The SmarK Rant for AEW All Out 2023 – 09.03.23
I was on the fence about this one but the Moxley promo on Collision put me over the top.
Live from Chicago, IL
Your hosts are Excalibur, Kevin Kelly & Nigel McGuinness
ROH Tag team titles: Better Than You Bay Bay v. The Dark Order
The crowd really wants that double clothesline tonight, and Adam hits Silver with a pump kick to start and calls for the clothesline. Luckily Silver is able to escape it with the help of Reynolds or else it would be a short opener. Over to MJF, who leads a chant of “sportsmanship” and then shakes Alex’s hand before poking him in the eye. He’s so happy he does some strutting and it appears to be time for a kangaroo kick, but Silver breaks that up and MJF is selling the neck injury from last week. Cole: “Wait a second, where does it hurt?” Well he’s pretty, not smart. So MJF bails to recover, but Reynolds nails him in the neck with a chair from behind, and the medical stuff has to remove MJF from the match. So Cole fights alone and the Dark Order double-teams him while the crowd now chants for “single clothesline”. Because there’s only one of them left, see. Silver dumps Cole and tries a dive, but Cole hits him with a kick from the floor and then superkicks Reynolds as well. Back in with a sunset flip on Silver for two, but Silver hits him with kicks into the fisherman’s buster for two. Reynolds with a necksnap into a big boot for two and he tosses Cole for some abuse from Evil Uno and a trip to the post. Back in, Cole comes back with the neckbreaker but he has no partner to tag and the Dark Order hit the Wambo Combo on him for two. But then they get personal and hit a DOUBLE CLOTHESLINE, which gets two. Reynolds grabs a belt and Cole fights him off while the crowd calls for MJF to return, and he does so right on cue. So Max gets the hot tag like Hulk Hogan in 1986 and cleans house with slams while still selling the neck. Dark Order collides in the corner and Reynolds falls on Silver’s crotch, setting up the KANGAROO KICK to put them down. And there’s only one thing left: DOUBLE CLOTHESLINE on Reynolds, which finishes at 14:08. This was like a Saturday Night’s Main Event match and it way overdelivered. ***3/4. Sure all their matches are the same but they’re awesome so shut up.
ROH TV title: Samoa Joe v. Shane Taylor
Oh, but Joe gives MJF a shot on the way down to the ring, and Max freaks out and attacks him in the ring, which goes badly for MJF. Now that’s kind of an interesting pairing. Joe slugs on Taylor to start and Shane slugs back and puts Joe down with a clothesline. Joe with an enzuigiri to put Taylor on the floor and he follows with a dive. Back in, Joe with an atomic drop and big boot to set up the senton for two. Joe fires back with a lariat for two. They fight to the apron and Joe chokes him from there, but Taylor pulls him in for a stunner to escape. He goes up with a splash for two. They continue clubbing on each other and Joe hits him with a lariat for the double down. They slug it out and Joe chokes him out for the win at 6:23. Not much to this one. **1/4
TNT title: Luchasaurus v. Darby Allin
Luchasaurus charges and Darby sends him to the floor and runs him into the apron. But then Luchasaurus tosses Darby into the railing to further break his broken spine and then swings him headfirst into the stairs. Christian demands further maiming and punishment. So Luchasaurus pulls him back into the ring and hits a sideslam for two. Also Darby is busted open like Moxley. Luchasaurus with a headbutt, but Darby springboards into a splash for two. He goes for a shoulderblock and merely bounces off the dinosaur, and Luchasaurus beats on him against the ropes and puts him on the floor again. Darby sends him into the post and puts him in a chair for a flying somersault plancha, but he goes so high that he overshoots and nearly lands on the railing. Back in the ring, Darby comes back with a crucifix bomb for two. Luchasaurus with a german suplex to drop Darby on his head and goes to a HUMAN TORTURE RACK while Christian implores Nick Wayne to throw in the towel, and even offers him a towel, but Darby breaks free and hits Christian with a tope. Darby goes up and fights off Luchasaurus to set up a top rope Code Red for two. Darby goes up again, but Christian takes out Wayne with a chair and threatens further pain for the kid if Darby doesn’t stop. So Darby holds up, and Luchasaurus brings Darby down for a tombstone before dropping him on the top rope and finishing with a lariat to the back at 12:17 to retain. Then for good measure, he goes for a Conchairto on Darby while Wayne is forced to watch, but the locker room geeks make the save. Where is Sting, on vacation or something? I’d say this one overdelivered as well thanks to Darby hurling his body with no care for living past 40. ***1/2
