The Year of Our Lord 2020 has effectively proven that time is merely a false construct, and it’s weird to think we’re six months into a world-shifting pandemic and Labor Day Weekend— along with its burgeoning wrestling tradition, All Out—was nearly two weeks ago already. The fairy tale of Father Time doesn’t give a shit about us; he just keeps it pushing.
All Out proved to be the closing paragraph of a weird and somewhat fascinating chapter in AEW’s history. Last week’s Dynamite began the rising action of a new one: Kenny Omega closed the door on a fruitful partnership while Hangman Page continued to hold the flame; a certain Bulgarian national hero bleached his hair and pulled up rocking Gucci; the Young Bucks began the journey to again becoming the unbelievable assholes who dominated the tag team wrestling discourse for a decade; and Dustin Rhodes unsuccessfully tried to avenge the honor of his recently eviscerated brother/boss Cody.
(That’s to say nothing of the “breaking news” on Cody after Our Cool Boss has been off the grid for weeks, which turned out to just be shilling some sort of unscripted competition series. The more things change, the more they stay the same, I guess.)
FTR def. Jurassic Express
For the past year, Jurassic Express have been the perennial bridesmaids of AEW’s tag division. Before FTR even come out for this spotlight non-title match, the Young Bucks superkick referee Mike Posey, throw their prospective fine in cash at Tony Khan in Gorilla, get taunted by the tag champs and leave. The year of underachievement by Matt and Nick Jackson is finally starting to bubble over.
Anyhow, for the past year, Jurassic Express have been the perennial bridesmaids of AEW’s tag division. They’re talented, likable, and handsome enough (Luchasaurus doesn’t look a day over 30 million), but always fall short of the engagement ring when it counts. After being ridiculed by FTR last week, the fire inside of Luchasaurus and Jungle Jack Perry is shown in moderation in the face of Dax and Cash’s precise dissection. Jurassic Express are pretty close to a direct study of tag team tropes, not least of which is the big hot tag from Jungle Boy to Luchasaurus. I’m absolutely a sucker for FTR’s brusque efficiency/Brainbusters cosplay, so even if the Jurassic Express tropes are blinding in their obviousness, they’re still very fun in the context of running against their well-studied opponents.
Jungle Boy tries to fight off both members of FTR with his quick strikes and sudden pinning attempts (and there are lot of them here), to the point where the intensity of the match swells. Luchasaurus hits an errant dive into the conveniently placed crowd of wrestlers, Jungle Boy hits a dive on his actual opponents, and after a sly assist from Cash Wheeler, Dax Harwood gets the pin.
Grade: 4 out of 5 hot tags to Luchasaurus (seriously, Jungle Boy’s near falls during the home stretch made this match exciting).
Breaking Backstage News: Alex Marvez takes us backstage to cover a “situation,” which turns out to be Matt Hardy groaning and clutching his right knee, only for Chris Jericho and Jake Hager to show up and taunt Hardy and his proteges in Private Party.
More Pro Wrestling:
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“Hangman” Adam Page def. Frankie Kazarian
Kenny Omega is on commentary and sounds wildly indifferent about Hangman as he makes his way toward the ring. It is revealed Kenny turned down a chance to tag with Page against SCU, which I’m not exactly disappointed by. Hangman may very well be the voice of a generation, and Kazarian is a tough, fundamentally sound brawler who delivered one of Dynamite’s great sleeper matches against Jon Moxley earlier this year.
Hangman frequently looks over at Kenny on commentary, nearly incredulous that he has to go at it alone. But given his talent, he doesn’t do too badly for himself in his first singles match in a while. As you might imagine given the participants, this is a very hard-hitting affair, the two competitors throwing bombs and hard chops. This match might have cleared the record for most lariat attempts in an AEW match, which I’m not mad at one iota. (If you close your eyes tight and listen to the thudding, you might mistake it for Hirooki Goto vs. Tomohiro Ishii.)
