AEW All In Review | Red's Pro-Wrestling Digest no.127

Hey, look! I'm not that far behind on something for once. That's kind of a big deal, folks.

We'll start with the Zero Hour preshow event that aired on YouTube.

Anthony Ogogo and Kip joined The Giant and Renee for analysis with a shot of a mostly empty venue behind them. I didn't watch the whole two-hours, but most of this was fluff recap stuff so whatever. Whomever they have running this section of production does well. It's the live crew that sucks. WWE's sucks, too. Impact is sadly better more often than not at that.

After about 25-minutes, we joined Tony, Excalibur, and Taz at ringside. The crowd was still rather limited, but it was getting there. Hobbs came out for a...contract signing? He talked shit about Miro, of course brining out the dude, but not before some cheap heat was dropped in the form of shit talking the locals. I'm not sure how I feel about this one, to be honest. Hobbs winning would help him, but Miro would be taking a big L. The former Rusev winning feels like it'd be another shot at Hobbs as he continues to just meander on the roster.

Oh well.

The two would brawl and The midcard Redeemer talked some shit of his own.

You can skip that.

At 54-minutes, we had Tony Schiavone and...Jeff Jarrett with his pose. More local hating cheap heat shit. I'm sure the 80k were there to be abused by Diet Triple-H. Honestly, maybe it wasn't a terrible choice because it got the fans energetic.

The Giant came out with Ogogo and GRADO of all fucking people in the response role.

Cheap entertainment, but entertaining nonetheless so I'll shut up.

Next, our first match which saw Aussie Open defending the Ring of Honor World Tag Team Championships against MJF and Adam Cole. This crowd, now at this point rather present, was clearly going to be fire. I love the energy this country gives to wrestling, especially before Sex Pest McMahon fucked the whole thing up so badly.

Thank god for places like RevPro and co, trying to keep shit going in the face of the giant. Remember when PROGRESS was a must-see fed?

Anyway, Aussie attacked early and were the clear heels here while the challengers had big love from the thousands of Brits. I'd be lying if I called it a MOTYC or anything, but it was truly a hot start that did what it was meant to. I mean, the pop for the kangaroo kick was fire and the reaction to the finish moments later was even better. I am also kind of happy to see they didn't go the direction I had expected, because this outcome, while I felt it gave away the outcome of the main event, showed me that this program with MJF and Cole as a team has legs still.

Tony loves love plots. Sometimes too much, but I usually can get behind it and this one is so damn entertaining that I'm fine with more of it.

After the match, the new champs would tease their later contest and then walk to the back.

Oh, by the way, I went largely radio silent and managed not to spoil almost any of this show for myself before watching it.

Moving on, we had one more left in the chamber for the preshow as Hook challenged Perry for an unsanctioned ECW strap that his daddy made. This one was about 94-minutes deep and saw JR join the table. The former Jungle Boy came out in a limo and had an okay heel response from the fans when announced. Taz's little boy met Jack on the stage in true ECW vibe fashion so that the two could brawl, trading blows a bit before quickly getting the car involved.

They were given about ten-minutes in total to work with and they really went for it, here. Multiple bumps on the limo, a rolling thunder to mock RVD, ringside violence, and more! A good intensity was utilized and the damn thing was far better than I had expected. In short, this was a fun hardcore fight that worked very well in the spot it was given!

Hook would retain eventually, giving him his biggest win thus far but would make me wonder what the fuck Perry is supposed to do next? Maybe he'll rejoin up with his old pals... My bud wants him to be labeled Real Glass Perry now.

Moving on, it's time for the main card!

Up first, Samoa Joe and CM Punk running it back one more time. Note that Punk is a talented wrestler with a big fucking ego. He's a problem to AEW that will not stop being a problem until he is no longer Tony's problem. Maybe he'll ramble on a podcast or two or drop some leaks or random social media spots or something, but that's it once Tony gives him the axe. It's time.