Miro v. Powerhouse Hobbs
They fight for the lockup to start and it’s BIG MEATY MEN SLAPPING MEAT as they trade clotheslines and neither guy goes down. Hobbs finally wins that battle, but Miro puts him down with a leg lariat for two. Hobbs necks him on the top rope, but Miro dropkicks him, so Hobbs tosses him with an overhead suplex. He charges and lands on the floor, so Miro follows with a somersault off the apron and then beats him against the railing while the crowd chants “SLAP THAT MEAT”. Back in, Hobbs with a chinlock, but Miro fights out and they do a wacky series of shoulderblocks where the crowd goes MEAT to punctuate every shot, which leads to Miro putting him down with a clothesline. Miro beats meat on the apron, but Hobbs fights back and they head to the top for a SUPER MEAT PLEX and they’re both down. Miro with the superkick, but Hobbs catches him with a powerslam for two. They trade more clotheslines and Miro hits the Machka kick for two. This sets up the Game Over, but Hobbs fights out of it and runs him into the turnbuckles. Spinebuster gets two. So then Hobbs tries his own Game Over on Miro, but Miro counters with his own spinebuster and finishes with the real Game Over at 15:32. This match fucking ruled and lived up to every hoss fight expectation and then some. ****1/2. But then Miro offers a manly handshake, and Hobbs accepts it before turning on him and choking him out. So then CJ Perry finally makes her AEW debut and saves with a chairshot, which allows Miro to destroy Hobbs and reunite with his hot flexible wife…only to walk away from her because he has forsaken all things. Even his hot flexible wife.
TBS title: Kris Statlander v. Ruby Soho
Ruby throws kicks to start and Statlander puts her down with an ugly knee strike and chases after Saraya outside, which allows Ruby to hit her with a dropkick from the apron and send her into the railing to take over. Back in, Ruby with a chinlock and Statlander fights out. They slug it out and Statlander comes back with a powerslam for two and the spinning Michinoku Driver for two. Statlander with the Gory Special, but Ruby counters out and rolls her up for two. Cradle gets two. They trade rollups for two and collide on a bodypress attempt, which gives Saraya a chance to rip up a sign at ringside. They fight to the top and Statlander brings her down with a powerslam for two. She goes for an electric chair and Ruby reverses to a poison rana, and then a tornado DDT for two. Kris with the Blue Thunder Bomb for two. Stat goes up and Ruby brings her down with a riot kick and hits the Destination Unknown for two. So Ruby grabs the pain while Saraya takes the ref, but Toni Storm pops out from under the ring and steals it, allowing Statlander to finish with Sunday Night Fever at 12:21 to retain. That will probably do it for the Outcasts. Started slow but built to a pretty hot finish, even though they could not possibly follow the meat-slapping match. ***1/2
Strap Match: Bryan Danielson v. Ricky Starks
Starks attacks before the strap can even be attached and then busts him open with a weight belt on the floor. So they hook up the strap and Starks chokes him out with the strap and hauls him around ringside before stomping on his head on the stairs. Guillotine legdrop on the apron gets two. Starks chokes him out in the corner and stomps on his head again, then beats on him with the strap, but Bryan fights back with kicks until Starks beats him down again. Starks goes up and Bryan fires up and smacks him with the leather before doing his own hanging with the strap before tossing him and wrapping him up on the post with the strap to bust him open. Bryan beats on him further with the strap and they head back into the ring, where Starks fires back with a clothesline out of the corner for the double down. So they slug it out and strap each other IN THE FACE while bleeding on each other, but Danielson tells him to bring it on and Starks has made a huge mistake in picking this fight. So Danielson beats the living shit out of him with the strap and kicks, but Big Bill runs in to attack Bryan. Luckily Ricky Steamboat leaves commentary to save, and Bryan hits the heels with a flying bodypress out there. Back in, Starks hits Danielson with a spear for two. Starks with the Rochambeau, but Bryan hits the bu saiku knee for two. It’s time to kick his fucking head in, and he does so, and taps him out by choking him out with the strap at 16:41. THIS MATCH FUCKING RULED TOO, easily Starks’ best ever. ****1/2. They should fire CM Punk more often, it really seems to motivate people.
