dark Order defeated The Best Friends... and then we got the debut of Orange Cassidy, a guy who wrestles with his hands in his pockets. I wasn't feeling this one, to be honest. The former Smash Bros. gimmick was never something I was sold on and this "darker" version isn't that much better. Maybe they'll get a big push like that Corbin fellow.

Riho defeated Hikaru Shida to advance to the AEW Women's Championship bout against Nyla Rose, scheduled to take place at the debut episode of AEW on TNT. This was a perfectly acceptable wrestling match that almost made me forget about the lack of magical girl and the departure of Kylie Rae. Hey, if nothing else, AEW has much more interesting talent on the women's side of things than WWE and it looks like they might be treated as something special instead of just... well, whatever.

Cody defeated Shawn Spears in a match that featured interference from Arn Anderson and a nice bit of interaction between him and Tully Blanchard, who was "advising" Spears. That ended up being the only real highlight of the match because... well, to tell you the truth, I'm not quite sure on how I feel about this one, as I wanted to enjoy this match for the (cleanest) blood feud that it was, but can't help but be put off by a match feeling a little overindulgent than trying to tell a good story. This felt like watching an "epic" Triple H match that lasted way too fucking long and wore out its welcome long after a certain point. The Star Trek-inspired cosplay was well done, but not something that I'd want to see in a "serious sports-centric" direction. I'm not a fan of these goofy things when WWE does it; I sure as hell don't care for it here.

Also, sidenote: don't have your dog near active fireworks. That's just an all-around bad idea.

AAA Tag-Team Champions Lucha Bros defeated The Young Bucks in a ladder match of death to retain the titles. If you like spots, flips, flops, and ladder matches, this is the match for you. Perfectly fine and entertaining little tag-team match, but it's time for both teams to go their own separate ways.

And in the main event, Chris Jericho defeated Hangman Adam Page (who came out on a horse because sure, why not?) to become the very first AEW World Heavyweight Champion... and then he cut a promo on the post-show, introduced a meme that became a T-Shirt, and then went to a steakhouse where he lost the belt... brilliant. Oh, don't worry. He got the belt back, but that was just, perhaps, a bit too much of the bubbly at work here.

There's going to be the argument of which match should've ended, but to me, barring very special circumstances, the last match should always be for your World championship. That should be the top prize that everyone aspires for. Having a major AEW PPV end on a glorified spotfest for a championship from another promotion, regardless of its actual quality, would've been awkward and inappropriate. With that in mind, this was a fine match on its own, though I could understand some folks being less than thrilled with what was an otherwise grounded wrestling match having to follow a spectacle of a ladder match. I could go either way, but I thought this was alright. Jericho is a fine choice as a first champion and Page has plenty of mileage left to go before he gets another shot.

All Out was an odd experience... because it was the first AEW show that I had to watch in parts. It took them four shows to get to that point... and that was a problem with this show. The length of the show became an issue once I timed it all together. Now look, I struggle through WWE PPVs that last this long and those cost a monthly ten dollar subscription. A show that costs significantly more should not evoke the same kind of feeling. AEW needs to do a better job in time management, especially in light of the fact that they've only got two hours a week to fill once their weekly show hits.

And then there are the matches themselves, which in fairness were fairly good matches. I enjoyed PAC vs. Omega, I enjoyed the World Title match in the story it told, the Ladder match was fun for a bit, and then there was the Cody/Spears match which could've been something great, but ultimately dragged longer than it should. And that's a criticism I could levy towards any number of these matches; they don't need to be long-ass affairs. Sometimes, a lot more could be done within a smaller time frame with less stuff. And while it would go against the grain of modern wrestling mentality, I would much prefer a short show with slightly shorter matches and better pacing than a long-ass show for the sake of being long-ass.

Maybe my lesser reaction is due to my second-hand viewing of the show. If I had paid the sixty bucks myself, I probably would've been even more harsh about this. I do know that Full Gear is a couple months away and by that time, AEW will have several TV episodes under their belt. Hopefully, things will work out for them in the long run and they start to refine their timing a bit, because it's the one thing that needs the most work.

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