AEW All Out has an interesting legacy to compare to, as the previous year featured Chris Jericho being crowned the inaugural AEW World Champion, PAC debuting in a winning effort against Kenny Omega, and a classic Ladder Match between the Lucha Brothers and The Young Bucks.
With Double Or Nothing in May impressing with the Stadium Stampede match, and some impressive Dynamite episodes over the last few months, high standards had been established and the expectation was high for the PPV. The question is, will it live up to last year’s event?
Tooth And Nail Match
Big Swole vs. Britt Baker w/ Rebel
Kicking off with a cinematic match, as Big Swole and the referee pull up outside Baker’s dentist office. Reba/Rebel is quickly dispatched as Swole starts looking for the object of her anger. Baker is depicted as a horror villain, with unnerving music as she creeps in the darkened hallway, her nose protector mask included. They battle to the outside where Baker hits Swole with a DDT on top of the golf cart, an interfering Reba/Rebel thrown into a nearby dumpster by Swole.
Baker’s nose takes more damage back inside the office, Baker proclaiming “I just got it fixed”, and retaliating with a Swinging Neckbreaker. Both women throw some physically painful looking shots, Baker even taking a syringe full of novocaine to the thigh. After smashing a dumpster-covered Reba with a glass-covered diploma, Swole uses knock-out gas on Baker and gets the three count.
Winner: Big Swole Grade: C+
A good victory by Swole in a match that utilised weapons from their past (a crutch, the golf cart, the dumpster), it does seem a strange choice to kick off the event with a cinematic match, as opposed to setting the stage and having it later on. A fun and physical match, with Reba/Rebel adding a slight comedic aspect throughout, but I’m not sure the placement on the card makes sense.
Tag Team Match
Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus) w/Marko Stunt vs. The Young Bucks
These two teams have had several run-ins over the last month, whether in six-man tag team matches with Kenny Omega of The Elite, or this past week, teaming together to defeat Private Party and SCU. Nick and Matt Jackson are meaner than normal, their anger from Adam Page costing them a Tag Team Championship opportunity still rankling them. Sensing the difference, Jungle Boy actually gets Luchasaurus involved early on, his physically imposing size usually held off until later in the match.
Some nastier moments occur as Jungle Boy Hurricaranas Nick Jackson into the steps on the stage, and Matt responds with a Northern Lights Suplex over the guardrail, Jungle Boy just beating the ten count. This aggressive attitude becomes the story of the match, as commentary references it multiple times. Even Marko gets involved by pulling Nick off the apron for trying to antagonise a desperate Jungle Boy, before Luchasaurus hits a gorgeous looking Moonsault off the apron to wipe out the Young Bucks.
Matt’s frustration sees him picking on an injured Marko, kicking away his crutch and Superkicking Marko unconscious. The Young Bucks remove both Marko and Luchasaurus after a vicious Canadian Destroyer, but Jungle Boy valiantly defends himself enough for Luchasaurus to make the save. Doing this allowed Jungle Boy to display his never-say-die attitude as he kicked out of some multiple double team moves, while Luchasaurus looked a tremendous force of nature. In the end, the BTE Trigger on Jungle Boy proved too much.
Winners: The Young Bucks Grade: B
A much better match to start the event, showcasing two popular teams whose familiarity with one another meant some tremendous interplay throughout. The Young Bucks demonstrating their more vicious style showed good character work and development, comparing previous weeks where they defended Marko and here where they attacked him themselves. Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus are good dance partners, Jungle Boy continues to prove himself a good face in peril and Luchasaurus as one of the best hot tags in AEW. Curious to see where both teams go from here.
