A year ago, a group of wrestlers from Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling put on a show in the Sears Center called All In. It was the culmination of storylines developed up through their web series, Being the Elite, and years of brand-building and showed that a wrestling organization unaffiliated with WWE could sell over 10,000 tickets in the United States. This Saturday, many of the wrestlers from All In will perform in the Sears Center again at All Out, the fourth live event by new promotion All Elite Wrestling and the last one, as far as we know, before their new television show starts on TNT in October. Things really have changed in the wrestling world!
All Out, which you can find out how to watch here, will include ten matches, some never seen before and some rematches, some with months of build and some with basically none. In this preview, we’ll go over who is wrestling on the show, why they’re wrestling, and what you can expect from the August 31 event.
The Buy In
Private Party vs. Angélico and Jack Evans
The pre-show tag team match between Private Party (Marq Quen and Isiah Kassidy) and Angélico and Jack Evans (fka Los Güeros del Cielo) was announced on the seventh episode of The Road to AEW All Out webs series after a brief montage of both teams doing cool moves. This should be an opportunity for both teams to once again show off their exciting in-ring skills, and it seems like they should complement each other.
We don’t know what the future holds for Angélico and Evans, but Private Party should be getting more opportunities soon if the Young Bucks publicly declaring they want to wrestle them in the opening match of AEW’s second television episode is any indication.
Casino Battle Royale
Way back on Double or Nothing, AEW had the first Casino Battle Royal to decide a number one contender to the AEW World Championship. Now they’re doing the same thing for the AEW Women’s World Championship.
While the first Casino Battle Royal was hit or miss with fans, this second one could easily be less polarizing for a couple of reasons. First, the weird new battle royal rules (which you can read here) have been tested already, so the execution of the match could be a lot smoother. Second, while the men’s CBR ended up showcasing a lot of AEW’s more unusual characters that could take some time to get into, the women announced for this match so far are a more straightforward who’s who of women wrestlers unsigned or signed to AEW.
At this time this article was written, twelve out of twenty-one entrants had been announced: first Allie, Yuka Sakazaki, Britt Baker, Nyla Rose, Brandi Rhodes, Teal Piper, Ivelisse, and Jazz, then Big Swole and Sadie Gibbs, then Awesome Kong through an article in the New York Post, and finally Shazza McKenzie via social media. That’s a lot of strong options for half of the first women’s title match on this list and it’s just over half the match.
Riho vs. Hikaru Shida
The other women’s match on this card was announced with a promotional graphic. Though AEW does need at least two number one contenders for that first AEW Women’s World Championship match, it doesn’t officially have any stakes beyond Riho and Hikaru Shida both trying to get a win. Still, it wouldn’t be surprising to see either of these women end up earning her way into the first title match on the first episode of AEW’s TV show with through this match.
We’ve seen a little bit of how good Riho and Shida are in AEW so far, with Shida wrestling on Double or Nothing and Riho at all their events. They both quickly won over a lot of fans who weren’t familiar with their work in Japan, and the spotlight of a one-on-one match could easily win over some more.
SCU vs. Luchasaurus, Jungle Boy, and Marko Stunt
All Out’s one six-man tag match was set up on the most recent episode of Being the Elite. Members of SCU (SoCal Uncensored) (Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, and Scorpio Sky) experienced visions/media of dinosaurs, kids, and The Jungle Book and realized who they needed to wrestle next! It was this adorable trio of A Boy And His Dinosaur And Another Boy Who Signed With AEW More Recently And Who Taya Valkyrie and John Hennigan Apparently Walk On A Leash. While SCU is very established as a team at this point, their opponents are much less so, and it should be interesting to see how they work together.
Cracker Barrel Clash: Joey Janela vs. Jimmy Havoc vs. Darby Allin
The triple threat match between deathmatch indie weirdos Joey Janela, Jimmy Havoc, and Darby Allin was set up with a backstage fight in the second episode of The Road to AEW All Out that inevitably drew comparisons to the real-life semi-fight Janela had just had with a former WWE Superstar at a Blink-182 concert, which led to the above AEW-Blink-182 crossover video.
Considering what Janela, Allin, and Havoc have gotten up to on the independent circuit and already in their AEW careers, it looked like their match could get crazy. On Tuesday, there was a development regarding this match that some might describe as “crazy,” though not in the way Janela vs. Jon Moxley was at Fyter Fest – it was revealed to be officially sponsored by Cracker Barrel. Here is an excerpt from the press release dubbing this match the “Cracker Barrel Clash,” which is probably my favorite press release I have ever received:
All Elite Wresting (AEW) today announced that Cracker Barrel Old Country Store has been named Presenting Match Sponsor of the triple threat bout between Darby Allin, Joey Janela and Jimmy Havoc at the upcoming ALL OUT event in Chicago on Saturday, Aug. 31.