Ignoring the latest bit of drama from the fucking man child, this match did well to add to the catalog and really landed well. Running in at 14-minutes, they used their time very well and the crowd ate this shit up. It's always nice seeing Joe having a good time especially because who doesn't want the fucker to be happy. He drove Punk's head through the bottom of the announce table and flicked him off even, serving nicely as an added bonus.

The real champ or whatever would blade on that spot  so that he could work from behind down the stretch. Good, simple storytelling done right here. A very old school match that really had the soul of the classics they had back in the day, and I do appreciate that a lot. Joe would eventually eat the L. Punk dropped some interesting references before we got there, Joe doing the same, but the big story was the choice to not run another flashpin finish from TK. Nope, instead we had a Pepsi Plunge closing the damn thing!

Great stuff overall, especially when you ignore the bullshit and the color did add a bit. All In should have been the biggest moment for AEW so far. Instead, once again we just have more negative stories coming out thanks to CM Punk. A shame.

Sorry, I'll move on.

Wait, I will in a moment. Considering what did happen, I say they should have had Joe win this one. Then, have him go after MJF to unify. It'd be fire TV and you could easily tie in the Ring of Honor gold to it to pad the thing out. Imagine a screw job. Oh, the stories that would've came out of this.

Page was right. Oh well. The fact is, it looks like WBD might have the call here and we might just be seeing the dude sticking around until his contract expires. He was a big part of the Collision decision.

Moving along, for real now, we had six-man action with Bullet Club Gold's Jay White and Juice teaming with Soup to face Kenny, Kota, and Page. What a damn match. I consider Kenny to be the current best in the world and a true GOAT. I have been ringing the bell on Takeshita for years. Kota is Kota. I'm bigger on Jay than most and have been for a while. Juice is pretty decent. I appreciate Page a lot for his contributions. This just looked great on paper, folks. And no, it wasn't a MOTYC either, but this landed pretty dang well in all and helped keep the show moving nicely along. The Gunns would get involved minimally, luckily, and it served nicely as a showcase for basically everyone involved. Fantastic overall content that ended, after several awesome sequences, with a flashpin as Takeshita would rollup Kenny. A big moment and an actually logical use of that sort of finish.

I dig it.

FTR took on Matt and Nick to complete their trilogy next. The bar was set super high but we all knew they'd fucking match it, or come close. The story was here and the ethic was there, too. A slowburn epic that leans into oldschool vibes with a modern twist as two. This was two of the best in the world doing their damn thing, this one ended after twenty and change when the champs landed their big finish and Knox counted the 1, 2, 3 after so many damn nearfalls. It rocked hard! In fact, we finally do have a MOTYC on the card.

Note, apparently mileage varies greatly on this one.

What the fuck is this face, by the way?

I swear the dude looks like he'd be good pals with our last few Presidents if you get what I'm saying.

A refused handshake with the Bucks leaving FTR hanging happened in post. Clearly, they have another in the chamber.

Up next, it's Stadium Stampede time. Blackpool Combat Club and PnP against Eddie, Fenix, Penta, and the Best Friends. This looked like it was going to be nuts.

Why is the match gimmick only online, by the way? What a terrible choice.

Whatever. I loved Eddie running full steam at Claudio. That really set the tone and lit the fire fast. What a fun way to use all of these dudes, getting them in on the card in front of a hot crowd of this size. A constant car crash, with only AEW's bad production team holding things back. Set expectations and remember the purpose of these matches and you'll have a blast.

The finish saw the Bluey Combat Club's Claudio eat the pin after an Orange Punch dipped in glass.

This one had the MASADA spot in front of 80k, a barbed wire bat, and Eddie brawling with Claudio all around the damn place. It also had Mox shanking Cassidy over and over again with a fork. What's not to love?

I know that I had a blast. The spirit of Funk lives.