Casino Battle Royal
I’ve always been a fan of the Casino Battle Royale and AEW has previously shown their ability to develop multiple storylines at the same time. A new group will join every three minutes, which allows for a quick pace and minimal down time. Each wrestler still gets a separate entrance, which helps for those less familiar. The winner of this match will earn a Number 1 Contendership for the AEW Championship. Taz joins commentary for this match, cheering on his men Brian Cage and Ricky Starks.
o Christopher Daniels
o Jake Hager
o The Blade
o Rey Fenix
Kicking off with five wrestlers who all have partners to appear later, showing the strength of the stables in AEW. Daniels is quickly the target of both Blade and Hager in a short lived partnership, as Fenix and The Blade work together. Slow start.
o Frankie Kazarian
o Will Hobbs
o Chuck Taylor
Santana and Ortiz quickly attack Chuck on the outside with a baton, with Trent coming to his partner’s aid on the outside of the ring. Fenix and Blade’s partnership continues to show growing pains as Hobbs avoids a double team and eliminates The Blade at the same time as Hager eliminates Daniels.
o Penta El Zero M
o Ricky Starks
o Brian Cage
o Darby Allin
Both Starks and Cage enter with determination, Cage instantly eliminates Billy, only for Allin and his trusted skateboard to enter with malice. Allin eliminates Fenix after he erroneously goes to the top rope, only for Cage to attack Allin afterwards. Chuck Taylor is eliminated by Santana and Ortiz, who have focused on the Best Friends throughout. Their Inner Circle teammate Hagar works alongside them, keeping each other safe.
o Shawn Spears
o Eddie Kingston
o The Butcher
o Sonny Kiss
o Lance Archer
Spears goes to the commentary table rather than entering. Kingston and Butcher go in with evil intentions, while Kiss focuses on Hager in retaliation for Jericho’s recent attack on Janela. This little character bit leads to Kiss eliminating Hager in a shocking moment, only for Cage to eliminate Kiss straight after. Trent’s battles with Santana and Ortiz allow Lance Archer to take advantage, with all three being eliminated.
Joker: Matt Sydal
Surprise debut for Sydal, whose brief high knee to Spears is quickly forgotten when he unfortunately slips on the top turnbuckle. Thankfully, he quickly recovers, with Hobbs noticeably checking on him, but there seemed a few minutes where everyone was a little shaken up. Kazarian eliminates Pentagon, only for Butcher to quickly get revenge on him. Cage unleashing on Butcher, Kingston and Archer hinted at some impressive future hoss battles, but Allin eliminates Cage’s partner Starks.
Painful moment as Starks attacks Allin and unveils a bodybag and thumbtacks. Cage pours the thumbtacks inside the bodybag and zips Allin up inside, throwing the bodybag over the ropes, onto the stage. Sydal eliminates Spears in an impressive moment, but Hobbs lands a huge Spinebuster to Sydal onto the thumbtacks.
Final six of Sydal, Archer, Hobbs, Cage, Kingston and Butcher, as Archer and Cage standoff, exchanging hard shots. Cage and Hobbs are both eliminated by Archer after a battle on the apron, and Hobbs deserves credit for a good performance, considering he has mostly appeared on AEW Dark prior to this. I’m curious to see where he goes from here.
The final four of Butcher, Kingston, Sydal and Archer is a good group. Sydal has been a solid babyface since his entry apart from that brief botch, Archer is a beast, while Kingston and Butcher show the strength of working as a team throughout. Kingston nearly steals the victory until Jake Roberts unveils Kingston’s only fear, snakes. This was a great decision as it showed both Roberts’ cruel intelligence and keeps Kingston relatively strong after a good performance.
Winner: Lance Archer Grade: B+
This was an excellently paced battle royal that conveyed character, built on previous feuds and storylines, made a potential new option in Hobbs, and debuted an impressive Sydal. The only negative is the unfortunate botch by Sydal, but that shouldn’t distract from an expertly told story. Having Archer win does unfortunately suggest that Moxley will retain the championship later in the night, as it makes more sense than MJF against Archer.