Eddie Kingston & Shibata v. Claudio Castagnoli & Wheeler Yuta
Apparently Eddie thinks that Claudio is some kind of egg-sucking dog. Huge if true. Yuta does some mat wrestling with Shibata to start and Shibata puts him down with forearms and follows with a dropkick, which brings Claudio in. Eddie wants him some, but Claudio tags out again and further annoys Eddie. So he takes it out on Yuta with chops and then goes after Claudio outside, but Yuta hits him with a dive and Claudio runs him into the railing. Back in, that gets two. Claudio works him over in the corner and chokes him down. Eddie fights back with a suplex on Yuta, but Claudio cuts him off with a double stomp. Yuta with a surfboard while Claudio kicks Eddie in the face from the apron. Over to Shibata, who tries for an armbar on Claudio, but he powerbombs out of it and the Fastball Special gets two. Shibata smacks Yuta down with a backfist and wraps him up in a leglock. So Claudio comes in to save, but Shibata absorbs the chops and then anklelocks Claudio at the same time. Claudio escapes that and hits Shibata with a forearm to knock him down, but that just makes Yuta’s leglock even more painful. I laughed. Back to Eddie and he beats on Yuta with chops and an exploder out of the corner, but Claudio cuts him off. So Shibata boots Yuta into a Kingston suplex for two. Claudio and Shibata trade forearms and fight to the floor. Yuta and Eddie trade shots and Yuta suplexes him for two and slugs away on the mat, and then it’s finally time for Claudio and Eddie to smash each other. They trade chops and Claudio clotheslines him for two and beats on him with the elbows. Neutralizer gets two. Eddie escapes the Ricola Bomb and hits the backfist and a northern lights bomb for two, but Yuta saves. So Shibata chokes Yuta out to deal with him, but Claudio hits Eddie with a nasty forearm and pins him at 15:56 to continue their thing. Man they beat the hell out of each other, although I bet Eddie demanded to do the job here. ***1/2
Kenny Omega v. Konosuke Takeshita
I love Kenny but it’s time to strap the rocket to Takeshita. They trade wristlocks to start and Takeshita works a headlock and it turns into a shoving match. Kenny with the high kicks, but Takeshita shrugs him off hits his own high knee. Kenny tries a suplex and Takeshita suplexes him right on top of his head in a terrifying bump before sending him to the floor and running him into the railing. So Kenny fights back and You Can’t Escape off the railing follows. Back in, Omega dropkicks the knee and hits the facebuster and a sling blade for two. They slug it out on the mat and Takeshita hits him with the Warrior clothesline. Kenny tries a rana and Takeshita reverses him into the turnbuckles to block and takes him back to the floor for a brainbuster out there. This allows Callis a chance to stack chairs on Kenny’s midsection, and Takeshita follows with a swanton from the ring and onto the floor. Back in the ring for the Blue Thunder Bomb, as requested by Callis on Dynamite, and that gets two. Takeshita goes up with a senton for two, but Kenny fights back with chops and Takeshita smacks him down with a forearm. Takeshita goes up with another senton, but he lands on the knees and Omega makes a comeback. Takeshita charges with a knee strike and hits the corner, bumping to the floor off that, and Omega follows with the Terminator dive. Back in the ring, Omega with a dropkick to set up the snapdragons and the poison rana for two. V-Trigger misses and Takeshita escapes another snapdragon, but Kenny hits him with more knees until Takeshita puts him down with the lariat. Kenny blocks a powerbomb attempt and hits his own to set up the V-Trigger for two. Another V-Trigger sets up the One Winged Angel, but he counters to a cradle piledriver for two. Deadlift german gets two for Takeshita. They slug it out and Kenny hits him with a knee strike and enzuigiri to put him down. Another V-Trigger and they fight to the top, but Kenny can’t get the One Winged Angel from up there. So Takeshita brings him down with a Blue Thunder Bomb instead, and that gets two. Knee strike gets two. But then Callis introduces the screwdriver and Takeshita grabs it while Kenny tries the Angel. Takeshita still reverses out despite the ref taking the screwdriver, and follows with a knee strike for two. Next up, the kneepad comes down and Takeshita hits one more knee strike on the injured neck and PINS KENNY OMEGA at 22:22. HELLS YEAH, give this kid all the belts. They just built and built and ended up with a masterpiece, with Takeshita doing all the stuff Callis told him and taking advantage of all the weaknesses, and beating Omega as a result. ****3/4
Bullet Club Gold v. FTR & The Young Bucks