Both wrestlers compete like they have something to prove, especially with Hangman, a week and a half removed from being ditched by all of his friends. This match also makes me realize how good Page is as a power wrestler, muscling Kaz around and pulling off pumphandle Death Valley Drivers and huge powerbombs. Eventually, the Buckshot Lariat gets it done for the Hangman as Kenny seems a little befuddled by his win.
Grade: A powerful effort from Hangman in his return to singles wrestling, and another low-key singles banger from Kazarian.
MJF def. Shawn Dean
It will be interesting to see where Max goes now that he made it to the edge of the mountaintop only to be thrown off by Jon Moxley. I know a few people who seriously thought MJF was gonna become the guy at All Out, as he is admittedly best as the smarmy motherfucker a few steps ahead of his competition. I have my own ideas as to who should finally unseat Mox, and maybe one day I’ll share them. But Max has a long way to go before I can with good conscience consider him the guy.
Shawn Dean mistakenly goes for MJF’s handshake (doesn’t he watch the show??), who pokes him in the eye and locks in Salt of the Earth for the quick win.
Grade: A decent way for Max to get his heat back after his yearlong winning streak got snapped.
Max gets on the mic and speaks on his— ahem— honesty, and talks about how Mox cheated and how he should be the undefeated AEW World Champion. This leads to a proverbial hailstorm of thin pandemic crowd boos while MJF demands Justin Roberts to announce his new title. Max ponders the idea of groups in AEW, saying he considered himself a lone wolf but reserves the right to change his mind.
Eddie Kingston, Flanked by His Crew, Has Some Points to Make
Point #1: He never lost the Casino Battle Royale.
Point #2: His group is a family— not a stable, not a faction, but a family. “When families fight, most of the time they go out to dinner, they have like a little therapy session, all that stuff. Not us. We are a family of violence. So what do we do? We get violent. We are agents of chaos.” (The Butcher, the Blade, Fenix, and Penta pull wrestlers from ringside for a full-on beatdown. Kingston compliments Griff Garrison’s hair before he gets annihilated.)
Point #3: He tells Blade to get his house in order, a private directive said in front of everyone, so I guess we’ll find out what that means in due time.
Chris Jericho & Jake Hager def. Private Party
Ever since gaining a heroic upset win over the Young Bucks in the opening round of last year’s World Tag Team Championship Tournament, their brilliance has been regulated to undercard bangers, while Jericho has decided to go after the tag team straps with Jake Hager, dashing the hopes of everyone who wanted to see Le Sex Gods shine meaningfully in the tag team division. Wrestling promotions have spent a lot of years and a fucking ton of money trying to make Jake Hager happen, and he hasn’t happened yet.
Hager and Jericho work well in a Tag Team 101 sense: isolating Marq Quen and pummeling him far away from the corner where Isiah Kassidy stands. Quen looks great in peril and Kass looks great off the hot tag, getting alarmingly close to pinning Jericho. While Rick Knox isn’t looking, Hager gets a shot in with Floyd the bat, leading Jim Ross to gesture wildly at his Oliver Stone DVD collection. Hager spends the next few minutes grinding Kassidy down, much like the wrestling fans who watch his matches (*rimshot*). Hager gets hit with Silly String and Kassidy finally follows it up with a tag. Quen tags Kassidy back in quickly, not giving his partner a chance to recuperate, which speaks to their relative inexperience— two immensely talented and innovative talents only a year or so removed from the D-League. With a hurt back, Kassidy misses a Senton Atomico and eats a Judas Effect for his trouble.
Grade: Not bad, but difficult to not think about how much better Le Sex Gods are than Jericho & Hager.
After the match, Jericho locks Kass in the Liontamer, before Quen comes in and knocks him on his ass. One day, Private Party will ascend to the top of AEW’s stacked tag team division, and I won’t be drinking water when I celebrate.
NWA World Women’s Championship Match: Thunder Rosa (c) def. Ivelisse
If you would have told me even three months ago that Ivelisse and Thunder Rosa would be competing for the NWA World Women’s Championship on Dynamite, I would have looked at you like you just told me Cody would lose the TNT Championship to Brodie Lee in a few dozen seconds. In short: life is full of amazing possibilities.