Broken Rules Match
Matt Hardy vs. Sammy Guevara
This feud has been seemingly cursed from day one. Guevara being suspended for offensive comments at the start of it, Hardy being accidentally busted open from an erroneous chair shot, and now this. While I couldn’t see the landing properly, the fact Hardy wasn’t moving afterwards is instantly enough of a reason to worry. Referee Aubrey Edwards has proven herself as a trustworthy individual and the fact she instantly motioned for an injury shows how serious she thought it was.
It’s difficult for me to grade this match or even have an opinion, as it seems Hardy was cleared by Doc Sampson, but there are conflicting reports on the protocol. I have read accounts of how people can have delayed concussions, but I don’t think the booking helped. By having Hardy’s career on the line, they seemingly booked themselves into a corner, although they could have just declared it a No Contest. The most important thing has to be the health of the individuals, and I want to believe that if there had been any doubt of Hardy’s wellbeing, the match would have ended.
What’s most important is that AEW learns from this situation, to not create dangerous environments that endanger their wrestlers. If they have a concussion protocol that is flawed, learn from it and improve the situation. There has to be a no-blame analysis, where the aim isn’t to find someone to blame, but to prevent it happening again. This match will not be graded, but I sincerely hope Matt Hardy is healthy and well.
AEW Women’s Championship Match
Thunder Rosa vs. Hikaru Shida (c)
The Women’s Championship match unfortunately had a tough act to follow after Hardy’s injury, but that wasn’t due to the lack of effort from both women. Shida has been a consistent highlight in a struggling division, and Rosa is a tremendous challenger, allowing a mixture of strong style and a fast pace from both.
The physicality between the two was uncompromising, which helped sell the importance of the title to champion and challenger. Shida faces her biggest challenge yet, Rosa’s experience as a champion allowing her to match Shida throughout as they transition between submissions and pinfall attempts early on.
Rosa’s focus on Shida’s back included a Death Valley Driver on the ring apron, causing more damage and forcing a defensive champion to utilise several submissions to equal the playing field. A desperate Shida would hit a dangerous looking Meteora on the stage.
The closing stretch featured both women struggling after a hard hitting battle, Rosa kicking out at one from a Falcon Arrow, to the champion’s shock. At one point on their knees and exchanging forearms, neither was willing to give up, until a Running Knee finally vanquished Rosa.
Winner: Hikaru Shida Grade: B+
Considering what they had to follow, this tremendous battle drew the audience back in. With a Joshi-inspired style, there were some hard hits and painful looking submissions, but the courage displayed by Shida epitomises her title reign. Rosa impressed in her second appearance for AEW and would have made NWA proud in a valiant effort. The partnership between both NWA and AEW could be beneficial for both sides.
The Dark Order vs. Natural Nightmares, Scorpio Sky & Matt Cardona
Huge grudge match here after The Dark Order’s decimation of Cody, Brandi, Dustin and QT. The Dark Order consists of Brodie Lee, Colt Cabana, Evil Uno and Stu Grayson, who quickly take control as they cut Marshall off from his partners, a frustrated Dustin running in at one point. Lee antagonises Dustin several times, helping to build up for a huge hot tag. Despite taking out Colt, Grayson and Uno, it was Lee that Dustin couldn’t defeat. At one point, Anna Jay tried to interfere, but Brandi gained her own revenge with a vicious pump kick.
Brodie Lee came out looking the most dangerous as while the rest of the Dark Order could be beaten down, Lee would prove a huge difference maker. Several times Lee weakened an opponent, then set him up for his partners, telling a fascinating story, until finally, Lee and Dustin faced off. A vicious Discus Lariat by Lee laid out Dustin, but Colt made the mistake of going for a Moonsault, with Dustin getting the roll-up for the victory.
