It’s the dawn of a new era – backed by the billions of the Khan family, we’ve got a new wrestling promotion in town. AEW going Double or Nothing – can they be the first real competition WWE’s had in 18 years, or will it be a gamble too far?
Unless you’re counting All In, this is their first show, and they’re going into this on the back of a high profile TV deal with TNT in the States, and ITV in the UK. That’s quite the opening salvo. We’re coming from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas – and we’re not going to do blow-by-blow stuff, since the world and their dog has already analysed this to death.
Casino (Battle) Royale
After the cancellation of Hangman Page vs. PAC, the winner of this match is entered into the AEW World title match later in the year. That narrows down potential winners massively, you’d think. Out of the gate, there’s stumbles as we start with wrestlers already in the ring, and a chronic lack of name plates. Or indeed, any kind of ID’ing for a lot of wrestlers.
The gimmick for this was overly convoluted: a staggered battle royal, with new entrants coming out in groups, depending on what “suit” they drew backstage. It got a little messy, with too many bodies in the ring at times, meaning that the production crew missed a fair bit. Like Jimmy Havoc stubbing a lit cigarette on Joey Janela, who then took a nightmarish bump through a table to be eliminated. In the end, this match did little to elevate anyone you may not have known going in, and perhaps was a bad match to get off on. Hangman Page was the Joker and won the whole thing. **¼
Sammy Guevara vs. Kip Sabian
The other pre-show match was a nice little showcase for Sabian, although I wonder how much of this was because of the ITV deal? Production missed a few things, like a guillotine shooting star press, but Sabian took the win on his debut here. There’s a lot of fine tuning here needed by both guys, especially when working in bigger rooms, but this was fun. ***
We close the pre-show with a Being The Elite segment… which faded away early because they were running over.
Excalibur, a sedated Alex Marvez and Jim Ross are on commentary as we open with a video package that had clips of the AEW press conference, AAA and OWE stuff to showcase things quickly. The set-up for this show is kinda like the early Impacts or that WWF Invasion show – two entrance ways, meeting in the middle as the rest of the aesthetic is very WWE-like. Black mats, black guard rails… but hey, it’s a sorta-WCW ring with cables rather than ropes, so there’s that.
SCU (Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian & Scorpio Sky) vs. Strong Hearts (CIMA, El Lindaman & T-Hawk)
THIS is the match you open your show off with. They didn’t exactly shoot out of the gates, but we got some examples of the wrinkle AEW has with tag rules: after tags are made, the exiting partner’s working with a ten count rather than a five count.
Look beyond JR confusing the Japanese trio with the Chinese promotion they’re based in, as the Strong Hearts turned things up a notch, effortlessly slipping into a higher gear against SCU. For some reason Alex Marvez was doing video game commentary here, reading off random facts at inopportune moments – had they been placed better, they’d have had some impact, I guess. Kazarian rolled back the years a little with a nice Euro clutch x Northern Lights combo for two near-falls before a Parade of Moves broke out, ending with a double clothesline with Daniels and T-Hawk. A blind tag brings in Lindaman to come close with a German suplex as Kazarian needed to break up a cover, then held T-Hawk and CIMA outside for a tope con giro from Sky… leaving Lindaman alone to take a Best Meltzer Ever for the win. You probably can’t start every show like this, but for an appetizer, this was a good a shot from the bows as you’ll get. ****
Allie’s on commentary for the next match… which became a four-way after Brandi Rhodes came out in her gear and teased adding herself. Instead, it was Awesome Kong who was added, but that’s a negative for anyone who was looking forward to the original match… those who don’t like babyfaces being stupidly happy that a monster’s been added to their match… and those who are fearing any kind of comparison to WWE. If they’re looking to quell any naysayers, Brandi cannot become the AEW equivalent of Stephanie McMahon.
That being said, it’s telling that her music was a little less generic than everyone else’s…
Kylie Rae vs. Nyla Rose vs. Britt Baker vs. Awesome Kong
So the guesses here were that they’re building to Nyla vs. Kong, which makes sense because everyone loves a hoss fight.
