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AEW All Out preview: Streaks, The Elite and stipulations aplenty

Image: AEW/Lee South

Note: The following is an opinion-based preview and reflects that of the author.

AEW is back with a Labor Day pay-per-view for all of us beautiful babies, one where some of us can even go in person.

That seems like a real bad idea. Well, it's not a "have a concert in Sturgis during Bike Week" bad, but it’s definitely not great, Bob. Wrestling is helped tremendously by a live crowd. A good crowd is as much a part of the match as the wrestlers involved, making good matches great and great matches legendary. I’m just worried about everyone, that’s all. Please wear your masks and be careful if you're going and don’t risk it all for a stale pretzel and some grapes if you don’t need to.

As always, we aren’t getting cheated on this show when it comes to wrestling as there are a ton of matches on this card. AEW really likes to pack their PPVs with as many matches as possible, and this one has nine. Even with that many, they typically do a really nice job pacing their shows and the matches all get the time they deserve. 

Overall, All Out is a bit lacking compared to some of their previous offerings. The matches at the top lack juice and the tag team title match is overshadowed by a team that isn’t even in it which is not ideal. However, as always, we soldier on, and we preview each match of All Out -- even the pre-show!

Pre Show: Big Swole vs. Britt Baker in a Tooth and Nail match

Dr. Britt Baker is putting on a master class on how to stay relevant without ever wrestling. The Roll Model stuff is great. The Michael Jordan thing is great. Her ineptitude is great. Her relationship with Tony Schivaone is the greatest. She deserves everything that is coming to her and we really want to see her get it.

The question is do we really care that Big Swole is the one to deliver the comeuppance? Up until this Wednesday, I wasn’t sure. But then Baker continued to do the Lord’s work by using the wrestling Holy Trinity: a pizza, a crutch, and a submission on the floor and suddenly, I really wanted Big Swole to ruin her return.

AEW loves these WCW adjacent stipulations. I have no idea what a tooth and nail match is and I can’t even hazard a guess. Apparently, it’s a cinematic match in a dentist’s office, so I'm officially intrigued!. Swole is still looking for a signature win or even a signature moment in AEW. The closest thing so far was her "Where to, doctor?" line a few months back. That changes Saturday when she makes the dentist need a doctor.

21-man Casino Battle Royale for an AEW World Title shot

These are usually pretty good, convoluted rules aside. They really like to make things harder for themselves, don’t they?  As always with these types of matches, here are some bullet point thoughts on everyone announced for the match as of Thursday night:

  • Shawn Spears: Still doing this, huh?
  • Billy Gunn: Sure.
  • Austin Gunn: Right.
  • Jake Hager: Whatever.
  • Santana: So great. He could easily be a singles star.
  • Ortiz: Great in a different way, but could not be a singles star.
  • Lance Archer: The biggest, tallest, meanest guy in AEW is deserving of a win.
  • Eddie Kingston: He has an Incredible presence and is wholly captivating. He demands your attention.
  • Darby Allin: Still spooky and still skating. Time off TV hurt his shine a bit, but he might get it back on Saturday.
  • Ricky Starks: He is an actual star. He carries himself like one, talks like one, and wrestles like one.
  • Brian Cage: Half as good as Starks but twice as big.
  • Pentagon Jr: Not nearly as good as his brother, but often the more memorable of the two.
  • Rey Fenix: He was going to be the biggest star in the last battle royal and is still the biggest star in this one.
  • The Butcher& The Blade: One of my pals knows them and says they are great dudes so I always root for them. But, they are lumped together because they equally have no shot.

My heart wants Starks to win as someone totally new and fresh at the top would be great. But, he’s headed directly into a program with Allin. I was picking Fenix to win the last one before he got hurt, so let’s say he gets the win this time.

The Dark Order (Brodie Lee, Colt Cabana, Evil Uno and Stu Grayson) vs. Matt Cardona, Scorpio Sky, and The Natural Nightmares (Dustin Rhodes and QT Marshall) (w/Allie)

There’s always one match on every AEW card that I just can’t be bothered with. That is this match. I get the stakes but who cares? The NIghtmare Family is beyond corny and cringeworthy. Cody isn’t a babyface anyway, so why should we care if he gets beaten up? We definitely don’t care if QT "Why am I on tv?" Marshall is involved. Sky is good though. Actually, everyone in the Dark Order is really good too, but now is not the time for vengeance. The no-longer-spooky guys take this one.

The Young Bucks vs. Jurassic Express

Gotta have the Bucks on the ol' PPV, right? All of my Bucks criticism will be retracted if they superkick Luchasaurus all the way out of the company. Is Jurassic Express popular? Reggie Miller was talking about them on an NBA broadcast this week and I just about fell off the couch. This does not warrant much space on the internet. The Bucks keep their newly found ‘edge’ and win this easily.

Matt Hardy vs. Sammy Guevara in a Broken Rules match where Hardy leaves AEW with a loss

Hardy and Guevara are filling the emotional void that exists without a Cody match. It will be interesting to see how AEW handles a match like this without using some of Cody’s favorite tropes. This is either going to end with Hardy adopting Sammy or them getting married. He cares about Sammy in a way Chris Jericho doesn’t but Sammy is rejecting that. There is actually some depth to this storyline, and we really love it, don’t we folks?