The women's division had their moment next and they put in for a sub-9 match. This was the shortest thing on the main card so far. Sigh. Saraya came out to Queen alongside her family for a big hometown moment. At one point, Toni hit Saraya's mom which made for a fun moment. Eventually, Ruby ran out to try to save The Outcasts but she'd eat a shot from Storm instead. The issue here, mainly, was the flow just didn't...flow...very well at times. Still, there were some good moments sprinkled throughout and they did what they could with the limited time provided to 'em. The finish saw Saraya spray Storm and get the win as Baker and Shida were in the middle of an exchange.

It's sad that Hikaru's reign was just a transitional one, but this was a hometown pop moment as well as a big deal in general. Five years ago, she retired. Now she's AEW Women's World Champion. The division needs something. I am not sure if this is what it needs and I do accept that her workrate since returning isn't super strong, but if she helps get the division out of the rut I'm for it.

Something has to finally make the AEW crew care more, right?

A good match with a big moment that you'll love or hate.

Coffin match time. Darby and Sting took on Captain Charisma and Swerve in this one. Flash Garments and DJ Whoo Kid brought out Mogul Embassy's Swerve and the cool kids entered to Metallica's Seek & Destroy. Nice. Gotta love the throwback. Who doesn't love WCW? Anyway, I expected a very IWRG style brawl and that's what I got. Another car crash that kept giving and my absolute love of The Icon certainly helped my enjoyment. I also admittedly am a big fan of basically everyone else involved, too.

Darby I'm a bit torn on. That's okay.

Sting's bat kept the match from ending, people. We also had table spots, tack jackets, a big dino tossing a kid through a skateboard, and Allin being Allin. This was awesome. Sting held Swerve in the coffin door as Darby dropped a coffin drop to close this one.

Next, official confirmation that Ospreay is All Elite. Fozzy, of course, performed because Chris just had to have his band play at the show. That's fine, to be honest, especially considering the outcome of this one. Will was given here a moment that felt similar to when Chris was booked to defeat two legends in one night. Something like that kind of vibe, if that makes sense. It felt like an important win and was helped especially by the match that existed to give us that moment.

One of the best ever against one of the best of the modern era, with a fantastic pace and simply excellent delivery. Yes! Will was a damn star here and I am eager to see him and Jay White with the World Title on the line sooner than later in an AEW ring.

Oh, note that Sammy did smack Will in the head while Chris had the dude in the walls and later Chris hit a lowblow and a Judas, solidifying the evening double turn. It's funny seeing Don working as the manager for a dude getting face pops right now, but the situation made it a certainty either way.

After, Sammy was pushed by Jerry.

Nigel Fucking McGuinness announced 81,035 fans as being in attendance. I'm watching and writing about the only wrestling shows that have a larger attendance, historically, in comparison to this one soon. I love that the Tonyverse decided to ignore those shows because if WWE chose to break their past choice to do the same it'd still mean Vince didn't have that as a win in the W column so...yeah, that was pretty golden.

House of Black time. The AEW World Trios Titles were on the line and we had one last match with Badass Billy Gunn. The Bray Wyatt tribute was perfect. RIP, man. You'll be missed. I'm actually pressing myself to eat better and start working out again because of the dude. He wasn't that much older than I am and had far better insurance coverage and access to doctors.

Anyway, no scissor me line this time because this is The Badass. That this is how the reign of House of Black ends is fine because I honestly don't think it was nearly as good as it should've been. It often felt a lot like an afterthought, sadly. It is what it is.

The artist formerly known as Sasha Banks was shown in the crowd to a nice pop and Hart was hit in the clam bag. A lesser version of some similar matches from earlier in the night, but perhaps the moment itself was supposed to be the most important aspect. Good, though nothing truly must-see from a quality standpoint alone. I guess this could be a bathroom breaker for those needing one, where you just come back in time to catch the finishing stretch or whatever.

House of Black would hand the belts over without further drama and then the world's biggest scissor party took place.