A backfist and a kick takes Rose out as Kylie and Britt became cannon fodder early, but they worked together to take down Kong on the outside… which opened the door for Nyla again. She flattens Rae with a spinebuster before a Slingblade from Baker led to a near-fall. Rose comes back with a Samoan drop as she began to impose herself in the match, but she’s quickly stopped by a Tower of Doom that Kong sparked off. On the outside, another backfist from Kong drops Baker, before Nyla Rose got involved, spearing Kong into the ring steps. That left us with Baker and Rae to have a wee singles match, but it’s all Baker as she took a near-fall with a swinging neckbreaker before she almost fell to an O’Connor roll German suplex… but in the end Kylie Rae gets the ribbon in her hair superkicked off before a Blackheart Buster got the win. This was fine, but did we need a four-way, apart from getting the Kong pop? ***
Backstage, Chris Jericho’s left the tag on his suit jacket…
Best Friends (Chuck Taylor & Trent) vs. Angelico & Jack Evans
Angelico in particular has had people sour on him for his work in Europe, but as a tag team with Jack Evans, he’s a different proposition. Even if they replaced Bangarang with “yellow and black Kane”. SO. MUCH. LUMINOUS. YELLOW.
Double-teaming from Angelico and Evans targets Beretta early as Jim Ross stumbled over a wasp. There’s a sweet Muta lock and a kick from Angelico and Evans, before an assisted 450 splash got Evans a near-fall. Angelico spins out Trent from a Dominator before using a leg and arm submission that Taylor had to break up. Chuckie T manages to make a comeback through evasion, dumping his opponents into each other with an overhead belly-to-belly. A Falcon arrow doesn’t quite do the deal as Chuckie builds up steam, cracking Angelico with a kick before he got sent to the floor… Trent capitalises with a tornado DDT on Evans, before a flying stomp from Chuckie nearly took the win.
A backflip kick from Evans catches Trent, but the Best Friends recover to double-team Jack. A combo of Sole Food and a half-nelson suplex leaves Angelico out before we get a Rainmaker zoom from a hug. JR struggled to contain disdain for that. Angelico’s back to counter a Dudebuster into a Code Red, before Evans stepped-up off Angelico with a corkscrew kick. There’s an assisted moonsault too, before Evans moonsaulted into Taylor on the outside, while Trent ate a huge Fall of the Angels. Evans finishes it off with a 630… but Chuckie makes the save! Trent nearly steals it with a small package, before a missed plancha from Angelico left Evans open for a Doomsday Knee, and with Chuckie taking care of Angelico with a tope con giro, all that was left was for Trent to finish off Evans with a spike Dudebuster for the win. I know I’m the outlier here, but I couldn’t get into this. Plenty of flips, plenty of tag team stuff, and perhaps a little too rushed, but I’d have liked to have been able to get behind one or the other… and not just applaud what was otherwise an exhibition. ***¼
Post-match, all four men look for a hug, but the lights go out… and return with the Super Smash Brothers in the ring. The lights go out again, and return as some masked minions drag out the four men as the Super Smash Brothers lay out everyone. Shame commentary didn’t seem to know who they were… nor did most of the crowd.
The announce All In 2 – called All Out – for August 31, 2019, returning to the site of All In: the Sears Center.
Hikaru Shida, Riho & Ryo Mizunami vs. Aja Kong, Emi Sakura & Yuka Sakazaki
Not wanting to put too much expectation on this, but word was that the “joshi” division was Kenny Omega’s pet project. Kinda like how WCW treated their cruiserweights. I can only hope they hit connect anywhere near as good as they did…
Mind you, I’m not a huge fan of how every entrance video had to start with the Japanese flag…
Emi Sakura came out dressed as Freddie Mercury, because she likes Queen. Fortunately, those of you looking for pure wrestling here got it early on as Aja Kong and Ryo Mizunami went clattering into each other early on, before Riho and Sakura came in. The crowd came unglued for Riho’s satellite crucifix, before Sakura tagged in Sakazaki for a flying Thesz press. Sakazaki kills Riho with a dropkick before Sakura came in and flung Riho by her hair. A Romero special has Riho in deeper trouble, worsened when Aja came in, especially as a kick to the back made a dull thud around the arena. Aja Kong nearly wins with a standing elbow drop, then with a piledriver as Riho was in dire need of a tag.
A wheelbarrow stomp from Riho gets her free, with Mizunami trying to be a house afire, and succeeding with a spear to Aja. There’s a German suplex to Sakazaki, then a clothesline, before Riho’s back in with headscissors to Kong. Riho misses a crossbody off the top as Kong kicks her, then wrecks her with a Saito suplex for a near-suplex. HOW?!