Cash trades takedowns with Colton to start and gets a headlock takeover for two. Over to Austin, but Cash takes him down with a rana and it’s over to Matt. The Bucks double-team the Gunns and the crowd is salty about that. Over to Dax and he gets worked over in the Bang Bang Gang corner while I try to explain the complex CM Punk relationships on the babyface team to my wife, who is more fascinated by ROCK HARD Juice Robinson. I approve. Jay White dropkicks Cash’s knee and goes to work on the leg, and it’s over to ROCK HARD JUICE ROBINSON as he slugs Cash down. Everyone comes in for the slugfest and we get quadruple Sharpshooters before the ref finally regains control. Back to Dax getting worked over in the BCG corner, and White suplexes him into the corner for two. Juice snaps Dax out of the corner and goes to a chinlock, but Dax fights out and gets a sleeper. They collide for the double down and White suplexes Dax onto the apron, THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING. Back in, Colton with a dropkick for two. Colton with a corner splash, but he misses a second one, so Juice has to cut off the tag himself by annoying the Bucks with his natural charm. Juice misses the cannonball and it’s hot tag to the Bucks, who start the SUPERKICK PARTY with the help of Cash. It’s BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA as the Bucks take out Juice and Jay and FTR goes for the spike piledriver, but Colton breaks it up. So Dax and Matt hit their own mixed version of the piledriver instead on Austin for two. Bullet Club takes the faces to the top, but they turn it into a TRIPLE POWERPLEX on Austin instead, complete with a 450 from Nick. That gets two as Juice makes the save. Austin ragdolling all over the ring off that was great. Back to the floor as everyone dives off the apron, but Austin rolls up Dax for two. White and Dax trade chops and Dax puts him down with a lariat, but Juice breaks up the Shatter Machine. So Dax and Nick hit their own Shatter Machine on Austin, before Dax and Matt improvise a BTE Trigger on White for two. Friendship! Colton saves and White hits Cash with the Blade Runner, allowing Colton to get the pin at 21:44. Give these men another title match! This turned into another banger of a match. ****1/2
AEW International title: Orange Cassidy v. Jon Moxley
I love the extended entrances for this. Orange hits him with a dropkick and Moxley drops him with a suplex to go after the neck already, and then follows with another one for good measure. Orange fights from the apron and comes in with a bodypress, but Moxley rolls into the head stomps to put him down again. Orange puts him on the floor with the stunner and follows with a dive, but Moxley drops him with the suplex back in the ring and throws him out to the floor and into the post. And now Orange is bleeding, so Moxley takes him to the announce desk and beats on the cut to be a dick. Orange is bleeding all over the floor but he beats the count, so Moxley piledrives him for two. Mox chokes him out with the tape and further rakes the face to open the cut before beating on him with crossfaces. Orange fights back, so Mox puts his hands in his pockets and headbutts Orange into the corner before taking him to the top. But Orange fights back with his own back rakes and bites Moxley before hitting him with the diving DDT and tornado DDT. Orange Punch misses and Moxley tries a piledriver, but Orange rolls into a PK and hits the Punch on a second try for two. Beach Break is blocked by Mox and turned into a Gotch piledriver for two, but Orange cradles for two. Moxley rolls into the bulldog choke, but Orange rolls him over for two. Moxley with the rear naked choke out of that and he switches to the armbar, but Orange rolls out of that. So Mox crossfaces him and Orange is fading, but he rolls into the ropes to break. Orange bails to the floor to regroup, so Moxley pulls up the padding for a piledriver out there. But Orange counters to a Beach Break on the floor and dropkicks Moxley’s head into the stairs and desperately calls for the ref to count Moxley out. Mox beats the count at 9, but Orange fights back with another Punch, but Mox won’t go down. So Orange hits him again and fires up, but he walks into the cutter and Moxley goes for the Death Rider. Orange with another Orange Punch to escape that and he spears him for two. So now Orange goes to the pockets and brutalizes Moxley with the kicks but then turns it into real kicks and that’s awesome. So Moxley clubs him with a lariat to show him who’s boss, and Orange fights up again. A second lariat gets two. Death Rider gets two as the crowd is losing their mind. Orange is bleeding all over but he fights up again, so Moxley hits another Death Rider and wins the title at 19:41. I strongly disagree with that one because Moxley doesn’t need the title and in fact complains about people having too many titles IN CHARACTER. Hopefully Orange can go have a nap and come back stronger to regain it, because he’s earned it. ****1/2. And Orange gets the standing ovation from the crowd to end the show.
WHAT A SHOW. As much as I was down on the lineup coming in, this ended up as one of the best wrestling shows I’ve ever seen, overdelivering on literally every match and completely overshadowing the CM Punk drama with GREAT WRESTLING. Good riddance to bad cancers and you should absolutely get the replay for this because you will not be disappointed. Thumbs as far up as I can put them.