Does this make the belts vacant now, though? Or is Gunn not retiring after?

Last up, the main event. That the Ring of Honor World Tag Team Champions were wrestling each other in the main event of a show in front of this many fans is a big deal to me. I love it. I also love this program. I said at the top that they ruined the outcome by having them win the straps, but honestly MJF has been so damn entertaining lately, not that he usually isn't, and Cole can wait. It's not a Cody situation. I'm certain it was to someone, somewhere, though.

Be you.

The BOOM was deafening and MJF's entrance was perfect. The vibe was visual and the moment felt fitting. This simply came off as important and that's a big deal. A legit big fight feel, in short. I thought the build to this was excellent and loved seeing how they embraced the moment. Running in at nearly 30-minutes, they started by putting on their tag team shirts and started to tell us a story.

The feeling of brother versus brother can be great but best friend versus best friend can be gold, too.

It got dirty and got heated and they let it flow and burn and I loved it. I really did. The double pin moment and reset was an interesting choice, but I even that was fine. Hell, even the ref bump was fine. They decided to overbook this shit and honestly they made it the most entertaining sort of overbooked and I applaud it all.

This whole damn show was just fun. See, it's a shame that the biggest stories out of this seem to be about CM Punk because in so many ways this show felt like a love letter to AEW fans. Whatever, enough about the dude that thought only still has a job because Zaslav really likes him.

Note Strong tried to help Cole win but eventually Adam refused to continue being a douche. An inside cradle flashpin moments later would see MJF get the W. A must-see main event and a rare good use of such a finish.

Nice save midway by the way, Excalibur.

After, MJF called Adam a fake piece of shit and offered Cole a free shot while Strong told him to take it. Instead, Adam and MJF would hug it out and Rod continued to be a damn dweeb. The Kingdom comforted the baby, confetti flew, and fireworks scarred and scared some animals.

Can they do it again next year? They're starting to have trouble in Chicago because they've oversaturated it. It doesn't matter, because they did it here. This might not be the best AEW show, quality-wise, ever. It had some thorns. It was still awesome and a fire show in front of a fire crowd. It was a statement and an example of how strong the wrestling scene is right now. I know TV ratings will never match that of the attitude era again.

Attendance records are being set and there are so many ways, even pirate methods, to watch these days and you know damn well people are using them all. Some keep UTD with YouTube and a combo of other options for ppvs. Broke fuckers, like most of us, will even watch highlight uploads just to see what happened in some form. It doesn't matter, because wrestling is alive and well, wolfpac. Embrace it. Just remember that opinions are simply that and yours doesn't need to weigh so damn much. God knows mine doesn't.

Thanks for reading. Be kind to yourself and others and remember that you are worth something to someone. Make yourself part of that list.

Match Ratings

      Zero Hour
      0a. ROH Tag Titles: Aussie Open(c) vs Better Than You Bay Bay ***1/4
      0b. FTW Title, Unsanctioned FTW Rules: Jack Perry(c) vs Hook ***1/2
      Main Card

  1. The Real World Title: CM Punk(c) vs Samoa Joe ***3/4
  2. The Golden Elite vs Bullet Club Gold, Konosuke Takeshita ****
  3. AEW Tag Titles: FTR(c) vs The Young Bucks ****1/2
  4. Stadium Stampede: BCC, PnP vs Kingston, Lucha Bros, Best Friends ****
  5. AEW Women's Title: Hikaru Shida(c) vs Toni Storm vs Saraya vs Britt Baker ***
  6. Coffin Match: Sting, Darby Allin vs Swerve Strickland, Christian Cage ****
  7. Will Ospreay vs Chris Jericho ****
  8. AEW Trios Titles, No Holds Barred: House of Black(c) vs The Acclaimed, Badass Billy Gunn **3/4
  9. AEW World Title: MJF(c) vs Cole ****1/2
      Overall Rating: 90%

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