A back elbow out of the corner misses as Hikaru Shida came in… but we’re quickly to weapons as a Kendo stick from Shida’s blocked by a bin as the referee was distracted. The bin’s used to stop Shida’s knee as soundbyte Marvez picked the worst point to read his pre-prepared fact.
Then, I couldn’t believe my eyes as the camera SHOOK as Sakura got a “we will rock you” chant going, but Shida catches her with a knee as the ring filled a little, then emptied as Sakura was brought in with a superplex. Mizunami’s flying legdrop gets a near-fall as Sakazaki broke the cover, before Aja Kong cleared house. There’s a brainbuster from Kong to Shida, before Sakura’s top rope moonsault connected for the win. Except the ref counted two… but the bell rang and music played. Ooh. The crowd couldn’t wait to chant “you fucked up”, but the match continued as Sakura held up Shida for a spinning backfist… Shida ducks, as Sakura ate that, then a diving knee, as Hikaru Shida got the win. Real good stuff, save for the flub at the end… and yeah, I think Kenny is onto something. Handle this well, and the “novelty act” could well be AEW’s calling card. Please though, get away from the stereotypical music… ***¾
I’m digging the ready-to-go post match highlights packages we’re getting here…
What I’m not a fan of, is losing your place in the format sheet.
Cody vs. Dustin Rhodes
Cody got a big time entrance, with a way overplayed entrance of a… throne with an Iron Cross that looked a LOT like Triple H’s old logo. Cody eyeballs it, then walks away… before Brandi pulled out a sledgehammer from under the ring, and gave it to Cody so he could wreck said throne with it.
Symbolism. Symbolism that this crowd loved. Like they’ve all cancelled their Network subs. Commentary ponders “how would Dusty have felt about this”… but to be fair, I pretend Fast Lane 2015 didn’t exist either. Saying that, we get Cody pulling out the old Stardust taunts, before he cleared the crowd, looking to toss Dustin into the front row… but he’s just trolling everyone. Dustin comes back with a senton off the apron, a la Liger, before rewinding the years to Goldust with a bulldog and some mounted punches.
Cody goes for a wander into the crowd, then comes back and distracts the ref as Brandi throws water on Dustin for a near-fall… and now it’s all Cody as he worked the arm and midsection of his brother. Dustin makes a comeback with a basement uppercut before he sidestepped Cody’s charge into the corner… and now we’ve a Shattered Dreams tease. Except Cody rips off the middle turnbuckle, throwing it to Dustin… who threw it into the crowd, before drop toe hold’ing Dustin into the exposed buckle. Dustin rolls outside, where he wandered into a spear from Brandi… which gets her ejected with a little help from DDP. In the meantime, Dustin’s on the floor, holding his head… and oh good God above, he’s come up red!
Well, the other half of Dustin’s face was looking to match the painted half, with and it only gets worse from there as Cody wiped his brother’s blood on him. The crimson mask worsens as Cody punts Dustin in the face, and it’s sorta refreshing to see this sort of thing – as opposed to the WWE edict of “blood? Quick, stop the match and wipe it all away”. Problem was, Dustin’s blood was really starting to pool in the ring, and as he was having trouble seeing his “guessing” at moves made things worse. As did the blood. So much blood. Muta scale-redefining blood.
Cody traps Dustin in a Figure Four, which eventually got reversed as we also got a shot of the modern day “bloody Stone Cold” photo… and good God, Dustin’s still leaking red. Earl Hebner confiscates Cody’s weightlifting belt… but an atomic drop from Dustin helps him get in a cheap arse whipping. Then out of nothing, we get a very apt Code Red from Dustin for a near-fall! A superplex brings down Cody nastily, before a twister suplex got Dustin another near-fall as… my word, those pools of blood in the ring are NOT drying. Cody uses a mule kick, then a Disaster Kick and a Cross Rhodes… but that’s not all, as Dustin kicked out and hit Cross Rhodes of his own as I’m starting to get real fed up of all the crowd shots. Stop it.
Back-and-forth strikes led to duelling basement uppercuts, before Dustin hit… a Spanish Fly?! Cody kicks out from the cover and drops Dustin with Dins’ Fire (a vertebreaker), before getting the win with Cross Rhodes. I guess you could say this was one-sided, but the big story out of this was how different this was presented compared to, say, WWE. The blood may have been extreme, but it made this match stand out… and then some. ****¼
Post-match, Cody returned to the ring and offered a hand to his brother, telling him he “doesn’t get to retire”… because he wants a favour. Cody’s signed to face the Young Bucks, and he wants his older brother for that match, voice cracking and all. That’ll be at Fight for the Fallen in July, and that ought to be… unique? A nice, heart-felt moment to end it all… before we got a reaction shot of someone taking a photo. That ought to teach them.
