It’s going to be nearly impossible to review AEW All Out without reference to the other company in the room. So I won’t try. There’ll be a lot of WWE comparisons. We’re about to start a Wednesday Night War and this is the final shot across the bow before weekly programming commences.
All Out managed one amazing feat: watching on replay, there are no fights you want to skip. In fact, there’s many that make instant rewatches a must. Problem is, the WWE’s biggest weakness isn’t the standard of wrestling. Seth Rollins, AJ Styles, Asuka and Charlotte head a long list of WWE Superstars whose in-ring performance can match anyone in the world. Dubious booking, bad storytelling and wasting talent are the main issues that have allowed the need for a viable rival to Vince McMahon’s juggernaut.
It’s hard to judge those finer elements until the TNT deal starts. The wrestling is top class. The polish around it needs buffing. The comparisons to WWE will start to shift to WCW if AEW isn’t careful. And we all know how that finished. Fans will give All Elite Wrestling time to mature. WWE has added the perfect production to their company after decades of experience. Cody and Khan have a period of grace in the bag.
What will help the credit with fans grow is the high standard of matches. Pound-for-pound, no WWE PPV in recent (maybe living) memory delivers match-after-match. Sometimes the action did make me wince. The bump Darby Allin took in the Cracker Barrel Challenge (dump the shameless sponsoring) was something AEW needs to review. He’s lucky to not have a broken back.
A rundown of results offers little in the way of argument. It feels like Nyla Rose is the chosen one for the Women’s Championship. The Casino Battle Royale was probably the only average match on the card so maybe that’s taken the gloss off her ascension. On the night, it would have been good to see Hikaru Shida overcome Riho. It wasn’t to be and unless AEW goes for a David versus Goliath story, they’ll make the mistake of crowning Rose.
It was a night of top-class tag team action. The Dark Order defeated Best Friends to receive a bye for the upcoming tag tournament. They also revealed a build to the darker elements of their gimmick. It’s a shame WWE’s The Fiend has made that type of storytelling redundant for anyone else now.
SoCal Uncensored beating Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus was the feel-good moment. Already they’ve developed characters and they provided evidence they’ll be fun to watch too.
The Young Bucks and The Lucha Brothers went one more time. Having the AAA Tag Titles on the line meant the outcome was a foregone conclusion. Lucha Bros. did win. Having it as a ladder match meant the dangerous spots were also guaranteed. No one can argue with the lengths they went to, but it was brutal ballet at times. It’s also a question if the unmasking was actually accidental.
Omega and PAC put on a masterclass. The result was one that allows more layered storytelling moving forward. PAC starts his AEW career with a big scalp, looking strong. Omega is over enough – and good enough – to absorb this loss. He does need a few big wins post-Moxley.
Cody once again brought an emotional match to an AEW PPV. But the walk-in was clunky and the supporting cast a dated throwback. It was good to see the seeds of an MJF turn teased but not actioned. Cody is clearly main event talent, the fun we’ll have before he gets there makes the wait bearable.
The main event was a 50/50 booking. The choice was simple: make a star of Hangman Page overnight or use the name power of Chris Jericho heading into the Wednesday Night War. They both left everything in the ring and to be harsh, by the end, it was clear Page wasn’t at the elite level yet. He was drained and lacked energy, or the best seller on the planet and wants to make sure Ziggler never gets offered a spot in AEW.
It could be a blessing for Page. Now there’s a whole story to tell how he fell short. AEW should go for the long build here and have him struggle back to the top of the card during the next couple of years.
The blooded Jericho was probably a little unnecessary, dampened by the sight of referee Aubrey Edwards passing him the blade. A quick note on her performance, great that AEW is the first to place a female official in a World Championship match (talk about a revolution) but the ref should never be the show. Her theatrics at responding to every single blow is distracting. She needs to tone it down.
Jericho delivering the Judas Effect had the right feel to close out the show. He was the first Undisputed Champion. That moniker can now be recycled here in AEW as the first Champion. It’s not only deserved on his name alone. He still commands attention with his presence. His ringwork is still top drawer. With every occasion, he builds a stronger case for the claim to be the Greatest of All Time. It’s fitting his crowning moment came with the greatest wrestling commentator Jim Ross calling the action.
AEW is here, wrestling fans have a choice again.