Monday, September 11, 2023

AEW All In 2023 (The Wembley Stadium Show)

All In 2023... the big AEW show... a show that I almost didn't watch because the build up had been so mediocre. However, this show took place in London, which meant it aired on a Sunday afternoon... which meant that I could watch it while doing other stuff and that's what I did. So what did I think of the biggest event in wrestling history?

It was fine.

That's it.

A show like this needs time for me to process. I could just spout out quick thoughts and whatever, but this is supposed to be a big deal.

"Real" World Champion CM Punk defeated Samoa Joe in the opening match to keep his belt. The story is that Punk is carrying around his old AEW World title that he never lost and is calling it the "real" World title... which you'd think would get the attention of MJF, but he's too busy being butt-buddies with Adam Cole and winning the ROH tag titles in the pre-show. Then again, considering what happened to Punk afterwards, I think MJF was wise to ignore this nonsense. Anyway, for reasons that we'll get into later, this turned out to be Punk's last match in AEW and for what it's worth, it's a hell of a match. Picking up their rivalry from Ring Of Honor - and yes, I know they had a match on Collision, but I don't watch that show, so... - these two guys know and compliment each other so well. It might not be the best match on the show, but it comes close. There's just the hint of a taint that looms over this match, but on the bright side, Samoa Joe is still around and he's still a presence.

Jay White, ROCK HARD Juice Robinson, and that Takeshita fellow defeated Kenny Omega, Hangman Page, and Kota Ibushi in a six-man that saw Takeshita pin Omega. Later on, TK would book Kenny Vs. Takeshita at the All Out show that would take place the following week. I give AEW credit; the show's a week away from your biggest show in wrestling history and there's already more announced matches than there were at WWECW's PPV that took place a week after Survivor Series 2006. This was a perfectly fine six-man with some good stuff on display, but I wasn't too invested in this one. The crowd didn't seem to mind, however.

AEW World Tag-Team Champions Fuck The Revival defeated The Young Bucks to retain the titles. FTR offered a handshake afterwards but the Bucks refused, presumably because they don't approve of one of the FTR's guys antics of "supposedly" waving a gun around when stuck in traffic.

Orange Cassidy, Eddie Kingston and friends defeated Santana, Ortiz, and the Blackpool Combat Club in what was dubbed a Stadium Stampede match, but is more like an Anarchy in The Arena match with only some of the backstage crazy brawling being shown in split screen, so it's nowhere near as exciting. There's a bunch of crazy shit in this match; that shot of Mox with a head full of skewers sticking out of his skull is a damning sight, the ladder spot collapsing under the weight of Penta and the other guy, 80k+ people chanting for SUE of all people... this match isn't going to be for everyone and some may be turned off by what transpired, but if you can stomach it, this was a fun little piece of violence while it lasted.

Saraya defeated Toni Storm, Dr. Britt Baker DMD, and AEW Women's Champion Hikaru Shida in a four-way match to win the title. Props to Saraya to coming out to "We Will Rock You" with her family in tow; had to have been a big moment for them. And while the match itself wasn't great, there were a couple moments, such as Toni Storm accidentally knocking off Mama Knight (who took the best bump of the match - no joke) and Saraya getting pissy enough to spray paint in Toni's eyes to get the win... all the while Dr. Britt and Shida are in dueling submissions. Hey, a big moment of Saraya who was mostly out of action for the better part of the last decade. Regardless of the match, seeing her have this moment was special.

Sting and Darby Allin defeated Christian Cage and Swerve Strickland in a Coffin match... and yes, that was indeed "Seek And Destroy" by Metallica, which used to be Sting's theme in WCW during the last years of that company's promotion, so you know big bucks are being spent on music. This is your party match; lots of high spots, lots of senior citizen Sting doing crazy shit, and of course, Nick Wayne trying to take down Luchasaurus and beating chokeslammed on a skateboard and fed to Luchasaurus' litter for good measure. It was fun while it lasted.

Chris Jericho comes out to sing his theme song while his band Fozzy plays in the background. Well, at least now he could say that Fozzy played before a hot crowd at Wembley and that's quite a feather to the ol' cap no matter how you spin it. This is followed by a surprising fun little match against Will Ospreay that saw the two go at before Ospreay gets the win and leaves Jericho despondent. This match did a better job of selling me on Ospreay than the one with Kenny because he had a great match with Jericho. Not to discredit Jericho because the guy is an absolute 50+ beast who will keep up with the best of them, but Ospreay could have toned it down a bit and he didn't. Good stuff.

Billy Gunn and The Acclaimed defeated World Trios Champions the House of Black to win the titles. It was a perfectly acceptable trios match with the right team winning and Julia Hart getting scissored. If you get it, get it and if you don't get it... never mind.

AEW World Champion MJF defeated Adam Cole to retain the title via roll-up after multiple struggles on whether to cheat or not cheat. At one point, Max and Cole hit each other with the double clothesline and do a double-pin, but Adam pleads for five more minutes, to which MJF says no... cause he wants to do it until we have a winner in fucking Wembley. And so despite a couple moments, MJF gets the duke. Funny how the biggest show in wrestling history is headlined by a wonderful slice of the sports entertainment pie. The character moments are quite well done, not overbearing, and the match itself more than held up. This Cole/MJF partnership deal has me hooked; I'll give them that much.

And that was ALL IN 2023, everybody... and they're doing another one next year.

Bloody good show that.

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