Excalibur and JR are wiping away tears on commentary. Alex Marvez is… emotionless.
We get replays from the Casino Battle Royale, for those who didn’t see the pre-show.
Jack Whitehall’s in the ring. Yes, THAT Jack Whitehall. He introduces Bret Hart, who’s out with the velvet bag that either signifies drawing pins or title belts. Sadly, Bret’s not getting hardcore tonight… instead, it’s the presentation of the AEW title belt. They’ve got a red canvas, and no, it’s not because of Dustin’s blood. Bret introduces Hangman Page, as he’ll be in the title match down the line… Page gets ALL THE PYRO, but he’s interrupted by Maxwell Jacob Friedman before he could say a word. Oh hell yeah, we got a tunnel camera! MJF is gloriously hateable here, as he trolled Bret for the Hall of Fame incident, before demanding Page relinquish his title shot because of his bum knee.
Eventually Jungle Boy comes out to confront MJF. He gets more name checking here than in the Battle Royal (although that could have been a well timed Marvez factoid), before Jimmy Havoc came out to ensure that MJF got his comeuppance. Page, Havoc, Jungle Boy and MJF fight into the crowd while Bret Hart reveals the new AEW title belt, which looks real nice. Shame we never got a real clear look at it.
AAA World Tag Team Championship: Lucha Brothers (Fenix & Pentagon Jr.) vs. Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson) (c)
In the pre-match video there’s clips of the Young Bucks doing warm-ups in a car park, whiffing on a few things to perhaps show they were getting rusty. There’s ALL THE PYRO for the Lucha Bros, who couldn’t get their flag right, while the Young Bucks were out in Elvis-ish jumpsuits… because Vegas. If you’re wondering, they changed the canvas as Dustin Rhodes’ blood is gone…
This was a slow, boring mess. And if you believed any of that, then I’m sure there’s bridges in Brooklyn people can sell to you. There’s mind games early as Fenix and Pentagon looked to get under the skins of the Bucks, who were going two months since their last match, but there’s a lot of swinging and missing between Nick and Fenix as the crowd went wild without a single move being done. Chops back in the ring follow before a rolling thunder dropkick caught Nick… Matt gets caught with a barrage in the corner ahead of a pair of sandwich superkicks as tags… yeah, who needs em? A wheelbarrow splash from Fenix is good for a two-count as the Lucha Bros got the proverbial first blood here.
There’s a sweet gorilla press slam and spear combo out of Matt Jackson, as the defending champions were apparently teasing a new finisher. Pentagon pulls Nick into the path of a double stomp as the Bucks perhaps were showing a little rust, as a low dropkick from Nick hit Matt’s rear end, before Nick took a monkey flip cannonball into his brother. Oh boy. Fenix wows with a springboard armdrag/’rana that had to be seen to be believed, before a cutter stunned Fenix as he only got a near-fall. Penta’s back to try and kick Matt’s leg out of his leg, but Matt’s quickly back with an imploding flip stunner out of the corner… a move that could have gone sour so quickly. Matt stops Fenix with some rolling Northern Lights suplexes, before a Sharpshooter’s stopped by Pentagon… who took a Northern Lights too.
Nick gets the tag in as the Bucks turned it around with a heartbeat, with a springboard flatliner and a moonsault off the apron, in one fluid set of motions, which looked supremely effortless. I think that ring rust is off. The replays had to be cut-off because Nick’s keeping up the offence, before dual sunset flips and Sharpshooters had the Bucks firmly on top. A 450 splash to an elevated Fenix gets a near-fall, thanks to Penta, but he’s sent outside as a powerbomb/Shiranui was got a near-fall, and an apt shout-out to the Motor City Machine Guns. It’s time for superkicks, before Pentagon and Matt on the apron trade kicks and forearms… duelling big boots left them both down. Fenix leaps onto the apron, and provided a fortuitous step for Pentagon’s step-up apron Destroyer, before leaping back in to drop Nick with a Destroyer of his own. Good GOD. A step-up plancha off of Penta’s shoulders has Fenix further ahead, before we got a brutal package piledriver/Widows’ peak from Penta on the Bucks… and it’s still not enough!
