AEW FIGHT FOR THE FALLEN [Review]: Boing!

-Peter “The Librarian” Avalon (w/Leva “The Librarian” Bates) vs. Sonny Kiss – It was just a match. Kiss looked good (yeah, hunnie!), despite the pairing’s lack of in-ring chemistry. I do like that that was designed as a pre-show match to showcase Sonny and (hopefully) bury the Librarians. I know marks are begging for the Bucks to rid the gimmick, but mocking it via BTE and coming up with a creative way on the prelims to make changes seems to be the way to go. – 2/5

-Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. & Riho vs. Shoko Nakajima & Bea Priestley – Britt Baker is undergoing concussion protocol, for tall those wondering why she didn’t appear herself in the match, hardly saw any action and attempted to tag in the wrong Asian woman. We wish her a speedy recovery. This was a sloppy good time. It’s apparent the Joshi women are going to steal the hearts of every All Elite Weeb watching these shows, and they work so fast and fluid that even the shittiest mistakes can be overlooked for their tenacity. Shoko, in her debut, appears another winner. Bea didn’t do a whole lot but had the crowd roaring for her throughout; it’s clear Britt was her opponent in the match and her apparent injury caused Bea to also take to the sideline. Baker, for a time however, was able to recover and his a wonderful superkick and middle rope DDT. Riho and Yoko ended the match in great fashion, with a sick North Lights, flying double stomp and eventual rana roll-up pinfall. And just like that, Shoko, Sonic Tails tail and all, is an instant star.. and some post-match heat leads to a should-be Bea/Britt showdown for All Out. Nice stuff (especially with the random closed capturing that made this match appear like a wrestling anime! Lulz!). – 3/5

-Joey Janela, Jimmy Havoc & Darby Allin vs. Shawn Spears, MJF & Sammy Guevara – This was a hell of a fun 6-man tag with everyone getting their shine on. There were a lot of awkward tag moments between teammates, building stories for future matches, and a boatload of eventual well-positioned highspots– especially from that of Sammy Guevara. Love him or hate him, Sammy’s run in AEW has been excellent so far. I love how bad-ass “The Perfect Ten” is in AEW, too; he looks in great shape, is already over as a horrible person and continues to sprinkle in signatures from his short-lived but memorable NXT run. He’s turning into a great heel. Again, fun showcase for everyone involved that evolved into a very good multi-person tag. – 3.2-3.5/5

Brandi Rhodes vs. Allie – I have to applaud Brandi for the babyface promo that led to.. another swerve. While Awesome Kong didn’t take her place this time, her presence on the outside sorta kinda did overshadow how lackluster she is in the ring. She’s just not there and maybe will never be. But that’s OK. If Brandi becomes an eventual Stephanie McMahon type for AEW, then that’s the perfect role for her. The more we see of her out of the ring, the better. Not thar Brandi is Eva Marie bad, and she’s a lot better than the majority of the Women of Honor she left behind, but still. This was not a good match. But it had a good story and Allie’s expressions of grief were outstanding. In the end, if this was built no more than to promote a dream match scenario between both Kongs then I’m OK with it. – 2/5

Dark Order vs. Angelico & Jack Evans vs. Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus – Don’t tell anyone, but I’m pretty sure Evil Uno is our own “Bishop” Richard Zom. I just have a hunch. For a match that didn’t start off so well amd had near zero heat, this wound up near incredible. Once Luchasaurus showed his awe-inspiring agility (it looks like AEW may have their “Lance Archer”), and started performing ultra imaginative double team spots with his pal Jungle Boy, the applause went through the roof. If you love SPOTS SPOTS SPOTS you’ll love this match. Everyone wound up getting involved in some terrific double-team combo at one point or another. There were Black Tiger Buckle Bombe, a Tombstone Powerbomb Flapjack thingy, 800 other holy shit spots and a sliced bread ace crusher widow’s peak thing.. (yeah.. fuck!) aptly called the Fatality. Dork Order win. Even with zero psychology this was pretty awesome, and would only be better if Cornette were calling it. – 3.5-3.75/5

Hangman Page vs. Kip Sabian – Hard to follow up what we just witnessed in the last match with a 20-minute good ol’ fashion wrasslin’ match, but Page and Sabian def did their best. Hangman has a bad knee but still nailed a top rope moonsault to the floor. Is he selling that knee or is it a shoot? Sabian is underappreciated, for sure, but his lack of heat — and the level of humidity killing the Jacksonville faithful — should have led to a shorter bout. Otherwise, this was really good. And “LOL” @ all the fans who had no idea that the Dark Order run-in was Y2J! – 3.25/5