Dubbed the “Cracker Barrel Clash,” the match was sanctioned after the disintegration of the partnership between the three wrestlers following their loss at FIGHT FOR THE FALLEN where the trio teamed up to face Shawn Spears, Sammy Guevara and MJF in a six-man man tag team match. After the bout, the three tag team partners had a disagreement that devolved into a wild backstage brawl until AEW officials intervened. Now, Allin, Havoc and Janela will settle their differences in the ring in the highly anticipated three way match at ALL OUT.
Cracker Barrel’s relationship with AEW spans years as EVP’s Matt and Nick Jackson are “super fans” of the brand. Cracker Barrel has partnered with the duo in the past to create the now iconic “Biscuit Party” caps, and has also sponsored three of their matches. With 660 locations in 45 states, Cracker Barrel frequently hosts AEW wrestlers and their families across the country. The “Cracker Barrel Clash” marks the first official match sponsorship at an AEW event. The sponsorship includes cross-promotional activities with AEW talent, customized co-branded graphics, in-venue signage and social media activation…
This makes this match seem about a corporate as that VHS filter they used in its announcement made it seem indie. But maybe Cracker Barrel is more down with weirdness and ultra-violence than people might guess! Maybe it will include a cracker barrel that has been wrapped in barbed wire or filled with tacks! Maybe it will include a cracker barrel that has been wrapped in barbed wire and filled with tacks! Anything is possible, right?
Winner Gets A First-Round Bye In The AEW Tag Team Tournament: The Dark Order vs. Best Friends
Best Friends Trent Beretta and Chuck Taylor were attacked by the mysterious, masked Dark Order at Double or Nothing. At All Out, these two teams will finally clash in the ring after each of them won a match for a shot at a first-round bye in the tournament to crown the first AEW Tag Team Champions. After this match, one team will actually get that bye.
In addition to match stipulations that confused everyone at first, this feud has given us the really good Best Friends vignette above. Beretta and Taylor joke around, but they clearly take their jobs and tag team wrestling seriously, and Beretta gives us the line, “There’s nothing wrong with having masked nudie boys… but don’t bring them to work. That’s unprofessional… and of course, don’t have the assault good men like us.” Clearly, Best Friends vs. The Dark Order is a match with not only important tag tournament stakes, but a moral we can all get behind.
Escalera De La Muerte For The AAA World Tag Team Championship: The Lucha Bros (c) vs. The Young Bucks
— Lucha Libre AAA (@luchalibreaaa) August 27, 2019
The ladder match for the AAA World Tag Team Championships between the Lucha Brothers (Pentagón Jr. and Fenix) (c) and the Young Bucks is an escalation of a feud that’s been going on almost as long as AEW has existed.
They were two very popular tag teams who wanted to be known as the best in the world when the Young Bucks approached the Lucha Bros with a handshake deal to join their new company back in February. The AAA World Tag Team Championships entered the picture when the Bucks underhandedly won them from Penta and Fenix at an AAA show in March. They successfully defended them at Double or Nothing, but the Lucha Brothers regained them in another rematch in AAA in June.
That wasn’t the end of the feud, however, as the teams continued to face off within two trios matches, the Elite (Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks) vs. the Lucha Bros and Laredo Kid first at AEW Fyter Fest, then at AAA Triplemanía. Between these six-man tags at Fight for the Fallen, the Lucha Brothers challenged the Young Bucks to another rematch, this time with ladders involved, and the Young Bucks accepted on Being the Elite.
Ladder matches are very much in the wheelhouses of both teams, though this is supposed to be a different style of ladder match than the Young Bucks, at least, have done before. No one seems to know exactly what means yet, but everyone can tell these teams will try to make this as crazy as possible.
Cody vs. Shawn Spears (with Tully Blanchard)
If you’ve kept up with the web series promotion for All Out, you’ve seen a lot of build for the match between Cody vs. Shawn Spears since it began with a controversial chair shot at Fyter Fest.
The story is basically that a very hard-working trust fund kid gave his friend a job, but also thought his friend would be more of a team player (“a good hand”) than team leader at that job and his friend reacted violently. The addition of Tully Blanchard as Spears’ manager incorporates a lot of wrestling dynasty stuff into it. Thematically and visually, its web series content has been about as “prestige TV” as wrestling has gotten in the prestige TV era. Here’s a bullet-point rundown of what has happened with this feud since Fyter Fest:
- On the first episode of The Road to AEW All Out, Jim Ross interviews Shawn Spears about his attack on Cody. Spears explains why calling someone “a good hand” is so offensive in wrestling culture. Right at the end, it is revealed that Tully Blanchard is now Spears’ manager.
- On the second episode of The Road to AEW All Out, Blanchard explains how bad being labeled “a good hand” is for a wrestler’s career. He says doesn’t have a grudge against the Rhodes family anymore, but when Spears came to him asking for advice in improving his career, he encouraged Spears to target Cody because “if you take down one of the Rhodeses, that’ll put you at the top in anybody’s book.”
- The third episode of the web series features the contract signing between Cody and Spears. Cody shows up to the contract signing really late because he is doing [the] work (read the t-shirt!) at the gym. He signs the contract without seeing it has been changed so that each wrestler can only have one (1) person in his corner.