Matt superkicks Pentagon to save his brother from an armbreaker, as a Parade of Moves broke out… starting with Fenix leaping into superkicks before he got dumped on the top turnbuckle with a brainbuster before Pentagon took More Bang For Your Buck for a near-fall. Thank God Excalibur’s sounding excited, because otherwise this commentary booth would be bored and/or curmudgeonly here. A stuff package piledriver from the Bucks takes out Pentagon for a near-fall, with more of the trademark “throw in something else to keep the other guy down on the outside”, before the Lucha Bros avoid a Meltzer Driver, allowing Penta to snap back Matt’s arm. A Fear Factor pumphandle driver’s next for a near-fall, before Fenix tried his luck with superkicks… but Fenix plays to the crowd too much and runs into a tombstone position as Nick returned for his half of a Meltzer Driver… and that’s your lot! Breathless from start to finish, and a completely different style from anything else on the card to boot. You may loathe bits of the Bucks’ offence, which is fine, but this was a match many circled as a stand-out outing… and they were right to. ****½
Chris Jericho vs. Kenny Omega
The winner faces Adam Page down the line for the AEW title… and Chris Jericho’s teased a new move for this match.
Jericho’s entrance was a nice callback to gimmicks gone by: Lionheart… the List of Jericho… light-up jacket Jericho… and finally, yer da’, except this time he’s not learning make-up off an awkward YouTuber Jericho. Sadly, Super Liger Jericho didn’t make the cut. For some reason, there’s a Cracker Barrel barrel in the ring, while Kenny Omega’s entrance saw him walking through Tokyo, and perhaps from Tokyo, to Vegas, with new music since his old song was a New Japan original. That Cracker Barrel is an absolute pain to get out of the ring… with Jericho instead shoving it through the ropes. To be fair to referee Paul Turner, ROH never had sponsorship deals of that level. Unless I missed one for giant back braces…
So, the bell finally goes, and we start with slaps as I notice that Jericho’s pleather trousers look eerily reminiscent of Chris Benoit’s old gear. Omega’s trying to spam the V-Triggers early (never change), before an attempt at a ‘rana got caught and turned into a Walls of Jericho, forcing Omega to scurry outside. He’s met with a dropkick thru the ropes by Jericho, before the pair begin to trade chops around ringside, with Jericho getting slammed onto the surprisingly sturdy timekeeper’s table. Omega gets shoved into the crowd as he tried to leap onto the guard rails to save himself from taking the railings… but Kenny spits back with some water and a missile dropkick as the camera crew were left looking to clean their lens. Back inside, Omega lands some chops before a Finlay roll planted Jericho ahead of a springboard moonsault for a near-fall.
After kicking out, Jericho gets desperate, pulling Omega into the turnbuckles before another chop battle had Jericho back ahead, with a missile dropkick sending Omega down. More chops end with a lariat from Jericho, who flips off the crowd for “too sweet”-ing the two-count. Damnit Chris, you’re meant to be evil, not a comedy bad guy. Omega’s bloodied from that clothesline, but he responds with one of his own, sending Jericho outside for a table… which Omega dropkicked into him. Omega followed that up with a tope con giro into the table, which Jericho was still holding like a makeshift riot shield. A springboard stomp followed as Omega tried to break the table through Jericho on the floor, before he set it up…
Back inside, a V-Trigger cracks Jericho, who tries to fight his way off the top rope and a snap avalanche Dragon suplex… but instead a back superplex dropped Jericho off the top! A back elbow stops Omega mid-V Trigger, but Kenny lands one shortly afterwards before he teases a One Winged Angel… only for Jericho to slip out and dump Kenny with a German suplex. The Lionsault follows, landing high on Omega’s head, before he does it again. More V-Triggers set up Omega for a Tiger Driver, but Jericho counters with a back body drop, sending Omega through the table on the floor. Ow.
