After a week’s delay, AEW’s Fight for the Fallen finally presents the AEW Heavyweight title match between Jon Moxley and Brian Cage. Would Cage tear Mox apart, or would Mox’s unpredictable nature win out the day? Let’s head to the ring and find out!
TNT Champion Cody vs. Sonny Kiss
The story going into this match amongst the wrestling community was whether Sonny was a legitimate challenger for the title, with some fans unfortunately spouting some very unsavory opinions. I don’t think a wrestler’s sexuality should make a damn’s worth a difference as to whether they deserve a spot on the card or not, or what that spot should be. I must admit, though, that I wasn’t the biggest fan of Kiss’ in-ring work. So, I was pleasantly surprised to Sonny look the best I’ve seen him. There are some criticisms elsewhere online that Sonny’s striking in this match was poor and weak, but I found it to be serviceable, mixed with some strong kicks and forearms and some excellent, athletic aerial offence.
However, the real story in this match was Cody’s behaviour. He was noticeably more aggressive, steaming straight out of the corner at the bell with a hard pump kick. He fluffed a slingshot suplex, yet he still decided to show off with his trademark press ups. Coach Arn Anderson was far from impressed, chewing Cody out at ringside. And you don’t want to p*** off Arn!
Cody continued to drop Sonny on his head in a variety of vicious ways, including a nasty Alabama Slam on the ramp. However, Cody just couldn’t put Sonny away, much to Cody’s chagrin. A couple of times we saw him get right into ref Aubrey Edwards’ face, which is really unlike him.
The cause? Well, the camera cut quite a few times to Tully Blanchard watching from the audience. Are we being trolled, or is the rumored rebirth of the Four Horsemen becoming a reality?
For now, a Cross Rhodes sealed the deal, and with the comfort of victory came a hug and some kind words for Kiss. But its clear that the temper is being slowly but surely released…
FTR vs. Lucha Brothers
On paper, this was set to be a great contest. In execution…it was ok. It felt like a solid first act of a great match, maybe going into a second act, but never building up into an exhilarating home stretch.
Dax Harwood is a machine. He continues to impress me every week, and his opening exchanges with Pentagon, that saw some stiff chops being thrown and Dax counter Pentagon’s “zero miedo” hand gesture with a big stomp to the paw, were exciting to see.
There were a couple of notable botches, including Pentagon attempting to flip Rey Fenix onto Dax and it going awry, and Cash Wheeler hitting a clumsy looking jawbreaker, which is unusual for him.
There was a nice moment when Pentagon and Dax were on the mat. Wheeler went for a splash over the top rope but Pentagon got his knees up. Fenix then tries to land on top of Dax, who else gets his knees up, leaving a pile of bodies on the mat. Also cool was Tully watching on again. FTR for the Horsemen? They could do worse.
In the end, Dax ducked a Fenix kick and, in a nicely heelish moment, pulled Rey’s mask off and rolled him up for the pinfall victory. I appreciated that AEW didn’t reveal Rey’s face to the audience, keeping the mystery intact. Meanwhile, FTR come across as heelish assholes who will do what they need to for the win.
After the bell, The Young Bucks superkicked the onlooking Butcher and Blade and reclaimed the keys to FTR’s pick up truck. They gave the keys back to Dax and Wheeler just as Kenny Omega appeared with a beer cooler. To make amends for wasting their beer on the first night of Fyter Fest a couple of weeks back, Omega had brought a cooler of beer to the ring and said that he would drink just the once with them to show his good will. FTR seemed amenable at first – until they poured the beer over Kenny’s head. Kenny swung for them as the Bucks tried to keep the peace.
The last laugh was on FTR, though – they couldn’t get their pick up truck to start! Oh dear.
I’d get The Butcher and The Blade to foot the bill, if I were you…
Jericho Gets Juiced!
You can add another nickname to Jericho’s catalog. He’s not just Le Champion anymore; he’s now the Demo God!
One thing that annoys me currently, and Jericho and Tony Khan are as guilty of this as the fans, is the harping on about ratings and winning certain age demographics. It’s not 1997 anymore. I just want wrestling as a whole to succeed. Competition can be positive; it can also lead to petty nonsense.
Which is why I have to give Jericho credit for having the balls to troll the audience by coming out and explaining rating demographics and labeling himself ‘The Demo God’. It was actually pretty funny to hear him add this to his cocky asshole shtick and gives fans another reason to want to see him get his ass kicked.
Then it all went a bit ‘Attitude-era’, and not necessarily for the better. Jericho ran down the reasons that Orange Cassidy is never getting a rematch. Orange appeared in the stands and gave Jericho and the accompanying Inner Circle a weak thumbs up into a thumbs down, and a load of orange juice splashed down on top of them from the rafters!
It was worth it for Jericho’s infuriated commentary in the following match (JR: “You smell tropical”. Jericho: “that’s my cologne, JR. Smartass!”), but in the long run do I want to see a feud propelled by juice dousings? I’m not sure I do.
Jurassic Express vs. The Young Bucks & Kenny Omega
This was a great match, plain and simple. If you’re not a fan of flippy wrestling, this match is not going to change your mind on the style. But if you are a fan, this was a treat.