This feud has really heated up since Sammy returned, and, as AEW loves to do, it has included more than its fair share of blood. It started (perhaps) unintentionally when Sammy split Matt open with a chair and continued with Matt returning the favor a few weeks later. None of the other matches on the card feel this personal, so these two should really go at it.

This is an odd one though as the stipulation only goes one way. This isn’t a true loser leaves town match as the only person who has a chance to leave AEW is Hardy. Considering he just signed, that can’t be happening. Unless this is his transition off of television into a backstage role, it’s hard to see him losing. That said, being the reason Hardy is off TV would be a great way to keep the hate for Sammy growing. The Spanish God wins this.

Chris Jericho vs. Orange Cassidy in a Mimosa Mayhem match

“This match can be won by pinfall, submission, or throwing your opponent into a tank of mimosa.” Right, cool, got it.

Look, I get AEW wants a blowoff to this feud with a stipulation match, but this is just a bridge too far. It takes everything I have to not just insert ‘fonzijumpingshark.gif’ here and calling it a night. Imagine if this was in WWE and the reaction if Otis was in a Smoked Meat Steel Cage match or something similar. People would be posting screenshots of them cancelling the WWE Network. (Just a reminder: you can like something and still criticize it.)

Even though the concept is egregiously stupid, this will probably be fine. Jericho will make it tolerable and Cassidy will bring Wrestling Twitter to their collective knees by doing something slightly above average. As SummerSlam had the subtitle "You’ll never see it coming", the subtitle for this would be "The overexposure of Orange Cassidy by the Covid King Chris Jericho" or something like that.

Prediction: Cassidy wins, but who cares. This is just way too corny.

AEW Women's Champion Hikaru Shida vs. NWA Women's Champion Thunder Rosa for the AEW title

For all its criticisms, and there are many, this is a cool thing AEW is doing. Bringing more eyes to not only their women’s division, but the women’s division of another company, is great. They’ve really created a collaborative environment with independent wrestlers and this is a continuation of their relationship with the NWA, one that brings far more attention to the NWA than it does to AEW. Their acknowledgment of a world outside of theirs is a small thing, but a refreshing one.

Rosa is good at this. Shida is good at this. Logic would suggest that this match will be really, really good. Shida has pulled good matches out of far worse opponents, and this is one of her more talented opponents. If she can pull a good match out of Nyla Rose, think of what she can do with a more talented dance partner. That’s what Thunder Rosa is. She has come a long, long way from her Lucha Underground days and is a certifiable star.

The video packages have been great and they have done a good job introducing Rosa to the audience and presenting her like an actual threat. The only issue is that she works with the NWA. I said earlier the collaboration is great, but I hope that doesn’t lead to a wonky non-finish of some kind, something that often happens in matches like these. Since Shida is the one who works for the company putting on the PPV, she retains here.

AEW Tag Team Champions Kenny Omega and Adam Page vs. FTR

Even when they aren’t in the match, the Bucks pervade the tag team division of AEW. Why am I writing about the Bucks when this match has nothing to do with them? Well, dear readers, I am here to tell you that nothing in the AEW tag team division happens without them. Instead of just continuing with Omega and Page feuding with FTR, the Bucks had to get involved.

We had to have the embarrassingly bad scene where Page is kicked out of The Elite. (Never mind that he wanted out months ago.) The Bucks had to kick him out. The only appropriate ending to that scene was Page throwing both Bucks through that mirror and into a different dimension. But, no. They had to get involved and had to get their shine.

It’s been a fait accompli since FTR joined AEW that they were heading for a collision with the Bucks. That match is there, that match is money, and that match needs to happen. It just stinks that this match is really just a speed bump on the way to that, and will most likely result in the end of the Omega/Page team. Something that could redeem the situation is Omega turning full heel while Page gets a monster babyface push. The more likely outcome is the Bucks getting involved and costing Omega and Page the belts.

All of this distracts from what will probably be the best match of the night. Omega and Page have been doing work for months, and the skills of FTR have never been in question. The title change seems obviously telegraphed here, but sometimes the simplest answer is the right one. FTR leave as new champs. Say yeah.

AEW World Champion Jon Moxley vs. MJF

I have finally decided that MJF is good. It’s not a decision that came easily, but every man reaches a point where they must take a stand. My stand is that MJF is objectively good and Moxley is objectively much, much better.

The issue with this match is that the entire lead up has made MJF look weak. Yes, he is supposed to be the weasley heel. I am, unfortunately, well aware of how pro wrestling works. He just never looked strong on his own. There was never a point during this feud where he stood up on his own and posed a credible threat. The fake injuries and lawyer are things that someone should be doing once they are established as the heel champion, not when they are chasing the belt.

Even the final shot of him standing tall, wearing Mox’s blood, was not something he did on his own. Wardlow beat him up. Wardlow was the one who looked strong. Even though he is undefeated, he actually does need to look strong. His win streak isn’t a Goldberg one that started slow but ultimately had him beating credible threats. MJF has beaten the joke that is Marko Stunt and something called Griff Garrison. Mox beat Brodie Lee, who squashed Cody. Mox beat Jake Hager, a shoot MMA fighter. I know Max hasn’t lost, but he's largely beaten D and F tier wrestlers.  

Mox is just better. He is better in both kayfabe and real life. Max might be the future, but Mox is the present and closes the show with the belt.