Omega hauls himself back to his feet, then sparked a battle of right hands on the apron with Jericho, only to get taken down with a springboard dropkick. Jericho tries to follow up with a superplex on Omega, but Kenny shoves him down, only to leap into a Codebreaker off the top. It’s not enough to get the win though as it’s back to the right hands before Omega’s snap Dragon suplexes looked to turn the match back around. After another V-Trigger, Jericho goes for a Lion Tamer, but Omega rolls free into a high angle Tiger Driver for a near-fall, before a V-Trigger got blocked… and turned into a Lion Tamer! Jericho sits down deeper on it, but Omega’s able to roll free, and eventually catch a running Jericho with another V-Trigger. A DDT keeps it going as the crowd seemed to be in a bit of a lull, before Jericho caught a Lionsault… only for Jericho to counter a One Winged Angel into a DDT.
A Codebreaker’s next, flipping Omega inside out, before he lands the Judas Effect for the win. The Judas Effect was… a spinning back elbow. High impact because of the commentary for it, but it wasn’t that far removed from a run of the mill back elbow to be honest. This was a pretty good match, but a massive step down from their New Japan outing… and yes, I’m kinda surprised Omega lost. ***¾
After the match, Jericho got the mic and berated the crowd, telling them to “lighten up, marks”. He brags about being the face of AEW – a company not for the fans, but rather for him. Hmm. I wonder what that’s a proxy for. He demands a “thank you” from the company, before he was interrupted by Jon Moxley coming through the crowd. That woke up the crowd… Moxley hit the ring, and spiked Jericho with a DDT. The ref gets one too, Omega, who made the mistake of staying in the ring, charges Moxley to the outside to avoid his DDT, but they end up brawling through the crowd, and onto the stack of casino chips on the stage… where Omega finally took his DDT. Mox isn’t done yet though, as he dumps Omega with a death valley driver off the chips onto the stage below, as we fade to black on the former Dean Ambrose. A hell of a way to close out the debut show, and hints that perhaps AEW have plenty more bullets in the proverbial chamber.
So… All Elite Wrestling. Double or Nothing. Home Run.
Watching what I saw of this live (and the rest on demand), this was the most fun I’ve had watching a “mainstream” (i.e. not an indy) show in ages. You had a hearty selection of variety – matches that were different from pretty much anything you’d ever see on a WWE card… you had the old school blood and guts… and the “something else” that the masses hadn’t seen. Whether the “joshi” stuff can retain its attraction three, six, twelve months down the line remains to be seen, but there’s a lot to be said for having wrestlers and wrestling styles that 90% of the audience haven’t seen.
While this show wasn’t perfect, this hit all the notes that fans expected, nay, wanted, there are a few qualms I have. Most of them weren’t too obvious on the overall product. First, let’s get the obvious ones done: Alex Marvez sounded like he was on tranquilisers for most of the show, such was his excitement here. As the show wore on, he seemed to retreat into his shell, which only served to make the moments when he popped up feel more like video game commentary than anything natural. Those are things that can be worked on. As are weird production choices. Now, I can only assume that the Buy In pre-show was produced by the TNT crew, while the PPV itself was handled by another crew, such was the night and day difference in quality, with many a spot missed in production during the battle royal. Hopefully the TNT crew will get the kinks ironed out before they go weekly in the autumn. That being said, the gradual creep of crowd shots throughout the show was veering on the annoying by the end of the night. Leave that to WWE please.
One other thing that could, and probably will, change, are the music choices. Your big stars got big music. Jericho’s self-licensed Fozzy song. The Young Bucks got their own music. Hangman Page got his $60 stock theme that was recognisable from New Japan and ROH… but everyone else? I’ll be generous and call them works in progress, because a lot of these tracks left a lot to be desired.
The other nagging issue from AEW’s general coverage wasn’t quite so obvious, but if you looked close enough it’s there. AEW’s coverage to date from the “big boys” has been rather skewed, and with a lot of those folks also happening to be in the front row for this show, there’ll be questions being asked. While I’ve no issue with having favourites – people are only human after-all – I do take big exception to the way this show was covered in the run-up. Falling for cover stories, not addressing or reporting speculation, and flat-out going down the “I know something you don’t know, but I can’t tell you” route isn’t going to curry favour with fans who are sat on the fence. Nor will continued digs at WWE, no matter how subtle or undercover they are.
That being said – for the first real competition WWE’s had since WCW shut their doors, this was an exceptional debut for AEW. Their next few shows come in June and July with Fyter Fest and Fight For The Fallen respectively, but really those cards will be keeping the lights on until October. When the big bang really happens, and AEW hits TV. Weekly. That, my friends, will be the acid test, when we see whether the promotion derided by some as a glorified t-shirt company can really cut it.