Winners: Natural Nightmares, Scorpio Sky & Matt Cardona Grade: C+
I couldn’t describe this as a bad match, as it told a good story and had solid action. However, it seemed more of a placeholder match designed to set up the next stage, like it was the transitional match to Dustin’s title shot on AEW Dynamite. While Brodie Lee is booked relatively strong and looks impressive, the rest of the Dark Order probably needed the victory more. I’m open to where the story takes us next, seeing Dustin trying to avenge his brother Cody, how Colt’s relationship with Mr Brodie Lee is affected by his mistakes, but this match did seem unnecessary.
AEW Tag Team Championship Match
FTR w/ Tully Blanchard vs. ‘Hangman’ Adam Page & Kenny Omega (c)
Page enters in full length tights as opposed to his normal briefs, trying to demonstrate he’s on Omega’s side in a subtle character moment. He then enforces it by asking to start, imploring Omega to trust him, and the nuances to Page’s anxiety-ridden character are fascinating to watch. His unbridled anger, his lashing out, and extra efforts to prove himself adds a wondrous throughline during the match. Omega’s frustration and lack of patience has been a slow burner for several months, his attempts to support Page now reluctant.
In comparison, FTR showed their solidarity throughout with their quick tags, manipulation of Page and their old style double teams, with Page the recipient of their work. There’s a tremendous callback at one point where Page tries to prevent a Superplex on Omega by holding onto his partner’s leg in a manner exactly the same as when he cost The Young Bucks their title shot. The psychological game plan of FTR had Page doubting himself and reacting slower than normal, a subtle sell of Page’s mental anguish.
The toughness of FTR was on full display, with Cash kicking out of a top rope Fallaway Slam from Page and Dax recovering from a heavy landing spine-first on the apron. Twice the champions tried to hit the Last Call, first time cut off, second time missing, and Omega’s follow-up V-Trigger wiped Page out. With Omega’s left knee leaving him susceptible to Cash’s attack, FTR took advantage and pin Page to become the new champions after two Spike Piledrivers.
Winners: FTR Grade: B+
The final third of the match missed a proper crowd as it built up excellently, Omega’s enthusiasm leading to injuring his knee and becoming a target for FTR’s malicious attacks. The epic nature of the match wasn’t as obviously exciting as previous title defences, but the slow build and tactical nature was fascinating, a gradual breaking down of the opponents as exhaustion began to take over. The underlying issues between Page and Omega would prove too much, but it was an accidental shot from Omega that caused their loss.
Omega’s frustration was evident afterwards as he let a broken Page fall down and he left the event, giving The Young Bucks an ultimatum to follow him. This has been one of the best storylines in 2020 and the fallout between Omega, Page and The Young Bucks will be fascinating to watch. The tag team division is possibly the strongest in the world, and FTR will bring something different in their throwback style.
Mimosa Mayhem Match
Orange Cassidy vs. Chris Jericho
A surprisingly heated feud between the ‘Demo God’ and the human sloth that is Cassidy, both wrestlers are tied 1-1 as they enter another Jericho original. Victory can only be gained through pinfall, submission or dunking someone into the mimosa, representing the orange juice and champagne of both characters. A surprising amount of the match was dedicated purely to both men battling around the Mimosa, which demonstrated how pinfall or submission was no longer enough and they had to embarrass their opponent.
Akin to someone teetering during a Royal Rumble, Cassidy was in danger several times as he came close to falling in. Unlike other matches, Cassidy is invested from the first moment, running straight into action. The stipulation suited a brawling environment, with Cassidy even Powerbombed through a champagne table. Jericho’s hubris caused his downfall as he climbed onto a turnbuckle, only for two Superman Punches to send Jericho into the mimosa.
Winner: Orange Cassidy Grade: C+
A tremendous rivalry between two opposites over the last 14 weeks culminated in Orange being put over strongly. The fact that Jericho has only been pinned three times in AEW, and Cassidy is the only person with two victories over him, shows the support and confidence Cassidy has. Jericho will likely transition into a feud with Sonny Kiss and Joey Janela from here, but I’m uncertain where Cassidy goes from here.
