It’s Saturday, and you know what that means! Welcome one and all to the latest installment of the AEW Week in Review here at TJRWrestling. As I write this, we are just a day away from arguably the biggest PPV in AEW history, All Out at the sold out NOW Arena in Chicago, Illinois. We had another Dynamite and Rampage this week as the final stepping stones towards the PPV, so let’s get into it and see how they did this week.
Best Match: This week felt like a lot of promos and vignettes to set up all the matches for All Out. That’s not necessarily a complaint, as I think AEW does a fantastic job with their pre-produced interviews with the likes of Tony Schiavone, and the vignettes they do with the likes of Miro. That being said, there wasn’t much competition for best match this week, so the tag match between FTR and Santana/Ortiz on Dynamite is the runaway winner this week. There was a lot of anticipation heading into this match, A. because these teams are so good and we’ve been waiting for them to have an all out (pun intended) battle. Also, B. because no one knew what to expect after Cash Wheeler’s graphic & freak injury he had on his arm after it got caught in the turnbuckles the last time these two teams faced off at Fight for the Fallen. There’s no telling yet if Cash is 100% or if he’s able to go back to a full-time schedule, but at least for one night FTR looked like what we always expect from them. Maybe it was the spirit of Bobby Eaton with their tribute to the Midnight Express, but these two teams went toe to toe for 14 minutes and gave us everything we wanted. Our fearless leader John Canton gave it 4 stars and I would agree with that. There is no doubt that if they went closer to 20, they could get to that 5th star. They’re now tied 1-1, so hopefully there’s a huge rubber match coming between these two. Maybe at Dynamite: Grand Slam in New York City, where Santana & Ortiz will be the hometown favorites for sure.
Best Moment: This was a toss up for me this week, as I really enjoyed the finish of the Malakai Black & Lee Johnson match on Rampage. Even though it made the ref look stupid (what else is new in AEW?), I liked the story of Black grabbing the chair, only for him to give it to Lee to use, but never giving Lee an actual chance to use it before he hit the Black Mass kick. However, a match at All Out that I think on paper a lot of people are excited to see just based on participants, Miro & Eddie Kingston for the TNT Title, needed some juice heading into Sunday.
It really was a match that came out of nowhere, with no real story, but the fans like both guys so it felt like AEW thought that was enough. On Rampage, they finally had a great face to face promo that led to a little physicality & gave the match some heat. Eddie Kingston is the man, and had some very good lines in his promo heading to the ring. I put in our All Out preview that I think this match may not be very long, but based on the response for Kingston during this segment and now that it has something behind the story, I’m hoping they get a few minutes to tell the story of Kingston going after Miro’s neck before ultimately succumbing to The Redeemer.
Critique of the Week: It’s hard not to pick The Gunn Club turning on Paul Wight. That’s sarcasm. The actual answer is the way Dynamite went off the air. I preface this by saying that if at least the Lucha Bros win the AEW Tag Titles at All Out, which I predicted in our All Out Preview, then there’s no harm no foul. No one actually thinks Christian is going to defeat Kenny Omega a second time, which is fine, but someone in The Elite has to get their comeuppance at the PPV. That leaves The Young Bucks, which makes sense since the steel cage is there for The Lucha Bros benefit. Without knowing how All Out is going to play out though, the finish of Dynamite was just a big miss. They’ve steered the ship too far in The Elite’s direction after Omega lost the Impact Championship to Christian. It’s one thing to have The Bucks & Omega decimate Christian and The Lucha Bros inside the cage, but it’s another to have Brandon Cutler of all people keeping half the babyface roster at bay with his cold spray.
I also have a smaller critique on how AEW has handled Frankie Kazarian as “The Elite Hunter”. He hasn’t successfully “hunted” anything. There he was trying to climb the cage, but being another babyface just falling to the floor because Cutler was spraying cold air in his face. If The Elite goes 2-0 at All Out, this is officially an issue because beyond no one thinking Christian can actually win, then you would’ve also made The Lucha Bros look really weak by not being able to win with the odds in their favor, along with being beaten down heavily a few days before.
This Sunday, #AEWAllOut is LIVE on PPV! And next week (9/8), don't miss all the fallout from All Out in Cincinnati, Ohio with #AEWDynamite & #AEWRampage!
🎟 » https://t.co/UN1cNj1kQqpic.twitter.com/aSWVZrB94s
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) September 4, 2021
Looking Ahead: Obviously, all eyes are fixated towards Sunday for the huge All Out PPV. This is an absolutely stacked card (minus Paul Wight vs. QT Marshall), and could be AEW’s best PPV ever if the top matches deliver as expected. Not to mention the surprise everyone expects at some point during the show. Do I expect to see it? YES! (hint hint) I’ve plugged our All Out preview twice already, so be sure to check that out if you want mine and the rest of the TJR team’s thoughts on how the show will go down.
As for after All Out, we’ll have Dynamite and Rampage taking place from Cincinnati, Ohio in AEW’s debut in that market. This will be a homecoming for Jon Moxley, so he’ll be a focal point of Dynamite. We’ll get to see Malakai Black in the ring again as he takes on Dustin Rhodes. I have high expectations for that match, both with the in-ring action and how it’s going to further Black’s story with The Nightmare Family. Also, after being removed from All Out, we’ll get that highly anticipated Pac vs. Andrade match as the main event to Rampage.
This Week in Vlogs: On BTE this week, there were a lot of hijinks with Omega and The Bucks as usual. The best parts of this week’s episode were Matt Jackson telling a crazy story about how someone with TSA in the Ontario, California airport that they fly out of, apparently stole his favorite pair of Jordan Nikes that his wife had bought as a gift for him. These were over $6,000 for the pair. Also, the Young Bucks got to meet NBA Champion Giannis Antetokounmpo when he was at the show in Milwaukee last week. It was a little odd that he clearly had never heard of them before and didn’t know they were called the Young Bucks, which they were joking about since he plays for the Milwaukee Bucks. I know Giannis is a big wrestling fan, so maybe he was there for the likes of Chris Jericho, Paul Wight and Jim Ross, but it’s just odd he didn’t know who they were and that they filmed and showed that face.
Sammy Guevara’s vlog was another very funny episode this week, and I think has officially surpassed BTE as the better vlog now. Without the Dark Order & Hangman bits recently and much more footage of Brandon Cutler just filming the matches The Elite are in that week, it’s lost a lot of what made it must-watch previously. There was a lot of Charlie Ramone in this week’s episode, who has quickly become the best part of Sammy’s vlog. He’s part of the AEW security team and does some props for them, but he is hilarious in this vlog. There’s a specific bit in this week’s episode where he’s trying to get Tony Khan to notice him to sign him as a wrestler that was especially funny. They are going to crown a Sammy Guevara Vlog champion, an offshoot of the BTE Title, and so they had the first matchup between Nick Jackson & Griff Garrison.
That’s it for this week! I truly hope you enjoy All Out this weekend. Since we do have a PPV, next week’s week in review will be including All Out in it, so I would expect a PPV heavy column next week. Especially as it pertains to best match and best moment. Be sure to hit me up on Twitter, @KTankZamora, and let me know what you think and what you want to see discussed in these weekly recaps. Thanks for checking out the column once again. As always, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do… but if you do, name it after me.