- This episode begins with MJF talking about his best friendship with Cody, insisting that he is not just a brown-noser. According to toe MJF, Spears was the one thinking “I can ride his coattails to the top” re: Cody and MJF will knock him out of he ever gets in the ring with him.
- The fifth episode of The Road to AEW All Out includes a numerical breakdown of the Cody vs. Spears feud.
- The sixth episode is a three-minute monologue by Brandi Rhodes delivered directly to the camera/Spears on behalf of her husband. Her husband is “a goddamn exemplary pro wrestler” while Spears is “pretend.” It’s very old school and theatrical, with Brandi talking about seeing a vision of Spears’ future in Cody’s head blood, a line about what the “Rhodes men” are like, and Brandi at one point calling Cody her “beloved.”
- It is also the only All Out match to get its own separate promotional video, which is embedded at the top of this section.
With all this build, it seems unlikely that this match will end with LA Park running in and attacking Spears for daring to call himself the “chairman” – though he’s back with AAA now so that technically could happen! If you’ve seen a very story-heavy Cody match before you probably have an idea of what to actually expect. Spears has an AEW TV match against Jon Moxley coming up, so make your bets whether he’ll go into that established as one of the promotion’s top villains or as a former WWE mid-card guy still looking to prove himself with his first AEW singles win.
PAC vs. Kenny Omega
THE KING IS DEAD.
Long live the Bastard.
— THE PROBLEM CHILD (@BASTARDPAC) August 29, 2019
Pac vs. Kenny Omega was announced as a last-minute replacement (in kayfabe as well as in real life) for Omega vs Moxley, which AEW had been building since their first pay-per-view. Judging by the promo Omega cut on Moxley about backing out of their match (because he has MRSA, dude!), that feud will definitely be revived in the future, but for August 31, Omega’s half of the main event now has Dream Match appeal.
This match is also something that fans who keep up with wrestling reports and rumors knew was previously planned under different circumstances. Pac was supposed to make his AEW debut wrestling Hangman Page at DON, but that match was scrapped due to, depending on who you ask, creative issues (Pac could not lose because of the Dragon Gate storyline he was already involved in as Open the Dream Gate Champion; AEW didn’t want a screwy finish on their first show) or visa ones. Reportedly, the main issue with him not being able to lose for an indefinite period of time that it would mess up a future feud with Omega. However, now that he is no longer another company’s champion, it looks like that feud is a go!
Beyond all the backstage drama though, this is a match between two popular and skilled guys have never wrestled each other Officials have said they have big plans for Pac in their company, so this should be the first of many AEW matches for the Bastard.
AEW World Championship Match: Hangman Page vs. Chris Jericho
'Because if I don't win. The legend of Chris Jericho ends at #AEWAllOut' – @IAmJericho. Will Jericho walk out of the @Sears_Centre the newly crowed #AEWWorldChampion? There is still time to order #AllOut at @BRLIVE – https://t.co/to5XqgoAyF #AEW #AllEliteWrestling @AEWonTNT pic.twitter.com/JGolMpqbWQ
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEWrestling) August 28, 2019
At Double or Nothing, Hangman Adam Page won the first Casino Battle Royal to become a number one contender to the AEW World Championship. Chris Jericho defeated Omega to become the other half of that match. Things escalated from there!
At Fight for the Fallen, Jericho showed up dressed as a member of The Dark Order and delivered a devastating Judas Effect (spinning back elbow) to Page, busting him open. On The Road to AEW All Out, Page revealed that he had been pulling out his stitches every morning to remind himself he needed to have more “blood and guts” than Jericho in order to win. This made for a very gross visual and by far the darkest and most serious version of Hangman Page ever. Since then, though, it seems like Page has chilled out back to the level of normal babyface behavior, doing things like showing up at an indie show and cutting a promo about how he represents the spirit of AEW because “the people who change the world, the people who win, are the people who do cowboy sh*t.”
It’s been well established what becoming the first AEW World Champion would mean to both of these characters. When Jim Ross questioned if this was “too much, too soon” for the 28-year-old Page, the former teacher replied that he is an underdog and “This is the only opportunity I might get. I would do anything to win that championship because I have to.” Meanwhile, Jericho needs to prove his relevance, making this “either be the greatest night of my career or the beginning of the end of the legend of Chris Jericho.”
Whether this match delivers or not, the debate is sure to continue about who should actually be the first AEW World Champion. Page is young and athletic and “handsome cowboy” has, in some form, been a character description synonymous with “mainstream appeal” since like the 1930s, but he’s not as popular or acclaimed as other wrestlers on the roster. Jericho might be the biggest name on the roster, but he’s nearing fifty and his championship reign could be interpreted as insecurity on AEW’s part; the company feeling they need to bolster their cred with reputations built in WWE.
Since All Out is the last AEW event before their television show starts in October, expect new developments and announcements in addition to these matches and definitely expect everyone to bring their A-game. What do you think of the card? What are your predictions for the show? Let us know in the comments!