AEW Championship Match
Maxwell Jacob Friedman w/ Wardlow vs. Jon Moxley (c)
There was a brief issue beforehand where a fan tried touching Moxley, but security thankfully sorted very quickly, however the timing with JR and Schiavone having just mentioned how great it is to have the fans back is exactly the type of luck AEW has had all night. MJF was intelligent enough to keep the match inside the ring, frustrating Moxley who wanted to incorporate his brawling style. Moxley only started to gain control once he got MJF on the outside, but with Wardlow nearby, Moxley had to return to the safety of the ring.
With MJF having been able to get Moxley’s Paradigm Shift finisher banned in this match, the story of Moxley’s instincts being used against him, whether naturally going for the Paradigm Shift and forced to release MJF or having to stay inside the ring to prevent the danger of Wardlow, added an interesting wrinkle to the match. This allowed MJF to focus his attack on both of Moxley’s shoulders and arms, a long-term plan to prepare for his patented Fujiwara Armbar, but his arrogance was his undoing. Sauntering to the outside, MJF was catapulted into the ring post and was busted wide open, a crimson mask.
Despite Moxley’s difficulty to defend himself or use his right shoulder, MJF refuses to learn and keeps following to the outside, leaving him open to Moxley’s violence. An impressive MJF kicks out from a Gotch-style Piledriver, but Moxley instantly bites MJF’s forehead, with a desperate MJF retaliating by biting Moxley’s hand. MJF spits in Moxley’s face and almost lulls him into hitting the Paradigm Shift to lose his championship, MJF locking in the Fujiwara Armbar instead. With Moxley escaping, MJF starts to utilise eye pokes, the referee, low blows, even the Cross Rhodes to no avail, resorting to every trick he could.
The end of the match had Wardlow try to sneak the Diamond Ring to MJF, but as Wardlow distracted the referee, Moxley realised and hit the Paradigm Shift behind the referee’s back. Referee turns back round to see Moxley covering MJF and counting to three.
Winner: Jon Moxley Grade: B+
When MJF played his natural in-ring game, he controlled the match, but his arrogance allowed Moxley to drag him down to his level, using his violent tendencies to compensate for not being able to use his Paradigm Shift. MJF almost tricked Moxley into naturally hitting his finisher several times, even trying to anger Moxley, and nearly taking advantage each time. MJF impressed massively at matching Moxley, and it seemed primed for MJF to become champion.
But Moxley proved why he’s the champion, as he took advantage at the right moment. I’m surprised that MJF’s first official loss would occur with someone who didn’t necessarily need the victory, but the finish was cleverly done so it strengthened Moxley’s reign and protected MJF. In fact, it’s quite possible that MJF can use this to his advantage in the future, maybe even suggesting he’s still undefeated. But MJF confirmed that he deserves to be in the main event, and his potential is unparalleled.
AEW All Out 2020 Final Verdict Grade: B-
This was not one of AEW’s finest nights, with a range of bad decisions (kicking off with the Tooth and Nail Match as opposed to the tag team match, allowing Matt Hardy to continue), and bad luck (Hardy’s injury, Sydal’s botch). Removed from the context of the overall evening, a lot of the matches were solid to good, as AEW rarely disappoints from an in-ring standard. However, the flow of the first half of the PPV struggled: Swole and Baker should have appeared later in the evening, Sydal’s unlucky botch distracted from a good match, and the Hardy injury was uncomfortable to watch.
However, the standard of matches after the Hardy incident actually felt like PPV quality, if not to the expectation of previous AEW events. The mistakes and issues of the first half left an uncomfortable air over All Out, but if removed from context, it’s still a solid PPV. What doesn’t help is that only having four PPVs a year raises the expectation, so if the matches aren’t instant classics, it feels off slightly. Despite that, I give All Out a B- grade. Not to AEW’s usual standards, but still one of the better PPVs this year.
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