I don’t understand why Jungle Express aren’t in a big feud at the moment (I assume the MJF conflict has had a line drawn under it?). Jungle Boy alone has some major talent, pulling off aerial maneuvers so smooth and effortlessly that a lot of guys could learn from him. Luchasaurus is an imposing figure and Marko Stunt brings the fun and has a lot of guts for his size. I think they’ve proved that they’re worth a major feud and this match proved it.
And yet, much like the Cody match, the story here was all about a member of the Elite showing signs of a heel turn. And it was pleasantly surprising to see that it was Kenny!
Perhaps still smarting from the FTR pouring beer on his head (and it was curious to see FTR drinking with Hangman Page at the bar as the match went on), he smashed Marko Stunt around with an aggression not seen in a long time. In fact, the match-sealing combo of a killer V-Trigger and One Winged Angel looked to near-obliterate Stunt. But it was after the bell that Omega really showed some new colours, blowing a kiss to the camera using a trigger finger sign, then mounting and smashing the hell out of the battered Stunt. The Bucks had to pull Kenny off and ask him what the hell was going on. Jurassic Express weren’t impressed either.
As for Kenny? He seemed to be in his element, swaggering around and looking smug. This is the Kenny I’ve wanted for a long time! As great as he’s been for a lot of his time in AEW, the good-natured personality came across as a little bland.
With ‘The Cleaner’ perhaps ready to make a reappearance, this is Kenny’s opportunity to really consolidate his legend.
I for one cannot wait!
Brandie and Allie vs. Kenzie Page and MJ Jenkins
This was a quick squash match to keep up the heat on the simmering rivalry between Allie and Brandy. With QT Marshall out with corona virus, the pivot for their tension has been removed, but putting them together as a tag team is intriguing. It’s just good to see Allie wrestling. She’s really been misused in AEW, I’d argue.
After the bell, Allie had to coerce Dustin Rhodes, who was raising Brandie’s hand in victory, to do the same for her. QT’s not going to be happy!
Afterwards, we got the reveal of Nyla Rose’s new manager being…drum roll, please…Vickie Guerrero! Vickie’s got personality in spades, but is that enough to give Nlya Rose credibility? Time will tell…
AEW World Heavyweight Champion Jon Moxley vs. FTW Champion Brian Cage
Pre-match we got a video promo from Mox, where the champion announced that he’d had a bad few weeks but he was now ready to take out his frustrations on Brian Cage. He also referred to Taz’s previous comment that Mox won’t be able to hit his Paradigm Shift finisher on Cage because Cage is too muscular. To that, Mox said he’ll just go after Cage’s recently surgically repaired bicep and tear it off the bone instead.
In the ring, Taz said it was more bulls***, that Cage had been wrestling and training his ass off whilst Mox had been sitting at home. The time for talk was off.
I actually really enjoyed this match. It felt like the first part it what could be a short series of matches, where they’d build up to a big climax. What they put across was good, but also felt like they were holding back a little for a bigger rematch.
Mox was true to his word throughout, focusing on Cage’s arm by locking in various armbars and wrapping it around the barrier at ringside. Cage countered with big strikes, belly-to-back suplexes and those vicious hands of his.
Taking things to the outside, Mox set up a section of the guard rail against the apron and tried to suplex Cage onto it. Cage stood his ground and dropped Mox back-first on the rail. Later he slammed Mox on an upright steel chair, which brought a wince to this reviewer’s face, I can tell you.
Cage became more dominant as the match went on, locking Mox in a torture rack, to which Mox tried to counter by smashing Cage in the face. No deal: Cage switched to a beautiful suplex out of the rack.
The end came when Cage countered a kimura with a buckle bomb. A drill claw was countered, though, by a cross armbar. Mox then repositioned himself, grabbed Cage’s other arm and wrenched it nastily. Rather than Cage be reinjured, or lose face by having to tap, Taz threw in the towel, giving Mox the win.
A towel throw, of course, is not a definitive win in its way. That, and the fact Cage continued to pound on Mox after the bell, suggests to me that we’ll see Mox vs. Cage II very soon, perhaps on pay-per-view.
For now, the lights went out as Cage battered Mox, and when they came back on Darby Allin was perched on the top turnbuckle. He leapt at Cage, cracking him around the head with his skateboard and sending him out of the ring. Mox and Allin shared a respectful nod in the ring, as Taz dragged a furious Cage away. Where does Darby fit in? I think a long-term plan is being set here, and if the ultimate goal is to set Allin and Mox against Cage to build up to Mox vs. Allin, sign me up! It’s been said many times Allin is a star in the making. It looks like AEW is finally ready to make good on that.
This was a solid event overall. While it wasn’t a stand-out show in the ring, we did get an awesome six-man tag and an entertaining main event that whetted my appetite for more.
But the show’s real success lay in the paving stones lain down for the path to the future; the Four Horsemen hints; Cody and Omega’s heel turn teases; FTR’s rejection of the Elite, yet cosying up to Hangman Page; the suggestion of Darby Allin vs. Mox; the fury of Cage. AEW often struggles to book feuds in a consistent way, but if they stay the ride, we could be looking at a bright future for AEW.