The match hits hard from the start, including a dropkick from Rosa to Ive which made me sit up straight. Diamante momentarily distracts Aubrey Edwards to help her tag team partner, just in case you thought this match was going to be heads-up. Hikaru Shida looks on intently while Rosa and Ivelisse beat the tar off of each other. They’re both evenly matched to the point of extremes, trading knee strikes and kicks and wrenching submissions, as each competitor’s MMA bonafides are well-documented at this point. Rosa stuff Ivelisse with a Tombstone Piledriver and this match is in the books.
Grade: Pretty excellent stuff! I already want a rematch!
Diamante attacks Rosa after the match, which naturally brings Shida to the ring, who runs Diamante and Ivelisse off before taking a loving glance at the NWA World Women’s Title before giving it back to its champion.
Backstage Segment: Miro hits the “big boy plates” while Kip Sabian cuts a promo. Miro just wants to smash a motherfucker, but Sabian reminds him of his duties as best man for his wedding— the biggest being the planner and host of Kip’s bachelor party! I personally hope the party consists of exotic dancers discussing the critical inconsistencies of Dave Meltzer’s star rating system and how AEW’s rankings don’t really mean anything anymore.
Lance Archer and Jake Roberts Select Their Tag Partners for Next Week
With a smile on Jake’s face, Archer storms out and drags in a wrestler from ringside, chokeslamming him to hell. Jake notes in various areas of life, you become bedfellows with people you wouldn’t expect. He mentions the obligation of having to pick tag partners for next week’s six-man tag against Jon Moxley and two partners of his choosing. Jake invites Taz to the ring, who notes Team Taz is happy to do business. And when there is business, there are deals: If Archer wins the AEW World Championship on October 14th, Brian Cage will be his first challenge. Archer proclaims he will put Mox to pasture and “go Godzilla on Daily’s Place.”
Out comes Mox, who nearly immediately gets ambushed by Ricky Starks and Brian Cage. The newly signed Will Hobbs runs out, chair in hand, for the assist, swinging for the fences as Team Taz scatters. Mox compliments Jake and Archer’s choice of partners, formally introduces Hobbs to his opponents (hell fucking yeah!!), and says Darby Allin will join them next week. I am absolutely stoked AEW is putting Hobbs in a prime position off the bat; he is massively talented (not to mention plain massive) and super hungry. A good start toward AEW eliminating the racial disparity in their men’s singles division.
Parking Lot Brawl: Best Friends def. Santana & Ortiz
Santana & Ortiz come through to the Parking Lot Fight wearing corpse paint, reaching deeply inside the door at the dark, far end of their consciousness in order to hurt their rivals. Chuck and Trent ditch the plucky wisecracks and throw flying sentons onto the trunks of cars with their opponents in them. The fight for Sue’s honor displays itself in Chuck’s choice of merch as he ducks a sledgehammer, which goes right through the windshield of a Toyota Corolla. Chuck gets suplexed and splashed on top of the same car.
The insane brawl continues, doors and windows and bones broken for breaking the cardinal rule of leaving mothers out of this shit. Santana hits Chuck with brutal crossface shots. Ortiz clobbers Trent with a tin dustpan and not too long after gets suplexed through a guard rail. Trent gets powerbombed onto the roof of a Chevy sedan and then again through its windshield.
Orange Cassidy appears out of the trunk of a Chevy Aveo with a chain, knocking out Santana with an Orange Punch. Chuck hits Santana with a piledriver on the Corolla hood, and Trent hits Ortiz with a Crunchy (or Dudebuster, whatever you prefer) through a wooden plank on the bed of a Chevy Silverado for the win.
Grade: This is the wild blowoff this months-long feud deserved.
For the victory lap, Sue picks up Orange and Best Friends in a new white van, giving Santana & Ortiz the finger as a send off. Good moms always get the last laugh.