-SoCal Uncensored (Frankie Kazarian & Scorpio Sky) vs. The Lucha Brothers – So SCU are pretty much very good working job guys in AEW. While I thought for sure they needed the win badly here, it’s pretty cool that AEW hasn’t been doing the 50/50 booking just to make everyone happy. There’s got to be some longterm plan with the trio, right? And it’s not like SCU has the much-heated program with the Bucks heading into that Ladder Match at All Out. Still, this was a strong fast and furious tag with only one glaring error, where it would appear that Kazarian wasn’t in the right place for FENIX’s signature speedball tope (that usually occurs while his bro Penta hits the draping double stomp). FENIX def didn’t appear happy for several seconds following the mishap! All four guys would recover, and SCU destroyed FENIX with a double team tornado DDT. Yikes. Luchas get their lucha on and fuck shit up, getting the win via a wild Penta Destroyer and stuffed stomp/package piledriver. Cero miedo! – 3.5/5

Kenny Omega vs. CIMA – A step up from CIMA’s last match with the Fallen Angel, a further showcase of what the Japanese legend can do. Him and Omega went on to trade a million flying Meteoras and V-triggers. CIMA’s in-ring work is so smooth. I loved the outside ring work, with Kenny carrying his hardcore propensity but getting destroyed by a HFS(!!) flying Meteora onto the time-keeper’s platform thingy. Was that Dasha? They’d go on to have a great stretch of counters and finisher reversals before CIMA’s knee would give out, leading  to an Omega Driver and One-Winged Angel. Awesome stuff. (Jericho cut a lovely promo post-match, knocking the town of Jackoffville with his usual amazing rants before Hangman surprised him and led to a great pull-apart brawl. Points for the fucking Librarian and Joey “Don’t Want None ‘O Enzo” Janela for being involved in the scuffle security! – 4/5

The Young Bucks vs. Cody & Dustin Rhodes – An excellent “dream” (pun intended) match between two brother teams, with the Bucks actually working slightly heel with the Rhodes going the more classic style babyface. It went on way long, like most matches tonight, so major props to the fans who stuck around for 4-hours for this show during 85-degree weather and brutal humidity. The Bucks adapted to the classic “WWE” style real well, which showed just how good the Jacksons are as individual wrestlers who — as a team — can adapt to any style. Better, Cody was great. I’ve never seen him so motivated and more energetically high-flying than here! He attempted a bunch of wild top rope stuff and delivered. Sometimes the twitterverse can get one motivated. And how great is Dustin still, going 30-plus with the Bucks at his age and never losing a step? There were a lot of cool spots here, with the Rhodes boys “twinning” a lot of their moves; think of all of Goldust’s signature spots and Cody also replicating them in tandem: double snap powerslams, dualing Final Cuts, double corner dives, twin Shattered Dreams, and even double superkicks (after the Bucks attempt the Rhodes’ signature floor uppercuts)! Bucks wind up recovering, finishing Cody with his own Crossrhodes and Meltzer Driver for the pin. I guess Dustin has “one last ride” in him, after all. This was super long, but super good. – 4/5

Overall = 3.25/5 Library Books.

Another really good show for AEW but it lacked the workrate of Double Or Nothing or the entertainment value of Fyter Fest. At 4-hours and 15-minutes it went on, about, an hour too long. Many of the matches could have snd should have been cut 5-10 minutes. Yet, despite the brutal humidity the crowd had to endure at Daily’s Place — an outdoor arena with an otherwise hypnotic appearance and atmosphere — they were real supportive of all the talent involved, reacted to most of it greatly and treated their superstars as such. The fans were even involved in the extended promo work. As for B/R Live, the commentary was definitely an improvement over DoN and Fyter Fest, too, with J.R. seemingly more comfortable in his color role and the “weak link” Alex Marvez definitely stepping up and providing analytical insight at the right moments. His presence wasn’t so awkward this time out. Excalibur is a great announcer but isn’t completely there with this product just yet; he may have to evolve and trim his ranting style a bit (he’s so used to calling PWG by himself sometimes, ala Joey Styles!). While the Librarian thing is dead in the water (and AEW already realizes this) and Brandi nor Allie just aren’t great bell-to-bell, both matches still pushed a story or talent moving forward, unlike the worse matches we see in other promotions. While predictable, the card was well booked and everything was, more or less, very well wrestled. You could even go a 1/4th higher or lower on most of the matches based on your preference. So far AEW is 4-for-4, and if this, a very sound and, at times, incredibly exciting Fight For The Fallen, is their weakest of all the shows then fans are in for a delicious f’n treat. Boing!

-Travis Moody

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